The birth of a guild
Back in March of 2009, on the server Turalyon-EU, Vintage was born from the ashes of the raid team of another guild, The Dreadguard. With their raid leader absent on an extended hiatus and their raid team left pretty much in the dark, main tank Sunda assumed the role of raid leader. The return of the old raid leader, however, caused such a rift between the two that a large part of the raid team left The Dreadguard for greener pastures. And because many of them weren't exactly 18 any more at that time, they created a guild called Vintage.
“Vintage. Oneshotting Bosses and Wiping on Trash.”
At this point, the guild was still very small and raiding proved to be a challenge with so few members. But raid, that they did. With balls of steel and steadied nerves, Vintage ventured forth into the halls of Naxxramas. They got absolutely massacred. It took the fledgling guild all the way up to the first boss to realise that they were trying to raid Naxx 25 with only 10 people...
Vintage was never one to shy away from unorthodox tactics, though. While steadily progressing through the floating necropolis, they picked up new members here and there and built a sturdy and reliable 10-man team. The first bossfight that truly shone a light on how well Vintage thrived in unusual circumstances was The Four Horsemen. While normal guilds used the tactic that required tanks and dps to switch between bosses, Vintage designed a tactic that required no switching at all! Purely out of necessity, since one of the tanks just could not get the switch under control. It got the job done, though. After the boss finally bit the dust, the decision was made to take a quick peek at Sapphiron while the raid team was still there as preparation for the next raid night. Not fifteen minutes later, Sapphiron was lying dead on the floor, Vintage's first oneshot, prompting a guild slogan that's been in use ever since. Kel'Thuzad fell the next raid night.
Trials and tribulations
Because of the split from The Dreadguard and the time-consuming process of building a new raid team, Vintage was still on Naxxramas and therefore months behind on raid progression when Ulduar went live. It took the guild until July of 2009 to get the first kills in, before summer rolled around and the guild took a break from raiding and set about preparing for the first annual Vintage guild barbecue! Guildies from all over Europe flew in to London for a weekend of food, fun and alcohol, and amidst the banter, plans were hatched to make Vintage an even better guild than it already was.
With renewed vigour, Vintage returned from the summer break just in time to experience the opening of Trial of the Crusader. A high point in our raiding career, Vintage managed to vie with other top-level guilds on Turalyon for the honorary title of best 10-man strict guild of the server, a title we even briefly held before an unsuspecting member pugged a 25-man and ruined our ranking.
Unfortunately, the raid team became somewhat of two minds about the progression rankings; many felt that it put too much pressure on the group and was ruining the laid-back and fun atmosphere that Vintage raids had always had, others felt that we should be doing even more to cement our position as the best 10-man strict guild on the server.
Killing the Lich King
Fortunately for Vintage, the laid-back attitude was more valued by most of the officer team than the hard push for progression and while we did lose several long-time members to 25-man progression guilds, we also regained members who had given up on raiding during the Trial of the Crusader-days. After a nice summer break (with a barbecue in Sweden that included a lot of alcoholic concoctions and lots of Guitar Hero) and with a new solid raiding team set in place, we ventured into Icecrown Citadel in December of 2009 with the clear intent to just have a fucking ball with it. And that we did. Even though it took us almost a year, and when we finally got there, another 54 wipes, on November 7th of 2010, the Lich King finally bit the dust to the tune of frantic yelling and cheering on Vent.
Surviving the cataclysm
The guild did not have long to celebrate the kill and take out some heroic bosses, however, because Cataclysm was already looming and there were new instances to enter and new bosses to kill! Or so we thought. Because it was the first time Vintage was keeping up with progression from the beginning of an expansion, we went into Blackwing Descent very shortly after it opened only to get completely obliterated by the trash. Humbling, to say the least. But we kept at it, and slowly but steadily made our way through Blackwing Descent and The Bastion of Twilight and even working in our first kill in Firelands. Our annual barbecue in sunny, warm, picturesque Scotland (which, naturally, meant we had five days of non-stop rain) gave us plenty of fodder for numerous hilarious raid nights.
Breaking the Worldbreaker
By the time Dragon Soul came out, Cataclysm had been out for a while and the downward trend that all of WoW felt, was also weighing on Vintage: raid attendance dropped, people stopped playing, and progression through the raid instance was slow and laboured. It took Vintage months to finally kill Deathwing and even such a milestone did not help the feeling for some members that the spark was forever lost.
Choking on the mist (of pandaria)
With Dragon Soul being our only raid option for almost a year, it was no wonder that Vintage was growing more quiet by the week during the summer of 2012. Apart from a cozy annual barbecue in the picturesque hills of the south of the Netherlands, not much happened. That is, until the 25th of September, when Mists of Pandaria was launched. A new continent! A new race! New stories, new instances, new lore, new raids, new gear, new everything! But the steady decline of Vintage and its raid team had left its mark. Despite getting a fair number of raid bosses down, the raid team was only sporadically getting together for a raid night. But those few raid nights we had were like old times, with members staying up for hours after raid end to chat and catch up. Socially, Vintage was still the same old guild. Raid-wise, we struggled, and fell months behind on progression thanks to the loss of many raiders. Our server, Turalyon, was getting more and more quiet too, making recruitment an even more impossible job than it had always been. In December of 2013, the decision was made by the officer team to move the guild over to a new server where, hopefully, we would be able to revive Vintage to its former glory.
That new server became Magtheridon, a fairly busy server with a lot more Horde players than what we were left with back on Turalyon. The choice of server wasn't completely made at random: some of the Vintage regulars rolled toons on Alliance side there and joined a guild, where they made some friends who expressed interest in raiding with Vintage. With their help, Vintage slowly but surely regained some foothold and started raiding Siege of Orgrimmar. It took us quite some time, and quite some effort, but Vintage did finally slap down Garrosh Hellscream. By that time, of course, Blizzard had already announced Warlords of Draenor as its next expansion. With old friends returning to the fold and more new faces joining our team, we were working on our comeback!
Vintage has returned from the brink of extinction and is now, once again, a thriving social guild where guild chat is never truly quiet and after-raid chats once again linger on into the early hours, where friends hundreds of miles apart will sit and chat and drink like they're hanging out at a local pub together. But with all the new and improved in-game content going on at the start of Draenor, you would almost forget that Vintage started out as a raiding guild! But we didn't forget, not truly, and it didn't take long before the urge to raid was taking hold of almost everyone in the guild. By the time Highmaul was released, our team was ready to go and kill some bosses! With the new raid setup, Vintage was able to fill up raids with anything from 10 to 18 members quickly progressing from normal raids with the occasional heroic kill to a 3-night setup with 2 heroic raid nights and one normal night.
What the future will have in store for Vintage, nobody knows. But with a turbulent past like this and the resilience this guild and its members have shown over the years, it can only be one thing: