Posted by: ariedan | April 11, 2009

10 Things To Make Your Raid Leader Love You!

Before I post, I’d really like to thank everyone for all of their positive feedback and comments. I went to work excited over reaching 400 hits as a week-old blog, and came home with that number increased to 4k with a plethora of comments, congratulatory e-mails, and tweets on the side. The biggest thanks go to WoW Insider for getting my name out there, but you guys linking me on your guild forums means a lot.

I got a lot of feedback on 10 Ways To Make Your GM Love You, so I figured I would do one in a similar style, but one that focuses on raiding and the things that people do nightly in raids exasperate me.

1. If you want to raid, be reliable.

That sounds like a simple enough expectation, but something people just must not realize. It kills me every time I have a member who no-shows a raid without posting, and then expects a raid invite the next day. Before you decide to join a raiding guild, take the time to ask yourself if you can commit to their schedule. Are the raid times okay, or do you expect any conflicts (work, kids, school)? Can you show up at least 15 minutes before the raid begins? Raiding is a team effort, and internet video game or not, if you don’t think you owe your guild any commitment, then they don’t owe you a raiding spot or loot.

2. It’s not your job to call things.

Do not ever call out instructions unless you are a raid leader, tank, someone who plays a vital role, or otherwise someone the raid leader appointed. It is not your job to decide battle rezzes or heroism/blood lust, when to run out, and to call out things like fight mechanics. All of your opinions are valuable, but understand when many people try to take charge, things get disorganized and confusing. Suggestions and advice, however, are okay.

3. Don’t complain about stupid stuff like dying.

If you’re wiping on a boss, there are probably two reasons: it’s hard and you’re making progression, or people are making the same mistakes over and over again. Either way, complaining isn’t necessary or tolerated. If you’re consistently dying to something stupid, and you have something constructive to say that will help out, then go ahead! But you’re not helping things if you just contribute to the negativity.

4. Don’t complain about loot!

Seriously! They’re internet pixels, and if they’re the sole reason you raid, I feel sorry for your guild. If you don’t get a piece of loot you really wanted, you should be happy for the guildie that got it, and that it’s gone to making the guild as a whole that little bit stronger. If you’re unhappy because you feel loot was mishandled, take a minute to cool down some. Ask yourself, How much loot have I gotten in comparison to this person? Does he/she make more raids than me? Is it more of an upgrade for him/her? Does he/she contribute more to the raid? In my experience, being upset over something as silly as loot doesn’t make you a horrible person. But before you explode in anger, please try to look at things from different perspectives. Also consider the fact that deciding loot isn’t a simple as a two-minute point-and-click decision; there are a lot of factors in deciding loot, and you shouldn’t be so hasty to judge when you can’t see behind the scenes. If you still feel like you’ve been wronged, wait until after the raid to approach an officer in private. Watch how you word things, as attacking an officer over loot will not help matters any. Calmly explain what happened and why you think it was wrong. Officers can’t do anything to give you that loot even if you were right, but maybe maturely discussing things will put you at ease.

5. If you have something important to say during a fight, don’t type it.

If you’re calling out things that are important to the fight, say it on vent. My chat is the last thing on my screen I look at while raiding, and even if I even glanced over at it, it would be lost in DBM and FailBot (haha) spam. For the few who just can’t talk, I understand. But you wouldn’t believe the sheer amount of raiders who will get chatty on vent after raids, but refuse to say a single thing during raids.

6. Don’t call people out.

It’s not your job to call out Player X who died to a flame wall yet again. Don’t yell or insult them, don’t point it out, don’t say anything out loud. You’re not the raid leader, got it? Privately talking to the raid leader about it is fine, but chances are, your raid leader is very aware Player X dies to stupid things all the time, and probably doesn’t want to be reminded. Why? If you’re wiping because people doing stupid things, your raid will probably have a lot of tension and a very negative morale. When you call someone out, you chance rubbing people already on edge, and starting a fire.

7. Watch your afk’s!

Hopefully I’m stating the obvious here, but don’t take prolonged afk’s. Bathroom and water breaks are generally okay so long as it’s not long or during a boss, but don’t take a 15 minute afk every night to tuck your kids into bed and have a smoke break. Exceptions to this rule will happen (“My house is on fire!”), but if it’s a habit, your raid leader is going be very frustrated with you.

8. Do your research on new content.

Research all of the boss fights. Bosskillers, WowWiki, Tankspot, and Elitist Jerks are four reputable sites you can use. Ask experienced friends, read forums, watch videos, and understand your roles in these fights. If you have any questions, it’s better to swallow your pride and ask before you cause a wipe.

9. Use WWS/WMO wisely.

If your guild uses WWS/WMO (and if they don’t, try to get them to!), it’s the most valuable tool to you as a raider. So use it! Be proactive. Use it to learn to be a better player, and to avoid making similar mistakes in future raids. There is always room for improvement, and if you think there’s nothing left for you to learn, you might wanna check again.

10. If you’re going to cyber with the officers for loot, do it in whispers.

Well, just joking, but on a more serious note, watch the amount of whispers you send to your raid leaders/officers. They’re probably very busy and have several other people whispering things. If we don’t respond, it’s not because we’re ignoring you, it’s probably because we’re busy handling other things. Don’t be offended!

I’ve always wanted to do a sort of guilty pleasures/confessions list, and between not having time to write a decent post before work, and my desire to have a lighter, less serious post, here you go!

1. I’m a barber shop fanatic.

I’ve spent well over 200 gold on changing hairstyles on my warrior, and when I play alts, I change their hair every time I log onto them. My guild loves to tease me for this, especially since it’s the only distinctly female tendency I don’t suppress “in front of the guys.” Whatever, I mean… it’s hair, right? Even guys care about hair. Don’t.. they..?

2. I love my mini-pets.

Which is not to be confused with a mini-pet collector. I like the ones I have, and generally rotate between having my Blizzard bear, showshoe rabbit, and Siamese kitten out.

3. I’m ridiculously vain about how gear looks on my toons.

In fact, I sometimes have a hard time picking up loot that’s a clear upgrade, but considerably uglier. Case-in-point: they’re buffing the currently lackluster Wall of Terror, making it more desirable to use. Logic as a main tank tells me to switch shields when the patch is released. But.. but.. the Barricade of Eternity is so pretty! In the end I always do what’s right, but I always have some sort of internal debate over it.

4. I’ve been known to play Scatman on loop the entire time I was raiding.

I’ve been playing Scatman during raids since the beginning of BC. It makes the BEST raid music! I’m listening to it now, in fact.

5. When I play my mage alt in instances, I might be a little reckless.

Why is it when tanks actually play dps classes, they end up doing all the things they hate dps doing? I AoE too early. When tanks pull too slow for my pace, I ice lance one and frost nova at the tank’s feet. I go invisible it there’s a wipe.. especially if it’s my fault! I don’t back off the threat meter if I hear that telltale “THWOMP!” explosion from Omen, thinking, “Meh.. I’ve always got Iceblock!” I’m everything I hate, and I’m your worst nightmare, tanks. You better hope I don’t get this mage to 80!

6. I sometimes let the melee die on purpose during trash.

If someone pulls off me, believe me, I know it. I’m tabbing enough, and I’ve got enough mods to tell me when I’ve lost aggro on something, besides. Normally, I’m lightening-fast at taunting. But.. sometimes I wait until the mob has killed the person who pulled before taunting back. I’m devious, aren’t I? Makes me feel empowered! /flex

7. I’m by no means a trade troll, but I’m a general channel troll.

Random level two alt, in some random low level zone. Somebody says something stupid. You better believe I’m the first person to respond with something usually snarky and/or sarcastic. The best part of it, though, is that the people are usually too dumb to catch I’ve insulted them. I remember once rolling an alt with my boyfriend, and him looking at me all shocked saying, “You’re mean!” I don’t know why I usually do this on alts. The obvious suspected reason is that I don’t want to look bad on my main, and that’s far from true. I troll on my main on the forums, and have absolutely no respect for people who can’t voice their opinions on their mains. I’m horribly, brutally honest regardless of what character I’m on, believe me. No, the reason is I’m rarely in general on my main, and that’s the toasted toad’s truth! Besides, the general chat in 80 zones is usually raiding and/or pvp related. My preference is general stupidity, instead of flaming e-penis wars.

8. I once tried bribing a hunter to misdirect a healer*.

I wish I had a close hunter friend so I can do this all the time. There is nothing funnier than a hunter being bribed to misdirect healers*. I can’t explain why it’s funny, it just is.

*Please note, healer can be replaced by warlocks. Warlocks are funny when they die, too! (sorry, warlocks! *ducks rotten tomatoes*) And on the note of warlocks, I like to tease the warlocks in my guild by playing vigilance roulette before a boss fight. Last person I put it on before we go in, gets it for the fight. I’m mean to our warlocks, but it’s a lovable cruelty!

9. I desperately want to play a shaman at times.

Not because I enjoy the class, but because I want to screw with people and give them water walking right when they’re jumping into water. Lurker is a fantastic example. Since I can’t, I try to bribe my boyfriend, who plays an enhance shaman, to do it. The flip-side is when the guild bribes him to do it to me, and they all laugh when the tables turn. Sad face!

10. I hate gnomes.

This one isn’t so much of a guilty please as it is just a fact. I don’t know why, but I really, really, really hate gnomes. Their squeaky little voices, their appearance.. I can’t quite put my finger on it (could that be a pun?), but something about gnomes just drives me up a wall.

So, what’re your guilty pleasures/dirty secrets? We all have some! Let’s hear ’em.

Posted by: ariedan | April 9, 2009

How To Get Past Your Trial Period.

This guide is meant to be a follow-up to my previous guide, How To Get Accepted Into Any Guild. If you haven’t read that guide yet, I would recommend you reading it first.

The Trial Period

Congratulations, you were accepted into your guild of choice. Regardless of how good your application was, however, this is the real test of character. People are going to be judging your personality and skills harder than you’ve ever been judged before in this game. Can you make the cut?


Research

Before you ever step foot in a raid with them, there are certain things you need to research. If you’re jumping into a guild far more progressed than you’ve experienced, then you’ve got a lot of work ahead of you. Thoroughly research every new boss encounter and the trash leading to it, read every strat available, and watch videos to understand the fight in action. Make sure you understand your role in the fights, and if you have any questions regarding how the fights are done, do not hesitate to ask someone in your new guild. The only stupid questions are the ones you never asked.

Even if you’ve experienced all the content this game has to offer, you still have a few things you should find out. Ask around, find out how this guild does things. Some of the worst mistakes I’ve made in a new guild were made because I they did the fight differently than I was used to doing. Again, never be afraid to ask questions. I would rather someone who asked a lot of questions over someone who constantly made mistakes because he/she was too proud or shy to ask any questions.

Mods

If you’re a new transfer, your mods are going to be reset. If you use a lot of mods like I do, you’re going to probably be spending 15 or 20 minutes sorting through all the crap that’s on your screen. Make sure they all work before you raid. Nothing is more irritating than for an initiate to wait until their first boss fight to say, “Crap! Sorry, guys, I need to reload my UI.” If you use fancy raid frames, ask for volunteers in guild chat to briefly join a raid group so you can sort out your mods.

And regardless of being a transfer or a server native, make sure you use the mods the guild requires. Update Omen and Deadly Boss Mods, and ask to make sure you’re not missing anything important.

Girls

This is a rather delicate subject, and one that I don’t particularly enjoy discussing, but it’s something that needs to be said. As a fellow female player and one that takes this game relatively seriously, there’s nothing that will get under my skin quicker than the e-flirt type. Most officers feel the same way, regardless of gender.

If you’re a female, you do not need to advertise your gender. You are there to raid, not to ask for dates. There’s nothing wrong with posting your picture in the guild photo thread, but for god’s sake, don’t post it the first day you join, and don’t post anything with large amounts of cleavage or little clothing. Second of all, don’t expect extra attention and leeway for poor performance. And last of all, do not flirt. Again, you’re in the guild to raid, not to provide cheap amusement to the more immature guys in the guild.

On that note, guys, do not flirt with the girls in the guild. It’s annoying when anyone does it, but even more so when you’re a new recruit. There’s nothing wrong with being social and friendly, but it reflects poorly on your character when it looks like you’re just there to flirt. Not to mention, you might offend someone. Some, maybe even most, girls don’t play for dates and attention, and are offended when guys won’t leave them alone.

Punctuality and Attendance

At least 15 minutes before the raid is scheduled to begin, make sure you are online. Don’t be involved with anything- dailies, pvp, five-mans, Karazhan, and so on. It shows you don’t care about wasting people’s time, and is deeply frowned upon. Make sure you are repaired beforehand, and that you have the proper consumables and gear you will need for the night.

If you have to leave the raid early, let the officers/raid leader(s) know before the raid starts. Don’t wait until five minutes before you need to leave to let them know they need to find a replacement pronto. Try not to do this as little as possible. If you can’t stay for the whole raid, you’re eventually not going to get any raid invites.

If you have to miss a raid, be sure to inform them. Most guilds have attendance threads or forums, and expect you to post when you will be absent for a raid. Don’t wait until the last minute to post you will be absent, either- try to give them as much notice as possible.

Realize that as a new recruit, you will be expected to have nearly perfect attendance. Some guilds will work with you if you have to miss a raid or two, but most expect you to at least have perfect attendance during your trial period.

And on a similar note, don’t go afk during raids. If you need to take a small bathroom break during trash, that is acceptable, but always tell the raid you’re going afk. Barring emergencies, do not ever take a prolonged afk.

Invites

Be prepared to not be invited to all the raids. As a new member, you get last priority on raid spots. Don’t complain if you aren’t invited, and don’t ask for an invite if you don’t get one. Be waiting outside the instance and on vent in case they need you. Some guilds switch people in and out for different boss fights, and it could be they would prefer you to come in for a certain fight later on. Don’t log off if you don’t get an invite. It’s unbelievable how many initiates you see log after when they don’t get a raid invite, and then aren’t around when we’re ready to invite them 30 minutes later.

Don’t Expect Anything

Don’t expect summons- sign on early and get to the instance on your own. It shows initiative and effort. Don’t expect consumables or marks of the Illidari- be ready with your own consumables. Don’t expect loot- if nobody wants the loot and they plan on disenchanting it, sure, pip up and mention you’d like it. But initiates do not EVER ask for loot. This is your trial period, so you’re here to show them what you can provide them, not what they can provide you.

Don’t Complain

People who complain are annoying. Initiates who complain are even more annoying. Don’t cry about dying, your loot luck being horrible, or not getting raid invites. Don’t complain about other members. Don’t complain about your past guild. Got it?

This Isn’t Your Last Guild

Want to know what annoys people more than people who complain a lot? People who join a new guild and complain about how they do things, comparing every trash pull, boss positioning, and strategy to what they’re used to. Yes, this is a different guild. Quietly accept that things will be different. You made the decision to join/transfer to this guild, and you need to understand that some sacrifices will be made.

Mistakes

Grow thicker skin if your feelings are hurt easily. Be ready to endure people telling you everything you do wrong. You need to also be on the lookout for your own mistakes- some raid leaders don’t actively point out mistakes the first time you make them, but expect you to notice what you did wrong and fix them yourself. And do not for any reason try to justify or make excuses for your mistakes. Accept constructive criticism when given, learn how to fix it, and don’t make the same mistake twice. And take responsibility for your own actions! If you accidentally pulled that extra pack of trash and wiped the raid, don’t wait for someone to ask who did it, and certainly don’t blame it on anyone else. Be mature and own up to your blunders. It makes you look a better person.

Know Your Place

If somebody in unfair or rude to you, don’t argue. If somebody makes an outrageous mistake, don’t point it out. If someone’s spec or itemization is horrible, don’t attack them and tell them how to improve. This isn’t your guild yet, you’re a trial member, they’re trying you out. If you have an issue with a member’s behavior, approach an officer with it in whispers. Don’t try to handle it yourself- even if you’re right in the situation, being involved in heated arguments or drama as a new member makes you look bad.

Don’t try to jump in on all the jokes your first night. Yes, it’s probably funny when the whole guild gangs up the MT and mock-insults him. But you don’t know this guy yet, so it would be odd to chime in and call him a stupidmeaniepoopyface the first night you join. You’re not going to pick up on all the inside jokes in the very beginning, so don’t try.

Talk, Don’t Type

People don’t want to read raid chat during raids. If you have something important to say, especially if it’s during a boss fight, say it. If you’re personally addressed in vent, especially respond.

Loosen Up, Have Some Fun!

Last of all, don’t take it all too seriously! Run heroics or do some battlegrounds with guildmates. Talk in guild chat, hang out in vent when you’re not raiding, post on the forums. Try to get to know some people, it’ll make everything more fun and make you less nervous. Crack a joke every once in a while, take initiative to make a new friend. This is a video game, after all, so be sure to enjoy yourself along with everything else.

Stay positive and don’t be afraid to work a little hard, and you’ll do fine. Good luck, and I hope this was of some aid for those seeking a new guild.

Posted by: ariedan | April 9, 2009

How Did I Get Here?

Sometimes, I look back at where I am, what I’ve done, who I’ve met, what I’ve seen in this game, and wonder, how did I get here? Pre-BC, I virtually had no experience in this game. That doesn’t mean I didn’t have experience tanking but on another toon, or that at the very least, I did MC and was working on BWL or something. Unless you count walking into ZG once at 60 – killing nothing except ourselves!- I had zero experience. None. I was the epitome of the casual player; I logged on maybe every other day, had severe alt-itis, didn’t really care to be level-capped for end-game. I remember sitting around Stormwind in my horrible questing greens and shabby blues, admiring those wearing a single epic. I didn’t quite understand the idea of tier sets and how difficult they were to obtain, but it doesn’t matter if it were tier one or tier three- bread is bread to a starving man.. er, woman. I would play specter to the community forums, watching all the important people argue and troll each other. I would see people discuss progression and make fun of the guilds that were still trying to find the people do attempt ZG. It was just a whole different aspect of the game, and one I never thought to see.

How did I get here?

Surprising even myself, I leveled to 70 relatively fast, picked up questing and instance blues, and fancied myself a tank, when in reality, I didn’t know a single thing about tanking. I got into the second best alliance guild by making a friend with an officer, and they gave me a chance. In retrospect, I don’t know how they tolerated me. I remember trying to do Nightbane (this was when it was still ridiculously hard), and when I died a whole lot, and the healer asked why I allowed myself to eat a crushing blow, I was completely puzzled. What’s a crushing blow, I remember asking vent, only to be responded with snickers in vent and /facepalms in raid. I clicked, I keyboard turned, I didn’t heroic strike spam– I didn’t have an idea what “TPS” meant. I didn’t know the bosses, and I didn’t care to know the bosses. Responsibility? Pfft, what’s that? I couldn’t pull trash because I was too timid, and when I say timid, I just stood there until someone told me what to do. I gemmed my gear with vendor avoidance gems, I was crittable, I never used shield block, my health pool was little over 10,000. Again, how did I get here?

With effort, careful research, and going the extra mile most others were too lazy to do, I was able to keep my spot in the guild. I began reading theorycraft and guides, saw the light, and learned a little more about playing and gearing myself. I changed my spec to the cookie cutter 8/5/48 instead of the really weird one I was sporting (I was all over the place.. imp shield bash, imp revenge, no cruelty, oh my!). I became more assertive and confident, I started to learn the trash well enough to mark and assign CC to my own. I learned what TPS meant and that at the very least, 800 TPS was the benchmark I needed to reach as a tank. I started keybinding abilities and learned to turn with my mouse. I played around with my gear and my threat rotation, and instead of complaining about threat, I was complimented. But still, this was Karazhan; how did I get where I am?

Around the late spring, my guild fell apart when a friend of theirs recreated their old guild from Pre-BC. I managed to snag an invite, and I did all right there. Nothing amazing, but I was an off tank at TK/SSC level- I tanked trash and adds- I didn’t need to be great. Then, they made their raid times even earlier, so I made the decision to look for another guild. I applied to several, and was accepted into several high-level guilds. It’s amazing where being intelligent and well written can take you when you lack gear and experience. I decided to try a guild on Frostmane because their times were perfect- it would mean I’d never miss a raid to work again. I was recruited by Serennia/Avatar (whom I knew nothing of at the time), and transferred over to play with Dragonflight, a guild 3/5 and 4/9 when most people were still trying to master Karazhan.

Serennia yelled a lot. That was the first thing I noticed about my new guild. He never stopped yelling. We wiped on Hydross, and he yelled at everyone. He yelled at me enough to think I was about the worst tank, and again, I kept asking myself, who do I think I’m kidding? I’m not good enough to be here, to be in a top guild, to be playing with these people. I didn’t refresh his demo shout and thunderclap quickly enough, I didn’t move the adds close enough to AoE them, I didn’t move fast enough. You name it, Serennia probably yelled at me for it. Feeling defeated, I honestly almost quit raiding then and there.

After that experience, it took a lot to build up my confidence again. I joined another guild very well progressed, and ended up being one of their main tanks. I grew into that role, and got to experience what it was like to be in a constructive and fun guild environment that was still very progressed (Illidan down in August, I believe?). Within a month, I was the person people admired in major cities, with my sparkling pixels and my elite guild tag. But it all felt so surreal to me, even then. I couldn’t believe I had gone from a casual nobody to a hardcore main tank in a top US guild. I thought it was everything.

But then my schedule changed a year ago, and I created my own guild. I’m back to being a casual nobody again, but you know what? I was wrong. Being in a top guild, being admired for something as shallow as loot, it’s not everything I thought it was. Being in a guild where I know and love everyone, something that’s worth logging on for, that is what this game is for.

It took that entire three-year-journey for me to circle back and realize it, but I was right where I wanted to be from the beginning.

Posted by: ariedan | April 8, 2009

10 Ways To Make Your GM Love You!

Not everybody wants to be an officer, nor is everyone really cut out for a leadership position. But that doesn’t mean if you love your guild you can’t contribute any. There are plenty of things you can do to make your guild leader’s life easier.

1 Be active on the forums. Good communication is necessary for any type of guild, and forums are the easiest way to do that. Being active on the forums means one more person posting, and the more active they are, the more motivated others will be to post. And you don’t just have to post serious things like responses to strategies or class theorycrafting. Start a funny youtube or picture thread, a forum game, or even a make fun of [insert that guy/girl everyone loves to pick on] thread.

2 Don’t just log on for raids. Level alts, play in battlegrounds, run instances, chat on vent- and encourage guildies to join you!

3 There’s nothing wrong with criticizing unfair rules or situations handled incorrectly. After all, we’re people too, and we all make mistakes. But pick when and how you do it carefully. In guild chat, forums, vent during a raid? Absolutely not. Privately and in a constructive manner? Definitely! Constructive feedback from the guild is good- it’s how we know we’re doing things right.

4 Similar to #3, if you have an issue with a guild mate, keep it private and mature. If it can’t be handled between the two of you without getting heated, go to an officer.

5 When you make a mistake or cause a wipe in a raid, immediately own up to it. Don’t point fingers, and don’t try to hide. It’s called taking responsibility for your actions, but more importantly, it saves us time trying to figure out what went wrong. Imagine trying to keep up with 24 other people, and having to troubleshoot between boss attempts. That’s valuable time, and not just your raid leader’s time, but yours too! Use it wisely, and help out!

6 If you know of something going on, such as a member talking of transferring, a member ninjaing in a pug, etc, tell an officer. It’s not ratting someone out, it’s doing the responsible thing. There’s nothing more irritating than a conversation that goes in circles because you can’t name names, and besides that, nothing gets solved that way.

7 Help bump the recruitment thread. Seriously! I love people who help me do this.

8 Let an officer know if you can’t make a raid. There’s nothing wrong with missing a raid. There is if you’re a no-show.

9 Talk, don’t be a social wallflower! I’m not saying nonstop as that can get pretty annoying pretty damn fast. But don’t be afraid to try to get involved and get guild chat going if it’s dead.

10 Cyber with the officers and give them gold and free consumables. Just kidding. Well, I’ll take the gold- just mail it to me!

Posted by: ariedan | April 8, 2009

Why Do You Still Play?

Today was one of those lazy days off from work. You know what kind I mean? The sort of day that starts out with you hitting snooze and sleeping two hours later than you intended to wake up, where you end up staying in your pajamas all day long, and you spend the majority of the day procrastinating and doing nothing constructive. One of those days, see? I was remarking to my boyfriend how I didn’t really feel like raiding tonight, mostly because I didn’t really feel like focusing on anything for three hours. He misunderstood my tone and asked, “Why? Do you not want to play anymore? That’s it- just you’re done with the game, the guild, time to move on?”

Clearly, that’s not how I meant it, and long after the conversation was over, I got to wondering, why do I still play? I love this game, but admittedly, the passion’s dimming, the excitement is stagnant, and even the new content (when it isn’t recycled by adding achievements for “progression,” that is!) isn’t enough to lift me up. It’s never been leveling, and it’s never been PvP, that’s for sure. I’ve never been a lover of lore, despite my unhealthy obsession for the fantasy genre in books. So what is it? What motivates me to log in every day? Why do I still play?

Questioning my motives was leading my nowhere, so instead I tread down a different route. I began summoning all the most memorable moments I’ve had in this game, the memories that will last forever, the nostalgia that will always be apart of me.

My first most memorable moment was when I was about level 32, and leveling in Stranglethorn. That’s when I met Sean and David. I can’t remember if I found them while questing (HA! Me questing?), grinding random mobs, or running around in circles. Being the distractible daydreamer that I am, I was most likely lost and wandering around some various mountains while typing what I found to be snarky witticisms in response to the stupid people in general chat. However I met them, they were the first friends I had in this game. We did everything together. We quested, instanced, and were always in party for chatting purposes regardless of what we doing. Mostly, they just helped me run around in circles doing nothing. I blame my three months to get to 60 on all our fun. We eventually quit playing with each other when BC was released, but every time I think about the chaos we got into, I feel a hollow pang in my heart.

My second biggest memory was the first time I tanked. I joined Sean and David’s little casual guild only for it to fall apart (which, subsequently, led to their change of servers), but I made such great friends there as well. I remember one of my friends there, Sal, teaching me to tank. Now, you have to understand.. believe it or not, I actually used to be afraid of tanking. I swore up and down I never would (I didn’t even have taunt on my bars!), but after getting a lot of shit from several guilds, I decided I wanted to learn. Sal taught me by bringing level 45 me into Gnomergan with his 60 hunter. He told me to put on a shield, and then swoop, he disappeared around the corner. He ran back with a few mobs beating on him, mockingly saying, “Save me, save me!”. I’ve never been really quick to think under pressure, so I’m sure I just stood with my back to the mobs while shrieking on vent. Maybe I sundered one of the mobs, I’m not really sure. After a few more tries, I finally got the hang of it. After that, I loved tanking so much, I’ve been protection (excluding a few respecs for the raids with too many tanks) ever since. I hold such fondness for this memory, though, because if wasn’t for that, I probably would have never discovered my love of tanking.

A have a few other good stories, but those are the two memories that really stand out for me, and really help me define why I play this game. I log on everyday because my passion for tanking and the friends I hold so dear. I log on everyday to stay up all night idling in Dalaran but joking with my guild on vent. I log on everyday because I love everything about the tanking role, the good and the bad. Without these two reasons, I would have quit playing long ago. But until I quit tanking and all my friends quit playing, this game holds meaning for me.

What about all of you? This game is so vastly popular. Millions world-wide play it, and many have played it as long or longer than I have… so my question to you is: why do you still play this game? What in the World of Warcraft gives you meaning?

Posted by: ariedan | April 6, 2009

How To Get Accepted Into Any Guild

I originally wrote this guide for my blog on Tankspot.com almost exactly a year ago, but I wanted to share it here as well!

Introduction

With the raiding scene becoming easier, people are getting more and more opportunities to experience end-game and to join better, more progressed guilds. Are you less experienced, but you know your class, and want to join a guild a little more progressed? You might think to yourself, well, I’m at a disadvantage; there are those more geared and experienced than I competing for the same spot, although I probably am a better player than they! How do you make your application stand out more?

What They Want To See

As a the recruiting officer of a raiding guild, I’ve probably seen entirely too many applications. And truth be told, people are horrible at applications. You can be exceptionally geared and/or skilled, but if it doesn’t look like you took your application seriously, people won’t take you seriously. In most situations, raiding guilds probably want someone they don’t have to spare time gearing up. But most people have the mentality that gear and progression can be easily obtained, good attitudes and intelligence cannot. When looking at applicants, people generally place effort and attitude at the top of their list. Understand that most of these people have never played with you and know little about you. Your application is the only information they have, and if you want to be accepted, it’s your job to give them the right impression of you.

Before You Apply

Read those stickies! Nearly all application forums will have one or more stickied thread explaining the guild rules, raid times, loot procedures, and application guidelines and format. Read all of it! Know what you’re getting into, and make sure this guild is what you want in a guild. Follow the directions given in the guidelines. There’s probably nothing more unattractive in an application than somebody not following directions. The stickies are there for a reason; read them.

Also, make sure you are ready to raid. No amount of intelligence is going to convince a bleeding-edge progression guild to pick up a person in all blues, or even worse, greens. Like I said before, you can’t expect them to take you seriously if you don’t don’t take yourself seriously. Grind that rep, do those heroics, do everything possible to get the best possible gear available to you. You may not have been farming the top instances for months, but that does not excuse you from having bad gear. It’s very easy to get good gear these days, so take advantage of it. Also, make you sure you have at the very least blue level gems in your gear- epic level once the new epic gems are finally available. Enchant everything that can be enchanted, and do make sure your enchants are appropriate to your class/spec. And don’t be cheap! If you can’t afford to enchant your gear with the best-of-the-best enchants, how can a guild expect you to be able to pay for repairs on new content?

And branching off from the above paragraph, have realistic expectations. A good attitude and a lot of effort will get you far, but know a guild that’s working on the newest released content probably not going to bring a person with 10-man level gear immediately in to raid. Know which goals are achievable, and which are not.

Sell Yourself!

Like I said before, your application is the only impression they have of you. They probably have never done any instances or raiding with you, and this time in the game, it’s very easy for people to get well geared without having skill. This is where knowing how to present yourself comes in. As in all applications, video game or job, you want to bring all your positive qualities to light. How are these people supposed to know you aren’t immature and loot-centric? True, you can tell pretty lies on your application, but generally, people are quicker to recruit the person who tells them they’re positive, punctual, prepared, and skilled before someone who merely links their armory.

You need to ask yourself how you are an asset to this guild. Why should this guild recruit you over others, especially if you’re lesser geared and experienced than other applicants? Are you reliable, responsible, mature? Are you active and social beyond raids? Do you take criticism well? Do you listen to instructions well? Are you vocal in fights where communication is necessary? Do you think you’re a perfect player, that this game requires no skill, or are you the type who always watches for mistakes and is always striving for personal improvement? Is your situational awareness good? Are you motivated, a hard-worker, and enthusiastic? These are the sort of things they want to know about you. These things set you apart from other applications, so forget modesty, sell yourself!

Don’t be afraid to make things lengthy. Few people will ever respond “tl;dr!” to detailed, well written applications. In fact, the more informative, the better. Try to keep things relevant, but don’t be afraid to elaborate on why you chose your current talent build, why you itemize a certain way, what resist sets you have, that you have a good mic, or show off your theorycrafting skills a bit.

Go That Extra Mile

If your previous guild used WWS, provide a parse even if the application didn’t ask for it. Take a screenshot of your UI, even if the application doesn’t ask for it, and rationalize your mod and keybinding set-up. Be prepared to go the extra mile, it will encourage them to think you will go the extra mile as a raider as well (which you should!)

If you’re a transfer applicant, mention several ways to get in touch with you- email, instant messengers, or mention you’ll consistently check the forums for private messages. If they want you badly enough, they might make a level one on your server to chat, but giving them other means of communication shows initiative and makes things easier for them.

Make sure you log out with your raiding gear on. If you do not have a raiding spec, link the build you would use to raid with. Nothing is quicker to show a lack of preparation than an application applying to a raiding guild not ready to raid. How are they supposed to judge if you meet their standards if you’re in pvp gear?

Be sure to also plainly state you know the raid times and are not only available to make them, but you’re able to show up at least 15 minutes early for invites, and sometimes stay a little longer on progression nights if needed. Here is also the spot to mention any conflicts you will have with the schedule. Be thorough! It’s not wise to wait until after you’ve been recruited to mention you have to work on Tuesday nights.

Be prepared to explain your ability rotation, to elaborate on class specifics, or to answer several “what if?” scenarios people sometimes respond to your application asking.

And link that armory! You’d be surprised to know how many people think their name and server will suffice. Yes, it’s not that hard to open up a new window and search for you under the armory. By not linking your armory, though, you’re basically stating you’re lazy, loud and clear. That’s one of the easiest ways to get yourself denied right off.

Don’t Assume Anything

Another big mistake I see in applications is that people assume a lot. Assume nothing. Even if it’s common knowledge, you’re there not to test their knowledge of the game, but to prove yours. They don’t know you or anything about how you play. I can’t stress this enough! If you have to question yourself on whether or not to elaborate or justify your knowledge, go with your gut and go with the detail.

Appearance

Appearance is just as vital as everything else provided in your application. If English isn’t your strong point- heck, even if it is– run a spell check. Try to use proper punctuation, capitalization, and full, coherent sentences. Well spoken and intelligent applications are rare, but valued just as much as your gear. It’s just another part of presenting a good image to them.

Make your application look pretty! Don’t leave anything blank, add spaces in between all the questions, pick a neutral color (something like blue, not.. pink), and make all your application questions that color and bold it. It organizes your application, making it much easier to read. It takes a lot of time, true, but believe me, it makes you look better.

References

If you’re on the same server, you’ll most likely be expected to name people who can vouch for your skill and credibility. Even if they don’t ask for references, it still makes you look better. Not all guilds research potential applicants, but some do, and some do it in depth. If you have a nasty background and it’s well known, you might as well be upfront about it in the application, although it’s recommended you not be flippant about it. “Yeah, I stole my guild bank before transferring. Those scrubs were totally mad, laaaaaawl. Anyhow, I can totally be trusted, so can I join your guild?” And while I’m on the subject, I would not condone lying about anything, end-game experience or guild history. There are ways to find out anything in this game, so be wary about being dishonest.

If you’re a transfer, you probably should still name a few references. In fact, it might be better if you do since it’s sort of impossible to do trial runs with an application before transferring. Word-of-mouth (or is it keyboard?) is the easiest way to get an idea of what sort of player you are without seeing you for themselves.

Show Some Personality!

And last, but not least, don’t be too serious! Show some personality. People want dedicated and reliable players, but they also want you to be fun. There’s a line between making a joke every other question, but don’t be afraid to throw in a humorous quip or two. They want to find people who will fit in with the other members of their guild, not some silent, bot-like player.

Questions You Should Be Prepared To Answer

I’ve prepared a list of common questions you might see in applications:

  • What is your spec and what did you choose this particular build?
  • What other builds have you played with? Why did you switch out of them?
  • What are your general play times? Is there anything that would affect your availability and attentiveness during raids (work, family dinner, school, parents, etc)?
  • Give us a detailed description of your computer’s specifications – CPU/RAM/GraphicsCard/Monitor, etc.
  • What sort of internet connection do you have, and how stable is it?
  • What do you think the strengths and weaknesses of your class are?
  • What is your average hours played per week?
  • Do you strafe, and in what situations would you strafe?
  • Do you turn with your mouse or keyboard?
  • Are you a clicker?
  • What’s your previous guild history, and why did you leave those guilds?
  • What’s your raid experience?
  • What is your previous MMORPG gaming experience, if any?
  • What can you offer us? (Or “Why should we recruit you?”)
  • What rare patterns/recipes/plans do you have for your professions that may be helpful to the guild?
  • What are you looking for in a guild?
  • Do you have Ventrilo installed? Do you own a mic? Can you talk without horrible feedback? And will you talk if communication is necessary?
  • What’s your favorite raiding encounter?
  • What do you feel should/could be changed to improve your class/spec?
  • What resist gear sets do you have? Are you willing to farm the mats for your own resist gear?
  • How situationally aware are you?
  • What’s the best wipe you’ve ever caused?
  • Do you use consumables in raids, and if you do, which?
  • Do you pvp any?
  • What’s your role in the raid?

Before You Post That Thread…

Before you post that application, be sure to go through this check-list:

  • Is all your gear enchanted and gemmed correctly?
  • Are you in your raiding gear and raid spec’d?
  • Do you understand the guild’s rules, and can comply with them, including raid times and DKP/loot systems?
  • Did you follow the application procedure correctly?
  • Are you available to raid/transfer immediately?
  • Did you proofread your application?
  • Is your armory linked?
  • Is your application clean and easily readable?
  • Did you answer all questions, leaving no questions blank?
  • Did you provide WWS parses, UI screenshots, and references?
  • Does your application show someone who puts effort into what they do?

Summary

In summary, if you’re a good player who has put a lot of effort into his/her gear and knowing his/her class, if you’re intelligent and mature, and you write a detailed, well-written application, your chances to be recruited will rise. It’s all about effort.

Good luck, everyone. Hopefully you’ll get the opportunity I had in the beginning of TBC, and get the chance to join a progressed guild regardless of gear or experience. I hope I helped you out. 🙂

Posted by: ariedan | April 5, 2009

10 Things I’ve Learned the Hard Way

In one day, the guild I created will be celebrating its one year anniversary. I’ve gone through a lot, and I’ve definitely grown a lot in character. Instead of reflecting on my successes, I’d rather just focus on the things I learned from my experiences for any prospective or current guild leaders/officers.

1). Drama Happens.

Say it with me, folks: drama happens. You could have the best group of people and the most incredible leadership, but it will happen. When you put a group of people together, online or in person, you have to realize that all people disagree at times.

How I Learned From It: I thought my guild was immune to it. We’re a very small and close-knit group of friends, and we thoroughly screen new members to ensure we bring in the right sort of people for us. So when people would get into disagreements or balk at officers giving constructive criticism, you’ve got to just take a step back and fully assess the situation.

How I Deal With It: A lot of people have the misconception that in order to run a guild successfully, you have to keep drama out, and if you don’t you’ve somehow failed. Don’t fall into that category. Your responsibility as a leader is not to ensure that drama never happens, but to realize that it inevitably will and to constantly nip it in the bud before it spreads like wildfire. When somebody is upset, talk to him/her and try to find the root of the problem. If there’s a disagreement between two people, try to hear both sides of the story without taking either side. If you sense a negative vibe, fix it.

2.) Never Assume.
Never assume anything, and never leave a rule you expect to be followed unspoken no matter how much you think it’s common sense. Outline all raiding, social, and guild rules you expect your guild to follow that way, they never have cause to complain when you chastise them for breaking them.

How I Learned From It: There were many instances where I learned this lesson the hard way, but the one that really stands out deals with an inexperienced raider that had just transferred to play with us. Before I explain the situation, understand that we run with a very small roster at probably around 30 raiders. On a good night, we might have a few people sitting out, but it helps us deal with bad nights when a few people can’t make raids. We were progressing through Black Temple at the time, so it wasn’t a one-night-deal for us, and since it was new content for us, of course everyone showed up. We invited the new guy to Tuesday night’s raid where we cleared all the way up to Illidari Council, and on Wednesday, we invited another person who had sat out the previous night, and sat the new guy. Well, he didn’t like that at all. Within minutes, he had started a drama post on the forums (instead of approaching an officer with his issue!) about how it was rude to get him saved to an instance without inviting him to finish the rest of it (consider also that it was still progress for us, so there was no “finishing” happening). Everyone was completely floored at the audacity of his post, but mostly, because we assumed that was something everyone understand about end-game raiding. Apparently, common sense isn’t so common.

How I Deal With It: I’ve written guides based on the rules and expectations I hold my guild to, and I cover all bases so I don’t have to deal with another situation similar to the one described above. If people choose to not read and/or follow the rules… well, the consequences are also outlined in the threads so it’s no one’s fault but their own!

3.) Share the Work Load.
Running a guild is not a one-man/woman job! Hand-pick officers and help delegate responsibilities. Be ready to give new officers a push in the right direction, though. Getting your officer team to understand they don’t need you to hold their hands in making decisions and taking initiative to get things done is necessary.

How I Learned From It: When I first started my guild, I was so overwhelmed. I was unemployed at the time, and running the guild essentially became my full-time job. I was online the majority of my days, trying to juggle recruitment, playing member babysitter, working on the guild website, answering people’s questions, while still being expected to online and around to get to know my members.

>How I Deal With It: After making sure I made the right decision on picking my officers, I resigned as GM and instead gave us all the equal rank of “officer council.” Each one of the officers has his/her strong and weak points, and our own little niche in running the guild. This really helped establish that it was a team effort, and has really helped even out the work load. Now, if I don’t log into WoW one day or decide to take a vacation, I don’t even think twice about it. I trust my officers, and it has really made all of our guild successes possible.

4.) Be Active.
Running a guild means you need to know what’s going on, and you need to be around to see it.

How I Learned From It: I actually work swing shift at my job, which has me working overnight. As a result, that means I can’t always be around when everyone’s online. Have there been issues because of it? In the distant past, yes. But being active doesn’t necessarily mean you have to always be online.

How I Deal With It: I make myself available. I’m always on the forums, and our forums are very active. People have my cell and text me all the time. Just be around and let people know you’re around. >

5.) Establish Relationships With Your Members.
You’re probably very busy, but always make time to try to get to know your members better.

How I Learned From It: Well, our guild is an exceptionally social guild as it is, and we pride ourselves on how close-knit and easy we are to get along with. But every once in a while, we get your social wallflower who just won’t open up or talk at all. If someone won’t try to open up, then it’s really hard to become friends with him/her and he/she ends up being ignored and feeling out of place.

How I Deal With It: Make it your duty to know every person in your guild. I don’t talk to one person more than another, I don’t run groups with the same people over and over. I consistently whisper people just to say hi, and I greet people when they log on. These may seem like small things, but they really go a long way.

6.) Watch What You Say and Do.
People are always watching you. As a leader, you have the most thankless tasks and hardest role to play in a group of peers. Mistakes are less forgivable, and your actions/words are always scrutinized. You are always under the pressure to reinforce your created rules and lead by example. Even if you do nothing wrong, people are always reading too far into things you say.

How I Learned From It: Last Tuesday, we had a horrible raid. We didn’t have a full 25-man group, much less our best group to pursue our last few achievements left for Heroic: Glory of the Raider. People were unfocused, dying left and right, pulling extra trash mobs, letting tanks die, etc. My boyfriend, who is the raid leader called the raid. The following day, he and I were running errands and met up with old friends we hadn’t seen in forever. We got carried away with time and had to call in for our first raid in months. Turns out, people read too far into our actions and thought we didn’t want to raid because we were disappointed in them, so we had to go about reassuring them all that things were fine.

How I Deal With It: It’s simple: I think before I act and talk, or at least most of the time. Especially when making a particular announcement to a group of members. I try to say things in a manner they expect from me, instead of my usual sometimes too blunt and open manner.

7.) Know When to Grow a Spine
As if trying to become friends with all your members is bad enough, the true test of leadership is knowing when to grow a spine. There are times when you need to take disciplinary action, and it’s even worse when it’s your friend you’re dealing with. Know when to put on your “officer hat” and to do the dirty work.

How I Learned From It: This is a lesson I still struggle with daily. It’s the hardest part of being a peer leader, and twice as bad since I’m close friends with everyone in the guild. I’m the approachable officer, the friendly one, the one people talk to when they have issues (in-game or otherwise). It’s hardest for me to get stern and tell the friend I was just giving relationship advice to that he’s being demoted to casual because he misses raids without posting out. It’s hard to tell a person that you personally find funny that his jokes annoy half the guild, and then deal with his continuous attention-seeking whispers every day since (“Everyone hates me.. ever know what that feels like?”). And it’s hardest to /gkick. Friend or irritating kid, /gkicking is something I’ve had to do very few times and I remember every single individual.

How I Deal With It: I struggle with it inwardly, but I never hesitate when I have to put the guild first. It’s hard, but that’s the job I signed up for when I wrote my guild charter. If you’re ever unsure of a decision, always ask yourself if you’d rather spare the individual’s discomfort at the risk of your guild. Losing your guild or possibly losing a member; which of the two is greater and more important to you? If you can answer that question, you know what to do.

8.) Always Look For Ways to Improve.
Raiding-wise, socially, guild rules.. there are always things you can work on.

How I Learned From It: It’s easy to grow complacent with the way things are, and I’ve definitely been guilty of it. Don’t settle for mediocrity. Know when to push for more, and when to stop. A good example is achievements. Half my guild loves the idea of raid-themed achievements, and the other half doesn’t care if it means repetitively dying to a previously easy encounter/instance for a single achievement. But our raids were growing boring doing the same thing over and over, people were growing restless, and the officers finally realized we had to change our mindset on achievements if we ever wanted to progress.

How I Deal With It: I read the guild relations forums and various blogs of that nature. By familiarizing myself with other guilds’ struggles and successes, I’m able to pick up good ideas for things, and really analyze my guild and see where we could improve. Talking one-on-one with other guild leaders really helps too.

9.) Don’t Give Up!
Guilds will go through good times and tough times, but you better believe you’ll have your share of both. There will be times where nothing you do works, things get increasingly worse, when you want to do nothing more than just crawl into a dark corner and cry- well, maybe not that extreme, but you get the point. I’m a blackjack dealer, and so I’m going to use this analogy: when you gamble, you have to realize you’re going to eventually have to lose some in order to win. Nobody likes losing but you’re never going to enjoy the game if you get angry every time you lose. Accept it and move on; it’s part of the game.

How I Learned From It: You wouldn’t believe how many times I and my other officers were about one step away from calling it quits on our guild. I remember our first difficult period, we lost a few members and were having troubles evening putting together a decent group to progress in ZA, much less making it into 25-mans. And to make it worse, the issues caused the guild to have low morale, and so even more people left because we lost our fun, upbeat atmosphere. I recall one of the other officers making a thread called “Sink or swim?” in the officer forums when we were essentially a day away from just disbanding, and it was like a beacon for us. It was exhausting and stressful, but we picked up the pieces and kept going. There have been so many other times when we were ready to just give up, and I’m so glad we hadn’t.

How I Deal With It: Just in the last two weeks, we’ve been having difficulties with attendance due to a combination of spring break and people being bored while waiting for new content. All the old feelings of anxiety that my guild is going to fall apart over night are back, and even though I know it’s totally irrational, I’m still losing sleep over it. Every time I lose a raider, every time we have difficulties downing easily farmed bosses, every time we have raiders stop showing up, I lose sleep over it. I shouldn’t, and neither should you. When these things happen, you’ve got to just learn to sit back and relax. If I lose a member, I hit the guild recruitment forums while telling myself over and over the guild isn’t falling apart. If guild/raid morale seems to be on the negative side due to recent happenings, schedule an off night for fun activities like naked gnomes races.

10.) Learn From Your Mistakes.

There are three types of people: those who “never” make mistakes, those who never let live down their mistakes, and those who learn from their mistakes. You want to be the latter of those three. We’re human and we all make mistakes. Think of mistakes as learning tools, and take advantage of them: use them as stepping stones to your successes.

How I Learned From It: I fall into the second category, personally. I criticize my mistakes from every angle, and instead of seeing them as learning tools, I see them all as failures. At one point, my disappointment in myself rubbed off and people were able to sense my feelings, and mistook them as me being disappointed in them.

How I Deal With It: I still get angry with myself if I do something stupid in raids or make a bad decision for the guild, but I’ve finally realized criticizing my mistakes doesn’t make them better. My band director in high school always said, “There’s no such thing as a stupid mistake except the one you didn’t learn from.”

Posted by: ariedan | April 3, 2009

Greetings!

Hello, fellow denizens of the internet! The name’s Ariedan, a protection warrior and officer of the guild Con Brio on Doomhammer. I felt compelled to make the obligatory introduction post first, although, contradictory to the blog’s name, it’s quite short.

Why do we blog? Some people use their blogs to discuss their respective classes/roles and to help promote understanding of their class mechanics. Others desire to simply share their in-game experiences on various alts, while some write guides and give advice for a particular target audience. And there are some blogs that don’t have a really specific purpose, or maybe hit up a few various subjects instead of focusing on just one. The Wordy Warrior falls into that category.

Blogging about my experiences, memories, and thoughts in the World of Warcraft has been something I’ve been aspiring to pursue since I first discovered this game. I don’t necessarily have anything to say that no one has said before, but with my dry sense of humor combined with my perspective of the game, I might at least be able to offer something all sorts of readers will enjoy.

Why “the Wordy Warrior”? Why indeed. I honestly have spent months trying to think of a clever name for my blog, and each time, my wit has eluded me. I wanted something short and simple, something that wasn’t necessarily centered around tanking, but something that also fit my personality. “Wordy” is open-ended and implies nothing about the type of content I blog about. But it also suits my personality, as I have always been a chatty individual and tend to be a woman of many words. It’s not exactly the witty name I always pictured for my blog, but I think it might turn out like new shoes; eventually, I’ll grow used to it and it’ll fit me comfortably.

I look forward to becoming a solid addition to the World of Warcraft blogging community, and making plenty of friends along the way. Until next time! /wave

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