What a long strange trip…

Let’s set the Wayback Machine to December of 2004. My then-partner Shelly, at the time a big fan of video games, said “hey, there’s a new MMO out, we should play!”

“Cool!” said I, “what’s an MMO?”

The new MMO was, of course, a game called World of Warcraft, in a genre I’d never before heard of. (A video game you play online with thousands of players? Whoa!)

Since I knew exactly fuckall about MMOs, I said I was in as long as I could play a character with a mohawk. I had no idea what kind of character to try, so Shelly said “Play a warrior, they’re usually pretty easy.” And thus was Ragnarokkr born: a troll warrior with a Mohawk.

How ya doin', mon?

I’m not sure how I ended up in a guild. I think Shelly knew someone who knew some folks who’d started it, something like that. Anyhow, we ended up joining a guild called Clan BOB on a server called Medivh, and spent countless hours over the next year or so running through dungeons and walking the endless desert of the Barrens.

To this day, this music still transports me back to a certain very specific place and time

It took the better part of a year to get to the highest level, though part of that was we didn’t realize if you log off in an inn you get double XP for a while.

We spent so many hours, so many hours, running through Blackrock Depths with the rest of the guild, just generally having a blast. I rolled a hunter alt named Margath just to see what this whole notion of a “pet class” was all about, but Ragnarokkr (or “Rags,” as the guildies affectionately called him) was me in this weird new world.

Then the worst thing that could have happened, happened: success.

The co-founders of Clan BOB created what was one of the first, if not the first, World of Warcraft Webcomic, “Life of Riley.” It turned into a runaway hit, and some kind of Drama ensued. I never got the full story, but there were server problems and, I’m told from sources that may or may not be reliable, fights over money the comic was bringing in.

Anyway, the founders quit, on (again I’m told) bad terms, there was bad blood all around, the guild collapsed, I rolled Alliance characters on Eonar, and that was that.

Years later, I moved to Atlanta while Shelly went off to Tallahassee for her graduate degree. She got in touch with me to say she’d moved her undead healer to a different server, and would I like to play WoW with her again? I said sure, paid to move Rags to her new server, and joined her new guild.

We played for a few months before she quit the game again, so I went back to my Alliance characters.

Fast forward to 2019. World of Warcraft has its fifteenth anniversary. Characters who logged in got special bonuses, including a “15th anniversary” balloon.

I logged on to all my old characters, including poor forgotten Margath. I was astonished to find he was still a member of the Clan BOB guild, and even more astonished when I opened the guild registry to see if any old friends were playing and saw a message saying the guild leaders hadn’t logged on for an extended period of time, would I like to take over the guild? I clicked yes, logged off, and went about my day.

World of Warcraft is in a kind of lull period between content updates right now. I’ve raised several characters to the highest level, run my main (a worgen boomkin named Ortin) through the current highest-level raid dungeon, and the leader of my raiding guild isn’t running raids at the moment because of some sort of personal family thing he’s dealing with.

So I turned my attention back to Rags, my old, old, character from way back.

I transferred him back to Medivh, brought him back into Clan BOB, and brought him up to max level—something that only took a week of casual play rather than the year it took the first time round, as Blizzard has drastically streamlined the leveling process.

Then I geared him up and ran the current top-tier raid a few times, just for old times’ sake.

When I look at the Clan BOB character roster, it’s a sad and tragic thing:

Last login: 15 years ago, 13 years ago, 10 years ago. Ah, how the past crumbles into dust.

So I now find myself in the weird position of being the owner and sole active member of a once-legendary World of Warcraft guild with a long history. I can’t even find out if the original owners still play the game at all; a search for their character names on the WoW character database turns up nothing, suggesting they have deleted their characters or possibly deleted their accounts.

And I’m not sure what to do with it. A part of me wants to resurrect the guild again, maybe build it into a raiding guild once more, but that’s a lot of work and I don’t have time. (That’s the thing about being a full-time writer; it’s not an 8-hour-a-day, 5-day-a-week job. Eunice and I are currently, as of mid-December 2021, on track to have written three novels this year.)

But I still want to see this once-proud guild rise again from the ashes, like a phoenix from Tempest Keep.

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