My first WoW character was born .. well.. early. The game had not yet heard about weapon normalization. It was not in the first month, but there were no level 60s around yet when I first started (at least.. as far as I could see). I played a rogue back then, slicing and stabbing my way through every area of the lands - because with the lower experience that was pretty much neccessary.
I did a few instances on the way - but not nearly as many as I would have thought. Never managed to complete Uldaman, and I remember hating Maraudon because it took ages. As in multiple hours. Current raid times have nothing on a good old Maraudon run.
My first proper raid was a "Lower Blackrock Spire". I know, I know... that isn't possible any more. However, back when men were men and aeroplanes were aeroplanes all the instances could be entered by up to 10 people. It was neccessary to form a raid and people were not able to complete quests - but it was still a damn lot easier doing it that way. In a way, that was the advent of hard modes. Scholomance hard mode was doing it only with 5 people - and getting the quests done.
The quest rewards were appropriately "epic" - not in the colour of their icon, but in their real power. Compare for instance the Warblade of Caer Darrow - the quest reward from doing all of Scholomance, probably multiple times - with the best blue and epic drops from there. The warblade was a sign of distinction.
Hey.. at a time when people were already actively raiding (the horrors of Molten Core and possibly even Blackwing Lair already), completeing a timed Baron run was still a feat.
Err.. where was I going? Oh yes. At about that time I took a lengthy break from playing. Left my characters standing around somewhere and joined another MMORPG. My wife had encountered some trouble in guild as well and moved on - without going into any detail: what we'd call proper drama, with ingame and out-of-game worries.
She came back first - and for trying something completely played horde on a different server. No chance to run into old enemies that way. Of course - eventually whatever I was playing stopped being interesting as well and I rejoined her. I'm missing a few (probably essential) steps here, but we basically were in a horde guild on the server Lightbringer just before The Burning Crusade came out. Leveled to 60 about a week after the portal opened and rushed with the whole rest of the guild to 70. We did our share of dungeons, then later heroic dungeons and attempted our first steps in raiding (Karazhan).
We did fail quite horribly, quite a lot. And in retrospect - yes... people were just that bad. We wiped on Attumen the horseman because we could not clear the trash and pull him before respawns. That's a 30 minute timer right there, for 7 groups and a patrol. In a time when crowdcontrol was the name of the game, we had hunters who had never used a frost trap before. It really was quite horrible.
Now luckily we have powerful friends!
No .. not a developer or the Sultan of Brunei. A real life friend who had been playing with me since the days of my little rogue - and who had stayed on Aszune through Molten Core and that high water thing. We chatted over a beer every now and then - well.. we complained and he occasionally tried to get us to rejoin Aszunes proper guild.
In the end, he did the only sensible thing for saving our sanity and rolled a warlock. On the Horde side, on Lightbringer. He got a rather bad reputation there for chewing out everyone and everything. A good bit like Simon Cowell. It's not like he wasn't helpful - those who were willing to learn got taught how to trap stuff and he did get through and teach a few people "rotations". In the end he mostly managed to point out the glaring incompetence of the guild to us, though. Eventually we caved in and left. Rejoined Aszune (where a few of my characters were waiting around, dusty and in grimy shoes.
Again, leveled to 70, started raiding with a proper group or two and actually enjoyed Karazhan. We never did get much into that 25-man raiding thing, but that is still guild philosophy and I'm quite happy with it. Shame we never saw Sunwell, but we got to peek into Serpentshrine Caverns (2/x), Tempest Keep (3/4), Mount Hyjal (2/5) and Black Temple (4/x) mostly after the attunement quests were lifted. Cleared all of Zul Aman - although the best we managed was three chests before the removal of the warbears.
We're still in the same guild now - and as some of my posts in the past may have indicated, we are not always entirely happy. Which gives the wrong impression overall - the raid group we're currently in is brilliant. We are clearing progress that is challenging for us (and if we manage 7% more damage on Shadron, we'll even get OS3D done) and are having a lot of fun - it's some of the "other" guild members that are driving me mental. Some have personalities I cannot cope with, some are incompetent, some are annoying and wrong (and I know I sound like Jeremy here: "I'm right, you're wrong and that's the end of it" - but it's all true!).
Sooo (to bring this rather long rambling to a close) - I recently rolled a new character, decked the little shaman out in every heirloom I could find and decided to join a new leveling guild. I got into a big one. They are recruiting through the Guild Recruitment channel (when it works), the Trade Channel (always) and are basically picking up everyone who can send a tell. Their throughput is high - but they do at least enforce their rules and actually kick people.
Much like Pike, I seem to have forgot that not everyone is an alt. There are new players in this guild - so green that they need mowing. They don't know where the heirloom vendor is - or what currency is used to pay him. They don't know about proper gear levels for Naxxramas, instead believing what the LFG channel tells them. They can't make enough gold to pay for a 15 gold respec (I kid you not - and that was a level 80 we're talking about). In general - they are a lot like my guild on Lightbringer used to be.
And it's good - shows me that my choice to come back to Aszune and join people that are at the same competence level as myself was a good idea.
Now I only need to either calm down or work on getting rid of the