Category: Guilds


I’ve blogged about my guild history before. In Wrath I flirted with hardcore raidering for a while. I don’t know how good I was. I was never the top DPS, but sometimes I put out the most damage. I don’t die and I don’t take a lot of healing which is what you want from a warlock really. It doesn’t matter if you can cheese the metre at points in the fight, but it really helps if you’re alive deep into the encounter to lay down some damage and push the team over the line. I decided after Wrath that I was less interested in the higher levels of raiding than I was in making friends and having fun. I was recruited in Cata for a very specific role: to fill out a bench / “Team B” roster and bring some experience. I actually liked the sound of this.

Mid tier the officer that recruited me went on a break, Team B decided it would continue pushing and progress into Firelands, then the current tier. We voted on a name, a banner to rally behind, foolishly I joked “Team Ruta” and that was their choice. The first / progression team selected Team A as their name. Losing the officer we lost our raid leader, so we decided we wouldn’t have one. With no raid leader there was no one to shout at people, get sarcastic, complain about wiping, ask who fucked up. Many in Team Ruta said they’d never had as much fun raiding and would never, ever raid with Team A‘s raid leader again. Occasionally, Team A members who couldn’t raid on their nights that week came along with us, they’d try to “raid lead” for us which meant calling out all the stuff that Boss Mods announce. We didn’t want or need that, so we stopped them. Without blamestorming and finger-pointing the team gelled and started taking individual responsibility for any mistakes they made. This made other team members confide in us when they messed up and offer advice if they’d solved a particular problem themselves.

So we supported and encouraged each other and played as hard as we could because we genuinely didn’t want to let the rest of the team down. Relying on ourselves and our boss mod addons we became better, more independent raiders. No one could forget or be too busy to call out massive boss damage incoming or all stack on the left so ten people had to remember for themselves…and did. I’d like to tell you we trounced Team A and Team Ruta cruised to a comfortable first guild defeat of The Madness of Deathwing. Sadly that would be bullshit. However, for a team existing to fill gaps in the first team, a reserve pool to call on if first teamers were missing or couldn’t turn up, backups, we did give them a good run.

So recently I got arm twisted into forming my own guild, it didn’t take that much pressure, but it is still Mori’s fault. I think it’s our guild, but she seems to want to distance herself from that idea. If I am going to do this and get to be the GM this time, I can write the rules and this time implement them too. Being the only one around during days I get to do all the recruitment too, which can be an annoying, tedious chore, but does allow you to be very selective. Particularly satisfying when poor huntard, ex-guildies ask to join. Of course you too would decline them because you have too many people they wouldn’t like: “hypercrytes”, people who don’t play the game any more and having rules banning backstabbers.

So what is the great experiment we’re running? Well, I’ve been dismissed as a casual on many occasions since Cata by people who aspire to skip through Flex (normal) and then stumble through Heroic level raids trying to keep their raid team together. Define casual? These same people have argued that I’m living in a dream world believing that 10+ adults can motivate themselves to complete an heroic raid. That without a guy (and it usually is a man) shouting or growling, chastising mistakes and bullying the team along there would be no progress. There would also be no progress if you insisted on having any and all guild members that want to attend a raid in your raid. Some people are so bad they have to be excluded. Or if you want to be more inclusive and push for any progression you have to have two raid tiers: the progress team and the others who are shit and need carrying. The language is usually different but that is what they mean.

So the experiment is that our new guild is to be inclusive on all levels. We don’t tolerate intolerance or prejudice, we welcome all races, genders and sexualities. We also welcome all guild members to our raid, no one is excluded. We have a raid leader, but his job is to impart tactics and advise. Not to duplicate the boss mod announcements or tell off adults for “standing in the fire” in a video game. I swear to you I’ve told managers to fuck off and quit job(s) where I’ve been treated with more respect than I’ve had from some GMs and Raid Leaders. Does anyone believe that I can happily walk out of paid employment when given unreasonable shit but I will stay in a guild that treats its members like children who need hand holding and/or some shouting at? Not happening. We may be rolling dice with progress but who cares?

Inevitably some people won’t like what I’m trying to do. I’ve been called a feminazi, a snowflake, a fascist, a communist, a cuck, a race traitor and accused of trying to create a safe safe or imposing the tyranny of male oppression (LOL) on poor mistreated while, heterosexual men. Just stating that we have rules underlining that we don’t tolerate racism, sexism or homophobia has been descried as politics, which have no place in a guild. That’s not politics, it’s not left or right, only one political grouping espouse racism, sexism and homophobia: the alt- or extreme right. Tolerance is not political it’s ethical. If you do not treat equally any who is not male, white or heterosexual then you’re excluded from our guild. That’s isn’t politics, I’m not excluding a political group or their ideas, I’m excluding hatred and the people that peddle it. Cunts.

Currently we’ve got about 100 characters and more than half that many people in our guild. They all seem friendly, helpful and supportive, whoever you are and wherever you’re from. I call that winning. We’ve cleared Antorus Normal too, the second time with a team of ten guildies for the achievement. In Battle for Azeroth we’re going to keep on doing what we do and being who we are. I also hope we’re going to clear each raid tier on heroic. However, I won’t be too disappointed if we don’t. I’d rather raid with good people that clear Mythic with cunts. You can quote me.

Always think twice about placing a guild in a Stand-in GM’s hands. Even if no one else is prepared to step up,. It’s simply better to hold on to the GM-ship yourself, and go long term AFK, than make someone not-fit-for-purpose GM. Wonder if GMs think they’ll be able to to take over again if and when they comes back? I’m not so sure that always happens.

Weird shit happens in guilds all the time because half the people behave like the structures matter and sensible people don’t. Veteran ranks,  Officers and GMs, it’s all BS. We’re all just adults playing online games. We group up and put some people in charge simply because we don’t want to have to organise anything ourselves. So if one of the people we accepted as in charge starts behaving like they are in charge and everyone should listen to them and forget the very limited nature of their remit…things will not turn out well.

I’m surprised anyone could forgot, or put to one side, the whole “Thou shalt not swear, it will put off all the new people and offend existing members, so sayeth grandma Stand-in GM.” The GM, God love him, and I do,responded in a priceless manner and is worth quoting again. “Stand-in GM, no one fucking tells me when I can and can’t fucking swear.” Oh and all the new members you’re talking about? Your friend, the prick and his wife, who don’t like the bad language, and the other new member who is currently in the “Social Night” Discord channel with us swearing like a sailor?

So, the prick who keeps whispering officers to have people kicked just because he doesn’t like them? Or his wife who crashed a social night and bitched about the wiping in Timewalking? She did nothing but moan then force queued us for another dungeon. At which point all the four of the group silently and without coordination left the group and re-formed in another, quietly invited a fifth and carried on. Lovely woman, I hope her massive ego wasn’t brusied too fucking much. They’re the only people offended by anyone’s fucking swearing. Are you aware that psychologists have demonstrated, through rigorous scientific testing, that people who swear a lot are objectively more intelligent than average and they have a larger vocubulary (which also correlates to higher intelligence)?

So Stand-in GM and Huntard had a chat? Who initated it and what the content of the chat actually was nobody but them knows. However, we know they had a chat, they’ve both admitted as much. We also know that whatever was said and whatever was promised, Stand-in GM asked Huntard not to say anything to My Mate, the other officer, until he’d spoken to her himself. We also know Stand-in GM was so angry that Huntard did talk to My Mate that he dragged Huntard out of the Social Night channel into another Discord room and tore a strip off her, leaving her in tears. Bo hooo. We all know Huntard’s solution to that. It’s on her Facebok page.

Huntard says “Stand-in GM wants me back. He wants me to run social night.” Now I have no idea whether that was said. Huntard could easily be inventing that, or she misunderstood. Misunderstanding and not listening is after all her modus operandi. But clearly she wanted to take over social night and make it her “Wine Night” again. So whether or not she misunderstood Stand-in GM, she was certainly very happy to take over an organised guild event from an officer and pretended friend and deliver a gloating kick in the teeth on the way through.

When Huntard was talking about taking over Friday night she was completely at ease with kicking My Mate in the teeth because she would be back in control and could decide who did and didn’t attend. Yeah, I know you didn’t want me to attend your Wine Night Huntard. To be honest, if you were ever to run another Wine Night I for one wouldn’t wish to be involved. Neither would most of the people who have left Wine Night (taken you off Battle.net Friends and hide from you online) and WoW as an unattractive way to spend any time. However, excluding our friend because “She isn’t in the guild and not even in the game any more,” that’s rude and ironic since you haven’t stopped whispering her since you crashed so spectacularly out of the guild. So who are you going to organise a Wine Night with? Our Friend seems to be the only person you’re whispering on a Friday Night, apart from My Mate, which is hilarious since you’ve been dismissive of one and stabbed the other in the back. Apparently I’m the hypocrite? What is so hard to understand? Social Nights were supposed to be about having fun, doing content in a relaxed, laid back environment, parhaps enjoying a glass of your favourite beverage. It was never supposed be about carrying a beligerent drunk through content while she snaps at people who are trying to help. I got tried of being told to “fuck off, steve” for telling you the right thing and I’d have to say “Mate, tell her,” to have my remarks confirmed and reiterated.

If this reminiscence serves any puropse, other than to drag out into the cold light of day more guild BS that has no place anywhere, it demonstrates that once more the same two people have undermined a guild officer and made their position so untenable that they have reluctantly guild quit and left behind people they genuinely like. Huntard has stoked a shit storm around two officers and the now-Stand in GM has taken the bait. The same two people. Perhaps it’s “Social Officers” the Stand in GM doesn’t like. He always hated “Wine Night” even when it was still relatively drunk-free. With an absence of social officers perhaps there will now be an absence of social events. So everyone can really concentrate on they only thing that matters Raids. And farming mats for raids, especially Slabs of Bacon. Stop having fun and socialising and get out their and win the bacon. So this is what went down. I know there are people who’d prefer to let BS like this, or drama if you will, stay hidden, with as few people as possible having any idea what the hell happened. Secrets whsipered about, left festering and rotting in the dark. That can only benefit one person.

This Friday I spent the evening with the people I like most in World of Warcraft and a new soul who seems to be friendly and spot on. We ran dungeons for this new arrival, normals, just to help gear her, she’s 102, and we genuinely enjoy helping out (helping not carry-dragging lazy drunks arounds). We agreed that this “Social Night” was the best we’d had in we don’t know how long. Friends say things to your face, until they’re blue in the face. Then they might blog about about what they’ve said publicly to your face. Hypocrites say they’re your friend then engage in BS plots behind your back to push you out of your given role. So how are you spending your Friday Nights, because mine have improved and no one was excluded (only self-excluded)?

 

The Leader of my last guild has quit World of Warcraft. She’s still in touch, still socialising with the members of a guild she worked so hard to build into a friendly, social hub in game. She moved to Final Fantasy XIV for the story, because there’s more to do in game that isn’t raiding and for the player housing, a feature that allows Free Companies of players (Guilds) to have a (guild) Hall. The attraction is that this can be an in-game social space, much like a real life pub or community drop in centre.

After playing Warcraft for nearly twelve years myself I’ve always got an eye on games that could be my post-WoW MMO. It isn’t going to be Guild Wars 2, it wasn’t Elder Scrolls Online, maybe it will be Final Fantasy. After playing the game a few weeks I have some observations. Right down to the key-binds Final Fantasy is a very WoW-like MMO. It has combat classes, quests, professions, world quests (‘Fates’) Guild leve’s (more difficult, more rewarding quest content) instanced, scaling dungeons and raids. The differences seem superficial and skin deep.

Take professions for example, you level your professional skills and craft increasingly more complex items. The only discernable difference is that with wood working I understand I can craft furniture for the ‘Guild Hall’. The wood working animation is certainly more impressive than the rubbing hands together or anvil tapping of WoW. That does speak to early immersion in the game, but thankfully there is a ‘quick synthesis’ option so you don’t have to spend all day watching your character craft basic wood into usable lumber while you do something else…play solitaire, check email or twitter, eat lunch.

Go there kill things, or kill to loot things, come back, turn in quest, get another…so far so WoW. Depending on your point of view it’s a celebration or condemnation, but Final Fantasy is World of Warcraft with a less cartoony, better game engine. The story, the lore of the world is in many regards has less finesse and less sophistication than WoW. Each of the races in Warcraft have a rich back story and with any story of war one side’s tragic losses and atrocities are the other faction’s great victories.

Why is this place always empty…?

…Or like this?

So I reflect on why my friend has left a game in which she has friends for another that is essentially very similar to start again from scratch? A Guild Hall sounds like a great idea…chars hanging out in a shared in-game space while their players chat in voice chat. However, I’ve had fun and laughter with people on voice chat when I wasn’t even in the same game with people never mind in the same shared in-game space. It’s not like you’re actually face to face when all your chars are in the guild hall, we cannot smile, nod, roll eyes, wince, raise eyebrows, wink at one another…there is no real body language that so enriches face to face interactions.

There is plenty of quality content in WoW for non-raiders. In fact raiders have been whining forever about stupid shit in game for non-raiders that detracts and distracts from the serious business of raiding: pet battles; LFR; 5 mans; mythics; timewalking; flower picking; fishing; engineering; mounts; transmog; world quests…indeed the whole two days of ball ache, levelling through another ten levels at the beginning of a new expansion. Never mind having to wait for casual, guild slacktards to get max level for that first raid! Which brings me back to why she has quit on her guild.

I think my friend’s real issue with World of Warcraft was twofold. Firstly, I’m not sure MMORPG is really her thing. The killing mobs, clearing dungeons bit anyway. Essentially story is just an excuse for adventuring. Lore is simply a backdrop, a tapestry to give a shape and rationale for what is essentially a tedious and repetitive grind. Get quest, kill or collect, or kill and collect, or kill to collect, return, turn in, get rewarded, collect new quest, which is often to go back where you were and kill/collect something else. And repeat.

Cooperative play really brings this to life. Either in a 5 or 4 person configuration or larger groups, coming together and doing things cooperatively either against the AI (PvE) or other players (PvP) is what makes gaming rewarding. It can be casual and laid back, social and fun, but it has to be challenging and cooperative (or it’s just FPS). I don’t think my friend really enjoys or is enthused by challenging group content. More importantly, I also think that she found herself in a guild that was totally unsuited to her and what she wanted out of Warcraft. Essentially she found that she was somehow the Guild Leader in a semi-hardcore, raiding guild and slightly sidelined at that. I’m always saying not happy in your guild: move on. However, it’s not so easy when you’re the guild leader and founder. Sometimes it’s easier to blame the game and move to another.

The officers often don’t help. Some guild officers will just log on, lead a raid, log off. The same may also take a break eight weeks into ever raid tier when the team have cleared heroic the first time. One officer in your guild will burst a haemorrhoid trying to solo grind all the material required for the raid team and coax, cajole, bully everyone else to contribute to the guild in this way. They’re not contributing to the guild though, they’re not encouraging working together in some cooperative push for the good of the guild. What they’re doing is servicing the raid, many of whom, like the raid leader only log on to raid, but expect all their raiding mats and repairs. Why? Because without the raid and raid leader there is no guild, whatever the social snowflake nominally running the guild thinks.

This is the mistake she made right from the get go. The idea of having a nice, fluffy, friendly guild that has social nights where people play WoW-Bingo, go on treasure hunts and have puzzle nights and also raids hard and does PvP is an awful one. Yeah, on paper a jack-of-all-trades guild is awesome, in practive it’s master of none. Being master of none people will leave to find one of the better ones of which there are inevitably many. Or one side wins out and the other two aspects go to hell in a handbasket. In my friend’s guild the raiding won out. Because raiders. They flirted with selection, they even still do a measure of it. Only on heroic, progress nights. Any scrub casual can raid on the normal nights. I still say I can almost see the point of selection for Mythic progression…but even then…but a guild that tries to filter it’s best into a raid for heroic progression, I hate to sound elitist, but since they started it, what a bunch of scrub losers. Heroic?! LMFAO

I can see why you’d go to Final Fantasy frankly. You’re beating your head against a brick wall trying to get a guild predominantly made up of anti-social, semi-elitist raiders (I can name them if you like), to engage with other guildies in non-raiding socialising. They’re not interested in you beyond what your player power is a how valuable you will be in helping them get what they want out of the game.

Then there’s your officer team. The raid leader…he leads the raid and subtly manipulates you to make raiding decisions (something out of your remit and interest range anyway) than actively discourage the kind of people you want for the guild you’d like to have: social, friendly, sharing, cooperative. One officer is rabid brown nose who only got the rank for all the selfless work he did supplying the guild bank and servicing the raiders. He’s so rabid and enthused he can’t leave the Guild Message of the Day alone “Come on all guildies lets do the good thing for the good of all and be all positive!” or some shit. The guild bank seems to have cornered the market in Slabs of Bacon though.

Your only other officer, the Drama Queen, constantly complains you’re doing it wrong, won’t delegate and that he has no role and never wanted to be an officer, especially now that it’s clearly an honorary title and he cannot influence the way the guild is or how business is conducted and /ragequits after getting into a slapping girl fight with the rabid fanatic officer.

Yeah, I’d be tempted to quit and start another guild, perhaps in a new game. However, while you’re in the guild house planning the next social night and dusting the bookcase you crafted yourself be careful about what your co-guild leader / officers are doing with raiding. If you run raids, you should have a team that reflects the nature and composition of your guild. Or sooner or later you’ll be back where you started and maybe even considering returning to that other game that, despite it’s lack of guild housing, is pretty much the same really.

There’s an age old argument in guilds about what progress is acceptable in raids and how the requisite progress is achieved. The options for raiding are no longer binary, even if many people suggest it is. Raiding hasn’t been only hardcore since Wrath launched with its two raid sizes and difficultly levels. Since Wrath the less serious, less raid focused guilds have been able to include a raiding element in their calendar. The question is not whether this is a social (non-raiding) guild or (hardcore) raiding guild, but what sort of social, raiding guild you want to be in. Social raiding guilds inhabit a spectrum. At one end (let’s call it zero) we have social/levelling/community guilds that don’t do any raiding. (From say 1 up) we have all hues of social guilds who do some raiding, and become increasingly less inclusive and more raid focused (up to say 9). At 10 you have full on hardcore raiding guilds that are only focused on raiding progress, doing everything that promotes that and chasing realm firsts and ranking. Turn it up to 11 and you have Method et al, in the World First Race.

Now I do not subscribe to the view that hardcore raiders are elitist and rude and all social guilds are scrubs and n00bs. I make no judgement about these guilds or the people in them. There is simply a vast array of different guilds and a variety of people in them. A guild out there somewhere will cater for you and the way you want to play the game. A guild at one end of the spectrum is no ‘better’ than one at the other, only it’s appropriateness for you and your play-style. If you’re forming, or part of, a social, raiding guild existing somewhere in the middle or spectrum (say 3 to 7), in practical terms, the question you have to ask yourself is what important to me and to my guild. This basically boils down to where you place your emphasis: on social inclusion or raiding progress. That is far from saying that inclusion is incompatible with progress, just that one of these factors will be more important to your raid team and be pursued (even to the detriment of the other factor).

My basic premise is that social guilds are more inclusive, raiding guilds more focused on progress. all guilds fall in the spectrum between these two positions. It’s a choice between being inclusive: allowing any guild member to raid whenever they are available and trying to maximise raid progress by excluding some of your guild members. Let’s not discuss why you would exclude people, it’s usually a very simple, bad reason: ilvl or DPS/TPS/HPS minimums. Let’s just accept that some people are better raiders (for whatever reason: experience; gear; effort) than other people. If you select the ‘better’ players in preference or instead of the ‘poorer’ players then you are putting raid progress above including guildies in your list of priorities. If you’ll take everyone and anyone who wants to raid regardless of gear, skill or metre ranking then inclusion is your priority. The biggest misconception of the use of the word social in this context is that progress focussed, raid guilds can still be very friendly prioritise having a laugh and fun in raids (provided the raid is progressing and you are not holding anyone back). Equally social guilds can (and bloody do) roar through content and make light of complex mechanics. Just because I’d like to bring (OK, carry) the poorest players in the guild, have fun and not get annoyed after wiping all night on a single boss, doesn’t mean I’m not a good raider and couldn’t cope in an 8, 9 or even level 1o raiding guild – I just don’t want to (now).

It’s entirely up to you and your guild how you organise yourself and your raids. One way isn’t intrinsically better than an other, it’s all about your objective. If you want to be in or run a very friendly, social guild then inclusion is going to be your watchword. If you value raid progress and completing all current content on heroic and mythic difficulty levels then you will have to sacrifice inclusion and accepting all comers in your raids. It’s a question of adjusting the knob to the correct level for your guild: i.e don’t take a social guild and turn your attitude to raiding up to 11. Equally if the majority of your guildies want to make significant progress (a boss a week say, with two raid nights) then dialling it down to 1 is going to make for some very unhappy raiders. It’s all about striking the correct balance for your team.

maxresdefaultNow…I’ve been meandering along in bad guild for over a year. The GM is nice and there’s a handful of nice people. However the bulk of the 500 members are asshats. Now you will get this in a cesspool, invite all guild…by its very nature. The GM takes almost everyone, or we wouldn’t be at 552 members, they all go through a ‘rigorous’ “interview” process where he asks them probing questions then invites them anyway (it would appear). It’s hard to shape the ethos of a guild, it’s like herding cats. You do need a few cultural architects that can support a cooperative, help out, attitude.

Genuinely I’m becoming weary of whiners in this guild. Moaning about how bad their item level is. “Oh my gear is shocking. Really I don’t know what to do.” Someone replied in agreement they knew the feeling. I pricked up my ears thinking we could get a group together and farm some heroics. Then I hear “My ilvl is 850 that crap.” Thinking I might get some sympathy and some charity boosts through heroics I announce in guild chat: “LOL if you think that’s bad, my ilvl is 812…” Tumbleweed blew through. No one spoke in guild chat for almost ten minutes. Nothing. No offer of help, no half-hearted commiserations.

Patch 7.1 has dropped and everyone is motivate to try the new Karazhan Mythic 5 man. There is an old fashioned attunement / quest chain and it starts in Halls of Valour. So we’ve had a lot of guild chat asking for people who want to do ‘HoV’. Yesterday I responded in the affirmative and so did one other. I waited for a response and a short time later the original requester logged off. I checked our classes. Of course! Three DPS, the original requester simply checked whether there we were tanks, and logged after neither of us was and no one in the guild who tanks was online. Irritating, but no more. Later on some random in guild asks for HoV again and a guildie responded: “Not HoV. Done that.” That isn’t just selfish it’s not too bright. Even if your motivations are purely selfish helping people up a rung to the step you’re on can only make it easier for you to make a group.

chatOK I’m somewhat pleased Affliction has had a buff, we sorely needed one. I don’t think we’re anywhere near OP, but all I ever wanted was balanced and competitive. However, my voidwalker has been nerfed to the ground. I used to routinely pull up to four mobs, DoT them up, tab around applying Unstable Affliction until they died, of hit them with Seed of Corruption. Voidy would cope and regen health a pretty good rate. Now he can’t hold the agro and gets battered by two mobs and regens really slow. This is going to make solo-ing single player content tricky, if I wanted to play a mage or priest…So my issue isn’t a woe is me look at numbers non-problem. It’s a quality of life, able to cope out in the world issue. I feel naked…undergeared…fragile. Don’t tell it to your cesspool, invite all guild though. They’ll love the opportunity to whine about their OP metre cheesing talents being reined in. Why is this Trade chat green?

That’s when they’re not actually ranting in guild chat like it was properly trade. Hmmm…

chat2

Every server has one, at least one. The invite all kids guild. Which is pretty much how they work, 500-odd kids all trying to stand on each other to get where they need to be. Into a better guild with better raid progression. They’re always social – well, they take any old scrub, that’s, er, friendly. Their raiding usually matches. cleared normal, foot in heroic. Well they can usually make good progress when the content is easy because they’ve got eleventy billion people who want to raid. When they get to heroic it all goes a little side ways as no one wants to wipe. They never wipe in LFR. Or they do and quit the shit LFR group. Or shit guild group. Our guild has the cesspool invite all but has moved the bar on raiding twice which can stop genuinely players who don’t have the time or commitment be full time raiders from attending. Just as I slummed my way to 815 the ilvl requirement went up to 830…I nearly got to 830 when I lost all motivation as the threshold for guild raiding ticked up to 845. I whined unashamedly to the GM, because look this is supposed to be a social guild where no one (within reason) is barred from raiding if they want to. The threshold got dropped back to 830 But I can’t be arsed really. Yeah I am the problem here.

160628-emerald-nightmareThe names have all changed, but the fact still remains that in difficulty terms heroic is equivalent with old normal. Old heroic is now called mythic. They shuffled these names to insert Pandaria Flex level in as the entry level raiding difficulty. The problem I have is that the guilds I join, more laid back, but still concerned to progression raid at a meandering pace, tend to view normal (easier flex level) like they used to view normal, pre-Pandaria, when now it’s easy mode pitched between LFR and heroic. We should be starting in heroic raid instances. When heroic’s cleared we should be doing it a second time at mythic difficulty. No one is going to want to clear the same raid instance three times: on normal, heroic and mythic.

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It’s time to get on my er, horse and I know it. I just do like some of the people in the guild…

 

 

Sylvanas, just because.

Sylvanas, just because.

Raiding starts on Wednesday… /sigh Here are a selection of things I could never see again and it would still be too soon.

standinfireDPS standing in the fire. Healers can just heal right through, right? Movement, especially for many casters means nerfing DPS, so why move, even if the ground around you is on fire? I’m DPS my job is maximum damage period. I’m top of the DPS metre so I’m doing it right. Wrong. The DPS job is twofold: maximise DPS while taking as little healing as possible. If healers are expending time/mana on healing you the tank isn’t getting it. If the tank dies because you stood in the fire and got healing instead everyone dies, not just you. So don’t simply blame healers if there is a wipe. If there is a wipe ask yourself: what could I have done better, how should I handle the mechanics of this encounter next time?

whyyoudeadPlayers asking for healing. If you are perilously low on health do something yourself to rectify this. If you’re DPS take pots/health stones or simply die quietly. The healers have addons to make healing everyone, especially those with very low health, efficient and effective. Either you will get healing or you will die because your healer decided that was the lesser of two evils. If your healer keeps going out-of-mana ask yourself why that is? It’s probably because too much mana is being spent on damage that should not be taken. Get out of the fire, getting out of the fire and avoiding predictable damage is your job. If you’re the tank keeping you alive’s a high priority. If your health is low pop all your cooldowns and baten down the hatches the healers are having a tough time. Asking for healing will not help and will not get you healed any quicker. Asking for healing, especially if you’re the tank, will most likely only piss off the healers. Low health? Deal with it. If you died ask yourself: what could I have done better, how should I handle the mechanics of this encounter next time?

wipe2Players asking for tanking. If you’re DPS chances are you nuked too soon. No one has to wait for three sunders any more, but at least wait for the tank to pull…keep pulling mobs out of the tank’s nicely organised pack? When it doubt assist the tank and target his target. It’s not hard and it’s not rocket science. If you’re running away from the mobs you pulled fine, that’s avoiding some melee damage. If you’re running away from the tank you deserve to die. I never want to see another healer or DPS running away back through the already cleared dungeon with a pack of mobs in pursuit followed by a disgruntled tank. If you really want to drop aggro go stand with the tank and stop DPS. OMG I’ll be last on the metre! You will be alive. Let me explain this very carefully for the dumbest amongst you: dead DPS does no damage, does not finish on top of metre. If something went wrong ask yourself: what could I have done better, how should I handle the mechanics of this encounter next time?

Tspirithealerhe DPS is too low for this fight. This is the most annoying statements of all. What does higher DPS achieve? A quicker kill. What does a quicker kill achieve? It reduces the number of cycles of the fight mechanic or in extreme cases prevents the boss from even entering one of their phases. This is just over-gearing the fight. Your raid team isn’t good enough to work the mechanic of the fight so you need to circumvent it by reducing the number of times they have to organise themselves. If you opt to drop your lowest DPS and bring in (better geared) higher DPS then you’ll need to do this forever. If your raid team is so awful at working the mechanic on a certain boss it is tempting to bring in better players, with more experience of this encounter and better gear. If you need carrying on this boss, you’re definitely going to need carrying on later bosses. Plus your ‘weaker’ players, rotated out because of low DPS won’t get gear…in relative terms how much better will these players be at the next boss? A raid team is fighting it’s way up a downward moving escalator. If you make someone miss a boss while you forge on they don’t stay where they are they move down quicker than you move up. Skip them one week for better geared, higher DPS players then you might as well drop them permanently their gear is not progressing with the raid so they’ll always be bottom of the metre.

spirithealer2Furthermore, stating the DPS is too low is piss poor raid leading and playing. How much higher do you think the DPS of the world first guilds is on the same bosses as you? In their gear? A fraction. Just because they’re the best players in the world doesn’t mean they can magical pull gigantic DPS out of their arses. Don’t get me wrong knowing how to play your class and when to pop your cooldowns will get you more DPS, but not compared to gear. The world’s best guilds aren’t the world’s best guilds because they can out DPS you. They succeed because they can organise themselves, cope when things go sideways and always know how to execute a strategy. They work the fight mechanics. “We need more DPS, to stop the boss going into phase x three times.” Bullshit, you need to train your raid team to cope with phase x more skilfully. Method can do phase x all day and slowly chip away the boss’s health until they’re dead. What you’re actually saying is: “We’re so shambolic and god awful we have to nuke hard and try to avoid another repetition of one of the fight phases because our team is made up of hopeless players who can’t learn.” If this is the case, whatever your ranking on WoWProgress that’s not your guild progress your guild is not 8/9 heroic, you’re probably 4/9 heroic and 8/9 carried by players from better guilds. I’d rather fight with my friends to 4/9 than get carried to 9/9 with friends left out. I want my team to succeed. It’s not my team with two PUGs from substantially more progressed guilds.

do_not_push_this_buttonOK I’ll activate the thing that keeps us alive then. Frequently someone has to push a button, stand somewhere, pick something up and take it to somewhere else. This also happens in LFR, often it’s decided that person A will do it. When it comes to it person A won’t and boom everyone dies seconds later. People will quit LFR because someone had the temerity to ask them to do the thing. When I’m in a guild group I never want to hear a silence when it’s asked who is going to do the thing. It usually requires a DPS (since your job is not important, see the last point if you don’t understand that) and usually one with a lot of mobility so they can still do DPS while doing the thing. However, it usually ends up being a warlock with not much mobility, or a mage with even less, volunteering to do the thing because no one else wants to. It’s a combination of bad and lazy that prevents better suited players volunteering. They also want to maximise their personal DPS (at the expense of someone else’s and the overall team DPS) which underlines how bad they are. It’s not complex or controversial: selfish players do not make good team members (no matter how high their DPS is). I think these mechanics in fights can tell you a lot about a person. If you assign doing the thing to the most appropriate character when the player doesn’t want it they probably won’t sign up for the raid next week. You may not see them again until after that boss is cleared and someone else has learned and now owns in that role. It’s possible they may not raid again (this often feeds into people who won’t raid or even join guilds and bitch about elitist, hardcore, inflexible, dictatorial guilds). Shut up and do your job.

spirithealer3The worst thing in any team is not understanding your role. Your role in the raid team is not to get loot from this boss. If you’re a tank your job is to marshal the mobs, keep them hitting you and keep yourself alive. Keeping a tank alive is not solely the healer’s job, tanks have cooldowns, talents and spells to heal and mitigate damage. If you’re top of the DPS metre as a tank, losing mobs and dying all the time you’re doing it wrong. Pick some more damage mitigation talents and tailor your build and performance to the fight. Healers: your job is to keep yourself alive first and foremost. If you forget to heal yourself you’re dead. If you’re dead no one gets heals, how long will the raid stay up? Your secondary job is helping the tank to stay up. If you’re targetting and directly healing a DPS, unless they’re taking damage because they’re doing the thing, you’re probably doing it wrong. Or the DPS is. DPS: you have two jobs. I’ll say that again: DPS, you have two jobs. Job 1) take no unnecessary damage; Job 2) DPS the right target. That order is not a mistake, if you’re taking unnecessary damage you’re probably dying too often too. Dead DPS does no DPS remember. If you’re standing in the fire so you can carry on DPS-ing chances are the healer is struggling to keep you alive when the tank goes pop and the raid wipes. Your DPS decreases in value to the team relative to the amount of damage you take during an encounter. You may top the DPS metre and not be the most valuable DPS.

sh4Especially if you’re not targetting the correct mob. Adds nearly always have priority, that’s a great rule of thumb. If adds spawn during a boss fight it’s usually your job to kill them as soon as possible. They often come in waves and if you don’t get on top of them during the first wave you’ll quickly be overwhelmed. If you’re too lazy or don’t want to switch your focus away from the boss to help with the adds then you’re not helping the team. Don’t point to the lowest DPS and blame them for the teams lack of progress, look at their damage targets. If they’re hitting multiple targets during the fight and all you’re on is the boss, it’s you you’re doing it wrong.

sh5Why are we wiping all the time? We’re wiping because we don’t know the fight and repeatedly doing the fight is the only way to practice your job and learn. Watching a video or reading a guide is all very well and essential preparation, but it’s no substitute for doing the fight and seeing the spell casts. Complaining about wiping in progression raids tells me two things about you. 1) You’re not fit for anything harder than LFR because you don’t like to wipe. Challenging content is not faceroll, it is not easy. So it will beat you. Again and again and again. Then you will learn your job, learn the mechanics of the fight and you will beat it. However, not before everyone has learned their role. 2) You’re not cut out for progression in any guild, you want to be carried by people who will do the thing for you and out-gear the content so you can simply turn up, statically DPS the boss, take your loot. You’re not a team player. If you’re already tired of seeing the spirit healer progression raiding is not for you. Get to LFR.

My number one rule for anyone who would like to be a better raider and make more progress with their guild is simple: If something went wrong ask yourself: what could I have done better, how should I handle the mechanics of this encounter next time?

naxI’m not really. I haven’t remotely rushed to 110. I’ve been quite happy to do a couple of quests and stop and pet battle. There does seem plenty to do even if I haven’t been doing it. When there is nothing to do but pet battles and fishing then there is not enough to do. When there is plenty to do I enjoy taking time out to fish and pet battle.

So it’s no surprise seeing me in Dalaran, fishing in the fountain again. It takes me back to Wrath of the Lich King and that is no bad thing. Levelling returns its own share of evils. Blizzard tunes respawn rates, at this point in the expansion, early, you’re not going to waiting around for anything too long. Well, no time at all. So why would you swoop in and pull all the quest mobs. Feckin’ Death Knights, I feel sorry for those love the class and have played since WoTLK as Death Knights do seem to be an asshat magnet. There’s only one thing to do…DoT them all up and let the DK deal with them all, as you skip around picking up the other quest items.

mcfishingcrawdadTaking a break in Dalaran I was working on the Dalaran Fountain Coin Achievement when a Blood Elf, it had to be a Belf, strolled up. She looked at my fishing char and casually summoned her Giant Sewer Rat. Well, as a pet collector and a veteran fisher I’m not too impressed by this. I fished up four in the day. One with Ruta, one with Fleety, one with  Èowyn and another with Bethan. For me there was only one response…consider the Rat for a few moments, then summon my Magical Crawdad. Now that’s some committed fishing nipper, jog on…

Raiding starts on Wednesday and my ilvl is currently 775 and clearly I haven’t been in an Heroic 5 man yet. I’ve only been in one normal. So having dinged 110 today I’m reasonably happy with Ruta’s progress and should be able to squeeze into the raid. The main question is the one I’ve been asking since the guild merger: is this guild laid back and social enough for me? Affliction is once again the poor man’s warlock spec, indeed Warlocks are fairly poor across the board. Fingers crossed for a half decent buff sometime soon. The question is will my guild tolerate me playing affliction. If they won’t someone will and I won’t hesitate to move a group that’s more interested in community raiding than progress and gear. We’ll see. We’ll also see how all the raiders react if I am allowed to raid along with other casuals who may not be too great and will undoubtedly hold back progress.

elekkOne idea floated is the old chestnut of two raid groups: the “progression group” that forges ahead as quickly as possible; and the “social group” that takes anyone and is knee capped in terms of progression because of that. The idea is that they, progression group, can support the slower moving, less focused group with their experience of encounters and higher ilvl gear. Sadly the progression group frequently renege on “carrying” the social, not quite so hot group, and doing the content twice. So the “social” group, although they have more fun (arguably) they rarely succeed in clearing the content while it’s current. They would, perhaps, if they all, the whole guild, played together.

This is simply what I’ve been telling you for years. There is no right and wrong way to organise your guild and raiding. If you find yourself in a guild that is not completely right for you keep looking. There is a perfect guild for you somewhere.

So my guild disbanded, well that’s not exactly true: it merged with another guild, so it might’ve well disbanded. I feel sold out, I’m not the only one either, actually I’m a little surprised by some of the guild members who are dissatisfied, but really I shouldn’t be. The thing I loved about the guild was the friendliness of most of the members. Like all guilds we had fringe players, transient drifters and guild hoppers. However, at heart we had a nice group of people, we all felt we could trust and rely on one another and we were ready offer to help and support, knowing that it would be reciprocated. Our guild had a culture of cooperation and sociability.

We took advantage of everything that was positive in the changes Blizzard made in the Wrath expansion. We raided twice a week and worked hard to learn the fights and finally before the expansion was done we downed the Lich King together. I won’t say the guild was without problems but we had fun and we progressed through content. The wonderfully relaxed culture and reasonable approach we developed to raiding, rotation and gear actually turned out to be half the problem. The other half of the problem was, ironically, appallingly bad leadership. Our leadership, particularly the Guild Leader, simply did not value the social side of the guild that other active members and raiders all loved. They allowed the relaxed, laid back culture of the guild to develop in spite of their tougher philosophy and approach to raiding. The Guild Leader desired faster progression and a more rigorous approach to raiding. I vividly remember of GL’s bitching and lack of joy when we killed Arthas and all became Kingslayers.

Our guild founder, and then leader, stood down in early 2010 to take a well earned break. However, during the summer our placeholder GL had discussions about disbanding the guild with the guild founder. On that occasion she managed to talk him out of shutting down the guild. In October, just before Cataclysm hit, our guild founder decided it was time to take over again. As all of this implies any decisions about guild direction and our future were exclusively the concern of the guild’s three officers and no one else had an input. The guild membership had no say in who led them or in many other matters that affected the whole guild. In January the Guild Leader declared himself burnt out (after two months back at the helm) and had decided to merge the guild into someone else’s. The officers’ were very enthusiastic about securing places for themselves and all their members in the new guild and encouraged everyone to move their chars over as quickly as possible.

They still don’t understand what incensed people so much. My understanding is that they still believe that the announcement to merge could’ve been handled better. They could’ve trailed the fact that they were in negotiations with the other guild and then it would’ve been less of a shock to all of the members. Guys the problem is that you took such an important decision without any reference to the membership, not the way in which you announced your unilateral decision. Several days after guild members began to jump ship to the merged guild the Guild Leader said he would consider handing the guild over to someone if anyone wanted to keep our guild going and not merge. By then it was too late the damage had been done, the guild was fractured. If this had been an alternative to the merge that was sprung on us as a fait accompli then three officers might have left the guild, with our blessing and we’d have very happily taken our guild forward without them.

Apart from the officers I don’t know anyone in my old guild who is very happy with the new one they have joined. Naturally, this is because they feel about the merger as I do and now, after being in a fantastic guild, find themselves marginal, fringe members of another. Whether the new guild guild has good people or not, my friends have all joined a strange guild with a new group of people, a different approach and culture. I hear the raiding is good but they have already set up a two tier raid system with the best gear in the progression, top tier. Not surprisingly some of my mates feel alienated (whether that is fair or not) and many in that other guild may indeed consider many or all of the joining guild members ‘the other guild’s people’ or simply intruders. Guild mergers do not work, I may be wrong but I don’t think think it’ll be long before most of my guildies’ leave this new guild and do as I did and join other communities. Then it will just be those three officers and while I greatly respect them as individuals I find the unilateral decision to disband incredibly arrogant or short sighted. The result is that they have destroyed our social / raiding guild and damaged our in game friendships with our fellow guild mates, the officers have lost our trust and our good will. All of which is very sad.

Some people, especially if they are warm and outgoing (like one of our officers), will be sought after and courted, especially, as in this case, if they are female. Such is the culture of the MMO. They simply will not have any problems integrating with any new set of people. Others will go from having worked hard to become part of a great guild’s core to being peripheral to a new guild’s social and raid order. When you get a guild that can balance a group of disparate personalities well hold on to it like grim death. You cannot simply transplant that or graft it onto the side of another integrated group of people.

There is a universal truth in this very personal story. You can bring together a group of like minded people to reach a shared goal, but the more you bring to the mix the more the direction is diluted. After a time the group may define itself by ends you hadn’t envisioned. just because you are the group’s founder it doesn’t mean that the group’s aims and direction is illegitimate simply because they are not what you had intended. It may be that you need to leave the group and find another that more closely shares your goals.

Less generally, with direct reference to WoW guilds: I have no experience of guild mergers working and here’s why: it doesn’t matter how good the new guild is it’s not the one I joined and stayed in.

It’s not just a n00b question either. What is a guild, what purpose does it serve and what do people want from a guild?

This question opens up a whole load of other questions and in attempt to answer some of them I’ll be answering for the average rank and file guildie and the guild leader and officer inevitably.

For the average player you would join a guild to get some support levelling, instancing and ultimately raiding. There is also the question of socialising as we are playing a cooperative game when working together and persevering are rewarded. Blizzard is trying to reinforce this and make guild loyalty pay off and membership become more valued with rewards and guild levels and achievements. This should hopeful bond people into more interdependent groups. In addition guild have certain resources that follow from being in a collective: advice and help; a guild bank (this can be used for repairing raiders, making high level mats and enchants available to guildies); and commonly a voice chat service.

People form guilds for much the same reasons: to raid and to hang out with people they trust. Trust is very much a two way thing. We trust people to help us reach our goals and trust also they when we invest time and effort (maybe mats and gold) into them reaching their goals, they will appreciate it, be respectful and this includes being prepared to reciprocate. Reciprocal, per se, is not necessary, however being prepared to is. Essentially the only difference between Guild Officers, Leaders and members is that the former want to do things there way and the latter are happy to let them.

This raises two questions about guild types and who owns a guild. WoW players often talk about several categories of guild as they were mutual exclusive. They describe hardcore and casual guilds, raiding and casual guilds and raiding and social guilds. More commonly and, I think, understandably after 5 years of World of Warcraft the once scoffed at social, raiding guild appears to be becoming very popular.

What do all these categories mean and what distinguishes them. That simple to express in principle but in practice the way in which guilds operate is as varied as there are guilds. A hardcore, raiding guild (and those two words are often used to imply one another so make sure you check that point when joining a raiding guild you think isn’t hardcore) is usually a quite unforgiving and anti-social place. Their focus is progression raiding, ranking of the guild on the realm and competing to be ‘server first’ to complete many in game goals. Rules underpin the hardcore, raiding guild and they are of the kind that state “Thou shalt” and “Thou shalt not”. Of the guild resources on offer policies are rigid, voice chat is for the raid leader to give out raid assignments and specify what strategy is being used. Voice chat is not for ‘trash talk’ and such chat, jokes or messing about in raid will get you kicked. First out of the raid and then out of the guild, usually without a warning. You should just know you shouldn’t do that. Bad tanking, healing or DPS over a (small) number of raids will get you kicked or ‘re-spec-ed’. Or ‘re-spec-ed’ and then kicked if you still perform ‘under par’. Having a piece of gear un-gemmed or un-enchanted, or attending a raid without potions or buff food will possibly get you a warning or more commonly lead to a kick. They’re hardcore, they don’t mess about.

‘Casuals’ turn up occasionally, when they like usually don’t want to raid and usually can’t or don’t want to commit to long periods (required for raiding or even instances) in front of their computer. They often hang out in guild for company and a laugh, they don’t use the guild bank, often don’t chat much in guild chat and often never use the voice service (no mic is often the reason). Guilds exist purely for them and casual, social guilds welcome them.

Wrath in particular has facilitated the growth of the non-hardcore raider. These guys are often serious about raid progression and doing well. However, they often insist on a more laid back and fun approach. We’re playing a game after all, it has to be fun or surely something is wrong. Obviously I place myself in this category and while hardcore raiders and the casual player are more clearly defined the range and variation of non-hardcore raiders, like their guild is greater. Clearly a social, raiding guild could be many things. A social guild that raids now and again for fun. A raiding guild that hands out and socialises and does fun, non-raid related stuff. Then there is everything in between.

The thing I like about the social, raiding guild is that the fun is the raid progress. The idea, for me, is that the guild is fun place to hang with good people you can trust and toss in some decent raiding as well.

Who owns a guild? Now this is highly contentious. Most officers, and many rank and file guildies, would simply answer the GM. I think this question needs some thought though. If you buy a guild charter and get the four signs you now need and buy a guild bank. You buy a guildomatic forum website and rent a ventrilo server. What have you got. Nothing. Absolutely feck all.

If you buy a guild charter and have four mates and they sign it and then you manage to convince some other people that you and your mates can deliver some of the things they require, then you’ve got something. So does a guild belong to it’s membership. No, not really because you can get kicked at any time and the GM can always disband the guild just as you’re starting to like being in it.

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