Guild Rebuilding 101

Thanks to everyone for their kind words and support. The past week has been extremely hectic and straining as recruiting efforts kicked into over drive. I am pleased to announce that Conquest is on the way to finalizing a roster going into Firelands. We actually went back in last Tuesday. All in all, I think its a fair bet to say that we experienced the highest turnover in a raiding roster but managed to recover within a span of about 4-5 days. This included solidifying the main tank and off tank positions, numerous DPS in addition to a new raid leader.

Pulled that off over a weekend. We’re stable right now which is good. We’ve got a consistent group of veterans combined with newer players who are just stepping foot into Firelands. I consider myself extremely fortunate and lucky. I daresay most guild leaders would have definitely thrown in the towel and called it a career.

What were the steps?

Step 1: Reassure everyone

When a potential guild crushing event occurs, the first thing to do is say everything’s going to be alright. This involves damage control out the ying yang. 

The first thing I did was explain to every player what was going on and what our plans were going forward. Our plan was to rebuild and develop our player base back to a number which allowed us to comfortable go into Firelands. After that, we would then begin the process of gradually cutting or developing players as needed to get them at a skill level consistent with what was needed to get us through the bosses. I had no illusions that it was going to be easy. I wanted to be back in Ragnaros’ door step within 4 weeks. The Vanguard (Rated BG division) offered their services by signalling their willingness to alter their PvP teams so that some of them could participate. Their offer was touching but I didn’t want to handicap their schedule.

Step 2: Get the word out

Once I finished assessing the overall damage and losses to the roster (no tanks, a completely depleted melee roster, no casters but a relatively unscathed healing corps), the next step was to get our numbers up again. Thankfully I had the whole weekend to try to pull that off. It would take a completely herculean effort to get players onboard. I would be targeting players who were looking for a fresh start or who were just getting into Firelands. Messages were sent to every player who applied but were turned down because we didn’t have the room. In essence, we were reactivating the reserved list. We told them that there were numerous roster spots available and that they would have a crack at earning and securing them.

Then I received a rather interesting proposal and this where the luck factor came into play. Turns out one of the players who I declined earlier told their present guild what had happened. The two of them started talking and before I knew it, I was dragged in. It was a 10 man raiding guild that had made some progress into Firelands but they were experiencing a myriad of attendance problems. In other words, I was presented with the offer of a potential guild merger. I didn’t even have to stress over sharing officer status or anything. From what I was told, the leaders were tired and wanted a new experience where they could just focus on their game and didn’t want to worry about things like recruiting anymore.

Again, that’s the luck factor coming into play. On Monday, we held a trial raid. We didn’t have the numbers to pull off attempts on Ragnaros (and I wouldn’t dream of going back in there, at least not for a while). The next course of action was to get both groups acclimated and used to each other. I wanted to see if there were going to be any potential personality conflicts. We ended up stepping into Blackwing Descent on 25 and had some fun in there for the next few hours blowing up as many bosses as we could before time ran out (and wow I didn’t realize the extent of the nerf).

Step 3: Meet with every new player coming in

With every recruit who was interested in joining and every player who was coming in, I did my absolute best to sit down with them and answer their questions. You figure players who are getting pulled from their sense of familiarity into a completely brand new setting are going to want to know what they’re diving head first into. I set aside some time and hung out with them on their voice servers and addressed their concerns as much as possible. The biggest thing here is be honest. If you don’t know, just say you don’t know. While GMs are often expected to know everything, that expectation is far from reality.

Even though the guild took a fatal blow, we’re going to be okay. The guild is evolving from a simple WoW guild into a truly multigaming community (League of Legends!). Although, I’m disappointed at losing several friends. These were players who I trusted and confided in. This experience only goes to show that you never truly know who your friends are going to be in this game. Some people change, some things don’t. That’s the way it goes.

Heck, we even picked up a weekend raiding 10 man guild in the process. If any players out there are looking for a solid 10 man group to run with on the weekends, look us up (4 PM – 730 PM Saturday and Sunday afternoon).

Bonus step: Reflection

This is a great time to reflect and think about your guild some more and what you want to do with it. I’ve had to make compromises and look the other way at times for the sake of guild cohesion in the past. After this though, I’ve developed a better understanding of what I wanted to do and what I expected from the team. As Mel said, it’s possible to have elite players without the berating elitism. Even though the process will take longer, it’ll be better for recruiting and for the atmosphere in the long run.

It’s a good thing Enjin allows us guild leaders to create multiple application forms.

We’re about to finish out our first week in Firelands. We’ll be back in front of Ragnaros in no time.

Has your guild experienced a rebuild? What steps did you take after the fact? Did it ultimately end up working? Was there anything you wish you could have done differently?

One Year of Conquest

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Conquest celebrated its one year birthday several days ago. It’s hard to believe that it’s been a year since the guild’s inception.  We’ve had our share of high points and low points. Some days it was difficult to get through a raid. Tempers were flaring, players would be upset. Other days, we worked as a relaxed but cohesive unit where we exhibited an aura of unstoppability.

It wasn’t without it’s lessons.

Things I learned

You can’t keep everyone happy: If a player’s happiness depends on a course of action not in line with guild goals, then they should just be released. They won’t be satisfied anyway and there’s no sense in keeping them chained by doing things your guild isn’t doing. Whether it’s super hard modes or PvP or so forth, they’re better off finding an organization that aligns with their desires.

Recruiting is a constant: Real life will intrude on the lives of people and it could keep them sidelined indefinitely. Don’t believe for a moment that your roster is ever going to be complete. The ideal roster is one where all 25 players show up every raid without being affected by anything going on in their life. Unfortunately, that isn’t reality.

People will come and go: Not everyone is going to be in for the long haul. The team I took down Kel’Thuzad with is different than the one which eliminated Yogg-Saron. Anub’Arak was knocked out with a different crew as were the hard mode variants within Trial of the Crusader. Nothing permanent is set in stone. I think there’s about 7 players who entered Naxxramas with me who are still actively raiding to this day.

Follow through: Always make an effort to follow through on everything you say or else it will come back later. It’s fine if you fail, but at least you tried. Believe me when I say there’s nothing better for progress than a GM or raid leader who has the resolve to replace underperforming players and has players to replace them with.

Things I should have done differently

Care more about 10s: Having three groups of 10s that were capable of clearing out ToC 10 and 2 groups clearing out ToGC 10 added a lot of firepower to our raid. For whatever reason, it was something that never occurred to me. The groundwork is already being laid down for multiple Icecrown 10 groups.

More time: Sometimes it just seems as if we didn’t have enough time to set out to do the things we wanted to do. With 9 hours, you can only do so much.

Achievements: This one’s a bit difficult to go for as not many others share the sentiment about achievements. I supposed if we had more time, it’s another route we could’ve taken to help keep ourselves busy. But with 9 hours, the focus was placed moreso on boss kills than anything else (which is understandable).

As long as I continue to blog, I’m certain the guild will still remain for another year. To hell with the naysayers who said when I first started that I’d crash and burn and wouldn’t last a year.

Monday Midnight Musings (Patch 3.2 and Exploits)

It’s not often I do late night posts. They usually come out all funky and misunderstood or full of typos and other clerical errors. At the same time, the evening is when my mind is at it’s most active. This is going to be a fairly decent sized blog post about some big changes that have been announced.

Yogg Saron

Tonight we managed to kill Yogg-Saron on 25. It took us around 6 weeks (or about 12 hours total) to clock him out. Previous weeks involved the melee clicking and the ranged DPS still struggling or some melee players having portal difficulties and the ranged just killing tentacles one after the other. I’m proud to say that everything came together tonight. I believe that this was one of our most complete attempts and kills. I felt like a hockey GM in the week leading up to the trade deadline. Trying to add the pieces and classes that would help us cash in on a playoff run (Raid bosses are my playoff series). Syd did a beautiful job looking for diamonds in the rough. It took us two shots tonight. I’m extremely proud of the players in the raid tonight and grateful for the players who weren’t there but helped contribute to the learning process over the past few weeks.

Hard mode attempts begin this week. Leaning towards Flame Leviathan first. Just found out that it’s possible for a Demolisher to have a driver, a gunner, and a player loaded and ready to fire at the same time. This presents some intriguing possibilities.

One buys all

Universal armor tokens. I’m surprised this wasn’t reported earlier. My wow.com colleague Mike Sacco mentioned this during the day and it took me a few seconds to realize what it meant. You won’t have to fight specific bosses for specific tier tokens anymore. As in, there is no more head token, chest token, or shoulder token to cash in. You get one tier token of your armor set (Protector, Conqueror or Vanquisher) and then it can be used to buy whatever piece you like.

And I know someone’s going to come in here and say something about catering to the casuals. But hell, this caters to everybody. Loot council’s going to have a fun time assigning these tokens. Sacco presents some great arguments in his post that I will reiterate briefly here:

  • Upgrade sets at your own pace: Several players in Conquest have held out on tier pieces until they acquire a certain amount stating that they wouldn’t use them right away because their current items were better. This change allows players to specifically target which pieces benefit them the most.
  • No wasted tokens: Mix and match your 10 and 25 man tokens. You don’t have to feel empty for replacing your Valorous gloves with Conqueror gloves.
  • You’ll get your 4 piece… eventually: At the rate you’re organization is going, it really is going to be possible to get it.

Many of the Triumph and tier tokens are functioning as a partial gold sink. Not only do the tier 9 pieces require a Regalia token but you’re going to have to shell out some coinage to pick them up. They’re in the neighborhood of the 50 to 70 gold range. Doesn’t seem like the gloves have a monetary cost.

But, it’s the PTR and nothing’s ever finalized.

Priest tier 9 pieces

I wrote about that on wow.com. You can find my thoughts on it (and a history of the names) on there. Wyn seems disappointed at the 4 piece bonus.

Triumph vendor items

Here’s a few screenshots for you to check out. I think images are worth a thousand words.

shoulders-triumph trinket-triumph

Pair it with the Intellect trinket from Mimiron (Pandora’s Plea) and you’re good to go.

helm-triumph

Hit rating helm, I know. BoE though. If it wasn’t for the hit, it’d make a fairly juicy helm for Discipline Priests.

ret-libram

(Am I going to want that Libram on my Ret Pally if I have the one from Naxx that increases my Crusader strike damage or should I pursue other items with badges?)

rings

I managed to replace both of my rings tonight. Packing both Radiant Seal and Lady Maye’s Sapphire Ring now. I wonder who Lady Maye is.

Exodus exploit thoughts

Ingenious. The method used to down the boss was absolutely brilliant! The idea calls for something like a Warlock and a Paladin entering the brain room. You’re relying on healing aggro to cause the outside mobs to evade bug. So the Warlock soulstones the Paladin, the Paladin DI’s the Warlock upon transition from phase 2 to phase 3. Paladin pops up, warlock clicks off DI, starts casting Life tap like crazy while the Paladin bomb heals him for an insane amount causing the outside mobs (the ones that are piling up) to immediately aggro on to the Paladin (who is untouchable as he is inside Yogg) and trivializing the encounter.

There’s some comparison to the method that Ensidia used to exploit for their Hodir hard mode kill. It involved kiting and tanking plant trash from Freya to Hodir. Mages would spell steal that buff and proceed to use it in the encounter. While it wasn’t exactly causing mobs to bug out, it’s still an unintended side effect. Of the two exploits, I have to admit that the Hodir one is a little more impressive.

These upcoming weeks are only going to get busier. Actually, the next few months are going to be flowing with news and features. If the faction change is something they announce in a blue post, it makes me wonder what else could possibly be announced at Blizzcon.

Heading to bed. It’s 2 AM.

Why Emblem Changes are Great

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Let’s cut to the chase.

Badges of Heroism and Valor are going to be phased out. Every raid instance and 5 man dungeon is going to be dropping Conquest emblems.

I like this change from a raid leader perspective! Here’s why:

Raising the floor – The minimum standard is being raised. During Burning Crusade, many guilds were either starting on Karazhan, Gruul’s Lair or Magtheridon. Other guilds were wrapping up in Mount Hyjal, Black Temple and Sunwell. There weren’t a lot of guilds working on SSC and TK. But this change will help shrink the gear gap between upper end guilds and lower end guilds. The minimum gear standard is going to go up.

Less time spent gearing – Are you a skilled player? Your gear just doesn’t show it right? Good, then this is another change. I’ve met many “skilled” players who wanted to apply to Conquest. Unfortunately, their gear level did not meet the minimum requirements to enter Ulduar. I’ve had to turn them away. Now those same players can come back and reapply. Since gear won’t be as big of an issue, they can demonstrate their skills in a raid environment. The fact that gear sucks won’t be much of an excuse.

Reduces the links in the progression chain – Currently, the order of operations in which players go through to get loot is:

  • Heroics/Badge gear
  • Naxx/OS/VoA
  • Eye of Eternity
  • Ulduar

Similarly, let’s look at the projected badge drops.

  • Emblem of Heroism
  • Emblem of Valor
  • Emblem of Conquest
  • Emblem of Triumph

What’s essentially going to happen is that the game will be reset so that Conquest badges are going to be at the bottom of the ladder. Who knows what the Triumph gear will be. Right now it takes players a lot of time investment to work their way up from zero to hero.

People have a reason to do stuff again – Hard time finding healers for Naxx or DPS for an instance? Fear not. Trade chat will rev up again and you won’t have to spend hours trying to find a player to fill that spot. From my perspective, once my Priest hit a threshold in gear, I never went back to Naxx. The badges meant nothing to me. I didn’t need the items anymore. I had no reason to go back into Naxx. I know other players feel the same way. Why participate in an activity when there’s no reward for the time invested? Now there is. Conquest badges give players an incentive to head back in. That’s a bonus to everyone. Epic gems, right? With Triumph badges dropping from heroic daily quests, I think they’re going to raise the cost of new Triumph level items. I remember some of the stuff we got from Sunwell vendors. That was over 100 badges for several of the items.

Alts – This makes it really easy to gear up alts now. I’ve got a Ret Paladin and an Elemental Shaman that I like to mess around on from time to time. This will help hasten the rate at which I can join Ulduar pickup groups or other raiding alliances.

Yes, I am very much in favor of this change.

Us v. Them: What can I do when guild members disagree?

Us v. Them: What can I do when guild members disagree?

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Yes, I’ll admit it. I’m writing this article as an excuse to showcase Conquest member Lagniappe’s amazing stick-figure artwork. In the midst of other business, Conquest is currently working on a new logo. In my mind, nothing is better than dead stick figures, except for maybe hungry stick figure kitties. Or stick figure vampire kitties. Anyway.

On Guild Drama

Inevitably, even very healthy guilds experience moments of dissent. An organization can easily split into factions, especially when the issue at hand takes on personal importance for the members involved. Right now we’re having some discussion and debate in Conquest over the role of achievements in raiding.

Syd’s Patented Disclaimer

Usually when my students want me to bend the rules, I blame “the department” and claim that I’m “neutral” towards their request. Sometimes it’s a way of hiding my real opinion, but usually it’s a cover for “deviating from standard procedure is a pain in the butt and I’d just rather not.” There’s a window into my personality, I think. I’m going to repeat it again. I’m very pleased not to be the final authority in my guild, because I don’t have to be the one to make this decision. However, that’s not going to stop me from writing about it!

The Achievement Drama

So what’s going on in Conquest? As we get closer to Ulduar and time runs out to complete the Glory of the Raider achievements for the Black Proto Drake reward, some disagreements have arisen among the raiders as to whether the harder achievements are worth trying for. I’ll go on the record saying that I’m “neutral”: and this time I mean that I understand both points of view. It can be very cool to get achievements, and they do require the raid to work harder. However, as implemented in the current raid content, most achievements are a little irrelevant. They don’t award better loot, and there’s no vanity reward either without going for the meta-achievement. For some players, there’s no incentive to extend the raid week for achievements’ sake.

The Allure of Achievements

The main argument for achievements is that they train the guild for harder content. Some people care about the vanity reward, but most of the overachieving guild members are just striving after perfection–there’s not a lot of obsessing about mounts or titles going on. Part of me understands this need for perfection. I think Larísa of the Pink Pigtail Inn is much more eloquent on the subject than I could be, so I’ll link you to her thoughts here.

The Downside

The question here is not “why aren’t we good enough to do achievements?” but rather “are achievements worth our time?” Conquest isn’t the most hardcore guild out there, but we’re capable of doing anything that we 1) plan for and 2) really want to do in the first place. When we fail at a certain achievement, I’m more likely to look at motivations than the skill of players as the cause. We’ve lost some players recently, and we’ve had others take a break. There’s a good reason for this–it happens any time the content goes “stale.” At the individual level, interest wanes, and the die-hards in the guild have to scramble to hold the house of cards that is any guild together until the pendulum swings in the other direction. The moment is coming when our old friends will return and good recruits will be easy to find–and it will coincide with the release of 3.1. However, it will be too late at that point to get a Black Proto Drake.

Pushing the Limits

While I’m sympathetic to the achievement-hungry players, the feats we have yet to accomplish are the very hardest: 6 minute Malygos and Immortal for everyone, and maybe a couple others. To push ourselves to do that now would be to complete those achievements while undermanned and while training new raiders. Our raid leader, who I have come to like and respect despite his caustic attitude, thought we were doing pretty well considering the team we were able to field. I concur. But I will repeat: if we can’t get 6-minute Malygos down now, it doesn’t mean we suck. It means that if we had wanted to do it, we should have started trying while we still had our best team on the field. We’ll do better at the Ulduar hard modes because there are built-in loot rewards for each of them. I know from my day job that it’s pretty much impossible to get people to do something for nothing.

Setting Goals

I think that a raiding guild should always have a goal. Maybe the leadership of Conquest (who are all, interestingly enough, in the we-don’t-care-about-achievements camp) should have made those clearer early on. If I were steering the ship alone (thank goodness I’m not), I would have said let’s work on one achievement per week. I don’t think we need to push ourselves to raid 4 days a week and wipe over and over when we could clear the content in 2. I always believe in the Middle Way–and that might mean one day set aside to Achieve, but not two.

Abstracting from the Situation

I’ve been sidelined from raiding–or doing anything at all–for the last few days, as I injured my cornea (ouch). I had a lot of time to think, and one of the things I thought about was the achievements issue. The bottom line for me is that my guild is important to me. I’ll do things to make them happy that I wouldn’t do otherwise–that darned no-spore Loatheb kill included. I’ll go along with the achievements and I won’t gripe about it. However, I’m going to take a more active role in governing the guild at moments like this. I can’t just defer to Matticus and our raid leader every time. They’re great, and they usually know what to do–but sometimes Professor Syd could be useful. I’ve had to mediate between factions in the classroom and faculty meetings, and if I’m not participating in the decision-making process in game, I’m shirking my responsibilities. In my last guild, I took on too much–I wanted to fix every problem myself, and it backfired big-time. However, now I have to be more active, and at least get involved in the debates. “Out to Lunch” is not a leadership philosophy–so I’m putting in my two cents, both here, on Conquest forums and in-game. Both for myself as an officer and for my guildies, moderation is the key lesson gaming has to teach us. If I have to print “The Middle Way” on a T-shirt and mail one to all the raiders, I will do it. It will also, by the way, have a cute kitty on it, so they can all think of me when they use it to wash their cars.

So, dear readers, how are your guilds dealing with achievements?

Case Study: How Conquest’s Healers Were Recruited

Case Study: How Conquest’s Healers Were Recruited

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On Saturday, I wrote a brief highlight on how not to recruit healers. The actual post was written by Ess. Reader Spinks posted a comment wondering how I recruited my healers.

In truth, recruiting healers involved higher standards and scrutiny. This was only because I’m way more critical with healing. It’s difficult to explain. Maybe it’s because I know what I want in a healer.

I’ll start with the longest serving healers and work my way up.

Sthirteen

I’ve served with S13 in my last guild. He was there when we worked on Illidan and onto Kil’Jaden. Even though he’s only played for a little over a year, he’s come a long way from the Druid who played all the way up to level 10 without realizing he could equip gear. His signing was a no brainer. I’ve known him for many years and Resto Druids aren’t exactly a common commodity on my server.

Sydera

Syd was a transfer. She was one of the founding mothers of Conquest. If she hadn’t come to me, Conquest might have still been just a dream. Her case is a unique one. She was on a different server. There was no way I could gauge her play without directly observing. A lot of it was based on inference. It certainly helped that she turned out to be a great Druid blogger. Reading her posts showed me that she knew what she was doing even though I had no way of seeing it for myself. Her previous guild managed to kill Illidan prepatch which added extra credibility.

Kaldora

I didn’t know Kaldora that well. I’ve played with him several times in other raids. One day he decided to leave his previous guild and sign with Conquest for a more focused raiding experience. I knew from the times I’ve played with him before that he knew what he was doing. He took advice and critique really well. Quick learners is a big must for my healers.

Epiks

I don’t know what it is about Resto Shamans. But they’re always hyped up on something. Epiks actually came to me in trade chat. I didn’t know about him before so I had very little to go on. Like Kaldora, he wanted a change of scenery. I had nothing to go by other than his present gear and the reputation of his old guild. I knew how progressed his old guild was and I could tell by some of the 70 gear he still had Epiks was a part of the team that helped his old guild get to where they were before Wrath. That was a testament to his perseverance and his abilities. Even though those were all good marks, I still didn’t know enough about him as a player. A Naxxramas and Obsidian Sanctum run later, his position was virtually cemented in the ranks.

Krinan

I took a chance on her and she took a chance on my guild. Krinan’s journey into the guild revolved around Twitter (and she has a post up on that very subject). Her pickup was a great risk moreso for her then myself. She was willing to take a chance on an unproven guild with an unproven GM. In most cases, that would have been a recipe for disaster. I’m proud to say she’s still in after 4 months. I think what did it for me was her willingness to give this organization a chance and her ability to learn quickly.

Notice that gear didn’t play a significant factor in the signings of these players. In Epiks’ case, his 70 epics from BT and the like demonstrated to me that he could hold his own. But not a single one of these players entered the guild and leveled to 80 with more then a handful of blues and greens.

These are players I know and count on to hold down the fort and they’ve done an admirable job of doing it.

photo © David Martín :: Suki_ :: for openphoto.net CC:Attribution-ShareAlike

Video: Conquest’s OS3D Kill


Conquest- Three DrakeFunny bloopers R us

A big round of applause to cameraman Dannamoth for capturing our first OS3D kill two weeks ago and getting it on tape. This is the first time I’ve watched this fight from a different perspective. As the Disc Priest, I usually keep my eye toward Sartharion and healing the tank on him.

(You can sort of see the various Penance bolts that fly out on the bottom right corner of the screen from time to time. That’s me.)

Dannamoth is proof that Mages have more to bring to raids then food, drinks, and intellect.

Any comments, improvements, ideas and suggestions will be forwarded to him.

5 Tips for Transferring Servers

5 Tips for Transferring Servers

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This is a guest post from @katagirl, Matt’s fellow guildie and a WoW Twitterati

I’ve been playing World of Warcraft for over two and a half years. In this time, I’ve transferred to different servers twice.

Choosing to transfer to a different server is a big decision, because unlike a haircut or a mini-pet – this will cost you some hard earned cash (or much begged, depending on your persuasion).

There are two different circumstances in which you might be considering a transfer: either you’re transferring with friends, or you’re transferring alone.

With Friends

This was how my first transfer happened. I was leading a social guild on an underpopulated server, and it was difficult to get groups together for anything. The economy was shot, too. Our group was small, but we’d been playing together for a long time. We made the decision to transfer to a higher population server after a lot of discussion. Out of the fifteen of us, six decided to make the move together.

By far, this is the easiest way to make a server move. You’ve got friends to make a new start with.

Off Server recruited/Getting a new start

This is how I got hooked up with Matticus and gang. I’d been following Matt’s blog and twitter for a while, and started having discussions with him when he started pitching the idea for Conquest. One night, I shot him a note that I was really tempted to transfer over and join him. He got a little excited about the prospect of a holy paladin – so we chatted on GTalk, then on Vent. This transfer was going to be a shot in the dark, so I had a lot of questions. Eventually I made the decision to transfer, and I’m glad I did.

When you’re considering a server transfer:

Do your homework

If you’re thinking about moving to join a guild, learn everything you can about them. Stalk their website, their vent. Chat with players and officers. I spoke to both Matt and Sydera the first evening I was considering Conquest. I also spent time listening on their vent.

If you’re moving for a change of scenery/better pvp/better economy, create a character. Watch the Auction House for a few days. Troll trade chat and notice the guilds and trolls. Realm forums are also good, as many guilds will recruit there. Find two or three guilds that may match your playing style and whisper a few random players from each to see what they think about their guilds.

Have a backup plan

One of my biggest concerns about transferring to join Conquest was that once I got here and things got going, my raiding style and personality would not mesh with the others and I’d be miserable. During one of our conversations, I brought this up to Matt. He assured me that if I got here, and it didn’t work out – he’d personally help me find somewhere that fit better. That’s a sign of a good guild leader – he wasn’t stuck on himself enough to assume that everyone would be absolutely happy there. I still checked out the recruitment forums and chatted with a few recruiters in trade chat before I made the decision to transfer. To be honest, Matt’s willingness to make sure I was taken care of even if I decided Conquest was not for me was the one thing that finally cemented the decision to transfer.

Don’t be afraid to be afraid

If you’re a millionaire (and if so, let’s be friends), a server transfer is no big deal. If you’re in school or just making it on ramen and lettuce salads, it’s something that may impact you a little more. It’s perfectly fine to take time to make your decision. Don’t let anyone push you into making a decision on the spot. It’s your fifteen bucks, and you need to make sure it’s a good fit for you.

Ask for advice

Sometimes, you’re too close to the situation to see things clearly. Find a friend (one who isn’t involved in the decision, or has any bias) and talk them through what you’re thinking. They may come up with a problem or a suggestion that you would not have thought of.

Don’t jump in with both feet

This should go without saying, but only transfer one character at a time. Make sure you’re happy with where you’re going before you send two more alts to join your main character. One transfer fee is easier to swallow than two or three.

Ultimately, the decision comes down to you. It’s not a life-ending decision if you decide to transfer somewhere and your plans fall through. There are great players on each server and good guilds. If you’re still unhappy, you can always transfer back in three months.

Image courtesy of gerard79

An Event Every Guild Leader Goes Through Once in Their Career

An Event Every Guild Leader Goes Through Once in Their Career

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At present, my healing corps consists of the following: 2 Priests, 4 Druids, 2 Paladins, and 2 Shamans. Note that both 1 Druid and 1 Shaman are on a part time rotation. I figure that’s more than enough to handle any sort of outages or benches that need to occur.

But a few nights ago, I received an in game mail from one of my Paladins. Let’s call him Wayne.

“Hey Matt, I’ve decided to take a break from WoW until Ulduar comes out. I’ve gotten what I need to prepare myself for it and I don’t want to burn myself too early. Thanks for understanding.”

The feeling I experienced after reading his in game mail could only be described as “disappointment”. Here was a player that had showed up to all of the raids we asked him to do before the holiday break. He was one of the earliest healers we had in the guild. For a time, he was the only Holy Paladin we had in our raids as our other one wasn’t ready to go yet.

Perhaps in this aspect, Loot Council may have failed as we awarded him nearly all the spell power plate gear until our second Paladin was able to join us.

The alternative would have been to shard upgrades to keep him coming for more. My guild and my friends would know that I would never consider that as an option.

Skepticism

Hmm… - I shouldn’t have to question the motives of my raiders. My experience in the game has taught me that there are some legitimate excuses for going on a hiatus and some that make you raise your eyebrow and go “really?”. This is one of those times. I would’ve been more than happy to accept a temporary leave of absence if a player was going out of town. Life does happen and there’s nothing I can do to change that (nor would I).

Conquest is now able to effectively clear out all heroic level content in the game.

Actually, we took down Sarth with 2 drakes up tonight.

And we’re able to do this within 6 hours. I intentionally split this into 2 days of 3 hour raid nights to avoid wear and tear on my troops.

Short term effects

Newsflash – This reduced our number of active healers down to 6 but I plan to rotate the other 2 healers I have on standby as needed. Both myself and my other Priest were both deep Holy. After some consultations and careful consideration, I decided to join Vonya and respec Discipline myself. This means I have to toss out the 16 Spirit gems in my blues and replace them with some Intellect heavy gems (Dazzling Forest Emerald although I probably should’ve used Seer’s Forest Emerald instead, but alas the AH doesn’t always have what you need).

Feel free to check out my character’s armory.

The impact this has on our healer corps is the fact that we are back up to having 2 solid tank healers who are myself and a Holy Paladin. We still have a strong supplement of Resto Druids, Shamans, and another CoH Priest to maintain raid wide heals.

Long term effects

We are down to 1 Holy Paladin. That’s 1 less set of blessings and auras among other things. I know for the time being I am willing to stand pat on my corps. But I would not be against the idea of recruiting another Holy Paladin for part time purposes. I’ve spoken with several around the server, but they’re all interested in a full time raiding and starting position. That’s not something I can promise. I don’t want to say one thing only for them to switch over and find out that I failed to deliver. I try to maintain a record of meaning what I say.

As for Wayne, I’m not going to think about any actions for the present. Those are his choices to make and I have to react accordingly. I can’t help but feel anything else but disappointment right now.

To me, it’s just another day behind the desk.

PS – If you’re a Holy Paladin looking for for a home and not expecting a lot of raiding hours, get in touch with me.

Image courtesy of TouTouke

The Delicate Art of Delegation

The Delicate Art of Delegation

Last night, I wrote a heartfelt post detailing my trials and hardships in the captaining of Conquest. While I believe the crew is just as (if not more) important than the captain, all executive decisions regarding which way the ship is going rests on his shoulders. I’ve been in guilds where there were co-GMs are multiple leaders. It resulted in a lot of indecision and little progress. That being said, if there comes a time where a significant choice needs to be made, what I’ll end up doing is gathering up my senior staff. I’ll give them some time to illustrate their case for or against. I’ll let them talk it out while I listen and deliberate. But once the time is up, a choice has to be made.

Learned about that from Tom Clancy’s Executive Orders (Jack Ryan). Great book, by the way. I’ve always loved military thrillers.

I noticed a trend that emerged in the majority of the comments.

Joveta says:

“You probably -shouldn’t- be Healing Lead on top of everything else you’re doing. Delegate delegate delegate!”

GoW says:

“please, use your Officers as much as you can.”

Starman says:

“What I found is that having a really good 2nd in Command that you can split the pre setup check list with helps a TON.”

Tatiana says:

“Use your officers. Delegate. You do not have to carry the entire load.”

Lakland says:

“Also- delegate, delegate, delegate! You are raiding with (some) very competent folks. My guess is more than one or three of them has the capabilities to raid lead themselves. Take advantage of their skills and step back – captain the ship.”

Now how exactly does one go about doing that? I can’t simply just ask a person to do something. I don’t know if they’ll even like it or more importantly, want to. I don’t want people to chop wood for me or to cut and shape sails. I want them to yearn for the open seas.

Self motivation is the way to go.

But I do need to have clear cut positions and roles. I’ll see to it that every major position can be fulfilled by 2 people in case 1 person won’t be around.

Let’s use corporate analogy. I’m running out of sailor ones. Not everyone here is technically listed as an officer. But their roles are important, all the same.

Matticus
Position: CEO

Purpose: Makes guild level decisions in regards to guild directions and objectives. Responsible for day to day affairs and overall raid strategy. Plans raid schedules. Oversees preliminary raid preparation and post raid activities. Serves on the board of loot directors.

Sydera
Position: CFO, Human Resources, Director of Restorative Operations

Purpose: Handles matters pertaining to personnel and guild applicants. Oversees guild finances and resources. Quarterbacks the healers. Serves on the board of loot directors.

Kimboslice
Position: Director of Strategic Operations

Purpose: Contributes strategy and tactical approaches to bosses. Also acts as DPS quality assurance. Raid disciplinarian. Quarterbacks the DPS. Heroism caller.

Assuming he stays up longer than 14 seconds against an undercard.

Ice
Position: Lootmaster

Purpose: Ensures all things shiny go to the proper players. Handles the looting of greens, blues and epics. Serves on the board of loot directors. Battle res organizer (assuming the CEO or Director authorizes the use of a Battle res in an attempt, more on this in a future post).

Hassai
Position: Tank

Purpose: Sets the overall pace and speed of the raid. Has been granted full autonomy and discretion in terms of trash pulls. Knows when to pull and when to hold.

Briolante
Position: Tank and Technical Director

Purpose: Handles any unforeseen or unexpected trash mobs. Oversees the guild technical infrastructure which includes the guild website and forums.

With that, I do believe that just about summarizes my staff. I have no doubt that as time goes on, some of their roles will begin to mesh and evolve. Perhaps new problems will occur and solutions will be needed. That does not necessarily mean I have to overthink it or issue out another promotion. I think I’ve got a great team here with their roles properly outlined.

As an aside, it’s course selection time. I wonder if I would benefit from a business management course.

Probably not.