Archive for the ‘Guild thoughts’ category

Guilds Paying for Server Transfers… Good News or Bad News?

May 10, 2011

On Twitter the other night, Vidyala mentioned noticing a guild shopper requesting that the guild recruiting him pay for his server transfer.

Ouch.

Now, guilds paying for server transfers are pretty common. In case you haven’t been hanging around the recruitment forums lately, I took a screenshot for you. If you want to see for yourself, go to the forums, type in “pay for server transfer” in the search bar and that’s what you’ll get. Note from the dates on the results (I didn’t sort them by date) that this phenomenon didn’t start last week either.

What worried Vidyala, and would worry me too if I were a guild recruiter, was players coming to expect prospective guilds paying for their transfers.

Kurn then thought of the question of, well, should guilds pay for players’ transfers back if they fail their trial period?

Me, the Future Guild Shopper

I’m moving across the country in July, from Middle-of-the-Atlantic-Ocean to Alberta. We’re talking 4 timezones, or 3.5 hours difference. And if that wasn’t enough, I’m going from having to get up early in the morning to will be working until 9pm Mountain Time some nights.

I left my last serious raiding guild in early January, two raids before their Cho’gall kill. As a result, not only will I need a late-but-not-too-late raiding guild, but I need a guild who’ll accept me in my stalled at 9/12 for the past 4 months state.

I miss serious and 25 man raiding a lot. My current guilds (I divide my time between two guilds now!) are both lovely, but I’m aching for hard modes. I’m aching for being able to yell at people who screw up, I’m aching for being yelled at for screwing up, I’m aching for fast run-backs after wipes, I’m aching for long strategy discussions on guild forums.

I know that most guilds don’t mind recruiting from lower down, but the kind of raiding I want to get back into is way, way out of my gear and experience’s league. I don’t mind playing the bench and alt runs until I’m deemed capable of the guild’s content (I would rather that than having to guild-hop my way up), but I dare you to convince a guild of that.

Then, if I weren’t demanding enough, I want a guild with a certain level of class. Not too politically correct (I’m too mouthy for politically correct guilds), but I don’t want flashbacks of my elementary schoolbus rides either.

So I’m quite happy to see that guilds are pretty damn desperate these days. Maybe they’ll be desperate enough to take me and accommodate all my specific requirements.

But I wouldn’t want a guild to pay for my transfer.

You read that right.

As much as I complain about money, poor starving student that I am, I don’t want a guild to pay for my server transfer. Nor would I want for them to pay for my transfer away if things don’t work out.

I want a guild to take me despite my lack of gear and experience. But I don’t want a guild so desperate that they’re willing to pay 25$ per applicant. See, I’m confident in my healing ability, despite my gear and experience. They have nothing to lose by taking me, except maybe 10 minutes of their time if I wipe the raid. And I’m confident that I’ll blow their minds with what my blue gear pieces can do. If they pay me to come over, then they’re risking far more than 10 minutes of their time. They must be in pretty bad shape to be willing to risk that much. I don’t want a guild in bad shape.

As for paying for the transfer away if things don’t work out, I don’t like that either. When I make the decision to hit “accept” on a guild invite, I want it to be meaningful. I don’t make commitments often (how many years have I been single, now? 4? 5?), but when I do, I Commit with a capital C. Entering a new environment, hearing new voices on vent, seeing unknown names in guild chat, getting used to a new guild culture… It’s hard for me. Not something I want to do often. Same goes for leaving a guild.

So no, I don’t want to join a guild where the message is “it’s ok, if we don’t like each other, we’ll make it cheap for you to leave“.

I want to be sure of myself before I join a new guild and a new server. And I want that guild to be sure of me before I make that step.

I know that for so many players, playing musical chairs with guilds isn’t a big deal. But for me it is. And I find that having my transfers paid for would trivialize my commitment.

5 Tricks to Boost Progression

March 19, 2011

There’s something about Cosmo-inspired titles that amuses me to no end. I was seriously tempted to use “5 Tricks to Sexify your Progression” but figured it may be misleading. Didn’t want people to expect a post on how to flirt during raids and be disappointed upon discovering that there’s very little sex in this post. (Now that I think of it, Sex and the Raid would make for an awesome blog title. If I ever go under as a paladin blogger, it’ll be my backup plan.)

Anyway, nothing here is revolutionary. Not revolutionary nor complicated. But I’ve noticed that a lot of guilds don’t use these tricks and would progress much more smoothly if they did. Even casual guilds. Especially casual guilds.

1- Have a pre-raid discussion thread

A thread on the guild forums, 4-5 days before the raid. A couple of words about the night’s destination, some links to boss strategy guides and a few words about the guild’s choice of strategy if it’s a new fight. The thread can also be used for sign-ups, sign-outs and “I clicked tentatively on the calender but XYZ” if you don’t already have a system in place.

The goal is to save time. Makes planning the roster smoother and shortens pre-fight boss talks. Yeah, not everyone reads the forums, but if you answer every question with “what do the forums say?“, the anti-forums crowd kind of gets weeded out.

2- Set specific times for invites, first pull, breaks and raid end.

Human beings do really well with deadlines. If there’s no time to be ready by, no one will be ready until you specifically tell them to be ready. Unless they’re keeners. And if you’ve played WoW for any amount of time, you know that WoW players are rarely keeners.

Set times for breaks and the end of the raid are important too. If players don’t know when they’ll be released to go to the bathroom, they’ll go whenever. And if they don’t know when they’re allowed to shut off the computer, they’ll wander off before you want them to.

3- Don’t stop outside of scheduled breaks

You wouldn’t answer your phone or head to the washroom in the middle of playing soccer would you? So what makes it acceptable during a raid?

As soon as someone goes afk, even for a second, it triggers a chain reaction:

Person 1: BRB one sec need a drink.

*One sec later*

Person 2: Oh, then BRB 2 sec, bio
Person 3: Oh, then afk 1 min, GF aggro (Off topic: why is it always GF aggro and never BF aggro? SEXISM I SAY!)

*1 minute later, ready check*

Person 4: Not ready, on the phone.

If you want to actually, you know, kill stuff, the only reasons anyone should ever go afk outside of a scheduled break are emergencies and kiddie aggro.

Your raid is full of people with active social lives who are frequently interrupted or people with bladder infections who are constantly on the pot? Schedule more frequent breaks.

4- Use World of Logs

I can’t imagine how anyone raids without World of Logs. Looking for death/wipe causes, damage distribution, points of improvement… WoL is a must if you want to get the most out of your time.

The great thing about WoL is that you don’t even have to be involved in the raid leading to have your own account. The WoL website has instructions on how to get started. If you want to learn more about log deciphering, check out the right side of this blog. Scroll down enough and you’ll find a few posts on the topic.

5- Have a post raid discussion thread for each raid

Debriefing after a raid is essential. Every raid deserves a nice thread on the guild forums with a link to the night’s logs, strategy review, constructive criticism (post-raid CC is especially useful since it’s not as heat of the moment as mid-raid CC, it can be clearer and more thought out) and any “I totally shat my pants” comments you might want to get off your chest.

Like managing raid logs, posting a raid debriefing thread on the forums doesn’t necessarily have to be done by a raid leader or guild officer. It might take awhile to catch on (and even then, it’s usually the same two people posting their comments), but people will read those threads and will refer to them in the future.

It’s So EASY!

It’s all about efficiency. Whether the members of your WoW circle are juggling crazy schedules or whether they have all the time in the world, you want to spend your raid time raiding. Not waiting on everyone else, not trying to figure out what’s going on and not making the same mistakes time after time because there’s no written, permanent form of communication.

Adding dedicated threads on the forums, having a clearer schedule and using a logs parsing tool are really fast and easy tricks to stop wasting time and get around to killing stuff for nice, sexy lootz.

Constructive Criticism, What’s The Problem?

March 6, 2011

I was reading Rhii’s last post about how she felt guilty that something she said was followed by her raid leader’s resignation. Now, Rhii’s a gentle soul and I’d be shocked if she mustered the cruelty to say something so horrid that it would ruin someone’s raid leading confidence. A resignation following something she said was most likely coincidence. So that’s not what made me react. What made me react was her (seemingly) gingerly approach to constructive criticism.

(EDIT: After some clarifications from Rhii, it seems that I misinterpreted her approach to CC, which was in reality: “maybe my guild is going overboard with CC, only pointing out the bad calls and ignoring the good ones”. Which, since they’re a new guild, is sort of normal, they’re just trying to find the best communication style for them. But remember folks, be honest and help each other improve, but don’t forget to raise a glass to the good times! Work hard, party hard!)

Discomfort with constructive criticism is one that I see echoed quite a bit among bloggers and among many players I’ve shared raids with: constructive criticism is hard, it causes drama if you’re not super ultra careful, you need to be an adult to handle it

Are us WoW players so terribly socially inept that the words Contructive Criticism need to be capitalized? Is it such a big deal that we need to warn people about it? That we need to debate the terms and conditions of our constructive criticism?
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Since I Guess the Word is Out Anyway

January 31, 2011

How I imagined leaving my guild:

Me: OMG I’M SO MAD QQ I’M LEAVING I’M PISSED OFF I HATE EVERYONE!!!!OMG I’M SO MAD QQ I’M LEAVING I’M PISSED OFF I HATE EVERYONE!!!!OMG I’M SO MAD QQ I’M LEAVING I’M PISSED OFF I HATE EVERYONE!!!!OMG I’M SO MAD QQ I’M LEAVING I’M PISSED OFF I HATE EVERYONE!!!!OMG I’M SO MAD QQ I’M LEAVING I’M PISSED OFF I HATE EVERYONE!!!!OMG I’M SO MAD QQ I’M LEAVING I’M PISSED OFF I HATE EVERYONE!!!!OMG I’M SO MAD QQ I’M LEAVING I’M PISSED OFF I HATE EVERYONE!!!!OMG I’M SO MAD QQ I’M LEAVING I’M PISSED OFF I HATE EVERYONE!!!!

GM: *files restraining order*

How it actually happened:

Me: Hey, I’m gquitting.

GM: Ok.

How I imagined the aftermath:

Me: I’m relieved! No wait, I’m sad! Did I make the right decision? I’m scared! Does everyone hate me? Am I ever going to find another guild? Oh noes! I’m still really mad! I don’t know what to do!

Everyone else: STFU and get lost, we hate you.

What the aftermath was really like:

Me:
I sure feel like playing Civ V right now.

Everyone else: Hey, if you need some referrals, I have some friends in guilds that are looking for a healer.

Me: Cool, thanks.

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What does your relationship with your guild remind you of?

January 14, 2011

As some of you might be sick of hearing about (when I’m sad, I make my friends’ shoulders wet), over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been (unhealthly) preoccupied by tensions between me and my guild. Well, actually, my guild is probably blissfully unaware of such tensions. Either that or it’s ignoring them in hopes that they’ll go away.

So in reality, we could say that I’ve been preoccupied with tensions between me and my perception of my guild.

Which triggered a reflection on how us players view our relationships with our guilds. Some of us take our guilds for what they are: social/hobby clubs, comparable to a garage hockey team or bird watching club. To others, guilds are just a means to achieving in game goals of collecting nice gear and seeing content. At the other end of the spectrum, some (and I tend to fall into this trap a lot) compare their guildies to family, and sometimes even to romantic partners.

Let’s take a look at some of these perceptions of relationships between players and their guilds.

1- The Random People Who Do Stuff

Not everyone bonds with the people they play with. Not everyone wants to bond with the people they play with. And that’s totally fine- as long as you’re upfront about your goals, pull your own weight and don’t step on others to get what you want, there’s no obligation to be more socially involved than necessary.

2- The Social/Sports Club

As intense as some of us players can get about the people we play with, this is what guilds really are: a group of people who share a common hobby. It’s also the key to guild shopping: finding other players who share the same approach and goals about the game.

Even roles within a guild are comparable to real life clubs. Guild officers are like the guy (or girl for the politically correct) on the amateur sports team who sets up the competitions, the guy (or girl) in the running club who orders the t-shirts and so on.

3- The Academy

I’ve never seen guilds described as a school, but the thought occurred to me as I was talking to a friend from my old casual guild who wanted to play at a higher level. “OMG!” I exclamed, “You and I, we graduated! We’re casual guild alumnae!

I guess this way of seeing guilds only applies to us learning junkies who get our kicks from slowly perfecting our play. After all, it’s totally cool to be content playing the game to relax or hang out with buddies. But I felt that “graduating” from a casual guild felt more positive than the more common perception of “breaking up” with a previous guild.

Using “guild as a school” also keeps me focused during more stressful times with my own guild. When you’re spending several hours a week with these people (and in the video game world, “these people” often have varying levels of social skills), rough patches are inevitable. But when frustration builds, the realization that I still have a lot to learn about my class and about my gameplay from my guild reminds me that I’m still in the right place.

4- The Workplace

I see this one a lot. Guilds get compared to businesses and work environments all the time. After all, you sort of have levels of hierarchy (amusingly, my GM loves to be called “boss”…which of course is the exact reason I NEVER call him that), you have objectives, you have a group culture and so on.

Obviously, a group of humans is a group of humans is a group of humans. Organization (workplace) psychology applies to guilds the way it applies to social clubs because it’s all about making individuals better at achieving the group’s goals.

But businesses and guilds have their differences. In one, you’re dealing with employee’s money, careers and lives. In the other, you’re dealing with people’s spare time. As anyone who’s ever had to deal with a young guild officer who’s never had a job before knows, the required management standards aren’t really the same.

5- The Family

My guild is like my family.” There’s another one that comes up a lot. Like any group of friends that you get along well with and that you spend a lot of time around, strong bonds can form. Before you know it, you’re sending each other Christmas cards, going to each other’s weddings and dialling each other’s number whenever something big happens.

This kind of relationship with one’s guild can be great and it can be devastating. Many of us have long term friends we’ve met playing MMOs and many of us have been lucky enough to receive support from friends we’ve met online during tougher times. Some of us don’t have good relationships with our real families and have found some sort of replacement in the people we play with.

The danger in this is that relationships online often seem more intimate than they really are. They develop quickly, they’re easy to be dishonest in (the naivety of people online never ceases to amaze me) and they make it easier to hide from problems with real life families. And while you’re hiding, problems grow.

6- The Romantic Partner

Those who don’t play MMOs and who’ve never been involved in online communities probably think this is the weirdest perception ever. Yet, I’ve seen and heard a lot of gamers compare gquiting to breaking up with someone. And that was exactly the feeling I had when I left my old guild: the alternating feelings of relief and regret, of freedom and loneliness. I’ve also seen someone compare talking about an old guild to talking about exes: you can do it a little if flatters the new guild/significant other, but never if it flatters the old guild/significant other.

I do often use romantic relationships as metaphors a lot when talking about my guild. Mainly because it makes for great dirty jokes… But I am someone who gets really attached and who doesn’t like to move on. The dangers of this? Having trouble knowing when I’ve overstayed my welcome, having too high expectations and being overly affected by arguments or incidents.

Conclusion: Looking at things from a step back

Lately I’ve had this feeling of exhaustion whenever I log into the game and I’ve had my internet time cut down quite a bit due to busy busy real life. So I’m limiting my playtime. My character is geared enough that I don’t really need to play much outside of raids. Since I was frustrated by inefficient communication within guild, I cut down on my socializing on Mumble. I focused more on my gameplay, on analyzing fight damage patterns and on raid parses. Basically, I reminded myself of the “academy” or player personal progress take of a guild relationship.

And it feels good. My expectations dropped: after all, since I’m at roughly the same level of skill as the rest of my guild, the only person I’m depended on to reach my player improvement goals is myself. The stress has been a lot less and I’ve been able to channel more energy on Blog Azeroth. Which I hope I can keep up because Blog Azeroth is like my family. Err… Um… Yeah… Never mind….

Random update about random stuff

December 25, 2010

I don’t post about my random in-game stuff very often but despite my ever growing “to blog” list, I just feel like chatting.

I got a netbook for Christmas! Now I don’t have to alt tab out of game all the time. And if my gaming computer gets sick again, I won’t end up computerless.

Occupying my playtime

The problem with new expansions is that there’s so much that needs to be done. I’ve got my main professions maxed out, cooking and fishing are getting there. With the exception of my chestpiece, my gear is all 346 and higher. I’ve done most of the heroics a countless times (I think there’s still Grim Batol I haven’t done). I’ve gotten a 10 man kill (Conclave of Wind – I did a write up on it for Matticus but he hasn’t posted it yet) and a 25 man kill (Halfus). I’ll admit that I’m a little annoyed at how ridiculously easier 10 man content is, yet the kills are worth the same. Maybe they only seem easier because getting 10 excellent players together is far more likely than getting 25 excellent players together. Still, it’s really hard to take 10 man raiding seriously.

The first two weeks of Cataclysm were really stressful. We had quite a few new holy paladins join the guild. Skillwise, we were all comparable, but they were online a good 16 hours a day while I was juggling finals and pre-graduation events, so I was pretty nervous about falling behind. Thankfully, we mostly skipped the 10 man part of progression and jumped right into 25 where there was plenty of room for me.

Guild Stuff

It’s been interesting watching the guild react to Cataclysm. Most people, like me, were worried about being left behind (although no one was as neurotic about it as I was) and things got a little tense at times.

We had a large influx of members, mostly for our new pvp division but also quite a few raiders. It’s been weird, logging into game and not recognizing most of the people on. Or having strangers randomly jump into personal conversations on vent. It’s one of those inevitable traits of human nature, we’re all a little xenophobic deep down inside. Tensions exploded between some raiders and PvPers the other day (I wasn’t there for it, I live too far east to witness all the drunken action), but the consequences seem to be minimal. If anything, it may have a positive effect since it’s a sign our PvP team is looking to mingle with the rest of the guild.

One thing I’ve noticed- and I’m not sure if it’s just because we’re all online a lot more or whether it’s a rebellious reaction to the huge influx of new members, but our guild chat has really gone downhill. Like really downhill. Just about every line of green text contains “fag”, “suck my dick” or “rape”. As far as I know, no one else sees it, so I’ve been tuning it out (if the main officer core and those involved by those terms aren’t bothered, then I don’t really have a place to say much), but I can’t help but wonder if it’ll hold us back on a progression. I mean, it doesn’t exaclty give a very professional first impression to new recruits. Hopefully it’ll clear up on its own once both our divisions start their official activies and have something else than each other to focus on.

Other Stuff

Matt recently scored us a guild sponsership via Enjin and I’ve been helping with setting up our website on their…whatever you call it (*is net n00b*). I committed to keeping the website uptodate (something that was really missing in the past) and I had taken over the bank inventory (and as those of you know me know- when I do logistics stuff, I go all out).

Then, yesterday, it dawned on me that I was putting in about as much work and commitment into the guild as any officer. So I requested a promotion.

I actually had to put up a pretty big fight to get the promotion. It wasn’t pleasant and I’m still pretty angry over some of the words that were exchanged, but in the end I got what I asked for. I didn’t get any satisfaction from it. Having to actually convince someone that my work and involvement is worth the same as someone elses work and involvement and that I deserve the same official rank, authority and say in guild matters as those doing work comparable to mine has a bitter aftertaste but I guess you gotta do what you gotta do. (EDIT: After reflection, I realized exactly how much of a ungrateful, spoiled brat I sound like. Keep in mind that I’m venting some situational frustration and that 99.9% of the time, I’m really happy.)

I enjoy the work and time investments I put into the guild: I care a lot about the guild and I don’t like the way (or lackthereof) others handle logistics stuff. But… But I guess it’s kind of like when you’re dating someone and things get really scarily serious (inspiration just hit as a friend of mine was messaging me about her relationship problems.) Eventually you reach a point where you feel that you need to either get married (or make some sort of equivalent higher commitment if you’re the type who doesn’t believe marriage) or leave.

So there you go, I married my guild.

About my Policy Fiddling Hobby, Part 2

December 6, 2010

If you’ve read part 1 properly, then you’re super pumped about guild policy stuff now. Or maybe you’re not but you’re nosy about the inner workings of my guild (I can’t blame you, I’m always nosy about the inner workings of my guild too- I mean I like reading about other guilds).

Note that everything quoted here is still in draft mode and may or may not be accepted by my guild’s leadership. It’s really difficult to self evaluate clarity and concision so maybe all these quotes are crappy after all.

What I’m going to do in this post is talk about parts of the guild policy that I found more challenging to word and give a sample of the end result. None of the topics here will be revolutionary or shocking to guildies, they’re all either descriptions of Conquest’s current reality, or Cataclysm related policies that are consistent with our guild’s functioning. (And to guildies reading this: remember this is a draft form, if you do have comments on anything quoted here, please wait until the final version is posted on the website.)
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How I Met My Guild

August 4, 2010

For months, I’ve been thinking about writing a guild seeking guide. However, the Universal Laws of Blogging dictate that the more and longer you think about writing on a topic, the less likely you are to get around to doing it. Or maybe it’s not a Universal Law, maybe it’s just a Bossy Pally Law. Either way, I’ll probably never get around to writing an elaborate, step by step, failproof, satisfaction guaranteed or your 5 minutes back guide to guild shopping.

Besides, even though I could write a saga on how to tell good guilds from bad guilds, it would be total hypocrisy. While I did read guild website after guild website and made lists of what I was looking for, I ended up screwing it all and went with the very first guild I considered anyway.

I get teased a lot about being indecisive. Anyone who’s ever been to a restaurant with me (or worse, who’s ever had to choose a restaurant with me) has some pretty dramatic stories to share. But it’s actually the other way around: I know exactly what I want. If what I want isn’t an option, then I don’t care what I end up getting.

I love telling the story of how I met one of my best friends. I’d been in the US for a total of two days as a very exotic Canadian exchange student (while Americans are not exotic to Canadians, apparently Canadians are exotic to Americans). I ran into another girl from my home school who invited me to a party at her dorm. I had other plans (I think they involved playing WoW) but my roomate kicked me out for the night and I ended up at the dorm party. I walked into the room, looked around, picked out one guy and thought “that one“. Even though it turned out that we were both silent types who don’t speak to strangers, we somehow ended up talking. Until 4 am. 5 years later, we’re still super close.

This is us, in Zangarmarsh

Picking a guild was just like that. I was listening to a podcast. I can’t remember if it was the WoW Insider Show or The Elitists (which at the time was a WoW podcast), but Matticus was there and talking about the hard modes his guild was doing and how they raided on tight schedule. I thought to myself “I wish that was my guild“.

A few weeks later, I was in that guild.

I wouldn’t say it was impulsive. I did think long and hard about whether I wanted to leave the guild I was in at the time. I did go guild shopping, trying to find a serious raiding guild with a middle-of-the-Atlantic-ocean-pharmacy-student-friendly schedule. I browsed the recruitment forums, I browsed WoW Progress, I fine-tooth combed WoW Headhunters. I bookmarked a few interesting guilds and followed their progression for a little while.

I did everything by the book, but the more I research I did, the more I realized that I had my mind made up all along.

I get attached to guilds, so the transition was painful. The culture shock was also…shocking. I came from a guild mainly composed of professionals in their mid 30s to mid 40s. My current guild has an age range of 15 to 38 with players from all walks of life. The dirty dirty humour from my old guild (I guess older people who are married with kids are more comfortable with their sexuality or something) was replaced by the rowdier, more aggressive joking around of a younger crowd.

There were a few “OMIGOSH” moments.

The very first raid I ran with them was a ToC 10 alt run. I’d just server transferred, so I was feeling a little spooked. I was eager to get involved, though, so I jumped at the occasion.

As we were zoning in, I noticed we’d be 2-healing ToC. Until then, I’d always 3-healed ToC, but I had been wanting to try 2-healing since, like, forever. Early on Northrend Beasts, I was welcomed with this conversation:

Random person: The healing is really bad.
Me: *Thinking* Shit.
Random person: The healing sucks and it’s not the pally.
Me: *Relieved*

Sure enough the priest was a dusty alt that hadn’t been played in months. He stood around trying to find where he put his spells. So I can almost say that on my very first raid, I was forced to solo heal ToC. (Note that this was back in October, before everyone was solo healingToC.)

Another memorable first impression moment was also in ToC. I can’t remember if it was my first or my second 25 man, but it was 25 man and it was heroic. I’d never done heroic before. I was terrified during Northrend Beasts, I was terrified during Jaraxxus. And then I was standing in front of Faction Champs. We did pretty badly. We came back and did pretty badly again. After a few times of doing pretty badly, the raid leader lost his shit. Or maybe he didn’t, but compared to the soft, gentle, soothing voice of my old guild’s raid leader, this certainly sounded like someone losing their shit.

I don’t like the word petrified because its been abused too much by bad fanfiction writers, but there’s no better way to describe me at that moment. I stared at my screen with my eyes wide open wondering if my muscles would let me try to hide under my bed. I couldn’t really make out what was being said, I get confused when people use too many swear words, but I was sure it wasn’t very good.

A few of the guys protested. Tempers all around were getting heated. Then those angry guys went and destroyed those Heroic Faction Champs.

I learned quite a bit about men, motivation and mobilization that night.

Even during those first few awkward weeks, I never looked back and I never regretted my decision. It’s been, what, about 10 months? I still haven’t had any second thoughts.

A few weeks ago, my GM asked everyone, one by one, what their plans for Cataclysm were. When asked why I’d be sticking around, I thought of Zath who yells “HI RYKGA HI RYKGA HI RYKGA HI RYKGA” everytime I log onto vent. I thought of the guildie whom I shall not name who gave me a Stratholme Lily after I gave him a Paper Zeppelin Kit for Christmas. (I still carry that flower in my bags all the time.) I thought of Kimbo and his many hilarious attempts to get a reaction out of me. (I’m not a reactive person, but I do love attention.) I thought of how I’ve always felt welcome on vent, even though I rarely say anything. I thought about how there’s always one or two people noticing my absences if I’ve been critted by real life a few days in a row. Had I been asked the question today, I would have also thought about how they make room for me in raids, rustiness and outdated gear and all, on the rare nights I’m not working.

It was too long and complicated to explain so I just answered “because I’m happy here“.

The point I’m trying to get to isn’t really that my guild is more awesome. I’m happy, but there have been others who weren’t happy and who moved on. The point is more that I think, deep down inside, we all know what we want. It’s good to look around, to consider all our options, but really, sometimes we look too far. I don’t get people who want one thing, purposely go after something else then complain about it. Be honest with yourself, take things for what they really are and listen to your gut.

So I suppose my guild shopping guide could be reduced to one line: stop bullshitting yourself and go to do what you’ve secretly always want to do.

The New Recruit or How I Almost Got in a Fight with a Sexist Jerk

April 8, 2010

EDIT: Due to this post getting way more attention than I expected, I feel the need to make a few clarifications.
1) This was a one time event that I felt like talking about. A one time event. I write 1500 words about something when I find the topic interesting. It doesn’t mean it’s in the end of the world.
2) After reading the discussion surrounding this post on my blog and on other blogs, I realized that I’m really not being fair to my GM here. Yes, I pointed out his faux pas in the story. Leaving it out would have ended my tale rather abruptly. I (stupidly) wanted to keep explanations brief and simple and focus on myself and on my part in the story. I (again stupidly) left out everything else going on in the guild as well as how he scolded our little troublemaker and patiently listening to my complaining. He also let me get away with this blog post which definitely earns him props. (I’m nervously anticipating his rebuttal blog post, though.)
3) I know troll commenter Kimbo personally. Don’t let him annoy you, his ego would explode and that would be a pain to clean up ;D

I’m acting out of character a lot lately. First a whiny post. Now I’m going to go into guild-related specifics, using a pretty harsh tone. Before you know it, I’ll be making posts about Paladin Cataclysm changes. Ok, maybe that’s pushing it. But anyway, an interesting situation in guild came up recently and I found it worth talking about.

The Story, part 1: How it all started.

On my guild’s application template, there’s a “tell us a joke” section. It’s a rather brilliant idea and tells you a lot about an applicant’s personality. Most applicants tell really lame jokes, but end up being ok people, just not very funny. This one kid, though, had “woman’s rights” as his joke.

While I wouldn’t qualify that as exactly offensive, I had to roll my eyes. Real mature there, kiddo, real mature.

When one of the officers replied with “invited because of joke“, I still wasn’t offended quite yet but was getting a little annoyed. After all, my eyes were becoming sore from all the rolling they were doing.

Things got a little heated when our kickass (female) bear tank cocked an eyebrow. The kid replied with a sarcastic remark. Having enough, I jumped in with a sarcastic remark of my own, pointing out how he was really impressing the women in the guild.

His answer? “Oh yeah, that’s what I play WoW for, to impress women.”

Is that a challenge, little boy? Are you challenging me? I accept your challenge little boy.

I wanted to take him on then and there, but instead I bit my tongue and left a note for my GM.

Let’s play Find-the-Line

Our guild chat is rated well beyond PG-13. Racist and pseudo sexist jokes abound but, for the most part, no one is bothered. Why was this particular behaviour unacceptable to me? Where’s the line?

The line is different from one person to the next. When it comes to sexist jokes especially, tolerance levels vary from woman to woman. A woman who grew up in a sexist environment and who had to fight her whole life to be listened to and respected will probably find nothing funny in sexist jokes. A woman who grew up in a sexist environment and who accepted it as part of life will probably be pretty difficult to offend. A woman who, and I fall into this category, grew up in a female dominated world and sort of takes respect and equality for granted will be somewhere in the middle.

What about this behaviour crossed my line?

1- All I knew about this guy’s personality was negative. The main reason none of the other guys’ pseudo sexist remarks bother me is because I’ve either had normal, enjoyable conversations with those guys in private, or I’ve had strange, irrational conversations with those guys in private, which had them excused as “raving lunatics, not responsible for their words”. All I had seen from this applicant was a very lame attempt at humour and blatant disrespect towards myself and another guildy. Not even good enough to be lumped into the “raving lunatic” category.

2- He didn’t know when to stop. When in doubt, don’t take chances. My guildy and I were subtle in our warnings, but when you have two women, strangers, coming at you with displeased tones after you showed some sexist attitude, you’ll want to test the waters before adding fuel to the fire. Not knowing when to stop is a red flag.

3- An application thread is supposed to impress. When I read an application thread, I see it as the best this person has to offer. This is them selling themselves, trying to impress their future guildies. Obviously, the best this guy has to offer is pretty crappy.

4- The timing was bad. Pseudo sexism was getting stale. We were in the middle of a roster turnover. I was burned out and sick IRL. Sure, he couldn’t have known that this was not the time act like a moron, but when you don’t know what kind of group of people you’re talking to, you should play it safe. Social skills 101.

The Story, part 2: It only get better!

Here’s where things take a strange turn. Our 10 man runs are organized on our offnights. One team runs on Wednesday and one team (my team) runs on Sunday. The kid signed up for Wednesdays’ 10 man. Guess who leads the Wednesday team? Heh. All I can say is that she was far more polite than I would ever be in explaining to him that 10 man teams require a certain level of respect and maturity, qualities he would need to display in order to be considered for a spot. (I would have just flat out told him I have a no asshole policy. In my opinion, he was beyond redemption. He could go die in a fire. Like I let him do several times during Tuesday’s raid.)

Here’s a condensed version of the exchange that followed:

Kid: The GM said I could put smilies when I’m being sarcastic to show I’m joking.
Me: It’s obvious when you’re joking, it’s the nature itself of your joking that’s unacceptable.
GM: Well, what else is he supposed to do?
Me: Usually when you offend someone without meaning to, you apologize.

He did privately apologize to our bear tank. I asked for an apology as well. I didn’t receive one, but I can’t say I was too surprised. After all, he doesn’t need anything from me. (That he knows of.)

Now tells us what you learned…

Did I handle the situation as well as I could have?

No. Of course not.

Honestly, and I know it’s strange, I’ve never encountered this sort of thing before. Ever since my childhood, I’ve been in female dominated environments. Grade school, high school, college, my psych undergrad, pharmacy school, every job I’ve had, the females outnumbered the guys by a lot. Among my siblings, I was the only girl, but I was the oldest and the strongest, so it was a non-issue. I’ve never really had to stand up for myself as a woman. Even in WoW, my old guild was mainly composed of thirtysomething, highly educated, upper middle class, working professionals. Anyone who displayed immaturity in an application was turned away and anyone who offended guildies during their trial period was given a swift /gkick with very little discussion.

When dealing with the pseudo sexism of guild chat, dispelling the joking with more joking usually works pretty well. If I get a “yes, mom” from a guildy I happen to be scolding, I’ll play along, asking if he’s eaten his vegetables. If a conversation takes a turn for worst, a snarky comment of a warning will generally get the other person to back off.

This guy was either utterly clueless, or had no regard for others whatsoever. Either way, it’s very difficult for me to respect such a person. I don’t want to raid with him, I don’t want him in guild chat. The fact that I’m even blogging about this shows a lot.

Still, I recognize that being direct is the way to go for these situations. To me, it’s obvious that you should apologize when your attitude offends. But apparently it isn’t obvious to everyone. Or instead of making a sarcastic remark when he crossed my line, I should have flat out told him on the spot that his behaviour wasn’t cool and that I’d like for him to change his attitude. Would it have made a difference? Maybe not, but he wouldn’t have been able to use “I didn’t know any better” as an excuse.

The “Panties in a Wad” Fear

A large reason that I get nervous about flat out telling people they’re going too far is the “Panties in a Wad” fear. Basically being accused of exaggerating or blowing things out of proportion. The second us girls disagree, it’s “OMG, drama!”, “OMG hissy fit!”, “You must be PMSing!”. This is how we’re taught from a young age to not speak up. Enraging, yes, but once the message sinks in, it’s difficult to unlearn. So we communicate with hints, until we reach our breaking point and it all comes rushing out, reinforcing the notion of women throwing hissy fits and starting drama.

Is the “Panties in a Wad” fear justified? Probably not. Especially not in this guild where, despite our huge member diversity, people are pretty accepting of each other’s limits. Actually, I didn’t even realize how ingrained my panties in a wad fear was until I scolded this kid on the forums and immediately wanted to crawl under the floor afterward.

Moving Forward!

I am looking forward to seeing how this is going to play out. At this point, I’m more entertained than anything else. It’s hard to stay offended given the hilarity of the situation. Still, should the question be asked, I plan on enforcing a “no asshole” policy for my 10 mans. I am going to focus on being direct (I’m sure my guildies will loooooooove this, hahaha) and I’m going to work on getting rid of my panties in a wad fear. I hope for many panties in a wad accusations following this post so I can practice not caring.

Of Guilds and of Blogging

March 4, 2010

Note: This post is crazy long. That’s what happens when I’m away from my blog for more than a weekend. The words build up and come out all at the same time. I wrote this for myself because I’ve been thinking about the topic quite a bit lately and it’s driving me nuts. I considered splitting the post into two, but it’s too personal to be worth it.

I hate getting into hot blogging trends. Unless it’s an official Shared Topic, the more people talk about something, the more I write about everything but. I’m special, unique snowflake dammit!

I do, however, love thinking about blogging. I also love talking about anything guild-related. I’m somewhat of a closet amateur social anthropologist. Anything that has to do about how people interact with each other, about cultures, about communication, about influence, about social behaviour just gets me giddy. And the young, diverse, strange, ever changing social world of the internet? OMG! Just thinking about it makes me want to jump up and down in excitement.

What can I say? Some people are big into birds, others into sports, I’m a geek for social anthropology. I have no training for it, though, (two level 100 courses I took while on student exchange don’t count) so I kind of fumble around topics in hazy bliss. May real social anthropologists forgive me.

But anyway, I talk a lot about guild stuff on my blog. As a result, I’m constantly worrying about crossing the line. It’s important to me to show respect towards my guildies and to have respect for the work the officers put into the guild. I don’t want to censor myself, yet it’s not my place to criticize others, or be the cause of hurt feelings.

So, to make myself happy, I’m going to jump onto the bandwagon and bring up the very topic that’s been discussed on bit on Twitter, and posted about by Cassandri, Tam, Larísa, Anea, Pugnacious Priest as well as my own guild master, Matticus. Besides, I’ve been very good lately and put my schoolwork before my blogging for FOUR (4) WHOLE DAYS! (OMG IT WAS SO HARD TO DO! Blogging is such a drug.) I totally deserve a self indulgent post.

Inserting a cut here for your scrolling ease (sorry feedreader people) (more…)


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