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March 31, 2014 3 comments

Holy crap 2 posts in a day! Shit just got real!

After my last post about the Lull, I got to thinking about how other games have been distracting players away from WoW. It’s happened before. Aion, SWTOR, Rift. New games come out, people go play them, then they come back. This year it’s D3 Reaper of Souls and Wildstar Online.

Up until now, none of those other distractions interested me. I became mildly interested in Rift, but after hearing other players not like it, I didn’t bother. But Wildstar has me piqued, as well as several other players in MT. And rather than fight it, I’m going with it. We have enough interest in it that we have decided to expand the guild into Wildstar Online. After messing around in the beta for a couple of weekends, it’s something that I’m probably going to play when it launches in June.

So Masochistic Tendencies has officially expanded into a multi-gaming community. We’re starting with just WoW and Wildstar, but it’s not outside the realm of possibility that other games will be added. A new site is under construction that will serve as the new home page for the guild. The new home page will then provide gateways to the guild WoW site and the guild Wildstar site. Before anyone asks, I don’t plan on being the leader for the MT Wildstar guild. I just don’t think I can make that big of a commitment to 2 games simultaneously. I will however likely remain an officer in the WS guild while maintaining the GL position in WoW.

I hope that this new community will create some crossover in guild membership. We already have MT WoW players in the MT WS guild. Hopefully we’ll also get some MT WS players into our MT WoW guild.

While I’m not thrilled about the current lull in activity in WoW, the upcoming launch of WS as well as the eventual WOD expac in WoW has me excited for the future of MT.

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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

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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: 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
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