We talked with GM Nymaway to sniff out what keeps a pack of feral shapechangers thriving in an active roleplaying community.
WoW Insider: I think even non-roleplaying WoW players can recognize the immediate roleplaying potential of a worgen character, especially if they've run a new worgen through the atmospheric Gilneas starting experience. What drew you to the worgen concept?
Nymaway: The thought of roleplaying a character that once lived a normal human life, to have it all taken away by a single bite, intrigued me. There is so much you can do with your character in regards to emotions. One moment your character seems perfectly fine. She is in her human form, but something has set her off. She loses her temper, and the next thing you know she has turned into a werewolf-type creature throwing a table across a room of a tavern.
Also, what could be more intimidating than seeing some one coming at you as a human, then shifting into a giant beast on the battlefield?
Main character Nymaway La'Fae, Gilnean worgen druidess
Guild The Päck
Realm Emerald Dream (US-Alliance)
Nymaway: I had always hoped they would make the worgen a playable race. I had given up my gaming subscription for a long time, but when I read about worgen being the next playable race, it brought back my interest in the game completely. When I got the new expansion and made Nymaway, I had a feeling in my gut that I was going to really enjoy this race.
WoW Insider: OK, so you're all worgen. What do you do in game besides howl, run around on all fours, and emote /sniff?
The Päck makes it a point to try to protect the Alliance, showing them that they are not monsters. They used to be just like everyone else.
Almost every single night our calendar is full of events for our guildmates to participate in. We have a wide variety of things that we do, such as world PvP, dueling tournaments, and roleplay events. We also have events such as fashion shows, legacy raid nights, and even have a rated battleground team.
We have a group within the guild called The Alpha Guard, which is a group selected to protect the alpha of the pack. They have to go through a ceremony and recite an oath to become a part of this. We also have a stealth squad called the DreadFangs, which consists of feral druids and rogues, that we bring out into the world to take down single targets quickly and disappear, leaving the Horde wondering what happened to them. We also have forged strong alliances with other guilds and run massive world PvP events with them, as well.
Let's remind readers what classes and roles you might be missing out on by having nothing but worgen in the guild?
When The Päck first began, it was difficult at first not to be able to have paladins and shaman, and a lot of people gave us grief about it, saying that we would never make it. We ignored those people and pressed on.
As The Päck grew, I began looking for a possible alliance with another guild. It wasn't until I watched Clan Battlehammer, which is an all-dwarf guild, march in Stormwind. It was then I knew that we found the perfect alliance. They had classes we needed, and we had classes they needed. I began writing RP stories calling out to the Battlehammers on the Emerald Dream forums, and they responded.
Needless to say, we have forged an amazing alliance and close friendship. We help one another out. We run events with them every Friday. It is really great to see a pack of worgen and a bunch of dwarves running across the battlefield.
The interesting thing about having a one-race guild and being limited to certain classes is after a while, you learn to make things happen with out those classes. In the end, as long as you know what you are doing with the classes you have, you can make just about anything happen.
Does the guild raid?
In Pandaria, we have been doing our PvE raids mostly with pack members only, and one of the challenges we face is having limited healers. We only have priests and druids for the raids, which can make it difficult at times -- but it is all trial and error, really. We try switching up certain healers for raid heals only and others strictly for tank healing. However, when we are missing certain DPSers or healers, we still ask Clan Battlehammer members if they would like to come along.
You don't even bring alts?
We are a worgen-only guild; we are not accepting any other race. We have alliances with multiple guilds, and those who have non worgen alts, we try our best to get their alts into an allied guild. We have a chat channel that allies and alts can log into to stay in communication with The Päck.
It sounds like most of your focus, then, is on roleplaying.
A lot of our marches and formations that we do are in character. We tend to avoid out-of-character speaking with the public when we are doing these events. We do have roleplaying events, and our character promotion ceremonies are strictly in roleplay as well. There is also a lot of us who partake in random roleplay within the community of Emerald Dream.
The Alpha Guard group that was mentioned earlier is not only used in world PvP to protect the alpha, but many in the group roleplay as bodyguards at big, public RP events. The DreadFangs usually have an RP meeting before they go off into the world to take down certain targets.
So how does the worgen storyline affect official relations with other guilds in a RP sense?
At one point in time, there used to be an all-undead guild that we would target, and they would do the same to us. There seemed to be a natural in-character hatred. Every time The Päck would be out in the ruins of Gilneas for an RP event, this undead guild would attack us.
As for the Alliance, it has been interesting. We have had guilds absolutely hate us in RP. They call us outcasts, dogs, mutts, and other names. They have even gone so far as to claim we smell like dogs and say there is nothing human about us at all. Then there are the ones who come running to us, begging us to bite them in RP to turn them, which is something most of us decline.
Sustaining in-character antagonism can be challenging. Have you had any issues with that spilling over into shunning or more personal conflict?
There have been RP rivalries that were supposed to be strictly RP, but it has bled into real life and caused conflicts. There will always be someone who will take roleplay too seriously and let it cause them emotional distress in real life. We try our best to counsel those who take it like that.
Do you require any specific character behaviors ( such as using one form or the other at specific times) or player habits ( such as hearthing in a specific city) from guild members?
When The Päck lines up for marches, we do require a variety of things. One of them is you must have a Gilnean mount, which is the Swift Mountain Horse. When riding this mount, everyone must be in their human form. We usually time our formations, and everyone will dismount at the same time. Then everyone will shift to their worgen form at the same time. We have stopped people in their tracks when doing this, and it is always fun to watch the reaction of some one who has never seen 30 humans shift into their worgen form at the same time.
Sounds like quite a sight to behold! Tell us about a couple of the worgen-focused events your guild has done.
We have had The Päck run all the way from Stormwind to the Ruins of Gilneas, and out there in the area known as The Blackwald, there is a giant, hollowed-out tree. We call that the den, and we meet out there for certain RP events. We have our formation nights, which are the nights we practice our timing on dismounting, shifting in and out of worgen form at the same time.
I'll bet there are some weird dog-related jokes that become old standards in a guild of all worgen ...
Well, there always seems to be jokes about flea baths and rabies vaccinations. Also, there have been threats of being hit with a rolled-up newspaper, and there is always one person who will threaten to mark their territory if provoked.
Read our other interviews with race- and class-specific guilds:
"I never thought of playing WoW like that!" -- and neither did we, until we talked with Game of Thrones' Hodor (Kristian Nairn) ... a blind ex-serviceman and the guildmates who keep him raiding as a regular ... and a 70-year-old grandma who tops her raid's DPS charts as its legendary-wielding GM. Send your nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org.