It’s been a rough couple of months both in and outside of the game. I was sick with one thing or another for about a 2 month stretch and have finally kicked the illness! The only thing is, now that I’m finally well again I’m tempted to invest in surgical masks to keep it that way. My daughter brings home all forms of sickness from daycare and it just goes with the territory in this phase of life.
Before the holidays I told you all how my guild entered into a guild merger which seems to have failed spectacularly but not in the way that you would think. We were as egalitarian as we could be in these sorts of mergers and acquisitions. Myself and the GM of the guild that were combining forces with entered into a co-gm type relationship which before now I would have balked at for being an smoke screen for disguising who was really in charge. Turns out that it was me by default, since the other GM seems to have vanished into thin air. On our third week as a new guild we had abysmal attendance and all of the former officers and big guild contributors had quit and were citing the game as the problem. We had 30 people the first week ready to play together, and then 21 the second week and now 8 the third.
I’m finally feeling great again, health wise, but find myself with the scraps of a guild, all my friends have decided that World of Warcraft is now boring and not worth their time (including my husband). I still want to play, so what’s a girl to do? For the last several weeks I’ve been joining pug raids, pug being the gamer term for Pick Up Groups, and have been enjoying these random encounters and variety of players I meet.
I’ve been spending time on alts and should be spending time making money in the game but it’s so different from what I typically what do to make money that I haven’t spent the time to learn new methods of gold generation.
I’ve also been day dreaming about World of Warcraft Classic and remembering a simpler time where people needed to actually show up if they wanted to get some loot. Personal loot may very well be the death of a large number of raiding guilds since much of the incentive to stick with the same group was loot driven. Why would anyone stick with a group if you could just walk into any guild and instantly get gear without having to go through a month long trial period or wait your turn for the most sought after items when your guild is using DKP or loot council? What personal loot does is cater to the casual player and kills social communities that are bound together by their desire to better their characters through raiding. It’s not all bad I guess, since I’m able to pug raid on my alts and not worry about having items I can use ninja’d away from me, which was the big argument for switching to this system. As upsetting as dealing with this unfairness was, it pushed me to create strong ties in a community where I can play with the same people each week and make friends that kept me playing the game. Assuming that personal loot remains a thing going forward, is WoW going to be a strong enough game to keep those casual players playing without the strong social ties that we typically create in raiding guilds?
Holiday time of year is hard for raiders. People tend to be busy with family and obligations outside of gaming. Time away from games makes it easier to stay away from games. I told you all a few weeks ago about our successful merger with another guild. We had a collective group of about 35 players but soon found that a lot would leave for one reason or another. While we are not quite as bad on attendance as we were pre-merger, we still are barely scraping by most nights. We lost some great players but from what I can tell, they were half out the door already.
Life has been a bit hectic for me between battling some form of illness going on 7 weeks, work and family. I celebrated both my own and my daughters birthday last week and I’m getting to the point where I’m old enough to not want to advertise my age ;). This holiday will be packed with extended family and Christmas will be a flight back to my home town. I’m missing my lazy summer weekends and hope to get back to that amount of leisure time soon. I hope you all find time to do the things that you want this holiday week! I’ve been thinking about you all lately and hope to be writing more soon.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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?
Progression is a marathon not a sprint, unless you’re Method. If you have the drive and dedication to play a game 12+ hours per day until you beat all of the hardest content then you can view the game as a sprint. Of course guilds like Method, Limit and Wildcard Gaming are the exception and not the rule. For the rest of us that fit comfortably in with the other average raiders, we take our progress and character progression week by week and lock out by lock out. For those not familiar with how raiding works let me go into a little more detail. Each raid typically has a lock out period where you can kill the bosses a get loot from their corpses. We then parade around town in our shiny new, possibly bloodstained and partially digested new set of armor (grotesque, I know). On a certain day of the week all of the bosses will “reset” which means they are alive again and able to be killed for another chance at that epic loot that you have your eye on. Why do we want to raid? For one, it how you usually get the best gear in your game and who doesn’t want to have the best stuff? Another reason is it’s fun fighting dragons and big giant mosters! These are games after all and having fun should be the primary objective. Third of all, you create friendships because you can’t kill dragons by yourself. We need to bring 20 of our friends and make sure we are able to handle many whelps. What keeps me coming back to raiding year after year for the past 15 years is the relationships that I build and the prospect of forming new bonds with my guildies.
So how does one get into Mythic Uldir? If your guild is new or your players are inexperienced with mythic content, you will want to start with the normal and heroic versions of Uldir first. My goal for our guild is to work our way to clearing the heroic version of Uldir in one raid night, which is three and a half hours for us. After clearing the heroic version of the raid for the week we are able to step into the mythic version and begin working on those bosses. We will want to continue to clear (defeat all the bosses in) heroic Uldir until we are killing 3-4 bosses in mythic. We continue to do the lower difficulty raid so that our group continues to get upgrades for their gear. Raiding is an all or nothing reward system, you do not get anything for trying to kill a boss, only when that boss is dead do you receive your reward. So it makes more sense to try and get the most bang for your buck in rewards for your raiders. The more gear you get, the easier the fights become and that is how you progress in raids.