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?

Tough Call: Real Officer Set-Ups In Cataclysm

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
Welcome back for another issue of Tough Call, with me, Viktory.

Disclaimer: What follows is the summation of my opinion based upon the responses I received from over a dozen guild masters when I asked them about their officer corps. Given the content of my last two posts, I felt it would be relevant to take an honest look at how guilds are setting up their government structure these days. This does not mean you should change your guild structure right away.  It does mean, however, that if you were looking to make a change, you can perhaps derive some supporting arguments from a few successful GMs cited below.

A few weeks ago I put out a call for GMs to help me get an idea how their guilds are operating, and, more importantly, what sort of  hierarchy they have put in place to make their guild succeed.  Out of the numerous responses I received, two solid trends emerged:

  1. There are a LOT of different ways to set-up your guild hierarchy, each with their own respective success rates and ease of implementation.
  2. There are far fewer vanity positions in play these days. At least among the sample group at my disposal, it seems there are most GMs expect more output from their officers.

I am happy to see that the days of  “So-and-so has been with us for a long time, so they are an officer now” are largely over.  Only 2 of the GMs who responded to my survey said they had non-specific officer roles (as in “we all do a bit of everything”, which really leads to “everyone assumes someone else is doing the dirty work”).

To get my information, I asked each GM three quick questions, and let them tell me the rest (and believe me, guild managers love to tell you about their guild, its environment and their genius set-up to solve all problems.)

First Question: “What officer positions do you use, and do they report directly to you or is there a chain-of-command?”

Most Common Positions:

  • - Raid Leader (separate from a role leader)
  • - Melee DPS / Tank / Ranged DPS / Healing role leaders
  • - Bank Officer
  • - Recruitment Officer

Some GMs also reported using Morale/Relations officers and an officer rank for Loot Council or Loot Master, separate from other officer duties.  I’m not sure that I’d classify these jobs are something that needs a full-time officer, but I’m also extremely hesitant with the idea of a part-time or “junior” officer.  If it wasn’t so prevalent, I’d lump “Bank Officer” in with this lot.

As for command structure, it’s fairly unanimous that members report to their respective role leaders, who then in turn report to the GM.  I do wish, however, that I had devised a way to get more information about how the recruitment, bank, and morale officers interact with this command structure.

To me this combo represents a stark contrast to the landscape I saw when I started raiding back in Karazhan.  Instead of a GM who ran every aspect and had a few cronies as officers (which is what typically gave loot council-style raids such a bad rep), we are seeing 25-man guilds shift into fully-fleshed organizations.  Positioning the GM as the Chairman of the Board seems to be the clearest way to define duties/responsibilities, and is an efficient way to make sure the various aspects of the guild function at peak performance.

Second Question: “Have you had to add any officer positions since the end of Icecrown Citadel?”

The answers to this question fell in two distinct patterns:

  • Organization increase: bank officer, recruiter, defined class leads.
  • Expansion increase: recruitment officer, 2nd raid leader, PVP leads.

This should tell you that if your guild isn’t growing or refining, you’re stagnating.  12-24 months from now you will be doing things differently; the faster you can figure out what that will be, the better the transition will go.  After all, these are guilds that had 4-5 years of experience and still found roles to add and needs to address after ICC.  Learn from their example and succeed.

Third Question: “If you had to cut one officer position (not person) today, who would it be?”

A few GMs refused to answer this one, or gave responses that never answered the question, but the consensus was either the bank officer or morale officer would be the first to go.

As I stated above, I’m not sure that these are full-time jobs anyways.  In my guilds we’ve always just defaulted to the most likable officer being de facto “HR guy.”  I am very interested to hear any feedback about ways that a bank or morale officer could contribute on-par with what a raid leader, role leader or PVP lead does.

As always, leave any question, comments or epic knitting patterns in the comments below. (I’m trying to get someone to knit me a bad-ass scarf to wear while podcasting).  Also, if you have a situation that you’d like to have me address in a future column, feel free to send it to viktory.wow@gmail.com.

How Matt Almost Lost 22000 Gold

How Matt Almost Lost 22000 Gold

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I forgot I had this post sitting in my drafts. It was written a few weeks ago. Here it is now with an important message to guild masters everywhere.

It was a warm and breezy Tuesday. Raid invites had been sent out. It’s the grace period where players are busy wrapping up their affairs and getting prepped for the raid. I slammed down a Coke because I had a feeling it was going to be one of those nights. Groups were organized during the preparation period with players specifically assigned to their vehicles and their roles.

Quick work. Next!

After toasting Flame Leviathan, the pull was set up for Razorscale. A quick countdown ensued and the Dwarven expedition team began placing their Dwarven engineering skills at work charged with getting harpoon turrets up quickly.

This is where the fun happened.

A level 1 Gnome Rogue messaged me.

“hey, its maddawg. can i get a ginvite?”

“Standby. Doing Razor.”

“o, ok.”

A few minutes later, we wrecked him and started opening up on Ignis trash.

“you guys all done in there?”

“Yeah, Razor down. Hop on vent for a sec, need to ask you something.”

“sry cant. at a friends house right now.”

I thought nothing of it and wired out the invite.

Of course, when you give an inch…

“hey, can i get promoted to officer? need to organize some stuff for the bank.”

This was followed by one of the swiftest guild kicks in the history of guild kickingness.

The vault of Conquest would not be breached today! We had around 22000 gold. That amount is just in hard currency and in the main bank (Offshore guild bank accounts? I wouldn’t be that paranoid. Right?) Including various raiding materials such as flasks, enchants, gems, and other things, the amount would have been colossal. It would have been enough to request a bailout anyway.

So what gave it away?

In one of the most failed social engineering tactics of this century, the Maddawg impersonator made several mistakes. More importantly, I had various defenses in place to protect against such infiltration.

Bad target

He didn’t exactly pick the most ideal target. I am perhaps the most paranoid guild master on the planet. That would be a result of Criminology program I’m enrolled in.

Restricted bank access

Freshly invited players do not get access to the bank. They can see everything but they can’t withdraw out of it. No cash, no flasks, and not even a single grey item can be pulled out without an officer signing off on it.

Authentication fail

The first warning sign I received was when he said he was unable to get on vent. Yeah sure there’s a multitude of reasons for that. Policy is still policy. I get instantly suspicious if I don’t hear a player asking for an invite.

Officer alt policy

No alts of any of the leadership including myself are promoted past a social rank for any reason. They are all aware of this and they agreed to it.

What was even funnier was just minutes ago Maddawg had said he was going to head out and to not expect to see him on for the rest of the evening. He wasn’t able to raid that night.

Image courtesy of woodsy

Guild Bureaucracy: 7 Ways to Cut the Crap

Guild Bureaucracy: 7 Ways to Cut the Crap

bureaucracy

Does anyone here read Zen Habits? If not, you should add it to your reader. One of Leo’s (the blogger) posts focused on Steps to Take Action and Eliminate Bureaucracy. I was so taken aback by it that I set out to try to apply a few of his concepts to my guild. There are guilds that I know of that spend so much time on organizational aspects and discussion instead of the one thing that matters the most: Action. Let me share with you a few of the steps that I’ve taken to help streamline Conquest and make it lean.

Clear goals

I lay out the objectives in advance. My guys know that on Tuesday nights, Obsidian Sanctum is the first stop followed by both Spider Wing and Plague Wing. There is no discussion before hand about what we’re going to do. It is all premeditated and there is no confusion. We are going to down this boss starting at this time, end of story.

No meetings

A lot of guilds like to have guildwide meetings or officer meetings to discuss things. That’s what forums are for. I won’t hold guildwide meetings because I know some players get bored by them or just aren’t interested. The ones that want to weigh in on an issue know to do it on the forums where it can be discussed there.

No class forums or channels

Is it really necessary to have individual class forums or channels when you only have one Resto Shaman or one Feral Druid? I decided to consolidate the different forums and communications by role instead of by class. I set up tanking forums, healing forums, and DPS forums. It shortens the overall length of the forums and players don’t feel “isolated” From one another. Tanking Paladins can chat with their Warrior and Death Knight counterparts. Holy Paladins and Priests can discuss suggestions for fights like Patchwerk.

Shared bank tab

One of the bank tabs is known as the public tab. People can deposit and withdraw stuff they need from here. Stuff in the tab are generally items of little consequence like Frostweave Cloth or Chilled Meat. People can toss crap in here for other players to withdraw if they can benefit from it. Things like Enchanting mats or more expensive items get sealed in another tab and only an officer can get to them.

Prepared boss briefings

It’s one thing to read up on a strategy. It’s another thing entirely to apply the strategy with your guild. During my spare time, I’ll modify or implement a plan A ahead of time on the forums. I’ll frequently use Photoshop to draw X’s and arrows like football players. I’ll link to strategies on WoWWiki or Bosskillers. Below that, I’ll follow it up by inserting the names of players who have specific roles. I’ll note that Sydera will be healing Brio on phase 2 of this encounter. I’ll state that Kimbo will be taking care of certain ads. It doesn’t hurt to be specific.

Empowered raiders

Using popular raiding addon oRA2, I can set it to auto invite players of a certain rank within the guild and then auto promote officers so that they have an A next to them. All of my officers automatically get one as well as the tanks for target marking. When raids start requiring CC, I’ll auto promote Mages and Shamans so they can mark their own CC targets as it becomes necessary.

Tanking discretion

My tanks have been given full authority to set the pace of the raid. The speed, rate, and amount of trash pulls are at their discretions. That doesn’t mean I can’t halt them. If the raid has a lingering curse or debuff, I’ll ask them to hold the pull. This is especially true if healers are low on mana. But for the most part, they’re on autopilot.

What other methods can you think of to make your guild or raid more lean and efficient?

Image courtesy of: ngould

Bank of Matticus Goes Public

Bank of Matticus Goes Public

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Due to requests from certain Hunter bloggers, the Bank of Matticus Financial Group has decided to go public. As part of the public disclosure process, CEO Matticus Moneycus has decided to reveal various assets that the public needs to know if they wish to invest in this banking powerhouse. Matticus leads a syndicate of prominent WoW Investors who have entrusted him with their finances and assets.

Hydroponics

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This is but a fraction of the hydroponics sector of the Bank of Matticus. Herb specialists continue to acquire species of plants around the clock to invest in Inscription the moment it becomes available.

Consumables

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In a bid to stream line workers, over 1000 Gnomes were released with severance pay with the option to rehire within the next year. Simply put, there is too much supply of consumables and not enough demand for them.

Ore

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Efforts to equip the soon-to-arrive Death Knights are well under way. They’ve agreed to become Smithies in order to augment themselves. Here is a fraction of some of the Ore and Stone that’s been gradually accumulated.

Supplementary

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The supplementary portion of the bank has largely been liquidated or is still in the process of being liquidated. Epic gems have largely been sold as well as a significant number of normal gems. Food consumables still remain as do other high performance consumables.

You’ll notice the gold count looks unimpressive. There’s a good reason for that. Bank of Matticus finances are spread out through a network of Dwarven and Goblin banks. In the event of a security breach, it will not result in the complete loss and destruction of BMF. Rest assured, hard currency sits at the 5 digit level. But that information cannot be disclosed here for the time being. It’s a result of Enchanting mats and numerous amounts of cloth being liquidated. The fifth bank tab has been hidden as it contains sensitive items and materials. Negotiations are currently underway Ironforge International Bank of Commerce for rights and access to a 6th tab. This is expected to happen within a year as assets continue to accumulate.