Note: This a post on my guild’s forum where I acted as founder, guild master and one time raid leader. Thus, there are references to individuals who are known to some of the intended readers.
I have been an avid gamer since I was a little kid. I played various games: Pong (Atari); Mario (NES); the Final Fantasy series (SNES, PS2, PS3), across various genres: RPG, RTS, FPS, etc. You name it, I might have played it. My heyday as a gamer peeked during the glory days of PS2 and Xbox where I hoarded a collection of more than 100 games (why? because they are cheap at that time? wink wink.) Despite my exposure to various genres, my personal preference and attraction leaned towards RPG or role-playing games. In college, my thesis subject is related to Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games or MMORPG (I studied the effects of Ragnarok Online to gamers). My social experiment showed that there is a correlation between political and social consciousness and playing MMORPG. This is a deviation from current studies at that time where the academe focused more on the negative effect of video games (i.e., aggression). In my study, I even bought zennies (the currency for Ragnarok Online) with RL (or real life) money just so I can interview the sellers. My thesis revolves around the position that MMORPG gamers, at a very young age, are taught the values of dealing with people (or guildmates), farming (or hardwork), manipulating and determining prices of in-game items, etc.. I believe, and so theorized, that we learn a lot from playing games and I give credit to the values I learned while playing games to my development as a professional. Thus, I posited that playing MMORPG should be highly encouraged instead of discouraged.
When the opportunity to play WoW arose (at that time, the average Filipino gamer does not have easy access to a stable internet connection) I immediately grabbed it.
I was in law school at that time. WoW released its first expansion and experienced WoW players are already raiding Black Temple. I was playing at an Internet Shop in Katipunan (iHooked) and was mindlessly levelling my Human Warlock when this little guy approached me and started to converse about playing WoW. He convinced me to transfer to Coilfang because there is a Filipino guild there. The little guy turned out to be Toto, the guild master of the biggest Filipino guild there (Katipunan). Since my Human Warlock was only level 30+ at that time, I decided to re-roll a new toon in Coilfang and the rebirth of Mangkepweng happened.
I immediately joined Katipunan and was pleasantly surprised by the number of Filipino WoW players. When I reached the level cap, I didn’t know what was in store for me. Toto (who turned out to be the barkada of my basketball teammate in law school) introduced me to the wonderful world of raiding and the not so wonderful world of dailies. I was mesmerized. Katipunan at that time was the #1 Horde guild in Coilfang (the #1 in the realm was an Alliance guild, yuck). Katipunan has three 25 man raid groups: US, PH1, and PH2. The US group, which was led by a guy with a toon named Cheskagarcia (LOL), cleared Black Temple a few days behind the Alliance guild. PH1 is led by Toto and my recollection was that they killed Archimonde but was cockblocked by one of the bosses at Black Temple. PH2 led by Aguinaldo (i think) caters to newbies like me and is slowly progressing at Serpentshrine Cavern and Tempest Keep (and later Hyjal and Black Temple).
I raided without even knowing what addons are needed, what is a flask, and rarely reads up on fights (and only learn through experience). Looking back, when I was a newbie raider I probably gave the raid leaders headaches. I learned quickly though and was able to compete with other locks when I got the experience. We have our own little competition going and I recall there was this warlock that (no matter what we do) we can never beat – Arkaye. The guy is a legend. I also recall running with Doc – Rainsword, Reindart, etc.. and his reputation as a druid healer is somewhat comparable with Arkaye’s. I regularly play at iHooked and since most of the PH1 raiders play there too, I experience firsthand what’s it like to raid lead (although as spectator only). During certain wipes brought about by the carelessness (or lack of raid awareness) by his raiders, Toto will turn off Ventrilo and curse as loud as he can but would immediately start speaking calmly in vent and explain what needs to be adjusted while the group is reforming.
My initial inexperience as a raider is the reason why I want to give newbies a chance when I became raid leader. People may not be initially aware of the requirements in raiding but I never discounted the possibility that the same person might be a good player someday.
Eventually, the realities of lag and the limitations of the server caught up with the groups. At that time, raiders are normally running with a 500ms latency (or half a second delay) on a good night and this led to frustrating encounters with bosses like Archimonde (where, because of the lag, you need to press your tears faster or else you will die from the fall) The US group, unable to progress further in Sunwell decided to move to greener pastures (to get better recruits). PH1 disbanded because of the cockblock at Black Temple. PH2 decided to move to Thaurissan to avail of the better latency and Magdalo was formed.
I had a great time during Wrath of the Lich King, which is the expansion after Burning Crusade. Me and my three brothers are now regular players and it’s an often occurrence in our house where you have four guys staring at their respective laptops and playing different toons. Kachupoy, Champoy, Phogee and Mangkepweng (me) are regular Magdalo staples. We started raiding with Aguinaldo’s group. It was around this time that Blizzard introduced 10 man raiding (albeit with inferior loots). The most profound moment (at that time) in my raiding history occurred during Magdalo’s first kill of the Lich King. I recall that during the first kill, I had to bring in my alternate tank – Magsasaka (who is my farmer, hence the name) because we lacked one tank. I was with my brother, Kachupoy and Chihari during that kill. It was pretty fun downing the much publicized villain – Lich King (one who was heinous enough to be included in the title of the expansion) – and earning the title Kingslayer. During the next kill, I insisted on bringing my main – Mangkepweng, and we were able to kill the Lich King again.
The patch that brought in Icecrown Citadel (where raiders can kill the Lich King) is also the patch that introduced heroic raiding. Kingslayers are now faced with an even greater challenge – to kill the same bosses on heroic modes where the bosses are harder to kill because they hit harder, have more hit points and, more often than not, have additional skills. Heroic raiding is where the boys are separated from the men. A culling of the weak, if you will, and this led to frustrating but fun encounters where the true skills of raiders and their tenacity are tested. Unfortunately for our raid group, we were unable to clear Icecrown Citadel on heroic mode while it is still current. We were able to down a few heroic modes but soon, the regulars stopped logging and we had to discontinue raiding. This was also the time when I moved to a law firm with a much more demanding workload and had to stop raiding on a regular basis. Eventually, the workload reached a point where I had no choice but to stop playing WoW completely. I thought I would never roam Azeroth again.