Hi all and time for another of my lengthy blog posts.
I warn you this is going to be long, but worth it if being informed and perhaps dodging a bullet is your goal. If not there is a TL;DR at the end.
This time as we start our Mythic campaign for the final raid of the BfA expansion, I’d like to speak about a subject close to my heart and that is loyalty.
At Weekend Warriors, we like to think that one of the main reasons that draws people to us when they are looking for a guild after their previous home collapsed is our stability.
Weekend Warriors was founded in 2009 as a raid group within another guild and became a stand alone guild in 2011. Since that time it has had the same leadership and has never suffered a guild breakdown or had a raiding break. That’s from our early beginnings in Onyxia’s Lair (Wrath) to Ny’alotha, or if you like twenty-five raids.
Yes that’s right, eleven years, seven expansions, twenty-five raids, no breakdowns, no raiding breaks.
As many of you came from broken WoW homes to find us, becoming a member of WW gives you the opportunity to finally lay down your hat and call this guild your home, safe in the knowledge that if history is any guide at least, you’ll never need to look for another unless you want to.
To aid in this we even have three types of membership that allow for the ebb and flow of your WoW career from Social play focused on playing mainly alone or with a few friends in targeted activities, flex raiding where you get to raid every week in normal and heroic difficulty and clear these raids without the rigours and restrictions of the Mythic scene and yes of course Mythic progress raiding where you can get your no-life, min-maxing hats on and go nuts helping a team of like-minded players in the quest for Cutting Edge before the next tier of raiding is released which is objectively rather challenging on our two day per week schedule.
It’s all there, take your pick, change up, shift down, no need for a new guild because we don’t cater to this phase of your WoW gaming as there often is in other guilds.
With this in mind it’s always surprising when you get applicants join you from guilds that are now defunct or inactive and are lucky enough to make it into a guild that turns down far more people than it accepts to see them take a short term approach when faster progress is seemingly on offer elsewhere, especially in guilds with multiple break-downs in their short and often troubled histories.
This issue generally effects the Mythic team, as well, Mythic raiders tend to be the more impatient types, many of them under 25 these days and as such not really having hit that point in their lives where thinking long-term or considering the bigger picture has become a thing.
In the last couple of weeks we’ve unfortunately seen the return of an issue we had hoped was behind us. The poaching of select players by another guild here on Draenor called Team Cobra.
Firstly they took Khaleya after her first week (no biggie, we had three holy paladins and she was never going to be better than Somi and Clossica anyway).
Then they took Snezze which stung a bit as he’d been with us 9 months and so we thought we knew him, but in hindsight dropping the game on Ashvane progress citing boredom with his class and then popping up to ask to join again for Ny’alotha should have told us how committed he actually was to the team and guild.
Then this week they took Orbre who snuck away in the night like a coward after two months in guild, not a word said to anyone.
As I said, we hoped this sort of thing was behind us as Team Cobra actually stopped Mythic raiding and disbanded its Mythic team on Mythic Azshara last November and even posted a nice little message on their wowprogress page telling people to apply to us instead.
Nice of them right? Well, no.
Now, those of you that have been in the guild for longer than two years will not need any introduction to this guild and it’s history with Weekend Warriors, but as many of you are now younger than that milestone in WW history I will explain again who they are and how they came to be.
Many years ago, in the earliest days of WW it was a raiding group/team within a guild called Dark Elders on the Darkmoon Faire server.
It wasn’t alone in this guild which also had a 25 man progress team that also raided heroic difficulty, we focused on raiding weekends, they raided weekday evenings, there was some alt cross-over between the two teams but other than that it was all good.
Then with release of Cataclysm imminent Blizzard made the decision to allow heroic loot to drop in both 10 man and 25 man raid sizes. This decision caused a split in the main progress team in Dark Elders when a couple of the officers decided they did not want to raid at the 25 man size when they could get things done more simply and more quickly with 10 hand-picked players.
Principle amongst these was a very young officer* named Zarfen who declared he would be setting up a 10 man Team called “Team Rocket” (you can see the pattern already) with some friends from within the guild, basically those he felt would get the job done and not be held back by those less capable but long standing members of the DE raid team.
This decision led to the rest of the officers having to make similar arrangements and as none of the officers was prepared to leave the guild to form their 10 man team the fateful decision was taken that DE would go on but as a “container guild” for these 10 man teams. After all it had WW and that worked OK, what could possibly go wrong?
One word, competition.
So, with this two more 10 man teams provisionally formed out of the other 18-20 players. In Weekend Warriors we just said we’d continue as before, a 25 man raid group whilst telling the rest of them that they were mad and that it’d never work.
From the earliest days of the new raid it became clear that it was never going to work. As soon as players left the guild or the game the natural place to look for replacements was amongst your friends and guild mates and this meant poaching and poaching is badly received, always.
One team was forced out of the guild due to what it saw as inequality in access to the guild bank and the second team complained that Rocket was poaching its players and so they had reluctantly decided to quit as no longer viable. As the other team’s leader was the GM, he resigned and another was elected. Our own Conchobar in fact.
Weekend Warriors just went on as before in 25 man inclusive mode.
It was at this point that Zarfen suddenly decided to make an impassioned appeal to the guild to discover unity and reform under the 25 man banner and raid 25 man together as a guild to avoid the rest of the guild falling apart.
On paper this looked like a sensible thing to do, but the reality was that at this point who he was appealing to was WW players and as lockouts in those days were like Mythic lockouts today and shared across raid sizes that meant putting into question the viability of WW within the same guild as a 25 man Dark Elders raid team now that two thirds of the old one had moved on, quit or refused to play with Zarfen.
So, Zarfen and I fell out over what I saw as yet another bald faced attempt at poaching. I left DE and set-up WW. Dark Elders failed and fell, Team Rocket made it’s own guild that eventually faded and fell as well and Zarfen moved from guild to guild, faction to faction and server to server always looking for the number one spot before burning too many bridges and taking a long break from the game.
In 2017 I was approached by this blast from the past, Zarfen. After the preliminaries in which he congratulated me on WW’s longevity and achievements he explained that he’d returned to the game over the previous year and had tried his hand to get back into serious progress raiding at the top difficulty and tired of all the time and commitment that it entailed. He was looking for a new home with a more laid back approach and WW looked like that home if we could let bygones be bygones and allow him to join.
I told him that enough time had passed for the earlier anger and disappointment to fade and that he should apply and then we’d discuss it and see what the consensus was as there were still a fair few people from DE in WW and their opinions on this mattered as well.
In the end we were all of a mind to give it another chance and hope that maturity had made a man of him.
Unfortunately things didn’t work out as hoped but more rather as feared and within 6 months he was out of the guild taking two thirds of the healing team with him and leaving us temporarily struggling to retain viability in the final tier of Legion.
He founded the guild Team Cobra and made its raid hours and days exactly the same as ours.
Initially it was billed as ‘a place for friends to play and hang out’ but in reality they soon started to recruit for Mythic progress with a concerted effort by him and another officer who remained in the guild as a Trojan horse called Impliyed to convince others we were done as a Mythic raiding guild to poach more of our raid team members.
As the poaching efforts intensified the officers unanimously decided to take the decision to make the trip from WW to TC a one-way trip, no return possible.
With the timely collapse of an old weekend raiding guild Arctic Penguins and some alts from a top tier alliance CE guild on another server looking for something to do for the rest of the tier, they managed to form a team that was dedicated to faster progress than WW, the rumoured mantra being “only purple logs need apply”.
We had it tough for a short while. It took us 6 weeks to get back to killing the next progress boss in Mythic, but by the end of Legion whilst we didn’t get the CE we would have almost certainly have achieved without the disruption, we did get 11/12M and had some time on Argus before the pre-patch took away CE.
Still no breakdown, still no raiding break.
Throughout BfA we’ve largely moved on from the past as it’s now two years since these events, however it’s not always been easy as Zarfen (or Qarfen as he now calls his Disc priest reincarnation) clearly hasn’t.
Throughout the last expansion he continued to approach players on our roster to replace his own losses or sometimes apparently simply to cause us issues and deprive us of needed classes.
He even approached one of our then officers to see if he’d defect as well (he didn’t, much to his credit, though he knew who Qarfen was and so wasn’t easily fooled or he might have).
We’re told by TC members that he fostered an atmosphere of hatred between the two guilds, asking members from his guild to /spit on Weekend Warriors when they met at the summoning stone.
He arranged for a mole to be placed into Weekend Warriors, a mature social player with a long detailed application that got him a free-pass into the guild and allowed him to see our private logs and read the applications we were getting so he could approach them as well.
He created a level 1 alt called Lloyd and stared whispering players during our progress push in BoD, trying desperately to distract and annoy members of the team and prevent it from focusing and getting Jaina down and getting CE (we got CE!) which we only discovered because with this alt now ignored by everyone he made the mistake of using another high level alt with the exact same achievements as his main to continue the harassment.
This is the Qarfen that leads Team Cobra, this is the real person you’re joining when you join his guild.
By contrast we have never sought to approach any of his players for any reason or involve ourselves in their guild life or progress in any way.
When they stopped raiding and announced an end to the Mythic team we didn’t celebrate as perhaps we had every right to. Running and maintaining a guild is tough these days and seeing any guild close is always sad, no matter who. “There but for the the grace of god go I” as they used to say when people believed in god. He even heard me say this on Twitch and thanked us for not making a big deal of it and apologised for the “poaching” saying he “… didn’t see anything wrong with it, but could understand why it would be annoying”
When they stopped raiding we had two of their members apply here and we decided to drop the blanket no return policy for a case by case consideration, but the situation was so awkward, so divisive with members here and indeed there that we just found it better not to bother and stick with the ban.
Eventually however, as these things go, with the arrival of the new raid imminent, enough people returned to the game with reassurances of ‘helping to make it work this time’ to cause them to change their minds and go back to rebuilding the guild and a team to take a more casual and sustainable approach to the game in 8.3, they even added a casual raiding night to become even more WW like than they already were as they very belatedly realised that a raid team alone does not a healthy guild make.
Weekend Warriors Mk.2 on paper, but not in reality as you can’t fake integrity, depth or ignore history.
Naturally this too proved a false dawn as they showed by dropping down to 10 for their first N’zoth kill and pushing Mythic progress rather than farming as we have been doing to get up to 30 people geared the old fashioned way.
Also inevitably the poaching started again. So much for the apology.
So, in short I’m not going to waste too much more on this other than to say this is what Team Cobra are, this is their history. What has failed before will inevitably fail again as any structure is only as strong as its foundations so if and when you get approached by them understand what you’re getting into, that it won’t last and that there really is no way back.
Eleven years, seven expansions, twenty-five raids, no breakdowns, no raiding breaks. Enough said.
*He was 18, having lied on his application to join an 18+ guild when he was 16 at the time.
TLDR: Don’t join Team Cobra.