Archive for the ‘Guildmastering’ category

Guess who's back!

June 25, 2010

Ok so I’ve been quiet on the blogging front. Why? Because I’ve reactivated my account, taken over leadership of my guild and started raiding again. No matter how much I’ve tried to deny it, WoW just has that magnetic pull.
It’s not even the game as such, but more the people. Even during my 2 months of inactivity I’ve had constant contact with my guildmates, through IM and the forums. I’ve pretty much ran the guild via out-of-game contact with the GM I left in charge. Through him I learnt of the depression that sank over the guild, the planned coup of one of the high officers and the begging for my return.
And I miss the guys and girls. Thats what makes WoW such an astonishingly addictive game – the people in it. I’ve met people from Switzerland, Finland, Lebanon, Vietnam, Australia. I’ve met kids and parents, even a family of three generations playing together: grandparent, parent and child. As much as the game frustrates me, the people and the politics don’t.
So I’m back and ready to write content that actually involves current issues and my playtime. Oh, and my new domain is registered, should be transfering this weekend. Watch this space for the new site soon!

Hit me baby one more time (or Why be a tank?)

June 3, 2010

Tanks. They’re funny creatures, except of course for druids, who are funny creatures no matter the spec. In my experience most leadership positions were held by a tanking class, followed by a healer, followed by everything else… then a hunter. At the top of this pyramid through the classic ages (And occasionally when Blizzard feels kind enough not to nerf us or buff the bloody palas/DKs/druids/warlock pets) was the warrior.

To be honest, when I started playing WoW I had no idea what the role of the warrior was. I expected to go through life wielding huge axes and hitting stuff till they surrendered or bled to death. Imagine my surprise when I entered RFC for the first time and everyone huddled behind me, prodding me to go forward and keep everything busy while they cowered behind that boulder. In that moment, a new tank was born. I discarded my big 2handed axe, picked up a grey shield and a green sword and never looked back.

So what is it that makes a tank? I’ve seen many players try to tank after playing another class/role for a long time. Some succeed, some gain a level of mediocrity but most just fail. By fail I don’t mean running heroics or tanking a world spawn, I mean raid tanking.

Well, to me a tank has to have a few qualities.:

  • Confidence – A scared tank is a dead tank. A hesitant tank is a dead dps or healer. A tank must have an ego as big as his HP pool but the skills to back them up. No-one likes a cocky tank that can’t keep agro off the healer. This is also probably the reason why good tanks gravitate towards leadership positions in guilds.
  • Maths – Tanking theorycrafting is second only to mage theorycrafting imo. Firstly you have this magic number to attain before you can even start raiding (Defence Cap, soon to be gone but it’s still here so I mention it) and then you have to balance out stamina, armor, damage reduction, dodge rating, block rating, block value, parry, mitigation vs threat, etc etc etc. The permutations are limitless and every tank has his own way of doing things.
  • A Thick Skin – No I don’t mean Barkskin. When you start out you’re going to take flak. Think the healer gets blamed for everything? Wait till you mispull your first pack and cause a wipe.  Just persevere, preferably with a group of friends and a few beers, and hone the skills that will make raidleaders beg for your presence.  Oh, and you must enjoy being hit.. all the time… coz thats like… your job…
  • Gold – Getting the gear you need crafted, gemmed and enchanted, not to mention repaired, is gonna cost you a few small fortunes. Be prepared to having a money-making profession (that also benefits you) or rich guildies to help you out. And because every tiny stat helps so much when you’re a tank, you can’t afford to not get that +30 stam gem.
  • Gear – I hate it but it’s true. Tanks, especially warrior tanks, are gear dependent. You can fake your way into a VoA with some PvP gear and a bunch of blues hiding away as a DPS class, but as a tank it’s not your raidmates that judge your gear, but that big boss you’re trying to impress enough so he’ll keep hitting on you. Bosses care enough about things like whether you’re crit immune or if you have more hp than what he hits for or if you do enough threat to keep the hunter who doesn’t know how to FD alive. Of course Gear needs to be coupled with…
  • Skill – Tanking is like a dance. A complex dance, not a linedance. You can’t just bash two buttons every 3 seconds and expect to come out a winner like some DPS classes in the past. You have to be situationally aware, not just about your own position, but the boss and the spawning creep and your teammates. You have an ability for every situation and you need to know which one works the most effectively in what situation.

Ok, so why this post after my post just two days ago about quitting? Well as a social person, I have many of my WoW contacts on MSN and Facebook and somehow I got conned into tanking ICC again by a guildmate, which got me to thinking about some of the partners I’ve tanked with in the past, good and bad. Anyway, random post that’s stretched on way longer than usual. I’ll add some pretty pics soon. Oh and since I’ve only covered the basics and still have to get to the why, see part 2 soon.

Phoenix down

June 1, 2010

It’s finally happened. After 4 and a half years of being guildmaster I’ve relinquished my lead to one of my officers. I’m now marked as an inactive officer. I’ve tried playing a few times in the last few weeks and every time I just end up moping around on my main and then logging to my rogue for 1-2 dungeons. I do still immensely enjoy the game, the alting and the rogue’s totally overpowered playstyle. I don’t enjoy being guildmaster at the moment. I don’t want the responsibility of looking after 100 guildies. I’m not capable of leading or even attending a raid at this time.

Have I given up on WoW?

No, not by a long shot. I’m excited about Cataclysm and will be standing in that line to get my copy at midnight like I’ve done every expansion. I’m also enjoying my alts but I won’t be speedleveling him to get some raiding done before cata hits. Instead I’ll be taking my time and enjoying the scenery. I’ll divert my blogging attention back to the RP style I experimented with a few weeks ago and that was inspired by Piket.

So to my readers, I apologise for the absolutely crap content of the last few weeks and I’ll try to make up for it soon. I’ll also be opening a new section for my other writing (hint: loosely based on Azeroth’s past) that will hopefully end up in a book one day.

A change is as good as a holiday, or so I hope.

May 13, 2010

It’s finally happened. I’ve grown tired of guild mastering and subsequently WoW. I’ve been GM of my guild for over 4 years and an officer in my brother’s guild for 6 months before that. In other words it’s been ages since I’ve had some ME time in the game.

I’ve handed over full control to my most trusted officers, I’ve told my guild I’d be in the shadows for a while and I’ve set some goals for myself – fun stuff to do to keep me interested. Stuff like:

  • Gear up my hunter to attempt soloing as many old bosses as possible, with my final goal being Ragnaros.
  • Level up my rogue while keeping the RP flavour.
  • Play around and find myself a suitable caster (My priest doesn’t count)
  • Exploring hidden and interesting places in Azeroth before it all goes boom on us.
  • Actually make some gold.

Hopefully my guild will survive the ordeal, made worse considering it’s the start of the summer slump as well as approaching a new expansion. But we’ve been through worse and we’ve survived, so I guess it will be okay. Hopefully I’ll regain my interest in WoW and blogging about WoW and I’ll return to make a triumphant sweep of Ulduar and the likes.

Hopefully…

Recruitment Spam

March 27, 2010

The first thing that usually draws your attention to a guild is its recruitment blurb. Many guilds battle it out on on the realm forums, but most of it is done in the trade and recruitment channels (Yes I know recruitment through trade is frowned upon, but the simple matter is that it is done).  The problem is that most of them get spammed so much or are so dull they’re not given the time of day.

So how do you get noticed? Well, that depends on the type of guild you’re recruiting for. For a respected raiding guild, the mere mention of classes, gear and expectations is enough to get applications by the dozen. No goals or fancy words are needed because the people answering your call will already know who you are. But if you’re not recruiting for one of the elite few, your job’s a bit harder. You’re going to have to show then that your guild means business, that you’ve already put some work into it and that there’s some experience behind the members you already have. A serious tone and clear outlay of goals are the order of the day. Expect to spend a lot of time exchanging whispers about your needs, your dreams and explaining why they should join your guild instead of the one that already has Arthas on farm.

Roleplaying guilds tend to have elaborate multiparted posts about their heritage, their goals, alignment and the such, which I find to be a bit off. Why not have something short but meaningful, something that will be clearly noticed by the roleplayer without interfering with the non-RP player? A job offering perhaps, seeking assassins to take care of a certain problem for a guild factioned with Ravencrest. Or an invitation to a banquet or event for a more general RP recruitment. Once you have their attention, you can start explaining your goals in a more personalised manner.

If you are a casual guildleader that also has designs on raiding (like I find myself), a bit of comedy thrown in with the classes and goals usually works well. Showing off a friendly side other than the always unfulfilled promises of “we boost you through stuff” goes a long way. Working it in against comments made in global channels works wonders too. Take this evening for example: a few starting guilds were competing for recruitment. Out of nowhere, a settled guild piped out “We’re not recruiting because you smell bad.” My immediate response was to comment “We’re recruiting you because you smell bad.”, followed by our standard recruitment blurb. Immediately the whispers for more info came in. Another guild was advertising something to the likes of “We have 5 bankslots filled with epics, you can’t have any. We raid 0 times a week from 19:00 to 24:00.  Pay us 1000g to fill out an application.” It might not sound impressive, but it gets people talking, and you want people to talk about your guild.

Leveling guilds don’t really need much in recruitment. People pick leveling guilds purely for the chatter and then leave once they have progressed beyond the limits of the guild. If you are seeking a guild like this, ignore the promises of boosts and the like because they will most likely not be honoured. For every two members capable of boosting, there are twenty wanting to be boosted. Rather pick one that suits your level of maturity and that has the guildchat that you seek. Don’t be afraid to jump around for a while while leveling.

The same goes for finding a family/ultracasual guild, one that has no aspirations for raiding, for organised PVP or the like but are just there to have fun. Recruitspams would generally be formed in the same was as the casual raiding guild, excluding the classes required and including the type of personalities required.

Change is not always good

March 25, 2010

My last post was about the cycle of guild, and how it takes a lot to go from establishing a guild to getting it going as a strong raiding team. My guild has done that many times over the last 4 years. As content gets exhausted, quite a few of the core players of a server tend to get bored and leave. Others use this opportunity to recruit those that are left behind and go for one more push at clearing new raids.
With Vanilla, this counted strongly in our favour: we built a huge following of experienced raiders and when The Burning Crusade struck some of our members were in the first kills in Karazhan. We lost a few members to slow leveling, leaving the top players frustrated, but soon enough we had a good 25man team (two at one point) doing Gruul, Magtheridon and Serpentshrine Cavern (One raid would be one of the best I’ve ever attended, with 4 new bosses dying in one night and us getting a first-pull kill on one). We did well in Mount Hyjal and got a kill on our first ever attempt to the Black Temple.
Then came another decline as people left for the annual summer migration. Come the day of the Burning Crusade release, a few of our more hard-core players were already waiting on the zeppelin towers. Within 5 days we had our first 80’s and within 10 we were taking a group into Naxxramas.
Obviously this got us noticed, and other level 80’s, tired of waiting for their guild to catch up to them, flocked to our gates. We built an elite team of raiders, getting a few first kills and finally getting the third Horde kill of Kel’Thuzad on our server.
Then disaster struck. For personal reasons just before the release of Ulduar, I had to take a 3 month sabbatical. I came back to find my once-proud guild in tatters. I saw one guildmate online in two days of playing. But slowly the whispers came in “Are you back? Are you reforming?”.
We got most of our core back, and with them friends and ex-guildies. We started raiding, badly at first but building up speed. We stuck to 10mans, not wanting the monster we had before. Then the fated migration started again. Guilds were disbanding or setting up camp for the summer. Applications started rolling in. We had a record of 17 apps in one day (Groups and singles).
Now here we are again. The monster is back and it’s woken up as grumpy as a lion with a festering tooth. It wants blood and it wants it now. The only problem is that this quiet village I call my guild is ill-prepared for it and I fear it may be overrun. Suddenly another sabbatical seems in order, to just let the wave pass and the dust settle…
But I can’t do that again. I can’t rebuild again, it would kill me. So here I am, stuck between cutting my illusions of grandeur and slaying the beast, making it a little friendly 10man guild again; Or letting it free letting it run and hanging on to the reins for dear life and see where it takes me once again.

Well, I best put on my best riding shoes.

The Vicious Cycle

March 17, 2010

If you’re an aspiring guildmaster then you’ve surely been in this situation before. You want to raid, be it hardcore or casual. But to raid, you need more numbers that are raid-ready. You try to recruit but the first question you invariably run in to is “What progress have you made?” Now of course, as a startup or reforming guild, you can’t get those kills because you don’t have the numbers, so the prospective applicant goes elsewhere. You can’t raid because you need members, and you can’t get members because you don’t raid.
My guild went through this not too long ago. We had the members, just not all of them online at the same time. We didn’t make much progress, missed a lot of raid dates and generally failed. Recruitment was slow, with the occasional blue DK or hunter but nothing else biting. Then for a few weeks running we got some kills in. Things went so well that people who didn’t log in before were logging in. We were oversigned so decided to make an extra group with some pugs. The pugs joined the guild and news spread.
In the last week, we’ve had 15 applications, more than in the last 6 months put together. Suddenly we’ve gone from barely a 10man to three dedicated 10mans and a 25man group running.
Our cycle has been broken, which only leaves a few hundred more problems to contend with. Leading a guild, even a semi-casual one, is not an easy task and one should be thankful for great officers.
Have any of you been stuck in the recruitment cycle? Leave a comment and let me know what happened.