You’re here, now what?

WarlordsofDraenorLogo_Shadow

It has been a very long time since we’ve updated this blog.

A lot has changed since the last time we were here.  Our guild has moved to a new realm and we’re enjoying life on Zul’jin.  I miss the quiet and familiarity of Llane (and visit on a few toons I left behind), but I’m very pleased with our decision to move.  Our roster is smaller, we are running a single (larger) raid team, and we’re raiding shorter hours than ever before – with two days a week for a total of four hours.   Knowing that we’d be taking a hit in progression speed, we opted for a schedule that was friendlier for raid/life balance.  So far it’s working out pretty well.  We are taking the typical bumps and bruises as we approach the end of the expansion but this is nothing new and we’re equipped to move forward as we always do.

Today’s blog topic:  Guild Loyalty

There have been so many changes to the structure and benefits of guilds in World of Warcraft, ultimately leaving guild leaders with less to offer individual players.  The ability to solo play all of the content and easily find PUGs to raid end game content.

So why would anyone join a guild?

As a raider, if you have selected wisely, you are in a guild with like-minded people who offer a regular and consistent raid schedule, which would allow you to make time to participate and give you ample time to prepare for raids.  A progression-minded raiding guild is going to offer farm nights for as much as it is needed, and work on progressing through the end game content.
The advantages to this set-up are many, but include having an entertaining, fun, and skillful group of people who work very well as team upon which you can rely.  They are your friends and you’ve developed some level of bond with the rest of the group.  These are people you can turn to for help, sympathy, tools, and companionship.  Forming this type of bond with a regular group of people means the accomplishments you achieve as a group taste that much sweeter as you’ve ALL put in the blood, sweat, tears, and time to make this happen.  You’re a cohesive unit that all did your part.  It’s a very satisfying feeling.

It is one thing to progress with strangers but it does not equate the feeling of accomplishing a challenge with your group.

Heroic Archimonde

Why do I bring this up?

I thought that it should go without saying that when you are in a progression raid group, you do not put yourself above other people and PUG the current progression content.  First and foremost this is incredibly selfish, and secondly it is a huge blow to the morale of the group.  In the less important; however still valid, reasons – you have potentially screwed up the loot table for Master Looting (depending on when you decided to be an asshat in relation to your raid schedule) for your entire team.

About a third of our raid team regularly PUGs Heroic Hellfire Citadel – the content we have on farm but aren’t farming regularly as we are pushing progression as a priority – in order to obtain tier gear.  This is NOT a problem as we aren’t screwing anyone over or crapping on our raid team.   A few people are PUGging, or helping out friends, in Mythic content, which is not a problem as we are not pursuing Mythic content this tier.

Going out to specifically PUG the progression bosses and get your ass carried, is a total dick move and shows that you have no loyalty to the guild or to the team.  For the group to bring in players, spend time to cultivate their raiding, gear them up if they were behind when they joined, and then have the team discarded like this shows a depth of ingratitude.  We are not a group that emphasizes gear and because of that we are a group that emphasizes the experience.   We raid four hours a week because as a group that is what we can dedicate out of our lives to continue doing something that we love, with a group of people that we enjoy – so the slap in the face stings.

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It’s springtime and The Wolfpack blooms

Greetings all, neglected blog was neglected!

The Wolfpack experienced a few bumps and bruises over the winter. I’m going to share some of our dirty laundry in order to give you some perspective. That which does not kill you, makes you stronger – has never been more true.

Over the winter we lost two of our four raid teams.
One team was given an option to leave, as they did not want to follow the guild rules or raid rules that were established. Citing the oppressive nature of our guild as cause to leave they GQuit en masse and even took a few players and raiders from other teams with them. They put up a good campaign of pointing out negatives and giving good promises for “high level” raiding while spreading poison behind the scenes. I wish I could say that I was sad or disappointed, but in all honesty I was relieved. Having a few people who obviously didn’t want to be around was placing such a heavy blanket of negativity on all of us. We wished those of them who weren’t complete dicks in the leaving process much success and hope they don’t have too much bench-riding.

Shortly thereafter another raid team that was struggling in raid progression and consequently struggling to maintain a solid roster decided to transfer off realm. They felt they could succeed if they went to a larger server. As I still have a friend in that group, I checked up to find that they still can’t fill the empty spots and continue to have dismal raid progress. I’m sad that those that felt they had to go with them are wading through that mess.

In a matter of weeks over the winter we lost two raid teams and what amounted to 23 players from the guild. There was about a day of tension as the absences were noticed but this sense of fresh air blew all of that away. I wondered why I hadn’t sliced away the weight earlier.

Our guild, our wonderful people, stepped up into raid roles and assisted in every way possible. Suddenly we were absorbing a small guild on our realm (one of the best decisions we have ever made), we had alt run raids, we had new recruits that approached us to join via word of mouth and realm reputation. Every single new person merged seamlessly in with the old crew. Faces from previous expansions were popping up again and guild chat never skipped a beat.

I will never tire of the sentiment that our guild is amazing because of all of the wonderful people who gather there and choose to share their free time.  Our community has never been more vibrant than it is now.

Another change over the winter was the decline of our dear website. I noticed that help tickets and support questions were going unanswered. Once the ToT raids dropped the site was not updated to support the new content. Previously we had received excellent customer service. I did some digging and discovered that Guildzilla had been sold and the new owner did not appear to have any intention of maintaining the site. Once I figured this out we made plans in March to move our online home. Again, the guild rallied and funded a new site, a new voice comm (where we dropped Vent for Mumble) and one more perk that I chose to surprise them with: our own domain.

www.wolfpackguild.com

Spring has sprung – and what’s on the horizon? We’re working on raiding, with three core teams and an alt run. We have had a few real life issues that caused people to leave raid teams – like joining the military, job changes,etc. As always we dust off and move on. Sadly it hit one team a little harder than other teams but they are going to be just fine as soon as we find a solid healer to take up the mantle for them. As a group we all agree that we’re a little behind in raid progress but we’re picking up steam again and are motivated to return to our former ‘glory’ of a Realm Top 10 guild.

Several people have taken on challenge modes again, now that we’ve reached a point in the expansion where we are no longer having to dedicate all the free time to faction grinds and valor capping. Most are waiting til Patch 5.3 to push leveling other toons to 90. The Challenge Mode groups have hit bronzes and silvers and are very close to a gold. It’s really exciting!

We have new guild contests coming up. We continue to look for those raiders that have a spark unlike all the others. We still laugh and have a fabulous time, with more and more people just hanging out in Mumble just because they can.

Keep up the good work guys. I’m glad we’ve shed our winter darkness and have moved forward with a fresh spring.

We don’t need no stinking rules!

We at The Wolfpack are planted firmly in Tier 14, with our four raid teams progressing well.  One group has just stepped a toe into the waters of Heroics for this tier and I couldn’t be prouder or more excited.  I love that we have recruited and cultivated excellent players of many classes that get along well together and have found a harmonious balance between real life and raid life.  This guild is truly the tops and exactly what I envisioned years ago when first paying the Guild Vendor for a charter.

As with all of our previous raiding tiers we have had to adjust and adapt, sometimes making changes on the fly or planning them carefully and executing them within a time frame.  Any change is met by someone being unhappy, but the hardest pill I’ve had to swallow in my time as leadership has been the fact that you can not please all the people all the time.

Why do we have guild rules at all?

Because any social unit of people tied together becomes a microcosm of society as a whole.  Sadly, we do not live in a utopian world and we have to have structure in order to function well.  What factors comprise a well-ordered and functioning mini-society?

  1. Common motives and goals
  2. An accepted division of labor, i.e. roles
  3. Established status (rank) relationships
  4. Accepted norms and values with reference to matters relevant to the group
  5. Development of accepted sanctions (praise and punishment) if and when norms were respected or violated

Under these guidelines, people are able to function within parameters and meet, exceed, or fall below expectations.  This also protects us from unfair or disappointing circumstances, such as: guild bank theft and subjective decisions influencing loot distribution.

My key issue with anything related to running the guild is fairness.  Since we run four teams, all four teams have to follow the same set of expectations.  One raid lead can’t apply punitive actions against his raiders if none of the other teams follow those rules.  I’ve cut them off at the knees if that were the case as no one would want to raid with “the mean one” and all structure would then be meaningless.

So – loot rules apply to all teams – and they are not subjective (who needs it, who wants it more, who deserves it more).  Attendance rules apply to all teams – if you have one guy not making it to the raid nights then we need to replace him as that’s 9 other people waiting around for something to do.

Rules not only apply to raiders, but also to the guild as a whole.  Part of what makes us successful in each of our subdivisions is that fact that we have a strong core group of people who make logging in to play fun and interesting.  Our guild solidarity adds to our sub-group cohesion.  That’s why it’s encouraged that if you PvP or raid, that you do more things outside of the small group that you regularly team up with.  Increased guild morale helps everyone.  Having pro-social, positive interactions with more groups than “your own” causes a rapport to build and eliminates the bane of any guild: cliques.

This is why we do have nice things.  If we eliminated some of our ‘restrictive factors’ would we be a guild further into raid progression?  It’s possible.  But we’d also be a guild that was something I do not want and actively avoided.  We’d bench players, we’d loot council in order to distribute gear to “deserving” players, we’d be a raiding machine without a soul.  I’d rather see us disband raiding teams than become a machine for rankings that was out of control and trampling on people’s feelings.  This guild is a safe haven from harsh criticisms, and unfair practices.  We don’t use people for personal or collective gain.  We don’t behave in indecorous manner towards each other.

I do ask that if players are unhappy to have an honest, and often difficult assessment period.  Is it the game, your role, the guild or something else entirely.  If someone finds them self snapping at someone, the first instinct is to be an asshole, they want more but can’t have it under these guidelines, then perhaps it’s time for them to go.

Continue the discussion at our website or in the comments below.

With time comes change, with change comes opportunity or devastation – You Decide.

World of Warcraft is very much an overgrown ‘Choose-Your-Own-Adventure’ game.  Much like learning to play an instrument you will get out of it what you put into it.  The microcosm of a guild reflects what is going on around it.  The players comprise the guild, the guilds comprise the realm, the realm comprises the gaming experience.

We in The Wolfpack are fortunate to have a vibrant and healthy community on a fairly stable realm.  I enjoy that we are medium population now and no longer have wait times to log in as we did in Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King.  I like that there is activity in trade but isn’t a wall of text scrolling past at breakneck speeds.  There are familiar player and guild names, because they have been there since day one of the realm inception.  There are new names and faces which is nearly always a breath of fresh air; bringing new ideas, experiences and opportunities to the community as a whole.

Now, I don’t think of myself as a realm historian but I have witnessed a lot of history on Llane.  I have seen very small, compact, successful raiding guilds dominate the rankings and then disappear – some imploded like a star that burned too hotly, some faded away once the players moved to new realms to be bigger fish in smaller ponds or to try their hands at being top dogs on larger realms.  The phenomena of the “super guild” has sprung up a few times on our realm – where the ‘best’ players are poached from various raid guilds in order to form one super guild with the sole purpose of topping the rankings.  Often they are successful at it, until a new raiding tier releases or the players want more out of a guild experience.  Typically the infrastructure isn’t there to actually have a viable guild, and the super guild dies and another incarnation forms.

I can’t fault the players that participate in such endeavors, their game experience is less about community and more about personal gain.  They play in the manner that satisfies them and there is nothing wrong with enjoying the aspects that you pursue.

Mists of Pandaria has ushered in a new era of raiding and a new type of player.  So far I don’t know what to think of the players, but the raiding tiers are wonderful.  They are challenging, but not daunting.  They are beatable, but leaving you satisfied.  Our own realm has seen some major shifts in the “players” for raiding progression, with a Day 1 well-respected and successful guild breaking apart this month.  From their ashes rises smaller teams and other guilds have absorbed stragglers.  All of this changes the raiding dynamic.  As for the new players – it seems like a less loyal generation of  “all about me” is starting to become the norm.  We hope to avoid the impact of that in our guild as we stick to our well-defined rules, neutrality in leadership, and continue to provide a home in which it is worthwhile to stick around.

Continue the conversation at our website: http://the-wolfpack.guildzilla.com

The webs we weave – Llane’s changes

Exploring the World of Warcraft

There are many different types of players who enjoy World of Warcraft. Some enjoy the most difficult aspects of the game that come with raiding end-game content, some the thrill and edginess of one-on-one combat with another character or team. There are those who spend time doing each quest available as well as those who enjoy running dungeons, scenarios, challenge modes and so on. There are also those of us who explore. While I am a player of many types I am definitely an explorer.

Exploration of our immense in-game world can be as simple as riding, flying, or walking around the various worlds and territories that have been created for us to enjoy. Amazing amounts of time and detail have gone into making the game what it is today and part of that is the land and territories it contains.

While everyone has the capability to explore the game and what fun things they’ve hidden for us to find there is another class of explorer that actively looks beyond what is normally available in the game. Those things hidden away from view on purpose, those things left discarded during the developmental process, those things kept secret. I am one of these explorers and I’ll share with you one such story of a great adventure.

Before I delve right into it some have often asked, “Why go through such lengths to find these items?” and so on. It’s a passion, simple as that. My own first exploration took me no less than 4 hours jumping a particular way, in a particular spot, moving forward in a particular manner before my real adventure would even begin. That was the dedication it took for me just to enter the place I wanted to explore. Once inside one of my greatest exploration accomplishments occurred and I’ll never forget it. Like I said… there are many different types of World of Warcraft players.

While this isn’t the story of my first adventurous exploration this story is a fascinating one containing many of the wonderful things that are often hidden behind closed doors and blockaded walls.

Escaping Deepholm

Outside the shell of Deepholm there are many numerous Designer treasures and leftovers. Various ground pattern tests, map remnants of unimplemented Battlegrounds, and an enormous landscape to explore that’s easily twice the size of Deepholm itself.

The Azshara Crater was planned as a future Battleground in Azshara during the beginning days of WoW. It was likely to be in southern Azshara, in the Forlorn Ridge. It was intended to work in a similar fashion to Alterac Valley. It is unknown what the specific goals of the battlefield would have been. Battleground entrances were already placed within the zone, with the Alliance entrance on the south side of Forlorn Ridge and the Horde entrance on the north side. They were inactive prior to the Cataclysm as the Battleground itself was never implemented. Since the Cataclysm and the complete revamp of Azshara all remaining remnants of this unimplemented Battleground were removed. Unreleased non-live content for this Battleground does however exist in previous game files.

The Azshara Crater Dragons where one of the most visible parts of the unimplemented Battleground. Like many other dual monoliths in the game they were striking to look at.Image

Interestingly enough even though this unimplemented Battleground goes all the way back to WoW’s Beta hidden away in unimplemented game files these two dragons found a new home outside the shell of Deepholm during the Cataclysm Beta. They can also be found in a very few other unimplemented designer/test areas of the game but placing them outside of Deepholm was an interesting choice.
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Today unfortunately their physical presence outside of Deepholm is no longer visible. However, their presence on your in-game map is.
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There are numerous other oddities outside of Deepholm and they mostly consist of various texture testing and terrain design. Here are some of the many you can see.

Misc terrain and texture #1.
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Misc terrain and texture #2.
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Misc terrain and texture #3.
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Misc terrain and texture #4.
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Misc terrain and texture #5.
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Misc terrain and texture #6.
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Therazane placeholder model during the Cataclysm Beta. This was an early concept to what Therazane may look like. Quite different than what was implemented.
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Placeholder size reference human figures can be seen in a few areas. This is a Designer way of building content and then testing the size reference against an in-game player character model. These figures are motionless and completely non-interactive.
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Finally we have an unobstructed view of the underside of the Maelstrom taken a few thousand yards above the dome.
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Hopefully you’ve been inspired yourself to get out and look around the enormous world available to us in the game. Even without peeking “behind the doors” so to speak there are vast amounts of things to discover. Your adventure starts when you’re ready!

Moving Right Along in Mogu’shan Vaults – and more!

I haven’t updated in a while!  For shame!  What’s going on in the World of The Wolfpack’s Warcraft?

Let’s see – we had more raider attrition that we anticipated which was stressful and honestly a little upsetting.  We applied more stringent recruiting measures and think we finally have 99% of our core raid team set.  We’re still looking for a raider in *my* team but I’m feeling pretty confident about this search.  We’re very forthcoming in stating that although we aren’t hardcore raiders (*ROWR!*) we do raid seriously and expect you to do a few basics – like show up.  With our very light (for progression-minded raiding) schedule we’re pretty reasonable.

In the meantime, all four of our 10m teams are “tied” in progression.  We’re not competing, per se, but it’s good to see how we’re doing in comparison.  After several false starts for three of the teams I’m glad to see that we are all on even ground and moving forward.

But – this blog isn’t meant to be my outlet for raiding woes!  SO – we’ve dipped our toes into the Challenge Mode pool and we’re itching to do more.  The hard part – aside from the shock of being in a heroic mode 5-m raid where trash mobs can kick your butt into the next world – is finding time to do them!  I’m flabbergasted at the amount of whining coming from players across the internet universe about how there is too much to do.  Really?  Weren’t you the same players that whined about how you had nothing to do for three months at the end of Cataclysm?   *head/desk*

Pet Battles continue to amuse me and are a great distraction during queues for Instances, LFR, PvP and Scenarios.

I’m having strong desires to level another alt to 90 – but deciding on which one has been killer.  My mage made it into Jade Forest but it’s unknown if I’ll abandon that plan yet and bring my hunter because the lure of new hunter pets is strong.

Be afraid – I finally played around with my computer enough to figure out how to create (and edit) video blog posts.  Expect one soon-ish.
Continue the discussion at our website:  The Wolfpack of Llane

My Lexicon of Recruiting for Raiders

What in the world is going on out there?  We’re currently in the throes of scrambling to find people to fill out our raiding roster for core spots.  We had a few people flake, a few people who want to raid but as of this date haven’t bothered to level to 90 (so you… want to raid?  Oh Really?).  There were a few moments of panic where people realized they just weren’t ready to start for one reason or another.  Real life happens, that’s OK – really.  Just tell us about it so we aren’t left wondering what happened.

Anyway – in what feels like my new hobby of culling through Looking for Guild/Recruiting forums I am seeing some amazing posts that leave me perplexed.

Perhaps my standards are too stringent?

My interpretation of some of the posts that I’ve seen:

“I left Cataclysm content about 9 months ago and never completed Tier 12/Tier13” – means I left WoW when SWtOR came out and now that it’s no longer shiny and new I came back to WoW and expect raid content to be WotLK easy.  I will get frustrated and flake out on you early or when the next shiny comes along.

“Your raid must have completed 6/6N (tier 14)” – I want to be carried through normal mode when your raid has it on farm so I don’t have to do any work.

“You tell ME why you want me in your guild” – means I have a giant ego to make up for my small male genitalia.

“I don’t care about the social aspects of a guild” – means I will only log in for raid night and you’ll never see me at any other time.  I will kill your guild morale with my absence.

“Here is a long list of my raiding history and I am actually a good fit for that ONE spot you have, BUT I’m a package deal – you MUST accept my friend, who is currently a level 63 Hunter with no raiding experience but we need to be guaranteed core raid spots” – I have unreasonable expectations and either myself or my friend will be guild princesses.  We think things happen around us magically and take no effort from anyone – least of all us.

and here is my favorite – completely real, cut and pasted word for misspelled word:

“hi im a disc priest lookin for a core raid spot. i live on the west coast and work tell 5:00 pst so can be online at 5:45 pst ready to raid monday-thursday tell when ever. i was the 2nd best healer if not the best in my guild dring cata. i have been playing sents wolk. i have only missed about 2 days of raiding the hole time i been playing. i am 2/16 in new content and ranked on one of the fights in worldoflogs.  and yes i am will to transfer and change factions if needed” – I am an idiot.

 

Good luck out there.

 

 

 

Mists of Pandaria – point of view from level 89.75

I love this expansion.  For the first time since The Burning Crusade, I’m able to say that I love a World of Warcraft expansion.  I enjoyed Wrath of the Lich King, but felt a little cheated in how easy the game was after years of really having to learn something and work towards goals.  Cataclysm was fun but I felt burnt out on the end-game content too soon because there wasn’t enough to do in-game, for me.     

I have leveled on my priest to the point of 89.75 as of today and expect that I will hit the new level cap of 90 this evening.  One of our guildies, and the raid leader for my raid team, Zetch – not only hit realm first Level 90 Warrior, but also the Realm First Level 90.  He did this in about 12 hours.  I’m fairly certain that I’ve spent nearly 12 hours on each level between 85 and now.  Many kudos to him for pulling off that feat.  I wish that I had kept up with at least half of his pace but in some ways, I am glad that I did not.  

The new content is fun and engaging.  For the first time, since ‘vanilla’ I am interested in the story line and reading the quest text and understanding what is happening.  I love the new immersion in the quests as there are more cut scenes that make you feel as if you are actually a part of the story.  The smarter quest rewards are also appreciated.  I’m finding so much more use out of these quest items (which have replaced my Heroic Tier 13 gear…. *sad face*), instead of giving my priest the Tin Axe of suck and the Longbow of Spirit as is often the case when questing.  Also, the poop quests have continued.  It wouldn’t be WoW if you didn’t have to spend time dealing with poop. 

At first I grumbled at the idea of no flying in Pandaria until you hit max level.  I thoroughly appreciate it now.  The scenery is beautiful and a refreshing change from Cataclysm’s burnt ruination.  The game almost appears current (now if we can get the character models updated we will be going somewhere).  In addition, I’ve fallen in love with my Yak mount which has made my ground travels a pleasurable experience.    I find myself less inclined to skip content areas or skip quest lines because I do have to travel along those paths anyway.  The smoothness of the quest flow has also made the no fly zone a palatable experience.  The side quests are enjoyable and feel less grind-full.  It seems like they are flavor added to a story rather than an afterthought.  The quest “At the Yak Wash” has become an inside guild joke and rite of passage with many nefarious connotations.   Also, this comment from WoWhead made me snort laugh:

After destroying Old Gods and the Lich King – After witnessing the shattering of the world
After working side by side with divine beings – After travelling through time to prevent timelines from changing – After stopping Titan machines from annihilating the planet – After preventing Kil’Jaeden from entering our realm – After annihilation of almost an entire black dragon species

It is time to wash some yaks.

Yes.  Indeed it is. 

I am not a fan of long grinds, especially for faction reputations.  As much as I love mounts (and want a Talbuk), none of my toons of any level or on any server have a Talbuk mount or Nether Ray.  In Mists of Pandaria reputation gains are actually worthwhile!  Your precious Justice and Valor points can not be spent until someone likes you enough to do business with you!  This is awesome!  I’m still a little confused by things like rep with The Tillers, but I am getting a sense of satisfaction from my farm plot without making it seem like a terrible daily grind. 

Pet Battles.  Now, I was often the first to mock the idea when it was discussed prior to the expansion.  I have seen a few guildies leave the game for good prior to MoP because they found the idea ridiculous and insulting.  I thoroughly and completely admit that it is SO MUCH FUN.  I know people who have nearly abandoned the rush to level cap right away as they are trying to level the companion pet army in order to battle the Pandaria critters.  Capturing new companion pets, the ability to send extras to others and the train of battle achievements and quests has kept that lively and interesting.  I’m sure there will be a point down the road where the interest will wane, but in the meantime I’m seeing player in zones they haven’t been in for years seeking out new pets. 

 There are a few things that still need work:

  • The aforementioned character model updates.
  • Cross-Realm Zones – SUCK.  My rants on this can go into another post another time.
  • There are still bugs on our realm and we’re not high-pop (such as a guildie logged out at an inn, logged back in the next day to find himself in mid-air at mountain top height and falling to his death. 

All in all I feel this is a great expansion and a great gaming experience.  I’m looking forward to running heroics at level 90 and then raiding.  There is so much to see, do and experience that I’m not dreading the raid progression experience as a sign of the end of content. 

Thanks, Blizzard.  You’ve made this game fun again.

Waiting is the hardest part

Patience is necessary, and one cannot reap immediately where one has sown.  – Soren Kierkegaard

As of this post, we are three days and a few hours from the release of Mists of Pandaria.  It seems like an eternity.  I’ve never before seen a normally high-spirited group so done with content and ready to move on.  It’s exciting and I’m so looking forward to a slew of new experiences for myself and for the guild.  We have all put in a lot of effort to get to where we are now and to prepare for our future.

Three cheers for more fun and frolic in our future.  I send much love to our patient and wonderful guild who make logging in every evening a pleasure.

It has been a wonderful experience seeing the players pitch in to help each other, offer to assist in any way and in everything.  Everyone took the Patch talent/class changes in stride and enjoyed learning what was new.  We are all in agreement that CRZ was the worst idea ever.  I’m happy to be a part of this group and am looking forward to our growth.

Happy Mists of Pandaria, everyone!  Hang in there, it’s almost time to once again make our mark.

 

 

A Week in the Life of a Pre-Expansion World of Warcraft Guild Leader

With the expansion, Mists of Pandaria on the not-so-distant horizon I’m in the throes of organizational hell.  Quite frankly, I’m feeling a little under appreciated.

Here’s a little insight into my life as of late.  Dates and events are approximate yet an accurate depiction of why I am shattered beyond belief.   

Monday.  Woke-up a little late because the progression raid team that I am on raids on Sunday nights.  We raid “late night” for me, as I’m on the east coast and most of the team is CST or PST.  I checked our website for any new forums posts to see if there is something that needs to be addressed.  Thankfully there were only cat pictures and commentary about MoP changes.  I got to my day job and tried to earn a living.  I took a break to chat with people through our instant messenger and browsed the battle.net forums to see if: anything shocking has been revealed and if people had responded to recruiting posts.  I started looking up blog posts about Holy Priest healing on Heroic Spine as the raid team I am on is stuck there and we want so very much to progress before the new pre-MoP patch changes everything.  More work day things.  I checked our site again before leaving my day job to find that we have new applicants to the guild.  I stayed late at work in order to do some research on who they are, what they want to do and if they would be a good fit for us – as far as personality and goals.  Sadly most are not going to pass muster.  Composed declination messages that don’t sound like I’m an asshole.

DC Metro area rush hour traffic is legendary and second only to Los Angeles, with Boston a close third.  I fielded text messages from officers and guild mates with questions about raiding, schedules and personnel issues/conflicts during my drive home.  Oh look, a phone call from a client that I have established for my soon to exist business.  Can I fulfill a major order for them by tomorrow night?  Of course I can!  God damn it.  Completely bail on doing some PvP with the guild and good friends off realm.  Feeling guilty about it for hours.  Pit stop at home to pick up my boyfriend so we can make a run to Costco because I had no supplies to fill this order.  Spent the rest of the night plugged into an iPod and baking, answering text messages from various officers and guild mates.

Log in briefly to say hello and mail check while the last items are in the oven, waiting to go to bed.  Realizing that we will need substitutes for my raid team this week because people have flaked out for one reason or another.  OK.  I’ll get on that tomorrow.   Made pre-emptive posts on our site asking people to be patient and flexible about the raid roster.

Tuesday.  Went to bed too late again so I’m up late again this morning.  I didn’t have time to browse the forums before heading to work but I did manage to start a load of laundry.  Go me.  I started to look up more healing blogs when BAM – I clicked a bad link and my WORK COMPUTER contracted a virus.  Fuuuuuuck.  I’m going to be in trouble.  Spend the rest of the work day trying to remove the virus to no avail.  Had to stay late and actually take care of work things.  Cryptic text messages came in asking if I’ve spoken to certain guild members that seem disgruntled.  No… but I made a note to do so.

Rush hour drive home.  Delivered the baked goods from the night before and do some networking.  My boyfriend treated me to dinner out because I’ve been so frazzled lately.   At home, I spend time with my boyfriend, all the while pouring over a spreadsheet that was spit out after 57 people in our guild applied to the 40 raid spots we intended to have in MoP.  Normally I am out on Tuesday nights because I’m the captain of a dart team in a league; however my team did not make the second round of play-offs so I’m home.  Send an encouraging email to my dart teammates and remind them of the upcoming season.

I check our site again to find private messages from players stating that they know they agreed to play a second choice class/raid role/schedule – but in fact can not accommodate after all.  OK.  Regroup and adjust the spreadsheet.  Oh look – one mock-up raid team is now consisted entirely of paladins and druids.  Although amusing on some level – that is not going to fly.

Decide that I’m going to watch a television show that I enjoy which has been on my DVR for three weeks because I haven’t had time to watch it, while sipping a glass of wine.  I still had the spreadsheet with me because I can’t believe that I was not able to figure this out.  Decided to log into WoW – need to pop in and say hello, check mail, do a daily.  Whisper spam!  Everyone, it seems, has questions, requests, issues or just wanted to chat privately.  Disgruntled guildie #1 wants to know why he was demoted from his raider rank.  I has no idea what he’s talking about.  Proceeded to receive a bunch of crap about how he’s right and I’m wrong once I think I have sorted out the issue.  He logged off, pissed.  Make a post on the battle.net forums asking for clarification.  Get overwhelmed, decide to quest with a friend in the guild who is SO patient that I have to stop every five feet to respond to something.  Stay up too late, log out of game and head to bed at 3AM.

Wednesday.  Check my site mail to find that disgruntled guildie #2 has once again sent me a message about how to run my guild.  Started fuming and drive to work without grabbing my coffee cup.  God damn it.  More virus on my work computer bullshit.  While I’m incapacitated there I look at my spreadsheet print-out and try to brainstorm the schedules again.

How do I keep the pairs and groups of people who want to play together, together – while maintaining good raid comps, being mindful of past raid experiences, skill level, goals and the vast arrays of availability?  Decide I need to suck it up and cut the people with the least flexibility in the schedules.  Great – now I have 50 people instead of 57.  It’s a start.  Hey – crazy idea – 50 people, five 10m teams?  No, sadly it still doesn’t work.  

More messages from other raid leads about attendance problems.  Noted.  Left the day job late and in a panic because I had to work my night job.  How the hell does it take 45 minutes to travel 7 miles?  I still hadn’t responded to the message about how I will change the fundamental philosophy of our guild and bribe people as well as institute DKP in MoP.

Got another rush of pissed off and work my night-time retail gig.  What?  You scheduled me later than I normally stay?  Oh for Fux Sake… I have a raid tonight.  Run around finishing closing a retail store tasks like a crazy woman in order to get out 15 minutes earlier (or 30 minutes later, depending on which work schedule you look at) – drive home in a panic – praying there is dinner ready. I haven’t eaten anything today.  It’s 10:45PM.  Oh.  We had house guests this evening.  My living room looks like a library and Magic: the Gathering tournament blew up.  At least there is cold pizza to eat and I log in barely in time to reforge my priest gear and raid.  Still no check in the win column for Heroic Spine of Deathwing.  I’m growing to loathe this fight.  Morale is low between the drop-outs from our core and lack of progress.  Note – need to keep spirits of the raid team up.  Well, shit.  I don’t have an ounce of cheerleader left in me.

After raid – respond to disgruntled guildie #2 with a thanks, but no thanks.  Field more issues with the upcoming raid schedule.  I want to stab myself in the brain.  Oh look, one of our guildies recommended a friend to apply to our guild.  This is the most bizarre, elitist, bullshit application I have ever seen.  I can tell this will be a problem.  After declining, this chode of a person spammed our website with crude messages telling us to suck his dick.  He spent 2.5 hours sending private messages to me asking me if I was on my period and telling me how I’m a bitch and shitty guild leader for turning him down. No, honey.  This proves that I am an AWESOME guild leader.  I finally figured out the privacy and security settings on our website.  Problem solved.  The sun is coming up.  Fuuuuck.

Thursday.  I’m so completely knackered.  I fell asleep at 6:00AM and now it’s time to get up and go to work.  I’m seeing posts on our site that are not making me happy because they are from disgruntled guildie #2 and I know there are nefarious reasons behind these things.  Phone call to an officer actually sorted some things out with the raid teams – fresh pair of eyes works wonders.  Have an internal debate about censorship on our website while driving to work – slamming two cups of coffee.

Day job actually needs my attention as the virus problem has put me way behind.  Still managed to move raid teams around some and by god it seems to be working out.  Light at the end of a tunnel!  Little did I know that light was an oncoming train.  Leave the day job, get to the night job.  My gamer co-workers are at the night job talking about Guild Wars 2 and I lament my lack of PC in order to play.  Mentally calculate that I can’t even afford a back to school sale crappy PC now.  Fielded email from my old competition Guild Wars guild – they are back together – come join them!  Oh, I wish I could.  I was shaking from exhaustion and a blood sugar crash by the time I got home since I was running on no sleep and no food – again.

Oh look, messages from a new raid leader’s girlfriend wanting to know why she isn’t invited to the officer/raid leader meeting tomorrow night.  Patient hat on – explain it’s for officers and raid leaders – hope I didn’t offend her.  Can’t dwell.  More MIAs from raid groups.  COME ON PEOPLE, I know it’s the end of the expansion but think of the nine other people who are counting on you.  Check the website, clean out the applicants that went dark and make notes about improvements to our forums.  Can’t bring myself to log in to WoW.  I just can’t.  I watch a favorite movie and fall asleep on the couch having fitful dreams about androids and electric sheep.

Friday.  I feel refreshed and almost content.  The raid rosters are done.  I’m not confident that I haven’t made mistakes, but I am certain that if I have we can work them out.  Day job is uneventful and blessedly not busy.  I confirmed that some people have no-called no-showed to raids so they are no longer welcome on raid teams.  I prepared a meeting agenda.

I returned home from work early and took a short nap.  Hungry – decided to go out to dinner, surprise my boyfriend took me to my favorite restaurant.  We were thinking of going to our favorite bar afterwards to throw darts and hang out, but I was antsy to get home and go over the agenda and raid rosters again.  My boyfriend makes a snide comment, “oh, that’s right, you have your other job to get back to”.  I wince.  Note – spend more quality time with him.

Receive a blue post about my inquiry regarding disgruntled guildie #1.  Vindication!  He ignores my messages to him about it.  Patience is dwindling.  Log into game and into Ventrilo for our meeting.  One person isn’t there.  Awesome.  Patience is gone.  We start on time.  I’m ignoring all of the whispers in-game – can’t you see that I have DND set?  People look over rosters, I’m actually feeling pretty good about this.  Not much additional feedback from the officers.  There are some sticking points but this isn’t a democracy.  Realize that I haven’t talked to a potential raid lead about actually being the raid lead, so he wasn’t in on the meeting.  God damn it, I fail.  Pull him aside after the meeting and he seems enthusiastic and understanding.  Announce to the guild that raid rosters are going to be released in minutes.  Set up the website and start posting.   Before I have even finished posting the private messages start.

  • Why am I not on a team?
  • Why am I not on the best team?
  • Why am I not healing?

Oh for fux sake.  You aren’t on a team because you stopped showing up for the team you were on in the current tier.  You aren’t on the BEST TEAM because there is NO BEST TEAM.  WTF don’t you get about our structure?  We are not elitist assholes.  We do not stack teams.  We make an even playing field and ensure that EVERYONE has a chance to do their best and make what they want of the team they are on because they are like-minded and like-motivated.  You aren’t healing because out of 57 applicants – 28 of them are healers and most of them are AWESOME at it, and you can’t take constructive feedback about how to improve – but hey – I did place your second choice for raiding on a team for DPS.  Go me.

That resulted in two rage quits (shockingly, disgruntled guildies #1 and #2) from the guild – one of them stealing items from our guild bank.  Now my ire is up.  And look.  It appears that I did screw up the schedule and put a late night player in an evening team.  I’m an asshat.  I need a day or two before I can even tackle that.  Thank goodness she is sweet as can be, trusting and very understanding

It’s late.  I’m tired and angry.  Oh look that player that I worked hard to recruit to our guild from another realm who wants to PvP on our struggling rated team that I am failing at putting together… was sitting on our server for three days without a guild invite and joined another guild.  Fuuuuck.  I love wasted effort.  I log out for the night.

Saturday.  Sleeping in didn’t seem to work.  I made adjustments and changes to the website.  I addressed player concerns via PM.  Made a late lunch/early dinner with my boyfriend and spent some time together.  I wrote a venting/ranty post to a WoW community that I belong to and spend a while chatting with them about upcoming MoP changes and how absolutely shitty players can be when faced with change, especially when they are adults and you expect more from them.  I declined an invitation to a party that evening – even though it is the 40th birthday, joint celebration, for three of my friends…. because I had a raid that night.  I tried to remember the last time I had seen the three of them outside of chance running into one of them at my night job.  It was in March.  Can’t dwell or I’ll get depressed.

Oh look, one of my team mates for tonight called out of raid.  Fuck.  Hop in vent to chat with the raid lead about what’s next for the team in this tier, this particular player and the team in the next tier.  Hey – awesome.  There is more hate mail in my inbox from yet another guildie who thinks we are out to get them.  That thunking sound you heard was me banging my head into my desk wanting to knock myself unconscious.  Deep breath.  You’ll come up with something later.  Focus on the raid.

Raid… had a moment where we could quite literally see the end of the encounter.  We had almost won.  This godforsaken bullshit of a boss fight would be over – and I lagged just long enough and caused the raid to wipe.  I teared up and fought back the urge to just outright cry.  I was embarrassed and frustrated.

Once raid was over I responded to my hate mail – tried to play the game on a lowbie leveling toon – answered questions from a guild mate who realized I can’t work around his schedule because he wasn’t very honest about his availability.  Just tell me you are going to another guild.  Hell, I’ll HELP you find another one.  I need no smoke blown up my ass.  What I need are mature people who can be honest with what they need, want, can do and are able to give.  Went to bed but didn’t fall asleep until 4:30AM because all I could think about was my hate mail.  I dreamt about it, even – to the point of thinking that I had spoken to the sender at length and had worked everything out.

Sunday.  Woke up at 10AM this morning.  Oh look – response to my response to the hate mail.  Co-Guild lead is awake too.  What the hell would I do without him?  Chat for a while.  Both agree that I need more coffee and we both need more sleep.  We’re both upset.

Spent the morning and afternoon staring at a rainy day and wondering if and when I should take a short WoW break.  Decided to spend a few hours telling you why I would appreciate it if you were nicer to me and considerate of just what it takes to keep a large guild running as smoothly as I can.

Just to be clear – this is not a typical week for me.  This is what a typical week is like in preparation of a major expansion.  In real life – I am much busier than this and around even less.  

So hey – it’s fine to come to me with your issues in-game – that is what I am here for.  It’s fine to blame me, or the other leaders/officers, for the things you are upset about – again that is what we are here for.  What I am asking for is patience, kindness and perhaps having an idea for a solution in mind before you bring up a problem.  Maybe when you are blowing up guild chat with silly jokes, collaborating on projects in-game, having interesting conversations, obtaining achievements, killing raid bosses, getting a new shiny and realizing that you are enjoying the company you keep – you can remember some of what goes on behind the scenes to ensure that it continues.

I love you guys, even the three of you that grate on my nerves. =)

You are all wonderful people and give me something to look forward to and be proud of when I do get a chance to unwind and enjoy the game with you.

/rant

~Kat