Massive changes are coming, slow and sure

I wanted to let everyone that follows this blog know that changes are going on in the lives of Cassie and myself that will affect what happens here in some way.

This is a warning for you. I really don’t have any idea where things will end up.

Last night, Cassie and I announced in our guild forums that we were going to step down as guild leaders of the Sidhe Devils guild.

What we’ve been doing for months now is talk to each other about where the game of WoW is fitting into our lives.

What we finally came to terms with was that when we both first started playing, first myself and then Cassie, we were beholden to nobody but ourselves for our playtime decisions.

First and foremost, we logged into WoW in order to enjoy playing the game for fun. Every aspect of the game was present to further this feeling of relaxation, enjoyment, escape. A break from worry and stress.

The essential aspect of a break, is that it provides a way to relax and recharge after the stress and worry of real life gets to be pretty big.

What happened to us was that, as more people applied to and were invited into Sidhe Devils, it went from being a very small guild of friends that required very little in the way of administration or oversight, and became a pretty large guild of people that we knew mainly from applying for their own reasons, and friends of theirs, and people who thought it sounded cool, or people that had wanted a new guild who were told that Sidhe Devils was a fun, relaxed place to be.

And that was fine. There were a few problems, but by far it’s been a good thing.

Our mantra was real life comes first. A close second is, be good to each other.

Along the way, we tried very hard to stay true to that feeling, but when you go from a small guild of close friends and family and grow it into a large guild full of people that you may never get to know aside from seeing them log in and out of game without a word most of the time, the way we looked at things like behavior couldn’t just stay on the “we know it’s all good” plan.

We had to start looking closely at applications, to look for signs that folks we didn’t know who were applying wanted to be in a fun guild for reasons other than scheduled raids, for example, since we don’t do that. Or that they were immature or didn’t really give a shit, and just wanted some place to score some runs and phat loot. You know what I mean.

That put us in the situation of having to judge people. Right there is where the entire thing began going straight to hell for us.

In the game itself, suddenly, impersonal situations cropped up. People are playing with people they do not know, and problems come up. Friction, misunderstandings get folks cranky. People have bad days, and because they don’t know each other, a misunderstanding turns into situations where lots of folks become upset.

It became what all guild leadership positions become; a guild where the officers either take an active role in investigating conflicts, which again involves judging people, and inevitably results in hurting someone’s feelings, or where the officers step back and do nothing, and you hope that people are good to each other, and that you don’t get a lot of ever more upset folks who feel that nobody cares if someone is rude, or offensive, or a ninja, or just a prick. 

Again, the playing with our friends part, including the new folks we were priviliged to meet; great. Just wonderful.

But we became a big guild, without ever really thinking about what it meant to be guild leaders of a big guild, and what it would take to try to tackle those responsibilities properly.

It grew slowly, so the work load grew slowly, and we didn’t even notice… again, until the first time we looked at each other and asked ourselves who the hell we were to judge other people, or make decisions that end up affecting the playtime enjoyment of other people in the game.

Playing WoW as the guild leaders of Sidhe Devils became a full time job. We routinely spend hours every week, mostly out of the game, reviewing applications, talking about reported behavior issues, worrying over how to do the right thing and the best thing and somehow not hurt anyone’s feelings, and above all, make sure that if someone in the guild acts to directly hurt the feelings of someone else, especially with inappropriate behavior, that it is addressed. Immediately, if possible.

I think this situation should sound very familiar. Every person that is a guild leader, an officer, or is in a position of authority or responsibility in a guild in game deals with the exact same issues every day. We’re certainly not special in what we work with.

What we have decided is that we just no longer can put ourselves forward as the self-appointed bosses that police the behavior of other people. To be the ones that decide whose applications should be accepted, and whose should be declined, to try and reduce the chance of future problems. To decide how to talk to people that other people, not us, complain of behaving intentionally offensively, and what to do about it next when, inevitably, the person says they had no idea, never meant it, didn’t happen, etc. 

We no longer want to affect the fun of other people by judging their behavior, by making decisions that affect other people in a negative way.

The problem isn’t the people in our guild. Far from it, a greater group of people I’ve never known. We have so many wonderful friends in the guild, and actually logging in and playing, that’s all great. It really is. Playing in the game is perfect.

It’s being in charge of having to judge. I know I do not feel, and I’ve said it many times in the past, that there should ever be drama because of having fun in a video game. And yet, as the guild leader… it’s my job to look for, root out and prevent drama if possible.

We both hate it. HATE IT.

I can’t think of a worse way to spend an evening in a video game than being on vent, talking to someone that I’ve had other players complain about, explaining that I need to talk to them about these complaints, and have them break out in tears, upset and sad and crying because of having this being dropped on their heads.

It only took one time like that for me and Cassie to look at each other and ask what the hell we were doing, and why.

And it’s almost never just a question of someone doing something obviously wrong, booting them, and moving on. As horrible as that is on it’s own, at least that would be clear cut.

One problem we had, that really kicked off the stress levels for me in a massive way, was when a good person in the guild, a really nice guy, had one of his characters involved in proven guild bank item removals, and AH selling. And I mean an entire operation of removing items from the guild bank, high ticket items, and immediately posting them under their own name in the Auction House.

I had to talk to them… and I didn’t want to. But it was my job to. It was my responsibility. And it turned out that it was their very young son, that was allowed by him to play on their account, on a toon that happened to be in the guild, that was doing it without the dad knowing.

It’s easy to put on a guild charter that a player will be held responsible for the actions performed by their characters, regardless of who was playing the game. But it’s a vastly different thing to be talking to someone in vent, and be told that the issue is that their son is playing on their in-guild character… and have to try to find some solution without hurting anyones feelings.

I am not the boys father. It is not my place to suggest any solution, in any way, outside of game. And you don’t really know the person, so is it really a son, or is that just a convenient excuse? How do you really, really know? When you set yourself up as the judge, you’re saying you can tell, aren’t you? I have to believe the father didn’t do it. The son did not apply to join the guild. You wish that only the people that applied to join the guild and were approved are actually in… but how do you knwo? AND, again, who are we to suggest to someone that they are welcome… but their children aren’t? Or their wife? Or brother? Or third cousin twice removed?

How dare we?

But at the same time, I have to do something to stop it happening again.

We had another, similar situation except that I was not online when events took place, and instead of items being taken from the guild bank, instead I was told that during a guild 5 person holiday run during Brewfest, one of the guild members ninjaed loot drops and then logged off. When investigating the complaints, I again am told that it wasn’t the approved guild member, it was their son, and the son is allowed to play on the in-game character without having sent in an app or being approved. 

And now some folks are upset at having that situation in the guild. Or are they? Some folks have conflicting stories of what happened, and I wasn’t there, and again, who the heck knows what was going on at the other end of the person’s keyboard? From the description, maybe the boy just got called to dinner and went afk and then disconnected, not realizing what had happened. Or maybe he didn’t know what was happening in the first place. Who knows?

So, what do you do?

These things happen. And you have to decide how you’re going to respond. Do your best to find a solution and inevitably hurt someone’s feelings, or do nothing?

It’s the no-win scenario. No matter how things turn out, we are the ones stressing over having to talk to someone about an issue, and somebody is going to get hurt feelings.

Over a video game. Over what is supposed to be fun and refreshing.

We’re the ones in charge. We’re responsible.

We don’t want to have to be the person to make those decisions for someone else anymore. We don’t want to judge other people. I can’t stress it enough. We don’t want to ever, ever think about the behavior of anyone else in the game in a judgmental way. If someone does something we don’t like… we want to have the option of… doing nothing. Nothing at all.

We want to be able to not let it bother us, because it’s not our problem. They’re not our child, we’re not their mommy, and if someone is an asshat, that’s they’re problem to live with. And if someone has drama… let it be theirs.

We talked for hours last night, and we just don’t see any way out except to step down as guild leaders. 

So that’s what we’re going to do. 

I guess you could say that we take things too seriously, or that we worry about things we don’t need to, or that by leaving we’re being selfish.

We’ve certainly said those same things to each other plenty of times.

But no matter how many times we tell each other not to worry about it, not to let it bother us, not to get worked up about about what someone said to someone else, or how someone acted to someone else, or what someone wrote on their app and just invite them… we still end up going around and around, worrying.

I think there is no finer guild than the Sidhe Devils, anywhere. And that’s the truth. If you can’t make it as a guild leader here, you’ve got no business being one, because these are the best damn people I’ve ever met.

So I’m left with the conclusion that as guild leaders, we’re failures. We can’t handle it.

And I’m okay with that.

What we hope is that the Sidhe Devils are not, as has been said, a cult of personality around me or other bloggers that will fail without us, but that instead it is what we always wanted it to be, a guild full of really nice people, and that everyone will continue on, having fun and enjoying the game as before.

I don’t know. I think so, but only time will tell.

I would sincerely hope that people are not just in the guild because I am. That’s silly, because I’m not that special. Clearly, I’m not.

Just ask any of the people I’ve removed from the guild in the past, or the people whose apps we did not approve, or did not approve fast enough, and they’ll leap forward to tell you how unspecial I am. That alone should show you that we’re not the people to be the leaders. All the people whose feelings we’ve hurt as guild leaders… all those lives that were negatively affected by us over a video game.

Screw that.

All I know is that I still love the game, I absolutely adore playing with my wife, and I still love all these folks that I’ve played with for so long and come to know well. I hope to continue playing with them for many long months to come, even years if I’m lucky.

But we just can’t be the boss of anyone except ourselves anymore.

For all those people who have felt that we were inspirations, or that we were some great guild leaders, or anything like that. This is it. This is the real deal. This is where we’re really at.

But as much as it feels like shit now, if I never have to talk to someone in tears over vent again, and be the cause of it, it’ll be worth it.

Take care to all of you, and Godspeed you safely home. It’s cold out there today.

Interview with a PvP Hunter

I had a fun conversation with Ruuaarr after a Heroic ToC run a few nights ago, and I thought the conversation was well worth relating here for a bit.

Ruuaarr is a member of our guild, and is known mostly for playing his Hunter.

I’ve played with Ruuaarr in raids like Naxxramas, in 5 man runs, and more recently in our takedown of Onyxia.

He’s always provided some serious DPS, and can be counted on to play attentively and with great skill.

That being said, he’s a bit of an oddity in our rather laid back social guild.

You see, Ruuaarr’s first love is not for PvE content in groups.

Nope, Ruuaarr is, instead, a devoted afficianado of PvP.

Any time of the day or night, you could expect to see Ruu in Wintergrasp or one of the other Battlegrounds, presumably pwning face.

Because of my PvE background, the world of PvP for me is a bit like a closed book. Talking about it, aside from telling stories about this really bitchin’ Alterac Valley I did on my Druid back in Burning Crusade whilst grinding towards some epic shoulders, consists of “PvP, huh? So… fun, then?”

The conversation started when Ruuaarr dropped his third Fish Feast for the group, after a ‘I died and ran in and died and ran in but the bastards are dead so screw it’ encounter.

I commented that I really needed to get to farming some fish to give to him, since he was being so very generous with dropping the Fish Feasts for the group.

Ruuaarr replied that he didn’t mind, he had plenty of fish. All the fish he could ever want.

He got them while fishing for Rogues to gank in Wintergrasp.

Well, there’s a story just begging to be told there, so I had to learn more.

“What I do”, Ruuaarr said, “Is go fishing in Wintergrasp, and I’m the bait. Rogues can’t resist trying to kill someone just standing there fishing. So, they stealth in to take me down, and that’s when I destroy them.”

Wait… somehow, this sounds like you’re cheating, and destroying these poor unsuspecting Rogues… but to do it, you have to stand there motionless and fish. Just standing there. And you have to wait for them to come in and make their attack.

“Yes, they come in to gank me, and when they do I kill them. That’s why I’m there. But I get a lot of fish, too.”


That’s awesome. But this leads me to ask… why the vendetta against Rogues?

“Back when I first started playing, my son had been playing for a while and liked PvP. I wanted to try it, and went to join a Battleground. My son warned me, wait until I was 28 or 29, but I didn’t listen. I went in at level 25, and I was killed instantly. There was this Rogue there, and he just stayed and killed me over and over. The match seemed to last forever, and I was killed by this one Rogue 18 or 19 times. I refused to stop resurrecting, and I refused to stop playing, but he spent the entire match doing nothing but waiting for me and then killing me. That was when my war against the Rogues began.”

Well, I can certainly see how that might irritate a person. You must really hate people that corpse camp, after having to deal with something like that so soon in your playing. 

“I don’t hate them, but the way I see it, if you are going to corpse camp someone, you deserve what you get. There was one time, my son was playing and got killed, and the other player corpse camped him, killing him over and over for 15 minutes or more.”

“I logged onto my main, and went and found the player corpse camping him, and killed him.”

“Then I sat on him and corpse camped him back, killing him five or six times.” 

“He logged off, logged onto an Alliance character and asked why I was being an asshat and corpse camping him.”

That would make my day, personally.

It sounds as though you mostly like playing to have the challenge of an evenly matched battle. What are your thoughts on twinking?

“Twinking would work a lot better if they opened the pool of players to be cross game, and not just cross battlegroup. There just aren’t enough players in one battlegroup taking part. I think looking for the most advantage you can is built into the desire to twink… to be able to gank your opponent mercilessly and be overpowered. There are people that enjoy twinking their character to play in the twink only matchups, but if Blizzard wants that to be a success, they need to open the potential pool of players. There just aren’t enough in one battlegroup right now.”

It sounds to me like you don’t look for opportunities to destroy weaker opponents. Do you always play looking for an even match, in level at least?

“There was one time, and I still really feel bad about this. The arena in Stranglethorn Vale, I don’t know if you’ve done it, but it’s a free for all arena. You can kill people of your own faction in it too.”

“I was in there once, and there was a big fight moving all around, and I was taking on any target I saw, and I saw out of the corner of my eye someone enter the arena area and become flagged, and I took him down instantly. It turned out to be a level 31 or so of our own faction. I still feel really bad about that, I normally look to see what level someone is first, but in the arena I saw someone flag and just turned and took him down.”

Ruuaarr… thank you very much for giving me this look into the life of a PvP player, that truly does not fit in with any of the stereotypes I see all the time.

It was really refreshing to talk to someone that loves the PvP game, someone that really lives for the hunt and the hair trigger tension.

I hope that your story will help a few other folks remember that PvP isn’t all about corpse camping or ganking lowbies. A lot of very mature people love it too.

They just don’t get all the publicity. And maybe they should.

The cat is OUT of the bag!

Let the games begin!

Allow me to unveil the secret project…

A brand new podcast!

By all means, hurry on over to our new website, and bask in the glory that is;

Sidhe Devils Gone Wild!

Let me tell you exactly what this is.

This is Bre, Big Bear Butt, Ratshag and Lady Jess complete and unedited, in the pure spirit of that classic 70’s porn.

What is our podcast about? Nothing whatsoever, anything you can imagine, and more than we should ever share.

This is  a podcast that is WoW, unscripted. Four people chatting about whatever comes to mind, all messy and blotchy and without airbrushed touchup.

Did I mention the cheesy 70’s porn vibe? Just checking.

We have a vision for our podcast, a mission statement if you will.

“This is a World of Warcraft podcast that makes whelpling farming go a little smoother, and fishing seem less of a chore.”

An alternate tagline would be, “If you’re going to waste an hour fishing, why not listen to our podcast?”

I truly hope you enjoy this as much as we did.

This… this is a mugging of all things professional.

Just think Seinfeld; the podcast.

If people are pissed at how I’ve treated Blood Elf ladies, wait until they get a load of our Night Elf lady logo!

Raid jump down go boom!

So, last night was rare white elk day, we actually had a scheduled raid.

It was a notable raid for many wonderful reasons.

First, the entire raid was tanked by two people; Suxtobundr, feral Druid… and by Lady Jess’ Paladin tank!

We did Obsidian Sanctum, Abomination wing of Naxx, and then Vault of Archavon…. and you know it’s gonna be a fun night when one of your tanks gets the “Emblem of Heroism” Achievement on the first drake kill in OS.

Grats, Jess! 🙂

Second was that the entire raid was healed entirely by Druids. Three trees leafing around in the backfield; Jardal, Faydre and Windshadow.

As Lady Jess said at the time, “I never would have imagined a year ago that someday I’d be in Bears’ guild, and I’d be tanking a raid while he healed it.”

Third, Elystia was back!

I’ve missed her terribly, it’s like having your sister move away. Ely and her hubby Cal have been moving to an entirely new home in Canada, and it’s been a long, hard time for them, living rough while renovations have been done. People move all the time, it’s true, and packing and moving and unpacking sucks… but let’s please have a moment’s quiet consideration for poor Ely and Cal, who had to live with Ely’s neo-luddite mother-in-law the whole time, a lady who thinks high technology is using a phone with buttons instead of a round dial. A wonderful woman by all accounts, but she just doesn’t understand that a person has needs… the kind of needs that only high speed internet can satisfy. She’s had no internet for months!

I’d crack. I’m not even remotely joking. I know I would, because in Pennsylvania when staying at a home that barely had electricity, I roamed the neighborhood looking for unsecured wireless networks to ninja, and spent time at the Public Library every day checking mail.

Oh yeah, it was also a notable raid in that we had the most disturbing vent conversation ever. We were recovering from a trash wipe (those pricks after Gluth, the ones with the knockback from heck, they suck when you’re not prepared to handle two of them at once and aren’t all the way in the room for the first knockback) and Penny Arcade’s latest post prompted a discussion that started with their list of phrases that aren’t dirty yet, but that they anticipate WILL be soon… and from there went on to discuss what a Dirty Sanchez is (and people ignored my advice to NOT look it up on the internet, did it anyway, and went eww… why do people not listen?) and then went all the way to discussing the aesthetic merits of Two Girls One Cup.

Warning; I swear to god, I will banhammer anyone in the comments that graphically describes, or links to, Two Girls One Cup. You’ve been warned. Just drop it. And no, if you don’t know what it is, you DO NOT, DO NOT want to look it up on Youtube.

No, really. Please. Just let it drop. Knowing what it is does not ‘enhance your cool’. In fact, I think I lost a gazillion cool points by knowing what it was… I blame listening to the hip hop radio morning show crew on the way to work. They talk about it on KDWB’s Dave Ryan Show all the time.

Who would have thought I’d end up regretting the day I stopped listening to political talk radio. At least Rush Limbaugh never talked about, or described, Two Girls One Cup.

Okay, anyway, moving past that (shudder)… we did not actually describe what it is, but just the thought of doing so was enough to send terror running freely, carrying scissors handle first, down the halls of vent. People typing in [sticks fingers in ears] lalalalalala and all the rest of it.

As far as the raid goes, I think we had a mostly wonderful time. We had some learning curves, which I think is understandable, but it was all learning the fights, we didn’t really have any gear check issues at any time.

You know when you’re fighting something, and you’re having trouble… you can feel the difference between struggling to win based on being undergeared, or struggling based on coordination and understanding of what to do. You might not be able to pin down who ain’t on the program, or exactly what is missing, but you know there was something that just wasn’t right.

As an example, our first shot at Grobbulus was pretty close, just a few slime add issues and a few bad Mutated Injection blooms… and our second attempt was pure running around like chickens with our heads cut off, blind panic.

You just step back and ask yourself, wtf did we do dere?

And then the third shot goes so smooth it’s damn near a record downing with nobody even mussed up.

That’s not gear, that’s poorly described fights and folks that are seeing things for the first time or working together for the first time. Whoops!

Another example is when we did Patchwerk, a fight that is generally a tank and healer gear check.

You might think, with Lady Jess main tanking Patchwerk, and having just earned her first Emblem of Heroism, that there were issues.

Nah. She was just fine. Neither tank ever went below 75% health for more than a millisecond.

Like I said, we had some fun, we fought our way in, had some interruptions but generally closed escrow.

And then we faced Thaddius. Ah, Thaddius.

I love that fight.

I also loved seeing Jess get tossed across the room over and over. That’s hilarious.

Anyway, I calmly described the entire fight, I walked through what we do for the two mini-bosses, the tossing, the threat pause after a toss, the keeping close to lightning generators, the 3 seconds you have after the mini-bosses die to jump off the back ledge and for the tank to engage the boss, the positions to stand for polarity shifts with Negative to the edge of the ledge in front of him, Positive to the vat behind him, running 10 yards apart counterclockwise around Thaddius like moons orbiting a planet to keep seperation, etc etc.

I was pretty pleased with myself. I think I covered it very well, and I felt the group exuding confidence.

We split into teams, and it was smooth as Babs.

Both bosses were DPSed at a nice, balanced rate, they died together, we gathered and jumped, Sux aggroed as the main tank perfectly on schedule, and I cat dashed to be right on his butt for insta-healing. Everyone hit the ledge, we were just nailing every phase. I felt so proud.

As Sux grabbed aggro and I dropped my first HoTs, Thaddius began casting Polarity Shift, and I prepared the raid for it, calling my reminder out over vent, “Polarity Shift in two seconds, Positive to the front, Negative to the rear, get ready!”


Oh, hell yes I did.

Some folks did what I told them to do during our preparation, and some folks did what I told them to do on vent at the time.

Raid go boom!

What’s funny is, I knew we were doomed as over half the raid went down, but I started the chain Battle Rezzes anyway. After all, you never know.

Well, yes, yes I did.

I, the Big Bear Butt, wiped the raid. And when I say wiped, I mean I am the annihilator, baby. Total and complete destruction.

I’d like to blame Cassie for standing over my shoulder distracting me… but she really had nothing whatsoever to do with it. The fact is, I simply let my mouth run on automatic pilot while my concentration was on positioning, wathcing main tank aggro and position, my position, who was alive and who made the jump, and all the other raid leader crap. Oh yeah, and casting heals.

My mouth apparently thinks we like to put the Positive charges on the edge. Who knew?

Brain was not involved at that moment in any way.

In fact, it took me a second or two for what I actually said to filter up into my brain, sink in, and kinda knock around for a moment, saying “Um, excuse me… you might want to run the instant replay on that one chief, I think there’s a flag on the play.”

On the plus side (sorry, sorry, can’t help it) we kicked his ass the second attempt… and then trashed Archavon and Lady Jess got to be lunged, grabbed and have her dwarf tanking butt tossed across the room. One of those moments that just make you glad you’re a tank.

So, a good time was had by all… I hope it was, anyway. I know I never mind the occasional wipe, I find the moments rather endearing.

If stuff is too damn easy, where’s the sense of accomplishment? The struggle makes victory taste all the sweeter.

Good job, everyone! It was a (ahem) blast!

Enthusiasm: It's what keeps me going!

You know, there’s always something going on somewhere to talk about. Whether you folks think it’s relevant to what you expect here or not, well, that’s another story.:)

Last night, the Druid Q&A by Ghostcrawler and the Blizzard Community Team went live, and I read it, chuckled a bit, and hit Lady Jess with the high points I knew she would enjoy. Sure enough, I sent her into a Jessrage. All in good fun, of course.

Thing is, there’s a lot of nice discussion about the past, current and future overarching direction of the Druid class, but it was short on specifics I really felt needed to be discussed, at least from a Feral point of view. There was some confirmation that Feral tree split spec for either optimized Cat or Bear is working as intended, there was the surprising idea that they would consider changing things so that we would have to shift frequently, apparently because they want to see us wearing the artwork of the gear they designed (note: I stay in forms because I chose the Druid FOR it’s forms… me choosing to be in a Bear form all the time should be, in my opinion, considered a class design WIN, not a freaking problem. FWIW, anyway.).

But, there was nothing in the Q&A I was all that enthusiastic about talking about. I came up with what I thought would be a cute name for a post about it, “QQ&A”, but there wasn’t even anything I was particularly enthusiastic about crying over.

See, I already had two plans for blog posts for this week, and that’s not even counting the PBeM story post I’m still in the middle of, that is with Lauchlin, but that I scrapped because in my humble opinion it drifted into ‘teh suck’.

I’m enthusiastic about writing these other things, and not the Druid Q&A. So, I’m not gonna talk about it.

It’s not that I’m not enthusiastic about Druids. Far from it, I have literally done nothing BUT play my Druid with delight for weeks now, both Tank and Heals.

What brings me back blogging time after time? I’m still enthusisatic about what I do. There’s always something new, and I go bounce/bounce/bounce my Big Bear Butt off doing it. It ain’t never boring. If things seem quiet, well hey, bring your own fun!

Here’s a few examples of the things we’ve done lately, things that I’ve been having fun with.

I like soloing things as a Bear, but it’s too easy doing old world stuff. So, the thought occured to me, I’ve got this level 80 Hunter that is all decked out for raiding as a BM with a Spirit Kitty… why not Dual Spec my Hunter… as another Beastmaster? TWO Beastmaster specs? I can have my second spec be strictly designed to maximize pet survivability and damage, and I could take my Bear pet (named “Clawsome”), and I could go have fun soloing Attumen, a mount soloing spec-and-pet system.

Basically, I could be a Bear tank two ways. 🙂 Maybe even see if my guild is crazy enough to let me do a Heroic with my Bear pet tanking. Sigh. It’s just… something that sounds fun, and gets my enthusiasm for new things going, ya know? So yeah, I got the Dual Spec and pet and all, haven’t had a chance to go take down Attumen. Why? Because while on the way, literally, to Karazhan, landing in Duskwood, Ratshag and his lovely and talented fiancé Shianti wanted me to come do Heroic Violet Hold.

I do so… and then have to go to bed. And later that same night, I’m told, Shianti liked my idea of doing Karazhan SO MUCH that she wanted to go try Attumen right away that night… and the damn Attumen mount dropped, and she got it.

That would have been MY instance of Karazhan… so by rights, that’s my mount drop she got. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. It was all an evil plot by Ratters, I’m sure.

Okay, another example.

I’ve been doing Argent Tournament dailies every day, to build up seals and work towards Crusader so when the 3.2 changes hit and Heirloom chestpieces are available, I can just pick one up immediately. As of last night, I’m done with Darnassus and Exodar.

Well, I’m banging around doing Threat with Jardal and Kaelynn, and Barre asks in Guild chat if anyone has the Molton Core zone drop enchant, Enchant Weapon – Spell Power.

It’s a rare drop in Molten Core, a weapon enchant that does +30 Spell Power and that can be applied to level 1 weapons… like Heirloom weapons.

Nobody does, and someone mentions Jess spent two days in Trade channel before she found someone that could do it.

Well, heck, right? I ask Jardal and Kaelynn if either has an enchanter. Jardal does, a level 62 Prot specced Paladin.

So I ask him if he’d like to bang around in Molten Core, like right after dailies, see if the enchant drops? Sure, sure.

So Jardal, Kaelynn and her 80 Rogue, my Druid tank and a few guildies all head into Molten Core on the spur of the moment of a Monday night, just for the heck of it.

We ended up doing a 100% full clear that night, just because it was so easy with level 80 tank, healer and 3 to 4 DPS to keep going.

And guess what?

Sure as hell, the Enchant Weapon – Spell Power does, in fact, drop. Thing has, according to WoWhead, a 1% drop chance on only a few bosses… and even if Blizzard upped it’s drop chance recently, it’s not BoP anymore, so it is farmable, and it’s still pretty rare. And now we have someone in guild that can do it. 🙂

Sometimes, it’s a good idea to remind yourself, the game is truly great, but shouldn’t be expected to always have to come up with new content, and work to keep your bored short attention span mind all engaged.

Sometimes, it’s nice to remember, you can take the initiative to look for things that sounds fun yourself, and then go out and do them

If you think about WoW, and you can literally find nothing about the game that you feel enthusiastic about, then it’s not really the game’s fault in my opinion. Maybe it’s time for you to go find something you ARE enthusiastic about and do it! Take a break, you know?

Fantasy Football Leagues are about set to kick off here in the States, Summer is here and there’s lots of stuff to do out of the house, there are great books and movies out there, concerts, whatever. Go out, go bowling, dance at a club, have fun. Get enthusiastic with life.

I still find WoW keeps me coming back, having fun and talking about it.

I guess I’m just getting pickier about what I write about, though.

Druid Q&A? I’ll let handle the dissection if that’s all right with you folks.

History and tradition fulfilled

In July of 2006, a guild was formed by myself and a handful of good friends.

At the time, the reason most guilds came into being was for the purpose of joining large groups of folks together to tackle raids that required 40 active, prepared, well geared players.

The game was serious business. End game raiding was also serious business. And the end game raiding guilds were by far the most serious business of all. Getting 40 players that could all actually show up consistently to a raid, let alone play worth a damn, was a challenge that cracked many a prospective GL’s mind like a soft boiled eggshell.

When Sidhe Devils was formed, we were just a few crazy, casual players, friends that enjoyed playing the game and hanging out.

But we had a dream. A shared dream that we brought into the game, and that never truly went away.

We dreamed of a day when the Sidhe Devils, a guild of nothing but female Night Elves, would march into the hardest end game raiding content then in all the land, and dance and cavort and smash and bully our way deep inside… our pet bunnies proudly at our sides.

An army of players with bunny pets, having fun, and still seeing and downing some serious shit.

It was my dream, but it was also the dream of my good friend Manny, who played at the time and founded the guild with me, but left not long after, due to being bored and, frankly, being too cheap to continue paying a monthly fee. God bless him, he reminds me that there are people that still have something resembling priorities. I don’t understand them, but they’re out there. 🙂

We never really thought it would happen, but the thought of all those players having fun and being able to smile at themselves and be loose enough to play World of Warcraft (dun dun dun!) with something as silly as bunny pets by their sides brought a big smile to both our faces.

Early on, the self-imposed requirement that all players be female Night Elves died a tragic death. Well, maybe not that tragic. But the bunnies… we still gots us da bunnies. 🙂

It took us a long time, Manny, three years to be exact, but in July of 2009, the players of Sidhe Devils made that dream a reality.


P.S. We might have overdid it on the bunnies!



Nefarion, master and ultimate lord of the 40 person original WoW raid Blackwing Lair, cold and dead at the feet (or paws) of the Sidhe Devils!

And a good time was had by all. 🙂

My thanks to all the members in good standing of Sidhe Devils, past and present, for making this incredible, historical moment possible. You folks rock!

What do you do when your casual guild is too big?

Glass half full, glass half empty?


Glass is too damn full!

Okay, joking aside, here is a serious question.

What DO you do when your guild has more active, friendly people eager to do stuff than you have raid or event space for?

Yeah, yeah, I know. Boo hoo. Yuck it up, sunshine.

The fact is, there are two sweet spots for a guild.

One is when you have just the right number of people to field a strong ten person team, plus a few extra folks.

That lets you consistently have enough folks to go on ten person runs, without having to have the same people present every single time for it to work, which leads directly to burnout. If you have two or three more people that want to and are able to raid than you have spots for, generally you’ll have at least some folks that would like to not go on any given night, and they get to do their own thing in the real world without canceling the raid.

The second sweet spot is when you have enough active, eager folks to fill out one 25 person team, or two ten person teams, plus a few more folks again so not everyone has to show up every single time to ensure the run kicks off.

Great. So 13 to 14 eager people, or 28 to 30 eager people.

What do you do when you’ve consistently got 16 to 18?

It seems to me there are several ways a guild could go, and some of them would lead to massive burnout, and others would probably lead to boredom.

First, of course, is simply leaving the folks not on a run to go wild with independant action, trusting that personal initiative will bring them together if they want to do something. Clearly, if they all signed up for a run, they all wanted to do something… and presumably it wasn’t just for raid loot.

Yeah, right.

Anyway, they can go do whatever 5 person instance they want, get their alt on, what have you.

Same as any other night. It’s fine, but theres no special ‘zing’ to it.

Next, of course, is the simple “One 10 person raid team, one multiple person retro team” method.

Once you’ve got your ten person run filled out, if you’ve got that many folks online not going, they could form up together and do something that can take more than five people, but doesn’t require a strongly balanced ten person team.

Something like Zul’Aman, or Kara, or even Molten Core. They wouldn’t be getting the big time raid loot, but they’d still be taking part in something larger than normal, and getting Achievements if they had not done those raids before, seeing something that you don’t normally see on a regular old night. Heck, there might even be the potential for profession recipe drops or mounts.

Third is trying to get a second full ten person run up, pugging in friends to fill out the group.

I’ve said before how our guild doesn’t do that, but if you’ve got enough people that really want to get their raid on, and have enough friends or are willing to risk pugged people, filling out the last spots and giving it a try can be very rewarding… and of course if you are really lucky, might earn you some new friends to run with consistently.

Sure, you could meet new people, find new friends, grow your guild… and come closer to your full 25 person raid if that’s your goal.

But to have a second 10 person run, you also need a second raid leader to get it going and keep the focus, run DKP if you use it, all that kind of thing.

Fourth, is to have two ten person runs scheduled… but not overlapping. A lot of people have multiple characters they could play in a ten person run. It is possible to have two distinct 10 person runs in a week, with no two characters in both teams, but the same player behind some of them.

God, what a prescription for massive burnout that would be!

And finally, fifth seems to me to be the most likely thing folks probably do… take everyone that signs up, form what you can of a 25 person raid, and then pug the rest or pull from friends lists, in the hopes of evaluating these pugged people, recruiting from them more people to join and build your guild to eventually do 25 person raids without any pugged people. Getting your planned 25 peson raid going, accepting long delays in start time once you know how many openings you will end up with and how many people you will need to recruit in from LFG.

I have seen guilds do that, been one of the people pugged in sometimes before, and can tell you firsthand that this is a good way to build frustration, since sometimes you get folks undergeared, unskilled, there are multiple time delays, people bail when they feel things aren’t going they way they like… and your guildies are the ones that have to accept this as the price of getting the raid on.

And if you think that some of your guildies aren’t nursing resentments over it, you’re crazy.

It works, and certainly gains you experience in the fights, 25 person raid loot for gearing up, the whole thing… but if you spend too long doing this without growing your guild to do it in house and have more control over time and skill and the personalities involved, it’s a prescription for guild stress and drama down the road.

I know that for the Sidhe Devils, as our numbers grow and we consistently have more signups than positions, I am growing concerned that we need a solution to this before it becomes a problem.

After all, we’re not going to be doing 25 person runs.

We could see if there was interest in maybe having two nights for a Naxx team, and then one night for Obsidian Sanctum and Vault of Archavon, with the intention being to have folks that can’t go on one getting assured a spot in the other team. That would have the virtue of bringing level appropriate loot into the mix.

In fact, skipping Vault of Archavon and having the Obsidian Sanctum run be intentionally focused on clearing with one drake up might make the challenge exciting enough to be equivalent to Naxx in fun, if not duration.

It’s an interesting situation, though.

The purpose of scheduling events, I think, is to stay fun and vital and be a place where you have the opportunity to do things that you could never do alone, and do those things with friends. But also to provide enough activities thqat everyone has a chance to take part and nobody ends up feeling left out.

Charlie Brown is a sweet kid, but nobody should feel like the outsider that got a rock in his halloween loot sack.

To chase that purpose, things need to be mixed up sometimes, new stuff, different stuff, swirl it all around and have a gumbo.

But there shouldn’t be SO much stuff going on that people either get burnt out doing it all and having no personal time, or you have such a busy schedule that everybody is signing up for something, but no one thing has enough signups to get it done, leading to disappointment.

I’ve said what my thoughts are. I’m leaning personally to having a second raid in the week where people who aren’t on one team can be on the other.

I know that a lot of guilds are in this fix. What are your solutions? How do you keep folks having fun, without leaving people out?

How do you make sure no player is left behind?

Answering your questions about raiding rules as a casual guild

This post is in response to quite a few emails I’ve had lately asking how we balance being a casual guild and still organize successful raids without drama.

I’m sorry for not replying in detail to each e-mail. It’s your fault anyway, if you insist on asking very good, detailed questions, you risk not getting a reply because it’d take two bloody hours to give you a useful answer.

First, right off the bat. You canna change tha laws of physics, laddie. Whoop, sorry, the day, it is affecting me. I mean, you cannot eliminate drama. Please get the thought out of your head. If there are a group of varied folks, there will be different personalities, and I have never seen a roomful of people where everyone gets along without friction.

The very best you can hope for is that everyone present for a raid equally values the friendship they have with the other people in your guild on the run, and actively restrain their own prickly tendencies.

Which brings me to Sidhe Devils Raiding Rule #2; Never, ever, ever bring in a pugged person just to fill out a raid.

If you have good friends, friends of your guild, that might be in other guilds on the server that you want to ask to come along, that’s fine, but don’t pug some stranger in if what you intend to do is have a fun run. Once you bring people in just to fill out the raid, what you’re saying is, “Completing the run is our first priority. We’re looking for a body that has gear and can fill a position – what kind of person you are is secondary”. Armory gear checks, etc.

If that IS your first priority, well, that’s cool. As far as I’m aware, that’s the norm in most guilds; the ability to accomplish the mission (and show up reliably)  is of paramount importance, not whether you can “play nice with others”.

That’s all well and good, but the emails I get ask about Sidhe Devils specifically, so I’m telling you our philosophy. Having fun with friends is our first priority. If we end up one short to fill a raid, and none of us have good, known friends online that can come join us, we won’t go.

We have had folks leave the guild because they wanted the raiding first and foremost, tried to push the progression a little faster than we were going, got frustrated and left. While I always miss folks that leave, I’m glad when someone is able to clearly see what they want for themselves in their play time, and make a decision to go get it, rather than stay and be unhappy.

The important thing as a guild leader or officer is that you maintain the standards and direction that you feel best supports the kind of guild you’re trying to run. Be open to the interests and desires of the majority, and be flexible in changing to best suit the majority of your active players… but don’t go rushing off to change everything just because one person is grumpy. Find out of their concerns are shared by others first.

And that leads us directly into the next part, communicating with the guildies to try and decide how many active nights you want a week, and figuring out when to schedule them.

Don’t try and do this in a vacuum. Sidhe Devils Raiding Rule #3 is, ask the people in your guild what they want to do, when they want to do stuff, and then schedule things for when the majority say they’d be available.  Communication, baby!

When we ran a couple of polls to narrow down recurring raid schedules, we had two polls; one for which weekend evening we wanted to raid and the time, and one for which weeknight we wanted to raid, and the time.

We chose the nights that most people said they’d like to do, and then within that night picked the time that most people said they’d prefer. Hopefully, even if not everyone wanted 8 PM on Thursday, all the people who chose Thursday as their preference are happy, even if the raid starts an hour later than some of them would have preferred.

When it comes time for the raid itself, I’ve heard a lot of different suggestions for how to rush through things so there is more bang bang, less jabber jabber on a raid. I appreciated all the advice, but we don’t follow through on part of it, and likely won’t in the near future.

When we do our loot, we do the Master Looter, and we do talk about it at the time rather than using an impersonal roll and silence.

For Sidhe Devils, the personal interaction with other people isn’t a drain on our time that we resent because it prevents us from killing bosses. The personal interaction is the whole point. Otherwise, might as well pug 25 man raids and go for the better loot. Why bother with the 10 man stuff?

Oh, right, because we’re playing with friends and having fun. We tried the 25 man raid thing, working with other guilds, very good guilds… and the majority opinion was, it was successful, the loot was certainly there to be had… but it wasn’t fun.

We do take the time to chat about what loot dropped, and find out who wants what. It’s a crying shame if something ends up getting disenchanted that could have been used by someone in their off spec.

We also try to get loot distributed around so everyone has a chance, as much as possible, to get some shinies on a run.

As people get geared up, there are fewer things they’re going to want on each run. Some people who are experienced raiders will only be looking for one or two items, if that, while the newer player in the raid may be wearing all epic crafted, rep rewards and Emblem gear, and a single run can turn into a Monty Haul lootfest for them. It happens, no worries.

What we prefer is having as many people as possible walk away from a raid night with shiny pretty purples to wear. 

If a Tier piece drops, that’s some serious shit, and everyone that wants the item can and should roll on it, regardless of whatever else they got… but if anything else on the run has dropped and they rolled and won it, then the next time something drops they should let all others that haven’t won anything yet roll for it first… so that someone else gets a shot at a shiny too.

If nobody else that has gone without a drop wants to roll, then sure, the folks that have won an item already all roll on it. But every time loot drops that ain’t Tier, the first roll should go to folks that haven’t won anything yet on that run.

Let’s look at a single two quarter Naxx night. Say, Plague and Construct wings. You’ve got 3 bosses in Plague, 4 bosses in Construct. Each drops 2 items, minus 2 for Tier. So you’ve got 2 Tier items anyone can roll on… and 12 other items up for grabs. With 10 people in a raid, and the way loot seems to drop so you get 4 plate items drop in a row (all caster plate, of course), chances are very high that no matter what you do, folks are going home at the end of a successful run without any drops.

So we try to spread the love.

One thing Cassie and I have been intending to do as our next step, but haven’t yet, is to basically get a thread started in our guild forums for folks to, for want of a better phrase, “call dibs”.

Our thinking is, for those people that have been running Naxx for a while, there really might be literally only one or two items that person wants, and nothing else, Tier or otherwise. If that is the case, then letting the guild know that the only thing at this point they are hoping to see from Naxx is X loot, it would certainly help us to send the loot their way.

Heck, it might even be a way for us to have the newer player scheduled and going on the run, getting lots of chances at loot all night long… and just swapping with the better geared player for a shot at that one item before swapping back out.

Putting up a list of more than 2 items, in my opinion, wouldn’t work, since there ain’t THAT much stuff in Naxx for multiple people. And some of the stuff, like Rings, a whole bunch of folks would all possibly want. 

But if someone were going on raids for fun, was passing on loot endlessly, and just really hoped to someday see that one piece of elusive loot… well hell, tell us and if and when it drops, we can all be excited for you!

That kind of thing only works in a guild like ours, where we’re playing with friends for fun, and we know there is always next week for another shot.

So Sidhe Devils Raiding Rule #4 is, loot is awesome, but play for fun, and when loot drops, be equally excited if someone else gets something you know they really wanted.

There is one last thing. It’s the hardest part of all, really, but it all keeps coming back to who you are playing with in the first place.

I get asked how you can ensure that the people that sign up for a raid show up, on time, repaired, with consumables and ready to rock. What punishments and incentives do you use?

The answer is, you do that by only playing with folks that are mature and respect each other enough to not want to let other people down by showing up unprepared, or by being late without advance warning.

If you have folks that consistently show up late, are unprepared, or don’t show up at all… they might as well be people you brought in to pug an empty spot.

They may be nice enough, but it really comes down to wondering why they are in the guild, let alone going on your runs. Because the other people in the guild clearly don’t matter enough to them to put forth an effort.

Any amount of punishment or incentive is just going to be your effort to try and force them to care, by appealing to their selfish self interest.

I don’t bother. If someone doesn’t show that level of consideration towards other guildies, then why should they be in the guild in the first place?

So Sidhe Devils Raiding Rule #1 is, if you have mature, considerate people in your guild, then you’ll have mature, considerate people in your raids.

Mature adults don’t need mommy or daddy policing their behavior, they police themselves. Maybe what they say or do might be taken in a way that someone else thinks was rude… but mature people are generally not intending to hurt other people’s feelings on purpose, and if told about the problem, will try and correct it themselves. If they can’t, or if they are really just that over the top… then that’s just the way it is.

When you find yourself trying to figure out how to punish ongoing behavior that you don’t approve of… in my opinion, you’ve gone too far. 

My two cents as a co-Guild Leader – It comes down to expecting mature behavior from others in the guild, and setting your expectations at that level. 

If someone is simply unable to meet those expectations, even after you discuss the situation with them… that’s not your fault. You are not responsible for the behavior of others, all you can be responsible for is how long you allow that behavior to continue to affect other people in the guild.

I tend to let it go on for perhaps longer than I should, personally, in the hopes that it’s just temporary stress causing a friend to be uncharacteristically short or snappish. The last thing someone needs when they’re under a lot of stress is someone telling them they have been kind of rude lately.

But if you have people in the guild who seem to be a disruptive influence, it doesn’t change, and you keep trying to find ways to excuse their behavior, to “bring them around”… make sure you’re doing it because you like them and want to keep playing with them, and not just so you’ve got one more body to fill a raid spot. 

A last, parting thought.

Don’t be overly concerned with growing the size of your guild.

If you just want to raid, and you’re a mature, considerate player that studies your class, plans your gear, works on your rotations and efficiency, shows up on time, repaired and with consumables, and your guild ain’t like that… go find a good raiding guild to join. There are lots of them, and most of them will accept a well written application.

If you want to form a guild that is made of nothing BUT mature, considerate players that study their class, plan their gear, work on their rotations and efficiency, and show up on time, repaired and with consumables… well, then you’ve got to set those standards and be satisfied when all you’ve got are four friends and a dream.

We aren’t at that level, ourselves. That kind of guild is what Matticus has going with his powerful new guild. (I say new, they’ve been around for quite a while at this point, haven’t they.)

The Sidhe Devils is not a raiding guild. We didn’t form up and recruit so that we could raid. We are all about mature folks that are considerate of others and want to have fun doing whatever… and we raid too, sometimes.

Since the guildies are all nice, mature, considerate folks (most of the time), we luckily have fun raids where folks all show up on time ready to go. We don’t have any rules in place to try and force that to happen. It just does.

Not exactly the road map for success I know you folks were looking for. There is no magic bullet I know of on having a successful casual guild that raids.

My suggestions for officers is to read the Officers Quarters posts on WoW Insider each week, and to read World of Matticus, and learn from some of the excellent discussions they generally have about guild issues. They are much more professional about thinking about raiding, and how to get it done.

Still, even though I may be the opposite of helpful, I hope that at the very least I’ve given you some food for thought, or (more likely) something to vigorously object to over lunch.

Take care, and have fun! That’s an order, damnit!

A Bears eye view to gaming etiquette

I think writing a guide about gaming etiquette in general would be fun to do, but I bet some folks wouldn’t get the tongue in cheek aspect of doing it.

The thing is, the game we play is both social AND competitive, and you don’t have to do both to enjoy the game.

You can, like myself, play the game purely for the social enjoyment of playing with friends as a cooperative team, choosing as our adversaries the NPCs controlled by the software AI. Our enjoyment comes from the satisfaction of playing together well and having fun as friends. Of tackling difficult challenges and beating them as a team. Even when playing solo, most of our fun comes from exploring, adventuring, and trying new challenges alone.

At the other end of the spectrum, you can choose to play against human opponents in PvP arenas, duels, world PvP battles, and battlegrounds, fighting to prove who is the best. You can work and dedicate yourself to being a fantastic player in one on one or large group wars waged against other living, breathing, scheming opponents that want to be just as tricky or evil as you.

And of course, you can enjoy the game in any of a million shades in-between.

So etiquette, a series of rules for what is or is not appropriate behavior in the game, is pretty much impossible to seriously tackle in my opinion.

One person’s idea of what the game is all about may be to have fun and play with other people in a friendly environment. Mature conversation, people helping each other, and in general a cooperative mutually supportive society. A group where everyone wants each other to win together, and enjoy success together.

Another person’s idea of what the game is about may be to prove that they are superior to you by beating you in some measurable way. Victory could be measured as completing more difficult achievements, winning duels, victory in battlegrounds, higher DPS in raids, more epics, Arena rankings, number of lifetime honorable kills, more gold earned in game, more level 80 characters, the list goes on and on. The point here is, the person is playing the game as a means of competing with, and trying to be better than, other living people… and that is also a totally valid point of view.

No, seriously, it really is a totally valid reason to play. There are official Arena tournament matches, the battlegrounds, the duel system, world PvP… clearly, Blizzard feels that competition amongst players against each other is a vital, essential part of the game.

Now, for the most part I feel that everyone should reasonably be expected to act in a polite and considerate fashion to other players. I’m not naive enough to expect that to ever happen, but hope springs eternal.  

But when you take into account the competitive nature of so much of the game, you have to change your expectations of how people will act.

Competition in and of itself is perfectly fine, but here in the States at least, and maybe elsewhere too, there is a lot of stuff that shouldn’t be a part of competition, but is. For some people, winning is inextricably tied into forcing someone else to acknowledge they are a loser. To feel good about themselves, they believe they have to force someone else to feel bad. They want not a victory, but a victim. 

In true competitive sports, you beat yourself into a frenzy to win. Maybe you even demonize your opponent; you don’t want to just beat him, you want to destroy him. But a true sportsman knows he is psyching himself up to unleash a ton of emotional power. At the end of the day, he or she doesn’t actually spit on the other players and want to gut them and eat the entrails. At least, not as a matter of course. At the moment, in the heat of battle, whether they really mean it or not isn’t really going to matter. The exultation over kicking your butt is what’s gonna come through. 

Still and all, I’m afraid I’m gonna my opinion is that level of competitive spirit isn’t appropriate for WoW.

This is a video game, with a player base of all ages, and anyone you meet could be somebody else’s under 12 son or daughter, and treating other people like crap in this environment just isn’t appropriate.

A certain level of competitive spirit isn’t bad at all, among people who share that drive, that zeal, that passion. I’m not saying it’s bad, I think it’s awesome that there is so much for people to be drawn to in the game. I also think that most good raiding guilds are forged of people that have a drive to win, to succeed, to push the limits of themselves and each other and destroy the opposition.

No problem. Kick ass!

Most of that kind of interaction and any behavior surrounding it can be kept in guild, between people who share that desire to win, okay?

What I’m saying is that in a mixed group of strangers, in open General and Trade Chat, in pugged raids, in any group setting where you do not know the people you are playing with… treating other people like shit is wrong. Sneering at someone, mocking them, acting and talking in a way to try and make them feel bad about themselves or their accomplishments is crappy. 

If you are driven to be number one, thats fine. But a real athlete doesn’t pit himself against everyone that comes along and calls it a reasonable fight. You need to find someone else that also thinks they’re number one, and duke it out in order to have a true competition.

If you are number one DPS, and nobody else in the group is striving for that goal, if they’re just trying to each do their part of the team effort… you are working towards a meaningless victory. Maybe on that Maexxna fight you’re so proud of, if that other Hunter had been doing nothing but pounding on the boss instead of cutting webbed people off the wall, he’d of smoked you. Or maybe not. He wasn’t trying, so who knows?

But he cut people off the wall, they got back into the fight fast, the group as a whole worked together, and the boss died. You had number one DPS on the boss. Grats… but you were competing in the wrong race, and some of the others are likely to be wondering whats up when you post your Damage Meters and start gloating over your score while they are all basking in the success of the group.

Compete, yes. Just make sure you’re in the same race as the others.

Competition is great. I’m really not trying to put down raiding guilds fighting for server firsts, or PvPers kicking some serious butt. I’m pointing out that putting people down, trying to hurt someone else’s feelings or belittle what they’ve done and how they choose to play the game may be appropriate if that is why you play the game… but only amongst other people you know are playing the game for the same reason as you. And the best way to ensure that is to keep it in guild or between folks on your friends list. 

I started by saying this game has both a social and a competitive side.

For me, specifically, what I enjoy in the game is the social aspect of playing with friends as a team.

Since that’s what I enjoy in the game, it stands to reason that the people I want to play with in the game are those that share my love for the social game, and share my values and sense of what is or is not appropriate behavior.

I’m going to share my beliefs on what is appropriate behavior. That is, appropriate behavior if you play the game NOT as a competition, but as a way of sharing adventures and fun with people you care about.

I invite you to share your own thoughts on this, on what you do think is fine in the game, and what you think isn’t. Maybe share your pet peeve… or the thing you think other people make a big deal of that isn’t anything at all to get worked up over.

Okay, my opinions on what the heck is appropriate.

First, the golden rule that most of us learned in kindergarten. Act towards others as you would like them to act towards you. 

That’s a fine foundation to start from, but to me, that really means; “Act towards others as you believe they would LIKE to be treated, so as not to hurt their feelings or offend them, because you do not want other people to hurt YOUR feelings or offend YOU.”

It’s not quite the same thing. If you like being whipped and beaten and made to play the submissive… do you really think you should treat everyone else as if they do too? Hopefully not, but considering my audience, I’m not placing bets. 🙂

I’ll go a little farther. If you respect someone, if you care how the other person feels, then you should not want to act in a way that you know or believe would hurt them or their feelings.

That works both ways. You don’t want people acting towards you in a way that shows they are intentionally trying to hurt you or damage you. Not because you actually were or were not hurt by them, but because it shows that they don’t care enough about you as a person to make any effort towards behaving with politeness or consideration.

In the game, just as in life, I try to act how I think is appropriate by my own standards and values… and if I encounter people in the game that I feel act in an inconsiderate or hurtful way towards others, I choose not to associate with them again.

I do my best not to swear in public or amongst strangers. Friends and guild members that have gotten a chance to know me, and who know that I would not intentionally offend someone, will inevitably hear swearing in vent, especially if Prince Arthas decides he wants to go charging 150 yards ahead of the group and kill us all… but I don’t talk that way in front of anyone that might misconstrue what I’m saying or how I’m saying it as a personal insult towards anyone. BTW I want to boot Arthas from the group, that freaking noob. 

I try to treat everyone that I meet with courtesy and consideration. That includes joking around. If I don’t know them, and they don’t know me, then there is no way they could be expected to know if what I say, no matter what my intent, is meant as a joke or as a serious comment. Sometimes I’m better at this one than others.

I try and share or offer my help if I see a situation where someone else might need a hand. The nature of the game that I enjoy is to be social and friendly, and share fun times. If it looks like someone needs help, AND if I have the time at the moment, then it’s the right thing to do to offer to help. Maybe they are attempting to overcome impossible odds and don’t want help. That’s fine. But if they are trying hard to do something, and encountering serious difficulty… then why not lend a hand?

I try not to discriminate towards others based on gear, class, or level where the content makes it possible. If I’m doing a Heroic, I’ll have to only go with level 80s, but I won’t pass over a player due to their gear or spec or class. If we have a tank and a healer, and some DPS, then we’re good to give something a shot. One kinda group may take longer than another to clear an area, and we may even run into a problem we simply can’t get past. But I’m not going to worry about it until we hit that point, and if we do get stuck… sure it can be disappointing, but all I personally really care about is that we try our best and we work together and have fun.

Sometimes I will, as a guild leader and raid leader, set minimum standards for something like a ten man raid, say a minimum Spellpower or DPS. When I do that, it’s never to put roadblocks up, but instead to try and give people a goal to aim for when preparing themselves. I can’t remember the last time I actually told someone they weren’t okay to give a raid a shot… it’s just good to have an idea of what to aim for. I try hard to encourage people in the guild to work hard on their own gear before they run a raid… because it does show that they care about trying to do the best they can as part of the group, and show respect and consideration for all the other folks that have worked hard to be the best they could be. But in the end, I mostly drag undergeared folks into raids who are afraid they aren’t geared up enough first. I almost never have to tell someone they’re not ready yet.   

I do not judge others based on Damage Meters. Damage Meters are fine tools, but very few people seem to understand how to use them. You can set them to show many different things, such as the overall total damage done on a raid. That’s great, except that the information is always presented as a comparison to others on the run. Well, if you are looking at overall damage done… those that do AoE damage on large groups of trash mobs will make a much higher showing than someone that specializes in single target sustained DPS. You need to take that into account. You can also show damage done for a particular boss kill, just one fight on one target… but then that doesn’t take into account the DPS that were dividing their time killing trash spawns to keep them off the healers while the rest of the raid was fighting the boss. Damage Meters are subjective tools that need to be understood properly to provide a benefit, and really do little for me when I’m raid leading. I do not judge based on them. Instead, I try and pay attention to the flow of the game, who is doing what, and whether or not what needs to be done IS getting done, and how smoothly. I don’t rely on a Damage Meter to tell me how other people are playing their character.

I do not judge others based on arbitrary stats such as Spell Power, Crit Rating, Stamina, Attack Power, or hair color of toon. To me, it’s not the stats or the numbers, but how well you play with what you have, and how much fun you are to play with.
And finally, when I say that I will be somewhere to help someone do something or be part of  a raid, I always try to be earlier than the scheduled time. When you’ve got a bunch of people all getting together, I am well aware that some of those folks have families, children, pets, work, hobbies, commitments… and they have to put these things on hold for a little while, take time out of their lives, all to be there together for fun. To be late, to make them all wait and wait… it is to me the ultimate example of being rude. It says you really don’t care about the rest of the group, it’s fine if they wait on you. No worries about what they could have been doing during that time they spent sitting and waiting. I really, really try hard never to leave someone waiting on me.

I do not expect anyone else to share any of my values or act according to my personal standards. People are perfectly free to behave in exactly the way they choose to behave. I’m not a WoW nazi bitching every time someone does something that I don’t approve of.

However, I DO choose to only spend my time in game with people who have shown by their actions that how they treat other people, how they act around other people, is similar to what I’ve described. People that are just… friendly. Polite. Kind and considerate to others. 

That power, the power to choose WHO I spend my time with, IS under my control.

I will say a few words about how the blog fits in here, because it’s come up a few times.

I do not expect anyone to ever change to suit me. Never. If I encounter someone that is, in my personal opinion, rude or doesn’t show consideration for other players as people, then I put them on ignore, and I do not group with them again. Doesn’t exactly hurt anyone, now does it?

Sometimes, if it’s something that I think is a little over the top, I’ll come back here and talk about it.

The reason is not to publicly shame someone into acting a different way, despite what folks might think. I have called people out as an asshat before, but if you think I ever expect anyone to change their behavior from that, you’re crazy. I know nobody really cares what some fool writes on a blog. It’s all cool.

I share stuff here, on my blog, because the only people I am speaking with are people who share in some way my values, understand where I’m coming from with how I see things even if they don’t agree, and are themselves quite likely to be amazed or amused by the things people will do or say to other people in game. 

“But BBB,” I hear you say, “How can you be sure that’s who you’re chatting with?”

It’s simple. If you’re the kind of person that enjoys being rude to me or to others, inconsiderate, inflammatory, abusive… I’m not writing my posts for you. 

I’m writing for the people who can discuss their opinions, whether for or vehemently against, without being rude or inconsiderate of others. For people that are just playing a game and having fun, and like to chat about it or read about it when they aren’t actually playing it.  And for people that can tell the difference between being nice to others, and being a dick.

If being polite or considerate when you express your point of view seems too difficult… either here or in the game… well, the problems not on my end. Your transmission is coming through loud and clear, five by five. Go find another channel. 🙂

The rest of you are my wittle wabbits, and I will wuv you and squeeze you and call you George.

Ah… the definition of a fictitious reality. I tune out what I don’t like, and pretend only the good exists, both here and in the game. lalalala I can’t HEAR you, my head is in the sand….

There. Now that I’ve said all that, gotten it all out of my system once and for all… I never have to mention any of it ever, ever again. Yay!