Posted tagged ‘change’

Changing and Growing as a Team

August 25, 2011

EDIT: Just as a clarification – our guild changes were really a group effort. In the comments I’m being given waaaay too much credit. In reality, I had very little to do with it all. I was a strong critic of the old ways and I suggested a few concrete ideas that might help us improve as a raid team, but the credit for implementing change should go to our raid leader. He’s the gifted one who listens to everyone’s input then makes good decisions that he stands by. And our team as a whole deserves credit for their active participation in all aspects of the process.

I left “my old guild” at a time where my raid schedule was very limited and I couldn’t really dedicate myself to a team. I was welcomed into a group of (casually raiding) friends who seemed cool with having me around and understood that I would move on once I could live in more raid-friendly timezone.

So that early January, I went from a 9/12 guild to a 0/12 guild.

Oh the culture shock!

There was no point in writing on the forums: no one visited them. There was no healer chat to goof around in. When we’d reach a new boss fight, only the raid leader knew anything about it. Pulls were slow and difficult to recover from. Random AFKs were normal. Raid start time meant “we’ll think about whether or not we want to raid and if you’re lucky, we’ll send invites out within the hour“. If the raid wasn’t cancelled that is.

The people were fun and I liked most of my guildies. It was a blissful break from the childishness and the vulgarity that my former guild chat had degenerated into. But the raids… The raids were painful. Skill or attitude weren’t an issue. These people were quite possibly the most patient individuals I’d ever come across on the internet. And as I would tell those who asked about my guild situation: “They play pretty well… on the rare occasion that they play.”

I don’t care about boss kills much. Me, I get pleasure from strategy discussions, from pushing myself to squeeze every ounce of juice out of my character and from working as a team. When I say I hate casual raiding, it’s not about the boss kills and it’s not about the rankings. It’s about being deprived of the game aspects that make me tick.

As I was getting ready to leave…something happened

I’m not sure exactly what triggered the idea to change. I knew at the time, but I can’t remember. I do remember those long chats with my raid leader about how we both needed a more focused environment. I also remember hoping that I could stay on Nerzhul.

Then one day my raid leader mentioned that a few other guildies were interested in upping our pace a bit.

Then a lot of things I don’t remember happened, which eventually let to a thread (started by our raid leader) called “In order to make a more efficient raid group“.

I wanted a project. I also really liked working with Team Sport’s raid leader. (Remember this post?) And I didn’t want to leave the server.

So I got on board.

Would they go for it? Could I hope?

I know what it’s like to drag a heavy bolder up a hill. It’s just like trying to get satisfied players to change their playstyle.

My biggest worry was our raid team enjoyed our current status. Of course, they always want more boss kills. But, to them, would those boss kills be worth the trouble? I like being extremely time-efficient, but would they?

We decided to actually play

I didn’t interpret them properly at the time, but the majority of the responses in our raid efficiency thread expressed annoyances with our late start times, our frequent signs-up-but-doesn’t-shows and our constant stalling due to random AFKs. I was delighted to discover that I wasn’t alone in feeling the way I did.

I pushed for communication

Maybe it’s a gender thing. Girls tend to like to communicate. I’m the only girl in the guild. I’m the one who whined and whined and whined and WHINED about our lack of communication.

They are lovely and humoured me. We got healing/dps/tank chat channels. Our raid leader now often hangs out after raids for those who want to talk about the night. And someone starts a debriefing thread on the forums after each raid.

The Challenges of a Democratic Guild

Alas‘ Effers made a big splash in the blogosphere with their democratic (and originally officerless) guild. And I think the Effers were the first to really talk about it.

I’m also in a democratic, officerless guild. A democratic, officerless guild that is several years old. We’re even sort of GM-less. It took me 6 months in the guild to find out that we had a GM. It went kind of like this:

Me: Why does that guy always get all weird about guild stuff.
Guildie: He started the guild.
Me: So he’s actually the GM?
Guildie: I guess you could say that.

There are ruins of past attempts at having officers: there are still some characters with a “team captain” rank and there’s an officer forum on our guild website (last post is from December, by someone who doesn’t have the “team captain” rank).

But all the raid organization and role leading is done by the 2 or 3 (depending on the day) guys who came up with the idea to fit a raid team into the guild. All “members” can see and type in /ochat. To become a member, you have to be voted in by at least 10 other “members”. (I do love the concept, however we don’t have 10 active “members” anymore, so it’s currently impossible for new recruits to become full members. I’m not a full member.) If someone wants to suggest and implement a new policy, a vote is called and all “members” vote on it.

In theory it’s awesome and I love it. In practice, implementing new ideas is a big hassle. This guild is several years old and, until recently, has experienced very little turnover. What happens when a democratic guild has been around for years is this: the group becomes set in its ways and status quo takes over. In other words, everyone becomes afraid of rocking the boat.

So we had a team who hadn’t seen much significant change in a few years. We had no one with any formal authority to say “this is what we’re going to do”. This wasn’t looking good.

The results, up ’til now

Our “raid team improvement” thread was about 3 or 4 weeks ago. Since then, we’ve down 2 new bosses (4 if you count Neferian and Cho’Gall, which aren’t much of a challenge on normal mode anymore), which is probably where we would have been anyway.

But…

- We’ve started every single raid on time (with the exception of a few delays due to having to pug a few raiders).
- We’ve received a surprising number of applications (including an AWESOME application written by a dear commenter on this very blog!).
-It’s been two weeks since we’ve had to pug. We even had to sit someone for the first time due to too many dps online at once.
- We’ve shaved a lot of time off our trash pulls (I know because I time our trash).
- I don’t feel the need to alt tab out between wipes on progression bosses anymore.
- People who randomly AFK are being chastised by their fellow players.
- Role-teams are communicating more.
- A larger number of team members are participating in strat discussions and post-raid debriefings.
- Some people actually read the forums.
- Guildies have been going out of their way to gear up outside of raids and, even better, helping each other gear up outside of raids.

I can’t begin to express how I excited I am and how proud I am of my guildies for all their hard work.

I know that the changes might just be temporary. The pace is new to us, so we’re learning and can’t joke around as much as we used. We might give up before we get used to this pace. Or we might just decide this style of raiding was fun for a little while, but not longer. Or, as my track record predicts, I might have a falling out with our raid leaders and have to go my own way.

I can, however, accept that nothing lasts forever and, like in anything I do, I’m enjoying the moment.

Introducing the Insecure Nervewreck

November 22, 2009

Friend: So, how are you liking your new guild.
Me: I love it! Exactly what I was looking for! I’m super shy though.
Friend: You? Shy?
Me: OMG yes, I can’t bring myself to talk in gchat or vent.
Friend: Meh, in a few weeks, they’ll be missing your quiet days.
Me: Yeah! I- ….Hey!

We all know the arrogant bastard. The big mouthed guy (or girl) who puts down others, genuinely thinks they’re better/smarter/more useful/prettier/better in the kitchen than they really are. The person that make Type B personalities politely smile and look away and that make Type A personalities blow a gasket. We come across them all the time in the offline world as well as in WoW. Bloggers of all types feed their readers with lovely tales of the arrogant bastard.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, is the insecure nervewreck. Due to the insecure nervewrecks’ quiet demeanor, he (or she) is not noticed as much. Subtle signs of mild insecure nervewreckness may include over apologizing, slow typing due to erasing and retyping multiple times and making really stupid, obvious mistakes. Still not sure what I mean? Lets have some examples!

New friend: Hi! How’re you doing?
Me: *starts typing then erases*
Me: *types than erases*
Me: *types than erases*
*5 minutes later*
Me: Doing good.

There’s a reason I don’t do twitter.

In a raid setting this slow communication can be problematic.

Raid leader: Who has an aura mastery available?
Me: *has an aura mastery available* ….
Raid leader: No one?
Me:….
Me:….
Me: *croaks* I do.

Of course by then it was far too late. Ok, note to self, call out available aura mastery earlier.

One week later

Raid leader: Who has an aura mastery avail-
Me: I DO!
Raid leader: Ok, use yours next.
Me: *hovers finger over button, oh boi oh boi oh boi*
Me: *accidentally hits aura mastery far too early*
Me: I give up.

Those classes in grade school where we sat in circles and talked about our problems came to mind. You know, the ones where the teacher would tell us how important it was to talk about our feelings. “Talking about the things that bother us makes us feel better”, she would say. So I thought about it.

Me: I wonder if I told people exactly how nervous I get, I would feel better.
Myself: No wai! They would think you’re crazy, you’re a drama whore and no one will want to be around you.
Me: :(
Me: …
Me: What if I blogged about it?
Myself: Blogging about it is fine.

Oh, but I still die a bit inside whenever I get a spike in traffic. I’m pleased that some people appreciate my lose screws but it’s like everyone staring at you while you’re naked. Maybe I’m half exhibitionist?

Also, this gem of a conversation I had today.

Guild Master: LF a holy pally blogger.
Me: Codi from Moarhps is really awesome.
*awkward silence*
Me: /facepalm self

It’s not a secret, I just hate advertising myself. I didn’t lie though. Codi does know her holy pallies.

EDIT: Added another scenario! Oh, and after two weeks or so, I’ve gotten way more comfortable. Now just seems like a better time to write about nervous screw ups.

Some things are learned the hard way

November 5, 2009

Because I’m getting a lot of questions and because it may come in handy to anyone who may find themselves in a similar position, my advice for the day is that when leaving a social situation where you may have emotional ties, just do it. The longer you stretch it out the worse it is.

While some explosive drama would have entertaining, leaving my guild really wasn’t that exciting. On the night I was leaving (which took place after I had written the shared topic post), I wanted to do one thing, others wanted to do something else. It wasn’t working, so I wished them luck and left. Because it was already an emotional time, I took it personal and there are still hard feelings, but in hindsight, there was no way that was going to end well. It’s always harder with online stuff too since you can’t rely on body language to let others know whats going on. I’d also be lying if I said that leaving my guild was all bad, I had some great talks with many people that night and I’m definitely not being fair to all those who went out of their way to wish me luck!

What would have worked better would have been to get together with the people I was closer to and planned from there. It’s not out of the picture, but I’ll have to wait until I figure out what my gaming time is going to be like.

The server transfer went well. My DK was transferred instantly and my pally took about 20 minutes. My new guild seems great and I’m looking forward to getting to know everyone in it. I was included in an alt 10 man run, which was nerve wrecking (I always want to make a good impression!) but refreshing at the same time. The added pressure does spice things up! And I finally got my wish for 2 man healing 10 mans.

I don’t know how often I’ll be updating this thing until I get back into a gaming routine. I want to avoid the diary format of blog but I don’t foresee myself pondering specific topics or game mechanics until the novelty of a guild change wears off.

Edit: Holy crap this post was serious. To be forgiven for unreasonable use of seriousness, here are pictures of giant spoons:
(more…)

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.


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