Every guild that has attempted to complete the arduous Scarab Lord quest chain will have their own story to tell. And the way in which each guild has embarked upon this endeavour is telling of their leadership, their character, and their moxie.
Some guilds panicked and colluded with the opposition faction to cheat their way to the mount. Others surrendered the challenge and opened their credit cards to buy their mounts. And a few simply got lucky that the server was entirely unprepared for the War Effort, degrading their achievement. However for Cyrus this was an honest, epic journey that was won through dedication, determination and damn hard work!
Selecting the right candidate to support as our designated Scarab Lord hopeful was really where half the battle was won. Some months ago we asked if anyone was interested in going for it, and when Maitai stepped forward we knew he was the perfect choice. Popular enough to inspire the guild to help, selfish enough to keep demanding it throughout the long nights, and cheerful enough to keep everyone positive while they slaved away in their virtual caves in Silithus slaughtering bugs for 38 thousand drops!
Maitai played his role to perfection in keeping morale high, and everyone was enthusiastic to rally around him. But he was given an unlikely boost when we discovered that several "top" guilds on our server, from both factions, had planned all along to collude in order to prevent other guilds from achieving Scarab Lord status, and monopolise the caves for themselves.
This collusion - sharing caves and requesting the enemy to kill players of their own faction, even reporting locations of our members - is the most spineless act I have witnessed in MMO gaming in our 11 year history. To not only attempt to deny your own faction one of the most epic events in WoW history, but to also deny it to yourselves is beyond pathetic, and shows completely the wrong mentality towards MMO gaming. No pride, no honour, no confidence, no sense of achievement, no glory. What was even the point?
But if this collusion was supposed to dissuade us, it backfired completely and only motivated us to double our efforts, fight back against the colluding Horde and Alliance rats, and make sure we were successful in our mission to mount Maitai! There was no way we were going to let these pitiful weasels stop us.
We started with an 8:30 am raid in Blackwing Lair to kill the first three bosses and unlock the Silithus bug grind. We knew that the bugs were going to be the obvious challenge of the quest and that it would all hinge on this, so we gave ourselves as much time to get started as possible. Waking up at that hour and having a full raid to get us started was awesome in itself - members booking days off work, making special arrangements to be there remotely, this was a great start!
We then moved to Silithus, which was to be our home for the next several days. We went straight for a hive, and immediately came up against a large number of Horde already controlling the area. Thankfully Maitai had prepared for this by gifting everyone seemingly unlimited Goblin Sapper Charges, so we duly charged in and destroyed the superior number of Horde in no time.
We were heavily outnumbered, however, so decided to play a little trick on them - we held a secure choke point position deep inside one of the caves, and had everyone else hearthstone back to the base in Cenarion Hold, and run back into the Horde who were respawning outside. From their perspective it must have looked like we had double our numbers as this was our 'second' push, and after killing them again they seemed to back off and go contest somewhere else for a few hours!
It wasn't until a little later into the evening that the Horde and Alliance collusion really began to affect us - we had held our ground throughout all of the day time, and had a lot of fun fighting off the Horde. But it eventually became clear that we were not fighting a fair fight, and the collusion guilds showed their hand.
Karma, Exploding Labrats and Prestige Gaming from the Alliance side, and MEOW, Resist and Cicada from the Horde side didn't have the belief in themselves that they could achieve Scarab Lord in a fair way, so opted for the loser way of cheating. They worked together to overrun the caves, helped each other by sharing our movements and locations, and watched as we were overrun by the summoned Horde players killing only our members, while their colluding Alliance players spammed childish emotes in joy. This was totally against the spirit of the game, and was quite frustrating at first to deal with.
However we always managed to stick to our plans, find a spot to farm, and stay fluid enough to capitalise on any weaknesses in their coverage. We made steady progress and never considered giving up. Truth be told, the PvP battles we had over these few days were so much fun, and was everything that was missing from Phase 2. The guild held up strong, came out on top in most situations where we had half a chance, was disciplined and focused, and really made me proud!
The next day or two were full on farming fests. We had established our presence in Silithus and shown that we would not quit, and always found a viable spot to farm. In fact the Horde started leaving us alone to the extent that our biggest problem was fighting off other Alliance players who were taking advantage of our sanctuary, and attempting to tag our mobs!
The only good bug is a dead bug...
Outside of the collusion, there were three Alliance guilds that seemed to be going for Scarab Lord in a serious way and with appropriate numbers - ourselves, Banish and Faithe. We eventually joined forces to throw the Horde out of the Western caves and lock down the entire area. We split the 3 caves between our guilds, and got to farming. For a while the Horde would send in numbers to try to reclaim the territory, but the three of our guilds were always able to communicate and hold them back.
And this is where we remained for the bug grind in Silithus until we were done! Horde abandoned all plans of overthrowing us, and again our only serious threat was smaller Alliance groups entering the safety of our caves and trying to out-tag us for mobs. Our only defence here was to be quicker and more tenacious.
We were on pretty much a 24/7 shift pattern for our time in Silithus, and I think everyone involved in some way actually had a pretty good time! Of course it went on for too long, and we wouldn't want to do it ever again, but it was really great to chill with the guild and bond over something that we would all be proud of achieving. The whole guild really did rally around this and put in an enormous effort, and we are a stronger team for it.
Once we were done in Silithus we very quickly rattled off the entirety of the (many many) remaining quest chains. There were open world dragons to kill, raids to complete, bosses to down, even a baby shark! We did all of this in peak hours, and were pretty lucky with drop rates. This meant that we were ready and prepared to complete the final step and bang the gong as soon as the War Effort was completed, even if it was finished on day one, which was always our plan.
The final night was exactly what you might expect from the biggest MMO developer in history, backed by the deep multi-billion dollar pockets - a complete mess. Horde were gathered at the gong hoping to control the area, Alliance were waiting at Cenarion Hold ready to push in. Everyone was just waiting, waiting, waiting for the War Effort to be delivered and for the first person to bang that gong. We had strategised this and came up with a very cunning plan to give Maitai his best chance to be the first to do it. But all plans fell by the wayside when the entire server crashed, everyone was disconnected, and most of us ported right back to the starting area. This prevented us from being the first to bang the gong, but as soon as we ran back and fought through the delays, lag and stuttering, we banged it again and Maitai became a Scarab Lord!
We had planned for this moment for weeks. Sappers and Light of Elune's at the ready, we will kill them all in 5... 4... 3... 2... Kput! Dead servers!
Despite an anti-climactic ending, this was an amazing effort and Maitai did an incredible job researching, preparing and motivating us all to complete it. We did it together in the right way, we maintained our reputation and integrity, and we were ready for any timing or situation that could have occurred on our server. Due to the War Effort taking forever to complete and missing a reset, there may be a few more Scarab Lords than there should be, but at least three of them did it the right way and didn't need to rely on anything but their members and their good standing in the Alliance community to get it done.
Well done members of Cyrus! And well done to Banish and Faithe - we salute you!