Archive for February 2008

Robbed

February 29, 2008

Logged on to the guild website one morning this week to find a post in the Officer’s Forum labeled “Emergency!”. Turns out, that one of the officers had managed to pick up a keylogger.

This officer had near full access to the guild bank.

It looks like the thief didn’t spend too much time snooping around. Logged in in the wee hours of the morning and pulled the most valuable items out of the bank, and mailed off most of the non-soulbound items off the highest level toons. The toons were left with no gold, but at least their gear was intact. The bank even had about half the contents left. A picky thief, apparently.

The next afternoon I get a mail message that it had happened again. Apparently they keylogger was not scrubbed out quite to thoroughly as was hoped. This time the toons were left with nothing at all, except their soul-bound gear. Every one of her toons were cleaned out, even some low level alts on another server. The bank was untouched this time, as the GL wisely locked it down completely.

The good news is that the soul bound gear is still there. She was still able to do a Karazhan run last night, and should be on out upcoming first venture into 25-man raids. I’m surprised at this, as most hackers tends to sell off everything at a vendor, leaving to toon practically useless until the Blizzard restoration team swoops in to restore the items.

The bad news is that folks are a bit shaken. The guild bank is shut down, and will probably – wisely – not be as accessible in the future. Previously every had access to two tabs, raiders had access to another, and only officers had access to the last. We will probably see those controls tightened up to where only the senior officers can do much. Will probably loosen things up over time, but for now, I can expect to spend a lot of time being a bank jockey.

The GL told me the other day “I’ve never been robbed before. I don’t like the feeling.”

I’m just hoping that things get back to normal. Waiting to see if she really got her machine cleaned up. Would hate to have her log in to find naked toons on the selection screen..

Not an angry Raid Leader

February 26, 2008

Last week I found out that I made one of our raiders cry during a Karazhan run, apparently, by “yelling” at her. About a month earlier it seems that I stressed one of our healers out by “yelling” at him.

I say “yelling” (with quotes) since I’m frankly certain that I didn’t actually yell.

I am somewhat analytical by nature, that is to say, I do not tend to speak without thinking. I rarely give over to emotional outbursts. In game, especially while raid leading, I vent before pressing the PTT button. After I wipe, my first question usually serves to identify what we did wrong, and I then lay out what we are going to do different next time in. Within a few moments we are reorganizing for the next try. A quiet, nearly monotone string of instructions.

This style works for our raids – and I’ve found many of our other tanks emulating it on their own runs. To be honest, the first time I heard it, I was sure they were “doing” me as a joke.. after it went on much too long, I’ve decided to be somewhat flattered. It’s not necessarily the tanking trait that I’d choose to pass on, but it will do.

Due to my vent setup I can generally talk and tank at the same time – but when things have gone wrong, and I’m trying to recover control of a boss or a pull, then the PTT button gets a bit less comfortable. Instructions tend to be quick, clipped, and to the point. In “wipe-save” mode I tend to be extremely focused – and that also comes through in my voice. It is different enough from my normal style, that it stands out far more than I’d prefer.

The comment “Come on, watch Omen people” – after a boss has just gone running after a dps’er 10 seconds into a pull, reduced a player to tears. Off-vent, thankfully, but she was off the rest of the night. I only found out later the details.

Another time after a healer complained on vent that their heal-target had moved out of range I explained “He has to move to get his mob – you need to go with him.” The next week he commented that he knew he needed to be positioned better, as he didn’t want to get “yelled at” again.

Now, I’ve been on many raids and runs with folks who are far louder and angrier. Cursing, yelling and wild accusations of incompetence are common even on good runs. I’m not sure how our folks would react to that – but I think that it really wouldn’t bother any of them. So long as it isn’t me doing it.

The “why” is what touches me. It’s part of why I’m so lucky to be in the guild I am, and to have the raiders I do. The issue here isn’t that I’m yelling. Or that I’m calling our someone on vent. It is that they did felt I was disappointed in them.

Our core team of players are to a man (or lady) great people. I’m thrilled to have the pleasure of playing with them. We are not a terribly progressed guild. Not hardcore is any sense of the word. We will never see Black Temple or Hyjal. None of that is important to me. The friends that I’ve made, and the respect – however undeserved – that I’m honored with means more than anything else the game could offer.

Now, if I could only stop making my friends cry.

Too much Karazhan

February 21, 2008

We are currently running two Karazhan groups. I tank one, and fill in as dps on the other. In fact, I’m trying to cut myself out of the 2nd run entirely, just to give myself a break – though last night I ended up filling in when a newbie member flaked out on the raid. Again.

Sometime last night – probably when no less than half the raid managed to break my shackle target on a Moreos wipe – I realized.. boy, I’m tired of Karazhan. With Gruul starting soon (T minus 9 days) and hopefully Mag and SSC following on that quickly, spending more than one night a week in Karazhan is going to kill me. Or drive me to kill someone else.

The problem is this. I still need badges, and so do many of the better geared players. We also need to gear up the newer raiders. We can generally fill out two raids a week, and optimally could be doing two simultaneous runs.. except.. that we need tanks.

I can easily main-tank all of Kara.

The GL’s Druid can do the same. His alt Druid. I need him getting badges for his Main, so this makes me unhappy.

Otherwise, we have a capable – but under-geared – warrior who is only available to raid one night a week.

A new Tankadin, that isn’t geared yet for main tanking – and is very green besides

And two other alt tanks, varying gear and skill levels.. not really ready to tank Prince, or get off their mains consistently..

So.. at the moment, GL and I main tank the two runs. This keeps him of his main, which is not a good solution long term. We need another tank.

I *could* wash my hands of it, throw one of the not yet ready tanks in, and accept that the 2nd run is going to have to find it’s own legs. It will take time, and they will have nights where they don’t get past (or to) the Shade. Just hard to do. As it is, both runs doing full clears, gearing people up, it works.. and “just one more night this week” in Karazhan seems like such a simple thing.. until I flip out one night and swallow my microphone yelling at someone for being that single straw that broke the tank’s back..

Don’t need that. Found out recently that I make people cry as it is. /boggle

I’m a nice guy. Really.

Recruiting

February 15, 2008

24 hours till a Karazhan run, and were still one short.  I did end up finding someone who could go tonight, but that’s not the point.  We need more people, I know this, and yet, I hate recruiting.

Sure, there are those rare gems:  Skilled players, who you’d actually want to be around, that simply haven’t found the right guild for them yet.  We’ve been blessed to stumble upon many who fall in this category – but that is the problem, most of them came in a friend of a guildie, or someone met in a PUG or out questing.  These type of “referral” recruits generally work out great.

We have had almost no luck actively recruiting (through perhaps we haven’t pushed that enough),  and the “I saw you guy are in Kara and ..” whispers are hit-or-miss.  Several good members there, but also several the flaked out or that caused loot drama on their first run.

So, last night I trialed a dps-warrior who want to join.  Did a clean Heroic SP run, and he caused no problems.  Was polite and apologized for any small errors.  However, he is in mostly PVP gear, his reaction speed is slow, constantly attacked mobs from “in front”, and dps was not much above mine.  I attribute a lot of that to being a bit nervous, and holding off starting into fights.  He did off-tank when I asked him to, and even had sword’n’board ready when he saw his mark go up.  I ended up I’d up tossing out an invite, but explained that with his gear & experience level he’d be starting out in out slower paced 2-night Karazhan group.

Were he not the friend of an existing member, I would have had to think about it some.  He is probably going to need a lot of work.

His friend, a Healadin,  is a relatively recent recruit that managed to cause some drama on his first Karazhan run.  Bitching about loot on the first raid – after you’ve got a few prices already – is not smart.  I nearly kicked him that night, and he knows it.  However, since then he has been far better behaved.  Darn near an upstanding citizen (though that is pretty easy when you are going into Kara and getting tons of easy epics) so I’m making an effort to integrate him some.  He is a fine healer, with the potential to be very good.

So, his borderline warrior friend gets an invite.  At best, his drama potential is low, at least near term.  My expectation is that he isn’t going to be putting in time to gear up properly – which may cause issues down the road – but, for now we need bodies.  Warm bodies who don’t cause drama, and know how to not wipe a group.

Not the way I’d like to bring people in.  I’d prefer to welcome them in with joy in my heart, knowing that I had done my part to improve the guild.  However, if it comes down to getting raid off or not, I guess I can settle for a public “/g Everyone welcome newWarrior3” and a quiet prayer.

Spore!

February 13, 2008

Spore is to ship in early September! An actual ship date makes me happy in too many ways to count, unless Blizzard ships WotLK right around the same time.. yeah, that would cause problems.

Here is hoping that Spore hits in the dead zone prior a much-delayed Wrath.

From Kara to Gruul

February 13, 2008

This week we had 19 signups for the two Karazhan runs. One of those is an un-retired Healadin who is alt-listed until he gets a few more upgrades. With nearly half the folks can only make a subset of the runs, the scheduling gets complicated. Using alts to fill in the rosters, we have (nearly) a workable team for a each run.

Problem is, we have another 5 or 10 folks who might go if asked, but can’t be bothered to sign up in the forums. I’m past begging people to go – except when we are stuck (LF1 dps Friday night) – but I’m not sure on why they don’t sign up. Is Kara dull now? Don’t think they need the upgrades? Simply can’t be bothered to visit the website? I don’t know. Most of the seem to enjoy going when they signup, and never visit the website without a reminder, so that may be it..

I’m concerned that this is going to bite us when it comes to out first Gruul run. If you look at our “regulars”, knowing that there is no single day which will let everyone attend – we can probably expect 16-18 toons. That leaves the 5 to 10 slots to be filled by the less reliable guild members. How do I get them to signup? Actually showing up isn’t a problem, we probably average 98% attendance when signed up, with people almost always apologizing and notifying ahead if they cannot make it (odd, I know.)

Actually, the first trip into Gruul’s lair won’t be an issue. There will be enough chatter than even the most brain dead will hit the forums to signup. It will be the weeks after that that we will be back to normal.

So, can we go in a few people short? I’m not sure. Our core players are well geared. Probably a bit over geared for Gruul, but not experienced in anything larger than 10-mans. We can – and are – try to recruit more, but that is it’s own little bottle of drama waiting to explode.

Guild Alliances

February 11, 2008

Now I’ve heard more about the guild alliance candidate – a way to help break into the 25-man content. Talking about it I was struck by how much my perspective has changed in the past several months.

This past summer, when I was a newly minted officer and a newbie raid organizer, I stumbled across a recruitment post from another guild. It said all the right things, and they were trying to recruit for Gruul’s Lair. We wanted to go there as well, so I suggested an alliance. It was well received, my counter-part in potential-alliance guild and I chatted and got along great. We both went to our leadership. 20 minutes on ventrillo later and everyone was happy.

Seemed like a good match.

We’d do a joint 25-man run – ignoring the fact that they were more progressed that us, and they couldn’t clear the 2nd half of Karazhan yet. This Gruul run was the first major melding of the two guilds – aside from my wife helping them out on a night of Shade wipes. My wife warned that they were a bit different.. a little less disciplined, more rowdy, and certainly not ‘family friendly’ on ventrillo. That was the first inkling that I maybe should have investigated the guild more – *but* 25 mans good! Epic loots! New content! Progression!

Not so much. While we did learn a lot about the fight and the pull, we didn’t have much success that night. Everyone was still excited, so the muttering about how ‘different’ they were quiet..

Then the ‘proposal’ came – wouldn’t it be great if we were one big family? How much easier would raiding be that way? Loot for all! How about all the raiders come join their guild?

This was met with raised eyebrows. The Guild Leader – a better man than I – took the proposal to the guild, and it was largely shouted down. Suggesting leaving the casuals out was a clear error. Past that though, the guild cultures were too different, and few of us were willing to give up what we had. Also, it was pretty plain that the motivation was to gain complete control and to be able to pick and choose which of ‘our’ raiders would go – something that an alliance didn’t allow. And thus ended the alliance. Sure, it lived on in name for a long while after, but the chat channel emptied quickly and ne’r more did the two side meet.

Strike one.

A few months later, I’m now entrenched as Raid Leader and a senior guild officer, we were masters of Karazhan, and looking to move on. Time for another guild alliance. This time, we had a contact. A class leader that many of us new from a former guild. They had some experience, but most weeks could only muster 10-15 raiders. Could we bring the other 10 to 15? Voice chat went well, and we agreed to use the signups on their website for our first run.

Odd thing though.. 10 or so of our members signed up, and only two – the two we’d spoken to on Ventrillo – from their guild did so. So, when the word came that they had instead decided to disband, it was not a shock. Slowly the story trickled out – they were having major drama between the raiders and the casuals. /gdisband. We made a half-hearted attempt to recruit their former members, but to the raiders we weren’t a step up, and the casuals viewed us as the enemy – another groups of raiders wanting to push them out.

Strike two.

Now, we are running two Karazhan groups, and looking to fill the last couple of spots for Gruul. An enthusiastic member has a friend in a guild that is much like us. Still not sure how it will turn out – we’re working to setup a heroic run where I can feel them out. The difference now is that while I can still see the potential, I can also feel the shadow of the drama-to-come. I’m no longer young and falling in love for the first time. Is it too early to ask for a pre-nup?