The Doldrums of Pandaland

People keep poking me about updating the main home page, so here it is! New post!

We’ll be working on a new look for the whole site as well, but I expect that to take some time.

But anyway. We’re into the most difficult time of any WoW expansion – that of grinding through the last tier over and over and waiting around for the next expansion’s release date. Hang in there guys! It’s like this pretty much every expansion, and we expect things to really take off when Warlords of Draenor is released.

So, lots of exciting stuff is coming down the road toward us, especially SPRING for those of us in the snowy areas of the country!

Posted in VoN News | 35 Comments

Um…Welcome to Pandaland!

While I really enjoyed Leeloo’s post on migrating the forums over to a new kick-ass forum application (thanks again Lee to the Loo), this post to kick off Mists of Pandaria is, again, egregiously tardy.  So, let’s get to it. . .

Well, as you all you, Blizzard has released it’s latest expansion called Mists of Pandaria and it’s based on the continuing escalation of Horde and Alliance hostilities.  The majority of the expac will be played on the Island of Pandaria where each faction will be helped by a new Pandastic race.  My initial thoughts about the expansion are 1) it’s absolutely gorgeous — Blizzard has done a great job to make it look and feel like something we haven’t seen before; 2) I like the gating aspect of the expansion — dailies, valor point caps, etc. . . all allow you to experience the game as intended rather than just sit in a city spamming dungeons; 3) while i love dailies and no matter how much Blizzard mixes them up, they do tend to get tedious and are a enormous time suck; 4) i don’t know how people with other things going on in their lives (i.e. sleeping & breathing) will be able to level & gear up a competent alt for raiding; 5) the initial raid encounters are nicely tuned — current blues give it a razor thin margin for error while purples will allow you to somewhat ignore some daunting mechanics; and finally 6) the guild seems to be be busy and boisterous at all hours — it’s nice to see an active populace in guild once again.

It looks like just about everyone is still busy leveling up and grinding through dailies for additional gear.  The one thing I do ask you to remember is that if you are looking for a particular piece of gear, the guild is willing to chip in gold (up to a certain extent).  We will tend to prioritize healers and tanks for this and if you’re thinking of asking for anything north of 10-12K gold for one piece of gear then you should think again.  We’ve amassed quite a war chest from the Cataclysm and it’s time to use it.  We have been spending the gold on some crafted mats, enchants, enhancements, gems and golden lotus mainly but there’s still plenty of it left over.  However, there is a set amount of gold that I’d like to maintain in the guild bank so this “ask” will essentially be first come, first serve.

With all that you can do in Mists, we have managed to accomplish some minor raiding.  We successfully downed both world bosses (Sha of Anger & Galleon) in the first week with several guild members receiving nice epic loot.  We ran LFR in it’s first week with 19 people in the guild (which gives me good hopes for 25s) and cleared all the LFR bosses with hardly any difficulty (I’ve heard and continue to hear LFR horror stories).  We’ve sent in our first 10 man into Mogu’Shan Vaults and managed to kill 2 bosses with one night left to try more.  It’s still early but this puts us 2nd on the server in terms of progression right behind Guardians of Innocence.  Nefarious and Knights or Crusade are breathing down our necks though and there are several really good guilds who have yet to start raiding so it should be competitive and interesting.   Our 2nd 10 man is less than one week away from launching and hopefully our 25 mans will not be far behind.  We’re continuing to recruit slowly since the talent base is still quite low on the server.  But, we’re still growing and we’re still adding quality players.

Overall, it seems like this expansion is turning out to be a great improvement over the Cataclysm.  The guild seems to be meshing together quite nicely and there’s nothing quite like a really active guild.   I’d love to hear how the expansion has been treating everyone so please comment here or on our forums.  Otherwise, happy grinding and let’s go kill some bosses.

Posted in VoN News | 32 Comments

New VoN Forums are now live

MAN, is it nice to be back to real forums again!

The major change from the previous forums is that the forums and main website are no longer integrated with another. This means that logging into the main site to leave a comment and logging into the forums to post are two different logins instead of the same one, like before. This wasn’t a direction I wanted to go, but after the old forum plugin blew up in my face, it became inevitable*. To compensate for the annoyance of having to login twice for what should be a unified website experience, a login is no longer required to comment on home page posts (anyone found abusing this convenience will ruin it for everyone else, FYI).

I did migrate the existing accounts, so if you already had an account through the main VoN website, your username and password will work for logging in here. I changed a few usernames to match main in-game toons – if you were one of these people, you got an email explaining this. I didn’t move anything other than username, password, and email address – you’ll need to redo avatars, websites, signatures, birthdays, etc. These things can be entered by using the User Account Control link at the top right, under our custom website header. If anyone forgets their username, you can email me at admin @ vanguardofnorrath . com; forgotten passwords can be reset using the forgot password link on the login page.

It was my original intent to migrate the content of the old forums as well, but, we’re going to have to start from scratch**. The encoding used by the old plugin is different than phpBB, and my MySQL skills are not up to the challenge. The good news is that quite a bit of the old info was out of date, so now we have a shiny new canvas to be ridiculous all over.

NOTE ON POSTING YOUTUBE IN THIS FORUM: There is a “youtube” button on the left directly above the post window. Copy and paste the entire video URL, then highlight the URL and click the “youtube” button.

Here are the forums you should be able to see if you are…

Not logged in – Can view Public Discussion (General Discussion, Squishy Stuff) and Game Modifications (Game Resources and all role forums). Cannot post.
Registered user, not in guild – Can view and post in Public Discussion, can view Game Modifications.
Registered user, in guild – Can view and post in Public Discussion and Game Modifications as well as Guild Forums (General Discussion, Raiding, and PvP).
Guild officer – Can view, post in, and moderate Public Discussion, Game Modifications, and Guild Forums. Can view and post in Officer Forums.

If any of the above are not functioning as intended, please email me immediately at admin @ vanguardofnorrath . com.

* For the nerdier members of the audience – The forum plugin blew up when I installed a routine update. There wasn’t a rollback version that I could find, and – even better – the company that wrote it had gone to a pay-if-you-want-anything-but-just-the-software model, which was a horrible new surprise. I’m talking, NOTHING but software without a paid subscription, including documentation and support forums. I was really pissed. Once I got phpBB3 installed, I tried every plugin I could find to integrate the forum and WordPress logins, but none of them worked or even appeared to be stable or recently supported. So, we have this.

** I do still have all the old stuff stored in the database, I just don’t have a neat way of exporting it to these forums. If anyone really needs something from the old forums, email me at admin @ vanguardofnorrath . com

Posted in VoN News, WoW | 2 Comments

Website Issues

Hey guys – I was aware that the site was in maintenance mode for 24 hours or whatever it was. I had a few kind souls let me know that the site had gone into maintenance – just to put your minds at ease, if you see a maintenance message actually appear, it’s because I turned it on deliberately because something is broken. Actual emergencies such as fatal php errors, 404s, etc, please report to me ASAP. You can always reach me using:  Admin (@) vanguardofnorrath (dot) com.


The thing that was broken yesterday was the forum plugin, and I finally decided to just open the whole website back up again and lockdown the forums to read-only mode until I can get our new forums running. Continue reading »

Posted in VoN News | 2 Comments

State of the Vanguard

I haven’t posted since March (really?) so it seems like it’s time for an update since a) it’s been so long and b) I think the guild has evolved in that short period of time.  I think the guild has settled into what it is which is a casual setting for raiders that likes to progress but there is no true pressure or hardcore bent for it.  It’s true we have a pocket of raiders that are pushing progression but my sense is that we don’t have enough for a full 25 or 2 full 10s which is completely fine.  What we’ve always set out to do is create a gathering place or community for WoW players who just want to play with like-minded folks.  I think we’re somewhat successful in ensuring we keep out player who do not particularly fit in with our philosophy and those that have joined that are different from what we expect have quickly learned that we are not a hardcore progression guild.

I love saying “That being said” so….That being said, its never always that simple.  We do have a heroic 10 man going since it was obvious we didn’t have a full core of 25 players who were intent on being serious for heroic 25s.  And (I also love starting sentences with And) by the way, there is a big difference in having a desire to do heroic bosses and actually putting in the time to farm and research all the heroic fights.   If I am reading this wrong from our player base, I would love to talk to those who have expressed a desire for heroic fights but simply haven’t gotten the opportunity.  Also, you have to remember that you need a full 10 man team and I’m sure if the desire and willingness is there, I would help in creating a 2 10 man.  I would go into what I think it takes to be successful in heroic progression but that’s getting off topic.  So, contact me if you do have such a desire.  (Hint: one of the steps is actually reading our website – this post! – and all the useful tips about raiding in the forums).

THAT BEING SAID, we have continued to raid successfully in our 25s with significant drop-off in attendance.  We’ve suspended our recruitment for now because I sense there will be some cleaning up to do before Mists hits and any new recruits we get now may not quite fit in.  While the content has definitely become easier, I do think keeping 25s going is something we should continue to strive for on this server and hopefully we will be a more cohesive 25 when Pandas are all the rage.  We also continue to do several 10 mans throughout the week and have a heroic 10 man group going.  Even though the heroic group took a hiatus while we tried to build up 25s, it has caught up quickly to the other progression teams on the server and has completed 6/8 heroic bosses.   Congratulations to them!

Well, thanks everyone for sticking around in the guild and I like that we’re on track to not only be a good casual raiding guild but also a good community for players to just socialize.  Yes, it’s clear that our attendance and participation is sagging but nothing that isn’t ordinary for the ebb and flow of WoW.  Please comment here or in the forums or whisper me when I’m on if you’d like to discuss any of this!


P.S.  Dragon Soul 10 races on Friday!

Posted in VoN News, WoW | 10 Comments


So, it’s been about a month since I’ve posted and it’s about time.  There is so much changing in the guild on a daily basis that it’s hard to keep track of.  First, I apologize for slacking off about putting up Boss Kill pictures.  We haven’t been the greatest about taking pictures lately.  Well, we’ve never been good at it so let’s move on.


We currently have 3 10-man groups raiding and 1 25-man group.  We have one group that is 3/8 heroic modes, one group that is 2/8 heroic modes and one that’s working on Madness.  The 25-man group has gone 6/8 and should be on Madness shortly.  We’ve started a rated battleground group and while it’s sputtered a little bit, we’ve seen our share of success.  Congratulations to everyone on their in-game success especially to Darria and his 10-man group for being persistent on Heroic Ultraxion.  More importantly, I think we’ve really started building a community of players that really enjoy each other’s company regardless of raid achievements.   I think, ultimately, this is what we envisioned when we came back to play and I’m thankful that everyone has bought into this.


That being said, one of our goals was to eventually begin 25-man progression raids.  Yes, Madness on 25!  Spine on 25!  Heroics on 25!  It will be like a Monster Truck Rally but with 2.5 times the excitement! So, I will post a guild meeting for this Monday and starting either next week or the week after, we will start doing full-bore 25-man raids on weekdays.  People may have to do several things with their set-up.  Tone down graphic settings, shut off superfluous add-ons, pray to whatever God you worship, wang chung and have fun!  Additionally, I will be posting somewhat of a depth chart later this week to see how we shape up for 25-mans.


Man up, people!  The Easter Bunny is coming and those aren’t eggs in his basket!  It’s 25-man loot!  For all of us!

Posted in VoN News | 7 Comments


So, we’re into week 3 or is it week 4 of the continuation of Vanguard of Norrath.  We have 2 consistent raid teams, one foray into rated battlegrounds and a consistent 25 man so far.  We’re hoping for a 3rd consistent raid team but the times and raid leaders are still a little bit funky.  Additionally, we are in need for a little bit more of a bench that includes ranged dps, healers & tanks.  Otherwise, I think our progress to build a guild and a community has been right on track.  I think our goal is sustainability and we only get to that point when we ensure we have a good core group of players who simply enjoy playing this game with each other and it seems that we’re building that on an every day basis.


Some congratulatory notes first.  Congratulations on Heroic Morchok kills.  Also, congratulations on 2 well-deserved rated battleground wins (artwork coming soon I believe).  Let’s keep up the good work!

Posted in VoN News | 95 Comments


I guess we’ve been at this for about a week and while there are still items that need to be done (application, raid scheduling, bosses dying, etc…), I wanted to write a welcome to all our new guild members.  I’ve played with several of you throughout my time in WoW and I’m familiar with the rest of you.  I’m sure I speak for all of us that are already a part of VoN, that we thank you for joining the guild and we hope that this community continues to grow while maintaining the principles it was founded on.  We’ve all been part of the grind that WoW can be and while we like to be successful in raiding, we want to make sure our guild members have fun and we’ll always firmly put the guild before progression.  We still believe that WoW can be a fun, casual game that can be played with civility and respect.  That being said, we also believe that WoW is, for many people, a place players go looking to enjoy themselves and enjoy the company of their guild members without the stresses of other parts of their lives intruding.  So, please be respectful of your other guild members and remember we’re here to enjoy ourselves.


So, some housecleaning items.  We need you to declare your toons and your raid availability in the forums.  I’m trying to put together groups that will be successful with a mix of experienced raiders and some of our less experienced ones.  We also need to determine at what level of raiding we may throw some people in.  While we do still subscribe to the casual nature of the guild, it would be unfair to a raid to throw in a toon that hasn’t gotten the appropriate gear, gems, enchants etc… for the raiding content.  Also, we’d like to gel these teams so that they can work on progression together and gain some cohesiveness and chemistry.


The last thing is that we ask for patience from everyone, we’re only a week in and there will be things that fall through the cracks.  We hope to be successful in raiding but above all we hope to be able to build a long-lasting guild.  That being said, these things take time. 

Again, welcome all!  Glad you’re here!


Posted in VoN News | 1 Comment

ATTENTION People Wanting to Raid.

2 people does not a raid make.  Let’s go people.  There are some of you whom I’m very familiar with so it’s not as much of an issue.  There are some that I am not.  So, please post.   – Orielle


Right here, kids. Gogo.


If anyone has any trouble using the forums or posting in any forum, please email me:


EDIT: HEY GUYS. PLEASE POST IN THE THREAD I LINKED ^ and not as a comment on this post. If you just joined the website, please come back in a few hours so one of us has a chance to move you into the right permission group.


Posted in VoN News, WoW | 8 Comments

Dead Dragon


Deathwing is dead! Full-size screenshot after the jump:

Continue reading »

Posted in VoN News, WoW | 11 Comments

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