Category: Guilds


The Joys of a Guild Run

Most of my dungeon experience – well, about 95% of it, in fact – has been in PUGs. They are easy to find, if not always quick, and the dungeon finder neatly dodges the problem of there having been not too many leveling people in my last guild. I did do one run through Magister’s Terrace with them, but the rest of the group were mostly 80s, and a level 70-odd messing things up by accidentally body pulling wasn’t really an asset to the group. After that, in general, I’ve left things well alone and simply PUGged my way through the various instances…until now.

This new guild, as I think I have mentioned, actually does things together. We’re all a little bit disoriented with the new patch, and were discussing the various class changes and so forth, when I discovered that my baby disco priest was now locked out of Wailing Caverns since 4.0.1 hit. Apparently you’re now supposed to discover it before you can queue for it; clearly this is a change I’d missed! I like the idea, but it was a bit confusing at the time. In any case, three of us (a paladin and two priests) trundled off from Azuremyst to the Barrens…and, roughly half an hour later, we all arrived at the Wailing Caverns and picked up the quests. We were a little bit apprehensive, all things considered, since none of us was all that familiar with our class changes yet and we were at level for the dungeon, but one way and another we decided to give it a go.

I’ve always loved Wailing Caverns, in spite of its length and tortuousness, but there is no denying that it can be hard on a PUG. The number of times I have failed to finish it for one reason or another probably exceeds the number of times I’ve successfully got through it by a fair margin. This run, though – despite the fact that we were 3 manning it and that the group composition (ret pala, holy and disco priests in the level 16-22 range) was perhaps less than ideal, was absolutely smooth as silk. Bosses keeled over at our feet, adds and accidental pulls were managed with barely a slip below 50% health, and nobody got lost or fell off anything (unintentionally). Although it’s tempting to ascribe this to our amazingly l33t skillz and adaptability, I think it’s probably more accurate to give the credit to the very fact that this wasn’t a PUG.

Voice communication, for one thing, makes life indescribably easier. By the time you’ve typed ‘another druid’ and then added ‘and I’m slept’, and someone has typed ‘where?’ and someone else has typed ‘behind you’, half the unfortunate victim’s health has probably gone. Saying it is, of course, much faster. Also, voice communication seems to allow for more accountability; not that any of us was trying to ignore the others, but it fosters working in a team and actually listening to what each other say.

Also, of course, I think everyone is more relaxed in a guild run simply by virtue of knowing the others in the group. You can be reasonably confident that no one is going to ninja things or pull half the dungeon and then drop group (or that if they do, there will be consequences). Then, too, a lot of the difficulties around trading things cross-realm are of course removed. And, shock and horror, it’s all just more fun in a group where you can mess around a bit and chat, and where you know any mistakes aren’t going to be met with an instant kick. We ended up having so much fun with this one that plans are afoot to set up more dungeon runs in the near future, which is an alien experience for me but one I think I like. Isn’t this, after all, the definition of a massively multiplayer online RPG?

Of course, PUGs also have their advantages, and I doubt I’ll ever completely abandon them. Sometimes it’s nice to be anonymous and not expected to be on teamspeak or to socialise, particularly at the end of a long day. Likewise, though it’s fun to have friends around, you do sometimes end up on detours that you might not have with a random group. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep doing both, if only to keep my perspective on what’s good about each!

Are you a PUG person or do you prefer guild or premade groups? Honestly, I’m not sure I could decide…

Serendipity

Sometimes things just happen, without our apparent participation. Such is the tale I tell today…

I’ve been thinking for a while about leaving Dhakeilh’s guild. Not that they aren’t nice enough people, but the time zones aren’t a particularly good match, and even when they’re on, for some reason they seem to have difficulty hearing anything I say – because they never, never answer. This has got to the point where I almost wonder whether my gchat channel is even working! As I said, not unpleasant people – but also not a very social environment, and since I can’t raid easily on that server due to time zone issues, I’m really looking for a nice friendly guild.

On the other hand, they have put up with me as I leveled to 80, and it seemed a little cheeky to ding 80 and immediately say ‘Bye! Looking for someone I like better.’ So I dithered, and mumbled, and complained to other friends, and finally started looking around for a social guild to join. My efforts were somewhat complicated, however, by my criteria: the members must behave in a reasonably mature fashion, must at least attempt to speak English and not l33t, and must enjoy doing things together. You wouldn’t think it would be all that hard to find, but somehow, one or other of those criteria has been missing from all the ones I’d so far looked into – and with Cataclysm around the corner, I want my efforts to go into leveling a guild I actually like.

Then, as it is wont to do, serendipity came along. I had temporarily given up the quests both  for a new guild and for Sons of Hodir reputation and had gone off to mess around on a level 10 priest – and got recruited into a leveling guild. Not only did the recruiter appear to have a basic command of the English language (though it isn’t his first), he also showed distinct signs of intelligence – and he wasn’t the only guild member logged in at the time, although it was the morning. What can I lose, I thought – it’s only a level 10, I can always leave if I don’t like them. So I signed up, got a few levels, chatted to them on teamspeak and was reasonably content with life.

Then, the next morning, I logged onto Dhakeilh and found a letter from my old GM. Apparently the guild had quietly disbanded itself overnight, and since I had been a ‘long term and loyal’ member, he’d done me the courtesy of writing to tell me. Timing, as they say, is everything; rather than floundering, I simply wrote him a ‘thanks and good luck’ note, and got Dhakeilh into this new guild with my little priest. They were thankful to have another 80, and I am interested to experience WoW with other people, instead of just with other people talking in their little groups, so it appears to be a win/win situation so far. They seem to like voice chatting whenever more than one person is on, which tends to make me retreat into my shell a bit, but it is nice to have found a group that not only talks to one another but (*gasp*) plays WoW with one another!

So! We shall see if this works out. The jury is still out, no doubt on both sides, but as all I’m looking for is a group of people to hang around with and maybe do some casual grouping with, I’m hoping it’ll be a good fit. If not, well, I suppose it’s back to the drawing board…

Guilds and ‘Lowbies’

It isn’t difficult to find information and advice about how to run a guild, find a guild, participate in a guild, leave a guild or anything else – so long as you’re level 80. Given that by far the majority of non-leveling-based activities within WoW really take off at level 80, that’s completely understandable. However, I find there’s a rather gaping hole in terms of information for what could be called ‘midbies’ – that is, no longer below level 20 and trying to work out what ‘DPS’ stands for, but not yet having reached level 80 either.

I have no intention of trying to completely fill that gap, since I’m still too squarely in the middle of it myself. I have found myself thinking, though, about how a character can contribute to a guild before level 80 – and what a guild should do to nurture those little people who will hopefully grow up to become its core raiders/PvPers/socialisers/whateverers. It is oh, so easy to lose them – or to get lost – in the shuffle. This list does presuppose that the player concerned has found a guild they like and are willing to put some effort into, since much of it is irrelevant if not.

A player can…

  • Be sociable. You don’t have to be level 80 to chat (though, depending on your guild, they might be slow to warm up to new players, especially if they’ve been burned before). If you’ve been able to get to know the other members, the guild is more likely to feel like home and less likely to feel like being at the ‘uncool’ lunch table at school.
  • Be (relatively) independent. If the level 80s are bored and want to run you through instances, great – but don’t constantly ask for instance runs or equipment. Most especially, don’t ask for gold, and never ninja things from the guild bank. This is common sense, of course, but it’s amazing how often it gets forgotten. Rise to the challenge of working your way up without hanging onto anyone else’s coattails – it can be remarkably entertaining, even when it isn’t the first time through!
  • Be creative. Consider a gathering profession – if you have level 80s who decide they want to change from one crafting profession to another, you may be in a far better position to conveniently farm (for example) tin or liferoot than they are. They may not pay as much as that lucky sale on the AH, but it’s likely to be a more consistent market, and you get all that bonus goodwill thrown in.
  • Be a team player. If you’re in the guild at level 20 (or 45, or 70), chances are you aren’t the only character who isn’t level capped. In-guild dungeon runs can be fun and profitable, even if it’s only Gnomeregan – and you’re less likely to encounter complete idiots or gear ninjas than you are with the dungeon finder.

 

A guild can…

  • Be clear. Is this a guild who wants sub-level 80s in the ranks or not? If not, it might be smart to say that at the outset, rather than letting people in ‘to be nice’ and then basically ignoring them until they hit that magic 8-0 achievement. I’m absolutely not advocating holding peoples’ hands and boosting them to level cap, but if no one has any interest in interacting with people who can’t run heroics or get to Dalaran, maybe setting a minimum entry level of 70 would be worth considering – even if you are a casual/social guild.
  • Be patient. A lot of non-80s are new or newish players who are likely to ask basic questions on gchat and/or do stupid things in dungeon runs (Tiganza would never make such elementary mistakes, though I am quite likely to). Many of these players are not unintelligent or naturally bad at gaming, but it might require some tolerance until they work out that high DPS is only helpful if the tank also puts out high threat. Look for signs of a good attitude and willingness to learn, rather than uber l33t skillz, from the first day. (Of course, if they’ve been with you for two years and still can’t define ‘threat’, it may be time to rethink). On the other hand…
  • Be discerning. Just because it’s nice to be patient with new players doesn’t mean that beggars, jerks and other highly unpleasant people should be tolerated because they’re low level. In no way is this post a plea for universal acceptance of bad behaviour!
  • Be inclusive. Doubtless many of the guild’s level 80s have lower level alts, whether in the guild or not – try to keep them on the radar when interacting with your lower level members. Could you log on that resto shaman you’ve been meaning to level and run through SM with those two guildies who are talking about it on gchat? In many ways, this is often preferable to just taking a portal from Dalaran and boosting said guildies through the instance, since everyone (maybe even you! *gasp*) is likely to get more out of it.
  • Be actively non-clique-ish. (That is absolutely a word). While it might be easier to talk to your fellow 80s who you’ve known for months or years, your guild is presumably recruiting because it wants to bring in new people. Try to avoid the syndrome of four 80s yakking away on gchat who completely ignore the tentative attempts of a level 53 to join the conversation. Someday, that 53 will be an 80…and who knows, they might be the perfect 5th person for that heroic? Of course, humans by nature tend to form cliques (or, more benignly, groups of friends), and it can sometimes take a real effort to break out of the habit…but hey, it may well be worth it.

 

Having now been in a number of guilds on various servers, I can safely say that this is written from the point of view not of a guild officer (or even of an 80), but only from that of a leveling member. With that in mind, there may be biases – but the above are some things I have seen done both well and badly (by myself, others, and the guilds concerned) over time. Certainly it gives me some starting points from which to work on my own levels of participation…