Surprise!!

June 24, 2010

You know how seeing is believing?  Well…Rem casually informed me of something today, and I immediately demanded to see the link because I could hardly believe it. He delightedly and amusedly complied. No, it wasn’t Tam’s perfect reworking of a certain Charlene track, which has finally replaced the official Enthusiasm anthem earworm I’ve been suffering all day.

When I followed the link, it delighted me – and amused me too. You see, somehow, without trying, without caring, without giving a damn about ratings or rankings but concentrating on the fun, we’ve apparently managed to be, according to guildox.com, the Number 1 ranking 10 Man Progression Guild (Strict) on Darkmoon Faire! We’re also the Number 1 Ranking 10 Man Achievements Guild (Strict). And more besides…if you look at the achievements, we are the ONLY strict 10 man guild who have downed Putricide and upped Valithria on Darkmoon Faire.

It amused me because we don’t

a) give a fig about the rankings, the fun and teamwork and the sheer joy of raiding with like minded folk is what floats our boats

and

b) we don’t class ourselves as strict 10 man raiding, it’s just what we’ve been doing this far and enjoying it. Hell, we don’t even KNOW what the restrictions are for Strict 10 mans! And we’re as likely to try 25s when we can one day, because they’re there.

I’m also guessing that as Darkmoon Faire is a fairly youngish server, there’s far less …I want to say competition, but competition is NOT the right word, it’s as far from why we do this as chocolate is from the slime that Putricide puts out regularly. But I figure you know what I mean. And perhaps all the energy goes into 25 mans, for Teh Lewt, who knows?

It’s odd to look at our name there, with such a rating. Part of me feels damned proud that we’ve reached that point since we first started dipping our toes into raiding at the end of February.  And I think there’s a great deal of room for pride in that. It shows that whatever we’re doing, we’re doing well, which is what we always wanted. Passion and enthusiasm. People CARING about what they were doing. And everyone enjoying the raids. I think that counts for a lot. It brings out in each of us the wanting to do our best. And THAT is something of which we can all be genuinely proud.

Another part of me wants to say yes, that’s nice dear, now, let’s get on and do what we do best. Which is….oh, having fun, enjoying the raids etc. Because we’re not and we never will be about the guild rankings and all that kerfuffle.

But for now, I’ll bathe in our glory for a few more moments (is that Charlene I can hear in the background again? And where’s the soft focus, dammit?!) just long enough to say a thank you to everyone in Team Enthusiasm who makes it what it really is, in the rankings that honestly matter to us.

And that’s Number One in Fun Ratings all the way.


Why do I do this?

June 11, 2010

Right now I’m almost wishing I’d taken Rem’s suggestion a long time ago and run with it – and applied to a guild rather than setting one up. The frustrations are endless.  We’re trying to get the balance right, and not in a fun Depeche Mode song sort of way.

I’m sad if people don’t feel like they can approach me with issues. I’m there for that. I don’t CARE if people want to rant about how my husband pulls things he shouldn’t, or that Rem’s accent can’t be understood. Or that raids are being boring, or not enough information is being given.

Oh, and to top it off, I’ve offered to run a raid on Thursday. That’s the Thursday one where we don’t know who’ll turn up, we can’t run ICC, because it’s booked for the following week, and I’m probably going to have to fall back on the good old RoTC or VoA. Yum……So fuck THAT idea of preparation in advance!

The guild itself’s doing well. It’s doing hunkydory. Despite all my inner angst.

I’m trying, I really am. But I feel impotent, a wooden figurehead of a GL. And that’s not right. I think I could do with a bloody good reminder of why it’s my character name up there. And thank the gods for today and tomorrow away from it all to give me perspective.

See you all on the other side in (hopefully) a much better frame of mind.


Edited: Today’s post  was brought to you by an  OhfuckwhatamIdoing?! moment of insecurity and the letter T and the number 8.


Wanting to sell…!

June 4, 2010

In anotherwise pants week real-world wise (our car is now dead and non rezzable) I have at least discovered a strength.

We spot people that sound like they’ll fit, like our little home is exactly what they’re looking for and I answer them. I read what they’ve written, and I answer them accordingly. And I somehow have a “magic touch”….

I am NOT a salesperson. I HATE selling things. When I answer someone who’s looking for something like us, I tell them the truth. I stress our easygoing points. I try to relate to what they’ve said in their original post, and refer to some of those things.

I do this because I dislike seeing reams of copied and pasted info following those looking for guild posts. Sometimes it seems that the people replying haven’t even read what the original poster has written. And I feel insulted for them when that happens. And simply sticking a “Hi “name”” in front of nothing but a copy/paste post does not cut it.

I suppose in days gone by, I would have been a salesperson, with that sort of touch, conviction of belief in what I was offering. But nowadays, sales means cold calling, trying to force things on people who do not want them, and that’s not me.

For now, I’ll settle for my magic touch in telling folk about my wonderful WoW home.


It’s about the people

June 3, 2010

It’s about the people. You can have all the politics you want, but without the people it’s nothing.

I sent that  in an email today. It was nothing to do with WoW but another aspect of my life, one that I’ve long considered an important one. One that’s becoming more shakey by the hour following some news I received today.

As I typed those words, I realised how strongly I felt them, how important this is to me.  All the rules in the world don’t matter if you don’t have any people to follow them.  You can be as shouty as you want, be as influential as you want, but enforce things too strongly and things will break. And once one part of the frame breaks, it becomes more and more difficult for the rest of the structure to remain stable.

I’m watching this happen outside of WoW, to something that’s almost as important to me as breathing. And it’s making my fists clench and me weep with anger and frustration.

It’s affecting me in game too. While I’ve been mostly known as that nice kind GM who occasionally brings out her Squid Staff to frighten the locals, recently I sent a very harsh sounding email to officers,  one of whom I upset with my tone . My apologies again for that.

So what’s scared me enough to be so mean? In the other situation it’s one or two people having far too much power, being able to exert their influence over others. It’s not like that in our guild.  And I NEVER want it to be like that. After today, I’m more terrified than ever of that becoming the case and what it can do to people.  The last thing I want to become is …. a Queen! Not dark but beautiful and terrible as the Morn! Treacherous as the Seas! Stronger than the foundations of the Earth! All shall love me and despair!

Instead I made sure that I had a second in command lined up, one who I know will fight as strongly for our guild’s feel as a father would for a child. It’s not just about my worries, it’s practical too, we don’t know what life will throw at us. The hideously painful news about what happened in Cumbria illustrates that all too well for us.  (And yes, I worried for a bit, checked that none of my guildies were from that area, and breathed a sigh of relief when I saw them logging in one by one. Didn’t all of us in the UK?)

Right now – I’ve just had another email about things and I’m close to tears about it – I don’t think I could bear to become someone who wields their political power about in a group. I would rather be run over by a pack of berserking Taurens, shut in an elevator with Jaina for a week….you get the idea? I find the idea repulsive. I find it obscene. This is not what things should be about.

Provide a structure by all means. But don’t crush it. Sometimes compromises are there because it’s about the people, not the politics.  As I say:

It’s about the people. You can have all the politics you want, but without the people it’s nothing.

On a lighter note, I realised something last night, when talking to one of our guildies. He reminded me very much of a real life friend of mine, their voices, their inflections sound so similar. And we got talking about things. Wombles in particular. This friend of mine had a thing for them. No, not THAT sort of thing, you filthy lot! Although…he did have a hot water bottle cover Womble…so…maybe…no…not going there!

Turns out said guildie also likes the Wombles – and The Trapdoor! I shall be really worried if he’s into astrophysics and tabletop roleplaying – my friend R may just have found a long lost twin!

Meanwhile I shall save my discussion of Whitby, my own design for a Goth Womble, and the concept of Alice Springs and Cape Horn as porn Wombles for another time…..




Authenticity is a Good Thing.

May 26, 2010

We’ve had quite a week so far in the Forest, and it’s only Tuesday….

Monday I went through my mails, checked our forum.  One of our members had been hacked and he was letting us know in the hope that we could prevent any guild bank theft.  I shot into game straightaway, to find Rem having just logged in nanoseconds before me.  He’d already managed to demote the guy’s characters to recruit, and we both had a look at what had gone from our bank. We’d limited what members could take, but the hacker had still managed to grab the most expensive consumables that were in there along with a paltry 200 gold.

And then we heard that another of our members, who’d only joined the day before, had also been hacked.  We vented up, chatted with them for a bit, and not too much later, they were reinstated.  Everyone involved is now purchasing authenticators.

I purposefully set up a thread about account security on our forums. I’m very aware that while some of our members may be veterans of the game, there are some new to it,  or haven’t considered they could be hacked. For me this was as vital information to the guild as our loot rules. If not more so.

For me the issue of an account being hacked is an inconvenience. I have to tighten up guild bank access. (Methinks a “show us your Corehound, little spacegoat” protocol might be in order in the near future, at least all of us officer types have them.) I have to petition a GM, I have to put things back into the vault once they’ve been restored. I make a point of telling the GM in question that yes, we have a security thread on our forums, and we encourage people to sort out authenticators.

For the person in question, whose account has been hacked, and those close to them, it can be rather more than an inconvenience. Our guild members’ hackings came hot on the heels of  Anea’s post about Lus’ hacking. It’s an impassioned piece and a pretty damned eye opening account of things, and I would encourage anyone who’s not got an authenticator to read it. AND THEN GO OUT AND GET ONE THEMSELVES!!!


On the subject of responsibilities

April 19, 2010

I am absolutely tamping about something I read today. In one of the WoW communities I follow, someone’s posted to say that while they were in game, they watched their GM being hacked, being stripped and then disbanding the guild.

This I find unfortunate for the guild members, and I feel sorry for them.

The GM however, I have no sympathy for whatsoever. For the simple reason that they told the officers that they all needed authenticators to access the bank. But the GM themselves DID NOT HAVE ONE.

I don’t know which I abhor the most. The fact that the GM was being irresponsible towards the guild for not having one in the first place. Or the blatent hypocrasy of their “Do as I say, not as I do” attitude. To be honest I think it’s the latter, because to me that denotes a considerable lack of respect towards their guildmembers.  Okay, if they’d said “I cannot purchase one because I’m outside the shipping area” then maybe I could be happier with that, but to insist that everyone else does? Oh no.

I remember working in a shop many years ago. That shop went through a ridiculous number of staff, including managers. Over a series of about 6 years, there were at least nine different ones. I only really remember the one. I can still see him vividly in my mind’s eye. He was the one who asked with a “please” rather than ordering, and always remembered to thank us. Most importantly he was the one who I caught mopping out the gents’ toilets because all the other staff were busy. In that moment he earned a considerable deal of respect from me. Here was someone who was prepared to do what needed to be done, and wasn’t too proud to do the same as everyone else. In my eyes, that made him a real manager.

That GM could have taken a lesson from him.

Tam talks about “curtains for the common room” in a recent post. A post that, after reading one of the comments, made me realise exactly how strongly I feel that the GM should take responsibility for what’s going on in their guild. Anyone can persuade enough people to sign a guild charter. That’s the easy part.

The important things come after that. Yes, we’d like to think that most adults are …adult. But we all know they’re not. People offend, people are offended. Some things are taken out of context, or in the wrong way. There are clash of personalities. Of truths. Oh and dilemmas. That person applying to your guild may well be a 14 year old. Do you accept him? Do you want to keep your guild mature, with rude jokes etc? You might think it’s fine exposing that kid to your level of lewdness, hell, they may likely be able to outdo you. But what about that parent of kids about the same age who feels decidedly uncomfortable about this? Do you accept the kid, because you want the numbers? What happens if  the atmosphere in guild chat becomes strained?

This is the sort of dilemma that WILL crop up. And if you think there’s nothing more to being a name or looking big because you’re GM of a guild, then you can think again. Since actively recruiting members our guild has seen two drop out, two kicked out, one member hacked and the guild bank stripped, lots of emails flying backwards and forwards between the magnificent set of officers who care deeply about what we have. We’ ve been properly active as a guild for what…two months? If I was in it purely for the prestige, or we compromised on anything, I suspect we’d have wobbled, the foundation, our ideals, would have crumbled by now. Or there’d have been a mutiny, and guild members would have left…!

But we haven’t. And it’s exactly because of the effort, the dedication and the thought that everyone is putting into this guild. Because we’re aware of problems as they’re arising and deal with them then.

Yes. I rely on my officers, I rely on them to be the voices of reason, logic and empathy. I rely on them to tell me if I’m being too soft or too harsh. I listen to their ideas, take them on board and we implement them together. And each and every one of them knows that  they can come to me if there are any potential issues.

This GM is servant to her guild. She will mop out the guild’s metaphorical toilets with the rest of them.  And knowing us lot, we’ll probably all have bloody good fun doing it too….


Sweet child o’ ours

March 29, 2010

As with most children, it was conceived in passion late at night. A heated discussion about what we wanted, realisation that the best way to have what you want is to do it yourselves. As with most children, the idea terrified us somewhat, the responsibility, the aspect of learning on the job so to speak. But somehow Rem and I agreed that we’d give it a try. That we’d start our little guild and see if there were any like-minded folk.

We procrastinated for a while. Someone had a thesis to finish. And then he had to relax afterwards. But come the begining of this year, we talked again. And talked.  And then emails started to fly back and forth. About our ideals. About what we wanted. About our philosophies. Some were short. Others were walls of well-thought out and beautifully written text. For both of us it was vital that we had these ideals set down firmly. We didn’t want to be just another guild name  or one of those recruitment posts saying come join uz, we is fab an wanna hardcore guild.

We needed rules before we started recruiting in earnest. We needed to be clear about attendance, that there weren’t any specific requirements. We wanted to set out how we felt about how criticisms should be made and taken.  We needed those rules so that if anyone proved to be a wowcock/dickhead/douchebag, we could justifiably kick them. And we needed them in place before we started to recruit.

Rem and I spent more time still bashing out these, so that they could be displayed on the forum that he’d set up. We were impassioned. Colt was our voice of reason. His input was as vital as anything we did.

And so, the nursery was painted forum was set up, and we started the recruitment process. Both Rem and I were in that hospital corridor pacing, nail-biting, phase, wondering if anyone would ever think of joining us, with our limited experience in WoW. We agonised over it while jousting. That was good, it distracted me from the actual act of jousting and I think I did better than ever before at the Tournament grounds. And then, one day, when I was spamming trade channels in the hope that someone, somewhere, might hear my plea, I had a whisper. From an interested party.  And when he joined and asked if there was room for his girlfriend, we were over the moon. After that, recruits started to trickle in slowly at first – Rem had written probably the most impassioned recruitment post in the history of WoW – and we gained members. A wonderful mix of people fed up with the hardcore aspect, people new to the game, people new to raiding. All of whom are lovely, pleasant, crazy folk who’ve read about us on our forum and liked what they’ve seen.

It scares me sometimes, I worry about the guild, like a mother hen might. Is everything and everyone okay? If something isn’t right, I do my best to make it right. I want to be there, approachable, for people to discuss things with me. But, like any mother of a youngster, I also need to be firm, to keep those nasty prowling wowcocks away. To stop it turning into a nasty little ASBO teenager. So I’m posting this link from The Wordy Warrior about guilds just to keep me on track when I need it.

And a reminder of something very important.

Yes, it scares me. But it’s rewarding too. Even now I have to pinch myself, because I can hardly believe it. To know that there ARE lots of like minded people out there, who want it to work as much as we do. To have that home in WoW, surrounded by lovely people, and a lot of laughter and fun.  That’s been worth every moment of agonising about if this would work. And (apologies for being overly soppy here) I love this guild. I care about everyone in it.

So…here’s to those impassioned moments late at night, filled with Grand Plans, and what ifs, long may they continue!