Archive for the ‘Guild Management’ Category
(This is not a screenshot of me, it’s merely a representation of how I spent my day yesterday that I found on Google images, and is apparently a monk. So, thank you Hammor for also dying, and posting about it on the internet! I would give better credit for this picture than that, but unfortunately that is all I have!)
We are still clearing out heroic DS weekly. We are still farming Firehawks for all of our members weekly. We are still trying to hear how awesome we are weekly. And we are still recruiting for MoP/DS farming (http://www.monolithwow.com)! Other than that, WoW has been very quiet for me.
One of the more interesting things I’ve been pondering on in WoW right now isn’t the future of druids in MoP, or what the latest beta changes are, but rather how hard it must be to be a trial in any guild right now. Between the end of the expansion, Diablo 3 and summer, non-raid times are extremely quiet inside of WoW. Our medium population server is quiet, our guild is quiet, the game in and of itself is quiet. That being said, I can log in and my friends list at any given time will have at least 10 people on it from the guild (often more), but all in Diablo. As I understand it, this is fairly typical for most guilds right now. The problem that it causes, though, is that I think it’s very hard for a trial to find their footing in a guild when there is one and a half raid nights a week. It’s hard to get to know people. It’s hard to find how you fit into the structure of the guild. It’s just hard to find your place.
I don’t fault anyone for doing things outside of WoW during the down time right now. I actually encourage it, so that people are fresh and ready for the new expansion, myself included. But I do feel for those people trying to find their place in a new home. And, unfortunately, having not been “new” to a guild for over seven years, I don’t have any sage advice for how to ease that transition during this quiet time other than to say things will pick up when Mists get here and finding your footing will get easier. Read the rest of this entry »
Something that I read with regularity is advice on how to successfully complete a guild application. You know the things that you should, and should not, put in your application to give you a better chance at successfully earning a trial spot with a guild. However, I don’t often see any feedback on what you should do once you have made it past the first step (applying) and are actually in the guild.
Since (like all guilds) we’ve had our fair share of trial members this expansion, some who worked out well and some who didn’t, I thought that maybe I would offer some feedback on things that people look at when evaluating a trial in an effort to perhaps help people avoid some of the pitfalls that trials make. Read the rest of this entry »
Last night we killed Sinestra. This did a several things for us – for the first time in our history as a guild, we can definitively call ourselves a “server first” guild, having snagged all three server first end boss kills. Additionally, depending on which set of arbitrary rankings you look at, we are debatably a top 100 US guild…for now (if you’ve been reading here for any length of time you already know how I feel about progress rankings). But in the aftermath of Sinestra dying, instead of being overjoyed I found myself asking “at what cost?”.
All, I am about to share with you things that I’ve not really shared to anyone, save privately to Brade.
Aside from the fact that this content tier has been excruciatingly long – I can honestly tell you that in my six years of being in guild management in this game I’ve never worked harder or felt more unappreciated and disrespected as I have for the past few months. And I find myself asking if it was worth it. Were all the hours I spent researching, reaching out to anyone and everyone I could for help when I found us struggling and crying myself to sleep at night because I was worried about if I was missing something or handled something poorly, worth it?
I don’t expect people to shower me in accolades, but every now and again a simple recognition for the work I put in or a thank you would go such a long way. You don’t even know. To be fair, a few people do occasionally thank me or say very nice things to me – usually when I need it the most and it shows I need it. And I’m grateful, because what they probably don’t realize is that they were the person that kept me going, that picked me back up when I was certain I wouldn’t be able to stand up again.
Last night after our kill instead of someone saying “man Beru, those tips you dug up these past few days were great!” - I was advised that I wasn’t the top healer for our kill. I’m sure it wasn’t meant maliciously, and I know that wasn’t this person’s intent, but I was pretty hurt by the comment nonetheless. I mean how do I even respond to that? “Sure, but I had 1mm more healing done to the tank than the other raid healers and was more of a team player?”. “Ok - but there was less than 500k healing difference and I still ranked on the fight?”. “Sorry, I’ll do better next time?”. I mean, seriously, what the fuck do I even say to that? Ultimately I opted to respond with (what I felt) was a gracious response: “It’s good for other people to outheal me, I shouldn’t always be at the top, plus it keeps my ego in check!”. After I picked my jaw up off the floor, that is. Because I’m going to admit to you, I was pretty upset by the comment. That after all of the work I put into the encounter, the only thing anyone said to me was essentially “you weren’t the best on our kill pull”.
I can’t help but feeling a little bit like this expansion and tier of content has changed my guild – and while it is for the better in some ways (progression), I’m not entirely sure it’s for the better in others (community). Perhaps I’m just being cathartic about it, I don’t know.
Recruiting this tier has been brutal, and it has taken a lot out of me. We’ve had more turn over in our raid roster the first few months of this expansion than we had in all of WotLK combined. And while I’m fairly certain we aren’t alone in that, it has been difficult to juggle that on top of everything else. I will also be honest – we have some personalities right now that don’t mesh well, and it’s been extremely taxing to keep them in check every raid. There’s been more than once that I’ve felt the need to actually ask “do I need to turn this car around”? Which is tough, because we built our guild on the foundations of respect – and to have people shitting on that pretty much just pisses me off. I’ve had to have more individual talks with people this expansion than I have….ever.
There are a couple of people right now that seem to come into the raid some nights with a giant chip on their shoulder – and I don’t have a clue as to why. Frequently these are the same people that get immediately defensive at the suggestion that they have room to improve or that they made a mistake. And to be honest with you, it’s not healthy for the raid – and it’s certainly not healthy for me. Their attitude is obvious, it does not go un-noticed by myself or others and it’s poisonous. It’s vital that I contain it and do not let it spread, or it will overwhelm what I am able to control. I’m trying to be patient. I’m trying to be understanding. I’m trying to be the bigger (responsible) person. But deep down inside I really just want to get up in their face and scream at them drill sergeant style asking “what the fuck is your problem?”.
Maybe I’ve also changed.
Please don’t get me wrong, I love my guild. I am amazed and grateful at what we’ve been able to accomplish this expansion. I’ve poured so much into the guild, more than probably most people realize. It’s hard to watch something you put so much of yourself into grow, evolve and change. Everyone that takes their leave has left a footprint on the guild – and on me (ps I miss you so much, Chris, you have no idea). Just as everyone that comes into the fold creates a new footprint. Some will create bigger footprints than those that preceded them – and some won’t quite fill those that were previously left. But those footprints will be created and will remain, nonetheless.
I’m worried. No “server first” guild on our server has lasted the entirety of an expansion. They’ve all fallen down and broken apart. It was Rapture back in Vanilla. Pinnacle in The Burning Crusade. Anguish in Wrath of the Lich King. We’ve always acknowledged that the candle that burns twice as bright often only burns half as long. Monolith has always been the slow and steady turtle in the race – maybe we didn’t get server firsts but we always saw content and survived into the next expansion. So that leaves me to ask, is this Monolith’s flash of light? Are we going to burn bright and then fade giving someone else the opportunity to rise and shine? I’d like to think that after six years, we’ve got some stamina and can survive the curse of the “server first” guild – but it’s not going to be easy, and it’s going to take true dedication. Which is something I’m not convinced 100% of our raiders have, and I have no doubts that there will be a need to recruit again as we continue through this expansion.
The truth is, I love the progression. I thrive on it. But the question I’m left with is: what cost am I willing to pay to have it?
I don’t think that it is unusual to have periods where you are frustrated with your guild. In fact, I’d probably say that if you don’t experience these times you are probably living in denial of said frustration! I think that frustrations have possibly run higher than usual in this tier of content: it’s a huge step up in difficulty, the hard modes are fairly unforgiving, and there is a lot of content to push through – which can be somewhat overwhelming.
I am likely not alone when I admit there are nights where I want to strangle my raid team. Or when I admit that there are nights when I feel like I am perpetually giving my monitor the finger. But I recognize that often times it’s so easy to focus on everything that is going “wrong” and forget to give equal attention to all of the things that are going “right”. And often times it’s the little things that you forget to appreciate and notice.
Last night I had one of those moments where it was the little things that reminded me why I love my guild.
We’ve had a pretty good raid week the past couple of weeks. We’ve cleared most of the content pretty efficiently, and have started working on Heroic Nef. Last night we cleared just about all of the content we had left – and still had almost two hours of raid time. So we decided to go ahead and head down and poke and Nef a little bit more - with some very specific goals on where we wanted to focus our time and improvements. We took about 5 or 6 pulls, and in that short amount of time we made what I feel was some pretty significant progress on the encounter.
But that isn’t the small thing that really made my night.
I mean, progress is always awesome. But it’s also what I go into every raid expecting. Rather it was what we did in the last 30 minutes of the raid that really made me appreciate some of the little things. We decided after a bit of wiping on Nef that it might be good fun to go and tear up Stormwind a little bit (and idea I got from someone on Twitter). Now, we’ve done other “fun” things to try and shake up the raid and engage people – and these activities are met with differing levels of excitement by the raid. Some people love them, some not so much.
So when we announced that we would be heading to SW for the last 20 minutes or so of our raid, I had expected a few people to grumble or comment on how it was a waste of our time and ask if they could head out early. Only that didn’t happen. Not even close.
What did happen was people seemed to get…excited. We had people go fetch their PvP gear and vent got very chatty. Several people asked if I would be FRAPing the run to put up on the website, and started offering suggestions for the music for the video clip. We chuckled as we all tried to navigate the new and improved Stormwind (I’ve got to say – Garrosh hired the better interior decorator). Even after we went in to meet with Mr. Wrynn – and were greeted by at least 100 Alliance and had our collective asses handed to us, people continued to enjoy the experience.
There was much laughter as we watched an achievement for killing 2500 alliance in a capital city scroll across our screens – and even more laughter by those who hung around Org once we returned to our home town as we watched the alliance attempt to retaliate.
The simple fact that no one complained about our adventure, and that everyone truly seemed to have fun really just made my night. I didn’t have to feel guilty about making a bad call. I didn’t have to worry if someone was unhappy that we didn’t spend those last 20 minutes on another two Nef pulls. And in all honesty – I think the kick back and opportunity to blow off some steam was good for everyone.
Sometimes the little things can really have a lot more value than the big ones.
Sometimes it’s hard to remember to appreciate all of the little things – but it is important to remember them! What little things have impacted you?
We are still trucking along through hard modes, snagging a Maloriak kill last night. The fight in and of itself took us a little bit longer than I feel it should have – largely to spending the first two nights working on it with interrupt woes. Once that was shored up, we started doing much better.
A few things to note on the encounter – while there is a lot going on, I honestly can’t help but feel that the first 2/3 of the fight is all about interrupting the right shit at the right time. (This must be pretty hellish for Aussie guilds with high latency). We found that the best way to have your interupters deal with this is to get a mod that will let you white list/black list spells – ours favored a mod called Gnosis.
Of course, we are also pretty sure that our elemental shaman who ultimately took up the task of interrupting Arcane Storm now has a permanant twitch.
We also learned that it is, in fact, possible to get the kill 12 aberations achievement in heroic mode. Don’t ask!
I’m not 100% sure what our next heroic target will be, from the numbers it looks like many people have tackled Atramedes. We intend to peek at him tonight since he’s all we have left outside of Nef. I don’t know if he’ll end up being our next target – but what I do know is that going by the numbers it’s pretty much a toss up as to what people find “easier” :) Read the rest of this entry »
Monolith is now exactly one month into our 25 man progression raiding. In that time we’ve done really great things, including killing all 12 normal mode encounters and seeing our first hard mode at 9%. For a guild with our focus, I happen to think that’s pretty good. However, like just about every guild out there, we are also recruiting to fill open raid slots.
Now, one of the things I’ve always been pretty pleased with is that we have fairly low member turnover – and rarely does someone ask to drop off of our raiding roster for anything other than real life conflicting with raiding. And 95% of the time, those that do move away from our raiding ranks continue to spend their time in WoW in our guild. However, with this expansion, I have found recruiting to fill those few spots we have open even more tedious and troublesome that I had previously.
The first problem that I’ve faced is quite frankly the quality of the applicants. To be fair, we aren’t snobs when it comes to looking for new talent to add to our ranks, but we also are looking for someone who is ready to step up to the plate with little coaching and be able to at least hit a double. The second problem is finding applicants who want to truly commit the time it takes for progression level raiding (yes, even though we aren’t pushing for rankings it is still a commitment). I can’t even begin to tell you the number of applications we get where people apply indicating that they can only make half of our raid times at best.
And that doesn’t even address the biggest challenge, which is being on a mid/full population release server with average progression. Trying to recruit on server only just isn’t an option, because the talent on the server is very tapped. Yet trying to get server transfer applicants (or any applicant, to be honest) to submit a parse of their performance is almost impossible. Which in turn makes trying to evaluate the skill of an applicant a game of Russian Roulette. Hell, I even added a “How to make your own WOL parse” into our application to see if it increases the number of parses we receive.
As I have been dwelling on recruiting for some time now, and I’ve seen the slews of other guilds – both 10 and 25 – also having difficulty filling their gaps, I started to wonder if my recruitment woes were only a symptom and not the problem.
What do I mean by that? Well, I can’t help but wonder if the true crux of the recruitment problem is that there are too many guilds. I know that people felt it was bad back in Vanilla that if you wanted to raid you basically had limited options on where you could do so, and often times that meant playing with people that you just couldn’t stand. Many times there were just too few options to chose from when it came to guild matters. Read the rest of this entry »
On Guild Websites
I am debating undertaking the task of changing our guild website front page over to WordPress. We are already self hosted, but some time ago one of our web monkeys found another program/site that made the ease of updating information/progression/applications and the like very simple and subscribed to the service. At the time, this was extremely good for us, because it was right after the guild split and the person that had previously updated the website was no longer doing it – and I had take over the job.
Only I didn’t have a clue what to do.
So the change was incredibly helpful, and made it extremely easy for my simple mind to wrap itself around having to deal with updates onto the front page. I had never had any experience with HTML or CSS or anything of the like. However, what ends up happening is that when you visit our website, you are redirected to a front page that is actually hosted on a different server. When you go to our forums you are redirected back.
Now, it’s been this way for the past four years, and hasn’t been a problem. Except that since I’ve started blogging, I’ve gotten a little more experience with putting stuff out there on the interwebs. And well, now that I have a tiny inkling of what is possible, I am no longer satisfied with the simple system we are now using. While it is very easy to maintain (mostly because someone else does all the work!), it’s also not hugely customizable and somewhat costly. You can see how it currently works by visiting our website at www.monolithwow.com if you’d like to poke around.
As such, the idea of moving our guild front page to WordPress on our current host server (since we are already self hosted) instead of having the redirect, has been floating around in my head for some time. I’ve been weighing out the pros and cons of it – and while I’ve not come to a conclusion just yet on what I’d like to do, I have decided that I do want to import wordpress onto our host server and play around with it and “mock up” a front page to see how much work it would be and if the upkeep seems to be sustainable (I am, of course, assuming that I can do this before sending the change live). I suspect that the lion’s share of the work is going to be in the set up – and that the actual upkeep will be minimal. Of course, I’ll have to archive almost 4 years of stuff from the current front page, but I have 133 days to do that before our subscription on the current system expires.
As you can tell – I’m still in the “oh god can I do this” stage of planning. I think that the answer is “yes”, and I’ll never know if I don’t take the leap and give it a try. It’s not likely to be anything too fancy – but I think I can make it into something that I like better than what we have now. I read through the installation process over at wordpress.org and the first bit of panic entered when I read “set up a database on your server” – so I emailed our server host asking about it, and asking if it is something that I can do or they need to do. I suspect they will need to do it – but I did ask that if it’s something I can do I get a few minutes for them to walk me through it. Maybe I should have offered cookies….
However, having never done anything with self-hosted wordpress before, I’m a bit unsure of myself. Once it’s all downloaded is the interface like the “free” wordpress that you get here on my blog? Will it be as simple to make changes and updates and whatnot? I know that there are tons of plugins for widgets and what not that I can use for things like progression and recruiting, as well as a plethora of themes but is it complicated to get them all downloaded onto my host server? I imagine that once I learn how to do one, the rest will be simple?
If you have experience with this sort of thing, is this something that you’d recommend doing? Will I be overwhelmed by it? Should I hire someone to help me get it all up and running so that I only have to worry about maintaining it? I really do think that I want to make the change, but mostly I’m just absolutely terrified of screwing it up and not having anyone to help me fix it if I do it all wrong.
On Last Minute Alts
Elentari – my mini me. I don’t know that I can put my finger on exactly why the bug bit me, but for some reason it became imperative that she hit 80 before December 7. Maybe it’s because I no longer have a Tauren at level 80, who knows. Regardless, it had to be done. So in between working on guild things to prepare the guild for Cataclysm, and preparing myself for the upcoming holidays, and making sure that everything is order at work before my Cataclysm vacation, I’ve been furiously leveling her. She hit 79 last night when I ran out of steam and needed to do something else. Hopefully here in the next few days she’ll reach level 80
I’m overwhelmed…and somewhat frustrated.
I think that it’s cool that we get the new zones and everything before Cataclysm. But I’m frustrated that even though I’m a loremaster – all of the questing that I did in each zone doesn’t count for the new zone achievements and I have to completely redo each zone. Sure, the content is new and fresh, but I had wanted to experience it on my goblin – from scratch. Having to go back and completely redo each zone on Beru just seems…tedious.
Not to mention the new fishing achievements. How on earth can some of those old fish not be tracked?! Specifically when you have an achievement to fish from different pools of fish?! At the minimum I should have credit in my fishing achievements for the fish in those pools without having to trek out and re-fish them.
I just log in and feel completely overwhelmed at everything to “be done” on Beru. Which is probably why I’ve been spending so much time on Elentari. And thinking about spending the time to redo the guild website. Mostly, I’m just overwhelmed with all of the new stuff. And you know what – there is really no huge rush to get it all done. It will still be there a year from now waiting for me.
I went in the other day and finished out the ICC 5 man achievements that I was missing…and now that Beru can dispel, did The Faceroller as well.
But now I have a dilemma, if you will. Perhaps you can help me out with it. I am sitting on a battered hilt that I purchased off of the auction house with the sole purpose of giving it to my DK to replace her heirloom weapon. But Beru still needs the achievement for doing the battered hilt quest line. Now…Isulde will surely get a weapon upgrade in short order in Cataclysm – so I was thinking the maybe, perhaps, I should give Beru the hilt for her achievement. What do you think?
On Being Prepared
I think I’ve come to the conclusion that no matter how much I prepare, I will never be fully prepared for Catalcysm. No amount of organizing, putting things together, posting on the forums will fully prepare me. So, I think I’m just going to have to settle with being as prepared as I can be, and letting the rest come. Yup. That’s the plan!