Previous month:
June 2009
Next month:
August 2009

July 2009

New Fishing Pole

ScreenShot_073109_112402

After months of fishing dailies, I finally received one of the new poles in my reward bag. It's the Bone Fishing Pole. Same +30 fishing as the Kalu'ak pole, but instead of underwater breathing it grants +40 shadow resistance. Appropriate enough for a shadow priest, yes?

It's a nice looking pole tho I do wish it had a unique lure/bobber thingy. Oh well. It's nice to have a new toy regardless.


Friday Five: Five Character Naming Conventions That Drive Me Batty

  1. Characters with their class in their name. You know... elspally, elspriest, elsdruid. Because your class isn't apparent when we mouse over you or anything.
  2. Characters with their function in their name. Bonus points for when the name has class and function (druidhealer, shamheals). Double bonus points when the person's name has heals in it yet they are dps or a tank only, not a healer.
  3. Intentionally misspelled names "because it was taken spelled right"
  4. Names with special characters. You do realize no one will ever type you out a mail, yes, ever, don't you?
  5. Anything that references Legolas involving an elf.
BONUS GUILD NAME PET PEEVE: Unintentionally misspelled words in a guild tag. Especially when it's a guild with more than just your bank alt. For shame.

Managing Expectations: the Guild Application Process

If I've seen it once I have seen it a few dozen times: person goes through application process, person joins guild, person immediately starts complaining that guild is not meeting all their personal needs. Drama ensues. Person leaves guild with many hard feelings all around.

And it really should never happen if both the applicant and the guild are honest and paying attention in the application process.

What Applicants Should Look for in the Application Process

So you found a guild you like and you are about to app. Before you do, you need to find out answers to the following if you want to be raiding:

  • Are they raiding? If so, what are they raiding? Is this what I want to be raiding?
  • What is the overall average player skill and experience level? Is this a leveling guild or an end game guild? How do I stack up against their top players?
  • Do their raid times coincide with my availability?
  • Do they actually need another player of my class for raids?

If you don't know anyone in the guild well enough to answer these questions for you, you should be able to answer them through a combination of sleuthing on the guild forums and your realm's official forums, plus using Guild Progress. You should also spend some time talking to an officer to ensure your expectations align with theirs.

What Guilds Should Disclose and Ask for in the Application Process

In addition to the applicant having the responsibility for understanding whether or not the guild has the potential to meet their needs, the guild also has some responsibilities in that area. Whenever someone new applies to a guild, the officers (or the recruitment officer) should:

  • Check out the new applicant to see if their application's content matches up with their character's reality. I recently outlined a few of my favorite applicant fact-checking steps and resources.
  • If the applicant states wanting to raid, will they actually be able to do so given their level of experience and gear and your raid roster? Be honest with them up front to avoid hurt feelings later.
  • Review your website and forums on a quarterly basis to ensure you are not sending mixed signals to applicants. If you were visiting for the first time would you be able to tell what the guild's focus is, and what your level of raiding progress and commitment are?
  • Fine tune your application questions to help manage expectations, and follow up publicly on potentially problematic answers.

Despite everyone' best efforts, even with full disclosure on both sides, you can still have a new to 80 player join the guild and start rattling their sabers over wanting guild Naxx runs despite having been told the guild's focus is on Ulduar. But if you have made every effort to be clear and honest during the application process, it does give you a solid place to come from when you remind them that's not going to be a focus for the guild, and politely suggest they might want to work on their reputation and run some heroics and make a good faith effort to start themselves on te gearing up trek.

DISCLAIMER: Guild Progress like all the other fun WoW Web tools relies on armory data that may not be up-to-date. Your mileage may vary.


Everybody Gets Benched Sometimes...and That's a Good Thing

ScreenShot_072709_195449

I sat on the bench a couple of nights this week, missing out on our second Vezax kill. I missed the first one too because I was out of rotation that day. But you know what? I'm not vexed about it. Because I know I'll be in there eventually. And I trust that my raid leaders try to pull together the best team for each raid night, including rotating in folks who are less frequent raiders. 

And lest you think I am full of hot air, check out this snapshot from my PUG checkers page, which shows the truth in all its glory:

Ulduar

Naxx

It is important to note that none of my numbers match up. Why? Because I've subbed in and stepped out as necessary for the overall progress of the raid and its members. So when I hear folks cry about being sat for a raid here and there, I really can't help the involuntary /eyeroll.

Sitting People Out -- Including Your Best Players-- Is Good for Your Raid

A strong raid team has to include backups for every role. Otherwise your MT or primary healer or hot stuff dps go on vacation and there's no raid that week. Which is not what you want to see happen.

In my guild, we are building a strong core team that is capable of progression while building up our less experienced raiders so we will eventually be able to field our own 25-man raid in-guild rather than in partnership with another guild. And although honestly there have been some folks who whine every time they don't get to come on a night they'd like to raid, for the most part it has been working out pretty well, because of a few fine points:

  • Raiders state their availability in advance in a public forum with a specific closing time
  • The raid leader then posts a roster for the raiding nights, also in advance
  • Progression nights are not signed up for; they are ad hoc and invites are at the raid leader's discretion
  • The raid leader has explicitly
  • If you are raid-ready and sign up and do not make it into a week's raids, you have immunity from being sat out again the following week

These factors are why this has worked for us overall;  the lack of this sort of clear communication is why I have seen it fail in other guilds.

So next time you are sat for a farm night, while some of your less experienced guildies are swapped in -- take that time to go do some dailies, or play an alt or otherwise stop and smell the Dalaran roses. Raiding is not all about you or me -- it's about the team. And without all of us being strong, and gaining experience, none of us will be successful.


10 Ways to Lose Friends and Annoy Guildies via Your Guild Forums

  1. Make frequent posts along the lines of: "You have to see this movie" and "click this link". At least 50% of the time it should lead to something NSFW.
  2. Never read anyone else's posts. Especially not before posting a link to several days old news and asking everyone what they think.
  3. Every time you can't connect to WoW, make a post. Be sure to also delete your WTF and WDB folders too while you're at it.
  4. When in doubt, disagree. Especially if you don't have any first-hand knowledge on the topic at hand. It's so much fun playing Devil's advocate.
  5. Repost strategy from Tank Spot, and class discussions/theorycrafting from Elitist Jerks without attribution. Nobody knows about those sites so it will totally make you seem so much more knowledgeable about the game.
  6. Ding 80 and immediately post a list of the gear you want and a sign up list for all the runs you need folks to tank/heal for you to obtain them. Bonus points if you schedule all the runs over the next 48 hours.
  7. Complain about your guild not being inclusive enough on their progression runs into a new instance. After the guild starts swapping everyone in/out to be more inclusive, complain about your guild's lack of progression. Rinse and repeat.
  8. Whenever another guildie posts a squee about attaining an in-game goal, comment about how lame that achievement is; alternatively, post about how you did it 3 years ago and it was so hard doing so barefoot, uphill and in the snow.
  9. Post revealing pictures of yourself in the "tell us about yourself" thread. Bonus points for linking to a live webcam.
  10. When you get in a disagreement with someone, screenshot the conversation, artfully cutting out the places where you acted like a douchebag, and post it to the forums, and proceed to engage in name calling. Officers especially love this. Be sure to use extra exclamation points!!!

BONUS TIP: If you lose a roll in a raid, be sure to post a post-mortum on why you really deserved said item and how it was unfair the other person got the item, and vaguely allude to /gquitting or not playing any more.

*-*-*-*

Yes, most of us have committed at least one of the above guild forum faux pas at one point or another. And usually guildies will forgive you. But if you are stepping in it by doing 1 or more of the above on a recurring basis, you may be that guy/girl that makes their guildies groan whenever they see your name in the posted by column. But you can reform yourself by taking 3 small steps:

  • Read your guild forums at least once per week. And skim through the posts prior to posting anything that involves the next Patch, Blizzard announcements, or data mined content.
  • Before you hit the submit button, read your comment out loud. Does it make logical sense? Are words spelled correctly?
  • Be honest: if someone wrote your comment in reply to something you posted, would you tell them to go frakk themselves? If so, save it for twitter or your blog or a snarky comment to a friend.
Happy Friday!


Tailoring Rep Grind: Herbalism Bags

I admit it: My Sporeggar rep grind started out as being about the herbalism bag, but I stayed for the Exalted rep to obtain the adorable pet. The Cenarion Circle on the other hand 1) had no pet and 2) was the bane of my existence when Silithus was a new zone and my druid had to farm rep there healing guildies as they slaughtered the annoying (then Elite) bugs.

Thus, my tailor lacks the CC herb bag. One of these days I *will* get around to doing the grind tho, and I'll be sure to pop over and re-read Psynister's post on the CC rep grind.


Guild Recruitment: Applicant Fact-checking

In a prior life, I was my guild's applicant fact checker. My unique qualification for the job? My journalism background and deft use of the Interwebs, of course.

Many guilds don't think they need a formal application process at all -- they invite all interested parties. And if that works for your guild -- more power to ya! But if your guild has had even moderate success in raiding, for instance, you are likely to see a small handful of interested parties each week. At that level of interest, without some sort of weeding out process, your guild health can potentially suffer if you don't have a consistent way to measure and review your applications.

You've Received an Application -- Now What?

Your first stop is to chat with whomever in your guild the applicant has listed as a reference. Things you want to know:

  • How do they know the applicant? Does it match what the application said?
  • Have they grouped with the applicant? What was the applicant's attitude like when things did not go as planned? What was the applicant's knowledge of/skill at playing their class?
  • If they would potentially be raiding next to this person every week, would they invite him/her to join the guild?

If the applicant has never instanced or raided with the reference, if they are being considered for a raid spot, it is highly recommended you make an officers heroic date with the applicant. Good places to choose to get a sense of their play style and handling things gone wrong include Gundrak or Halls of Lightning.

Quantitative Measures

After you've gotten the subjective dirt, you can obtain quite a bit of information on the characters online to see if they have the level of playing experience you expect from your new recruits. NOTE: For all of the sites below be sure to check the "live data" box when available to ensure it pulls the most recent armory profile data for the chracter in question.

PUG Checker

This should be your first stop to see if their "Experienced with all raids" statement checks out. It does do a good job of showing you at-a-glance how many regular and heroic instances they've completed, plus their Northrend raiding experience. Note that this only includes WotLK instances however, so if their glory days were all in pre-WotLK instances, they won't show up here. Which is where the next obvious stop comes in.

WoW Armory

There is a lot to see and do here. Starting on the character tab, things to look for:

  • Is their Dual spec purchased but not filled out?
  • Do they have all their glyphs? 
  • Have they spent all their talent points? (you would be surprised how often folks are missing one or two)
  • What are their professions (if any) and what level are they?

Moving over to the reputation tab:

  • If they do not have any exalted factions, it is possible they are either a very old toon (pre-BC rep changes) or they are a very new toon
  • If neither Aldor or Scryer are past friendly, they probably started this character well into BC --or after WotLK started.
  • If they do have factions past revered, are they factions that provide their class' head enchant? Are they working on Hodir for their shoulder enchant?

On the Achievements tab:

  • Take a look at their most recent achievements; if they are more than 2 months old, consider if they are actively playing this character?
  • Check out the Dungeons and Raids subsection to see when they earned their first tokens.
  • If they listed raid experience that this page does not reflect, ask them for the name of the character on whom they were previously raiding and start over with this list.
Warcraft Realms

If an applicant has gotten through the above without raising any concerns, you're ready to check them out here, where you can find out:

  • When they rolled the character
  • Approximately how long it took them to level to 60, 70, and 80 (and how recently that was)
  • How many guilds they have recently been in

Why is any of the above important? It can show you if a character turned up at max level on your server which can mean a benign character transfer, or a purchased character. Ask the applicant about it. If a player has burned through 4 guilds in two months or less, it can also show you they are a flight risk. Find out from them why they left, and if you know an officer in the listed guilds, casually drop them a line to see if they have anything to add about the player. A guild bank ninja dodged is well worth this extra step.

BeIMBA or WoW Heroes

Your final destination for determining if an applicant's raid readiness jives with their perception. I personally prefer to start with a deep dive at BeIMBA which will show me:

  • How far off from hit cap the character may be
  • Gear lacking enchants or gems (or non optimal choices for each)
  • Where most of this character's gear upgrades would come from and where they would be expected to perform well
  • You can compare them to a guildie of their same class and role to see how they match up

Moving over to WoW Heroes you can see at-a-glance:

  • Where they've sourced their gear (i.e. is it raid gear or crafted or AH'd)
  • What the iLevel is of the pieces -- have they missed any obvious upgrades?
  • Do they have gear that is not optimal for their spec or armor class?

It should be noted that all of the above websites (other than Warcraft Realms) rely on the Armory to work. So if your server has had armory lag of a few weeks, you won't be seeing your applicant at their best. Likewise, if they are in their off-spec, or in PvP gear there may be some discrepancies there as well.

Once you have gone through this process, you should have a pretty good idea if your applicant was honest in their self-reporting, and realistic in their self-assessment. When combined with the feedback from their reference or your officer run, you should have more than enough information to make the decision to invite them to join your team or to respectfully decline their application.


What's Your Definition of Guild Success?

A while back, while talking about my goals in game, I noted that one of my primary drivers of in-game satisfaction was actively contributing to my guild's success. As happens all too often on the internet, where everyone assumes everyone else has the same definitions as they do, the other half of my conversation thought I meant progression through raid instances was my primary driver.

This was a funny miscommunication given that I purposefully left a progression raiding environment to re roll horde and start over in a more positive casual environment. Although I do expect to progress in a reasonably timely manner through any instance my guild or alliance is working on, progression itself in the greater sense is not, by any means, my definition of success.

For me, guild success, for me entails a number of things:

  • A collegial, friendly, overall positive environment
  • Guildies who understand their class and their roles in groups and perform them to the best of their capabilities
  • A diverse cross-section of members whose skills and talents are put to work in the service of the guild
  • A collaborative environment with every member pulling their own weight and contributing in their own way regardless of rank or amount of time in guild

Upon further reflection of what kind of organization in the real world most mirrors what makes up a successful guild in my mind, I came to the conclusion that I like my guild to be sort of a hippie commune.

For those of you who didn't grow up in Northern California, where there were a number of such communes, I've borrowed Wikipedia's definition of the three common characteristics of a commune:

Three main characteristics were listed: first, egalitarianism - communes specifically rejected hierarchy or graduations of social status as being necessary to social order. Second, human scale - members of communes saw the scale of society as it was then organised as being too large. Third, communes were consciously anti-bureaucratic.


Having played for three and a half years, I have been in several guilds as my interests and playtime have changed over time. One thing that most of the guilds wherein I have felt the most personal pride -- and that I made the most positive impact -- had in common were these characteristics. Yes, the all had a strong officer team, but the officers were inclusive and did not feel compelled to take every guild task or decision upon themselves. All members who showed the interest and initiative had their own responsibilities-- be it collaborating on boss strategies, or corralling a list of the rare items the guild crafters could make, or managing class assignments. Everyone had a job of some sort they could call their own. A visible way in which they were contributing to the community. Contributions that were recognized and valued by the other guild members.

I never expect any guild to be perfect, but I do want my guild to strive for success, by my criteria. That's sort of the point of allying yourself with like-minded individuals in a guild rather than remaining unguilded and PUGging your way through WoW.

Thanks to the diversity of folks who play WoW, you can find a guild that meets your playstyle and your definition of success. It may take a while, and some trial and error, but as long as you are clear in your mind, you will know it (and recognize the not it) when you experience it. And eventually, you will find a guild you can truly call home.


Best Macro Ever!

This macro came to me courtesy of the fabulous For the Bubbles. It is indeed the best. macro. ever. Unless you are allergic to cute.

/script a={”Sound\\Creature\\BabyMurloc\\BabyMurlocA.wav”,”Sound\\Creature\\BabyMurloc\\BabyMurlocB.wav”,”Sound\\Creature\\BabyMurloc\\BabyMurlocC.wav”};
/script PlaySoundFile(a[math.random(#a)])
/use Conjured Mana Strudel


Pride

If you don't have pride in your guild, then why would you stay?

If you feel you are so much better than everyone else, then why don't you go?

Do you want a safe haven, where you can take as much as you want (from the gbank, help leveling alts, etc.) without anyone expecting you to give back?

The people in the guild who do give a damn will not stand idly by as you slam our guild's good name in a global chat channel as a means of inflating your own sense of self.

Shit talking happens. But to shit talk your own guild, in a channel that contains a bunch of them? Priceless. Simply, priceless.

I do hope you have the good sense to apologize to the guildies whom you offended. If not, have a nice day and don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.


To Faction Change or Not to Faction Change...

It's funny that I am at all conflicted on this issue given that I have been asking for the ability to faction change (in my daydreaming voice) all over the place ever since I fell in love with the horde and left behind my Alliance druid.

Yet I am.

For my Draenei shaman with her maxed jewelcrafting and mining, it would be a no-brainer. I don't care what faction she would become -- I have no special love for her mounts or racial abilities or any of her accoutrements. It would just be adding another max level character to my horde-side arsenal.

But for my druid, who was my main and progressed through vanilla and BC, raiding halfway through AQ then halfway through Black Temple, it's harder to sign up for the idea of making a switch. Yes, it would be awesome to play more often with her 76 vanity pets, and have her motorcycle for schlepping lowbie alts around on. And her collection of titles, including Hand of A'dal, isn't too shabby either.

But to make that happen, my silver haired night elf with her kitty mounts, and her purple epic flight form couldn't merely become a traitor to the Alliance. She would have to become a Tauren, which would mean a change in forms and a loss of other Alliance mounts like that braying AV ram from vanilla -- a badge of honor from my PvE guild that had a generous slice of BG and World PvP. And all those screenshots...and the LJ icons...would be of a ghost.

In addition to all of the above, there's the early adopter penalty factor. We all know anything major patched into the game is almost never working as intended straight out of the gate. Blizzard's idea of "roughly equivalent characters" may not be my idea of roughly equivalent characters. Titles and achievements could very well be lost, as could quest reward pets. As it is, despite my months of BWL farming, I don't show that I've ever completed the instance achievements-wise. Ditto MC despite having my Tier 2 pants in the bank.

So, if at the end of the day, all I would gain is having a max level druid in her Tier 7, then it wouldn't be worth it to me. I have baby alts right now I am slowly but surely leveling. I won't have max level horde-side alts next week or even next month. But that's OK. I didn't get two 80s, a 72 and a 70 Alliance-side in a short time span either. It's not a race to see how many max level toons you can drag through Naxx to soak up loot with. It's about having options for how you spend your time. And I have those now.

But I have to say, I'm excited that Blizz finally gave us the option to decide for ourselves if making the ultimate switch is worth it.


What Does the Druid Who Has Everything Need?

Why a Green Proto-Drake, of course.

It was quite a shock to see this in my bag this evening after cracking open my egg. At first, I thought it was another proto drake whelp pet, since my shadow priest had just gotten one of those.

It's funny how lucky I've been with mounts in Wrath. Not bad for a girl who normally lowballs every roll. Sometimes the RNG gives you some love after all.