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Breakfast Topic: How's the Guild Finder working for you?

Make the most of the Guild Finder
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When Blizzard first proposed the Looking for Guild tab, I remember talking with my officers about whether we'd have a presence on it. The stated reason for the tab was to help people looking for a guild find one without having to stand in Stormwind or Orgrimmar and hollering, "Level 85 tank LFGuild!" My guild is rather specific in what we do and to whom we would appeal. Our recruiting is generally word of mouth and, I admit, winning one of the last WoW Insider Guilds of the Month titles helped, a lot. But we came to the conclusion that we should have a presence in the Guild Finder interface. You never know who is out there looking for a guild like us.

So I drew up a sales pitch and opened up the interface the first day it was available. Honestly, it's a pretty generic format. We run all content and raid pretty much any day. We don't have class restrictions so if we have more hunters than anything else, well, we have more hunters than anything else and hunters are still welcome to join. The only way to really distinguish yourself was your carefully worded sales pitch at the bottom. Would that be enough for people to find us?

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Breakfast Topic: How do you feel after spending time with archaeology?

Clockwork Gnome
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Right now, I'm taking a break from archaeology. I spent the days between the U.S. holidays of Memorial Day and Labor Day digging from two to six hours, flying up and down Kalimdor, in an attempt to get the Vial of the Sands. I felt someone within my guild should have it. While I had other guild members doing archaeology, they weren't dedicated -- no, the proper term is "crazy" -- enough to spend hours doing this. By the end of August, I didn't care about the items that got me 100 or 200 gold when vendored (Cat Statue with Emerald Eyes and Silver Scroll Case). I just wanted the recipe. Finally, after my fifth canopic jar, there it was. I had all the mats ready, and the day I got it, I could become a dragon.

I almost never use the mount. If someone wants a ride, I transform and we go once or twice around town. But as my permanent ride? No. It's too big and awkward for my tastes.

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Breakfast Topic: Is a guild leader's age just a number?

Older player with knitting
This Breakfast Topic has been brought to you by Seed, the AOL guest writer program that brings your words to WoW Insider's pages.

The issue of age in WoW has been debated in this column before. Some guilds have age requirements. Some do not. We have discussed whether it matters that the progression raid you find yourself in is led by a 15-year-old or a 25-year-old. For some, it does. Maturity and language are the usual reasons given for age restrictions. For others, if the person does his job, who cares if he is 13 or 33? A 33-year-old can be more immature than a 13-year-old. As this topic has been debated before, that's not what I'm going to explore. What I'm curious about is, does the age of your guild leader matter?

Leading a guild is, I believe, first and foremost, a labor of love. Essentially, you get very few thanks and an awful lot of "waaaaah." It's not unlike being the leader of a small country. No one thanks you for spending four hours putting together a schedule for the month, but they are quick to complain when the right complement of people doesn't log on, so a raid has to be postponed. You find yourself dealing with inappropriate behavior from all levels. You have to call people on the carpet for something they are or are not doing. They pitch a fit and leave in the most drama-provoking manner they can. You look at what you, personally, would like to do and schedule one event to, say, get that last Burning Crusade raid done for the meta -- only no one shows up. There are all sorts of people online, but they are off doing their own thing. Three days later, someone says, "Hey, how come we never run X?" ... which just happens to be the raid you wanted to run. Bang your head on the desk much?

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Breakfast Topic: Home movies

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I am a screenshot addict. Right now, there are over 2,000 screenshots to upload to our guild web site, which has close to 1,000 screen shots already uploaded. I've screenshot pretty much anything that moves and some things that haven't. And then there are the movies. I didn't discover my Mac's ability to make acceptable movies until my guild had been around for over a year. The early movies were grainy, but they documented some of the events we did.

After some study and tweaking, I've gotten better quality movies where you can actually see who the people are in the raid. I'm still figuring out the sound issue, so some movies don't have sound. I've made a movie about everything from helping guild members with Tethyr, to our Onyxia raids, to our wiping on KT in Naxx, to some of our more, shall we say, colorful events.

I decided my task over the next few weeks would be to upload the 84 videos I have stored on my computer and get them onto the guild web site. The 66 I have already uploaded have sparked a lot of comments of "Oh yeah! I remember that!" and identifications of who some people are in videos. These also serve as a visual history of how the game has changed from the end of The Burning Crusade through Wrath and into Cataclysm. I spent the day before the Cataclysm, Nov. 22, 2010, filming every Alliance flight path in the old world. When I looked at those to identify them -- wow, the world has changed so much. I look back at the gear my character was wearing in the movies. "Oh yeah. I hated those shoulders!" And I really miss the Arena axe from Season 3. I never should have deleted it. The movies are a history of where we've been.

Does your guild make movies of the things you do? Do you have someone who puts together polished movies with titles and comments and snappy music? Or do you have someone like me who pushes a couple of key codes and films what's on the screen? How far back do your movies go?

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Breakfast Topic: When emotions catch you by surprise

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I'm not a roleplayer. Oh sure, there are times when my actions in the game can be considered of a roleplaying nature, but I don't play the game that way. I know all about roleplaying, as I played Dungeons & Dragons back when Gary Gygax used to lead DnD games in the basement of the store in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, where he lived.

WoW really doesn't get to me. It's 1s and 0s contained on computers, and by pushing buttons, I cause those 1s and 0s to align in a certain way. Just because that certain way has not yet delivered my T2 gloves is not cause for me to get upset. It just means more runnings of Blackwing Lair. I've seen guild members lose 40 straight rolls on items and then turn around and win the next 40. As I remind my guild members, "Some days, you're the pigeon. Some days, you're the statue." It's nothing to get upset about.

This patch, however, caused a collision of the roleplaying and the computer worlds. Having read The Shattering, I knew what happened to Magni Bronzebeard, his sacrifice for his people. I was rather sad that when Cataclysm was released, there was no way to see what happened. When it was announced that Old Ironforge would be opened in Patch 4.1, I knew where I had to be the day before the patch.

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Breakfast Topic: Guild achievements and you

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We are now a good 6 months into guild achievements. As a guild leader, I think the concept, as executed, is great. Although we're casual and we run all content, trying to get certain achievements has provided us with incentives to level toons, level professions and to work together.

Every week, I post to the guild web site, a tally of what we're working on and how far along we are in finishing an achievement. Doing all the Burning Crusade heroic 5-mans made people run the regulars to get enough honor to get their keys. People went into instances they didn't know existed. Attendance at our retro raid nights spiked when we announced that we needed this run for the guild achievement. We're small so the 25-man achievements will probably elude us, but people take a look at what still needs to be done and they help make it happen.

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Breakfast Topic: Does your guild's social reputation matter?

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If you've been on the internet in any capacity for a few years, you are familiar with the Penny Arcade theory (NSFW language). I've just come through a couple weeks of this with my guild. It resulted in one person's being kicked and another leaving. Briefly, the kicked person tried to sell tracking the Time-Lost Proto Drake for 5k gold. A person on the server paid 2,500g up front and was led on a wild goose chase, after which the ex-guild member phased, hearthed and put the "pigeon" on ignore. When an officer and I confronted the perpetrator, the lies grew ever more convoluted. I kicked him and repaid, from guild funds, the money stolen. The person who quit behaved in a manner that wasn't appropriate. I called him out on it.

These incidents have me thinking: Does it matter how you behave in a fake world? Realistically, I'm probably never going to meet 95 percent of the people on my server. In our guild Code of Conduct, I state right at the beginning, "We do not tolerate malicious, hurtful behavior or speech in guild chat, party chat, WoW chat or on Vent. This is grounds for dismissal. Honor and respect each other and other guilds. When you join this guild, you represent us wherever you go. Respect others as you expect to be respected. Your integrity and actions directly reflect onto this guild. Inappropriate conduct with other guild members and the Llane community at large is not permitted and is grounds for dismissal."

I am adamant about this. I feel that if you want to be treated with respect, taken seriously, invited to raids and not called out on the server forum, you must respect others. I've worked very hard to create a guild that is respected. When people think about us, they know we're here for the fun of the game. We don't take ourselves seriously, and we treat you fairly and with respect. Am I way off base here? Again, does it matter? How do you think your server views you and your guild? Do you care?

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Breakfast Topic: I can do what now?

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I've been watching the clips of people flying about Eastern Kingdoms. I can hardly wait! It got me to thinking about all the mount changes I've witnessed in the course of my gaming time.

I started towards the end of vanilla. The Burning Crusade had been announced. My daughter was in the beta, actually, and telling me that I needed to get into this game before it "expanded," whatever that meant. So I made my character and started to run everywhere. Dun Morogh, Loch Modan, Elwynn Forest, Redridge, Westfall, Wetlands, Arathi Highlands, Hinterlands, Ashenvale, Desolace, Feralas, Felwood were all done on foot. I knew the route from Nijel's Point to Maraudon to the point that I could hit auto run and be pretty certain I'd make it there without too much trouble, just a few swoops and centaur along the way.

I didn't get my first ram until level 45, as I couldn't afford it. I didn't get my epic ram until level 65 because I couldn't afford it. I was four months into level 70 before getting flying because, yup, couldn't afford it. The joke "When I was your level, I ran everywhere, uphill, both ways, in snow, barefoot ..." is semi-serious.

This isn't about Blizzard's changing the levels for mounts. I have low-level alts, and I absolutely love their having mounts to get to the places my main once ran. This is a post about those things you do even when you don't have to anymore.

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Breakfast Topic: Brewing up better faires and festivals

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I've just spent a day being Scottish. My father's family hails from Scotland, and the summer months will find me out and about at a variety of highland games in the Midwest. Sometimes I'm a spectator, and sometimes I run a tent for my clan. There's a general understanding that the highland games were created to prepare men for doing battle with the English. Each part of what has become the athletic portion of the games can be traced back a need for hurling hurl rocks, logs or flaming bales of vegetation at advancing troops or fortified positions. At the games I just attended, a group gave demonstrations on medieval swordplay.

In World of Warcraft, the Argent Tournament springs immediately to mind. We were informed this was a training ground to prepare us for an assault on the LIch King and his forces. The Darkmoon Faire and Brewfest are examples of festivals with games of chance, food and vendors, and tickets you have to procure by participating in events or getting lots of items requested by vendors.

We've heard rumors (or perhaps it was a column of wishful thinking on WoW.com's part) about an upgrade to the Darkmoon Faire. I'd go more often if I could make an attempt to toss a caber, the stone or the sheaf. These are strength and agility events; having purchasable trinkets for both attributes would give everyone a chance to succeed. Rewards could be class-specific buff items of a certain duration. If you can get the caber to twelve o'clock (the prime position for this event; check out the North American Scottish Games Association for the rules), you get a scroll that will give a hunter an additional 50 agility for 10 minutes. It might be something of minor interest to a level 80 -- but you can be sure I'd be at the faire, just to try to toss a caber.

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Breakfast Topic: A new recipe for anachronisms

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My guild runs all content. In doing this, we frequently find ourselves in Burning Crusade raids. Last night, for instance, we downed Lady Vashj. I got another couple of handfuls of Badges of Justice, essentially worthless currency even for someone who hangs onto things for nostalgia. We had a couple of level 70+ players in the group, new players who are leveling as fast as they can to 80. They asked what they do with these badges. We old hands laughed and said, "Not much." Beyond buying gems from the Isle of Quel'Danas to level my jewelcrafter's skills, there's nothing my level 80 finds interesting in BC badge gear. We talked about the changes in Wrath badge gear and how we wished for something to spend our accumulations on.

This led to a discussion of the patterns that had just dropped and how they aren't relevant to anyone other than a newly minted 70. How nice it would be to find a use for all these patterns, recipes, schematics, etc., in addition to simply leveling a profession.

I am an alchemist, and I've often thought it would be neat to combine some of the potions I know to make better potions. Combine rage and healing potions to make a potion for warriors that heals them over time, based on the amount of rage they generate during combat ... a spellpower and fire potion combo for fire mages or warlocks using fire spells ... a tracking and invisibility combo for hunters or druids or rogues ... Take it one step further and allow all sorts of combinations where on occasion, you get something you weren't expecting: a third eye, an extra arm, laser gaze, 3x growth. I'm a former dungeon master from Dungeons & Dragons; I know all about "side effects."

There must be thousands of things in the game that could be combined in new ways to make them useful again as we progress to 85. What are your suggestions?

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