Archive for Guild

When Small Things Matter

With Stormshaper becoming less dependent on 5 man heroics for her gear, she is slowly and unwillingly (on my part) moving toward end-game raiding. Inevitably when you hit the end-game raiding field small things start to matter.

Once, not such a long time ago, I was in a casual raiding guild with my hunter, and it was a lot of fun. We went to Naxxramas. We went to Ulduar. We wiped often, but it was fun because no-one went crazy if/when a wipe occurred. It was relaxed, and you’d logon and there were friendly people ready to talk and chat and it was everything a guild should be.

Then, one day, it wasn’t fun any more. The focus of the guild changed, literally overnight. We had two raid teams and team 1 was seen as the “progression” team. We left Ulduar (still not completed) and we went to Trial of the Crusader and we did that fro start to finish on our second attempt. This was the point when the whole ethos of the guild changed. All of a sudden, our guild master saw us not as a social guild with reasonably skilled, mature players, but a bleeding edge raiding guild.

Squeezing every last piece of DPS from your character became all consuming. Talent trees were analysed, combat logs were poured over. Inevitably you’d see comments like “If I remove a point from talent ‘x’ and put the point in talent ‘y’ and then you move the Draenei into group 1, I’ll gain z% DPS”. In my raid team, we had a Draenei mage who was told to buy a racial change to gnome, because the racial intellect buff from gnomes will offer a DPS increase.

So, here I am, three months later and Stormshaper is in good form and ready for 10 man/end game raiding. Of course, being a shaman, she won’t need to go through a racial change for a DPS increase. Not that I would do that anyway. But there are things I need to do to make sure that her performance meets the minimum required for 10 man raiding.

We know that there are gear improvements available to her. Yesterday’s post shows what she needs and where she can improve on that score. The next thing to look at is my raid UI and what I want and need from it so that it can help me with Stormshaper’s performance.

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The Shock of the Lightning

Stormshaper is pretty well geared now. A couple of weeks of doing heroics – not farming heroics – just doing them on an “as time permits” basis has been enough for her to get four pieces of Tier 9 shaman armour. Of course, there have been a few choice issues with rude players, incompetent players, rude incompetent players and so on, but if I am honest, I’ll say that only about 40% of the dungeon runs she’s been on have been negative. Overall, not a bad percentage, all things considered.

Late last night, Stormshaper completed 140 quests in Icecrown, which means she got the zone achievement, and as I’ve done previously, I’ve moved zones, so she’s in the Storm Peaks now, doing the starter quests there, which will ultimately lead to the Sons of Hodir reputation grind. Not something I’m looking forward to, but a necessity due to the shoulder enchants that they have available from their quartermaster.

Quite why Blizzard haven’t retro-fitted a tabard for these giant dwarves (there’s an oxymoron) is beyond me. They have, in the shoulder enchants, something that every player wants. I know you can farm the relics of ulduar, and buy honour with badges, but a tabard would have put an end to one of the most tedious reputation grinds since the original Wintersaber faction grind in Winterspring.

As Stormshaper needs nothing from the 5 man dungeon runs, I’ve adapted her dungeon finding a little bit. I know that I’ll get badges from completing dungeons whatever happens, so I’m now purposely selecting the 5 man instances that were added after WoTLK came out, so that means Trial of the Crusader, Forge of Souls, Pit of Saron and Halls of Reflection. Trial of the Crusader I’m doing in heroic mode only, the others are normal and heroic, because there are items available in both versions of the dungeons that Stormshaper can use. Just today, for example, this dropped for her, on only her second run in Forge of Souls.

Having recently equipped two Ironforge Smasher’s this is a magnificent DPS upgrade and I’m hoping to reap the benefits when she steps into Halls of Reflection for the first time next week.

In the meantime she’ll continue doing the 5 man runs until she can equip either another Nighttime or, if she’s lucky, a Black Icicle!

I put the Berserking enchant (500g – ouch) on her new axe as soon as I left the instance. It looks sick!

Now – Berserking. I decided that once Stormshaper had equipped two epic items of level 200 or higher I would enchant both her weapons with Berserking. This enchant is beastly for melee DPS. When it procs, which is often, it increases your attack power by 400. The trade off is reduced armour, but shamans can self-heal so this isn’t too much of an issue. Besides, by the time you’ve unleashed on your target, they’re not going to cause you too much damage. Remember this is on both of her weapons, and yes, the enchant will stack if both weapons trigger the berserking proc!!

To try out the enchant when Stormshaper had her two Ironforge Smashers equipped, I ran her around Jotunheim, doing the “Leave Our Mark” Ebon Blade daily quest where you plant 15 banners in slain Vykrul. Seriously, they were lining up in front of her, getting halfway through their smack-talk and then dying at Stormshaper’s feet. “I’ll eat your face” – smack/unleashed rage/smack/berserking/smack/Dargon’s Blood/smack/gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

I’ll take her through there later on to see what Nighttime brings to that particular party.

In other news, Stormshaper has moved into a mature guild, finally. A guild that has been around on the server for over three years. This is brilliant news. A mature guild with a membership that know each other and are friends in and out of the game, and do regular events. Isn’t THAT what World of Warcraft is all about? Happy days!

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Revisiting the Beggar

The other day, I posted about joining a guild, which quickly turned sour thanks to another guild member begging for money. Anyway, I was questing away and received a whisper from the GM asking why I’d left, when I explained to him what had happened he reacted quickly and wanted to kick the beggar from his guild.

Now, I’d left the guild and was happy enough doing my thing. I don’t need drama, I don’t want drama. I logon to play the game and learn about my character. I told the GM that doing that wouldn’t be necessary. He wanted me to return, but I believe in the saying “Never go back” and I told him I was happy enough doing my own thing – but if they ever needed a helping hand, I’d be happy to come and step in for them.

The GM wasn’t finished with this though, and to his credit he went off and spoke with the hunter/beggar.

A while later, I received a whisper from the hunter apologising for their behaviour. I replied back that no apology was necessary.

To be honest, I didn’t want an apology, as I’d left the guild and so for me, the issue was over. I knew that I’d probably never group with the hunter, and if I did, I’d simply block them out so my game wasn’t spoiled. I’d moved on, but the GM and the hunter hadn’t, and they wanted me to return to their guild so that they could move on.

I don’t dictate how players play their characters in World of Warcraft – if a player wants to beg guild-mates for money, then good luck to them. In my experience, all that will happen is very quickly people will tire of them and their reputation will plummet. Invariably people who beg for money/boosts/gear won’t stick around your guild too long – they aren’t actually there for your guild they are there for what they can leech out of your guild before they move on – either forcibly, or after running out of good favour.

Anyway, the apology was presented – but with a caveat. Now I had my apology (that I hadn’t asked for or expected) would I come back to the guild? Again, I said that my answer was no. But the GM will be upset if you don’t return came the response. That’s not my concern, I replied.

I play World of Warcraft for me, for my enjoyment. I never cause drama, and I certainly don’t bug other players for boosts when I’m a low level or ask/beg for gold. Am I in the minority? I’m not so sure. On any given day, you can find low level characters in Iron Forge and Stormwind running around, opening trade windows and yelling “PLLLZZZZZ 1G” over, and over, and over. Trade is full of players seeking “boosts” through content they’re too low for. Begging guildies for 1000g is, admittedly a new one, but only because of the sheer size of the amount of money they wanted to borrow. The principle remains the same. Logon, and use people to get something using their time/skills/money.

I explained to the hunter, for what I hoped would be the final time, that I’d tried the guild and didn’t like the incident of another guild member begging me for money, therefore I chose to leave the guild and move on.

Now another whisper.

The GM on another character – had I received my apology? Yes. Was I coming back to the guild? No. Why not? Because I don’t want to.

All this while I was trying to complete quests in and around Icecrown. So much drama, so much hassle. In the end, to get away from them, I logged onto my bank char for a while.

I’m yet to be convinced that pre-Cataclysm, “social” guilds or whatever they’re called – are of any value. This short-lived experience backs it up even more. I do feel sorry for the GM. He did the decent thing in explaining to the hunter what he expected of his guild members, but you can’t police your members 24/7, it is an impossible task, and if you even tried it would be an exercise in futility. I wish the guild all the best, but I won’t be returning.

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Of Guilds and Beggars

Last night, minutes after Stormshaper hit 80, I queued for a random heroic dungeon. I did it to see what it would give me, given that Stormshaper’s gear is so low, and I was presented with Utgarde Pinnacle.

When I zoned into the dungeon, I explained I was a fresh 80, and yes, my gear was miles off theirs and I had only queued to see what dungeon was presented. I said that I was going to drop out right away, so that they could get another DPS in my place with a lot higher DPS – but they welcomed me into the group and we went on to complete the group.

One of the players in the group, the tank, was on the same realm as me, and we got talking. He offered me a place in his guild, and went on to say that they were nice, decent people and probably could help me get geared up quicker. Now, against my better judgement, I accepted the offer – Stormshaper was 80 now, and with a decent guild perhaps she could become a raid team member. So she joined the Azerothian Warlords on Darkmoon Faire.

Sadly, it didn’t work out.

Today, I’ve ran a couple of random dungeons again. Violet Hold and Culling of Stratholme. Nothing too serious, and I’ve received a few item upgrades along the way. Guild chat was lively but not distracting, but I did notice a couple of people asking over and over for help with quests. I didn’t think much of it – as I carried on doing my own thing. A few other people were asking if they should buy BoE weapons as they’d recently reached 80 and now were finding that they couldn’t get into heroics. I’m not sure why they can’t get into heroics – unless they were trying to run Pit of Saron or Frozen Halls or something. The ‘original’ WoTLK heroics are all available to Stormshaper without any issue.

Then, as I was completing some Argent Tournament dailies, I got a whisper from a level 73 hunter in the guild called Nizha:

Nizha: m8, i could well never lend some g?
Stormshaper: what does that mean? are you asking me for money?
Nizha: if i could borrow not get. you’ll get em bk
Stormshaper: what on earth do you need money for?
Nizha: a really nice trinket
Nizha: i got it 2k creaper (sic)
Stormshaper: what trinket?
Nizha: sec
Nizha: Darkmmon (sic) fair 1
Nizha: Darkmoon Card of Greatness
Stormshaper: why do you think you need that at 73?
Nizha: i need for lvl 80
Nizha: so i got the gear
Stormshaper: in fact – you can’t even use it – its a level 80 trinket
Nizha: i kno
Stormshaper: so you want money from me for something you cant use?
Nizha: m8
Nizha: i’ve been lvling extrem fast
Nizha: wont take long ’til i’m 80
Stormshaper: i know – this is my fifth 80
Nizha: and when i ding lvl 80 i have it
Stormshaper: well – why not save the money you get from questing and when you’re level 80 then buy it?
Nizha: its because i got 1 now which is selling for 2k less than on ah
Stormshaper: great – 2k less but you still can’t use it
Nizha: it wont take long m8
Stormshaper: and its not worth anywhere near 2k anyway
Nizha: yea it is when it my only char on this server
Stormshaper: that’s irrelevant
Nizha: plzz m8
Stormshaper: how will you pay me the money back?
Nizha: all what i lend u and 200g more?
Nizha: trade
Stormshaper: trade? trade what?
Nizha: G
Stormshaper: how will you make the money to pay me back?
Nizha: ahh questing
Nizha: Dailies
Nizha: at lvl 80
Nizha: i got 13k on another char
Stormshaper: well move it – then you don’t need to ask strangers to give you money for something you can’t use
Nizha: i need 1k g m8 plzz
Stormshaper: if you need it so badly – move your char – or ask some other mug to give you 1k
Nizha: he want the money now so i can’t move it..
Stormshaper: unlucky then, and you can move it – it takes less than 1 hour these days – the days of it taking 3 days to move a char are long gone.

The exchange stopped at that point. I have to say that it left me a bit disappointed. I know there are plenty of people out there who will beg for items, but asking a perfect stranger for 1000 gold to buy a trinket that he can’t use? How does that work? If I had 1000g going spare, I’d put it towards buying the same trinket myself.

Regardless, being in a guild – for me – is a means for a group of people to visit instances and raids that they can’t do alone. With the forthcoming changes to guilds in Cataclysm where being in a guild for a long time, and actively contributing to that guild so that everyone gets the associated bonuses is something I am looking forward to immensely. It won’t do away with players like Nizha, who will always be a blight on the game, but it might make guild recruitment a little more astute. You can look at a guild’s achievements and see if you want to be a part of their membership. Sadly, until that day comes, joining a guild is going to be a hit and miss affair and you run the chance of joining a guild that has members like Nizha, and they will try to badger you for your money, your time and your skills and give you nothing back in return.

After the exchange stopped, I decided that Stormshaper doesn’t need to be in a guild that allows members to beg gold from each other, so I /gquit. Now Stormshaper is once again guildless, but do you know what? I don’t think she minds.

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