Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Navispam - Meeting Thorbartin, one of the winners of the #FWMylight competition

Thorbartin (Bill) was one of the winners of my #FWMylight competition and I wanted to meet up with him in game and have a chat some time. We exchanged battletags and hoped for some crossover luck. However, trying to find him online when I was online was a challenge itself, until he sent me an email saying that he noted that whenever he logged on, my bnet message would say I was on 10 hours ago.

So on one of my days off I decided to log in at 1030am and lo and behold, guess who was online!

I sent him a whisper and went off to see him in his Garrison. It seems the most convenient place to see people these days!

I had a squizz at his monuments, some are similar to horde ones and some were different.

I also mentioned the Winter Veil Tree - the Alliance one looks like a standard Christmas tree, quite unlike the horde one which is adorned with skulls and weapons. Thorbartin said he had never seen the horde Winter Veil tree!

Thor told me about his surprise when his Mylight package arrived - he said he expected a small night light not a whopping huge sign with his name on it!

I asked him what his wife thought of it (she doesn't play) and he said that they just stared at it when they first opened it.

"LOL She loved the story," said Thor.
"What did you tell her?" I asked.
"Everything about the contest. I started with the unopened package, and told her what was inside, then told her about the blog contest, then told her about the Aussie thing, then told her it may not even work LOL"
I was giggling at this point.
"Then opened it," he said. "And both our eyes lit up. I was thinking nightlight like you plug into the wall... not a huge ass sign!"
"But it DOES plug into the wall!" I said.

Thor has been doing old raids and isn't much of a pet battler. It was lovely to be able to meet him though, and I'm happy they loved their prize.

Thanks for meeting up with me in game Thorbartin!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Guildleader chores - Flown the nest and moving on

It's been a busy week. Lots of things on my mind and I had to wait a few days to write about it so I could make a well thought out post. My best posts are often written in times of great emotion, and I should have actually written it all out to let out some of the thoughts whirling in my head as it made me sleep even LESS than usual.

Four Frostwolves left to join another guild this week, as the raiding times and personalities of the other guild suited them a lot better. I am sad to see them go, they were all great raiders and great contributers to the raid and the guild (and have been here for a LONG TIME), but people grow up and move on and that is the way of things. Much like old toys - you loved it when you were younger but eventually you will outgrow them.

Though I thought that leaving the guild for them would have been an easy choice - and it was for 1 or 2 of them - it was an amicable parting and the guild wished them well. People asked if I was upset or angry - but how can you be angry at someone for following the path that best suits them? I have never wished to stop anyone from leaving or guilt tripping them into staying - as someone who fully believes in following your dreams and ambitions, how could I be otherwise?

However, even though I wish them well, you can't help but feel sad that they can't stay as they were forever. Could I have done more to encourage them to stay, could I have handled the situation better, was it the right time or did I force them out? I think the truth was staring at me for a while - restless behaviour, attendance in guild and raid, and less engagement with newer members in our own guild - and in terms of timing, I think it was a good time. I've noticed that as people get increasing restless they become more irritating and then the being irritating becomes the only memorable feature. That point had not yet been reached so everyone still had positive feelings between guildies still, and so it's not a painful separation.

There are two ways the guild can look at a significant group departure - one negative and one positive. The negative things can include:

- "The guild is falling apart"
- "There is something seriously wrong here and that's why people are leaving"
- "I'm really disheartened by this all and I don't want to play either"

I cannot stress enough how a these negativities can be negated by things that long standing members or officers. From an officer point of view it's important to examine the reasons behind the departure and listen to the feedback from the departed about why they left. Are there things we can address or need to fix? Are these isolated feelings or do many others feel this way? One comment was about me making an offhand observation that was untrue but had been true at other times (but not in that particular time, and it sounded like I was calling them out when in fact I was merely reminding them not to do tunnel). From that feedback, I will make a conscious effort to do those observations more quietly and in whispers with evidence. Which I should have done anyway!

The second significant feedback was that they didn't want to feel like they were letting the guild down by doing things we don't do and if they left the guild they wouldn't be misrepresenting us any further. I admit that I thought that was well expressed and mature.

From the positive perspective, officers can also help alleviate guild concerns by being open and nonjudgemental about the whole process. We don't want people to feel like officers are a secret club where secrets are kept from the guild and we make decisions without thought or consultation.

We explained it all clearly to all guildies who were asking about what happened, emphasised that we encourage people to leave if the guild is not the right fit for them, and the most important thing is not to be emotional about it, like saying "I"m really upset they left, and they gave stupid reasons". All explanations to guildies MUST be made in a non-judgemental way, because despite what we may think about the circumstances of the leaving, it is our job to deliver the facts, not our opinions. People make up their own minds about what they think occurred, and knowing that we support free choice and encourage people to find what makes them happy is a fundamental principle of our guild, will make sure that everyone will adopt this mentality as well.

For those who are non officers, the positive input you can put in is to show support for the guild and not encourage feelings of ill-will. We certainly don't want any of that! We strongly maintain that people should not be afraid of leaving as long as they are open discussions and we can receive feedback. Sneaking off without saying anything doesn't help anyone improve nor does it endear you to anyone. We had many guildies supporting our guild positions, as well as telling us that they have no intention of leaving. There is nothing more reassuring than knowing that as an officer or GM, we're not alone, and we'll stick together.

Now, to move forward. I had a look at the deficit from those guys leaving - that would bring our raid numbers down to 13-14. Which is still plenty to raid with, and that doesn't include others who are now casual but wanting to move to heroic raiding.

There is a move to try to teach our casual players to be better raiders, so they can move from casual to heroic as they get more confident and better used to teamwork and raid mechanics. Kyxyn and Neuro had made suggestions about it and we will be adopting those in Legion, but in the meantime perhaps I should use some of my downtime to start a teaching raid or something so I can practice teaching non raiders how to raid in an non-threatening environment. Malkarii does something like that (and streams it) and I thought if I could find someone on Twitter who does runs like that for oceanic players perhaps I could join in. Or maybe I could start my own one! A big ask though and I'd probably have to free up weekends for it, but it's a nice positive project that would take my mind of it all and feel like something good has come out of things.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Guildleader chores - Raid Planning for Legion

Our guild has gone through a few different things in Pandaria and WoD (which has been my time as guild leader) and there are a few lessons I've learned along the way that will make me change how we do things in Legion.

1. Casual Normal raids and Regular Heroic raids
In MoP we had Saturday fun nights, and in WoD we had Sunday normal runs (and in this lull before Legion we're doing heroic casual runs on Wed/Thurs but that's not a permanent thing). As a guild that has members who are heroic focussed and those who are more casual it's actually quite good to have separate raids where they can feel comfortable playing with like minded people. Heroic raiders are welcome to come to the normal raids as long as they realise that we will be teaching them the casual players the fights as well and patience is to be expected. I quite like how this has been going, and I will continue it in Legion with Heroic raiding on Wednesday, Thursday and Monday and casual raids on Sunday. However in the early part of Legion raiding we'll do Wednesday, Thursday heroic raids and Monday casual raids as we won't be progressing super fast in early Legion and doing some normals may help with gear as well.

2. Selection of raiders in early Legion
There was a massive explosion of people who wanted to raid when we started in WoD, so much that we had to sit people out and take turns - and tons of these peeps did not come back to raid. Who is going to get to go to heroic raids? I think that anyone who has been doing mythic raiding with us in WoD should get into a heroic raid, and everyone else will have to go through casual raids first and see how their performance and their raid awareness goes, as well as being "ready to raid" in terms of flasks, pots, gems and chants. We will also be stricter on required addons for heroic raiding, and Discord will be a must. And there will be no putting the raid leader on ignore because "the addon whispering me that I haven't eaten food or flasked is annoying me". Oh man, Kyxyn was absolutely ropable when that event occurred with a raider!

3. PuGs on Casual raids
We have usually let a number of people raid with us who are not from our guild, and I have looked at them as pseudo-guildies. However, in the early part of Legion we have probably not have any PuGs because it will be stuffed full with guildies who have returned to look at the new expansion. However, as the shininess of Legion wears off there will be room for regular non guildies to come again so I have a feeling that will be after.... 6 weeks! Shall we take bets?

4. Looting
EPGP was the loot method we used for the whole of WoD and later Pandaria, and to avoid drama in the future, we're going to go to personal loot. Personal loot also means faster pulls, and less time wasting. With the ability to trade duplicate personal items of loot it might make it a lot easier as long as people actually keep the unwanted item in their bank somewhere. The opposers of personal loot have actually been the ones who complain about loot the most when it is distributed with master loot or rolls, so eventually everyone is going to get used to it.

5. Classes for Legion
I used to tell people we needed X melee or Y ranged, and then we didn't need them, and when someone asked if they could heal I told them we have too many and now we are short! So I have decided that everyone should play what they WANT to play, however, if fights struggle then we may have to drop people if we had too much melee or healers. So far, for heroic raids, I have two tanks - Kyxyn (prot pally) and Aimei (Brewmaster Monk) - Me (resto druid), Koda/Cosima (resto shaman), Bish (holy priest), Sev (affliction warlock), Lushen (windwalker monk), Aza (destruction lock), Crooked (shaman), Splatz (DPS warrior), Sars (Enh shaman). I'm not sure what Ultra, Exray, Dan, Rag, Duck, Voe, Neuro are going to play. And also not sure if Fielsa, Gorvek, Naesca and Mauve are going to want to raid heroic either. But at least we have more than 10! Will there be 4 demon hunters? Who knows!

I am excited however, thinking of new raids, and playing with our old friends! And maybe some new ones? Oh so much more to look forward to!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Guildleader chores - Thank you! But I like it here just fine

It is not unsurprising that raiding consistently with another guild, that the question would eventually be asked - "Would you like to join our guild?"

I'm sure lots of people get asked that question a lot. Especially when you're out and about pugging things.

It isn't UNREASONABLE that people assume that your guild is collapsing or failing because you are out pugging instead of raiding with your own guild. It isn't like Frostwolves isn't raiding, it's just that we aren't raiding mythic. In fact, heroic turnout is very high you sometimes think that we COULD do mythic, but people just aren't interested in doing it, unfortunately.

The GM asking me knew what my answer would be, as he had asked me a few times before, but I had politely declined as my own guild is the perfect place for me and I wouldn't change it for the world. But, after their last officer meeting, they said that he should ask, even though he said it was of no use. So he did ask. And I thanked him for the honour but declined on behalf of all my guildies who raid with them.

Everyone knows that nothing short of the guild imploding - and maybe not even that - would make me leave Frostwolves.

People say things like "But what if the raiding team collapses" or "What if you and the other officers have a huge fallout?" Look, I've seen these things happen. I've mentioned before, that the GM friend of mine on Jubei had that happen to his guild - he and his really good friend, with whom he had been friends for years, played together, raided together, led guilds together - had a big blowout and then removed each other from RealID. I've had my share of blowouts too - look at that Moo incident - but even he said that he wasn't mad after the next day but he had removed me from Btag but I just had to reach out to him and we were good again.

What I'm trying to say is that in a well established guild (like Frostwolves) there is little to no chance of being "poached". And because of the relationships/friendships we've built over so many years, it is highly unlikely we will have a major blowout that leads to a guild collapse. Not while I'm still here, anyway.

However, I have found very few guilds where the behaviour is an acceptable level to me. After having worked so hard on improving my guild environment I find it difficult when I hear people being rowdy, childish and offensive in other guilds. I know it's said in "harmless fun" but constant trash talking (and I mean constant, not like 5 minutes of laughing at someone's Freudian slip), "good natured racist talk" (like REALLY, is there such a thing???) and constant rape talk just makes me switch off. I know people think "we don't really mean it" but if they had been raped or actually KNOW how denigrating or traumatic it is they might not make such light of it. I must make Frostwolves sound incredibly BORING but us boring types need a place to hang out too you know!

But relax everyone! I'm not going anywhere. Frostwolves is stuck with me as the GM until I quit playing. And nothing - not the lure of mythic kills, shiny achievements, or even paying me in gold or real money - would ever make me change that.