|Haribo and co. assist Faleby|
with his Dreadsteed quest,
Gummy PriestIt was deep in the brush on the Isle of Dread, just south of Feathermoon Stronghold, that he finally caved in. I had been pursuing Haribo for months after a chance meeting when he offered to heal a party of us through 10-Man Scholomance. An undead priest, he came out of the woodwork of a guild named Forsaken Spirits, amazing me with his skills at healing. Scholomance was a brutal hour-and-a-half long ordeal and after having recently experienced a 45-minute power run thanks to the skilled players in Dirty Work, Inc., I knew exactly what type of player I needed to recruit. Kadrok and Graulm were most likely annoyed by my constant mention of this Priest and how desperately important it was to assimilate him. I needed a crew of players that set the bar high, virtual machetes slicing down any obstacles in our path. I fully intended to make Haribo one of those machetes. I harassed him for weeks, promising fame and glory in Molten Core and beyond. Each time he politely declined, but thanked me for considering him, and then proceeded to heal us in whatever dungeon we threw at him. I wouldn't take no for an answer. I stalked him until he was sick of hearing about Descendants of Draenor, and when I found him alone on the Isle of Dread one day, standing alone among a pile of slain chimaeras, I went in for the kill. The undead priest who took his name after his favorite brand of candy, finally accepted my offer and joined the guild.
It wasn't long before Haribo rose to the position of Priest Officer. As I continued to aggressively recruit, building our roster larger in preparation for Molten Core, he continued to heal our players through dungeons like a pro, spending his off-hours healing Annihilation in Alterac Valley. And when the time finally arrived to assemble 40 players and dive deep into the Core, Haribo drove the healers -- making assignments, spamming macros, even developing a system of "healing buddies" which allowed Ater and his crew of tanks to chain pull mobs, making our clears an order of magnitude faster. Haribo stood diligently by our side as we plowed through Vanilla content. It was his dedication to keeping people alive that not only helped us become one of the furthest progressed Horde guilds on Deathwing-US during Vanilla, he instilled within players a new found interest in healing, a role often ignored by the masses as dull, uninteresting, and insignificant. Those few players who mattered respected him for his ability. And hoped to learn from the master.When Haribo announced his retirement from raiding at the start of The Burning Crusade, there was nobody in line to take his place. It was a time of transition; we'd been playing the same characters since launch. Leveling alts wasn't nearly as commonplace as it is today, because leveling itself was an act of raw willpower. I had dabbled in a few alts myself, but pushing any one of them to Level 60 demanded months of work, night after night. So, we had mains and we were invested in them. As time ran out on Vanilla and we counted the days until the Dark Portal opened to Outland, many players took the opportunity to start anew. Our old investments were suffocating. The Burning Crusade introduced Paladins to the Horde, and many of our healers re-rolled in order to breathe clean air again. But while the torrent of pink names flooded guild chat upon our arrival in Outland, one white name quietly took an invite and began the journey of following in Haribo's footsteps.
|Nepster is spotted with Haribo moments|
before the release of The Burning Crusade,
The Dark Portal
The Rogue That Healed
Neps had been a part of Descendants of Draenor since late Vanilla, one of the many faces that populated our 40-Man roster. My earliest memory of him is running 40-Man Naxxramas with us on his rogue, Nepster. Quiet and polite, he kept to himself, but never hesitated to jump at a moment's notice when the time to raid was upon us. He would spend his off-hours plumbing the depths of PvP with some of the old-school players in DoD, namely Haribo. Neps soaked up Haribo's knowledge like a sponge, learning all of his tricks, his tactics, day by day growing wiser and adept at handling himself in emergency situations. It was through these late night PvP sessions that Neps began to feel the Priest bug biting. To him, healing in PvP was a dark art, not one that many players chose to take up. The majority of players rolling characters to PvP dumped their effort into damage dealers, and were quick to complain when they had no healers to support them. Neps learned very quickly about the law of supply and demand. And if he took his responsibility with enough seriousness, his expertise would always be in demand.
So while the freshly invited Paladins dominated our attention at the start of The Burning Crusade, Neps quietly leveled his Priest. And, as was his demeanor, he took every opportunity to assist with heals that he could. The newly introduced 5-Man Heroics were a real test of strength for a group. Today, most 5-Man heroics are facerolled; there was no facerolling in the heroic version of The Steamvault, Shadow Labyrinth or The Shattered Halls. Each pack of trash had to be meticulously crowd-controlled, and accidentally pulling a 2nd pack was a guaranteed wipe under normal conditions. Pugging a 5-Man Heroic in TBC was almost entirely unheard of -- you ran with people you knew and trusted to minimize the amount of time that was wasted.
If Neps was your healer, you had a fighting chance.
|Neps concurs on a successful |
first kill of High King Maulgar,
Everybody Loves NepsAs we ramped up to raid Gruul's Lair and Serpentshrine Cavern, Neps demonstrated a continued dedication to his fellow guildy. Whether it be assisting with a weekly Karazhan race between our various 10-Man teams, or helping another player become keyed, Neps never complained, never whined or moaned about repetitiveness or boredom. Every opportunity to assist in the healing department was a chance to flex his muscle, refine his skill, and fill the need that was so desperately sought after. Because of this affection toward his fellow guildy and his need to constantly improve, he made many friends in the process. His name soon became synonymous with Priest Heals whenever the topic came up. And, Neps always carried himself humbly, never spoke ill of anyone, never once revealing a loss of temper. He was, in short, the very definition of a model guild-member. He spoke rarely, but when he did, it was usually to deliver a dry, sarcastic punch-line, finishing someone else's joke, the virtual room filling with laughter as a result.
It was Neps' humble side that I felt players often underestimated. They mistook his solitude for an amateurish mentality, especially when it came to crediting his ability in raids having come from a PvP background. This was a foolish mistake. Unlike the PvP crowd which commonly talked a lot of shit and dissed one another openly, Neps kept his opinions to himself -- but he was no less aware of his opponents. It was from those late night PvP sessions, slowly developing as Haribo's apprentice, that he developed a keen sense of who were scrubs, and who were worth their salt. Other players could talk a big game, but Neps was quick to cut through the shit and tell if they were truly experts at the game, or just good at spinning more yarn. Once I caught wind of Neps' sixth sense, I moved quickly to make him the next Priest Officer. As expected, he humbly accepted.
Neps diligently served as Priest Officer through the remainder of The Burning Crusade, never once missing a raid, never once taking time off. His priority was his online family and keeping them alive through Lady Vashj, Kael'thas Sunstrider, Archimonde and Illidan the Betrayer. My trust in Neps grew to such a degree that I handed over the Master Looter and DKP import responsibilities to him, never once considering for even a moment that he would misappropriate an item or cook the books. And, when not honing his skills in dungeons or managing the priests, Neps returned to his original love of PvP -- his funny and always positive attitude drawing the attention of both Horde and Alliance players. It wasn't long before Neps himself had a following of fans. Descendants of Draenor's Ventrilo server soon became home to the enemy as they hopped in to chat with their favorite Priest. It soon became common knowledge in the guild that Neps was particularly fond of female players, and why wouldn't they be fond of him? He was never derogatory, never spoke in a sexist tone or demeaned them (as is very common in games where players are shrouded in anonymity), and was always friendly and supportive.
Neps was a charmer, loved by all. So, why was I hesitant to make him second-in-command?