How ‘special snowflakes’ kill a raiding guild

It’s been some time since I last posted, mainly because a lot of things have been going on IRL – I’ve moved from freelancing back into agency work, and with my kidlet now in high school, time is tight in general. As a result of this, I’ve been spending much less time in game, and found myself quite burnt out late last year, to the point where I wasn’t really logging on much outside of raids, and even took a month-long break over December.

Jeez – was that the worst thing I could have ever done.

In my absence, the ‘special snowflakes’ lurking in our guild took over. Literally tried to cause a guild coup. We managed that for a time, but the behind-the-scenes lies and bullshit that continued throughout caused us to take a ‘sit back and wait’ approach, rather than buying into drama we had no time for.

We couldn’t believe how a group of ‘adults’ (read – most are 30+ at the very least) could do what they were doing, and knew people were being manipulated, so we just waited. There were screenshots of flat out lies sent around to other raiders via email, feelings were hurt for no good reason, and people were generally behaving like I was the enemy.

Funny thing was, I wasn’t even around for most of it, nor was I in any way involved. I was used as the whipping girl by a number of people who took issue with my burnout, which had unfortunately translated into me being cranky and over it on a number of occasions during raids, hence why I took a break from the game – I was sick and tired of the ongoing whinging from a number of people behind the scenes, and that was showing in my attitude.

They were also using it as an excuse to ‘be unhappy’. Reality is, you create your own happiness, so I was gobsmacked at the amount of ‘power’ I apparently have to fuck with people’s enjoyment of a game I love, and actually want to enjoy myself!

The result? Insidious is no longer progression raiding, and 6 of our core raiders left with our ‘second team’ over a period of weeks and joined a guild we took in last year to help them survive with our extras. Effectively, after almost 6 years of managing, running and maintaining Insidious, it’s all over, and we’re now a social guild of mainly alts with a few non-raiding mains.

Myself and four other guys made the decision to leave Nagrand, which has been my home since I started playing WoW, and it was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I was literally crying when I was speaking with the guys about joining our new guild on Caelestrasz, but luckily for me, I already knew a number of them from when they were raiding on Nagrand, so they were nothing but supportive and understanding of my angst.

They knew all about our good reputation as a guild over a period of YEARS, and welcomed us with open arms. It’s hard to let something you’ve worked so hard to build go, and it’s even harder to let go when you know people are being cajoled and manipulated into leaving by some of the people we previously trusted 100%, but I think we’ve made the best decision for us.

So how did it all come about?

Effing WoD, and ‘mythic’ raiding.

warlords-of-draenor-1920x1200

As soon as the announcement was made about 20 man mythic raiding in WoD, a few people in our core team got all fired up about ‘switching up to 25s now so we have a good team for WoD’.

Errrrr – excuse me? WoD is HOW far away people?!

The leader of our ‘second team’ (I shall call him ‘Fucknuckle’ in the interests of storytelling) had originally wanted to join us to move up to 25 man raiding, but was denied that opportunity for both himself and his team based on his horrendous attitude towards the officers of Insidious and me (who recruited them, mind you) in particular. He started getting in people’s ears over Christmas/New Year and that’s where it all began. We came back to raiding to a lot of chatter about ‘we have to switch up or the guild will die’, and there was pressure to look at combining the two teams or joining other guilds to do so.

There was a slight problem with this, however.

Fucknuckle is a misogynistic, egotistical and downright nasty prick. He wanted to switch up to 25s desperately so ‘his team’ could be carried through content we’d already mastered – they didn’t even kill Garrosh N until 3 weeks ago for the first time, and they’ve been raiding MoP since release.

There had been early discussions on sharing experienced and lesser experienced raiders between teams, but our core team had zero interest in that, so we made the decision as an officer group to intentionally keep the teams separate, and recruit separately (that’s a whole other story I won’t go into here).

This essentially left Fucknuckle powerless in our guild, and cut off from any access to the main raid team. Hence the bullshit over Christmas, when a few combined runs were done and a ‘few’ people started talking about WoD, and he somehow managed to convince them his team was the better option for heroic raiding.

He even went to the effort of demanding a ‘change of leadership’ on our guild forums because we DARED to take a short break from the game over the holiday period, and approached people who are long-term real life friends, trying to poach them to his re-formed guild once they left. He and others were whispering them saying ‘you’ve been abandoned’, when our friends were fully aware of the entire situation, and found it endlessly amusing.

This from the ‘leader’ of a team who always started raids late, had people afk’ing constantly mid-raid, and couldn’t maintain a stable roster to save his life. No guild website, no paid voice server, no effort – wanted us to go to all the effort of recruiting for him, but wanted veto power over who was trialled in OUR guild.

Sounds appealing for successful heroic raiding, doesn’t it?

Well now he has all the ongoing pains in our arses (plus a few ‘friends’ who joined them to keep raiding), and it’s only a matter of time until the ‘special snowflakes’ start causing the same drama they’re well known for – people always revert to type once the honeymoon period is over. We wish them – well, something.

Special snowflakes are a pain in any officer’s ass.

lol1387386608503

There is no place for special snowflakes in a progression raiding guild – full stop. As soon as people start making demands as individuals rather than thinking of the team first and foremost, the slippery path to mutually-assured destruction is set.

We had a number of them, and they came and left and came back again like the guild was their own revolving door. They thought the grass was greener elsewhere, but overestimated their ability and were often benched in ‘more progressed guilds’ so begged to come back, time after time.

And I let them – I forgave them.

I’m a good person who cares for the FRIENDS I play with, so I forgive. And get kicked in the face. Good behaviour for a while, then straight back to the bullshit that being a shut-in recluse with nothing else in life than work and WoW creates.

When one person in particular got into cahoots with Fucknuckle, I knew the inevitable would happen. We WANTED it to happen – we were totally over the ongoing demands to ‘not take undergeared people’ or ‘not take people who are shit’ – people too easily forget that you NEED to give people chances, and often they surprise even the most elitist asshat with the work they do to improve. GOOD PEOPLE>EXPERIENCE any day.

What’s funny is…

There was always a back up plan.

backup-plan-plan-b-1-10-11

As engaged and responsible officers, we always had a Plan B. That was to find a new home who could accommodate us as a group with the loyal people who stayed. A few of us had already had discussions with a number of guilds off-server about it, and we had a loose plan in mind, as well as a couple of options, though many meant moving to the Horde, and we weren’t particularly keen on that.

We weren’t going to divulge Plan B openly until we knew what would happen with our guild however, as we wanted it to survive if possible, but that wasn’t to be the case.

We’re now happily ensconced in a 25 man heroic raiding guild on Caelestrasz, and in the period of two weeks are already 7/14H, soon to be 9/14H.

That feels good.

REALLY good.

I love not having any responsibility other than my own job as a melee, and the guild we’re in now have policies and rules that mirror our own in Insidious (the problem we had was people not respecting those rules, and often overtly flaunting them with no real repercussions). There’s an added bonus for us now of having a GM who genuinely believes a guild is NOT a democracy, and that is SO. REFRESHING.

On a sad and pathetic note however, ‘someone’ took it upon themselves to send this to our GM on Cael this week and promptly delete the toon…

Screen Shot 2014-03-06 at 7.03.04 pm

We know who did it. My new GM thought it was hilarious, and sent it to me straight away with a ‘oooooh someone doesn’t like you’. Understandably, I was quite pissed about it, but was given the following sage advice from a friend,

“Don’t mud wrestle a pig, you just get filthy and the pig likes it.”

Well you know what, you coward? I’m not going to mud wrestle you, but…

FUCK YOU.

You failed, and made a total dick of yourself to boot. Enough said, really.

Oh wait…

kartoosh111-2182600

From 3/14H to 7/14H  in two weeks, with zero drama to deal with, and a team of like-minded people with no tolerance for egotistical asshattery. Pure win.

A quick update

This has been keeping me busy. Thought I’d share a pupstar shot with you all…

Yes, his legs ARE as long as that!

Yes, his legs ARE as long as that!

He’s almost 13 weeks old now, around 25 kgs and a bundle of cuddles and love. He’s been keeping me from blogging much, but I read an article by Matthew Rossi about the current story progression in WoW earlier today, and it got me thinking on the directions I’d like to see the Alliance story progression arc take (post to come soon).

Until then, please enjoy another insanely gorgeous (and entirely obsessed/self-serving, yet obligatory) puppy picture.

Fionn likes to sit on the cat. she scratches, after all.

Fionn likes to sit on the cat. She scratches, after all.

Hope you’re all well, happy and content.

Oh, you haven’t seen me around?

I haven’t been slack, I’ve been busy.

Busy with some serious writing projects that seemed to materialise out of nowhere from December onwards, and that are stretching into April at this point. Good thing for me, bad thing for my blogging habits :(

Busy giving up smoking after 20-odd years on and off, and that shit is HARD. My house is very clean though, and so is my yard.

quitsmoking

Yes, yes I am. I’ll scratch your effing eyes out if you look at me sideways like that again!

My raid buddies haven’t been liking me too much, as sitting still in front of the computer and not being able to SMOKE THE PAIN OF A WIPE AWAY hurts. My partner isn’t liking me too much either, as my new obsession with cleaning and tidying and throwing things out and not standing still is making him feel a tad stressed.

I’ll get over it soon though (I hope). I’ve been playing less WoW in order to keep myself busy and not think about smoking so much, and I’ve also been …

Busy preparing myself for a new addition to the family. No I’m NOT pregnant, but my ‘givingupsmokingehhrmahgherdddi’mgoingtodie’ present/distraction is THIS gorgeous thing…

My new Irish Wolfhound baby!

My new Irish Wolfhound baby!

He’s AMAZING, and he arrives in just under a week!

I do plan on getting back into blogging soon, but given my next post would currently be entitled ‘Fuck Luck’ thanks to some horrendous lack of the aforementioned in our raid team, it might be better left for a week or two. I hope you’re all well and happy! xx

hot tip: wrathion questline

I finally got to 10/10 10/10 sigil jiggers today, and was able to move on to the next step in the legendary quest chain, which is killing the Sha in Terrace of the Endless Spring and looting a chimera thingo off him.

This bit is where the tip comes in...

This bit is where the tip comes in…

As I had already done Terrace LFR this week, I thought I would test if you could still loot the quest item if you were saved to the instance loot-wise.

The short answer is that it was a SUCCESS – you can INDEED do Terrace for a 2nd time in the same lockout and loot the Sha for the quest item. The ensuing questline is awesome, to say the least (spoiler alert!)…

Gimme some love - and a gem!

Gimme some love – and a gem!

I now have my drool-worthy Sha-Touched gem – now all I need is the weapon I can socket it into!

I hope this tip helps!

Honour the game

Stubborn over at Sheep the Diamond  has continued the discussion on the WoW community, and how ongoing issues of asshattery and jerkism could potentially be addressed via finding ‘common ground’ . The most awesome thing I got out of his post was a new response to jerks -  in groups, and in general…

“HONOUR THE GAME”

It’s so simple. Any time anyone is a jerk, just reply with ‘Honour the Game’. You may be mocked, cursed or abused, but it says it all, and it doesn’t invite discussion. Check the post out for a more in-depth view – he says it much more eloquently than I can paraphrase here!

Posts and podcasts and tweets – oh my!

I’ve been sitting on this post for over a week now as I’ve needed some time to formulate my thoughts, but it’s been great to see how the WoW community has embraced this issue in the meantime – there have been posts and podcasts discussing it all over the interwebs.

Twizz from Twizzcast got the heads up on my blog from a listener, and discusses the issue in the last hour of Episode 29 – Icy Veins (you can download it free on iTunes). It seems my experience really riled him up, and he’s calling for a crusade on this kind of behaviour!

WoW Insider got wind of the situation via Stubborn’s incredibly cogent post, and it seems a few of their writers found it story-worthy:

Anne Stickney wrote Should players be in charge of accountability?

Allison Robert wrote Sphere of Jerkitude: That’s it, I’m outta here

Matthew Rossi wrote What does community mean in World of Warcraft?

The comments that follow these stories paint an interesting picture on the state of our community, and highlights that the majority of people are sick to death of fun suckers, that they mostly feel powerless to do anything about it as Blizzard haven’t provided the appropriate tools to deal with them, and that long-term players look back with misty eyes at the ‘good old days of WoW’.

Sure, jerks and asshats have always been around, but the community used to be able to better police itself before the advent of LFD/LFR and cross-realm zones. If you were a douche, you would quickly exhaust your avenues for group play, until you were sitting in a capital city guildless and trolling trade chat because everyone had you on ignore and your bad rep followed you everywhere you went.

So, how can we honour the game?

I’d like to share some things I learned as a baby toon from some great player mentors waaaaay back in 2008 that I feel help me honour the game. It’s these things that seem to be fast disappearing in the wider community, and I think the game is poorer for it.

As a guild member, it’s nice to:

  • Say hello when you log in, and say goodbye when you log off
  • Congratulate people on significant achievements
  • Keep a level head on your shoulders – many guilds have players from widely different gaming backgrounds and skill/experience levels – you’re NOT any better than them just because you raid and they don’t, or you have 300k HK’s and they run behind a tree and hide in BG’s – don’t be an elitist pig to the people you see every day!
  • Bother to get to know people personally – what their interests are outside of WoW, what they do for a living etc. You might find common ground for late night drunken conversations!
  • Ask people in guild if they’d like to do x/y/z before queuing up solo – you never know who else would like to help you out/come along unless you ask!
  • Respond when someone asks a question in guild chat, even if it’s noob/derp/stoopid/lazy (the last one tends to get the ‘Google is your friend’ response in our guild, but hey – at least you bothered to reply!)

As a player out in the big wide world, it never hurts to:

  • Buff a player of your faction when you come across them questing
  • LOOK around you when questing/taking on elites etc – there’s nothing worse than an asshat coming in and tagging your mob, then leaving you to kill it!
  • On the point above: if someone else is in your close vicinity when you come across an elite – WHISPER THEM and ask if they’d like to help out – two makes it faster than one! The other person could well have been preparing to engage when you swooped in on your flying mount (damn you MoP and making baby toons run everywhere!)
  • Respond politely and helpfully when a low level character of your class whispers you, complimenting you on your gear and asking for advice or tips – you never know where a new friendship could begin!
  • Offer to help someone out if you come across them and they’re dying/dead to a particularly curly mob. You might get abused, but you might also make someone’s day!
  • Be polite to players on your server, and foster positive relations between like-minded guilds. For us, this has resulted in a pool of players coming together under the <Insidious> banner after many years of friendship and drunken Friday night joint runs. Sadly, this has also been as a result of some great guilds on Nagrand disbanding, but we’re all on the same page, and that helps keep the game fun.
  • Let the leader/s of another guild know when you’ve had a bad experience with one of their members – you might get the kind of abuse I did recently, but any guild worth its salt will take it seriously and at the very least warn the offending player that behaving in that manner isn’t socially acceptable.

In dungeons/LFR, things go more smoothly if you:

  • Say ‘hey all’ and ‘thanks for the run’
  • Don’t start pulling before the group has zoned in/healer has switched specs/druid has done symbiosis (that 5 minute cast kills me) >.< A quick ‘heya – all ready?’ really does set the tone for the run, and makes it more pleasant for everyone
  • Ask if people know the instance BEFORE you pull – you never know what experience the pug you’re in group with has
  • Take the time to explain a basic mechanic that avoids a wipe
  • If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all (I’ve been guilty of responding to trolls in the past out of pure frustration, but my most recent approach has been to wait for the inevitable group kick then grin wickedly to myself)
  • If someone asks a question in a group, don’t respond with ‘DERP NOOB’ or even worse – silence – try and help them out. We were all new players once!
  • DO NOT QUEUE AS A TANK IN PVP GEAR!!! I’ve seen it so often, and my mana pool as healer off-spec hates you for it. Yes, you DO have threat issues, yes, you ARE going down like the proverbial sack of shit when you get hit by a mob, and no, your gear IS NOT just as good as PVE gear! On this point, always make sure you can see your healer’s mana – when they’re empty and you continue to pull then say ‘OMFG WHERE’S THE HEALS’ you’re not going to win friends and influence people.

As a raider, you should always:

  • Be prepared with your own flasks and food, just ‘in case’
  • Listen to your raid leader, and restrict ‘feedback’ to your guild forums unless asked directly
  • Research progression fights or at LEAST run LFR (a more recent tool) to have an idea of what you’re getting yourself into
  • Research your own class and spec, gemming, enchanting and reforging – it’s not everyone else’s job to tell you how to play your toon
  • Be ready for a well-timed joke that gets everyone laughing after the 50th progression wipe – it can break the tension and help lighten the mood, often with great results.

I’m sure there are plenty of ways of honouring the game I’ve forgotten about so I’ll pass it over to you. How do you honour this game we all love?

Anti-Asshat week gains momentum

Even the Daily Blink boys have had enough

Well it’s been a very interesting week, and standing up for my belief that the WoW community should be a pleasant, friendly place to spend your spare time by posting about my recent experience has certainly caused me some grief both publicly and privately, but I think it was WORTH IT.
It all started with Nav from The Daily Frostwolf, whose post, Navi is declaring Anti-Asshat Week set off a number of related posts in the community. In reading these posts, I saw a recurring theme – that people are sick to death of trolls and asshats in game, that most ‘mature’ gamers who have a professional life and family responsibilities are frustrated by the same behaviours, and that Blizzard are nowhere near tough enough on these ‘Call of Duty’ type cretins. I also popped into the Girls Gone Wow podcast at Navi and Sal’s encouragement to discuss the issue – admittedly, after 2 hours of sleep and rather late to the table, which made me a tad fuzzy minded and repetitive, but hey – it happens! *facepaw*

Hit the links below for some insightful reading.

Typhoon Andrew: How to ruin your Guild’s reputation

They Call me Sal: Monday Mischief: Anti-Asshat Week

Sheep the Diamond: Spare the Rod, Spoil the Game – with Lots of Graphics!

Siha Games: Taming the jerk brigade

As a responsible Guild Master who believes that people have a right to play their game of choice in comfort, I’ll take abuse from my aggressors, ex-guild members (who were only ever removed for damned good reasons) and other random asshats who like a good flame war if it means people start standing up for themselves and others by not turning the other cheek when abuse occurs.

I learned very early on in my WoW gaming life that the single most important thing you can do to make a difference is be helpful and polite to the players you come into contact with, and that what you do out in the world reflects on the guild name you wear above your head. It used to actually MATTER before the advent of LFD and LFR – hell, I can remember a particular character on Nagrand called MightyMoe who was the server’s biggest asshat, and whose name was mud to the point that an old officer of mine used to ACTUALLY kick people from the guild if they mentioned his NAME. The guy was racist, offensive in the extreme, misogynistic, a ninja and a general troll.

The end result?

He’s no longer on Nagrand, because the community effectively drove him out. I bet he managed to make most people’s ignore list too.

I reflect on that time with a sense of misty-eyed reverie, and hope that one day that sense of real community can be recaptured.

On being irked by jerks…

Yes, yes I do.

Well I’ve been busy plugging away at raiding and gearing and dailies and everything else that goes with MoP (hence my lack of blogging), but it appears that no matter what you do in Azeroth, one thing remains constant – asshats.

In a recent Sha run I was putting together, I had the great displeasure of encountering a member of a new guild on Nagrand, Vault Hunters. This ‘warrior‘ joined the run as I was putting a shout out in trade chat, and a few pugs in the group asked for a brief run down on boss mechanics, as they hadn’t done it before.

Now I don’t know about you, but I’ve been in plenty of fail Sha runs, so I responded with ‘sure – once the run is full I’ll fill you in’ – after all, I’d rather one-shot the boss than wipe and have it tagged by the Horde on the corpse run back!

From this seemingly innocent and helpful response, aforementioned warrior pipes up in raid chat with ‘you just dps the boss – it’s not hard’.

Mhmmmm – right.

I continued to fill the group, as the warrior repeated himself a number of times – overandoverandoverandover again. I decided to respond politely with ‘well there are a number of people who have asked for a rundown, so I will be explaining basic mechanics. I prefer not to wipe because people don’t know what to do, and it doesn’t take long to explain. If you don’t like it, you’re free to leave – your choice’.

‘YOU JUST DPS – IT’S NOT HARD!’

*remove from group*

Alot of ‘thank god for that’ comments in raid chat. Within seconds, what do I get?

WARNING: Offensive language!

Just – wow.

I responded intelligently, and then put them on ignore. End of the story? I think not!

This asshat then took to trade chat, and abused me for an hour. I had them on ignore of course, but the abuse was so bad that people from other guilds were telling the guy to STFU. Now I know you’re probably thinking I shouldn’t have responded to this vitriol at all, but after the carrying on this person did in raid chat, I was getting pretty pissed, so figured a basic response would get them to bugger off.

As a female, I took great offence to the word used, so I did what is commonly perceived to be the ‘mature’ thing in an MMO -I did a /who and looked officers up on armory. Luckily (or so I thought at the time) one was online, so I whispered them to confirm this, asking ‘hey there, are you an officer?’.

Officer: ‘Of what?’

…..

Me: ‘your guild?’.

Officer: ‘so are you gonna have a cry to me about one of my guildies? You need to get a life, take a break and realise this is just a GAME.’

Me: ‘…… errr forget it.’ *ignore*

No asking what the issue was, just straight out abuse right off the bat. Charming.

After this, I sent an in-game mail to the GM, explaining the situation so that they knew how their players were interacting out in the world. There was no demand of a gkick, punishment or the like – just a factual account of the situation and an explanation of why I found the situation so offensive.

(As an aside, you do NOT just dps the effing Sha – Icy Veins wouldn’t bother to post a STRATEGY on it if you did! Yes, it is relatively simple, but you still need to stay out of Bitter Thoughts, break MC targets and move away from other players when you get Growing Anger – DERP.)

Need I repeat myself?

A day or so later, and after many, many abusive and borderline psychotic whispers from various members of this guild on mains and alts to both myself and other members of my guild (some of which went along the lines of ‘please tell your GM to stop harassing me and my guild members’ and asking ‘is it a woman? It must be a woman’)…

Errrr – what the serious EFF?! Yes, go ahead and report me for continuing to put you and your guild members on ignore…

To which I responded with ignore after ignore. Then their GM whispered me.

Well, at least he was polite…

He went on to tell me the worst offender was a 17 year old kid. Five years older than my own daughter, who would never consider speaking to people in such a manner, and who happened to be looking at my screen on one of the nights I was being sent foulmouthed abuse, which I spoke to their GM about (as she was upset that her mum was being spoken to that way). Apparently being a wow player means I am also neglecting my child…

Oh yes, I am the loser on the internet, abusing YOU?!?!?! Please, do continue!

Now I wouldn’t normally ‘name names’ in this kind of situation, but the abuse didn’t stop after multiple in-game tickets. It has stopped now, but I’m presuming that’s because I spent 2 hours on the phone to Blizzard until I could speak with someone about the situation, and they put in a strongly worded ticket from their end.

I’ve only shown the absolute ‘pearlers’ here, but suffice it to say, I have never experienced this level of harassment in all my years of wow, and if this is how the community is evolving into a ‘younger demographic’, I’m going to need to reconsider where I choose to spend my gaming time.

On a closing note, I have one last, rather hilarious screenshot to share with you…

It’s all good little boy, I don’t need to send it to Blizzard – that’s way too old school. I’ll just share your asshattery with the entire internet instead :)

I would advise all fellow Nagrandians to give these douchebags a wide berth.

/end rant

I know, I know, I’ve been a slack blogger…

But I have reasons!!! I need to DO ALL THE THINGS!

I need to build my farm…. LOOK AT THAT PUMPKIN FINIA!!!

And not to mention….

I need to get me a MONKEY MAGIC mount!!!

As well as…

Falling into the big empty...

Falling into the big empty…

And den?

Some killingz of zee Horde!

And DENNNNNN?!

Raid time – strike a pose and – FREEZE!

NO AND DEN!

Yag found a seashell by the seashore… All kinds of wrong!

I plan on getting back into things full-time soon, but with all the rep grinding and gearing and raiding we’re doing, it might be a bit sporadic for a while. I’m loving MoP so far, and hope you are too!!
<3

 

 

 

Between a rock and a hard place > when casuals want to become core

The sign says it all…

I’ve had this ‘insidious’ feeling of anxiety building over the past few weeks that I just haven’t been able to put a cause to. But with MoP now only days away, I’ve finally figured out what’s been scratching away at the back of my mind…

What will happen to our guild on launch week?

Having been a WoW player since 2008, I’ve seen my share of tiers and expansions, and the inevitable comings and goings of raiders over time. This experience tells me that Insidious could (potentially) be in for a challenge in a little over a week.

The great thing about our guild is that we have non-raiders, social members, casual raiders and (hard)core raiders all actively engaging with each other through various interests. They talk about stats and gems. They talk about addons *rolls eyes*. They are beginning to talk about class changes, and theorycraft. On rolling a new character, they ask questions of people with that class as a main, and they get cogent, helpful answers without any elitist epeen. They tell dirty jokes in guild chat while the core team is raiding, often leading to outbursts of laughter and spitting of wine in vent (*note to self – turn guild chat off during raids – your keyboard can’t take much more wine abuse!).

They roll outrageous panda names ‘Huflungpoo & Yooflungpoo’ on placeholder characters, run to Stormwind and get all up in the grill of some Enigma players outside the AH.

The offending soon-to-be-panda trolls at the scene of the crime…

This is the magical mystery woofer – afk as usual…

On that note, does anyone know of an addon that can enable players to see the main of someone on an alt? This woofer worgen we were taunting was a truly magical being, as he went quiet for a bit, then came out with ‘Genowen & Finia, huh.’

uh oh, busted.

“YOU’RE A MAGICAL WOOFER MYSTERY WORGEN! PLEASE DON’T TELL MY GM, OR I’LL HAVE TO KICK MYSELF IN THE ASS!!”

He found out our mains from our little baby pandas-in-waiting?! What the, Mr Magical Mystery Worgen!! Does anyone know of where this trickery originates?

*cough* ok, back on topic. I just had to ask if anyone knows how he did it.

All this shows that we promote a guild culture where it’s the people, not the progression status, that keeps everyone logging in. Everyone has value – hell, that’s why they’re in the guild!

With a 3-night raid schedule, being a lootmaster currently trying to get her non-math brain around implementing an EPGP loot system, and the additional responsibilities being an active GM requires, I sometimes feel a bit ‘stretched’ to do what I do best – getting to know every member of the guild through actually spending time with them, doing what they want to do. (Wanna kill a world boss? No problem, even if the whale shark DID kill us 10 times last time)! I have a feeling it’s about to step up a notch.

Here is where the rock and a hard place comes in…

What happens when casuals want to become core?

I’m blessed to be part of a great guild of people who range in age from 16 to 50+ (the 16 year old LIED TO ME! but we let him stay, as a pet. And we tease him, mercilessly), and I’ve had the great pleasure of 5-manning, raiding, pvping and being a general dingleberry with all of them. All have varying schedules for their WoW time, and that often impacts on the content they consume in-game. Over the course of cataclysm, we’ve seen various core raiders take a step back for real life stuff, and we’ve recruited to fill the gaps.

What we have right at this moment is a highly competitive raid team that have been playing together long enough to have developed that x-factor of raiding – group synergy. We’re running a core roster of 14-15 on progression content, and we’re planning a second ‘casual’ team for Saturday afternoons in MoP so that guildies with more limited schedules can still access current content through a more relaxed approach. We’ve pre-planned as much as is humanly possible, but there will always be a curve ball we didn’t anticipate.

There will always be players who really WANT to play in the core team, but who just can’t commit to 3 solid nights of raiding. They always have the best of intentions, but there are some people you just know can’t realistically commit. Also:

  • Some won’t be happy with what they see as a ‘B’ team, even though that team can be just as competitive on a more limited schedule – it just takes more planning and preparation.
  • Some will push for a core spot based on time in guild, history, raid composition etc, and will be very vocal when they’re politely declined.
  • Some have only recently started playing the game, and don’t have the experience needed for progression content – these guys would benefit most from a casual team.
  • Some simply don’t have the reaction speed required to raid competitively, even though we love them to death.

It’s always a tricky situation to be in. Do you:

  • prioritise skill over friendship?
  • make contribution to progression during the most recent tiers a requirement?
  • prioritise friendship over skill?
  • ignore all history, and create an optimal core team from a pool of classes and skill sets?

Grrr… arrrgh…

It’s really doing my head in. It’s important to keep my guild as happy as possible, but it’s impossible to please everyone. I’ve made some big long posts on the guild forums about our expectations for the core team, which we’ve never done before. It shows how we’re evolving as a ‘core progression raid team’, but doesn’t impact so much on non-raiding or casual guild members.

I think the other part of my anxiety is that I’m anticipating comments along the lines of ‘you’ve gone hardcore, but the guild is ‘social progression’ oriented’. It’s hard to explain to someone who doesn’t want to hear it that a guild doesn’t have to be forced into being ‘one thing’. Our experience during Cataclysm taught us:

  • that truly difficult content (think t11 pre-nerfs in 346 gear) will always bring the committed players to light
  • that when the going gets tough, the dedicated members will see it through, and the casuals will drop off
  • that if someone was once Horde, they will likely return to the Horde side when you’re at a progression road block to chase that boss kill – once a Hordie, always a Hordie *evil grin*
  • that people all have a different idea of what ‘hardcore’ is – some think it’s time investment or heroic v/s normal content, others think it’s mentality
  • that people will get upset when they’re not included in the core run, but will also understand why when it’s communicated properly
  • that Malfurion is a sexy beast, and needs to get rid of Tyrande…
  • that our first crack at a formal loot system via Konfer Suicide Kings really didn’t work for serious progression; in fact, it favoured and even sometimes encouraged casuals/casual behaviour
  • that most of our more casual guildies are laid back about raiding, and are happy to fill in when they’re online or sit out farming gold by dancing on a mailbox or trolling guild chat for lols
  • that there are plenty of fun things to do outside of PVE raiding, and it’s only going to get better in MoP.

Now do you see why I feel so freaking anxious?!

And what about returning players??!!

Returning players – I LOVE them! Our ‘retired’ rank is rather overstuffed at this point, and Mortigen mentioned to me over the weekend that we should probably have a clean out of people who hadn’t logged in for over a year, but I just. couldn’t. do. it. I believe my immediate and vehement response was something along the lines of:

‘NO! They might come back one day! I don’t want them to feel all alone and be guildless if they log back in.’

I just get so excited when an old friend logs on out of the blue after a long absence, but it always brings its own set of challenges for the officers to manage:

  • established groups will change as a result of shifts in the guild’s social dynamics, potentially leading newer members of the guild to feel marginalised through the lack of ‘history’ old friends share
  • raid spots in the core team are already competitive, and good players are hard to find. There could be pressure to include a returning player over an existing raider for various composition/skill reasons
  • people returning after progression has commenced who are behind on the gear curve and need extra help.

My tentative approach is going to be to err on the side of caution until people hit level 90 and are geared for raiding. We have made the expectations clear, and we plan to enforce that, even if it means delaying our start to progression. This includes initially saying that returning players or people who haven’t raided t12/13 won’t have any priority for core spots.

The people who have done the hard yards recently are those who ‘officially’ get priority, and I think that’s a good thing – it rewards those who have gone the distance with us through a challenging expansion.

We plan on getting a second team up and running, which will also help the core roster with being able to rotate experience in and out of the casual team. We’ve done all we can, and now it’s up to the gods to see what happens.

How about you? What do you think the challenges will be for your guild in MoP?