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Officers' Quarters: Gnome and punishment

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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.

Like any group that runs an organized activity, raiding guilds need rules. Rules define expectations, set boundaries for behavior that might cause problems, and establish consequences when a member hurts the team. The latter part is often tricky. The week's email asks, What do you do when someone breaks the rules?

Hello,

I have a question about guild management.

Coming into MoP raiding we have afew new people and we've written up our rules on the forums such as being on time, gemmed/enchanted/flasked, etc to make it clear to everyone what we expect from our raiders. One challenge that we currently have is coming up with consequences for breaking these rules. Our guild roster isn't large enough to always bench someone from coming to raid and while we're all gearing up denying someone gear seems to just make things harder for everyone else overall. If occurrences are excessive we will recruit to replace the person, but otherwise we need some good consequences for rule infractions.

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Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

The unspoken etiquette of world boss encounters

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World bosses are returning in Mists of Pandaria!

You know, my uncle, the legendary General Commandicus Brutallicus, told me stories of veteran players staying up at various odd hours of the day to challenge the emerald dragons, Lord Kazzak, and others. Even though I was but a young priest at the time, he told me that going after them was a hoot and experience in itself, especially if your home was on a PvP realm.

There was an unspoken etiquette among raid leaders who went after world bosses. Since world bosses are making a comeback, I wanted to share them.
  • You can't call dibs. The first group that arrives, is buffed, and ready gets to pull the boss first. No exceptions. You can't just stroll in there and call dibs when your entire raid group wasn't there or ready yet. Heck, you can't even physically contest the boss even if you did get there first. Back in my day, anyone who cried about seeing the boss first and losing out was generally laughed at.
  • You take turns. There was an unspoken level of respect between the top raiding guilds. Despite the hatred and the fierce competition, we never interfered with attempts that were already progress. To do so brought dishonor to the guild and would cause you to be blacklisted from the realm. In an era when realm and faction transfer never existed, it was a big deal -- not to mention, if you opened fire on one group, they would come back and wipe your attempts. This would go on back and forth before everyone got tired, but no one would give. Yes, which leads me to the next rule ...
  • Bring two raid groups. You had one raid group which would tackle the main boss. The second raid group was there to provide cover and to engage or otherwise tie up any hostile players who wanted to wipe your raid. These tended to be the PvP contingents within the various guilds. They were the players who didn't raid but spent all day grinding Alterac Valley for Grand Marshall and all that. This second group of players would hide behind a mountain or a tree or something and wait for instructions from the primary raid leader before engaging anyone.
  • Majority guild receives first picks on loot. This is more of a courtesy than anything else. If a raid group consisted primarily of a raiding group and it was demonstrable that they did most of the heavy lifting, they had the right to select one item they wanted out of the loot drops before opening the rest to free roll. However, since the loot method is going to change, this rule is no longer relevant.

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Filed under: Raiding, Mists of Pandaria

Drama Mamas: Should guilds mandate courtesy?

Drama Mamas Lisa Poisso and Robin Torres are experienced gamers and real-life mamas -- and just as we don't want our precious babies to be the ones kicking and wailing on the floor of the checkout lane next to the candy, neither do we want you to become known as That Guy on your realm.

Try not to get too distracted by cute young men in groovy costumes. We've got drama to take care of.
Dear Drama Mamas,

I am a guild leader of a large social guild, with a large group of officers.

At officer meetings there are a small group of people who continue to bring up the subject of guild members not saying hello when people log on or grats when an achievement is made, they feel as if they are being ignored and are not welcome, although I have had no complaints from other guild members. This subject has been discussed many times and the main conclusion that the majority of us agree upon is leading by example, as we can not force guild members to say hello or grats. But the same people continue to gripe about this one subject which sometimes leads to aggressive discussions on the officers forums. I understand that they feel strongly about it and have attempted to address the problem many times and tried various things to appease them to no avail.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Guilds, Drama Mamas

Drama Mamas: When love makes raiders unreliable

Drama Mamas Lisa Poisso and Robin Torres are experienced gamers and real-life mamas -- and just as we don't want our precious babies to be the ones kicking and wailing on the floor of the checkout lane next to the candy, neither do we want you to become known as That Guy on your realm.

Remember those times at school/work/league/everywhere when a couple got together and then became extremely inattentive to all of their old friends/colleagues/teammates/everyone while they spent more time with each other? Yeah, that happens in WoW too.
Dear Drama Mamas,

I'm a member of a casualcore raiding guild that's ranked pretty highly on our backwater server. We raid a couple hours 3 times a week, have fun and get stuffs dead. Part of the reason our group is so successful is a feeling of similar purpose ... but it also helps that most of the group is in the same physical location, around 5-7 people of the raiding corps.

One of our main tanks is in that group, let's call him P. P has had an ongoing online relationship with another DPS H for some time. H lives on the opposite side of the country. While at the beginning of the expansion everyone in the group meshed well and hung out socially, more and more we see P and H going off on their own and not spending time with the guild outside of raids.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Drama Mamas

Officers' Quarters: Raiding addons aren't optional


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, available now from No Starch Press.

Raiding addons aren't optional. They're just not. I'm sure that many people will disagree with me in the comments below. However, I firmly believe this. I'll explain more below -- but first, here's the email that has prompted me to take this stand.

Scott,

Good news/bad news -- I've recently been promoted to co-guild leader. So now I'm in the position of resolving drama. We are a casual, positive training guild that lets people do whatever they want whenever they want. Our guild rules are basically no swearing; no begging; if you want to raid, get Vent. We are currently running ICC-10 and have just started a second ICC-10 and an ICC-25.

The problem is that our Group 1 off tank refuses to get any addons -- not Pally Power, not Deadly Boss Mods, none, zip, zero, zilch, nada. His computer is less than a year old and he is terrified of viruses and won't listen to reason that downloading from sites like Curse is safe -- and yet won't get an authenticator, either.

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Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

Drama Mamas: Keep it secret. Keep it safe.

Drama Mamas Lisa Poisso and Robin Torres are experienced gamers and real-life mamas -- and just as we don't want our precious babies to be the ones kicking and wailing on the floor of the checkout lane next to the candy, neither do we want you to become known as That Guy on your realm.

The Lord of the Rings references stop at the title and this sentence. We're talking about drama here, not an all-powerful ring that sucks your soul and -- oops. Now the first sentence is a lie. Anyway, keep your drama out of guild chat to keep your guild a happy place safe from grievances and transgressions that are best handled behind closed, virtual doors. But in order to be successful at this, you absolutely have to deal with what caused the drama or else it's just going to creep back in again.

This week's letter isn't so much about handling or preventing drama, but how to make sure guildies know that drama-causing issues are being addressed without extending the brouhaha.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Drama Mamas

Officers' Quarters: How to persuade your guild leader


Every Monday Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership.

Every so often I write a post purely for my own convenience, and this is one of them. I get a lot of e-mails week to week all asking the same question: How can I try to change my guild leader's mind? The topics can vary greatly, from loot systems to promotions to guild bank rules to the level of roleplaying the guild enforces.

I want to point all those people in one direction. Now that this column is live, I'll be able to send them here, as a starting point, and offer to answer any follow-up questions they might have.

So without further ado, here is, from my point of view as a guild leader, the best way to persuade yours.

1. Spend time thinking about why he or she instituted the rule or the policy.

Try to put yourself in your guild leader's place and imagine what motivated him or her to do things that way. Is it a matter of convenience or fairness? Is it meant to quell drama? You'll have a much better chance to get your guild leader's attention if you can begin your argument with a statement showing that you understand why they made the original decision. The first thing your GL is going to assume is that you don't understand why, so if you can get past that point, you'll be in better shape to persuade!

2. Spend time thinking about the consequences of changing the policy.

Notice that you have taken no action yet. This is intentional. Many players approach me with knee-jerk reactions to a guild situation they don't like. They try to talk me out of it before even thinking too deeply about why that policy is in place or what would happen if it were changed.

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Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

Enter to win a wireless headset from Creative and WoW.com

Hey there, time once again to give away one of these snazzy Creative World of Warcraft wireless gaming headsets. Not only is this thing kitted out with some of the best audio hardware in the business (including Creative's awesome 3D positional audio, good enough to make you think you really are in the World of Warcraft), but it also comes with either Horde or Alliance "glyphs," which you can place on the earcups near colored LEDs to show off your factional allegiance in style. And you could be the lucky commenter to win one this week!

As usual, the contest is open to legal residents of the 50 United States, the District of Columbia, and Canada (excluding Quebec), and everyone who enters must be 13 or older. To enter, leave a comment on this post before Wednesday, October 21st, at midnight eastern, and please be sure to use a real email that you check often to enter, so we can contact the winners when we choose them. You may enter only once, and each winner will get a Creative World of Warcraft Wireless Gaming Headset, with a retail value of $150. Please note: winners will not receive the headset until it is released later this year. Click here to read the official contest rules.

Good luck to everyone who enters (but trust us when we say we're really pulling for you to win). And hey, even if you don't, there'll be yet another chance to pick one of these up next week. See you then!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Contests, Hardware

Yogg-Saron in blues


This story's from last week, but I love it anyway -- over at the Greedy Goblin, Gevlon's guild was getting a little tired of all of the achievement-checking and gear requirements for endgame raiding, and so they set out to do something that many experienced raiders might admit seems impossible: take down Yogg-Saron with nothing but blues on. That means no epics at all -- no epic gear, dropped or crafted, no epic enchants, no epic gems. They did use profession bonuses, but everyone should have access to those by now (all it takes is money, and all that takes is time). And of course, they did it: toppled Yoggy with the group you see on the page there. The combat log is also posted, and it's about what you'd expect: none of the damage numbers are crazy high, but the group works so well together and plays so evenly that they get it done. That's the message to be taken away here: gear is nice, but nothing will get you farther than a well-oiled group of solid players.

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Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Guilds, Raiding, Bosses, Leveling

The Queue: The roof, the roof


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've received a load of e-mails, tweets, whispers, and whatever else since Eliah posted this past weekend's WRUP. Yes, my garage burned down. No, nobody was hurt. No, the house didn't burn down, the siding just melted a little. No, that wasn't my car, it was my neighbor's car. Yes, my office has smelled like someone barbequeing since it happened and I can't get the smell to go away. I appreciate the concern, guys. You are all awesome. I guess I should pick a relevant Song of the Day, huh? How about Billy Joel's We Didn't Start the Fire?

Jack Spicer asked...


"With each expansion Blizzard seems to be bringing underused talent specs around and making them highly desirable. In TBC, it seemed to be Feral Druids, Prot Pallies, Shadow Priests and BM Hunters. In Wrath, they really brought up Survival Hunters and Retribution Pallies.

But I'm curious. From a PvE perspective, which talent trees are still universally lacking and laughable?"

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Queue

From our readers: Guild Retention

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

Hello reader,

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.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tips, How-tos, Guilds, Raiding

The Queue: Locke

Welcome back to The Queue, WoW Insider's daily Q&A column where the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Adam Holisky will be your host today.

Do you ever get the feeling that WoW is like some sort of purgatory? That you're trapped in an endless loop of hellish deviations intent on consuming the very soul from which all things good and pure spring forth from? That this game is indeed nothing but the true game which ends all games, and like Sisyphus or John Locke you'll be stuck pushing the boulder up the hill towards a higher level for the rest of your life?

And with, let's throw a little social philosophy in your faces.

Adoisin commented...

"I hate people telling me how to change my spec and how to play. I'm a mage who puts out between 2-3k dps, depending on how bad my lag may be at the time. Sure, I may not have the cookie cutter spec. But it's my game, I am paying for it, and I will play how I want. Want me to change? Fine. Start paying my fee and you can tell me how to play."

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Filed under: The Queue

PopCap's addons are obfuscated, Blizzard is OK with that

We've posted about both the Bejeweled and the Peggle addons here lots -- we're big fans of PopCap releasing free versions of their games for us to play in Azeroth. But all might not be well in addon land -- a few authors have come to us to point out that PopCap's addons actually contain obfuscated code in them. Obfuscation is a little hard to define -- it's a coding technique that makes code difficult to be read by other programmers, either for purposes of compression or to deliberately hide the code's function or purpose from anyone reading it. Obfuscation is strictly prohibited by Blizzard's addon policy, and so when addon authors dived into PopCap's code and found it obfuscated, they were concerned that PopCap is dodging Blizzard's rules.

We spoke with PopCap about the issue, and they told us that yes, they run a program called luasrcdiet on their code to shrink it down and keep the memory footprint to a minimum. While working on their addons, they were in contact with Blizzard (and showed them the original, non-obfuscated code), and they tell us that Blizzard decided that since the purpose of the obfuscation rule in the policy was to allow the community to police their own addons for bad code (and since Blizzard trusted PopCap, there were no concerns there), then Blizzard was OK with PopCap releasing obfuscated addon code.

So. Has PopCap broken the rules? In the strictest sense, yes -- the rules say no obfuscated code, and PopCap's addons do make things hard to read. But Blizzard, who wrote the rules to begin with, has no problem with making an exception for PopCap, and in doing so, their reasoning seems pretty sound. It doesn't seem fair to make an exception in any case, but we admit, if you're going to make an exception for anyone, you can't go wrong with PopCap. What do you think?

Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Blizzard

Possible addon business models

Ever since that new addon policy came to light, some addon devs are furious, and threatening to stop publishing their addons completely. But others are being a little more optimistic -- instead of shutting down their addons, they're trying to figure out new ways around Blizzard's rules in order to get compensated for their work. selenite on WoW LJ has one such idea: he suggests a method of "ransomware," where the creators of a mod ask for donations (on their sites, not in-game, as that's against the new policy) and set a goal before they release a new version. BRK had a good point on last week's podcast as well -- he suggested that, like the popular WoW Web Stats, some addons (Recount was one suggestion that came up) can offer information out of game rather than in-game, thus making them able to charge for it, or show advertising on it.

Now, some may say that even these types of models will still go against Blizzard's rules (in fact, the rule that says addons may not charge for distribution also hints that they may not charge for "services related", either), but at this point, we don't really know what these rules mean, since, as far as we know, Blizzard hasn't actually shut down any addons. Blizzard may be trying to say that any attempt to make money off of an addon will get it shut down in the game (a strong statement, since you'd think anyone putting time and work into an addon should get something back for it). And if they really do have issues with people who help players play the game making money off of it, what about sites like Wowhead? What about us here at WoW Insider?

At any rate, the ideas are out there. If developers really want to get something back for their work, and they have an addon or an idea that's worth paying for (keep in mind that competition is always there -- if an addon like Recount does charge to go visit another site and get DPS meters, they'll have to make sure it's worth paying that amount rather than just using a free addon), there will probably be a way for them to get compensated.

Filed under: Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Add-Ons

Blizzard's version of RMT


Real-money trading is one of the most debated aspects of MMO gaming at large -- some games don't actually charge a monthly fee, and instead what they do is sell ingame items for real world money. Want that hot sword for your character? Put in your credit card and pay up. Blizzard, obviously, has never really subscribed to the idea, since a lot of players think it's unfair to make how much money you have in the real world a part of the game you play. Nevertheless, there is a lot of money to be made in selling virtual items for real money, and Blizzard has come up with their own form of RMT in terms of server transfers, name changes, and now gender changes as well.

Blizzard has rules for their RMT, though, and Zarhym lays a few of them out: they won't charge for any item that means anything in game -- cosmetic items and looks are fair game, but actual gear or "integral services" (whatever that means exactly) is a no for them. They won't charge for anything that was free before, so creating up to 10 characters on a realm, for example, will always come with the subscription (though adding more may eventually be possible with an extra charge). And Blizzard's RMT comes as a game mechanic itself -- they choose to charge for things not just because there's a cost for them, but also to "curb their frequency," to keep all players from doing them all the time.

It's an interesting idea, and it's definitely a lot more player-friendly than charging for things like, say, horse armor. You could also argue, of course, that something like the WoW TCG is also a kind of RMT scheme, since you have to pay real money for real cards to get in-game items (even though Blizzard has made sure those items are cosmetic as well). But paying for transfers and changes is a little sneakier -- Blizzard is slowly wading into RMT, so far successfully dodging all the sharks in the water.

Filed under: Patches, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Making money, Wrath of the Lich King, WoW TCG

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