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I’m sleepy, but there’s so much goodness, so … BULLET POINTS!
- Krikket & Norrah made the move to Stands in Bad. What is Stands in Bad? Stands in Bad is a new guild made up of many many many of my favorite people Alliance-side who I though I would never get to raid with again. Krikket went with them to ICC tonight, totally on short notice and rusty as HELL, and even healed some and I didn’t thoroughly embarrass myself. And. It. Was. Fun.
- Koraline is now guild master of Snarktastic. We’re not kicking people out, but dude. It’s basically a bank guild now. What this means? I DON’T HAVE TO BE A GM!
- Alix is very nearly 74, and honestly? Once we slog through Grizzly Hills, it’s kind of painless. Shaman #2 will be 80 before I know it.
- Ricktus is the best brainless alt ever – and he’s almost through the Horde-side leveling block. Woot.
Tonight was wrapped up by a “quick painless heroic OK run for Frosties”.
In which there was a bear tank.
And a warlock tank.
And a boomkin tank.
And me cursing at the screen because
ZOMG BOOMKIN IS NOT FOR TANK!
WARLOCK IS NOT FOR TANK.
I CAN”T HEAL YOU IF I CAN’T SEE YOU!
It. Was. Fun.
Real entry coming soon – but I’ve been so much in ICC, and tomorrow is another 6+ hour raid day, so “soon” might really mean “Friday”.
The last 24 hours of my WoW life has been a clusterfuck of conversations, apologies, friendships reaffirmed, and also sadly, the realization that some friends are anything but when the chips are down.
This is not happy fun playtime stuff, my friends. This is real life, in your video game. Well. In my video game.
By way of distraction, I ask you this:
Tell me stories of the best guild you’ve ever been in. Tell me about fabulous guild leaders and why you love them. Tell me about the friendships you’ve made, the love you’ve found, the memories you’ve created because of your relationships with your guildmates in WoW. Tell me what your perfect guild would look like, who would be in it, and what would you do there.
Dear readers, help me believe that it’s usually better than this.
I still have a lot of things I want to talk about – why I adore my raid group, tales of boytroll hunter and his long slow climb up the leveling ladder, and what comes next for my two lovely spacegoat girls who don’t want to retire just yet.
There are more stories, there is more friendship and camraderie, and more WoW to explore.
First there was the announcement that Real ID will NOT be required on the forums.
Then, I logged in today to find myself guildless with no explanation.
So it can’t be all bad, right? Right.
More to come later when I come down off my Kingslayer-high.
I’ve always believed that if you see something wrong in the way a guild is run, whether you’re an officer or a member who joined up a week ago, you should speak up. Talk to your guild leader, talk to an officer, ask why things are done they way that they are. Sometimes things will change – sometimes they won’t, but you’ll never know unless you try.
When I was a guild leader, there was nothing more frustrating to me than people who would just randomly /gquit or server transfer, never to be heard from again. It made me crazy. Was it something I did? Was it something I didn’t do? Could I have made that member happy if I’d tried harder? I wish more people had come to me when they saw a problem, even if – for whatever reason – that problem wasn’t something I could fix overnight.
That’s a big part of the reason I don’t want to be an officer in someone else’s guild. Unless you’re in a guild that’s run by committee, officers rarely have any power to effect change, but you bet they hear complaints and suggestions constantly. Heck, I hear a lot of it now as someone who everyone knows has absolutely NO power to effect change, and I like being someone that people feel like they can talk to. However, if were in an officer position? I wouldn’t be able to be that sounding board. I’d have to repeat the “official” line – whatever that may be – whether I agreed with it or not.
In my opinion, one of the most important qualities in an officer is the ability to be a part of a united front. To be politic and diffuse challenging situations without going against guild policies. Even if said officer is arguing with the rest of the guild management against a policy he doesn’t agree with? He presents to the general membership his full support until a time comes when it gets changed.
I know I can’t do that.
I cannot pretend to support policies – or lack of policies – that I think are unfair, or that I think give preferential treatment to people who have not earned it. I cannot toe the party line. I don’t want to sabotage the efforts of the people in charge, but I don’t want to be part of what I see as a disservice to the general membership. I don’t want to be the next officer who is saying “I really don’t like it either, but I don’t have the power to do anything about it”.
We left our last guild on Bronzebeard because of a guild management situation gone bad. We had stepped up to help out with a guild that was struggling while the guild leader dealt with some things in his real life that kept him away from the game. When he – and his girlfriend – were back to playing regularly, they decided that they wanted to completely change the focus of the guild. We didn’t want that – as members or officers, and we tried to advocate for the other members who felt the same way we did. We were consistently shut down. In the end, the only thing we could do was leave – it was no longer the guild we joined, it wasn’t a guild we wanted to be in, and as such, we were unhappy members and really terrible officers (although we were still performing our “officer” duties). That’s not a situation I want to put myself in again.
For some people, becoming an officer in a guild is a status symbol. For me, it’s a job, and one I wouldn’t take lightly.
As someone who doesn’t particularly like 25 man raids, I have no business being in an officer position in a 25 man raiding guild. Ever. But I don’t think that makes my thoughts an opinions as a guild member invalid, and unworthy of expressing. I know there are people in my guild who can balance the need to publicly show support for the guild as it is, and then advocate for improvements behind closed doors.
I know that I am not one of those people, and pretending I could be would be a disservice to myself, to our two GMs and to all the other officers who are selected.
I’ve found myself in a very strange place lately in regards to this blog.
You see, I’ve been trying not to post. Not because I don’t have anything to say – dear god, it seems like I always have something to say – but because it’s not politic to talk about the things weighing heavily on my mind in regards to the game right now.
In my mind, there is only one reason to choose to play an MMO instead of a normal single-player game. You play an MMO because you want the experience of gaming with other people. I mean, I’m sure there’s some dedicated WoW-solo-ers out there, and they really enjoy themselves. But out of the wholebunches of people who play WoW, I’m guessing they make up a very small minority.
There have been times, like when my warrior was newly 70 in BC and I couldn’t figure out how to even get a group for a heroic or starter raid, where I’ve been frustrated with the game, but I’ve stayed for the people. I cannot recall a time I’ve been frustrated with the people but stayed purely for the game.*
I have reached the point again where I do not want to log onto WoW. I’ve made commitments to friends that I have no desire to break, so I am still playing. I have, for the time being, made the decision not to attend any more 25 man raids with my guild because that was feeling more like work** than play.
I am staying with my guild though, because although a few bad apples can spoil my raid experience, they cannot spoil my guild experience. On every server I’ve played on, I’ve made dear friends that have stayed with me long after I stopped playing WoW with them.
From my time on Bronzebeard, I’m still in touch with Jamilah, Mari, Teresa, Seana, and Celine.
My time on Shadow Council let me meet and spend time with Tammy, Matt and Aubrey.
My time on Azgalor has given me the opportunity to get to know and spend time with: Amber, Sara, Sarah, David, David (yep, there’s two), Garry, Christopher, Christopher (yep, two of those too), Brian, Steve, Andy, Robbie, Jill, Teresa, Neil, Mark and at least one or two other people who will yell at me later for leaving them off this list***. These people are as real to me as the people I went to high school with, or the co-workers I’ve had through the years, with one difference. I know them purely through choice, I appreciate them through shared interests, and they are the reason I keep logging onto WoW, even when I’m bored with it. Even when I do nothing but wolf-dance in Dalaran and watch my green chat scroll by.
I think that’s what makes right now so hard for me. I’m watching people I care about be hurt and angry and stressed out, and I can’t fix it. The people always have been – and always will be – more important to me than the game. Always.
*When I wanted to quit WoW after my guild on Bronzebeard exploded in a fiery dramabomb, I stayed for my boyfriend. He wanted me to give it another chance. That was all for him, not a bit of it for Blizzard. Sorry Blizzard.
**By work, I don’t mean that dream job. I mean menial labor for 12 hours in 100 degree weather with jackhammers going all around you. Barefoot in the snow, uphill both ways, blahblahblah. I exaggerate, but I can’t help it. It’s just the way I am.
***If you’re not on this list & you think you should be? I PROBABLY DON’T KNOW YOUR IRL NAME. FIX THAT!
I think that most of us, at some point or another in our WoW experience, have been in a guild. And if I had to guess, I’d say almost all of us have, at some point, been dissatisfied with our guild for one reason or another.
The reasons that this can happen are as varied as guilds themselves. Maybe your guild used to be exactly what you wanted, but membership & policy changes make it less fun than it used to be. Maybe your guild was never really what you were looking for, which happens when either leadership misrepresents the guild in attempts to recruit, or when you fail to research a guild before joining. Maybe you’re unhappy because you didn’t really know what you expected from a guild.
Guilds really come in four major varieties: raiding guilds, PvP guilds, RP guilds, and leveling guilds. Of course, a guild can also be a hybrid of any two or more of these. Additionally, different guilds put different values on the harder-to-quantify “social” and “fun” modifiers.
It’s easy to tell if a guild has failed in it’s primary mission: for example, a raiding guild that doesn’t raid. Measuring the success or failure of a guild’s stated intent to be social and/or fun is far far more subjective.
As a guild member, if you’re not satisfied with your guild because it fails on one or more of it’s stated, quantifiable objectives, there aren’t a lot of options. Sure, you can try to push people back towards the objectives you’re interested in, but it’s likely that it will take more than just the efforts of one person in a non-leadership role to turn things around. More probable you will be faced with two options: find another guild more suited to your preferred style of play, or wait it out to see if things improve. Even having discussions with guild leadership is unlikely to have any real effect – the guild leader and officers know that their raiding guild is not raiding. They may or may not be willing to discuss with you the whys and hows of it, and that may influence you to leave or to wait it out. In cases like these, though, I feel that the onus is on the guild leadership and not the individual members to improve the experience of being in the guild.
However, when you feel that a guild is failing in its mission to be a fun place, often some of the responsibility for that lies on you.
Guilds are an ever-changing social construct. Every time a new member joins, or an older member leaves, the social balance is thrown off just a little. After a larger change in membership – such as a recruitment drive – it will be thrown off a lot. All the members – old and new – are going to feel this imbalance. Depending on the primary focus of the guild, guild leadership may not always have the time or energy to play social director. In these situations, where a guild is successful in meeting it’s primary focus, that I believe the responsibility for each individual member’s happiness lies on that person.
Discounting cases of abusive behavior, and cases where a member or group of members behave in a way that goes directly against a guild’s stated code of conduct, it’s unfair to expect guild leadership to moderate personality differences. Each guild member needs to make the effort to pinpoint what is bothering him or her about the social environment of the guild, and then further decide if he or she can modify his or her own behavior to help solve the issue.
I can’t count the number of times that I’ve heard or read about someone leaving a guild because “no one talks to me”. While I’m sure it’s possible that in some of these cases the group really was just that anti-social, I think often people cannot see what might be offputting about their own behavior.
For example, I know that I am often terrible about responding to things in guild chat, and even sometimes to whispers – not because I don’t want to respond to them, or that I’m not interested in the person who is talking, but because I have a bad habit of sitting in Dalaran tabbed out, or wandering away from my computer and getting distracted by other things. Because I am aware that I do this, I make a concerted effort to scroll back through as much chat as I can (and I have a special tab which filters out trade & general for just this reason), and apologize to anyone who tried to speak with me directly while I was /afk.
The bottom line is this: If you find the social atmosphere in your guild to be not quite what you had hoped, it is up to you to try to remedy that. Start random (preferably non-controversial) conversations in /g. Turn on the option in your chat interface that shows you when guildies log on, and greet everyone by name. Frequent your guild’s website, and read and contribute to any “getting to know you” threads. Ask if anyone would like to join you before you queue for an instance. Offer help when you’re willing & able without expecting anything in return. Make an effort to include the quiet people, in both your conversations and your activities. Make an effort to be more friendly and sociable, and you’ll likely find that more people will behave in kind towards you.
When you are particularly satisfied with yourself & the way you handled a challenging interpersonal encounter, to the point where you find yourself actively preaching things like “Know your audience” and “Think before you speak/type” …
… be very aware that it’s only a matter of time before you too will be dining on foot.