I have friends who can play in Pick-Up Groups (PUGs) and have a great time playing the game with people they just met on online via the Looking For Group Tool. I envy them, for I have no such luck. My old WoW guild went so far said I had a cursed PUG trinket.
I was a healer. (Okay, I still play healers when I play, but I’m thinking specifically of in WoW.) I had no problem finding groups using the LFG tool, but inevitably I’d find the group with the undergeared tank who named himself Göd and thought he was God, but didn’t know his name would be pronounced gooed and who would rage-quit half way through the first boss fight because the rest of the group “wasn’t good enough for him,” the 10-year-old DPSer who would invariably get called away from the computer by his mom in the middle of a boss fight to go clean his room, and the chick who just plays because her boyfriend plays and really didn’t know how her class worked, and her boyfriend (who was distracted by trying to teach her how to play) – all in the same group.
I took to only using the LFG tool if I could bring along a guild tank and a guild dps in order to minimize the number of slots filled by random people preferably the tank who lives in my house and a reliable mage friend, but any guildies willing to do the job would do – so long as I at least had a guild tank. Guild tanks listen to their guild healers when they say things like “You make meat shield. I make the healies now,” “Pull faster I got you,” or “Ahhg! AAHG! Get it off me. Get it off me.”
I really miss those days. It felt like we had lots of good game time ahead, but in the blink of an eye it was over. My guild effectively died when one of our tanks lost his brother in a tragic accident four years ago. He so strongly associated the game with time with his brother, and I can hardly blame him for not wanting to play any more. It still took the heart and guts out of our guild to lose them both. In less than two months afterward, everyone had moved on.
And my perpetual guild search began. It’s like job hunting to some degree. Search for guilds. Interview them. Try to decide if they’re a good fit for you and if you’re a good fit for them. Are they too serious? Too young? Too heavily into PVP? Too casual? Do they have too many guild rules? Not enough guild rules? Do they play on the right days? Do they jump games too often?
Inevitably it ends up in failure. Rinse and repeat.
It’s pretty much killed my gaming. I still have a few friends who play, but mostly it’s this thing we pick at from time to time. Nothing seems to stick. There’s no raiding. No progression. No camaraderie from the shared experience of grinding gear, wiping while learning new boss fights or from the one jumpy DPS overagro-ing the boss before the tank can get control. These were the things that made the game worth playing, and without them, there’s no real reason to play.
I miss it all terribly, so I keep looking for a new guild so I can get off the PUG circuit, but I’m afraid I’ll never find what I’m really looking for. I’m looking for my old WoW guild, circa 2008 – 2009, and nostalgia makes that a damned unlikely thing to ever really find again.