Since the typical WoW Insider reader has been around the block in Azeroth more than a few times, when we hear about a guild that's been going strong for many years, we tend to intuitively grok the associated ramifications. We understand the strength and adaptability it takes to weather entire gaming eras of personalities, patches, and expansions. It's the strength of the willow that bends in the wind yet does not break -- or, say, the steady strength and focus of the night elves as they traverse the centuries in harmony with their environment.
Gazing into the legacy of Nature's Grasp, a kaldorei-exclusive guild on Defias Brotherhood (EU-RP-PvP), we see a guild that has seen many different shapes and leaders over the years. "On our server there have been a number of night elf guilds that have been established," notes GM Arkil, "but all have been absorbed into Nature's Grasp at some point, making us the go-to guild for any night elf involvement in events, and we're frequently considered as 'the' guild that represents Darnassus."
As we've seen from our interviews with race- and class-specific guilds such as wry blood elves, adventurous rogues, and fiercely opinionated orcs, the personalities of specialized guilds can become quite narrowly focused. One has to wonder if the players behind Nature's Grasp might be as reclusive as the kaldorei they play. Apparently not. "We've been active a lot during Mists, we have a hefty constant playerbase, and we have weekly events most weeknights and retro raid runs during the weekends," Arkil says. "There's a great sense of community in the guild with a number of artists and musicians who share their work on our forums at natures-grasp.net, and we have an annual RL guild meet in some European location, which is a lot of fun."
Main character Arkil, night elf balance druid
Guild Natures Grasp
Realm Defias Brotherhood (EU-RP-PvP)
WoW Insider: Nature's Grasp -- even the name of your guild exudes mysticism and a coolly shimmering approach to magic. Your guild is first and foremost a roleplaying guild, isn't that right?
Arkil: Nature's Grasp is a night elf-only roleplaying guild; we accept only night elf alts and also have a policy against including death knights into our ranks. The Order stands as an independent force, distinct from the known groups within night elf Lore and strive to protect our people and our territories.
As all night elves, we follow the law of Darnassus, laid down by The Sisterhood of Elune and the Cenarion Circle, acting in service to High Priestess Tyrande Whisperwind and Archdruid Malfurion Stormrage. The Order is split into four wings, each offering our members a different path to which they can align their character, in keeping with the structure of night elf society; our wings represent religion, nature, arms, and power.
Nature's Grasp has managed to absorb quite a few other night elf guilds over the years. What factors do you think lie behind your guild's staying power? What keeps the guild and its appeal going strong?
"Absorb" may not be the best choice of words. Nature's Grasp is a very old guild, and over the years our members have built strong bonds and time-told friendships that have really strengthened us and kept the guild thriving. We actively encourage and enjoy participating with other night elf guilds as when there are others that may share the same in-character morals but do not share the same in-character goals. We're strong advocates of bringing more roleplay to the night elf homeland in Kalimdor, and thanks to our dedication and friendly working relationship with other guilds and Orders across the server, they frequently point people in our direction who want to engage in night elf roleplay.
When many players think of night elves, they think of Fandral Staghelm. Has Nature's Grasp worked much with that storyline? What are the guild's perspectives on current night elf politics?
We had a minor involvement in that storyline, as one of the characters involved in the guild at the time was a die-hard Staghelm fan! The guild primarily remains loyal to Tyrande, and many of our members also hold the leadership of Malfurion Stormrage in high esteem since his return to Darnassus. The world lore helps form many of our events, guild movements and helps to establish our priorities, but the majority of our events and storylines are our own, taking influence and inspiration from how the world is changing around us.
Do you follow any particular night elf traditions or regularly mark racial holidays?
Over the past few years, Nature's Grasp have made a tradition of hosting an annual Lunar Festival celebration in Nighthaven. During the celebration we have a memorial ceremony in which we ask our friends from across the server to speak and honour their fallen comrades, as well as food, drinks and a magnificent fireworks show. We invite everyone from the roleplaying community, and the event is usually well attended and highly anticipated.
Another major event is also the Midsummer closing festival, where we mark the end of the long days and welcome the longer nights. Other events are more lore- and player-based, such as sermons, ceremonies, and rituals.
Does the group's roleplay focus affect how you approach any game content related to the night elves? Is there certain PvE content you avoid doing, for example, because it doesn't fit with the lore of the guild?
Like most guilds, we have an out of character/in character policy, allowing our members to play the game in any way they choose and run any content that their hearts desire so long as they are respectful that they're championing our guild name and tabard and don't charge about he world causing havoc with our friends and allies.
Many of our members are active PVP enthusiasts, and others partake in a regular Sunday night raiding expedition. We wouldn't restrict any out-of-character experiences, and our members know what and what isn't appropriate to translate into an in-character scenario.
Do you find the guild's activities limited by the roles or classes your group is missing because of its racial exclusivity?
Night elf playable classes include warrior, hunter, rogue, priest, mage, monk, and druid (and also death knights, but we do not accept them for lore reasons). Having a strong flavour to the guild is an enhancement rather than a limitation. The night elf timeline is a vast resource from which we can spin many stories. Whilst we may not have any paladins or warlocks in our ranks, for example, that has never stopped us finding plot lines with those classes. When we run out of character PvE and PvP content and could do with the aid of a shaman or paladin, we can always turn to our allies to give a helping hand.
I understand there's quite an artistic community entwined with Natures Grasp. Tell us about that!
We have a vibrant, rich source of inspiration among our ranks thanks to the brilliance of some of our talented artists, musicians, and writers. We've dedicated a chunk of our forums to display the writing talents of some members, which is often frequented by visitors to our site and enjoyed thoroughly by own members. We have a number of talented artists and illustrators, some who work professionally and between them visually realise one another's characters. Amongst our ranks are also a number of talented musicians and singers whose work I'm sure will be the talk of the town in no time. Nature's Grasp is always extra excited to invite creative and talented people into our family.
What activities might be included in a typical week for the guild?
First and foremost, each week on a Thursday evening we hold an in-character guild meeting at our headquarters in Darnassus; this has always been the case. Other activities would typically include an event or two based around the current plot line that is going on and then perhaps other light-hearted events such as ceremonies, training, and other random bits of roleplay just to give people a purpose to get together. Weekends are often a great time to encourage small roleplay scenarios in lieu of the current storylines, as well as getting together to tackle some game content out of character.
Reaching even further is Natures Grasp's annual real-world meetup. Tell us where you last met and what you're planning next!
The annual guild meet has developed in recent years, having staged four consecutively in the guild's nearly eight years of existence. So far we've had four meetings in our soon to be eight years of existing, firstly Holland, then Sweden, then Holland again and then Belgium. This year we're planning to bring the guild meeting to England.
Last year's meet took us to exploring some of Antwerpen's finest eating and drinking establishments, touring the beautiful historic city, all of us guys donning a load of tasteful temporary tattoos and lots of social games and late-night talking. It was really a wonderful experience and bought a large chunk of our members from all across the continent to spend time together away from a computer. We have a couple of members who have met through the guild and gone on to marry and have children -- a prime example of how close a community we have in Nature's Grasp.
Let's end on a lighter note that I always enjoy asking. What's the coolest thing you never get tired of in game that's related to being night elves?
I believe it's a shared consensus that the night elves' lore is so rich and their world so magnificent and shrouded in mystery and wonder by the younger races that it allows us the freedom to adventure not only in the world, but in the history and psychological marvel that would be the mind of a being that's lived so long and witnessed so much. There is something for everyone within this race. If you like religious RP, military RP, nature RP, or magical RP, you will find it all within the race of a night elf and Nature's Grasp cater to all of this too.
And the tired old thing you're sick to death of newbies or others saying or doing in game (again, related to night elves)?
Night elves are one of the toughest races to roleplay, seeing as you always have to think outside the box and try not to act like any ordinary human would. Your character has most likely seen a few centuries pass, some have even seen a few millennia, and that would probably give them a different perspective on the world and its inhabitants.
But most people don't see that. They see the aristocratic, tree-hugging, vegetarian, Tolkien elves -- or humans with long ears. There are many common lore mistakes throughout applications made to us, but we ensure to help our applicants understand more about the complexities of night elf lore before we accept them.
Read more in our series on class- and race-exclusive guilds:
Blood elves continue their people's story with self-deprecating humor
Death knights squeeze WoW in ice-fisted death grip
Druids shred raid content by tooth and claw
Injecting draenei culture into mainstream Azeroth
Dwarves indulge in rollicking good world PvP
Gnomes ratchet to guild level 25 on steam-drive gnomish power
Goblin roleplay campaign inspires goblin NPC
Hunters take aim across Azeroth
Orc clan leader offers fierce perspectives on RP, world PvP
Rogues stealth and stab their way into friendly player antagonism
Tauren guild stampedes beyond roleplaying
Trolls savagely roleplay the revenge of the Zandalari
Worgen run wild across Azeroth
"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.