The Merging Is Complete: A Word with vodka and Exodus

The Merging Is Complete: A Word with vodka and Exodus

Article originally posted on Manaflask

Recently, the No 2 and 3 25 man US guilds came together and formed an even bigger superguild, aiming to take on both the US and overall No.1 spot and giving the competition something to worry about. We talked with two of their officers: Killars from the vodka side and Kay from Exodus; to see just how it all went down, what the new guild is like at the moment and what plans they have for the future.

So, how exactly did the merge come about? Tell us the details.

Killars: vodka had a large fall out of core members after Sha died that seemed to keep getting worse and worse. A lot of veteran players got to a point where the game just became too hardcore or simply not worth the time investment.  We lost 4 important individuals pretty much right after progression ended. After discussions about our plan for 5.2 and how we wanted to continue raiding our total loss increased to 17 members. We had only a roster of 23 players (including apps) who agreed to keep raiding, but a lot of potential apps ready to raid with us on Mal’ganis. Exodus approached us soon after word got out that our GM had vanished. After a quick talk we disagreed with what each side had to say and it seemed as if that was the end of it. Our initial discussions weren’t very open and neither side really wanted to give up or compromise. After about a week of thinking and playing around with the idea of having this amazing guild comprised of our best members we spoke again and decided on what is now on Mal’ganis.

Kay: One of Exodus’ officers, Crajittok, got in contact with Entio, an officer of vodka, and got us all together on the topic of a merger. Our first discussion was about 60 seconds long, and left both sides scratching their heads on why we even talked about merging. After a few longer conversations over the next two days, both sides made compromises, talked to their raiders, and teamed up.

Did you know the players from the other guild well and how were your relations prior to the merge talks?

Killars: I personally knew just a few of the members and we weren’t exactly close. People I’ve heard about and talked to maybe in a stream chat or know through a mutual friend, but nothing more. That’s mostly true for most players in each guild I think. As a guild we definitely had our hesitations and even negative impressions of what could happen in terms of meshing well with another guild’s members, but we couldn’t think of any specific reasons why we felt that way. At the end of the day we chalked most of our negative thoughts up to our competitive nature and decided to put them aside.

Kay: I’m not a big fan of becoming friends with players who raid for different guilds. The relationships I have with people who play this game are mostly within our guild. I’m in the same boat as Killars on this one, everything I thought of vodka and it’s raiders was nothing but word of mouth and just how you would look at your competition.

With some very high placed finishes in this most recent tier, and being the current second and third US guilds, do you expect to have a serious shot at some World firsts, or even the top of the rankings overall?

Killars: vodka felt that it could definitely remain relatively competitive while pulling back a little on the next tier and rebuilding. That was a very optimistic but a very real plan for us and we felt moving forward it would be the only way for us all to play with each other. That being said, the only reason for either guild taking this risk in merging with a competitor guild is to have a real shot at our goal, and that goal of course is to be the #1 WoW guild in the world. We’re definitely shooting for #1 and we expect that after we get used to one another we should have a real shot at doing just that.

For the vodka members, why did you decide to merge and not, for example, go for a 10 man guild, much like Paragon did?

Killars: 10 man was something we discussed but too many of our core members were against it. 25 man for us is the real deal and the only way to raid competitively. No offense to Paragon, but we’re not interested in World First 10 man.

The guild name was Evodus and is back to Exodus, are you sticking with it now or is it still in flux?

Kay: Exodus was taken on Mal’ganis, but we have it back now. There are talks about changing it in the future, if we do it might be either “vodkaDUS” or “EXOka”!

Would you say the decline in 25 man raiding brought you to this point or was it more of a coincidence? And on that topic, how do you feel about the very recent changes that will give a bigger drop rate for the Thunderforged (higher item level) items to 25 man raids?

Killars: I don’t feel like Blizzard is doing anything wrong in terms of how they are setting up these tiers. People are just becoming more burnt out as the gaming becomes more and more about throwing hours and hours both during progress and during farm content. Guilds are being forced to level several alts and clear multiple heroic clears. People already felt the game was becoming a job before, but at least it was a mostly fun job then with a nice break in between. Right now there are essentially no breaks in raiding and it really takes it out of you. I’d love to propose a contract of sorts that basically had the top 10 guilds agree to not have more than 1 alt and not raid on any holidays. If something like this were in place I’m sure we’d all be a lot happier with being in a high end raiding guild.

Kay: The idea of having BiS pieces that are super rare and are going to take forever to get all of is a terrible direction for the gearing to go. I like the idea of a rare weapon drop, or even a weapon that is on it’s own loot table like Rag weapons (Spinal reaper, Bonereavers), or Warglaives better than having to try and collect a set of thunderforged gear.

Why did you choose to both transfer to a brand new server?

Killars: Both Cho’gall and Alterac Mountains are servers with awful economies and relatively small communities. vodka specifically proposed the transfer, to which Exodus agreed. Mal’ganis is a great place for us to mingle with the WoW community, obtain sale runs, participate in pugs/GDKP runs, and of course have a stable/stocked AH for us to buy the many necessities for a guild such as ours.

Kay: Transferring was not our idea, and originally we did not want to go through with it, however we agreed to it in order to solidify the merger, as Killars stated.

Did everyone manage to bring over all their alts, considering how many each player needs to have in a top guild?

Killars: Yes, most of our alts are here. I think you might have us mistaken with another guild because we only have 2 alts that raid. Some of us have more alts but we don’t structure any guild raids around them.

Kay: Speaking from Exodus’ side, every person brought at least two characters, most brought three, and some four. We found a way as a team to help each other out and get alts over, even if their owner didn’t have the funds. As Killars said both guilds only required 1 alt per raider - more was optional.

There's relatively little time left until the next raid, do you think you'll be able to adjust the guild fast enough, with all the new members and people interacting for the first time etc?

Killars: Adjusting to one another is definitely the biggest thing we have to worry about I’d say. It’s something constantly on all of our minds and we have to keep working at it obviously. We feel we have a good amount of time to work things out and a great byproduct of this is everyone is focused and trying harder in raids and even being a bit nicer. Everyone is working harder than ever trying to impress their peers from each guild, especially considering raid spots are extremely competitive now.

Kay: If this were to happen after the PTR testing of the bosses, I would say we would be in a different situation. However, we still have plenty of time, and can learn the new fights together.

Did your two guilds have similar cultures/atmospheres? For example when Nihilum and SK merged that was quite a bit of an issue.

Killars: We both have a lot in common in terms of culture. This isn’t a guild full of people who speak multiple languages etc. this is a guild comprised of people from either the US or Canada. As far as atmosphere I think we’re both the same in terms of we like to have fun, but also like to get things done. I think Exodus was a bit more lenient or laid back compared to vodka, but we’re not too different. I would be lying if I said our officers didn’t worry a little about this sort of thing, but so far we’re getting along pretty well.

Kay: From what I’ve seen so far (two raids), the raiding core from each guild was very similar. Like Killars said, our side was a little more lax than vodka’s but not so much that it would take much to change or get used to. Both sides had their concerns in merging, but a lot of them ended up being outside perspectives of each other’s guilds and in most cases exaggerated or untrue.

With players in both guilds having been at the top for a long time now, do you think you'll be able to handle all the opinions and attitudes, especially considering that a lot of people are going to be benched? What's your approach to that?

Killars: The members of both guilds have been instructed to listen and follow the direction of our combined officer core. We don’t demand respect right away but we do ask that we all be given the opportunity to gain our members’ respect. If each side wants this to work, it will. As far as raid time and such we’re fielding multiple full clears each week. This allows for every member to raid and for us to switch to an alt if a member does not need gear on a main. Obviously when progression hits we will have to form into one raid, but by then we expect our roster to be shaved down considering we have quite a bit of trials. Most of our members are very mature about sitting out if it’s for the benefit of the guild.

Kay: Everyone from both sides wants this merger to work, if they didn’t they would not have spent the money to switch servers.  I’m convinced that people will set attitudes to the side and work together as a team to succeed. Having a large bench is not a bad way to do raiding - as long as you manage it the right way. We are discussing ways to manage such a large roster of mains and alts and are coming up with good ideas that we are anxious to try. I don’t think this large roster will be a problem.

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