Guild mergers and acquisitions

It’s finally happened! I found the Goldilocks guild that compliments my guild perfectly. This last couple weeks have been exhausting both, looking for that merger candidate and recruiting players at the same time. After all this hard work and long hours spent on the non-game part of the game, we finally get to actually PLAY!

I found these guys by chance. After all the work I went through sorting through guilds on wowprogress.com and looking through logs and tracking down the guild leaders, I happened to see a guy shouting in game that they were looking for players. What stuck out to me was that their play times were very close to when we play.  By chance, we also had another long time player that joined these guys earlier in the expansion, so we had that mutual tie.

Within 10 minutes of taking to these guys I decided that I liked them and that they run their group similar to how we run ours. In under an hour we had all the leadership in agreement that we were going to give this a go.

We both decided that we had to go into this with a clear plan. We took our combined people and created our first raid group with basically an even split of players from each guild. Everyone involved in leadership worked fast to get this first group in place. Then we were off to the races!

Our first raid was on a Tuesday and I tried my best to take a step back and let the other guild leadership lead the group through the fight.   I talked less than normal and focused on my own performance as a player.  I felt a renewed vigor in myself and felt great.  I had more fun this night than any other night in the past 6 months in game.  I think we all felt this way.  Remember how I said that guild recruitment is like dating?  I think we found a keeper.

IS THAT A GIRL GUILD LEADER?!?

I’ve been attacking this attendance problem that we’ve been having from multiple angles. The past several weeks we have been consistently short by about 3 or 4 people to do the super hard part of the game.  I even spent a couple hours compiling a list of other guilds that we could possibly merge with based on their schedule and their progress in game. And so tonight I started going down the list reaching out to see if anyone would talk to me about possibly teaming up. I talked to a couple different guilds, some didn’t seem to be a good fit due to a difference in schedules and some had different goals in the game.  Most felt that they couldn’t accommodate so many people and wanted to continue on their current path.

One guild that I talked to stuck out in my mind in a big way.  It was a great example of harassment that we women players encounter from time to time.  First impressions do matter and this one sucked.  I started the conversation in chat and they asked me to hop on their voice chat server.  I joined their channel which had 5 other guys and said “hello” with my distinctly female voice.  I was responded to by a some sort of joke about male genitalia, for which I will not repeat followed by snickers and my silence. My first thought was ‘they’re guy gamers, whatever. I’m familiar with this type of talk.‘ What I should have done was said “oh sorry I got to go” or made up some other excuse and left.  Instead, I talked logistics with this group, the guild leader who just tried to mess with me.  In the moment I felt like I was in control of the situation but after setting up a time to play together this week and left the chat I had some serious regret for even continuing the conversation.

It took me all of 10 minutes to come to my senses. The more that I thought about it the more sketched out I became. The first words out of this guild leader’s mouth after he heard me speak was something sexist and gross.  That stuff doesn’t usually bother me but I’m probably be putting myself in a bad position if I were to continue playing with the dirtbag.  I quickly messaged the scummy guild leader and canceled the plans for our guild to play together.  I knew in my heart that this wasn’t going to be a group that I would be happy playing with.  I felt stupid for putting myself in a position like that with guys who took pleasure in pushing my buttons.  I’ve dealt with people that don’t show me any sort of respect before and it’s not something I would want to willingly be a part of.

It’s taking time, but I’m adjusting my thinking about what types of behaviors are acceptable to me when I’m playing video games. I have, on occasion, used poor judgement and gotten myself into some uncomfortable situations.  And this all is part of life and part of growing up and learning.  I’m still educating myself and adjusting to a higher standard that I want for myself and those that I play with.  Life’s too short to play games with people that treat you poorly.

2 Steps Forward, 1 Step Back

Each week my guild has been getting just a little bit better and a little bit bigger.  We has a large amount of interest in our guild the first few weeks that we were raiding in the new expansion.  I was talking to several people per day about how we run our group and what we expect of our members.  Some players I turned away, if they had never raided before or if they seemed to have a “my shhht don’t stink” type of attitude.  I wasn’t putting a whole lot of effort into seeking out recruits, they were mostly coming to me.  Things seem to be going in the right direction until a couple weeks ago when our steady stream of recruits seemed to dry up.  I went from talking to several people per day to talking to maybe 1 or 2 per week.

Last weekend I busted my butt to get our numbers up.  I had a goal of bring in 6 new people and ended up finding 8!  It was a lot of time and effort to get this many people but it would be worth it if we could just fill our raid group for both of our scheduled nights.  Tuesday started out well.  We got down the bosses that we killed in the previous weeks and moved on to start learning some new bosses.  We had exactly the number of people we needed to play but our group set up was far from ideal.  We were a healer short and melee heavy for 2 out of the 3 fights available for us to work on.  It was a rough 1 of progression but we got through it, which was more than can be said for the previous week.

Thursday was a different story.  Of the 8 people that I recruited the weekend before, only 2 showed up, 2 had work conflicts and the other 4 were just nowhere to be found.  We ended up running our heroic clear with less than clean execution.  We brought in a few friends of players that were just not great players and we were carrying them pretty hard.  I ended up sitting one of the friends due to poor performance and being dead the whole fight.  We also had one of our tanks leave in the middle of Thursday -_-  tanks should be the most reliable players in any raid group.  It’s such a coveted position, why risk it with absences?  I’m at a lose for which direction to go.

I’ve talked to a few different guilds about possible merger/collaboration but most seem to want to cherry pick our best players and leave the rest, and that’s not the direction that I want to move in.  If only I could get like 8 players that are here on our 2 nights that we have scheduled content…then we could move forward and work on some new bosses.

I keep telling myself baby steps will get us there, but it is super slow and I want to already be there.

Being a Woman in Gaming

Typically there would be at least one other female gamer in the guild that I was in.  I don’t know if this is because we tended to find each other due to the type of leadership that the guild had.  I had refused to play with certain guilds due to how I was treated, or if they had provocative pictures on their forum.  I am fine with pictures of beautiful women but I’ll be out the door if they is pornography in your player forums…just….no.

In my experience there is always a lot of flirting in games.  When your guild has a male to female ratio of 15:1 you tend to see the women getting a lot of attention.  I have benefited from lots of help over the years in the game, I will assume that it was due to being a female.  I always try to pay it back or pay it forward but I’m sure there is an imbalance in my favor.

Along with the attention, women can also be the target of unwanted harassment.  There have been more than a few times where I received inappropriate and unwanted private messages.  It was even worst if it came from people that I played with on a regular basis or members of my guild.  It was a difficult position to be put in.  If a woman deflects advances she gets called a bitch and I’ve seen this type of negative notions get spread throughout a guild because rather than nurse a bruised male ego quietly, it was done with rumors and trash talk.  For about 2 years I refused to play in the same guild as my husband (boyfriend at the time) because there was this ONE GUY that would call me a “little c**t” every time I joined up with them to do group content.  I told him to cut it out, but he saw that it irritated me so he kept doing it.  One of the benefits of being the guild leader is that people don’t test my boundaries like this.  If they were to call me any sort of derogatory term they would be out the door faster a speeding ticket.

I’ve been exploring the world of how female players are treated in gaming to gain a broader understanding beyond my own experiences.  I found the Not in the Kitchen Anymore where a Jenny Haniver publishes clips of negative interactions that she has with other gamers.  I will tell you that I’ve listened to these clips and was shocked to find that my initial thoughts were “yea I hear this all the time” and it didn’t seem out of the ordinary.  Have I grown complacent to the verbal abuse that we face in these games as women?

So why do these men berate women in these games?  Is it a power thing?  Are the motivations to cat call women on the street or call them whores in video games the same?  I’ve often heard that women would be better off if they confronted the abuser and to this I am conflicted.  A few weeks ago I was the target of unwanted advances while at a fair grounds.  I will tell you that I did not give him an ear full for a few reasons, first – he was operating a ride that my child was on and I didn’t want her to become a target for retaliation after I rejected this man.  Second – I didn’t know what this guy was capable of, was he prone to violence?  or stalking?  I don’t know and I’d rather not put myself in a position to find out.

A Tale of Two Guilds

I hadn’t been looking for a merger but one seemed to find me. Our guild was doing well making steady progress through the game, killing a few new bosses with each week that passed. My officer and I were hard at work tapping into a health pool of eager raiders. Since heroic raids both were cross-server and flexible in size. We were able to bring in player without too much investment. Many years ago a player could only play with a guild if they were all on the same server. This meant that in order to even get a shot at raiding you had to shell out $25 to move your character to a new server. Time have changed and the barriers that once kept us apart have evaporated…unless you want to do the hardest content. We are close to completing the heroic difficulty of Uldir which would mean we are ready to start those super hardcore mythic raids that only 1% of players experience. We want to get there but we have a logistics challenge – we need more players. Unlike the heroic version of Uldir which scales up and down between 10 and 30 players, the mythic raids are for 20 players and 20 players only. We are a bit short of the mark and my officer and I have been pounding the internet pavement looking for those perfect players for our guild.

When we started building up our roster I talked about how one way to get a big influx of players was to merge with another guild. Merging is a scary thing. You work hard to build up the type of community and culture that you want and if you look to combine forces with another group there are usually sacrifices that need to be made. One of the big questions that is usually at the forefront is “who will be the guild leader?” Back when my guild was struggling in Wildstar we looked to merge with another guild who wanted to retain absolute control and make me an officer. This was a deal breaker for us and something that the other guild was unwilling to compromise on so we ended up not merging.

We have in the past absorbed some struggling guilds and found these type of transactions benefit us greatly.

This merger was messy, as combining 2 groups usually is. There were some people pushed out and a few pushed up. The greatest circumstance that the leadership of the absorbed guild was that the day before we agreed to bring in the tank to trial, one of our current and I would consider him our “main” tank decided that he didn’t want to raid anymore. This left a vacuum in the tank positions that were then able to be filled by the two tanks from the merger.

Tanks are such a crucial position on a guild. Consider them the leaders in their own right. They control the big epic boss battles from start to finish. Ideally you want someone who can be there 100% of the time, can follow instructions and can communicate clearly both expected changes and changes that need to be made on the fly. There is a lot of coordination between tanks so having a pair that can work well together is also crucial. If you have two people that are forced to be partnered on a project and they dislike each other that will cause your guild nothing but problems.

SSC and Guild Drama

Today I wanted to share an old story about my guild.  At the time these events were very upsetting for all of us. I was a holy priest raiding in Dies Irae which was one of my very first guilds in WoW and we held the #2 spot on the server in terms of progression.  When you are not quite the best but still have a lot of great players, it makes you a target for sniping members and attacks on your team’s moral.  I will tell you the story from our perspective, since this reporter didn’t seek out quotes from both guilds involved and the only quote used was a whisper of a guild member that was not representative of our guild as a whole.

So here is the story from our perspective:  Clockwise was a guild lead by the brother of a Nightmares Asylum member who started a Karazhan pug with around 3 people from Clockwise and at least 3 from Dies Irae.  They killed a couple of the early bosses in the raid instance and then the pug raid ended.  Using the general pug rules, a couple guys from Dies Irae who were part of the pug decided to continue the pug raid.  Later that night the Clockwise guys started another group to continue the raid as well.  When they attempted to zone in, they could not since there was the max amount of player in the raid for that specific raid ID.  Of course the perceived “stealing” of the raid ID was not done intentionally or with malice.  And I’m sure you can decide for yourself if the raid belongs to only the raid leader?  Or does it belong to each and every person who participated?  I’ll let you decide.  I can’t say what was said between the Clockwise member and my guildie because I can’t view their whisper history but it sounded like the Clockwise leader was flipping out and because of his attitude, the players that were already in the raid decided to just continue and finish the raid.

At this point in time raids were assigned a unique ID number which locked you to the progress of the players that are saved.  If you were saved to different raid IDs you could not play together.  This feature has since been been changed to allow any player to join and leave any raid that they wish.

What happened next was a bizarre turn for our guild.  We were working on the last boss in SSC and before our scheduled raid time, Nightmares Asylum created a raid group and whispered one of our raiders to help summon someone.  Him being a nice guy said “sure invite” when he was expecting to join a party of 2 or 3 players he instead saw a full raid group and was promoted to leader which allowed Nightmares Asylum to zone in under our raid ID.  They went on to kill the boss that we were working on.  It was a shitty thing to do and I’m still mad about it ten years later.

I wanted to save the contents of this post just in case it ever gets purged, the original post can be found here.

DI Vashj

Today’s story comes from the realm of Smolderthorn, home of one of the U.S.’s top Horde guilds, Nightmares Asylum (obligatory note: Blizzard apparently doesn’t let you use apostrophes in guild names.)

Our tale begins in Karazhan this weekend, where the guild Clockwise was just learning the instance. They didn’t have enough people for a full group, so they invited in some puggers to help them down some bosses. Unfortunately, they weren’t able to kill too many bosses, so they left half of the instance for the next day. One of their puggers, who was a member of the medium-level guild Dies Irae, invited in some of his guildmates’ alts to clear the rest. Dies Irae claimed they didn’t know it was another guild’s instance at first, but only decided to kill Prince after Clockwise’s guild leader got angry at them and told them to get the bleep out. Whatever the cause, no one disputes that it ended with Dies Irae’s alts clearing Karazhan on Clockwise’s raid ID.

Now it gets interesting. Apparently Nightmares Asylum decided it was time to stand up for the little guy and get Dies Irae back. So Monday night, they asked one of Dies Irae’s members to help them on a quest. Suddenly, the DI member was promoted to leader and kicked out of the group as Nightmares Asylum members ran inside their Tempest Keep and Serpentshrine Cavern instances. (SSC, by the way, was completely clear except for Lady Vashj, who Dies Irae was planning on working on — Nightmares Asylum apparently no longer runs SSC.) Nightmares Asylum then proceeded to kill Vashj, made a screenshot of her dead with their raid members forming the letters DI, and — this is the best part — tracked down various Dies Irae members and disenchanted the Vashj loot they would have gotten in front of them. Man, I feel bad for that rogue who watched the Fang of Vashj dissolve. DI claimed not to care, since it “gave them another day to PVP”, but the attempts to report Nightmares Asylum say otherwise.

So who’s in the wrong here? We don’t know the full situation, but both sides have given their account. Dies Irae says they didn’t intentionally steal the Kara ID and only cleared it after being provoked by the other guild’s leader, while Nightmares Asylum was malicious in their thievery. Nightmares Asylum defends their actions as karma and standing up for the little guy, and it’s pretty obvious they didn’t do it to get the phat loots. Ethically, they’re both probably wrong, since stealing raid IDs is pretty nasty, but I can’t help but feel a soft spot for Nightmares Asylum after this. They may have done a vicious, petty thing, but they did it with style.

What do you think about this situation? Should there be a way to remedy the “stealing” of raid IDs, or should people just be careful who they accept raid invites from?

Why Finding a Guild is like Dating

I am no stranger to recruiting players and have talked to dozens of people over the past month who are interested in what we have to offer.  We often chit chat a little bit.  We ask each other questions and get to know each other.  If I get any responses that are deal breakers I stop them right there and thank them for reaching out and let them know that this conversation isn’t going to go any further.  If we are on the same page during our initial conversation I invite the potential recruit to come play with us on a specific night.  I set the time, the place and tell them what to bring.  We see if it’s a good fit.

The world of building algorithms for matching us up with another person has gone from being a scary taboo corner of the internet, to the mainstream way to met people.  So why are we still relying on general boards and yelling in the middle of town to find people to play with in our guild?  It seems like our recruiting methods are 100 years behind.  We must rely on our voice being heard and someone noticing that we are looking for someone to fill a hole in our social group.  If only I could filter a long list of warlocks that are looking for a raid group and swipe right once I found someone who might be a good fit?

Tinder

Recruiting members for your guild is like courtship in the early 1800s where your best bet is to have some obscure connection to the person that you wish to pursue.   We spread the word that we are looking for someone and hope that against all odds that the perfect person will hear our call.

Once we start building a gaming relationship, it is much like dating.  We put on our best outfit (gear), spend hours thinking about what we are going to say and how best to impress our date(do crazy dps and try not to eff up).  We screw up(not on purpose) and make mistakes and show this person we want to impress that we are flawed human beings and see if that is enough to scare them away.  Sometimes both of us want a second date and more than a couple times I would end up waiting for my date to show up, just to figure out that they had blocked my phone number.

There were a couple of times that I decided that I didn’t want to continue building a relationship with someone because their personality did not mesh well with the rest of us.  Now those could have been messy breakups, but for the most part they were mature about the rejection and moved on to someone who would appreciate their unique personality.  I want to know about your experience making friends in games?  How did you meet?  What about them made them a good companion?