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?

Barely doing Mythic + dungeons

So I used to think that gaming was going the way of catering to the more casual gamer.  Although, what I’m finding is that I can play some of the things but I’m punished for playing as little as I do.

Back in Wrath of the Lichking people lamented the use of addons like Gear Score and to our surprise Blizzard thought that scoring system for ranking a player’s overall gear was a good idea and implemented it into their base game and call it item level.  You can view a person’s item level when you are using the group finder addon and it is one of the few pieces of information that you see along with their name, class and role.  If you want to take your selectiveness to the next level you can use a website and addon called RaiderIO In theory this type of system is great for weeding out the inexperienced and poor performing players.  There was the occasion where I wish I had more information on the people that I was partying with people who end up freaking out in chat and then leaving.

The way that Raider IO scores a player is a little bit odd.  You get points based on how many mythic + dungeons you complete during the current week and you get more points for completing a variety of dungeons.  You get more points for completing these dungeons with a favorable time but you are penalized if you had a great completion the week prior and did not run that same dungeon this week.  So, in order to maintain your score you must continually do the dungeons.  I currently have a score of 211 which is considered pretty low, I have completed 4 dungeons for the week which were all between level 7 through 9.  If I had time I could complete a bunch of +4 or +5 with a great time and that would give me a better score than simply completing the 9 that I did where we didn’t make the time.  I don’t really get any points for completing raid bosses which is where my focus is for now.

I don’t have a ton of time this week to run these dungeons but I do plan on the future to do some sort of experiment.  I play a desired class for dungeons due to our roots and slows (frost mage) and I shouldn’t have trouble finding groups with my gear.  I want to run some +4/+5 dungeons and see how that effects my score.  I’m viewing my raiderio score as a metagame within World of Warcraft and while I’m a bit angry that I’m being excluded from groups based on this score, I would probably exclude players as well if I were the one making the group and wanted to succeed.

All of this being said, I love the mythic keystone system and its ability to challenge you.  I do want to form a more consistent group to do these so that I can do better.  I really need more practice since I’m a little fuzzy on the mechanics of all the trash and the boss fights.  There is a lot of information to remember and running through these dungeons more will definitely help with this.

What are your thoughts on scoring players based on a point system?  Do you find it helpful or hurtful?  How could raiderio be improved?

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.

Uldir the Race for World First

As of today the race for world first Uldir mythic completion is running hot!  Limit has taken the lead killing Mythrax the Unraveler with Method close behind killing Mythrax just an hour ago.  Method has claimed the title more than any other guild in history and they are close to adding another.  Limit has a real shot of unseating the reigning champ with their advantage in both bosses killed and time spent with the content.

If Limit can pull out a win here it would be the first time that a US guild has claimed the world first title since Premonition got the world first Tribute to Insanity back in Tier 9 (Uldir is Tier 22).

Method has not been shy about promoting their guild in this race.  During raid progression is one of the times that you will see a flood of viewers watching World of Warcraft on Twitch.  Has this hurt them in the race?  Most competitive guilds abstaine from streaming during their progression push, although it is the most exciting time to watch a streamer play WoW so I understand why so many of Method’s players are streaming this week.  They are not shy about displaying the amount of funds raised during this race, and each individual streamer has been gaining a following during this race for World First.

Capture

So who’s going to kill G’huun first?  We might find out today!  You can watch Method streaming their attempts on twitch https://www.twitch.tv/team/method

Early progression in Uldir

For a couple of expansions now World of Warcraft has been putting in place gates to their content in order to trickle out new things for us to do in game a little bit at a time.    In the past as soon as a new game opened up you would have access to all of the content including the large scale raids that require you to have between 8 and 40 people all at maximum level to be able to kill some bosses.  This often is where the best loot in the game was and was the goal of a lot of players to get to and through it.  The day that the expansion would launch you would have a mad rush to get to the end game, where many of us thought the game truly began.  We would play a crazy amount in that first week and it wasn’t unusual for my friends and I to clock in 16+ hours per day during this first big push.  Once we got to that final level we would switch gears and start hunting for the best equipment available to us outside of raids.  So this meant running the smaller dungeons which only require 5 players to complete, doing additional quests or any other task that the game developers decided that we would need to do to get some shiny new gear.  During this time, if there were attunements needed to get into the higher level content we would work on these as well.  A raid attunement is mostly a relic of the past and was just a way to further gate the content and slow down the progress of a player to reach this content.  Most of the time it was a time consuming task that we were forced to do in order to play the part of the game that we really wanted to play.  I realize that all this makes me sound like the grandma of raiding “Back in my day we had to do an insanely long quest chain in order to even step foot in Onyxias Lair”  and we did this backwards in the snow up hill, or something like that.  I only talk about the past to highlight how much better it is for those of us that enjoy raiding.

Full disclosure:  I used to consider myself to be super hard core.  The way these games used to be meshed well with my play style.  As I’ve gotten older I’ve witnessed the genre mature with me.  To my delight I can continue to play how I want to play and the game rewards me, perhaps not as much as the poopsocking-hard-core-world-first-striving raiders…but I feel like there is still a place for me and I am satisfied with the majority of how WoW feels today.

This time around we got a generous span of time to level up and work on our characters.  What the gates to Uldir finally did open, we were itching to get in there.  The layout of Uldir was reminiscent of Wildstar’s Datascape and Zul’gurub from WoW classic.  There were blood hexers and lots of pulsating blood graphics, which I personally don’t care for.  The fights were messy and chaotic and if your group had high damage output, many of the fight’s mechanics could be bypassed.  Some of the heroic fights were a little too easy and I know that once we clear the heroic version of Uldir we will be clammoring for them to introduce cross-server mythic raiding.

My guild is more community than guild at the moment.  Over the years we have formed lots of friendships with players that love raiding and communities have allowed us to play together without having to force everyone to pay for a server transfer.  This is great for us but we are faced with having to wait an estimated 3 months for the mythic raids to be available to us.  There are achievements for being one of the first 100 guilds of each faction to clear Uldir Mythic, I believe in order to make an effort to re-balance the factions.  More and more people each year are playing the Horde faction because…hello?  Bloodelfs!  The imbalance is especially prevalent at the very highest level of raiding.  Only 5 of the top 50 guilds as of today play the Alliance faction.

Wow Progress

Encouraging raiders to switch factions is a smart way to spread out some of the population.  I know that when ever I’m looking for a faction/server to play on in any game I look for:  1. a high population server and 2. Where ever the best guilds play.  I’m not alone in this.  Take a look at my server Illidan.   There are a lot of raiders on my server which makes recruiting much easier and is very attractive to players that like to raid since there are so many options for guilds if one doesn’t work out.  And if you really want to shoot for the stars we have some of the best guilds in the US on our server.

I’m hoping that Blizzard will decide to open up mythic raids for cross server sooner than the 100/100 clears.  The idea of a guild is changing with addons, cross server play and communities we shouldn’t be squeezed into the green-text guild box the same way that we played in the past.  We are evolving as a player base and measures like gating us out of content is not good for business.

 

Prioritizing play for a casual raider

I’ve come to dislike the term casual raider probably due to all of the negative connotations that go along with it.  When you called someone a “casual” or to really make the insult sting “filthy casual” it meant that as a player you were not very good at video games and lacked the ambition that made the rest of us “hardcore raiders” play so much.  Now that I’m older and hopefully wiser, I know what used to be the dirty word “casual” is an entirely different market of gamers that developers are now catering too.  First of all I like to let people know that I’m not casual, I’m a working professional with a family and all of that takes up time that I would otherwise be using to play video games.  As a working professional gaming enthusiast, I have had to take a hard look at my priorities in game and ruthlessly cut down my to-do list.  There is no way to do everything that I want to in game each day or even every week.  The following is how I have been balancing life with my insatiable need to play WoW.

Currently I’m playing the new Battle for Azeroth expansion for World of Warcraft and while some of my friends are able to put in 10+ hours per day into developing their characters, I have about 3 to 4 hours at night and maybe a 6 hour block on most Saturdays to play.  First I look at what my big picture goals in the game.  Currently I want manage a successful guild/community and have us on a consistent raid schedule – further down the road I will want us to clear all of the current raid content.  In order to do this I start with a list of priorities:

  1. Recruitment like-minded players who want to play the same what that I like to
  2. Raid fight research and strategy development
  3. Character development

I’ve talked a little bit about how I’ve been recruiting players and how that’s been going.  I’ve had a lot of luck building out our community through advertising on the WoW forums.  Most of my time recruitment has been spent chatting with people that are interested in playing with us.  I’m terrible  at multitasking when it comes to playing and talking.  If I’m enjoying a conversation I can’t be playing the game at the same time or I’ll get distracted.  So I need to choose either playing or talking to applicants.  Our community numbers are over 200 players with about 60-70 online per night and last night we were able to fill our raid with 26 people.  I’m hoping to grow our numbers even further and get a second group going during a weekend night.  Of course this means that I’ll have to find time to level an alt if I’m going to be part of the second group.  One of these days…

mage

Raid fight research and developing strategies is an area that I want to dedicate more time too.  I typically have a ‘jump in and see where we land’ approach to learning a raid fight.  We can talk about the mechanics on a basic level but I believe that people (I) really need to see how something works to be able to learn how to do it. The first week of Uldir was a rough one for me.  I had done less research than several of my members and they ended up doing the fight explanations.  This week I was on point and spent a lot of time analyzing where our boss kill strategies were lacking and ways to simplify the fight for the individuals through group directions.  Basically means I tell people where to stand, when to stack up and spread out and what to kill and when.  If you can communicate this to your people and they are able to understand the general concept of the fight, we will be able to get that kill.  The more I see a fight the more I’m able to understand how to explain it, so when I had the opportunity to get additional hours on a few of the fights with one of my former raiding guilds I took it.

For the last month I have been spending the bulk of my time in game developing my own character.  No one wants to see the guild leader at the very bottom of the logs, and that’s where I’ve been.  I would be happy if I could sit more middle of the pack but it’s a challenge to do so while still making calls over voice chat.  I’ll sometimes catch myself just watching things happen without hitting my buttons just so that I can fully understand what went wrong so that I can correct the errors.  Sometimes this happens and we kill the boss anyway and then my lots REALLY suck.  I can pull some decent numbers if I keep my mouth shut and just focus on playing correctly.

I’ve finally gotten into a rhythm and will work on certain things every night.  Emissary quests can build up to 3 at once and do them all and that’s how I’ve typically been completing them.  I haven’t missed any yet!  The list seems long but I built this list based on what I’m actually doing and not what I’m trying to get done.

  1. Daily:
    1. Complete every emissary – these are the bonus rewards that you get for doing 3 or 4 of a specific type of world quest.  They also give a ton of reputation which I’m focused on getting in the most time efficient way possible
    2. Check the companion app for azerite quests
  2. Finish Weekly Tasks:
    1. Complete a high level mythic keystone
    2. Complete Warfront activities
    3. Expeditions for the weekly bonus
    4. Kill the world boss
    5. Complete the weekly if the reward is good (this week it is complete 4 mythic dungeons)
  3. Raid preparation:  I wrote about preparing on my mage for raid last week
    1. 10 Flasks
    2. 40 Crit Food
    3. Intellect Potions – I’m currently poor in game so I used these sparingly
    4. Stat Runes – Also use these sparingly
    5. All gear gemmed and enchanted
  4. Complete additional Mythic + dungeons for gear upgrades
  5. Complete world quests for Azerite and war resources
  6. Farm Gold

Since farming gold is so far down on my list, my in-game money has been dwindling.  I’ve been stingy with my consumables and since I’m an alchemist my flasks last 2 hours which cuts the amount I need to buy in half and saves me about 6,000g per week.  I’ve only started to get to an uncomfortably low amount of gold and started looking at some ways to refill the coffers.  One of my characters is a Tailor/Enchanter so I’m currently looking at an item that I can craft a bunch of and disenchant for a profit.   I’ve crafted a few of the alchemy items called Potion of Herb Tracking, which goes on your companions and they return herbs when completing a mission.  I’m confident that I can make enough gold to pay my subscription and replenish my battle net currency back up to the cap of $350.