Posted tagged ‘Guild’

Still Running

October 4, 2013

When I was a student, stressed and exhausted and constantly panicking at hectic paces and deadlines, I thought to myself “I can’t wait to be out of school and have a normal life.”

Then I got my first permanent job. After tired morning upon tired morning of looking at my dark sunken eyes in the mirror, and after night upon night of breathing exercises to regain control after a hard day, it dawned on me that the problem was me. Between being awfully slow (everything takes me hours and hours more than everyone else), being a perfectionist (not an efficient combination) and an insatiable need to TAKE ON ALL THE THINGS, it would seem I’m condemned to a life time of running. Running and never catching up.

I used to envy the unemployed, but the more I get to know myself, the more I think my life would be just as hectic, no matter what elements I took out of it.

All that to say that a few weeks ago, I was a guest on the Leetsauced Podcast to celebrate their 3rd podcasting anniversary. It took me this long to get back to the blog, but these are the codes you may be looking for:

Logan’s code: ZD-2LTBF

My code: QZXE-S5A6

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, that’s normal. It seems the hosts were critted by real life even harder than I was and I believe they haven’t been able to upload the episode yet.

But, you know, keep an eye on their site and you might win something fun! (On top of the awesome privilege of hearing my naughty noodle talk.)

As usual, I super happy to get to hang out and goof off. We’ve all gone our separate ways since our Conquest shenanigans and it’s been too long. Too too long. While I think Vik and Evan (Hi-ya) are mostly retired from WoW, Logan and I still raid together in Cadenza, but it’s not the same.

Other things that happened while I was running

As I just hinted at, I’ve been raiding with Cadenza for about 8 months now and still haven’t gotten kicked out (and actually, while I seem to get in trouble far more than most everyone else, I do feel like I’m playing somewhat decently!). The raiding is fantastic. We raid 2 nights a week, the attitude is more casual than most of the casual guilds I’ve been in (Guild forums? What are guild forums? Reading strats? You can read strats?), but we kill stuff faster than the most progressives guilds I’ve been in. Which is unbelievable given the amount of time we waste.

I’ve been raiding Kurn’s Kick-Ass GM guide (since I have no plans of becoming a GM, I’ve been treating it like “Memoirs of a GM” – it reads very well like an autobiography) and the entire time I wonder what our GM would say about it given that Cadenza, on many points (though in fairness, not every point), is pretty much the opposite of Apotheosis.

I do struggle with our Fri-Sat schedule. I wish I had found this guild as a student in Newfoundland. Raiding 10:30pm-2:30am when I don’t have to get up the next morning would have been amazing. I would have done so much better in pharmacy school if I’d raided with Cadenza at the time (though I would have missed out on some really good Conquest friendships). As community worker in Alberta, though, it’s not as obvious. Nobody wants to work the Friday night shift, so I often have to miss raid to cover it. And real life stuff is always happening on Saturday nights. No matter how much I try to avoid the Evil Real Life, it just keeps chasing me around.

But anyway, I’ve been in the guild for 8 months and I have a cute story to share.

I was reading Theck’s post about world PvP on the Timeless Isle.

He’s right. He puts it so eloquently and describes a big picture complete with relevant data and images, but essentially there are two words: Tichondrius sucks. World PvP in itself isn’t the problem. I played plenty on Nerzhul and Eredar and had excellent experiences, better even than on PvE servers. But the faction imbalance (along with the Horde PvP celebrities who attract masses of gank-happy fans) sets Tichondrius apart. I don’t even do new content because there’s no point. No matter how much PvP gear you put on or how many friends you bring with you, you’ll do nothing but sit in the graveyard as a ghost all night.

Anyways. Sensing my frustration, my fellow holy paladin guildy, who has a lot of alts on a PvE server, added me to real ID and invited me to group whenever he saw me on. Normally I don’t group outside of raids. I play by myself, at my own pace, for my own fun, thank you very much. But Tichondrius (and low-level Nerzhul since it shares Tich’s CRZ) is so awful that I couldn’t turn him down. So night after night, he’d invite me to group and we’d chat. After a few weeks of this, I finally gave him the time of day.

He came to visit me last week and I’m going to visit him the week before Blizzcon. I guess you could kinda say we’ve dating or something for the past two months or so. Not sure where it will lead, but things seem to be going well. A little good to come out of Tichondrius’ awfulness.

In other news, work’s been rough as usual. With half of my staff away, the remainder of my staff injured and inventory coming up on Saturday, I did about 8 consecutive days of being on my feet from 8:30 am to 11:30pm (most pharmacists aren’t allowed to take breaks, so a 15 hour shift means 15 hours of having sore feet and of being super hungry, sleepy and dizzy – and the shittiest part is that I’m only allowed to be paid between 9 am and 9pm, meaning the rest is basically just volunteering at work). So I’ve been pretty cranky and I swear I’m fighting off some kinda of sinus infection (likely from being exposed to the mold in our building for so many hours).

I had my first day off yesterday and I ran off to Jasper for some therapeutic thin mountain air. I didn’t bring my camera, which I regretted – the snow covered mountains with mist hanging around them were beautiful when contrasted with the yellow late-fall tree. But here’s a photo of Jasper I took earlier this year for your own mountain-therapy needs.

Cal Expo Cape Breton Pyramid Outlook 036

Oh, and yes, I fully intend to write about playing a Holy Paladin in 5.4, though by the time I get around to it, we’ll probably be in 6.0.

(Usually) Attractive Raid Team looking for Likeminded Teammates

September 13, 2011

So you like to play WoW, and you like to play WoW well. And you like to raid. But you’re having trouble finding a guild that meets your crazy hours. Maybe you have an erratic work schedule. Or maybe you’re only available one night a week.

Good news!

My guild, Team Sport, is a group of people who have weird work schedules, who have limits on how much they can play. And we also have members who never miss a raid. What we have in common: the time we have to play, we do our best to make the most out of.

We’d love to have a few more like-minded people to join our ranks. We especially need dps, but due to the nature of our group, there’s always room for another healer or another tank.

Sound like you?

We raid on Tuesday and Thursday, from 5 to 8 Pacific Time on Nerzhul (Alliance side).

We’ve got 4 bosses down in Firelands and we’re working on our Alysrazer kill as well as getting Baleroc on farm.

We play well. We learn fights fast. Deaths to standing in crap are rare. It’s just that with such a tight raid schedule and constantly changing raid composition, progress isn’t just handed to us. I’ve written before about how we’re growing as a team and I’m excited to say that we’re living up to hopes and expectations. (That’s right. Anyone who dares take a random AFK mid-raid without a valid excuse gets to meet the Giant Spoon up close and personal.)

But we could really use a few more teammates.

Wondering what we’re like?

Our guild is kind of the opposite of other raiding guilds. Most raiding guilds focus on their raid team, with a friends and family rank. We’re a social guild with a raiding rank. Members of the raid team don’t have to be full members of the guild at large, as long as they’re committed to raiding with us. We have no attendance policy: like you, we’re all busy and can’t make every raids.

We’re fairly democratic too, with all important decisions being made through voting. It took me 6 months to discover that we had a GM. We don’t have official officers. Our raid leaders are just members who believe in the team and go the extra mile to make sure we keep killing bosses. Obviously, we’re not for the cutting edge player, but if you’re tired power-struggle-ridden guilds, you’ll feel refreshed by our equality-based and democratic atmosphere.

The general feeling is pretty laid back. We’ve got enough gossip to make life interesting, but in the over 6 months I’ve been in the guild, I’ve never seen any major blow outs (or, really, any blow out that I wasn’t personally responsible for ^_^). The old-timers have been gaming together since they were in diapers (or almost), and our new recruits tend to blend in so well that it is actually pretty hard to guess who is new.

Sound like an environment you’d enjoy?

Get in touch with me, either through email, twitter or whispering Rykga (or Snowfia or Eloïse) on Nerzhul. If you’re lucky I’ll show you my Spoon. Gently. Not the way I show the AFKers. You can also hit up our raid leader Thespius on twitter if you won’t take my word for it. (He has no Spoon though.)

Oh! And of course, check out our website and forums for more info!

ps. We are a sexy guild!

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.

This Just In: Student 4 Life Graduates

June 1, 2011

After 10 years of post-secondary education, including:

- 2 years of community college general sciences (graduating with a DEC – Sciences de la Nature and an IB Diploma)
– 3 years of psychology (graduating with a B.A. Psych)
– 1 year of easy courses to qualify for pharmacy school
– 4 years of pharmacy school (graduating with a B.Sc. Pharm),

I finally get to step out into the real world. Within a few months, I should be able to live in a real apartment, take cheap ramen out of my diet (upgrading to expensive ramen), quit obsessing over money, and work no more than 37 hours a week.

I get asked the question often, so I’ll answer it before it comes up again. No, I didn’t start young. I’m just really immature for my age.

The last month, simply put, sucked. I knew it would be rough, but knowing it and living through it are, yeah, two different things. My licensing exams, all three of them, were in the last week of May, mixed in with graduation formalities and a cross-country move. For a month, I put my life on hold and reviewed everything I had learned in the past 4 years. And ate a lot of fast food. Like tons of fast food. As in, I’ll be doing sit-ups for weeks to recover from all the fast food.

Of course, nothing ever goes as planned and, because clearly I wasn’t going through enough hell, my roommate came up with the wonderful idea of re-doing the kitchen as I’m trying to study and pack. (Which didn’t help in resisting the fast food cravings.) So while I’m stressed out of my mind, I was woken every morning and kept up every night by noise, dust, kitchen supplies all over the place and strangers breathing down my neck.

By the night before my first exam, my room (and state of mind) looked like this:

Please don’t tell any future landlords.

My lowest point, however, I think was on my last day in Newfoundland. I had my grad party that night (a big formal affair), and spent all day packing boxes. I was stressing because I was nowhere near done, but needed to get ready for grad. I stepped into the shower, only to discover than the renovation guys had cut off the hot water. I tried washing my hair in cold water, but it didn’t work out for me.

I’ll leave the scene of me sitting in a ball on the floor of my room with my wet hair sticking up, boxes and unpacked belongings scattered around me, to your imagination. It’s funny now, but I probably would have yelled at anyone telling me it was funny at the time.

Mixing Raiding and School

There’s enough I can say on the topic to write a series of stand-alone posts, but the end of it is, and I might change my mind a few years from now, that it was worth raiding throughout pharmacy school.

I raided late at night (mostly because that’s when my guilds raided, but it did help since I’d usually study until 9:30 or 10pm) and was therefore tired and cranky all day. I missed a lot of class because I was up late raiding. Heck there were courses I never went to outside of exams.

But I don’t regret it. My grades were average. Maybe they would have been slightly above average if I hadn’t been raiding. But even now that I don’t have to be in denial anymore, I still don’t regret it.

I know it sounds weird coming from someone who just did 10 years of college of, but I’ll say it: I hate school. I hate it. I’ve always hated it. I like learning. I like the fields I studied. I like being around intelligent and inspiring individuals. But I hate the pressure, I hate the competitiveness, I hate grades, I hate having to sit still all day, I hate having no money. School has always been a waiting game for me. Bite the bullet, do what they tell you and the ordeal will end eventually. (I also hated being a kid and can’t understand people who miss being kids. Being a kid was another, awful, waiting game. I’m thankful every day that it’s over.)

Raiding kept me sane. It let me be around like-minded people (I both adore and admire all of the classmates with whom I’ve had the honour of sharing several years of my life, but I had very little in common with the majority of them. I was cursed with the personality of an engineer but the brain of a liberal arts person.) It gave me something to look forward in the evenings. It gave me something to work at for my own pleasure, something on which I was never graded.

I know some people take raiding and competition very seriously, but not me. I raid because I love to raid. I do a good job because I like doing a good job. Oh, I’ll joke about healing meters, but that’s all it is, joking. Same goes for my blog. I’ll jokingly brag about stats but blogging is really where I get away from the numbers and the mediocracy that’s so often rubbed in my face. The blog does what it wants. I don’t do adds, I’d never accept to write about WoW for money. The blog and raiding are the two places where it doesn’t matter if I do well or not. The blog and raiding are where I can sit back and enjoy the journey, without worrying about whether or not my life will be screwed up at the destination.

When I Stopped Concentrating on Raiding

I quite raiding seriously at the beginning of January. I miss a lot. You guys have no idea. No amount of emo whining can really translate how much I miss it.

You know how some women get to about 30 without every wanting kids, then suddenly starting hating everyone with kids and can’t live with themselves until they get pregnant? (I really hope this doesn’t happen to me. Pregnancy is just uggg. I’ll adopt, thank you very much.) Anyway, that’s what it’s like. I can’t read Twitter during general raid hours anymore. I fight back tears whenever I’m asked about my WoW life. I rage at anyone who complains about seeing raid content too often. (I wish I was in a position to be in raid burnout!)

Still, I grit my teeth and tell myself it was for the better. It was nice, not being exhausted during clerkship. I did a good job because I wasn’t tired. Not good enough to be “above average“, but hopefully I made a difference in a few people’s lives.

I got to meet a lovely guild who welcomed me with open arms and understood that I was only going to be with them for a few months. (I’ll have another post dedicated to them later this week.) I actually plan on leaving my alts with them when I move on. While I missed raiding in a more intense environment, their jokes, their familiarity, their rich lives outside of game and their laid back attitude made my hiatus enjoyable. I tried to stay distant – no use in getting attached when I know I’ll be leaving – but they managed to break me a few times. By now my raid leader, Thespius, probably knows more about me than he ever wanted to. He’ll be spending his next few months trying to erase his memory.

I’m terrified that I won’t find my ideal guild after I move. Working late hours on the West Coast isn’t conducive to progression raiding.The fact that I don’t have any end boss kills (lets not even talk about heroics) doesn’t help either. I know that a lot of guilds are recruiting, so if you’re running a late night, 25 man progression raid team and are looking for a dedicated holy paladin, hit me up.

My Grad Present to Myself: Traveling Across the Country

In a couple of hours, I’ll be taking a flight to Edmonton, to look for a place to live. I decided to turn my trip back East into a (well-deserved, if I do say so myself) vacation. I picked up a Discovery Pass (no, I can’t take the train. I’d love to take the train, but trains in Canada are waaaaaay more expensive than trains in the US!) and plan to make full use of it. Cities on the itinerary are:

Edmonton
Calgary
Winnipeg
Milwaukee
Chicago

If you’re in one of those cities and care to buy me coffee (or let me buy my own coffee if you’re a cheapo) let me know! Fannon is also planning a meetup in Edmonton this Friday (June 3), so if you’re in the area and want in, give him a shout.

Oh, and in case you were wondering what my room looked like after exams were over with and my move was under control…

My Take on the 10/25 Thing

February 7, 2011

It’s fitting that Naithin guest posted about 10s vs 25s on Thursday. After all, I’m a die hard 25 man raider. A die hard 25 man raider who just joined a 10 man guild.

Bit of background, differences of opinion with (some of) the leadership (understatement) and inconvenient raid times brought me to leave my 25 man guild. Instead of craving a rebound guild, my gquit actually triggered cravings to spend time around people I can get touchy-feeling with. But I didn’t want to lose my skills, or fall too far behind on gear, or to become too out of the loop for paladin blogging (contrarily to popular belief, you don’t have to play at Paragon’s level to read and translate EJ into plain English, but it does helps to step into a raid once in awhile).

That’s when my old healing lead, Vik, put me in touch with Thespius. Remember what Naithin said about backup players being hard to find for 10 man guilds? Well, it was a perfect match. Team Sport gained a backup healer and I got 6 hours a week of scheduled WoW time, which occasionally included raiding.

(more…)

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….

Shared Topic: Your Autoblogography

November 11, 2010

From Look Ma! I made a WoW Blog, April 7, 2009

A bossy pally can only chase people around to talk to them about WoW for so long before said people become good at getting away. Then, all thats left is the internet. You can still run away on the internet, oh yes. But sometimes you unknowingly run towards trouble and accidently read things.
[...]
So I started a blog because I wasn’t getting enough WoW talk. I’m not yet sure where I want to go with this or if I’m going to go anywhere at all. Only time will tell, I guess?

We were running short on Shared Topics at Blog Azeroth (so you should all totally go and suggest some) and it was therefore my turn to come up with a Topic. And what do I like reading about? That’s right. Big, fat, juicy, behind the scenes blogging stories. Hence the Topic: Your Autoblogography.

The Topic starts next week and you can prepare for it by reading this post and by checking the thread at Blog Azeroth.
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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.

Love is in the Guild

February 14, 2010

F Yo Couch!

If you’re on Nerzhul, standing in the Dalaran bank and you see that twist of the Chapelle show line pop up in your chat, chances are someone from Conquest is nearby. I’m told that our legendary S13 was the first of our guild to make use of that line. Now it’s become more or less our rally cry.

I was wondering which topic I would choose for a February 14th post and none seemed more fitting than some guild love. Whenever I see players complain or make hopeless remarks about their guild, it makes me sad.

Whether you’re a raider or a strictly social player or somewhere in between, as soon as you play a few hours a week, you spend a significant amount of time reading green text from these people, or hear them talk. You may have never met them, but you know their sense of humor (or in some cases, their lack thereof). You know their temperament. Sometimes you know things about them you wish you didn’t. Other times you find out things about them you wish you’d known earlier.

How it all started…

I remember filling out my application. I was a little shaky, I’d never filled out a guild application before. It was around 6 server on a Sunday night. My old guild was raiding and I was on raid hiatus. I needed to think. I needed a change but didn’t know I was ready to leave my old gaming friends. I felt a little sick to my stomach, but here was an opportunity I wasn’t going to pass up.

I may only be able to raid 9 hours a week, but I still wanted to do hard modes. Here was my chance to make the most out of my limited gaming time.

Still, I don’t like having to get used to new people, in real life or in game. Many players float from one guild to another, but not me. When I join a guild, I show up with my cat, all my clothes, my furniture and the kitchen sink. It took me about 20 minutes to fill out the application. Took another hour to edit my application and cut out the unnecessary words. It makes me chuckle when guild officers complain about applicants not writing enough. I bet Conquest’s officers fell asleep scrolling down my walls of text. What can I say? I really, really like writing about myself.

The Early Days

I was nervous when I first joined. I got a teased because I wouldn’t talk on vent. I wrote a blog post about it. My new GM answered in a blog post of his own. Look familiar? I just about died on the spot yet he was absolutely right, once I stopped panicking, I felt a lot more comfortable in the guild.

Over the past few months, I got to know my guildies a little better. I discovered one was a Russian spy disguising his identity with a French accent. I discovered that another guildie was quite the Casanova as he and I patiently offered unsolicited dating advice to a third, clueless and flustered, guildie. I discovered that one of our bear tanks raids with, on her shoulders, the skin of a bear she killed with her bare hands. I discovered that rogues talk way too much (but I love them anyway. One of them even gave me a fancy shmancy new headset!). I discovered that we had a team of brothers who will take everything you say out of context and hold it against you. I discovered many other crazy, and by crazy I mean awesome, personalities among those people I raid with a few nights a week.

The good times don’t stop

Speaking of awesome, I’ve experienced quite a few awesome moments. Starting right at my very first 25 man raid with them. As we made our way to Ony, we noticed a Horde guild hanging around the stone. We started to kill them. What the heck, I thought, and joined in. We won. We celebrated. I found out afterward that the guild we killed was, at the time, a top 20 US guild.

We also have some moments of awesome on our guild forums. My personal favorite was the thread where everyone commissioned the daughter of one of our guildies (who’s also doing some artwork for my blog BTW!) to do drawings of their character killing our brave and fearless raid leader’s paladin. Our brave and fearless raid leader would probably disagree about the awesomeness of that thread.

You know you’re really at home when you find yourself trying to explain your guild’s personal dialect to outsiders. No matter how I tried to put it, I just couldn’t get my girlfriends to understand how much win is in the word “poopsock”. I don’t care what you think, I find it hilarious.

Just us, chillin' with Festergut

Here’s the Good Part!

Now, you’re probably reading this and thinking “man, I wish I could have that much awesomeness in my WoW“.

Good news! You can have that much awesomeness in your WoW! We need new people!

A lot of our members have stuff going on in their lives that’s getting in the way of their raiding, so there are quite a few openings, notably for DPS and backup healers.

We do have a lot of priests (I guess thats what happens when your main recruiter writes a popular priest blog), but the lack of Shamans, Druids and Holy Paladins needs to be remedied. Hot guys with sexy accents are especially appreciated (by me).

We raid Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursday from 6 to 9 pacific time, with optional 10 man runs on Wenesdays and Sundays.

So if you want to hang out with a bunch of nutcases, and by nutcases I mean wonderful players, like yours truly, and Ryan, and Skip Cocoa, and Matticus, and Hempia (who many of you Twitterfolk probably know) and all those I described earlier, come apply on our websiiiiiiiite!!!!!

Thats http://www.nerzhulconquest.com for those of you who never click on links.

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.

/lonely

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!).

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