The Story of Dobby – The Resto Shaman Who Could

Alright folks, gather around and take a knee.

I have a story I want to share with you today.

His name is Dobby. No, he’s not a house elf. Dobby’s story isn’t exactly unique, but I wanted to share how his work ethic and drive to raid contributed to his cracking the lineup.

When Dobby first came to us a few months ago, we were already well into Dragon Soul at that point. If memory serves, we were halfway through the instance on the hard mode stuff.

But there is no way Dobby could’ve made a meaningful contribution at the time.

  • He had been out of the game for a few months.
  • He was barely loaded with Firelands gear.
  • Completely unfamiliar with Dragon Soul mechanics, much less heroic mode.

We knew that taking him in would be a calculated risk. There was a chance he would flame out and not care about raiding anymore, or thrive on the opportunity presented and work his way into the lineup.

Now most recruits who get rejected tend to turn away and look around for another guild with (shall we say) more accepting standards. They don’t care about putting in the time required to get the gear or playing to gain the necessary skills. But we told Dobby he could hang out with us in the guild and keep chipping away at his gear and continue playing.

And that’s exactly what he did.

Whenever a guild member posted that they were looking for players for a Firelands run, he was the first to volunteer for it. Naturally, as one of the few mail wearer’s, Dobby obtained first pickings to everything and the Firelands heroic drops augmented his character quite nicely.

Looking for raid, another fantastic gearing out process, was available and he ran that on his own time whenever the raid week reset to roll on drops and secure Valor points to purchase specific upgrades.

To top it off, he watched our livestreams and idled our Mumble channel when we were raiding. Dobby stayed on top of the subtle changes that were made throughout all the attempts so that in the event he was called in, he wasn’t a liability. He seamlessly fit right in during the times he was called to action.

“You got a dream… You gotta protect it. People can’t do somethin’ themselves, they wanna tell you you can’t do it. If you want somethin’, go get it. Period.”

Christopher Gardner (Will Smith), The Pursuit of Happyness

Dobby is a perfect model story for the ideal recruit who doesn’t get accepted right away. That’s the kind of work ethic that scores big points with recruiters and leaders. Recruits who understand their weakness and work hard to minimize or remove it are the kind of players that I look for. You can’t teach that attitude. Of course, he could’ve taken the easy way out and just gave up. But Dobby chose to do it because he wanted to raid with us. Once the goals were laid out, he just went out and did everything he could to earn it.

He’s not the only one. One of our Holy Paladins (I’ll call him Moe), just about did the same thing. We gave him constant feedback in areas he needed to improve on and he gradually improved his play to help anchor the tanks when they needed it.

Don’t feel dejected if you don’t get in the first time. At least you know what you need to do to ace it the second time.


Professionals in your Guild

If you’ve been around in a guild long enough, you’ll be exposed to people with a diverse array of hobbies and people who work in varying fields.

I’ve raided with two Doctors (Ph.D professors).

I’ve raided with soldiers.

I’ve raided with politicians.

Policemen, Firemen, and ambulance personnel (EMT, I think?).

I’m almost positive that I’m not the first to have raided with someone who’s in IT in some capacity. Actually, I’d argue just about every guild had someone who’s worked in IT, or some related position.

Take advantage of their knowledge outside of the game. I once clogged a toilet and had a plumber guildie who taught me how to unclog it. My lawyer guildie gave me some helpful pointers helping me ace my US law class years ago. There’s no harm in networking with your own guild because you never know if they can hook you up with something or get your foot in the door somewhere.

Now if I could build a dream team of guildies based solely on their real life jobs, here’s what I would pick.


They might not be able to represent you or officially give you legal advice, but they can help you with suggestions and what’s right or wrong. Alternative: Police officers.


Totally not a car person.

Travel Agent

I like planning trips and vacations, but it gets a little overwhelming at times. Would be great to tap into the insight and tools of a travel agent.


Really though, any person with a tradeskill would be a plus. They can give you pointers on home improvements or helping you troubleshoot problems.


Having a foodie on hand who can throw in tips about meals or getting started would be nice. Bonus points if they’re stars on the grill, too.


For the times you need to loosen up and need drink suggestions. And they make great listeners.


Someone to help with taxes every year!


That’s just self explanatory :).


This one’s a little more common then you think. Nothing wrong with the occasional family and friend discount here and there. I’ve seen guildies hook up other guildies with tech hardware just to help boost their computer performance in game.


Can’t forget these guys. They’re the ones that can help you resolve any computer issues and give you tips on upgrade suggestions as you need them.

Now if you do take advantage of the skills, you should show appreciation somehow. If they’re a player in the same area and they offered you a discount on something, use the money you saved and take them out to lunch. That’s just one example.

What about you? Have you ever tapped into the expertise or field of a fellow guild member? Or on the other side of the fence, have you offered benefits to your guild?

Raiding Needs an Off Season

It’s that time of year again.

Hockey’s over and congratulations to that-team-that-must-not-be-named for taking out my boys in blue in round 1 and then taking out the second and third seeds en-route to the cup finals before winning. Now it’s going to be another few months before hockey picks up again. This is the time when players, agents, and GMs start figuring out what kind of deals to make to bolster their teams for next year.

If WoW were to have a raiding off season, I’d say it’d kick in effect in the month leading up to Mists of Pandaria. But, the sooner there’s a release date, the better. Raiding activity seems to be at a low. Even in my guild, I’ve lost 2 players to Diablo 3 or other games because they needed a break (However, one of my legendary wielding players is coming back off reserves so that’ll help).

Like it has been in previous expansions, I’m expecting activity to pick up in that crucial month. That’s when many players will slowly start trickling back in after they find out that [flavor of the month MMO] wasn’t quite the game they envisioned it to be. It’s when players will be leaving and joining new guilds and jockeying for a good, stable position once Mists debuts.

And it needs to get here soon.

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.”


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!

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.

7 Fun Activities to do on the Bench

7 Fun Activities to do on the Bench

6 PM rolls around which means it’s time to raid.

Potions? Check.

Buff food? Check.

Drinks? Ginger Ale for me, not sure what the rest of you go with.

You get the invite to raid and glance at your party frames before doing a double take. Your name isn’t anywhere in the first five groups. Guess what? You’re in the ever elusive group 6. Your WoW Instant Messenger springs to life with a message from the boss. Looks like they’re going for a new composition which means you need to take a seat on the bench for the first few encounters.

At this stage in the expansion, compositions vary wildly based on bosses, who needs what, and number of trial players (if any). It’s pretty darn dejecting to warm the seats. It’s not done out of malice or hate. Your guild has decided on that specific configuration to get them through that specific challenge (or if it’s a farm boss, it’s they need to grab someone specifically for loot or trial reasons).

Hey, your guild is counting on you, too!

Even I, thee Matticus, gets called upon to sit. On the evenings I do sit, I have a myriad of activities at my disposal.

  • Reading: It seems as if there’s not enough time for people to read as much as they want. Right now, I’m working on the third book in the Kane Chronicles (The Serpent’s Shadow). If not books, I’ll catch up on various blogs around the internet via Google Reader.
  • Gaming: I don’t think I’ll be get in a full League of Legends match, but I can squeeze in a game of Draw Something or Scramble with Friends on my iPhone. On the computer, I’ll pounce onto the guild Minecraft server (I’m working on a personal fortress but I need more cobblestone).
  • Alts: Great time to work on some questing or getting in some leveling time on an alt. Don’t have an alt? Great time to start one!
  • Watch a movie or a TV show: Netflix anyone? Been rewatching a few episodes of Family Guy (Be a banana!). If the raiding group needs me, they can just holler. Enough time for me to pause and switch back to the game.
  • Writing: So many post ideas and so many things to write, just not enough time to do it all! Great time for me to work on a post like what I do when I’m chilling on the side.
  • Raiding: Raid Finder on an alt? Working on my 5th Priest now.
  • Watching the livestream: The guild has several streamers now. I’ll usually have a monitor up to keep track of progress while doing one of the other activities above.

What if you need gear?

No problem! Send a tell to your raid leader letting them know that you’re really interested in coming in for a future attempt.

Here, let me write you a template. Use the terms appropriate to your guild’s atmosphere.

Dear [boss/captain/fearless leader/a**hole]

This is just a tell to let you know that I would really like to come in for the next boss. There’s an item that I want because it [upgrades an item/is off spec/is for transmog/makes my character look 5 pounds lighter than I actually am]. Could you find it in your [heart/soul/noggin’] to bring me in so that I might benefit from the spoils?


Your favourite [player/monkey/badass/<class> of all time]

Anyway, tell me about your bench experiences. You cool with watching from the side? What do you like to do or work on when you’re on the bench?

Answering 8 Questions of a Guild Acquisition

Answering 8 Questions of a Guild Acquisition

Like many of our fellow 25 man raiding guild friends, we experienced our share of recruiting problems. Players had been losing interest in Warcraft. Every raid night was a dice-roll to see which line ups could be fielded. Some days we were able to raid short-handed with 23 or less.

It’s really easy to sit back and say “Just recruit”. I commend those who have the weight to attract candidates. The reality for the rest of us is that it’s a little different. If you divided the 10 million-ish players among their different criteria, you’d end up with categories based on stuff like:

  • Time zone (Region)
  • Focus (Competitive, hardcore, casual)
  • Progression
  • Loot system (DKP, loot council)
  • Activities (PvP, PvE)

One of the officers in guild proposed wholesale acquisition of a guild instead of a merger.

For the sake of definition:

Guild merger – Complete integration of two guilds with agreed upon distribution of players (roles), leadership, and loot. Possibly includes name changes and site changes. Resources tend to be combined together.

Guild acquisition – One guild completely absorbs and assimilates a guild. Generally, no leadership spots are given. Bank items can be distributed as they see fit. Sometimes, there is no pooling of resources. There’s minimal (if any) changes to the absorbing guild’s identity or website.

Several months ago, we ran into a guild that was looking to be acquired. Seems that their officer corps was in a mess.

More importantly, they couldn’t find anyone with the time, dedications, or skills to lead the group. Ultimately, they decided they still wanted to play together as much as possible and went shopping for a guild that was willing to consider taking them in.

What were the qualities?

From our perspective, when looking for guilds to pick up, we’re looking for a number of key aspects:

  • Skilled players that can suit our immediate needs. No point picking up 2 surplus tanks and extra rogues if the present raid already has 4. If we’re looking for healers and ranged DPS and that group had those players, we’d talk business.
  • Similar progression. We wanted to avoid  having to re-teach certain encounters. We also wanted to minimize gear gaps.
  • Similar raid ethic and mindset. This is just for general raiding compatibility. Players that have the same attitude towards raiding are generally more cooperative with each other and are willing to set personal feelings aside in favour of getting the job done.
  • Compatible personalities. Similar to the above point. Minimizes any personnel disagreements or verbal fights/arguments.
  • Indifferent to leadership positions. Non-negotiable. Leadership structure already in place. It’s okay to have leadership aspirations like being an officer, but that can come later after getting a few raids under the belt.
  • Raid times and hours. Also non-negotiable. No point in picking up players who can’t raid because they have to go to sleep early or because they can’t get home from work early enough.

We decided to jump on their Ventrilo servers. It was extremely important that we figure out what the intentions and philosophies of each other were. We found that there were a surprising number of questions. Here’s the questions we received and how we answered them:

  • What happens to the social players?
    We’ll accept all of them. They can participate in whatever activities they like but if they’re looking for spots on the raid or rated BG teams, they’ll need to apply.
  • How is loot handled? Will our status prevent us from rolling?
    We use loot council. Initiates are allowed to express their interest in an item. You won’t be prevented from rolling on an item that is an upgrade for you.
  • What kind of raiding opportunities can we expect?
    There’s a spot for you and your players on our progression team. If your contributions are solid, we’ll make sure you see action.
  • What other activities are there?
    We have a Minecraft server that some of the players like to mess around with. We have a growing group of competitive Starcraft 2 players. League of Legends games usually occurs nightly with as much as 2 or 3 5 man teams firing off at once.
  • What happens if things don’t work out?
    If things aren’t compatible, Ner’zhul has a balanced and decent sized population. There are other raiding guilds on the server you could consider working with that might be willing to give you and your team a shot.
  • What roles are looking to be filled?
    [At the time] Ranged DPS and healers.

They weren’t the only ones with questions. We owed it to ourselves for due diligence. No one likes to waste anyone’s time. Here’s the questions that we asked them:

  • Why do you want to merge with us?
    No one really wants the job of being a GM or raid leading. We just want to play the game and raid.
  • Is it an absolute requirement for all of you to raid together?
    It’s preferred but we understand that there isn’t going to be roster slots open the whole time. We’re okay with being in the same guild at the very least.

I can’t say for sure the viability of a 10 man guild absorbing or merging with a 10 man guild. But a 25 man raiding guild taking in a 10 man guild appears to be easier to handle and coordinate since much of the infrastructure and power base already exists. Whereas two 10 mans trying to join forces might need additional time to work out leadership structures, guidelines, and other administrative details.

Have you ever been a part of a guild merger before? How did that end up for you? If you could have done something different, what would it have been?

The Substitute Raid Leader

The Substitute Raid Leader

Remember the days in school where your favourite teacher was away?

Maybe she was sick or needed a personal day.

Then the sub would roll in with a giant, CRT television that was Velcro strapped to a cart and you thought to yourself, “YES! It’s going to be one of those days!”

Getting a substitute teacher is like a day off. Subs were mainly there to supervise and hand out homework. Sometimes they weren’t able to teach the lesson plans your main teacher already had in place.

Once in a while, you dice rolled into a teacher who unexpectedly knew their stuff (I once had a Caucasian teacher who spoke fluent mandarin and taught the class pretty well. Not bad).

In your raid, what happens when your raid leader’s out cold? Maybe he stayed up too late watching Starcraft 2 tournaments while excessively drinking.*

* That has never happened. It’s completely hypothetical.

Chances are you have several fall back plans at your disposal:

  • Cancel raid – Worse case scenario. Wasted raid night. Players get to relax and have a night off.
  • Delay – Not a bad option. Instead of tossing the whole night, you end up tossing 30 minutes or an hour. Dismiss your players and have them regroup at a specified time. This allows them to engage in other activities.
  • Run a different raid – Could go knock out a specific raid achievement that doesn’t require a full roster or tackle another boss that has a specific drop that are still improvements for certain players.
  • Down size – Only applicable to 25 man raid groups. Viable option if a progression boss is later on in the instance. You can speed up the process by sending in a small team to knock out some of the earlier bosses that aren’t needed. Downside is that this isn’t applicable to hard mode raiding because you’ll end up being saved to that specific lockout (and it applies to raid size).
  • Run with someone else quarterbacking – Every raid leader needs a number 2. This is their chance to prove they can function as a number 1.

In most cases, the last option is the most viable. A 25 man guild is likelier to have other players capable of stepping in to lead compared to a 10 man

The problem.

Like the substitute teacher, the substitute raid leader suffers from 1 problem:

No one takes them seriously

The newly promoted raid leader is usually one of the boys who’s a raider or an officer not normally known to raid lead.


There’s still a raid going on! There’s still internet dragons that need to be killed!

Just because there’s an absence doesn’t give you the license to mess around card. He might have a different style of running the show but you as a raid team need to give him that support! They may not have the months or years of experience that your primary raid leader has but give them a shot! It’s upsetting to see that when the cat’s away the mice will play. Most of you don’t raid 7 days a week and you have nights off where you can relax and do other stuff anyway. Of the nights where you do raid, your raid leader (whoever it happens to be) needs your undivided attention and focus.

Don’t just dismiss them.

Give them a chance to show what they can do.

Dragons don’t just spontaneously lie down. They still need you and your raid to work together.

Recruiting Roulette: Elitist Jerks Paid Membership Review

Recruiting Roulette: Elitist Jerks Paid Membership Review

Player recruiting continues to be tough for guilds and their leaders around the community. Some might even consider resorting to third party sites in the hope that they can drive up and attract interest to their raiding guild. In the Recruiting Roulette series, I’ll offer my opinions on different recruiting sites and what kind of results my guild received and what you can expect. All fees are paid out of my own pocket.

Site: Elitist Jerks
Fees: $25 per thread or $30 for 6 months (Patron status)

Elitist Jerks has widely been accepted as the think tank  community of choice where top theorycrafters go to exchange ideas and beginners go to dive into more advanced concepts of their class. With a such a large and skilled community, it makes sense to try to recruit players here. The upfront costs can be considered expensive.

Is it worth it?

Ground rules

Once you’ve paid the requisite membership fee, you’ll be allowed to post in EJ’s /LFGuild forum. You can only have one visible recruiting thread at a time. Only threads with a post in the last 30 days will be visible.

Next, your thread must be in the following format:

[Faction][Server] <Guild> Title

[Alliance] [Ner’Zhul] <Conquest> Looking for all ranged DPS, 4/8 HM 25 man

Conquest started using Elitist Jerks back in the Fall of 2011. I can’t remember the exact date. Sometime around October or November or so? We were starting to dry up with applications and it was time for us to explore other alternatives. After some asking around, Elitist Jerks was one of several recommendations made.

Which option?

I could’ve gone with the 1 time fee of $25 which would only allow me to create 1 thread. Or I could’ve gone with the $30 fee which is good for 6 months and allows me to make as many threads as needed.

Didn’t take long for me to decide that the second option with the $30 is a better bang for the buck. The registration process after that was absolutely flawless. Payment is accepted via Paypal. After the confirmation email was received, I followed my own guild ad guidelines and created a forum thread on the site. Only thing left to do was to sit back.


Was it worth it? I was essentially paying $5 a month for 6 months to keep a guild ad up there for maximum exposure.

In total, we received 2 applicants from Elitist Jerks and no additional referrals.

  • A tank who played no more than 8 weeks before deciding to leave to play with his real life friends.
  • A melee DPS who played for about 8 months before stepping down to real life. Still plays other games with us and remains a part of the community.

My option for renewal is going to come up fairly soon within the next month. Right now, I don’t think I will be exercising the option to renew it until we get closer to Mists release.


If you are planning to utilize EJ’s services, then keep some things in mind.

The community behind Elitist Jerks is full of extremely knowledgeable and skilled players (usually). Expect to get players of reasonably high calibre. With that in mind, your guild’s ability to attract candidates is going to depend on the progression of your guild. Proven guilds with consistent hard mode kills or successful raid achievements are going to have a higher appeal than a friends and family guild that had just taken down normal mode Ultraxion (as an example).

Mind you, your mileage may vary and you may have better responses. In addition, we’re also in a “lull” period of the game right now where burnout is quite high. I suspect results will be way different once Mists gets closer to release.

Edit: Just to help clarify a few things, I don’t suggest using their service right now. Most players are already cemented in their guilds and are hoping to finish out the tier and expansion with their guilds. Once Mists comes out, expect a stronger and higher population of people. With all guild progression resetting at “0”, this should warrant a much better yield for your money.