I have a few post ideas I am mulling over for here, this past week has just been so busy! Vosskah and I joined Ophelie and Oestrus this past weekend on their podcast. We talked about a lot of guild leading-related things and had a good time and a long chat. So you can check that out if you are into podcasts, and thanks again to those two ladies for having us. We both enjoyed ourselves.
Posts tagged ‘guild matters’
It’s a running joke in our guild that the warlock “position” is like the Defence Against The Dark Arts teacher.
When I joined, we had a warlock. He left in a fit of pique after his performance was called into question. I’m not going to share any more dirt than that, though. The end result was one down!
We found a replacement warlock who was pretty impressed with his own importance. More importantly, he never signed up for raids on time. When he was called on this, he left citing “personality differences.” Two warlocks gone.
Our third warlock was actually a hunter who switched to play his warlock. As a casualty, this was the first one I can take semi-credit for because we had some conflicts, he and I, after I assumed guild leadership. By that time he was playing a shaman, but I think he played his warlock for the longest, so in my mind it counts. Third warlock, gonzo.
Our fourth warlock started out as a warrior DPS and switched to give us greater access to ranged players. He was there for our H LK kill, but switched to playing his DK at the beginning of Cata (and ultimately stopped raiding). Goodbye, ex-warlock the fourth.
Finally, our most recent warlock, who is an all-around great guy and fit in really well, has reached the end of his WoW career and decided to hang up his hat. I can’t do anything but respect his wishes, of course, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t sad to see him go. He was like the dream warlock. I should have known it was too good to be true!
So that’s five warlocks, all of whom lasted either a short while before leaving, or switching characters, or switching characters and then leaving.
What I want to know is, what is it about warlocks? I grant you that mine is anecdotal evidence, but there’s no single class with higher turnover in the guild than warlocks. We’ve had the same mage(s) for almost two years. Our shaman is rock-steady, as is our druid, and even folks who stopped playing still stayed for a really long while with the same character.
I have a few crackpot theories.
Crackpot Theory #1: People playing warlocks have often been playing them for a long time.
As one of the original classes that seems to have always done good DPS, many warlocks have played since Vanilla. This was a reason cited by our recent warlock – seven years of playtime (in one game) is a lot. You’re bound to get tired of it eventually, right?
Crackpot Theory #2: All the warlocks became DKs.
This was a joke, but I’ve definitely seen a correlation between people who play DKs and Warlocks. Either warlocks have DK alts, or they switched to DKs when Wrath came out, or vice versa. Maybe it’s not that warlocks don’t last, it’s just that they all become plate-wearing pet-commanding disease-wielding deathmongers instead? (100% less fel).
Crackpot Theory #3: Something about our guild is repellant to warlocks.
Maybe we have too many Draenei. Maybe the anti-warlock sentiment is too strong, or maybe they just sense our inherent mageliness and think, “Nah, I’m out of here.” I’m not actually sure what it is, or if there’s any correlation to anything at all. But there has to be something, because we just can’t seem to hang onto a warlock!
What do you think? Is your guild stuffed full of warlocks? Have you seen a dwindling of the warlock population? Do I need to try and find a “Care and feeding of your warlock” manual so that I can hang onto the next one (if we can find him or her?) I welcome any and all warlock conspiracy theories.
p.s. – You may have guessed this from the post content, but we’re looking for a warlock. A balance druid or a shadow priest would also be welcome!
I’ve been the ‘recruitment officer’ in some capacity for my guild for almost as long as I’ve been in the guild. To be fair, this means something different in a ten-man group than it does for a big twenty-fives guild. We don’t need to recruit constantly or usually more than one person at a time. Because of our niche, recruitment has always been interesting. In some ways, it was harder because the vast majority of folks were looking for a “real” raiding guild (i.e. not tens). In other ways it was easier because there were very few tens-only guilds to serve the needs of those who were seeking them specifically.
More often than not a year ago I would have to approach people who hadn’t indicated a preference for twenty-fives, on the off chance that they were open to either raid size. Sometimes this worked and we gained an excellent guild-member because of it. Other times the person would scramble to specify, “I meant twenty-fives!”
The balance of power has shifted in the recruitment forums. An explosion of ten-man guilds scramble alongside twenty-fives to try and fill their rosters at all levels of progression. The way that guilds snap at the heels of any prospective applicant is a pretty strong indicator that it’s a buyer’s market out there. Happily, the number of people looking for a tens guild is about evenly matched with those seeking a twenty-fives guild. This is good for us. Unhappily, hardly anyone is viewing my ads.
Since Battle.net was integrated with the official Warcraft site, the forums have also changed. A change I’m really not happy about is the way that the guild recruitment forum was rolled into one biiiiig forum. It used to be that there was some division between Horde and Alliance forum. I can see why they did away with this – after all, since faction transfers exist there are many people willing to switch sides for their guild of choice. It’s okay to me that Alliance and Horde posts are mixed together, but I still think this forum needs vast improvement.
Despite there being many other sites that have tried to fill the recruitment niche, none of them have ever really been as useful as the official forums. It’s a simple numbers game – if 80% of the population doesn’t know about or use your tool, then it’s not even worth the time it takes to register on the site. People ARE using the recruitment forums, but they’re a big mess.
I propose that the forums ought to be divided into at least two sections – one for people seeking a guild, and one for guilds seeking people. I wonder if they haven’t done this because it would reduce visibility for guilds advertising? I’d accept that sacrifice in exchange for an easy way to browse through the ads of individuals rather than the hundreds of other guilds I don’t care about. There are external sites that work to alleviate this problem, which is kind of telling. If you need another website to navigate your forums, it’s possible your forums could use some tweaking. They could even sub-divide the forums: one subforum for 25s raiding and one for 10s, and maybe one for PvP/Other (although I’m pretty sure most RP folks aren’t using the official forums for the majority of their recruitment. An RP guild would have better luck on the ‘realm’ forums).
The Many and The Few
The other obstacle facing recruiting guilds right now is a simple matter of supply and demand. So many new guilds sprang up for Cataclysm that competition for available players is fierce. I’ll be honest with you, I’ve been browsing the recruitment forums for over a year and I’ve never seen it quite like this. If you aren’t one of the first people to reply to someone’s ad, chances are that your interest will simply get buried in the deluge of ad spam that follows.
It’s great for the people looking for a guild! There’s never been a better time to locate a guild that matches every criteria you have – server type, raid type, size and attitude. The flip-side of that is that it’s a difficult time to be a guild seeking personnel. As a guild leader or recruitment officer, you need to think about what makes your guild so different than the others also trying to attract a person’s attention. Are you more progressed, do you have better times for them? You know your guild is awesome, but you have to convince this person of that enough that they will apply. This also brings up the issue of quality. I’ve seen applicants advertising themselves that have, let’s say, 9/12 experience (with normal mode encounters). Which is fine! I’m not judging. But this same applicant will advertise that their guild of choice must have “at least” 6/13 hard-modes down. I can understand wanting to find a guild a bit more progressed than you are, especially if you are at a progression block in your current guild. You want to know that the guild you’re joining is pushing the content you want. But I can tell you now, if you personally have only done 9/12, there’s no way you are geared enough for doing the later hard-modes, at least in a ten-man guild. You would be a liability to that team until they were able to gear you further, and also until you actually learned the encounters. But these people will inevitably find a guild with that kind of progression, because that’s the way recruitment is right now. This is still a bit of a red flag for me, though – I wouldn’t want someone making those kinds of demands to join my guild. I’m pretty sure our attitudes towards perseverance and progression wouldn’t match up. It’s not that I wouldn’t recruit someone who hasn’t done any hard-modes, I might consider it if the personality and attitude were a match. Encounters can be learned. But in that case you are the one that has to impress me, not the other way around!
Something Wicked This Way
I can’t write a post about recruitment without mentioning another trend that’s really been disturbing me. It seems to be completely acceptable now as someone seeking a guild to post your Real ID e-mail address in your recruitment ad. I’ve seen folks casually say more often than not, “Here’s my Real ID contact information, so message me this way.”
First of all, are these people crazy? Posting up your Real ID in a public forum is just begging to be hacked. Hackers know it’s the same e-mail address you use to login to Battle.net in the first place, and you’ve just given them a key piece of information. So there’s the fact that it’s a security risk. Secondly, Real ID is intended to be a method of contact between real-life friends. It uses your actual name, unless you used a pseudonym when you first registered for Battle.net (You can’t change your name in the system without phoning a customer service rep, I looked into it). So you’re giving complete strangers access to your account e-mail and your real name without a second thought.
I’ve seen recruiters that also include their Real ID information along with, “Here’s how you can get in touch with me.” Well, this is a fine pickle. I’ve actually been frustrated to see that potential applicants are having conversations via Real ID before anyone has even posted a “reply” to their ad. The advent of Real ID being used this way might mean that I miss out on potential applicants to my guild – and so be it, because I am not going to be giving out my first and last name to a complete stranger just so that I can ask them some questions about their tanking spec.
In-Game Guild Finder
This is the newest development in the guild-seeking and finding scene: the in-game guild finder! Scott Andrews over at WoW Insider wrote an article for GLs about how to set your guild up to find applicants this way. This is what the interface looks like:
That’s what ours looks like. Any requests your guild receives show up in the “Requests” tab where an applicant is also given space to send a message (although you can send a request without any message at all). So what do I think of the new tool? Well, any tool designed to bring a guild to the attention of prospective applicants is a good one. We’ve had a number of “requests” this way, but none of those people have actually joined the guild. There’s actually an “invite” button on the tab, and maybe some guilds would be happy to invite a member just on the basis of three sentences, but we’re not going to be changing our outlook on that anytime soon. People still have to go to our website to fill out a “real” application, and so this tool is an intermediary at best. Still, it increases visibility and might sometime gain us the right applicant so I don’t mind it. I hope they refine some things such as the “availability” section. Plenty of people are available on “weekdays,” but are those weekdays the days my guild is actually raiding?
Hanging In There
Having said all of the above, though, all of our recent recruitment has been quite successful. When we needed a new tank we had to look at an unprecedented five(!) quality applications, and it wasn’t an easy decision. We found our holy paladin healer back in February reasonably easily (and I don’t think it was my clever ad that attracted him either, more’s the pity). Recently we had our fury warrior swap to healing and subsequently recruited a friend of an existing guild member to fill the slot. This is naturally the ideal – never having to resort to “cold” methods of recruitment at all. If you can find quality people via word of mouth or existing contacts you are reasonably assured that the applicant will be a good fit for your guild at least in personality, and you also have someone to vouch ahead of time for their quality of play.
As it happens, BT is still recruiting for two members at the moment. We’re looking for ideally a moonkin and an excellent healer; either paladin, priest, or restoration shaman. If you want to read more about the specifics you can do so on our recruitment ad or our website. I’m also happy to answer any questions here. (Hey, it’s my blog, a little advertising never hurt anyone!)
The other day I read this post by Oestrus over at World of Matticus called Keeping Up With The Paragons. It touched on something that I’ve been thinking about pretty much since launch. It’s easy at this point in the expansion’s life to feel as if you are getting left behind, will never accomplish what you want to accomplish – or if you do, it’ll be so long after the fact that it’s irrelevant. It’s not true. The expansion just came out – approximately yesterday! Really. You have to dive in at your own pace, not the pace of everyone around you. Not everyone is going to have server firsts, or world firsts – in fact, I think the majority of us are comfortably someplace in the middle. The guilds that are blowing through content like tissue paper are impressive, but they make sacrifices and commitments to be there. That’s not a criticism, it’s a fact. Finally, the content isn’t going to go anywhere. You still have time.
It’s okay if you aren’t raiding yet, honest.
Time Well Spent: Always Includes Cookies
The expansion has been out for twenty-eight days, or exactly four weeks. Of those days, depending on your beliefs – at least three were likely holidays. (The twenty-fourth, fifth, and first of January, for anyone keeping track). That leaves you with exactly twenty-five days that you could have been playing WoW, but I’m probably being generous there. In my case, my brother was here from out of town for Christmas. I don’t see him more than once a year – and the once is if I’m lucky – so I sure wasn’t going to be playing WoW in the evenings when he was here. Several of our guild members had other obligations; travel, family, holiday. One of them moved across the country in the middle of December, a few more went home to another state to celebrate the holidays with their families.
I’m not here making excuses. (“Oh, we absolutely would have been server-first at xyx if only we’d had the time!“) But the fact is, the expansion is still quite young. Presumably most folks had to attend to that pesky work-thing for a good chunk of December. I know that being behind the leveling curve can be frustrating. I started playing WoW pretty late in Burning Crusade, and it felt like an eternity before I could catch up to play with the “big people.” When Wrath came out, I was bound and determined not to be left behind, and I wasn’t. This time around I’ve been much more relaxed. I leveled at what I consider a reasonable pace, and my reasonable pace is probably different from yours. At least two guildies were 85 quite literally overnight. I wasn’t among them, but that’s okay. We’re all going to be raiding at the same time.
Expectations and Priorities: We can’t all be first.
Only you can know when you’re ready to raid. You should raid when you’re ready, and not a moment before. If you aren’t raiding right now, it doesn’t mean you’re lazy, or bad, or slow. It means that you made different choices. You chose (or had no choice) but to use your time in a different way. Now you’re hearing reports of all these first-kills rolling in via Twitter, or other blogs, or whispers from friends, and you start to feel panicky. “Why isn’t that me? Did I wait too long?”
Not everyone is going to be first, even though the competitive WoW culture is a bit obsessed with it. It can be nice to compare yourself to other folks to see how you measure up, and can serve as a form of recognition for the effort you’ve put into your character and the game. But it’s important to recognize that those kinds of achievements require a sacrifice. To use myself as an example, we could have pushed the guild harder to be ready on time. I could have made sure to run more heroics over the holidays instead of going out for supper (and sushi lunch!) with my brother and my family. I could have done that, but I didn’t want to. I’m not passing judgment on people who would have made a different choice – I’m not in their shoes! Maybe they don’t celebrate the holidays, or their family was out of town. I can’t possibly know that. I do know that I’ve chosen to be in a guild of people who are adults. They have children, jobs, and other obligations. We’re also a small guild (by choice) and so we have to wait for our full roster to be ready before we can dive into ten mans. I know some twenty five-sized guilds have been able to work on tens. They have a “head start” on us, and that’s fine too.
We expected to start raiding in early January, and that’s what we’re doing – right on schedule! I know a few of our members would’ve preferred for us to start sooner, but the sacrifice didn’t seem worth it. We have a great group of excellent raiders with real-life obligations that prevented us from raiding sooner, but we know that when we do raid we’ll be ready. One ill-fated Blackwing Descent evening back in mid-December proved that. Gearing, gemming, and enchanting don’t happen overnight. The only possible problem is when your expectations and those of your guild don’t match up. In most cases, I think that if you wait a month you won’t be disappointed. Everything feels very urgent right now, but raid progression will settle as we all get a chance to get to it.
Inevitable End: This, too, shall be patched.
As Wrath proved, Blizzard is firmly committed to making sure that everyone who wants to see end-game content will be able to do so. Whether your guild raids once a week for kicks, or five nights a week, you’ll get there. Even the heroics that folks have alternately lauded and complained about will become easier as people acquire raid gear and are more willing to pug. There’s no knowing when the next content patch will be. Clearing what’s available at a reasonable pace is something everyone has to decide for themselves, much like leveling. You can have raid goals even if you haven’t started raiding yet. You can meet those goals. I’m confident in our particular group’s ability to learn quickly, and I think the time spent gearing while people rested and went on vacation is better spent than if we’d tried to rush into raiding too soon. The frustration would have outweighed any imaginary benefit to be achieved from “doing things first.”
Regardless of when you start, if you have the will and the people to make it happen, your raiding will be successful. What successful means is something only you can decide for yourself, and don’t let the accomplishments of others cast a shadow on your own. Congratulate your further progressed friends (sincerely!) and rest assured that your time is coming. That tortoise knew what he was talking about.
Even though my authenticator died last week after two years of loyal service, I’m still here to write a positive entry about them. I’m not going to repeat what has already been said so well. Gazimoff wrote a great post awhile back busting the myths about authenticators. I agree emphatically with everything that he wrote there, and the post is still worth a read. The arguments for having an authenticator are many, the arguments against are few.
I’m here to tell you about my authenticator in particular, though. I’ve had it a significant chunk of time – since before Wrath came out. Authenticators were out of stock in the Blizzard store back then, and so we actually had ours shipped to us by friends in the UK. (We traded them game-time codes, it all evened out in the end). Back then I didn’t have much of an idea about authenticators. I thought it was something a bit extraneous, and I wasn’t much worried about it. But as other friends told me of the times they had been hacked, I began to be glad I had one.
People had seen their characters stripped of everything, left naked on tables in inns. I don’t think I’ve been in a guild whose bank hasn’t been affected by a hacked player’s account. I’ve seen players devastated at the loss of all of their things – and mortified that their account also took everything from the guild bank. The first time it happened, my lovingly tended guild bank was absolutely gutted. It had so many things in it, everything, really. It was a small friends and family guild so restrictions on withdrawals were non-existent. They took it all.
It was also all returned – eventually. I’m not sure if the delay was on the part of the player submitting the ticket, but it was about a week before we sniffed any of our things again. In my current guild, we’ve had the bank impacted by hackers twice since I’ve been here, and also before I joined. The first time, the hack was so sophisticated that somehow they managed to override the daily withdrawal restrictions. We think it had to do with the date and time – it was changed to fool the server into thinking that the days were different, and so again – everything was gone. That time it was because a guildie had accessed WoW from a hotel internet connection.
The last, most recent time the hacker did not manage to circumvent these securities. They were only able to take two stacks from each tab – so, forty abyss crystals, forty fish feasts, etc. The guildie whose account was affected did all that he could in the interim – copying and pasting his password from a text file and running anti-virus scans on his computer. All of our things were returned very quickly – within a day, and his authenticator was in the mail. Despite all his precautions, he was hacked again before his authenticator arrived.
People with malicious intent towards your WoW account are smart, and they are ruthless. I’ve been happy to have the added security of my authenticator for the past two years. The day it died… well. That’s another story.
You remember the book that I was hoping to get? The last book that stood between me and a Kirin Tor Familiar? Well, it spawned the other day. I never thought I’d see it, and there it was… On Vosskah’s computer screen.
As for me, I couldn’t reach that book – because when I had tried to login ten minutes before the spawn time, my authenticator did something funny. The six digit number froze on the screen. It was the same one as before, and even when I hit the button it wouldn’t go away. I shook it – nothing. It has no opening to change a battery; once it is borked, it’s borked. My authenticator was supremely borked. At this point, I didn’t know that the book would be spawning. I called Blizzard Customer Service to have the authenticator removed from my account. You can’t just take it off yourself when it isn’t working, because it requires two secure codes to do. I was on hold for about six minutes. As I listened to extremely loud music…the book spawned.
I had Voss sit on it. Surely draenei ass would prove sufficient to the task! It could cover the book, right? Just until I got there! It wouldn’t despawn unless someone clicked it.
Someone clicked it before I managed to reach customer service.
Even though the gentleman who helped me was efficient and friendly – by the time we were finished, the book was gone. I was disproportionately upset. The story has a happy ending – a day of dedicated camping the next day yielded the book, and the achievement. My authenticator and Murphy’s Law prevented me from getting the book when I should have gotten it, and I still do not regret having it, not in the slightest.
Show Me Your Corehound
Meantime, since my account was without an authenticator, I immediately passed leadership of the guild to Voss. You see, after this latest hacking, I realized that I had made a mistake. I should have made changes to our guild’s ranks and securities as soon as patch 4.0 made it possible to do so.
For guild leaders, we can now go in and have the option of making specific guild ranks require an authenticator. Lining every one up and having them bring out their Corehound pet seemed a little bit draconian, so we had never done that. But this – this is simple enough. What I did was create a new rank – “Raider II”, to supplement our existing “Raider” rank. This rank is below the original rank. I first demoted everyone to Raider II. Then I ticked the box to require Raider rank to have an authenticator. I went through the list of our raiders promoting each raider that had the option to be promoted. If they didn’t have an authenticator, it wouldn’t let me promote them. Then, I removed bank withdrawal access from the Raider II rank.
I know, it sounds extreme. I actually really hate doing it – I don’t like that some of our raiders will have to ask to get things out of the bank – because it means they probably won’t withdraw much, and they probably won’t ask. I view it as a necessary evil, though. This is the only way I can safeguard the guild against losing the things we’ve worked hard to get – enchanting mats, feasts, and other necessities of raiding. There is a small caveat with this that authenticators recently attached to an account may not necessarily register as existing in game. It can be a 48-72 hour wait before someone can be promoted to a rank that requires an authenticator.
Naturally, having an authenticator is a requirement for officers and guild leader rank as well. So I made Voss interim guild leader and asked him to demote all of my officer characters to a rank that wouldn’t allow them to access the bank. I didn’t want to be a security risk myself while I waited for my new authenticator to come in the mail.
Time is Money, Frrriend
Of course I want to safeguard my own hard work and character’s items/gear/gold. But more than that, I think the toughest thing for people whose accounts are hacked is the impact it has on their friends and guild. I know that our guildies who’ve been hacked have felt terrible. We all work together to put gold and items in the bank and so we take a certain pride in those things. For a mere $6.50, I have an added assurance that all the hours I put into this game won’t be compromised or impact my friends. I can’t say enough about how quickly things were shipped, either. We ordered two athenticators on Friday. They arrived Monday morning via FedEx. Shipping to Canada is expensive, I’ll give you that. The shipping ($10) cost more than an authenticator itself. But, there’s a plus side to this. It gave me the opportunity I’d been wanting to order these guys.
Aren’t they adorable?! They come in a fabric satchel emblazoned with the Horde/Alliance logo. I need to find them a place of honour on my desk, and then I’ll probably set one of them up with a way of holding my authenticator for me.
Note: I ordered two because I wanted a backup, and next time I’ll probably swap them over BEFORE the original dies. “Percussive maintenance” didn’t do much good with the first one. They are really solidly constructed. Don’t ask how I know.