Goodbye, Farewell and Amen.

When I was growing up, my father and I watched MASH religiously. The final episode Goodbye, Farewell and Amen is probably one of the best moments in television history. It chronicles what happens to the MASH unit when a ceasefire has been called and the feelings experienced when the unit learns that the war is ending and they are going home. It shows the effect that the war had on each individual and the lasting impressions that the war had on their lives. At the end of the episode, it shows everyone turning, walking away and moving on.

I’m sure that you are all probably wondering what the hell this ancient TV show, that many of you probably had to google for the reference, has to do with WoW and more specifically, Monolith.

The truth is that running a guild is a bit like fighting a war in a lot of ways. And it’s a battle that Brade and I have been fighting in excess of eight years. We’ve watched many casualties occur, and we’ve stood tall when so many others have crumbled. But the truth is that any war has a lasting effect on those who fight it – and after eight years it’s hard to keep fighting. Especially when you hardly recognize the war or the people standing next to you fighting.

Any decision of magnitude is difficult to make and is not made lightly. It’s exceptionally hard to know in your heart that you are making the right decision, yet have that decision feel so painful that it’s hard to breathe. I speculate that is how you truly know that you’ve made the right decision.

There is no outside influence to making this decision – no changes or new developments. No fears of failure or success. It is as simple as two grizzled and exhausted veterans deciding that it is time to stop fighting and go home. We’ve watched many of our friends fall and watched so many of the things that kept us fighting disappear. We’ve watched the game change, and held bated breath hoping that Blizzard would give us one more reason to keep pushing – only to have a valor point capped world crush our spirits and desires.

In the end, I am Hawkeye. And I am looking back at the casualties that I have encountered over the past eight years and I am trying to erase the pain. I have regrets and I have fond memories. I am ready to go home and experience a turned page, a new chapter. Monolith made magic and gave me many years of happiness and memories to look back on; with a new perspective, in a new light and from a distance.

It is time to return to something forgotten. It is time to find fun again, wherever and however that may be. It is time to walk away. It is with a wistful heart that I tell you all Goodbye, Farewell and Amen.

Heroic Emps 620

Energy and Persistence conquer all things.

I have recently been chastised for my lack of proper updates over the past month. Benjamin Franklin once said that one should “either write something worth reading or do something worth writing”. While it is true that we have continued to slay many internet dragons, I’m not entirely sure that all of them have been worth writing – and, well, I’m just not sure that I’ve had anything worth reading to write.

Until today.

Last night we delved into the Vaults and came out with another notch on the hilt of our sword. With a melee heavy team and a total of one mage in the raid (who needs CC anyhow?) we found a way to make a Will of the Emperor kill happen. The first time we hit the soft enrage the encounter was over. Actually, when you think about it, the encounter was fairly simple. All it required was proper execution, a few tweaks here and there and some intermittent cursing when something went wrong. And before you knew it, twenty-five people emerged as a Delver of the Vaults.

However, despite our successes, I’ve been thinking a lot about raiding lately. About the dynamics of a guild. About what success means to different people. About how to be successful while maintaining an environment that is enjoyable. And in all of these thoughts I was reminded of another piece of wisdom offered by Benjamin Franklin: “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn”.

It’s actually that last part that I think is the most important when it comes to both guild culture and successful raiding. You can do a lot of things to try and create success and enjoyment – but if people don’t feel invested, aren’t given the chance to shine, aren’t made to feel welcome, chances are good that they will never find the things that people presumably want the most. Success and Enjoyment. We have always said that a team will only be as strong as the weakest member, but sometimes I feel that it is easier to criticize than it is put yourself out there and facilitate development so that the weakest link in a team becomes stronger.

Involve me and I learn.

As a team, there are no words more important. A team is not one or two people. A team is not made up of one Superman and twenty-four Clark Kents. A team is twenty five equals, all trying to achieve a common goal. A single unit acting in unison to orchestrate success. No one person on the team is more important than the next. Teams support each other, offer encouragement and strength to facilitate growth. A team should be invested in everyone’s successes and failures – because the truth is that one person’s failure is a failure of the entire team, just as much as it is a failure of an individual. And that is something that should not be forgotten.

“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”

As we move forward, these are words to be kept in mind as both a team and an individual. Even though you may stumble, it’s not your fall that is important, but rather what that you learned on the way down. If we can remember this, we can continue to achieve great things.

Heroic Will of the Emperor

Quotes after the break! (ps I need more quotes! Be sure to mail them in!)

Heroic Garajal 620

Coming Together is a Beginning

Henry Ford once said that coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.

Now I don’t know a lot about making cars, and I won’t ever buy a Ford, but it’s hard to dispute that guy was an innovator with an imagination and drive that was unparalleled in his time. And it’s hard to deny that there is a lot of wisdom in the above statement. We were a little slow coming out of the gate. But we came together anyhow. We had a few bumps in the road, but we kept together. And this past week we’ve started to become the cohesive team that we knew we were, and worked together to achieve success.

Granted, I’m like the worst person ever, and forgot to document most of those successes in screenshots. But we don’t need a picture to tell us what we already know: that the determination, drive and dedication of our team is all we need for success.

During the past two weeks we encountered: 1 wedding, 3 funerals and 1 hurricane (in which one raid member, we learned, had to canoe to work!). All of which affected key parts of our team. Yet we continued to push forward. Guild members stepped up and filled in open holes. The raid team decided that raiding with 25 was merely a suggestion and that we would not be constrained to such narrow minded philosophies when 24 could get the job done. And  despite all of the complications we continued to find success.

As we move forward, we will continue to focus on coming together, keeping together and working together. I very much doubt that we will be disappointed in the results…even if we did take the advice of the guy who makes Fords.

Heroic Gara’jal the Spiritbinder

Heart of Fear

Terrace of Endless Spring

I bet you were looking for QUOTES! Well, I have no quotes for this update, because you all aren’t sending them in! (Ok…I had a couple, but we thought it was too soon for hurricane quotes). Anyhow, everyone loves the quotes! So if you see something funny, please screenshot it and mail it in for the update! Because I have no QUOTES, have this instead:

Heroic Feng 620

Do not fear going forward slowly; fear only to stand still.

Sometimes things don’t go quite as you planned them. An emergency pops up and you are missing key people for an encounter. Something in a raid just doesn’t click, and you struggle inexplicably through the night. You decide to halt your raid so you can fire your tank before taking the next pull. Whatever the reason, some things just don’t mesh and work out the way you want them to. Disappointment is often the first response and is only natural; but in the end it’s how you overcome your struggles and if you stand back up to keep on pushing forward that determines your success.

As a team, we have been a little slow about finding our collective footing as we step back into progression. While we have one of the strongest raid rosters in Monolith’s long history, it has taken us a little bit of time to find our pace as a team. And sometimes that happens. However, Thursday night something went “click”, and the raid team that we knew we had finally started to show what we always knew it was capable of doing. It came in, after one of the worst raid nights in memory, and collectively said “fuck you”. We said fuck you to the bad raids and put them behind us. Instead of dwelling on what had happened yesterday, or last week, we stood up as a team and and proved that we know how to dust off our bruised egos and and refocus on our goals. We proved that while we may have been slow off the starting blocks we’ve still got a lot of fire to push us through the long race ahead of us. And, most importantly, we proved that we will not stand still.

Heroic Feng the Accursed

Heroic Stone Guard

Quotes after the break! (ps I need more quotes! Be sure to mail them in!)

Bugged Kill 620

Whatever, WE Know we killed it.

So last night we went into Mogu’shan Vaults after a .7% Elegon wipe on Sunday night ready to finish that shit out. Because, c’mon, it’s .7%! Granted, we’ve also killed some other things to get to this point, but I think the Elegon kill was the one that felt the best to everyone. It’s a pretty intense fight that pushes your raid in a lot of ways, but as each piece of the fight clicks together you just know that you have come one step closer to a kill. It’s a fight that a lot of 25 man guilds are stumbling on right now, and to have been able to knock it out this first week in a twenty-five man format is a mark of pride for us, and something that is indicative of everyone’s hard work and dedication throughout this past week.

Anyhow, we managed to finish it out without too much trouble on Monday, and decided to spend some time letting the Emps pummel us in the face, literally, and much to our demise (also quite literally). After making some progress on the fight, we found we were at the end of our raid time. But since we made it this far, I seemed silly not to take ten of our night owls and give our tanks some extra practice dancing, and finishing the zone out.

This was the first part of a one-two sucker punch.

Upper Cut!

Upon reforming our raid, and starting the fight, the raid collectively went “are you fucking kidding me, this is it?!”. If your first thought upon reading that statement was “Blizzard has undeniably failed at 10 vs 25 tuning”, you would be spot on with regards to our thoughts. The differences in the two raid formats are extreme, and it’s fairly disappointing to see the difference in tuning be so drastic for a final boss in a zone at the start of an expansion. I am hopeful this is not indicative of what is to be expected for the duration of the expansion, especially with the life of 25s already hanging by a thread and desperately needing some life support.


However, the tuning wasn’t even the worst part of the end of our evening. It took us a total of four pulls for the tanks to work on dancing well enough to snag a kill (with our first two pulls hitting the enrage timer and the bosses sub 20%). And on the fourth, and final, pull – despite a courage making it to a tank – we managed to secure a kill, or so we thought.

Due to a few dancing errors (and the aforementioned add error), we hit the soft enrage again, but this time the healers and the raid were ready for it, and we pushed. At sub-1% everyone in the raid was dead save a tank, who managed to finish the boss out, with the final blow coming as he, too, perished.

At first we thought we wiped, there was no achievement spam, but lo and behold there was a corpse offering up his loot. So we looted it – and went “wtf, only one loot?”. And then it dawned on us, the fight bugged on the kill. At the point we killed Jang-xi, it caused Qin-xi to despawn. Which meant no loot, no achievement, and no ability to start heroics this week. Despite the fact that our raid lockout showed the zone cleared, we attempted to start the fight again, to no avail. It was clear at least part of the game was not recognizing our kill.

We frantically placed tickets – still unanswered as of the time of this update.

And here we are, with a kill that, apparently, isn’t a kill, hoping that someone will find it in their hearts to help us out before our first raid tommorrow. But even if they don’t, we know of our achievements. Even if we can’t start heroics tomorrow, we know it wasn’t because we weren’t capable. When push comes to shove, we know that we killed the hardest boss in the zone with twenty-five of our team mates and it’s just a matter of time before we do this one properly as well. If Blizzard decides that we must wait until next week to grant us entry, we know that we are going to go into it with a fire in our belly and ready for a fight.

Besides, our pride needed that Emp kill with a full raid anyhow, the way it was meant to be done.

Oh, and there are some screenshots after the break for you “pics or it didn’t happen” people!

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