So you want to start a guild…

Recently, Matticus (of World of Matticus) asked some GM bloggers for advice that we would give to a new GM looking to start a guild.  As a GM who recently left a guild and started my own – and being someone with much to say on many topics, I could not limit to one comment.  So I turned it into this blog post and let Matticus choose the comment that helped fill out his blog best.

Here are some things that I feel are important and that I would pass along to someone looking to start a new guild.

Officers. Obviously, as in my case, I am the most qualified person to make decisions and will run the guild as a dictatorship.  🙂  That being said, you need people that think you are listening to their suggestions anyway.

Who will these yes-men be?  Sometimes it may be obvious as your RL BFF, spouse, that dude you have run with since Vanilla, or maybe someone you’ve met fairly recently.  Start with a small officer core and take time to work through at least the main start-up issues with these people.  You may even want to get the guild up and running a bit before expanding the leadership.

Be aware that not everyone – even your BFF – is cut out for guild leadership – and that may not be apparent until you are in the thick of things.  Be sure that the officers are people that can work through disagreements.  If you and your spouse have conflicts with both of you running in the same raid, leading a guild together may magnify that. Real life relationships are more important than a game – don’t forget it.  Oh, you thought this would be all peaches & cream?  Only if your dictatorship is structured well.

Communication.  Rarely will you and all of your guild members be online at the same time.  Actually, you can probably make that “never.”  So how do you make sure everyone knows what is going on?

Guild Website.  There are numerous free guild hosting sites, like WowStead.com out there that will provide everything you need in a “cookie cutter” type format.  If you are tech savvy and want to break out of the box, most of these sites offer some form of premium service that will allow you to modify the way your site looks or let you use a custom domain.

Ventrilo/Mumble/Teamspeak.  Whatever service you plan on using, get it set up right away – even if it is only for a small number of users to start.  As soon as you are GM, you will be bombarded with people trying to get your attention.  All at the same time.  Every day.   Forget about actually playing WoW.  Just kidding!

Typing in chat is time-consuming and easily misinterpreted.  And if you have more than one conversation going at the same time, there are going to be mistells.   /r “OMG, Eugene, I made out with Jethro’s GF at the movies last night, I couldn’t keep her off of me!”   [wsp from Jethro] “This isn’t Eugene, you .”

You can also have quick, impromptu or even scheduled meetings on vent.  Set up a vent channel for yourself, too.  Hang out in it when you are on.  That way you are available for anyone that needs something.  At the very least you can have a cool channel with your name on it.

Leadership.  Actual day to day, raid to raid leadership can be time consuming.  In some cases it can even  be physically and/or emotionally exhausting.  Sleep?  Hmm, that sounds like a concept I was familiar with at some point.

Rules & Expectations.  Be sure to post a clear description of your guild and any expectations that you have. This includes details about guild rules, raid rules, loot rules, etc.   Interpretation:  Make rules, shove them down peoples’ throats.

Have your guild members “sign/acknowledge” that they have read, understand, and agree to the rules.  Issues that arise can be fairly easily resolved this way.  Sure many people are going to sign without actually reading them.  If a person is breaking guild rules and their only response/excuse is that they didn’t really read the rules, is this really someone you want in your guild?

Evaluating Players.  Telling someone that they are not performing up to expectations can be rough.  You want your guild to succeed, but some people may not be at that stage.  How can you let them know and help them through it, without coming across like a ?  Start off with a clearly defined set of minimum requirements for raiding.  You should actually have two sets of criteria here – one objective and one subjective.

The objective list will be one that the player can refer to, see exactly where they stand, and what they need to do to meet the minimum.  This can include things such as gear item level, passing the WoW Armory Character Audit, and/or meeting some level of experience such as achieving Cataclysm Dungeon Hero.

The subjective list should also be something that the player can refer to, but it may be less obvious to them where they stand (hopefully not in the fire!).  This is where things can get dicey.  Some people can take constructive criticism and some cannot.  Keep the criticism constructive and work together actively for a solution.

Delegate, Delegate, Delegate.  You don’t have to do this alone.  Remember those yes-men I talked about?  Use them.  They are just hanging out at the Stormwind fountain panhandling anyway.

Assign each officer a specific class(es) and/or role(s) for which they will be responsible.  Have them watch how the individuals in those groups are doing and identify anything that needs to be addressed.   This does not mean that these officers need to be experts in the classes/specs.  Once an issue is identified, the officer(s) can discuss to figure out a solution.

This also provides guild members with a first line of communication, especially for those players who may not say anything at all because they are unsure of who to talk to.

In General.   Remember that the guild is not just a group of players.  It is also a group of people, each with their own wants and needs.  If you remember that, then you can be like me and have the:

Best. Guild. Ever.

Everyone at Force of Impact will agree with that.  Seriously, they will.  They know not to piss off a Druid/Shaman/Pally – we can do nasty to you!

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How One Man Saved the Internet

I was sure that this post was going to be a major rant. For about two years we have had on-and-off connection issues and, DAMMIT, it was affecting our raiding.

Some background: We have two choices here for internet, but because of service bundling, we would have to pay twice as much if we had to split the services.  We’ve had numerous tech calls/visits with no long-term solution.  We were guaranteed that the tech coming out this Saturday would be accompanied by the local area supervisor. If the supervisor didn’t show, we planned on sending the tech on his merry way and canceling our service on Monday.

Lo and behold, Ben, the tech, showed up totally unaware that we were supposed to have a supervisor as well.   He asked that we at least let him check out the immediate problem (3 days of absolutely horrible or no connection) while he was there.  Ok, fine, because we could do next to nothing and had missed another raid, why not.

But he didn’t pull out his meters and tell us “everything reads fine” and that “it must be your equipment” or “your router settings must be wrong”, or “you must have bad lines in the house”, etc. He sat down with us and asked us about the problems we had been having, what we had been told, and what had been done.

Then he called his “tech support for the techs” as many others had.  Guess what they said?  Yep, “it must be their equipment/router settings/bad lines” etc.  Ben was clearly annoyed, thanked them for their “help”, and hung up (really? WTH? did this guy care?).

Any of you out there fans of Ghost Hunters?  That was what Ben was.  At one point he even said the words, “I need to disprove this before I move on to the next thing.”  It was obvious that he didn’t intend to leave until he had resolved the issue.  Or maybe he was waiting for an invite to dinner – Mustafah was making his famous spaghetti at the time.

Then Ben started checking things out.  He found both the splitter coming into the house and the splitter going to the TVs and modems were BOTH configured improperly.  The teeny tiny TV in the upstairs bedroom was getting the “full” juice, the TV in the family room was getting the next chunk, and the modems were getting the “leftovers”.  WTH?  No one caught that before?

He corrected all that and amazingly we now had downstream power levels around +7.8 (up from -8.8) and the upstream power level dropped from 58 to about 37.   Seriously, I have never seen even ONE positive reading on the DS and the UP had always been between 54 and 58.

But Ben wasn’t done.  On our two computers, we checked the power levels and ran dueling speed and ping tests.  Hmmm.  The power levels and speeds were still fluctuating wildly.  Ben then found that there was one small section of the cable that was not new.  As he removed it, he found that it had a small kink and another small pinch.  He replaced it. Our internet stabilized.

Ben, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts/wallets.  You did what no one else was capable of doing for the last two years.  It is amazing that one man (person) can make a company, especially while many others are breaking it.  We even got a phone call from Ben a little while ago, checking to see if it was still working properly.

One man saved the internet.  Ben – we /salute you.

It has begun…

I have posted a couple of things on the blog in the last couple days.  You know what?   It felt good!

I think I might actually get back into again.  I still won’t be a regular blogger – I never was – it just doesn’t fit my style.  And with a full-time career, a part-time job (maybe a new career?), and a guild, I am just slightly busy.  And of course, I need to fit some family time and maybe even some sleep in there.

What to blog about?  I can no longer say that I am an “expert” druid healer.  I haven’t healed on Zaralin since about a month before Cataclysm came out and I really haven’t had time to keep up with it.

I do have Cayce, my resto/elemental shaman.  I have to say that I do a mighty fine job of both of those specs.  I  think that elemental is really the only dps class that I have REALLY liked (like the mage though, it’s fun too).  And, of course, Isobel is still in the the thick of things.  I am getting all the “new” pally healing down, just need some better gear.

So, should I blog about healing?  Lord knows I do enough of it.  Do I talk about trying to lead a raiding guild?  Should I just make smart-ass comments because I excel at that?  Should I just do whatever I want, be damned with the lot of you??

You need to help me decide.  Doesn’t mean I am going to listen to you.  But you can try!

Think Twice Before you Pug…

The following is not directed at anyone in particular, but rather at the collective “you” of anyone here or elsewhere.

The next time you pug, think twice before you make a scathing remark to that guy that pulled the three mobs accidentally or that guy that did not immediately hold aggro when an aggro whore with gear 2 levels above him starting hitting the mobs with everything he had, or that guy that…. (you get the picture)…

Now think about who you may be running with.

Go on, I have time. /filing fingernails

You don’t have a clue, do you?  How would you know?  And you don’t really know why or what happened when the “dude WTF don’t <fill in the blank>” happened either.

Now, go read this.  Go on, I have time – I’ll even go read it with you.

Wow.  Not much else can be said (although you know I will find <a few words>, you know, just to tidy up the edges).

Being on the internet, you may feel that you can treat others rudely because there are no consequences: “oh, they are on another server, so what if I piss them off, not like I am going to see them again.”

You remember me telling you about that pally healer than DI’d the tank when Putricide was at 2%, right?  She was so excited that the guild was going to kill that boss for the first time that she lost focus for a second and caused the raid to wipe.  Did she get berated in front of the entire raid?  Was she told that she was f’ing stupid and needed to L2heal?

Remember that we have all done stupid things at some time. Some that we may have control over, some that we may not.

No one made you the god of WoW.  #ignore that only in reference to the fact the I am the WoW goddess.

To quote a poster responding to this thread who could not have said it better:

“The point is that everyone you play with is a person with feelings that feel pain.  Sorry we’re not all “tough” like you.  What is so terrible about showing people a little kindness and compassion, even if you dont know them?  Yeah, it’s easy to get away with being a jerk when you’re hiding your identity behind a computer screen, but it really only points your own insecurities and flaws.  Maybe you’ve had a tough a life; it does not entitle you to treat others poorly.  The OP isn’t asking for handouts, she’s asking for a little tolerance and kindness.  If you’re so broken that you cant give that, then I’d say that’s a pretty good reason to pity you.”

So the next time before you think about telling someone L2P and kick them from the group, L2 not be a dickhead.  Take a deep breath.  We all need to be more tolerant and remember that this is just a f’ing game.

And thanks to @staticnnonsense for tweeting this.