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. ūüôā 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 fianc√© 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. ūüôā

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 WoW.com 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.¬†ūüôā

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. ūüôā

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. ūüôā

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 РIt 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. ūüôā

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. ūüôā

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!

Our guild website is down

Edit by Cassie:¬†¬† It looks like we are back up, as of 2:00pm CST, so people should able to navigate to the application section from BBB’s other post.¬† Thanks!

Just an FYI for folks that may have either applied, or would like to apply to join the Sidhe Devils per my earlier post

Guild Portal, the service we use to host our guild website, has apparently chosen to upgrade the server hardware/change hosting servers, and the website is down until they finish propagating it and stuffs.

Nice timing, but there you go. I hope it’ll be back up and running again soon.

And a big welcome and hello to the folks that’ve joined in the last few days. We’re very glad to have you with us!

We are¬†nowhere near full, not even close, but I have to say that it’s very nice to have some new folks in the guild… and still feel the same friendly vibe.

Oh, and remember I mentioned Korso in a post a week ago?

Dude applied to join. Pretty cool!