Our roots can be traced back to the days of Ultima Online and EverQuest, where many of our members got their start with MMOs. The guild itself began in 2010 on the LOTRO server of Dwarrowdelf under the name Ainur ("The Holy Ones" in Tolkien lore). Our criteria was simple: good people, good players. Never one without the other. We started with a purely PvP focus, snatching up the talent that we saw in the open world PvP area offered by LOTRO ("The Moors").
As Ainur grew to become the dominant force in the PvP scene on our server and our talent base expanded, it seemed natural to pursue raiding as well. We quickly became the top raiding guild on our server and the only one competing in the world progression races for Ost Dunhoth and Draigoch. At its peak, Ainur also occupied 15 out of the 20 top spots in the PvP Freep rankings, a feat unmatched by any one guild on any other server.
While we enjoyed our time in LOTRO, dissatisfaction with the way the game was headed left us open to the prospect of other games. Gear was gradually moved away from the challenging T2C raids and into tiresome group skirmishes. The competitive PvP on our server deteriorated since we had no real competition on Creep side, and the Moors game mode itself was mostly neglected and antiquated. Many members made the switch to Star Wars: The Old Republic when it released. A few remained in LOTRO and achieved some server firsts in the Isengard raid before the LOTRO guild was finally disbanded.
(December 2011 - August 2012)
Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR) rode in on a train of massive hype at just the right time, so we decided to move the guild there, re-branding ourselves Pestilence and rolling on the Hyperspace Cannon server. Our primary focus was the PvP aspects, and we took to the warzones and Ilum. "Let's Play Huttball!" the game said, and so we did. Throughout our time in SWTOR we had some of the highest ranked PvP players on our server, and the "best in class" lists were awash with our members.
In order to expand back into raiding, we merged in another guild on our server and re-branded again to Deception. We geared up in Eternity Vault and Karagga's Palace, but we went all in when Eternal Conflict was released, where our 8-man progression team finished 12th overall in US rankings, with no PTS time. Our server then was merged into Drooga's Pleasure Barge, where, to compensate for the loss of some players, we cross-pollinated with an imperial guild named Erebus and our Republic frenemies Goof Troop.
Around this time the game began to go downhill however, with developer promises on ranked warzones and nightmare mode operations being pushed back, and Ilum still remaining a jumbled mess. A core of our members maintained activity and grew the guild, but many more quit the game to wait for future releases. By the time Guild Wars 2 was released, most of the Deception players, along with numerous Ainur players who hadn't made the switch to SWTOR, moved to GW2 full-time.
(August 2012 - September 2013)
The argument for GW2 was an easy one. The game has innovated the genre in many ways, from its passive social encouragements, to its removal of the "trinity" and combat system re-design, to its gear-agnostic structured PvP setting, and the list goes on. In the lead up to GW2 we still were maintaining separate websites for Ainur and Deception, which made it quite difficult to coordinate our members who had become less associated with individual games and more of a cross-gaming community.
We therefore developed a new website to serve as the hub of this community and not be wholly focused on any particular game. We re-branded again, choosing the name Valor. Our tag for GW2 became [RUN], since we knew we couldn't talk to our WvW opponents, but we could at least give them a word of advice.
We started GW2 on the Anvil Rock server, but quickly found that it didn't have the activity and competition in WvW we were looking for at the time. So we relocated to Isle of Janthir in early October. IoJ offered a good community and challenging fights in the upper tiers, and we worked our way up to become a core pillar of the IoJ WvW force. IoJ moved as high as #3 overall, but the situation gradually deteriorated, and we were finally forced to abandon it when a coalition of all remaining WvW guilds determined the situation couldn't be salvaged.
In January 2013 we made the move to Kaineng, an up and coming contender, with our friends from Team Legacy, in the hopes of building a purer WvW community. Kaineng started its journey in last place (24th overall) and together with our new allies we helped to bring it all the way to 4th overall. The server faced a mighty challenge trying to overcome a propaganda war that stymied transfers and stagnated the server manpower. Ultimately the server was unable to sustain itself in the long term, so once the server broke up we decided to make another move for longer term stability and to eek out what fun fights we could, to the Blackgate server in July 2013.
A combination of transfer issues and game development not progressing fast enough in our areas of interest (PvP and raiding, primarily) caused most of our members to abandon the GW2 ship. It was (and still is) a good game, but we were ready for new excitement and new challenges.
The Great AFK
(October 2013 - May 2014)
After our activity in GW2 waned there was really nowhere else to move to like there had been before. The cadence of high quality MMO releases had toned down or at least didn't coincide with our departure. While we waited for the releases of Elder Scrolls Online and Wildstar the following year, we passed the time playing a variety of games including World of Tanks, League of Legends, Path of Exile, and an assortment of older MMOs.
Elder Scrolls Online ended up being the first anticipated game to release, so we gave it the old college try during the betas before launch. While the game had many of the good qualities you'd expect from the Scrolls series, it was lacking as a competitive and dynamic MMO. So we decided to skip it altogether and set our sights on Wildstar.
(June 2014 - October 2014)
Wildstar was a bit of a sleeper release as MMOs go, which was baffling to those of us who'd played the beta and fell in love with its unique and challenging combat system and its promise of unparalleled content options. We went into Wildstar with our largest launch day contingent yet, ready to become the biggest badasses on Nexus. Over the next several months we worked our way through the challenging PvE dungeons and played our fair share of PvP.
"The flame that burns twice as bright burns half as long" is an apt description of what happened with Wildstar. During our three months on Nexus we ran the PvE content ad nauseum to get all of the guild through the archaic attunement process and into raiding. When we did pull together enough people we found some success, but more often we were defeated by the dated logistical requirements Carbine hamstrung the game with.
Perhaps that would have been acceptable were it not for the fact that PvP, while fun, was imbalanced and not nearly as good as it should have been. We're historically a PvP focused guild and we spend our time between raids beating up on people, so the lack of desire to do that in Wildstar is what inevitably led to boredom and attuned member cycling until we ultimately declared the game a wash.
Our guild experience mirrored that of many other guilds in the game. Wildstar will be fondly remembered for its crazy fun combat and instances, but it'll also be remembered as the game with the best core that managed to muck it up with poor design choices. For more on the tragic demise of Wildstar, you can read our Wildstar Post-mortem.
The Unexpected Interim
(October 2014 - January 2016)
The quick and largely unexpected downfall of Wildstar left us stranded in search of greener pastures. As with the aftermath of our stint in GW2 however, in late 2014 and early 2015 there were no new MMOs worth buying into. EverQuest Next, once thought to be a possible late 2014 release, was prolonged indefinitely after shakings up in its development studio. Camelot Unchained was still a distant hope on the horizon.
In late 2014 a few of our members decided to try out ArcheAge, an open world focused MMO with a unique class design system and guild vs guild combat. Some fun was had in running and ganking the trade routes, or participating in large scale fights and sieges, but the game was poorly updated and the combat left a lot to be desired.
Also during this time was the release of Skyforge in the summer of 2015. We tried it for a few weeks but ultimately decided it wasn't the right sort of game for us. While Allods had infused some much needed UI and gameplay quality of life changes and optimizations into the genre, the combat was ultimately lacking, the PvE too drawn out and repetitive before endgame, and the PvP imbalanced and poorly structured.
Thus we had to wait for the next MMO worth our time. We played a multitude of games to pass the time, notably World of Tanks, League of Legends, Europa Universalis IV, and Guild Wars 2.
(January 2016 - April 2016)
The launch of the long anticipated martial arts brawling MMO, Blade&Soul, finally happened in NA several years after its original launch in Korea. What the game lacked in traditional Western MMO features it made up for in engaging and fast-paced combat, as well as a competitive arena scene and the promise of quick content releases while catching up with Korea. A core contingent of our playerbase that fancies themselves duelists took to the game looking to rank up and make a few people cry along the way.
Unfortunately there was a repetitive core gameplay pattern of grinding dailies and running arenas with no real PvE or objective PvP to speak of, coupled with a lack of a consistent playerbase, and exacerbated by a patch release schedule that saw you grind gear for a month, only for the next grind to be introduced and all your items become poor again. Treadmills are nothing new for MMOs, but this one asked too much and gave too little. Had the game released more well-rounded and with a smoother patch cadence it may have had more success, but it didn't, so it only lasted us a few months before we tired of the import.
(September 2016 - Present)
World of Warcraft: Legion was a much talked about release, and many of the changes being made to the game such as class redesigns, the Mythic+ system, and an overall modernization of a lot of its dated feeling mechanics caught our eyes. While a number of players in our guild had played WoW before, whether back in Vanilla, stopping in Cataclysm, or bouncing in and out over the years, we had never played it as a guild. At the launch of Legion it had been roughly 2 years since we last played a raiding MMO, Wildstar, and there was an itch that needed to be scratched.
We landed in the Broken Isles with a large segment of our core players and jumped into raiding, dungeons, battlegrounds, and arenas with a fervor. We raided Heroic EN consistently throughout the first couple months of Legion's launch, and dabbled in Heroic ToV but were defeated by The Holidays boss. With the release of Nighthold and 7.1.5, we're looking to augment our raiding roster and jump into PvP more consistently, with our eyes ultimately set on that sweet Mythic loot and Gladiator titles, but our expectations tapered by the reality of our busy schedules. We're currently recruiting, see our Applications page.
We're always on the look out for new and interesting MMO offerings to expand into, with a focus on fun, challenging content and the availability of PvP and raiding. In the future we're anticipating the release of several games, including Camelot Unchained and Crowfall, and if they're good then you can be sure we'll be playing them on release.
But who knows, the next great game might be something nobody expects. If it's the best MMO on offer at the time, particularly for the competitive aspects we enjoy, you'll be seeing us there, and you're welcome to join us. If you're a guild looking to play one of the future games we pick up, feel free to contact us to coordinate.