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Raz has a Sheeps!

February 19, 2012 Leave a comment

Quick and adorable post. I mentioned in heroics on Friday night the story behind Raz and my overwhelming desire for an Elwynn Lamb to “complete” an aspect of the character’s RP story. It was a comment made in passing, with no real thought aside from the comedic value of the character (and several unfortunate incidents for poor Kirian and Raz at various intervals in Dalaran).

While I was running a heroic on my warlock tonight, our healer asked if I had checked my mail on Raz this evening and I admitted I hadn’t. She recommended I sign him on before logging for the night and check my inbox.

So I did…and as I stood in Dalaran, I saw a mail from a friendly and fun mage I had run with the night before. And inside the mail, there was a lovely note and a gift wrapped package. My curiosity was heightened as I collected the package from my mail, and my jaw fell open when I saw what it contained. Inside the gift wrap was an Elwynn Lamb, just for Raz. There may have been tears in my eyes at such a thoughtful gesture from a member of Lightninghoof”s RP community. She was promptly tackled in tells with more thank yous than I think she ever expected.

And tonight, I signed off from WoW with a smile on my face. Never forget the community–in your guild, or on your realm. There truly are great people out there!

Thank you again Derodra, your kindness and your quick memory have earned you a spot in my heart and on my friends list!

Categories: Kiri, Paladin, RP, Warcraft

Miri’s Thoughts on Guilds – Recruitment

February 18, 2012 Leave a comment

Like my previous post, Miri’s Thoughts on Guilds, this will be another running stream of consciousness about guild management, leadership, and development. None of this is ground-breaking (at least I hope it’s not), but what I think is “normal” has proven to be abstract to someone else. So, enjoy! ~Miri

Recruitment is a hot topic right now if you check on the forums. Like the end of every expansion, players are hitting burn out and stepping away, using the time between the final content patch (Blizzard has already announced that Dragon Soul is the last raid) and Mists of Pandaria to recharge. It’s a stressful time for guilds when they have to deal with a fluctuation of membership, especially so late in the game; during which they hope they can locate quality members to add to their teams. But how do you make your guild stand out above the rest for potential applicants?

Miri on Guild Recruitment

Recruitment isn’t easy. It can be a long (and arduous) process, truly dependent on how your Recruitment Officer handles things. There could be lengthy applications, interviews over a voice chat, possibly even cross realm grouping to see how well the player performs. It could take 24 hours, it could take 2 weeks. Either way, it needs to be a clearly explained process for any potential applicant. In the past I noted that a guild officer would respond within 48 hours to an application and that we would state then if we wanted to proceed further with the application process or if we chose to thank them for their interest but state our reason(s) for not continuing with them.

It’s not just hard on a guild looking for new players, it’s also hard on the applicants. Depending on the guild, you may have to defend your spec, your gemming, your enchanting, your reforging. You may have to explain your professions and your willingness (or lack thereof) to change them. You may have to explain boss fights and your role in them.

For many people, something has pushed them to change things. Maybe they want to progress faster than they currently are, maybe they want to see what a raid is like. Maybe there’s a personality clash or a time zone difference. But no matter what, you have to leave a comfort zone and venture into the great beyond.

I was recruited into my Wrath guild from a Trade channel conversation. When I look back on the entire chain of events, it was rather amusing. I was leveling fishing in Orgrimmar and was being sassy in Trade. It caught the eye of one of the guild’s officers and we struck up a conversation in whispers. It was a great talk and he told me they were looking for a healer and asked if I’d be interested in applying and checking out the guild via some heroics. I agreed and spent all of T7 with them. My guilds for T8 and T10 were me joining up with real life friends for short periods of time before I settled back on my “home” realm and had relaxed fun in PuGs.

Cataclysm saw me join a friend from Twitter towards the end of T11. I remained with them through almost all of T12, only moving on due to time zones killing my sleep patterns. I moved on to another guild that fit my time zone requirements perfectly, and joined a group of people that I knew via Twitter and real life.

Each time I made a move, I had to learn new personalities, I had to get to know new people. I had to learn who was the guild gossip, the guild drunk, the guild freak. Some people are afraid of interacting with strangers and it keeps them in a situation they are unhappy with, or it keeps them from joining a guild at all. Sometimes they they think they’ve found a good place, but later discover it’s not as they get to know the guild’s members.

One of the things I like is on our “About” page for my current guild: not only does it talk about some of the guild’s past achievements, but it speaks to some of the guild personalities. I kept a running “Introduce Yourself” thread on my guild forums where people could post a picture (if they so chose–and surprisingly, I think everyone did!) and talk about their hobbies outside of WoW. Making a thread like that public (viewable only, no posting) to non-members gives them a chance to discover if it’s a guild full of hash smokers or alcoholics or if it’s players who are just enjoying the game and all it’s offerings.

The ability to do cross realm grouping with RealID and the future implementation of BattleTags will make engaging with potential applicants even easier. Not only can you now group with an applicant cross-realm (thus saving them the transfer fee and discovering they hate you, your guild, or your realm), invite them into voice chat, and allow them to truly experience some of the guild in their natural element. Recruitment no longer needs to be a “blind” process in which you hope you got lucky and that the good experiences will outweigh the bad.

It sounds corny, but a guild is a home to me. And I’d prefer to stay there as long as I possibly can.

Why Guilds Recruit

I previously wrote that a guild is like a business, and that a successful guild will operate as such. Every business needs employees to operate. They may be your managers, they may stock the shelves or greet the customers. The employees each fulfill a specific role for the team.

A guild may recruit for their rated BGs team, or their raid group, or maybe just social members. Some guilds prefer to remain small and their recruitment list shows that. A guild may only recruit for their PvE or PvP related aspects. Other guilds may like to have a large roster and will look for people who are interested in socializing in addition to the PvE and PvP play styles. It is truly dependent on the whims of the GM and the guild’s officers to shape the direction that the guild goes.

In the Burning Crusade, a player would join a guild because it was a means of getting into raids, getting regular groups for heroics, and to avoid some of the crafting fees. This is in addition to being able to play with people who you (hopefully) enjoyed playing with. In Wrath, players joined guilds for many of the same reasons, but as the expansion progressed, guilds became less necessary as the content became more and more pugged. In fact, I pugged both of my Lich King kills via Trade because my tiny little guild didn’t have enough geared players to do our own raids.

Cataclysm saw a re-emergence of guild growth, but probably for the wrong reasons. It was even commented about last night while I was running heroics with a player from another guild on realm. Players join guilds now for their perks. I mean, who doesn’t want to run back faster from a wipe? Or have reduced repair fees? The ability to mass rez your group in a Heroic, or summon a friend to you for questing? Being a level 25 guild early on in Cataclysm had huge perks–some guilds were even taking any player who wanted to leech perks as long as they were helping the guild push to level  25.  Some guilds stuck to their guns and the guild leveled via the guild roster–and whenever they hit 25, they were good with it.

In some ways, a level 25 guild is a perk that can be used to draw players in via various recruitment methods, in others, it’s a crutch that inhibits guild growth.

Using Perks to Drive Recruitment

In between trash pack pulls in Well of Eternity, I learned a bit about the player we had pulled in to help us cap the weekly guild heroics.

Our healer commented that he had never seen her guild tag before and she stated that they were a new guild with a small roster. We asked what the guild’s goals were and she informed us that at some point, they hoped to raid. She continued the discussion by sharing that it was really hard to recruit to fill out their roster–simply because of their guild level.

The leveling of guilds, while a great concept to unlock perks, makes it hard for any group who reforms (or forms) to get traction in the server community. People don’t want to have to re-level a guild. People want to join and have the guild be level 25 already. I cringe at thinking about ever losing my level 25 perks. It makes leveling a crafter (or a gatherer) even more painful. It’s not that I’m lazy, it’s just that I prefer the quality of life benefits that a level 25 guild offers.

There was one night, months ago, that I sat in voice chat with friends and we were discussing recruitment. And a question was posed that has stuck with me since that night. It had such an impact on me that it was the basis for this post.

What perks do we have to offer to a potential recruit?

It is a simple, yet honest, question. Guilds sometimes lock themselves into the mindset of “well, I recruited you and gave you a slot on my Rated BGs/Raid/Arena team. That’s all you need.” But people who are looking for guilds are looking for more than that. They may or may not admit it, but they want to know what guilds can offer them besides a slot on a team.

Here’s where we go back to the discussion of a guild being a business. When I was getting ready to graduate from college, I began job hunting in earnest. I knew the mindset that I wanted my employer to have (work hard, play hard), but I didn’t want to find a job where there weren’t “perks.” Perks in the business world could be a lot of things: 401(k), health care, dental, and even child care. It could be a large amount of vacation time, it could be a Starbucks in your building lobby. It could be a company car or “Beer and Cookies Fridays.” Business perks can be all the things listed in the benefits package, but they can also be things that define the culture of the company you work for.

My previous employer had a great cafeteria that I could grab breakfast from in the mornings. There was a 1st class gym in our basement that I could use free of charge. We could have our laundry picked up and delivered to one of our campuses. We could have our oil changed and cars detailed while we worked. Once a month our VPs hosted a party on the front lawn with beer, wine, and a ton of food and music.

Those “perks” were in addition to a great health care plan, vacation packages, and the ability to have a flexible work schedule. The perks were great and even though I’ve moved on, I’ve had nice things to say about my previous place of employment.

Let’s be honest, the perks and the culture (that’s another post for another time) of the guild are what will attract players. As I looked at the Guild Recruitment forums earlier this week, I saw some great examples of guilds listing their “benefits” to try and woo players into applying to their ranks.

Some things I saw:

  • “Core” raid slots – this is usually a big deal for raiders who don’t want to have to have a raid team rotation
  • Guild Repairs
  • Flasks for raids
  • Feasts/Food
  • Gemming (gems and cuts)
  • Enchanting (mats)

Core raid slots, flasks and feasts are usually more raid specific than anything. If you were a PvPer looking for a guild, having repairs or the guild providing the gems and enchants you need for your newest piece of Conquest gear is a pretty nice deal. The list above was compiled from raiding guilds recruiting and it addresses basically anything a raider could need! The only thing that a player would be expected to do with these perks is 1/ know how to play their class and 2/ research the boss fights. The farming, the AH fees, the general “cost” of raiding has been absorbed by the guild, leaving the potential recruit the ability to spend their personal gold as they see fit.

Using Activities to Drive Recruitment

Activities show that the guild is active in other avenues and is a great way to engage players outside of the typical raid (or PvP) setting.

If your guild is primarily PvE based yet members have shown an interest in trying out PvP, schedule a fun PvP night weekly for players to get together and learn how to play each BG in a low stress environment. If your roster boasts some strong PvPers, see if they are willing to coordinate the teams and be a teacher–when you fight in mid, what the objectives are of the battle, etc. It’s supposed to be fun and a good team-building exercise, so the coordinators shouldn’t be prone to fits if a loss happens or something goes wrong. PvP is also great for raid teams to learn to work with limited communication while working with a team of 1-2 people while holding an objective.

Another idea could be an alt night. It could be for any level of alts, but members could help with dungeon boosting or crafting (I’m sure if I had a big and brawny level 85 out killing mobs for me to skin, I’d never fear leveling Leatherworking again!). Each week the “host” changes, so they can get time to get assistance with their alt(s).

I’ve seen groups who do “old school” raid nights. Whether it be for Transmog runs or achievements, assembling a team of willing guildies to go and run old content can be fun for everyone. It could be vanilla raids, or even TK for a chance at the Ashes of Al’ar. It could even be more current content, like T11 or T12 where people want to finish up achievements.

I often see people looking for a player to group up with for “2s for points.” What if you could keep that within your guild? Some players don’t care what their Arena ranking is, but they would like to be able to pick up new PvP gear. Maybe there’s a set night each week that people who want to try and cap their Conquest can sign on and teams are divvied up to get their points.

An interesting thing I saw done in Wrath was “physical” guild meetings in game. My guild meetings in BC were done over Ventrilo, but a social guild that I joined picked a spot each month to meet in the WoW universe. The “meeting” was conducted in both a raid group and in Vent, and throughout the discussion there were door prizes. The prizes were donated by officers and the “leads” of the various groups that made up the guild. A bit of backstory here: there was a small RP aspect to the guild and members were “assigned” to one of four houses, a la Harry Potter. Each “house” had a leader who a player could go to with their problems or questions. The leader may or may not be an officer, but it was someone who was aware of guild policy and was respected by the members. The night that I was “announced” to my house, my leader told me to pick one “wish” I would like granted by the guild. It could be an epic BoE crafted or purchased, it could be help leveling a profession or even my character! The prizes were 22-slot bags (pretty pricey in Wrath!), rare pets, and even 1K gold! It was a fun way to engage new (and old) members in the guild!

These are things that can be driven at the officer level, or can be handed off to other members of the guild who are interested in playing an active role that benefits many. They can be advertised on the guild website, put on the guild calendar, and should definitely be included in a recruitment post! Let people know that your guild does more than raid or PvP! Let them know that there are reasons to sign on outside of a raid or a rated BG. By having events to keep the guild active, more players on your server will see your guild tag actively, see more people on when they do a /who, and may be interested in joining your fun!

In Conclusion…

An active guild is usually a happy guild. The more people who are on at any given time means that more people are seeing your guild tag on realm. An active guild website/forums shows an applicant that there is stuff regularly happening within the guild. Activities mean that there’s a reason to get involved. Perks show that the officers are interested in supporting and retaining their member base.

Our first impressions usually come from looking–a concise yet interesting recruitment post, a polished and organized website containing application forms relevant to the content and an explanation of guild policies.

Let applicants get into voice chat and into runs with members they would regularly be interacting with. Allow those moments to be unfiltered so that an applicant and get to truly experience the people that they are going to be PvPing or raiding with. Let them truly get to know the guild and it’s regular players so they can determine if they are making the right choice–and so your guild can decide as well.

Keep your guild recruitment activities up-to-date for your members–they may know of people who can fill slots that you have open! Keep them involved in the recruitment process! One of the best changes I ever made was dropping the officer control on my guild recruitment in BC. The officers and I agreed that we shouldn’t be the only ones making the calls about applicants, though our decision was the final one. We allowed our members to review applications, pose questions and feedback (examples of “Oh, you were the person that trade blew up because you ninja’d a ton of stuff from your guild bank and sold it on the AH” was a legitimate response) about the player. Officers are unable to be all-seeing, no matter how many times we tried to be–so utilize your membership to help fill you in!

Hopefully some of these observations will help guilds grow and enable people looking for new guilds to ask questions that may have never sprung to mind in their application process! Best of luck to everyone recruiting for the end of Cataclysm and the launch of Mists!

What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been – 20K Tweets

December 23, 2011 4 comments

Raz and Kirian lookin' matchy with Transmog and drake fun

Really, what a long, strange trip it’s been! I never thought I’d last until the 20K mark on Twitter, much less be able to meet some of the most fun and loving people within the WoW community via Twitter!

So here we are, the infamous 20K. I pondered how I would celebrate this. I started watching my tweet count last weekend, knowing that I was getting closer and I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss it!

Since Twitter enabled me to share my blogging with the WoW community and expand beyond just Twitter, I figured a post here would allow me to share my thoughts with more than 140 characters!

The Guilds and Their Members

I can’t even begin to list all the people who have crossed my path since I started this roller coaster ride, but I’ve met 4 great guilds and had a blast with their members! A shout out to AF Guild, Waypoint, TTGF, and ES, 4 guilds that I’ve been able sprinkle characters in and have an absolute blast with their members! They allowed me to have fun in Warcraft again–which was a challenge since Cata started out as a very rocky road without a real home to settle in. Each of these guilds opened their doors to me, giving me a place to call home and to grow my abilities as a player and as a person. For this, I am forever grateful.

Dee, AKA Kirian

Kirian by Dee

Most of all, I need to make a call out to my favorite sassy mage. Kirian’s keeper, Dee, has been a shoulder to cry on, comedic relief when I’m depressed, a source of calm when I panic, and the first person I talk to as I sit down at my PC with a cup of coffee. She has been my partner in crime in both PvE and PvP, a supplier of beautiful places with screenshot worthy views, and she knows when I just need to get away after a frustrating night of raiding. She is a truly beautiful person who I am blessed to know and each day I am thankful for that! One of my BlizzCon highlights was being able to sit down with her and talk lore and characters and everything else. She allows me to have fun and enjoy being cocky as hell with Raz before he gets smacked back down to reality by Kirian. It’s been hilarious to play the two characters off of each other and it’s made WoW that much more enjoyable for me :) Ironically, I think to a degree that in real life, we’re a lot like the characters we play, as I swear I saw her shaking her head at some of my antics at BlizzCon >.>

In Closing…

So thank you my Tweeps for sticking along for the ride, allowing me to meet some of the most fun members of the WoW community in one spot, having the ability to get together with you all at BlizzCon and to have an overwhelming desire to keep going back for more! Here’s to another 20K and even more friendships, fun, and excitement!

–Miri

Kirian Gets His Own Tag…

December 21, 2011 1 comment

Kirian, Raz, and mini-Sel

This was on my “To Do” list weeks ago, but I’m behind schedule (as usual), so I’m trying to play catch-up today (that, and I just don’t really feel like working the rest of the week)… – Miri

So on Dee’s blog, Raz was granted his own tag because he shows up every once in a while in her blog posts. I told her that Raz’s sassy Mage needed his own tag here on my blog, and that I’d do a blog post when I did it. So the tag has been created, and here’s the accompanying and promised blog post >.>

And in Raz’s typical fashion, the tag is designed to tease Kirian ;)

Categories: Kiri, RP, Twitter, Warcraft

AU Your WoW Character – Raz

November 8, 2011 1 comment

This will make sense shortly...

So, I guess I should take a swing at my own meme, yes?

Let me start this off with a preface: there is actually a good amount of character development that has been done on Raz–it’s known to a small subset of people who I talk to outside of WoW (AIM/email/etc.). That being said, they will understand a lot of the information I’m posting below and the logic behind why the answers are what they are. For those who aren’t “in the know,” I’m going to try to add in some additional explanation so stuff won’t seem totally out of left field. I’ve kept the RP stuff off my blog so far, but I may include some of my character notes and whatnot on a separate page here on the blog–not sure yet. The people who “need to know” well…know! And if they don’t know, they inquire and I do the requisite development and send it over. Not sure if I want to bare that much of myself to the greater world yet though :)

So here we go!

General Character Factoids
  • Character Name: Raziel, usually shortened to Raz in some company.
  • Age: In current world, Raz is in his early 30s–it’s difficult to translate his WoW age (which I’ve set at around 75–he’s not a child according to Blood Elf life span, but he is fairly young as an adult) into a human age without him coming out to be like…18.
  • Sexuality: Yes!
  • Hobbies: International travel, car racing (think F1/GT/etc.), technology (the running joke is that he’d be playing Angry Birds on his iPhone when he’s not drumming on his desk with a pencil or ignoring someone)
  • Financials: This is going to take some back story…in WoW, Raz’s family background left him fairly well off–they were financially sound, if not very wealthy residents of Silvermoon. With the destruction of the Sunwell, the money obviously moved into his possession. He lives well, but doesn’t flaunt his financial status. He was pushed into the Blood Knights by his parents, who wanted him to do something with his life instead of living a fairly indulgent lifestyle. If he could “avoid” working, he would, but I suspect he does it more to stay on the go than for anything else. In the AU setup, he’s most likely a successful self-made millionaire–a combination of old and new money.
Employment
  • Work Background: Originally I tried to tie Raz back into his WoW professions (jewelcrafting & enchanting), but it just didn’t work. I couldn’t see him being a jeweler–he likes sparkly things, but probably not making them himself. I pondered what Raz would do then–I figured he would be fairly technically proficient but probably wouldn’t have the patience for something like programming–he can’t really stay still, so sitting for an extended period of time would probably make him incredibly antsy. I figure he’s in sales in a start-up, most likely his own. A start-up works well with his personality, something he can expend a lot of energy on for a short time frame, and then move on to something else without having to settle. He can work as much and as long as he wants, and then pack up and go on vacation for a month or whatever he likes to do.
Home Life
  • Living Location: I ended up figuring that Raz lived some place like New York City. A city that never sleeps, has an incredible selection of bars, restaurants, and nightlife.
  • Living Arrangement: Raz definitely lives alone–home is simply a place where he can watch tv, check his email, and catch up on sleep.
  • Talk about their house:  Raz has probably a very streamlined penthouse apartment. I see it being relatively simplistic and minimal. There probably won’t be much to reveal his personality–it will be presentable (I’m sure he has a maid) but almost, cold. Home would not be a place he’d stay often. Something I found while surfing the web that I think captures his tastes.
  • Decorating Style: Minimalist and modern. There will be a distinct lack of clutter!
Fun Stuff
  • Fashion: According to my husband, Raz is very focused about how he appears to others–he’ll be concerned with fashion to make sure he looks good. I suspect he’d probably be a big shopper of Calvin Klein, Armani, and Kenneth Cole. He’ll be big on the accessorizing, probably wearing a very expensive watch, shoes that most people would only fantasize about purchasing, etc. Cool metals, probably a lot of grays,  blacks, and dark blues. I suspect he’ll be most comfortable in a pair of fitted dark wash jeans (to show off his butt), an untucked button down shirt (probably striped or patterned), and a jacket of some form. His hair will still be a mess and he’s definitely a boxer boy.
  • Music: I suspect that Raz’s music tastes will align to mine. Probably a lot of techno/trance/dance with some current hits mixed in. He’s probably always got music on (yay for earbuds while walking in the city) and definitely likes fast paced beats to drive to.
  • Favorite Food: I gotta go with sushi. Simple and basic, but a lot of unusual flavors and textures. As always, there is more than what meets the eye :)
  • Favorite Drink: I suspect Raz is an “on the rocks” sort of guy. Probably whisky, gin, and scotch.
  • Transportation: BMW M6 coupe in Space Gray Metallic with black interior. It’s probably an automatic with manual shift capability should he get antsy and want to get out of the city.
  • What’s one thing that your character would take with them from Azeroth: Quel’Delar, just for it’s meaning to his people. It’s probably hanging on the wall in his Living Room.


The Ultimate Nerdery – AU Your WoW Character

November 7, 2011 6 comments

I was trying to amuse myself on a slow work day, so Dee and I got into some weird discussion about Alternate Universe (AU) and our WoW characters. Who would they be in current society? What would their habits and interests be? It was sorta fun to flesh out Raz from a modern day fantasy perspective. I polled Mal about it over dinner (we were drinking, sometimes discussions get weird) and jotted down the questions that were asked/answered.

I thought in some strange corner of my mind that this would be fun to do across the blogosphere and am curious to learn more about other people’s thoughts on their WoW characters in today’s times!

General Character Factoids
  • Character Name
  • Age (you can stay true to RP age or convert it into a more “human” number)
  • Sexuality (optional)
  • Hobbies
  • Financials
Employment
  • Work Background
    • Does your character work?
      • If so, what do they do?
      • Does it tie back to their in-game professions?
    • Do they own their company, are they in management, or are they a peon (zug zug)?
    • Do they work 9-5 or is their schedule flexible based on what they do (maybe a mercenary?)
Home Life
  • Where does your character reside?
  • Do they live with others or alone?
    • If they live with others, are they roommates, spouses/significant others?
  • Talk about their house
    • If they are single, is it the ultimate bachelor pad?
    • Is it cluttered with all the things that fill your bags and bank (lucky rocks, archaeology finds, etc)?
  • What’s their decorating style?
    • Modern/Traditional/etc.
Fun Stuff
  • Fashion – what’s their style?
    • For the guys: Boxers or Briefs (or commando!)?
    • For the girls: Well, the girl side of this question. (Typing th— on my blog actually weirds me out for some reason)
  • Music
    • What sort of music defines them? This could be the music you listen to when you PvP or raid. It could be a song that you think highlights your character.
  • What’s their favorite food?
  • What’s their favorite drink?
  • Transportation – would your character drive or use public transport (or have a driver)?
  • What’s one thing that your character would take with them from Azeroth to the current times?

I’ll be posting my info shortly–I just wanted to get this out there (it was too funny to ignore) and see what other people came up with!

Enjoy my Monday derp post!

–M

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