Thursday, December 31, 2009

Guild Communication

When leadership in the guild thinks of communicating with one another it generally goes to using the website, game mail or Vent. To me, an even better form of communication within the officer staff is the telephone. We're actually developing a call list for all of the leadership structure in the guild. Not only does it make us have a closer relationship, it also means that when something interesting happens in the guild, we can pick up the phone and yell HELP! when we need it. I kind of like it when someone has the comfort level to call me to discuss things. Obviously this list isn't distributed to the whole guild but most of the guild is made up of people who know each other so it's not hard to give someone a call and say "hey, if you aren't doing anything and you're interested, we need "blah" to fill a spot in the raid". Nine times out of ten, that person is thrilled to be given a chance to log on and go straight to a loot run.

The Art of Pleasing Guildies

How many times have you heard people gripe and complain about not having events scheduled in the raid calendar (or even on the guild website) and as soon as events are scheduled, no one shows up?! Or better yet, a great deal of people sign up for an event and you have to either spend an hour waiting for everyone to log on (and this is way past the start time) or worse yet, pugging the majority of the spots? Yes, we've all experienced this. Happily, I can say that the guild I'm in currently (Military Veterans on Gnomergan-A) isn't like this. I can say that I've been more than pleased with my experience there. Sure we have our ups and downs but it's not atypical of any guild experience. Where the guild shines is that the core group always manages to keep things held together even if we're using a jigsaw and Gorilla Glue.

There's a trend with guilds that I'd like to address and this includes us as well. I'm sure we'll end up discussing it in one of our impromptu officer meetings. The issue is ranks. Ranks help us a lot of times determine what an individual's standing is in the guild. We have a Guild Leader, a Co-Leader (very nice as a back-up if you ask me), Founding Members (hey, they put in a lot of work to make things happen initially), Officers (the group of people who play referee for our more dramatic players ;P), Raiders, Backup Raiders, Full Members, Alts & Recruits. Let's address some of those ranks and what purposes they serve to the improvement or detriment of the guild.

Guild Leader - Obviously, you need a leader. Thankfully our whipping boy isn't just a figure head. Being a GL is probably the most thankless job in the guild. It's literally a job. From management of the officers and all portions of the guild from bank to loot, this person has to spend an inordinate amount of time making sure the guild stays alive. Our GL is dealing with some crazy stuff in his personal life pertaining to the declining health of a loved one so we all try to make his job a bit easier by handling as much of the day-to day stuff as possible.

Co-Leader - The great thing about a Co-L is that they're there for backup if something crazy happens and the GL is unavailable. Nuff said. Otherwise he more or less serves as an officer or at least this has been my experience in the guild thus far and in my past.

Founders - Kinda self explanatory. They put in the time and funds required to build a successful guild. You can always count on these guys to take care of business and have the best interest of the guild in mind.

Officers - The bread and butter of guild management. I'm currently serving as an officer. It's not always an easy job. You deal with people on a daily basis. I don't mean this in a negative way in any regard. Some people have different comfort levels with different officers. If they have concerns, they often will go to one of the officers so that their voice can be heard in the meetings. We don't have a schedule set for officer meetings so often we'll do an impromptu get- together in vent to figure things out or discuss some of the more crazy happenings. As an officer you just have to make sure that people have things to do and step up to the plate if you're needed. This means if you're playing an alt and having a blast, you may have to log over to your main to fill a needed roll in a raid you didn't plan on going along with. Hey, it's just part of the job of taking care of your fellow guild members.

Raiders - This seems to be a popular rank in guild structures but I've often questioned its effectiveness. Rather, I think it has a negative effect on moral with the other members. Raiders often have dibs on end-game content that's new. Now I know the reasoning behind it but sometimes it's all about perspective. Newer members in the guild can often times see this as an almost unattainable goal due to the fact that there are so many "ranks" between where they are and getting a guaranteed spot in a raid they want to go on. I've always taken the stance that everyone should be either members, alts or recruits/initiates. That way everyone at least feels equal even if they aren't. Perspective is sometimes everything to people. If you disagree, then lets agree to disagree.

Backup Raiders - If ever there was a truly terrible rank, it's this. You're just kinda stuck in some sort of alternate dimension of perhaps being able to raid and perhaps not. People begin to question whether they're really valued as a viable member of the guild community. You can really feel lost in the sauce on this one.

Member - Now this one is where your main amount of people usually reside. They are usually the more casual of your players or they're still leveling up toons, ect.. Everyone wants to get to this rank at some point just because they'll feel like they're finally accepted and at home in the guild.

Alts - What else can you say? It's for alts!

Recruits/Initiates - Everyone has differing opinions on how long someone should remain a recruit. Usually two weeks to a month seems to be the norm. More of the hardcore guilds have loot rules pertaining to new members but we're loose and relaxed on this one.

Over all, there are different options for everyone. What you have to do is make things work. When you're setting up ranks, more isn't necessarily better. Sometimes simplifying things can make life easier for everyone. Inclusiveness is what everyone looks for when joining a group of kindred people. The point is to have fun and make it a positive experience for all of your members so that you retain the good people and weed out those who don't fit in.

From Tanking to DPS to Healing

Having been either a meatshield or a face-melter of the DPS variety, I've always wondered what it was like to be the guy trying to heal the raid. Some people play the game and never even think about the person behind the keyboard who's having to monitor not only their own health and mana but they have to monitor the raid's general health as well. This doesn't stay just in the realm of keeping someone alive by throwing a heal but some healers are dealing with poisons, curses and even diseases. To be sure, healers have one of the toughest jobs in the game that requires the ability to multi-task.

Thus began my grand adventure in creating and leveling a druid. I chose a druid because my wife is bring up a priest and I figured there was no point in both of us having the same character class. Although she enjoys using her shadow spec, she ultimately wants to be a holy/disc spec for raid healing. I like the fact that a druid is able to fill a few rolls during a pinch and quite honestly, I've had a lot of success over the past 2 days of total time played in bringing the druid to lvl 34. I can solo quite a bit and still heal myself without running out of mana in the long run. A few potions help ease me around a bit when I do manage to run out of mana. I'm really looking forward to running end-game content by trying my hand as a healer with this toon. So far I've only done a few things in randoms by providing some backup heals as my gear is focused on feral since that's the easiest way to level up in my humble opinion. I gave balance a shot but I felt it was too much like leveling a mage but with less dps in early stages. I see plenty of balance druids doing insane amounts of damage later on but during the early stages it just didn't make logical sense to me to settle for doing the "kill/heal/drink" dance that I've often done in the past.

I think what I'm hoping to realize in this goal is not only understanding the four general classes in the game (tanking, melee DPS, ranged DPS & healing) but also having a greater appreciation for all the years that someone kept us all alive through the raiding content I've explored. Healing is really the only class I haven't thoroughly explored.

I've done quite a bit of reading the past few days regarding the role of a healer (a shout-out to Matticus and the contributors at and discovered how differently the healing classes manage the madness. This has also given me another task: to explore priests and shaman healing as well. I can play with my wife's priest some to understand that to some degree but since neither of us have ever leveled a shammy, that will be my next project. I've leveled a warrior, mage, lock & DK so far but now I'm expanding my horizons a bit. Hopefully I'll not only learn a few things but gain a great respect than I already have for those who have the thankless jobs.

I can still remember times when after we downed content, not a person in the raid mentioned the great healing but they were quick to scream when people started dying. So thanks to the healing classes that keep us up long enough to take care of business!