Running in Circles

Lately I’ve found myself get into several circular discussions with various people I game with: my GM, my spouse, my friends who play with me, and my friends are taking a break from the game.  Unfortunately the topics all tend to be those which multiple points of view can be valid, but it’s really rather frustrating to realize there is not firm answer to a particular problem.  Such as:

Raid Leading

Every team needs its own management team, and when it comes to your raid, the raid leader IS the management.  PK is the only raiding guild that I have been involved in that does not an official raid leader(s).  De facto management of the raid falls to the GM, and certain duties, such as raid instructions, are passed to differing members as the need arises.  There IS a tank coordinator, so at least that is no longer a one-person job; however, healing assignments, raid strategies, and putting together the raid all fall to the GM.

To some, this may seem a natural course of events, but as a previous GM and officer, it just strikes me as a good way to burn yourself out.  Part of the problem seems to be that no one seems to want the job; however, I think in most people’s minds, no one even knows that there is a job to be filled, because it is being managed adequately as it stands now.

The other problem, as I see it, is one of giving full control to another member.  While we’ve had some people “in charge” of the raid for an evening, they weren’t really given full authority.  When the person with the job before you is standing their giving instructions (in tells or vent), you really question your ability to do the job right, or even, what’s the point of doing the job at all.

While I have encouraged my GM to find herself a raid leader (or two or three–attendance is pretty optional for our guild structure ^^) I haven’t done a very good job of expressing HOW to hire a raid leader.  I’m going to give a quick and dirty job here, and perhaps come back to it if the mood strikes me later:

  1. Recruit in-guild if you’ve got the talent–we do, check
  2. Take applications–it may seem silly, I mean, you already know your good players, right?  However, you don’t know who WANTS the challenge of being a raid leader, and who takes on the job merely to “help out.”
  3. Give ’em a test drive–the best way to test a raid leader is to let them lead.  What’s one night of progression against having a dependable shoulder to rely on when you don’t want to be the leader?  Your applicant gets at least one full raid night, from invite to disband, to make the decisions pertaining to the raid.  You are not allowed to speak in vent or send /tells to anyone in the raid with instructions, suggestions, or anything else that can be construed as “leading.”  If you get a /tell about joining the raid, direct it to the assigned raid lead for the night.

If that doesn’t find you a raid leader, then you don’t have the right person in guild, and it might be worth recruiting one.  Seriously.  Raid leaders are awesome.

And while we’re on the subject, because it bears repeating, no one was never irrevocably harmed by being criticized.  Not berated, criticized.  Apparently that’s a bad word or something, but if you don’t know you’re doing something wrong you can’t fix it.  And if you keep it all private, than the person you don’t even see doing the same thing wrong doesn’t know he needs to fix it either.  Leading is about more than giving boss strats, it’s about being a teacher, something I think many a screaming meanie-head forgets, and bumbling mumblers fail to grasp.

What Is It With This Guild?

I’ve been pretty unstinting about my happiness with my guild situation.  Last night, I was in a random on my priest and actually ended up getting a potential recruit.  What’s funny to me about this situation, is that I am currently in crisis about my WoW time, not in whether or not I want to play but in how I want to play.

My guild comes exactly as advertised: a social guild that raids.  The guild has been around a long time, which was a big selling point when I was searching for a new guild after having leveled Windsoar, and while not a progression guild by any stretch of the imagination, they do manage to see most content each cycle.

The other reason I joined this guild as opposed to a progression guild, was the ability to raid when I wanted without consequence.  Want to take a month off for a holiday? No problem, I’m still a raider.  Want to go out for a movie on a Friday night?  No problem, I can still raid Saturday.  In retrospect, this was a wonderful choice considering I took a two-month hiatus due to my leg, and I still feel like I have a spot and that I’m pulling my weight despite the long lapse.

Of course, my inner-raider loves to mock these kind sentiments whenever it gets a chance.  Progression (world/server) means very little to me.  I don’t really care how I compare with raider XYZ, because I enjoy the activity of improving my own character and seeing new content.  However, progress does matter to me very much, and spending a month or more on the same boss fights and seeing the same errors, or a general lack of skill on the part of a player (i.e. they can’t crack the dps minimum if you gave them a free set of [super awesome epics]) makes my eye start twitching and my blood pressure start going for the upper decks.

To keep my inner-raider satisfied I was raiding with our 10-man group on the weekends, which alleviated the stress of having to deal with our full group, and got me down to a tighter, more focused team which is just my cup of tea.  I joked with a friend that 25-mans were my penance for enjoying my weekends so much.  Apparently, I wasn’t joking.  Being out of commission for such a long time lost me that 10-man slot, and now I’m totally reliant on our 25-man raids if I want to raid in-guild (which to me, is the whole point of having a guild).

I am now coming face to face with the reality of the trade-off I made: progression for when I feel like it raiding.  Is it worth it?  Yeeeeeees….. I think so.  Am I thrilled about it?  Not really.

I Have an On-line Social Life?

I’m guilded, that means yes, right?  Well, not exactly.  There’s probably two people in the guild that I talk to on a regular basis.  There’s probably 10 that I chat with on an “as-needed” basis (i.e. raiding buddies).  Out of the six people who transferred with my from my doomed 10-man guild, only two are currently playing.  That has been a life-saver honestly.

While I’d game whether my husband did or not, how I’m gaming has changed because my husband and I are not playing together very often right now.  He’s working a second-shift job, and I’m… not working much of anything, so that leaves me a lot of play-time.  My husband and I have gamed together since we’ve met.  When we were “dating” we often pursued solo activities because it was enough to be talking.

When we first lived together, we only had one computer, so we would trade off who played and who watched t.v. or mooched around–but our computer was in the living room, providing “together” time even doing different things.  When we got a second computer we returned to a pattern of exploring things together.

While we’ve always had our own “pet projects” we’ve also had characters that were more attached at the hip, and were played together.  While I’ve generally been the first to move a character for raiding purposes, we’ve always ended up on the same team, and we’ve spent many a night raiding or running heroics together.  While there’s always plenty of free time for solo projects or just goofing off on “our” characters, it has been a shared activity.  Right now, WoW has become primarily a solo activity for me, and because of this, the game has lost some of its allure.

Add to that my lack of connection with my guildmates as friends, and really, the only thing keeping me in-game is actually the game itself.  So far I’ve done pretty well finding projects to keep myself amused, but I’m definitely looking forward to Cataclysm to liven up the game-side as the social side seems… lacking at the moment.*

*To clarify: I’ve never had or considered a large social component a necessary part of my MMO experience.  I make on-line friends slowly and relunctantly, much like in real-life; however, I do realize their importance in keeping me attached to the game world when I’m bored >.>

Loot Stuff

This has a post all its own coming out whenever I can get my husband to eyeball and make the last minute corrections to our talks.  However, it’s been a rather long-winded and overly pondered discussion the last couple of weeks among friends and officers, and I’ll, frankly, be glad to have my input in and put away.

TL;DR: QQ.  How about you?

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6 thoughts on “Running in Circles

  1. I'm similar to you in the sense that I make friends slowly and reluctantly. Once I do though, we tend to stick together. I have a friend I met in WoW at the end of vanilla, and we still hang out and talk – on Steam if she is not playing WoW at the moment (she often goes off to check out other games). Other than that I have maybe 1-2 other friends I made in TBC that I'd miss if they stopped playing.

    Of course I'd "miss" other guildies if they stopped. But not in the same way, if that makes sense.

    When it comes to raid leading I think it is good if the guild master and the raid leader are not the same person. Taking on both roles is too much work for someone alone. Our GM has been the raid leader as well, and I just don't think it's right. Lately he's let me lead the raids, but when I brought it up that is NOT what I was after. While I'm fully capable of leading raids, I don't actually WANT to – and I think that's a very important detail.

    You want a raid leader that wants to lead. I'll read up on tactics and everything whether I'm leading the raid or not – but I'm a shy person and I just don't feel comfortable talking to a bunch of people on vent and telling them what to do. Had it been only our guild, I don't know. Maybe it would have been better, but due to lack of active members we're co-operating with another guild so I've had to lead a bunch of strangers too.

    But I digress. In short – I think your GM really should consider a RL that is not her. Being a GM alone is a lot of work, and I think responsibility generally is better shared. Your suggestions for how to find a raid leader is actually a pretty good idea. Maybe I'll bring them to my GM to see if he'll let me off the hook 😉

    • I love to lead raids, but I am currently forbidden (I use the term jokingly) to do so by my husband, because he doesn't want to go insane. I have all these expectations, and chances are, when things I consider normal (i.e. being on time) aren't met on a week after week basis, that I'll cause a raging inferno of meanie headedness 🙂

      So, no raid leading in this guild for me. I actually feel somewhat like an ass always being the "you have problems" bit without being able to fill in as the solution >.>

  2. I guess I'm in a similar position to you guildwise in terms of 'social guild that raids', although seeing as we're only 10 mans it's much smaller and…. cosier. I don't think I'd do well in a guild where I didn't know people who logged on, and didn't chat to them constantly. Most conversations when we're busy come through vent when we're raiding, or guild chat rather than private channels/whispers, so everyone gets to know each other pretty swiftly, and I love that about a small guild. Feeling solo in a guild that has enough members for 25 mans would feel wrong somehow :/

    As GM I raid lead most of the time, which I actually rather enjoy 🙂 I like to set a relatively fast pace and make sure people know what they're doing – often when I've stepped back things have taken a lot longer and people don't organise their own assignments or roles. I like to help us succeed and that means someone needs to ask the question 'what went wrong?' and tell someone if they need to take on a specific role or do something differently. Even if I'm not 'raid leader' giving out the loot (something that falls to one of our two tanks at times), I more often than not will Lead the Raid (TM) in terms of Getting Things Done! I guess I find it hard to relinquish control 😛

    • 120 accounts vs. 20-30 accounts is a way different story 😛 especially when most of those accounts actually DO raid (see the no attendance policy above.) When I did a 10-man guild, I did most of the jobs associated with raid leading (raid formation, breaks, loot) but I had someone else set the pace of the pulls, dice strats, and give out the criticisms. I guess I prefer that system because 1) every guild I've been in has used it, and 2) when people had complaints about the raid leader, I got to hear about 'em. When I'm the raid leader, who do people vent to?

  3. I really struggle to identify with people who play World of Warcraft but want to retain their RL social circle – it's the opposite of how I approach people in game!

    Every new guild member is someone who might make me laugh during a nasty raid night full of wipes. The people in my guild, and the people on my friends list from previous guilds, the people I run into out in the middle of nowhere with a sense of humor… these are all people that draw me back into the game.

    That doesn't mean I find it easy to make friends, but these are just acquaintances really, they ask for so little commitment compared to my RL friends and family – I mean, how easy is it to drop everything and fly out to Dragonblight to do a couple group quests?

    Raiding pushed me to branch out and make online friends. Once you find a good group of people, usually they tend to gravitate towards eachother into a guild, enjoy it and stick around.

    If you don't really click with the people in your guild are you absolutely sure you're in the right guild?

    • No, I'm not 100% sure, but I've found that I tend to be marginally committed to a few people in my guild, and the rest are just *nodding* buddies as it were. I'm not alarmed, I'm just aware that I don't have as many connections as I'd like. Honestly, I've probably been more stand-offish than is necessary because this is the first "social" guild I've joined to raid in, and I wasn't sure if I could make it work.

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