Where did I come from?

A Brangwen History in prose form.

I have been an officer pretty much all of my WoW life, which is, scarily enough heading onto 5 years.  I started playing with workmates and we started our own little horde guild and I have some fond memories of shamans tanking their way through Zul'Farrak and Sunken Temple.  Back then, I played a Troll Rogue and was quite good at it.  We were a levelling guild, back when levelling was 99% of the game for most people.

Another workmate then convinced me to reroll an Alliance toon on Frostmourne-US, and Brangwen was born.  Brangwen was powerleveled (something I was never really comfortable with, but always grateful for the time invested) in Scarlet Monastery when world PvP was SrsBsnss and other instances.  I managed to get to 60 2 weeks before Burning crusade was released, and managed to achieve Upper Blackrock Spire and Zul'Gurub in that time as the first taste of my raiding career.  Needless to say, I was hooked.

By this stage, I was an officer in my guild xyzzy  (If you don't get it, don't ask - it's super nerdy), along with a few other people.  TBC dropped in and things started getting real.  We leveled our little butts off to get to 70, but a falling out with the Guild Leader due to a clash of ideals caused a schism and I and several of the officers and members started a new guild, Sufferance.  I must thank that Guild Leader (if he is reading, HI!), because he highlighted to me everything I did not want to be as a leader.  Now, there was nothing wrong with what he wanted to do and how he did it - he went on from that severe blow to his guild to create a successful Kara guild - just that it was not what I wanted from my time in a guild.

Sufferance grew and prospered.  I and my officers, however, soon came to the realisation that stepping up from Kara to Gruul and Mag was not that easy.  Very soon we found ourselves losing players as we tried to step up the pace.  We had made a very fundamental mistake in our Kara group planning (we were running 3 teams) in that not all 3 groups were running at the same time, so when it came to merging the teams, we never quite had 25 people online at the same time every time.

I noticed another guild in a similar situation as us.  I approached the Raid Leader with a proposition of running a merged raid.  Vision's guild leader was highly suspicious of this, and was not supportive, but a good portion of his player base and officers were.  After a week of very successful raiding, merged with the dissenters of to create Harvesters of Sorrow .  This is something I wrote back in the mists of time on the HoS guild blog on the eve of Wrath of the Lich King (12 Nov 2008) - Note, Bynan passed away while he was RL of HoS:
From our beginnings as 2 very different guilds, I and the very missed Bynan both realized that if we were to survive and to continue to be able to keep playing with the people we liked to play with, our separate guilds needed to undergo a change.  A very drastic change.

I had been looking around at guilds approximately at Sufferance’s level of progression, and Vision seemed to fit that bill. Bynan had already tried to (unsuccessfully) negotiate a merger with the mother guild of Sufferance, xyzzy.  One day when I saw Bynan spamming trade chat with recruitment ads, I approached him and said “hey dude… you look like you are at the point we were 3 weeks ago, done Gruuls but not quite into SSC/TK yet.  We are hemorrhaging members because we cant quite get a 25 up consistently.  How about some joint runs with a view to a merger if it works?”  Vision had ventured into TK by this point, and Sufferance had downed Lurker.  So, that week we each picked 12 of our finest and we went and met Lurker.  Sufferance took Vision through their first SSC kill.  Vision then returned the favour and showed Sufferance TK.  Together, we got further in TK than Vision ever had on its own.  That cemented the very positive experience we had and that night after the TK run, HARVESTERS OF SORROW was formed.  Let’s just say, that was the least worst name of the ones thrown about.  I remember telling people with a resounding NO to some of the names suggested *sigh*  anyway, Vision split.  Their GM was really not happy and some bad blood marred an otherwise happy occasion.

There were originally 2 GMs, and that lasted a while.  Eventually, one of them had to leave the game due to RL internets and we were left with one (if you see cervanttes the rogue floating around /wave at him).  If you go back through the blog entries you will be able to track our progression through SSC and TK.  Together, we started to forge ahead, under the guidance of Bynan as RL (who was really, REALLY bad at pulling the flamey birds near alar).  Christmas was a trying time and a very near call for HoS, we stopped raiding for I think over a month for varying reasons [edit: losing Bynan and it was christmas holidays].  It was at this time that our Current Superstar RL [Brang: Steel, Bynan's nephew] stepped up with a firey passion to keep HoS moving forward.

We recruited, we coddled, we pleaded and by the end of February we were almost back to sustainable numbers!  Steel and myself and Timos put in some hard yards to hold the guild together, in conjunction with Malpractis.  Eventually, Malpractis found that his destiny lay elsewhere and HoS’ current structure cemented into place in about May.  Steel was working hard on strat and the raids were moving along really well.  We had cleared SSC (vashj was a pile of rubble) and were working on Kael when 2.4 came out, allowing guilds to go straight into T6 content with no attunement.  HoS had a decision to make.  Did we continue with Kael or move into MH/BT and forget about him?  One day, we surprised the raid and went into MH to reward guildies who were willing to wipe on Kael.  There was a mixed reaction to this, but the people that QQed were the ones who were only coming to farm nights and were mysteriously “busy” on Kael nights.  These people have since left the guild or have shaped up and now understand what was going on.  We were building a very strong team, and in July we downed Kael and started the slog of catching up to the guilds who had spent over a month of progression in BT.

And catch them we did.  The gap between their progression and ours closed and we got illidan to 9% the week before the nerf.  3.0 came around and suddenly we could clear BT in a night (now its down to a couple of hours), so we went into MH to see if archi was still as hard.  Strangely enough, he was (MH had not been nerfed) but a week later Archi was [dead] and we had achieved our goal.  Fully clearing T6 content.  
 From there we started clearing Sunwell and when WotLK landed, we smashed the leveling again.  I had built a strong core of officers and a good solid raiding team, most of whom were still members after over a year of raiding together, in some cases over 2 from either Vision or Sufferance/xyzzy.

WotLK slowly eroded HoS away with it's casual nature.  HoS filled a niche of being about half a tier behind the "serious" raiders and allowed people to gain progression by being available 1-2 nights a week.  Pug's were now achieving everything that we were, and in order to stay ahead of the curve, we needed to buckle down and work harder.  Around this time, I started blogging here, so a lot of this history can be read in the archives.  I shifted the gears of HoS and we turned hardcore.  Attendance requirements (in that you turn up when you say you are), gear requirements, performance requirements.  We were in the top 5 on the server.  Trial of the Crusader broke HoS.  Not only was the content boring, but Grand Crusader was unplayable due to lag.  This broke many of our long term raiders, and they hung up their raiding shoes.  Or the lure of trying out Horde was just too great, and they left for Hordier pastures.  We lost 17 players in the space of 2 weeks - almost unrecoverable.

Again another raiding merger saved both HoS and another guild.  We cleared ToGC up to Anub and were still in the top 10 even after a 6 week raiding hiatus.  We recruited enough people to start raiding ourselves again, and we stepped into Icecrown Citadel.

But the gating system broke us once again, frustrations at not being able to complete content caused the last raiding break HoS ever had.  I had rebuilt Harvesters several times over from scratch and I was tired.  I declared that HoS was no longer raiding 25s and within a week, guild chat was a ghost town as people left for other raiding guilds.  I did my best to find everyone a home, including myself.  I moved to a raiding guild and raided with them for about 6 months - the only real time spent in a guild not as a leader in some capacity.  I never really felt at home like I did in HoS, but I did enjoy my time there and made some good friends.

That brings us to now.

Now, I am a co-founder of a guild called Pastafarian Horde side on Frostmourne.  Pastafarian has an agenda - we will raid without the aid of boss mods or research in Cataclysm.  In short, we will walk up to a boss with no idea of it's abilities and learn empirically.  The idea is to break the Skinner Box that loot drops create within the game structure.