BlizzCon 2013!

BlizzCon 2013!

Two years between BlizzCons is such a long time! Our regularly night guild LFR group was temporarily halted. We opted to run part 4 of LFR first. Ultimately we wiped to Lei Shen at the end (largely because we didn’t have a full guild group, oops). Right about the time we wiped, my cellphone alarm went off and we told the raid that we were going to take a quick break and pause attempts while we attempted to purchase tickets to BlizzCon. Of course, several of the pug players were pissed off. But they could either wait 15 minutes for us to finish or wait 30 minutes for the queuing debuff to wear off. This one rogue in particular was so pissed off that he pulled Lei Shen and wiped everyone again before rage quitting.

Oh well.

All that time spent in League of Legends clicking and using skill shots paid off. I managed to get in line at position 1702 (and using the drop down box to select 4 tickets simultaneously *flex*).

My guild mates were also able to secure tickets. The Conquest contingent will consist of around 20 players (at least)! This is going to be our largest meetup yet! It’s going to be damn tough to find a place where we can simply relax and lounge around at. I figure everything within walking distance of the convention center’s going to be snapped up anyway (or really difficult to accommodate). Next thing I need to do is get some shirts made for everyone. Remember how in school they created printed hoodies for every year’s graduating class? Might just do something like that annually. Speaking of which, any shrewd GMs out there that are looking to recruit should consider making some business cards. Conquest recruited some solid and steady players just by networking there. Someone suggested Conquest branded shot glasses, but I think that statement was made as a joke.

Even though it’s months away, I’m already stressing out about the event. I’ve already met a number of players from the guild in previous events. But we’re going to have some new faces this year. Are we going to be able to get along in real life as we do online? Am I going to get overwhelmed with a bunch of guild business about ideas on how to improve the guild? Are they going to sneak sedatives into my drinks so they can sharpie my face when I pass out?

I’m almost tempted to put together a disguise actually. Every joke and remark I’ve made at a guldie’s expense is probably going to come back and haunt me when I run into these clowns at Anaheim. I’m pretty sure no amount of asskissing I do is going to offset whatever beatings may come my way so I may as well keep making said remarks. I mean how much worse can it get, right? Even though I’ll never admit it to them directly, they’re a good crew to have and I’m happy to play alongside such an excellent team. The players that have left for various reasons will always be considered my guildies to me regardless of what tag they have and they’ll always be welcome here.

I still hate them all though.

In all due seriousness, BlizzCon is such a short time. I wish an extra day were added just so I can see more people from the community. I remember meeting Ceraphus and Xia (she has way too much energy) last time from The Sundering podcast. Looks like Fimlys from the Twisted Nether will be there too! And of course, all my friends and colleagues from WoW Insider. We’ve all attended these conventions year after year and it’s virtually the same crew. We’ve started with greeting each other with handshakes and have since moved on to hugs. If my understanding is correct, I’ll also get an opportunity to run into Medros from All Things Azeroth, one of the longest standing community members around. I’m also looking forward to meeting Twizz (from the Twizzcast).

Anyone else going? It’d be awesome to meet even more people this year! I promise, my guild won’t bite if you run into them (but they have a hell of a bark).

You Shouldn’t be an Officer

You shouldn’t consider being an officer…

  • If you can’t commit the time
  • If you view it as a simple title without responsibility
  • If you have thin skin and cannot handle flak from anyone
  • If you cannot be objective
  • If you get extremely frustrated
  • If you are impatient
  • If you set a poor example for other players
  • If you are not willing to act
  • If you cannot control your temper
  • If you don’t have the energy
  • If you have absolutely zero sense of tact
  • If you are routinely and consistently late to events (raids)
  • If you are unable to put yourself in the shoes of others
  • If you cannot be objective when it comes to guild matters
  • If you have a flair for drama
  • If you are only good at delivering criticism without feedback
  • If you view it as a free ride to loot
  • If you’re too new and haven’t gained respect from your peers
  • If you are not available for players to reach you (within reason)
  • If you are not reliable
  • If you just don’t care
  • If you want to date the GM (Hah)
  • If you don’t want to

I’m sure you can find exceptions and success stories of those who do fall under one or two of the above bullet points. Think of these as more general guidelines. It’s nigh impossible to find the perfect officer. They may have a few flaws about them but a shrewd GM can find ways to minimize their shortcomings and capitalize on their strengths. The process of becoming an officer is going to vary. With Conquest, it usually happens when I ask someone directly. I actually prefer it if players communicate their interest in assuming more responsibilities and I’ll observe their capabilities and interactions. Makes it a little easier, I think.

In the history of Conquest, I’ve had the pleasure of working with 13 different officers since the inception of the guild. We formed during the fall of 2008, when Wrath of the Lich King came out. We’ve been around for 5 years. That’s a rate of 2.6 officers per year. Now I’m curious, how many officers have served in your guild total?

 

 

The Starting Zone: Episode 54 – Priests

The Starting Zone: Episode 54 – Priests

If you’re looking for a distraction today, check out the most recent podcast episode of the Starting Zone! I sat down with the guys as we talked about Priests, the current expansion, and raiding in general.

The iTunes Link
The MP3 File
The RSS Feed

Discuss: How transparent should a guild be?

Discuss: How transparent should a guild be?

We’re now 11/12! One more kill will seal out the normal mode tier and allow us to start putting in work on the heroic modes of Throne of Thunder. Some of the players were curious as to what our goals after should be. Do we spend a little more time farming out the normal modes or do we immediately push into heroics? At first, I wanted to spend some time to farm out the week and try to get more weapons, trinkets, and 4-pieces completed. I felt that we could use a little more beefing up. But a player brought up an excellent point that you won’t actually know how much DPS you need until your raid starts hitting enrage timers of a boss. If that happens consistently, then it’s time to downshift and get the gear to help beat that timer.

The good

In that sense, it’s a good idea to share your vision for where you want to the guild (even if it’s just the short term). It seems that almost everyone has something that they want to contribute. In a 10 man, I bet that the feedback’s a little more manageable. But in a 25 man guild with a 30+ roster, it can get a little overwhelming when everyone has their own ideas. But nothing’s wrong with transparency when it comes to guild goals or even philosophy. At the very least, those who disagree with it know ahead of time what they’ve gotten themselves into. They can either embrace your style or move on and find another organization that best suits them

  • Goals
  • Values
  • Upcoming plans

The bad

Now what happens when transparency revolves around disciplinary action taken on a guild member by an officer? They may have been forced to sit out a night or become demoted because they were deliberately offensive to someone else or exceptionally poor raid play. I’m against sharing with other players why someone was punished. Frankly, I don’t think that’s their business. In my past experience, when an officer mentions in passing why someone was disciplined, people start talking about it and then sides start being taken which turns into a massive mess of a headache.

It’s not that big of a deal. The guy screwed up once and now they have to face the music. It’s not exactly something that’s up for debate. Having disciplinary action up for debate just causes more trouble than it’s worth. There’s no point in publically mentioning it either because then it turns into a point of public shaming (which could further exacerbate the issue and even cause them to leave). GMs have to periodically release players from their roster and there are good reasons to do it but it doesn’t have to be shared and not everyone needs to know.

I remember a really long time ago when one of my players came to me and said that they wouldn’t be able to raid that night (or for the next few raid nights). I asked if everything was okay, and she said no, she had been sexually assaulted. Immediately, I told her to take as much time as she needed, we’d still be here. Naturally, when a veteran who regularly appears in a raid stops showing up for a few nights, people notice. I started getting questions and out of respect, I had to deflect it. Even this information was withheld from my own officers because I didn’t know at the time if it was something that they needed to know. True, she never said “I’d like to keep it private”, but I felt I should’ve erred on the side of caution anyway. This is definitely one of the cases where one doesn’t have to be as transparent.

  • Private player matters
  • Disciplinary action

In the end, it’s beneficial to be as honest and forthcoming as possible. But recognize that GMs will occasionally be put into a really tough position. I’d wager most GMs are loyal to their guild first and will do just about anything to preserve it – even if it means slight deception.

I’m going to throw this topic out to you guys. One of the factors most prized about guilds (from applicants) is that of transparency. They don’t want to be left out in the dark. But exactly how much do you really want to know? Is there anything that can be left off the table?

Zone Healing

Zone Healing

Ever play Ultimate (or Ultimate Frisbee)?

The rules are quite simple. You have two teams starting at opposite end zones who attempt to advance the disc to the other team’s end zone. Once the pull (like a kickoff in football) is initiated the teams can start jockeying for possession. A team that advances the disc to an end zone secures the point.

Kicker: The person with the disc can’t move. They can pivot on one foot but they can’t move. The opposing team gains possession whenever any pass is incomplete, intercepted, or received out of bounds .

Teams will employ different strategies to prevent the other team from scoring. One of the common defensive strategies is zone defense. Players are pre-assigned to sections of the field as they attempt to intercept and stop opposing players from advancing towards their end zone. It’s used to stop the offensive team from making really long passes. There’s usually one or two players that will close in on the disc handler. There’s different variations of it, but the key concept is that the defenders have their own sections to work with (not to mention that covering a small area instead of advancing up and down the field all the time is great at minimizing fatigue — I would know).

Gosh, I can’t wait for summer to get here.

Zone healing

Now the concept of zone healing works the same way and is used in situations where not every player is within range of the healer or where players are constantly shifting in and out of range. Sometimes there are raid mechanism place preventing you from moving or that keep you constantly away from each other. Zone healing is an approach that directs the healers to only heal the people that are within range of them. They must trust the other healers to cover the players near themselves in other areas. If you’re assigned to the blue beam of Durumu’s platform, then you can heal anyone that comes in range as the other beams are being moved around. Most raid frames have a function where the individual frames turn transparent if a player isn’t in range. As the healer, this makes your job easier. Any frames that are opaque (or solid) are the players that depend on you to live.

I understand, I have trust issues too. For the officers, zone healing is a great way to isolate which healers are true rock stars and which ones are struggling.

It’s a simple and effective healing strategy to use if the encounter demands everyone to be spread out. Let me give you some examples:

Ji-Kun

Ji-Kun has an ability called Caw. It’s a common raid mechanic where she’ll send sound waves at a player and damages anyone nearby within 8 yards. This calls for people to be spaced out around her main platform. Depending on which Ji-Kun strategy you use, you’ll have groups clearing out nests and may not have the same, consistent number of players on the main platform at all times. Be flexible.

Dark Animus

Healers will have to generate threat on the little anima golems at the start of the fight to hold them in place. If the golems are brought together, their attack speed greatly increases and will quickly snowball into a wipe. This requires everyone to stand in place. As the little golems are gradually killed near the Massive Anima, players will be freed up and can move around the room consistently. In addition, Matter Swap will switch players with their most distant ally forcing healers to react accordingly and dispel or heal any teleported players.

As a healer, you’re not going to be able to hit everybody. DPS and tanks will come and go through your area of the map. It won’t always be a set group of players all the time. Keep the players in your zone healthy!