Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Guild Drama: A Treatment Plan

Over the past few weeks, I've had the opportunity to contemplate the structure, dynamics and success of certain guilds...which, of course, leads to the question "What makes a guild successful?" It seems to be inevitable that guilds have drama - there is no way around it. However, a guild is marked by how it addresses and deals with the drama. Drama intervention, by necessity, occurs on multiple levels - GMs, officers and even guild members are crucial in dealing with the situation.

There are, also, different types of drama, and each must be dealt with accordingly.

"Bad Day" Drama: Sort of self-explanatory - someone has a bad day and simply is easily stirred up, etc. I find the best way to handle this is a combination of patience and talking with the person privately - allow the person to vent to you in private will often diffuse the situation. Also, trying to create a lighthearted situation in the raid can assist in calming folks.

"Sensitivity" Drama: Some folks are sensitive to just certain subjects/words or whatever. This is one of the more difficult types of drama to deal with, requiring careful treatment, understanding, and a lot of patience. At times the "sensitivity" relates to specific situations or words. When dealing with Sensitivity Drama, the key is to identify what has triggered the sensitivity. Until you are able to identify the cause, it's nearly impossible to know how to begin dealing with it. Again, the key is to spend some time (preferably in private) talking with the person, encouraging them, mediating, etc. Often, the key to diffusing a situation is showing the person that someone does care.

"Drama Queen/Troll" Drama: If a guild member is prone to repeated disruptions of this sort, the easiest (and perhaps the wisest) course of action is /gkick. The motivation behind this sort of behavior is generally singularly to gain attention through the disruption of normal guild operations. Troll drama is designed to change the topic of discussion from your normal focus/topics to whatever the troll has put forth. The Troll-style drama spreads rapidly through the ranks, as it is generally designed to do. The repercussions can be devastating - often it ends with multiple guildies upset, angry, frustrated, disatisfied, ultimately causing a mass exodus (whether en masse or a steady trickling of departures). While most of the other forms of drama are easily dealt with (and worth the effort to correct), troll drama should be ended the moment it begins before any damage can be done - which general means /gkick. Hand-in-hand with this, however, is the importance of training your guildmates how to react when this sort of thing does (hopefully rarely) occur. The best course of action is NO reaction...do not provide the troll what he most desires - attention.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Guild

I find it hardest to post when things are going badly. I suppose I should realize that part of being in the guild involves a bit of drama and certainly changes occurring. (Think "The Guild"). When I first joined my current guild (which I love by the way, even still), it was relatively small, but moving into 25-man content, so expanding. There appeared to be some resistance to the changes, but overall, we were progressing and many seemed happy.

Long story short, a small contingent (but with several core raiders) decided they couldn't live with the changes or direction or something and staged a "mass" exodus. Mass was about 14 players by the time it was all done, however, many were not raiders (or at least, not consistent raiders). In many cases, that would be the end of it, and it would be up to those that were left behind to continue and rebuild or to dissolve and go their own ways. Sadly, things aren't always so predictable.

One has to wonder the motivations of people when they intentionally spread false rumors, attempt to recruit as many members as possible (even those who have expressed no desire to come with them), claim members have applied (who haven't), and even relentlessly harass existing members in whisper. To me, it appears to go beyond simply being dissatisfied with a guild and moves more into vindictiveness.

The really good news, however, is that despite all the difficulties and the actions of a few, our guild is doing quite well and thriving. In fact, even though the walk-out was midweek and during our raiding schedule, we still went into the 25-man the very next day - and downed VoidReaver. More on that in another post!

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Thursday, February 7, 2008

Gruul's and Mag's

So, a lot has been happening lately. On Tuesday, Deressy went to Gruul's Lair for the first time with Distant Beliefs. Her only other attempt there had ended rather quickly so this was her first time to see anything beyond the High King. We had a couple of minor wipes, but downed both Gruul and High King! Woot! Since she wasn't part of the guild, she wasn't able to roll on the T4 gear that dropped (others were wanting it), but she did manage to pick up Cowl of Nature's Breath, which was a very nice upgrade for her.

Tonight she headed into Magtheridon's Lair. This was a progression run - her second time into Mag's (both times with Distant Beliefs). The first time was really not very successful - we had a hard time with the clicking, the staying alive etc. Tonight, the Raid Leader was trying a new strategy - 8 healers. I lost count of the number of attempts we made, and don't really want to count 2 of them at all; not once, but twice, someone right clicked a warlock to start the event - when not everyone was ready or even in the room. If you total up my durability loss for the night, I'd be somewhere around -80%.

We did, however, get better and better with each run. Our best attempt had him down to 10% - unfortunately, we lost a bunch of people to cave-ins and then some folks missed clicking their cube (likely because they were dead), and it ended up our tank and offtank (both pallys) trying to kill him and stay alive. We'll be trying it again on Tuesday, so I'm quite looking forward to that.

Now, I don't use damage or healing meters at all - have always been a bit concerned about people focusing more on the meter rather than on what's best for the raid. But twice last night, I had one of the other healers whisper me to let me know I was 'catching' him on the meter - later I found out I ran second in every fight. Not sure if that's good or bad - I was on raid healing though, so it's no surprise I'd have high heal numbers. What I don't know, and would have like to have seen, is how much of that was overheal. Oh well...maybe if I can find a semi-reliable and very non-intrusive meter, I'll install it.

On a separate note, after a very long and difficult process, *zul and I decided to leave our guild and join Distant Beliefs. We really loved Asgard and the people in the guild, which made this decision even more difficult. However, given some real life issues which may limit our time playing this game, we felt as if we would progress more and see more end game content by making a move. Everyone at Asgard has been incredibly encouraging - I can't recommend that guild enough if you are on Runetotem looking for a guild. They've also picked up one of my favorite resto druids - and one who I learned a lot from (grats, Asgard and Mondas).

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Guild Loot Systems

So, I've been thinking about various loot systems used by different guilds, and trying to figure out what really is the 'best', if there is such a thing. It all really came to a climax tonight when Essy went to Kara with another guild. She was on standby with one guild, but they didn't need her, so when a friend was having internet connection problems, she stepped in on his behalf. She saw three events - Shade of Aran, Chess and Netherspite. There was some confusion on what loot rules applied, since she was not part of their guild, and it turned out she was not permitted to roll when Drape of the Dark Reavers dropped. She was told that Mr.X would be allowed to pick up an item first, and she could roll on anything after that. So, Mr.X got the loot and on we went. The Chess event only dropped plate items, both of which were sharded. Then we went to Netherspite, who dropped Skulker's Greavers and Mithril Band of the Unscarred. The rings Essy has are better but the leggings would have been a substantial upgrade. She asked again if she could roll on the legs, and was told, no, another rogue would be getting them.

Essentially, this guild's loot rules are members first. I can understand this in a way. However, Deressy's guild has different rules, and I agree with them too. In her guild, anyone in the raid has the ability to roll on items. There is no member/non-member distinction. Sure, someone may be running Kara over and over for a single drop. I've seen this happen, actually. In one case, a hunter had been running Kara weekly for over 7 months for the chance to pick up Sunfury Bow of the Phoenix. This hunter was not in our guild, and yet when it dropped, not only did she get to roll on it, but she won it (she was ecstatic). But essentially, anyone who is spending the time and money to raid with us (once they've come in, they are saved to the instance and essentially can't go in elsewhere) is eligible to roll, as if they were a guild member.

Our guild did recently make a change to a rather interesting/odd set of rules - I have been worried it would be hard to enforce, and I've seen a certain amount of exploiting of the rules, but in reality, there have been no "real" problems. In each night of raiding, each person has 1 need and 1 greed roll available. Then, if any item is going to be sharded (no one needed or greeded) then anyone who can use the item has a "free roll". If you roll and lose, it doesn't count against you. The idea is to keep one person from walking out with all the loot. For the most part, this system has been successful. (One of our guild members even went so far as to give away the T4 helm he had just won to someone else who had been trying for it for several months longer).

But then there's also the issue of folks (we had one recently) who join the guild, come on one or two runs, pick up a bunch of loot and then quit the guild. How does a guild prevent this? I'm not sure other than making people wait for loot, but that won't keep them from quitting once they *do* get it. And often it's the newest members who are most in need of new gear. Some guilds, particularly those who have progressed beyond Kara, farm Kara and take new members in there for the specific purpose of gearing them up.

To a degree, I think the loot system a guild uses is somewhat indicative of the character and values of the guild itself. While dkp systems might make some of the issues go away, smaller guilds and/or smaller runs (Kara, ZA) might not find dkp worth the hassle until they get into 25-man instances.

I'm curious what other systems are out there, and how successful they've been. If you have a system that you use, please post the details in a comment. I'd love to hear how it works and how successful it's been for you.

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Tuesday, January 8, 2008

A Bit of This and That and a One Night Clear (Mostly) of Kara

So it's been a while since I've posted - I've actually started several posts that I never finished. Why you may ask? Well, it started with a bit of a frustrating week in Kara. Despite getting some nice loot (Shard of the Virtuous", Ruby Slippers), we had some issues downing bosses we normally down with little or no problem. We got Oz at the Opera again (that wasn't really a problem, other than that it glitched on the start and we had to reset and start it over), but we just couldn't seem to down a couple of others.

Being a relative noob to our guild, I've been (thankfully) rather ignorant of the politics (read: drama) in our guild and prefer to remain so. On Friday night, there were a few things that happened and by the next morning, our main raid leader, shammy healer and mage had walked out. Because of their departure, we lost some others, including another mage/rogue and our main holy priest. Now, I think if they had just left we still would have lost a few, but there was also a big hubub when they left. And of course, that just made things worse.

I hate drama! Have I said that already? But really I do! Part of me wonders if our guild will survive. Part of me feels obligated to stick it out to the bitter end to try and MAKE it work - particularly since a few of my friends have joined there now too. Am I keeping my eyes open? Yes. Am I leaving now? No. Am I stupid enough to think this will be an easy road? No. But I'm not a quitter - once I join something, it is VERY hard for me to walk away. Too bad, really - the easy way out would be to quit.

On a positive note, we did a fairly complete clear of Kara last night - we missed a couple of bosses, but we cleared Attumen, Moroes, Maiden, Opera (Little Red Riding Hood - YAY, it wasn't Oz again!), Curator, Aran, Chess and Prince. We also did a couple of attempts on Nightbane and one on Illhoof, neither fight I'd seen before. I think we could take one or both on another night - we had virtually no AoE - and only one warlock. Our group makeup for the night was two warriors (the offtank was brand-newish in Kara), two shadow priests, two resto druids, two hunters, one warlock and one rogue. The great news is both Hunzul and Deressy (Gloves of the Fallen Defender which I used to get Handguards of Malorne, Aran's Soothing Sapphire and Girdle of Treachery, got some new gear! AND Cianna, one of our friends, got the Sunfury Bow of the Phoenix to drop off Prince that she's been trying for since July!

So Deressy went instead. It was, however, a rather frustrating week there. We downed Attumen, Moroes, Maiden, got Oz at the Opera (again!) and chess. Deressy walked out with some nice new gear - . Not bad, eh?

It wasn't terribly late but a few of our folks had to leave due to early work the next day, so we put the rest off until Friday.

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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Ninja Moments?

Having never really been victim of a ninja (yes, I guess I've gotten really good PUGs), I was asked by a guildy (when I was still part of KotB) to come heal the final boss of Scholo. They'd lost their healer and were so close to being finished.

So off to Scholo I went. I was too high level for summon, so I made my way there the old-fashioned way. When I arrived, it turned out they were one short even after I filled in.

No worries though...one of them was a level 70 Peacekeeper - should be cake. And it was. The boss died and three purples and a blue dropped! One of the drops was one of the portals cards...I was nearing the completion of the deck and the card that dropped was one of two I didn't have.

I asked if I could need it and got a "go ahead" from my guildy, but big arguments from the other two. So rather than create trouble, I greeded it (note also, there were no enchanters in the group).

After I had greeded the various items, Alandrius of Runetotem-US needed (and hence ninja'ed) the entire take. The peacekeeper (Drukonus) laughed, told us Alandruis was his father, and proceeded to kick me and my guildy from the group. He was ported back to Shatt before he was able to complete his quest, looting the quest item from one of the kills.

I was, needless to say, furious. We announced in our guild channel to avoid these two guys, and at least two others said they had had similar experience with them in the past.

I added them both to my ignore list and decided to contact their guilds. Essy's guild had discussed previously a merger, or at least raiding agreement, with Peacekeepers. Though I don't know many of them, I figured they probably wouldn't want their names associated with such behavior. They listened, and although nothing happened immediately, I did notice he was no longer part of their guild when I saw him a few weeks later.

Alandruis was in a smaller guild. The GL told me he had gkicked him. He must have gotten back in, though, as I saw him a few weeks later and he had rejoined.

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Friday, November 30, 2007

Remain Resto or Respec?

Having leveled resto from Day 1, I have had many an opportunity to run instances - they were sometimes the easiest way to gain XP as well as a good opportunity to meet new folks. PUGS R US. With a few exceptions, I have been in some awesome PUGs - I find that letting folks know up-front the PUG rules/expectations works really well.

So I managed to get all the way to level 67 without a spec-crisis. I was on travel (you never know how hotel lag is going to be) and was vehemently asked to heal for a PUG going to Sethekk Halls. I'd never run that instance before, didn't know anyone in the group, but was assured it would be cake - we were running with two prot warriors. Well, it wasn't cake. We managed to inch our way to the last boss, despite my plethora of problems - pulling aggro, occasional lag, and general unfamiliarity with the instance.

However, we couldn't down the last boss. After several wipes, I was typing out a suggestion that they might be better finding another healer (my lag wasn't preventing the healing, but I couldn't seem to get out of the boss's AOE in time) when I was unceremoniously kicked from the group. Ouch. I would have gladly left on my own and was just suggesting that very thing.

At any rate, the experience was demoralizing and I lost confidence in my ability to heal anything. I stayed away from instances for more than two weeks, finally only agreeing when Dorchah, a shadow priest and good friend of mine, insisted they needed me. I was quite tempted to respec to something (anything) other than resto. The problem was, I generally really enjoy healing and the challenges it presents.

I stuck to getting Kara-attuned and running dailies for a while. A few weeks later, still hesitant about my spec and my direction, having achieved all but the Black Morass step of Kara-attunment, I was running dailies up in Og'rila and grouped up with some folks I hadn't met before to get banishing over with quickly. Oddly enough, in that one short session, I ended up with two invitations to join raiding guilds.

One of those guilds, Ásgård, took me down to Black Morass and helped me get attuned. Then they proceeded to invite me to run Kara with them that night. Keeping in mind that Essy is my main (not Deressy), and really I wanted to join a raiding guild with *zul so we could raid together, I was hesitant to make any sort of commitment until he and I had discussed it and he'd had a chance to get to know the guys from Ásgård and decide for himself.

Lucky for me, the guys (and gals) from Ásgård are a quality bunch and were happy to have me run Kara with them for a couple of weeks while the *zuls got to know them better. As you've probably noticed, not only did I not respec, but I joined Ásgård as did Hunzul.

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