Friday Five: Five Good Criteria for Choosing New Guild Officers

That shadow priest may have put lots of fish in the bank, but that alone is not a good reason to promote her to officer!

All too often I’ve been in guilds who seem to choose guild officers based exclusively on longevity of membership within the guild. Which is how you end up with the worst druid I’ve ever played with as the Druid class leader and the raid healer leader in a former guild. Luckily, there are a number of better indicators that a guild member might have what it takes to make a good officer in your guild:

  1. One of your top performers in raids. These are the folks you want to give a shot at being a class or role leader, or helping to define raid strats. Yes, it could just be dumb luck, or the stars aligned against everyone else in the raid that has propelled them to the top, but more often, it’s due to their taking the time to optimize what they’re doing, often by poking around on blogs and forums and synthesizing a number of opinions and ideas until arriving at their own witch’s brew of excellence. These are people you want to have as part of your leadership team.
  2. One of your most friendly gchatters. Every guild has that member that says hello and makes newcomers feel welcome. In my past WoW life, that was Lady D. She made all our new recruits feel at home, while also being sure to give a warm welcome back to folks who hadn’t logged in for a while. As a result, she was often the guild member people who were having a rough time confided in. You want your officer team to reflect the needs and concerns of your entire membership, which makes having at least one outgoing, friendly officer key.
  3. The maintainer of your guild website or wiki or whatever medium you’ve chosen for your out of game community. It’s not a cakewalk to administer an active forum, or to keep a complex guild website updated with the latest news and widgets. This guild member often gets little public recognition for what amounts to a part-time job behind the scenes keeping things going. But they are in fact, demonstrating daily how committed they are to the guild. This is the sort of participation that merits an officer slot.
  4. The most prolific sharer of WoW-related news. This member has a direct link from MMO Champion to their brain, and spits out WoWhead links in their sleep. Or at least it seems that way. They are the first to interpret what all the Patch Notes really mean, and are often the instigators of lively (yet respectful) debate around those topics. These are the sort of folks that truly help keep a community going, and that should be a primary goal for your officer team.
  5. The altaholic. Now, at first glance, the altaholic might not look like an obvious candidate for leadership. Some might see the full selection of character slots on a realm as a sign of being flighty and unable to focus their energies n completing a task. However, I see the altaholic as someone who has a true passion for exploring all the nooks and crannies and perspectives available to them in the game. And that sort of passion can be inspiring– both to their fellow guildies, and to the leadership team.

What are some of the other guildie traits that you’ve found to make great officers?

My Favorite Guild

Candy Fishing 2008

While recently reflecting upon the many guilds in which I played over my 5.5 years of playing World of Warcraft, it ocurred to me that my favorite of all the guilds was the largest and most unwieldy of them all — my vanilla raiding guild, Imperial Guard.

IG was not my first guild. My first guild was a lowbie-friendly uber casual guild. In that small friends and family guild, I got to run all the lowbie instances with other lowbies! It was great fun, until I hit the mid thirties and realized the only way I’d have anyone to play with would be to roll another alt for super lowbie instance running. And although that was fun, I wanted to see more.

That’s what led me to the next guild. They advertised themselves as a growing raiding guild. That’s sort of a cliche these days, but back then, it was a shiny new phrase not immediately met with suspicion. My SO was already running ZG with them weekly, so we joined. Which is the point at which we discovered it was really a friends and family guild with 5 Officers who all knew each other IRL and never wanted to do anything without each other. Oh, and some of them were foul mouthed and crazy to boot. But thanks to those folks, I got my first taste of raiding. We’d banded together with the server’s many other “growing raiding guilds” and were starting to raid in Molten Core weekly. I got pulled in for the very first raid, at 58, because we were short a healer. One Saturday afternoon spent in Blackrock Mountain and I was hooked on raiding.

Unfortunately, the raiding alliance was all that was keeping me in that guild. The officer clique never opened up and thus for most of the week, the SO and I were on our own to find things to do. At which point, we started to get invited to AQ20 runs led by a buddy from that original lowbie guild. Those runs became what I most looked forward to each week. Filled with players from the buddy’s raiding guild, plus us, we quickly plowed through that content, and made friends with — gasp! — people who wanted to do things!

This inevitably led to my receiving tells one evening about filling in for a druid who had to log off for bedtime (he was 15 and his parents kicked him off the computer) in BWL, would I like to go? Can you say HELLS YES?? My guild was not happy for me having made new friends and raiding with them, even though it was not coinciding with our alliance raids. Which is how I eventually ended up joining IG.

Everywhere you’d go on the server, it seemed someone had the Imperial Guard tag over their heads. That’s because there were 200 or so active members. On the weekend, there would often be over 100 people logged on at any time. In addition to our Blackwing Lair progression raids when I joined, we had a weekly MC run that took a couple of hours (we called it speed raiding), and 2 Ony kills back-to-back, filling in slots with main raiders alts if we didn’t have another 40 raid-ready players on. Eventually, we got up to 3 MC runs per week, plus BWL and AQ40, and weekly ZG and AQ20 runs.It’s crazy to look back on all the activities the officers and class leaders kept going in IG.

The fact that there was always something to do was one factor in why it’s my favorite guild, but not the primary one. Somehow, despite the size of the guild, there was a real sense of camaraderie and shared purpose. People donated valuable supplies to the guild bank alts, such as herbs to make fire resistance pots and flasks back when those were luxury items that took much grinding for the non-alchemists.

If a member of the raid coming in from PvP was set upon by the horde, our entire raid group would pour out of the BWL instance, and give the villains chase, and spend up to a half hour avenging our guildie’s ganking. Similarly, we had alts strategically placed at the world dragon spawning points, and almost always got a shot in (or a kill) on a couple of them each week. The world dragon kills almost always devolved into a massive world PvP battle, which was something I always looked forward to because our raiders always played as a team. If you were out there with your raiders, you knew they had your back. As an aside, I can’t count how many times since then I’ve watched guildies stand by and not want to get involved with world PvP, preferring to stand by and watch a guildie die than to jump into the fray. That’s totally their choice mind you, but I do miss being a part of a guild where that would not be considered the honorable choice.

Due tot he large size of the raids, we were all split into Team Speak and chat channels based upon our class. Which is how I cam to build strong friendships with so many druids. The interesting thing about being in separate TS channels is we never had to hear someone bitching about a class they didn’t know anything about– our raid class leader would give any such baloney the smack down while we carried on, oblivious. In non-raid times, the druid chat channel would always be burbling with conversation, and offers to help with whatever harebrained scheme someone came up with. My friend Elvenia, who shared my love of vanity pets and concocting crazy ways to farm them, was one of those druid friendships I made in IG. That’s also where I met my buddy Thardon, whose friends and family guild houses some of my alts to this day.

To be fair and balanced, IG had its faults. There were class and raid leaders who were far too young and immature to be making guild decisions. And our guild leader got incredibly burnt out towards the end of the expansion. And with Burning Crusade looming on the horizon, the progression raiders left the guild to start a 25-man raiding guild in which I was briefly a member. But that guild, focused only on raiding, and led by some of the members with the worst people and leadership skills, failed to capture the essence of what made IG special.

Although I have been happy in guilds since IG, I’ve never truly been able to recapture that certain je ne sais quoi. Thank you Imperial Guard, for the fabulous vanilla memories and the many long-standing friendships that sprung out from you.

Get Organized to Create a More Positive Guild Environment

I’ve been in several guilds during my World of Warcraft tour of duty. They’ve ranged from tiny friends and family affairs, to server-leading raiding guilds. And size and activities have typically not been the factors as to which guilds really worked well for me. Rather, it’s been more about the level of organization in the guild. The guilds that have been the most fun, and that I’ve stayed with the longest, had a few things in common, which all boil down to good organization:

  • A written charter/guild mission statement.
  • Well-led, organized raiding (if the guild raided)
  • Clear expectations for guildie behavior
  • A consistent application process

 Your Guild Charter

I’ve been in a number of guilds that lacked a guild charter and in many cases, it’s been the source of fundamental differences in expectations amongst the membership at large and even the officer core. I know a guild charter can sound like an intimidating piece of work but it doesn’t have to be. At its core, a guild charter is really just a simple statement of the purpose and objectives of your guild. Ex.:

  • XYZ guild is a casual raiding guild, with an emphasis on inclusion of everyone who wants to raid, with an ultimate goal of all guild members seeing all of an expansion’s content.
  • ABC guild is a friends and family guild, with an emphasis on group social activities and a positive guild chat atmosphere.
  • ZEN Guild is a progression raiding guild, aiming to be in the top 3 of server progression at all times, with an expectation of personal accountability and exceptional performance.

Yes, your guild charter can certainly go into more detail, but it doesn’t have to. Just take as many words as you need to accurately express the personality and goals of your guild, then publish it where applicants and your server’s community at large can see it.

Well-organized Raiding

Once upon a time, I arrived to a raid 5 minutes early, and parked myself outside the entrance and went AFK to grab an adult beverage. I returned a minute before raid start to find 7 members in group and no one else at the entrance. 45 minutes later, the group was assembled and there was a “break” called for members to go look at a Tankspot video for the new boss we were going to work on.

The above scenario is what is referred to as disorganized raiding. Not to be confused with casual raiding. There is nothing casual about wasting everyone’s time. Your raiders should know in advance what boss you are working on, their role, your strat, and be there with bells on at raid start time. If any of the former is not the case, you’ve got a problem, starting with your raid leader.

One of my worst ever raid leaders was the MT of my server’s most progressed guild, and the RL and MT in my raiding guild in his “spare time.” Never once did Tank provide a strat to the team in advance of a raid, or even find it within himself to mumble out a basic strategy for the new fights we were about to undertake. But sure enough, if any pull didn’t magically go like clockwork, Tank would bitch out the player he deemed to be at fault. Here’s the problem: 1) your raiders are not mind readers and 2) the MT isn’t actually seeing everything going on out in the wilds of the raid. This raid leader is the guy who pushed me over the edge into no longer raiding after 5 years of progression raiding. Don’t be that guy!

Behavioral Expectations

I was a member of a friends and family guild that had an officer couple that was challenged from a social standpoint. One half of the couple was a surly foul-mouthed lady. On one occasion, she freaked out and starting swearing at me, calling me all sorts of words I won’t repeat here, because she felt I had somehow done her a wrong while we were in a Scholomance run.

I can’t even remember what the imagined wrong was. And frankly it doesn’t matter. Both parties in this couple had recurring behavior¬† that shouldn’t have ever been considered tolerable for Officers, let alone for guildies. But the guild didn’t have any sort of written expectations for behavior of guildies or treatment of guildies. After being cussed out in a full gchat by the lady, I demanded that our guild leader take action to avenge my wrong. SO what did he eventually do? He kicked her out, promoted another officer to the GM position, and left the guild.

I kid you not.

Had the guild published a set of behavioral expectations in their guild forums it wouldn’t have gotten to that place. But since there were inconsistently enforced loose rules on behavior, that Officer felt she could swear at guildies and be all around disagreeable and not have any consequences for it. Behavioral policies need not be a big hairy deal. They can consist of DBAD (though this only works if everyone agrees on the definition of that final D.) I think Conviction has a nice post on behavioral expectations.

Application Process

And finally, we get to the guild application process. Many of the guilds I have been in did not have a formal guild application process, which is a shame. I strongly feel that the guild application process can be both a great opportunity for the prospective guildie to get to understand the guild culture before they make the leap and for your guildies to get to know a little about the new member, which in turn can help acclimate that person into the guild. All to often, however, guilds have minimal process and often fore-go an application. On several occasions I’ve seen guilds with a “friends and family” invite mantra invite in “friends” that had gone on one PUG dungeons with a member and gone on to be an incredibly unpleasant fixture in gchat that the Officers were loathe to kick, lest they get badmouthed by said troublemaker in the server forums and trade chat.

You should never be held hostage by guild members for fear of public ridicule and retribution. And having a set application process can help. By requiring someone expend minimal effort to express interest in your guild, and allowing for a set period of time for your current guildies and even other server community members to comment on said applicant’s post, you can often weed out bad applicants before the enter your guild culture. Like that guy who app’d to my casual raiding guild and after only a couple of days had cussed out several female officers in the forums and in tells. That is what I consider to be a dodged bullet.

And if you need inspiration for your guild application, well I have just what you need.

Althought it may seem quicker and easier in the short term to rush head first into forming a guild, a small amount of time setting your expectations of guildies and applicants can go a long way towards long-term guild success and harmony.

Not Having an Application Process Can Ruin Your Guild

this shadowpriest prefers a robust application process

I logged in to Anexxia’s horde guild the other day to see a familiar name in gchat. This individual inspired one of my favorite posts of all time, “When the Raid Leader Says Everyone, This Means YOU.”

He’d also led a fairly successful (11/12 in short order) new guild with the birth of Cataclysm. A guild he left in the lurch by selling his account and “quitting WoW.” An action that screwed over all those who had built that guild up with him (including leaving an established guild to do so.) That decision seems to have lasted all of a month before he turned up, like a bad penny, in my guild.

How did this happen? Because my current raiding guild is run by someone who doesn’t think process of any kind is important, especially such a silly thing as a guild application process.

Now, certainly, not every guild needs an application process. If you only invite friends of existing guildies (and by friends I do not mean some person they just picked up in LFD, something a former guildie of mine was notorious for.) But if you are running an even moderately successful raiding guild, it’s a must.

Having a solid application, that asks some hard questions about why the applicant left their former guild and what made them interested in yours is a good way to get a glimmer of how someone will behave in your guild. It also gives their former (or even current) guildies an opportunity to put in a good word, or to tell you that the person is a drama queen who tried to recruit away half the main raiders to form their own guild. Without an application process, you can quite easily end up with a guild full of people who can easily ruin your guild’s reputation– and its team spirit.

An application isn’t an insurance policy against recruiting bad apples into your guild, but it certainly can be a great early warning system. Don’t step into Firelands without one.

Friday Five: Five Things Every Guild Officer Should do Each Week

Druid coming in for landing...

As the Summer doldrums set upon us, and all of Azeroth gets lulled into complacency pre-patch, I bring you today’s Friday Five…five things you should be doing every week as a guild officer:

  1. Talk to a guildie you don’t know very well (or at all.)
    In numerous guilds, the Officer team can become an insular little group, mostly talking to– and playing with– each other. But to be able to represent the best interests and needs of your guild, you need Officers to get out there and mingle.
  2. Take a visit to your guild forums.
    You do know the URL to your guild’s forums, right? It’s amazing how many Officers I’ve seen who rarely participated (or rarely even read) their guild’s forums. A good part of leadership is showing up– and the forums are a part of your guild’s communication infrastructure. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to connect with your guildies.
  3. Peek at the Gbank.
    Your gbank is probably overstuffed at this point in the expansion. At some point, you need to find a good home for it all. Do you have enough mats to make a guildie an epic armor piece? Or some engineering pets? Or why not send some newly active alts some gear they probably didn’t notice that’s rotting away in the middle of the overstuffed gear tab? And by all means sell those trepix that drop for your guild every week and stash the money in the bank to use for something fun for the guild later.
  4. Organize a 5-man.
    Remember what I said about insular Officer teams? This is a good way to break out of that rut– or to squish any perceptions of an Officer clicque. Content doesn’t matter– do the new 5s, or schedule a lowbie run. The point is to play and socialize with your guildies.
  5. Re-commit yourself to being an officer.
    Sometimes, you’re not feeling it anymore. You don’t feel like showing up to raids or to officer meetings or what have you. It happens. Wallow in that feeling for a day or two. But make sure that each week you take a look in the mirror and evaluate if being an Officer in your guild is something you can commit to and embrace. Because if it’s not, you’re doing everyone, yourself included, a disservice.

Happy Friday!

Friday Five: Five Ways Guilds Can Help Their New Members Integrate

New member! Parachuting in! Handle it!

Earlier this week, I talked about how hard it can be to be the new kid in the raid and guild. Although the bulk of the responsibility for getting to know folks does, inevitably, come down to the new member, there are still some things guilds can do to make transitioning in a lot smoother. And thus, today’s five:

  1. Have a guild application that can illuminate the applicant’s personality and interests.
    Those former applicants are your new members. If you have a hard-working guild application, current guildies should feel like they’ve already gotten to know the new member a little bit, which will make it a whole lot easier for them to start making friends in your guild.
  2. Have a welcome committee.
    Seriously! You don’t need to bake them a fish feast, but have an officer or a friendly guildie welcome the new member to the guild. They can also point the guildie to any members-only resources on your forums, talk about the trial process (if you have one), and show them where to find the Vent/Mumble server information. Sort of like having someone walk you around the office on your first day of work.
  3. Clearly spell out guild policies and procedures on your website.
    What’s your raid sign-up and seating process? When do trial members attain permanent status? Who can take what items out of the guild bank? And for that matter, are items from the guild bank free, or at a fraction of AH cost? These are all things that a new member probably wants to know, but doesn’t know whom to ask (or if asking any of these might set off someone’s hot button.)
  4. Be friendly!
    A guild with gchat that only consists one one-upping or worse yet, silence, doesn’t give your new member a warm welcome. You’d think this would be an obvious statement, but believe me, many guilds are not only not especially friendly to new members, I’ve seen guilds wherein new members join and walk into a hotbed of hostility from folks who are concerned they might usurp their raid spot.
  5. Plan social events that can help new peeps get to know the old guard.
    Depending on your guild’s interests, this can be retro raids, scavenger hunts, group completion of holiday events — whatever reflects your guild’s personality. The point is to have the occasional event planned that allows for conversation, and that can be open to a wide spectrum of your guild community.

What are some of the tactics or activities your guild engages in to make new members feel welcome?

It’s Always Hard Being the New Kid in the Raid Team

WoWScrnShot_011711_155032

You may have noticed some shiny new locales in my screenshots as of late. That’s because I’m in a new guild horde-side. They’re 10/12, and I get to raid 3 nights per week. A nice upgrade in the raiding department over my prior situation.

That said, like any guild change, it’s an adjustment. I’ve gone from being an officer in a guild that I was in for almost two years, to being the new kid in the progression raid team in a Cataclysm-birthed guild. Easing the transition is the fact that the guild leader is my SO’s buddy from way back. So that helps. But it still takes time to get to know everyone and get a sense for the flavor of the guild. And it’s easy for a new team member to feel left out of all the inside jokes that you just had to be there to understand. And if you are a highly competitive player, used to being recognized for doing a kick-ass job, it sucks to go back to unknown status.

All this got me thinking about how you as a new guild member can best get assimilated to a new guild.

 3 Ways a New Guild Member Can Get to Know the Guild

  1. Tag Along
    When a guildie asks in G for someone to come along for a heroic, raise your hand. Even if you don’t need anything else from justice points. It’s in the 5-mans you actually have time to chit chat and get to know your fellow guildies.
  2. Lurk on Vent
    Even if you’re not the type to chit chat yourself, if you find that a number of your guildies stay logged in to Vent for hours, that may be a great way to get to know them a little better. And they don’t have to know that you’re surfing the Internet or reading blogs while you do it. ANd in fact, that may even give you some conversation fodder.
  3. Connect via Social Media
    No, I’m not talking about SPAMming folks with your get rich quick schemes. I’m talking about joining your guildies’ conversations on twitter, in the guild forums, on blogs, or even on Facebook. Pick the venues you are most comfortable with, and go raed through the past month or so of activity. Then add guildies to your connections, and say hi. I’ve been amazed at how much you can learn about your guildies just from being active on twitter.

So, what are your tips for getting to know a new guild?

 

Disappointed, But Not Surprised

these are the moments I raid for

This time last month, I wrote about waiting it out to see how our raiding schedule played out for my shadow priest horde-side. Here’s how it shook out:

  • Second early start time raid night added, for a total of 4 EP earning nights per week*
  • No additional Pacific Time weeknight progression/EP earning raid night added (Note: Pacific Time was the raid time for all the Wrath raids, which was a key factor in my joining the guild circa Ulduar)
  • An incredible # of DPS signing up for every raid night, with half those signed up, on average, being sat
  • Early start time raiders also signing up for and being seated in Pacific Time raids
  • After I got sat from my only raid signup one week, the raid scheduler tweaked the signup spreadsheet in a way that will probably usually (but not always) mean that I will be seated for the 1 weeknight I can sign up for.

Over the course of the past month, I’ve gotten to attend 3 EP earning raids. That was my typical weekly raid count for BC and Wrath. And in Wrath, the other raid officer and I were neck and neck the entire time after EP was implemented for the most EP. i.e. if there was a raid, I was there. If there was a first kill screenshot to stand in, I was in it.

Now, I’m “a casual.” And not at all by choice.What does this change for me? It means I go to raids and am killing content that other folks have already been working on for a few nights, or have killed. I have to play catch up– learning how the raid is approaching the fight, and getting into the groove with a boss fight, well behind the learning curve. I like to lead the charge. To figure things out. To be ahead of the curve. And that’s simply not what’s possible for me with this schedule.

Yes, I could raid on Saturday night if the seating chart gods aligned. However, Saturday is the 1 weekend day my SO and I both have off, and we often *gasp* — do things offline on Saturday date night. So I don’t want to commit to spending my Saturday nights in a raid group. And more to the point, I don’t want to not know until 24 hours beforehand if I am going to spend my Saturday night in a raid group. 24 hours notice is not enough advance time to make a dinner reservation, or buy advance movie tickets, or make plans to grab a City Carshare in this busy city of mine. It just doesn’t work that way.

If it was Sunday night instead, I’d be there. And I’d totally be there for the raid nights that are early starts now — but I have this thing called work that I do that pays the Internet and WoW subscription fees, and makes it impossible for me to be able to raid at the time I typically leave work each night.

And thus, I find myself without much of a reason to log in to my beloved shadow priest.

Because it’s the raiding I love. The raiding that gets my adrenaline flowing. The raiding that I spent so much time planning for and prepping for and writing about. And now it’s out of my grasp. And I am disappointed. So very disappointed.

 

*the significance here is if you receive points (EP) for time spent in raid and for killing bosses. Thus, if you are not able to attend raids, you are not earning points. If you are not earning points you will have no points to spend to buy any gear in raids. If you do not gear up in this tier of raids, you will be woefully unprepared for the next tier of raids. And so on.

Providing Constructive Criticism Without Being a Jerk

shadow priest versus the world

So you’ve decided you need to provide someone in your raid team with some constructive criticism. My first word of advice: put that thought on simmer on the back-burner for a while before doing so. Seriously. No matter how well-intentioned, “constructive feedback” given in the heat of the moment is rarely effective. Instead, take some time to think through what you have to say to the person, and how you’re going to say it. Here are some thoughts to guide you through that process.

First, Evaluate if You are the Right Person to Give the Feedback, and If It is Warranted

Once upon a time, I was filling in on a ToC25, healing on my shaman. An elemental shaman in our guild, mid-Jaraxus fight, started telling me everything I should be doing differently. On my alt. In the middle of a boss fight I was healing. This person was just another teammate. Not the raid leader. And I wasn’t failing either mind you– my shaman was 3 out of 5 healers, which I was pretty proud of given her limited play time that expansion and her crappy gear. This unsolicited criticism was ill timed, came from someone who had no business telling me what to do, and was directed at an alt that was actually doing just fine. This was a great example of how NOT to give constructive criticism.

In general, if someone is playing an alt to fill in for a role your raid needs, you should consider carefully how you give feedback. The player is less comfortable with that role generally, and is doing it as a favor to the raid. If you did want to help them boost their future performance, it would be appropriate, after the raid, to say “hey if you think you are going to be healing on your shaman a lot moving forward, I read a great blog post on healing you might be interested in.”

Make Sure You’re Providing an Expert Opinion, Not Just Your Opinion

Yup, that’s right. Holding the title of raid leader or guild leader does not, in fact, make you an expert in every class and spec. If you have a hunter who is struggling, have your guild’s best hunter talk to them. No one wants to hear someone who doesn’t play their class regurgitate a well-meaning blog post they read somewhere, and being told to “just do that.” Likewise, no one wants to be told how to improve by someone who uses another class/spec as their example for what to do. Each class and spec is different, and takes different finessing. If you don’t have an expert in your guild on that class, do some online homework: start with Elitist Jerks and from there fan out to class and spec-specific resources. If you’re not sure where to start, WoW Insider has a nice big list of WoW resources, including bloggers by class.

Praise Publicly, Coach Privately

This one should be obvious, but I have many times heard a raid leader berate a player and give them detailed instructions on how to improve in the middle of a raid, over vent. this is fail. How would you like it if your boss came up to you, in front of all your coworkers, to tell you you were doing a sucky job and should change X, Y and Z immediately? Yes, WoW is not a job, but the scenario still applies. No one wants to be taken to task in front of their peers. By doing that, it is unlikely that even good, well-intentioned advice will be heard by that player. Instead, they’ll remember how they got chewed out by that jerk (YOU) in front of their raid team.

Make Your Feedback Specific and Actionable

Bad Feedback: Your DPS sucks, improve or we kick you from the raid team.

Good Feedback: Elitist Jerks is modeling a player with your spec and gear level at about 2k DPS higher than we’re seeing you perform. I think we can do some fine tuning to your spec/gems/enchants/rotation to get you to where you need to be.

See what I did there? I gave specific feedback on what needs to be improved, and by how much, and laid out a possible check list to start with, and offered up a partnership with the person to help them improve.

Be Sure to Praise the Improvement

Once you give the feedback and support, and the person improves, you have one last constructive feedback task ahead of you: Praising the person for their improvement. This reinforces the change and shows the player that you are paying attention, and are aware of the efforts they made, and their progress. If you don’t say anything, the player can feel as though they wasted their time and efforts trying to meet your standards. It’s a small thing to do and doesn’t take much time, so make sure to acknoledge your teammate’s progress.

Waiting it Out

shadow priest hiding in plain sight

Right now, I’m playing the waiting game on my undead shadow priest Anexxia. Specifically, I am waiting to see how our raiding schedule shakes out. And this is why I have had a sad as of late.

You see, I love raiding. I’ve been raiding ever since my first character hit 58 in vanilla WoW days and was goaded into coming along to a guild alliance’s MC run. I’ve been hooked on it ever since. Fast Forward to WotLK. I finally found a good server and home for my shadow priest, in a guild for whom I am currently serving as an officer. I managed to complete all of the WotLK raid content, including getting my Starcaller title. Some pretty amazing and rewarding accomplishments.

I’m still wearing my Starcaller title but I don’t feel much like a raider at the moment. My work schedule has been erratic and unpredictable, and we’ve done some changing up in our schedule.

One of the things that I really liked about our guild’s raiding schedule was it offered up 4 or even 5 possible raiding nights per week, all of which started at 6:15 Pacific. Even if I got waylaid a bit at work, I could get home in time for the raid. But even before the expansion hit, we had some East Coasters lobby for an earlier start time. And thus, we now have a 5 Pacific start time raid night, soon to be 2 raid nights.

So, depending upon how things shake out, that leaves us with either 1 or 2 Pacific time raid nights during the week. And Saturday which starts at 6 Pacific. There aren’t too many folks who work on the weekends, and for those who do, 6 Pacific on Saturday is no better or no worse than any other time on Saturday. Although I used to count Saturday as one of my raid nights, RL schedule changes on my SO’s part mean I would be choosing raiding over the one weekend night we both have to go do something, so that’s out.

This leaves me at 1 or 2 nights per week I could possibly raid. Which is usually about how much I want to raid. but here’s the wrench: we’re going back to our old seating system that seats you based upon how many times you sign up and seated versus other folks. So, back when I could sign up for 4 raids per week, I’d get seated once or even twice depending upon signups. Now, I could sign up for our 1 or 2 nights, and be sat half the time or more often depending on how the math works out. That could put me at raiding 4 times per month on Anexxia. unless of course, like my schedule for the next 2 weeks, I have work-related events that either spill over past 5 or mean I will be stuck working late to make up the time after 5 on those few possible raid nights.

That’s just not going to work for me. I don’t see that I can improve my character, learn the fights, and be a rel part of the team if i am seated in 4 raids per month. I get that could work for other folks but for me, it’s like being a visitor, not being an active member of the team.

So for now, I wait and see what happens. I am signing up for raids when I know for sure I can attend, and I am crossing my fingers it will work out. I’ve spent the entire weekend stressing and bummed about this. And there’s absolutely nothing I can do to influence the outcome one way or another.

Wish me luck.