Category Archives: Guilds

Breaking up is hard to do… but not that hard

Raiding guilds in WoW tend to be a very fluid thing. I like to park myself in a guild for an extended period of time until something happens that makes membership very difficult, but not everyone is this way. Some people guild hop. Some can’t make up their mind about where they want to raid. Some people aren’t even solid on if they want to (or are able to) raid. 

Fourteen months ago, as Mists was coming out, the officers of Apotheosis made up a roster of 33 people that were going to tackle whatever raid bosses Pandaria could throw at us. Of those 33, 15 are still raiding with us. Almost half of the 17 people who stopped raiding for real life reasons, but are still part of the guild. The rest have left. Between then and now, we also trialed no less than 33 more raiders – 14 of whom are still around. The 19 that are gone either didn’t pass their trials or left for greener pastures. So, by my count (which could be off by one or two, I tend to forget people who aren’t around for long) 66 people have raided with Apotheosis over the course of the expansion.

That was a very long-winded (for me) way of saying that raiders come and go. It’s a fact of WoW.

What I don’t get is why so many people who choose to leave lie about it, or go about quitting in a manner that is very inconvenient for their (soon to be ex-) guild. I’ve seen it all. Though I’m happy to report we haven’t had any more gquitting incidents quite like this, a surprising number of the people who have quit raiding with my guild have done it in a way that left me (and others) with bad feelings towards them.

Improper ways to quit your raid include:

  • Saying you need to step down due to real life issues (your family is sick, your dog died, you have so much schoolwork to do) then joining another raid guild within a week.
  • Saying you got hacked/your account is locked, then ninja transferring off server.
  • Knowing you won’t be able to make raid times due to a schedule change you’ve had planned for a while but not letting your guild know until the day before. On the same day your buddy who plays the same class/spec as you is planning to announce that he’s stepping down.
  • Ragequitting in the middle of a raid.
  • Announcing that you’ve cancelled your WoW account on Twitter before (or instead of) telling anyone in your guild directly.

It’s the liars that bother me the most, because I just don’t get it. I understand that sometimes a guild and a raider aren’t a good fit, but why is it so hard for some people to say that? Are we not killing bosses fast enough for you? Do you not like our loot rules? Do you miss the people from your old guild? Do you want to be the leader? Do you think we’re all assholes? Just say so.

Jasyla,

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to raid with Apotheosis but, I’ve decided that it is not the guild for me, so I’m going to leave and look elsewhere. Good luck to you all in Siege.

Is that so hard? Or, if you like:

Jasyla,

You are terrible. I’m out.

Later suckers.

I guess my belief that people are capable of acting like mature adults is rather precious and naive. But seriously, you don’t even have to say it to someone’s face. You can send a message from the comfort and safety of your desk.

Making up a story – especially a sob story that makes people sympathize with your plight – instead of just saying you’re looking for greener pastures makes you a tool. It also seems like a lot more work than just saying “I don’t want to raid with you anymore.”

People will find out – guild officers are accomplished internet sleuths.

We always find out.

My BlizzCon 2013

This past weekend I got to attend my second BlizzCon. It was amazing, even better than the first one I went to. I got to see so much, play some demos and, most importantly, meet a whole lot of the WoW community and devs.

I got in to Santa Ana on Thursday afternoon, where I met my guildie and roommate Serrath then headed to the Hilton. Immediately after checking in, I ran into the first group of people I knew – Vidyala and Vosskah, who I met before when they came to Toronto and who had procured me my ticket, and Kelesti. After a quick hello, I went to my room to get settled, then met up with a few more of my guildmates – Grumdy, Srs and Jack – then went to wait in line to get our tickets. The line took a while, close to 2 hours. It was nice to have my own name on my badge this year. Last time I came to Anaheim without a ‘Con ticket and someone generously gave me one when I got there. 

Anaheim Convention Centre

The Anaheim Convention Centre

I really wanted to make it to the Wowhead/WI party this year but again, it didn’t happen. After getting badges and going for dinner the party was full by the time I got there. No one really wanted to wait in another line, so we headed back to the Hilton instead. At the Hilton I finally met up with the rest of my guildies – Sara, Kal, Chronis, Slout, Raymiee, Sheep, Shawnelle, Tikari and Kristin.

I also met up Arielle from the Inconspicuous Bear, and we had one or two (or three or four) drinks together, including an N7 toast with Kal. Most of my guildies were tired from the day of travelling and waiting in lines, so I soon ended up as the last member of Apoth standing. It was all good though, there were plenty of people to meet and talk to. I mostly hung around with Arielle; Entropia, an ex-guildmate who knows everyone and was always happy to introduce me to them; and Novvie, who isn’t in Apoth but sort of got adopted by us over the course of the weekend.

I met a bunch of people for the first time on Friday, including: Hamlet, Perculia, Theck, Jed, Quori, Noel (who gives great hugs), Sunnier, Rhidach, Antigen, Dysmorphia, Ophelie, Zahrym, Bashiok, Ghostcrawler, Bajheera and WarcraftJen.

Bajheera with Jasyla and Novvie

Novvie, Bajheera and me!

Thursday night was a lot of fun and BlizzCon technically hadn’t even started yet.

Friday morning everyone got up bright and early so we could get good seats for the opening ceremonies. We managed to find almost everyone and got to sit together for these. While waiting for them to start, Serrath and I snuck off to the Heroes of the Storm demo area to take advantage of the small line. Heroes was a ton of fun. I had never played any type of DoTA/League game before and I really liked playing support as Tyrael. Also, our team won, which makes things even more enjoyable. I ended up playing two games of this on Friday, and while I wasn’t nearly as good playing Illidan, the game was still really cool. I can’t wait for the beta to come out.

My favourite WoW character and I.

My favourite WoW character and I.

Opening ceremonies were great – it’s so obvious how much all the developers and people who work at Blizzard love the work they do and their excitement is infectious. I watched a number of panels, and had a very brief look at the Warlords Demo. I really only had time to look at the new level 100 talents (Hunter talents – amazing. Bola Shot! Druid talents – meh).  In the afternoon Apotheosis met up at the Meeting Stone. Finally, all 16 of us were together in one place! Apotheosis sure knows how to represent.

Apotheosis at BlizzCon 2013

Apotheosis at the Meeting Stone. Yep, we’re babes.

While we were at the Meeting Stone I also got to meet Navimie. I was really excited to meet her after reading her blog for so long and getting Navi-spammed in game. I also got to meet Khuruuk and Tinderhoof, but not Reesi, who I only glimpsed briefly before she disappeared forever.

I watched the fan contests that night. Some of the costumes were great. I particularly liked the feral troll druid, the training dummy and the Tuskarr. The fan-made movies and art were good, and so were the musical acts – though I don’t think they picked the right winner.

That night was the Convert to Raid party where I got to meet even more people. I met a number of the Something Wicked crew – Esoth, Rotund, Derevka, Settesh, and Anafielle. I’m always talking to SW people on Twitter or going to their Flex/LFR runs, so it was nice to finally be able to meet some of them. I also got to talk to Daxxarri, Megacode, Soanix and Kerriodos briefly at the party. I saw, but didn’t meet, Swifty and decided to make it my mission to have girls (or boys) in hotpants follow me around at parties (now accepting volunteers). 

Then it was back to my second home at BlizzCon, the Hilton lobby. Friday was a pretty crazy night, the drinks were flowing, and most of my guild managed to stay up until last call. I got to spend some time talking to one of my favourite Druids – Hamlet.

With Hamlet!

With Hamlet!

Ghostcrawler was also around and he spent some time talking to all the Apoth members gathered around, which was amazing. We got some pictures, and some hugs.

Ghostcrawler

Ghostcrawler

I got off to a bit of a slow start on Saturday. Serrath and I decided that sleeping and goingt IHOP for some greasy breakfast was top priority and we ended up getting to the convention centre pretty late to watch the live raid. When we got there Method was already on Garrosh and Midwinter was wiping on Dark Shamans. Tanking those two shaman together? Midwinter is brave. And crazy. That sounds (and looked) terrible. I’m not usually a fan of watching video games on streams or anything, but the live raid always gets me pumped. It’s surreal and amazing to hear a crowd of thousands of people cheering as a boss is ticking down from 5% health or collectively groaning as some boss ability takes out 5 players.

I also stayed for the WoW systems panel. There are a lot of changes coming in Warlords. The Garrison system looks really interesting and some of the inventory changes announced are huge quality of life changes. The biggest announcement was that hard-mode raiding (now called Mythic) would be one size only: 20. This finally gets rid of the whole 10 vs. 25 man debate and a whole bunch of tuning issues. I think this will make most guilds go through some adjustments, but ultimately it’s a good thing. And I think they picked the correct size.

On Saturday I wanted to hang out with so many people that I ended up going for dinner twice. Once with one group of Apotheosis and then with another group, plus Hamlet, Perculia, Hestiah, Esoth and Ilaniel. After that it was back to the Hilton (surprise!). The lobby was absolutely nuts on Saturday night. Packed to the brim and so noisy. I made it my mission to find the people who I really wanted to meet but hadn’t run into yet and got some help from my friends to find them.

First on that list was Vixsin. She’s been one of my favourite bloggers ever since I read her first post on Life in Group 5. She writes so well and is such a good healer resource. I finally managed to find her after circling the lobby a few times and some tweeting back and forth. There was quite a bit of fan-girling going on.

The next person I really wanted to meet was Absallom, protection paladin from Blood Legion. Not just because of his WoW credentials, but also because he’s from Toronto too and is always posting amazing food pictures on Twitter. I found him eventually and he was super nice and related to my Toronto traffic woes.

Absallom from Blood Legion

Absallom from Blood Legion

I also found Ion Hazzikostas, who I bugged for a bit about raid design. One of the first things I asked was “So, Immerseus. What were you thinking?” Then I immediately felt bad that I was being one of those people, and let him know I really liked the other 13 bosses in Siege.

Ion Hazzikostas

Ion Hazzikostas

I chatted with a few more people before the night was over. Matticus – there is photographic evidence of this somewhere, but I haven’t’ seen it yet. Ghemit – who always seemed to be everywhere at once. Pat Krane, which involved me being a bit of a fangirl – CTR is the most well-made and well-voiced WoW podcasts I’ve ever heard – and being really stoked when he told me how much he liked my blog. 

The Hilton party wound down, Sunday morning came so fast and then it was time to go back home.

I’m sure I met many more awesome people during my time in Anaheim. It’s hard to write this post without just making it a big, long list of people. It was also really cool when people recognized me and came up to talk. It was a bit surreal getting compliments in-person about my blog, or even better, about my food posts. BlizzCon 2013 was a really excellent time and really reminds me why I love this game so much and why I’ve continued to play it for so long.

Thanks for the good times!

BlizzCon!

Only one week until BlizzCon!

Last time I mostly hung out with my guildies in the hotel pool bar, so I didn’t get to meet too many other people, and this year I hope the change that. On Thursday I’ll definitely go to the Wowhead/WoWInsider party at the Annabella Hotel. Last time didn’t get there until really late and pretty much missed the whole party. Hopefully I get to meet a lot of people there.

There’s also going to be a joint Apotheosis/TiB/Team Wafflecast meetup at the Meeting Stone in the convention centre on Friday at 4pm. If you’re a druid-lover or just want to come say hi to me, Arielle, Tinder, Reesi, Sara, Kal or any of the other Apotheosis folks coming to the Con, you should stop by! Apotheosis even got guild shirts to wear!

On Friday night, since I’m staying at the Hilton, I’ll probably stop by the Convert to Raid Meetup, that looks like fun.

Are you going to BlizzCon? What are you most looking forward to?

So Close…

Last night was Apotheosis’ last raid of Tier 15, and the 9th night we spent working on Heroic Lei Shen. I believe we were somewhere in the realm of 175 attempts on the boss. We made steady improvement on the fight over the last 3 weeks, progressing from wiping in the first transition every time to getting into phase 2 quite often and then finally getting into phase 3 a number of times. Our best attempt was 15%.

Unfortunately, we did not manage to get the kill last night. I hate to blame outside forces, but our last night of attempts was royally screwed by server input lag. It’s something I’ve personally experienced a couple of times in this tier, but not nearly to the extent the whole raid did last night. When we were working on normal Lei Shen some people in the raid often got lag on the pull (and blamed the Hunters), but last night it was just ridiculous. On many pulls the game was nearly unplayable as all ability use was delayed and people were pushing their cooldowns 2, 3, 4 times before they went off (if they did at all). This caused our dps to lag about 5% behind what it normally is, messing up pillar timings. The lag also made transitions even less fun than normal. It’s hard enough to master the most difficult boss of the tier for the first time under the best circumstances, and the lag made it pretty much impossible to make any progress. We ended up cutting our losses and calling the raid a little early.

It is disappointing that we lost our last chance to kill Lei Shen, but I’m still extremely proud of my guild and the progress we made this tier. We ended the tier at 11/13H, which is a huge improvement over last tier. We got through normals in good time and made short work of a number of the more challenging heroic bosses. We didn’t let the roadblock bosses discourage us, and kept pushing forward. In less than 200 attempts we almost killed heroic Lei Shen, when most guilds spent 300 attempts on it.

Even though we didn’t get the kill, I’m happy that we spent our last weeks in Throne of Thunder continuing with progression. We could have farmed some more gear, gotten a few more meta achievements (a number of people, myself included, didn’t get all the achievement requirements checked off), taken it easy. But we’re a raiding guild. Progression is what we do and I don’t want to stop progressing until there are no bosses left to kill. Lei Shen really tested and improved people’s awareness and ability to work together with the rest of the raid team and I expect the improvements we made will keep us rolling through Siege of Orgrimmar.

So, good job Apotheosis – we should all be proud of our progress this tier.

Patch day tomorrow!

A Blogging GM

Sometimes I wish I had made this blog anonymous. Since becoming GM of my guild, this wish has become even stronger.

I struggle with knowing how much guild-related stuff is appropriate to share on this blog. Generally I’m not a proponent of airing private guild matters, especially contentious ones, in public. But sometimes I just want to vent, seek outside opinions, or share things that I found amusing and think other people would get a kick out of.

I have talked about troublesome guild-related things a few times in the past, but I try to do it without naming names or getting into too many details. I also try to turn it into a broad discussion of an issue that others will relate to rather than just complain “these people are unappreciative and  their whining angers me!” Occasionally someone is such a douche that any reservations I have about spilling all the gory details fly out the window, but I’ve only been driven to that point once.

One of my favourite things about blogging is getting comments and perspectives from others about things that I’m dealing with in game. As a GM, there are a ton of decisions to make and things to deal with that I’d like to hear others opinions on. However, I also feel that protecting my guild/guildmates’ privacy is more important than having a place to vent or soliciting advice and opinions.

Is there a happy medium? Obviously I’m not going to share things people have told me in private on this blog (or anywhere). But what about events that happen in guild that I’d like a second opinion on? I can try to make things sound general, but anyone who can put two and two together is going to know where my most of my issues or questions are coming from.

Is it appropriate to share specific issues that have come up in guild with anyone who wants to read them? 

Looking for More

Apotheosis is recruiting!

We are an Alliance 25-man raiding guild on Eldre’thalas.

We are specifically seeking healers and ranged dps:

  • Resto Shaman (seriously, I’d like to keep one for more than 3 weeks)
  • Resto Druid (someone who reads this blog must want to come play with me… please? I’m lacking a resto buddy.)
  • Mistweaver Monk
  • Warlock
  • Plus 1 or 2 other ranged dps, open to pretty much any class

We raid 9 hours a week – Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday, from 9pm ET until midnight. We are currently 1/13 heroic in Throne of Thunder. If you are an awesome healer or ranged dps and want to kill some new bosses with us, come apply

Progress vs. Gear

How much raid time should be dedicated to farming for gear from bosses you’ve already killed and how much should be dedicated to learning and defeating new encounters?

I’m sure that’s a question that has plagued many raid and guild leaders. I’m also sure the answer depends on the type of guild. Blood Legion’s not going to clear through an instance multiple times on normal when they could be working on a new kill. Likewise, a more ‘casual’ guild is going to want, and maybe even need, that extra gear before they progress further in a lot of cases.

My guild falls somewhere in the middle of those two examples. We finished Tier 14 at 8/16H.

In Tier 14 we cleared all normal modes before doing any heroic modes. We did kill Heroic Stone Guard only a couple days after defeating Sha of Fear, but we never took a detour from normal mode content in HoF, for example, to work on MSV heroics. When I asked our raiders for feedback at the end of the tier, one of the most common responses I got was that we had spent too much time farming for gear and not enough time pushing progression. Noted.

In Tier 15 we’re currently sitting at 1/13H. This tier is a bit different than last. While Tier 14 consisted of 3 smaller raids, Tier 15 is one big raid. In Tier 14 if we wanted more time to work on a new hard mode in Heart of Fear we could skip one of the other raids for the week. We can’t do that in Throne of Thunder. With only 9 hours of raiding each week, we need to make some harder decisions about how we’ll be spending our raid time. At this point, it would take us about 1.5 raid nights (raids are 3 hours each) to fully clear on normal. I think we will get more efficient at that, but that’s where we’re at right now. Plus, repeating heroic kills will generally take a bit longer, so we want to give a bit of a time buffer so we can be sure to get all the way through Lei Shen.That only leaves us 3 hours (we can maybe push this to 4) to work on new things. That’s really not a lot of time.

Since so many people had said they wanted to spend more time on progression this tier, the officers tried to make good on that. The week after our first Lei Shen kill we spent half a raid on Heroic Jin’rokh, then went through the rest of the raid on normal to ensure we got a repeat kill of Lei Shen. My idea of just working on H. Jin’rokh until he was dead, even if that meant not full clearing that week, was outvoted. In hindsight, probably a good thing. The next reset we decided that we would keep our raid lockout for 2 weeks so we could spend a good 3-4 raids on progression fights, before wrapping up normal modes at the end of the following week. I thought this was the best idea. Everyone in the raid had a Lei Shen kill and everyone in the raid wanted to progress through this tier faster (I thought).

Apparently not. It seems, to some people, that farming for gear is more important than progress at this point. The officers got a number of complaints about how we were ‘wasting’ our raid lockout.

I think I have a pretty good idea about the capabilities of our raid. Yes, gear always helps, but having the best possible gear is not a requirement for getting down heroic bosses, especially the early ones. If we were failing dps checks, then definitely, we need more gear. But that’s almost never been our problem. More gear doesn’t make people not stand in Rockfall or hit their Crystal Shield at the right time. Practice does. (Also, if I’m going to upgrade my gear, I’d rather upgrade it to heroic gear).

You can’t please all the people all the time. But I try to. At this point I don’t know if anyone, besides the officers, liked the idea of extending the lockout. Because really, no one sends feedback when they’re happy about something, only when they have something to complain about.

So that brings us back to the original question. How do you split your raid time so your raiders get gear, but you can still make progress at a good pace? Where’s that magic point where doing farm content every week is no longer necessary? Do you wait for everyone to have their 4-set before you start extending lockouts or skipping normal mode kills? Until everyone has weapons? Until Lei Shen gives me that trinket I want?