Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Not A Whole Lot Of Time


Hey all, I am sorry that I did not have a lot of time to prepare something special, but I thought I would share with you what I enjoy doing the most in some free time.
To the left is a screenshot of an Alterac Valley battleground I ran a while back. This one was taken after I turned 80 and was moderately geared.
I ended up leading all healers with over 800,000 heals. I may not have wanted to be a healer when I started playing the game, but it just proves that if you put your mind to something that you can accomplish it. I know that sounded really cheesy, almost like an afterschool special on drugs or something like that, but the fact remains that my heals were solid and are still solid.
Running Alterac Valley is probably my favorite thing to do when not needing to run a guild outing or what not. The majority of the AV battlegrounds lately have ended in misery, but it is one of the few battlegrounds where a healer can really shine because of the bosses. Well, I hope everyone has a good day!

Monday, February 16, 2009

25 Useless Facts About Ruhtra

Alright, so while reading the many blogs out there, I came across this one from Doofy. I am not a huge fan of Facebook or Myspace, but because I do enjoy reading Doofy's blog I figured I would go ahead and continue his 25 useless facts. So without any further wait here is the 25 useless facts for Ruhtra (the person, not the character):


  1. Ruhtra originally started out as a Dwarf on the Daggerspine server. I decided to start playing and did not want to tell my friends from work until after I felt like I had gotten a feel for WoW and would know if I liked the game or not. At level 25 I informed them of my selection. When they finished laughing and told me they were Horde I quietly walked away. At level 29 I deleted that poor little Dwarf and since the launch of BC had occurred I rerolled Ruhtra as a Blood Elf Paladin.
  2. Ruhtra has 20 brothers and sisters on the same server and no I cannot remember all of their names without cheating and looking. (That equals three accounts if you didn't get that one.)
  3. When my wife started playing I treated her worse than I would an alli in Orgrimar. She put up with my lack of help and somehow managed to learn how to play the game.
  4. I have started two guilds on the same server. One as a joke (Mass Affluent Slayers), the other for cheap storage space (First Bank of Silvermoon).
  5. I secretly had a Dwarf Hunter on another server in my same battlegroup. I originally wanted to play on a PVP server as an alliance character. I selected the server in hopes of running into fellow guild mates in battlegrounds where I would be able to kill their toons. In a sad decision, I deleted my poor little Dwarf.
  6. Dwarfs have bad luck with me.
  7. I still want a Dwarf character, but hate to play alone. I have gotten use to running with my friends and wife.
  8. I hate all gnomes, not for the usual reasons, but while leveling in Stranglethorn Vale, I was camped mercilessly by a gnome warlock and rogue for over a week. Since that day, I have made it a personal goal for Ruhtra to kill all gnomes.
  9. Ruhtra's first and favorite arena partner was a Tauren hunter named Bigdog.
  10. I cannot handle playing on a PVE server. When something goes wrong and I am mad, it is impossible to find anyone to fight. When I am in a good mood and just want to quest or level, everyone annoys me with duel challenges.
  11. I originally hated the PVP server.
  12. I will not play on anything other than a PVP server.
  13. Ruhtra did not go the Northrend to quest until after reaching level 77.
  14. I refuse to use a haste build on Ruhtra. I have stuck with the tried and true MP5 and crit build. (Which has caused me to not give a rat's ass about the nerf to Devine Plea)
  15. I dispise those who get onto trade channel and spam about joining their guild.
  16. I hate hearing people complain about getting killed by an alli while playing on a PVP server.
  17. I have never left Ruhtra laying dead in a battlefield. This has led to many deaths on a "tactical retreat"
  18. I have led a train of 20 allies chasing Ruhtra through 5 zones all because of a "minor" misunderstanding. :)
  19. I hate that Ruhtra is a healer.
  20. I will not change Ruhtra to do anything else, since he is quite good at what he does.
  21. Tarren Mill/South Shore is my favorite place to go stir up trouble.
  22. I still avoid Stranglethorn Vale to this day.
  23. My first 70 was not Ruhtra, but a Shaman named Walani.
  24. Walani has been retired as he is on my wife's account.
  25. I secretly dream of bringing back Shaman tanks. (That is for the old school players.)
So there we have it, my list of 25 useless facts. Hope you enjoyed and perhaps got a laugh.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Tanks For The Memories!

Like the title says, tanks for the memories. Pretty much that is what the tanks in our guild are like, memories. At one time we had some pretty good tanks (I would say great, but I do not want to inflate their heads bigger than they are), but as of late it seems like I have only one tank left. So when I log on and I feel like running something, I think to myself, "man, wouldn't it be great if _________ was on, we could tear that shit up!" Yeah, see the delimna I have. All I am left to do now is hope that the lone tank is on or think back to the "good old days" when I had several tanks and could always rely on one of them to be on.

So, this has made me think about tanking. I have debated on leveling a tank. I will never switch my Paladin from holy to protection. I worked too long and hard to get him to where he is to start over from scratch at 80. I have a couple of low level options and have considered leveling one of those instead of my Rogue. So, having decided that at present I do not intend to level a tank and we have a shortage of tanks, I reached out and told Fish that we could use a tank. He has decided to level one of his characters in an effort to tank, but I realize he does not have a huge drive to do raiding or PVP. That probably does not bode well for him getting his characters leveled very quickly. There are a couple other friends and members who have characters who could tank and they have mentioned that they may level those toons, but once again this will be some time in the distant future. So what am I to do? I decided to PUG groups. I wanted to see what the tanking community of my server is like. It has been quite some time since I ran anything with a PUG, so I decided to try all sorts of different levels and types. So far it has not been encouraging.

This brings me back to thinking of those days when we had an abundance of good tanks. While none of our tanks have logged on and said "hey I am done with this game", it does not offer good hope, when they have not been on in a weeks time and rumors have gone around that they have "issues". While this is a game and your real life is important, it would be nice to just hear from them. First to let us know that they are alright, but also to let us know their status. One of our tanks holds an officer position and quite frankly it would be nice to know if the absense is going to be short term, or if we should look for someone else to take over those responsibilities. So once again, tanks for the memories!

I guess the silver lining in this is that as we look for new tanks and help develop those players that are working on their tanks we will get the opportunity to create new memories. So again I say, tanks for the memories!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Greatest Moments In WoW

So today is the holiday where couples get all warm and cozy and spend a special day together. It got me thinking about the special times that I have had the pleasure of spending with my wife in WoW. So here are the top five moments for me and my baby!

1. When she created her very first toon!

I was a bit surprised when my wife first declared she wanted to play the game. She had spent so much time laughing and poking fun of me for playing it that I expected some sort of joke. I soon found there was no joke when Eus set foot into the World of Warcraft and began her first steps learning how to be a Paladin.

2. The first time she cleared a heroic without me!

I know it seems funny, but the first heroic she cleared was Mech. She never liked to run without me, but for some reason that night I was not able to run and she decided to brave that instance on her own. Naturally I sat here watching her and trying to contain myself and not tell her what to do or how to play. When she downed Patheleon I was so proud of her because she did it on her own. Way to go babe!

3. Dancing naked in the Ghostlands!

Yes, one night we were bored and I had asked her to come help one of my alts on a couple simple quests. After the quests were over, we really had nothing to do, so I stripped down my Orc Warrior and began to dance. Soon enough she joined me. Was one of the funniest moments we had and yet somehow we managed to recruit a member from that escapade!

4. During Hollow's End, jumping as a cat!

This one did not so much involve me as did her. She was running around gathering trick or treats and stopped in UC to get the one from there. She went to the inn keeper and got tricked into a cat. She ran around making cat sounds and for some reason decided to jump from the top level down to the bottom making a cat sound. For some reason it just tore me up seeing this little cat go diving down and the sounds she was making was icing on the cake so to speak. So funny!

5. The first time we cleared Kara together!

Yes, I know we have had a few funny moments, but one of the best moments that me so proud of her, was the clearing of Kara. She worked hard to make it to that point in the game and she worked hard to become a great healer. If only everyone who played put in as much time and dedication to developing their characters we would be overrun with great players. Okay I am biased, but wouldn't you be?

So how about you all? Anyone else play with a signifigant other and have some fond memories of it?

Friday, February 13, 2009

Designer For A Day

I was sitting here tonight rather bored and thinking about all the things that have aggrevated me over the last few days, both in the game of WoW and also in everyday life. Well, there is really not much that I can do about either, but it made me ask myself, if I was the head designer for WoW, and I could do anything I wanted to the game, what would be the one thing that I would I change about the current state of the game?

So without further waiting here is my number one priority that I would do to WoW! I would take a long hard look at the original World of Warcraft content and I would do some serious tweaking. How would I tweak it? I would make heroic versions of all of the old world raids. It would require some work to bring these raids up to par, but I would not change the number of characters it would require. So if you go to run an old world 40 man raid, then you better have 39 well geared members. I would add some special gear into the raids to make it worth all classes to run the content. Perhaps a whole new tier level of gear or even an alternate version of gear. I would allow there to be emblems used in the zones as well. The big difference is that I would require exalted reputation with the zones original factions. So if you want to run ZG, then you better get to farming those tokens for that reputation.

In the end it would accomplish being able to add additional content into the game with minimal work and raising the use of those old world zones. Also at the same time, I would make sure that the time table for releases of these zones would be scattered between other brand new content so that there was a mixture of things to do. At the current state, a lot of people pass up these old world raids or do not run them until there is no challenge. I think it would be great to run MC at a heroic level for 80s.

I would even consider looking at adding another level of difficulty, perhaps legendary level dungeons? What is that? Well, why not go back and create a new level of difficulty, beyond that of heroic! Make this level available for all dungeons. Imagine SM on a level that top geared guilds had a difficult time running! That would secure the hardcore segment got their challenge. The casual raiders could continue the game at their current pace and the in-between players would be able to more than likely run heroic level instances and raids.

How about you? If you could change or design one thing for WoW, what would it be?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Patches

Alright, so seeing as it is weekly maintenance and I am home sick from work with nothing to do, I decided I would look over some information concerning the changes coming for Paladins. So first let's list the changes:
  • Blessing of Kings: This spell is now a base ability trainable by all Paladins.
  • Exorcism: This spell now causes damage to all types of enemy targets. However, it always critical strikes undead or demon targets. This change should make sure Paladin damage doesn't drop when going from Naxxramas to later tiers of content.
  • Shield of the Templar: Now causes your Avenger's Shield and Shield of Righteousness to silence targets for 3 seconds. The old damage bonus of this talent has been folded into Holy Shield, Avenger's Shield, and Shield of the Righteousness.
  • Ardent Defender: Rank reduction.
  • Improved Hammer of Justice: Rank reduction.
  • One-Handed Weapon Specialization: Rank Reduction.
  • Guarded by the Light: No longer reduces the mana cost of shield spells, but now has a 50/100% chance to refresh Divine Plea's duration.
  • Judgements of the Just: Now also reduces the cooldown of Hammer of Justice by 10/20 seconds and increases the duration of Seal of Justice's stun effect by 0.5/1 second.
(This information can be obtained directly from the WoW website or by clicking here.)

So how does this information affect Holy Paladins? Well, having looked over the information a couple times I have come to the conclusion that there is no big advantage or disadvantage here. Blessings of Kings really loses a lot of value once you hit the end of the Burning Crusade Expansion. In Wrath of the Lich King, Blessings of Kings is one of the things that are nice, but quite frankly, most Paladins have other blessings that are more beneficial. By making it access able to all Paladins though, Blizzard has done justice I think as this blessing does not tend to favor any one class more or less. Exorcism will fit nicely in a rotation for solo questing, but really does not make a huge difference in my opinion.

I grow increasingly skeptical everytime I read patch notes or things like this as Blizzard seems to be looking for quick fixes or ways to quiet the masses who demand equality. Part of the challenge of a game should be the challenge. It seems that a vast majority of players would just as soon have Blizzard make WoW a game where a level one, who is naked, can run straight through Naxx and down the bosses alone. Before anyone retorts with negative comments, it is just an example of the mindset of the players of the game. I have never considered myself a hardcore raider or a great PVPer, but I would like the game to maintain some sort of challenge. Another example of my reasoning is this post from Blizzard regarding upcoming changes for patch 3.1.

I am not directing my feelings of anger towards Blizzard because I feel they are attempting to fix something that they made way too easy. I am more aggravated by the Holy Paladins of the game who are complaining about Divine Plea being "nerfed" and how unfair it is. To be honest I am pleasantly happy with the majority of the blogging community, as there are many good articles up addressing the issue and stating that they are in agreeance with Blizzard on this. I fall in with this crowd, as I too, feel that the majority of Holy Paladins currently voicing the complaints on many servers are either one of two types of players:

Type One: Rolled a Paladin because retribution was the flavor of the day!

Under this type of Paladin, the player believed that their precious retribution build was going to get hammered so hard that they needed an out and healing looked good. Why not go for it? Most servers are crying for healers. I will tell you the problem with this mind set. Healing for a Paladin is more than spamming one spell. I do not care if you went with a haste gear build and spam Holy Light or if you went with a critical/MP5 build and think spamming Flash of Light is going to get the job done.

Type Two: New

As new players come into a game, they want to catch up with their friends or guild mates and race through all the "old" content in order to run with their friends. The problem with doing this is that you do not learn the different stages of healing as a Paladin, and in my opinion, the stages build on each other and teach you about tactics, strategies, and rotations. I can be somewhat forgiving of this group, but at the same time it still does not give a right to complain about any sort of nerf. At this point in time the game has evolved so far from where it was (this is good and bad) and if you are a new player, my advice is go back and run the instances with groups at your level and really learn your class and talent build, then if you have an opinion it will mean more because you will be able to back it up with facts, not just insane ramblings or complaints that really have no justification.

Alright, now that I got the side track out of my way, let me get back to Divine Plea. When this ability came out, I picked it up and have rarely used it. How the hell can someone not use an ability like this? Well, I despise change and adjusting my play style takes some time. My wife immediately saw this ability and started using it. I did not have an issue with the ability, but because I put my time in, my stats regenerated my mana and I never needed to use it. I think the large group of individuals who will not be happy with the reduction in the regeneration of their mana are those Paladins who completely avoided building MP5 into their current gear, but rather went after haste and critical (both are important) and felt that with the timing of Divine Plea, they could sustain their mana pool and spam Holy Light. Granted this takes some skill in developing a good arrangement for your gear and you have to be mindful of your timer, but having started leveling my DPS classes now (Warlock and Hunter), I have seen very few Paladins using Sacred Shield and Beacon of Light effectively, if at all. I think part of the reason for the "nerf" is to force Paladins to start using other abilities as well.

I truly hope that Blizzard continues to reign in some of the areas like Divine Plea. It is a great ability for a retribution build as they typically have a small mana pool. It even has uses for some protection builds, but holy Paladins truly found something they could abuse and for some it seems have become addicted to. I am sure after time, the complaining will stop and the chat channels will find something new to complain about. I actually think that the players who have skill will learn to play their classes regardless of "nerfs" or "buffs".

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Guild Guide: End of the Road

Well, I have been sitting here looking over the previous few posts and I think we have come to the end of the series. My goal from running this series was to give some insight into what goes into creating and managing a guild and I feel we reviewed a lot of content regarding that. If you successfully made it this far with your guild then you will be well on your way to becoming stable and gaining some reputation.

At this point for your guild development it is going to come down to where the guild as a whole will want to go and if there is enough commitment to get you there. The biggest thing is to have a solid goal and set milestones for reaching that goal. Being consistent in what you do as is important as anything else you can do for a guild. Sure there will be times of change and some growing pains, but if you remain solid and true to your goals, you will be a successful guild!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Guild Guide: Open or Application

Should a guild be open to all new recruits or should there be an application/interview for membership? I really was unsure if I wanted to cover this particular subject and where it should be at in the series. Looking back this is probably a topic that could have come slightly earlier in the series, but it is a topic that I have stronger feelings on and thus created the hesitation to include it in the series. So without further debate let's review this topic.

Should the guild be open to any new recruit?

Pros: By not having a particular requirement for joining the guild, you stand the potential to increase your numbers and not scare away good players who do not feel like dealing with all the formalities.

Cons: Run the potential of gaining all the "drama" recruits that other guilds do not want. This can destabilize the guild and bring others problems to your humble little guild.

Should the guild have an application that is required to be filled out?

Pros: By securing an application you can gain a great look at a character by having information supplied about the background of the player. This can include previous guilds, which will allow you to speak with members of that guild to get additional information on the individual applying.

Cons: There are so many guilds which spam for members that many people may elect a guild that is more open or has a presence on the trade channel, rather than having to go through filling out information on some "form".

Should the guild conduct interviews to all new/potential members?

Pros: By asking the right questions, there will be no way for anyone to prepare for the questions or create a fictional story. (This is true if you monitor the time that it takes to respond. Long pause would tend to indicate a long response or perhaps some information is about to be supplied that is not 100% true.)

Cons: Much the same as the application process, do players really feel like going through an interview to play a game? May lose some potential good players to a guild with no specific requirements.

So, having listed the pros and cons of each of these methods, what should you do? Well, to be honest, if you are going to do interviews then you will need officers on at all times to be available to conduct the interview and make a decision. The larger the guild grows, this may be possible, but somewhat unreliable. The application process will give great insight, but if you delay on reviewing the applications you run the risk of losing a good player. If you elect to leave the guild open then you have the ability for anyone to join the guild at any time. This is a great situation for pure numbers, but can lead to issues down the road. What we found to work within MAS is simply being open to new members. Anyone has the opportunity to join MAS, but we then ask our members to go to our website and review the information of the guild (rules and structure). After they complete this, we ask them to register at the guild forums. This let's us know a little about the skill and history of the player. From there it is up to the officer over their class to speak with them and get to know them.

In my opinion, this has combined the best of the three methods but helps to guard against the negatives. Is it 100% perfect? Not by a long shot. We have come to terms with a few members along the way that perhaps MAS is not the best fit for them. What the method does incorporate for us is the ability to allow people to join on the spot, but not give them full privileges until we have gotten to know a little more about them. Is this the best method to use? I can say that we have found it to work effectively for us and I would be willing to bet it would work well for any guild, but the other methods may prove more effective for where your guild is at. If you are a new guild, then taking anyone is going to be a good thing in most cases. If your guild is well established and a top guild on the server, then having a process to weed out the less desirable individuals is a good idea.

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Guild Guide: Promotions

So having looked over the last few posts we are getting to the end of the series. We do have a couple more topics to take a look at though. Today I want to look at the subject of promotions. I know the one thing that drives me up the wall as a guild leader is when someone new comes into the guild and their first question is "can I be promoted?" This just drives me insane. Someone is in the guild for mere minutes and already wanting a promotion, but it does bring up a good topic of how do you decide on promotions? What constitutes a good guild member who deserves to be promoted? Well let's break this subject down some and attempt to answer the question of who should be promoted and when should they be promoted.

Who Should Be Promoted?

I cannot speak for all guilds, and I will not try. I can however, speak from the viewpoint of a guild leader and offer some insight into my thinking on the subject. So who should be promoted? Well, I am going to assume that this person who is asking me has already followed the instructions on our guild website and registered on the forums and thus is entitled to be promoted to the first level within our guild. At this point it is time to explain to this guild member what it is that we, as a guild, look for in our members.

The first part of the conversation will involve connecting the member with the proper officer that will be handling their development within the guild. In cases where there is no officer assigned, this will fall to either myself or another senior ranking officer. Once I am sure the member knows who their direct report is, we will attempt to explain what will earn you the opportunity for promotion. The thing that I look for, when considering a promotion, is going to be the level of participation within the guild. Does the member help the guild by contributing to the bank? Has the member offered to assist other guild members when they needed help with a quest or an instance? Does the member show up to participate on guild crafting days? I will look to the individual officers for feedback on the activities of the member as well. Does this member only participate when I am? Does the member talk negatively of other guild members? Does the member complain openly about getting no help? Does this member use the resources available to them from the guild website before complaining about not understanding how to accomplish a quest? Has the member reached out to their officer to ask questions or assistance? Based upon this information, I will decide if this particular person would qualify for a promotion.

When Should a Promotion Occur?

So for the sake of the topic we will say that the guild member in question has been meeting what we like to see out of our ranks. So when should we promote the member? Some guilds I have been a part of will promote immediately, while others rarely promote anyone. I prefer to do promotions on a more regular basis. I typically prefer to do a promotion (other than the initial rank) once a month. This breeds some consistency within the guild and allows members to not wonder if they were going to receive a promotion. Another aspect I look at is the actual rank of the member. If you are at an initial rank, then just doing the bare minimums of what we expect from our guild members will help you in reaching that next level. If you are a veteran member then a little more will be expected from you. It is really the little things that will help with a promotion in my eyes. Perhaps some insightful information left on the forum or crafting gear for low level characters.

I think the underlying principle that you want to have established with any guild is consistency in how you make a rank promotion available and then staying true to those things. Managing a group of people is a difficult task at any job, but managing a group of people who have freewill and no incentive to follow orders is impossible to do if there is not a game plan laid out and guidelines that state if you do this action then you will reap this reward. Rank promotions fall under this thought process simply because it gives a reward for following the rules. Sure there are benefits to just learning to use the proper resources, as this will make you a more stable player who knows how to find information on their own, but receiving recognition for doing so is an important process for many people. It is through utilizing things such as rank structure that you help to improve not just the guild, but also the members of the guild. You give them an identity within the guild that says I worked to achieve this rank and for some people that is motivation enough. I think of rank promotions much the way that people work so hard to get the achievements in WoW now. The rank within the guild does nothing for your gameplay, much the same as an achievement does not make you a better player, it just allows other players to know that you did something and have received the recognition from doing that.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Guild Guide: Communication

Alright for today's installment of the discussion on managing a guild I wanted to talk about communicating with your officers and your members. This is such a tricky thing I have found. When your guild starts out, typically you will be a smaller a group of people, who more than likely play at the same time. The problem you will find is that as you grow, it will become more difficult to be able to communicate with your members. So how do you manage to let all the members of the guild know what is going on? That is exactly what we are going to examine in today's post.

In-Game Calendar

The first method is the in-game calendar. This is one of the most useful tools that Blizzard incorporated into the game. There were some add-ons out there that were great, but trying to ensure that all members had the same add-on calendar version is impossible. So great job here Blizzard. I would say that this tool is going to be one of the biggest things to use for communication. It is great for coordination of raids with the ability for individuals to sign up for guild events. This is also a great way to track members who committed to show up and did a no show.

Message of the Day

This is a nice little quick hit. What we will typically do is pop a sentence here giving instructions as to where to find the information relevant for the days activities, but it is hardly sufficient to use for organization of events. I would definitely recommend to incorporate it, but do not expect this to be all that you will need to do for communication with your guild.

Officers

Perhaps your officers are all on at different times? If so, then utilize those officers to incorporate important information. The only problem here is that if the officers are busy with something else, they may not notice a member signing on and this can lead to a lack of communication. So take advantage of your officers being on, but make sure there is a more central location for posting information as to what is going on with the guild.

Guild Website

This is a great location to post a lot of information about the guild, officers, members, media, etc. I know when we first founded MAS, we tried to set a site up and had some difficulties with it. I eventually took it upon myself and managed to find a couple good resources and we established the guild site last April. It is a lot of work to keep up to date, so I would recommend that you try to keep it at a manageable size. Do not overwhelm yourself or someone else with a lot of work to do. I would say use it for more informational purposes, such as upcoming events or registration. Some basic information about the guild leadership or the history of the guild would be good, but I would try to avoid making it a daily task.

Guild Forum

This in my opinion is the premier way to communicate with your guild. There are several different sites to establish a free forum through and this is the perfect place to begin. Most forums will allow for permissions, so you can create forums for your officers where normal members are unable to view. This allows you to conduct officer meetings over the course of day or two, as well as, notify members of important information, class specific information, or even posts for crafting or suggestions.

One of the biggest reasons guilds hit a wall is the lack of communication or a perceived segregation. By taking the time to communicate with all of your members, you help to ensure the success of your guild in the long run. In the short term, all members will feel like they know what is going on with their guild and hopefully develop a sense of loyalty to the guild.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Guild Guide: Managing The Bank

Alright, so today we want to examine another aspect of creating and managing a guild, the guild bank. This is probably the single biggest pain I have as a guild leader. Why? Glad you asked, it is simply because it takes time to keep the bank organized and it takes an even greater amount of time to monitor the bank to make sure members are not abusing the bank. So here are a couple things I have learned that may or may not assist you.

1. If you take from the bank, then give to the bank.

This is my biggest pet peave. I am probably more strict on this particular rule than anything else for my guild simply because I purchased all of the guild tabs using my funds, funded the guild bank originally with funds, and placed a ton of materials, equipment, and consumables in there. For a long time I took it as an insult when individuals would take from the bank and never return anything to the bank. So my recemendation here is to quickly confront the individual and ask them politely to return the items or replace them with something of equal value. Make sure to state equal value, otherwise you will be overloaded on linnen bandages.

2. Do not place your own inventory in the bank.

When you establish the bank, do not be the only person to contribute, otherwise just like I did, you will take everything personal. Make a guild effort. That is one mistake I wish I could go back and undo. I wish I would have made the creation of the guild bank the responsibility of the guild, but I was too eager and took it upon myself and placed a lot of higher priced items in there believing that members would not abuse the structure or rules of the bank. This will just help save you aggrevation.

3. Remember to set restrictions on your ranks ability to use the bank.

Under your guild management options, do not forget to go in and establish what ranks have access. One thing we use to do was restrict certain tabs from lower ranked members. As they stayed with the guild and became more reliable they would increase in rank and be able to access the other tabs. We have since changed this structure. All new members do not receive access. Now as the members progress in rank they simply earn the ability to withdraw an extra stack and a little more gold. This helps keep safe the contents of the bank and quickly allows you to spot someone who is just draining items and not replenishing anything.

4. Do not make exceptions for anyone, including yourself.

It is important to hold the rules of your bank no matter what. Do not expect to yell at someone for withdrawing items from the guild bank, if you are doing the same and also not replacing those items. It is important to lead by example (a lesson I am sure by now you have learned).

5. Limit the amount of repair bills the guild bank will recover.

The quickest way to drain a guild bank is by allowing members to repair on the tab of the guild bank. I quickly learned this one and adjusted the amount of gold that could be withdrawn/used to repair. If you have a raid that goes bad and have ten people take 20 gold for repairs, that is a little over the top. I have set the limit for the majority of our ranks at 5 gold. This allows them enough gold to repair for simple things such as questing or doing dailies.

6. Monitor the money and inventory logs.

It is important that when you have a guild bank you keep a close eye on the logs that are made available to you. These will let you see what activity is occurring and who may or may not be a repeat offender. The worst thing is to pay no attention and end up finding that member X has slowly been draining the guild bank and that you did not catch it because you are a self sufficient person.

Again, these are just some simple things to do to ensure that your guild continues to grow and become successful. If you are a smaller group of individuals, then you will have no worries. If you are a larger guild, then you may consider selecting an officer to assist with the management of the guild bank. There are multiple ways to handle the banks, but do make sure to monitor the bank because unfortunately people are not always honest and some may see no wrong in constantly taking, but never contributing.

Friday, February 6, 2009

The Guild Guide: Recruitment

Alright, so by now we have managed to name our guild, figure out how we want to structure the guild, and managed to figure out how many officers we need. Seems like we are heading in the right direction right? Wait, if the officers are to lead someone, then I guess that means that we need more people in the guild! So how in the world do we recruit? That is a great question, which really has a multitude of answers. I think the way to approach it will depend on what your long term goals for the guild are. Are you going for the laidback approach? Are you going to be hardcore raiding? Do you aspire to be the most hated PVP guild?

There is a lot of things to consider when thinking about recruiting members. Those are just some of the questions that you will need to answer. Hopefully by this point of your guild development, some of those answers will already be known. A good majority of those should have been answered when the guild was created. At least if you put some thought into it. For the sake of the series, we are going to assume that you have been developing your guild and answering these questions all along. So now let's look at some ideas for recruitment. I am going to take them in no particular order, as the "different strokes for different folks" mentality applies here.

1. Spam the trade channel!

I absolutely dispise this method. I hate when I am sitting in a major city trying to list auctions or whatever, and all I see is some person spamming:


" is looking for new members. We are a laid back guild with tabard, 3 bank tabs, and a website. If you want to join a laid back guild then we are right for you! Pst me!"


or


" is currently recruiting for 25 man raids. Must be geared and know the fights. Scrubs need not apply."


This stuff just drives me up the wall. It is annoying, I would rather see the horrible murloc references or other attempts at humor than this. I always wonder what kind of people do these guilds recruit? I imagine, that they end up getting the people who just jump from one guild to the next. Sure they come in all excited and talking a big game, but then something "upsets" them and they jump to the next guild who is currently spamming the channels. Needless to say, at this point, I will not allow my guild to do this. I just think you do not get great members by the endless spam on trade channel.


2. Recruit your friends!


I am a huge supporter of those who recruit their friends (both in-game and real life). I think it does a couple things for both the players and the guild. For the players, it puts someone in the guild who you know that you can rely on for help. I think back to how MAS started and it grew from a bunch of friends who played. Those friends recruited friends and it continue to grow using this method. For the guild, it gives a sense of family. I always laugh about my guild being a disfunctional family, but in truth, there is a sense of closeness in the guild, even with the newer members who have come in later. I think that when you recruite friends it works out all the way around and the benefits are there for everyone. I definitely mark this as a win-win situation. We must though accept that, eventually, we will run out of friends to recruit. So while this method is great, it will likely not get you running 25 man content.


3. The random recruit from trade channel!


Alright, I have seen several members join our guild simply because they were spamming on the trade channel that they were looking for a guild. To be honest, most of those members left the guild as soon as they saw spamming that they were looking for well geared members. I still allow our guild to recruit those people who are looking for a guild and we attempt to gear them and help them see the content that they want to, but I am very hesitant in relying on them to be in the guild for the long hall. Once again, I am not in favor of this method, but I am not opposed to it either.

4. Merger!

This is a scary one. When two guild merge, more often than not, it seems that they never tend to stay a strong guild for very long. I think the main reason you see this happen is that there is one guild which will usually be sustainable and growing and one guild that will be showing some cracks in its foundation. The cracks are typically hidden from the stronger guild and unless the leadership asks the right questions, they take on some serious issues. Other times you get some good people but there are too strong of wills between the two guilds and personalities clash resulting in solid members from both guild leaving and in the end, the guild has no more members than it started out with. The rarest case is the two guilds merge successfully and the guild continues on as a solid group of players. I would say that this is a viable option, but guild leadership must be very careful and thorough in the questions that they ask to the other guilds leadership. After all, you want it to be a good fit for all parties involved.

5. Recruitment through PUGs!

If you have read my blogs for a while, you will probably caught the underlying hint that I dispise PUGs; however, in the event of recruiting, a PUG is a great way to gain new members. You get the inside scoop on how these individuals play and carry theirselves in a group. This is my favorite way to gain new members. So far, this has been a great experience for our guild. Some of the best players that we have gained, has come through the method of recruiting out of a PUG. I would definitely consider this and promote it for your members to look for potential recruits from the groups they run with.

In closing , these five methods are the basic options you have for recruiting. All of them can help you to increase your guild members, but keep in mind that you want to get quality people in your guild. Definitely do not be afraid to ask new members questions and get a feel for them. Sometimes it may be better to pass on someone than get a rotten egg to stink up your guild.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Guild Guide: Officers

One of the first things I found, as the guild grew, was that I needed assistance with the day to day running of the guild. The thing I was unsure of was exactly how and who to promote to officer positions. When the guild was originally established the officers were my friends that I worked with, but when the guild started growing, some of those same individuals no longer played and there was other members who were highly active. This left me with a great questions.

How many officers do I need?

The first thing you learn, when running a guild, is that even though people are playing a game, they tend to play at different levels of intensity. So the very first thing you have to do is decide how many officers do you need? This can be accomplished through a couple simple questions.

What type of guild are you desiring? PVP or PVE?

If you are going for PVP then you will want to appoint officers who will embody that aspect of your guild and also help in the organization of whatever type of PVP you plan to participate in. If you are big into battlegrounds, then looking at an officer to organize battleground groups and also keep track of participation would be a good thing. If you plan to do world PVP as well, such as raiding enemy towns, then you may want an officer who will take this responsibility on for you as well. Let's say that the guild grows and you want to organize arena teams, then why not have an officer who has the sole responsibility of arranging members based on skill and equipment? So there are three officer positions that you can have.

If you prefer to become a PVE guild then taylor your officers to those needs. Most guilds that raid will establish a raid leader. This is a pretty important position to establish as this officer will be responsible for several things such as selecting members for raids, checking gear for those members who wish to go, organizing and scheduling raids, and also learning the raids and knowing the strategies that prove successful. (On a side note, this officer may wish to have raid assistants who will help with these areas.) If you have a leveling guild, then perhaps having an officer who coordinates instance runs could be a useful tool.

The most important part of having officers is to make sure they are doing something and that they contribute to the guild rather than hurt your guild. If you have an officer in charge of instances but you see members constantly requesting runs, perhaps you will need to have a side bar with the officer to inquire why there is nothing scheduled? Those are not fun conversations for anyone, but if you have a goal you must hold your officers accountable. This also led me to ask another question.

Who deserves to be an officer?

This is even a harder question to answer than how many officers do we need? The trick to this is look at your guild roster. Ask yourself this question. If I needed help to do this task, who would step up? That then will give you your answer for basic things. The problem you run into here is going to be that what if you have a level 80 and level 65 who you feel would both equally do the job, then what do you do? Flip a coin! No, that would not really be beneficial. May be funny, but definitely will not help you out. If this situation arises, ask yourself what the officer position will be in charge of. If you are trying to fill a raid leader position, then how can a 65 perform this job when the vast majority of the raids are going to be 70 or higher? That answers that question, by default the 80 would be the right choice for the officer. However, what if it was something like an officer in charge of organizing instance runs? There is a lot of content that a 65 could have knowledge of. This would be a decision then based on who has more experience with the game.

So great, now we have officers! What the hell do I (the guild leader) do?

Well, just sit back and relax. Have a drink and watch the growth! Yeah right, that is not going to be the case. Dealing with your officers is even more difficult than just selecting them. You have to set goals for the officers to achieve. The trick is the fact that this game is voluntary, so how do you motivate someone to meet a goal? Well, the approach I have taken is trying to get the officers to set their own goals. The success rate at this point is somewhat horrible. Sure we have had officers do some things, but it is amazing how much more complaining they do rather than actually working to improve whatever area they are in charge of. So what do we do in a situation like this? We reevaluate how to motivate these officers. Remember that each person is different and what makes them tick is also different. So try different approaches. Some officers may just need you to step in and tell them what the goal is. Other officers may be just lazy. This then becomes a more serious issue that you will need to deal with at a later time. Some officers may just need you to step in and give them the "encouragement speach" to help motivate them. Whatever the situation is, you will ultimately still be the guild leader and have to monitor these officers and make sure that they do their job.

What happens if my officers just do not do the job?

Well, if it appears you have a glory hound who simply wants to have a title, but do no work whatsoever, then you will need to deal with this officer in a manner that will not self destruct your guild. Remember that even though the officer may not be working out great, you do not want to hurt the relationship with someone who was a great member of the guild, but a lackluster performer as an officer. So how do you accomplish this? I always prefer a straight forward approach. Many people in my guild refer to me as being an ass about stuff, but in reality I am very honest and open. I dispise any sort of guild drama and will cut it at the root of the cause, so the last thing I want to do is create some sort of drama by just doing a demotion and moving on. Well, that is all good you are thinking, but you didn't answer the question, what do we do? It is simple really.........COMMUNICATE.

Get the officer off on a one-on-one chat and ask them if there is something that is preventing them from doing their job. A lot of times people may not know what the hell they are suppose to do and do not want to ask out of fear of being rediculed for not knowing. Actually, this has proven true 99.9% of the time I have had to speak with my officers. What about the other 0.1% of the time? Well, that usually falls back to someone being lazy or just not caring about the position. For those rare occassions, I simply state what the position should be doing and ask if they are going to start doing this. If they respond positive to the satisfaction of what I am looking for, then I will give them some ideas on what to do and give them a timeframe to get this done. However, if they give a flip answer or seem to not care then I will explain the thought process behind my decision to demote them and after coming to an understanding (notice I said understanding, not agreance) I will then proceed to demote them and repost the position.

Okay, you said post, what do you mean by this?

Well, that is a great question, but we will answer this in a later post. It is definitely worthy of a deeper look. So we have so far seen the reason why my guild was founded, we have learned about the thought process behind naming a guild and the importance of it, we have seen that putting together a ranking structure is a good idea, and now we have added in some answers on selecting officers. Tomorrow we will answer the question regarding "posting" for positions as well as other information.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Guild Guide: Rank Structure

So yesterday we did a quick post on naming a guild. I honestly believe that naming a guild is such an important aspect and mentioned briefly that the rank of our guilds are based on business models. So how does that look? Well, let me show you:

Chairman - Guild Leader
Executive Board - Top ranking officers such as Raid Leader for example
Recruiter - Alts of the Chairman and the Executive Board
Group Lead - Officers in charge of class development
Division Lead - Assistants to the ranking officers. Sometimes given special assignments.
Team Lead - Alts of the Group Lead and Division Lead
CSS* - Senior members who show up and participate
Help Desk - Members who have been in guild for a while and demonstrated loyalty to guild
Associate - Member in good standing
New Hire - New recruit

So, how do you personalize the rank structure? That is a tough question, but if you put the time in to name your guild, then use that information to help select your rank structure.

One thing you want to keep in mind also when creating your rank structure is that you do not want to have too many ranks. While there are a lot of ranks for MAS, we have a larger group of members now and the structure works well to help maintain order within the guild. So another aspect is to ask how many ranks do you need? If you are starting out from scratch you probably would only need three to four ranks. I say this simply because it is very difficult to track who is performing within the guild and who deserves a rank promotion. If you only have ten to twenty people, a large bulky rank system may discourage those members and scare them away, yet you want to have a rank or two to use for promotions.

If you take a close look at those ranks listed above you will notice three of them are pretty useless. I say useless since as a new recruit you will not have a rank and often times guilds will not give you full priviledges until you meet certain requirements. The Recruiter and Team Lead ranks for MAS simply are a way to ensure that our officers are not holding multiple positions. Those ranks do not even have the abilities of the actual officer ranks. They simply let the rest of the guild know what level of officers are on and available. Even the Division Lead rank is limitted in its use, but it is there for those senior members who need to feel like there is room for promotion. So the real ranks are Associate, Help Desk, CSS, Group Lead, and Executive Board. So let's look at those particular ranks and their purpose.

Just about all of our members make it to the rank of Associate. For our guild we simply request members to register at our forums for this rank. Thus we ensure guild members know where to find the information of what is going on in the guild. The rank also grants access to the guild bank. Help Desk rank is for those members who have been with us for a while and have been loyal to the guild. This rank also gives those members a little more ability to withdraw from the guild bank as well. The CSS position is a little less common as it usually is held for members who show up and support the guild. These are veteran members who know what is expected and behave accordingly. The Group Lead is an officer position that carries a lot of responsibility in that we look for those individuals to help their class develop. This is not an easy thing but these officers take pride in knowing the ins and outs of their classes. The Executive Board is the right hand of the Chairman. They each have a wide range of responsibilities and are held accountable to achieving their goals.

So you can see that the rank structure used for MAS is somewhat large, but has specific purposes. So the first thing is to make your rank structure line up with the name of your guild. Then you want to find the right number of guild ranks. Keep in mind that you can go back and add additional ranks into the structure as your guild grows. MAS did not start out with the full range of ranks, but was held to just a couple. As the guild grew, so too did the structure. The thing is consistancy. You want to maintain a consistancy with everything that you do within the guild. This instills a sense of guild members feeling in the know of who to seek out for assistance and also maintains order for your guild. If you wrap it all together to line up with the name of the guild, it just makes things seem that much smoother.

*CSS - Client Satisfaction Specialist (I always have new members ask, so figured I would answer it here.)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Guild Guide: Naming The Guild

Alright, so perhaps you did not start a guild with a group of friends from your work and therefor you do not have any clue what to name your guild. So what do you do? I honestly hate when I see stupid guild names that are cheap ripoffs of other guild names or movies. I think a guild name should be clever. For example, I saw one person who had a Tauren Druid named Skim in a guild called Milk. While I do not picture there having been a large amount of members in that guild, it was original and worked for that person.

On a more serious note, the name of your guild is going to be something you are stuck with unless you want to get a bunch of people to sign another charter and go through the process of changing over for the sake of a name. So what I would suggest is pick a name that sets the tone for what you will be about. For instance, my guilds are named Mass Affluent Slayers and First Bank of Silvermoon. Let's look at the Mass Affluent Slayers first.

The guild started as a joke. None of us planned on it being anything special. It was simply a place to go to and have a good time. We did, however, debate on the name and chose the Mass Affluent because of the function of our business, but the Slayers we chose because the majority of us loved the PVP aspect of playing WoW. So we combined those two ideas and created Mass Affluent Slayers. In retrospect, the First Bank of Silvermoon was created as a way to get more bank tabs at a cheaper cost. I simply explained what I was wanting to accomplish and selected the officers to offer up one alt to sign the charter and we created a guild soley for the purpose of storing materials and equipment at a cheaper price. I took it one step further and moved all my auction house characters there as well. Thus the name First Bank of Silvermoon represented what we needed to achieve with this particular guild.

There is more to the name of the guild though than just a purpose. We built the whole idea of our ranks around the thought of the guilds being based on business models. So again, the name of the guild will play an even bigger role in deciding other aspects of the guild as well. So in closing, I cannot tell you what to name your guild, but do keep in mind that the guild will represent you and your friends and that if someone asks why you named a guild something, then the answer will have some meaning to it other than "it was cool at the time".

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Guild Guide: Introduction

Alright, I have been debating on doing a series about guild structure and maintenance for some time. I honestly was going to ignore the topic because it is so subjective, but then I started thinking about it a little more and decided that there is some good information that I can pass on as someone who created a guild and then had to figure out what the hell I was suppose to do with the guild. So for the next few days I am going to cover a variety of topics from simple structure to how to motivate people to achieve a common goal for the guild. There is a lot of information and I would encourage anyone who has ever had a question about why a decision was or was not made to read this series. Perhaps you will gain some insight into the thought processes that guild leadership has to go through.

I do want to give my background and the information for the founding of my guild as an introduction of sorts. It has been a long couple of years to be honest. I started playing World of Warcraft, a short time before Burning Crusade came out. I had a lot of experience from EQ and FF MMORPG series. At the time that I started playing I was working for a large financial company in a group that dealt with individuals who earned $100,000 per year, or better known as the Mass Affluent segment of the financial industry. At the time I was just a common customer service associate that dealt with a wide array of issues and concerns. I had made friends with a couple of guys who every day came in to work laughing about a game they all played. I would sit there and listen and laugh some with them, but tried my hardest to avoid jumping back into playing another online game. Well, time wore me down and I bought into the game and loved every second of it.

My coworkers/friends got me into their guild, which at the time was a decent sized guild that was pretty active. I leveled my Paladin (the first character on their server) and was enjoying life in the game. Well, as I started to progress into the mid forties, I had recruited other people at work to play the game. We had actually become quite large subgroup in the guild and we often would joke about creating a guild for our alts where we could laugh about things from work and more personal stuff that the other guild members might not get. Well, I took it on myself to get the guild charter and establish the guild. It was a great little place to go and laugh and talk.

I honestly do not know the time frame of when the guild was established, but I would say that it has been around for about two years now. At any rate, one day I logged onto the main guild and noticed that there were a lot of new members. That particular guild had merged with another guild in hopes of growing numbers to run the content from Burning Crusade, at least I guess this as there was no real communication about this to me (maybe to other more active members). A short while later there was yet another merger. This one seemed to be a little rough and all members who did not have a certain level were kicked from the guild. My Paladin was high enough to where I was left but several of my friends had been kicked and a lot of my alts. I got together with the core of the players and we decided to just move our mains into the "joke" guild until we decided what to do.

Well, to be honest we just decided to stay in Mass Affluent Slayers and make the most of the guild. During this time we recruited a couple people here and there. It was mostly people we knew or had ran content with for a long time. We probably had maybe ten or twelve people who were on and off during that time frame. A little over a year ago my wife decided she wanted to play because she found it interesting. I hesitantly got her an account and she created herself a Paladin as well. She was a regular recruiter. She brought in several great members who in turn brought in several great members. It was during this time frame that we saw a lot of growth. We had people who transfered characters from other servers to our server just to play with their friends because they enjoyed the guild as a whole.

This of course is a good situation but also put me in a great state of not having the first clue of what to do with this guild that started as a joke, but was now becoming something of a serious guild. We had members who were well geared, knew the content, had experience in both PVP and PVE, and we had a solid group of people.

What the hell had I created?

And this is where the series will kick off at. See everyone tomorrow!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

A Simple Question

Why in the hell are there Dranai Death Knights?

From a historic perspective, the Dranai arrived after the whole Arthas event and were not present during the turning of the Death Knights. Further support for my question is that when you do the questlines for the Death Knight, it is set in the past.

Sure for the gameplay standpoint, you want people to be able to create characters that they want to play but come on, some sort of explanation would be good. Did the space gypsies send scouts to Azeroth and they were turned because they gave up hope and became broken?

Well, that is all that I had in my mind today. Pretty random but I believe it does deserve some sort of answer.