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Identity Crisis

February 14, 2014 2 comments

It happens all the time. You think you want something, you go after it, then you either A) realize your limitations B) realize you never wanted it after all or C) live happily after after.

In game, I’ve accepted A and B. In real life, I’ve scored C. Even though this is “stupid cupid” day, this post is not about my life’s happily ever after. You would all be gagging yourselves with a spoon at the end of that kind of post! But I think that because I’ve found happiness in life, I’ve been able to realize and accept my role in this game.

Since the beginning of Cataclysm, I’ve had a personal identity crisis in game. Unfortunately, being a guild leader, I led the guild down the same confusing “where the fuck are we going” path. When we were raiding T 14 and T15, I thought I wanted more. I thought I wanted to be a heroic raider. I thought I wanted MT to be known as a heroic raiding guild.

I bought into the malarkey that being  “casual” is “bad”. In Firelands I practically forced my raid team to go for heroic bosses. Shannox was easy enough. Majordomo wasn’t exactly a pushover but doable. Once we got them down, I wanted more. A lot more. The Raid Leader was very reluctant. Half the raid was all for it, the other half was not keen on wiping for 2 hours on a heroic boss when there was much loot to be had farming everything on normal.

So I had us form a “heroic-focused” group for Dragon Soul. Mavros came over from Broken to lead the group. Suddenly we went from a laid back fun raiding guild to a cold, serious “must kill everything no matter the cost” atmosphere. And the “cost” was good, likeable people that were not exactly heroic raiders. Mistakes were no longer tolerated, and players who didn’t perform at top level were suddenly kicked to the curb. We never kicked anyone out of the guild, but removing them from the group caused them to understandably leave the guild.

After riding the high of 8/8H in Cataclysm, the friction was palpable. We couldn’t even really celebrate killing heroic Deathwing because of how many in the guild felt slighted by one group’s progress. I was torn. I hated the atmosphere, but I loved being able to complete the final tier on heroic. So we plodded on. Our heroic kills opened a whole new door to recruiting. Players joined, knowing we were capable of being a heroic guild.

MOP hit, and we kept the Cataclysm momentum going. Slowly but surely, some players were getting left behind, despite trying to field 4 raid teams off the bat. The Team Moist dynamic has already been beaten to death. But it was my being originally part of that group, that I began to realize my limitations. My stress levels were suddenly through the roof. I couldn’t dedicate the time it took to farm rep, to max my toon with neverending dailies and the cesspool that is LFR. I’ve always known that I’ve had a slow-ish learning curve. And ultimately, it was the tornadoes that did me in. But realistically, I didn’t belong there.

In the buildup to “the breakup”, I was questioning my own place in the game and in the guild. I thought I wanted more out of the game, but I’d really don’t want to sacrifice sanity and fun for it. I’ve had a lot of “what was I thinking?” moments this xpac, and I don’t want to make the same mistakes again. I lost my game identity, and in the process, I lost MT’s identity as well.

I have come to the realization that I am a “casual” player. I am not a heroic player, and probably never will be. I have come to the realization that MT is, was and always will be a “casual” guild. I have accepted that nobody’s perfect, not even me. And you know what? I’m totally cool with that, because I”m having fun again! 🙂

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Categories: Confessions, Raiding, Random

Confessions of a Guild Leader: The Rebuilding Phase

February 6, 2014 6 comments

Every Guild Leader will go through it at least once. The “why” is unique to each guild. The “how” is what defines the success or failure of the guild. MT itself has never gone through a rebuild. However, this is something I have had some experience with.

I have made mistakes as a Guild Leader – I am human after all. And as a former member said, the success and failures within a guild fall to the guild leader. We’ve tried new things, tried turning the guild into a different direction. We recruited players that fit the direction MT had gone in after going 8/8H in Cataclysm. Ultimately, that experiment didn’t work for MT. And the fallout and resulting fracture was devastating.

If I were to look for a silver lining in all this, if it had to happen, it really couldn’t happen at a better time. The expansion is winding down, many players need a break from the game, from raiding. We’ve been a big enough guild that we can still field a full 10 man raid group. We’re slowly but surely piecing everything back together. We will be completely regrouped for WOD. We’ll have new faces, and some old familiar faces will be returning. The leadership, for the first time this entire expansion, is finally on the same page and working toward the greater good of the guild.

During any rebuilding phase for any guild, it’s really important to communicate, support each other, and re-define who we are.

Communication

The primary mode of communication will still be the MT website. This blog and the MT Facebook page as well as the GMOTD are secondary avenues of communication. We want feedback. We want constructive criticism. Some of you have messaged me privately with ideas of what could have been done better, and what we can do going forward. I need that. We all need that. The guild is only as good as its members. And happy members = successful guild.

Support

The leadership has to support each other and the guild. The Guild members have to support each other and the leadership. Many of you have simply gone on blind faith that every decision we’ve made (good or bad) had good intentions. Our decisions have always had good intentions behind them. But again, we’re human. We make mistakes.

The leadership throughout MOP has been completely fractured. Some officers and RL’s were acting out of the greater good of their group, not of the guild as a whole. I had almost no support from most of the guild officers. You were all pretty much spared the civil war that was waged in the officer forums. But I know you felt the tension. And the guild fracture was an inevitability because of the leadership. Rebuilding has to start at the top. And after TM left, that was priority #1.

Guild Identity

In early MOP, we really didn’t have an identity. We went from being a casual raiding guild to a casual raiding guild with a hardcore team. And now we’re…what? A broken guild.

MT was at its most successful – and I define success as raiding, clearing normal current content, and enjoying the content and the people we play with – in Wrath and early Cataclysm. We were a guild of like-minded players who had similar goals and styles. We were ok with the “casual” tag (whatever the hell that even means anymore), and we didn’t care about where we ranked on the server. As Star said early on in MOP (and if only I listened to her in the first place, this wouldn’t have happened), if people are joining based on our guild rank, they won’t stick around when the going gets rough, and those aren’t the people we want to recruit.

A clear guild identity is crucial to our rebuilding efforts, because we want to recruit players who fit our identity. These players have to be fully vetted before joining MT. We want to be sure that we are a good fit for them, and they are a good fit for us. We cannot do this if we don’t know who we are.

Our identity going forward is a social raiding guild. We have goals of clearing both normal and heroic modes in WOD. We have goals of enjoying each other while we play and raid together. There will continue to be standards of raiding. We will work with players who have trouble keeping up, instead of kicking them to the curb. We will not have bipolar styles and goals in this guild. We will not have smaller groups that enable cliques.  We will be a united group. A united guild.

In conclusion, in the face of adversity, we either give up, or strengthen ourselves so that it can be prevented in the future. How we respond to adversity defines who we are as people and as a guild. Any of the crap that has happened to MT in the past year or so would have destroyed smaller guilds. Maybe I’m just stubborn. Maybe I’m a Masochist. But this too shall pass, and we will be okay.

Categories: Confessions, Guild Leading

Confessions of a Guild Leader: Four Years Strong

December 6, 2013 6 comments

MTBirthday133699Pop

If someone told me back in 2009 that I would have been successfully running a guild for the next 4+ years (and counting), I would have scoffed at them and said “Me? lead a guild?! And have people stick around while I lead people in circles?! HA!”

I’ve always been a “follower” type of person throughout life. A worker bee. I never saw myself as a “manager” or as someone “in charge”. It’s easier to let other people make decisions, because I’ve always been afraid of making the wrong one.

<Masochistic Tendencies> has just celebrated its 4 year anniversary. That’s 4 years of me leading this guild. That’s 4 years of being “in charge”, making the decisions and yes, in some cases, making the wrong decisions. Managers are not immune from making mistakes, as long as we learn from those mistakes and become better managers from them. The past year+ has definitely been challenging. Seriously. But we’re still here!

So, because MT has been around for 4 years with no signs of slowing down, I must be doing something right. Right? I thought I’d share some of my pearls of wisdom that I’ve learned from leading a guild over the years.

The Guild is only as good as the people in it

That’s right. Without all of you, MT’ers, it would be awfully lonely in an empty guild with just me in it! I have learned that it’s simply not possible to please everyone all the time, but it’s sure easy to piss off everyone all at once! So while some guild decisions may not be ideal for some people, all decisions are made with the greater good of the guild in mind. With a guild as big as we are, with as many members and raiders as we have, there are going to be differing opinions. And I and the officers listen to those opinions, and we take your feedback into every consideration possible. We want you to stick around! And yes, there are some of you that have been here since the *very* beginning 4 years ago. I really appreciate your loyalty.

Leadership needs to work together

I don’t mean just me. I mean everyone who has been in leadership ranks. In MOP, that was a lot of people. I take full responsibility for the turnover in our leadership ranks. Everyone who has been an officer in MT deserved the role, and are potentially very good officers in the right environment with the right support.

But what happens when you take a bunch of players with different goals and values and make them officers? Deathwing had nothing on that cataclysm. Holy crap. I was NOT expecting that assplosion of drama. No, I’m not going to get into the details, but suffice to say, the problems have been resolved with some players voluntarily stepping down from the officer ranks for the good of the guild. Nothing against the people involved, we just simply could not work together.

Dictatorship or Democracy?

I think guild leaders need to be somewhat “dictators” or the guild will just not function properly. If there is bickering among the officers, the GL needs to be able to step in and say STFU. If there are different opinions on a guild issue (hypothetically, let’s say “loot“), the GL needs to be able to make the final decision in a deadlock. However, I think having some semblance of democracy in the leadership ranks is crucial. After all, that’s what our officers are there for.

My role in the guild has been debated a lot among the rest of the leadership in the past year. I’ve been called a dictator. I’ve been called a control freak. There is some truth to those accusations, but when I’ve made an “executive” decision, it’s always been with the guild members in mind. I hadn’t changed my way of leading the guild up to that point, and my style had been working all along up to that point. At the request of other officers, I did cede control of the guild for a little while so we could be come a “GL Council”. I trusted my officers enough to go along with this experiment and show that I really am a team player. That experiment didn’t work. All it did was turn one dictator into three! But we tried. I did learn a lot from that experiment, and we’ve “majority voted” on any decision since then.

One Guild, One Goal

Part of the aforementioned leadership drama was a result of the differing and conflicting goals the guild had in MOP. This was part of the lesson I learned about not being able to please everyone. I have a compulsion to make everyone happy. We had multiple raid groups with multiple degrees of intensity and progression. Cliques formed, and one of the groups became a guild within a guild. This is what some of the officers foreshadowed, but I didn’t want to listen. Having bipolar goals and values in the guild just didn’t work. The guild has to have one direction, and the leadership needs to support that direction.

Communication

I think a big reason why many of MT’s long time members have been here as long as they have is because of the open communication between leadership and the rest of the guild. This blog is one form of communication, but our guild forums are very active. Some decisions that majorly impact the guild are presented to the guild for feedback and discussion. We’re all adults, so even though there are different opinions, we are all respectful of one another.

Greater Good of the Guild

This is a term that Mavros coined. But it works. The guild policies are in place to support the guild’s goals and direction. Specific policies are in place for the betterment of the guild as a whole. I’m a Libra, I have a compulsion to be as fair as possible to everyone. And I now have officers in place that support that very ideal.  In order to make any kind of GGG decision, the above points must all be met, and the guild needs to have specific goals in mind. The players in the guild, ideally, share and support those goals.

Personally, I’ve learned that it’s okay to try new and different things, and it’s okay to make mistakes. When we’ve tried different things, we generally had everyone’s trust that we were “doing what’s best for the guild” and we got that support, even when things didn’t work as well as we had hoped. I just want to say that I appreciate everyone’s support, loyalty and dedication. Here’s to MT continued success in the years to come!

Happy Birthday MT!

Confessions of a Guild Leader: One Big Happy Family

November 20, 2013 8 comments

In my last post I noted what I thought would be my favorite feature in WOD. But I changed my mind. I’m a girl, and I’m entitled to do that every once in a while.

The feature I am really looking forward to most is the new raid structure, and I have many personal feelings about this. One thing I didn’t want to happen with running a fairly large guild was the formation of cliques within the guild. Having multiple 10-man raid teams completely enabled that.

This entire expansion, I really only raided in one group. This time around, I never brought my alts up to the point where they could actually fill in raids. So for the most part, I’ve raided with many of the same people, which was only a small part of the whole guild. We reshuffled groups a few times, and although it was needed, it also got some guildies raiding with other guildies they weren’t familiar with. But at the same time, I don’t think everyone really got to know their guild mates in other groups. I know I didn’t. Up until MOP, I’ve always made a point to know who everyone is here. I ran in multiple groups so I can enjoy playing with everyone. This time, I took a huge step back, and even though I needed to for my own sanity, that’s probably been one of my biggest mistakes as a Guild Leader in MOP.

The flexible scaling technology that has been introduced in 5.4, and will become the norm in WOD will allow us all to play together as we really should be. We will no longer have “guilds within a guild”. We will be one guild, one team, working toward the same goals. We had our fun with the server rankings the last couple of years, but now I’ve removed it from the guild website. We’re going to focus on having fun together while killing the bad guys. I don’t care where our guild ends up on the server list anymore. It’s too stressful, and it sucks a lot of fun out of what’s supposed to be a hobby. No more silence in vent on farm nights. Speak up folks! Pick on Giz. Keep setting Tai on fire. Laugh at Phaedara when he Time Warps on trash. Get drunk with Emor. Even blame Cejey when you accidentally pull that room full of fail. Hell you can even get back to your “pick on Aly” fun. The key word here is fun.

And we’re all in it together.

Confessions of a Guild Leader: World of Irony-craft

November 12, 2013 22 comments

Pick your cliche: Shit happens. It’s part of the game. Pick another one, I don’t care.

In my 4+ years of leading a guild, I have seen a bit of turnover. But I’ve seen more loyalty than anything. That’s my priority as a guild leader – to not just recruit great people, but to also keep them around. The majority of MT’s raiders has been here for years. And I mean yearssssss. Can’t get much more loyal or dedicated than that. But as I’ve learned over the years, it’s just not enough sometimes.

I’ve seen it happen before, and I’m sure I’ll see it happen again. MT has been a fairly large guild for the past few years. We’ve run multiple 10 man raid teams. So it shouldn’t really come as a complete surprise when one of the teams decides that they should be their own guild. A team made up of members that have mostly been here for yearssss.

Ironically, their new guild leader has always publicly said that splinter guilds and small startup guilds never last and should be part of a bigger guild instead of trying to make it on their own. He can say what he wants about the shell of the guild having existed for years, but this is a startup guild, and you’re welcome for the groundwork that I laid out for ya. 🙂 Ironically, it was that guild that originally floundered, and caused the leadership to take refuge in MT. And ironically they’re back resurrecting the guild with at least 8 of MT’s longtime members. It’s a good thing we still have 2 other teams, so not a whole lot will change. Except the players in the leadership ranks.

Of course I’ll get over it. We’ll all get over it. I  have before, and I will again. Ironically, one of my resulting officer promotions was the same foo that did the same thing 4 years ago. Ironically, he did the same thing 4 years ago almost to the day. It was Friday the 13th in November, and it was ugly. But we got over it. And MT was born from it. And he’s been back for a couple of years, now as an officer, ironically enough. If anyone is superstitious, you could say this is a great thing, and MT will be better because of it.

Categories: Confessions, Guild Leading

Hello, My name is Aly, and I am (still) an Altoholic

August 26, 2013 3 comments

I may need help. Are there any support groups out there for altoholics? I should be grinding my Black Prince rep to exalted on my main (/hangs head in shame), but there’s only so much damage you can do as a tree. And I realized my survivability as feral is, well, not existent. So what am I doing in the last 2 weeks of 5.3? Leveling alts. I MUST MAX ALL THE THINGS!

Pynkki has made it to 90, my little DK who pretended to be a tank once. I made her a bunch of crafted PVP gear and then dumped her like a rotten potato. I’ll get back to her eventually. That was 90 #9. Like I said, I need help. What’s left? Rogue, Warrior, Monk. I’m a ranged healer, and rogue, warrior and monk is not what I do. I could have resorted to eenie meenie miney mo, but my rogue was already leveled to 80ish after another bout of ADHD boredom right before the Cataclysm expansion hit. So naturally, only needing…. uh… less levels than my level 30 warrior or level 14 monk, I dusted off my Snykki rogue, and let Sonne carry me to the Battlefield Barrens quests while I watch him kill ALL THE THINGS and I hovered safely above him on my … what the hell was I flying anyway? It doesn’t matter. I got 3 levels while AFK’d watching TV.

But when Sonne was done, I was left to my own devices in Uldum, 20% shy of level 84. I’d like to stop right here and say, I haven’t actually *done* anything with my rogue in about 2 years. After locating all my stabby buttons, I set out to Uldum, to kill this catpersonleader named Kevem. It went something like this:

Me: *sneaks up behind Kevem*

Me: *stabby stab stab*

Kevem: Bahhaha, you have GOT to be kidding….

*Snykki has died*

Kevem resets himself from 80% to full and stares at me with curiosity.

Me: Reassafriggin…grumble… ok let’s try this again.

Me: *sneaks up behind Kevem*

Me: *cheap shot, ambush, stabby stab stab*

Kevem: *looks around feeling a tickle*

Kevem: Oh THERE she is *punch to the face*

*Snykki has died*

Me: /g ok how the fuck do I play a rogue?

Star: Uh…. you sneak up behind him, stabby stab stab, win?

Me: I have been stabby stab stabbing and NOT winning!

Me: Fuck this shit Ima go pet battle.

*Star switches to her rogue*

Me: *flipping through my spellbook* Oh hey, I should use this poison button

Sonne: WHAT?! *dies laughing*

Me: *uses a poison thingie* Ok, lemme try this again!

Me: *Sneaks up on Kevem*

Me: *stabby stab stab*

Kevem giggles to himself

*Snykki has died*

Star: Alykiinnnns I’m here to help youuu! What spec are you using?

Me: Hell if I know!

Guild: ROFL

Me: err, Combat. Oh I suppose I need glyphs….

Star: I use subtlety try that! *runs down subtlety rotation*

Me: *switches to subtlety* Oh hey I have stuns!

Me: *Sneaks up behind Kevem*

Me: *cheap shot, ambush, stabby stab stab, kidney shot, stabby stab stab*

*Kevem dies*

Me: WHO’s THE BITCH NOW???? HAH!

I ding’d 84, and got the hell outta Uldum. By the way, the horde trek to Twilight Highlands never gets old. I tried it on the alliance side, and it was just basically a very non-eventful ride. There were no horde gunships attacking. There were was no goblins yelling at each other to DO SOMETHING! OH THE GOBLINITY! It was just, blah. So I’m happy to be a horde. /nods

Once I built the portal out of water cores and muck, I went off to bgs and pet battle. BGs are fun. I did absolutely no damage, but I snuck around the gold mine sapping a couple of hunters. That’s all I did. Sneak and sap and watched them run around throwing flares in a panic.  I’ll get her to 90 one way or another. Rogues suck. That is all.

Categories: Classes, Confessions

Confessions of a Guild Leader – Dirty Laundry

May 28, 2013 3 comments

If I had a nickel for every time someone said they hate drama, don’t want drama, don’t tolerate drama, can’t stand drama, I would buyout Blizzard and rename them to Sunshine and Rainbows. But here’s the funny thing… everyone says that, but at the slightest whiff of it, all the dogs come running to the yard. What’s going on? What happened? WE MUST KNOW!!!!!

Why do you think soap operas are so popular and have been running for over 50 years? We can’t get enough drama! Without drama, life would be so boring, so mundane. So hate it all you want, but it’s like crack. Bad for you, but ohhh soooooo gooodddddddddd!!!! Not that I would know anything about crack… I’ve just heard. From uh… people who were addicted to crack.

So I think there’s good drama, and there’s bad drama. The good drama is the love triangle between Luke, Leia and Han before Luke realized Leia was his sister. The bad drama is that flaw in the Death Star that when exploited, blows the whole station to smithereens. See what I mean? If there’s entertainment value, it’s great. If it threatens the foundation of the world as you know it… not so much. And that’s not the drama leaders want the rest of society to be let in on.

I’m using analogies for a reason. Remember in the movie Armageddon where the government didn’t want to tell the world that a meteor was going to slam into earth and wipe out life as we know it? It’s because it causes mass hysteria, panic, and makes people run for the hills… or the moon. As much as nobody trusts the government, guild members have to trust their leadership. As much as I love transparency, sometimes it’s better to let problems get solved without creating that sense of panic and hysteria. Without creating those questions of “OMG WHAT DOES THIS MEAN!!!!????”

If word didn’t get out in Armageddon, the movie would have been awfully boring. But think about it… if there’s a plan in place that works, that fixes the problem, there’s really no point in the rest of the world knowing that a problem even existed. Ignorance is bliss, yes? And you have to trust us that there’s a reason why we just can’t tell you everything. It’s in the best interest of the guild…uhhhh…  the world. Who wants to be part of a guild …dammit… world, where your government airs out its dirty laundry?

It’s called “Shit Happens”. MT states in its mission statement that “we do not tolerate drama. And while it’s unavoidable at times, it will be dealt with as quickly as the situation dictates“. As guild leaders, it’s our job to keep drama out of the open. Anything that affects guild members at large will be posted and communicated. I think we do a pretty good job of keeping everyone in the loop. Sometimes, it’s best that we just throw the laundry in the wash before anyone notices that we spilled ketchup on someone’s nice new white shirt, get it all cleaned up and move on.

Categories: Confessions
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