WoW - The Burning Crusade Expansion
In Jan 2007, Blizzard launched the first major expansion in WoW entitled The Burning Crusade. On the plus side, the game raised the level cap to 70th, added in new zones to explore, new monsters to defeat and even a new profession (jewelcrafting). So there was a great deal of new content to see and learn. They also, by virtue of raising the leveling cap, helped reset things in terms of raiding. WoW raiding was skill and gear based. And after two years in the game, those who had been raiding the whole time far outpaced those new arrivals to WoW in both respects. The xpac allowed the gear aspect to be reset and it gave newer arrivals to WoW a chance to partner with veterans to gain skill quicker.
However, all was not roses with the expansion. There were growing pains that had to be overcome. Chief among those growing pains was the change in raid size. On the one hand, raid sizes went from 40 people to 10 or 25 people. On the surface that is a good thing because you dont need as many people to raid. However, in a guild like The Syndicate (where we have very very low turnover so we are all good friends and have been for years) the result wasnt ideal. Many members went from spending hours of time with 40..80.. 120 different members each week in raids to seeing 9 members per week due to the starting raid being a 10 person raid (Karazhan) with a 7 day reset and it was the only 10man option at launch. As such for a friend based guild that had been raiding together for many years, this was a huge shock.
We overcame the shock by organizing our raids more formally.. shifting people around from raid to raid.. creating some additional 'chatter' type rooms in game to communicate more and shifting our focus, when not raiding, to helping each other out. None the less, it was a challenge that we had to overcome that resulted in a number of other guilds imploding or just kicking out people they didnt want anymore to reduce the guild size. We didnt chose that route. We chose the route of refocusing our efforts to overcoming the challenge and we did a solid job of it.
With the upcoming release of our book (Legend of The Syndicate from Avari Press) and before the WoW content becomes too dated, we did want to take a second to give a little teaser from the book. Here is one of the many stories included in the novel:
Ragnaros had been awakened too early from his slumber. His army was not yet amassed yet Majordomo chose to awaken him to request his master’s aid in dealing with The Syndicate army that was arrayed around his lair. Ragnaros was less than pleased with the failure of his minions to deal with these intruders and he struck Domo down thus killing the last remaining minion of his. All that he had left was himself and his immense power. His plan was ruined. But he could exact revenge on The Syndicate for their invasion. He could exterminate them.
Ragnaros glared down at the forty pitifully small humanoids arranged below him. His lair was a large spiral of land and lava that ended with him standing proudly in the middle. The band of Syndicate members were spread out around the spiral thinking that would somehow protect them from his awesome power.
“By Fire Be Purged!” he shouted and he hurled a ball of fire and lava at a small cluster of mages casting painful balls of ice at him. Ragnaros chuckled to himself as he watched a couple of them go flying backwards into all wall and into the lava. His laughter was cut short by a pain shooting up through his body. Looking down he saw an orc in platemail armor swinging a magical sword striking him over and over.
“How dare this pitiful creature strike me” Ragnaros thought. His anger blinded him to the stinging arrows, spells and other attacks coming his way as he focused all of his attacks on the orc. Ragnaros slammed his huge fiery hammer down onto the orc but could not seem to crush him. Magical energy coursed through the warrior healing his wounds as fast as Ragnaros could deliver them. For several minutes Rag continued to rain blows down on the warrior trying and failing to crush him.
Frustrated by his failure to squash this insect, the lord of fire withdrew under the lava to collect his thoughts. He sent forth his sons, birthed of the same lava and fire that now protected him. They surged out of the lava and into the assembled Syndicate army. However, the army wasn’t a scattered band that could be picked off one at a time anymore. It had consolidated its position. Its warriors were keeping the sons occupied while its mages summoned blizzards of ice and snow to kill his spawn.
“Nooooo! This cannot be! My sons are dead!!” An angered Ragnaros, blinded by the grief of his lost sons surged out of the lava and again began raining blows down on the orc warrior before him. No matter how much he tried, however, he could not break through the magical healing energy protecting this veritable tank. Far too late Ragnaros felt his life forces fading away. He tried once more to create more sons and send them against the army before him but just before his incantation completed the last of his essence was ripped from him and Ragnaros, the lord of fire, master of the Molten Core, imploded in a cloud of fire and lava. His large hammer, which slammed down into the earth, was the only remaining sign of this once powerful being.
A cheer arose from the assembled army. The Syndicate had defeated Ragnaros. Some members had paid the price with their lives but already Syndicate priests moved around the lair breathing life back into the corpses. Those Syndicate brothers and sisters would live to fight another day in future dark dungeons against future creatures far more powerful than Ragnaros was. While few could imagine what that looked like already rumors of armies of bugs near Silithus could be heard. Stories of the lich-king reuniting his army were whispered in taverns. And even rumors of a long lost land with bosses of unimagined power would occasionally be talked about. The future was a dangerous one indeed but The Syndicate was ready to meet the challenge.