Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Time is Now, Part Three: Getting Noticed

The Time is Now is a five-part series on joining a raiding guild before the expansion. Part One covers reasons that now is the best time to join. Part Two details how to go about finding what you’re looking for in a raiding guild. Part Three describes how to get noticed by and join your chosen guild. Part Four goes into further detail of the pros and cons of joining a guild pre-expansion. Part Five is a cheat-sheet summary with final thoughts and response to any reader commentary or questions.

So you’ve found yourself a guild or two or three that you find attractive.

Now what?

Well, you want them to notice and consider you, correct? Then you have some work to do, my friend.

Dress For Success
Always, always, always log out in your gear when you are going to app to a guild. Even if you just begin to talk to some members of a guild, they’re going to look you up. And if you’re decked out in your PvP gear with a Frost Spec when you stated you raid Fire, it puts the person you’re communicating with the undesirable job of attempting to visualize the gear and talents you explain to them. Though easier on a forum to link a talent build or to explain a basic, well-known spec, if you’re just getting a feel for the leadership before you leave an application, it’s best to be wearing your full PvE gear each time you log out.

Talent builds can be explained, but gem choices, enchants and itemization decisions generally take some visual cues to give useful information to a prospective guild.

Use the Looking For Group Channel
This is a very simple trick. Open Looking For Group, click Looking For More, and pick an old-world raid, one that almost never gets any attention from anyone (AQ40 is one such raid), and park yourself in it. This should open your Looking For Group channel. Check who is soliciting for people of your class or role. Are any of them in the guilds you want to app to? If you have the time, then go with them. If you do a good job, are courteous and helpful, as well as that rare “good pug,” it can leave a good impression. It doesn’t hurt to casually ask them about their guild as you’re running, as long as the talk doesn’t distract you from casting Swiftmend at the opportune moments.

Do Organized PvP with Them
What! PvP isn’t raiding!

So what? Lots of people remember that healer who saved their butt back in EotS or that fearless defender of Stables. Just don’t fight in the roads, and do what the premade leader tells you to do. Don’t get upset or frustrated or defiant. Be calm, reasonable, rational. Seasoned raiders become foaming at the mouth frustrated quicker to PvP than a few hours of raid wipes; set yourself apart by not being one of them.

Go on Their Lower Content Raids
No one’s ever really done with Karazhan, and many people can still use upgrades from Gruul’s, Mag, TK and SSC. If someone in your prospective guild runs that sort of content regularly, and it is open to all comers, see about joining up. You are getting your name out there. You want to show up ready, repaired, with all your consumables, reagents and in a PvE spec. Remember, you’re getting your name out there, so always make sure you’re making a good impression.

When you can, be on Vent. It’s always good to hear how a guild interacts with its members and with its PUGs.

Apply to the Guild
Of course, this seems like a no-brainer. If you want to be in a guild, you apply, right? Remember that I said to always log out in PvE gear; well, now it would be best to log out in your PvE spec. Prospective guilds will want to see how your talents interact with your gear, and are likely unwilling to do the calculations themselves.

In general, look at past applications, follow all directions and take more than five minutes to fill it out. Be courteous, responsive, and explain anything you feel you may be lacking. Use any “other information” slots to your full benefit. Do you run old world raids? Do you have six gear sets? Do you have that ultra-rare pattern no one can seem to find? Let them know.

Do not trash players, your old guild or specs. You never know who is reading.

For a more in-depth look into applying to a guild, I urge you to check out Chick GM’s series on applying to guilds. She explains what to do, what not to do, and gives several examples of good and bad applications, recruitment, interviews and the initiation period.

Now, all you can do is wait, and, if you’ve done your homework, you should be seeing at least one acceptance!


I'm moved in, I'm comfortable, classes have started and stress has eased for the moment. *Phew*

Thanks for bearing with me, everyone. The next part of the series will be up soon.

And you can all have your understanding back; I'm sure there's someone else who could use it.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

/tar 4 Haelz /cast Cyclone

It seems like only a little while ago that I needed guest bloggers because I was going on vacation. And, indeed, it was only a little while ago. However, I’m about to likely disappear for a week or so. I’m not asking for guest bloggers, as in truth I wouldn’t have time to upload their submissions, nor do I have time to give them warning to work on them.

You see, my housing for this semester of university is in utter turmoil. I don’t know where I’m going to live or how soon I’m going to have internet. I seem to keep getting some sort of amazing find that will get me set and ready to go, only to have it fall apart at the last minute. The yo-yoing is frustrating and emotionally draining; I’m stressed and depressed. For the past few days I’ve been babysitting from about 6 AM to 5 PM every day, calling apartment buildings, my university, and trying to pack without knowing just how much room for things I’ll need (or what, in truth, I will need to bring). I have been on Bellwether a total of fifteen minutes and only to apologize to people I had made plans with. I have no internet at my father’s and few chances to use it while at my mother’s.

There are comments I want to respond to, e-mails I need to get to, and all manner of things that just can’t be done right now due to the clusterfuck that is my living situation.

Therefore, all I’m asking is your patience while I get my stuff sorted out, and I apologize for leaving you in the middle of that five-part series.

Thanks everyone for your understanding, and I’m sure I’ll be back again in no time at all.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

To Flame or Not to Flame...

Image from the Lackadaisy webcomic.

This is not the third part of the installment involving raiding guilds pre-expansion. I apologize! This is just a question I would like to explore and hope my readers will as well. It would be sad if no one cared enough about me to answer my question, no? /guilt trip

Once upon a forum trolling, I came across a thread on my home server about a mage looking for a T5/T6 guild. The mage was one I had met before, on a Heroic Magister's run. Due to a bad pull, this mage died to too much AoE threat on the pulls before Vexallus. Nothing I could do to heal through so much damage at once. Since everyone else survived, he wanted a rez. There were two druids in the group (me and the tank) and no out of combat rezzers. So, we declined. It was right before Vexallus; the run couldn't take more than a minute.

Much drama followed, then a group quit, nasty whispers followed by /ignore. We got a lock, went through the rest of the instance without a hitch (best Demonology lock I've had the pleasure of playing with, and a polite, helpful attitude to boot), and that was that.

Well, now they want to be in a T5/T6 guild, putting themselves out on the forums. Those are guilds that, if the time comes I have the ability to raid again, I want to be in, and I do not want to be in a raid with this person. Especially since I will not take them off ignore (though that seems almost redundant, to ignore someone ignoring me).

So, the question is: do I say something in the thread to try and warn people of his bad attitude? In the end, I really owe nothing to the guilds in question. They're not my guilds, and may never be my guilds. I could just let it slide. Perhaps the player was just having a bad day, or perhaps he's had an attitude change since then. I don't do level 1 troll alts, either, so anything I would say would be on my druid. I know I don't want to raid with someone who throws a hissy fit about a minute walk back to his corpse and threatens to leave the group if he doesn't get a rez "next time."

All in all, he wasn't a horrible mage. He was decent at his class, but he had a terribly entitled attitude and expected catering to his whims, despite any impracticalities. Is it really my business to say anything? It's on the WoW forums, not some private app on a guild website, so they've basically opened themselves up to public criticism. However, so does anyone who posts, and it's difficult to phrase a warning about someone's bad attitude without sounding like a "butt hurt QQing nub." Which could actually devolve into me having to defend my ability to heal and childish confrontations like that. Though there are plenty of people who will defend me (scrubby as I am), I don't like when things spiral out of control.

Then, of course, there's the likely possibility I would not include my signature, simply to keep the flow of people into my blog reading that thread to a minimum. It's not something I would relish, any confrontation being dragged over here.

In the end it may be best simply to hold my tongue and go on about my business. But, my faithful audience, I must ask: how would you handle it? Would you post? If you did, would it be on an alt or a main? Would you ignore it on the forums, speak to the guilds that seem interested online, or would you just ignore it all together?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Time is Now, Part Two: Finding a Guild

The Time is Now is a five-part series on joining a raiding guild before the expansion. Part One covers reasons that now is the best time to join. Part Two details how to go about finding what you’re looking for in a raiding guild. Part Three describes how to get noticed by and join your chosen guild. Part Four goes into further detail of the pros and cons of joining a guild pre-expansion. Part Five is a cheat-sheet summary with final thoughts and response to any reader commentary or questions.

So, you’ve decided you want to join a 25-man raiding guild before the expansion, but you’re not sure how to go about it. You’ve geared yourself up as best you can with badge gear, content available to you, rep grinds and crafting. You know your class and how to play it, you just need the guild to get you into content. You have several resources available to you on your quest.

Realm Forums
Yes, a majority of the players avoid the official WoW forums like the plague due to the high percentage of trolling, nonsense, drama and keyloggers. However, it is one of the most valuable assets in your search for a guild.

Most servers have a Guild Progression thread, and they’re generally well-maintained by the player who starts them. They can detail everything from simply progression to also listing guild leaders of the main guilds and websites in which to contact them. This is the simplest, most straight-forward description of a guild. It doesn’t tell you much about a guild past how far they’ve been able to come pre-expansion, but that’s a great place to start.

After that, check the rest of the forum. Look at @ threads (like @playername and @guildname) about the guilds in the area you’re looking for. Take what people say with a grain of salt, but look at how the members of various guilds conduct themselves. Do they respond to abuse in a way you agree with? Do they make abuse threads? What are players in the same tier of progression saying about guilds and members of those guilds they’re not in? Basically, do you want to be associated with a guild or players that has stigma or creates stigma?

Most importantly, check who is recruiting. If they’re not recruiting, you need to look elsewhere.

It’s your choice, of course, and different people look for different things. But it’s important research, if you’re able to stomach the forums for that long.

Guild Recruitment Forums
If you’re on a low pop server, or are willing to transfer, the guild recruitment (Alliance and Horde) forums is also a good place to find a guild in your range. If you’re unwilling to do the work to read all the posts (and there are quite a lot), you can often post your own character and what you expect from a guild (raiding times, nights, attendance requirements, loot system, raiding expectations for WotLK, etc.) and guild leaders/recruitment officers will often reply.

However, don’t expect many personalized responses, as the guild recruitment forums is too big and there are too many hopefuls for a player to use their time to personally respond to everyone. However, they will leave form descriptions and contact information so you can check them out on your own time.

If you find some you like, check out their realm forums. Do the same search within theirs you did on your own. It’s perhaps even more crucial to check their server size and how many guilds of the appropriate level there are available on that server. If you end up transferring but not liking your guild, it’s good to know what other options are open to you.

The Level One Alt
Whether you’re looking at a new server or scoping out your own, creating a level one alt and heading to a main city can be helpful. Once you’re in a main city, ask in trade (the most commonly spammed and open channel) questions about the raiding guilds on the server. Anything from questions about progression, to who is the best-geared rogue, if anyone has the legendary bow, who is recruiting, or who is breaking up.

The responses you get will be interesting. Some will be ridiculous, like the level 45 rogue claiming to be the best-geared on the server. However, you’ll see how members of various guilds talk about themselves and others, and you’ll get a general feel for a new server. Do you want to be in a guild that openly trashes other guilds, or who doesn’t defend itself in trade, or who does defend itself? Do you want one that doesn’t have the best geared (insert your class here) so you can be of a more comparable level or do you want one with the best geared (your class here) so you have less loot competition?

If you’re so inclined, take notes. Who has a trash mouth, who spams trade, who provides helpful information, and who talks completely different to an anonymous level one alt than they do to you on your 70 may be important to remember. Note what guilds they’re in. You may notice a trend, or you may find that a guild has a wide variety of attitudes within it. No matter who you prefer to raid with, you should find a group of people who suit your attitude.

While you’re in trade, take note of the high level crafters and what guilds they’re in, as well as who is selling bear mounts, Hearts of Darkness, Marks of the Illidari, Sunmotes and epic boe patterns. It’s nice to be in a guild that has enough HoD’s to get you your SR set right off, and who have enough people with the epic patterns that they’re able to sell them. Most high level guilds have a crafter with everything you need, but it’s good to know who is actively in the market. Guilds selling bear mounts can generally blow through ZA with no problem, and may be willing to take you in for your own (and gear upgrades, where applicable).

Your Friends
Ask around your circle of friends on your server. You can often find out more “insider” information about various guilds and players in guilds. This way you can find out who had to bug out Archimonde to get their kills (and haven’t killed him since the fix) or what bosses a guild is stuck on. You can find out things like their loot policies and flubs, how DKP is accumulated or who is on the loot council. Perhaps a known Skettis Tree ninja is in one guild, or in another guild is the only crafter of such-and-such an epic item. Maybe every member of X guild is on every Horde guild KOS list.

Though your friends and other players can be perhaps the best sources of information outside of being in the guild itself, they can also be biased (perhaps Friend Y got kicked out of Guild Z), have misinformation, or be blowing things out of proportion. They may also simply be passing on second-hand information and not actually know what they’re talking about.

Take all the information in, keep a grain of salt handy, and learn all you can.

Guild Websites
If you’ve found a guild or two you wish to join, check their guild websites. Read their charters (if they have one), see their loot system, check their roster (especially those members who are your same class and spec), and look over their forums. If you have access, look at their sign-ups. It may be important to check how much of a waitlist they have for raids and which ones have the best turn-out. It’s good to know, also, which raids are required and which have no penalty for absence. It can also be helpful to know how long the guild has been around to check for stability. If it doesn’t look like it’s going to survive the expansion, it won’t be worth your time.

Read whatever part of the forums you can access. See what threads are available, what people talk about, and how the guild interacts on its website. Also check which forums and threads are locked from your view. What the guild chooses to share about itself and what it keeps from the public can be very telling.

Whether or not you’re ready to apply to a guild, check their application forums, if they have one. Check how active it is, what classes and specs they’re recruiting, if it is well-maintained, frequently updated, and if applications are responded to promptly. If they have a denied/accepted applications forum, read it. This is a gold mine. You can see who was accepted and who was denied. If it’s not stated why they were denied, check them out and see how you’re different from the applicant, and if you can spot any potential problems with their application.

It seems like a lot of work, but not everything is necessary to find a good guild. However, a combination of these tactics should work to give you some options to find your guild.

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Time is Now, Part One: Why Join Before the Expansion?

The Time is Now is a five-part series on joining a raiding guild before the expansion. Part One covers reasons that now is the best time to join. Part Two details how to go about finding what you’re looking for in a raiding guild. Part Three describes how to get noticed by and join your chosen guild. Part Four goes into further detail of the pros and cons of joining a guild pre-expansion. Part Five is a cheat-sheet summary with final thoughts and response to any reader commentary or questions.

With Wrath of the Lich King coming around soon, you may think it’s too late to join a raiding guild. However, due to the summer months, now is prime time to find a great one.

In the summer, many static members of raids have vacation time or burn out, and positions open up in guilds on almost every server. There are more guilds needing members than there are free agents. No matter your experience, even if you’re just decked out in some Kara purples and badge gear, there is at least a T5 guild who could use you. Many will train you and gear you up, desperate to see content before WotLK makes it obsolete.

But why should you join now? You know the expansion is going to quickly replace your epics, isn’t it? Do you want to put in the time to raid before the expansion?

Well, it all depends on your goals for the expansion. Do you want to raid in WotLK, and do you want to do it “hardcore”? Hardcore being 25-man raiding, that is. When WotLK drops, there will be two choices for every raid group: the 10-man and the 25-man, and the 25-man will be tougher with better rewards. If that’s your thing, and you’re not in a “hardcore” raiding guild at the moment, it might be worth looking into.

You might be wondering why now, if WotLK is in beta and it seems like a lot of work for nothing. Well, if anything in the game seems like work, you should avoid it, so this is probably not for you. However, if it’s something you have held any interest in, it’s worth a try.

Why, though?

To begin with, a lot of raiding guilds will want to be ready at 80 as soon as possible to get into the raids. They’ll want to get into new content as soon as their raiders are leveled and geared enough to take advantage of it.

Recruiting in the beginning stages of WotLK will be a mess. It will be harder to discern what stats, gear and specs people need to have, old players will be returning, new players will be drawn in by the lure of a shiny new game and Recruit-A-Friend, and everyone will be rushing to 80 as fast as possible. So many people will also reach 80 at the same time and be at the same level of gear, it will be difficult to stand out in the crowd.

However, if you’re already in a guild before the expansion, you can skip the need to apply at 80 and can go directly into raiding. Your guild will know that you’re reliable, always bring your consumables and/or know how to take direction (along with many other essential or social qualities). You’ll already be on the inside, so you won’t have to fight through tons of hopeful new 80’s who want into a guild with a reputation for advancement.

There will also be such an influx of guilds wishing to take advantage of the 10-man raids, it will be harder to find a guild that wants to delve into the 25’s. If the guild is established by the coming of the expansion as having the man-power, consistency and will to do 25-mans, there is a better chance that they will continue to do so in the expansion. And if they do fall apart, you will have valuable 25's experience which can set you apart from other fresh 80's.

If for no other reason, it will give you something to do until the expansion comes out and Illidan is being killed by a group of five 80’s, right?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Two Things, and They're Bad

Two things right now I disagree with. Two things right now either aren't good enough or are just bad ideas. The first would be the cosmetic feral glyphs in WotLK, and the second would be the Recruit-A-Friend nonsense.

Yes, nonsense.

Anyway, I think I'll start with the first.

I'll admit, I'm not at the fore-front of WotLK knowledge. I don't really have the time right now to do an intense amount of research on druid changes and glyphs and DK's and all the other things coming out in the expansion. And I actually don't want to know too much about it. It's a roller coaster of changes and ups and downs with the beta, so I'm not too concerned with it until it becomes final.

However, I do read Bear's blog and he very recently talked about a red lynx glyph. I am actually not excited about this. My attitude is, basically, not impressed. If you have to use up a glyph spot for these polar bear or lynx glyphs, then you're not making your druid the best it can be, stat-, dps- and tanking-wise, if you use a cosmetic glyph. It would become the equivalent of leaving one of your sockets in your gear empty right now. I could not, in good conscience as a healer, sacrifice my utility to give myself green or blue leaves when I could be putting out a better HPS.

The other issue I have with this is it is doing almost nothing to deal with the deindividuation of druids. Except now, instead of the same purple bear and the same brown bear, you can be the same purple bear, the same brown bear or the same white bear. You can be the same purple cat, same brown cat or same red cat. It's not fixing it. It's not really doing anything but advertising that you're willing to sacrifice stats for cosmetics. It isn't really "unique"! Every single bear with the polar bear glyph will be the same polar bear.

It's like giving everyone at a Catholic school the choice between a blue uniform or a brown uniform. You have a choice in how you look, but blues are going to look like every other blue, and browns are going to be like every other brown.

Moving onto the other issue.

Recruit-A-Friend is what I like to call a Bad Idea. Not a Bad Idea in theory, but definitely in practice. Mostly because it only benefits the gifter and not the recipient in the long run.

If someone is just starting out in the game, allowing them to triple their experience right off the bat isn't good. If they decide they dislike their chosen character, they then need to pick another, and level three times as slowly. And in tripling experience, much of the old content is completely skippable. This sounds great to a veteran player, but in essence is very bad for a new player. Unless they only plan on ever levelling and playing one character, they're essentially lost.

Basically, any person brought to the game through Recruit-a-Friend will, on the non-tripled alt, be likely lost, confused, frustrated with the levelling speed, and unfamiliar with many zones, dungeons and quests (slowing them even further).

EDIT: I need to rewrite this post, but feel free to keep giving me information about glyphs and Recruit-A-Friend and such. It's obvious I need to do some more homework (damn the recruit-a-friend site being down while I was in first draft!), but I'm still not convinced these aren't "bad" or, at least, "not good enough" sorts of things. :)

Monday, August 11, 2008

Druids Are Complicated

I often forget how far I’ve come in understanding the druid class (and how far I still have to go). I almost assume that almost everyone else knows the basics of gearing and talenting their druid, despite writing a blog designed specifically to help people with their gameplay. But druids really are multi-faceted and much more complicated for first-time players than many other straight-forward classes (like the rogue, mage, hunter or warlock).

I was reminded of this on Saturday when I went to my aunt’s house to celebrate my father and uncle’s 50th birthdays. My father’s cousin, a woman 35 years older than I, also plays WoW with a 50-something druid as her current main. An enjoyer of the infamous disease known as “altitis,” she has no 70’s and only plays the game about a half hour to an hour each night due to taking more college courses for a degree.

Talking to her, she admitted she was having problems with her druid. Due to my interest in the druid class, we got in a discussion about how she was playing and why things were going so slow for her. In the end, it turned out she was restoration spec, equipping any leather (and maybe cloth) that was an upgrade for her, and trying to kill things in kitty form. She didn’t know how respeccing worked, or what stats to look for.

I did my best to give a quick rundown, but I think I confused her more than helped her. I tried to tell her which stats were important for which spec, and how the druid class, like any hybrid, is a little complicated and requires different gear and talents for different roles. I think I may have accidentally overloaded her with information. I didn’t mention my blog; I’m not sure it would have helped her as much as I would like it to, just confuse and overload her more.

That night, after I arrived home, I offered to heal a heroic Steam Vaults. It was me, two feral druids, a mage and a rogue. After we arrived and people had grabbed the keys, we set off, one of the feral druids tanking. It was a near wipe, with me running out at the end. The tank had pulled with Faerie Fire, and there was no initial aggro to stop my heals from pulling threat. No one could stay under the tank and do their jobs. Another bad pull and we switched tanks.

Again, the same problem. Pull with Faerie Fire, an odd threat rotation, few swipes, and I ate dirt. Everyone else survived, so we tried again after I was rezzed (I was running back, but one of the other druids gave me one). This time, full wipe. We broke up; it obviously wasn’t happening.

I had suggested to the tanks to pull with a tick of hurricane for initial aggro or to use a starfire-moonfire-bear form pull for threat, but it was shaky, uncoordinated, and it seemed the two bears, both in the same guild, were quite used to Faerie Fire pulling. I had even put on some T4 to make my Lifeblooms less intense, and they still couldn’t hold aggro.

In the case of the tanks, they weren’t bad players. They knew how to itemize, what gear to get, and the basics of tanking. They just didn’t know the best way to gain aggro, to hold threat, or how to keep the mobs off a healer whose Lifeblooms gave her a steady stream of threat on all targets.

Every once in a while I see someone in trade chat looking for help on switching over to a Resto spec. I help if I’m not going to busy for a while, but there is so much involved in the druid class that it often does take a long while. Speaking with my cousin brought back memories of my own trip to 70, of the times I dps’d the wrong add, or melee’d from the front, equipped whatever I could get an used attacks after only glancing at the tooltip.

I’ve come a long way since then, but I have a long way to go still. I don’t know the raw healing conversion for any of my healing spells; that’s the next goal. I should get them down just in time for WotLK to come and give me more to learn.

Sometimes, though, it’s good to sit back and gain perspective on how much you’ve learned, how much you still have to learn, and empathize with the fresh-70 tank who doesn’t quite know how to use all his skills to max effect or the Boomkin who hasn’t learned the best spell rotation for mana conservation with high dps and no front-loaded threat or the Tree who spams Regrowth as their main heal.

It’s all too easy when you know what you’re doing to look down on someone who doesn’t. Not everyone can be naturally amazing at a class (though there are those out there), and not everyone knows there are web resources or has the time to root through them. So next time someone doesn’t know what they’re doing, bite your tongue on the word “noob” and help them learn.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Guest Post: Button!

Button on:

The Secrets to Gun Guild Control

More than 8+ years in the business of guildleading gives one an interesting perspective on the needs and wants of small and large guilds alike, and has led to this small compilation of "rules and regs" of guild control and maintenance.

1) "You can't please everybody. Your mouth would get really, really sore." - A Friend of Button's from High School

No matter what you do, everyone will not be happy. It's been said, yes, it's cliche, and if you're a guildleader, you "know" it already. However, most of you, if you are indeed a guildleader, try to do it anyway. It's inevitable. Yes, you are loved. Everyone in the guild is your best friend. But the guild doesn't survive. No matter how hard you try, someone is unhappy, and that leads to choosing sides (which I'll get into later). The trick to it is simple: make them happy by making the guild happy. No matter how you edit your laws in order to give people leniency, people will always be more happy when they are successful, and when a guild is successful, the people in it are successful. Whether you're a raiding guild, a PvP guild, or a casual guild, success is measured in the happiness of the people within that guild. Guilds inspire loyalty through love (yes, it's cliche, but some guilds take on a feeling of family), through greed (a tricky emotion, but a powerful one), or competition (a desire to be the "best" at any cost. The trick is, which one will you use to inspire?

Sounds like a catch phrase from Fable or some nonsense, doesn't it. Doesn't make it any less true, though. The simple decision is what kind of a guild are you. Eventually, even casual guilds have to choose a side. Growth leads to specificity. When a guild grows to a certain level, it grows through a (sometimes) brief period of definition. Either it goes the raiding route, or it goes the "we're still casual" raiding route. Raiding is the endgame and its hard to get away from that. It's a little like playing to the end of Super Mario Brothers 64 but refusing to actually use any of the stars you earned. The one exception, and it's a loose exception at that, is the PvP guild, a dying breed but a noteworthy guest star nonetheless. The point, however, is that in order to make that transition, some people are not going to be happy with the final analysis (see how we got back to the point?). So, whether you think you're capable of it or not, come gametime, you aren't. Sad but true.

2) "No mercy for the weak. No pity for the dying. No tears for the slain." - Some Online MUD

Really it's only the last part of this particular phrase that bears an important mention in The Secrets to Gun Guild Control. A lot of us guildleaders have led a guild in the past. It had it's heyday and we miss it. We had our moment to shine, members that backed us up, a name we had carved from the burning flesh of what was left of our victims, yadda yadda, a disney story made in hell. Now here's the kicker: you need to get past it. You'll never be able to make your new guild (or the same guild, remade, or the same guild two years later, whatever) the same as the one before it. All that glitters is not gold, and all that. And the truth is, you're shortchanging your new guild by trying to compare it to the old one. Different situations call for different approaches. I forget who said that. Sun Tzu, Winston Churchill, Mickey Mouse, one of those geniuses of warfare. Anyway, the point being that in order to make a guild great, it needs to be it's own guild. Trust me, it's one of the (many) mistakes I've made.

3) "Give them a foot, they take your freaking leg off." - RP2 Debaun

This one is the one that isn't true. In order to lead a guild, you'll be required to make sacrifices. Whether it's time (the unspecific variety of sacrifice) or changes in the guild makeup or organization (the specific), sacrifices are required. The trick is to not let those sacrifices pile up, or in essence you're sacrificing yourself, and you're the one that brought these people together. I hope. Anyway, the truth is that the more that you sacrifice, the more you think that maybe it's not worth it. Now if it's not worth it, then why do it. And if you take that mentality, you're shortchanging your own guild. Learn to make the sacrifices with a smile on your face and sunshine in your heart, or maybe leading a guild isn't your thing. Maybe you'd be better off as an officer or a raidleader (it's a route that I've taken twice, and both times it worked out okay).

4) "Organization isn't everything. It's more like....damn, now where did I put that speech..." - Robin Williams

Don't, DON'T, DON'T try to organize a guild after it's launch. If you're a group of friends and you don't want a lot of restrictions starting out, fine, but at least have a set of guidelines that you can build on. The death of too many guilds has been the attempt to change too many leadership and member roles too late in the game (no pun intended). If you're going to lead a guild, have a set leadership structure, and a mission statement or charter in place. A name and a "catchphrase" do not a guild make. Let the regular members settle back and do what they want, when they want. If you've assumed the mantle of leadership, it's your responsibility to make sure that they have the freedom to do just that. Yes, it sucks, but if you don't want to do it, maybe guildleadership isn't for you.

If drawing up things like that or making motivational speeches isn't your thing, find a guildmate to help you out. Just because you've taken on that responsibility doesn't mean that you need to shoulder every burden on your own. Take the time to delegate early on, and then those rules and parameters will be set in place for that eventual redefining of the guild. It's not necessary to rule with an iron fist (unless that's your style) but at least make things easier for you later on down the line. Lack of organization from the beginning has been the result of many a guild's downfall. Don't let it catch you off guard as well.

5) "Take the shit you do seriously. Don't take yourself seriously." - My Father/ "A leader who leads from the rear takes it in the rear." - Shoot 'Em Up

Don't just let your guild skate by. Put the effort and time into making your guild worthwhile, fun, organized, and most of all, successful. But at the same time, take some time away to just be a regular player. You're playing this game for fun, and you're just like the millions of other players out there. Maybe you're a leadership genius, but you aren't the next Napoleon. And if you are, don't act like it. Guilds are made and lost by their leadership. Make sure you're someone worth following.

There are hundreds of other small rules that guildleaders should know and follow, but most can be summed up in these five easy points. I hope this helps some of you to realize yourselves as the best guildleaders you can possibly be. You don't know me and have no reason to listen to me, but I hope my years of (I think) successful leadership can lend me some credence. One last tidbit of goodness, take from it what you will:

"We all gotta die of somethin'." - Button
"Yeah, but I'd rather burn out than fade away." - Trentacosta

Get out there and take over the world.

- Button
"One team, one fight." - USNavy Saying

Bellwether is no longer on vacation; she's just really busy. She's got some articles in the works and will be back soon. However, her guest posters are just awesome. Love them!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

One Last Thought Before Bellwether Kicks Me Outta Here

Treeform Druids should get dual-wielding ability in Rash of the Itch King. 'Cause, it'd be wicked cool.

All righties, this be Ratshag, going back to me own blog. Peace out, you buggers.

Bellwether is on vacation from the twenty-fourth to the fourth, and appreciates your patience in answering all your comments and e-mails. Please enjoy these pre-scheduled posts and guest bloggers in the meantime!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Guest Post: Aura and You

Today's post is brought to you by Zeffy of Six Branch Tree!

Hello my name is Zeffy from the Misha server!

I like most you other trees have been drooling over the new talents that are coming with WotLK later this year. I have been reading what everyone has been getting excited about, and it has surprised me that this has not come up much. I am speaking about the aura we have while in ToL.

In Burning Crusade we gain these benefits while in ToL

25% of spirit bonus healing to all party members, speed and mana cost down by 20%

In WotLK this form will take on a bit of a change.

The line that I would like to talk about is in the third yellow one. Notice how it says party and RAID members? This is HUGE and does not seem to be causing much of a buzz.

I am just starting to experience end game BC so most of this is coming from speculation. I noticed just this past Saturday as I was finishing up the Kara run with the guild that my aura was not affecting members in the other group. To me this seemed like a waste. We speced this way to maximize our healing, and if the Aura was only acting like a buff to the four others in our group. That means during a raid anywhere between 5-20 people are not gaining the buff of increased healing received. From a purely physical stand point this does not make seem to follow any sort of logic. How can an Aura just go, Him? no screw him, he is not in my group so I will not benefit him, but will travel halfway across the map to get that guy!

I was placed in the same group as another Resto Druid and I noticed something interesting as well, our Aura's stacked! this means that the other three people in our group were getting two + healing buffs! I have never seen my Lifebloom so powerful, I don't think I even casted one Rejuvenation on a fellow party member.

Now imagine endgame of WotLK and your guild is on a 25 man, wouldn't you want at least four trees with you, allowing for four stacks of the aura to build up on the raid? The amount of + healing received would be HUGE! Stick a Shadow Priest in with the other four druids and you will have an insanely mana efficient healing brigade. And now that trees can cast all healing spells in this form, you can divvy up the healing assignments, lets say three trees dedicated to HoT's and the other in charge of any long cast time healing such as Healing Touch or Regrowth. This group would be nicknamed of course HoT Domination (patent pending).

Ohh I can not wait for WotLK to come out, but until then i will be reading up as much as I can, and performing /drool at just about every single opportunity


Bellwether is on vacation from the twenty-fourth to the fourth, and appreciates your patience in answering all your comments and e-mails. Please enjoy these pre-scheduled posts and guest bloggers in the meantime!