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Scott Andrews

Philadelphia, PA - http://www.wow.com/category/officers-quarters/

Scott has been playing WoW since 2004. He writes the WoW Archivist and Officers' Quarters columns.

WoW Archivist: What has never changed?

Party fights a dragon
WoW Archivist explores the secrets of World of Warcraft's past. What did the game look like years ago? Who is etched into WoW's history? What secrets does the game still hold?

With WoW's tenth anniversary fast approaching, one thing is clear: virtually everything in this game has been changed, updated, or replaced at one time or another. The UI, the stats, character creation, raid systems, class abilities, questing -- all have undergone necessary overhauls to keep the game relevant and modern. A question for the Queue last month asked a very interesting question: What in WoW has never, ever changed?

You might think so, but no

Many aspects of the game seem like they have never changed, but they have.

The act of gathering: Sure, Blizzard added bonuses to the professions in Wrath such as the crit bonus for skinning or the HoT from herbalism. And as of Cataclysm, you can now earn XP by gathering. Gathering no longer requires tools. Yet the fundamental mechanics have always been the same: you right click stuff, get the stuff, and skill up so you can click on better stuff. Right?

Back in classic, gathering actually had a chance to fail. Orange difficulty nodes would not cough up their resources to anyone who wandered past with the minimum required skill. Failing three or four times on a node before a successful gathering attempt was not unheard of.

This led to some interesting "PvP" gathering scenarios, even on PvE realms. If two players converged on the node, the first to click it didn't necessarily get the goods. This situation sometimes led to a hilarious "duel" in which both players failed at gathering over and over again. It became a matter of luck, persistence, and rapid clicking. Mining was especially bad, because it used to take multiple strikes to clear out a node. Two players could spend minutes trying to outmine each other on a single rock.

Racial bonuses, enchantments, and items that boosted gathering skills all mattered much more, not just to save time from the failed attempts, but to beat other players to the punch.

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

Officers' Quarters: Gdivorce

PvP priest vs shaman
Every Monday, Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership. He is the author of The Guild Leader's Handbook.

To lead a guild effectively, its leaders have to be on the same page. In this week's email, a guild's founding officers have a fundamental disagreement about the direction of the guild. One of them wants out, and she wants to take her half of the guild with her.

Hi Scott, here's a little question:

A few years ago, my boyfriend and I started our own guild, mainly for the extra storage space and to share profession materials between our characters (we both have plenty of alts). A few months ago, we decided to turn it into a raiding guild, invited a few friends who then in turn invited a few more friends and so on.

Then our first disagreement happened.

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Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

Officers' Quarters: My roommate is a slacker

Rhonin
Every Monday, Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership. He is the author of The Guild Leader's Handbook.

As a guild leader, it's never easy to tell someone that they aren't pulling their weight. What happens when that person is your roommate?

hey Scott.

few months back, me and my dad revived our old guild, and it went soo good!
within weeks our ranks were swelling with people, having a good time etc
then we started raiding, all was well untill we started progressing properly.

one of my raiders (Bob for this story) has an itemlvl of ~563 yet doesnt pull his weight
as dps (Mage) he tends to slack if he thinks he can get away with it, threatens to get angry etc
if people keep complaining about his damage.

heres the real issue. this raider is my roommate and longtime friend.

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Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

WoW Archivist: WoW in China, an uncensored history -- part 2

Joyland statues
WoW Archivist explores the secrets of World of Warcraft's past. What did the game look like years ago? Who is etched into WoW's history? What secrets does the game still hold?

In China, few Western games have been more embraced than World of Warcraft. But few games have endured more scrutiny from the government and more interruptions. As WoW Archivist covered two weeks ago, Chinese players have put up with censorship, endless waits for expansions, and intense bureaucratic meddling that shut the servers down for months. But their enthusiasm for the game remains.

Today, we will look at the more recent years of WoW in China, the raiding scene there, and the game's impact on popular culture, including a certain infamous theme park...

Too soon, Executus

After sorting out issues with the Ministry of Culture and GAPP (General Administration of Press and Publications), WoW operator NetEase was on a roll. Though Cataclysm also faced delays, it launched in China on July 12, 2011 -- just half a year after the Western release. By the standards of prior expansions in China, this release was practically instantaneous.

In a bitter irony, however, the expansion actually arrived too soon.

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

Officers' Quarters: The guy who won't run back

Siege of Orgrimmar entrance
Every Monday, Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership. He is the author of The Guild Leader's Handbook.

What kind of monster never runs back after a wipe? This week, a guild leader is pondering his options after one of his raiders fails to grasp the teamwork aspects of raiding.

Hi Scott!

In June of 2013, I formed a guild with a few close wow friends, all who were part of the guild we were previously in which fell apart.

The guild has prospered. We started off as a Flex only guild and have come along way since, currently 13/14N. Nine out of the ten raiders are great apart from one, an officer and one of the original members of the guild.

He's a good skilled player but his attitude has left me speechless quite a few times. He has rage quit raids before because we couldn't raid till normal raid time. He has threatened to rage quit raids because he was subbed out to give another raider a chance at loot. He challenges every new tactic we have for a boss. If you don't share his opinion well, ill just say he's headstrong! He never runs back in after wipes either. It got to the stage where I was sick of him but I just couldn't bring myself to do anything about it. He followed me to the new guild and trusted me. I know now that that was stupid to do. I let it go on too long and it has led to some drama.

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Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

Officers' Quarters: Helping a tween tank

Orc tank
Every Monday, Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership. He is the author of The Guild Leader's Handbook.

This week's email is from a guild leader in a delicate situation. One of his younger raiders is holding the guild back, but he doesn't want to upset her. Her highly protective father is also a member.

Heyo Scott!

My problem comes in the form of a raider who's enthusiasm and dedication are impressive, but who's ability are not.

I'm Co-GM of a guild that's been together for about a year. In that time, we've gone from only having one or two people on all day to regularly having 10-15 at any given moment. We raid 10-man normal and Flex mode, everyone in the guild who can make it to raids regularly is happy with the situation, and even those who leave for greener raiding pastures always leave behind their alts because they just enjoy the community so much.

The problem is that we are slowly bleeding away some of our best raiders due to our lack of progress.

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Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

WoW Archivist: WoW in China, an uncensored history

Official Chinese WoW site
WoW Archivist explores the secrets of World of Warcraft's past. What did the game look like years ago? Who is etched into WoW's history? What secrets does the game still hold?

A few weeks ago, we learned that ten men had been sentenced to two years' imprisonment in China for hacking WoW accounts and selling the stolen gold. It was not the first time that hackers have been punished by the state in China.

The relationship between WoW and China has often been contentious, going back to the early years of the game. While most players there have simply tried to enjoy the game they love, censorship, politics, and illicit activities have all had an impact on their experience.

As we wrap up the Mists of Pandaria expansion, let's not forget that so much of the culture, history, and geography of the expansion was inspired by the real legends and landscapes of China. Today, let's look at the history of WoW in China -- a history as rife with conflict as Pandaria's own.

Pop stars and cola fuel WoW's launch

From the earliest stages, Blizzard had little reason to doubt that WoW would be a hit in China. When the beta signups became available in April 2005, approximately 100,000 people signed up in the first hour. The beta achieved 500,000 concurrent players.

For the Chinese version of WoW, Blizzard partnered with Shanghai-based company The9, who could better handle localization, support, and customer service. The9 launched the classic version of the game on June 7, 2005.

Coca-Cola partnered with The9 to promote the game. For their ads, Coke brought in pop stars such as Taiwanese band S.H.E. (already covered by WoW Archivist), Super Voice Girl winner Li Yuchun, and Olympic gold medalist Liu Xiang. Although -- or perhaps because -- the TV ads broke China's rules against showing game content on TV, the cross-promotion was a huge success.

(As a side note, Pepsi later struck back with a partnership with Guild Wars the following year. Reportedly, Guild Wars' closed beta was delayed a week in China after Coca-Cola complained about The9's deal with their biggest competitor.)

Within the first month, The9 reported 1.5 million active WoW players in China. Although many Chinese citizens had already been playing on Western realms, this was still a huge achievement at the time for a Western MMO in China.

Unlike the West, most gamers in China play in Internet cafes, and MMO subscriptions are almost always handled on an hourly basis. At launch, WoW authorization keys cost 30 yuan and gametime cards were 0.45 yuan per hour. That converts to about $4 for game access and 6 cents per hour.

Like their Western counterparts, China's realms had their share of launch problems. Long queues and lag plagued realms in the East, too. By early 2006, players had grown increasingly dissatisfied with The9 and threatened a boycott. The9 claimed that difficulty with communicating with Blizzard was behind poor realm performance.

Soon enough, poor realm performance would be the least of players' concerns.

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

Officers' Quarters: Lessons from a guild split

Immerseus
Every Monday, Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership. He is the author of The Guild Leader's Handbook.

This week's email doesn't have a question for me. It's the story of a guild with clashing raid cultures. It includes some great lessons for officers about the consequences of trying to do too much.

In addition to [our progression team] Team Elite ("TE"), my guild ran 2-3 other 10-man teams throughout MOP. The other teams were not as intense due to differing skills and play styles. However some resentment did build. Some players did have the "greener grass" syndrome and wanted to be a part of TE. So when spots opened up, a handful of them ended up moving over to that team. This was the main reason for the resentment. Other raiders saw themselves as "farm system" groups for the "major league" group.

For the record, I was on TE for the first tier only. After I moved to other teams, I really gained the perspective of the other raiders, and I started to feel that resentment as well. I saw a huge shift in attitude from the TE players, even the longtime members.

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Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

Officers' Quarters: Stop it with the invite addons

Super Guild Invite options
Every Monday, Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership. He is the author of The Guild Leader's Handbook.

I have to admit it: as someone who has been guilded in WoW for nine+ years, and who plays on a decidedly Horde-light server, it hasn't been until the past few months that I realized what a damn nuisance these addons are.

I've been playing alts lately, trying to decide what class and spec I want to raid with in Warlords of Draenor. (I'm currently a feral druid, which I may stick with.) Since I'm out of character slots on my home realm, and I've never really played Alliance, I decided to roll some Alliance characters on a realm with a healthy Alliance pop.

I didn't know anyone on the realm. And I didn't really want to join a guild, since I wasn't sure how much I would play those toons yet.

I had no idea what I was in for.

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Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

WoW Archivist: The curse of Karazhan

Karazhan Tower
WoW Archivist explores the secrets of World of Warcraft's past. What did the game look like years ago? Who is etched into WoW's history? What secrets does the game still hold?

Something has been afoot in Karazhan of late. First, dataminers noticed that Karazhan had been renamed Medivh's Big Birthday Bash on the PTR. In the rechristened raid, objects such as cobwebs and skeletons had disappeared. Then a later build renamed it Karazhan 2: Eclectic Boogaloo. Senior game designer Jonathan Craft tweeted that fellow designer Dave Maldonado was responsible. Maldonado later said that nothing is happening. It turned out to be a test to see if a phased quest could be set there, but sadly it didn't work.

Many players would be excited to return to Karazhan, and it would make sense to do this in Warlords of Draenor. After all, Karazhan is from the same expansion that took us to the shattered remnants of Draenor back in 2007. Hopefully Blizzard will find a way to feature some Karazhan-based content during the next expansion.

Karazhan remains one of Blizzard's most popular raid zones, and for good reason. But did it succeed too well for WoW's own good? Let's look back at what Karazhan offered us in its prime and how it impacted raid design in future expansions.

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

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