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July 2010

An Army of Druids

 
Army_of-Druids_ScreenShot_070210_184214

When I first started playng my druid, back in vanilla, I lucked into a guild full of druids. We had up to 8 in our MC raids, and even after we left the guild over time, we all stayed together, in a private chat channel, cheering each other on. Slowly but surely tho, after the past 4 years, folks stopped playing, and my army of druids was down to just me and my friend El. And eventually, I stopped playing her a year and a half ago.

But then, in a burst of energy around staving off the pre-expansion blues via seeing the Icecrown content from the Alliance POV, and getting my gnome to 80 so she can assist in the liberation of her home city, I picked the druid back up. And I found her a new home, with some of my favorite WoW tweeps/bloggers. My first night of raiding, what did I find? An army of druids! And this is how I knew she had come home again.

Thank you Blog Azeroth for this shared topic, suggested by Nenunial at The Rambling Draenei Death Knight. A picture really is worth a thousand words.

P.S. Please be sure to take part in this next week's topic -- suggested by me: What Should Give Guild Rep?


Friday Five: 5 Reasons to Roll an Opposite Faction Alt Today

  I was not the one that made Jaina cry

  1. Your Icecrown Citadel raid and 5-man content, and the Wrathgate chain, have some distinct differences depending upon what side you're playing for.
  2. Each starting zone has its own unique flavor, and causes you to look through that zone with a whole new lense.
  3. Cataclysm is going to bring significant changes to much of the old world content, so if you don't do it now, you may never have the opportunity to see many of the places/do many of the quests that tell the old stories of the scourge.
  4. The other side has better candy.
  5. You just might make some new friends who will help your future worgen/goblin alt steamroll through leveling post-Cataclysm.

P.S. I didn't make Jaina cry. She was crying when I got there! You have no proof of these foul accusations!


Leaving Your Guild Without Burning Bridges

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There are certainly reasons for a ninja /gquit. Such as when your Raid Leader is a bully and the Officers you've talked to refuse to stand up to him. Or when the GL doesn't have anything to say to you that isn't full of venom and mean spiritedness and you are finally pushed a little bit too far. But unless you have the absolute worst luck, those situations are going to be the exception, and not the rule when it comes to why you decide to tell your guild Buh-Bye.

How Not to /gquit

If you want to leave your guild and still remain on good terms with the guildies you left behind, here are few things NOT to do:

  • DON'T make a passive aggressive post on the forums about how you really hate to leave but mysterious unnamed forces and their <insert conspiracy theory> leave you with no choice but to go to that raiding guild.
  • DON'T post your buh-bye note on the forums then linger around online, milking your goodbyes.
  • DON'T log on in the middle of a raid and dramatically /gquit.
  • DON'T /gquit without telling anyone what's up, and ideally, without talking to an officer or your GM to see if your issues are resolvable.
  • DON'T /w the guildies you left behind, chiding them for not camping on to your /gquit.
  • DON'T start actively recruiting for your new guild from the one you just left.
  • DON'T trash talk your guild or its members in trade or on the realm forums.
  • DON'T log back in to your old forums to gloat over the new loot/achievements you just got with your new guild, or to tell your former guildies how they should change all their raid strats to match what your new guild does.
  • DON'T decide to leave, and line up your new guild, but come to one last raid and blow all your DKP on BiS items. You may feel that you "earned it" but your guildies will be bitter you chose to take that payout and run.
  • DON'T take all that you can carry from the gbank.
  • DON'T be surprised if you DO all of the above and want to leave behind an alt and find them unguilded 48 hours later.

Making a Graceful Exit

It's really not that hard to leave a guild with style, leaving the door open for your eventual return, and reinforcing the friendships you are leaving behind. A few tips:

  • Make a thoughtful goodbye post.
    State honestly, but courteously, why you are leaving. Good examples are: leaving to raid more, to raid less, to play on another server with RL friends/spouse. If you're leaving because your RL is a bully or you have another such personal conflict with a guildie, your goodbye note is not the right place to get into those gory details. You are trying to make a graceful exit after all, remember? Stick with something honest but more general in such a case, such as the guild did not turn out to be quite the fit you are looking for.
  • Share any specific reasons you are leaving with an officer or the GL before you go.
    Ideally, you'll do this before saying your goodbyes. This helps the Officer team understand how the guild may be improved, or if there are any gaps between the recruitment process and the reality of everyday guild activities that may need to be addressed. For instance, if you were looking for a casual raiding guild, but are leaving because once every two weeks is a lot more casual than you were expecting, that's good actionable feedback. If you are leaving due to an ongoing issue that you'd informed officers about, consider sharing with a different person this time around to see if that message sinks in.

Leaving gracefully basically boils down to being considerate of others, and not surprising anyone. This goes double if you are in a position of leadership in your guild. When an officer or raid leader ninja server transfers or faction changes, or just /gquits and turns up in a competing guild  few moments later, it understandably leaves a bad taste in everyone's mouth.

With Cataclysm on the horizon, we're going to see a bunch more folks coming and going as guilds shake out and develop their identity -- be it 10-man, 25-man, or no- raiding. You never know where your guildies are going to end up, so why not make an extra effort to ensure you don't end up on their personal "do not invite" list?

It's inevitable along the way to have one really guild break-up but there's no reason they should all be that way. Safe travels and good luck.


Friday Five: 5 Boomkin Good Things

  ScreenShot_072010_195516

  1. If you stack 2 boomkin together for Saurfang, you can do synchronized dancing and jumping that just may leave folks wondering if they're seeing double. Mwahahaha. May also lead them to become hypnotized.
  2. Blizz announced that mastery 5% bonuses are contingent upon every piece of your armor being your appropriate proficiency. This means they are now accountable for ensuring boomkins actually have a BiS leather piece for every slot. Huzzah!
  3. Despite my long work hours, I've been able to fill in and kill some bosses here and there in ICC. That's 100% more Icecrown action than I thought this lady would ever have.
  4. I'm slowly narrowing in on getting the boomkin her PUG pug puppy. This is in large part why she has finally gotten rid of all her T7 Naxx 10 gear. I am still stuck with an ilvl 200 badge trinket, but I can live with it.
  5. Not a lot is more gratifying than going into a crowded skinnable pack, popping starfall+barkskin then slapping down a hurricane. Boomkin AOE is even more awesome than my beloved mind sear. For serious.

Happy Friday! And safe travels.


What WoW Has Taught Me

Thank you Blog Azeroth for this shared topic, as suggested by Six-Inch Heals. I've been turning this over in my mind for a while now trying to figure out how to tackle it, and somehow ended up a day late. My bad. But here goes.

First and Foremost, I've Learned a Lot About People

First, the good:

  • I've seen how people can come together and really make things happen, due to a shared passion (the game)
  • I've seen people come up with creative solutions to a variety of in-game and meta-game issues
  • I've seen people put aside their RL political and socioeconomic differences and get things done together
  • I've met people from across the country (and this continent) whom I would have had almost no chance of meeting through any other means
  • I've forged casual acquaintances with some amazing people that I spoke to almost daily for years, talking not just about what I was up to in game, but also about the things that mattered to me IRL

But there has also been the bad:

  • I've had to listen to boorish political arguments set forth by those who are unaffected by the issue and thus have no stakes in them (see especially gender politics)
  • I've had what I thought were friendships that extended outside of the game crumble like sugar eggs the week after Easter
  • I've seen hard work for naught, when poor leadership has allowed bad apples to ruin the guild cart
  • I have seen some of the absolutely worst, nasty, back-stabbing behavior I've ever seen outside of daytime dramas, over pixels and in-game power

I've Learned How to Better Deal with People IRL

  • I've learned how to motivate performance long-distance
  • I've learned how to detect all manner of non-visual cues as to something being up with persons I work on projects with virtually
  • I've learned how to work towards a common goal, even when paired with people I don't personally like
  • I've learned more about what motivates achievement for a variety of folks whose situation and motivation are outside of my personal frame of reference.
  • I've gotten much experience in teamwork -- both in assembling and managing teams

I've Also Learned a Lot About Myself

  • I've learned what my deal breakers are for friendships and for collaborations
  • I'm better able to articulate my concerns with people/situations
  • I've built upon my teamwork and collaboration skills, without burning any social currency at work to do so
  • I've learned that I truly thrive and am happiest when I am in a functional, thriving collaborative team of some sort, regardless of if I am leading it, or just one of the team
People may think of World of Warcraft as just another video game, but due to the intrinsic social collaboration model it employs, it really is so much more than that. Overall, not a bad investment of time to have gotten so much more out of it than just some sparkly pixels.

Friday Five: 5 Questions for Today's Twitter Warcraft Developers Chat

  Oh hai purple dragon, meet shadowy priest of your doom!
The next live #BlizzChat will take place via Twitter today, from 5:00 - 6:00 PM PDT. This live chat session will focus on the Cataclysm talent specialization and Mastery system changes. That's smack dab in the middle of my commute home, so I'm hoping some other folks will be asking similar questions, and retweeting the Qs they'd most like to have answered by the developers. Here are my top 5:

  1. Any chance the shadow orbs for shadow priests can reuse the raven priests' shadowy ravens' model? Pretty please?
  2. Any chance the respeccing fee might be waived or reduced while folks get used to the new 31-point trees?
  3. How optional/occasional will druid tree form use be in Cata?
  4. Will Moonkins also be primarily in caster form, not always shapeshifted? And are we getting new moonkin forms?
  5. Just how slowly will our shadowy apparitions move? As slowly as the Gorefiend ghosts in BT? How often will they ideally hit their intended target?
What are your questions about the new talent trees?

4 Tactics to Run More Effective Officer and Guild Leadership Meetings

I spend a large portion of my work day sitting in meetings. Some of them are face-to-face, in conference rooms, but many of them are virtual meetings of some stripe. The one thing both types of meetings have in common, when they are successful, is they are purpose-driven, and you leave them feeling as though you've gotten something accomplished and spent your time well. What's the dividing line between the productive meetings and the ones that feel like a time suck? Typically it boils down to having a consistent leader, and a solid agenda. Guild officer meetings can benefit from some of the same meeting tactics:

  1. Elect a meeting leader. This doesn't have to be the Guild Leader, and in fact, it may be best if it's not since they typically already have a lot on their plate. You can have a rotating responsibility for leading the meetings or have one person take this on for a few months at a time. They key is that at the end of each meeting, it's clear who will be driving the next meeting. This person is tasked with keeping the team moving through the agenda in a timely manner, while also ensuring that everyone with a POV on a topic is given the floor to speak on it.
  2. Have an agenda, and stick to it. No one wants to spend a few hours talking in circles or meeting when there isn't anything to discuss. Having a set agenda of topics, and reviewing it the day of your meeting, can ensure you don't burn out your leadership team with meeting more than you need to. It also keeps a lid on the time commitment. 
  3. Post meeting notes with assigned To Dos. Things come up -- and not everyone can attend each meeting. Having a designated note taker (often the person driving the meeting) post the key issues discussed, plus noting the decisions made or deferred, keeps all your officers on the same page.
  4. Hold yourselves accountable. Kick off each meeting by reviewing the notes from the previous meeting, and obtain updates on the to do items, and reopen deferred items for discussion.

Drafting Your Standing Agenda

The most daunting piece of all this for many people is coming up with a standing agenda that is both structured enough to keep things moving along, while additionally providing enough flexibility to address the unexpected. Mostly it boils down to time -- the last thing most of us want to do at the end of the day is to draft an agenda. But that's OK -- steal some (or all) of these items for your own agenda:

Old Business
  • Re-cap prior meeting's to do's
  • Updates on progress or lack thereof
  • Identify next steps if any
Review applications
  • Decide if they are accepted or not
  • Identify an officer to notify the applicant of the decision
Discuss guild promotions
  • Officer promotions
  • Class or specialty designation promotions (i.e. guild crafters, PvP ranks, etc.)

Raiding updates

  • New content cleared
  • Any hurdles to progression
  • Evaluations of new raiders/trial raiders
  • Raid leader feedback (2-way from the raid leader about their interactions with the raiding team and about the raid leader)

New business

  • Issues that have been raised in the guild forums
  • Issues or incidents that have happened in game
  • Issues or incidents brought up privately to officers

Planning for the future

  • Adapting to announced Blizzard changes
  • Preparing for new content or changes as a result of patches/expansions
  • Recognition of active guild members who might have potential for being promoted in the future to a leadership role
Clearly, every guild has its own personality and focus, so you'll likely have other items to add to your standing agenda, but this should give you and your officer team a good starting point for crafting your own guild leadership team meeting road map.

And the Winner is...Me! Blazing Hippogryph Mount is All Mine

  Priest on Blaxing Hippogryph TCG mount

That's right, your eyes are not deceiving you: that's an undead priest on a hippogryph mount. Mwahahahaha!

You see, over the course of the past month, I'd been retweeting the @rawrcast contest twitter phrase, for a chance to win a Blazing Hippogryph mount code, courtesy of the Wootloots.com peeps. (NOTE: I've been a subscriber to the Rawrcast podcast for a good while, and had been following them on twitter since I made my first serious effort to find all the folks whose blogs I read/podcasts I listened to and follow them.)

I certainly didn't expect to win -- after all I most commonly roll a 6 or a 7 whenever I want an item that drops in a raid. Lucky is *not* my middle name.

So it seriously made my week to get a DM that I'd won the mount from the June contest. For those of you not familiar with it, the mount is an exceptionally uncommon loot card from the WoW trading card game.

  Shadow Priest on Blaxing Hippogryph TCG mount

Her feet are even still on fire in shadowform! How cool is that?

When I told my guildies of my extreme good luck, my GM asked me "So, wait, did you set a hippogryph on fire, Anexxia?" "Uh..no! Of course not! It was on fire when I found it!" (likely story, yes?)

I don't think I'll be eligible to win their Blizzcon t-shirt slogan contest now, but that won't stop me from sending them my ideas...I am torn between a 2-sider with "I remember you..." on the front and "...in the mountains" on the back, or, in the sassy spirit their podcast embodies, maybe a naughty defile reference, but I am honestly too tired at the moment to think of one witty enough.

  Shadow Priest on Blaxing Hippogryph TCG mount

And yes, I milled around in Dalaran to show the guildies my new toy.

Thanks again Rawrcast -- you've made this pet and mount collector very very happy.

cheers!


Mission Accomplished: Gnome Mage Dings 80!

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With a lot of help from friends and guildies who patiently helped Fyn and I grind out XP and phat lewts in regular dungeons all day today, my wee gnome mage, who languished at 72 for the better part of a year and a half, hit 80 today. I am so proud. She will now be both ready and able to assist with the Gnomer liberation in a few months. Huzzah!

P.S. did you know penguins can fly? I had no idea:

  ScreenShot_070310_174148

Continue reading "Mission Accomplished: Gnome Mage Dings 80!" »


Friday Five: Five Things to Remember on Halion

  1. Druids, remember to dig out your hibernate button. You will need it for a mob or two in here. Dragonkin sleep so peacefully with your help.
  2. When in doubt, run out. Oh wait, I mean, run back in if the trash kills you. Yeah, that's what I meant.
  3. If combustion or consumption explodes on you, keep all your means of self preservation in mind. Instant heals (including lock rocks and pots), damage reducing effects, etc. Personal accountability is key on this fight.
  4. Those lines of flames from the meteor strike? Run away from --not through-- the fires. Think about Archimonde and his nasty fires. Fire burns! See also, if you get a battle rez, check the ground near your rezzer and ensure you don't accept only to revive in the midst of a fiery death patch.
  5. That shadowy line between two orbs that cuts across the room? Make sure you don't get hemmed in by it. Immediately move the opposite direction fro where it's going when the twilight cutter pops up between two orbs.

BONUS FROST LORD AHUNE TIP: Please don't berate your casters about focusing all their DPS on him while everyone else manages the adds. Ahune takes 25% damage (a.k.a. a 75% reduction) during phase 1. So it's not the optimal use of our mana. If we DoT him and help fire down the adds, that usually works just fine. And it makes us nerd rage to see 5 adds up smacking us and the healer b/c you insisted...

Happy Friday!


BQL25 and Dreamwalker25 Also Completed!

Wow. What a week for us Pirates...

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Two new bosses down in 25-man tonight, and after killing Halion on Tuesday. I'm wiped out just thinking about all that raiding...

:)

Blood Queen gave us a little trouble, thanks to blips with the bite order, then Dreamwaker was a relative cakewalk. I think we got her on our second try. Which was probably our third try ever on 25man. Thank you WoW Gods for a great night of raiding.

xo