Why do You Need a Professional Guild Site?

Why do You Need a Professional Guild Site?

The Conquest Gaming website received a much needed facelift a few weeks ago. A special thanks to Altered Innovations for the design work that went into it. You’ll see many guild sites aiming for predominantly dark colours. I wanted to go with a different approach and go in a brighter direction instead.  Functionality aside, today we’ll be talking about pure aesthetics.

The looks.

The feel.

The sex appeal.

Why do you need a good looking website?

One of my raiders suggested adding more Comic Sans to help make it a little more “fun”. I shot that down without zero hesitation.

“What’s wrong with Comic Sans? Why do we need such a good looking site? Why does it have to be professional? I mean, we’re not getting paid or anything like that.”

Those are all excellent questions. You don’t actually need a polished, quality site. But attracting players is like trying to pickup women: First impressions matter! You can aim for something that’s clean. Or go for something more bold. Or have a little fun with it! No matter what, there’s something to be said for good design.  Rules and other information should be easy to find. The “apply” page should be in an obvious location.

I’m not trying to be shallow or anything. I’m not saying that the quality of your guild depends entirely on the look of your site. Your guild should have a little substance to it. Your guild is defined by the players, the culture, and the activities. At the same time though, your guild site should showcase those aspects. For progression raiders, it’s all about how many bosses that guild has taken down and when. With potential recruits visiting, a good looking site determines whether or not they’ll leave within the first second.

Just like in real life, adding a little more care to appearances goes a long way.

A few of the other raiders echoed those sentiments. If the site had an old school Geocities or Fortune City look, they wouldnt’ve given it a second glance. That brings back memories of scrolling or flashing text (depending on Netscape or Internet Explorer — My how times have changed). Don’t forget the embedded Real Player.

Or frames.

I digress.

When I’m browsing around other guild sites and I see one that catches my eye, I can’t help but be impressed. Because there’s a guild master who gets it. It’s another way for that GM to express their dedication for their guild. If a GM didn’t care, why bother investing the time or the money in creating a unique site of their own? If you’re a recruit, you can think of that as a positive indicator when you’re shopping for a new guild.

Not every guild has access to the tools or designers for sites. I suspect this is true of smaller guilds. But their activities and communications are coordinated around Facebook groups or Google+. That’s okay too, but I’ve found it harder to find information about them. Then again, most of those groups tend to be invite only.

if you actually are looking for a custom layout with spoilers and rims, I recommend looking into Altered Innovations (check out the portfolio). If you’re already on Enjin, then it’s a bigger bonus as he does specialize with Enjin sites (and that’s what allows the rates to be reasonable). Most of the coding is already built into the Enjin infrastructure which saves time on development.

Besides, these guys actually do  get paid. It’s stipulated in the contract. One drink at BlizzCon*. They just need to be there to redeem it!

* Redeemable for active raiders only or at GM’s discretion.

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?

 

 

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?

How Safe is your Guild Bank from Social Players?

How Safe is your Guild Bank from Social Players?

Imagine my surprise when I received a note from a fellow on the same server one lovely morning. One of my players was accused of stealing loot from a different guild’s bank and before promptly quitting.  The accused’s alt just helped themselves to various items. I’m not actually sure what items were taken or what the full value was.

Most GMs are bound to deal with guild bank thefts at some point in their careers. Either their bank gets stuff stolen from or a different guild’s bank gets raided (via alts) and they’re left dealing with the offenders.

In a fair number of cases, the accused would’ve simply been kicked out. And I’ll be the first to admit, it’s the easiest solution. You kick the player and your hands are washed of having to deal with them ever again. Your guild’s reputation is left (relatively) intact.

I responded back to the accuser saying that I’d look into it. But this is a player I didn’t have much interaction with as they were on our PvP roster. In the end, I notified my PvP team leader about this because the player was under their division.

“One of our players was accused of this. Any ideas about them? Here’s the guild they were in and here’s the character of the accuser.”

What happened?

Apparently, it was a misunderstanding. Our guy mistakenly took things that they weren’t supposed to thinking that it was open and free to anyone. They returned the goods (and compensated accordingly). As it’s their first time offense, I have to assume that there was no malicious intent (and there’s no evidence to show that there was).

As the player

Before taking stuff, ask.

Or at least, check around and see if there’s a banking policy. There may be certain limitations based on ranks. Sometimes the GM makes a mistake and places you in the wrong rank and you’re not actually supposed to be entitled to certain tabs. If you have access to rare items like enchants, recipes, or other craftables, it’s a good idea to check with someone higher up before helping yourself to it.

As the GM

Lock down your stuff.

Check the permissions.

Check the rank access of the permissions.

Make sure the right people have access to the right tabs. You have a responsibility to ensure that. It’s noble to assume the best out of everyone but it’s also quite foolish to leave the door to the vault wide open and expect it to be respected. Have your bank rules outlined somewhere on your guild website or your forums. Go over the ground rules with all new recruits with regards to withdrawal policies.

Speaking of banking stuff, which one of you left these stacks of Wool Cloth and Volatile Earth’s in my guild bank?

The Pro Sports Team Guide to Recruiting

I have watched my Vancouver Canucks rise and fall over the past seasons. I watched as they routinely got stomped many years ago to the powerhouse that came so close to winning it all in 2010. This city needs the cup so badly.

When a team is in a full rebuild mode, they trade out their remaining valuable assets to try and get younger in order to prepare for the future.

When a team is in playoffs mode, they look for the few pieces to help them get the championship.

Like sports teams, a guild’s recruiting strategy will often gradually shift from time to time depending on their current goals and needs. If you convert the guild’s raiding progression into different stages, you can classify your guild’s recruiting strategy to better align with the guild’s goals.

Stage 1: Early game, normal

Full rebuilding year. It’s time to start planning for the future. They know they’re not going to be in the running for a few years. Time to go young and select players with high potential. Give them the experience they need in order to flourish. Edmonton is a good example of this a few years ago. Hall, Nugent-Hopkins, and Yakupov are slated to give my team a run for it’s money in the next few years.

This is the stage most new guilds are at especially at the onset of a new expansion with a depleted or non-completed roster. You haven’t finalized your tanks, DPS, healers, or combination thereof. Your leaders will recruit anyone that can make your times and have the minimum gear levels needed to make a dent in the raids. They don’t have the necessary raiding experience? That’s okay, they have the room to grow! They can learn with the rest of the players. Raid experience is going to vary wildly from the top end down to the bottom. You’ll even see this in World of Logs as the spread from 1st place to 17th is going to be a huge gap. Maybe it’s their first time in a structured and organized raid environment. Might not see many (or any) players with legitimate heroic raid level experience.

Most of their gear is going to consist of quest blues, dungeon blues, or crafted gear. If they’re showing initiative, they’ll have worked on maxing out their professions along with acquiring valor level gear. Of course, on the other end of the spectrum, they could just be in a mash of greens and epics with reforging that doesn’t entirely make sense.

But whatever right? They can commit to the posted raid times and that’s all that matters. The goal here is to actually get into the raid instance and start wiping.

This is the (re)build stage. My guild went through this in Firelands after a split. I knew that competing in Firelands was not going to happen so we planned for the long game instead.

Stage 2: Late game, normal

The team is starting to play well together. Players are getting used to each other and their tendencies. The deals being made now are for classes or specs that are still lacking. Maybe the team’s missing a consistent performing goaltender or needs a few big bodies on the blue line. They’re going to passover that high rated goal scorer and address their needs specifically. Washington has great franchise players with Ovechkin, Green, and Backstrom but the team is looking horrible so far this shortened season. They need help on the backend.

At this point, recruits are expected to have a certain level of gear and experience. Your guild is working on the late stages of an instance. Maybe you’re working on Elegon or Will of the Emperor. Or else you’re wiping to the Sha of Fear or putting shots in on Empress and Amber Shaper. The players have farmed the early half of instances and can play their responsibilities without too much guidance. They understand the challenges and mechanics of the early set of bosses and can pick up new obstacles within a couple wipes of seeing it.

These recruits shouldn’t be rocking anymore blue gear (or at most 1 or 2 pieces because they’ve gotten unlucky with drops). They’ve played the game for at least over an expansion and understand the struggles that a raid group is going to face. When looking at players like this, as a GM you want to ask yourself if these players are going to be able to help you get over that “hump”. If there’s any doubts at all, it should be a decline. You can take a chance on one or two “project” players who are a little behind in some area (gear or experience), but a certain time limit needs to be set. Either they make it or they don’t.

I firmly believe there each player in WoW has a skill cap and each boss has a minimum level needed to get through it. That skill gap and floor rises with each new progression boss and players absolutely must rise with it.

The talent is slowly coming together. You’re outside of the playoff bubble and looking in. But more importantly, you know it’s within reach.

Stage 3: Early game, heroics

Now you’re in the playoffs. The team has a great group of players. Each one knows what their roles are and where they fit in the system. In the event of injuries, the call ups are there to help. Detroit is on a 21 playoff appearance streak is a great example of this. They’re expected to make it 22 this season. Even though the team isn’t always making it to the conference championships, they’re a proven playoff contender.

Your roster is largely stable. Everyone that’s signed on follows the guild philosophies and are all excellent fits for the guild. There’s a couple of pieces missing. Maybe you’re missing a specific class that you really think will augment your raid group. Now you’re selectively recruiting talent that’s definitely geared and experienced. As much as you want to give the blue geared player a chance, you know that your “window” is closing. Maybe a certain patch is about to drop soon and you want to secure as many progression kills as possible. If you’re lucky, you can recruit “up” and snag a player that’s coming from a guild which is more progressed. You should have a couple of heroic modes under the proverbial guild belt. You may not be actively open recruiting but you’re still scouting for key piece players to outright replace the people who have hit their skill cap and are at a level where they just can’t get it done.

Players are willing to put in the time and the wipes as long as they see some form of progression. It’s not uncommon to wipe anywhere from 30 to 100+ times. They know their classes innately. They can play their classes intuitively and can slip into any spec with ease. There is no Arcane Mage or Fire Mage, there is only a Mage who picks the best spec and talents for the job. Just because they have their favourites doesn’t mean they’re incapable of doing anything else.

You are a consistent playoff team. You’ll always hit top 16 and are capable of scoring upsets.

Stage 4: Late game, heroics

You’ve hit the dream team. You’re happy with them. If no one applied for the next year, you’d be okay with it as long as the main nucleus of the guild stays together. Unfortunately, real life always has plans. Things will always change from year to year. Now you’re recruiting in advance because you can tell someone’s losing interest in the game or they have other responsibilities preventing them from maintaining that high raid standard you set in place. Nothing is forever. You still have a powerful group of individuals but you’re in headhunting mode. Recruiting is going to be at an all time low because you can’t justify pulling new players in. They’re not going to be seeing much raid time (unless they’re okay with playing second string and backing up).

Your warrior is quitting the game because he’s getting married. Someone from the bench gets promoted or you start looking elsewhere for a player that’s heavily geared with multiple heroic kills. They can seamlessly step in and take over for the guy that’s going out even though they’ll never quite replace the departing personality.

At this stage, you’re guild is tacking the hardest bosses in the game or pursuing specific raid achievements for the meta.

You are heavily favoured to win the championship and either come really close to doing it or manage to do it.

Recruiting is a tough and draining job. Make it easier on yourself and narrow down exactly what you’re looking for. What does your guild need? What players are it missing? Then head to various community sites and start tracking them down. The best success I’ve had was the WoW official forums and word of mouth via the raid finder or simple referrals.

Be very careful with referrals. Put stock in the recommendations that you’re given, but look at that player independently and objectively. I’ve been offered referrals that don’t pan out and some referrals who turned out great. It’s not uncommon for people to say that they want to play with their friends even though they might not consciously think so. Stacking a raid with 10 people who know each other really well can also put you in an uncomfortable position where the group has an amazing amount of leverage. If one person doesn’t get their way, they may subtly influence their friends to come to their aid and boycott a raid night. The GM hat must always come first before the friend hat.

One of these days, I want to try a football analogy. I just wish I understood more of the game and the little nuances so I can pull it off well :(!

What Michael Jordan Can Teach Us About Winning

6 NBA championships.

14 NBA All-Star Selections.

10 NBA scoring titles.

Ranked No. 1 by ESPN’s Top 100 Athletes of the 20th century.

His all-time leading scoring title in one All-Star game history was recently broken by one Kobe Bryant.

Michael Jordan played the majority of his career for the Chicago Bulls before taking over a front office position with the Washington Wizards.

Have you heard of a TV show called Suits? It’s my favourite drama to watch from the USA network right now and they’ve just started airing new episodes a couple of weeks ago. There are some minor spoilers in today’s post from last week’s plot.

Here it goes.

One of the leading characters, Harvey, is a senior partner in the fictional law firm Pearson-Hardman. He goes up to his boss Jessica, and says to her that he wants his name on the door. She then proceeds to tell Harvey a story about Michael Jordan because she knew this day would come.

Looking up from her desk, Jessica asks,“Harvey, what was Michael Jordan’s record on the Bulls?”

“664 wins, 285 losses.” Harvey confidently responded.

“More than twice as many wins and losses. Do you know what his record was in the front office?”

“No.”

“185 wins to 291 losses. Almost twice as many losses as wins.”

The lesson Jessica was getting to is that just because someone is a star on the court doesn’t mean they can translate their skills off the court.

Next time someone asks to be an officer and you don’t think they’re quite ready for that role yet, tell them this story about Michael Jordan that Jessica relayed to Harvey. Some people are better off playing than they are managing.

Success on the meters doesn’t always translate to success in a leadership role.

Why a World Top 10 Guild Doesn’t use Loot Council

I received a lead on a potential recruit the other day as a guild member referral. The fellow had a few questions about the guild before he submitted a formal application. He’d been out of the game for a while having not played since the early tiers of Cataclysm. I set aside my in-game responsibilities so I could devote my full attention and answer whatever his concerns were.

  • What were our immediate class needs?
  • How is Mists raiding?
  • Is it okay if he applies sometime before patch 5.2?

I answered him as honestly as I could. Our immediate needs are DPS warriors, resto druids, and mistweaver/DPS monks. Ultimately it depended on what he wanted to play the most. Mists raiding is engaging and fun. Yes, he can apply specifically for 5.2.

We chatted a little more. I went over his guild history and made attempts to verify his accomplishments and affiliations as best I could. After I was satisfied, I asked him what loot system his previous guild used. Conquest has always utilized loot council from the beginning.

“We used DKP.”

My eyes widened. I was quite surprised. Normally, I expect cutting edge guilds to rely on Loot Council or some other similar system to maximize the effectiveness of loot on their players and to make sure it goes to the right people.

But DKP? I didn’t think this was the type of guild to use it. Why did they choose to use DKP?

“We originally used Loot Council for a long time. However, we eventually realized that it took an extraordinary amount of time to really add all the potential stats gained for different players. It simply took too long for the officers to make the most effective choice even though they were all quite knowledgeable of the different classes. Plus once we entered farm mode, the loot drops would eventually sort itself out since we were raking in tons of drops a week making gearing the raid up easy.”

In our raids, it can take a little longer than normal to get through select items like weapons and trinkets so I can see where the interest of time comes from. When you’re in the race for world first, you need to really be on point with time management. No one wants to lose out on world firsts because they were busy distributing loot.

I’m not planning on shifting loot systems at the moment but I found it a fascinating insight into how top tier guilds work. While each loot system has it’s distinct specialties, it’s up to you to select the right one for your guild.

The 300 Stat Food Question

The 300 Stat Food Question

The Heroic version of Blade Lord fell to us on Thursday. The last few wipes were edge-of-your-seat attempts largely because we kept wiping with less than 5%. Players had a hard time making the run from one side to the other. We had some deaths early on and I ran out of battle res’s for them. Tornadoes were snatching up people out of the air. We hit the enrage timer multiple times. Eventually, we scored the kill with around 11 seconds left before the berserk.

After one of our close attempts, one of our officers made the comment that players should be busting out their own 300 stat food instead of the usual 275 stats.

Kudos for making a fair point.

We were a couple of million health short of finishing off the Blade Lord at the time and there are no arguments from me saying that if the players alive had those extra stats, it would have easily translated into a kill. The combined 600+ stats would’ve turned those low percentage wipes into a kill.

As the GM, I could “demand” the players make the necessary changes and effort. But deep down I know that’s no small feat. How am I supposed to enforce a directive like that? This is one of those things where I have to appeal to them. Your GM needs to make the case to you that this stuff is important and the time and energy to get this steroid food created is worth it.

Now if I go down this route, I’d have to ask players to valor cap as well.

I know for a fact that not everyone valor caps. People are sick of doing their dailies and their faction grinds. I get that and I had to bite my tongue for the longest time. Even though I personally just suck it up and do them to get my coin rolls and stuff, I find ways to deal with it. I’ll watch something on Netflix while mindlessly knocking them out. Not everyone has time to grind these out either because people have to work or they have family obligations or other things and don’t have the capability to commit that time to them.

Raise that bar too high and you run the risk of alienating (or worse, running out of) the players that you raid with. It’s a fine line to walk.

I’ll be completely frank.

As GM, I’d love it if every player did the following:

  • Valor capped on a weekly basis
  • Provided their own potions and flasks
  • Pushed their dailies enough to hit exalted with all the factions
  • Continue pushing dailies to sustain bonus rolls on a weekly basis
  • Did their own cooking with their personal supply of 275 and 300 stat food

But this is not a realistic expectation for a guild of this calibre as much as it pains me to admit it. We’re not the kind of organization with those level of demands. Based on that list, the average player does maybe 3 or 4 of those tops.

Hitting exalted with the Pandaria factions has a high value early in the expansion but it greatly diminishes as you gain gear from raiding. It’s just not as important in the late stage.

Further analysis of our raids and our logs showed that we can improve our performance in other areas with greater effect without exerting that much time and work. Using Phoenix Style, I discovered that while a large majority of our players were already pre-potting, there were still a small number that were not. That’s unfortunate because if they had been, it would’ve easily been enough to secure the kills earlier!

This is partially my fault to blame. Our raiding roster often has a turnover and sometimes you expect players to do already do things like pre-pot, but some people don’t because they don’t have access to the herbs or don’t know an alchemist who can make this stuff for them. Personally, I think potions and flasks are much more accessible nowadays than they were in the past. I don’t think there’s any reason or excuse at all to come to a raid without a supply of your own. I did not make that expectation that players are to utilize pre-pots but I set the record straight on that one shortly before Blade Lord dropped.

Where does this leave us with the steroid food?

My thought was that if we were consistently pushing bosses into the enrage timer with all players alive and executing near-flawless, that’s when the super food should be used. If we’re just learning a new boss or if players continue to die to simple things, then we shouldn’t use them just yet because we’re getting outskilled and need to tighten up our play.

Going back to that Blade Lord example, we were consistently getting better at not dying in the first 80%. But had we perfected our survivability on Blade Lord, then this discussion would not have come up.

Eventually, a compromise was reached. It just so happens a small group of players are chefs and just love cooking, farming, and fishing. They generously volunteered their time to stockpile the bank with a large supply under the conditions that these items should only be used in the event of an imminent kill. Of course, the raiders were asked to provide the necessary items like the Black Pepper and Rice Flour items which are only purchasable with Iron Paw tokens.

Our next step is Wind Lord. This guy seems easy — In theory.

By the way, thanks for the Blade Lord pointers, LedonLite! They helped!

Age Old Question: Farm or Progression?

Age Old Question: Farm or Progression?

The appearance of patch 5.2 on the PTR has placed a clock on our raids. In several weeks, the content we’re currently working on will soon be obselete because of the new Throne of Thunder raid. I find myself amazingly not tired of the current raid content just yet. There’s enough diversity and variety to still hold my interest. Raiding in Pandaria started in October and we’re about 3 months into this expansion.

I had grown weary of Cataclysm’s tier 11 raids after 3 months.

Firelands? Wanted out of it after 3 months.

Dragon Soul wasn’t as bad. That one took me a little longer than 3 months for me to get truly sick of it.

The team destroyed the Sha of Fear and banished it back to where it came from before Christmas. Now it’s time to do it all over again. We managed to get an early kill on heroic Stone Dogs a week before Heart of Fear released. Duplicating the kill again is no easy feat though due to the RNG that just comes with it.

At the moment, I find myself thinking long term and what’s the best strategic move for the raid team going into Throne of Thunder. I actually think the group we have right now is the strongest group we’ve had since our ICC heroic days (and that team scored heroic Sindragosa along with a full set of raid drakes).

Our biggest enemy right now is time.

My personal goals

  • Get every player a Sha-Touched weapon that is normal quality or higher
  • Complete as many tier sets as possible
  • Get as many hard mode kills as possible

Naturally, the first two goals are going to come in conflict with the last goal. Time spent farming for weapons and completing tier sets means time not attempting to get hard mode bosses. Luckily, we’re going to head into heroic Mogushan Vaults and attempt to get as much of that down as possible thereby freeing up Heart of Fear and Terrace of Endless Springs for possible farming and cleanup.

Suppose we manage to take down heroic Feng. The kill could either result in everyone mostly alive or the raid in an entertaining disarray of chaos with the tank and healer still alive a second after an enrage. Who knows?

When we get back to it next week, is it worthwhile to spend the time and try to kill it again? Or should we just knock it out on normal mode really fast and push into heroic Gara’jal instead? In the grand scheme of things, 9 hours a week of raiding just doesn’t seem like a lot of time for 16 bosses.

Once we learn a boss, it usually takes another week or two before we can consistently get it down fast enough. But continuing to go after them means potentially less time on future bosses.

From the other side, I know what a huge edge heroic gear gives us when going into the next tier of content. After we had gone 6/7 heroic in Firelands, we sliced through half of Dragon Soul in one night. Knocking out Trial of the Grand Crusader resulted in us running out of things to do the rest of the week because we killed Saurfang on day 1.

I also know that once the new Throne of Thunder raid is released, we’re not coming back here.

Our efforts will be 100% devoted to that raid instance and the only way people will come back is whenever the next expansion is out and they can either solo it or join a small raid group for achievements and stuff. I know the feeling of elation when a raid kills a boss at a level that’s relevant. I also know the feeling of emptiness and despair when a raid misses out on that. I’ve harboured so many regrets and lost opportunities on my shoulders over the past expansions at being unable to deliver to the team what I feel they deserve.

I can either invest in the future by farming our future hard mode kills or capitalize on the present moments and get as many first kills on the guild belt as possible.

Somehow, I don’t think either choice is going to be popular. Either way, we’ve got a lot of work to do! Heroic Feng is within reach right now. Just need to get the transitions and timings down pat.

Where Personal Responsibility Begins and Guild Responsibility Ends

Where Personal Responsibility Begins and Guild Responsibility Ends

“Could you expand on the “augments for players” section?  I’ve always been interested in the spectrum of policies from raiders get their own stuff to raid leaders getting all consumables, etc. for the raid.  Where do you stand on this?  Does it depend on where the power position is where raid leaders feel they have to provide for raiders or else they will go elsewhere vs raid leaders that have raiders to choose from and don’t mind telling raiders to be responsible for getting their own consumables / enchants?”

This is a solid question posed by wewhoeat in the comments section of my recent A Night in the Life of a GM post I wrote last week. There is a definitive line between what a player is responsible for and what a guild should look after. But this line naturally varies from guild to guild.

I notice a strong correlation between player performance and their ability to provide their own character improvements. In other words, the players who farm for their own materials or purchase their own augments tend to not die as much and will consistently perform well in their roles.

Why is that?

My own non-scientifically backed, non-peer revered theory on the subject is that the players who take the time and resources to improve their character have this mentality of personal improvement no matter the cost. It starts with taking care of their character. This character care then slowly translates into overall better play. My theory is that the more inclined a player is of maxing their character’s stats, the more inclined they are to maximize their play. It seems to help instil a sense of discipline. They’re spending thousands of their own gold to augment their character. Why not spend some more time referencing the information needed to play better? It shows me that they are heavily invested in their character and they’re not willing to wait around because they need to have that super awesome enchant right now.

Now let me answer wewhoeat’s question.

What is the player responsible for?

Blizzard has seeded Pandaria with a staggering amount of herbs. I often get sidetracked because I see those golden circles on my minimap and I just end up farming. In fact, I’ll end up watching Castle or Flashpoint for 40 minutes while lazily farming for herbs. Such a huge supply has made flask and potion generation extremely affordable. The Spirit of Harmony system makes it accessible to purchase 3 Golden Lotuses.

Not everyone has an alchemist or herbalist alt. I encourage players to send their lotuses to an alchemist who can get this stuff created for them on the cheap. I’ve been slowly trying to encourage people to get their flasks and pots created after a raid. It was getting disruptive and irritating when players logged in requesting flasks and potions made when raid begins. Players should be responsible for at least supplying the herbs. The guild can get this stuff cranked out for them instead of paying the AH costs for flasks. The thing is, we need to do this stuff way before raid time (5 minutes before first pull is just cutting it and asking for it 10 minutes past raid start just merits a frown).

Feasts used to be something that the guild provided. But the way feasts were done this expansion seemed overwhelming at first. I can’t quite place my finger on it, but it seems like most players have enjoyed the farming and are providing feasts of their own stat. I’m seeing Pots, Grills, Steamers and other stuff placed down. It’s not all by one person either. It’s nice to see the guild pitching in on stuff like this because it’s overall one less responsibility I need to look after.

What is the guild responsible for?

In my eyes, the guild acts as a “safety net”. Not everyone has the cash flow or income to acquire 10 Sha Crystals for a weapon enchant. This is where I step in. We do receive a steady supply of disenchanted epics to help fuel our Sha Crystal demands plus whatever enchanting transmutes on a week to week basis and we can use those to help offset the cost. Overall, it’s in the leadership’s best interest to help provide them to the players that need them because it usually results in that extra DPS or healing that could (literally) be the difference between a 2% wipe and and a kill. Really expensive augments fall under here as well (Leg enchants, shoulder enchants).

However, I know there’s players who do extremely well on the auction house. They’re patient and are able to build up quite a fortune. These guys have no problems buying their own stuff. They’re also willing to donate and help replenish gold stores in the bank if we’re in a crunch.

In addition, guild repairs are covered. The guild challenges along with the rewards earned from kills help contribute to that. It’s effective for the funds gathered from the war chest to go back to the players that need them. But depending on raid activities, a guild may not be able to sustain repairs solely on the income gathered from raids. Thankfully there is an option to set a cap in place. Personally, I think the challenge rewards are due for an increase. The cost of raw mats and repairs seem to be going up but the challenge rewards have remained the same since last expansion (although, we did receive Scenarios to help offset that). Anyway, that’s a different topic for another day.

One would say that some of these policies are socialist.

But you know, Canadian.

Other guilds use different systems. Some lock down the bank. Others provide full access to everything. I’m not certain what differences a 10 man guild vs a 25 man guild would be when it comes to benefits. I imagine it’d be the same. If you look on recruiting forums for guilds, you’ll notice a common trend of raiding guilds providing flasks, feasts, enchants or a combination thereof. A recruit would expect that stuff at a minimum. This makes me wonder if the gradual change from players farming their own TUBERS in Felwood to the consumables on a silver platter have gradually shifted player mentality towards entitlements and the like. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t miss setting aside half a day to go farm TUBERs, Scholomance for Dark Runes, or creating a boat load of fire resist potions. Playing during vanilla gave me a whole new appreciation for the ease at which to access the resources we have today.

Now I’m curious. What benefits does your guild have in place? Do you agree with them?