Tuesday, June 8, 2010

How to Make an Unforgettable Guild Anniversary - Take 2

Finally the day was here, the day that we had looked forward to for weeks, not the least after watching the trailer our beloved GM had posted on our forums as a teaser.

It was Sunday the 6th of June, the National Day of Sweden, but also the day for the Second Anniversary of Adrenaline. And we were excited!

After the success from last year (related here at the inn), the expectations for this event were all time high, so high that I couldn’t help feel a little bit sorry for the officers as we assembled. They had made themselves a disservice by putting the bar at a ridiculous level. How could they possibly match the amazing scavenger hunt from 2009, where they combined superb role playing with rhymed riddles and perfectly home crafted quests? Surely this must have been a once-in-the-lifetime-of-a-guild event!

I should have known. I didn’t think it was possible, but this anniversary was just as good, as the one before. Or even better. We may not subscribe for the #1 spot on the server progression chart, but no one beats Adrenaline on arranging high quality guild events. No one.

As some of our newer recruits said after the night – amazed at what they just had gone through – this was the most fun night they ever had experienced in five years of WoW playing.

And just like after our first anniversary, I’m happy to share the concept, in the hope that it might inspire other guilds to come up with fun guild events that aren’t about raiding.

For Adrenaline this night came real thanks to our guild birthday, but you don’t need such an excuse to arrange an event like this. You could as well do it just to get your energy buck, taking a break from the raiding lull, doing something that makes you gaming face crack up with a smile after endless wiping on LK or perhaps weeks of cancels due to lack of interest.

But enough of pre-talk! Let’s head where it all began: at the top floor circle of The Temple of Storms in Stormpeaks.

The start
The first thing that happened this night was that we were divided into teams. The officers handed out wrapped packages and at a given moment we opened them and found shirts in different colors inside. The teams were formed after the color of the shirts, with three players in each. We were told to always wear them so they could be easily spotted.

We were presented the basic idea of the night: to compete in different areas, collecting points for our team. Towards the end of the night the points would be added and a winning team would be appointed.

1.The Gnome escort
Our first task was to go to Dalaran and seek out a gnome who was supposed to wear a shirt with the same colour as the team. Ours, a level 5 warlock, was hiding up in the Kirin Tor building. She did some role playing as we found her and made it clear that she was in danger, needed help and was heading to Alextrasza. Then she took off in a hurry, and we followed her as close as we could, down into Underbelly, and before we could stop her, she panicked and threw herself out through the sewer tunnel, falling to a certain death in Crystalsong. She was more irresponsible, unpredictable and whimsical than any escort quest NPC I’ve seen, more prone to be unlucky than Corky, and even though we didn’t quite figure what this was about, we ran after, in an urge to protect her.

This turned out to be an escort mission going through Crystalsong via the tunnel to Dragonblight, ending in the Wyrmrest temple. But the true nature of the competition – to keep the gnome alive and arrive at the destination as soon as possible – didn’t dawn upon our team until after we were done. I blame the gnome for this. She confused us with role playing. Her complaints about being cold and hungry gave us the idea to make up not one but three camp fires, and being the kindhearted mage I am, I started to conjure level appropriate drink and food. I was just about to hearth to get her some milk, which she said that she’d rather like than water, when she suddenly changed her mind, suggesting that we should move on. But the race was already lost. Oh well, the moral victory was ours!

2. The Quiz
Before moving on the next assembling point, at A’dal in Shattrath, we were handed a letter, pointing us towards a quiz. We were asked to answer 25 questions during the course of the night, taking advantage of natural breaks in other missions, when we were waiting for our turn to do something or traveling from one point to another. The answers should be posted to an officer before we head of for our final mission of the night.

The questionnaire was extensive, but that was pretty much expected, since it was a teacher who had put it together. Some of the questions referred to people and happenings within the guild, while others required thorough knowledge about bosses, places and lore in WoW.

The Adrenaline related questions are of course very internal, but the WoW questions aren’t, so I'll link the quiz for anyone who'd like to try it for yourself or use it as a source of inspiration. (Cheaters can look here for the correct answers.)

3. Arena time!
Now we were told to head to our next destination: the Nagrand Arena. This competition consisted of a 3v3 PvP match where each team faced a group of three officers, decided by random rolls. The teams who were waiting for their turn in the ring could either sit in the gallery, watching the ongoing matches, or take the opportunity to spend time working on the questionnaire.

The more officers your team managed to kill and the fewer deaths you had in your own team as the match was over, the more points did you gain.

As it turned out, the member ranked players of Adrenaline were slightly better at PvPing than the officers, which doesn’t mean that we were particularly good. I guess we’re a PvE guild for a reason. Nevertheless it was very enjoyable - especially the moment where I made our GM look literally sheepish for a few seconds. The view made me chuckle maliciously. Maybe PvP isn’t such a bad idea after all?

4. The Manhunt
Next up was a manhunt. We were directed to check out a Wanted poster concerning a certain villain we were supposed to track. Each group was assigned to a separate vent channel, where we had an officer available who would answer up to 20 questions with a yes or a no, helping us to figure out where to look for this blood elf.

In the end it turned out that it was one of our officers, hiding in Hammerfall with his horde blood elf character. The team that got to him first and killed him got most points, but others who found him were awarded as well, with point deduction depending on how many questions you had to use to get there. Just please don’t ask me how my team made in this part. Let’s pretend it didn’t happen and move on to the next activity:

5. Hide & Seek
This time we assembled outside the gates of Stormwind. The rules were simple. We all got three minutes to hide anywhere in the town. After those three minutes had passed we weren’t allowed to move at all. We were also instructed not to use stealth or invisibility alike abilities. After the set time had elapsed, the officers would come and look for us. Those were also on a timer of a few minutes, and for every player who wasn’t found within the time limit, the team would be awarded points.

Needless to say the druids had a blast, as they took a long bath in the channels. For anyone else who would like to try this, I’d suggest banning underwater breathing along with stealthing. For my own part I ran straight to one of my favorite inns, down into the cellar and sneaked into a little spot behind a huge barrel. I almost got away with it, but ten seconds before the time ran out, I was spotted, no doubt thanks to my pigtails. Oh well. There was no time to get sulky over this, because it was time for our final challenge:

6. The splatter contest
Once again we were gathered in Stormpeaks in the tower where we had started the night. Time had come to the moment when we would see our deputy GM committing suicide, jumping off the top in front of our eyes. Our task was to at a given signal do the same. Without using any helps such as slow fall, we should try to kill ourselves and land as close as possible to the officer corpse. Points were given to the teams that came closest.

The happy end
Finally we met up in the Park area of Stormwind and while our officers finished their work correcting the quizzes and counting the assembled points, the rest of us amused ourselves in the fountain. An abundance of awards, such as rare pets, were handed out to the overall top team, but also to the winners of each competition and to players who deserved special mentioning thanks to particularly good (or bad) performance over the night.

Then there was an appropriate fiest, with fireworks, drinks, cakes, dancing, screenshotting, cat dancing, video making and whatever you could think of.

And so ended the magnificent, unforgettable two year anniversary of Adrenaline, which at the same time was a worthy farewell to our GM and deputy GM, who are about to leave the game.

Player created content
Once again I had been reminded about that while new challenging raid encounters are cool and fun, there’s nothing, absolutely nothing in the game that can compete with high quality content created by the players themselves.

It’s such a pity that so few ever will experience it. Most players will never know that there is a world beyond the morons and slackers, the facerolling and mindless repetition.

There's still magic in the game. But you have to look for it, since it's hidden in beautiful enclaves such as Adrenaline.

To all of you who think: "Id' like to do something like that", I want to say: go out and look for it! We may be outstanding, but I know for sure that we're not the only guild that is doing those kind of things. And if you don't find it on your server, make it happen in your own guild!

I wonder what our three year anniversary will be like. Extraordinary, I dare say. Our GM:s are stepping down? The hell they are! I bet they're just taking the year off to ensure that they'll get all the time they need to plan for next year's event.


Keeva said...

I was just considering doing another Gnome event - I did one a few years ago in my old guild, and it was a huge hit. The splatter contest was one of them - so I definitely want to do that one again!

Unfortunately, my attempts lately to create in-game events have flopped because everyone seems to want to do GKP runs or alt runs in their spare time - gear gear gear - seems to be more important than socialising. Even with big prizes, few people are interested.

But I am still thinking of doing something, hopefully incorporating some of our history and memories. Thanks for the post - I love the escort quest especially, and the coloured shirts are a great idea!

Some food for thought, thanks Larisa!

Anonymous said...

Congratz Adrenaline!! 2 yrs and counting !!

I might not have got on with everyone in your guild (me being such a kind hearted soul, ive no idea why that is!! :P) Larisa, but do pass on my admiration for the inventiveness of such a celebration !! Do they even remember me ??!??!?!

Cacknoob (The watcher!)

Fitz said...

Our guild had another good anniversary and knighting event too. I was supposed to post those screenshots ages ago...oops. Hope my GM is not too pissed.

But even as awesome as our parties on top of Twin Colossals have been, they don't hold a candle to some of the stuff you guys do! Nice recap!

Anonymous said...

I saw the title to this post and IMMEDIATELY perked up.. in this world of info overload, I instantly remembered how wonderful your last anniversary was and I just had to find out what you guys did this year! Thanks for sharing this awesome experience with us. What an amazing guild you have! :)

Stabs said...

Gnome but not Gnome Alone!

Grats to everyone in the guild.

Adam said...

I haven't commented on your blog before, Larisa, but I've been reading it for a little while.

Just wanted to say that this sounded like a lot of fun and it seems you've found a really cool guild to do things like this.

Dwism said...

13 F, I got it right!!!

Sounds like a blast. I just might have to do something similar for my guilds next anniversary. Shame it isnt untill april

Issy said...

Wow.. that sounds like amazing fun, and hats off to your officer team for the brilliant organisation.
Any one of those things would make for a fun guild event... but all of them together.. Unforgetable I bet.
Thanks for sharing :)

Larísa said...

@Keeva: oh… that’s just too sad to hear. I can’t understand how you could rather make an alt or GKP run than to participate in an unforgettable event like this. I suppose they have no idea about what they are rejecting since they’ve never done it. I dare say that absolutely no one was in this for the prizes. Of course the winners were happy, but it was really just a fun bonus and not the point of the night. I hope you’ll manage to pull off an event anyway, showing the guild another side of the game.

: You’re not going on with everyone on the server? Shocking! Or maybe not ;)
Your memory is still alive with me but I suppose it will fade eventually as so much else. When are you planning for your glorious return?

@Fitz: Great that there are more guilds around doing anniversaries - documented or not! At least you’ve got screenshots and good memories. I must shamefully admit that I didn’t take a single screenshot during the night. I had too much fun to remember to do that. Sigh. I’ll have to rely on others for it.

: Hehe, you’ve got a good memory! I’m glad you appreciated it! And yes, indeed it’s awesome and I’m trying to sort of spread and influence the community with some of this awesomeness. Better light a candle than ban the darkness you know.

@Stabs: Thanks!

@Adam: Another lurker stepping out of the shadows, yay! /hugs

@Dwism: Bah. That was too easy. They should have put on some disguise. Maybe display the helm to hide the pigtails? And there’s no reason to wait until april. Don’t be lazy! You can make this kind of event any time during the year. Just find something to celebrate! Or call it a power-night to charge your batteries and get a break in your wiping on LK hc. You deserve something like this.

@Issy: They are the best. I know that those ideas aren’t that unique, but rather well known concepts for guild events. What makes this night special though is the professional execution of it and the high ambition, to not only pick one of those from the menu, but pulling off so many of them. The entire event lasted us the entire scheduled raid time, which is 3.5 hours. Or in fact even a little bit more. That’s a long time to entertain your guild! A gigantic effort if I dare say. And I’m proud and happy to share it.

nowiamtree said...

Congrats to Adrenaline! It really does sound an enormously fun series of events.

I remember organising a LotRO horse race around Rivendell a couple of times - Rivendell, because there were lots of little bridges and places of peril. It worked beautifully, everyone enjoyed it (some were practicing for several evenings beforehand!) and it looked visually amazing.

Thank you for reminding me of such things!

Shintar said...

Wow, that sounds amazing! I can't think of how much work that must have been for the officers to organise, but it sure was worth it from the sounds of it. Congratulations! :)

Edawan said...

My guild turned four last december, and no-one noticed.

I guess it's a bit my fault, since I'm an officer... : /

It shows that you really have great officers to organize such a huge event !

Bri said...

What an amazing event Larisa! I can only think what an imaginative group would do if they had something like SWG's Storyteller system, to place your own in-game props and NPC's.

Moonsword said...

It was an absolutely amazing event.

Especially when I failed to listen to the instructions and not waiting for our Deputy-GM to land, but running straight after her. plummeting to a certain death, ending up miles away from target.

Awesome :D

Joar said...

Sounds like an excellent event. My guild does somewhat miniature versions of this almost every week (typically encompassing just one of the six things that you guys did), but it is part of what keeps me very engaged in the guild. This sounds pretty world class.

One quick question on your quiz though - 24(A) - isn't that Alterac Valley, not Arathi Basin?

Cap'n John said...

I used to play Hide & Seek with my niece several years ago. Usually we'd limit it to either an Inn or a section of Stormwind. When names are turned off it's surprising how much of a Gnome can be hidden by a barrel, chair, bush, etc. If you position yourself just right you can even lie down inside a pillow on a bed and be almost completely concealed.

Sylvara said...

I have taken the screenie in Arathi Basin at the BG portal. They obviously look quite similar, but had it been the AV one then the surroundings would've been a lot darker since it is located at the end of a long tunnel. unfortunately not a lot of people visit these places anymore since we got the PVP tool.
So the correct answer is indeed Arathi basin :)

Kromus said...

Looked amazing, and wow. Who'd of thought last years could've been bested? I think it just has!

You're right Larisa. They're not stepping out of WoW, they just need extra planning time for year 3 :P

zetter said...

Sounds like great fun. Happy birthday to all Adrenaline.


Thela said...

As nice as it is to be all decked out in "purplz"...it's sometimes nicer to kick back and have some "self-created" fun in game. I am tickled to see other guilds doing Anniversary Events.

The guild I am in turned 3 recently and we celebrated with a week of fun events (like we did the 2 years past). Being an officer in the guild, it's hard to say what is more fun...the creation of the events or the participation...but in the end it's all good.

Our biggest turnout events for the first two years were the:

1.) level 1 gnome race from starting area to destination
- year 1 was to South Shore
- year 2 was to Booty Bay I think...had to work so I missed it

2.) naked, flagged fishing in The Barrens
- done just like it's titled...run to fishing spot, get naked except for fishing pole, flag for pvp & fish until the Horde start showing up..then pvp naked
- on a PvE server it's fun to create World PvP that doesn't involve raiding a Horde city

This year our biggest turnout was a surprise quest chain (that a few of our officers created secretly) that took us to all the locations in game that will be gone come the release of Cata. Our officers did an outstanding job of creating the quests centered around the game's lore and the changes to come with Cata. This was by far our best event over the history of our anniversaries.

We, too, give out prizes/gold to guildies who "win" events. For events where there is no "technical" winner (like flagged fishing) we give prizes to all guildies who participated in the event.

I loved reading the creativity of your officers and about the events your guild did.

Kudos to you all all!

Larísa said...

: This sounds cool! I’ve never set my foot in LotRO, but maybe the play-for.-free feature can convince me to have a look…

@Shintar: Thanks!

@Edawan: They’re a truly amazing bunch of people. But if your guild turned four, I think you’re doing something good as well to keep it together – even if you forgot about the anniversary. It takes a ton of effort.

@Bri: I don’t know about SWG, but that sounds intriguing! And yeah, our officers are brilliant when they act! RP:ers in disguise…

: oh dear… I did exactly the same thing but saved my ass with slow fall. I did a proper jump later on, but failed miserably since I had no idea of where she had jumped. I decided not to mention it in the post though… but now that you bring it up. /blush

@Joar: Every week! Woot! That’s quite impressive! About your question – I’ve turned it over to the quiz constructor for clarification, and she has replied.

@Cap’n John: It was amazingly fun! I wish I had a little niece as an excuse to do it again!

@Sylvara: thanks! I knew it all the time: a teacher can’t possibly be wrong!

@Kromus: Such a shame you couldn’t attend though. Oh well. /hugs

@Zetter: thanks!

@Thela: this sounds like great fun! You don’t have a blog where you could share the quest concept with the rest of us if someone would like to do the same?

By the way I’ve heard now that they even had a seventh competition planned but had to skip it due to running out of time. Maybe we’ll see it next year!

Thela said...

I don't have a blog, my brain is usually too scattered to do something that organized...lol. I had to edit my original comment a few times before posting it.

I do have a site from back when I was a HUGE Sims fan though (before I found WoW...haven't touched Sims since) and I can try to find as much info on our events if you like and make a special page there and post the link here for you. I am sure we have a lot of the info in our guild forums for me to track down. I'll work on it tonight while I'm at work (yes I get to use my laptop + internet while at work..w00t) and hopefully have a link for you soon.

Thela said...

I had time before work to do this, so here is the link for the quest line our officers created. Enjoy!


Larísa said...

@Thela: thanks for sharing! That's great. I've already got letters from readers asking about ideas for guild events, so I'm asking on behalf of those. It's a shame to let great player created content just dwell in the darkness when it can be shared for more to enjoy!