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Why enmity means success to these vile rogues

Lurking above
So let's talk about ganking and getting ganked -- vile, nasty, evil rogues. How WoW players rage against rogues! You'd think an entire collective of them would be utterly reviled by the player community -- but not this group, which is such a straight-up gang that many of its sap-and-drop victims actually become cross-faction buddies. Vile Thorn of Defias Brotherhood (EU-H), an all-rogue guild that recently packed up shop and moved from another slowly stagnating roleplay, is probably the amicable gank squad you'll ever come across (or that'll come across you -- you know what we mean ...).

With an ironclad one-kill rule and a hankering for cross-faction roleplay, Vile Thorn takes no prisoners when it comes to fostering realm-wide roleplaying and world PvP. Its roster shows no sign of tanks, healers or other DPS classes; this group is utterly dedicated to its dark duties. GM Arli reports a warm welcome from players on Defias Brotherhood, both in character and out, after the guild's weekend sprint in search of a wider roleplaying community. To gank, or not to gank -- why is death at the hands of the Vile Thorns so compelling that one guild of factional enemies even realm-transferred along with its nemesis?

Arli the rogueMain character Arli
Guild Vile Thorn
Former realm The Venture Co (EU)
Current realm Defias Brotherhood (EU)

WoW Insider: A pack of Horde rogues sneaking up on unsuspecting prey -- sounds nasty! Just how nasty a group is Vile Thorn, anyway?

Arli: Well, in character we are a pretty nasty bunch and have a policy that all Alliance must die. So we are supposed to attack and kill any we meet on our travels, no matter the level or what they are doing. The guild has been around about five years ... The excerpts below are taken from the guild history on our forum, as written by our long-time guild leader, Anethrax :

The Vile Thorns were founded by the Scourge during the third war to act as the Scourge's scouts, saboteurs and were also known to be used as Assassins. They would be sent ahead of the main Scourge force to take out any sentries around an enemy key position or to sabotage key enemy defences.

The Vile Thorns were eventually brought into the Horde under the blessing of Sylvanas and the Forsaken with two conditions. One condition was it was lead by a Forsaken, one of dark lady's most loyal subjects and would make sure there was no sign of corruption within this new group of rogues. The second condition was that the Vile Thorns would allow other races in; this was met with some protest from some of the remaining original Thorns.


One of the main themes is that once you join Vile Thorn, you are now part of the family, so take an oath and then put your Thorn brothers and sisters above all others. We take keen retribution if you attack one of our family!

But I guess the poor sap you just sapped while he was out questing doesn't necessarily know or care about your roleplaying mission, does he? How do you keep the rest of the realm from hating the very sight of your guild name?

We have a one-kill guild policy which we uphold very strongly -- no camping allowed. Of course, if they rez and come after us in a red-mist rage, then sure, we face plant them again. But this way, we don't overly disrupt any roleplay or questing -- kill, move on. Although anyone attacking a Horde settlement is fair game for a bit of camping, to make sure they don't want to be a tourist again. (Get off my lawn!)

We encourage the Thorns to stay in character as much as possible and always kill and hunt in character. Adds a real fun dimension to PvP. We still get some that log a level 1 Horde and rage, but I explain politely that, well, it is a PvP server and we didn't camp. We rarely get people relogging and raging; the few that have, I've often ended up chatting to them for a while about the guild and playing rogues and stuff. Some have even started rogues and joined us; people are generally cool about it when you explain things.

Stalking prey
We understand that you maintained a pretty good out-of-character relationship with players back on your first realm, isn't that right?

Oh yes, we got on well with the other Horde RP guilds and the RP/PVP Alliance-side, particularly with the Wardens of Azeroth. We had many a fight against them, ad hoc and arranged. They played fair; if just a few of us, they would play with a no-healers rule on their side.

We had some good cross-faction RP, too. My character, Arli, has had a long running roleplay situation with an Alliance rogue called Robi (Robinas), which started with a bit of ad hoc RP where they kidnapped Arli. The roleplay around it lasted a week and ended in a battle at Brill, where the Thorns took Robi and we had a hostage exchange -- and of course a W-PvP battle around it. That was a couple of years ago, though, involving a few Alliance RP/PvP guilds, when the server was much more active. We also arranged a few W-PvP events -- the battles for Thandol Span and then Deadwind Pass were led by the guild -- but as server population dwindled, it just stopped being feasible.

Arli and Robi
So if we popped open a /who on Vile Thorn on a typical evening, where would we spot members? What does a typical game night entail?

It's kind of random! We have a guild meet each Friday, followed by a hunt on Alliance lands. We do fight nights where we help each other improve in PvP, as well as guild runs of dungeons for guild XP or old raids, etc., just purely for the fun of it. We 5-rogued the Cata normals a couple of weeks ago with no problems, again stealthing through in character -- it was a fun night. Often you'll find a few of us in BGs, some roleplaying, other doing dailies ... the usual mix of things. We have guild chat as roleplay via the use of an imaginary comms device, so we all can chat in character as we do other things as well, plus an out of character channel for all the usual gossip.

I'll bet the Raid Finder has made a huge impact on your ability to more fully round out your characters. Are most of your members Raid Finder regulars?

Some of them have really taken advantage of the Raid Finder and geared up for PvE too, although we all concentrate on at least basic PvP gear first. Many (me included) just don't have the time. Working full time, my game time tends to be on guild things and PvP.

What about Fangs of the Father legendary daggers? Do you have a system you're working through to nab them for your members, or does an all-rogue roster simply push this into the realm of each man for his own?

Well, as a guild of all rogues, it's kind of tricky ... Recuperate can only take you so far! So, as a guild no we don't have plans. We hope to find a friendly raiding guild that might take us along for the pick-pocket part at least, but as we are new to the server, it may take us a while.

Cross-faction relations
So what might we find Vile Thorn engaged in out in the world at large?

I'm signing us up for any W-PvP events arranged via the Defias RP forum, of course, plus we have our own guild RP and interactions with other Horde (and sometimes Alliance) guilds.

On The Venture Co, we would often have a guild of the month, which would be an Alliance guild we would target for a month. The Thorn with the most kills would win a gold prize; proof was screenshots posted on the forum and points would be awarded on a sliding scale, depending on level killed and how many took part in the kill. Of course, this was kicked off with an RP post taking out a contract on said guild!

We also set up bases in different zones and patrol those. We have a guild mount of the skeletal purple warhorse, and it does look impressive when we walk around in a group on matching mounts and all red-masked (wearing the tabard and a red Defias mask are the only RP uniform we insist on).

How about structured PvP? Is Vile Thorn into Battlegrounds and Rated Battlegrounds?

We have talked of RBGs -- but again, all rogues would be tricky, although Arathi Basin is a possibility if we are careful. We often go into Battlegrounds as a team. No one quite expects a group of rogues to be guarding a flag. We don't use voice chat at the moment so coordinate usually IC via guild chat. We have players who don't like to speak in groups, others who worry about their spoken English, and others whose PC is in a noisy place, so we use other methods. We are looking into having one of the group as caller in W-PvP, calling out targets via raid warning -- this would be great for a lowbie to do as well. So we find different ways to work together.

What about Arena -- is that productive at all with an all-rogue team?

Most of the guild Arena, often in two-rogue teams. I think three-rogue teams have been tried too, but pairs work well. Some have friends of other classes they PvP with, too. However, we are not PvP elitists, so little attention is paid to Arena rating -- it's often just for the enjoyment of it.

Surrounded!
I'll bet you have many more players running subtlety specs than the average rogue population! Is there a spec you've found to be spectacularly useful or a horrifying hindrance for rogues with your guild's playstyle?

I will admit, most of us are subtlety rogues, and most leveled that way simply because it's such a fun spec to play. We have a couple of assassination rogues too; they are nice to have around with pesky plate wearers like Gerrond of Wardens of Azeroth, our nemesis when on The Venture Co (we loved him for it, too). I don't think any play combat for PvP, although one of our biggest RP enemies on TVC was a combat rogue called Shayanan, who regularly beat us up in PvP -- but again, a nice guy we got on with really well out of character.

It sounds like you had some great connections on The Venture Co. So what prompted a move to a new realm?

Sadly, our old realm is slowly dying. At the start of the year, we ... all agreed that a move was the only solution left. So Defias Brotherhood was chosen, since it is the most active RP-PvP realm.

Incredibly, some of your old enemies have switched realms to keep up the enmity, isn't that right?

We tried various ways to try and rekindle W-PvP as well as roleplay on The Venture Co, but unfortunately the pool of RPers just got too small. I even created an Alliance rogue and druid RP-PvP guild (Brotherhood of Shadow) to give us some opposition -- but again, it struggled for players. My good in-game friend Robi is guild leader, and it has also moved that guild to Defias, so we are looking forward to more cross-faction RP and PvP with them once all settled.

Any tips or observations on the guild transfer experience? What's gone well? What's been rougher than expected?

The mechanics of the move was very straightforward, so I have to compliment Blizzard on that one. Dianthaa did a lot of research into the existing Horde and Alliance RP guilds and posted on our forum. I already had an account on Defiasrp, which is the Defias RP forum, so posted that we would be coming along and what we are about, as well as on the official Blizzard server forums.

It's all gone well. The RP guilds and RPers on the server have made us really welcome (/waves to Cult of Shadow), as well as those we have randomly joined in W-PvP in Elwynn (/waves to Tides of Misery). The only rough bit, I guess, was getting our guild lore accepted as being legitimate, but we are sticking with it and hope all will turn out OK. We have found that no matter how much you read up on existing guilds and ongoing roleplay, you don't really get a feel for inter-guild relations until you actually meet them in character and have a bit of a gossip.

Patrolling Tarren Mill
So now that you're settling in, what's next?

We only moved at the end of last week and still have some others who are planning to move when they can. We are in the process of rebuilding after the loss of Thorns due to the state of The Venture Co plus the effect of the move, so we are looking for more rogues willing to RP in the Thorn style (info on this is on the main page of www.vilethorn.com) and come stab some Alliance with us. We do want to get our RP style established on Defias so are taking recruitment very slowly, however. We have taken in a few that seemed to understand what we are looking for.

We are also looking for other guilds to W-PvP with -- ideally, RP-PvP guilds or RP-friendly ones like Tides of Misery. The officer team is very optimistic that we will make good contacts here. The people have been friendly and there is a lot of opportunity for us to meet like-minded individuals ... and go kill with them!

Join up or join in the skirmishes by making contact with Vile Thorn on the web.
"I never thought of playing WoW like that!" -- and neither did we, until we talked with these players, from Game of Thrones' Hodor (Kristian Nairn), to a blind ex-serviceman and the guildmates who keep him raiding as a regular, to a 70-year-old grandma who not only tops her raid's DPS charts and wields a legendary but is her guild's GM. Know someone we should feature? Email lisa@wowinsider.com.

Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

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