Classic Halloween

It's Hallow's End in World of Warcraft, and I can't help but notice how quaint the celebrations are in Classic. There are some seasonal decorations in places, such as the giant pumpkin at the entrance to the Undercity, but they are not as ubiquitous and over the top as in the live game.

There are a couple of simple quests to do that don't reward anything too exciting, some temporary buffs to pick up, and you can bob apples or trick or treat at innkeepers for a silly temporary costume or some free food, with the latter being something that's actually not to be sniffed at in Classic.

Overall though, there's no pressure or urgency, no achievements or cosmetics to grind. The event's only real purpose seems to be to have a bit of fun and set a certain mood, mostly through the temporary costume buffs filling the cities with ghosts, pirates and leper gnomes.

It's quite a stark contrast to how most modern MMOs handle seasonal festivals, and I like it. Similarly to how people complain about many public holidays being too commercialised these days, focused on selling expensive chocolate in seasonal packaging above all else, I dislike it when MMOs use a seasonal event as an excuse to make people do more of the same stuff they already do all year anyway (usually grind special currencies and cosmetics), but with a "limited time only" urgency message attached just to get you to log in every day.

The events I don't mind so much and even like tend to be the ones where some unusual activities are on offer that I happen to enjoy and don't usually get to partake in, such as racing on ice in Neverwinter's winter festival or herding chickens during the same game's summer festival, because I like doing them for the sheer fun of it and for a change of pace.

I get that big and noisy events can serve as an incentive for inactive players to come back, but if I'm already playing your game and enjoying it, trying to sell me on it again while I'm already happily playing what's there tends to feel a bit like overkill.


Level 40 & A Mount

Last week I wrote about how making money for my first mount was very much on my mind as my hunter crept closer and closer to level forty. I kept flip-flopping on the question of how I felt about it - some commenters reminded me that it really wasn't that big a deal, and I also ran into other characters in the low forties who hadn't been able to afford their mount yet. But then I'd have some sort of windfall and feel spurred on again, because just a few more of those and I'm there!

My favourite of these was when I earned a tip of two gold from crafting an advanced target dummy for someone in Thunder Bluff, and from their own materials no less. I would have done it for free as the recipe was yellow for me at the time and therefore likely to be a skill-up, but then they handed me the gold when I traded the finished product back to them and I thought sure, why not. Fastest two gold I've made so far.

Other money-making operations didn't go so well, mind you. After I saw Kurn post about making money from re-selling the pattern for runecloth bags, I checked the price for it on the Pyrewood Horde auction house and was wowed: just re-selling one or two of that item would have been enough to push me over the line towards my mount.

So I stripped down to my cloak and tabard again and made the death run to Winterspring. Much love to the kind human warlock who spotted my cow on the road in Felwood and started aggroing all the wolves in the vicinity in what felt like a clear attempt to protect me - if I'd been smarter I'd have stayed near him, but I blithely ran further ahead while he fought the wolves and then died as soon as I got in range of the next one.

The moment I hit my screenshot key, I heard a loud roar behind me and had to leg it inside the town in order not to be eaten by a bear.

The problem was that when I finally made it to Everlook I found that this clearly wasn't some super secret insider tip as there were already several people camping the vendor (a goblin named Qia). When I looked it up on Wowhead to see if they had any more info on just how often the pattern respawns etc. there were whole instructions on how to write a macro that will buy all the rare recipes the vendor has as soon as they appear as long as you are willing to stand there and spam click on her for a couple of hours.

I quickly decided that I couldn't be bothered with such insanity, so the run was eventually for naught. I did check back a couple of times just to see if I'd maybe stand a chance if I checked early in the morning or something like that, but I had no such luck: I never saw Qia surrounded by less than three people, no matter the time of day.

I also tried to make some more money with fishing but it has very much remained a mixed bag. I got super excited when I found Lordamere Lake completely uncontested one evening and managed to fish up several stacks of Greater Sagefish there, but then it turned out that their price had plummeted over night (of course, that's probably why everybody else stopped bothering) and those stacks didn't end up making me much money anyway.

Still, I persisted with my personalised strategy of doing my daily mining round in Thousand Needles, and this made me enough money that I eventually decided to invest in one final push, so that I had just enough to buy the mount when I hit forty, as long as I ignored my class training for the moment (as that would have cost another twelve gold or so just for my level forty abilities).

And I've got to say: I do not regret it. A mount may not be all that in terms of usefulness, but the matter had weighed so heavily on my mind that it was a huge relief to be able to stop worrying about it. After this there aren't any more expensive purchases that feel like they should be made as soon as you hit a certain level, so I can focus on other things as and when I feel like it.

I hadn't realised how much it had bothered me to have this "problem" (wanting my mount at forty but not having enough money for it) and no clear solution to deal with it. Being able to check that item off my list was such a huge relief, I pretty much flew through the next couple of levels from sheer joy. Now other challenges await!


10 Years of WoW Blogging

Nogamara from Battle Stance celebrated his blog's tenth birthday today. Go and congratulate him, because he's awesome!

Reading that post also gave me pause though. 2009 to 2019... wait, didn't I start blogging on here in 2009 as well? The answer is yes: in fact, technically this blog's anniversary was about three months ago, and I completely forgot about it. (I have no idea why Parallel Context's tenth anniversary the other day didn't trigger a similar line of thought in my mind by the way... brains are weird.)

I suppose I didn't really think of celebrating this blog's anniversary at least in part because I've been completely focused on my Star Wars: The Old Republic blog for the last eight years, and tended to think of this one as lying dormant. However, Nogamara even counted two whole years of his blog's lifetime during which he didn't make a single post at all - meanwhile I somehow ended up putting out at least half a dozen entries per year even during years when I thought of myself as totally not playing WoW, so... I guess that counts as active in some way?

My first ever post was made on the 12th of July 2009 and called Some thoughts on heroic Oculus. I have to admit that, on re-reading that post, I chuckled at myself referring to it as "the o-word". Yes, I know you're not supposed to laugh at your own jokes, but me from ten years ago might as well be a different person and I think she's kind of funny sometimes, OK?

It's kind of amazing to me now just how prolific I was during the first one and a half years of this blog: I posted pretty much every other day! I was going to say something like "I have no idea how I had the time to do that" but then I remembered that I was unemployed for at least half of that time, so that probably helped.

Incidentally, WoW also played a role in eventually ending my unemployment - and that post was my introduction to reddit, since someone linked it there and gave me a crazy traffic spike.

Anyway, I remain impressed by the sheer amount of things I actually had to say about the game in late Wrath in particular. I kind of wish I'd started this whole blogging lark much earlier; then I would now have a detailed record of everything I thought during Burning Crusade as well.

Going through the archives of those early years, you can see the very slow and gradual decrease in my enjoyment of WoW. My second post on the blog was called Four reasons why I like pugs, and especially in the early days there were still quite a number of happy posts about grouping experiences, but over time the percentage of things that annoyed and frustrated me clearly grew.

I quit in March 2012 and had no intentions of coming back, until my now-husband unexpectedly gifted me the Mists of Pandaria expansion and some game time at the end of 2013, which had us going through a little levelling adventure together, until we both hit max level and quickly got bored again.

In 2015 I discovered the world of private servers during a burst of nostalgia, so then I wrote about my experiences on those at intervals over the next couple of years. Conveniently Blizzard announced WoW Classic mere weeks after I'd got fed up with yet another piece of private server drama, and that eventually led me to where I am now, blogging about WoW Classic. It feels crazy to think that a whole decade has passed in that time, because it certainly hasn't felt that long to me.

I would say something like "to the next ten years", but the thought of one day being able to say that I've blogged about World of Warcraft for twenty years is kind of terrifying in its own right. We'll just see how it goes, alright? Thanks for being along for the ride.


World of Watercraft

My love for fishing aside, I've found that I have a rather unusual fascination with water in general in Classic.

I can't help but wonder whether that isn't at least partially due to the fact that I've spent the last seven years focusing on Star Wars: The Old Republic, in which water isn't more than an environmental effect and a bit of an illusion: While planets have lakes and rivers, they are never more than knee-deep, which makes the bridges and dams built around them all the more bizarre.

While some have (understandably) mocked this design choice, I can't say that I ever minded it much myself. I don't have any particularly fond memories of what you could call water-related gameplay in WoW. If anything, it's the opposite! I'm sure many an old-school WoW player has traumatic memories of a quest or two that required them to dive underwater among hostile mobs and caused them to suffer many a death while trying to juggle fighting with not drowning.

For me it was mostly the underwater troll ruin off the coast of Stranglethorn Vale that's filled with elite murlocs. You have to dive so deep that you can barely hold your breath for long enough to grab your quest items as it is, and then you're supposed to fight elite murlocs on top of it at all? Come on! I still have that quest in my hunter's log as well and am unsure when I'll actually dare to brave it this time around.

More generally speaking though, I've actually been kind of enjoying my time underwater this time around. Having to swim, dive and fight mobs underwater is simultaneously annoying and an interesting obstacle. On my hunter I at least have the advantage of my pets all seemingly coming equipped with a set of gills, so I can send them to fight underwater while I stay near the surface most of the time, just firing at things from a distance.

While swimming around, I also found myself strangely enchanted by watching my pets' swimming animations. I love how the wind serpent turns into a proper snake for example, folds its wings and wiggles along just like real snakes do. I seem to recall that not all pets originally had swimming animations, which included my hyena back in the day, so having my current set of pets move in an appropriate way has been a pleasant surprise.

On my shaman I've been able to enjoy a different kind of water-related perk, as her command over the elements includes Water Breathing and Water Walking. Both spells require reagents that can't be bought from a vendor (though they are cheap and easy to come by in the world), so that many shamans don't always carry them around... which of course gives me the opportunity to distinguish myself as the kind of shaman who is always prepared.

Underwater breathing makes the aforementioned quests that require diving a real breeze, and water walking allows you to cross bodies of water in a nice straight line, whether it's a lake or an easy way to travel along an uneven coast line without having to take detours or worry about mobs. Nothing quite like gracefully leaping over the head of a gnome submerged in the water while chuckling to yourself about the small advantages of being Horde.

Who knew that something as simple as water could be this much fun?


Making Money

I alluded to it in previous posts, but the money for your first mount at level 40 can be hard to come by. I've been feeling the strain for a while now, and my hunter dropping down to as little as two gold with only three levels to go was a definitive wake-up call.

I suppose to some extent it's my own fault. For example I don't follow the oft-repeated advice to not train all your new spells. I mean, who knows when Eagle Eye could suddenly come in handy? I want to be prepared for anything.

Also, while I don't tend to buy things from the auction house, I don't tend to make much money off it either. It doesn't help that all four of my currently actively played alts are crafters, so from cloth to leather to ore, there's always someone who can use whatever I'm picking up, so that many things that would presumably be a source of income for others just quietly disappear into my personal crafting machine.

It doesn't help that the server economy still feels weird too. I've never been part of a fresh start server like this (as opposed to a brand new game launch where nobody knows how to play the market) so I don't know if this is simply typical for this sort of situation, but there are way more people trying to make money from selling goods than players interested in buying them.

For the first week or so this made sense, as nobody really had anything to spend, but by now most characters should have at least a few silver to spare every now and then, yet there is still seemingly no demand for most trade goods, with many of the lower level ones lingering at buyouts of mere coppers per piece still.

The one upside to this from my point of view is that if you run into a slightly awkward crafting recipe while levelling that requires what you'd expect to be somewhat unusual materials, you can just go to the auction house, buy said "rare" materials for a silver and craft the thing anyway. I still haven't quite managed to wrap my mind around that, fretting whenever I see an engineering schematic requiring gems for example, but then I check the AH and everything I need is usually available for little more than vendor price.
Wrathofkublakhan has been talking about making money with fishing, which sounded great to me since I greatly enjoy fishing on all of my characters. However, I haven't had much luck with that either. The lower level, supposedly valuable fish like Oily Blackmouth and Firefin Snapper, are still going for mere coppers on my server, and for anything even slightly higher level the competition is insane and it's often a challenge to find any pools at all. In addition, supposedly convenient fishing spots like the coast of Dustwallow Marsh or Feralas are a lot less so when you're Horde and your nearest town is a considerable trip away instead of directly on the coast.

I've actually had a bit more luck mining for iron on my hunter, despite of this being something that should be seemingly obvious and highly contested. There are two caves in Thousand Needles that are close to Freewind Post and contain two to three ore spawns each, usually iron, sometimes silver, gold or mithril (but never anything worse) and that few people ever seem to visit. I've taken to going there daily in the mornings, and while it's not the most profitable thing ever due to the aforementioned low demand for trade goods, iron is enough of a pain to find that it's got me at least back up to over thirty gold so far.

I haven't entirely given up on fish either and have mostly been hunting for Greater Sagefish on the coast of Lordamere Lake, but with mixed success. Fishing just isn't the insider's niche it used to be I guess, at least not on Pyrewood Village.

I'm undecided whether I should push onwards in terms of levelling at all while I still can't afford my mount or whether I should just keep grinding money. I suppose it doesn't technically matter, especially on a hunter who can travel at quite a steady clip with Aspect of the Cheetah anyway, but the thought of travelling everywhere on foot throughout the fourties because I can't afford anything else just feels kind of... shameful.


Population Problems and Layering

I've posited previously that the thirties are possibly the most awkward level range in Vanilla/Classic WoW. The game expects you to roam further and further afield but you don't have a mount yet (in fact you're probably fretting about how in the world you're going to afford yours in a few levels) and there's a bit of a dearth of good dungeons.

This time around though, it hasn't felt too bad so far! I think it helps that both my hunter and my shaman do have speed boosts in the form of Aspect of the Cheetah and Ghost Wolf, which makes all the running around a bit more palatable.

What has been surprisingly bad though are the crowds. I thought I'd seen the worst of that during launch week in the Barrens, with all four Horde races crammed into the same zone, but I forgot that both factions would come together in the neutral higher level zones, and early census data taken by addons indicated that Pyrewood Village has about twice as many Alliance players as Horde. (The EU chart on Wowhead had us as the ninth realm from the bottom in terms of Horde percentage of the population.)

I can definitely believe that after trying to quest in Stranglethorn Vale during prime time. After spending way too long competing with half a dozen Alliance characters for what felt like about ten basilisks, I vowed to myself to never come back there during the evening unless I was looking for a group for an elite quest or something. (I ended up killing Sin'Dall early in the morning, though even then I ran into at least another Horde player.)

I relocated to Desolace for the most part, which does somewhat live up to its name still. I even had Ranazjar Isle all to myself at one point! Though there was also another time when I tried to hunt for centaur ears in Kolkar Village and the entire place was nothing but a wasteland, with groups of Alliance roaming everywhere, trying to kill every centaur almost as soon as it spawned. I wouldn't have bothered to stay had I not been on my hunter - she at least had the advantage of being able to track humanoids, so that she could see every newly respawned centaur as a bright red dot on the mini map before your average human pally or mage, which allowed her to snipe just enough kills for the whole exercise to not feel completely pointless.

I did find myself wondering how it was possible that the mid-levels were still sooo busy when I hadn't seen a queue in weeks and a lot of people have surely stopped playing already. Of course that's when Blizzard proudly announced in both the US and the EU that they've had great success with merging down layers already. Some realms are even down to a single layer already, but the most that any realm has left are three. I guess that would explain how even with an overall (probably) declining population, the server's been feeling busier than ever.

This leaves one in the awkward situation of wanting the game to continue to be popular and successful... but at the same time wishing that more of the people on my server would quit already. I couldn't quite relate to when Kring commented that the servers were way too full and it was a horrible experience, but now I guess I can see what he means.

I suppose we can only hope that more people stop playing Classic...? Blizzard seems to be confident that they will, as Ion Hazzikostas told PC Gamer in an interview a few days ago that they expect to have all realms down to a single layer before the end of the year. Yay, I guess...?


The WoW Diary

I first heard about John Staats' WoW Diary when Wilhelm posted about its failed first run on Kickstarter. In what you would very much expect from a former Blizzard dev, Staats learned from his failure, iterated on his approach and tried again a few months later, this time achieving rousing success. His newfound marketing chops were through the roof, as I saw him guest on at least three different WoW podcasts to promote his book within the course of a couple of weeks, and that was in my own very limited sphere of influence. He was probably on a lot more.

I was tempted to chip in for a copy of my own back then but held off, just to regret it almost immediately. After everything I'd heard from Staats and about the book, I really wanted a copy, but I figured that I'd just have to wait until the public release on Amazon. I remembered to check back a couple of times but at no time was it marked as available yet.

Interestingly it was while I was visiting a friend's house and watching a YouTube video there without adblock on that I saw an ad for the book, immediately prompting me to go, "Oh, it's finally out?!", at which point I instantly went to Amazon and ordered my own copy. Unfortunately Amazon.co.uk only had the Kindle version available (and according to the author himself that won't change any time soon), but the US site also offered shipping to the UK so I went for that.

Product picture from Amazon.

Including shipping, I thought that the price of nearly £50 was pretty steep even for a big hardcover, but I can't say that I've regretted my purchase. It's not really one of those glossy coffee table books - while there are interesting images inside, they are mostly low-res screenshots and grainy, twenty-year-old photos - but the content was absolutely worth it to me.

Staats documents the development of WoW from 2000, when he joined Blizzard as a 3D environmental artist, to its launch in late 2004. The short chapters, sometimes only 1-2 pages long, attempt to document events in chronological order, though many tend to cast a spotlight on different aspects of the project that were going on simultaneously to an extent, such as zone design and creation of character models.

If there's one overarching lesson I came away with is that it's a minor miracle that WoW, or any MMO for that matter, has been made at all, considering how many different parts needed to be co-ordinated and required constant refinement and iteration until launch (and sometimes even afterwards). It really makes you respect the people involved all the more.

The subject of crunch - an uncomfortable discussion point in game industry circles in recent years - also came up somewhat to my surprise. While Staats made a point of saying that overtime was largely voluntary and driven by passion for the project, he does also admit that this wasn't always the case, and that other times people were just dispirited by the long hours required to hit some new deadline. I had thought that this sort of working environment was a recent trend brought on by corporate greed, but clearly practices like these have been part of game development for much, much longer.

Still, for the most part the book is quite cheerful and light-hearted, featuring amusing anecdotes about goings-on in at the then still quite small Blizzard offices and fascinating insights into why certain features of WoW came out the way they did. To think that all these years I could have avoided getting lost in Wailing Caverns by simply following the mushrooms!

The one slight criticism of the book I have is that the amount of name-dropping, while clearly meant to simply give credit where it's due, can sometimes be overwhelming, as it can be hard for the casual reader to remember the names of every dev and artist the author mentions throughout the book and then make sense of what it means when he says that so-and-so also worked on feature X.

That said, when you do know who he's talking about it's super interesting. I had to smile when he mentioned John Smedley and Brad McQuaid being nosy on more than one occasion, and I did a double-take when he mentioned someone called Michael Backus being part of the early quest team - the same guy who used to work at Bioware and whom I once interviewed on the subject of flashpoints.

I can heartily recommend this book to anyone who's a big fan of old-school World of Warcraft or the MMO genre in general. The insights it provides are quite amazing.


Strangers In The Night

I mentioned that I also have a mage alt now, and she was getting into the right level range for Wailing Caverns. I've also mentioned that I learned from experience that Wailing Caverns is full of annoying collect quests that can actually be a bit of a pain to do in a larger group, so that it's actually better to knock out as many as you can outside the instance itself.

On Friday night I returned to the outer caverns to farm more Deviate Hides and Wailing Essence, after successfully knocking off Serpentbloom and the 99-year-old port a few nights prior. I found that my mage could just about solo the elite mobs in the area but needed to eat and drink after every pull, and if anything went wrong even in the slightest - including but not limited to an additional mob joining in - I had to make a run for the exit.

As I was killing more of the reptiles near the entrance, a number of other players came past and there was the usual drive-by buffing and occasional assistance with mobs. (Based on the levels of some of the passers-by, we've already reached "I'll just boost you through with my main" territory, despite of the many at-level groups still running.)

I noted a level 22 undead priest wanding things to death nearby and inwardly shook my head a bit that he was even bothering - I know from experience that soloing elites as a priest is painfully slow, even once you're high enough level to make it possible. As it turns out, he was clearly having similar reservations about what he was doing, and after casting Renew on me after several of my kills in a row, he finally shuffled over and asked if I was farming quest drops too.

When I replied in the affirmative, he asked if I wanted to group up and I accepted almost immediately. While being grouped makes collection quests somewhat more annoying, the fact that I couldn't take on more than one mob at a time by myself was worse, and I figured that we'd both have a much better time as a team of two.

I wouldn't call a mage/priest duo particularly synergistic - we were both squishy and more than once we both ran out of mana and had to slowly wand things to death together. But it did make the whole process much safer for me as a mage, since I didn't have to worry about dying, and much faster for the priest, whose own dps was terrible.

He was almost apologetic about the fact that he was only there for this one quest, but I explained that it was more or less the same for me. I did want to do the dungeon itself too and had joined the LookingForGroup channel for this purpose, but while that was scrolling past at its usual insane speed, there were no calls for dps for Wailing Caverns, only the occasional damage dealer looking for a WC group themselves.

Round and round we went, often competing with other groups of various sizes, while my priestly companion moaned about how much he hated that quest, its stupid drop rate and Classic altogether, in what I assumed wasn't an entirely serious way. It certainly seemed appropriate for someone playing a Forsaken, whom I always picture as a bit morose and sarcastic.

He also made some more light-hearted in-character jokes though, such as asking me if I didn't need to pee soon after I sat down to drink for the umpteenth time in quick succession, followed by declaring that as an undead he didn't have such problems since he was lacking the necessary parts anyway. I told him that was too much info.

In case this makes it sound like we were super chatty, I do feel the need to point out that this was not in fact the case. We went for very long periods of time without saying anything, just killing mob after mob after mob, but it was an entirely comfortable silence.

One interesting thing were the Devouring Ectoplasms or sludges as they are more commonly called. They are needed for a quest too, for Wailing Essence, but you only need six of those and the drop rate seems to be close to 100 percent. Compared to the dinos, there are way too many sludges in the caves, and they tend to feel like nuisances that just get in your way (a lot, since they all seem to patrol as well).

To make things worse, they have an ability to clone themselves when their health gets low, which results in a Cloned Ectoplasm with the same health and stats (as far as I can tell) as the original, meaning that you have to fight another elite mob right away, and one that drops no loot at that.

The cast of the cloning ability is easy enough to interrupt, but in Classic many classes don't have interrupts, which included the priest and my mage (at this level). It was possible to nuke the sludge down just so to make sure it didn't have time to finish its cast anyway, but this was very hard and most of the time we were what felt like just a millisecond to slow. After failing again and again, and having to deal with Cloned Ectoplasms over and over, the next time we finally managed to avoid the extra spawn was like a victory in itself.

After we had been at this for what felt like more than an hour, requests for damage dealers for Wailing Caverns actually did start popping up in the LFG channel. While I had warned my priest partner early on that I might leave if that happened, I ignored them and kept quiet. We'd been going for so long, by that point I wanted to actually get the quest finished for both of us more than I wanted to join a dungeon group.

In the end we finished very close together, which was interesting in that I had started the evening with way more hides than he did, but RNG had ended up evening things out. We thanked each other for the company, and despite his earlier grousing he said that he'd enjoyed himself before we parted ways.

I couldn't help but think once again that this sort of easygoing interaction with strangers is, to me, a big part of what Classic's appeal is all about. No great deeds were accomplished other than the completion of an arduous collection quest for two characters, and I'm not sure I'll ever see that particular priest again. But that doesn't really matter, because it was perfect as it was.

(Oh, and I did get into a Wailing Caverns dungeon group soon afterwards, as another call for dps went out while I was handing in my quests. Serendipity.)



I've mentioned in a few of my posts about Classic that I am in a guild. This guild has no relation to any guilds that I've previously been a member of in WoW or SWTOR. In fact, I didn't go into Classic with any plans in regards to guilds at all.

Nemi however, one of the two friends with whom I rolled up on launch day, went into Classic with the intention to raid, and therefore immediately set out to find a suitable guild, before launch even, which is why we ended up in <Group Therapy> on Pyrewood Village.

She picked them mainly for their raid times and for the fact that the core group has previously raided on a private server, something she saw as a promising sign of dedication to the game and assurance that the guild was going to be interested in Classic in the long run.

While I have no plans to be a raider in Classic myself, I was happy to join as well since they do accept social members, and I do like the thought of maybe getting to join one or two raids on a casual basis later on if the opportunity arises, just to see what it's like. Plus it has been my experience that it's usually a good thing to have some friends who are better at/more into the game than you are and for whom it's no big deal to help you out with something that might seem challenging to you but is pretty much routine for them.

So we signed up to the guild's Discord, agreed to the guild's rules and that's been that. I have to say I'm old-fashioned in that I still find it strange to conduct a guild's organisation entirely via Discord, as I prefer something that feels a bit more tangible, like an actual guild website. That said, Group Therapy's is probably the most organised Discord server I've ever seen.

I did run dungeons in guild groups a few times during the first week, and everyone seemed nice enough, but this has dropped off over time simply because most people have levelled up quite quickly and are already at endgame while I'm one of only a small handful still bumbling around at level thirty. I don't mind too much though, as I'm quite happy to pug, and I'm sure the guild connections will come in handy once I reach the level cap myself (whenever that might be).

I also have to admit that I have what you could call a professional interest in seeing how a guild this large functions, as the biggest one I was in before that was maybe half of Group Therapy's size. It's clearly not an easy task to manage that many people, as I've already seen various mini dramas break out in guild chat, usually about some supposed cliquishness among certain members. That always makes me roll my eyes a little because of course little cliques are going to form in a guild this big; you can't be equally good friends with a hundred people!

I admit that there's a certain fascination in watching these conflicts play out in guild chat, especially since I'm somewhat detached from it all myself and usually don't even quite know what's going on, but as a long-time officer of much smaller guilds I sure feel for the guild master who's supposed to keep all these people happy.

After years of holding various officer positions myself, it's also kind of nice to just be an unimportant face in the crowd again for a change, just watching the green text scroll by with no responsibilities other than to behave like a decent human being when dealing with other players.