Question: Deciding Upon Disagreements

Question: Deciding Upon Disagreements

Have you ever been dragged into a discussion between two players? You’re being asked for your opinion or to side with someone, but you just can’t really bring it in you to actually care about it.

Other than flipping a coin, how would you decide and resolve a disagreement when you just don’t give a damn?

“Seriously? You’re asking me to decide which one’s better and could take on the other? Star Trek or Star Wars?”

How to Get What You Want From Your Guild

How to Get What You Want From Your Guild

See that image up there? That is one annoyed looking cat. Looks as if someone took away his toy or threatened him with a bath. That’s the same look I exhibit when someone comes complaining to me.

But hey, it comes with the guild leader territory.

Listening to complaints. It probably takes up around 15% of communications.

(Actually, file that post idea away. “Percentage of matters that occupy guild leader time”). 

Most of the time, it’s just hot hair or someone wants to get something off their chest. Generally, complainers aren’t really taken seriously. But y’know? Every so often, there’s a legitimately dissatisfied player.

If you really want to lodge a solid complaint, you need to identify if what you want is an actual change or you just want to vent.

Too often in guilds, players are exposed to people complaining about something.

Maybe it’s someone’s performance.

It could be their lack of attendance.

Perhaps the raid just takes too long to get going.

You know, if you’re looking to secure some kind of change in policy or the way things are done, then effective complaining is called for. If it’s for the second reason (emotional comfort), then really, all you’re looking for is someone to listen to you.

My advice? If you’re going to complain because you want something done differently, figure out exactly what your end game is. The most ineffective complaint is the one where there’s no objective.

What is the end result of your complaint?

Here’s some examples:

  • Consistent faster pulls
  • Less off-topic discussion during raid
  • More booze during break

Once you figure out the outcome, identify the person capable of delivering it. You don’t harass the Warrior if you don’t have any food or water, right?
If I’m on the receiving end of a complaint, I instinctively put up walls because I know what’s coming. Being conscious of this, when I’m lodging a complaint to others (a legitimate one, mind you), I make an effort to be calm and polite.*

Ask yourself this.

Are you looking for results or the satisfaction of being right?

* My friends have picked up on this. When they notice I‘m super extra nice, they immediately get suspicious.

When following through with your complaint, start off with a cushion. This is a statement that prevents your target from feeling that they’re being attacked. Follow it up the meat and potatoes which contains the concern that you want resolved. Then finalize it with a statement proving that you’re not crazy or insane. You want that statement to prove that you are a reasonable person who would greatly benefit from the assistance.

Here’s a fictitious example:

Problem: Concerned about excess, off-topic chatter during a raid.
Solution: Additional focus on the encounters that matter

“Hey Jarvis,

I appreciate the hard work and energy you expend running the raid. Our raid group is an energetic and talkative bunch of players. Can we get them to tone it down during progression boss encounters? The raid would proceed much smoother and efficiently allowing us to get out earlier and awarding everyone precious relaxation time.

Bonus: They get to socialize in a less pressured environment.”

Signed,
Buster

Let’s break it down.

I appreciate the hard work and energy you expend running the raid.

Jarvis is the raid leader. This guy puts up with just about everything and is the linchpin. He might not get too many pats on the back but this is your way of recognizing the little things he’s doing.

Our raid group is an energetic and talkative bunch of players.

You’re reframing and putting a positive spin on the problem. The raid tends to discuss stuff that’s not relevant to what’s going on. This could be due to excess energy or a lack of focus. But, hey, you don’t really know the root cause. Maybe they’re just hyper from all the gummy bears.

Can we get them to tone it down during progression encounters?

Now we’re getting to what you really want. For the sake of your sanity and to prevent yourself from verbally destroying someone, you’re asking the boss if he can do something to calm players down. Maybe all they need is a firm reminder. Who knows? You don’t care how it’s done as long as it’s done. I will add that it’s a nice touch to offer a solution or two that you feel might work.

The raid would proceed much smoother and efficiently allowing us to get out earlier and awarding everyone precious relaxation time.

This is where you appeal to the rewards section. As my uncle Lawrence Reciprocicus always asks when someone calls on him for a favor, “What’s in it for me?”

You want to offer something mutually beneficial that your target would appreciate. In this case, a smoother raid and an earlier clear time.

Now the next time you feel the urge to throttle someone or want to stab a pen through your raid’s eyes, consider voicing your concerns to your leaders first. You gotta do it with discipline and serenity! Violence is never the answer!

The Reality of Vanilla WoW

I remember vanilla World of Warcraft. Every so often, you’ll see many players wistfully thinking back about the fondness for the old days. Thinking about how the game play and the difficulty was truly better then.

That’s Kodo-crap.

Let me tell you, those days weren’t all that great. People that remember it so positively are doing so through rose coloured glasses!

We’ll talk about the PvE side of things.

Raids consisted of 40 people. Of those 40 people, 10 were phenomenal. 20 were mediocre and average. The last 10 players were carried because they were either sleeping, AFK, or just plain stupid. Coordinating the efforts of 40 people was like trying to pull greased up weeds from the ground.

It took an abysmally long time to gear out people. Remember, this was when drops were 2 items per boss. We’re really lucky to have 5 items a boss on 25 man these days.

Don’t get me started on attunement quests? Having to grind through Blackrock Depths just to get keyed for Molten Core? I did so many of those runs to help my guildies get keyed.

Life before the dungeon finder was agonizing depending on your server. Sitting in chat for 3 hours looking for a healer for Undead Strat? Good luck. Oddly enough, that’s why I rolled a priest. Current SWTOR players can sympathize a little bit with that.

What about PvP?

Cross realm didn’t exist.

Alterac Valley battles took up the whole day (if not more).

Servers usually had one or two pre-form teams per faction and queues took longer than most in order to ensure both teams were lined up against other pre-forms. It made for some fun rivalries though. One of my first ever guilds in WoW was a PvP guild. All I did was Warsong Gulch, Arathi Basin, and Alterac Valley while playing on a Paladin.

Granted, there were some memorable moments.

Finishing my Benediction.

Killing Rag for the first time (on the last attempt, no less).

40 players acting in a cohesive unit for the first time after screwing up for hours on end instilled this amazing feeling. It was infectious. It’s like this feeling of accomplishment and the thought that “You know, maybe we really can do stuff”. All that coordination, all the wipes, they actually mean something when factored in with the 40 man raid.

I still hate it.

I’m so glad I never have to farm Whipper Root Tubers again.

Making Connections

Making Connections

You’ve figured out why you should blog.

You worked hard on naming conventions for your blog.

You learned the nuances when writing for the internet.

You’ve mastered Writer’s block.

And you learned to… just get off your ass and write.

But despite applying all the technical and promotional techniques that you learned, you’re still not quite getting the comments you’re looking for. The traffic isn’t reflecting the effort and work you’re putting in. No facebook likes, Google +1’s, and no retweets. In fact, you’re gradually contemplating throwing in the towel.

What gives?

It’s because you’re missing a crucial element. A few weeks ago, I signed up for a Webinar from John Morrow, associated editor from Copyblogger.com. It was a free, 2 hour session discussing elements of traffic and community building. I figured I’d share the notes I took.

What we’re taught

Content: Write awesome content. The logic is if you keep writing amazing and helpful stuff, you’ll get noticed and your viewership will start skyrocketing.
Promotion: At the same time, you need to promote your posts. Ask for links, retweets, shares, etc. If people don’t know you exist, they’re not going to read your or share your stuff. So you have to do what you can to get known.

You get jillions of readers if you can combine them effectively.

The equation

Content + Promotion = Readers

But, this equation is missing something.

It’s off slightly. Content and promotion are both important, but there’s a missing component of the formula. You can still write smashing hits and you can still get those mentions, but it might only work for the short term and it doesn’t help your overall strategy of your blog.

It’s about the Connections

This is what the actual equation is.

Content + Promotion + Connections = Readers in the bajillions

Jon used best selling authors as an example.

The easiest way to write a best seller is to already be a best selling author. Guys like Seth Godin and Stephen King don’t need to ask for agents, or be booked to TV shows. People just already know who they are. The reasons why new authors struggle is no one knows who you are. You have to fight to get an agent, a publisher, an interview and so forth. This works the same way for bloggers.

“If you deleted my blog and all my subscribers (I’d be sad for one), but it’s not the end of the world. Because over the past few years, I’ve built relationships with all the popular bloggers in the world. I could still do in a flash.”
-John

The real key to blogging isn’t who you know. The key to blogging is who knows you. No matter how good your content, or how awesome it is or how hard you work, it’s not going to matter.

If you don’t have any influential connections, it’s not going to matter.

Popular bloggers ignore you because they don’t know you. If you email a blogger asking for a link to your site, you’ll most likely be ignored.

If you think about it, we do the same thing.

You scan through your emails and look for the senders you recognize. Anyone you don’t know, you end up ignoring or skipping over. Popular bloggers get on average 100+ emails (some go to 500+) per day. The reality is, most bloggers don’t often respond via email (at least, not right away). We respond to people we know. You have to get lucky with them opening your email to help you out. That’s not a situation you really want to be in which is why why link building won’t work.

If they don’t know who you are, it’s impossible. They have to know you first in order to get you links.

Let’s talk about twitter

What’s supposed to happen is you share your link with your friends. They share it with their friends and then it goes viral and snowballs it.

Wrong. That’s not actually how it works.

The posts don’t start with people with few friends. It’s not actually consistent. It’s like winning the lottery online. The way viral posts usually happen is they go top down. They get other people with big followings on twitter to share it with their followers and to their friends on twitter. And then their followers. It starts with the top people and works down.

The 3 C’s

Your goal must be done in these 3 steps in this order.

Step 1 — Connections with list owners

Connections means that those bloggers know your name. They’ve read your work. They’ve had a conversation with you. They think you’re smart and they like you.

No, this doesn’t mean a connection on LinkedIn.

Now list owners means people who have a huge twitter following, high RSS counts, a large emailing list, etc. They’re all different types of lists. You need to get THOSE people to like you because they can help spread your content to their followers and readers.

Step 2 — Content creation

Create awesome content targeted specifically at their audience, point out how it’s relevant to their audience, and ask them to promote it. You can’t just write great content and “hope” someone stumbles upon it. You need to have a connection in mind.

Step 3 —  Convert visitors

Ideally, you’d be able to offer your readers something of value. Blogs in other niches hook up readers with like an EBook, a report, or something but unless you’re really intense about it, I wouldn’t stress about that.

When it comes to subscriptions, Jon advises that email is way better than RSS. The engagement level and retention of email over RSS is about 20 times more valuable.

But, you should offer both types anyway. Make sure they’re full feeds.

This is the wrong order

  1. Content
  2. Connections
  3. Convert

Instead, the actual order should be:

  1. Connections
  2. Content
  3. Convert

The problem is you start as nobody. How do you become a somebody?

The answer to this is guest blogging!

Jon discovered that this is the only strategy that consistently works for every topic, every blogger, every niche. Some strategies work for certain topics and bloggers, but guest blogging is good for everything. If you guest on a big blog, and you write a mindblowingly amazing post, readers are going to say that post is awesome and they want to read more.

Here’s another analogy he used.

Think of it like an opening act for a major concert.

You’re performing on stage for someone like The Rolling Stones and you’re the first act.

The act of writing a guest post for a popular blog, those bloggers will love you. These posts get you introduced to other popular bloggers and influencers as well. This does NOT mean commenting. This means an actual article to give away to big popular blogs. We’re talking like 1500+ words. You write a popular post for one of these blogs and they edit it for you and give you feedback.

As an aside, if you ever get a chance, take your original version and put it side by side by the edited version. Ask yourself what changed and why.
The smartest thing you can do is link directly to your page (If possible, link directly to a page that offers something cool, like a webinar, or a report, etc).

Make connections

I want to re-emphasize one more thing.

Network the hell out of everything.

Make friends.

Get contacts.

Know people.

Connect.

It is the universal skill of all universal skills. So many opportunities will be available to you. This is one of the lessons my dad instilled in me when I was younger (actually, this was second after knowing my 12 x 12 multiplication tables). While you’re never going to be best friends with everyone you meet, it doesn’t hurt to be on relatively good terms with everyone.

This isn’t even about blogging. Things like academic openings or even job postings? Amazes me how much of that stuff is behind closed doors. Who you know can make a way bigger impact on your life than what you know. You never know when a blogger’s brother’s wife is looking to hire someone for a specific position that happens to coincide with your goals.

You never know what doors will open from that one blogger who takes you under their wing, or from that one guy who retweets your post.

On the other hand, if there’s nothing wrong with burning bridges as long as it’s done for the right reasons. Alas, that’s beyond the scope of this post.

“More business decisions occur over lunch and dinner than at any other time, yet no MBA courses are given on the subject.”
- Peter Drucker

A Guild Numbers Question

I have a question for you to ponder.

Would you rather be in a guild that ran 2 ten man raiding teams or 1 twenty-five man raiding team?

Why?

New Priest Glyphs implemented: Val’kyr, Lightspring, Levitate, and Confession

New Priest Glyphs implemented: Val’kyr, Lightspring, Levitate, and Confession

Morning everyone. New beta build finally made the new glyphs purchasable from Flaskataur, Esquire. Here’s some screenies for you to enjoy.

The title picture above shows the Glyph of the Val’kyr. It’s that minor one that changes the appearance of Spirit of Redemption. I know some of you think it’s bad form to encourage people to die to get a new aesthetic perspective.

But seriously, it’s a minor glyph. Get over it. It’s not going to affect any self-respecting Priest’s performance. Anyone that wants to die repeatedly and enjoy their new death form can just jump off cliffs if they want to see it in action. There’s other things to pick apart.

Like Power Word: Shield getting buffed to 187% of spell coefficient (Buff from 87%).

WoWScrnShot_052412_071953_thumb

That’s the new Levitate glyph (Click through it for full size). It leaves the trail of clouds on your character as you float around.

WoWScrnShot_052412_072438_thumb

Here’s the Confession glyph. You can’t see it, but it shows up in the chat window. Every 30 minutes, you can cast Confession (new spell) and the character confesses… something. In my case, I forgot the Sunwell.

WoWScrnShot_052412_072522_thumb

And lastly, here’s the Lightspring glyph in action. Can’t interact with the Lightwell directly. Ticks of around 10000+.

You know, I can’t confirm this right now, but it seemed as if I was receiving multiple Lightwell charges automatically whenever I constantly remained below 50%.

You Screwed Up

You Screwed Up

You let the tank die.

You missed the interrupt.

You didn’t line up your cooldowns properly.

You died to the fire.

You dispelled the frost bomb in the wrong place.

You got hit by the ball.

You hit a healing cooldown on a purple ooze.

You faced the boss and it cleared the whole raid.

You didn’t hit the Heroic Will button.

You want to quit the raid in shame and disgust at yourself for failing so hard.

No way. No how. Not a chance.

You learned something that cost the guild bank hundreds, possibly thousands of gold.

Make that gold count.

Look, I get it. You screwed up.

You can punish yourself, if you want to.

You can deposit money in the guild bank, if you’ll feel better.

You can apologize profusely to the raid, if you think it will help.

Everyone deals with personal failure in their own way.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what you do as long as you learn from it.

Preparing for the 8 second Dispel

Preparing for the 8 second Dispel

If you haven’t been keeping up with the little beta changes and updates that have been going on, there’s something you should know.

Don’t worry, it isn’t as game breaking as Spirit Shell having it’s mechanics reworked or anything.

Our Purify (formerly known as Dispel) now has a a rather large 8 second cooldown attached to it. I get the need to cut down on Dispel’s usage. PvP needs to be made a little more exciting and what not.

The PvE ramifications are just as important.

In a party

Shado-pan Monastary is one of the new instances that opened up with a minimum requirement of level 87. Inside the instance, there was a fair number of mobs that had some sort of magic debuff that would afflict members of my party. On the boss encounters, I noticed any debuffs were applied one or two at a time. I dispelled one quickly and responded with steady, mana neutral Heal to maintain that player’s health. If the party started taking AoE damage, I targeted the debuff affected player and casted Prayer of Healing and would switch between single target and Prayer of Healing as necessary.

I could use Mass Dispel. Technically between Mass Dispel and Dispel, I can rely on them to remove debuffs if they’re applied one after the other. Doing that is going to be costly to your mana. Depending on the debuff duration, it might be better off to dispel one person and then heal the other until their debuffs expire.

Haven’t tried a raid environment yet. All I know is if current boss mechanics were coupled with Mists Dispel mechanics, we’re all in deep trouble. There’d be no way we could blanket  remove negative magic in time without resorting to Mass Dispel.

Blizzard developers would need to scale back and be a little more critical when it comes to any debuff inducing bosses. Ultimately, we just need to play smart with our dispels. The option of not dispelling a player in favor of healing them may well be a necessary strategy to adopt depending on what new raid bosses are like.

Solutions

Let’s classify magic debuffs into two major categories. When responding against debuffs, you need to get a little creative and look at ways to bail out your players. Ideal solution? Simple dispel. But assuming your dispel is now on cooldown, what’s your next choice?

Impairment

This refers to any ability to hinders your character from doing anything. This means any slow, any stun, a freeze, or control loss.

With your allies stuck, they need to get out of a bad situation pronto. Let’s say Jeremy is frozen in place after a Frost Nova. They can’t move and they have no way of breaking themselves out. You, being the smart player that you are, dispelled yourself first. There happens to be a giant shadow underneath Jeremy which indicates a large meteor is about to squish him in half. Mentally, you know that meteor is going to crush him before your Dispel is available for use.

You can use Leap of Faith to extract him. If that’s not available, drop a Pain Suppression and pray that’s enough to ward that meteor.

Find a way to move the player, if possible.

If you can’t give them a movement boost, look for a way to ensure that they survive through it.

Damage

Any debuff that inflicts damage. This could be any DoT, a delayed nuke, etc.

Your allies are about to experience some large dents in their health pool. You can’t get that debuff off of them. Your only option is to brute force heal the players through it until the debuff expires on it’s own. If you don’t think your rate of healing can level off or offset the rate of damage, then resort to a cooldown. Guardian Spirit is a perfect insurance spell.

Speaking of bugs, I’m not sure if this is intended or not. The 8 second cooldown on Purify only triggers if a negative debuff is removed. I can spam Purify on myself without any debuffs without tripping the 8 second cooldown.

Or is that intended? I can’t remember.

Dear Blizzard: A Modest Healing UI Request

Dear Blizzard: A Modest Healing UI Request

The default healing UI in WoW has come a long way since Vanilla. One of my favourite additions is the bar they have that shows the impact of your healing done. If you look up, you can see that little green strip that shows how much health is going to be restored with your heal.

Let’s look at Discipline shields for a moment. With Spirit Shell turning into the 1 minute ability turning your heals into absorbs, it becomes even more important to show how much your Flash Heal or Greater Heal is going to absorb for.

Here’s the problem.

no-absorb-indicator

You can clearly see that I have Power Word: Shield on myself. It’s going to wear off in a few seconds. Naturally, I have full health but have no way of knowing how strong my shield is without breaking open my combat log. Then I’d have to look at the absorb value and mentally calculate that as a percentage of my overall health which then causes my head to hurt.

Bro, I am healing. There is no time for me to do that. I just want to know how much firepower my shield can fend off.

Here’s the potential solution.

absorb-indicator

Same screenshot as above. The only difference is that I darkened the right side of my health bar slightly. I didn’t put a colour to it or anything. Originally, that image had a yellow stripe going down but then I realized Rogue health bars and class colours were yellow. A colour that’s bright and stands out would be ideal.

White? Nope, that’s for Priests.

Pink? Paladins.

What about an overlay or a shadow over top of the health frames instead? The right side of my Priest health frames is darker which would show how much my shields would take. The absorb bar would go from right to left. There’s addons right now where absorb amounts extend past the frame to the side. That’s a solution but I don’t consider that elegant.

The problem with that is in a raid setting, if you put out large absorb numbers, then the absorb bar would go past the frame and it might visually impede you from healing the person in the next group over in your UI.

Drop a big absorb on Jeanine in group 1 and watch as you can’t target Nathaniel in group 2 because that absorb bar is covering up part of their health frame.

I haven’t thought of what the UI would look like if my health wasn’t at full. That paladin that’s above me is at around 50% health. If I put a shield on them, should that green healing strip be used? Or a different color? Won’t be able to use a transparent or darkening solution because then it becomes black bar on a black background.

Lightening up the background might work though. A brighter background stripe could serve to highlight the absorb amount.

Whatever the case, I’m just hoping they consider looking at quality of life visuals for any kind of shields or mitigation.

Four Links for the New Guys

Four Links for the New Guys

Someone on Twitter pointed this out to me the other day.

The same guy who’s selling me gems in Diablo 3 is the same guy who makes really awesome noodles and is the father of the Dragon Warrior!

Mind. Blown.

Progression wise in Diablo 3, my Wizard’s level 38 or so and is halfway through Act 2. Also, those sand wasps in act 2? You know, the ones that crap out 4 mini wasps that then proceed to take a dump and two shot my character?

Those bastards can die a horrible, fiery death.

Oh, and it’s a Saturday. The theme this week is tips for those who are new at something.

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Tips for the Middle Lane and Essentials: Last Hitting

I wrote two posts on how you can become a better player in the middle lane. Winning the center lane is a huge boost to your team because it’s the quickest access route between both bases. Also allows the middle player to roam to the top or bottom lanes and provide fire support. The second post on last hitting is a universal skill for almost any champion in any lane (supports being the exception). Excellent pointers for new players to League of Legends.

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Hey, Newbie! Stop writing!

Beej has a great piece for new, aspiring bloggers everywhere – Don’t be a writer. Writing shorter and simpler is the second longest skill for me to pick up since I had just left the academic world. There, you’re at the mercy of deadlines, word count minimums, and page limits. Your blog has the luxury of being limitless. The most common argument I see against writing shorter and simpler goes like this:

“But why are we trying to make our audience dumber? Why not sound smarter and help educate people?”

How do you plan on helping people get better if they don’t understand what you’re trying to say? If you can’t get your point across in a few sentences, then it’s time to find a new point. The job of the blogger is to get the message across. Using complex vocabulary and 6000 words you pulled from the thesaurus may look impressive to your English teacher but the cold reality is not many people will make it that far.

Why make your message harder to understand?

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Anxiety, the Scariest Raid Boss

I am not afraid of anxiety. I dominated public speaking throughout my years in school. Wasn’t afraid of standing in front of my peers. Raiding’s a little different. You’re playing with a group of players  and you don’t want to screw up. Some players get a little anxious when thrown into a guild tackling progression content. Being nervous about your first raid’s more common than you might think.

My biggest public speaking fear? Being thrown into a room with an amazingly hot woman and just screwing up talking. I’m at the point where I feel if I utter “Hi there” I get responded with “YOU MISOGYNST PIG” or something. Not that it’s ever happened, but well.  Give me the auditorium full of listeners instead.

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Four Reasons to Like Diablo 3

If you’re still on the fence about D3, check out Liore’s post on why she’s a fan of the game. She and I share the same feelings about bugs too, it seems.