Archive for the ‘Guild leadership’ Category
While I am still quite disappointed with the state of druid healing, I thought I’d take a bit of a break on my continuing evaluation on the state of resto druids to talk about something else today. Progression. (Don’t worry, I do have a two week follow up coming this week and I will get back to it, I just need to talk about other things for a bit). I’ve had a few people ask me how we decided to approach progression this tier, so I thought I’d go ahead and give a few thoughts on our decisions with regards to progression as a guild for this unwieldy first tier in the expansion.
However, before I get to that, I thought I’d spend a few sentences talking about something else that is related in a tertiary fashion and has been on my mind: the T14 gating.
When the gating was announced, I remember being very excited about it because the amount of content being released as T14 was staggering in the number of encounters presented, and subsequently overwhelming. I still like that there was gating for it, but it the execution of this particular gating was a little…clunky. Which, in turn, means that I didn’t care for how this content was gated. What ultimately happened was that when Mogu’shan Vaults was released there was a large period of time before the next zone was released. This meant that your above average guild was able to clear the zone, and then subsequently work on a few heroics while waiting for the new content. However, when the new content released, you stopped your heroic progression push to clear the new normal mode zones – and then two weeks later had another new zone to tackle. And then, only after that, would your progression push be back to heroics.
The problem I had with this was that the long period of gating with the first raid disjointed what is normal progression, that is to say that most people would push all of their normal mode content and then start heroics once that was cleared. And I’d wager a fair bet that most heroics are tuned with the expectation of having gear from all three of the zones. This meant that everything with progression was just thrown off by the awkward way that the content was presented. In hindsight, I wish that the gating was more fluid and smooth or that heroic content was approached differently. Should Blizzard opt to gate content this way again, I hope that they make that decision from the outset of the development of the content so that progression isn’t quite as disjointed.
Planning for T14 Progression
Ok, so now that is out of the way, let’s talk a little bit about how we decided to attack T14 progression. 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?
A little while back I asked the questions “what’s in a title”; the discussion that followed was regarding people’s feelings on selling Kingslayer titles. There was a lot of good conversation as people shared their opinions on how they felt about “selling” a title. I had brought the topic up because as a guild, we were discussing whether or not we wanted to offer Lich King kills. We had been approached several times from players outside of the guild asking if we were ever going to do this.
Ultimately, we decided that we didn’t want to sell titles, but we liked the idea of offering experiences for those who may not have an opportunity to have them. So, ultimately, we decided to do this (copied from my post on our realm forums):
“Arthas and the Lich King have been a pinnacle of Warcraft lore long before Blizzard introduced WoW, the lore rich and intriguing. It’s my belief that part of what made this expansion work so well were how the stories wove together and immersed the player into their history. Every action had a reason (we will just forget about ToC…), and you were part of the story. The end of this expansion includes an epic battle with one of Warcraft’s most notorious, and loved, villains.
We are also aware, based on the number of people that have spoken to us, that even after all of the story, all of the lore, not everyone has the opportunity to experience the final showdown with Arthas.
Because we recognize the importance that Arthas plays in WoW lore, and because we’d like to offer something back to the server community that we have been part of for going on six years now, we have decided to offer the experience of facing Arthas in his final days.
Now, to be clear, we aren’t going to “sell” Lich King titles. We aren’t particularly interested in your gold. We are freely offering the opportunity to meet Arthas in his final playground.
If you don’t want our gold, what’s the catch? (I can hear you thinking it!)
Well…you will have to tell us why you want to kill the Lich King. You can do this in any number of ways: a short essay, a piece of fan fiction, a short comic, or a role play story are all acceptable submissions! Regardless of your method, what you need to convey to us is what makes killing the Lich King important for you.
We don’t care about your gear, your gear score, or how amazing a player you are. What we do care about is why it is important for you to kill the Lich King. Creativity is encouraged!
Each week, we will look at our current, and past, submissions and select up to two people to join us to kill The Lich King.
(hint: because you want a Kingslayer title isn’t going to get you a raid invite!).
There are a few things that you will need to know should you be selected to join us:
Vent will be required, this is non-negotiable. You will not need to speak, but will be required to listen.
We will give you one opportunity to truly experience and be an active participant in the encounter (do your research!), however should you cause a wipe, (defile us to death!) we will suicide you on any subsequent pulls where you can still see the fight in its entirety, but you will not be an active participant in the kill.
Ok, sounds great! Where do I sign up?!?!
There are two ways to enter submissions for a chance to join us: send a PM to Beruthiel on the Monolith forums (monolithllane . Be sure that you include your character’s name and a way for us to contact you, along with your submission.
Please note that making a submission does not guarantee that you will be selected to join us. We will contact you should you be selected to arrange a time. Hounding us will only ensure that your submission is not selected.”
We thought it would be cool to offer the opportunity to kill the Lich King to someone who really wants to see him dead, not just for a title, but for a more compelling reason. The guild is largely very excited about it, and thinks it’s very cool. I think everyone is looking forward to seeing some submissions. (Hopefully we get some!).
But, then that got me thinking, well I wonder what the Lich King means to others? I certainly know that for me it was some closure to one of my all time favorite story lines in the Warcraft Universe. And while I loved this expansion for the lore, and certainly the Lich King was a part of that, his demise was more than that too. It was another statement of survival for my guild. We came, we survived, and we kicked some ass. It was a statement to our tenacity. Well, at least I felt that way!
I am happy about our decision to offer experiences to others. While they may not have to suffer through the 100+ pulls it takes to learn to deal with defile, they will have to “earn” the kill in another way: proving to us that it’s important to them. And you know, that’s OK. Personally, I’m happy to offer what I would hope is a very memorable experience for someone. And it’s my hope that when they look back on their WoW adventure and they’d remember this experience fondly, and that it would be something that stuck in their mind as part of their WoW memories.
So, how about all of you? What does killing the Lich King mean to you? If you were on my server, would you participate in our little contest? How would you enter your submission?
You may have noticed that in the past few weeks my posting has dropped down significantly. That’s not by design, and I do intend to keep my general posting schedule, but you see, I’ve been very busy with work and was traveling for almost two weeks. But that’s not even all of it. I’ve been a little bit burned out and I’m trying to un-burn a bit, so bear with me while I ramble through my thoughts here.
With WoW the past month or so, I’ve been, for lack of a better term, stressed. This stress has lead to frustration on my part, and honestly, that frustration has led a little bit to a lack of desire to play…and that in itself is frustrating. Let’s step back a little bit and see where it all starts, shall we? Read the rest of this entry »
I am disgusted. Absolutely disgusted.
After 5 years of this game, I thought that I had seen the worst that WoW had to offer. I had seen the seamy underbelly, the lows that sometimes people go to in this game. But I was wrong. Never before had I seen such disgusting behavior as I saw last night. And the worst part of it? Apparently it was some of our own innocent efforts that brought this deplorable behavior to our front door!
Ok, I am probably losing people. Perhaps, I should back up a bit here and start my story from the beginning. Yes, I think I probably should do just that. Read the rest of this entry »
One of the hardest things for me to do is to cancel something that is scheduled. Our guild cancels raid very infrequently, largely because I’d rather find a way to make it work than saying “sorry guys, we didn’t plan well enough so we aren’t going to raid tonight”. I tend to take it personally. We try to have fairly good foresight into attendance issues on certain days, and adjust our scheduling, but sometimes we just don’t get it right.
Now, we are fairly fortunate in that running a guild comprised 98% of working adults has the perk of having a little bit less of the “summer” fall out, largely because when you work year round, there aren’t huge “summer” changes, outside of vacation time. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t times where there is slim picking as it comes time to get your scheduled raid going. And meeting the end of an expansion, coupled with summer, will still meet some lack of attention when it comes to raiding.
So, what do you do when faced with a less than optimal situation when it gets to raid time? Well, I have learned that it’s best to punt. Or, make lemonade, as it were.
The number one thing to remember is that sometimes shit happens, and there is nothing that can be done about it. You just make the best of what you can.
So, exactly how DO you make lemonade? How do you know how far to punt the ball? Read the rest of this entry »