Thursday, April 9, 2015

Casual vs Hard Core vs Free for All

Recruiting, as I said in my last post, is an ongoing endeavor. Once I started getting people to join the guild, I had to look forward to building a raid team. Once again, I had some pretty idealistic goals for what I wanted in my raid team. I wanted:
  • Players who were new to raiding and anxious to learn.
  • Players who were familiar with raiding, possessing of loads of patience, and willing to teach.
  • Players who recognized that boss encounters require some preparation like gearing up and watching videos to learn mechanics.
  • Players who wanted to progress through bosses but were willing to be patient through the learning and preparation process. 
  • Players who didn't live and breathe numbers and statistics.
  • Players who took responsibility for their mistakes and learned from them.
  • Players who didn't point fingers and get bitchy when we wiped.
I was, and still am, asking for a lot. For the  most part, I found just the people I was looking for too. There's been some bumps in the road and progression is slower than I had anticipated, but we're moving along, bouncing around in High Maul and BRF as we like. When we can't get a boss down and get frustrated, we stop and try a different one. I'm sure there has been talk that has occurred outside of my hearing, so to speak, but I think most of my team are happy with the way things are going. I've actually had some tell me that they've been in hard core raiding guilds before and much prefer it the way we do things. They like the fun and friendly atmosphere versus raiding in a high stress environment.

I'm painting a pretty picture here, right? Well, there have been some bumps, like I said. As the weeks have progressed and we've been learning how to work as a raid team, I've had to reassess and make some adjustments. I'll tell you all about that in my next post.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Guild Recruiting: It NEVER Ends!!!!

Fast forward again to December 2014. The husband and I decided that we were finally ready to start inviting people to join the guild. Fleas on Rats was going live! Just a little FYI, side note here:  While I consider my husband to be co-owner of the guild, he is more of a sounding board for me than an actual manager. He prefers it that way and this is fine by me.

How to Begin the Recruiting Process


I had done the bare-bones minimum in research on how to recruit. I figured, how hard can it be??? Sometimes my naivete and complete dumbassery astounds me. Recruiting is H-A-R-D. I could have made it easier on myself by choosing a lemming-type, conformist-type, typical guild name like Fluffy Bunnies or Lemonade Kids (I should say, "no offense" here, but would I really mean it?), but I chose something that actually means something and, in the end, I think is representative of what it means to be a killer horde. What's more killer, harder to escape, creeps up on you with no notice, than the plague??? A PLAGUE ON YOUR HOUSE!!! Nobody wants to hear that. 

Anyway, back to recruiting. I chose the traditional route of spamming trade and general chat with recruiting messages. I say "spam" here because that's the general term for it, but I don't think what I did fit the definition. I didn't repeatedly post my message until I was locked out. I posted about once every ten minutes or so. And let's be honest here. What's more annoying, the occasional guild recruitment message or the anal spams or the blessed thunder fury spams or the general douchebaggery that is par for the course on trade chat??? Maybe your server chat is different than mine, but personally, I'd rather see guild recruitment posts. 

Besides, it worked. I started recruiting some great people to my guild, but it wasn't going as fast I would have liked. So, I posted a message to the guild recruitment forums. Over the months, I've gotten a handful of hits from these posts. Right now, I have three active posts on three different boards, on two different websites. Compared to the amount of people I got from in game posts, the forums are more work with fewer results, but still, a necessary evil.

Words of Wisdom



I wish I had a brilliant suggestion for recruitment. In the grand scheme, I haven't put in a lot of time recruiting. I've been at it steadily for four months now, but compared to some guilds, this time is nothing. It is, like I said, a lot of work. You have to find the right tone for your forum postings. I try to go with a more professional sounding tone with some sarcasm and more casual language. My goal is to recruit adults who have the same philosophy as I do about raiding (which I'll go into later). I'd prefer that they are social and friendly with a sense of humor. While I try to keep my posts on par with people who have at least an 8th grade reading level, I also try to keep a bit of levity so that prospects know I'm not a stick in the mud. This type of writing is difficult, believe it or not. Also, I continue to post in game, on trade, general, and now that it's back, looking for group. I absolutely never post on all three channels at the same time. I stagger my messages so that I'm posting about once every five minutes. This equals about once every 15 minutes per channel. This is not, by my definition, spam-like behavior. FYI, creating a macro for each channel is very handy. 

Aside from the above, I also would recommend:

  • That you leave in game recruiting message posting to one guild member. If you have more than one person posting at a time, you risk overlaps and spam. 
  • Change your message(s) up every once in a while. 
  • Keep your forum postings up to date. If you've changed your recruiting goals, then post a new message. Try and delete the old ones if the forum allows it.
  • Be diplomatic. Don't stoop to other player's level of immaturity when you get a negative response to one of your messages. 
  • Be patient. Unless you're extremely lucky, be prepared for recruiting to be an ongoing GM activity. It takes time to find the right players. Even if you currently have your guild pop where you want it and your raid roles filled, players come and go all the time. It's almost a guarantee that you'll have to recruit again at some point. 

Monday, April 6, 2015

The Fear and Having Unrealistic Expectations


 The transition from the Quel'dorei server to Zul'jin was eye-opening. I had never had any toons on a high population server, always choosing a medium pop server so that I would never have to deal with login queues. (In retrospect, this is a completely dumb reason to choose a low-med pop server.) I remember my first visit to Orgrimmar and being dumbfounded at the amount of players hanging out there. 

This server change involved moving my main plus about two alts. My husband also made the transition with his main and I don't remember how many alts he had at the time. (This was a while ago and I'm old and my memory sucks.) The first order of business was to decide on a guild name and go through the process of starting a guild. We knew that, at the beginning, the purpose of the guild would be to use it as a way to support our leveling our alts. I didn't want to immediately begin inviting people to join. We had an empty bank and a very limited amount of gold. Who would join this guild and then stay once they saw that?

My vision for a guild was, and still is if I'm honest about it, idealistic. Let me bullet point it for you and you'll see what I mean.

My Must-Haves for a Guild
  • Small community - no more than 150 players.
  • People that behave like adults
  • Limited to no drama
  • Talkative, active, social, friendly players
  • A guild bank that supports leveling up that people actually use
  • Planned events that people actually want to attend
This is just what I wanted, in general, for a guild. This doesn't even being to cover raiding. So, the husband and I began stocking the guild bank. By this time, Cataclysm was out. We also worked on getting at least one toon each to max level. I figured, a GM should be at max level. Jump forward in time...


All through the Cataclysm and Mists of Pandaria expacs, we didn't put forth any real effort to start inviting people to the guild. Why? We made two cross country moves. We were both nearing the completion of our undergrad degrees so school work really ramped up. I had a snarly teenager on my hands. The husband deployed to Afghanistan. These, on paper, are all really good reasons to not have the time to devote to running a guild and putting together a raid team. I could get away with leaving it at that, but I'll be honest with you in the spirit of transparency. The ultimate reason was fear. I was afraid that I didn't have the follow through to make this successful. I didn't think I'd be able to find any other like-minded players out there that would want to join the guild. I go through times with the game where I don't login for a few weeks at a time. What would happen to the guild if I experienced one of those slumps? Yes. This is "just" a game, but in my mind, once you decide to become a GM, you have a certain responsibility to the players in your guild to be there and to make sure the guild is a place they want to be. If you don't believe that, what's the point of starting a guild at all? 

Talking with other GMs didn't help. They confirmed that I had unrealistic expectations. Most happened to like my vision for a guild but all had no faith at all that I'd be able to make it happen. They all told me that running a guild is a lot of work with little positive feedback. They said that you put in hours of behind the scene work on a guild that, unless you are or have been a GM, players won't appreciate. Basically, being a GM is a thankless job that sucks the fun out of playing. What in the holy hell was I thinking???


Saturday, April 4, 2015

On Being a Guild Master



As if I didn't have enough in my life to drive me insane, I decided to open up one of my bank guilds and try to make it a casual raiding guild. I began this endeavor the first week of December, 2014. Now, four months later, I have two partial raid teams going on, on different days of the week. Sheesh. That sounds even crazier when I see it in black and white.

I want to take the next few blog posts and share my journey with you (whoever's still out there reading this blog). I don't know if this is going to be some helpful advice or cautionary tale of what not to do. We'll see what I say. I'll start with a little background info.

I had, over the years, tried out several guilds. I eventually found a guild that had nice people in it and minimal drama. You only have to read the trade chat in World of Warcraft one day to see that this game is fraught with teenage-like drama. Add in the trolls, and you have to wonder why anyone tries to be social at all. Anyway, this guild worked out well for quite some time. At least two years and it was a tremendously tough decision to leave it. However, I was looking to experience some of the end game content. I had never raided. All through Burning Crusade and WotLK. No raiding. I tried putting feelers out to my fellow guildmates to see if anyone would be interested in trying out some level appropriate raids. Aside from their focus being mainly pvp content, the GM was pretty adamant that this guild not become a raiding guild. I didn't want to step on toes, but I wasn't satisfied having a max level toon with nowhere to take her. It was time to move on. In addition to leaving the guild, I also did a server change. I thought starting out fresh on a higher population server would be the best way to go. This was a really great decision. Honestly. No sarcasm.

So, I was guildless and on a new server. Now what? 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Gaming History Meme

I found this off of Manalicious by Vidyala who found it on Cannot Be Tamed by Jasyla. I love these things so I figured I'd play along.

1. When did you start playing video games?
Elementary school in the 80s. I played The Oregon Trail on a Commodore 64 at school. We also had the black and white Pong so I'm not sure which game I played first but it would have been close to the same time. My dad had an Atari but I don't remember any of games that I played on that. My mom had an Intellivision. I remember playing the hell out of Snafu (I can still hear the music in my head when you got close to losing, lol) and Burger Time on that console, lol. Good times. Look how ugly Snafu was, lmao!!

Snafu

2. What is the first game that you remember playing?
See answer #1.

3. PC or Console?
As you can see from answer #1, I've pretty much always played on both. Nowadays, however, I mainly play on my PC or iPad.

4. XBox, PlayStation, or Wii?
We have a Wii U and a PS3. I've put my foot down against getting an XBox. We do not need all three consoles no matter what my husband and the kids say, lol. We've had every incarnation of the Nintendo except for the N64. We've also had every PlayStation, including the first one which would only spin the discs if you placed the console upside down. We'll probably end up getting a PS4 eventually but who knows. The older we get, the less of a priority it is to keep up with the new gaming systems.

5. What's the best game you've ever played?
This is a really hard question. FFVII maybe? Can I say The Sims to include all the expacs and versions since Vanilla? The Sims is the game that I've invested the most hours and money into playing. It's the game that's held my attention the most and the longest. Although, World of Warcraft is probably gaining on it, lol. I also absolutely loved playing the original Zelda. I have a lot of good memories wrapped up in that game.

6. What's the worst game you've ever played?
Another really hard question to come up with a definitive answer for. I can think of some chintzy, cheap games that I've bought over the years for the PC that were just terrible because they were so cheap, but I can't think of anything specific. Okay. Wait, wait, wait. It was Zelda: Twilight Princess for the Wii. Or was it the GameCube? Anyway, it had gotten such great hype so I preordered a copy of it. Then Nintendo delayed the release and we moved. I had to go through this whole crapton of crap to get the store to honor my preorder which I had already paid for and then when I finally got the game, it was a huge suckfest. There was so much cinematics, cut screens, and general drama that it took away from the actual game play. I gave it maybe an hour before giving up on it and being pissed off at the price I had paid.

7. Name a game that was popular/critically adored that you just didn't like.
Aside from Zelda? American McGee's Alice. I remember all the talk about this game and how you had to play it in the dark because it'd scare the crap out of you and blah blah. I thought it was slow, tedious, and boring.

8. Name a game that was poorly received that you really like.
I'm not sure on this one. My hubby and I really loved the game Dungeon Keeper. I never hear anyone talk about it and I don't remember hearing much talk about it when it came out. But I don't know. I'm probably wrong here.

9. What are your favorite game genres?
I really enjoy RPGs, platform games, racing games like Mario Kart, Little Big Planet Racing, those types of silly racing games. I also like sim games like Civilization, The Sims, Sim City, and Farming Sim.

10. Who is your favorite game protagonist? 
Geez. This isn't a fair question. This is one that requires a bit more critical thinking that the amount of sleep I got last night will allow. Mario? Hehehe. I'm going to say Ratchet. He's hilarious, inventive, can think on his feet, and he puts up with Clank's antagonism.

11. Describe your perfect video game.
Holy moly. I've always wanted to play a version of Star Trek where it was like immersing yourself in an episode of the show. You can realistically interact with your crew, explore your ship, investigate stellar phenomena, explore planets, make new friends with new species of peoples, have a drink in Ten Forward before logging some time in the holosuites. That sort of thing. Star Trek games always seem to be more about fighting than living. I'd also like to play a game set in Tudor England. It would be, again, a game where you could explore and interact with the world and the people in it as well as invading other countries as needed. I'd want it to be historically accurate though.

12. What video game character to you have a crush on?
I honestly can't think of a single character for whom I had a crush. I've never been one to have the hots for cartoonish characters.

13. What game has the best music?
I don't think I've played a wide enough variety of games to have an opinion on this topic. I've always liked The Sims because you can play your own MP3s through your Sims' stereos. Does that count?

14. Most memorable moment in a game:
Finally beating the original Super Mario Bros. All these years later and I still like to brag about it, lmao.

15. Scariest moment in a game:
In Diablo 2, there is that one witch or demon lady. Grrr! I can't remember her name. But every time she came out to kill me, her voice always gave me goosebumps. I hated her, lol.

16. Most heart-wrenching moment in a game:
I always get a little sad when one of my Sims dies of old age. I've never actually gotten teary-eyed over any game though. I don't immerse myself in a game's lore the way a lot of gamers do. I should, but I don't.

17. What are your favorite websites/blogs about games?
The only gaming blogs I read are WoW blogs. My favorite website is probably Wowhead, lol.

18. What's the last game you finished?
I have absolutely no idea. I lose interest in games before I finish them. After all, my favorite games are WoW and The Sims and neither one, especially The Sims, ends. I truly have no answer to this question.

19. What future releases are you most excited about?
The Sims 4!! Woot! I was excited about Mario Kart 8 but it's out now and we have it.



20. Do you identify as a gamer? 
If you had asked me that question 4 or 5 years ago, I would definitely have said yes. I'm finding that as time goes on, I play video games less and less and they become less of a focus. Or maybe I'm just managing my obsessions better as I get older, lol. Still, I call myself a girl gamer because there are fewer of us than male gamers, we get less respect as gamers, and there's more stigma attached to being a girl gamer. I like to thumb my nose at the judge-y asshats.

21. Why do you play video games?
There are a few reasons why I play. First and foremost, games are fun. Immersive games are a great way to de-stress and lose yourself in an alternate world where homework, house work, work work, cooking dinner, and other real world obligations don't exist. It's also a way for me to socialize. I know very few people in real life who play video games. It's been really hard for me to find people who share any of my interests. In the gaming world, I know I have at least one thing in common with the other players.

Friday, November 8, 2013

The Natural Rise and Fall??


I read over on Massively that Blizzard has lost another 100,000 subscribers to World of Warcraft over the course of the last three months. This brings the total number of subscribers down to a mere 7.6 million. Shameful, right? Numbers have been on a steady decline, down 4.4 million from the peak of about 12 million in 2010. While 100,000 doesn't sound like a lot, 4.4 million does. To me at least.

That being said, I'm not in a panic (yet) over these statistics. When you're at the top, you only have one place to go, right? World of Warcraft has long been the forerunner of MMOs. From all the MMOs that I've tried, before and since I started playing WoW, it's clear that game mechanics and even story progression have been based on and evolved from, at least in part, WoW's genius. WoW has staying power, in my opinion, but Blizzard also needs to beef up their game (Haha. Puns.).

7.6 million subscribers is nothing to sneeze at. That's almost $114 million in revenue from subscriptions alone. That doesn't even include the money Blizzard makes off of table top games bearing the World of Warcraft name, books, figurines, clothing, BlizzCon badges, in-game pets, etc., that players regularly buy, myself included.

Do I think that Blizzard has anything to worry about? Well, yeah, to an extent. If they continue on this steady downward trend in subscribers, eventually, it won't be worth the money to develop expansion packs and keep the game updated. It's one thing if the numbers fluctuate significantly, both up and down, but they don't. At least between expansion packs.


News of the next WoW expac is supposed to be released during the current BlizzCon so we should be hearing about it soon. I'm curious as to whether or not it will be innovative enough, in depth enough, and contain enough new content to drive subscriptions up in a meaningful way. Blizzard has a mind boggling problem in front of them:  How to both draw in new players and keep the veteran players that they currently have. More and more often, I'm reading around the blogosphere and the social media outlets about how players have become disenfranchised with the game and hang up their subscriptions. I truly hope Blizzard has an epic rabbit to pull out of their hat during this convention.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Over-Role-Playing

http://wow.zamimg.com/uploads/screenshots/normal/245628.jpg



I saw this article on Massively today that totally intrigued me. It was about a study that was conducted that suggests that gamers take on aspects of the personalities of their game characters. Sheesh. That was a mouthful. Anyway, I saw another similar mention of this...somewhere. I don't remember where. It was more along the lines of certain people gravitating towards Horde while other gravitate towards Alliance (it being WoW specific). I would dismiss this all out of hand as being craycray, but Stanford conducted the aforementioned study and you can't ignore Stanford, right?

The study found that basically, women who represent themselves in a gaming world in provocative clothing see themselves more as objects versus women who don't. I suppose that this study would have to apply to role playing because I, for one, have both Alliance and Horde toons, one of which is male, and they all wear a variety of gear and I don't role play at all. I've never thought of myself as a sexy gnome rogue. Right?

The study goes on to talk about how only 45% of gamers are female and that "many" feel the gaming world is not welcoming to female gamers. I don't feel that I can speak to this from experience. I've never felt unwelcome in any game environment based solely on being a girl gamer. I've dealt with male/female stereotypes plenty. I even got a little bent out of shape on Goolge+ the other day when someone intimated that all women like the Lifetime network, which I hate, by the way. I've also been annoyed PLENTY in game by idiots that follow me around and constantly drop duel flags on me or by 12 year olds who talk politics in trade chat like they actually know what they're talking about. But my many annoyances have never been gender-based. 

A direct quote from the article says, "It used to be passive and you watched the characters. You now enter the media and become the protagonist. You become the characters." I just don't know if fully I agree with this. I also would like to know, of these people, how many of them also have gaming compulsions? It just seems to me that someone who has a hard time separating their real life selves from their game avatar would also have a gaming compulsion. Just a thought.

What's your opinion on this article? If you're a girl, have you experienced sexual stereotyping while playing an online game?