I’m Looking For A Few Good Peeps

This is sort of a recruitment post, but not really.

I was shooting for the passive voice there. Did I hit the mark? Oh goodie!

I have been a member of the Band of Misfits, an Alliance guild on Azuremyst in the US.

I’ve mentioned the guild a few times here, mostly to mention in admiration how well they can be nice folks and at the same time accomodate multiple levels of raiding and achieving types of activity.

The guild is not strictly a raiding guild, people who are not raiders are certainly welcomed within it. And the talk on guild chat is not “raid raid raid” all the time. It’s always of a more personal nature, individual achievements and stuff.

Raiding progression is something folks take pride in, though. Bet your ass. 

Basically, if you are in the Band of Misfits, and you don’t want to raid, there’s no pressure to do it. I know for the longest time, when I didn’t raid, that I never had the feeling like I was an outsider or a lesser member of the guild. I just wasn’t on one of the raid teams, I was doing other stuff instead.

But the option to raid has been there, and after a while I took advantage of it. I joined one of the three raid teams.

There are three 10-person raid teams in Band of Misfits. They are completely seperate from each other.

Different raid leaders, different members. Sometimes when times were tight, some folks took part in two teams on two different characters, but for the most part it’s three separate groups.

There are Team Wanda, Team Teddybear, and Team Snuffleupagus.

Team Wanda and Team Teddybear are both full, well organized, and have their plans nailed down for this expansion. Heck, they’re already raiding! Well, I know Wanda is, I’m not sure about Teddybear. If they ain’t yet, it’ll be soon.

Team Snuffy is the team I am a part of, and we are still working things out. We’re short a couple peeps.

I want to be clear that I’m not the raid leader, I’m not a guild officer, I’m just this dude what likes to play a game. That being said, we’re trying to get the band back together, and I’m helping out the responsible folks.

That’s right, I just called Elo and Bari responsible. I’m ruining their hard-won reputations! ūüôā

Team Snuffy has a plan. We’re going to raid on Saturday afternoons, from 12:00 Noon to 4:00 PM Pacific time. That’s one day a week. We’re aiming for November 10th as being our first scheduled raid time.

Please don’t ask me to tell you what time that would be in another time zone. If you’re reading an internet blog and you can’t figure out how to look up time zone conversions on your own, you wouldn’t be a good fit among people who are responsible for being prepared and ready to go on their own.

What we’re looking for to help build the team is a single Paladin healer, and a leather-wearing DPS. It is possible we could use a leather-wearing healer as well, or instead, it’s kinda fluid at the moment, and things may change depending on who responds to us.

We’ve got two plate-wearing tanks, a Priest healer, a plate DPS and a Hunter, and there should be a few more folks too¬†but I haven’t heard positive confirmation about them yet. So we’re trying to balance the team between range and melee, and make sure there’s a nice balance of people that can use each kind of drop.¬†

Here’s the biggest challenge. We’re not looking to fill a raid team by throwing warm bodies at it, we’re looking for people who would want to be part of the guild, full members who fit in well with the group and aren’t asshats and stuff, who will then also be part of the raid team.

It’s critical to get that point made. The guild is a pretty special place. Maybe there are flaming asshats in it, but if so they never open their mouths. It ain’t a bunch of prudes by any stretch, but the one thing that seems to characterize members is a sense of respect for other people as people, warts and all.

In the years I’ve been here, I’ve seen no trash talking, no belittling, and¬†no venom.

People in the guild may mess with other people in a friendly way, but the normal asshat bullshit just doesn’t happen.

Two examples.

First, I swear the guild is almost evenly balanced between male and female members, including raiders. I mention this because I am tied into the blog/social media WoW network, and I see other people outside our guild bitch about how women in WoW are treated in game, in guilds and in raids, all the time.

I almost feel stupid mentioning it, because life in Band of Misfits has me sometimes wondering if people are exaggerating or something, because that shit just… it’s just not something in the guild.¬† I can’t even imagine that shit happening in the guild. Maybe I’m delusional,¬†I’ve been in other guilds, I know it’s out there, maybe it’s even so common that it’s assumed to be a part of life, but… well, maybe the guild is just magic or something. I dunno. But it’s a thing I¬†notice in the absence, because other people on Twitter or on blogs talk¬†about the tough times they have in their guilds elsewhere, the demeaning, the condescending, the patronizing, and I’m just like… “but why would you put up with that shit when there are other places to go that aren’t like that? What, just to raid?”

That shit doesn’t happen in Band of Misfits, not that I have ever seen. And it’s not the other direction, either. It’s not aggressively anti-male. It’s just… again, maybe it’s respect. People don’t treat other people like shit in any direction.

The more I think about it, the more I’m wondering who these freaks are I’m guilded with. They don’t sound like real people. They might just be alien pod people.

The second thing is,¬†the age of a player isn’t as important as¬†maturity and skill. I’ve seen several people in the guild that are freaking insanely skilled… and they’re not 18 yet.

You might say “yeah, so?”, but I know of plenty of guilds that would never have given them a chance, based purely on age. But I see them play in groups when I’m lucky enough to be invited, and I wish that someday I could be as skilled as they are.¬†

Okay, or as mature.

You don’t get a raid team spot if you don’t have the skills and the mature attitude to take your responsibility seriously to show up, be ready, etc. But age isn’t an automatic block. If you can be 14 and have skills out the wazoo, AND be¬†mature and responsible, well, so what? Go kick some butt.

Maybe it all comes down to respect.

I’m not an officer, I have no idea how they manage this magic. Maybe they just try people out, and if they’re all drama-prone, they boot ’em when I’m not looking, I dunno.

So, this isn’t a real recruitment post. I’m not looking for two raiders to join a raid team.

What I am saying is, Team Snuffy has at least two openings to our team, and if there are a few folks out there who would love to be a part of our guild and think it would be a good fit for you, AND wanted to be a part of the team and raid on Saturdays with us, then you can whisper me on Bigbearbutt or Beartrap at Azuremyst-US Alliance side.

I can make sure you get in touch with the right person from there.


Edited: Changed raid time from 11-3 to 12-4

So Much To Do, So Much Time!

Are you in a frantic race to get prepared to raid? Or are you kicking back and enjoying having too much to handle all at one time?

It doesn’t really matter how much time I’d have, there is still more stuff than there are hours in the day for me. That’s fine with me, I just have to prioritize what’s important to me, and do that, happy in the knowledge that there is stuff on the table I can look forward to for later.

You know… instead of just hoping I’ll get a content patch ‘soon’.

From some of the conversations I see on Twitter, I get the feeling having all of these blue exclamation points is a problem for some folks.

I’m just going to throw this thought out there – when there is more content available than can be done within a single 24 hour cycle, you might need to exercise some personal restraint to determine what to do, what not to do, and when to call it a day.

If you can’t stop yourself until you’ve done every single last possible daily in the game every day, please do me a big favor and don’t blame Blizzard for it.

Me, I like having tons of¬†content to play through, and if you start bitching in public about having too much to do, I’m going to mentally punch you right square in the nuts.

That sudden burst of agony, fading away into a dull ache in the stomach? That was me, punching you in the metaphorical nuts.

If you weren’t born with them, have no fear, a long time ago in a D&D campaign I had a mage who researched a new spell that attacked a targets vulnerables, and if the target didn’t HAVE vulnerables, temporarily gave them some. Then it whacked ’em.

You may call it something innocuous like “Apply Vulnerability”, I called it “the Nuttifier 4000”. It got the job done.

Ahhh, so much content. The luxury of having a CHOICE.

It’s been¬†glorious.

Who do I level? Do I level some more now and go questing? Do I queue for one of the new dungeons? Do I look for a cross-server Sha of Anger run?

Do I take a break and go Pet Battling? Maybe it’s raining in Jaguero Island and the Baby Ape is available to tame!

Or should I go do some Archeaology, or some fishing? Or plow my farm and plant some tasty carrots!

Or heck, maybe I’ll just wander around, looking for a real fighting challenge by taking on one of the many, many rares that can be found in Pandaria.

Or search for some of the hidden treasures.

Scenarios? Good lord, you mean there are even more things to do?

So much… just so much. Spoiled for choice.

I’ve tried to spread out my playing responsibily, a balance between having fun now and preparing for tomorrow.

When playing in Pandaria, I focused on questing with my Druid.

As soon as I reached level 90, I had to choose what I’d really like to do first.

I’m still 7 days away from upgrading my Ghost Tiger Staff to epic level with Inscription, so I chose Lorewalker rep and Archaeology. And yes, I did get the Spear of Xuen on the second day. ūüôā

Getting the Lorewalkers to Exalted, and Archeaology to max was fun. While working towards maximum level Archy, I managed to get enough Sealed Artifact Crates to pile up the fragments for 5 Tol’vir solves… none of which were rares, but that’s okay. The system WORKS.

Blizzard, please make the Crates I get in exhange for your crated solves stackable? PLEASE?

Regardless of what I got, I know the process works. Just be solving Pandarian artifacts, I will eventually get my Tol’vir rares.

How do I know this?

Cassie did it last night, had 30 crates to turn in, and not only did she unlock the Crawling Claw pet I’ve tried to get for the last year, but she ALSO got the Vial of the Sands Alchemy recipe from her Canopic Jar! Woot!

So yes, you can get your rares, and even the Alchemy recipe. Eventually. ūüôā

So much to do, so much to do.

I’m taking a pass right now on almost all other rep. I will do it all, eventually, but I just don’t want to burn through the whole game.

I’m excited to be doing the Tillers and expanding my farm, and doing a little cooking while I’m at it.

On the subject of farming, Alex saw Cassie and I doing OUR farms, and wanted in on the action.

I helped him get to Halfhill, showed him where to get the first quest, and let him loose.

Two days ago, as he harvested his plants, one of them coughed up a monstrous seed. “What does this do?” he asked. “No idea! plant it and we’ll see what grows tomorrow!”

So yesterday, he went and harvested his plants… and the monstrous seed had grown into a Terrible Turnip companion pet!

No shit, I don’t know who was more surprised, him or me. Really? You grew a pet? WOW!

He thinks it’s awesome, and so do I.

Now here is the “Ugh” part. I looked on our AH, and those things are being listed at 25,000 gold each. So, do we tell him he could sell it now and get some amazing gold and risk getting another one later? Or let him enjoy his awesome pet in innocent bliss of the opportunity for cash on the barrelhead he’s missing?

I think we’ll just let it be. It’s not like he’s needing any gold to save for anything.

Cassie and I will just push him to USE that pet, that’s all. ūüôā

It’s worth noting that Alex was level 85 with a 4 plot trainer farm when he got that seed, and I think he got it from planting Carrots. So, rep doesn’t matter, level doesn’t matter, farm size doesn’t matter, anybody could get that lucky seed in their own crop and get the pet.

Now that my Druid is max level, I’m taking my Hunter into Pandaria to do all the areas I passed by the first time.

My Hunter, for whatever reason, feels massively more powerful than my Druid when it comes to killing quest mobs by the dozen. I am a Dino-wielding Sha Destroying Machine. Maybe it’ll change once I get into other zones.

One thing I am not doing is preparing to raid.

I’m not yet running instances, let alone heroics, and I’m not one of the folks worried about gearing up to raid.

The two other raid teams in our guild¬†are in full swing preparing, with Team Wanda already successsful in downing the first two raid bosses. I hear Team Teddybear will start raiding in a month or so, maybe. If they can hold out that long. ūüôā

The raid team I am part of is, sadly, in the procss of rebuilding for the expansion.

Our former raid leader has very, very recently announced he and his lovely and talented healing significant other will be retiring from the game, and enjoying some new adventures in real life.

We’re going to miss them as friends to play with, very much.¬†That being said, as a crotchety old person it’s nice to see¬†young people look forward to the future, and move on to other things to do.

Still means we need to figure out a whole new game plan for the team.

I’ll tell you, it feels like good news to me.

I know I’ll still get to play with Elo and Bari and the others when we do kick things off, but for now I know that it may be a month or two before we have a full ten person team put together.

That gives me all the time in the world to get prepared, FULLY prepared, in my own style. With lots of side quests and ooh look shinies along the way.

Heck, maybe there will be some raiding after all… just in Ulduar and Sunwell instead of the Vaults!

Best of all possible worlds. A great game full of new things to do, and no pressure to get it all done NOW.

I hope that, whether you are in a rush to raid¬†or taking your own time, you’ve been having as much fun the last few weeks as I am.

God speed!

Playing with the Big Leagues

As I continue leveling my Hunter on Azuremyst, it’s certainly giving me a perspective on the game I haven’t had before, or at least¬†in a very long time.

My Hunter dinged level 60 last weekend, and with only a little messing with the Auction House, I had 1007 gold at the moment that little Achievement spam lit up.

That seemed pretty amazing to me, because I had that gold even after paying to learn all the recipes for Jewelcrafting and Mining up to the max levels you could reach before hitting 65.

More than that, though, was running and gunning through old Azeroth without a sugar daddy, or Heirlooms, or any other support except the emotional support I had from my new guildies.

That… and also the benefits of being in a high level guild.

I’ll touch on that again in a bit, but for now I wanted to say that once I hit Outlands, everything changed.

I do not like leveling in Outlands. Northrend will be bearable, but even so, too many alts too recently. Just, do not want.

I’ve reached the point where I have a system that has worked like clockwork to minimize my time in zones I hate.

I do 100% of Hellfire, which is usually good enough to reach level 63. I go to Zangarmarsh, and go directly to Orebor Harbor, where I do every quest that gives Kurenai rep. That should get me to Friendly, and once Friendly and 64 you can get a quest introducing you to the Kurenai in Nagrand. If I’m not quite 64 yet, I’ll go putz around in Terokkar Forest just long enough to ding, and then it’s back to get the Intro to Nagrand quest, and off to Nagrand.

From there, I milk Nagrand for all it’s worth. It’s the only zone in all of Outlands that I still like. In fact, I’ll find myself just hanging out there, tooling around and seeing the wonderful lush scenery.

Blizzard I think could benefit by taking a poll of players concerning our favorite zones… based not just on quest flow or story, but also on mood. On appearance. I’m sure I do NOT represent all or even most WoW players, but I much prefer playing in zones that feel comfortable and healthy. Zones that have a warm and inviting lighting scheme and a feeling of welcome.

Nagrand fits that bill, as does Un’goro Crater and Northern Stranglethorn. Even Duskwood, to a certain extent, is nice once in a while for that dark emo vibe. The wastelands and deserts and plague-ridden marshes, not so much. Again, that’s just me. I’m curious what the results of a poll like that would be.

Anyway, I hit Nagrand and take my time through it, and then it’s time for the tough choices. I’ve done Blades Edge, Netherstorm and Shadowmoon Valley too damn many times. No matter where I go, it’s gonna be a drag.

I think this time I might go to Shadowmoon as soon as I can, and see if I can grind a Drake. I haven’t done that on anyone except my Druid Main during the early days of BC. I haven’t walloped a peon with a Booterang in a long, long time.

Too long.

Getting back to my point, when I hit 60, everything changed.

I didn’t want to grind through Outlands or Northrend. So, I server transferred my 85 warrior over to Azuremyst. Along with him came… yeah, my Hunter Heirlooms. The shoulders, vest, bow, two daggers with Agi enchants, the works. That’s certainly sped things up.

I’m¬†now level 65, and I’m in trouble, because Nagrand is starting to feel tiresome. If I lose my enthusiasm for Nagrand, that doesn’t bode well for any more alts in my future, yo.

Here’s the biggest strange change I’ve had in my playstyle, though.

The guild I’m in on Azuremyst, Band of Misfits, is a very large guild.

Like, large. They’ve got three 10-person raid teams on three different schedules. Some are more aggressive on the calendar than others, but all of them are very successful. The guild is a hair’s breadth away from dinging the last boss kill they need to get the Cata Raiding mount.

They’re also guild level 21. They might even be 22 by now, I was pretty sick last night.

I… I feel strange being in such a high level guild.

On the one hand, the rewards, even if you’re only Neutral on a level 1, are very helpful to you.

If you’re dead, your spirit moves it’s ass. That’s very nice. You’re hearth has a 15 minute cooldown. That’s pretty sweet. You get a bonus 10% XP gain, which I might have liked to have been able to turn off in the old Azeroth world, but that I’m loving now.

Even more… you get +10% to Reputation gains.

Therin probably lies the secret behind my relatively painless Exalted with both Stormwind and Darnassus.

Potentially cooler, if I get in a party somewhere with another guildie, we could summon each other to where we are. I haven’t tested it, maybe there are level limits preventing a guildie in Northrend from joining group with me and summoning my level 65 butt there, but hey… that’s still pretty cool. It’s not just for raiding.

So, lots of nice rewards just for being in the guild and leveling, right?

The thing is, I haven’t done anything to deserve any of these benefits. I still haven’t played with anyone in the guild, I’ve been leveling solo. Sure, someday I will, but not yet. And if I were to leave the guild before I reach 85 and run with them, I’ll have gotten something for nothing.

On the surface, it seems like a strange system.

It does make sense, of course. The benefits help a low level character level up faster, gain rep for rewards needed for raiding faster, and move where needed quicker so as to get in the groove with the other, long established guild members.

The neat stuff that doesn’t actually work to get you into the upper levels faster or help in raids like a quick run speed while dead, things like pets and mounts, require rep with the guild.

What it leaves me wondering, though, are two things.

First, if it’s divided amongst what gets you to the raiding level, and what is a fine but essentially useless perk, then why do¬†the guild-only Heirlooms¬†require guild rep? By the time my Hunter will be able to buy them, she won’t need them. Maybe they’re specifically for your alts in the guild, and alts only. But then why the built-in 10% XP bonus available without guild rep? It’s just wierd. But that’s cool, I can’t afford them anyway, I gotta save for fast flight.

The second thing is, it really does feel as if it’s been solidly thought out for raiding guilds to advance… but for leveling guilds, and friend and family guilds, I can’t really see why the system chokes the guild rep gain so badly based on level.¬†

I know intellectually that Blizzard has had comments published before, stating that the point is to be part of a large community. To be in big guilds, to take part in what makes the game “Massive”.

I get that.

I also know that there are plenty of folks that don’t WANT that.

What WoW has excelled at, for me, is being a cooperative game.

Sure, I’ve felt a huge thrill at big raids, at the Massive element. I still remember with fondness 40 person raids on Onyxia and Molten Core. Raids so big, in such an early age of the game, that it was nearly impossible to tell who was doing what, or in some cases… who to blame for that massive screw up that wiped the raid.

Moar dots? Whelps? Many whelps? DEAL WITH IT!

But to counterbalance that feeling is the more frequent pleasure of having a game world that you can play in cooperatively, just you and a few friends, or with the significant other in your life.

When you think of WoW, is your mental picture of the game about something that you play with huge gobs of people, is it a solo experience in a huge world, or is it a cooperative game?

For me, when I think of it, the draw has never been to play with gobs of people (gob = new word of the day. It pays to enrich your goofy word power.) It’s been to have a deep, rich, engaging game world to explore cooperatively with my friends and significant other.

Some programs Blizzard has implemented has seemed to reflect an understanding of that. Recruit-a-friend, for example. Come to glorious Azeroth, and bring a friend to play with you!

As much as I like the guild leveling concept, and the rewards are neat, and all that… it makes me sad to feel that the people who play the game in a purely cooperative way with a limited number of friends, friends who may have limited playtime, will never get the chance to experience those rewards.

Guild Levels have been out for a while. I imagine most folks have already made their decision.¬†They’ve chosen to¬†either¬†stay with their small guild and accept no rewards because they don’t raid or play enough, or split and join a larger guild.

I don’t feel that I’ve made that decision, myself. I’ve still got my main characters in our small guild, just Cassie and I. These are new characters in a new land, and I’m doing what Blizzard seemed to want; meeting new people, developing new friendships. All that good stuff.

I’ve never been opposed to meeting new people, making new friends, or being part of a large group. It’s been a lot of fun. Blackbear the Warrior (no, really, I’m serious), Matheo, Hedwig and Crosshair all seem like really nice folks, and I’ve been getting to know some others as well.

I just think it’s unfortunate that when making your decision, it comes down to saying, “You don’t HAVE to join a big guild… but then again, we don’t HAVE to give smaller guilds any benefits, either.”

If this seems particularly unreadable… I am sicker than hell at the moment. It feels like my head is going to explode. And I’m holding crisis at work together as I write this in spurts, so I can’t just leave. I apologize for the blargh.

WoW is just so damn awesome!

I’ve been having just the most incredibly fun time on Azuremyst with my new alts.

Wait, how is that possible? I’ve been playing WoW for years and years and years. How can it still be fun? No, scratch that, how could it possibly be awesome?

Haven’t I heard? All the cool kids are sneering at WoW and going off to play other games that are newer and cooler and better and stuffs!

I had heard a bit of that going around, but I do strongly believe that attitude matters. If you walk around looking for an excuse to feel pissed off,¬†seems to¬†me it doesn’t take long to accomplish that goal.

I’ve never been what you could call pissed off at WoW. I’ve just been adrift, trying to find my center. My happy thought.

I can’t fly if¬†I don’t have my happy thought, damn it.

Well, I’m flying now, baby. Figuratively.

The first thing I’m finding is that I really missed the challenge of being broke. Of being on my own without a big sugar daddy supporting my low level adventures.

I made a Death Knight on Azuremyst, but I got so into my Druid that I never leveled him to 60 to get flying. Just having too much fun, you know? I’m sure glad I didn’t now!

Having only the money that I make myself on low level characters by playing the auction house and gathering has added a degree of challenge that has been long missing, and I’m loving it.

Selling that stack of copper ore for 19 gold 24 silver really feels like I scored! It’s the little things.

The second thing I’m loving is I finally have a clear set of goals.

On my normal server, I’ve got 10 characters, and half the time when I log in, I’d be staring at the list, trying to figure out who to play. Too many characters, too many levels, too much damn history.

On Azuremyst, I’ve got a Fury Warrior that I retired as being too bloody easy to level (sorry, but he is), I’ve got my Feral Druid that is just a gas, and I’ve got this up and coming Hunter that I’m really rocking the place with.

Two characters I’m enjoying… and almost as though it’s a second chance to play the game for the very first time, I’m playing them… but I’m doing it up right this time.

My Druid was the first one to go down the road of “Hey, why don’t I…”.

They added this new (to me) kitty mount to Darnassus Rep a while back; the Striped Dawnsaber. I love that mount. I’ve lusted after it for a low level character ever since Cassie bought one for her Night Elf Druid when we started playing Mage/Druid together.

I never had a chance at that mount for any of MY Night Elf characters when leveling. By the time it was added, my Hunter had the Mammoth and my Druid had the chicken mount from Sethekk Halls.

Now, I can finally have that chance. Even better, mounts scale with your Riding skill, so I can have that land mount I love, and keep using it all the way to 85!

Adding to the fun, neither my Druid nor my Hunter are Night Elves. To get that mount… I need to get my Darnassus rep to Exalted. So if I really want that mount early enough to be fun… I gotta work for it.

What’s that, a challenge? Well, aw shucks.

Having that goal made the game even more interesting for the last week. After all, I have to find two different ways to get that rep, or I’ll burn out doing the same zone quests twice in a row.

I’ve almost nailed that challenge on BOTH.

What I did was, I went back to Teldrassil on my Worgen Druid, and played through all of the quests. I’m in the early stages of Ashenvale, and I’m already halfway through Revered with Darnassus. No problem.

Once I got to that point and knew that my Druid was right in the bullseye, I switched over to my Hunter.

My Human Hunter, having the advantage of Human rep bonuses, didn’t go to Teldrassil right away. Instead, after¬†I got the Darnassus tabard, I started doing Stormwind related zones to get my Stormwind rep to Exalted.

I kept at it until I hit Exalted with Stormwind doing quests… and along the way, the shared rep with the Alliance factions got me 1 point away from Honored with everyone else. I also ran some random instances¬†in PUGs, getting rep from the tabard.

By the time I entered Teldrassil on my Hunter, I was well on my way to Revered, and this evening I had barely set foot in Ashenvale when I dinged Exalted. I got it on my third quest in the zone.

Isn’t she pretty?

I really love the looks of that kitty.

Having this extra challenge I set for myself has really been great. It’s been so¬†exciting to see what it would take to get there, without ruining the quests my Druid is doing.

Speaking of kitties, there was that other thing about my Hunter…

Cassie came through. Well, of course she did.

After one hellaciously long run at level 16 through Stranglethorn getting flight points along the way to Booty Bay and the boat to Ratchet, I made my way over land to that infamous den of mindless PvP, Crossroads.

There, Cassie summoned me a pet that I’ve been proud to have by my side ever since.

Say hello to… Moonshine. ūüôā

It feels very rewarding to play the game this way. I’m not just questing through the zones, I’m using my knowledge of the game, of the zones, of how reputation works, of what rewards are available and what pets are where, to do what¬†I would have loved to do when I first started playing the game years and years ago.

I have a level 31 Human Hunter riding a Darnassus cat with Echeyakee for a pet. It doesn’t get more gigglicious than that.

Yes, that’s a word now. Shush.

What I’m really looking forward to now are the quest zones I have yet to see.

My Hunter and Druid are¬†both poised to¬†quest in zones I’ve never set foot in since the Cataclysm.

Mu Hunter is heading to Hinterlands, and will do the Hinterlands – Western Plaguelands – Eastern Plaguelands – Badlands sequence. I understand that Badlands, in particular, rocks.

My Druid is going to finish out Ashenvale and move further on down Kalimdor, seeing how the land was sundered. I hope there is lots of fun for Alliance to have in Thousand Needles. South Barrens looks crazy!

Honestly, it’s a brave new world. I’ve limited my character options, removed the safety net of lots of max level characters, no longer have Cassie there to “run me through” something on her main if¬†I just want to knock out a quick instance for quests, and have to earn every silver piece I get, for a given WoW value of “earn”.

It’s just like playing a brand new game… fresh and exciting. Except I, like… already know all the secrets and tricks and where everything can be found, and where resources are on the web.

As a side note, and I know this will seem very sudden to some people, but I can no longer be found in the guild Eff the Ineffable.

The folks there are wonderful folks who went out of their way to try and make me feel right at home, and I am very grateful to them for the¬†invitation that brought me out of my Kael’thas shell to try something new. Please don’t believe that I have anything aganst them in any way. I don’t.

But a guild has to be a good fit for both the guild and the people in it, and while the people are great, their goals and mine within the game just aren’t the same.

I hadn’t realized going into it that they had formed the guild as a new place¬†to make a solid go of raiding, and that there had been a lot of worry and sadness recently over what to do to get a guild of people focused on raiding. They are working very hard to get¬†everything right, and from everything I’ve seen a re doing great.

I had been invited by nice folks I knew through Twitter, and I was very glad to go and spend time with friendly¬†people, but in the end,¬†the fact is I’m not a raider.¬†That’s not my focus in the game.¬†It’s not where my cheese is to be found.

I had lots of fun lurking in the guild chat channel… but I wasn’t a contributor to the¬†success of the guild, and I knew¬†that I never would be. I’d be that guy that dings 85, and then moves on to a new alt. Just when I could finally start pulling my weight in the guild and help them do what they want to be doing, I’d be moving on to another alt.¬†¬†

I know that I could have stayed and been very welcome, and I’m sure nobody would have ever said anything to me about it… but I have to feel that if¬†I am part of something, I am actually a contributing part of it. I have to feel I’m pulling my weight.¬†

It just wasn’t going to happen. That was, honestly, the single biggest reason I knew it wasn’t going to work out. I’d been thinking about it all week. I did have¬†some minor issues with one person earlier in the day, but it¬†had nothing whatsoever to do with my decision to leave.¬†I’d been thinking about what I should do¬†from the moment I read up about the guild and how it was formed, and¬†realized they were a raiding guild, and meant it.

So, I said my goodbyes and left.

I’ve got some other friends on the server, I’ve been around long enough that I think I know someone on darn near every server in the US at this point.¬†Hedwig and Matheo have invited me¬†to hang out with Band of Misfits, a¬†more casually-oriented¬†guild on the server. They still raid, a LOT, word is they’ve got three raiding teams, and do so very well from what I understand… but¬†from everything I’ve been told, it’s very casual friendly. I’ll be able to¬†contribute to the guild by running light content in 5 person instances, and questing together with folks, or by being an occasional fill-in if someone needs a hand. That’s something I think I can handle. Plus, I won’t have that feeling that if I’m not raiding and helping the guild push through¬†new content, that I’m not doing my part.

There are¬†a lot of very, very nice people in Eff the Ineffable. They’re going to be pretty big stars on the raiding scene, because they have everything they need; a great GM, wonderful guild members, a mature, adult attitude and a determination to succeed. If raiding with good people is what you’re looking for, people who will actually come prepared, looking to succeed or get a punch to the crotch, then Effs’ the guild for you.

I owe the people of Eff the Ineffable a huge debt of gratitude. I may not be a raider at heart, but they brought me in and put me in a situation where I was able to rediscover all the things I love about WoW, and get my gaming groove back on.

When I get home from work now, I’m really looking forward to what I’m going to do when I log in. I’m thinking of the challenges ahead, and of what kind of neat stuff I can get up to in the world of Azeroth. That’s something that was missing for a while, and I knew I had to get an attitude adjustment to find it. I’m glad I’m back in the game.

If you’ve read this far, thank you all very much for your patience, and have a great week.

Travel to foreign servers, meet exciting people, and kill them. I mean, join them!

My last post may have seemed like a bit of a downer, but it’s an honest look at where I stand with WoW.

I still love many things about WoW; the rich story and lore experience,  a vast complicated world, and a beautiful place to live.

When I look at other games to try, the one thing that stands out to me the most is how much WoW matches my aesthetic tastes.

I love the wire frame designs, the slightly skewed¬†proportions of gear and architecture to people. The massive weapons, the big honking shoulder armor, all of that stuff. It’s been called cartoony, but I admit that I prefer the imaginative and slightly unrealistic designs to the ultra-realistic. I already live in the real world, I’d like to visit something else for my fun.

I love the artistic designs of the wildlife, the cat and bear forms on Druids, the Night Elf Druid epic flight form in particular.¬†I love the smooth flow of creature animation. It’s a game where I can take joy in the simple act of watching an NPC snowy wolf take down a rabbit in Dun Morogh. Where I can¬†enjoy watching the Spring Rabbit hopping around and leaving… erm, messes.

More than anything, I love the color palette.

The vibrant colors are exactly the tone that wakes up my eyes.¬†The shimmer of the sun on the sands of Tanaris, the deep greens of Stranglethorn and Un’Goro Crater, the sunsets off Darkshore. The graphics of our spells and effects, of our enchants on weapons.

Yeah, it’s the look and feel of the game that keeps me coming back more than any single game mechanic, when I compare MMOs.

The one other component that brings me back to WoW is the community.

I’m not just talking about numbers of warm bodies playing the game. I am fairly certain that any MMO I pick up will have a suitable number of warm bodies playing it, and if I try really hard, I can meet up with some in game and chat and group and all thatkind of stuff.

The community I mean are the people who of their own initiative have built a network of information, suggestions, guides, conversations and enthusiasm outside of the game.

The people behind game database and quest research/comment sites such as¬†WoWWiki,¬†Thottbot and it’s spiritual successor Wowhead,¬†MMO Champion,¬†Ten Ton Hammer, WoW Insider. These are the big names (and there are so many, many more) all help¬†feed a desire for news about the game taht we never even knew we had until they came along, and with their continuous efforts have helped us all gain a deeper understanding of everything surrounding the game; how it works, where to find things, what are the possibilities just waiting for me to discover as I gain levels?

They’ve built a support network so that, no matter what you may want to do in the game, there’s an answer to your question somewhere.

Then there are all the people who write guides, for their own websites or for the official forums. Is there anyone out there who has never used one? 

Someone took the time, and had the enthusiasm, to want to write that guide to answer someone else’s questions and help folks out.

And how about those websites created to help you plan and optimise your character! Websites like Ask Mr. Robot, and of course the old, bold  originals, Elitist Jerks.

Or¬†all the people who program those kickass Addons we use, and support download sites¬†for you to find them¬†like Curse Gaming, without which we’d have long ago ripped our hair out in frustration.

And finally, of course, the game boosters. The cheerleaders. The bloggers that write about anything and everything, pouring their frenetic energy and enthusiasm for whatevers out onto the internets. The people that drive this ongoing buzz that helps build a feel of vitality into the game.

Without the people who do all those things, who drive everything, what you’ve got is what you see when you log in, and whatever you find on your guild forums, plus some basic community fora.

I keep coming back to WoW because of the look and feel, the art design and the pretty colors, and also because of everything that contributes to build this sense of community.

It’s why I keep flailing around in the game looking for something else to do that’s fun.

I am at that point where I keep looking for new things to do. I’m not going to lie, I don’t see a long term interest in growing a specific ‘main’ right now. I have little to no interest in ever pugging anything consistently. Everything I’m doing right now is in the pursuit of¬†developing a new short term interest that may grow into something that has long term potential.

I’m playing my Mage with Cassie. She is playing a feral Bear tank while I do Frost DPS, and it’s been a lot of fun. We just hit level 70 last night, and bought our epic flight skills. She now has the beautiful purple flight form with gold jewelry. I’ve always thought that was a gorgeous design.

It’s not a long term interest, though, because at some point we will hit 80, or even 85… and then what? Cassie isn’t going to tank for strangers in PUGs, and I’m not really interested in pugging as a DPS/DPS.

We might get into PvP someday, but without my being able to toss heals her way, without that tank/healer survivability, it sounds painful. Last minute saves are fun! Although I could see my getting on my Druid, and the both of us doing Druid/Druid PvP someday. But then I’m not playing that Mage we leveled together.

So, we’re having fun, but nothing long term that will take us past a few months out.

I did do something else last night in the interest of trying to look for that potential long term excitement. 

I sought out more of the community to get to know on another server.

If it’s the people that are at the heart of the game, I decided to go see some folks.

What I did, was I made an alt on Azuremyst-US Alliance-side, and joined up with Eff the Ineffable, a guild of nice folks that seemed to be seeing some serious growth last night.

I joined them eventually, after spending most of the evening annoying them by stalking the guild members that were online with my alt, and then Tweeting about them. Basically, I played a game of “Guess the name of Bear’s new alt”. Meh, it was a way to have some fun and mess around for an evening, it wasn’t supposed to actually be annoying.

I can certainly see hanging out with the Effing people on Azuremyst for a while, because if I judge a guild based on the kind of conversations they have, this one should be interesting and comfortable.

There wasn’t any stupid fratboy ‘I got so raped in PvP last night’,¬†or some other immature ‘get a life’ BS.

Instead, there was an ongoing conversation on different ways to carry your newborn baby around comfortably, and the different ways you can safely hold your newborn while they sleep, and still be able to play videogames.

I could relate to that conversation, I recall Cassie wearing one of those chest carriers while laying down and playing the Gamecube, with Alex asleep comfortably on her chest.

Ahh, the days before he learned to talk. Or say that he didn’t like what we served for dinner. Just shut up and eat, kid! There’s gaming to do! /sigh.

(Just kidding. I wonder which readers had enough of a chip on their shoulder to take that seriously and get pissed? I know damn well SOMEONE did.)

So, that bodes well for how comfortable I’ll be hanging out. I’ve decided that when I’m not playing with Cassie in WoW, I’ll probably be on Azuremyst hanging out and playing my new alt.

Is it long term? Well, I have no idea, now do I? But it does have a lot of potential. And it will definitely be a lot of fun in the short term.

So, to Grimmy and Rhii and Apple and the Parliament of Murlocs that welcomed me last night, thanks for the opportunity to have some fun and get to know you. See you later!

Ultimate Guild Website Plan + 25 man mumble voice server for a year, giveaway courtesy of Enjin.com


Yes, my friends, I am still the Bear. Don’t let the concept of a prize giveaway scare you. I haven’t changed anything, still no paid ads, nothing like that.

What has happened is that Maxim of Enjin.com contacted me, and let me know he’d be willing to giveaway a prize pack of the services they offer to one of my readers… no strings attached. Gratis. Just, hey, check out these cool folks and see what they do, and somebody gets a hellaciously sweet prize of guild website design and hosting, and a 25 person Mumble voice server for a year… free.

Pretty sweet offer, right?

Now, we’re all fellow travellers on what the ancients still persist in calling the information superhighway.

I personally like to call it “this new thing of ours”, and I say it in a suitably Machiavellian, Godfather type of voice. I think it deserves that level of implied menace, considering the all-pervading evil that is spam that spreads wherever the internet reaches.

Back on point, we’re all experienced purveyors of internet culture here. We know the drill. Person has popular website and craves pagehits, company has product they’d like to get in front of desired demographic reader eyeballs, so company offers prize giveaway. Website is giving away free loots, people are drawn to website through word of mouth, company gets eyeballs on datas, website gets pagehits, somebody gets loots, everybody wins.


That plan kinda falls apart when I consider that¬†I don’t really want more¬†strange people reading the blog. I like YOU folks who read now, you’re all really cool. Yes, even you. Your comments are fun and make me think or teach me new things, or point out new music, books or movies for me to check out. Heck, without you, I never would have developed my obsession for Top Gear. And some of your emails of encouragement, you know, it really gets to me sometimes. I certainly feel I get a lot more out of our relationship¬†than you do.

But these giveaway things… you offer free stuffs, and next thing you know you start attracting strangers into the mix, it all becomes¬†serious business, and people start expecting you to, like, perform or something.

For the record, if you’re a new reader, we don’t play that silly ‘content’ game around these parts. Way i see it, if you want some actual content worth reading, hey… that’s what the other bloggers are for. I’m just here for… you know, why am I here? I never stopped to think about that before… hmm. You know,¬†now that I think about it,¬†I have no idea what I’m doing here.

Oh wait… to give Cassie documented evidence for any future court procedings.

Like I said, Maxim offered a really sweet prize pack for one of my readers, out of the blue.

I thought that was really damn nice of him, I may not want stuff myself, but I’m ALL for giving stuff to readers.

So, I told him to fire up a solid, professional, “all in” presentation explaining¬†the services they offer. The way¬†I figure it, if he’s going to give someone a nice prize package, the least I can do is give him a strong opportunity to say everything that he’d like to say to potential new customers.

So here’s Maxim, to tell you all¬†about Enjin.com and the services they can provide for your guild website and Mumble voice server needs.

At the end, Maxim will explain what you have to do in order to be entered and eligible to win the prize. Don’t fret none;¬†all it really consists of is leaving an appropriate comment to this post, explaining why you think your guild should win the prize. That’s not all that hard to do, right?

Having once set up a guild website and voice server before, I certainly know how expensive it can be, but how critical it is to fostering that feeling of teamwork and togetherness you want in a strong, happy guild that raids. So, thank you very much to Maxim for his generosity, and good luck to all readers that leave comments to enter!


Hey everyone!

My name is Maxim, I’m the lead designer and co-founder of www.enjin.com. Firstly I’d like to say a big thanks to John for letting me talk about Enjin. At the end of this post we are giving away a prize of 1 year hosting on our Ultimate plan + a 25 slot voice Mumble server.

So what is Enjin? Enjin was built with one goal in mind, to be the most flexible and feature rich guild hosting platform on the web, especially for World of Warcraft.

What makes Enjin better than the other services, or rolling your own site? We are obsessed about quality, that’s why we have spent years perfecting the ultimate guild platform with high-end tools and continual integration with the latest WoW features. We do our best to give guild masters the power to create the most unique community website possible with absolute ease. Here are some of our feature highlights:

Total creative control. Customize everything.
Get the deepest level of control over any pages on your website.
Drag-and-Drop any content you want anywhere on your pages with our easy-to-use page editor.

Blazing Fast & Full Featured Forums
Your community will love it. Top-of-the-line, feature rich, robust and fast. It’s
fully integrated with your website for easy management and customization.

Stunning Customizable Themes
Select from a huge variety of stunning World of Warcraft themes.
Create your own WoW themes with our in-depth easy to use Theme Editor.

DKP & Raid Management
Top-of-the-line Raid & Loot management system. Includes support for EPGP, Zero Sum, Loot-council, Simple DKP, Suicide Kings, Head Count. Including XML imports and WoW item support.

Raid & Event manager
Featuring the most advanced raid planner online. Sync directly with the WoW armory calendar.

WoW specific Widgets
Track your Boss Progressions, display your guild level and wow progress rankings and much more.

Advanced Gallery
Create albums, quickly add captions, order albums and images with drag and drop controls. Tag images with your game characters and much more.

Mumble voice hosting with premium plans
Crystal clear voice hosting + automatic integration with your site users.

Here’s a few featured guilds on Enjin already:

Winds of Creation (http://windsofcreation.enjin.com)
Escendia (http://www.escendia.com)
Imperium Guild (http://www.imperiumhq.com)

And now for the prize details;

We are giving away an Ultimate Plan + 25 man mumble voice server for 1 year (valued at $350).

It’s easy to win! All you need to do is leave a comment to this post giving your reason why your guild should win the prize. 

At the end of one week from when this post goes live, we will randomly select a winner.

If you miss out on the prize, no worries, just email us at info at enjin.com and mention Big Bear Butt and I’d be happy to give anyone 1 free month of premium hosting.

Hope to see you on www.enjin.com soon!

This blog needs an enema!

Anyone who never saw the¬†movie “Batman” with Jack Nicholson just went “Ewwwww.”

I wrote the last post just before bed, moments after announcing in the guild forums of Sidhe Devils, the guild that Cassie and I led for the last several years, that Cassie and I are closing the doors on Sidhe Devils permanently.

Sidhe Devils is done. Rather than turn over leadership to someone else, we’re going to close the doors and ask folks to move on to more active, vibrant, forward looking guilds. We’re going to liquidate the bank, mail out the gold to the players that are left, and bid everyone a very fond farewell.

I’ve always tried to be open and honest here on the blog about the issues of the day and what’s been on my mind. But when things are really down, and involves the feelings of friends, I tend to avoid the subject. It’s fine to talk about how I feel, it’s not okay in my book to hurt the feelings of other people.

So, I don’t talk about some things.

Here on the blog, the elephant in the room that I’ve been stepping around was where Sidhe Devils was at as a guild.

A lot of stuff happened months back. While it may seem to have come out of nowhere, from our point of view it had been building up for a long, long time.

I’m still not going to point fingers, or place blame, or try and defend anything that happened by anyone.¬†Other people can put spin control on whatever they want; what happened, happened. Where it went from there was the personal decision made by each individual person, and everyone had their own reasons for wanting to make a change.

There, did that vague things up enough for you?

For us, everything started when Cassie and I left a guild that was very big, very successful, had some really good people in it that we loved, a guild that had just made the move to go from casual on the way to becoming a progressive raiding guild. 

We did that because we wanted more time for ourselves; more time to be able to step away from the game on our own terms, more time to spend with our son and enjoy the summer, more time to be flexible and make the game revolve around our lives, instead of having our lives revolve around the schedule of the game.

We stepped away from Legatum Ignavis, with no hard feelings on my part, and whenever we’ve talked about them here on the blog since, it’s been with respect because they were a great group of folks. But they weren’t right for us.

When we left, we simply moved our characters into the handiest place that we had available; our alt guild. Sidhe Devils.

Never more than a place for the alts of 5 or 6 people to hang out on those most rare of occasions when people weren’t on their mains, we just moved on in and set up shop and decided, “Why go somewhere else?”

The whole point was to make the game move around our real life. If we wanted to do something, we’d just pug it, or only do things that we could do with our friends. And if we weren’t¬†on, even for weeks at a time, nobody else would ever miss us.

Well, you know where things went from there. Over time, I talked about hanging out in the guild on the blog, looked at inviting a few folks here and there that said it sounded like just the place for them, and in time we set our goals down on a charter and invited any other souls of like mind and intent to come join us and chill out.

Chill out in a place that, and you’re SURE you understand this, we’re not going to raid. That’s not the point of the guild. You SURE you’re good with that? You’re not going to get bored? Okay.

Where we went wrong was in becoming guild leaders.

We never intended to raid. We never wanted to organize anything more strenuous than a 5 person Heroic with anyone that happened to be on.

We wanted, right from the beginning, to always put real life first, and that included being able to do our own thing on our own schedule and work playtime in WoW in around the rest of our life. To be gone for three weeks with no worries, because it’s no big deal. Just like every other player takes for granted.

What is significant about this is that in order to be a guild leader, at least one that takes the responsibility seriously, it does become a full time job.

The most critical part of being guild leaders we hadn’t anticipated was how a guild leader is expected to be online in the game as much as possible.

Notice I don’t say it’s demanded. But it IS expected.

And if a guild leader or officer doesn’t show up for a day or two, the person WILL hear about it from someone. Who will really hear about it, if there are multiple officers, is the guild leader.

“Oh, I was looking for an officer to invite my alt, and nobody was on for two days.”

Oh, was that two WHOLE days that I wasn’t on all night? Oh my!

It’s very easy to lose yourself in running a guild.

As the guild grows, as numbers increase, the amount of time spent trying to do the things you think should be done to keep things running smoothly grows with it.

Spending time actually in game to be available for whispers, questions, etc is the largest part of it, but replying to requests to organize events and activities also gets up there.

It doesn’t all happen at once, but running a guild, which may seem like no big deal at¬†first, does get to be an incredibly time consuming process.

After a while, and Cassie being the clearer-minded of the two of us noticed it first, we realised that we’d gotten ourselves into a big commitment to the game. The guild was running, and was full of people we considered friends, and we had assumed the responsibility of keeping on as we were. But in doing it, we had lost a lot of ground in making real life our priority.

We weren’t just on as much as we had been in Legatum… we were on far more often and had much more of our lives wrapped around WoW instead of the reverse.

The answer, to us, seemed pretty obvious. We had to break up the non-critical tasks of being guild leaders, the parts that did not have anything to do with inviting, removing or censoring other players in the guild, and find people who were within the guild that were willing to take some of them on. Every task that was taken off our shoulders and spread around would help.

It wouldn’t address the fact that we felt an obligation to be online and available, but it would help us have fewer line items to worry about.¬†

Sounds like a plan, right?

Time after time, we asked for help.

The responses we got were what you might expect. Some people volunteered fast for the items that would take the least time and effort, others volunteered to organise and run raiding because that’s what they loved, still others volunteered to do lots of stuff to help, and finally we had people volunteer to take over things we didn’t ask help with in the first place,¬†demanding to be made officers¬†because they knew so much more than we did on how to do it right.

Yeah, I know.

Well, we did what we could. We ignored the people that wanted to help by taking over what we didn’t ask help with in the first place, and we gratefully thanked everyone else and got things underway.

Frequently, some of the people that said they’d help we never heard from again. Others, especially the ones that took over raiding, really ran with that ball. A lot.

So, some things just didn’t get done at all when people said they’d take care of it, leaving us with extra work trying to figure out what was going on and get it back going again, long after things should have been handled. And on the raiding side, suddenly raiding became a big go go go deal, and since it was the only activity that WAS getting serious attention, it became the focus of the guild.

And of course there was our annoyance with people in the guild that kept pushing about wanting to take over, or gave unasked for and unwanted advice on how we were doing things wrong, people who wouldn’t step in to help on things we actually ASKED for help with.

The net result of our effort was that we had more work to do than ever before, and people that were running raiding didn’t see why the ever increasing frequency of scheduled raids or the hours committed to it was a problem. But these are friends, and it’s best to just let it go, rather than say something, right?

It all came to a head with us during the Raid for the Cure.

When I suggested it on the guild forums, there was a definite dividing line over the event. There was a small group of people that ran with the idea and took it to heart, and worked to make it happen. These were the people that normally took part in lots of various social guild events.

And then there were the people that couldn’t even be bothered to respond to the thread, let alone take any part in the event, or even show up for it.¬†Sorry guys, have to miss it. Just like every other social event. Oooh, but schedule a raid, and they were all over that.

That right there spelled the end of our pretending that the guild was what we thought it was. We clearly had people that wanted to raid and couldn’t care less about the rest of it. And they were welcome to be that way… but somewhere else, because that’s not what the guild we wanted to run was all about.

From there, it all pretty much fell apart by the numbers. Cassie and I wanted nothing to do with running a raiding guild with people like that in it, but when we tried to leave, said we were leaving, and made it public, we were reminded that there were a lot of people that said that it was the social part of the guild they liked and wanted us specifically to stay.

We had two guilds in one, two different approaches to playing the game, and something had to break.

Well, we broke it.

We changed everything, announcing we were staying in the guild after all, went back on our plans, yanking the band aid right off the wound, and among a host of other things aimed at returning to the roots of the guild that everyone was told when they joined, announced the immediate shutting down of raiding until we got things sorted out.

Yep. That did it. We’d succeeded in one thing; we had a lot less people in the guild to worry about.

People took off in droves. In floods. They started a new guild, got it set up the way they liked, and founded a new home for the members of Sidhe Devils to go to when they were fed up with our messing around.

We know that the vast majority of the problems are our fault. It is what it is because of how we handled it, and the way we handled things was at all times being driven by our desire to find a way back to having fun, and being free to devote much less of our lives to the game.

Our underlying goal had become centered on one thing; to be able to have the exact same rights in playing that every other player enjoyed and expected. To be able to take a few weeks or months off if we felt like it or had better things to do for a while.

Every other player takes for granted that they can leave if they want, to go on break, to relax for a while. When you’re responsible only for yourself, it’s fine. When everyone else counts on you, and has expectations OF you, it’s a far different matter.

Cassie and I have talked about it a lot. And what we decided was that we needed to learn a serious lesson from this. We needed to take this experience to heart.

We never wanted to be guild leaders in the first place. We never wanted to be in charge of anything other than ourselves. We never wanted to forge a raiding guild, or a social guild, or any other kind of place.

But once we set ourselves up as the people who invited others in, we assumed the responsibility and the duty of making the place in reality what we said it was, the best we could.

In the end, our struggles, our mistakes brought everything crashing down.

Lesson learned.

Cassie and I have returned to our center. The game moves around our real life, our family, and especially with the start of summer, we’re not going to be on nearly as much. It isn’t our focus. It never should have been, and once we figured out that’s what it was, we fought against it every step of the way.

With that in mind, last night we made the final decision. It’s not fair to people to be part of a guild where they think that it may someday grow, it may turn around, it may get lively and vibrant and full of life once again, when the leaders have no intention of putting in the time and effort necessary to make that happen.

It takes more than two people, however well intentioned, to build a community. It takes everyone wanting to chip in and help make it happen.

So, that’s why we announced the guild will be closing up.

It’s not how we wanted things to work out, but it’s real life. Things happen, and you deal with it. We did a lot of things, made a lot of decisions, and every time we did the one goal we had to base them on was, “Will this help make the guild a friendlier, happier place for the majority of people who lay in it?”

Sometimes when we asked that question of ourselves, the answer was to ask someone to leave the guild. Sometimes, when we asked that question, the answer was to try and cut back on raiding, or on more advanced progression, or on the frequency of events. Sometimes, our answer was to try and ADD events.

The one question we never asked was, “If we left the guild, will it make the guild a friendlier, happier place for those that are left?”

I think maybe we should have. Things might have turned out much differently.

We could still turn the guild over to someone else, but at this point, it has been such a central part of our lives, we’ve spent so much time worrying about it, and blogging about it, that we’d much rather let it go quiet. To slip once more into the peaceful slumber from which it once came.

Hopefully, Sidhe Devils will remain something that Cassie and I can both look back on and remember with fondness as a place filled with fun, with good people, and good cheer. We’d like to remember it as we thought it was, and for the wonderful things some of it’s members pulled together to do.

As with any big change, it’s been hard. And there are a ton of hard feelings over it all, I’m sure.

But we really do think that, no matter how rough it was to get to this point, it’s for the best.

Comments closed. I’m just not interested in having every person I ever removed from the guild come back¬† here now to choose this as their venue for talking about it. You never bothered to say shit to me in person or via email, or¬†if you did I told you exactly what my reasons were, and you had ample opportunity to say something then, or in the many months since.¬†Deciding to do it now when the whole point on my post was to get closure and move on just says “ooh, I still want more drama”, and that ain’t happening in this way, in this place. Email me like an adult, or talk about it on your blog with your own spin on it, whatever.

Geez, grow up.¬†Look, if you have all sorts of things you really just HAVE to tell me about what a horrible person you are just SURE I am… email me like an adult. Open a dialogue. Act like you are both¬†serious about wanting to discuss my behavior with me, and like you actually care.¬†Posting it here in a public venue as your first and only choice¬†just says that¬†you don’t want to talk to ME, you want to talk to visiters of my blog about me, in some passive aggressive immature little way.¬†Give it a rest, or grow up and email me. Or what the hell, go the rest of teh way and make it a diatribe on your blog, so you get your spin in and get all your fanboys and fangirls behind you. That’ll teach that mean old Bear a lesson! PS… since I’m not talking about any names here, I ain’t making this drama. I’m making it clear; if you have an honest problem that you want resolution for, email me. I am always available at the exact same place I have been for years and years and years.

Azriaga of Hellscream – guild ninja failsauce

Congratulations, Azriaga of Hellscream.

Instead of telling us you were leaving the guild, like a mature adult would, or stealth quitting like a person afraid of confrontation would, you logged in, took 18 Frozen Orbs and an epic tanking ring worth 1400g out of the guild bank, and then server transferred out of the guild without a word to any officers. Or anyone else, for that matter.

Yes, congratulations indeed. You have served to reinforce a lot of my feelings about playing with people, lately.

You asshole.

When real life and WoW collide

I don’t know about a perfect storm, but it sure as heck was a dark and thunderous weekend at the Bear household.

As you can imagine, the tumult we caused by deciding to leave as Guild Leaders of Sidhe Devils brought a lot of uncertainty to the guild.

You would think, having made our decisions with the best of intentions, that we’d be hovering all weekend, immersed in the game, hoping to talk with folks, answer questions, and be there for people during the transition.

Yeah, you’d think that, wouldn’t you?

Sadly, that turned out to not be the case, and it became a stellar example of how¬†“proper prior planning prevents piss poor performance.”¬†Because we DIDN’T plan properly prior to our announcement.

And so, we had piss poor performance. Wow, go figure.

We made our announcement about stepping down as guild leaders without considering what we already knew; that this last weekend, and indeed this upcoming week as well, are scheduled to be the very busiest for me at work of the last year.

Normally, as the Maintenance Manager I work a reliable Monday – Friday work week. I might work late, 10 or 12 hours days at times, but the weekends are almost always free.

This last weekend, however, I had a team of engineers flying in from Japan to perform a 3 day overhaul and intensive maintenance cycle on one of the most critical pieces of production equipment in the plant. Over $40,000 was invested in this 3 day maintenance cycle alone, and I was the coodinator at the heart of it. From Thursday afternoon until Sunday night, I would have a team here at the plant performing maintenance and calibrations, and they would be gone by early Monday morning. Everything I wanted addressed had to be done by Sunday night, or it wouldn’t get done.

I ended up being at work until after 8 PM on Friday working with the team and making sure day one went well, ordering parts, fixing bearing blocks, yadda yadda.

No problems, right?

Yeah, well, Alex had been sick for the last week, and he wasn’t getting better. By¬†Thursday, we were getting worried about his fever and upset stomach and chronic cough.¬†On Friday, Cassie took him to the doctor… and, of course, yes he is sick and is now on penicillin, the kind that he’s NOT allergic to. Not a happy little trouper (although he likes the flavor of the medicine. Apparently, medicine flavors have come a long way.)

So, Saturday became a lot more important about spending time with him and taking him to Home Depot and having fun and letting him relax. Instead of going in to work, I let it slide, let my crew take care of it, figured I’d spend more time in on Sunday.

And of course, that let me log in to see what was up. And… silence. Okay. Nothing being said at all on forums, except for a few very nice folks volunteering for administrating the forums, or providing a vent server, other things related to running a guild, but no discussion at all about actual guild leadership. Cassie and I were getting worried, because we expected that there would be some kind of discussion going on. I mean, there are over 70 members of Sidhe Devils, only 7 to 10 are usually online at a given time, and they play across three time zones. Where else is there going to be a discussion of it?

Of course, if we don’t want to do it anymore, why would we think others would be crazy enough to do it? What if nobody steps forward? We can NOT just dump guild leadership on some poor person and run screaming, after all. Hell no.

Then, late at night on Saturday, we had two groups post almost on top of each other with their proposals of assuming leadership, neither of whom were aware of the other’s plans.

We logged into vent to chat about it with folks, and started comparing notes of conversations we’d had with various people… and along the way, we realized that we’d made a pretty big mistake.¬†The most frequently heard statement was¬†that people specifically joined Sidhe Devils, not necessarily because we were in there, but because of what we’d long said we were about as a guild, and it was that attitude in the guild that was the attractive thing, and that if we leave then it might or might not stay the same. But, oh, by the way, here are some new issues that we’ve noticed when you aren’t around that are worrying us.¬†

Oh, and do you really have to go? This is your guild, it seems wrong for you to be the ones to leave. So many people think of Sidhe Devils as “Wind and Cassie’s guild”. But if you really HAVE to…


By 3 AM on Sunday morning, we’d waffled back around to deciding to stay in the guild as guild leaders, because let’s be honest, we love the people in the guild, we really, really do, but to really, and this time we mean it, lean on other officers to take some of the burden of dealing with issues off of us. Right away, the biggest issue would be to have someone administer the forums, and to work directly with someone else on applications, and cut us out of that loop.

Cassie drafted a very nice write up on our changing our minds about leaving on Sunday morning over cereal, while I taught Alex how to paint the¬†neat wood wagon he’d made at Home Depot.¬†He picked this incredible fire engine red color. Maybe Cassie can post some pictures, I think he did a great job. A very proud little boy.

And then, as I raced out the door to get to work, I asked Cassie to go ahead and post it so people would know what we were thinking.

Ten hours later, it’s past nine o’clock, and I haven’t been back home of course, and Cassie’s computer died. She can get into forums, but not the game, and people are “quitting Sidhe Devils all over the place”.

Well, with my head in the middle of a gearbox upside down, that’s the impression I got from the cellphone conversation, anyway. Oh, and did I mention her work computer, with which she makes a living, is dead?

Yes, we’ve got a backup USB external hard drive with automated daily backups, but it’s late on Sunday night, and if it’s a hardware issue, I don’t have spares on hand when I get home. Sigh.

Let me tell you something.

Being at work at 9 PM on a Sunday night with a crew of Japanese engineers who speak no english (thank God for the translator I hired), a sick son and a wife with a dead work computer that needs fixing at home, and¬†a guild¬†imploding because you’re clearly not adept at thinking things through, and absolutely no way to do a damn thing about any of it, except the work part?

That right there is what I call a fine feeling. Spiffy.

Once I bid farewell to the engineers and the translator at their hotel late Sunday night, I drove home, deciding I was done blogging and playing the game. Just over. This kind of¬†stress, worrying about people quitting without even the possibility of being able to be there to talk to them because all this real life stuff happened during the virtual stuff, worrying about the guild when I’ve got real life stuff that just has to come first? This is crazyness.

And then I get home, and I ask Cassie how many more people quit the guild, and how bad it was getting, and she¬†asked me what I was talking about. ¬†Sure, a couple people did quit, but more just said they were worried about what we meant or what we were intending to do, but were glad we’d be staying. Everyone was nice. She’d had a nice talk with several people through email, and even on the phone. Where did I get the idea the guild was imploding?


I finally got to log into the game and look at the forums at, what, 10:30, and there were about 10 people on, the ‘night crew’. Just having fun, doing stuff. Poor Azriaga told us what happened to his car, and I plotted with Stop to, um, ‘cheer him up’.

Then Cassie and I did Argent Tournament dailies, and off to bed, to prepare for the rest of hell week. And make no mistake, the rest of this week will continue to be hell. Alex is still sick, I’ve still got tons of events at work I’m coordinating, and critical machines that need emergency repairs.

But I did fix Cassie’s computer. And Alex IS getting better. And his wagon IS cute.

And the guild is still there. Maybe a little battered, a little bruised from rough handling. But still the folks that make up the guild are what counts, and for the most part, we’re still here.¬†

At least, they were when I went to bed last night. Who knows, things might’ve changed.¬†

Another day in the trenches, another opportunity to take a swing at things, another dance among¬†the broken glass, finding enough time to do¬†everything that needs getting done, and knowing that if I miss something, I’ll find out when it starts to smell.

Hopefully, another chance to find a way through to fun without stress.

I think we can do it.

After all, we’re getting more than a little help from our friends. ūüôā

Azriaga, I found the culprit!

Azriaga, just tonight you were telling us in guild chat about that darn raccoon that smashed your little Scion all to shreds, totalled your bumper, took out your A/C, and all sorts of other mayhem.

Well, a lot of us in the guild couldn’t figure out how a little raccoon could do so much damage to your car.

I found out!

I’d help you get even, but I think we’ll need to form a raid to take him on. He looks mean.