Building Bucklers: A (Not So) Brief History

I often hear in comments and email from people that they wish their guild was more ours.  While that instills me with pride in the team we’ve put together, it confuses me sometimes.  Is it really that hard to build a guild like ours?  I’d say no, but I know the hard fought history that got us to where we are today. 

I was originally going to write a single post on how to build a guild similar to mine, but after compiling a brief history, I realized this was going to take more than one post.  I’ll start today with that history, and hope to finish the whole thing by tomorrow.  Before I get to the history, a question: 

What is Bucklers of Swash?

Describing the craziness that is Bucklers of Swash is a difficult task.  While we have a consistent raiding schedule and are progressing through Ulduar at a good pace, we’re also not so focused on that task that we forget our main purpose as a guild:  to have fun.  It’s a rare breed of guild that constantly toes the line, neither truly being casual or hardcore.  It’s also a delicate balance that takes work to maintain, else we lose sight of progression, or worse, become so immersed in it that we forget we’re playing a game.

What’s the secret of keeping a guild in this point of balance?  To be honest, most days I’m not entirely sure.  My ego would like to think that I’m the reason, but in reality, I’m only a small part of the whole.   Regardless, here’s the story of how we came to be…



–  A (Not So) Brief History  –

You’ll note a lack of success in many parts of this story.  Despite that, we managed to become what we are today.  It often wasn’t easy, but looking back, it was worth it.

The guild, Bucklers of Swash was established in late 2006 as a group of friends from the Atlanta area.  The original guild leader was Evanmac, my younger brother.  They steadily expanded and recruited enough people to begin raiding and were working on Karazhan progression when I decided to start playing mid 2007. 

I quickly leveled (before Recruit a Friend and the 2.3 leveling nerf) from 1-70 in 14 days played.  At this point progression had stopped due to some members leaving the guild to join more serious raiding guilds, but with a little rebuilding and help from another guild, we got to work on actually clearing Karazhan.  I joined the raid team, did tons of research, and before long, I had taken over the responsibility of raid leading.

Karazhan was cleared (finally) in late 2007, and we set our sights on half pugs of Gruul and Magtheridon.  We formed a second Kara group, got a website up and running, and merged with a guild named Nightmare Anatomy that was in a similar place in progression.  Not many of the NA people are still in the guild at this point, but the ones who stayed are some of the best people I have on my team.

Further recruiting got us into Tier 5 raiding in the spring of 2008.  Things were starting to go well, and a downing of Void Reaver showed us that we had the DPS.  However, the honeymoon didn’t last; some people had high expectations, and others weren’t willing to put the effort in.  Many of our best performing players left for guilds that were in T6 and quickly gearing  new members, and my brother all but quit the game. 

Guild morale was at an all time low, very few people were still around.  Some of the people who left were rather malicious to the people who stayed, and it looked like everything was going to come apart at the seams.  Despite the fact that I contemplated quitting the game, It was at this point that I took over the leadership of the guild. 

We farmed Kara for badges, recruited and stayed afloat as best we could.  It involved a lot of alts, and some people determined to keep us together, awaiting Wrath for a chance to rebuild and restructure.  3.0.2 helped to a degree, and we finally cleared Zul’Aman, getting prepped for the expansion.

At this time, with the help of the officers I still had, the charter was rewritten, the website cleaned up, and plans put in place for Wrath.  BC wasn’t very forgiving for guilds who started progression late, and we were determined to not make the same mistake.  Figuring that leveling would take a substantial time with the holidays, we set a date  for official progression raiding to start in late February.

Wrath hit, and we all leveled with furor, except that we mainly leveled DPS.  Despite that, we got to a point where we could take on raiding in early January, and cleared it with ease, even before our ridiculously conservative “start raiding” date.  

Most of us had never even seen Naxx when we went in the first time, and we 1-3 shot every boss in the Spider and Plague wings on our first raid.  True, the raid content was easier, but through recruiting and hard work, our player base had also become far more competent.  While completing Naxx, we one shot OS10, and cleared Maly10 in our first night of attempts.

We attempted to work with another guild for 25 man content, but one week with bad Razuvious attempts and a horrible Gothik experience caused the other guild to decide to look elsewhere.  I won’t place blame on that particular evening’s events, as I’m sure both parties were equally at fault.  For what it’s worth, the other guild fell apart, and our guild has done nothing but grow from that point.

In addition to running Naxx 10 for alts, and any remaining usable gear, many of the guild members pugged the 25 man content, with variable degrees of success.  We currently run a half pug Naxx 25 every Friday night for people on the server who still need it, and the few pieces of gear we can use ourselves.  It’s a lot of fun, and it’s good for recruiting. 

Now that we’re raiding Ulduar, we’re still recruiting, and might soon have the numbers to do 25 mans, if everyone could log on at the same time. We’re steadily progressing through 10 man Ulduar, with our eyes on the big game at some point.  Despite all of the bumps in the road, we’re successfuly accomplishing what we as a guild want to do, and we’re having a blast doing it.

– Sam

2 Responses to Building Bucklers: A (Not So) Brief History

  1. Revix says:

    i remember that VR kill, gogo shoulders!

  2. samueltempus says:

    It was epic, though not as much as your subsequent forum post…

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