Guild of the Week
The Kansas City Hotsteppers [KCHS]
The Kansas City Hotsteppers guild formed itself way back in the early days of Guild Wars. Its members were drawn to one another due to their common interest in the lands of Tyria as shown by the insane, technology-worshiping cult, the Penny Arcade Forumers. A long-standing establishment, the guild originally ran under the name "Claw Shrimp" after one of its many parables. (The title was changed shortly thereafter in honor of a young line-dancing troupe that died tragically in a fatal pathfinding error. Lore states that if you close your eyes, you can still hear their screams, the smell of burning leather and barbecue sauce thick in the air.)
The history of the Hotsteppers is a turbulent one. Initially, its ranks filled so quickly that a rival guild—one fueled by spite and jealousy—formed to take on unlucky rejects who didn't qualify for membership in the troupe. In the months that followed, this black-caped guild called the Obsidian Spur was defeated, its members eventually disbanded. Guildless and defeated in shame, repentant refugees from Obsidian Spur were allowed into the Hotstepper fold, while others were sent west never to be seen or heard from again.
A period of unrest followed, during which a faction of Hotstepper members developed a thirst for blood. They desired to form a new guild; one not built on the spirit of community but focused on pure conquest by any means necessary - their credo not one of justice and goodwill, but of beating people to death with hammers. Thus, under the cover of darkness, the Bad Boys of Punctuation was forged. It wasn't long before the Hotsteppers began to miss their departed brothers (and the Bad Boys missed the free drinks and bi-weekly Wear a Silly Tie Day, too). An agreement was reached, apologies were made, and treaties were signed. The Kansas City Hotsteppers reformed under the guidance of a new leader—their most intelligent, attractive and, quite frankly, flawless leader to date (who is incidentally the current leader). With renewed vigor and morale, the guild has become more focused on conquest and, specifically, on repeatedly destroying the machinations of the greatest evil Tyria has ever known—Cobble Poundstone.
At present, the guild is comprised of over seventy members (although a small "inner circle" of regulars form the core group and enjoy all the included benefits, such as frequent beatdowns and a comprehensive dental plan). Always a secretive organization, the Kansas City Hotsteppers is a difficult entity to contact (the belief that members of the guild aren't of human origin, but are, in fact, mythical beings is popular among Guild Wars historians and paranormal investigators). In truth, anyone who wishes to become a member need only request an invitation via the guild's forum. Penny Arcade forum membership isn't required, although the guild is geared primarily toward the PA fan base.
The Hotsteppers enjoy both the PvP and RP aspects of Guild Wars. Some members prefer one game type over the other, but each associate helps fellow guildmates regardless of what needs beating up, be it Grawl, Charr, or an obnoxious player that type in all-caps.
Although the guild's members feel that while they might not be highly regarded (if regarded at all) in the upper echelons of the ladder, they are often recognized as the guild that "broke" the Tomb of the Primeval Kings. A dubious honor for sure, but they profess, "At our rank, we'll take what we can get." Shortly following the release of Guild Wars Prophecies, Air Magic was remarkably popular in the tournament. The majority of teams focused their skills on using as many Elementalists as possible, and as such, victory was often determined not by tactics or ingenuity, but by which team took out the most people with a coordinated Chain Lightning attack. It was an environment similar to the flood of "I Will Avenge You!" Warriors we see today.
To counter this, KCHS developed the technique of casting repeat copies of the Ranger's Nature Rituals, best described as global Enchantments. This technique, later called Spirit Spamming, effectively renders Air Magic teams useless, hindering balanced teams in the process. It works like this: a Ranger fills his Skill Bar with Nature Rituals that destroy everything Elementalists rely on, using Oath Shot to bypass the slow recharges. With this, KCHS built a team that thrived under Spirits. To this day, the guild's members choose to reflect humbly on their newfound success and are often heard chanting, "Instant Hall of Heroes! We're so good! Go us!"
The guild vehemently argues to this day that its techniques aren't overpowered in the slightest. Using Nature Rituals in their pre-patched form, the guild was able to rocket itself to the top 25 despite the casual play of its members. They felt that, "Surely this must mean we were just excellent players, right?" Within a few weeks, other teams emerged that used the exact same strategy. It was later decided that these redundant Spirits greatly imbalanced the game as a whole, and they were re-tooled to disallow copies of the same Spirit. Deprived of their so-called precious crutch, the guild fell right out of the top 25, and then out of the top 100 and into mediocrity, which is where it stands today. The lesson learned from all of this? "Abusing skill imbalance doesn't pay."
Most of the Hotsteppers' competitive playing is done in guild-versus-guild battles, although on occasion, the guild is known to venture into Heroes' Ascent (where they find themselves killed by burly men with kittens) and the Team Arenas (burly men with Mending).
Get to know some of the members of KCHS.
Location: Dear old Blighty
Gaming Background: Diverse
Preferred Character: As a gentleman and self-professed fop, I find myself drawn to the Mesmer. The ability to manipulate events to your advantage and subvert the offensive capabilities of your opponents is one I find more satisfaction in than simply making the bad people fall down. There's also a perverse pleasure in completely ruining another player's day. Had a bad day at work? Fancy playing an Elementalist to unwind? Bam! Power Block! Denied! Though I'm terrible at it, I also enjoy breaking faces as a Warrior when playing casually. Pow! Right in the chops!
Handle: Multiple Entendre
Location: Pennsylvania, USA
Gaming Background: Primarily home consoles until recent years.
Preferred Character: Rangers. I love the damage bonus for height, among the many other characteristics of the class. It's called to me since the Beta Events, and it has found a home in my heart much like Choking Gas has found a place in my Skill Bar.
Location: Alberta, Canada, Eh!
Gaming Background: RTS, RPGs, FPS
Preferred Character: Usually, I wind up playing a Monk. What way the wind is blowing usually determines the build I toss together for both PvP and RP. Nothing is set in stone, although I prefer the 5 Energy quick-casting skills.
Handle: Xtreme Barcardi
Location: California, USA
Gaming Background: FPS, RPGs
Preferred Character: Monk, because I like helping people, well, except people stuck in the desert who keep yelling at their Monks. I enjoy the Elementalist profession, as well, because I get to help people with fireball-shaped hugs. I also like to combo in rarely used skill lines. Why not try something new for a change? With the most recent update, I look forward to burnination, Shadows of Fear, and yet more Blindness to make the bad people go away.
Handle: Herschel the Savage
Location: Kansas, USA
Gaming Background: I play online and offline RPG, FPS, RTS, and lots of console games, as well. I enjoy all styles of gaming from co-op to heavy PvP-driven games.
Preferred Character: I prefer to play Warrior/X. I usually sub Elementalist, but Monk is good, too. Who can resist the allure of Mending? Lately I've been playing different full Warrior builds. Tactics has many underrated skills. Healing Signet alone is worth the points. It ensures I'm up front screaming for healing much less than with a pure damage build.
Handle: Zoolander Rex
Location: Montreal, Canada
Gaming Background: A lot of RTS games, and also a lot of PvP games, like Monopoly or Twister.
Preferred Character: I like to play all sorts of characters, though my favorite character for stomping some homps is a hammer Warrior. Use Berserker Stance to charge up your adrenaline and activate Frenzy when you are about to unload on some poor soul. Bam! Bam!
Handle: Random Engy
Location: Washington, USA
Gaming Background: FPS, RPGs
Preferred Character: I really don't have so much a preferred class as a preferred skill. And that skill is Plague Touch. The uses of it are hilarious and far too many to mention here. Although I do also like taking my Oath Shot/Lightning Reflexes/Conjure Flame Ranger into Random Arena.
Handle: Tellani Artini
Location: Tennessee, USA
Gaming Background: FPS, RTS, and RPG (PC only)
Preferred Character: Any kind of Ranger. I used to like having 5–6 Nature Rituals on my Skill Bar, but now I prefer interrupts and general deviousness. My favorite Random Arena build is a Ranger/Monk stealth Life Bonder with Ferocious Strike. When needed, I also play Warrior and Monk.
Handle: Iladin of Faith
Location: Washington, USA
Gaming Background: RPG, RTS, TBS, CCG
Preferred Character: Monk, but I play everything that no one else will play. From a Glimmering Mark Elementalist to a Fevered Dreams Mesmer, if you haven't played it, I've tried it. I'll break Succor, someday. Just you wait.
Handle: Harlon Cronah
Location: Texas, USA
Gaming Background: PvE FPS's
Preferred Character: Monk/Ranger and Ranger/Monk. I refuse to play any build that doesn't include the two most overpowered skill lines in the game, Beast Mastery and Smiting Prayers.
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