The MCA (MCAlliance) is a raiding group on the Alliance side of the Feathermoon server. It is the largest and oldest such organisation on the server. The forums can be found at http://www.themcalliance.com/ and in-game through the channel /mcalliance.
The MCA began in 2005 as an loosely-confederated allegiance between several guilds that desired to raid but lacked the 40man roster required to do so. While every raids had its own leadership and style, all MCA raids were unified by sharing certain standards to ensure fairness in invitations and loot distribution for its members. One of the foremost examples of this is the core principle that raiders are never required to be members of any particular guild and that no preferential treatment is given based on guild affiliation (or lack thereof). Additional policies were set regarding attendence, loot and other raid-relevant matters. All raids shared the same forum for communication, hosted by Malanthazon.
Although the Alliance began as this partnership of a few specific smaller guilds, today MCA membership has strayed from this model. The organization still provides a raiding home to members of smaller guilds, it is no longer limited to a just few particular guilds offering a large percentage of their members. Now MCA members can be found across dozens of friends & family style guilds, role-playing guilds, and personal “vanity guilds,” and may range from total guild participation to as little as a single member. Some MCA members do not hold a guild tag at all. Additionally, some of MCA’s membership includes players in raiding guilds who cannot make their guild’s schedule, or whom choose to raid with the alliance on an alt character.
The letters MCA originally stood for "Molten Core Alliance,” but as the relevance of that dungeon vanished with the release of the first expansion, the acronym has become a name in itself. Today, the alliance is almost exclusively referred to as “The MCA.”
Although the MCA has no formal position or preference on raid scheduling, the vast majority of MCA’s raids run a lighter schedule than one might find in a raiding guild, typically only one or two days a week. This atmosphere tends to attract older players with families, careers and other real life obligations that prevent them from investing significant amounts of time into the game (such as those required by top progression guilds), but who are still interested to conquering raiding content at their own pace. MCA progression is typically slower than Feathermoon’s raiding guilds as a result.
Although the heart of the alliance is raiding current content, MCA is also an invaluable resource for its members for forming groups to face heroics, PvP zone raids like Baradin Hold and Vault of Archavon, or even just seek assistance in group quests. Additionally, MCA has been home to numerous legacy raids over the years.
MCA raid groups share a unique relationship with one another that is complex and unlike that often seen between competing raids of differing guilds.
Similar a guild, each MCA raid is considered its own distinctive entity. Each raid has a unique name, different leadership, its own roster, a karma/DKP pool exclusive to that raid, a special subforum for member communication, and a bank containing money and resources for its members (usually managed by the raid leader). The rules and policies may also vary between raids (although all will meet the minimum guidelines of MCA’s overarching policies to ensure standards of fairness are met). Additionally, every raid has its own a individual social atmosphere and attitude; the “feel” of one MCA raid may be very different from another.
Despite this, most MCA raids function like “sister” groups and not rival entities. Although many MCA raids may exhibit some friendly competition, they also offer a strong system of support for each other. When a new raid is forming, players will often offer their alt characters to fill spots to get a raid going until it develops its own established roster. Players may continue to offer their characters as subs during absences or through periods when a roster is especially fragile, or even go as far as to join full-time on an alt. MCA raids have also been known to share, trade and loan each other resources from their individual banks when another is in need. In this same vein, all MCA crafters provide their services to the members of other MCA raids free of charge, as long as mats are provided by either the player or their raid’s bank. It is also common practice for raids to reach out to each other for troubleshooting, strategy discussion, advice and insight when experiencing difficulties or simply seeking an outsider perspective.
MCA originally used the DKP system for loot distribution amongst their raids. Initially DKP followed the player and transferred between raids. However, in July of 2006, there was a large disagreement and a near schism, which influenced MCA to abandon the DKP system for the launch of Burning Crusade.
Following this, all major MCA-led raids switched to a new method called Ni Karma after release of the first expansion. Some slight modifications were made to the system to better-suit MCA’s unique raiding model, and a loot council is still the standard for determining who will earn Legendary items. The Ni Karma system was mandatory for all 25man raids and saw heavy use in both Burning Crusade and Wrath.
Since Wrath, 10man raids have been permitted to use their own loot systems, as long as the rules are spelled out in advance on their respective subforums on the MCA website. This allows smaller raids more flexibility with their loot rules while still promoting a fair and reasonable method of distributing loot among participants, without any surprises for new members or subs.
With the launch of the Cataclysm expansion and the decrease in 25man raiding, and most MCA raids today use a simple need/green roll system with some modifications to ensure more balanced loot distribution.
Raid Naming Conventions
Originally, MCA raids were labeled numerically in the order they were created. However, beginning with MCARawr -- named for Malanthazon's portrayal of Firemaw in a dramatic re-enactment of the strategy -- names came to replace numbers in identifying most of MCA raids.
Today, MCA raids continue in the tradition of choosing unique monikers to represent their raids. Although some raid leaders choose their raid’s name, the naming of a new MCA raid is often a fun collaborate event for potential members. This may include friendly campaigning, discussion and competition and often culminates in a final vote. Raids are subsequently referred to by their chosen names in both channel and on their sub forums.
The MCA was founded in October 2005 by players Alliandra, Shinryu, Horen, and Malanthazon for the purpose of creating a Molten Core raid to serve guilds that were not large enough to field raids on their own. The guilds that made up the original union included Petty Revenge, Clan Iron Axe, Hand of Havoc, and Azure Dragons.
The first MCA raid was held on 10/14/2005 and was led by Malanthazon. Despite conflicts that resulted in the loss of two founding members and the departure of Hand of Havoc, MCA had defeated all but Majordomo and Ragnaros by the end of 2005.
In January 2006, the scope of the MCA expanded to a multi-raid alliance with the creation of MCA2 by Koufax and Karnack and the MCA3 Onyxia raid lead by Malanthazon and Izual. Over the course of that year, the alliance continued to expand with more and more raids at a variety of levels of progression meeting a variety of schedules.
At its zenith, MCA comprised eight 40-man raids and six 20-man raids running weekly and involving over 250 active characters, and within every raid dungeon.
Shortly after the Burning Crusade expansion was released, Malanthazon withdrew from the game, citing personal reasons, and leadership was assumed by Seul.
Although the reduction in raid sizes in Burning Crusade allowed more guilds to host their own raids without needing to form unions, the MCA continued to flourish. In addition to many Karazhan raids, MCA was home to four 25-man raids. MCASharded led by Seul and MCAShrieky led by Hanstall were both major progression-oriented raids that began in Serpentshrine Cavern, and continued through The Eye, Mount Hyjal, and Black Temple.
Urglemurgle (led by Hanstall and later Tziva) and MCAMeow (led by Korhath) both worked on Gruul's Lair and Magtheridon. Urglemurgle oriented itself towards players that were new to raiding in hopes that once they gained some gear and experience, they could potentially increase the sub pool for MCA’s progression raids.
Several raids also focused on Zul'Aman when it was released, including D&C who regularly completed the timed “bear run” for the unique mount.
After patch 3.0, Korhath formed an impromptu Sunwell raid, which was wildly popular with MCA members. This raid made it to the Twins before the expansion was released.
Wrath of the Lich King
Beginning in Wrath of the Lich King and onward, MCA has been run by a committee of leadership rather than a single individual. This loosely formed “council” consists of a core of individuals who lead raids and are active within the Alliance. Policies are determined by round table discussion and ratification by voting to ensure that MCA continues to meet its standards of fairness and consistency across all its raids.
MCA continued to host two major 25man progression raids in Wrath. Under Sharded’s old schedule (and with many original members), Quinafoi organized and led MCA Bruce Campell. Shrieky also returned with many original members under Hanstall, with the new moniker MCA Pie. Both raids began in Naxxramas with forays into Obsidian Sanctum & Eye of Eternity, and continued to through Ulduar, Trial of the Crusader, Onyxia and eventually Icecrown Citadel and Ruby Sanctum upon each instance’s release.
In a similar spirit to Urglemurgle before it, Quinafoi also led several notable short-duration 25man raids, the longest running of which was the “farming” raid called MCA Bacon. Oriented towards alts and gearing up new players for progression raids, Bacon began in Naxx and saw great victory there. After the release of Icecrown Citadel and new LFG tool making Naxx-level gear obsolete, Bacon moved into TOC25 to continue its success.
Additionally, MCA was home to nearly a dozen 10man progression raids over the course of Wrath, several of these with longevity through the entire expansion. Many of these smaller raids saw great success, completing impressive achievements, notable kills, and many hard modes. D&C returned this expansion as one of them, and continuing with their theme of earning mounts, managed to get both the Ulduar drake and several ponies from Trial of the Grand Crusader.
In Cataclysm, MCA was forced to reevaluate its philosophy on guild neutrality. The new guild achievements and "perks" made raiding with a guild far more desirable and the changes to raid lockouts meant that raiders could only choose one raid. If MCA maintained the existing policy of total guild neutrality, it would risk becoming irrelevant as more and more people would raid exclusively with their guilds and leave the Alliance behind. Losing the bulk of its membership meant that MCA would no longer being able to provide a home to the few who remaining who could not raid with a guild and relied up on MCA for raiding opportunities. This also meant that the Alliance would field far fewer raids and would have a much smaller sub pool for those that did run.
In September of 2010, the MCA leadership released the following statement:
In Cataclysm, guilds will be able to earn raiding achievements and perks by raiding in an environment that is at least 80% guild members. We understand that many players who currently raid with MCA may wish to take advantage of this change. We also recognise that many people and guilds have a long history with the MCA and close friendships with other members, and may desire to continue raiding “as an MCA raid” together even as they seek to earn guild achievements and reputation. In an effort to support our members, MCA will not be asking you to choose between your relationships here and earning your guild perks. In Cataclysm, MCA will permit raids where 80%+ of the roster consists of a single guild, provided they meet specific standards that we feel are true to the spirit of being “guild blind.” [...] MCA has long prided itself on creating a home for players in small, family, vanity, RP and personal guilds and players who remain unguilded. It is very important to us to continue to stay true to this philosophy while at the same time embracing the new game changes to support our members who do wish to form raids with their guildmates.
The policy outlined a series of rules to make sure that new guild dominated raids still exercised fair and equal treatment of its members regardless of guild affiliation.
Although some trials were expected in the Cataclysm expansion because of this, MCA entered the expansion with several raids already in the works. Hanstall and Quinafoi both took the reins again as raid leaders, this time opting to lead smaller 10man groups. Seul returned to active MCA raiding, beginning his own group as well. Nine Man also returned with much of the same team. Unfortunately, the long-running D&C raid faced retirement with the loss of two long-time members and raid leaders, Grafte and Billey, to real life obligations.
Mists of Pandaria
MCA has continued raiding in Mists of Pandaria. It currently hosts four 10man raids.
Feathermoon individuals looking for a place to raid, as well as existing groups interested in forming a raid under the MCA banner are encouraged to introduce themselves on our forums: http://www.themcalliance.com and join the in-game channel /mcalliance.