I figured I'd write something in the spirit of the Thanksgiving holiday, and since it's been almost 3 months since MV's last raid, I've had plenty of time to relax and reminisce about the history of the guild that was the livelihood for so many of us for a long time. In doing that, I also realize that I have plenty to be thankful for.
This month would have marked the 5-year anniversary of Moloko Vellocet. While we fell a little short of that milestone, a lifespan of that length for a competitive raiding guild in a game like EQ2 is an amazing accomplishment in itself. In 2007 we started from scratch with 8 people at the beginning of the Rise of Kunark expansion. Tairiza the Widow Mistress was our first "kill". We were a ragtag bunch, that's for sure. We had yet to really build our identity, but over time we gradually assembled a group of players that allowed us not only to accomplish some lofty goals, but more importantly to have a great time while doing it.
2008 saw us unlock and then conquer Veeshan's Peak; 2009 was all about TSO (and that damned spiral staircase in Palace of the Ancient One), and 2010 with Sentinel's Fate - was there ever a more original and unique fight than Roehn Theer? We continued to unlock our true potential and become more of a household name, despite playing on a server where everyone else was more or less in NPU's shadow. Then came 2011 with Destiny of Velious when we really kicked it into another gear. We had one of our prouder moments in Kraytoc's Fortress when we server-firsted a progression mob before NPU. If we weren't on the map before then, we definitely were after that happened. Then, this year we were officially no longer in anyone's shadow as we unlocked Plane of War for our server.
What I refer to as the "dark side" of EQ2 started last year with an era that essentially became a graveyard for a lot of guilds. The game was suffering from massive attrition, unlike anything seen in the past. Several server merges had already occurred. Content was becoming stale well before the next expansion. Some content was becoming more "challenging" - and I use that term loosely - but it wasn't any more fun. A lot of good guilds, competitive guilds, long-standing guilds.... did not survive. In MV, we faced our share of difficult times over the years (usually in the summers) but we always had the ability to find good people - ones who excelled in a guild like MV. We always had an uncanny ability to pull together in the tough times and manage to weather the storm.
The last 9 months or so were the most brutal. Attrition was at its worst. Mechanics for progression mobs were more unforgiving than ever. It created a large separation between casual guilds and hardcore guilds. To make it among the elite you had to sacrifice a lot. Casual guilds could no longer be competitive. The guilds that had managed to ride the fence until then, quickly faded. You had to make a choice whether you were a casual guild or a hardcore guild. MV was one of those fence-riders; we liked to have our cake and eat it too. We were always a group of overachievers who truly enjoyed ourselves. But at the beginning of this summer, we had to make that decision as well. Those players that fit the "MV mold" that we always seemed to be able to recruit in the past, just weren't out there anymore. It seemed like it took forever to find replacements that were the players we were looking for. We were losing people faster than we could replace them. We couldn't fill raids. The predicament we found ourselves in, coupled with how merciless the game had become, led us to loosen our recruiting stance a bit. The result was us starting to take in players who had plenty of high-level raiding experience and could help us continue to progress. The downside was that some of them never really fit in here. I'm sure there were other top WW guilds that were much more dysfunctional, but we did begin to see things in MV that we weren't accustomed to (like cliques, elitism, etc), and we lost a lot of the chemistry that was such a key ingredient of our past success.
Nonetheless, we plodded through this summer, losing a few more, and picking up a few more as we proceeded with more and more new faces. Sure, we were a top-10 WW guild, and there was always the thrill of killing new progression mobs. But it just didn't feel the same. It was easy to admit the game wasn't as fun anymore. But the idea that the guild wasn't as fun anymore - as obvious as it may have been - was difficult to come to terms with. The longer-standing members of MV knew it. We accepted the newer members as raid-mates as we continued our progression, but some of them were never truly viewed as MV-material as we knew it. More challenges followed, more personality conflicts, and other obstacles presented themselves as we managed to hold things together by any means possible, despite the approaching inevitability. Ultimately MV was finally laid to rest, but most of us knew that the writing had been on the wall for quite some time. The game had deteriorated, and the player base had deteriorated to a point where things were no longer salvageable for us. In retrospect it's a small miracle how MV even lasted as long as it did.
So what am I thankful for? I am thankful for all of the people who helped make MV what it was. The people who helped build our identity, and maintain our integrity. The people who were there not only to celebrate the good times but to survive the trying times as well. The people who never gave up hope that MV could again be the place it once was. The people who unwaveringly gave up 12 hours every week and then some. Most importantly, thank you to those who made MV a fun place to be. At the end of the day, it's a game; it's supposed to be fun. It's different things for different people - an escape, a challenge, a form of entertainment. But you continue playing it because it's fun. And simply put, the people of MV are what made it fun. That was always the true constant of Moloko Vellocet.
I realize that I use the term "we" a lot in writing this, when in reality it should probably be "I" instead. Even though it was my shoulders on which most of the guild's decisions rested over the years, I always put the guild's best interest first. Whatever was best for the guild, whatever helped keep things moving in a positive direction. Almost every decision was easy though because we were on the same page and shared the same goals. It was only in the last year when things became difficult. Even then, I tried to make decisions while compromising as little as necessary, bending without breaking. It has been a privilege running this guild. It makes a leader's job easy when you've got such a solid core of great people. From our humble beginnings to the glory days, it has made me proud more times than I can count.
We all make new memories as we cherish the old ones. I hope everyone has a safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday. I know my cup runneth over.
One small step for MV. . . . .
. . . one giant leap for Guk.
That's right, Mother Gukers. Plane of War is unlocked and open to the public, courtesy of your fine friends at Moloko Vellocet. This is a landmark occasion for the server as a whole, but especially for us as a guild. As we made our way through HM Vallon's, it wasn't difficult to see how the zone has broken so many decent and hopeful guilds. The fights are long, frustrating, and full of opportunities... for failure. But we came in with a fistful of determination and decided that if anyone was going to unlock PoW, it was going to be us.
(a brief re-enactment)
PoW, indeed. We'll be spending some time testing the waters in there soon, but we figure it to be more of the same. The progression march continues onward, but tonight we bask in a little bit of glory as we put ourselves in some pretty elite company. While it's a privilege, it has also been well-earned. Nonetheless, the hunger is never fully sated. Here's to a new chapter for us, and for Guk.
MV finally caught up with an old friend: Soren the Vindicator
Hard mode Drunder has not been kind to a lot of guilds. It is demanding, it is grueling, and it is frustrating. It takes a lot of hard work, flexibility and patience. It tests even the most experienced guilds, many of which have been broken. Yet we still stand, battle-tested and perhaps worse for wear - although we may bend, we do not break. And the skins on the wall are there to show what we can do when we stay determined. HM Tallon's is clear and we're in the middle of HM Vallon's. We did take a break to stop by Soren and take some of his toys as well.
With new content on the horizon, it's an exciting time as we're primed for success. New loot, new disco's, and new skins on the wall. Stay tuned.
As the holidays hit, we let the mobs get fat and happy for a couple weeks while we took a break and reloaded. Although before we got fat and happy ourselves, we did manage to take out a couple more mobs in HM Sullon's. Happy holidays, blah blah blah, and then this year we dove right back into HM Sullon's and killed spiderbitch, and then this week, Sullon Zek herself.
Our first hard mode Drunder zone: complete! A milestone well deserved. Now, we turn our attention to more HM Drunder shenanigans and keep the 2012 momentum going.
Last night we committed to something we had been wanting to do for a while. After some blood, sweat, and even a few tears, HM Tormax finally lay dead at our feet.
No more excuses, no more pain. Just results. It took a lot of patience, and a lot of effort and focus. But it will only get better from here. It's no surprise why this vagiant has only been killed by a handful of guilds. It was an amazing sense of accomplishment as well as relief, but it also left us hungry for more after getting our first hats and ears from this beast. There is still more HM content left to conquer, but you can bet we'll still be booking appointments with this guy every chance we get.
Great job, everyone.
**llon's cleared. Yeah uh, the latest one. Some gongs, some disco's, some sighs of relief. Time to finally put EZ mode Drunder zones behind us and get our hands dirty again. Obligatory gong shot inc:
Oh neat, this one's purple. What was I saying? I don't know. Anyway, Sony's been scrambling. More people are starting to leave the game. We're starting to get a taste of Sony's desperate attempt to restore loot itemization. Hopefully it's not too little too late. In the meantime they're throwing some troub love our way, and that makes everyone happy.
So.... nobody can touch anything in HM Sullon's Spire yet. So instead of fixing that, Sony releases another EZ mode zone. Neat!
And. . . . cleared.
Tallon's "Stronghold" (and I use that term loosely) is in the books. More gongs, more dead mobs, more disco's, more weak loot. Talk about beating a dead horse......
No, literally. We got to beat up a horse on the last encounter. Which of course inspired me to post this remake of one of the most epic songs in the history of the internet, which was going through my head the entire fight.
Good luck getting that out of your head anytime soon. Not that you'd want to.
As we were slogging our way through hard mode content, we were temporarily derailed by half a month of Sony downtime! Yay Sony!! So after the break, GU60 became a lot more imminent. We did manage to sneak in a top-10 WW Eirreen kill, but we quickly started turning our attention to the new content with bated breath..... only to realize it was more of the same -- a steaming pile of more Sony fail.
Sullon's Spire -- the entry-level, "easy mode" version of the zone, was unmanageably broken at launch. Disappointing, yet not surprising. You'd think we'd be immune to it at this point. But anyway, fortunately our frustration was only short-lived and after a few days Sony made amends and put the zone back into alignment. And we were there ready to sieze the opportunity. Last night, we went in and cleared the entire zone in one fell swoop!
Now Hard Mode awaits, so we'll have to see how challenging (or broken) it is. In the meantime we've continued checking off boxes and rising in the ranks as a top 10 force!
The Statue of Rallos Zek was the only thing left standing in our path to conquering all easy mode content in Velious. He didn't last very long either.
Ok, to those of you who immediately cried out "OMG PHOTOSHOPPED", I promise you that is an honest-to-goodness CONJUROR pet on the left side of your screen and it is real. Do not attempt to adjust your monitor. Yes, we have a conjuror in our raid force.
So, that marks the end of the EZ mode content for us and we can give the hard mode stuff our fully undivided attention. We've already killed the first 2 HM mobs in Kraytoc's and the first 2 in Hall of Legends, so things should be starting to get a little spicier here soon.
On a side note, while this next bit of news comes as a sigh of relief, it also makes me a little sad in the pants. Until recently, we at Moloko Vellocet had prided ourselves on having the self-imposed moniker of "best WW guild not to have claimed to have killed Tantor". Catchy, I know. Granted, it's a silly mob that should not be counted toward progression on any level, but we went ahead and begrudgingly relieved ourselves of that title when he died at our hands yesterday. It was as anticlimactic as it was in our dreams, but it's another box to check off, so there was some sense of relief in that regard. Now we can never worry about him again and focus our attention on the real progression mobs.
We have taken over the #2 post on Guk and further solidified ourselves as a top 15 WW guild. And we've got a nice little trifecta of trophies to show for it. Stay tuned for moar.
After warming up on EZ mode zones, the time had come to dig into hard mode and see what all the rage is about. It's a fairly huge jump from easy to hard mode, but we fancied our chances. Turns out we had a pretty good night as we killed our first 2 HM mobs on Thursday, including a server first on Tert!
We like turtles. And we like disco's. Grats everyone and let's see what else we can get ourselves into.
Another day, another zone cleared.
We went into the land of giants and cut them down to size. They say the bigger they are, the harder they fall. And it's a really long fall from King Tormax's throne. The big *THUD* sound was music to our ears though. It was satisfying to cross another zone off our checklist.
Also, we'd like you to meet Jerek's new girlfriend. Her name is Crysta.
Grats on the disco man. The rest of us have some serious gryphon envy going on. Let's keep the disco's rolling in as we continue pushing the envelope. It's been a fun expansion so far, but there's a lot more ahead of us. Nice job everyone and keep up the hard work.
The Velious expansion is finally here! Flying mounts, more AA, more lag, and several new raid zones to jump into - one of which is already DOWN!
We gave Eirreen a good shagging last night and then finished up with Kraytoc. First zone is cleared! And we're diving into Hall of Legends as well. These zones may be appetizers for what's to come, but if this is any indication, we are setting ourselves up for success quite nicely.
Moloko Vellocet has come out of the DoV gate like a shotgun blast! We have put ourselves in pretty elite company, thanks to everyone's hard work. Lots of disco's to show for it too! And there's a lot left ahead of us, so it should be pretty fun. It's been a while since we've had any new eye candy in the guild hall, but here's our latest addition:
Our thirst for blood continues - stay tuned.
Another 9 healer fight, another mob dead. I see a pattern developing here.
Energized Construct was victimized most recently. It's not a fight to be taken lightly, and not many guilds have gotten the upper hand on this guy. We really brought our A-game and were rewarded with our first taste of some T4 armor. It does whet the appetite and there's a lot more where that came from.
Wing 3 here we come!
On Sunday night we walked into Lab having never killed Arkathanthis before. We were shorthanded but we still felt we had a legitimate shot with what we had.
I'd say so. About 10 minutes later, bam:
Wait, wait.... first kill, flawless? With less than a full raid? Yeah, it's scary what we are capable of when we aren't too busy being retarded or watching Miley Cyrus videos. Hmm... I guess that's kind of redundant. Anyway, we went in again last night and killed Ark once more just to make sure it wasn't a fluke. Got a few discos to show for it too!
Grats guys! We also caught Klaaktuus unattended last week and got us a few more pairs of gloves. Basically just a big lagfest with a chest at the end. But grats all the same.
So we are heading into the holiday break on a high note. I'm pretty sure everyone will return refreshed and ready for more. =) After all, there are still a few mobs that need killin'.
With summertime over, we've shifted gears and got the best of Vaclaz Released. It took a lot of discipline and a lot of button mashing for the healers, but we got the job done. Not the most fun of fights by any means, but the loot was well worth the wait. Now we channel our focus on other big things, so stay tuned!
Oh and happy late Halloween everyone.
So what have we been doing all summer??
Pretty much this:
Ok, ok we haven't spent the entire summer chillin' poolside. We did manage to set aside a little time for Palace and Waansu farming, and some Underfoot Depths progression. Rathgar, Aaskas/Maakat/Uthgar, Vaclaz, Regulus & Regulas, Haephaus, and Aereon have all been bent over and spanked by our guiding hand this summer.
While we've picked up a couple of new faces this summer, we have had to make our fun while missing a couple of familiar ones. But at least it was for a good cause - big congrats to Rugdeath and Steelie on the birthing of their baby paladin! Word is he has already been seen running around in Peat Bog doing some low-level quests and showing those caterpillars what's up. Can't wait to see you guys back in game soon. =)
Moar progression soon!
We have continued to bludgeon our way through hard mode encounters as the start of summer is upon us. We've added a couple of new faces to the roster and pressed onward, including poking around in the new zones. Icy Keep is lame but Underfoot Depths is somewhat challenging. We took down Master Syfak and Ritualist Squilak, but we'll be going back to spend more time in there. In Palace, we finally spent the time to take down Energized Sages which was next on our list, and then this guy:
No, this isn't deja vu. Although we did have Dejazu.... but that's neither here nor there. This was 3 rune Roehn Theer, which significantly ups the stakes over the garden-variety versions. It took a little more work, some trial and error, and some mad Super Mario skills to come out victorious on this one. Always an entertaining fight though. Who will be the first to take down 4 rune?
After getting off to a blazing start to Sentinel's Fate, we continued to push ourselves. We killed a lot of mobs in a short amount of time, but we soon realized that the jump to Hard Mode encounters was considerably great. Nonetheless, we dug our heels in, put in the hard work, and rose to the occasion time and time again. Our efforts have been rewarded, and the results have been favorable, killing the likes of Perah'Celsis, Roehn Theer (1 and 2 runes), Toxxulia, Penda & Kendis United, and most recently, Waansu. And if there was any doubt - no, we're not done yet.