This is a very long post and has some aspects of SoS WvW history to it, read so at your own risk
One thing that isn't spoken about too often is the importance of the militia. The militia are the key stone to every server. Remove them and the hardcore guilds are simply out manned, out numbered and stand no chance. When morale is broken such as after suffering heavy losses and rapidly losing PPT, the militia are generally the first players to leave the borderland and give up, worsening the outcome of the war.
With the SoS militia though, there is a very large percentage of them that are native SoS and have been on the server since beta. There is a very strong community here amongst the WvW'ers, most of us know each other and are friends, we all get along well together and always work as team. SoS has been through the lows, with losing streaks, big thrashing to unknown servers to us at the time and our own elitist guilds pointing the blame on our server, saying how hopeless we were, that we were carebears etc. These people then transfered off in the early months.
What we were left with though was resilient players, players who are capable of handling losses and will never give up. I mean, if you can fight while IOJ has 700 PPT, your servers biggest guild has just left and one of the most tactical WvW leaders on the server has left with them and there are still people fighting in the borderland, you can fight through anything!
For me there are 3 major matchups when the SoS militia was tested but kept on fighting to come back to win:
October 20th, Crystal Desert vs Sea of Sorrows vs Sanctum of Rall
On the 5th day of the Halloween matchup, SoS was 40,000 points behind SoR. SoS rallied however and managed to begin closing the gap on the final 60 hours. Meanwhile the match up was declared over by many on SoR and neutral observers. Sea of Sorrows pressed hard during this period, and were merciless and relentless to SoR. It wasn’t until the final hours of match up that SoS achieved parity with SoR and then continued to press their momentum to over take them in the final hours of the match up and finish with a comfortable 20k point lead. Even when we were 40k down, there were many players who still believed that we could win. The SoS miltia were able to come back and win the match up, in contrast, it was the SoR militia are the ones that panicked, gave up and lost the match for their server.
Lowpoint: SoR 183,619 vs SoS 143, 368 (60 hours to go before finish)
Parity: SoS 235,766 vs SoR 232,201 , (19:30 hours to go before finish)
Final Scores: SoS 273 374 vs SoR 253 171
November 24th, Sea of Sorrows vs Jade Quarry vs Stormbluff Isle
This is not long ago. In the second week of SoS entering tier 1, SBI make a heavy push after the weekend and had a 25k point lead. The SoS militia still believed in themselves to win and once we had the momentum back, they knew what was happening, they've seen it before and they were never going to let go. The SBI militia did not respond well to this challenge, the server quickly lost their hard earned advantage.
Lowpoint: Stormbluff Isle 113,727 vs Sea of Sorrows 89,848 (93 hours to go)
Parity: Sea of Sorrows 143,905 vs Stormbluff Isle 143,866 (62 hours to go before finish)
Final Scores: Sea of Sorrows 235 327 vs Stormbluff Isle 217 712
December 8th, Sea of Sorrows vs Jade Quarry vs Stormbluff Isle
And then there was last week. PRX had just left the server, it was a shock to everyone. The most highly regarded guild on our server has just left. SoS came out hard fighting and constantly held a steady 10k-20k point lead over the opening half of the week. However on the final days of the week, SoS was steadily losing points to JQ. On the final day this continues and the lead gets smaller and smaller. Some Americans went to bed that night thinking that we were going to lose our lead to Jade Quarry by the time they woke up. The Mathematicians had their calculators out and were working out the points per hour that JQ needed to win. Every hour that went by, their required rate to win didn't change, they were on target, JQ were going to do it.
With 11 hours to go in the match up, and SoS only having a 12k lead, all hell broke loose. JQ were fighting hard in massive numbers, on our home borderland where we were out numbered 2:1. There were some novices saying that we should relax, that we've already won, but the majority that were there knew that we were in serious threat of losing. We all stuck by each other and did the only thing we could do, just keep on fighting. It was never ending, we kept losing more and more points. The militia did not break, despite losing it's entire home borderlands, it kept fighting along with MERC (an Aussie/Asian guild that has been at SoS since the beginning) and kept making massive pushes, fighting back against larger forces.
With about 8 hours to go in the match up, with heavy fighting and still JQ continuing to catch up, there came a moment where we were finally rewarded for our hard work. We were pushing JQ in the southern part of the map, and with half their numbers, we were wiping their forces repeatedly in and around briar. There was a massive sense of accomplishment and reward from this, for the first time in the entire night, it looked like we could actually pull this off and hold on to win. We were having a laugh about it and our bags were overflowing, this small victory was temporary however, the fierce fighting continued and JQ managed to push us up into the top half of the map for many hours more. I went to bed at 5:30am my time (5 ½ hours before the match up ends), when I went to bed the Americans were starting to come online and it felt like we had done enough to hold our own, there were many others though that continued to fight all night. I woke up at 10:30am and I felt calm and relaxed before I even saw the scores, I checked the scores and saw that with 30 minutes to go, we had a 3.5k lead and had the highest PPT, finally we did it!
High point: Sea of Sorrows 148,116 vs Jade Quarry 130,871(59 hours to go)
The JQ comeback push (8 hours to go): Sea of Sorrows 210,717 vs Jade Quarry 200,716
Final Scores: Sea of Sorrows 216 884 vs Jade Quarry 213 263
For me, JQ were sensational last week, they didn't do anything wrong. The separation between the two teams was the stubborness of SoS. Had we given up and let JQ get a 450 PPT tick during the Euro hours, the match up would have been over and SoS would have lost, there is zero doubt about it. The Guilds are one of the most important factors to every WvW server, but the militia are just as important, Guilds and militia are constantly fighting side by side, without each other it is impossible to win.
A shoutout to the SoS militia who played their asses off last Friday night (Australian time), that was an amazing display of determination! MERC on the borderlands and Commander Patone in EB especially worked hard along all the other guilds and militia that were there. Without their efforts on the final day, we would have lost, 100% certain.