Is personal loot killing raiding guilds?

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.  

Remember racing to a chest and hoping that you would be quick enough to grab it’s contents before the person next to you?  Oh the good ol’ days

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? 

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.

Method gets world first G’huun in Uldir

Method has not been shy about showing their progress to the world as they work on the final boss of Uldir.  This is an unusual move for a high profile guild since most opt for secrecy when working on their own world rankings. Many of Method’s raid team have been dominating the top stream spots for World of Warcraft for the past week.  At current tally Method streamers are responsible for 78% of the all of the World of Warcraft viewership today on twitch.tv.   After following their progress It is apparent that the production value of their content is incredibly high and is reminiscent of the Olympics coverage on NBC.

They are being supported by Discord, Wowhead, Redbull and many other mainstream companies throughout their up to 16 hour days spent throwing themselves at the bosses of Uldir.  We’ve seen an outpouring of support for the raid team through twitch subscriptions, and over $3000 in contributions and not to mention the branded merchandise that they are selling on Method.gg

I only point this all out because I think it makes a lot of business sense the way that they did things and managed to win the day! They gave us a reason to be excited about WoW by including the masses when most guilds would have shut us out. The only sad part is that now that the top spot is taken we won’t be seeing as much excitement around the race. I’m already looking forward to next tier 😂😂😂😂

Great job to everyone involved with the race, the raiders of Method, the hosts, production crew and everyone that made this amazing show possible.

WoW BFA Recruitment

Now is the time to put on your recruiting boots!  The very beginning of any game or game expansion is a great time to recruit players for your guild.  There are lots of people that are coming to a game for the first time or returning after an extended absence.  This all means that they need a social group!

A couple weeks ago I talked about how we were in the beginning stages of recruiting for our guild.  Now that the expansion has launched we are starting to get a flood of potential recruits.  Last time I made a big push to recruit, I did so mostly by seeking out those players that posted to the general forums saying that they were looking for a guild.  I would send each of them a private message that was personalized to respond to what they were looking for.  While this proved very effective in a new game, this method was getting very little responses in WoW.  For one, we were a brand spankin new guild as far as anyone was concerned.  We didn’t have any wowprogress history or any impressive boss kill logs, so the serious players didn’t even consider us since they were getting lots of messages from already established guilds.

I was frustrated that all my hours of finding the perfect recruits were proving unfruitful.  So I made a change and rethought of how we could improve our headcount and be able to step foot into the new raids for BFA and hopefully reduce my load of administrative duties outside of game.  I mean, I wanted to play the game too!  I decided for my own sanity that I needed to cast a wider net and started to spend less time talking to applicants during the first week of the expansion and steering them to the community.

Communities are a new feature which allows you to join a new social group without leaving your current guild or having to pay for a server transfer.  I could see wow eventually making this THE new social experience in the future.  For those long time wow vets, a community is basically a custom chat channel with a member list interface.  I like this idea so much that instead of building up the “guild” we were using the community as our new “guild”  It was so easy to use.  Instead of a potential player having to wait to get an invite from someone, they can just enter a join code and instantly be connected with everyone else that’s online.

Getting people to talk to you is half the battle, and having them join a social group just gives us opportunity to introduce people to our group’s culture.  It takes a lot of work to join a new guild in any of these games, so if I can get them to play with us even just a little bit they may like that experience and want to hang around because of it.  Right now we are getting to know our potential raiders and just having fun.

Handling Criticism as a Guild Leader

Today one of my long time guildmates sent me a whisper.  He didn’t agree with how I was recruiting for our raid groups.  He felt that the players that were in our community were not well vetted, which is true, they are not since I have the link to join posted on public forums.  I’m not looking to create an exclusive club with a whole list of criteria from the get go.  I would find myself saying no to people all day and not growing our ranks.  What if I told a player “no” based on their lack of raiding experience and they ended up being amazing?  A good resume does not mean that the player is going to be great.  People lie all the time and tell us what we want to hear.

This type of criticism is not uncommon for a guild leader.  There is always people that want to tell you how to do things.  I have one time that stood out as a clear, what not to do to keep your guild alive and healthy:

It was the first couple weeks into Wildstar.  We had started strong and were currently sitting at the #5 rank for the entire world for boss kills.  One big problem was that the #1 guild was on our same server and provided extra pressure to catch up to them and surpass them.  This was because we wanted to be the best, and so did the majority of our guild members.

There was a lot of complaining about how we needed to change and improve or people would leave.  The loudest critics came to me and said, we need to do XYZ in order to succeed.  They offered to help, so I promoted them to officers so that they would have the authority to make the changes that they wanted.  Or maybe I promoted them to shut them up, or so they wouldn’t leave.  The later two were the wrong reasons.

So the loud critics didn’t make any changes and continued to complain and now when they were complaining, they were doing so with the Officer title.  OF course maybe part of this was because they realized how much work is involved with leading a successful guild.  The continued complaining created massive problems with moral for a large chunk of our members.

It all reached a boiling point when one of our long time officers sent me a message that they were done with all the stress of trying to be a leader in the guild and that they were going to join the #1 guild in the game.  When they left, so did 30% of our members.  We were a broken group that lacked the ability to complete the content that we were clearing just the day before.  All of the venomous talk of how bad everything really got in my head and stressed me out.  I didn’t even want to play the game anymore.  This experience had sucked all of the fun right out of it for me.

Cancerous members like these may have good intentions, but when they start stirring up crap with rumors and complaining all the time, it’s time for them to go.  You may end up losing a player or two in this process but most likely your guild will remain intact.  Don’t promote your biggest critics to officers in your guild.  If they already don’t agree with you, its more likely that they’ll work against you than with you in the future.

After the experience of trying to allow people to do more and help out and having it backfire so badly, I am leaning towards trusting my gut.  I’m not going to create a perfect place for everyone, its just not possible.  Since I’m doing the bulk of the work getting this thing off the ground my instincts tell me to just keep doing what I’m doing and know that I won’t be pleasing everyone and they’ll move on to green pastures.  The goal is to create a place where I’m still having fun and not burning out form all the stress of trying to please people.

Logging in to Game Server

Oh Azeroth, how I miss thee.  Today was the day!  Months of anticipation all lead to the start of a new war…the Battle for Azeroth.  The night before I sharppened my sword, polished my plate male and packed up my Goblin Glider Kits.  I was ready.

There a lot of reasons to be on a high population server.  There are always people to play with and you get a really big pool of players who want to do the raid content, which is what we tend to focus on.  When your server is know for being the home of 5 guilds that are in the top 100 in the world, that’s a big draw for people.  I know when I’m looking for a server I want to have lots of options for guild prospects.

Of course there are drawbacks to being on a high pop server.  If there is going to be issues with log in queue or server stability, odds are it will hit the high population servers first.  This is exactly what I faced last night as I watched the hours tick by looking at this screen.  Oh how I hate this screen…

Logging into game
Watching the clock tick by while my games decides if it wants to log in.

I sat there, just waiting for my time to charge into battle and catch up with my friends who were lucky enough to be on a stable server and enjoying their BFA launch experience.

realm list
This screen is such a tease. You think you’re almost in…only to be completely disconnected 5 minutes later.

Sometimes I would get a little bit further and I would just be disappointed.   It was nearly 9pm before I could log in.  Some of my friends couldn’t log in for the first 6 hours of the new expansion.  I got a whopping 2 hours to play before it was time for bed.  Tomorrow is a new day!  I’ll be hitting the leveling hard.

 

Getting Pumped for Battle for Azeroth (BFA)

I am so incredibly excited, I don’t know what to do with myself.  I love new expansions and new games for the opportunity of a clean slate.  It’s the best time to learn a new game when everyone else is learning it as well.  Its a much better experience than joining a 5 player dungeon group just be scolded or worst, kicked, just because you didn’t understand the mechanics of a fight.  Its a time when everything is fresh and shiny and new.  Even my mage that I have had since the end of classic World of Warcraft is exciting to play again.  She feels familiar yet different, more powerful as she has enhanced her ability over the past twelve years.

I’m excited not for all of the changes and new content of the game but because this is the first time in 4 years that I’m getting my guild into a new MMO.  We are hitting the ground running and I am leading the way.

We are a smaller group of about 10 people and we will be able to do the normal and heroic versions of the large group content with this many.  It is my hope that we can grow enough to do the harder content but it will be difficult with the light schedule that we are playing on.  I know the type of player I am.  I know the type of players my guild tends to attract.  We will want to do more once we have completed the easy stuff.  We will want to do the hardest content in the game.

I’m excited to be leading a guild again.  Never have I felt more driven to succeed as when I am holding the reigns.  BFA – we are ready for you!