Does Your Guild Need Social Media Guidelines?

Does Your Guild Need Social Media Guidelines?

In a word, probably not.

More and more players are finding themselves on Twitter and Facebook. Guild members are adding each other as friends to all these other social networks and their thoughts are then broadcast which expose themselves to even moreplayers. There is always an inherent risk though. Much like the way companies operate, the wrong tweet or message could lead to getting fired or facing a penalty. I’ve witnessed cases where WoW guilds did very much the same thing.

One disgruntled player said something damning and they were pretty much run out of the guild.

With something like 10+ members of Conquest on Twitter, I keep an eye on it as much as I can. I prefer to address problems privately and directly. I don’t want to find out about issues via someone’s blog or their stream. At the same time, I recognize the need to vent frustration. It’s a fairly fine line to walk between presenting the best image for the guild and allowing people to just be people. I’ve written out a set of guidelines just to remind players who do blog and use social media to keep this stuff in mind before they start blasting stuff openly.

Recruiting is hard

Again, it’s partially about image control. Smart and tech savvy players might uncover blogs or tweets from individuals talking about a guild that they want to join. I’ve spoken with players before in the past who stated that while they expressed interest in joining Conquest, scouring the twitter list of players gave them pause because some of their thoughts about the guild was upsetting. The truth of that is going to vary. My point is that social media stuff has direct impact on the recruiting efforts of guilds. So if you’re sitting there complaining about how raiding has sucked because no one’s applied and people are getting restless and no one’s showing up or applying to the guild, how do you think that’s going to look to potential applicants? No one’s going to put in an application to a guild that looks like its on the verge of collapse. Granted, that guild might have a motivated GM trying to rebuild and put things back together. But tweets and blog posts that reflect negatively could hamper their efforts.

The Public Drama

Things like loot drama or so forth should be kept internal.

Now, I toe an extremely fine line when I write about players past and present. Years ago when Syd was still with me she and I had a philosophical disagreement. She felt that publically recognizing players was a good thing. I disagreed because there was a potential chance it could lead to elements of dissatisfaction from other players who felt snubbed at not being given the same treatment. From the GM perspective, I wanted to avoid the potential headaches that it would cause. I have no qualms when it comes to writing about certain situations, but I’ll go out of way to obscure select details. When it comes to blogging, I do it to help educate not to vindicate. I’m not one to hold grudges. But not every blogger out there shares that sentiment. Some use it to write about their thoughts without regards to the ramifications of what they’re saying.

At the end of the day, if any player gets to the point where they’re extremely unhappy about their situation within the guild, that’s something the GM need to address. Every solution needs to be considered even if it means dismissal. Sometimes a change of scenery is needed. If it were me, if I was tweeting and blogging about how upsetting my guild was to me, I’d take a step back and wonder what the heck I’m doing in here in the first place.

Another reason? Can you imagine getting into a public mudslinging fight? I would much rather have a conversation in private detailing a player’s shortcomings. If a player decides to take things public, then I can either walk away and take the hits or come back and publically rebuke them. For example, if I had a player who was particularly venemous and wrote a blog post about why they felt they should have gotten this item instead of that other player, that loot council sucked and that it wasn’t fair and so forth and I noticed that the post generated some number of comments, I feel obliged to reply to explain our stance.

So I might have to come back with reasons like this:

  • No actually your DPS wasn’t that high. You got out DPS’d by players who were under geared and who were doing specific things (like dispelling or doing gongs).
  • You’ve been missing the past 4 raids or have left early.
  • I’ve blown 10 battle res’s on you in the past 15 bosses. That’s 10 too many.

I don’t like embarrassing players in public and I’m thankful it’s never gotten to that situation. But I knew I wanted to create a reference for players who used social media.

I think there are many GMs out there who aren’t quite adept when it comes to things like public relations or damage control. They often want to take the easiest solution and run with that. Sometimes the easiest and fastest solution is to kick out the troublemaker without even trying to establish a conversation.

Note that I didn’t say it was the best. I just said it was the easiest and fastest.

smedia-2

Drafting the guidelines

It’d be stupid and fruitless of me to try to discourage players from using Twitter or from blogging. I can’t control that. At the same time, when I came up with the guidelines I wanted to ensure that the team had an idea of what was cool and what would give me headaches. I don’t like getting headaches. I get headaches from healing raids and figuring out how to tackle certain bosses. Those are good, acceptable headaches. I don’t want unnecessary headaches. They’re a waste of time.

When harnessed correctly, social media can be a strong asset for any guild. I’ve managed to recruit players, drive up interest and gain some raiding insight from players who use it. Its a neat way to meet new players and get a handle on different personalities.

When I came up with the guidelines, I approached it from the angle of encouraging players to think about their experience and how they wanted it presented to their followers. Keep things light yet professional. It was also a reminder to them that the leaders and I would always be available if there was something truly troubling them. Unless they seal and privatize their accounts, they would always represent the guild in everything they say or do.

In the end, like it or not, everything said online has an impact on the relationships around you whether you intend to or not.

I went through several drafts and revisions before I settled on this iteration of it.

Conquest Social Media Guidelines

These are the suggested guidelines for the use of social media at Conquest. Conquest members are encouraged to create, contribute, or comment on blogs, Twitter, Facebook, forums, online games, or any other kind of social media both on and off Conquest. If you do, you are kindly asked to understand and follow these guidelines.

We’re not here to censor you.

Principles

If you participate in social media, follow these guiding principles:

  • Understand and follow the Conquest Code of Conduct
  • Try to keep remarks meaningful and respectful—do not post spam, offensive or derogatory comments
  • Take a moment and think before posting
  • Respect confidentiality whether it’s guild related or otherwise
  • When you’re disagreeing with the opinions of other players, keep it appropriate and polite

Guidelines to Keep in Mind

Openness – If you are blogging or tweeting about your adventures and efforts in Conquest, don’t be afraid to disclose it. You are free to write and launch creative projects at your discretion. Projects like Redhawks’ Gaze and the LeetSauced podcastare maintained by the very same players who are a part of the guild and I have no intention of trying to restrict their creativity. Feel free to approach Matt for advice or assistance.

CommunicateProblems First – Conquest is a transparent guild. I don’t have a problem allowing players to vent. However, if you experience any severe problems with the guild or its leadership, you’re asked to approach the leaders first to see if a resolution to the problem can be found before taking it public.

Try to Stick to Your Expertise– I write about healing and raiding. I wouldn’t dream of advising a Mage on things like their rotation or stat weights. Don’t intentionally mislead players who may approach you for advice. If you’re not sure, do refer them to other players in the guild or other resources on the internet.

Your Words Have Effects– By saying you are a member of Conquest, every tweet, post and comment you make indirectly reflects upon the guild as a whole. This can have a severe effect when it comes to things like recruiting new members to when securing guild partnerships/sponsorships in the future.

Be Conversational– Have some fun interacting with your readers and followers. You don’t have to be mechanical and personality-less all the time. There are many interesting players out there. Don’t hesitate to reach out to them.

Accountability- What you write is ultimately up to you. I can’t restrict your speech. Being a part of social media as a member of Conquest reflects upon the guild, so treat it well. Follow the terms and conditions for other communities you are a part of.

The Grandma Rule- If you’re about to publish something that doesn’t feel right, think about whether or not you should post it. If your grandma or parents saw this, would you be embarrassed or worried? If the answer is yes, you may want to consider modifying or refraining from publishing altogether.

The Internet is Forever– Stuff that you put out there can be saved. When you publish information, any efforts to destroy it or render it anonymous might work. It also might not. If you’re not prepared to have something published for all eternity, re-work it or reconsider it.

This is your guild – If being a part of the guild gets to the point where the direction is severely upsetting to you causing you to start publically blasting players and its leaders, you may wish to reconsider your status within the guild. I have no intention of trying to keep players who have absolutely lost their desire to remain in the guild. I want players to be happy, irrespective of what guild they belong to.

Boss Explanations: A Lesson from Twitter

No lie, I’m a twitter enthusiast. I didn’t realize how much of an influence its had on me until I started taking over boss explanations to PuGs in heroic groups. I know healing PuGs isn’t for everyone, but I don’t mind it (much).

Now you see, I’m a pretty efficient guy. In fact, some would even argue I’m impatient. I’ll try to do two things at once if I can get away with it. I plan my travel routes thinking of the fastest way to get somewhere. When I get on the sky train, I choose the car and door closest to the exit at the station I want to get off at. My friends despise it when I move so quickly. But I just really don’t like wasting time. If there is something that needs to be done, then let’s go and get it over with.

In heroics especially, I get a little tired when another player in the group is explaining what abilities are there and what players need to do to counteract it. They leave nothing out at all.

Me, I’m different.

The Twitter Rule

If you need to explain it in more than 140 characters, they’re not going to get it

I’ve started challenging myself to really think about the player and the role that they are. Is it really necessary for a healer to know when they need to interrupt? Does the tank need to know about this random add that gets crushed by DPS players anyway? Ergo, in PuGs, I’ve tried to condense and compact the information into stuff that’s relevant to them.

Don’t use 7 words when 3 will work (Good rule to follow for you new bloggers).

For this to really work though, players need to have certain schemas in place. A schema is basically a concept that lets you understand information in your own way.

Examples of Schemas

  • Void zone: Some dark circle on the ground that’s bad.
  • Cleave: Some attack that destroys all melee.
  • Tail swipe: Stand anywhere else but on the butt of the boss.

I’ve found the results to be promising. Most players I’ve come across seem to instantly just “get it” without the need for further explanation unless it’s a completely new concept for them.

Anraphet (Halls of Origination): Spread out. Stay out of voids. Stack up on Omega Stance. Massive DPS.

Rom’ogg Bone Crusher (Blackrock Caverns): DPS chains. Run away when chains are dead. Watch for ads, AoE as you go.

Drahga Shadowburner (Grim Batol): Burn down fire elemental. Watch where dragon is facing, run through to avoid breath. Avoid big puddle.

General Husam (Lost City of the Tol’vir): Avoid yellow orbs. Stand out of dust on the ground (Shockwave).

High Priestess Azil (Stonecore): Avoid void zones. Kite ads into void zones. Watch for dust on the ground (she throws rocks). Interrupt Force Grip.

Asaad (Vortex Pinnacle): Keep jumping. Spread out. Stack up when he draws lightning on the ground.

Vanessa Vancleef (Deadmines): Avoid fire, ice. Nuke 1st then 2nd boss. Avoid spinning things, nuke 3rd boss. Kill worgen, nuke boss. Kill ads before Vanessa. Use ropes.

Okay, I think went over by 6 characters with Vanessa. Hopefully, my point stands. The reality is that not many players read the full quest text. Like it or not, they read the objectives. By condensing explanations, players unfamiliar to encounters might get a better handle on them.

For obvious reasons, you don’t want to use this approach when it comes to raid bosses. Although, now I’m curious to see if it is possible to condense each role duties to 140 characters or less for raid bosses.

Challenge laid.

6 Ways to Reject a Guild App Without Sounding Like an Angry Ex

6 Ways to Reject a Guild App Without Sounding Like an Angry Ex

In the spirit of the blogger’s challenge I laid out last Saturday, I felt it was only fair to come up with a post of a similar theme.

I issued a question to the Twitterati asking them this:

On what grounds have you had to turn away guild apps?

Of the multiple responses I received, I was able to consolidate the majority into 6 real reasons guilds reject players.

Some of these reasons sound eerily familiar. Probably because I’ve been on the receiving end of all of them at some point.

It’s not you. It’s me.

@greyseer Attitude does not align with core purpose or ideals

This is the one of the more often used rejection reasons. Sometimes a player just does not fit in with the rest of the guild for whatever reason. Player personality plays a strong role in the minds of most GMs. If a personality clashes, then the door is closed. Perhaps the applicant is simply too liberal in their use of language which makes players uncomfortable. Maybe they’re looking to do nothing but PvP in a progression raiding guild. Whatever it is, the applicant just doesn’t have a place in the guild’s grand scheme of things.

You’re not open with me enough.

@asara_dragon Poor command of language on application
@cuppy Didn’t follow app instructions
@misskeli Didn’t fill app at all

First impressions matter. When GM’s are exposed to you for the first time, your language use plays an integral part in how you virtually “look and sound”. Take the time to put in the periods and capitals. Run it through a spellcheck. Come across as professional and intelligent. The guild app is your way of “selling” and marketing yourself to the guild. Even if you’re the best player around on the server, a crappy application will stone your efforts. Prove yourself out of the game or else you might not get the chance to prove yourself in the game.

Even worse than leaving a bad first impression is not following the instructions. If an applicant can’t follow instructions on a simple post, who is to say they can follow instructions in raids?

I think we need to go on a break.

@sylus Reputation for guild hopping
@Nightravyn Known drama llama
@dadexter Known to rob guild banks

These types of players are lone wolves. They travel from guild to guild exhausting their resources until they are no longer welcome. Fortunately, the names of such players spread quickly and far via trade chat and forums. It’s advisable for guilds to maintain their own blacklist for players that their guild should stay away from.

I’m just not interested in you right now.

@Threon We’ve got 4 Resto Druids
@Narayu People that app that are classes we’re full on.

Even outstanding apps have to get rejected. There are only 25 positions available in a raid. Some players already have cemented positions and it is extremely difficult to dislodge such people. It all boils down to having no room. Barring some kind of emergency, full time players who raid are full time for a reason. Their attendance is virtually flawless. This reason for rejecting players becomes more apparent in progressed guilds. They just can’t fit any more players, classes or roles into their raids. I’ve had to release some people over the past few weeks because I knew they wanted to raid and it wasn’t fair for them to be kept on retainer. They deserved to raid. There is still time for them to look for other guilds to join.

I’m too busy focusing on life and my career to get involved.

@siha You can’t make our raid times
@crazeigh Attendance and availability

Players apply with intentions to raid. Some guilds are okay with a 50% attendance rate or what have you. Other guilds expect raiders to be able to go at it from start to finish. Obviously it is not possible to expect flawless attendance. From experience, I can say that guilds I’ve been in, there is an expectation that players show up to a set amount (as a minimum). Given the choice between two identically geared and skilled players, I will always start with the player that can go from start to finish as opposed to the one that has to leave every night right before Patchwerk. From a management perspective, it just makes sense. A player that can only be available for a small amount of time is not going to be able to serve the guild well in a raid capacity.

You can’t afford me.

@Kreeoni Gear is lacking

Older friends have told me that companies generally don’t care what type of degree I have. I was freaking out because I was second guessing my program choices for school. Kimbo, an officer, explained to me that companies only care that you have the piece of paper that says you’ve got your 4 years or 120 credits. Whether it’s Psychology, Criminology, Sociology or Business Administration isn’t as big of a factor (in most cases but I know someone’s going to say “but yes it plays a HUGE factor”.

Having the degree shows you have the discipline and perseverance to work your way through school.

That mentality has some merit here. I’ve always held the belief that gear and skill are equally important. I need the weapons and armor to do my job. But I need the knowledge and skills to use my gear effectively.

Having your Sons of Hodir enchants or your exalted Rep faction gear demonstrates that you put a lot of time and effort into your character. Having high end heroic blues or a smattering of epics shows that you’re willing to grind through to get what you want. Appropriate gems and enchants show that you know how to best augment your character (unlike that one Priest I saw with nothing but agility gems. Hmm!

Finally, with raiding instances set to go up in difficulty, it becomes clear that minimum throughput of DPS and healing are only going to go up. For example, the gear requirement for pre-nerf Sunwell was much higher than a fray into Gruul’s Lair of Magtheridon’s cavern. The entire raid has to reach a certain minimum baseline performance in order to kill a boss. Otherwise the enrage timer hits or healers run out of mana and it’s game over.

Why have you or your guild rejected applicants? Do you have any good (or sad) stories you like to share?

Image courtesy of nyuszika

Blizzcon Predictions from Bloggers and the WoW Twitterati!

Blizzcon Predictions from Bloggers and the WoW Twitterati!

Whelps, Blizzcon’s just about here! I decided to activate the crystal ball that is the WoW community in an effort to predict the news, events, activities, and happenings that would unveiled at this years Blizzard convention! You’ll hear it from from the 3 of us along with other bloggers and the chemical catalyst that is the WoW Twitterati!

Dying for the return of Starcraft: Ghost. With the merger with Activision, wouldn’t it just rock to see Ghost on the CoD 4 engine? We know that dual talent specs will be explained more. I think we’ll hear a lot more from the class designers regarding design choices and intents for the various classes. I’m hoping for first shots of Arthas in Ice Crown but I believe that’s unlikely to happen. Will definitely be paying a lot more attention to the raids and dungeons aspect of the convention. And it won’t be Blizzcon without Starcraft and Diablo related news! I’ll have multiple split screens set up so I can keep track of everything.

Here are Sydera’s guesses at the announcements that might be made at the druid class discussion.

“Many people are concerned about the size of the big bear butt. We are as well, because we play druids, and we can’t tank half as comfortably as we’d like with big fuzzy in our faces. So, we’re instituting a new, improved, Slim Bear Butt form. Just apply a minor glyph, and your bear will morph into a lean, mean, streamlined-rear machine. The graphic comes with black and yellow bicycle shorts to further hold in bear cellulite. And remember, you can only eat [Raw Carrots] and [Celery Stalks] in Slim Butt Form. Side effects of this form include nausea, dizziness, and increased irritability. Those mobs had better watch out! They look tasty.”

“Now that we’ve removed the 20% snare from Tree of Life, many of you Restos will never see caster form again–at least not while you raid. So, to respond to your aesthetic concerns, Tree of Life will shift colors every season. Shifting days will be tied to the closest Tuesday to the equinoxes and solstices. We are removing the Rotten Broccoli coloration entirely. Spring Form will have yellow-green leaves with blooming pink flowers, while Summer Form will be deep green with [Shiny Red Apples], Autumnal Form will have brilliant orange-red leaves that drift, one at a time, to the ground, and Winter Form will have no leaves at all, just a dusting of sparkling snow. We would like to thank Sydera for repeatedly posting this idea for us on the suggestion forums. We really could not have thought of it ourselves.”

“We have recently heard that druids are quite proficient at 2v2 and 3v3 arenas. In fact, many in the gaming community consider druids’ mobility to be overpowered for arena. So, just for druid arena players, we have decided to implement Potted Plant Form, a new shapeshift form that all druids will gain at level 80. Druids will no longer be able to heal in caster form or Tree of Life form in the arenas. Instead, they must use their new healing-specific arena form. In Potted Plant Form, which looks just like a window-box full of geraniums, druids’ mobility is reduced by 100%, but their healing is also increased by 100%. Their resilience is buffed by 400%, but they cannot cast Lifebloom at all while shifted into Potted Plant Form. We think that the introduction of this new form will be exciting for players, particularly the forum trolls that haunt the druid class forms, making whiny emo posts every time some Druid-Warrior combo beats them in 2v2. Just especially for the arena druid, we will also be introducing the [Glyph of Potted Plant Form], which will attract cute little butterflies and chipmunks to your pretty red flowers. The butterflies and chipmunks apply a stacking spell haste buff of 10 spell haste per critter, which can stack up to 10 times.”

Possibly another expansion after Wrath (unlikely to hear about it). Definitely hear more about Starcraft. The healing trees of all classes besides Priests will be removed and Priests will get a tanking tree :). Murlocs will be a playable race. Alliance and Horde will, for the first time ever, be able to talk to each other. Full slots of legendary grade items (On a side note, why aren’t there any legendary items aside from weapons?).

Other Bloggers

Joveta: I predict a big announcement that’s non-Wrath related.  Maybe a date for the new Starcraft or Diablo (or both!).  (It is Blizzcon, not WoWcon, after all)

Veneretio: My prediction is that the new spec system will include a sandbox area where you can pre-build specs and save them. This in conjunction with a single click respec feature would allow for easier, safer, faster respecs for maximum level characters.

Seri: Lots of wrath promo. New pvp info. Dual spec ui teaser for post-wrath. New Diablo info. Maybe a demo. Class panels with lots of QQ. Photos of drunken fanboys with devs and CMs. Pin the tail on the Tauren.Felicia Day sighting.

Lassirra: Naked Gnome races and Murloc rodeos!

The Twitterati

@Medros wow 4.0, updates on dual spec and dance studios, and general fanboi craziness

@shinmeko Blizzcon predictions: Alex and I get drunk, Felicia Day stuns nerds far and wide, and Starcraft never gets released.

@isheepthings from the blue feeds it looks like they will hash out a bit more about duel-spec mechanics. rest will be d3 news.

@Laikia i have a sneaking suspicion we’ll all be a tad disappointed. But maybe a release date for Starcraft II

@honorshammer Tigole or Kalgan will make an offhand comment in one of the class Q&As that will get disected for days and days on the forums

@roflwolf  I predict there’s a potential for getting felicia day’s autograph… assuming I can rely on my friends… so, probably not. lol! Otherwise, it’s going to be E3 w/o the competition… whatever that means.

@eliah No big announcements. Overpriced collectible crap. I will stay up late posting.

@IcE_IcE_Luwin Jessica Alba will reveal she is a hardcore WoW player (plays a female dwarf priest)

@justanna  someone, somewhere, will murder a murloc horribly. I predict chalk outlines, as this becomes a new Blizzcon trend.

Image credits: mmagallan

Priest Racial Changes: The Twitterati Reaction

Yes, that’s right! I called them the Twitterati! They’re my fellow WoW playing and tweeting homeys on Twitter. You’ve read Wyn’s reaction to the news. Here’s what the rest of the Twitterati had to say (Brackets is their blog, if applicable):

@eliah: One more in a long line of things removed in LK that Blizz has realized were a bad idea to begin with. “Hell, it’s about time.” (WoW Insider)

@Aylii: Sure. Imo, it was time they changed that, now you don’t have to roll a dwarf to be awesome. (Murloc Queen)

@danielwhitcomb: I think they’re awesome as hell. Sort of sucks that Chastise is gone, but so much <3 for baseline Devouring Plague and SoH. (WoW Insider)

@karlajean: liking that I’ll be getting Devouring Plague, but I wonder if this is a move to placate everyone else, not help the priests. also starting to think Koraa just hates shadowpriests (KarlaJean)

@ladydanotte: WoW moving towards cookie cutter classes. I kinda like idea of racials having slight advantages 4 game complexity & interest. (Lady Danotte)

@Doug_Williams: Its all about Blizz aiming toward homogenization, you don’t need to have a dwarf or drain-o, you can bring anyone you want.

@Medros: as a non priest, they never made sense to me. I don’t get a special bonus for being a human Paladin, NE Druid, or Draenei Paladin (All Things Azeroth)

@pikestaff: though I never played a priest I always thought the racials were a very unique and cool thing about them… sad to see them go. (Aspect of the Hare)

@shinmeko: Pros: Kept Symbol of Hope. Cons: Gave everyone else symbol of hope. Maybe this will shunt draenei disc priest monopoly howeva. (shinmeko)

@macanima: I hate this homogenization kick Blizzard is on. All the flavor of priests is identical now. We’re heading towards two classes: caster and hitter, with heal/harm and hit/prot trees. (macanima)

/end creative outgoing link exercise

What is Twitter?

I had a few questions about this over the past few weeks about what Twitter is.

It’s a web service that allows you to tell other people what you are doing right this instant and it can be a little active. By having a Twitter account, you can follow other people and find out what they are up to.

Do you use Facebook? There’s a part of your account that says Status (IE, Matt is playing WoW). Same idea.

Anyway, I synced Twitter to my blog so that everytime there’s an update, there’s a new “tweet”. You’re welcome to follow me on it if you use it. The front page also displays the last 3 posts I’ve made on Twitter.