Guest Post: It’s Okay to be an Ass

This is a guest post by LabellaNotte who is co-GM of the Guardians of Fellowship (US The Scryers – Alliance) and author of the Heals Or Leaf blog.
When you hear the Doomsday Clock ticking, it’s easy to despair.  It’s easy to give up and take what you think is coming to you.  You can sink into depression thinking that all you and your officers have worked for is going the way of the dodo.  If this makes you feel like you’ve fallen in a well with no way out, let me assure you there is a way.
Be an ass.
No, not like your raid leader, this is a different kind of ass. Let me paraphrase a little fable for you.
There was this donkey. We’ll call the donkey Bob. He worked hard and took pride in his work. One day, in a fit of overzealousness, he fell into a hole being dug for a well.
Standing there alone in the well, Bob stared up and wondered what to do next. One of his buddies peered over the edge and told him that he was stuck in a well with no escape. In the process, he sent a cascade of dirt down on poor Bob’s head. A little annoyed, Bob shook the dirt off his back and stepped on it. It seemed he would never get out.
While he stood there, Bob realized he had two choices. First, he could simply wallow in misery over his certain demise.  Or, he could do something to change his situation.
Time and again, other animals came to look, comment, jeer, heckle, or offer helpful advice.  Over and over, showers of dirt fell on him. Bob made his choice, time and again.  Shake the dirt off, step on it, and realize that each bit that fell on top of him could be shaken off, stepped on, and used to bring him closer to freedom.
It wasn’t a fast process by any means, but Bob built himself a ramp out of that well and again got to see the light of day as a free donkey. One shake and step at a time, Bob repeatedly chose to use that dirt to his advantage to build a ramp instead of letting it bury him.

In other words

The seemingly endless task of running a guild, whether as a GM or an officer, involves running into obstacles.  Some obstacles are small, such as picking dates for events that aren’t convenient for everyone who wants to participate. Others are potential catastrophes. My guild, just like anyone’s, has had more than our fair share of them.  Looking back at the annals of our history, it amazes me that we have lasted as long as we have.
Back in Wrath of the Lich King, one of our officers left and half the raid team followed. In the same era, our OT’s wife got fed up with his gaming and forced him to quit raiding with us.  During Cataclysm we absorbed another Guild that was falling apart to benefit both Guilds, but eventually there was a rift in our own Guild that led to an officer, one of our best DPS raiders, and several awesome social members away. Also in Cataclysm, one of our other top DPS raiders decided he has finished the story and canceled his subscription. Just recently, one of our most consistent raiders (an officer to boot) and a backup healer decided to leave the server for greener grasses.
Each of these events made us in guild leadership look around and wonder if we could handle this blow.  We wondered if we would survive, no less continue with our regularly scheduled raids.  It wasn’t easy, not by any measure of the imagination.  Each time, we made the conscious decision to keep on trucking.
Matticus very aptly observed that each guild has its own Doomsday Clock ticking towards midnight.  There are outside influences that can stop, slow down, or even reverse it. You can look to those exterior forces he discussed to keep you afloat.  One factor he failed to mention is you do have one other option.  You can draw from your own strength and ingenuity to get yourself out of that hole.
Each time we’ve been faced with a challenge that could have ended us, our GM and officers have sat and stared at the hands of the doomsday clock speeding towards midnight. And each time, our GM, myself, and our leadership team have stopped, shaken off the dirt of the latest disaster, and built a ramp to get out of the hole.  We see and hear the clock ticking and watched the progress of those numbers slow, halt and reverse.
So next time that clock is ticking, think of Bob. Go ahead and be an ass, just like Bob, and you too can smile as the hands on that doomsday clock start to move backwards.
Have you watched your own guild’s doomsday clock ticking away and survived to tell the tale?  Share your experience in the comments!Until next time, long days, pleasant nights and happy raiding.

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You Shouldn’t be an Officer

You shouldn’t consider being an officer…

  • If you can’t commit the time
  • If you view it as a simple title without responsibility
  • If you have thin skin and cannot handle flak from anyone
  • If you cannot be objective
  • If you get extremely frustrated
  • If you are impatient
  • If you set a poor example for other players
  • If you are not willing to act
  • If you cannot control your temper
  • If you don’t have the energy
  • If you have absolutely zero sense of tact
  • If you are routinely and consistently late to events (raids)
  • If you are unable to put yourself in the shoes of others
  • If you cannot be objective when it comes to guild matters
  • If you have a flair for drama
  • If you are only good at delivering criticism without feedback
  • If you view it as a free ride to loot
  • If you’re too new and haven’t gained respect from your peers
  • If you are not available for players to reach you (within reason)
  • If you are not reliable
  • If you just don’t care
  • If you want to date the GM (Hah)
  • If you don’t want to

I’m sure you can find exceptions and success stories of those who do fall under one or two of the above bullet points. Think of these as more general guidelines. It’s nigh impossible to find the perfect officer. They may have a few flaws about them but a shrewd GM can find ways to minimize their shortcomings and capitalize on their strengths. The process of becoming an officer is going to vary. With Conquest, it usually happens when I ask someone directly. I actually prefer it if players communicate their interest in assuming more responsibilities and I’ll observe their capabilities and interactions. Makes it a little easier, I think.

In the history of Conquest, I’ve had the pleasure of working with 13 different officers since the inception of the guild. We formed during the fall of 2008, when Wrath of the Lich King came out. We’ve been around for 5 years. That’s a rate of 2.6 officers per year. Now I’m curious, how many officers have served in your guild total?

 

 

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What Michael Jordan Can Teach Us About Winning

6 NBA championships.

14 NBA All-Star Selections.

10 NBA scoring titles.

Ranked No. 1 by ESPN’s Top 100 Athletes of the 20th century.

His all-time leading scoring title in one All-Star game history was recently broken by one Kobe Bryant.

Michael Jordan played the majority of his career for the Chicago Bulls before taking over a front office position with the Washington Wizards.

Have you heard of a TV show called Suits? It’s my favourite drama to watch from the USA network right now and they’ve just started airing new episodes a couple of weeks ago. There are some minor spoilers in today’s post from last week’s plot.

Here it goes.

One of the leading characters, Harvey, is a senior partner in the fictional law firm Pearson-Hardman. He goes up to his boss Jessica, and says to her that he wants his name on the door. She then proceeds to tell Harvey a story about Michael Jordan because she knew this day would come.

Looking up from her desk, Jessica asks,“Harvey, what was Michael Jordan’s record on the Bulls?”

“664 wins, 285 losses.” Harvey confidently responded.

“More than twice as many wins and losses. Do you know what his record was in the front office?”

“No.”

“185 wins to 291 losses. Almost twice as many losses as wins.”

The lesson Jessica was getting to is that just because someone is a star on the court doesn’t mean they can translate their skills off the court.

Next time someone asks to be an officer and you don’t think they’re quite ready for that role yet, tell them this story about Michael Jordan that Jessica relayed to Harvey. Some people are better off playing than they are managing.

Success on the meters doesn’t always translate to success in a leadership role.

Mattivation: The Origin of Many Whelps!

Language is slightly NSFW.

We’re about to enter our 4th expansion. There’s enough new players that haven’t seen this video yet but it’s something I wanted to share. If you think your raid leader was brutal, wait until you watch this classic Onyxia wipe raid video. If you ever wondered where Many Whelps! Handle It came from, this is it!

A large number of players today would most likely wilt under that kind of pressure and environment. Me? I don’t know. I’ve played under leaders like that before and it was a different experience. I felt like I thrived and played at near my peak. I wasn’t really motivated by fear or anything. There’s just something appealing I find when I get (quite literally) get yelled at for screwing up. My officers know this and won’t hesitate to get in my face because they know the right buttons to press (They don’t care that I’m the GM :\).

Anyway, it’s a quick video I wanted to share this morning. For the older veterans, I’m sure it’ll bring a slight grin to your face. For the newer guys, that’s what you missed out on during vanilla.

Remind me to show you guys that Sebudai poster next week.

The Substitute Raid Leader

Remember the days in school where your favourite teacher was away?

Maybe she was sick or needed a personal day.

Then the sub would roll in with a giant, CRT television that was Velcro strapped to a cart and you thought to yourself, “YES! It’s going to be one of those days!”

Getting a substitute teacher is like a day off. Subs were mainly there to supervise and hand out homework. Sometimes they weren’t able to teach the lesson plans your main teacher already had in place.

Once in a while, you dice rolled into a teacher who unexpectedly knew their stuff (I once had a Caucasian teacher who spoke fluent mandarin and taught the class pretty well. Not bad).

In your raid, what happens when your raid leader’s out cold? Maybe he stayed up too late watching Starcraft 2 tournaments while excessively drinking.*

* That has never happened. It’s completely hypothetical.

Chances are you have several fall back plans at your disposal:

  • Cancel raid – Worse case scenario. Wasted raid night. Players get to relax and have a night off.
  • Delay – Not a bad option. Instead of tossing the whole night, you end up tossing 30 minutes or an hour. Dismiss your players and have them regroup at a specified time. This allows them to engage in other activities.
  • Run a different raid – Could go knock out a specific raid achievement that doesn’t require a full roster or tackle another boss that has a specific drop that are still improvements for certain players.
  • Down size – Only applicable to 25 man raid groups. Viable option if a progression boss is later on in the instance. You can speed up the process by sending in a small team to knock out some of the earlier bosses that aren’t needed. Downside is that this isn’t applicable to hard mode raiding because you’ll end up being saved to that specific lockout (and it applies to raid size).
  • Run with someone else quarterbacking – Every raid leader needs a number 2. This is their chance to prove they can function as a number 1.

In most cases, the last option is the most viable. A 25 man guild is likelier to have other players capable of stepping in to lead compared to a 10 man

The problem.

Like the substitute teacher, the substitute raid leader suffers from 1 problem:

No one takes them seriously

The newly promoted raid leader is usually one of the boys who’s a raider or an officer not normally known to raid lead.

Guys!

There’s still a raid going on! There’s still internet dragons that need to be killed!

Just because there’s an absence doesn’t give you the license to mess around card. He might have a different style of running the show but you as a raid team need to give him that support! They may not have the months or years of experience that your primary raid leader has but give them a shot! It’s upsetting to see that when the cat’s away the mice will play. Most of you don’t raid 7 days a week and you have nights off where you can relax and do other stuff anyway. Of the nights where you do raid, your raid leader (whoever it happens to be) needs your undivided attention and focus.

Don’t just dismiss them.

Give them a chance to show what they can do.

Dragons don’t just spontaneously lie down. They still need you and your raid to work together.