Welcome back to The Queue, WoW.com's daily Q&A column where the WoW.com team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Alex Ziebart will be your host today.
I hope everyone is having a wonderful Monday afternoon. I know I am! Well, actually, I don't know that. I'm writing this Sunday night, and I don't have a time machine powerful enough to show me what's happening tomorrow afternoon. Ideally, though? I'm having a wonderful time. Ask me tomorrow (which is today), and maybe I'll have a different answer.
Ryael asked... "I was watching the BlizzCon feed online and there was a short interview with a man that was advertising how you could purchase a sizeable poster with one of our characters on it. Any idea what site that was from?"
Reader comments -- ahh, yes, the juicy goodness following a meaty post. [1.Local] ducks past the swinging doors to see what readers have been chatting about in the back room over the past week.
Patch week? Oh, yeah. Speaking of patch week, we all knew that patch week was going to be rough. We knew there would be delays, and bugs, and restarts, and false starts. We knew that hardcore players would gripe, that newbies would be confused and that there would be plenty of contentious debate from all sides.
What we didn't know is that we could be caught unaware by even geek crafts. Take it from mibluvr13, who took one look at the baby Hordie shirt featured in this week's World of WarCrafts column and began groping for the Escape key. "Ooooh, god," mibluvr13 moaned. "I never thought WoW.com would punch me in the biological clock. BRB, having a kid."
The week in reader comments, through the bleary eyes of our punch-drunk, patch-distracted readers, after the break.
The We Have a Tabard series is designed to help guild leaders, officers, members achieve their goals to maximize their cooperative experience.
I'm relatively new to leading a raiding guild. I've been working on building and training my team for about six months. I've been leading the recruiting and correcting members, managing raids, and in general trying to make my online family as functional as possible. It's a lot of work for one person, and no matter how much I love my guildies I have to admit that I am tired.
The best thing that I've ever done for myself and my guild is to ask for help. I have some great players in my guild that are well respected by other members and the server community. They have expertise in areas that do I do not. Probably most importantly they are less likely to mince words than I do and are willing to do what it takes to get the job done. Having some backup has helped some become more invested in the guild and has really lightened my load.
Choosing who to ask for help can be a tough call. It does little good to select only your favorites or your friends, if they are not successful leaders. Take several factors into account when selecting a council of officers:
One of the things which captivated me when I first started playing WoW were the whispered myths surrounding GMs. Being that this was my first proper foray into the magical and mysterious world of online gaming I had no real idea of what exactly their strange beings where except that they were uber-powerful and acted as both peacekeepers on the forums and tech support in-game.
Over the years, I've submitted my fair share of tickets. Indeed once during the Wrath beta I and a bunch of other hapless explorers got trapped under Dalaran bank and I had to ask a GM to teleport them out (being a druid I just teleported to Moonglade -- after twenty minutes of waiting for my hearthstone to cooldown and them remembering I had an escape route). However in all my dealings with them in-game I've never actually met a GM in-game (on the other hand I've met a bunch in real life). So I want to know, readers, have you ever seen a GM with your own (virtual) eyes? Did they appear to you in that robe get up seen in the manual or as something a little more scary? Come on and spill the beans, I want to hear about all your fascinating GM encounters!
We get lots of email from our readers trying to find their way though WoW. I'd like to take a moment to answer a question about membership retention. This also builds on a previous response regarding the trials and tribulations of starting a guild.
Hi I been reading your posts and listening to the podcast and you recently made a new guild. I have a guild with around 140 members and we do some raiding weekly but every time I log off, it seems that people start arguing, and drama just starts building up. I went away for a couple days and when I come back from my vacation, Alot of people have left the guild. Maybe 10-15 people. Now they are stealing my members and have made a new guild. Do you have tips on member retaining and stuff like that, would be cool if you can do a post on that kind of stuff and how you work that out, thanks
Thank you for the email. One of the hardest things I've noticed about a guild is dealing with a certain amount of churn. Acceptance is the first step. People leave for all kinds of reasons. There will be those that come and go. The stronger you make your core, the stronger you make your guild.
Ah yes, the sinking feeling you get when you see that someone has ninja'ed your guild bank... and it's your guildmaster. Never a good thing, for the guildies, the GM, or the guild. Actually, it's a great thing for the GM -- they get to walk away with thousands of gold (and most of them, through some twisted logic, even think they deserve it). That's why I recommend you do what I do: pack all of your ingame stuff in a virtual mattress somewhere. Sure, your guild might not appreciate a lack of bank contributions, but at least it'll be safe, right?
The story of the picture above and much more drama, downed and recruiting news all in this week's GW. Click the link below to read on, and if you've got news for us (everything but recruiting, please -- we are uber full on that one lately), hit us up at email@example.com.
Gamesmasters have been in WoW news a lot recently. We've had reports that a GM mistakenly sent Martin's Fury out to a player leading to pwnage in Ulduar. For the last twenty four hours, my inbox and those of the rest of the team seem to be full of screenshots showing a weird new bug where player characters suddenly become GMs, if only cosmetically (they get the little Blizzard logo next to their names, but none of the power).
Since I started playing back in 2006, I've been fascinated by the Blues. Players speak their names with reverence. They exist unseen throughout Azeroth and have amazing abilities. Like many other players, I've opened tickets and engaged them in-game. I've even met a few in real life as well at the Darkmoon Faire and last year's WWI.
Now I know the life of a GM is not all roses, that their powers are kept in check by rules and regulations, but if you had the chance to be a real GM for five minutes, what would you do? Personally I'd go hang out on GM Island or walk into the hardest instance and smote everything before me. So come on, readers, if you had the chance and the power, what would you do?
Last year's arena tournament was a lot of fun. Prior to the 2008 tournament Blizzard has a Tournament Test Realm open for everyone to log on and play with. The test realm let them get the mechanics for the real tournament realm ready before hand, allowing Blizzard to work all the kinks out.
We had a lot of coverage of the event, and some of it is pretty interesting to go back and read.
There were two main tests, called stress tests. These were where as many people as possible logged on and attempted to play. You can check out our coverage of Stress Test I and Stress Test II.
And of course, the highlights of the stress test were the GMs that came and spawned all sorts of terrible creations.
As much as we enjoyed watching what is arguably the most phenomenally fun bug ever, it should come as no surprise to anyone that exploiting it is a very bad thing. In particular, GMs have been alerted to the bug and are on a keen watch for players who attempt to do it. After Elizabeth Harper's experimentation -- all done in the name of journalistic investigation, we promise -- resident killer RogueChase Christian attempted it, too. He was very swiftly messaged by a Game Master informing him that he would be banned if he ever did it again.
The boys over at DeathKnight.info confirm the same thing, not only because it is under close watch by GMs, but because it has serious repercussions for players who are 'pulled' into the wormhole. Players with the temerity to try it out have reported getting stuck in limbo and had to submit tickets to get their characters unstuck. No doubt a deluge of tickets describing suspiciously similar circumstances was more than enough to raise alarms over at Blizzard. So while we enjoyed showing that video of the Death Grip bug, we hope you didn't follow such bad examples. I mean, you didn't, right? Of course not. Good boys and girls.
It is a kind of poetry, really: the lament of the shunned looter. Bullgrim was clearly unhappy that after all of his hard work, his strat sharing, his walking of the guild through old raids, his bringing of 110% every night, and his passing up of "numerous offers from better guilds," the RNG decided to keep him from getting the piece of loot he really wanted. A shame. But great art comes from great suffering, and this is definitely great -- well, it's kind of art. Kind of.
Lots more art (depending, once again, on your definition of "art") in this week's GW -- we've got guild drama, downs, and recruiting notices from all across the realms. We're almost cleared through the backlog of guild notices (sorry if we had a delay on yours there -- we got a ton of them all at once), so we'll give out the email once again: to see your guild here, drop us a note (and please keep it short, sweet, and clear) at firstname.lastname@example.org. Click on to read on!
Great show on the podcast this past weekend, if I may say so myself. We started off with a kickass intro from David over at Trekcast.com, and I think it set the tone well: we had Michael Sacco (a.k.a. onetime Blizzard GM Belfaire) on the show, and he revealed some great stories about what it's like to be on the other end of Blizzard's ticket system. Turpster was on with his wacky self as usual (along with some excellent Warrior insight), and we all talked about the most embarassing thing we've done in game, and how to know when you're ready to head off into Heroics, as well as the Death Knight changes coming up in the next patch.
If you want to send us an intro or anything else, the address is theshow AT wow.com. You can listen to last weekend's show using the links below, and if you'd like to hear us live, definitely make plans to listen in next weekend: we record the show live every Saturday at 3:30pm Eastern / 20:30 GMT. Oh, and don't forget to become a fan of our site on Facebook -- we're almost 3/4 of the way to our goal of 4,000 fans, and if we can reach that goal, Turpster's promised us a brand new, exclusive song. Tell your friends!
Enjoy the show and have a great week. And if you're wondering who Martin Thunder is, here you go.
Get the podcast: [iTunes] Subscribe to the WoW Insider Show directly in iTunes. [Ustream] Listen to the unedited recording in Ustream. [RSS] Add the WoW Insider Show to your RSS aggregator. [MP3] Download the MP3 directly.
I've often thought I'd do just about anything to work at Blizzard. I mean, with offices that look like this, working on one of your favorite games - who wouldn't? But then I think about my many years spent in the trenches as both rep and management at various IT/Internet jobs, and I'm no longer sure that I'd do anything to work there. You see, the one group I don't envy are those on the front lines of customer service. Much like the story from Thursday in which we learned about a rep having to deal with a kid and his suicide threat when he ostensibly didn't get what he wanted, CSRs, GMs and CMs deal with very frustrating situations every day.
But there again, it is Blizzard, and I'd be lying if I said most people I know wouldn't give their [insert requisite body part] to work there, just to experience the culture and be part of the company that makes some truly awesome games. The sheer coolness of the company and a lot of their outward facing policies seems like being part of that team would more than make up for any abuse you might get as a trade-off. How about you? Would you be willing to step onto the front lines, taking every nasty, mean comment you're dealt with a smile - or carefully constructed snark? Would you be willing to work at Blizzard on the front lines? Or is that a bit too much of a figurative bulls-eye than you'd want painted on yourself?
After a 17-year-old in Fairfield, Ohio told a GM "he was suicidal and the game was the only thing he had to live for," the Blizzard rep called 911, and the kid was apparently arrested, according to the Middletown Journal. We've seen this before -- Blizzard won't put up with suicide threats -- but as far as I know, this is the first we've heard of an arrest coming about because of it. Apparently the charge is a first degree misdemeanor, and though the kid was released to his father, he's got a court date to face next week.
The dumbest part? The kid wasn't even suicidal -- he told officers when questioned that it was a joke "to try and get what he wanted for the game." We doubt this will lead to anything big (we'd put the kid in community service and give him a slap on the wrist -- he's probably scared enough after being handcuffed and put in a patrol car), but Blizzard's policy is exactly right on this one, if you ask us. If the threat is real, this could prevent a tragedy, and if it's just some kid messing around to try and get his banned account back, he might learn a little lesson in the process.
This is an often asked question by people on the forums. Sometimes it comes with a finger pointing at such and such a developer or community manager, accusing them of favoritism for a given class because it's the one they play the most.
Over the past few days we've seen two blue responses over this issue. Vaneras over on the European forums makes note to say that the GMs play the game just as "everybody else does." They encompass all classes and all play styles.
This is interesting in that it shows that Blizzard folks are involved in both casual and hard core raiding, and casual and hard core PvPing. I find this particularly interesting, since after a long day of work at WoW Insider sometimes the last thing I want to do is sit down and trudge through some raid content. But then again, sometimes I do.
So it's been a while since I mentioned it, but I'm still pretty gung ho on helping to enforce WoW gameplay policies, especially RP server specific policies, and I will not hesitate to report anyone I see violating them by means of name or conduct. With the recent changes to the report system, I generally just stick their names and a few notes into the Report an Issue and move on, knowing that eventually, a GM will get the report and hopefully decided to be an enforcer that day.
But even though I've elected not to speak with a GM, I still often get an email telling me the usual spiel: They looked into the issue, but are not able to tell me what happened due to privacy issues and whatnot.
Then comes the customer service satisfaction survey that asks me if the issue was resolved to my satisfaction.