ch-ch-ch-changes

They say (and who is “they” anyhow) that nothing in life is certain but death and taxes.  And change.  Well, maybe not change, but certainly the other two.

Tonight will be the grand finale for our guild.  On the offchance we have enough people to raid, we’ll blow through all of the hardmodes that are farm content for us (9) and clear the rest of the fights on normal if we have time in hopes that we get our 2nd person either finished with their Shadowmourne or at the very least, much closer.  He’s got 10 shards left to go so he could get lucky.  After raid, we’ll make the announcement that we’re hanging up our raiding hats and shutting down the guild.

We’ve been heading that way for a while since we stopped having someone actively recruiting, but over the past couple of weeks we’ve been calling at least one raid and generally two out of our four raids each week.  After raid ended last night (the close of the raid week) we had three people announce that they were transferring to new guilds or going casual which left us with 26 “active” raiders.  So far today we’ve had another person post that they’re moving on to a new guild and there are two people who are late for tonight’s raid if not out entirely so we’ll see if we can actually cobble together a raid or if the rest of the guild has finally figured out how to read between the lines to realize that it’s over.

Either way, if we have a raid tonight, great!  I’ll keep my fingers crossed for lots of shards to drop.  But if we don’t have a raid, that’s fine too because it will give me time to mail out the portions of guild bank funds to each remaining raider since the only way we were able to accrue the gold in guild bank was due to the collective efforts of those who raided.  Then I get to finally go through and shut down the various posts and threads for recruitment and update our guild info to reflect that we’ve left raiding and called it quits.

All that’s left after that is to go through the forums and purge the irrelevant forums and posts and make the changes needed so that the core group that’s played together for 5+ years has a place better tailored for our needs now that WoW won’t function as the main tie.  I’m envisioning separate game forums so that it’s not all crammed together as well as increasing the permissions so that Joe Q. Public can’t wander in and gawk over our exit from WoW in hopes of seeing and participating in drama.

I should be sad about the final demise of our guild, but I’m not.  All I feel is a great sense of relief to not have to play with about half to two-thirds of our raiders.  I’m perfectly content to have my evenings back for a bit while I take my time crafting my eventual post to the recruitment forums to hopefully find a new guild.  And if I don’t find one, *shrug* I won’t be heartbroken.  The WoW I enjoy is sadly a WoW of the past.  It’s the game I played during Vanilla levelling up my very first character in my first guild, the antics that we’d get into, and the raids (MC/AQ40)that we’d do even if we could only get enough people maybe once or twice a week.  It’s the game I played after I left my first guild for a real progression oriented raiding guild and got to experience the remaining raids.  It’s the game I played and the home I found in my current guild at the tail end of Vanilla and through Sunwell.  It’s not the game I’ve been playing in Wrath.  Maybe the “responsibility” of leadership and recruitment ruined my game and my guild for me, either way, as this chapter comes to a close, all I can do is let out a sigh of relief.

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Burnt

They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a new outcome.

It feels like that’s recruitment right about now.  Here I am on the hamster wheel, running my ass off, and then something goes to hell and I’m ass over tea kettle.

It’s to be expected that recruitment is more of a bitch now just because most people are in the mindset of “omg I must kill LK HM25 RIGHT THIS MINUTE otherwise I won’t have ‘finished’ Wrath before Cata is released”.  Of course this leads to people who’ve barely completed Lower Spire who are setting their minimum requirements for a new guild at 10 or 11/12 HM25.  It’s amusing and frustrating all at the same time.  Amusing because it’s unrealistic.  Frustrating because the top guilds are having to deal with the same attrition as everyone else so they’re more willing to take on projects.

But none of that makes it easier for me to recruit for our “measly” 9/12 HM25 guild.

We had an incident a couple of weeks ago that significantly contributed to my malaise.  Ever since I took on recruitment mid-Sunwell, I’ve been very serious and diligent because if the guild failed it would (in my mind) be because *I* failed at recruitment.  So I’ve always taken recruitment far too personally than I should.  I know that, can’t change it, but I’m at least aware of that character flaw.  :)

Anyway, back to the story.  We had a a couple of people apply: tank, holy pally, and ranged dps.  The ranged dps just wanted to be guilded with their friends and fill in when needed, but not raid on a regular basis.  The other two wanted to raid.  Fine, no problem, we have no issues with friends being in guild so long as they don’t join as friends and then bitch about not raiding.  The tank and pally were both one HM farther progressed than us which was a bit of a concern since we’re not the top guild on our server and have no desire to be a feeder guild for them.  But aside from that minor issue, which would have been discussed during the interview, the both players were solid.

And then our holy pallies freaked out, one of them moreso than the other.  Because of it, we lost the opportunity of getting them in guild.  All because the one guildy who freaked out the most was concerned about not having a guaranteed raid spot and making sure that he had his 16 hours of fun raiding per week.

Now, anyone who has done recruitment is looking long-term.  You know who has a schedule that’s going to be iffy in the next few weeks or month and you know, especially at this point in time, that summer attrition and pre-expac lull are going to hit hard.  So you prepare and pick up more people.  Some guilds keep a deeper bench than others, but everyone prepares for summer the same way.

So instead of having a those players in guild and ready to step up into the positions that have recently opened (and having had them in the raid rotation these past weeks already), I’m still recruiting and trying desperately to make sure that we have enough players to continue to field raids so we don’t bleed other players and exacerbate the problem.

All because of one person’s short-sightedness and utter selfishness.

Due to some major RL things going on in my life that are taking up quite a bit of my time, I asked for people who were interested in taking over recruitment.  I simply don’t have the time available any more to be able to troll the WoW forums, hunt people down on their servers to talk with them, and follow-up with people in vent in a timely fashion.  My lack of availability directly affects the amount of new players we have transferring to join us.  Out of the 30 raiders in our guild, one person responded; they were willing to bump recruitment threads, but not one person was willing to take on the burden of recruitment.

I find it sad that I have raiders so concerned with getting their fun each week, but not one of them will actually put in some of the work to make sure that they can continue to get their raiding fix.

Unfortunately, the end result is that there is a very high likelihood that the guild will end up dying because of this.  I continue to do what I can, but I’m restricted by my available time.  It’s really sad to look down the road and see the end in sight.  As a guild, we’re 7 weeks shy of our 5 year anniversary; it will be interesting to see if we can pull our asses out of the fire long enough to make that milestone.

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Cataclysm: (Resto) Druid Preview

What a load of crap.

I know it’s only the “preview” but is anyone else disappointed that we don’t get any new abilities to play with?

Part of the fun with a new expansion is the new toys that come along with it.

Also, does anyone care to place any bets on how long it will take Blizzard to rename Efflorescence?

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WoW IRL

I suppose this is a somewhat misleading title, but I’ve always been terrible at coming up with titles for things so it will have to suffice.

While my guild has members all over the US and Canada, we’ve got a decent number of members (plus about two-thirds of the officers) who are located in my vicinity.  I hosted our first meet up about 3 years ago after having been in the guild for about 8-9 months; it wasn’t weird, the world didn’t explode, and it was fun so we’ve continued to have random get-togethers about once a year for the “locals” and whenever some of our members from farther away happened to be in the area for whatever reason.

Last week our RL was in the state doing all the stuff you do when you’re looking to move and set a day out of his schedule to come hang out with us.  We had an absolute blast!  The conversation was non-stop and covered all sorts of topics; what can you say, most of us have played together for at least 2.5 years at this point.  There were tons of pictures (and even some video!) that we’ve got posted in our forums for those who weren’t able to make it.

The side effect, for me anyway, of having been able to meet and hang out with our RL is that I now snicker (only internally, mind you) whenever someone fucks up during raids and we get yelled at.  It has definitely made raids far more amusing for me.  :D

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ICC Update & Recruitment rambling

Not that I’ve really mentioned our progression before, but we finally got our shit together and netted ourselves a LK kill a couple weeks ago.  I don’t understand why we had a mental block, but after seeing the fight for about 22-24-ish hours we finally got it and were able to execute.

As a side note – It is SO irritating to go searching for tips and tricks that might help your guild only to see that every other person who is posting about what their guild did isn’t having the same issues.  Even worse, is that those people make it sound like they just danced through our “problem child” phase only to get stuck later.

Anyway, hooray for us!  LK is dead neener neener neeners!

As with all things, there was an equal and opposite reaction.  That day was the catalyst for a few of our newer members to decide that they were just bored with the game and so they decided to quit.  Not to harp on the subject (oh fuck it, this is my biggest pet peeve in game), but none of them said anything about it.  Not a peep.  One of them was actually in tells with another of our officers chatting for most of the raid and a decent portion of time afterwards about how happy he was that he transferred and joined us.  So happy in fact that he fell off the face of the earth and along with the other 3-4, stopped responding to PMs, emails sent to whatever address they used to register on the forums, and weren’t even responding to their friends that they had gamed with for a year and a half prior to transferring as a group to join us.

Seriously, how hard is it to find your balls and give the guild a heads up?

I admit it; I fall into the trap of taking recruitment and handling the new people way too personally.  We’re a progression-oriented guild; we’re not going to be out there getting world first kills, but we are bumping along quite nicely at around 1200-ish world.  But part of that, is that I’m clearly not cut-throat enough.  When people disappear with no warning, I assume that something happened that’s preventing them from getting in game.  I don’t immediately kick them and open recruitment for their spot.  Hell, I’ve had my fair share of job-hell, family dying, and just those times in your life when you want to hide under a rock for a while and wait for it all to blow over, and if I wasn’t kicked even though my attendance dropped (though to be fair, I gave notification with the exception of one time) how can I go and kick people just because they aren’t as tied to the forums as I am?  Well, we finally found out that two of the four sold their accounts since they were so bored with the game (yay for them also being in the raid when we killed LK so they got their “I beat the game” moment : / ) and another is probably selling as well.  /gkick /gkick /gkick  Once again, recruitment has kicked in and we’re in a major cycle.

To that note, for those of you who have been recruiting (or were even just raiding) for a long time – back in Vanilla leading up to the TBC release, or even just during TBC leading up to the Wrath release – are you seeing the same patterns in recruitment posts from individuals as you did during the incipient expac releases?  It seems to me that more and more posts are of people who are maybe halfway through ICC25, but want to join HM guilds or “top 100″ guilds.  It feels like the ICC buff/nerf has hastened the expansionitis that people are feeling and they perceive Cataclysm is going to be released ASAP.  Other than that observation, recruitment is going fairly well.  Of course it helps that even though we’re looking for quite a few people/classes to fill in the holes, we’re still progressing in ICC25HMs and are currently 5/12.

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Honesty

I think that most people who use the internet are familiar with John Gabriel’s Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory:

We’ve all seen or heard of “those people” in PuGs who are complete assholes just because there’s minimal to no accountability.

If being anonymous on the internet makes it easier to be an asshole, why then is it nigh impossible to be honest with your guild about why you’re leaving? It’s still the internet.  You’re still anonymous.  Sure, depending on how long you’ve been with the guild there are different levels of friendship, but at the end of the day we’re still just a collection of random people on the internet.  It’s not like you’re going to see those former guild members the next day at work/school or that weekend at the bar.

In the past year and a half that I’ve been doing recruitment, I can think of one person who left the guild and was honest about why they were leaving.  Then there are the others who left because “I have my reasons but I’m not looking to cause drama so I’ll keep them to myself” (server transferred to a slightly more progressed guild), “My girlfriend got pissed and deleted all my characters so I can’t make raids until Blizzard restores my account” (server transferred to a more progressed guild), or from a trial after a week “I don’t feel like I’m meshing with the guild” (server transferred to a guild that is FAR more progressed and working on the last few HMs in ICC25) .  Those are just the few I can think of who actually gave “reasons” compared to others who either transferred with no word or just stopped logging in on their character(s) all together.

That one person who was honest about why they were leaving?  She left to a guild that was progressing faster and more consistently than we were.  But the difference between her and the others I referenced above:  she didn’t try to give us a line of bullshit.  She was honest about the fact that she wanted more progression and a more intensive raiding schedule.  Awesome!  We’re not uber hardcore so of COURSE you need to find somewhere that suits you better.  I already considered her to be a high caliber player and fun person to be guilded with, but the way she handled her exit really upped my respect for her.  Every time we have someone new who leaves the guild I think of her and to be honest, I consider her and her actions as the bar by which I judge the person leaving and how well (or poorly) they handled their exit.

No guild can be all things to all people.  I don’t expect that once people join our guild that we will be their final home in WoW and that they will never ever leave.  But I don’t think it’s too much to expect a little honesty (as opposed to sugar-coating or outright lies) when you’re on your way out.

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Imma Chargin’ Ma Lazerz

The other day when I was bouncing around Dalaran aimlessly, I saw the alt of one of our members posting in LFG that they needed a DPS for Sarth25 for the weekly.  It was the end of the raid week so there wasn’t much interest, but since I wasn’t saved I offered to go and give my best interpretation of a Laser Turkey.

Mind you, I’ve pretended that balance was my second spec since dual spec was available, but given the various needs of different encounters my second spec was either a HT spec for AnubHM attempts (whenever we were actually working on it) or a “ball soaking” spec for Twins (when we were missing our bear tank).  So with all that I’ve probably had a balance spec for maybe two weeks total.

Aside from making sure I had the UI tweaks sorted to be reasonably effective in that spec, I hadn’t played it at all.  Even with all that I still managed to put out a respectable 5.5k dps and somehow was third on the damage done meters.

Pugs (especially at the end of the raid week) apparently can be a great way to feed my inner meter chaser.  :D

Now to actually spend some time practicing my rotation to see if I can improve that for the next time.

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