Ah well

October 5, 2009 at 7:11 pm (Navel-Gazing, Running Guilds Into the Ground)

It appears that, during my absence from the game, my guild has collapsed.

On some level, this is a relief.  The experience was worthwhile, but it convinced me I’m best not leading a raiding guild.  For starters, it turned out that I don’t have a fundamental trait of a good raiding guild leader – the willingness to possibly hurt somebody’s feelings to get them to improve.  Second, on more than one occasion, I deferred (on a point of strategy rather than tactics) to somebody who didn’t, ultimately, have the same investment in the guild that I did (i.e. not an officer, but someone with a level of experience that was, frankly, greater than mine).  In one case, this led to me allowing the guild to be used by somebody who was pretty clearly just in it to gear up a friend, so they could in turn jump to a faster guild.  Anyway, this sent our progression strategy back at a time when it needed to be, well, progressing.

Moral of this story – if you are conflict-averse, and not a suspicious sonofabitch, don’t try leading a guild.

Ironically, this happens just as some potential good news appears on the horizon re: the real life issues that have kept me away.  So I may be coming back to the game sometime this month.   Well, correction:  I may be able to come back sometime this month.  Whether I will come back is another question – I find myself trying to figure out whether it’s worth the bother.  Yet another imploding raiding guild, and a rapidly-passing expansion, is leaving me pretty sure I need to be doing something different.  Icecrown’s on the PTR, I’m halfway through Ulduar, and I’m beginning to think that it’s TBC all over again.  I didn’t get to see endgame then, either, as the guilds I was in  blew up, ran out of time, or I had real-life stuff compel my absence.  I don’t know whether hopping servers or factions would help (my inner RP nerd could rationalize a faction shift from human to undead pretty easily – thank you Plague of Undeath).  And it’s not like I’m returning to the game immediately, so I have some time to figure it out.

Still, feh.  I can’t pretend I didn’t have higher hopes than this.

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The More, the Merrier

August 3, 2009 at 9:40 am (Running Guilds Into the Ground)

So, our guild has added another decent-sized bunch of people, and we’re now in that awkward phase where we have enough raiders that even if a few don’t log on, we can still run something, but if everybody logs on, then there’s sitting to be done.  We had to ask our first raider to sit last night, which I absolutely hated doing.  We also have people I don’t know (they’re friends/family of raiders I do know), which is a first.  At some point I may compose a thoughtful meditation on how it feels to see your creation start to creep outside your control, or at the very least, outside your supervision.  But honestly, that sounds like effort, so screw introspection.

Continuing our efforts in 10-man Naxx, we cleared construct wing (and yes, Tam, having Patchwerk beating on your face is a bit intimidating, even in lots of spiky metal armor, and even though the tank soaking the hateful strikes (which wasn’t me) has, I think, the more dangerous job), and got the first two bosses in military wing down before we ran out of time (half our raid turns into pumpkins promptly at 11, so there’s no “one more attempt”, which I actually rather like.)   Current plan is to finish Naxx10 tonight, and if we get it done in time, head to Sartharion.  We also one-shot Flame Leviathan, which rocked, but decided against going any further in Ulduar because our second tank (namely me) was in no way remotely geared for it (and frankly, I already spend the gold to get Kahleena all the spiffiest enchants and shiniest gems – having to do that for a second toon, that I don’t intend to play much, would bankrupt me).  We have recruited a tank or two (one joined last night, in the middle of our Naxx raid, and one is on the way), so I shall hopefully be able to bid farewell, for now, to my new role as guild offtank.  Our awesome corps of healers, who have had to put up with my fumbling efforts to keep the bad guys from smashing their faces in, will probably be relieved.

But despite our recruiting, we’re not yet at 25-mans (or at having two 10-man teams).  After this week, our membership should be in somewhat less flux, and we should be able to see clearly what it is we need, and hopefully the twelve-online-for-a-ten-man-raid thing won’t be a recurring problem.  Oh, and we did recruit a very skilled, incredibly geared healer who happens to be my ex-guildmaster (not the one from Legio, the one from the guild before that).  So now there’s someone in-guild who can snicker into her hand at my naivete regarding running a raiding guild – I think of her as sitting in for all six of you fine people who read my blog.

I have to say, though, my greatest accomplishment, based on the experiences of every raiding guild I’ve ever been in?  Invites at 8:00.  Invites completed 8:01 (someone got d/c’d).  Final determination of group makeup (i.e. who’s sitting): 8:05.  First pull: 8:15.  That is how I like to do things.  25-mans will no doubt take a little longer.  But on the other hand, I hope to shorten that timeline even more.  At the very least, we’re off to a good start.

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A good first step

July 31, 2009 at 1:12 am (Raiding, Running Guilds Into the Ground)

So, the Guild Which Shall Not Be Named Because People Will Make Fun of My Latin had its first night of real not-playing-around-in-vanilla-content raiding tonight.  First fun discovery – the answer to that question “I wonder when they’re sending out raid invites” that passed briefly through my head was “Whenever you get off your ass and do it, because you’re the guildmaster.”  Oh yeah.  I suppose I’ll be used to that eventually.  I’m also terrible with authority – not in the I-turn-into-Genghis-Khan sense, but in the sense that I’m far more likely to preface my “Switch over to your main characters for invites” request with embellishments like “whenever’s convenient for you”, “if it’s not to much trouble”, or “unless there are any objections, of course.”  I assume time and many evenings of trying to do the equivalent of herding cats will eventually cure me of that.

Anyway, it wasn’t the most ambitious night of raiding ever, but we cleared two quarters of Naxx-10 (spider and plague wings) with nine people.  And one of those nine people was me off-tanking on my pally, which I’m absolutely terrible at, so really, it was like we had eight and a half.  Maybe 8 1/4.  I did get a few nice pieces of loot though, including my tier shoulders.  Which will make me a slightly better-geared mediocre tank.

Lots of rust needed to be shaken off, even from those of us who weren’t spending our time muttering “No, you’re supposed to pull aggro, it’s kind of your job,” to ourselves.  But that’s why we started out easy.  Anyway, we have a very solid core of raiders, so I’m really excited to see how we do in Ulduar, which will be real progression for many of us (I’ve seen about half of it in 10-man, but some of our raiders have never been, or have only downed the first boss, so I’m excited to see what happens).  I’m also very excited that we will, eventually, recruit a second geared, competent tank, and I will be free to resume blowing stuff up, which is what I’m best at.

Okay, okay, I’m officially done bitching about my tanking skills.  Or lack thereof.

In addition to our nine raiders from this evening, and a tenth currently on vacation, we have two more on the way from my old guild (probably joining us next week, when one of them returns from vacation) – a tank and a healer.  Score!  Also interesting are the mutterings that we may be absorbing some old long-ago raiding buddies of ours (“ours” referring to me and a couple of my officers) whose current guild appears to be in its death throes (diagnosis – a terminal case of guild drama).  Given that they’re not children, or addicted to drama themselves (in fact, they’re fleeing it), the more the merrier – if this keeps up, we may be in 25 mans sooner than I anticipated.  Meaning before Satan needs to put on a sweater.  At the very least, we will have enough people that we don’t have to pray for every single guild member to log on (in what is, after all, not a hardcore guild) in order to run a raid.

Other shoe is no doubt dropping in 3…..2…..1……

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Alt-a-palooza

July 30, 2009 at 10:08 am (Navel-Gazing, Running Guilds Into the Ground, WoW General)

So, building the new raiding guild is a slow, steady process.  We’re just about to the point where, if everybody shows up, we may have to shuffle people around a bit (i.e. I may need to hop on my tank alt, another DPSer on a healing alt, etc.), but we can actually put together a 10-man.  That “if everybody shows up” is the key, though, as we’re not a hardcore guild, so we’re probably going to need to overrecruit a bit.  While we did down our first raid boss the other night, it was three of us screwing around in UBRS and then taking out Onyxia, so I don’t think it really counts.

Meanwhile, I’ve been giving a chance to some under-loved alts, namely my hunter and rogue.  My warrior and shaman have been kicking around at level 24 or so for what seems like forever, but even that was good compared to my hunter and rogue, which (until the last day or two) never cracked the big two-zero.  Why these four classes are stuck where they are, and why a surprising class may be the one of the four to jump ahead, is a question I’m not sure I know the answer to.

Shamans, my problem, I think, is the same one that bedeviled me as a mage until I cracked it – I’m not sure I’m specced to the playstyle I prefer.  With my mage, I was going a cookie-cutter fire/arcane hybrid I’d heard on a forum was good for leveling.  I had heard wrong.  Once I specced Frost, though, I completely fell in love with the mage.  It’s a little RNG (will I freeze the mob?), but the feeling of control it gives me over the mob is a lot of fun.  I had heard enhancement for leveling was the way to go, but I’m just not feeling it.  I feel like my work is in tossing down the totems before pulling, and occasionally throwing a shock in.  Otherwise, it’s auto-attack.  Not very exciting.  I may have to regear her and go elemental (I’d go resto, but boring the mobs to death doesn’t sound like that much fun).

Warriors, my problem comes down to a problem very similar to what killed Lord of the Rings Online for me – I despise “on next swing” combat mechanics.  I prefer more responsiveness, or I find combat frustrating, like trying to run through waist-deep water.  Also, I probably should have given my warrior another fantasy-type RP-appropriate name (like all my other  toons) instead of indulging in a little tribute to one of my favorite kickass blonde female warriors of fiction.  Particularly since “Buffy” was already taken as a name, and deliberately misspelled versions of names just don’t have the same cachet.

Nevertheless, I still got both classes over the Level 20 hump.  The two classes I would have happily called my least favorite classes in the game were not so fortunate until the last week or so, and I’ve found that, having done so, I enjoy both of them more than my shaman and warrior.

Hunters bored me.  Send pet.  Hunter mark.  Toss in a serpent sting and an arcane shot, and then autoattack until death.  Incredibly powerful soloers, but absolutely no elegance.  Until level 20.  For starters, I dropped that silly beast mastery thing and went marksmanship.  Here’s a case of making it harder for myself making the game more interesting – I can now pull aggro off my pet accidentally.  Keeps me on my toes.  Second, I got two more pets, so now there’s some strategy in terms of when to pull a given pet out (I have a cat, a bear, and a spider).   But finally, my abilities seem to have hit a critical mass – Disengage with concussive shot is just fun when a mob closes the gap on me, and Freezing Trap is tons of fun, though I wish it lasted longer.  My number of aspects jumped from two (which I didn’t generally switch between) to four (which I’m constantly juggling, based on whether I’m in combat or traveling, or whether I’m flush on mana or out).  So, the class got considerably more complicated, and I find I’m really enjoying it (though I can see how it doesn’t need to become more complicated if you don’t want it to, and thus why the legend of the Huntard who leveled from 1 to level cap without using anything other than “send pet” and “autoshot” was born).

Finally, the rogue, bane of all things warlock-y.  Not that I PvP, but it’s sort of an ancestral memory thing – all the warlocks before you that have died at the hands of rogues, well, it leaves a mark.   What always puzzled me was how anybody managed to level a rogue in the first place.  It seemed like the worst aspects of mail-wearing classes (charge right in and start beating on the enemy!) with the worst aspects of casters (we’ll give you tissue paper for armor!).   Stealth seemed to break if you looked at a mob cross-eyed.  Everybody always said “level combat swords!”, but the only way I could stay alive, or (at best) not trade half my health to kill a single same-level mob (two would kill me, most assuredly) was to stealth and backstab, or gouge and backstab.  Which required daggers.

Well.

Yesterday, my rogue joined a Deadmines group (first half – utter failpug featuring a tankadin who didn’t think he needed a shield (he did) or Righteous Fury (he did – I ended up tanking more mobs than he did), second half was fine once the idiot had to go and we replaced him with a competent warrior).  I entered Deadmines at level 19, and was 21 by the time I finished turning in all the quests related to the instance.  I got the Blackened Defias chest, and two nice swords (one blue, one green).  Then I went and got poisons (I didn’t need to do the quest, but I did, and it was much fun).  And I don’t know whether it’s the gear, the poisons, the new abilities (though I’m not really using new abilities much), or what, but for some reason, suddenly my rogue feels powerful.  I lose a little health when I fight, but not enough that it can’t regenerate by the time I pull the next mob.

So, now, I have four toons (on my main server) more or less tied for last place, progression wise (I go through phases – before my hunter-rogue fixation, I was All Mage All The Time).  One of them is inevitably going to be my next Power-Level-My-Way-Through-The-Next-Ten-Levels-Until-Something-Shinier-Catches-My-Eye toon.  And right now, I’m thinking that toon is going to be on the sneaky and stabby side of things.

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In the Big Inning…

July 24, 2009 at 8:25 am (Running Guilds Into the Ground)

So, our first officer meeting was a somewhat informal affair.  We got some great advice from our former guildmaster (I know it’s a great relief to me and my co-founder that our former GM supports us, given how many LV members we’re poaching or trying to poach, though of course, people for whom raiding is the goal of the game would be leaving LV anyway, and better that the core remains intact, to the extent that’s possible).  We worked out a few details about who we want to ask to be officers.  We established, for ourselves, the sort of guild we’re looking to create (social-oriented non-hardcore raiding guild, much as our previous guild was, that is serious about raiding from invite time to group dissolution, but otherwise doesn’t try to dictate to people how to play).  And we now have enough guild members (as well as the correct composition) to run a heroic.  Assuming everybody’s logged on at the same time.  And we giggled about the prospect of a guild called “Soldiers of Light” (pause for everybody to look at the Latin and go “Oh, you were way off”) being led by a warlock.   So, things are starting to take shape.

Not long ago, I was considering whether I wanted to continue playing this game.  In large part, that was due to a lack of progression in my own goals (one can only farm Naxx25 so many times before losing the will to live, and LV didn’t have the 25-person composition to go further than one boss into Ulduar25).  As we dedicated ourselves to raiding Ulduar10, I felt a bit of that excitement return – I was seeing bosses I’d never seen before, learning fights, and progressing.  Obviously, when LV folded its raiding operations, that feeling of ennui came back in spades, particularly as I didn’t see myself not raiding, but I was really not relishing trying to find a raiding guild not filled to the brim with asshats.  So, the opportunity to build it myself, instead of looking for the ideal guild somebody else built for me, and build a guild that actually provides a positive play experience for other people, has me really excited.

Boy, that all sounds awfully sunny.  This will, naturally, be the point where drama rears its ugly head (“Hey Kahleena, somebody ninja’d the guild bank!”).  Must practice how to say “doomed” properly (it’s “doo-ooomed, DOO-OOO-OOO-OOO-OOOmed”, in one’s best Vincent Price voice, naturally.)

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Milites Lucis is born

July 23, 2009 at 3:29 pm (Running Guilds Into the Ground)

If my Latin is wrong, please don’t tell me, I’d rather not know.

As a matter of fact, I’m pretty sure it is wrong, and Lucis is supposed to be Lucum.  Ah well.

I. Will. Not. Go. Get. Another. Ten. Signatures. To. Correct. That.

I. Will. Not.

No.

Oh yeah, I just remembered, I dropped the 100 gold on the first tab of the bank vault.  Yeah, I’m not that picky.  Never mind.

Still, off to a smashing start, aren’t we?

EDITED TO ADD:  change that to 350g for the first two tabs.  Now I’m really stuck with it.  On the other hand, now I’m having second thoughts about whether it really should be Lucis instead of Lucum, so in order to avoid driving myself mad, I’ll just pretend I was right the first time, and move on.  Website here.

EDITED TO FURTHER ADD:  Next guild I name, I’m naming it in freaking English.

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That which we call a rose…

July 23, 2009 at 1:56 pm (Running Guilds Into the Ground)

So many things to consider, when starting a raiding guild.  So many, it sort of terrifies me.  The vent server alone has me worried, as I don’t have the first clue how to get one, what it costs (if the answer is “more than nothing”, I’m in trouble).  Then obviously, there’s setting up the administration of the guild, who would make good officers, and working out all those petty logistics (policies, schedules, building a website, etc.).

So naturally, I’m spending my time thinking about the guild name.

We (my co-founder and I) were considering just taking my banking guild, in which case, we would have been stuck with the name “S o l u s” (with spaces between the letters, because apparently “Solus” without spaces was already taken, and I panicked when I was turning in the charter).  However, that name was chosen for my bank guild because it means “alone” in Latin, so turning it into a group guild would create a guild-name disconnect that would bug me (yes, I’m a freak, but you knew that).  Plus, I need a banking guild to store mats for my gazillion alts.

So, now, the sky’s the limit namewise.  Both of us like names of a more epic feel, so the initial joke “Guildless Rejects of Duskwood” (our server) is out.  Plus I’m pretty sure it’s too long.

Any l33tspeak is out of the question – I’m not an RPer, but Kahleena, Warlock, Wielder of Darkness, child of refugees from destroyed Lordaeron, Conjurer of Demons and Inflicter of Disease, would not belong to an organization called ImaPwnULOL.

And that leaves us….absolutely nowhere.  At a certain point, too many choices (i.e. “choose any name whatsoever, as long as it hasn’t already been taken and isn’t deeply stupid”) tends to lead to paralysis.  Where’s my English-Latin dictionary….

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Because I am completely insane…

July 23, 2009 at 11:58 am (Navel-Gazing, Raiding, Running Guilds Into the Ground)

…a former guildie and I were chatting while I was leveling my mage in Un’Goro Crater (in contrast to Tamarind, I’m generally not a fan of the zone, largely because I don’t share Tam’s enthusaiasm for “f*ck-off enormous dinosaurs” with apparent stealth abilities, but the quests are piled up too thickly to not do the zone, and I’ve done all the 50-60 old world zones enough that I’m really just trying to get to 58 so I can head to outland).  The guy I was talking to is a former LVer, and we were discussing where we were headed in the way of a new guild.  I mentioned the hardcore guild I applied to (application since withdrawn, for reasons I’ll get into shortly), he talked about trying out a friend’s guild, but being unimpressed, and then those magic words were spoken*:

“We could always start our own.”

Somewhere, millions of voices cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced.  Then they started laughing their asses off.

Said guildie quondam guildieque futurus, of course, was perfectly happy to defer GM-ship to me.  In point of fact, I think his exact words were “Not it!”

I’m doomed.  First officer’s meeting (both of us) is tonight.

*Please note:  said magic words probably weren’t spoken, or typed, at least not precisely, but conversation wound around to the general idea, in a way I can’t quite remember, and  I reserve the right to dramatically reinterpret what happened for the sake of storytelling, so piss off.

EDITED TO ADD:  On the bright side, I can’t imagine anything more likely to lead to a lot of hilarious bitterness, self-deprecation, angst, rage, and all-around entertainment than me trying to run a guild.  So this blog should be in good shape, if nothing else.

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