Greetings and salutations!
On this day, exactly 5 years ago at 1 am, I founded the guild you all know today as [GSD] or Guardians of the Silver Dragons. We’ve come quite a way since then and the guild has known many changes and transformations over these years. Today, in celebration of the guild’s 5th anniversary, I take you with me on a journey that started five years ago. One that will hopefully continue for many more years to come, for this is our story.
Perhaps this isn’t something that is commonly known, although we don’t try to hide it or turn it into a secret, but GSD was originally a Dutch-speaking community. Funny how that goes, isn’t it? Back then, in 2013, everything was tied to servers. The megaservers, which you are all used to now, simply didn’t exist. This meant that every map instance in game was tied to a specific server, as were all the guild upgrades. Unfortunately, this meant that we could only recruit players from the same server. Not that recruiting was all that difficult back then. Many people were searching for a place they could call “home”, and our recruitment policy wasn’t quite as thorough as it is now.
And so, it goes, I founded the guild at 1 am not really expecting anyone to join a newly-found guild quickly. Oh boy, was I wrong. A mere 20 minutes after I had started the guild, our very first member joined. This member is still in the guild today, actually, and you all know her as Kordana. The last remaining dinosaur of old, of a time that only exists in the past. Okay, okay! Maybe that sounds a little bit too dramatic … .
After Kordana, many others swiftly followed until we had a decent member count of 48. With all the bi-weekly updates, we saw the game change in so many ways. Week after week we would team up to throw ourselves at the dungeons, fractals, new world bosses and other content. We would laugh, we would scream and we would cry. Quickly friendships started to form and people even met each other outside of the game, with weekly gaming sessions for some. As time went on, we fused with another guild and grew to a total count of 60 members. This is also the time when we started doing WvW sessions twice a week. Ahh, the memories! Just imagine 15 players, mostly new to WvW, all grouped up together and hitting their heads against the gates of StoneMist Castle! Did we get far the first few times? Not quite .. But we trained, we grew and eventually, we won!
Soon, other guilds started to recognise us on the battlefield, and off. GSD, somehow, had started to get a reputation of itself. We would be greeted in WvW by allied players, and other guilds sought us out to team up for guild missions. As the friendly community we are, we took on their call for aid and formed alliances. You won’t hear us talk about those often, as none of them have survived the pass of time.
The biggest change perhaps came in 2014, with the introduction of the megaservers. A year and a half had passed since the launch of the game, and so I had met several other players in game. As I called many of these people my friends, I wanted to take GSD to a new level. After a short survey (you all know I love those!), we polled our members to see if they would be interested in such a change. The majority was, and so, GSD went international!
Obviously, quite a few changes came when we did this. The first order of business? Get a new guild emblem! This is the emblem we still use today. Next to this, we also made changes to ranking-up, communication (website), our event system and new officers. Previously, I had been leading the guild mostly on my own but it had become clear that I couldn’t continue to do this with 5 planned events each week.
For quite a while, the guild and game flourished. We established new friendships, came up with new events and even started our own monthly magazine! Due to time restraints, however, this last one had to be cancelled after just a few editions. Finally, being able to make use of the megaservers, we recruited a more variety of players from different servers. More and more we started to become a family, one that is always there for each other no matter the problem.
With the announcement of Heart of Thorns in 2015, we were excited and hyped as a guild! For months we farmed gold and material so that we, as a guild, would be prepared to go and claim our guild hall and upgrade it to its fullest potential. Unfortunately, it was also in this year that a patch of drama entered the guild which nearly destroyed us. With the promise and addition of raids with HoT, also came some elitism and toxicity. As I was absent for quite a while, due to an emergency surgery, I didn’t have the proper time to focus on this issue and so … the guild split. After I had tried to address the issue time and time again, the main raid part of the guild decided to leave and left us behind. On one day, we had lost 14 members of GSD, which is quite a number for such a small guild as we are and included one of the officers.
After this dramatic disaster, we slowly picked up the pace yet again. With the help of Terrence and Becky as officers, we got the guild back on track. Yet again we recruited, made events and tried to get GSD to a place where it had been before. The event-structure of GSD at the time, however, put a lot of pressure on myself and the officers. With real life obligations, such as studies, I felt uncomfortable to continue leading the guild without being able to restructure it first. For this reason, in January 2017, I decided to put GSD on “inactive” and joined another guild for a while. This decision has been a very difficult one for me, but it also allowed me to focus on my studies and recharge my batteries.
When Summer came, and oceans of time with it, I left said guild and returned to GSD with a renewed energy and focus. And so, June of 2017, I restructured the guild once more in a drastic manner. This time I had learned from my mistakes. I limited the number of organised events as to put less pressure on myself, installed several ways of communication, looked into a new website, and recruited more officers to assist me. With a more laid-back approach, the guild grew once again, to the place you all know today. A place that feels like family, a place that I gladly call home and one that I hope to cherish and protect for many years to come.
As you can tell, we have come quite a far distance over the past years but we are still here, and hopefully will stay forever. I can’t express how glad I am to have met you all, to have formed all the friendships that I have here, and receive all the support you’ve given. I am proud and happy to call you all members of GSD, to call you my friends and hope you all feel welcome in this guild.
There is much more that I could say, but I feel that this is a nice summary of what has happened over the past years. All that rests me to say is this; thank you! Thank you for being a part of GSD, for being the people who you are and to help us shape this family.
I wish you all a very happy 5th year anniversary, and look forward to the many adventures we’ll have together.