10 Tips: How To Organise A Guild Meet

10 Tips: How To Organise A Guild Meet

Last week I Herded Cats.

Well, all right, not really cats. I’m not a crazy cat lady and my guild members aren’t felines with string addictions. But our annual guild meet up – or Herd Moot as we call it – finished last week. But what does this mean to you?

I know a lot of guilds meet up. I know some would like to and aren’t sure where to begin. I figured I might share a few pointers with you in case it’s something you might ever consider organising with your guild, whatever game you play. Pointers you wouldn’t necessarily think of immediately, and which I’ve learnt both during this Moot and through organising similar knees-up in the past.

It really is worth it. More’s the point, it really isn’t impossible.

We had folks travel from other parts of the UK, and from Finland and Norway. I deduce from the fact that everyone said they didn’t want to leave and some have made a point of saying they’re now actively looking to move here that everyone had a good time. Heck, we’re vaguely considering through the post-Moot recovery haze that we might organise another Moot for later in the year.

So, a few things to keep in mind for you as an organiser – or you as a participant supporting your organiser – to help your own Moot go smoothly.

1. Flexible plans. You’ll select precise times/dates. Be prepared for participants to either choose to travel on slightly different times/days which best suit themselves and their finances, or simply get it wrong, without checking with you first. For example, I organised our Moot for Friday-Monday; it ended up being Thursday-Wednesday due to peoples’ flights. You don’t need to stress if this happens, or worry if you have obligations like work on ‘extra’ days – the group can look after itself for a bit! Stay on top of travel details and keep in mind how many of the group are around at any one time.

2. Intensity. Think about how important it is that your group spends all of the meet together. Think about how long your meet is; if it’s quite short – 24 hours – you might well spend the whole day together as a group. if the meet is a few days then it’s likely to be part-meet part-holiday for anyone who’s travelled. Leaving them some time to themselves over the few days for exploring a new place on holiday might be just what both them and you need!

3. Health. Always ask anyone you’re ‘overseeing’ if they have medical conditions you should be aware of. Reassure them that you won’t make a big deal of it and it’s for your reference in case anything goes wrong or they fall ill. It’s highly likely everyone will have niggling little issues that they won’t think it worth telling you about when you ask, but which will probably come out during your meet when they suddenly remember their bad knee doesn’t like the long walk the group’s halfway through. Give them plenty of opportunity to think of telling you anything pertinent; if you’re planning a walk, tell them in advance, and how far, and if there are options to stop halfway through. For ‘active’ pursuits it’s also useful to have an idea of your group’s general (and lowest) fitness level. We found that half our group weren’t as up for long, pretty walks as others were.

Also, get basic health supplies in. I believe a first aid kit is vital if hopefully unnecessary, and last week found me handing out painkillers to various Cats for migraines to hangovers to general aches.

4. Finances. Your group will probably reflect a range of financial situations. Try to get an idea of the range of your group’s finances early on by talking to individuals quietly and in confidence. Then plan a spread of activities accordingly. Remember that money is a sensitive thing for everyone, whatever their position – don’t blather publicly about who can afford which activities. if necessary plan a couple of options for any one time that differ financially; people can decide for themselves which they want to do.

5. Gaming. You do want to spend some time together playing the game you all have in common – it’s great fun to all be in the same physical space playing it. Even so, strike a balance between ‘real life’ activities which don’t involve WoW/whatever MMO you play, and playing the MMO. For us, that balance was one main evening session and a smaller, less organised session, over 6 days.

6. Booking responsibility. Everyone participating is responsible for booking something. For you that’s ensuring there are arrangements for a place to game. That might be a LAN in someone’s residence, which requires cables and technical equipment, or booking an internet cafe or hotel conference room.

Any participants travelling to the meet need to take responsibility for their own travel and accommodation; unless they really really want to give you their credit card details (big nono for so many reasons). The only help you should give them is to encourage them to book early and have either yourself or someone with knowledge of the area research/suggest some affordable accommodation options and travel sites. Bear in mind some people may not have travelled much and may need more help organising themselves than others.

7. Communication. As the organiser you need to be approachable. Maintain a dialogue with participants in the run-up to the meet. Less intrusive/immediate forms of contact like Facebook are ideal as it gives others the opportunity to reply in their own time, and you the ability to chase them up if they take too long to keep you posted. IM services such as Skype or MSN also work well, particularly the closer the meet is, and particularly if you are having to chase particular individuals for details.

On a more specific note, if your group doesn’t often use voice software while gaming and you have people coming from other countries, they may be worried about speaking English (or whatever language). One of our guild members was particularly worried about his spoken English; we reassured him as much as possible and I also offered to talk to him on a voice skype chat before the Moot as a ‘practice’/’soft’ speaking run before he got here.

8. Recognition. You’re all about to do something scary: go out of your way to Meet Faceless People Off The Internet. Most people in your group will be nervous to some degree. You should share your details with participants to help them see you’re not a betentacled monster and so that you can stay abreast of travel details on the first day. Mobile/cell phone number exchange is crucial, as is a picture of yourself.  Hopefully by setting this good example you’ll inspire them to share theirs back with you.

9. Visibility. Buy sticky labels. Have everyone wear one with their character name and real name for the first day or two. Sounds geeky, right? Mayhap, but it’s also practical and puts folks at ease with remembering real names and using them. You could commission individual t-shirts or hats displaying names and character information or pictures too, if you really want to push the boat out and add a memorable touch given that labels are easily lost and not much of a fashion accessory,

10. Age range. Some guilds have people of a range of ages playing. Be aware of the youngest and oldest ages you have. You may need to generally think round activities that all age groups can enjoy. On a more specific note – don’t make alcohol a part of your meet if you have folks under the legal drinking age (doh!). If you have really young folks, keep a general eye on them. This all may not be a problem for you; it wasn’t for us as we’re one of many guilds of a similar age range. But it’s easy for age differences to slip your mind when you’ve known people online for so long without actually ‘seeing’ them.

 

I hope some of that is useful to you and your guildies. It might look like a lot of work or a scary concept when laid out in practical tidbits but fear ye not. Guild meets can be really special events creating long-lasting memories and deeper relationships. Particularly if you keep an open mind for practical details!

What about you – are you considering doing something as crazy as this? If so, do you have any questions/worries? Have you organised meets, and have tidbits to add or any stories to share? Or do you think the idea of meeting up with the pixels you adventure is weird and wrong?

This is an article by Mimetir, an owl (and resto shaman) of a raid leader on The Venture Co. (EU) You can find my twitter feed here.

The Antidote for Fifty Enemies is One Friend.

The Antidote for Fifty Enemies is One Friend.

“The antidote for fifty enemies is one friend”, at least that’s what Aristotle says. I think he was on to something there. You can have an entire army facing you ready to run you through, but if you have one friend by your side you may just have the chance to win. Before when I started EVE Online and Lord of the Rings Online, it was hard to get into the game because my friends either couldn’t play the same time as me or were vastly higher level than I was. It made the games much less fun at the time than it was to play with a friends.

MMOs force you to get to know some one’s personality before anything else, this is especially true when you’re grouped up in guilds or clans. This is vastly different than what our human nature normally allows. As people our nature is to find others like us physically first, then discern intelligence and mentality. Video games have made it so we get to know the person’s personality before anything else. As a result, friendships you make through the game can create a stronger bond than even you may realize.

I’m sure you’re asking why all of a sudden is Joe going on about friendships and want-not. Couple nights ago my guild was working on Lich King (25) and we were coming back from a break when we got on a tangent because an old friend of many of the long time people in the guild expressed interest in not only coming back to the game, but finding a home on our server. We started talking about all the “old timers” we used to hang out with and it came up that someone I used to farm honor with late night that I hadn’t heard from in a very long time, passed away. I had no idea and that really bothered me. I mean this a person that I used to stay up all hours of the night shooting the shit, while shooting the horde. I remember being dog tired after a particularly long day at work and being JUST below my requirement for Knight rank in the old PvP system. This person was part of the group that convinced me to just queue with them and then let them do the work while I napped. Just so I could make sure I got the points before the next day’s calculations to get my rank. This person was also part of the group that when me and my girlfriend at the time split for good, decided it was city raid time to try and break me out of the slump I had fallen into. All the while joking and cajoling me trying to get me to laugh. Say whatever you will, these were good people.

The news of the death was a bit sobering sure, but it made me think of the other people I’ve made friends with through this game and how much their friendships impact my life. One of my best friends was found through the game. I’ve talked about it before but it’s still a good story. Back in BC we got an influx of new recruits, one of which was a smart-ass warlock. We always joked in game and always got along. One raid night I offhandedly mentioned having gone to a local coffee house before the raid. Erommon perked up on vent and started asking questions. Soon as the raid was over we met up, went to Deny’s and just hung out to the course of another 3 hours or so just talking. Needless to say he has become one of my best friends.

Another one of my best friends I met as a result of WoW. I had just been hired for my current job and we were on a break from training. I logged into my guild’s website to check raid sign-ups and my friend Dan happened to see it was a WoW website. We started talking and quickly found out we had much in common outside of the game. We became fast friends and now he is currently the person I’m working with for the 2D video game I’ve been working on.

I try to make myself accessible to guildies, but there are some I talk to more than others just out of shared likes and dislikes and play times. I’ve had guildies call me with real life problems at very odd hours just to vent and seek advice like they would from any long term real world friend. I’ve had guildies call me to make sure I was OK with things going on in my life outside of the game.

Even through the community there is this amazing bond that can be shared. I can’t tell you how many friends I’ve made through blogging and the community that surrounds it. If not for that community I never would have met my girlfriend or been introduced to such amazing people as I have been. Hell I’ve talked about Thespius from this site before, we hit it off right away when he joined my guild and through game time, this site and just chatting in general I’m happy to call him my friend, and would share a frosty pint with him any day.

Sometimes it amazes me and I have to sit back and take stock of it all. Today is one of those days. I mean how long ago was it that gamers were shunned covens of outcasts? Now gaming is it’s own social media giant that is allowing us to make some great contacts and meet people we normally wouldn’t have thought to talk to or get to know. Look back and think about all the friends you’ve made in the game or through the community. Do you consider them actual friends? Any stories to share?

Hey Everyone! Look at the new guy!!

Don’t recognize the new name being tossed around the site, do ya?  I hope it doesn’t scare you.  All will be well.  I’m going take a minute to get you acquainted with that sexy bald dwarf you’ll be hearing from more often.

Hopefully, you’ve started to become familiar with some of my guest posts here, here, here, and here. 

Well, Matticus finally decided that he was tired of me sending him post after post after post and actually gave me this little promotion.  Boy, what a mistake that was!  Mwa-ha-ha!  (Just kidding, Matt.)

Why I’m Here

I’m here because I have a profound passion for this game, and I really like to blog about it.  Namely, the community, the escape, and everything the game has to offer.  I try to remain versatile and familiar with all aspects of the game.  I raid, arena, BG, whore myself out for acheivements, and anything else I can do with good people.

I play two 80s right now.  A feral tank and 2nd shaman are in the leveling mix.

My Dwarf Priest, Thespius, is specced Discipline.  I can proudly tout myself as one of the members of Lodur’s elite healing team in Unpossible on the Zul’jin server.  He and I have found an awesome synergy and work really well together when it comes to big green numbers.

My other 80 is a Draenei Shaman I play on the Nazjatar realm.  It’s my casual toon that I play with some RL friends.  My brother plays over there as well.

My Gaming History

I used to always be a console gamer.  NES, SNES, Sega Genesis, Sega CD (yes, I owned it), N64, Playstation, PS2, Xbox, and now Xbox 360.  Some of my favorite games of all time are still Legend of Zelda (all the titles on NES and SNES, but I could never get into the N64 series), NBA Jam (Sega Genesis), and Final Fantasy VII.  I can still play those games for hours on end.

In 2003, some friends roped me into buying Star Wars: Galaxies when it launched that summer.  My first MMO.  For those that remember the game, I did the whole holo-grind, the 32-ish profession grind that lead to unlocking my Jedi.  The most fun I had in game wasn’t necessarily the game itself but the people I was gaming with.  MMO seemed like a fun genre.

My brother tried to get me into WoW just after it launched, but I was so into my Jedi grind in SWG that I couldn’t make the switch.  It wasn’t until the fall of 2006 that I started my warlock, Thespius.  I’ve been hooked ever since.

My History

Without boring you guys TOO much, I’ll just go over the basics. 

I live in Chicago, IL.  I was born and raised in the area.  It’s home and I love it.  My undergraduate degree is in Acting Performance, and I pursued a full-time acting career for the past 6 years.  After a fairly successful run (mix in some odd jobs to make ends meet), I’ve decided the whole “starving artist” archetype wasn’t what I wanted for the rest of my life.  I still perform around the city in my spare time, and I also pursue a small voiceover career on the side.

The goal from here?  I’m in graduate school for Secondary Education in English.  I’m open to the idea of eventually working up to a professorship at a university, but we’ll see.  Other than that, I’m just enjoying life.  I’m excited to see where my love of WoW takes me.

—–

Twitter: @Thespius       Email: elder.thespius@gmail.com

11 Excuses: How to Tell the Real Life Professions of Your Healers

11 Excuses: How to Tell the Real Life Professions of Your Healers

The people that play World of Warcraft come from all manner of job backgrounds and disciplines. Many of us are students. Some of us work in the office. No doubt there are players who come from military backgrounds. But did you know you can tell what kind of job your healer has when you put him on the spot? It’s true! It might not be relevant, but you might find it interesting to know what supports the fix of the WoW playing healer! I guarantee you that someone out there has uttered these words*!

*Note: Not a real guarantee.

Lawyer

"Do you have any evidence with which to base your claim on that it was, in fact, my lack of heals that cause my client, this tank, to lose health and subsequently die?"

Politician

"Think of the big picture. Our cause is just. I believe we have to stay the course. There is a concept known as acceptable casualties. The loss of a tank, in this case, certainly falls under that. As long as we complete our mission, then everything is perfectly alright."

Forensics

"Judging by the position of the tank relative to me and taking into account the time of death, I do not believe that I was the cause of the death of this player. I was within 40 yards and the heals were coming out. There is no logical reason as to why I let him die."

Doctor

"We don’t know what his cause of death is just yet. Blame cannot be issued until we establish how the player died. Pull up WoW Web Stats. I want combat logs of the last 5 players who interacted with the dead player."

Coach

"Let’s see the replay tapes again. I want a play by play break down. If you watch it, it helps prove that his dying had nothing to do with me at all!"

Accountant

"The numbers don’t properly add up. My heals more than made up the difference between that and the damage taken."

Psychic

"Your death was foretold. I was merely allowing the prophecy to come to pass."

Teacher

teacher

"You did not follow proper tanking instructions. You get an F in tanking. "

Marketing

"It’s a terrible tragedy that you died in a raid. This is an excellent example of why you should buy my Flask of Fortification! It boosts your stamina by 30! More stamina means you live longer, right? With the right mix of herbs and a small fee of, you can have 500 additional health and higher defense rating! If you act now, I’ll even throw in a free Spicy Crawdad! Limited time only, act now!"

Mafia

mafia

"3000 gold and half a dozen Crimson Spinels says that I didn’t cause the raid to wipe. Capice?"

Computer Technician

"Go restart your computer. That will solve most problems 99% of the time including tank deaths. There is no reason to blame anybody."

On a completely different note, there appear to be no photos of psychics anywhere.