Archive for the ‘Guild thoughts’ category

Shared Topic: Guild Retention Strategies

December 6, 2009

I’ll admit, I had a dilemma this week. I could spend my Saturday night writing my part in this week’s Shared Topic. Or I could quit stalking people on Twitter and spend my night making a pretty account so I can follow people without feeling like a total creep. It was touch and go for awhile. Then I realized that I’d probably end up with a total of 4 followers on Twitter, 3 of which will be IRL friends and the fourth a random bot which would make me feel like an internet failure. Then I also realized that I’d probably have to answer tweets and stuff and I have enough on my hands with the one time a month I log onto Facebook. So the Shared Topic it is.

The week’s topic was again a courtesy of Windsoar from Jaded Alt who pointed out that in this era of player interest recession, guild retention strategies are something to think about. Links to the other participants’ (well, right now it’s still participant’s) post(s) can be found on Blog Azeroth as linked in the above paragraph. As you may have noticed, I’m skating more than usual this week. I mean, this topic is HUGE. Plus, having recently (because a month is totally recent tyvm) left an old guild for a new one, I have guild stuff on the mind way more than I’d like and I’m sure those of you who read this blog are sick of hearing about it.


These days, everyone and their cat has a sudden renewed interest in the offline world, which can be a pain for the rest of us who still want to do 25 man raids a few times a week. What is there to do? The annoying answer is: the same as before. You have to use the same tactics to keep players around as you did back when Wrath was shiny. The only difference now is that you have to use them. So lets break it down to the different levels of membership and my personal and biased suggestions to keep them motivated. Some of these are applicable to officers, some are applicable to anyone and some are not so serious (but still quite valid!).


Thank you, May I have another?

December 2, 2009


(EDIT: For those who aren’t familiar with my usual vocabulary, please note that I use the term “yelling” very loosely and when I use it, its kind of tongue-in-cheek.)

I had this odd thought last night.

I had died to Legion Flame on Jaraxxus.

I don’t know how I died to Legion Flame on Jaraxxus. I ran and everything. I even used my mouse to turn! But after my face ended up on the floor, I checked my combat log and sure enough it read “pwned by legion flame u fail n00b” (I have the settings on my combat log set to “illiterate arrogant bastard.”)

Generally when I screw up, I quickly try to think of ways to blame it on someone else. I have a lot of practice at that and can be pretty creative. But no, not last night. Last night, the first thing that crossed my mind was:

“I hope I get yelled at.”

My second thought was “Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?”

Ok, time for some background. I was that kid in the first grade who always cried when she got in trouble. I was also that kid in high school who always cried when she got in trouble. I don’t know how my fellow students let me get away with it (I suppose being freakishly tall and kind of rough had it strong points) but fact remains, I tend to take everything personally. I don’t hold grudges for those things, otherwise I’d lead a very miserable life, but I do go out of my way to avoid being scolded.

So why did I suddenly want to get punished?

I think having Windsoar’s post about raid leading styles on my mind had a lot to do with it. I’ve been enjoying pondering the culture shock I experienced (and loved!) when I went from a laid back raiding guild a more performance oriented guild. While things are still pretty civil, feedback is faster, more direct and sometimes tinted with, um, manly emotions. When I joined I was a little nervous, after all, I’m a fragile crybaby and I didn’t get the chance to listen in on a raid before joining. But it’s been a few weeks now and other than my usual (and somewhat excessive) shyness, I haven’t been stressed at all by the raid environment. If anything, I giggle when the guys get carried away at each other. It’s like they prod each other until they get mad and take their aggression out on the fight. It’s very in-the-moment and never seems personal. Everyone gets a little hassle for their mistakes, regardless of their place in the guild. It even seems that the better players get pointed out more than us new recruits. (I think they do purposely go easy on me, which is nice because it does take me longer than the average player to adjust to a new team.)

But that still doesn’t explain why I suddenly have an urge to be punished.

One of the habits I’m trying to rid myself of is listing of every one of my screw ups at the end of every fight. I may be a fragile crybaby, but I’m really hard on myself. My mind is constantly racing. Did I do ok? Would could I do better? Why am I epic failing right now? Of course, now that I don’t advertise everything I do wrong in raid chat, I ended up posting my list on the internet, but, you know, baby steps. It’s like there’s this process engraved my head:

1- Do something wrong.
2- Feel crappy about it.
3- Feel better.

Like, to feel better, I have to feel crappy first. I’ve done yoga for a few years and whenever I look for a new instructor, I have a test: I give them 30 minutes to make me cry. Because if it doesn’t hurt like hell, it’s not working as well as it could. There’s a purging feeling that comes with the exertion. It makes my mind quiet.

Kind of weird how things work. I never, in a million years, expected that I would want to be yelled at (ok, yelled is a strong term, maybe scolded). Yet, I’m seeing having attention brought to my mistakes by someone other than myself as a replacement for the annoying, cruel inner voice. I don’t think it pushes me to perform better like it does for the guys: it doesn’t make me mad or bring out my aggressive side. I always give my best, no matter what. But it does get me past the “feel crappy about it” stage a lot faster. Plus, it’s less squirmy than thinking: “Geez I wonder if I’m annoying everyone with my failures“. If I screw up, I know I screw up, they all know I screwed up and I know that they know I screwed up. (Confused yet?) It’s all out in the open. Finally, there’s somewhat of a team element to it. I like being treated like everyone else, at the best of times and at the worst of times.

Funny the lessons I learn from my video game life.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, no one said a peep about my dying to Legion Flame (because clearly, it wasn’t a big deal and its just a funny example). Well, besides my combat log’s illiterate arrogant bastard settings.

Shared topic: Relationships within Azeroth

November 3, 2009

This is my first time doing a shared topic. If I did shared topics all the time, I would write “as usual, I’m using this shared topic as a starting point but am totally going to derail.” Since I’ve never done a shared topic before I can’t say that. But I’ll derail anyway.

So “Relationships within Azeroth”, courtesy of Naithin from Tank’n’Tree.

As your friendly local amateur anthropologist, I jumped on this topic. I had this great informative post planned out to help the many people I’ve run into in WoW who were experiencing a common confusion. It was all about how to tell the different between eHarmony and WoW. Unfortunately for people who don’t actually play WoW but use it exclusively to flirt with the opposite gender everywhere, I decided to quit my beloved guild of two years and moved on to a guild that seemed to better fit what I want out of the game. So instead of an lovely, not snarky at all, educational article, you get a sappy post about getting attached to guildies.

Around my family, I’m not allowed to refer to people I know online as “friends”. “They’re not friends, they’re epals” my mother says. I don’t talk to my family all that often, but I’ve been careful to use the term “people I game with”. But are the people I game with friends? I don’t know them very well. I know bits of their personality – whether they’re fast or slow learners, perfectionist or not, quiet or loud. Some of them, I know about parts of their life, I know what they do for a living, I hear funny stories about their kids. And I care when something great or something bad happens to them. After all, these are the people I hear on vent night after night as we fight dragons and sometimes each other. When I was an officer, I’d run down to the library on my breaks to toss some emails back and forth with the other officers. Day after day. For so many hours in our lives, we laughed together, worked out strategies together and cheered each other up when our strategies didn’t work as expected. Whether I really knew them or not, I got attached.

When I said goodbye, I tried to do it the right way, being all polite and offering to pay back anything I owed them. I said we could stay friends. All those things I do at the end of a romantic relationship. OMG I broke up with my guild!

While I knew it was time to move on, I couldn’t stop the memories from playing in my head:
My first raid.
When I was learning to play a paladin and my class leader asked me what stats I was looking for to which I answered “spirit”.
The first time I got through Lurker without being killed by the spout.
The first time I got pissed off that others were STILL dying to spout on Lurker.
When we had a naked dance party in Magtheridon’s Lair for an hour because one of our healers went offline and we had no replacement.
Our drunken Kara nights.
When our warlock put me on ignore for pugging a heroic and I then went out of my way to make sure he died at every opportunity.
My first BG.
Our awful Arena teams (“dead before you are” and “5 dead guys”).
When we celebrated my birthday in Mount Hyjal.
When one of our priests decided she’d teach me to tank in Shadow Labs. In my healing gear.
When I discovered you could ride in the robots on the way to Mimiron (I bet those who were there that night still have my squeals of glee ringing in their heads)

And those are just some in-game ones. Meeting face to face with some of my Azeroth “epals” was also very memorable. For those of you who’ve never met an online friend before, here’s what it’s like: you have a stranger in front of you, that you’ve never seen before in your life. Then out of that stranger’s body comes a familiar voice. That voice talks about familiar things with a familiar train of thought. It’s the weirdest and coolest experience ever.

Less pleasant, but fortunately much rarer, memories occurred too, however, in retrospec, most of the conflicts that happened seem so silly.

Are the relationships within Azeroth different from real life ones? Yes. I find my online friendships to be much more “in my head”, if that makes any sense. Imagination and personal perception have a larger role than in my offline friendships which are more “in my face”. I do much more overanalysing of my online frienships and I get way more anxious about them because there’s so much left to the imagination. But some things are the same. The same personality traits bug me online and offline and the personality traits that I admire are the same as well. I care about my friend’s happiness and sadness the same whether they’re online or offline. I’m just as sensitive to rejection in the online world as I am in the real world. And I can have the same amount of fun with an online friend as I can with an offline friend (however I *do* need to mix it up, too much online sends my imagination into overdrive and too much offline exhausts me!).

As I say my tearful goodbyes to my guild, I’m filled with mixed feelings. On one hand, I’m excited to meet new people and have a refreshing environment. On the other, I’m reminded of the good times, of the caring, of the laughter. I feel bad for letting down those who tried so hard to keep me happy. I even cried a few times yesterday. Yes, cried for probably losing touch with people in a video game. I’m a huge sap, but it’s ok, I’m sure some people still love me anyway.

That’s the story of my relationships within Azeroth. Tune in next time for something a bit less introspective and awkwardly personal.

Spare the Eyes of Your Potential Applicant!

October 31, 2009

Voyeur LF Guild Recruiters that aren't awful

While on raid hiatus, I’ve been looking around, trying to figure out what I want to do in the game. Which means- and I apologize to any guildies reading this who haven’t been talking with me recently and may be shocked, nothing’s been decided so please don’t go jumping to conclusions – reading a lot of guild websites and recruitment adds. And what really amazes me is that some of these guilds manage to find members at all. Several of the guilds were impossible to contact, others confused the heck out of me and some downright made my eyes bleed. In the era of smallish guilds and accessible raiding, there is a lot of competition for good players. So unless you’re fortunate enough to be a guild of considerable fame, you’ll need high quality potential applicants to 1)find you, 2)decide if you have what they’re looking for, 3) apply. If you’re trying to attract players from other servers via sites like wowheadhunter, this is even more important because you can’t rely on server reputation and trade chat to advertise yourself. So here, as a guild recruitment add browser, are the things I wish all recruiting guilds did:

Have a website and link to it
Seems straightforward enough. Guild bank, tabard and website, no? Apparently not! I came across a few guilds who flat out indicated they didn’t have a website(!!!), others just didn’t have a link. There are a million guild adds to browse and so little time. If there’s no link to reach more info about you, you’re not getting a second thought.

Update your website
If your last news update was from 3 months ago, people will assume the guild no longer exists. Next please.

Clearly state your raid times
It’s heartbreaking to find a guild that seems so perfect, only to realize that they raid at 3 am. Also, if it takes too long to find information on raid times, potential applicants will stop looking. Next please.
[Edit]Want to add that “server time” means nothing to someone from a different server. Use actual time zones.

State whether you do 10 mans, 25 mans or both
That ugly widget on free guild websites is hard to read and not always accurate. Just flat out say what your focus is in your add and on your front page.

Its ok to be different
Just because you’re not 4/5 HToGC doesn’t mean you can’t advertise. Not everyone who reads guild recruitment boards wants a competitive guild. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to find guilds that are somewhere between progression oriented and ultra casual? Apparently they’re all over WoW but they never advertise! And even if you are a guild that’s 4/5 into HToGC, what makes you different from the 10 other 4/5 HToGC guilds that posted an add today? I also have a dream of finding a serious raiding guild that doesn’t believe in reading up on boss fights beforehand (I love my current guild and all, but a dream is a dream). I *know* they exist, but I can’t find one anywhere. (If someone from such a guild reads this, bossypally at gmail dot com please and thank you)

Make your policies/guild charter/loot rules are up to date and easy to find
Guilds want applicants that make a good fit. Applicants want a guild that is a good fit for them. Applicants considering paying money to server transfer especially don’t want to screw up. Make sure all the nitty griddies about your guild are easy to find and easy to read. Again, there are a million guilds out there and so little time. Having to sort through 15 stickies on your recruitment forums to figure out what you’re all about = next please!

Be careful about how you word warnings to your members
So so so many guilds have stuff like “please be on time”, “please don’t go afk during raids” on their websites. This translates to : “our members are unreliable”, “we don’t start on time”, “there’s a lot of downtime during our raids”. Wording like “we start our raids on time, if you’re not there, you will be replaced” gives a much better impression to someone looking for a reliable raiding team.

Have a “contact us” page
Not many guilds have this, but someone considering a server transfer may have some private questions to ask the GM or recruitment officer before applying. Rolling a level 1 toon on your server to send out an in-game email is just weird. Have some contact info on your webpage.

Make your general chat forum public
Most guilds don’t do this and I hate it. You can set security so that only known guild members can post or something, but general chat forums contain a precious sample of guild atmosphere which is so important to applicants wondering they’ll be a good fit. By reading the forums, applicants find the answers to: “how active are members outside of raids?”, “what kind of language do members use when typing?”, “what kind of conflicts occur and how are they handled?”, “how much familiarity is there among members?”. People shouldn’t be posting personal stuff on forums anyway, so I don’t get the secrecy. To me, it just looks like your guild has something to hide.

Have a website that doesn’t cause eye bleeds
Most guild websites are so friggin ugly! I know that not all guilds can afford self hosting and stuff, but there’s got to be way to configure free websites in a way that makes them less hideous. You don’t need to be a graphic artist either. Tidiness, accessibility and matching colours go a long way. And those addons that show your progression, say who’s on your vent channel and more? Ditch them if you can. They’re ugly. Also, if you can’t be bothered to update your recruitment addon thingy, ditch that too.

Like any type of communication, when recruiting, you need to speak to your audience. If the message you’re trying to transmit isn’t accessible to your audience, no ones going to hear it. In the sea of guild recruitment adds, you want people reading yours to learn all about you in a matter of seconds. It would also be in everyone’s best interest that you preserve their eyesight as much as possible. In the name of recruitment add readers everywhere, I thank you. And with that, happy recruiting!

It’s that, um, yeah, you know : Bringing up (and keeping up) a delicate topic

October 29, 2009

I like to read guild management blogs (because as my guildies put it, I’m a weirdo) and I see a lot of “these are things you have to confront guildies about” guides. However, I don’t recall ever seeing advice that went beyond: “you need to address these issues for the good of the guild, it’ll be hard but you need to do it”.

As I’ve already pointed out, I’m a weirdo. I enjoy talking to people about delicate topics such as performance improvement or mild disciplinary issues (you know, the type that don’t warrant a /gkick, but need to be addressed with more than a “stop that”). Maybe its because I don’t view it as “being a jerk” or maybe its because these kinds of conversations create somewhat of a bond between myself and the person I’m speaking with. Regardless, I see too many people around me struggle with bringing up and discussing delicate subjects. So here’s one easy way to do it:

It’s Sunday night and I’m not raiding

October 26, 2009

I love raiding. To quote myself (I have a bad habit of doing that): “I live for raiding.” But tonight I’m not raiding because I decided that I needed to take a break, to get that feeling back. Too much of a good thing spoils you and, trust me, when it comes to raiding, I’m as spoiled as it gets. Just ask my raid leader how often he gets emails containing my kindergardenish temper tantrums. (I bet he’s lost count.)

My very first raid? It was Gruul’s Lair. The small family guild I was part of (even though I totally wasn’t family at that time – I was the random weirdo member) raided with a larger guild. (The larger guild ended up more or less absorbing the little one and thats how I ended up in my current guild in case you were wondering and I’m sure you weren’t.) I had no idea what I was doing. I posted on big guild’s forums letting them know that they’d never heard of me before but that I wanted to go to the raid. Being the uber shy, nervous wreck that I am, I had the entire guild charter memorized before posting and was utterly and thoroughly intimidated. (Funny how things change, now I whine about how it needs to be updated and more stringent.) They were nice people, though, the large guild. They were welcoming and didn’t seem to care that I was a weird stranger and quite possibly the biggest wow n00b they’d ever had in their raids. The raid leader welcomed me personally and made quite an impression. Most. hyper. person. to. post. in. a. thread. EVER.

Life After Leadership: a Control Freak’s Nightmare

October 19, 2009

I’ll admit it, I’m a bit of a control freak. Ok, more than just a bit. Maybe two bits. Or three. It’s one of those things that I accept as part of my personality and heritage. My mother was a control freak, her mother was a control freak, her mother was kind of a control freak but it was ok because she was a single mom in WWII times and I bet her mother before that was a control freak too. To those who don’t know me well, I come across as organized so it’s rarely a problem. When is it a problem? When I decide to let go and not take charge.

A couple of posts back, I talked about my decision to resign as an officer in my guild. The current state of affairs is irrelevant and I’m sure no one cares anyway. Nor do I even know the current state of affairs because I managed to get through a few days without begging for news. You have to understand, not begging for news is a big deal for me. I’m very excited about my progress in that respect.

So at first I kind of felt bad for just walking out on everyone. Then I was relieved. Then I was immensely sad for about a day. Then things went back to normal, or almost.

Old habits die hard.

I don’t care what you say, no one does things as well as I do.
10 man raid person: There are signups.

You can’t take the bossy out of Miss Bossypally.
Random person X: Random person Y isn’t flasked/gemmed/enchanted/typing legibly
Me: I’ll fix that.
Me: Crap.

And I need to know the what, when, how, where, how much of everything.
Me: Why didn’t random person W get slotted and random person Z did?
Wise raid leader: *gives reasonable explanation*
Me: Yes but….
Wise raid leader: *gives more perfectly reasonable explanation*
Me: How about random person V?
Wise raid leader: Did you hear divine sacrifice is getting changed in 3.3?
Me: *falls for it every time*

One thing is going wonderfully: not setting pally buff assignments. I thought it would be the hardest habit to rid myself of since I claimed and jealously defended the “official buff person” title nearly two years ago. Boy, was I wrong. I can’t begin to describe the satisfaction I feel when someone complains about pally buffs. I just happily alt-tab out, purring “not my problem”.

What is excruciatingly difficult is being confronted to the very thing that causes a person to become a control freak: the fear of not being needed, of not mattering. While it is no laughing matter, sometimes it is expressed in strange ways.
Daily people: You were on a non-guild alt when we started.
Daily people: We did ask you when you were on your main half an hour ago and you said no.
Daily people: We’ll run it with you afterwards on our alts.

I’ll be terribly heartbroken, but not surprised if I log in one day to discover that my 80s are no longer guilded.

Is there a life after leadership?

October 9, 2009

Today I did something I never thought I would have to do. I put my foot down and resigned as a guild officer. For the sake of my guildies who might read this blog (I don’t advertise that I have a blog, but I don’t keep it secret), I won’t go too much into details, but I would like to talk about what can go through someone’s head when they’re in this position.

On one side, I love getting involved. My guild is especially amazing at encouraging me. They follow along with my crazy ideas, they thank me after every raid I get together (I run most of the 10 mans), whenever I sound down I get a million “is there anything I can do to make it better?”s. I’m also a logistics and sorting freak, so I had guild bank managing down to a science, had a pally buff assigning algorithm and knew everyone’s WoW history. It never felt like work, it was fun, fun, fun.

One the other side, I was slowly realizing that I was being taken for granted and that our current leadership structure was causing a lot of problems. When I got publicly criticized for not doing others people’s work for them (this happened in public so I can post it!), I stopped dead in my tracks.

“What is my place in the guild?” came to mind. But it dawned on me that I knew exactly my place in the guild. Anyone who was involved in day to day stuff knew my place in the guild. But those that mattered had no clue. Since I wasn’t considered to be an equal, I had no voice and no opportunity to stand up for myself. (We have two officer ranks, I’m in the lowest one despite having to act pretty much as an assistant guild leader) Which left me with three options:

1) Pretend nothing was wrong and go on happily, after all I lead because I love to get involved, not because I want to be recognized.
2) Resign as an officer and just be a guildie.
3) Leave the guild.

Option 1 had been my choice up until now, but just because I don’t expect recognition doesn’t mean that I’ll accept to be treated as cheap labor. Option 3 was tempting, but it is irreversible (according to my beliefs). Nor do I believe that I’ll find a better raid leader than our 25 man leader, a better MT than ours or a better healer lead than ours. Plus, I love my guildies for the reasons I described earlier. A dear friend told me about option 2. We’d actually just had a couple of fellow officers use option 2 themselves. They seem so much happier and more relaxed now.

So option 2… I’m a structure freak. The whole thing that tossed me into the officer position was that I kept organizing stuff. I took over the pally buff assignments (7 buffs back then, it was big a task!) because I didn’t like the way it was done, I made a lot of suggestions about how healing assignments were handled because I didn’t find it optimal and so on. Could I handle giving up my control over the guild bank, over pally buffs, over raid slotting, over conflict resolutions requiring guild history information KNOWING that it would become a huge mess?

At this time, I don’t know. I also realize that I’m forcing our main raid leader (who is treated slightly better than me but who is also being taken advantage of) into a burnout.

How does one go about stepping down? I followed in the footsteps of previous resignees. A general email “goodbye and thanks for everything”, keeping reasons quiet, allowing everyone to draw their own conclusions. I made sure that two people I trusted had a copy of my thoughts, in case false assumptions were made. Not that I think anyone cares enough to discuss me, but you never know!

I’m looking forward to seeing how things will play out. Will the remaining leadership band together and start being, you know, leaders? Will they miss me and be ready to follow my terms? Or will we slow down and fall apart?

A few months ago, I would have been devastated to see our guild in such a position. Now, I’m excited. With my resignation, my devotion and commitment to the guild’s future have been placed on hold. Ever since I seriously considered option 3, I have nothing to lose.

Now I can just sit back, relax and think about nothing but paladin goodness.

Where did the dps go?

August 11, 2009

Or not?

Or not?

I’m frustrated. For the past couple of raids, I’ve been in the top 10 dps. This is an issue because I’m the tank. Sometimes I’m the healer. (No, but really.) I’m not even the highest damage tank and I’m beating people at their own job. What’s the point of even bringing dps? A tank is easier to heal, can hold the boss if needed, doesn’t get one-shotted for mistakes and apparently kills things faster. (more…)

Signed, your guild’s spoiled brat

July 14, 2009

This is going to be an unusual follow up to my positivity post…. Sometimes I wish my guildmates weren’t so mature. Yes, yes, not a thing you hear every day! See, I’m a big baby and I’m embarassed about it. In real life, nobody notices cause there are always louder, crankier babies around. But in my guild? It’s like I log on and I have about 24 daddies (and 3 mommies) to take care of me. So in hopes of poking fun at myself, or finding fellow spoiled brats who might relate, here are some situations that automatically turn me into a 3 year old stomping her foot:

- Not getting slotted for a raid
– Not getting slotted for a raid that I actually organised (although the fact that it even happens makes you wonder!)
– People asking for buffs while I’m still running back (OMG PATIENCE PEOPLE!)
– Not being assigned to tank X (unless I’m healing, when I’m healing I’m not interested in tanking X, just thought I should clarify)
– Someone asking for a heal (like I’m TOTALLY not watching your health bar)
– Not getting an immediate response to a question
– When something I say in chat is overlooked
– Being forgotten when summons are tossed out
– Being made fun of when trying to explain a fight for the first time

Oddly enough, loot issues (which seems to be a predominant culprit when it comes to hissy fits) rarely phase me. But for everyting else, heaven forbid the world doesn’t revolve around me!

I don’t know about other spoiled brats, but I’m thankful that people around me in game ignore my little spats or gently tease me about them. I suppose it could be insulting, but I find it reassuring when one of the guys says “you’re cute when you’re angry”. I see it as “Yes, we both know you’re getting upset about something you shouldn’t, but I’ll still talk to you after you calm down.” After raid where I’ve been more fragile than usual, say after a rough day at work (my job is pretty intense!) or during finals week, I always cringe. Did my childishness annoy everyone? Will I log on to find I’ve been demoted? What if they gkick me? It’s so comforting to log on and have everyone act like nothing happened.

When it comes down to it, I do wish I wasn’t the only big baby in the guild, but at the same time, I guess I’m kind of grateful that my guildmates are mature enough to let my storms pass through and are ready to play again when I am.


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