Giving You Crit for Dying: When is a Good Time?

Giving You Crit for Dying: When is a Good Time?

Like any guild leader would, I posted Hamlet’s latest post on Raid Awareness on my guild forums. They’re all good lessons and solid pointers. It’s all anyone can really ask for from their guild. Most of the team already knows it but it doesn’t hurt to have a little reminder from time to time. Many things shouldn’t be said but we’re nearing the end of the expansion where newer players are returning who haven’t quite raided at a heroic level before and could benefit from the points that were listed.

One of our newer players brought up a solid point about failure and dying.

I’ve discussed it a little with people but it definitely feels as a newer raider that there’s a much greater emphasis on failure as an “app” or “new” person than some of the older ones.

And this is absolutely true. Leaders tend to put recruits under the microscope much more.

The other night, we were working on Heroic Sha of Pride. One of my veteran players was standing on their projection which is the correct play. However, they spotted a rift on the ground nearby and immediately went over to that before the projection detonated. Even though she didn’t cause a wipe, the raid healers immediately crapped their pants (or in this case, blew all the survival cooldowns at the same time to stabilize).

Here we have a player who has done the encounter many times and wiped with us when we were learning it on both normal and heroic. What happened was a simple brain fart.

I could have reprimanded that player easily. But what effect would it have had? They already knew the mistake and owned up to it right away after the encounter. It was a simple mechanics error that anyone could’ve made (y’know, except me). Would me berating them incessantly and in public absolutely prevent that from happening again from anyone? Probably not. I might mention it as a PSA reminder to everyone (“PROJECTIONS FIRST, EVERYTHING ELSE LATER”), but that’s all.

Now what happens when a new recruit screws up?

Here they are trying to make a good first impression. That they know their mechanics. They want to show that they belong and that they can roll with the team. Before we engage the boss, I say one thing to every new recruit.

I don’t give two crits about your DPS or your healing right now. For one, most of you don’t have your cloak or your meta. Or alternatively, you’re not as heroic geared as the rest of the team I have. Don’t even try to match them pound for pound. You really want to impress me? Don’t die. The single most important thing you can do on this fight is to survive. Do that job well and everything else will follow.

The players that we’re pulling in? Their experience usually ends up being exposed to flex raiding or some normal fights. Often times these are players who’ve wanted to make the jump to heroic raiding but were never in an organization that was capable or they’re returning players who’ve demonstrated what they could do in older expansions with those heroic encounters. Even Flex and Raid Finder mechanics are easily shruggable. What’s the point of dodging the crap that gets thrown your way or the fire on the ground if it just tickles?

That veteran player up there who made a mistake? She knows what she did wrong. The new recruit who came in who has never learned the normal mode or heroic mode mechanics with us? He may not know what he did. Maybe he’s never stacked enough pride to even reach the projections portion of the fight. That’s when I’ll step in and tell them what happened, what he did wrong, and how he can prevent that from happening again in the future. Players like to associate educating a player with giving player crap for screwing up. Eh, it’s more like attempting to correct their errors.

Why the public mumble reprimand in front of the 30 players listening and raiding versus the private tell?

  1. It’s a reminder: Maybe some other new recruit hadn’t seen it before and hadn’t died to it yet. With luck, I’ll have prevented another future wipe when the second recruit is aware of why and how the first recruit died.
  2. People can stop sending me tells: Seriously team, I don’t need ten whispers telling me that the recruit died because they goofed on something. By gently informing the player publically, it’s an indirect and subtle message to the rest of the raid that a) Yes, I know they screwed up and b) You can all stop messaging me now.

It loses effectiveness. I rarely lose my temper. Alumni and current raiders know this. I’ve been told that I should lose my cool a little more often. At the same time, I know that if I do that, it’ll lose the message I’m trying to convey and not be as effective. So I’ll try to save it for those times when I know it’ll be most beneficial to jump start the raid a little.

The same thing goes with player reprimands. Imagine if I gave crit to a player for every minor mistake they made. I don’t know about you, but I figure they’d get tired and exasperated pretty quickly and start tuning me out (Note that they already do because I’m blasting variations of Katy Perry or Beyonce when I’m talking). It would be the equivalent of the hockey coach losing the locker room. I think it’d also accelerate my own burnout with the game and raiding in general. But I also understand it when it seems like if nothing is said about a player error that it’s overlooked and swept under the rug. It does look like leniency.

This is where the old Ensidia Fails addon comes into play (and for some reason has stopped working from me). It spits out who stood in what or who screwed up for that attempt right after a wipe. Name on that list? You know what you did wrong. Name on that list because you stood in it to intentionally wipe faster? You know that too.

Let me ask you this. Do you play better when your raid leader gives you crap on a farm fight that you should already know? How about a progression fight? Under what circumstances would you prefer your raid leader directly hold you accountable? All the time? Some of the time? Never?

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 :(!

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.

 

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.

Effectiveness

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.

Factors

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.

When it Comes to Guild Apps, Pick Two

When it Comes to Guild Apps, Pick Two

pick2

Historically speaking, most of the players I’ve picked up in the past had two out of the three attributes. Rare is the player who manages to possess all three. Recruiting seems to be at an all time low according to a few GMs I’ve spoken to (10 man and 25 man, Horde and Alliance). It’s as if the majority of players just want to see the content, regardless of what difficulty level it is (meaning the path of least resistance gets selected the most or the LFR tool). It seems like the applicants I see seem to exhibit 2 out of the 3 traits.

Skilled

Manages to bring the pain (or the healing). We’re talking on a consistent basis. I often find myself wondering about the players who (over a 2 month period) go from the bottom to the top back to the bottom again.

Of course, no one wants the player who has a really hard time hitting that Hour of Twilight button and ends up burning all 3 Battle Res skills allotted. The ability to pick up what the rules and requirements for each encounter is a big plus (as is the ability to do it fast).

High attendance

Willingness to reschedule most events in their lives around raiding is an advantage. I’m not that much of a tyrant though.

Wedding? Sure.

Exam? Yeah, you better go study for it.

House on fire? Go.

But if you’re missing out on a raid to catch the series finale of American Idol, I can tell you’re just not into it. Or if a new game came out and you’re signing out of raid when I can see on Steam that you’re clearly playing Skyrim. That tells me where your priorities are and it’s clearly not with WoW.

Drama free

Perhaps drama free might not be the best choice of words to use. When I mean drama free, I’m not referring to guild splitting dramatic incidents. I’m talking about the little things that can get under people’s skins eventually leading to guild splitting incidents.

How difficult does a person need to be?

There’s been times I’ve tried to compromise on issues to reach the best approach for everyone involved. In other cases, a single course of action was settled upon because that’s what the leaders wanted to do, period. I really hate working with players who argue for the simple sake of arguing. I can tell you it takes away my efforts and focus on the next item I want to resolve. Pick your battles carefully. Otherwise the GM might exercise their right to throw you out because you keep causing problems and end up being more of a liability instead of an asset.

Now going back to the original question, if you were restricted to two selections, which two would you pick?

Common Recruiting Terms

Hey everyone! The other day, I gave you a quick method on narrowing down the collossal amount of search results you’d get from recruiting and compiling a neat, orderly list to work with. Today we’re going to hit up the actual recruiting forums and pick out some common jargon for new recruiters who are confused with the terms or have difficulty reading between the lines. Some of these are serious and some are rather tongue and cheek. I’ll let you decide which is which!

“We are exceptional <class> looking for…”

What they really mean: They think they’re really, really good and clearly there is no one in the entire 11+ million pool of players who are better than them. Not just some average Joe Raider. It’s just no one wants to take a chance on them on their server. Like seriously, it seems that half the recruiting ads I see are from players who believe they’re really exceptional. But if everyone says they’re exceptional, how can they all be exceptional? Unless they were the exception to the exceptionism.

E X C E P T I O N

“US Top 100 only”

What they really mean: They’ve been around since beta. They’ve seen it all and done it all. They’ve got lots of time to spare for progression. Whatever needs to be done, I can do. Looking for the best guilds only! These types mean business. Either that or they’ll wash out when they realize the raid leader really can remove them from the raid and they’re not the center of the universe.

“Progressed realm”

What they really mean: Clear desire to get off their low population, backwater server. They need a life line and they need it fast. Thinks they have what it takes to raid at a higher level but have trouble finding other like minded people.

“No less than 5/7 Firelands”

What they really mean:  Clearly they took a break at the end of tier 11 and missed the first few weeks of Firelands. Probably just started Firelands for the first time and got trounced. Wants to get back into the thick of things again. Probably stonewalled on one specific boss for a long time and cannot seem to muster the man power or skill to power through.

“25 man only”

What they really mean: Possibly prone to screwing up. Likes to hide along the relative anonymity of other players. Has a 4% chance of being blamed for a wipe on 25 man instead of 10% on a 10 man. Hates the closeness of 10 mans. My kind of player.

“LF adult guild!!111”

What they really mean: Likes to make lots of sex jokes. Possible cybering involved. Use caution.

“Immediate core position for <class>”

What they really mean: Wants to feel like that special snowflake. You know, like the only Shaman or Boomkin in the guild. Wants to feel really unique and indispensible. Yeah. That guy. Works great until you discover they can’t sustain their Molten Feather stacks or circumvent tornadoes properly :(.

“Must be able to accept all 3 of us”

What they really mean: Will quit if even one person is deemed not good enough. Must accept all or accept none. Strong desire to stay together.

“Professional environment”

What they really mean: Likes to raid with really loud music. Doesn’t want Mumble chatter to impede what they’re listening on iTunes or what they’re watching on Netflix. He’s the guy who constantly blasts top 40 music whenever he speaks.

“No female officers“

What they really mean: Deemed “sexist douchebags”, according to one player. I’ve actually seen a recruiting post once that specifically stated no female officers. May have suffered some type of traumatic experience earlier in their gaming career and doesn’t want to go through it again. If I remember right, the reasoning behind the original poster involved something about cattiness and snark because the applicant was also female as well. Maybe Kat would know more about this than I would. All the female officers I’ve ever interacted with in my own guild or other guilds seemed pleasant enough.

And now you too can navigate the murky waters of recruiting! In any case, good luck to you young recruiters out there and may all your apps last long term!

How to Lose 14 Players in One Night

It took the guild 3 years, but it was bound to happen sooner or later.

I just lost over 14 players from my raiding roster.

It started out as a simple personnel disagreement. There was a quiet debate raging within me for some time. On the one hand, I understand the strains of progression raiding and the impact it can make to a roster especially on the drive to having flawless raid nights. We all want a mistake-free raid group with players who can ace every obstacle thrown at them.

But does that mean putting up with personalities you don’t agree with all the time? The game was getting to the point where it was no longer fun for me.

Actually, scratch that. The game itself was fine. The managing social dynamics and personalities aspect made the game not fun. All I ever wanted to do was kill internet dragons, with friends or otherwise. One of the policies I even had in place for players was that they weren’t required to be friends with everyone. They didn’t have to go to the bar with them or anything. Over time, however, I began to wonder if that was a standard I could hold to myself. I realized that I had a very difficult time doing that because of all the added responsibilities and inter-personal problems that I had to deal with as part of my rank. As a player, in contrast to being an officer or guild leader, the only person you really need to be cool with is the GM. If the GM isn’t cool with you, then there’s no point in being there. This goes hand in hand with the chemistry clause – The right for applicants to be rejected because they don’t “fit” with the guild.

Competence and likeability are not mutually exclusive. The players I’m looking for have both. But it seems that the higher the skill level you go, the more disrespectful people become. Why? I can’t help but wonder if it’s because they believe their skills can give them an excuse to act however they want and get away with it. I don’t want to deal with that. If a player is skilled but not likeable, I’ll end up showing them the door. If a player is likeable but not skilled, eventually a newer player will work their way in and take their spot. That’s just how it is going to be.

Respect the chain of command

For any budding officers out there, this is the most important rule. If you bring up an idea, any GM worth their salt will at least hear you out and weigh all the negatives and positives associated with it. It’s up to you to sell your perspective. But once the decision from the top is made, that’s that. There is no higher authority to appeal to. You’ll have a hard time finding a GM who says otherwise. Do not try to circumvent it even if you know every fibre of your being says it is the right or wrong thing to do. The only thing you can do is look inside yourself and decide if it’s worth leaving over. That choice is absolutely yours to exercise. There’s no contract obligations that force you to stay in a guild.

In this particular case, cliques were cliques. When it comes to social groups like this, nothing’s going to stop people from playing with who they want. Trying to would just cause a social group to leave and create their own guild. This was a scenario I actually had in my mind as a realistic possibility. I don’t take kindly to ultimatums or threats of leaving at all. Given the option between killing internet dragons with people I’ve shared beers and had a good time with versus players who are willing to throw other people under a bus at a whim, I’d rather shoot for the former. I absolutely love raiding but not at the cost of my own mental health. Leading a guild isn’t easy at all when it comes to executive level decision making.

I still maintain that is perfectly possible to raid in a progressive raiding environment with people who you enjoy playing with. I see it in other guilds all the time. It’s my ongoing goal to reach that state, current drama aside. The only thing I can do is look forward and exercise my recruiting skills. And what an opportunity!

The thing about hindsight is that it always occurs after the events. I wish I had gone on offense sooner and made earlier changes. I don’t know if that would have offset the events, but it means I would have been forced to start the rebuild earlier. You always think and second guess to yourself wondering if that was the right thing to do. Or if there was another alternative solution or another way. I can’t answer that because I don’t know. I felt I offered enough of a compromise by allowing a player to stick around in the guild and idle on our Mumble servers even if they weren’t in our raid team any no longer. But that’s not enough.

Regardless, I’m sure they’ll be fine. I know for a fact we’ll be fine. 9 out of 10 rebuild guilds don’t actually make it and I have zero intention of being a statistic.

I also may have made up said previous statistic.

My options

  • Do 10 mans
  • Look for another guild
  • Quit the game
  • Rebuild us back to even strength

10 mans are okay. I could go look for another guild. I could just retire from the game and step down from blogging and writing on WoW Insider.

Or I can pick my ass up off the floor, dust myself off and get back to work. I challenge you to find a GM more determined than myself. Am I saddened? Yeah, a little. Do I feel that I can recover? Oh, you bet I will. This is a great opportunity!

That being said, Conquest is open for business. Firelands 25 man raiding only and we’re presently 6/7. We’re looking for all players in any position. I think we’re stacked on Resto Shamans though. I have almost no melee DPS remaining so I’ll be entertaining Rogues, Warriors, DKs, Enhancement Shamans. Hunters, I have many of. But at this point I just need bodies. I’m interested in any caster classes. I’m also looking for hybrid specced tanks who can double as DPS (a main tank and an off tank position).

Join now

If you have any questions or want to discuss a few things beforehand, feel free to get in touch with me or Lodur anytime.

7 Tips for Creating the Perfect Guild Application Form

Application forms can be a little daunting for the first time guild leader. What’re the right questions to ask? What if it’s too long? What answers are considered “right”? Over at Enjin, I’ve written a quick guide on how to get started. Don’t expect your application form to be final. But I hope this’ll put you on the right track.

And yes, I am familiar that some organizations have done away with forms entirely. I also know that some players absolutely refuse to apply and scoff at guilds who suggest filling out a form. “I’m not applying for a job!”. They’re right, it’s not a job. I look at it more as a binding commitment.

Anyway, back to the tips. Here’s one that should be included.

Requirements overview

I’ve seen guilds place their entire policies and rules on the same page as the application. I don’t advise doing this. Place a link that leads to it and then include a summary list of all the important rules. Include only what players absolutely need. Some of the common ones I’ve seen are:

  • Working headset and microphone
  • Minimum gear standard for MMO guilds
  • Minimum kill to death ratio for FPS clans
  • Positive and forward-thinking attitude
  • A regular schedule of events (More on this below)

Read more on Enjin

The Mall Test

The Mall Test

Depending on your personality, the mall can be a fascinating place or a suffocating nightmare. Some people go weekly, some go monthly and some rarely ever go.

Now if you’re an officer or a GM, picture this for a moment. You’re strolling through the mall with your significant other. You pass by a shoe store and maybe you’re staring longingly at the pair of Nikes on display (which also happen to be on sale)! You tilt your head in a fashion similar to Abed from Community because you hear a familiar voice. You turn around only to see that it is your guildmate! He’s at the other side of the store eyeing some golf clubs. They haven’t seen you yet.

Do you:

  1. Head over there and say “Hey, how’s it going?”
  2. Decide to say something only if they spot you first.
  3. Hurriedly exit the store and go somewhere else

If the recruit doesn’t elicit anything other than option 1, it might be worth passing over. First impressions always make a big difference. Mentally run over the players around you and think which option you would go with. Things like skill and competence can be improved but I’ve discovered personality can be difficult to adjust. Not every guild can be in a position where they can pick and choose players with ease. But don’t hesitate to run the mall test every few months or so to see if anyone has changed on your list.

It’s a great technique I picked up from Guy Kawasaki’s Reality Check.

When Good Enough isn’t Good Enough

With Conquest taking down Throne of the Four Winds and Theraliona on heroic mode, we find ourselves now at 7/13 hard modes for progression (We could also greatly use another Rogue or Warlock).

At that progress level, I’ve had to make slight adjustments to our recruiting requirements. Namely, gear that was good enough to get through normal mode bosses such as players with a mix of crafted epics, reputation epics and other blue heroic quality gear just won’t be enough anymore. With the way the lockouts presently work, we only tackle heroic bosses. There aren’t that many normal mode bosses that we can really take on lest it compromise our progression. We generally don’t downgrade heroic bosses to normal because we usually take them down within a couple of attempts.

Because of this, we’ve raised our gear requirements from an average item level of 345+ to 356+. Why? Because we can’t spare the time and effort to go back through and “carry” players to get gear upgrades. Our directive is to go progressive and look forward. Granted, because of this, there’s going to be a slight gap. Players that draw in will continue to get to gear and I also need to take care that the players who are sitting on the side get rotated in the week after so they can get practice and shots at gear as well.

But how can I get better if I don’t get to raid?

Therein lies the kicker. As a player on the outside looking in, that player needs to do well enough to draw into the lineup. From there, they’re off to the races. But as a raid progresses through the different bosses, the minimum requirements will go up. What may have passed as above average months ago may not be good enough now. If there was one thing I missed about having access to separate 10 man raid instances, it would be the capability to gear players on the side during the weekend. The success of pickup raids on vary wildly from server to server. I get lucky joining 5/6 clears in Blackwing Descent on my alt Ret Paladin. Not everyone is so fortunate in getting in.

Player patience

The other thing I notice is that player patience drops the moment we take something down on farm. I know my guys tolerate the first 20 – 40 learning wipes. Once we get a fight down once or twice, people get agitated if we wipe more than 2 or 3 times. Wiping more than that is inevitable if we pull in several newer players who haven’t taken down the fight yet (much less seen it at work). I counter this by placing them in the most easiest and least stressing of roles. I don’t try to switch up the tanks unless it’s extremely urgent (such as a missing tank). I’ll place new and less experienced healers on raid healing duties until they see enough of the encounter for me to get them to specialize in certain positions (Tank healing, or kiter healing or tackling the stupid Rohash platform on heroic mode).

I face pressure from the veterans from trying to get through the stuff we’ve taken down on a timely fashion to get moving onto the stuff we haven’t seen.

On the other hand, I face pressure from the newer players who are also dying to get in on some of the action for loot and to see the encounter.

This new system makes it a little difficult to accommodate both. I’m glad those big nerfs are coming in 4.2. It’ll spur up alt and pickup runs again for sure.

The bottom line

Performance matters. Is it the only factor? No, of course not. But it still represents a significant portion.

You can be the nicest person on the planet and still do lower DPS than the tank. Sorry, not good enough.

You can be the hottest guy/girl on the planet and still do lower DPS than the tank. Sorry, not good enough.

You can have the best gear available and still do lower DPS than the tank. Sorry, not good enough.

The bars on the DPS meters have a cutoff point where it becomes a liability to bring a player in. It’s up to that player to not be a liability. I’m not sure if I’m willing to stack the deck to help ‘em out or ask veterans to ease off the gas a little bit. It’s quite frustrating either way. I love the new lockout system and all. It’s freed up 3 hours of raiding that doesn’t have to be done, but it introduced an additional set of headaches.

With a 4.2 release but only weeks away, I struggle to find a line between straight progression to get as much down as we can or switch to gearing. If we go for the progression focus, I’m tempted to utilize lockouts to cut away the time. Right now, we’re operating on 3.5 hours for farm and 7 hours for progression. Basically, we spend our day 1 clearing to a progression boss and days 2 and 3 working on pulls, fine tuning and going through it completely phase by phase, minute by minute, attack by attack.

Heroic Nef is next. Could use some pointers.