Posted by: ariedan | May 23, 2009

New site!

Hi guys, sorry for the trouble, but I’ve moved to a new host and I’m getting all fancy-like with things! I hope you like it. :)

http://wordywarrior.com

Please redirect all links to reflect the new URL. Also, be a little patient as I finish polishing up the new layout.

Edit from many, many years in the future (ooh, spooky!):

Said updated blog is, unfortunately, no longer alive. Please enjoy my older content with a complimentary fist bump and/or high-five. Thank you, everyone, for your support!

Posted by: ariedan | May 1, 2009

An Officer’s Guide to the Trial Period

I’ve touched the subjects of both applying and trial periods for people looking for new guilds, and there are plenty of outside guides written on how to recruit in general. Rarely do people mention how to evaluate a trial and to make him/her feel comfortable in your guild, though, and that’s something I feel is just as important as recruiting and applying efficiently.

Every Sword Has Two Edges

The biggest thing that bothers me with a lot of raiding guilds is their self-righteous attitude when recruiting. They act like applying to their guild is an honor, and being accepted is an even bigger honor. “You’re applying to us, not we to you!,” they’ll say, and then add, “And we don’t owe you anything.” While it’s very true that the recruit is applying to your guild, and you’re busy judging to see whether or not he* will pass the trial, he’s assessing the guild just as meticulously. He’s watching how you handle loot, issue raid invites, discipline people for mistakes, and how well he fits in. He wants to know this guild is for him just as much as you want to know if he’s for your guild. Officers never seem to remember that it’s just as important to make sure he’s happy. Treat him with respect, answer his questions, and don’t make him feel like he’s wasting your time when he asks you questions, simply because he’s a recruit. Remember, without recruits, your guild would never be successful.

In the end, treating new members with respect and making them feel important right from the beginning is also good for your guild’s growth. A lot of the members of my guild are with us today because how at home they felt initially, and it definitely helps contribute to the overall feel of our guild.

Make Him Feel Welcome

Joining a new guild is scary, especially if you transferred servers. You don’t know a single person, you don’t know how things are done, and you don’t understand all the nicknames/inside jokes that are unique to every guild. What’s worse is when you join a new guild it feels like people are ignoring you, as if you cease to be a person until your trial period is done. Believe me, I’ve been there, and it’s an unpleasant feeling.

Instead of doing all the work yourself, take initiative and encourage people to make him feel at home. When he first joins the guild, be sure to welcome him in guild chat; people are sure to follow suit. If half the guild is chatting in vent, invite him to join. He might feel like he’s intruding or annoying if he joined on his own volition. He also might be a little shy and not talk at first, but if it looks like the guild is making an effort to get to know him, then he’ll warm up pretty quickly.

Run Activities Outside Raids

Heroics, 10-mans, alts, old world content, PvP, achievements… there are so many things you can do. When you’re organizing these things, be sure to ask him if he wants to join, and make sure to get everyone on vent. It’s good to see how he interacts with other members outside of raids because:

  • He’ll be less nervous and under pressure than he’ll most likely be in raids, so he’ll probably actually play better. Do you play your best when you know everyone is waiting for your mistakes and watching your every move? I know I don’t.
  • He’ll warm up a bit because he’ll feel like he’s being included.
  • You probably don’t get to see how he fits in with other raiders during raids because that’s generally a time of focus. Running off night activities gives you a chance to really assess if he meshes with your other members.

Assess

Does he show up on time, late, or early? Is he at the summoning stone, or is he always begging to be summoned? Is he fully repaired or is he the guy crying for an early repair mammoth? Does he take afk’s during trash? Does he need to be told to buff (if applicable), or does he take initiative and does it without being told? Does he come prepared with consumables, and does he need to be told to use them? All these little things really make a difference when I’m assessing a new member. We’re too busy handling other things to babysit people. If he needs to be told to do these things, privately approach him after the raid and explain it’s required.

How does he play? Does he die to everything? Do you suspect he’s a tunnel vision player? Is his dps comparable to the others of his same class, and if not, is it a gear difference? If you know little about his class/spec/role, be sure to make sure you’ve assigned another officer or someone who understands the role to watch him. Be sure to look at recount during the raids if you have any questions about what abilities he’s prioritizing to see if his rotation is what it should be. If your guild uses WWS/WMO, be sure to look at his play in depth after the raids.

How does he take instructions? Does he understand the first time, or do you have to repeat yourself? Is he a quick learner for bosses he’s never done before? Does he need to be told when he makes a mistake, or does he learn from it the first time? To me, this is one of the most important things in a new raider. Gear can be obtained, and if it’s a matter of numbers, you can teach him to press buttons better; but you can’t teach someone to learn faster.

Communicate

Make a list of questions and concerns for him. It’s very important that you explain your concerns and give him constructive feedback. He probably wants feedback of some sort, but it’s also a good test to see how he responds to your criticism. Watch him the next raid to see if he’s made any improvement, and if he hasn’t, make note of it.

Above all, though, communication is the most important part of the trial period, for both sides. If the officers don’t communicate with the applicant, then he’ll never know what he’s doing wrong. In a perfect world, people fix their own mistakes. The reality is, though, that things don’t get better on their own. There have been plenty of times where the officers in my guild and I groaned and put off talking to an applicant, instead hoping he would magically improve over time. If you don’t tell people when they need to improve, then you’re really being unfair when you take disciplinary action (or worse, telling the applicant he didn’t pass his trial) for not playing well. From his perspective, he may think he’s playing fine because no one’s given him any sort of feedback, and then out of nowhere, he’s being told he’s not meeting your expectations. What expectations? If you didn’t lay any out, how does he know to meet them? Communicate, people.

Give Him Time!

I’ll admit, some of the best raiders and funnest personalities within my guild were people we almost judged too early. It’s called a trial period for a reason, so don’t make your final judgment within two days or even a week. Some people really just take a while to feel comfortable and open up, and some people also don’t play their best when they know they’re being judged.

*He/she/whatever! There was no way I was going to put that every time I needed to use a pronoun, and I’m too grammatically anal to be lazy and say “they.”

Posted by: ariedan | April 23, 2009

10 Ways to More Effectively Manage Your Demonic Horde

Hi, readers! I have bad news… I sold my soul to Sargeras at Coffee With Sargeras (as well as my firstborn child and my left pinky, but that’s besides the point), and in return, he’s agreed to guest post for me! Kids, don’t make deals with evil titans; I learned that the hard way. :(

Hello little fleshlings! My name is Sargeras, Bane of Azeroth, and I’m honored to be guest-blogging on The Wordy Warrior. Now when I do this sort of thing, I always strive to fit the theme of my host blogger; so with that in mind, allow me to present…

Ten Ways to More Effectively Manage Your Demonic Horde

1. Communication, communication, communication.

It’s practically a cliche these days, but good communication really is the heart and soul of any pan-galactic destructive endeavor. Getting your countless infernal minions to work as a team requires more than just wanton cruelty. It takes a clear sense of purpose (and also wanton cruelty). If you haven’t communicated that purpose to your team, they won’t function as a unit. No learning, no burning!

2. Keep it light.

You are the incarnation of evil; you desire to destroy all life. That can get kind of heavy! Break it up with some lighthearted banter, or the occasional joke. “Why did the chicken cross the road?” “Nihilism.” That sort of thing. The obliteration of a major landmass need not be a cheerless affair!

3. Amorality is no excuse for incivility.

We get it, you’re evil. Doesn’t mean you have to be a jerk about it. Upholding a basic standard of politeness allows your demons to put aside their hatred of each other and focus on their hatred of life in general. For example: say one of your lieutenants heckles you in the middle of your inspirational speech. Smashing him with a meteor is cool; flipping him off is not. Stay classy!

4. Don’t talk about religion.

It’s kind of a sore subject, for reasons that should be pretty obvious. Politics are okay, though. If any of your peons have a political affiliation other than Your Word Is Law, ur doin it rong.

5. Enact contradictory rules.

This allows you to punish your subjects at will regardless of their behavior. Is that demon sitting around doing nothing? He’s slacking, kill him. Is he working hard? He’s expending excess energy, kill him. Has he found the perfect balance of work and relaxation? He’s making you look bad, kill him. Hey, you are evil after all.

6. Diversity is not an asset.

Let’s not mince words. You are racist, sexist, ageist, phylumist, and in all other ways bigoted. If you thought foreign civilizations had something to contribute, you wouldn’t be feeding them through a mulcher. Demand unity! When you want their opinion, you’ll give it to them! Lesser races are to be seen and not heard! Female demons will wear absurdly revealing outfits! (Or vice versa if you happen to be a female overlord.) Remember: if your demons start to feel like their opinions matter, they’ll only form them more often.

7. Love what you do.

Because if you don’t, it will show. Underlings can tell if you’re just going through the motions. It’s not an easy job, after all; these planets aren’t going to rip themselves into microscopic shreds of frozen rock. You have to wake up and make it happen, day in and day out. If you have a real passion for the destruction, you can get through the hard times. But if you find yourself just counting down the days till your next vacation, ask yourself: why are you really pursuing this career? In the end, if you’re not happy – if you’re not doing this for you – it just isn’t worth it.

8. Pick totally badass names for stuff.

It’s not a toothpick, it’s the Hammer of Hygiene. It’s not a Blackberry, it’s a Sable Amulet. You didn’t sneeze, you Expelled the Nasal Invaders. Seriously, demons eat this stuff up. The legions of the underworld will follow Sargeras the Worldcrusher. They will not, I repeat, will not charge into battle under the banner of Clarence the Certified Public Accountant.

9. Destroy one thing every day.

With all the administrative details you’re forced to manage on a daily basis, it’s easy to lose track of what it’s really all about: blowing shit up. So take time out each and every day to increase the entropy of the universe. Smash a castle. Chomp a comet in half. Kick an underling into the nearest star, if you have to. The focus will keep you grounded as you spread wave after wave of unfathomable terror across the universe.

10. Be the size of Mount McKinley and made out of burning metal.

This last one is so important. I really can’t overemphasize how critical it is that you radiate power like a sun, literally burning other creatures with your countenance.

Everyone clear? Good! Now get out there and incinerate an archipelago.

Posted by: ariedan | April 22, 2009

Ask Arie

Lately, I’ve been getting a multitude of e-mails and questions, and while I do answer some privately, I figured I’d start answering them as a blog entry.

Hollybryn asks:

I’ve just recently started reading your blog (since you’ve just recently created it) and am enjoying it very much. Your articles are insightful and brilliantly written and touch on some very important issues.

I don’t suppose you’d care to list the add-ons that you’re using. I took a look at some of the screenshots on your site and laughed my head off, but wait a minute… look how clean her screen is!! I gotta have it, any pointers would be appreciated

I’m going to say, that’s definitely a first. I’ve never claimed I was good with UIs, and most people want to burn me at the stake for using X-Perl Unit Frames and not having my unit frames towards the bottom of the screen. With that said, here’s my UI (click on the picture to see the full screen image):

Unit Frames: X-Perl
Mini-Map: Simple Mini Map
Action Bars: Dominos; skinned with Button Facade Caith (important!)
Chat: Chatter
Panels (the grey blocks): kgPanels
Buffs: Elk Buff Bars
Raid Frames: Perfect Raid
Class Cooldowns: Class Timer and Pulse

Other Mods:
Deadly Boss Mods
XLoot
Tip Top (pretty tool tips!)
Shared Media
Recount
Rating Buster
Quartz
OmniCC
Omen
Mik’s Scrolling Battle Text
Obituary (GREAT for raid leaders; tells me in chat who dies and what (or whom!) they died from)
MT Love (shows me who the mobs are targeting on mouse-over)
Bagnon
Junk

General Tips:
If you’re new to mods, take it easy. Start with one thing at a time so you don’t get overwhelmed.

Stick with constant colors or shapes; it helps with the flow. If you have a lot of square panels (like I do), don’t go with a round mini-map.

KISS. Keep it simple, stupid (aaah, drum major camp finally came in handy!). The best designed interfaces are the ones that are relatively simple.

Try to keep things organized and put important things where you’re bound to see them. I know, I know.. says the person who still doesn’t have her Unit Frames in the bottom area of her screen. But really… I keep cooldowns and Deadly Boss Mods warnings in the center of my screen where I see them first. I have chat and Recount on the very outer edges since they’re important, but nothing I will generally stare at during combat. I’ve had my minimap in the middle since Malygos and besides, I’m an herbalist. But most people wouldn’t put their mini-map there.

If you’re not very creative, go to the official UI forums on the WoW site and look at other people’s UI for inspiration. You can get all sorts of ideas!

Kel asks in response to Have A Little Faith:

I agree that this would be the ideal. But what if one single officer is a jerk? No guild is perfect.

I have an theoretical example: A is constantly asking simple questions in guild chat. He’s the typical clueless guy with good intentions. B the officer is very annoyed and either gives the wrong answer or doesn’t answer at all. How is a guild member supposed to react to this?

Talk to A? That could turn out bad if an officer later did the same. A member (usually) wouldn’t want to act above the guild rank.

Ask another officer or the guild master? It can be hard to tell on an officer if these things happens in party chat etc. OR… talking to the officers/guild master could end with A being kicked. Not necessary if he just needed a quick lesson about guild chat etiquette and the use of wowhead.

I meant the question to concern the kind of situations where one officer behaves badly but no other officers or the guild leader knows. It’s kinda offtopic, so maybe another post? :p

This goes back to point #3 I made in 10 Ways To Make Your GM Love You. We want to know what we’re doing right/wrong. Without feedback, we don’t know if we’re leading the guild the way the guild wants to be lead. With that said, I’ve experienced bad leadership before and have been in that same exact situation. What if I tell the GM, and because he’s friends with the officer, he gets mad at me? Worse, what if I get kicked? At that point of thinking, you need to realize something: If you don’t feel comfortable telling your GM when someone isn’t acting appropriately, officer or not, then you really need to reassess your reasons for playing with the guild. If you do end up talking to the GM and he/she doesn’t handle it well/kicks you, then you really know it’s not the guild for you. But if you’re ever in a situation like that, you really need to say something. The problem will not automatically fix itself, and your frustration will only grow worse. Do it now before you explode and turn it into a horrible episode of drama.

On an aside, when you approach a GM about the behavior of an officer, watch how you discuss it. Don’t accuse, don’t point fingers, don’t insult or belittle. State your problem in a mature manner and let the GM take it from there.

Posted by: ariedan | April 20, 2009

Have A Little Faith

The other day, when talking with a guild member regarding his lack of preparedness in raids, he shot back with a few of his guild-related concerns.

Why should I come prepared and work hard when So-And-So is sometimes late, rarely has consumables, consistently has low numbers, and always dies to everything. Why are you talking to me, instead of him?”

And as an officer, it’s something you hear all the time. It’s one of the biggest frustrations of the job, and you always have to be careful how you deal with it. Raiders, this blog entry is for you, so maybe you can help understand what we do behind the scenes a little better.

We See It, Don’t Worry

When that unnameable priest dies to flame wall every attempt, when the unspoken ret pally shows up late and expects a raid spot, or when the unidentifiable mage somehow manages to do less dps than the tank, we notice. We notice every mistake you make, every death. When a tank dies, we immediately look through combat logs to know how he/she died, whose fault it was, and how he/she can fix it.

Some raid leaders let their players know when they make mistakes, and some have a zero tolerance policy for it. In a guild such as mine, we promise a positive environment with no name-calling or finger-pointing. We don’t generally don’t call people out in vent for everyone to hear; it’s just not our style. To members that are playing well, it seems like because we’re not calling people out, we’re not doing anything about it. Wrong.

A big part of a leader’s job, whether it’s in-game or in real life, is behind-the-scenes work. Because you’re generally up in the front where everyone can see and judge you, people assume they see everything you do. In reality, that’s the easy part; the hardest part of being a leader is knowing you rarely get credit for most of what you do.

It’s Not Going To Happen Overnight

Every guild’s going to have those few members that just aren’t meeting your expectations. Either their attendance is flaky, performance is questionable, or their attitude is lackluster, but chances are, you’re not exactly happy about it. When you’ve got a few members like this, your reliable players start questioning why they’re still allowed to be a part of the guild and why you’re not doing anything about it.

My first question when I’m approached is, “Do you want me to gkick all those people? Do you want me to kick someone every time he/she’s late or makes a mistake?” Of course they always say no and agree, that would be horrible. Having a few people under-perform is still better than not being able to raid.

So then I’m usually asked, “Why don’t you just replace them?,” to which I always answer with, “If you think you can replace four people with top-notch players that have top-notch attitudes that actually mesh well with our members, go right ahead.” Recruiting is a hard deal. Getting people interested in playing with you is hard enough; getting the right kind of players interested in you is even harder. What’s the point of replacing a bad player with another bad player?

If I don’t belittle, kick, or replace people who aren’t meeting our standards, then what do I do? Fixing a problem isn’t always solved by brute force. You can’t will it to magically become better or remove the problem in order to find a solution. I’ve always been of a mindset that most of the best players weren’t born overnight. And in my experience, if I just watch how I handle it (no one likes being called bad, regardless of how nice and constructive you are), I’ve been able to turn flaky people and bad players into outstanding role models. And that takes time.

So people, when that priest dies to flame wall or that warrior is standing in a void yet again, take a deep breath and relax, because we know and we’re handling it. Chances are, we’re either whispering the person or we plan on approaching the person privately after the raid is over. Things will be fixed, but again, they won’t happen overnight. Have a little faith in your officers; without it, we’re useless.

Posted by: ariedan | April 19, 2009

If It Feels Like A Job, UR DOIN IT WRONG

Recently, I’ve been getting a lot of feedback about my blog, both good and bad. One of the comments I keep hearing repeated is that people think I’ve got this mighty stick up my ass (druid porn?), I can’t enjoy this game, and I take it all too seriously. First of all, I tend to stay on topic, so if I’m talking about recruiting, I’m going to stick with recruiting and not talk about how to wipe your raid as a joke (hmm, that’s a good idea for a future entry?). And secondly, guild relations is generally a topic that comes across as serious because of the nature of the subject.

“It’s Just A Game.”

Congratulations, Mister Internet User, for stating the obvious. You’re right, this is a game, and most people play to have fun and alleviate real life stress. In my humble opinion, this statement bothers me, and here’s why.

The word fun is defined differently by some people. Some people have fun in an environment that focuses heavily on raiding, and adversely, quit having fun when people aren’t playing well. They play for the content and the challenge of doing it well. Other people define fun solely by slaying internet dragons with fun people, and don’t care how well they and the others play. Either type of motivation for raiding doesn’t mean fun and raiding are mutually exclusive.

I always like to compare raiding to sports or a band/orchestra. Both can be considered hobbies (and careers, for some, but that’s not my point) that require teamwork and good structure. When I played in band/orchestra, I took it very seriously even though it was a hobby for me. If somebody didn’t show up for marching band rehearsal because his/her dedication wasn’t on par with mine, my performance suffered. When someone didn’t practice a particularly difficult run and lagged behind, my performance suffered. And if people weren’t trying, I expected the leadership to fix it. Without structure, without rules, and without someone to enforce all the rules, we never would have gotten far. People like myself would have gotten fed up and quit. Regardless of it being a hobby, my biggest enjoyment could be contributed to the challenge of it and the success of teamwork.

Raiding can be thrown into a similar category and for similar reasons. Maybe people who play for the challenge and aspect of teamwork come across as too serious. But for people to get shit done, if you don’t mind my French, there are times when you have to take it seriously. Taking something you enjoy seriously shouldn’t make it feel like a job. If it feels like a job for you, that doesn’t mean end-game isn’t for you, but it’s a completely different environment. We all play for different reasons, and my blog happens to be one that focuses on taking end-game and guilds relatively seriously.

People think good guilds just happen on their own. Hint: they don’t. Serious or not, you need structure and you need rules. If you don’t have those two key things, then your guild will be chaotic. Drama and people with bad attitudes will happen. You’ll have massive recruitment turn-over. My dad always told me there’s a reason for every rule, and even in a video game, you need rules. If you complain about a guild with rules feeling too much like a job, with all due respect, you lose the right to complain when your guild massively explodes.

Know Where That Line Is

Wanting a structured guild who takes raiding seriously doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. It means you know how to focus when you need to, but can also have a good time when you’re not focusing. I’d like to think my guild is one of the most fun I’ve been in, and all our members have commented that our guild environment and personality is the funniest and liveliest they’ve experienced (proof?). We joke, we laugh, we make fun of each other. We sing on vent, purposely let people die for laughs, and have a multitude of inside jokes. If anybody knows how to have fun, we certainly do. But when we raid, we take it seriously. Does that mean we stop singing, laughing, and joking? Absolutely not. But then, people don’t need to be told to shut up (okay, I lie.. sometimes a few individuals think they’re funnier than they really are!) when it’s crunch time. We focus when it requires focusing and make use of our raiding time.

We have a lot of structure, a lot of rules, and a ridiculously thorough application process that a few outsiders have complained were “too much like a job.” But that’s what works for us. It keeps the guild going strong, it keeps our core loyal, happy, and close-knit, and most importantly, ensures we minimize issues and drama. We’re stable, and that’s not something a lot of guilds can brag about, and the reason being- you guessed it: good structure.

In the end, play for whichever reasons make you happy. I just felt compelled to express my opinions on why I write on the subjects I do, and help people understand that taking certain aspects of the game seriously doesn’t make it a job.

/rant

Posted by: ariedan | April 16, 2009

10 Ways to Make Your Guild Love You

So far, I’ve written 10 Things To Make Your Raid Leader Love You and 10 Things To Make Your GM Love You. But let’s not forget about the reason you’re even a GM/officer- without a guild, without people to lead, you mean nothing. Being a leader is a very thankless and selfless role, and even harder to gain people’s respect when it’s merely a video game you’re leading. We’re constantly having to appease someone or go out of our way to make someone feel special. So, in thanks to all the people that make your guild a guild, here is a small list complied of the little things we as leaders of our guilds can do for our guild.

Please feel free to share with all your officers/prospective officers!

1. Being an officer is not a perk.

Folks, repeat it with me: being an officer is not a perk. It’s a job. Furthermore, it’s a second job in addition to your regular role as a player. If you want to be an officer because you think you get extra loot, leeway on making mistakes, and/or solely for the “power,” take a step back. Take a few steps back and fall into a hole, while you’re at it. Leading is for special people, people who are patient, passionate, and realistic. Video game or not, this is a hobby that is based on teamwork, and these are real people behind those pixelated gnomes and orcs. People need leaders. If you’re an officer of a guild, people are looking up to you to lead them, and if you aren’t in this job for the right reasons, you will fail these people.

Secondly, if you dread it, it’s not for you. Sure, it’s a lot of extra work, and sure, it can get really stressful at times. But you shouldn’t lead because you feel obligated, you lead because you love the people you lead.

2. Practice what you preach.

Create no rule you can’t follow yourself, and lead by example more than enforcement of your supposed internet authority. Don’t think you get leeway because you’re an officer. When you make a mistake or break a rule that you created, you lose all credibility when you try to enforce said rule you just broke.

3. Know your members.

This will also give them a chance to get to know and to trust you. Spend time getting to know people individually. Did Joestabbitystab have to miss a raid due to moving into a new house? When he logs on, ask him how it went. Talk about things besides game- and raid-related things. Make people feel like the cherished members they are instead of dispensable raid slots filled. If you develop good relationships with your members, it’s equally beneficial to you as well. It’s a proven fact that leaders who gain their peers’ respect and lead by friendship have a more stable and loyal group of followers, as opposed to people who lead solely by enforcing their authority and discipline.

4. Ask questions and request feedback.

You can’t know how you’re doing unless you ask how you’re doing. This guild isn’t yours; everyone who is a member helps contribute to its well-being, and you owe them the right to listen and then respond to their feedback. It’s a very important part of being an officer/GM that most people overlook. You’re not perfect, and you can’t see all sides to everything. It doesn’t matter if you think you’re the world’s best GM; if your guild doesn’t think you are, then you aren’t. And it’s your job to fix that.

5. Give people small tasks.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my experience of leading various groups, it’s that people love being given tasks. They love being recognized and feeling special. Even if it’s the most mundane task, it still makes a difference. Don’t make it a chore, either; word things in such a manner that they feel like you’ve chosen them specifically for this task, they’re helping the guild out by doing it. Healing leaders, let a healer you trust handle healing assignments one fight while you “have to afk for a few seconds.” Raid leader, have something that needs to be called out? Tell Sallyfrostboltz (okay, so I suck at names, all right?) to call it out for you; it’ll help you focus on more important things, anyhow. People who feel cherished are loyal and happy, and you want loyal and happy guild members.

6. Learn how people expect feedback.

That’s probably the hardest thing for most people to do because it really requires you to be good with reading people. Some people respond to different feedback in different ways. I’ve met countless people who are embarrassed and angry when you call them out in raid, and some would prefer you to say it as it’s happening. But above all, give constructive feedback. There’s no need to yell, belittle, or insult. If you are ever angry enough to feel it necessary to insult, step away from the computer and calm down. Nothing gets solved by yelling or insulting. It doesn’t even make you feel better. Regardless of how stupid people are being, regardless of the situation, it will never call for any of those things. Being stern is one thing, but insulting people is just immature.

7. Communicate. Be honest.

People need leaders, and people need leaders who are honest and have a spine. They don’t want a soft leader, someone too afraid to say the truth. Maybe the person you’re dealing with won’t like the bitter truth (who wants to be told they’re immature/bad/causing drama/etc?), but if you don’t deal with it, your guild will lose respect. People follow leaders because they don’t want to be the ones to weed out the bad people. It’s a crappy job, and no one likes it, but that’s part of your job. Don’t be afraid to tell people to step it up.

On a related note, “communicating issues” doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be a bad thing. Know how to be honest without being hurtful, and how to be constructive and optimistic. Do you have a reliable, mature player whose dps just isn’t cutting it? No need to be rash and ugly; pull him/her aside, kindly tell him/her the issues in a laid-back, no pressure sort of way, and then list ways to help improve his/her play. Your guild expects you to handle these things, but they also expect that when it’s their turn to be confronted, you will be helpful and give them a chance to improve. But you can’t do any of these things without knowing how to communicate effectively!

8. Don’t focus on the negative.

You are the guild’s rock – the frame that holds the house together. Your emotions and attitude as a leader are contagious, so when you get upset and negative, people feel the tension. When things aren’t going well, people look to you to hold things together, to find something to be optimistic about. Regardless of how you actually feel, swallow it and put on a better face. If you don’t have faith in your guild, why should they?

9. Find things to give the guild a good sense of self.

Celebrate victories, mention inside jokes, bring back nostalgic memories. It makes people feel proud to be a part of the guild, makes it feel like a family. It gives them all something in common with each other, and something to help identify why they continue to remain a happy member of your guild.

10. Accept nudes for loot.

Don’t you know? It’s the biggest reason to be an officer. Everybody loves loot and everybody loves nudes; it’s a win-win situation!

On a completely unrelated and final note, this is the last of the “10 ways to.. ” post series, I promise! Well, maybe. If I do it again, I’ll just rename my blog to “Wordy Warrior’s Top Ten.” Also, I’m currently listening to Scatman. Told’ja so.

Posted by: ariedan | April 14, 2009

Holy Patch Day, Batman!

Due to the craziness of patch day, I’ll just be making a quickie blog post today.

Thanks!

First of all, I want to really thank everyone for all the support they’ve given me so far. The blogging community has been helpful in getting me started and giving me overall tips on blog improvement. Major thanks to Veneretio, Matticus, Aenorn, “Sargeras,” and the folks at Blog Azeroth. I probably would have given up after my first day of making this blog without the motivation, advice, and/or support of these guys. My blog has been around for a little over a week, and I already am less than 200 away from having 10k hits! That’s more than I ever aspired to see, and I hope I can continue to post things you all find helpful, insightful, funny, or [random adjective here].

I’ll be trying to work on getting my site hosted and getting a domain within the week, so if any trouble arises, apologies in advance!

Contact Me!

The second thing I wanted to mention would be all the questions I’ve been receiving in my e-mail lately. I can’t add a contact form yet since my blog is still hosted by WordPress (it’s a feature I’ll implement when I get things switched over), but if you have any other questions, concerns, or even suggestions on topics you’d like to see, please e-mail me at Cristyen[at]gmail[dot]com.

WoW Headhunter

And last of all, I’d like to spotlight a very useful site called WoW Headhunter.

A couple of months ago, I saw a post on the guild relations forum regarding a new recruiting tool and a desire for GM/officer beta testers. I made contact, talked to Darren for a while, and have been a big supporter of the site from that day on. It’s really taken off since then, and with 3018 guilds already registered and being featured on sites like WoW Insider, Gamespot, and even as the featured official Word of Warcraft community.

They’re a unique recruiting tool that focuses on matching personalities and play-styles for an overall more effective and easier form of recruiting. Read more about WoW Headhunter on their FAQ or by watching this video here.

And with that, I’m off. Time to take a crash course on Ulduar bosses and then spend the rest of the evening cussing like a sailor because the world server keeps crashing. Until tomorrow!

Posted by: ariedan | April 13, 2009

The Great Debate: Casual VS Hardcore

Casual raiding has been a hot topic all over the internet since the release of Wrath. People are debating its definition and whether or not you can be a successful raider as a casual player. I figured since I’ve experienced both sides of the raiding spectrum, I’d expand on my opinion of the two play-styles.

Casual: Defined

The term “casual” in the World of Warcraft is relative. Every person I’ve spoken with has defined it differently. Some people use the term to describe how often they play, others use it to describe their interest in end-game, and others wield it like a nasty insult, a derogatory term reserved for people incapable of understanding their respective classes and end-game in general. Then, to make matters worse, there are sub-generalizations for the term. Some people who have no interest in life at 80 would call themselves casual and say that anyone who raids is hardcore, even if they were to only raid a few hours a week. There are those people whose only interest in this game is seeing the content first and being the best, and would call anyone not as dedicated casual. It’s a hard word to define, and I don’t think the great debate over the world will be over anytime soon.

So how do I define casual, then? To me, casual isn’t a derogatory term, nor is it a term to describe whether or not someone enjoys leveling or end-game. It’s not how well you play, or how seriously you take raiding. To me, it’s defined by how often you play.

Veni, Vidi, Vici

These days, it’s hard for people to separate the two definitions because of the small amount and the lack of difficulty of the current available content. Most people hit 80 relatively quickly, zoomed through the content just as fast, and were bored very soon afterward. Even the more hardcore players are raiding only one-two days a week, and as such, it makes it hard for people to differentiate the two. With Ulduar on the brink, it’ll mean the more dedicated guilds will go back to their full raiding schedules in order to be the first to get through the content. At least for a small period of time, the difference between the two play-styles will be more apparent. But for how long? The content, including the hard-modes, is supposed to be difficult, but let’s face it.. most guilds will tear through it. And then the cycle will repeat itself.

The bigger problem is that raiding, compared to BC and pre-BC, has changed so much this expansion. In the previous two games, there were several tiers of content of difficulty available, making it easier for guilds to get ahead or behind. Either you could do the fights or you couldn’t- there weren’t hard and easy modes. There was a world of difference between the two play-styles, and regardless of skill, it really was impossible to do that content without raiding often.

If achievements are the most defining difference between the two play-styles, it’s easy to see why the line between the two is so hard to see. Both types of guilds can claim “all content cleared” and be sporting the same level gear. Besides vanity mounts and fancy titles, most people won’t ever care enough to see the difference. And to make it worse, it makes it difficult to rank guilds. I remember Drow, a top US guild on my server, being ranked as second when Wrath content first got tackled because of how easily accessible the content was, and how achievements made it difficult to tell the difference. When several previously deemed casual guilds appear to be on the same level as a a guild that finished Sun Well top 10 US and 22nd world-wide, it really drives the point home.

On an aside, I realize I’m wording things in ways that might imply I think not raiding often means you can’t be successful at difficult achievements. It’s easily possible to keep up with high-end guilds without raiding often, but that’s an achievement in itself and rare to find. If you are fortunate enough to be a member of such a guild, it’s a keeper!

How I Feel

As a hardcore player gone casual, I have mixed feelings on the new style of raiding. I enjoy that I can still raid successfully without sacrificing a lot of time. If I had quit playing as much in the middle of the last expansion, it would never have been possible to be as successful as I am this expansion. For that I’m grateful.

On the other hand, the hardcore player in me grieves for the lack of content, the lack of progression, the lack of difficulty. I’m a little upset that even if I were still a hardcore player, the only difference is I would have done the content first and the quickest. I’m irritated the new progression is hard-mode achievements, thus recycling content and shoving it down your throats until you’re bored of it before you ever complete them all. If I’m irritated, I can only imagine how the dedicated, competitive players feel about the current state of raiding.

So how do you feel about it all? What’s your take on the two play-styles?

Posted by: ariedan | April 13, 2009

Blog Canceled For MyBrute.com

Sorry for the lack of posts the last couple of days. I haven’t been feeling really well. Hopefully I’ll be fine tomorrow and have time to polish off one of my drafts I have sitting ’round. Until then, random filler post!

A couple of weeks ago, one of our guildies posted the link to the Mybrute webpage on the forums. It started out with only a few people just trying it, and within a week, the entire guild was completely absorbed by it. Now all guild, raid, party, and vent chat is occupied by Brute talk, topics ranging from different weapons you can get to how unfair the RNG is. Most of even have referred to our characters as “mains” and “alts,” if that isn’t bad enough!

Mybrute’s a silly little online game, if you can even call it that, where you make a character that fights other people’s brutes. Your abilities, stats, and weapons are all completely random. Sometimes you get nothing at all, and you’re stuck punching each other. Other times, you luck out and get pets and huge, overpowered weapons. You don’t have control of the characters, it’s all random. It should be stupid, but somehow, has become one of the funnest guild activities.

Seriously, go try it. Go fight against one of my alts here and give it a go. If anything, it gives you something fun to post on your guild forums, eh?

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