Crafting Your State of the Guild Address

For guild leaders, expansion transition is one of the most perilous moments. I know it can be difficult at times to convey thoughts and desires, but it is absolutely vital to do so before the expansion. This guild leader has a bad habit of occasionally forgetting to communicate. Like any relationship, back and forth discussion is always key.

What is in a state of the guild address?

Every guild will have different points to cover. There are a few similarities. The basic intent here is to state what it is your guild is going to do in the expansion. Even if there is zero change in purpose from Wrath to Cataclysm, it’s a good refresher for existing players and serves as a good place to start for prospects.

Some things your might want to cover are:

  • Direction: Casual guild? Social guild? Raiding guild? PvP guild? What is the point of this guild?
  • History: This is a good time to reflect back on the expansion of your guild accomplishments and anything you wish you could have improved upon.
  • Recruiting: Has anything changed regarding recruiting? Are you accepting max level characters only? What about re-rolls?
  • Raiding: Is the  raiding schedule going to change? New days or new times? What about 10 vs 25 man?
  • Policies: This is a great section to list any updates for any policies like alts, guild bank, loot system changes, attendance and so forth.
  • Timeline: For progression oriented guilds, consider stating intended timelines for leveling and raiding. Which week will the guild hit level 85? When will the guild begin formally raiding?
  • Leadership: Any officers stepping down? Any promotions being handed out?

In your address, you mainly want to target your guild. Your members want to know what is going on because there will be players who might wish for a change of scenery. At the same time, leave it in a publically viewable area like the front page or on a recruiting forum. This way, potential applications can read it and have a better idea of what your intentions are.

Here’s the one I wrote for my guild and I’ll do a breakdown of what I was thinking.

Raiding progression plans

There were a large number of players who have entered the guild. Raiders will come and go. Life happens, right? But I wanted to acknowledge their contributions.

Conquest started during Wrath. The first two years were spent seeing consolidating and seeing what we were capable of. I want to thank the over 100 players who have played alongside Conquest over the years. Without your efforts, we would not be where we are today.

I want to elevate this guild. Right now, we’re a little over 20th on Ner’zhul. I’m not going to be satisfied until we break and maintain at least top 10. Ner’zhul is extremely competitive. There’s over 20 guilds that have downed heroic Sindragosa 25 (pre-patch 4.0.1). I think we can reach that next level.

Our raiding interests will remain in 25 man.

What did I want to do differently? We’re already raiding. There were points during Wrath where I felt the guild “lagged” a bit compared to other raiding guilds on the server. Yes, this is a Wrath guild but now that the guild had been around for an expansion, I wanted to “get there”. I know that over time, we’ll eventually see bosses but I want to clear out the entire expansion. The ambition and the drive wasn’t completely there for me in Wrath and consequently there are a few encounters we did not take down.

A shift in recruiting

After discussion with officers, it was decided to open recruiting up further. With the expansion weeks away, there isn’t much of a point to recruit for current content. We’re just in farm mode and finishing up drakes for players who still need them. The time is best used to recruit anyone who wants to raid in the expansion regardless of their level.

Getting into Conquest is easy. Raiding with Conquest will require a little extra effort. For the time being, we have shifted our recruiting policy. In light of the new guild leveling system and guild perks, we have opened our doors to any player who believes they can contribute. Friends of current guild members are welcome to apply as is anyone else looking to hang out.

Rerolls and non-maxed characters

If you are not max level or wish to reroll, simply go ahead and apply anyway. List any existing 80s you have and fill out the application as normal. Add a note at the end saying that you have no desire to raid current content and you’re here to have a shot for our Cataclysm raiding team.

Why?

We’re planning for the future. We’re not simply looking for appropriate class or spec make up. We’re looking specifically for players with the right character and personality for the guild. Evaluation is always an ongoing process. Players that pass their trial period sometimes leave weeks after citing difference of opinion or other problems. I encourage players to experience the guild environment first before committing themselves to raiding after.

Trust me when I say I made some mistakes regarding personnel. I have no intention of seeing it happen again.

I have always maintained that different players will favour different guilds. I would not last very long in a casual raiding guild or a PvP guild. Can you see me in an RP guild? It would be amusing to watch me, but I would simply drown.

Scheduling

It’s not enough to say that you want to get there. In my case, I had to back it up. I didn’t want to another day or more hours. But I knew there were times when if we had just one or two more attempts, we would have gotten that boss. The decision was made to add 90 minutes overall to the raid schedule. I’m banking that it might be enough to put us over the top.

In light of the renewed commitment from the leadership, we’re looking at a minor extension of the raiding schedule. A fourth day will not be added. Instead, the intent is to run 2 raiding schedules: One for progression and one for farm.

During progression, an extra 30 minutes will be added per raid night.

Tuesday: 6:00 PM – 9:30 PM
Thursday: 6:00 PM – 9:30 PM
Monday: 6:00 PM – 9:30 PM
On farm, we will continue at our current pace and adjust accordingly.

Tuesday: 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Thursday: 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
* Monday: 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM

* We’re going to reach a point where all content can be cleared within that time. As we do not know the scope nor difficulty of the new raids, it is hard to say. Raid times may still be adjusted depending on our progress.

Naturally, this will depend on what raid instances are like. How many bosses are in them? How much trash do we need to blow up? All that stuff adds up.

Timeline

I leveled to 85 once on beta, so I had a rough idea of what to expect. I number of my guild mates have already scheduled time off of work for that opening week (on a side note, have you cashed in on your sick days?)

Here is the expected course for the first opening weeks of Cataclysm.

December 7th: Cataclysm released

Week 1 (December 14th): Guild members at 85 and geared to run dungeon heroics.
Week 2 (December 21st): After farming and acquiring mats for craftable gear coupled with heroic items, we should be ready to begin raiding.
Week 3 (December 28th): Multiple raid boss kills by now.
Stock up on the red bull and the pizza pops.

Please note: 10 man raiding operations will begin immediately the moment we have enough players and the appropriate raid composition. The goal is to get in there and start familiarizing boss mechanics. Any extra loot is a bonus. An item earned then is an item we don’t have to craft or waste time on getting from heroics. We will transition to 25 as quickly as possible from there.

On the beta, when I took down those raid bosses, my average ilevel score was approximately 350. I believe a minimum of approximately 340 ilevel could be sufficient enough.

This is a really optimistic time line. It took me about 50 hours combined just to go from 80 to 85. But I had the advantage of being on a PvE beta server and rested experience. Ner’zhul is a PvP server and I seriously doubt I’ll have that much rested experience lying around. Clearing out the entire normal mode bosses by New Years is something I secretly wish for but that might be too wishful. We entered Wrath as a 25 man guild and we’re going to go into Cataclysm the same way.

Those were just some of the major points. If you’re interested in seeing the rest, feel free to check it out. There really isn’t a wrong way to writing one. You could deliver it verbally over Ventrilo or Mumble but you’ll want to avoid cases of “he said, she said” type situations. Having it laid out in text keeps everyone on the same page.

Now I’m trying to remember what’s next on my to do list. Transitioning expansions is never easy.

Blizzcon Meetups and my Schedule

Time’s winding down and I’m frantically trying to finalize everything. Guess who has exams on both sides of BlizzCon.

Yeah.

Meetups that I know about

Anyway, here’s the list of meetups that are going on which I’ll be crashing attending.

Thursday 21/10/10

7:00 PM – WoW Insider BlizzCon Reader Meetup

Where: The patio near the poolside of the Anabella hotel
When: Thursday, Oct. 21 at 7 p.m.
What: Mingling, toasts, guest stars, joy

I need to get a picture with Nog.

Yeah. That Nog.

Friday 22/10/10

9:00 PM – Twisted Nether meetup

When: Friday, Oct 22, 2010 9:00pm
Where: Bubba Gump Shrimp (head to the bar if you see no signs outside)

9:00 PM – Raid Warning Live Show meetup

When: Friday, October 22nd, 2010. 9PM – 1AM
Where: Dave and Busters: The Block at Orange 20 City Blvd. G, Suite 1
Space for TWO HUNDRED people!

My schedule

I’m trying to plan out my itinerary. Something tells me I’m not exactly going to stick to it.

Thursday

11:11 AM – Land in LA
11:15 AM – Clear customs (Hopefully).
11:45 AM – Meet up with guildies and get carried picked up
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM – Lunch! (Perhaps In and Out as I resolve to have it at least once while I’m here)
1:00 PM – 2:00 PM – Drop stuff off at the hotel. Buy some beer. Maybe nap.
2:00 PM – 5:00 PM – Lineup for tickets.
5:00 PM – 6:00 PM – Nap some more.
6:00 PM – 11:00 PM – WoW Insider meetup! Worried about what stunt my guildies will pull. They randomly chanted “Matticus!” last year during the meetup. The team was confused and had “WTF” looks. I had no idea it was them until they told me.
11:00 PM – 1:00 AM – Poker with the guildies.

Friday

6:30 AM – Wake up, shower, coffee x 3
6:45 AM – Breakfast. More coffee.
8:00 AM – Lineup to enter BlizzCon.
10:00 AM – Actually enter BlizzCon, ninja seats for opening ceremony.
11:00 AM – Wander around, and then camp seats for Dungeons and Raids panel, camp seats for Quest and Lore, then check out various demos and cool stuff.
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM – Dinner! Maaaaybe with the guildies? If they behave. And not embarrass me.
9:00 PM – 9:30 PM – Check in with Twisted Nether folks and say hi!
9:30 PM – 12:00 AM – Raid Warning meetup next. (I went to the Twisted Nether meet last year)
12:00 AM – 1:00 AM – Rock Band party in our hotel room

Saturday

6:30 AM – Wake up, shower, coffee x 3
6:45 AM – Breakfast. More coffee.
7:00 AM – 9:00 AM – Blog for a while, relax for a bit.
10:00 AM – Enter BlizzCon, check out more demos (TCG and the magazine areas)
11:30 AM – 2:30 PM – Class Q&A, Open Q&A

That’s all I got planned for now. Probably going to go out the window. I better make sure I sleep with 1 eye open. I have a feeling I might get sharpied.

When a Raid Member is Not a Team Member

When a Raid Member is Not a Team Member

Quick summary: When the announcement was made that 10mans and 25mans would be on the same loot system, I cheered. All things considered, I just enjoy the feeling of 10mans more. More responsibility on each member, the boss fights can be less forgiving.  Because of work reasons, I had to take a break from Unpossible, Lodur’s guild.  As much as it pained me to lower myself to the bench, it needed to be done.

In that time, I’ve been pieceing together a 10man team that will be Cataclysm ready. Starting with a core group of players that I’ve been gaming with since Pre-BC, it’s starting to flourish. And now, the tale begins…

First Incident

We’re keeping it simple. As our guild name implies, this is a Team Sport. Everyone plays a role. Those of us that are “raid leading” are putting forward the effort to bring these people together. We’re not the “you need #### gear score” or the “link acheivement” type. As I’ve posted before, it’s more about the people than the gear/class/loot. I’ve downed Arthas on 10man normal with Unpossible, but killing Putricide with my friends gave me an even bigger rush.  It may sound crazy, but it’s true.

We’ve been doing what we can to accomodate schedules. We’ve found that Tuesdays and Thursdays yield the most guildies. So, I put up the signups on the calendar. People click Accepted/Declined/Tentative. If they click Tentative, all I ask is that they contact me when they know ‘yay’ or ‘nay’. They all have my email, as well as my cell phone number. This leads me to “Kevin” (not his real name).

The first time Kevin signs up for raid, he lists himself as Tentative. After being a random no-show, the next time I see him, I simply say, “Hey Kevin, sorry we missed ya Tuesday. If you sign up as Tentative, would you mind shootin’ me a text when you know if you can or can’t make it?”  He replied, “Dude, that’s why I signed up Tentative.”  “I know,” I respond, “but I just need to know if we’re waiting for you or moving on.”  “Oh yeah, sure.  Sorry man,” was his final quote.

Second Incident

Kevin signs up for the next night as Tentative. Totally cool. Obviously, real life takes precedence over WoW, and it should. Time ticks down to the first pull of the raid night. No text from Kevin. No email. No in-game mail. His status still listed as Tentative.  So, I text him. His girlfriend has been sick, and he’s taking care of her. ”Oh, sorry to hear that. Awesome you’re taking care of her. If you could just shoot me a text if you know you’re not gonna make it, that would help out a lot.”

His reply: “Yeah of course, no problem.”

Third Incident

This time, Kevin signs up as Declined. He sends me a whisper, “Hey, I’m signing up as Declined because I’m not sure I can make it or not.” I say, “Cool, we’ll count you out for the night. If that changes and you can come, just text me and we’ll see what we can work out.” “Yeah cool!” is all he says.

Raid starts a little late because our MT got bogged down with work and needed time to do it. We grab a couple new Applicants to the guild, a few of our usual non-guild friends we raid with, and we set off into ICC to at least get through the first wing.

Approximately 3 hours after the raid was scheduled to start, Kevin signs on.  “Hey guys, how goes ICC?” “Pretty awesome, actually. We just started,” I answer.  Raid continues, we only get through Saurfang with the 45 minutes we had before we started losing people to family, work, sleep, etc.

Face-off

After the raid is over, I get a whisper from Kevin. Here’s essentially the conversation:

Kevin: “Hey man, whatever happened to Team Sport?”

Me: “Not sure what you’re getting at.”

Kevin: ”You had 3 Applicants and 2 PuGs in there. What happened to full members getting priority?”

Me: “Well, you signed up as Declined, and didn’t let us know you were coming.”

Kevin: “The Team Sport I know would boot one of the Applicants or PuGs to get a full member in there.”

Me: “Actually, that’s not the way it’s been. If you would’ve given advance notice you were coming, maybe we could’ve work ed something out. I’ve made myself available for you numerous times to get in touch with, and you haven’t taken advantage of it once. Just because you wear the tag is no guarantee, Kevin.”

Kevin: “Whatever dude, I’m out”

**Kevin leaves the guild.

You get the point. I was also called selfish, and accused of not caring about the Team. In actuality, it’s because of this team that we’re trying to make it work. The core of us could go anywhere to raid. We could join random guilds just so we could see and conquer the endgame content, but it’s not how we want to do it. Building and filling out this group is vastly more important to us. If other guild members are up to the task, awesome. If not, no big deal, there are other options to explore.

There’s only so much reaching out we can do.  We can’t do much for people that don’t reach back.

TL;DR – Raid Leading is hard.

**If you’re interested in possibly becoming a part of this team, email me at the link provided below. We’re building a small 10man group of talented and friendly team players. Particularly looking for dps with off-specs in healing/tanking. Even if you don’t fit that bill but are still interested, email me all the same**

Email: Elder.Thespius@gmail.com | Twitter: @Thespius

8 Questions Your Guild Should Ask Itself

8 Questions Your Guild Should Ask Itself

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I have to share this. I saw an excellent post on Plusheal asking for advice about a fresh and new guild trying to find it’s legs (actually it was about how to democratically disagree, but that’s a topic for another time). One of the Plusheal acolytes, Caveat, replied with a great list of questions to help “reality check” your guild. Here it is!

  1. Do you have a clearly defined identity?
  2. Do you have a clearly defined schedule?
  3. Do you actually FOLLOW that schedule? (some of the best recruits we have had recently left a guild whose raid times started the same as ours- but while we start pulling within 5 minutes of that time, the other guild routinely failed to pull for 45 minutes or more. We went thru that stage, and figured out we were shooting ourselves in the foot )
  4. Do you have legitimate and fair looting system, with defined rules that are followed?
  5. Do you have a plan for progression?
  6. Do you have fun playing together?
  7. What is your vent environment like- are you foul mouthed teens or boring old geezers? (Each is ok, but appeal to totally different players)
  8. How are you with female players?

What would you add to the list? More importantly, how would you answer these questions about your own guild?

Image courtesy of OwnMoment

Avoiding Burnout

I have one of the heaviest raid schedules in WoW. Case in point:

Sunday: 4 PM – 9 PM (Carnage)
Monday: 7 PM – 10 PM (Sinful Intent Karazhan)
Tuesday: 6 PM – 9 PM (Carnage)
Wednesday: 7 PM – 10 PM (Sinful Intent)
Thursday: 6 PM – 9 PM (Carnage)
Friday: None
Saturday: None

That’s a good solid 17 hours of raiding per week. My recent midterm results were less than stellar. It doesn’t take a Gnomish scientist to figure out that WoW just might have a factor with that in some fashion. So I’m making the pledge right now that for every hour of raiding I do, I will match it with one hour of reading and/or studying.

My entire time on WoW is virtually spent raiding. I might do one or two five man dungeons in a week. PvP is no longer something I’m interested in for the moment (wretched AV fixes!). But I really enjoy raiding. I relish the thrill of taking down big giant voidwalkers and roasting the largest fish known to man (or dwarf). Raiding on a scale like this is very taxing. It’s important to balance this gaming life style with other activities to avoid burning out from WoW.

A few years ago, they broadcasted those Anti-Drug commercials. You know, the one where it shows a kid on TV saying something like “Friends: My Anti-Drug”. I think that should be applied to WoW to some extent. Otherwise, you will get burned out from the game and will no longer find it enjoyable. I play a little poker with my friends once a month or so. There’s nothing like a little get together with your high school friends and having a good time. Nothing in the world could beat that feeling of comradeship and entertaining experience (always stay in touch with friends, I say). I pre-ordered Hellgate London from EB Games. It seems like it’s going to be another Diablo-esque MMO with first person shooting elements involved.

If I’m not busy playing WoW, I’m keeping myself busy with online shooters. CS: Source, TF2, Call of Duty 2, DoD: Source are among the few games that I come back to when I’m not in WoW. Sometimes, nothing relieves frustration more then shooting Nazis. In the summer, I would always play games of pickup street hockey in the local lacrosse rink. Now that fall’s starting to set in and the weather is turning horrible, that option becomes less and less attractive.

What’s your Anti-Burnout?