Friday, May 28, 2010

Thinking Before Speaking

The trouble with having a blog/web journal is that every so often, you want to write about something, but you are afraid that someone might actually read it.

You should see my Drafts folder . . .

A little bit of caution in this area might not go amiss for people chatting in-game, come to think of it.  Anything which goes on in chat is saved in Blizzard's records, which comes in handy when they have to investigate charges of harrassment or gold-selling spam or (sometimes) ninja-looting.  (Which is why it's a good idea to have a PUG raid leader spell out his loot policy in chat . . .)

And then there are people like me, who screenshot significant conversations.  Once you've typed it out, there is always the possibility of someone taking a picture of it.  (This applies to other on-line communications, as well, but that's outside this blog's area of interest.)  I screenshot significant conversations when they either shock and disturb me or when I want a record of my dealings with others.  To this date, I have never had to actually produce one, but I have them if I need them.

I can't say I'm totally innocent of chatting without reservations.  I've blown off steam a couple of times, and who knows? The person to whom I was speaking may have screenshotted the conversation.  The trouble with just blowing off steam in chat is that at the time, you may be angry enough you don't care who hears you or reads the exchange, but after you've cooled down, you may not want others to remember what you've said.

Anyway, if you are careful what you put in chat, chances are good you will keep your friends and not make enemies.  Isn't that reason enough to think before you speak . . . er . . . type?

Monday, May 24, 2010

It's All In the Attitude

It's always an adventure when someone new joins a guild.  I remember one applicant stating on his application that he had a great sense of humor.  Guild members and leaders alike were reasonably impressed with his application and his attitude, and he was invited to join the guild.  On his very first night, when a good deal of the rest of us were beating our heads against bosses inside a raid, he posted a random "joke" in guild chat.  The trouble was it was rather insensitive and the subsequent comments from guildies showed him that sort of humor was not funny to the majority of the guild.  He quietly guild quit shortly afterward.

I think people forget that joining a guild is like joining any other new group of people.  Sure, you, as a recruit, are trying to impress everyone enough that they will want you to stay.  However, you need to realize that you are also joining a circle of friends, and as such, need to accept that it will take time for people to fully accept you.  (I confess that the Druids almost never immediately invite new Druids into Druid chat right away.  We wait for a couple of weeks first, to see if they will mesh with the group and stay in the guild.  There are some who have never made it into Druid chat, but that is usually their fault, because they didn't believe us when we told them the channel name.)

New recruits to my guild should know there are a couple of ways in which they can really rub my guildies the wrong way.

There is a sort of sore spot for people who put their names in for every piece of loot they can possibly equip.  Too many times, we have watched people take piece after piece of gear, only to either quit the game or leave the guild, rather than staying to help the raid in its progression.  One particular individual left such an impression that to this day, others who might follow in his footsteps conjure up memories and images of him, which only compounds the negative feelings toward those who follow.  It is hard for guild members to trust someone who seems to be trying to to collect the maximum gear for every spec in the shortest amount of time, before they have proven their commitment to the raid.

People forget (or else never really think about it) that gear is considered an asset to the raid.  When a player receives a piece of gear, it is because the raid is hoping they will use that gear to help further their progression.  It may seem trite to say it is for the glory of Tempest, but that is the general idea.  (This is also why the last time I suggested that an unwanted piece of gear be given to me for my moonkin off-spec, there was laughter in the raid.  I never play moonkin in our progression raids . . . which is all right.  I really do enjoy healing best.)

There is also a sore spot for those who come off as arrogant--thinking they know everything and just want to help everyone else, implying that everyone else obviously needs their help.  This should probably not be a surprise to anyone who might take the time to think about how they react to people like this in real life.  One such person was one of our former Druids, and we in Druid chat tried really hard to remind him to not whisper the priest/pally/whomever to tell him his gem choices were bad, especially since he sometimes did not know the facts.  We had to remind him that even if he is right, people do not want to be criticized by a random someone who has no authority over them.  ("If it is really a problem, let the class leader handle it.")

Another way this arrogance may manifest itself is simply in bragging.  Someone who brags and delivers on their boast may earn something of a pass, even if he rubs people the wrong way, but someone who brags and does not deliver earns only scorn. Think about it, people . . . do you like it when others are bragging?

I'd wager that most new recruits mean no harm when they put their names in for as much gear as possible.  After all, if they are picking it up, pretty much nobody else wants it, and it makes no sense to disenchant something which can reasonably be used.  Those who brag are probably just trying to impress people and solidify their position in the raid.  And there are those who may truly want to help people, not having the social experience to realize that most people who really feel they need help will ask, and those who do not ask, do not feel they need help.  But these things indicate to some that the recruit only thinks of himself and is not really interested in being a member of a team.

As I recently told a new recruit, who was frustrated that his attempts to impress were being misunderstood:  Go easy on them.  Take it slowly.  Give it time.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Peace Returns to the Moonglade

Way back when the World of Warcraft was still young, there was a Druid Code.

1.  The Moonglade was sacred.
2.  Druids did not attack other Druids outside battlegrounds.

This is not something only I imagined; I have heard it discussed many times in wistful tones on the Druid class forum.  There seemed to be an unspoken bond between Druids, as if we had a link which transcended faction.  Old-time players relate anecdotes in which they participated in world PVP ventures against other players, only to stop and /salute the opposite faction Druid when the two of them were left standing amidst a pile of bodies.

There are some who maintain that the Code wasn't because of any imagined honor.  They say that Druids didn't bother killing each other because the Druid class at that time would have meant they'd be fighting longer than was worth it.  It might even be true.

In Burning Crusade, that started to change.  There began to be a distinction between "old-school" Druids and the new rerolls or new players.  It was shocking to hear of new level 10 Druids on their first trip to the Moonglade being killed by Druids 60 levels their senior.  Druids started eyeing each other warily as they visited Loganaar in the Moonglade for training or passed each other on the roads.  When a guildie playing a Druid alt boasted that he had killed a Horde Druid, I told him flat-out he wasn't really a Druid.

Now, there is no illusion of a code, although there are those of us who still believe in it and practice it ourselves.  I have fond memories of the Moonglade being, in my husband's words, my "happy little Druid place."  And, despite everything, there is still some sort of bond apparent among all Druids, as shown by the times when Druids of opposite factions /dance in forms, enjoying a laugh together as the bank steps in Dalaran are covered in treants, moonkins, bears and cats.  It would be a wonderful thing if that unwritten Code were to return, but I do not believe it will ever really happen.

So I guess my title is something of a dream.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Guild Relations Forum

Sometimes you can find a treasure when you are not really looking for it.

Several months ago, I was bored and browsing the World of Warcraft forums, when I stumbled on a forum I had never seen previously, entitled "Guild Relations" forum.  As I started to read the topics, I realized this forum was one unlike any other forum on the website.

The main focus of the Guild Relations forum is to help those with questions relating to guild management.  At the top of the forum is a sticky with a Table of Contents, directing questioners to threads containing material already discussed or outside websites with content relevant to the topics.  The headings include everything from "How do I start a guild" to "How do I find a guild," with topics relating to guild finances, guild rules, loot systems, and so forth.  More recently, a Guild Relations Wiki was created to consolidate some of this information and make it easier to access.

Unlike many forums, it is perfectly acceptable to post on a low-level, cross-server alt.  In fact, in some instances, it is recommended.  Questioners post on alts to avoid drama in their guilds, and those who assist them post on alts for similar reasons.  Some who have been particularly good in their advice had found themselves swarmed on their servers, interrupting their play time, and so chose to post on alts from that time forward.  Someone unfamiliar with the forum who may question the validity of advice offered by an alt will find themselves put in their place by those who have come to respect the advice of those long-term contributers.

Also unlike many forums, drama is kept to a minimum.  Posters maintain level heads, and the occasional problem which arises is quickly reported.  Contributors address the issues at hand, rather than call others names.  It is this tone of civility which encourages many questioners to go ahead and ask their questions, rather than lurk, wondering what sort of "flaming" they will be forced to take for their trouble.

These are good things, but what I really have enjoyed about the Guild Relations forum is the wealth of good leadership advice available to the casual reader.  I have learned a lot from people whose wisdom and experience show in their posts as they discuss the general principles of leadership and how they apply to running a guild.  Every so often, even I have been able to reasonably contribute.  (I have long figured that my lessons learned do little good if I cannot use them to help others.)

I believe these resources may be useful to anyone who participates in a guild, even if not currently in a leadership capacity. For one thing, good leadership and organizational principles are valid whether you are talking about an in-game guild or a real-life situation.  Also, it can make decisions made by guild leaders seem more transparent, as you understand the probable reasoning behind many of them.  And I've found that it is a handy place to refer people who start asking questions about searching for a new guild.  (How can you know what to search for if you haven't taken the time to learn about guilds and the kinds of variations there might be?  Why waste the time to learn everything the hard way?)

There is one other good thing about lurking on the Guild Relations forum:  having read there so much, I already know the answers they would give to just about any relevant question I have.  Saves time.