I am a geek. I freely admit to it. Go ahead, get it out of your system … yell “NERD!” at the monitor. I have a thick skin. I can take it.

I’ve been playing MMOs for years. My current game is World of Warcraft, but I played Star Wars Galaxies before that. Met many good folks in both games, had many good times (and bad). But last night’s raid pretty much exemplified the reason why I play.

That is, indeed, a fish in my toons left hand.

That is, indeed, a fish in my toon's left hand. Going all "Dumb and Dumber" on stuff.

A few months ago, I was asked by a guildie if I wanted to start raiding Naxx (a 10-player dungeon) at night. I said sure, but I had a provision … I didn’t want to hear shit about me not being geared. I tend to be a “solo” player — I like to chat with folks as I play, but I don’t necessarily want to exactly “play” with others. But the clincher is, to progress in the game, you MUST play with others. This was a problem for me, since I’m always playing at “off” hours. I couldn’t even get together with guildies to tackle 5-player dungeons. My choices were to either PUG (play with players you don’t know in “pick up groups,” which can be a colossal headache) or remain undergeared. And with that choice,  I chose to be an undergeared toon having fun rather than an uber-leet toon with all the gear, playing with jerks and going to bed with a headache every night.

But these guys took me in on the word of some of my guildies (ie, “He’s a good player, he’s just not geared.”) And I’ve been hooked ever since.

What I love about the group is that the players all exhibit rare traits:

  • No yelling, no bitching, no arguing, no crying. This is usually the No. 1 factor in why I don’t play with other people … I get tired of the “I want” or “I need” or “I’ll cry if I don’t get my way” attitudes that run rampant through all MMOs, especially when loot is involved. When potential conflicts arise, we talk, we discuss, a decision is made and it’s done.
  • No superstars. We don’t get competitive over who is top DPS, or who is the best healer, or anything else. Did we kill the boss? Great. Let’s loot that fatboy and move on to the next guy … egos be damned.
  • Sharing. People readily offer flasks, gems and enchants to boost other players in the group, with no expectation of being paid or repaid. They recognize that boosting another player increases the likelihood of progressing further, which will mean better gear for themselves down the road.
  • Teamwork: To the outsider, it seems like every fight should be just a giant “tank-and-spank” — meaning someone controls the boss and everyone else just pummels him until he’s dead. Except for the fact that there are often crazy game mechanics that force you to work as a team, or the attack fails. Well, the groups works together really well as a team … among the best I’ve ever seen in an MMO.

What’s makes this even more exceptional was that players were all from different guilds and groups. Some players were unguilded and joined ours from the positive nature of the 10-man runs. A few others left their guilds and signed on with us. Some have stayed with their current guilds. No one cares. We’re just having fun. And progressing through the game’s higher end content.

So we’ve gone from 10-man Naxx to 10-man Ulduar. And last night, we finally took down Iron Council and Ignis. This means we’ve cleared every boss in the first 3 tiers, and will now start to work on Hodir and “The Keepers of Ulduar” level.

Again, it may sound like a weird thing to be really happy about, but if you’ve ever played in an MMO, you understand how tough this can be. And it’s usually due to selfishness, greed and power trips — not the game mechanics.

So to my Warcraft brothers, I offer a /salute.  And my thanks. Let the quest for more epics continue.

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