Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Blizz's backdown on Tracer image - another divided community

For those of you who are unaware, representations of women is in the Blizzard focus again and this time it's Tracer's finishing pose. This is the offending picture:

Fipps wrote on the forums:
What about this pose has anything to do with the character you're building in tracer? It's not fun, its not silly, it has nothing to do with being a fast elite killer. It just reduces tracer to another bland female sex symbol.

We aren't looking at a widowmaker pose here, this isn't a character who is in part defined by flaunting her sexuality. This pose says to the player base, oh we've got all these cool diverse characters, but at any moment we are willing to reduce them to sex symbols to help boost our investment game.
"I have a young daughter that everyday when I wake up wants to watch the Recall trailer again. She knows who Tracer is, and as she grows up, she can grow up alongside these characters. What I'm asking is that as you continue to add to the Overwatch cast and investment elements, you double down on your commitment to create strong female characters. You've been doing a good job so far, but shipping with a tracer pose like this undermines so much of the good you've already done.”
Jeff Kaplan responded in the forums:
We'll replace the pose. We want *everyone* to feel strong and heroic in our community. The last thing we want to do is make someone feel uncomfortable, under-appreciated or misrepresented. Apologies and we'll continue to try to do better.
There is a lot of division over this decision. People criticised Blizz for pandering to the minority and that feminists are making everyone as miserable as them. Others applauded the decision.

Crooked linked me this on the forums by @mahoumelonball who felt that as a woman, she felt there was nothing wrong with Tracer's pose:
Today, I feel like I was told that I have to give up confident and sexy poses to cater to a small minority, very annoying voice in the gaming industry. 
I'm quite frankly sick of it. 
I love being a sexy night elf character. I love being Tracer. I love being Nova. I LOVE these strong women that can be confident in their abilities and their appearance, because in the real world, I'm none of those things. These games were an escape for me. I channel myself into these characters, because I would give anything to be just like them. 
Blizzard, why am I not allowed to be strong and sexy? Why am I not allowed to love these characters as they already are? Why are you alienating not just me, but many other women that love these female characters as they are for a single voice? 
I want Tracer to stay how she is. I want her to be strong, confident, and sexy. Please, PLEASE, stop trying to make this game too PC. Stop trying to make women like me out to be sensitive babies that can't handle beautiful women. Stop trying to cater to "families" when this game isn't meant to be played by younger children.
So which side of the fence am I on? You may or may not be surprised that I am in favour of changing her pose. And let me tell you why.

I am not against sexy poses but if I wanted blatant sex appeal I would play Widowmaker. She can pose like that and I would have no dramas because that's what I played her for.

I don't play Overwatch yet but if I did play Tracer I imagined get to be more cutesy and cheeky.

Most people would say they wouldn't even notice her pose and they would be ok with it but what do you think Tracer would think of it?

Imagine if someone had a picture of you and it represented you in a way that was out of character for you - like they had taken your head and put it on some porn star's body. Or taken your head and put it on a 200kg person's naked body. Or taken your image and placed you at an anti-homosexual protest. And then go show that too people at your work or your boss. Is that how you would like to be represented?

Tracer is cool and fun and attractive but not in the come hither blatant sexual way. People who play Tracer play her because they don't want to be a sexpot but appeal to the playful child in us all.

Not many people would agree. Most feel as Mahoumelonball did, and that there is too much political correctness going around finding offence where there is none to be found. People use tight yoga pants and leggings as everyday examples of people on the street being sexualised as it's just like how Tracer is represented.

Mahoumelonball is upset because she chooses to be sexy in her game characters. Nobody is saying she can't do this. But Blizzard doesn't want us to play Tracer because she's sexy - she's there to represent fun and optimism.

Nobody can actually force Blizzard to change their artistic license. Yes, as a community we have an input, but unless they were already divided on the issue, it is very unlikely to change.

Jeff Kaplan wrote again on the forums hours after his original post saying this:
With this particular decision, it was an easy one to make—not just for me, but for the art team as well. We actually already have an alternate pose that we love and we feel speaks more to the character of Tracer. We weren’t entirely happy with the original pose, it was always one that we wrestled with creatively. That the pose had been called into question from an appropriateness standpoint by players in our community did help influence our decision—getting that kind of feedback is part of the reason we’re holding a closed beta test—but it wasn’t the only factor. We made the decision to go with a different pose in part because we shared some of the same concerns, but also because we wanted to create something better.

We wouldn’t do anything to sacrifice our creative vision for Overwatch, and we’re not going to remove something solely because someone may take issue with it. Our goal isn’t to water down or homogenize the world, or the diverse cast of heroes we’ve built within it. We have poured so much of our heart and souls into this game that it would be a travesty for us to do so.
We understand that not everyone will agree with our decision, and that’s okay. That’s what these kinds of public tests are for. This wasn’t pandering or caving, though. This was the right call from our perspective, and we think the game will be just as fun the next time you play it.
So according to this Blizz had thought that the pose was out of character and were going to change it. A shame that it had to go down this path for it to happen. If they were set in their minds about Tracer's image, they wouldn't change it. You don't seem them giving back every little thing that players ask for in forums or complain about with classes. People honestly can't believe they changed it because a few people were unhappy about it.

There are a lot of disgruntled people like Mahoumelonball. And there are a lot of criticisms saying that there are many more instances in Overwatch that should be corrected too. However, the heart of this game is to appeal to the diversity of the player. I think that homogenization of the female characters by making them all sexy will take away from the game what it was trying to create. And if people don't want to play Overwatch now because of these changes? Well, that's their loss. Are those hostile and unbending people the ones that I want to play with anyway? I don't know, but I doubt it. I had viewed Overwatch as a game I could play with my husband and kids - yes it says teen, and yes there is violence with guns and killing. But it's something we can all sit together and play on our computers, which are side by side on one giant L desk and help each other. And we can be whatever we want - we can be pretty, we can be a robot or an ape, we can be a male or a female.

As an example, take Streetfighter 2. When it was out in the arcades, I used to like playing Chun Li, because I was a girl, and I was Asian. It was cool that there was something I could identify with. Overwatch is trying to give that choice to everyone. Of course most of us would like to play an attractive or interesting looking character - it is a fantasy after all - but that's our choice. And we HAVE a choice. And it's the same here - you can choose to accept the changes, or choose to be upset about them. You can choose to play or choose not to play. Blizzard chooses to change the Tracer image. The freedom of choice is something that people forget is not something we are entitled to, but something EVERYONE is entitled to. How you use your choices, express them and engage others with your choices, demonstrates the kind of person that you really are. Because anyone can make a choice or voice an opinion. But not everyone can be empathetic and be objective and look at all points of view. Be the better person, and put the anger and indignation away. If you wish to make a difference, use calm, logic, examples and think how you can please yourself and others.

Phew. I think that's enough for one day.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Timewalking raids - viable or not?

If you look at all the great content that Blizzard has released with previous expansions, it seems wasteful that we don't get to go and do it again. I think that's why they made timewalking dungeons because then you can do the 5 man content from previous expansions (and they don't have to make new ones).

Some of those dungeons were really cool. Though Pit of Saron was a real pain in the ass to do Timewalking during the WotLK event, we had to really dredge through our long term memory to remind ourselves how to do that dungeon.

But what about all those old raids? There are some great bosses in there and fights. Don't they deserve a bit of love too?

Kyxyn was talking about it and it made me think about it. If Blizzard wanted to implement timewalking raids, how would they do that?

I would have to assume they would be like LFR. It has to be open to everyone, just like LFR is. It also would have to be a more than just a walk in and ignore everything, but not so hard that people would get discouraged and turned off, especially if they were newish to the game. Kyxyn disagreed. He thought they should be at normal difficulty, to add some amount of challenge to it. However, Kyxyn doesn't really think like a really casual player, and the fight needs to be easy to learn, if you put yourself into the shoes of a solo, non raiding player.

Gear should be scaled for those timewalking raids like they are for timewalking dungeons. Though I have to say the current method of gear scaling seems to work fine. That unlimited mana pool is rather awesome :P

Then I thought about the timesink.

The good thing about the current timewalking setup is that it's 4 or 5 dungeons or battlegrounds over a week. That means you can do one for 20-30 mins and take a break. You can't expect people to do a raid that's 2 hours long, nobody would do it. So you'd have to break that up as well. It could be how they do LFR now - with wings. And then they could be random wings, not have to do every part of the raid. Naxxrammas is a good example - you could queue random timewalking raid and get Plague wing twice and Construct wing twice.

One thing about raiding is the quality of people you get in there. I don't mind teaching a raid if people are willing to learn. And there may be people there who have no idea how to do the raid but would like to learn. There are also those who don't care and just want to get it done. If you had a dropbox (a bit like how you blacklist certain battlegrounds in your random battleground selection) where you could choose a role or type of LFR you go into, that might make it easier to pair people together. The choices could be:
 - Experienced: Strong knowledge of raid and mechanics and looking for similar people
 - Beginner: Basic knowledge of raid, but could use guidance
 - Novice: No knowledge of raid or mechanics
 - Guide: Strong knowledge of raid and mechanics and willing to help beginners and novices

The default could be experienced, and they would only pool experienced people together. The other three could be grouped together but there would need to be at least 2 guides in a raid, I think. Could be longer queues, but it may have a better experience for those who are willing to give it a go, and for those of us who like to help. I could imagine grouping with my guildies and going as guides, and then hopefully leading a group so it would go smoothly and everyone would have a nice experience.

I can see the naysayers saying doing this is just an excuse for Blizzard not to make new content. But it's not about that. Recycling is good for the environment - and old content shouldn't go to waste. Yes it's just digital and it doesn't contribute to greenhouse gases or depleting finite resources, but if I had done some really good work years ago, and the stuff is still playable, then I'd really like everyone to use it and see it and appreciate it all over again and give it a second life.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Raiding - Do we continue or do we stop?

Mythic numbers continue to bleed, such that our own players are reluctant now to play. The woes of many guilds I'm sure.

Aza has often said he doesn't like playing with unknown people, and after last night, he said he didn't want to raid anymore. We had 5 non guildies in the group (non Onineko and non Frostwolves) and I thought they were all good and we managed to get 3 bosses down, but we also had 2 new guildies promoted to mythic so we have to help gear them up also. He wasn't enjoying it and I don't blame him. I like having our own guild to play with!

Server issues with login difficulties were plaguing us, which often happens after a patch - even a minor launcher patch. Fortunately it was pretty much fixed by the time we got to raid time, but then we had Dan have some strange issues with Telstra where apparently he didn't pay his internet/phone bills and was subsequently forced to play tethered to his phone.

Deidria and Splatz were our new initiates into mythic and they did ok. These were easy bosses though but at least we finished the 3 easy ones. I would really like to get further as it's frustrating to people to try to get places and then not get far at all. Splatz was naughty and did NOT have Exorsus (even though I told him to get it last week) but we marked his spot and he somehow coped.

There were too many healers, much to my chagrin. It meant I had to DPS and my DPS is absolutely 
WOEFUL. It was embarrassing to have to DPS in front of PuGs, and ONE OF THE PUGS was a mythic geared boomkin as mainspec... ugh. Absolutely mortifying. I moaned about it and then my guildies teased me about it. I actually enjoy being teased about it, despite my complaining. 

I think at this stage I only have 9 guildies I can count on to raid - which would be Kyxyn, Aimei, Bish, myself, Sev, Voe, Koda, Dan, Lushen. Rag and Yuuda are possibles (they almost count as one person because frequently one is missing), and Crooked will come if needed, but I will always try to spare him if possible. Now we have Deidria and Splatz coming that brings us to 12 with Crooked as an emergency.

Peggy, Nez and Angry are the three that so far keep coming to mythic. That makes 15. Nez is away this week so that put us back a bit.

That means we have to consistently find 5 people. Fortunately for me this week Nostalgic wasn't raiding, but I will go help them when we aren't doing mythic. One of the PuGs I got was a warrior from Jubei'thos, and he was actually quite good and a fun guy. He apologised to me many times for stuffing up but I told him I wasn't not worried about that. As long as he had fun. He is keen to come again, which is good.

I also had a DK come as well, whose main was a paladin. Another 10/13M raider, it as nice that he came along.

Then we had Neuro, who was on his boomkin. He was a friend of Cinder (he is her co-host on their podcast Battletagged) and he was of course the best geared person there with damage to boot. There is no way that I wanted to do boomkin whilst he was there!

We kicked the raid off half an hour late, and then Assault went ok. Then we had Iron Reaver and a lot of bombs were going off. Ugh. But people focussed by the end and we were better. Then onto Kormrok.

Now this was interesting. We usually go green pool then orange pool, and have rogues and hunters getting the empowered ruins runes. However we had no rogues and one hunter so that was not a viable option. Kyxyn decided to try something different which was green pool then purple pool, which meant blobs would come.

Voe went on and and on about how easy it was. And I admit now, it was nice because it was something each person could control themselves rather than depend on the rune runners to get. However, Kyxyn didn't like it, and we had issues with tanks dying, so we ended up 5 healing it and on the last attempt we managed to get it. Phew.

After the raid Kyxyn wanted to have a chat. He was a bit demoralised by the attendance and the waiting and the dragging we had to do to get people to come. He was thinking perhaps we should stop doing mythics, and I can see why, but we still have the possibility to go further. People are expressing interest, and I think next week we will have a full group again. I really need to improve my DPS if I want to be useful to the raid, because we have a lot of healers at the moment.

Though it looks like a step backwards, people need to look at what we are getting. It is unreasonable to think that new entrants into the group will be as smooth and slick as those of us who have done it 10 times already. They will need gear and practice with the mechanics. Once they get it, we will advance. Both Deidria and Splatz are fast learners, and just need some tweaking with gear and raid awareness.

And yes having outsiders coming to the raid is also not ideal, but what if they are nice people? Walach was keen to come again, and I told Neuro that he could bring his mage next time, since his boomkin was overgearing what we were doing, and there was some concern with him bringing a lesser geared toon. But can't people see that there is nothing to be gained for him doing these bosses he had done 30+ times already? He knows the mechanics so it should be easy for him, and so he will unlikely die to mechanics but DPS will improve as gear improves. And if he brings a different toon there is a benefit for him - not everyone wants to come and help out of pure goodness and kindness of their heart! Sometimes I wish people would see beyond the numbers and look at the quallity of the raider and them doing mechanics - I saw that with Thor last week. But that's why I am the guild leader I suppose. Someone has to see the diamonds in the rough, and at least I will have the final say in the decision making.

If the group remains consistent, then we will get bosses down. I am not sure if we can do 2 days ever again, but if we do, then we might actually get somewhere. Patience is key. And fortunately for the guild I have that quality in spades. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Guildleader chores - Creating postive outcomes from your conflicts and guild dramas

I read everywhere on forums, blogs and twitter, about raids that have died. Guild leaders complaining that there is lack of interest and no recruits, and lack of interest from the guild to help out. How they throw the towel in because it's all too hard and the recruiting, losing raiders and no raiding is killing their enjoyment of the game. Or how a guild drama can fracture a successful guild and it dies.

It astonishes me that a successful guild can go from hero to zero so quickly!

A friend of mine is having issues with his guild because two of the raiders had a falling out, leading to one of them leaving the guild and taking a few raiders with him. He said to me that both of them were his friends and he hadn't logged in since the incident because he didn't want to be seen taking sides, as both of them were his friends.

The situation is unfortunate, but things like this do happen. How you deal with it is what will either inspire your guild or suck the life from it.

What message does it send when the guild leader does not log in? After any kind of conflict, everyone is a bit skittish. What's going to happen? What's going on? People are afraid and worried that their raiding will be gone. They need reassurance and of course, an explanation, and a direction or plan. Often, people don't want to leave, but they're not sure if they have something worth staying for.

It's not like I HAVEN'T had any conflicts. I have had my share, and learned my lessons from them.

My biggest one of course was with Moo, who was at the time, the longest serving member of Frostwolves AND an officer. The conflict arose over the use of an addon and we wanted everyone to use it. Long standing members of the guild baulked at it, whereas all the newer members (ie less than 4 years) accepted it. It frustrated me and so I said I would impose a penalty for not using it, which at the time was not award EP (Effort Points from EPGP) for failure to comply.

This caused a huge fight in officer chat which resulted in Moo leaving the guild. The others who had also baulked at the use of the addon decided not to raid also. One because they protested against the argument I had with Moo, the others said they weren't angry or upset, but didn't want to cause drama without having the addon so they chose not to raid.

Naturally everyone NOT in officer was shocked and speculative but I had a raid to focus on and we told everyone as the raid started that there had been an issue, and those who chose not to use the addon were not raiding, but we would go ahead and at the end of the raid we would talk about what had occurred for those who wanted to listen, which we did (and I remember laughing about the huge influx of people who jumped into the other channel when I announced that I would not discuss what happened and field any questions).

So by the end of the night, everyone knew what had happened, and that it wouldn't affect raiding, and that our plan was to continue and I would discuss with our missing raid members what they would like to do. In the end it took a month for me to make it up with Moo (though he did not return to the game or the guild) and we're all good now, but I learned many valuable lessons that day.

Firstly, I appreciated that the long standing members did not respond well to the "treated and punished like children approach" which I often use as I am a parent with young children. I won't make that mistake again. They responded better to the "Can you tell us why you don't like this addon? And can you try it just once and if you think you can do better without it, then that's ok but please at least try it?" approach.

Secondly, there was a culture change I was trying to instill and this actually worked in my favour. Does it not show a slight disrespect for authority when I am trying to instigate something that would actually be good for raiding and yet they refuse to do it on principle? What other raid team allows that? I had let it pass for a long time because it was "too hard" to fight them on these things, but allowing that merely encouraged them to do it and there was the risk that others would follow - "If so-and-so doesn't have to do it, then why do I have to?" Now, when we introduce an essential component for raiding, people now accept it, without question. Which is a win situation, despite the stress I had to go through to achieve it.

Thirdly, by being open with the guild and explaining everything to them, we garnered support for our cause. Those who raided said that they would support the decisions of the officers and would follow our lead, which gave me warm fuzzies, and made me feel like I had done the right thing (even though it wasn't done in the right way).

Now back to my friend, whose friends are fighting and fractured the guild. What should he be doing?

If that happened to me, and we were unable to raid because of the loss of raiders, I would tell everyone what had happened after we had raided (or attempted to raid) and ask if there was continued interest in raiding. If there was, I would look for people to fill the raid - or negotiate something where we could all go together. If there was no interest in raiding except for myself then I would suggest a break for all and let everyone know they could PuG if they wished as I would be pugging also. I would keep logging in every day though to show everyone that I was still around and willing to do stuff. As the guild leader, your priorities are to your guild, not to those who left you, even if they are your friends.

However, what if you wished to throw in the towel?

There should be a timeframe, like a warning, if you wished to disband your guild. There is nothing more upsetting than finding one day you are guildless without any messages or preparation from your guild leader. If it was me, I would personally stay and tell everyone myself, because the guild is my responsibility. I have had a different friend who disbanded the guild after raiding collapsed, sent a message to everyone and then transferred off the server (or name changed), but somehow the message got lost and suddenly a whole lot of people logged in to find themselves guildless and felt betrayed and abandoned.

It's a bit like that old saying "the captain goes down with the ship", where a captain holds the ultimate responsibility for their ship and everyone on it and they will die trying to save either of them. That is how I feel about being a guild leader. I think everyone who wishes to take up the reins of a guild leader should be prepared to look out and ensure the best interests of everyone in their guild and make sure everyone is rehomed and looked after.

Now the question on everyone's lips - how do you keep raiding alive when you don't have the numbers?

For me, it's about networking. Scouring the forums, looking for guilds like ours. Having friendly chats to their guild leaders. Pugging with them to help out with their raids on my nights off. Finding out if they have nights off where they could come help us with our raids. I also use the forums like everyone else does to recruit, but I prefer to personally visit the person on their server to chat to them. If that appeals to someone, the personal touch, then maybe I've found the right person. We all know that there are tons more misses than there are hits when you go through forums. Many want more than I have to offer, others haven't got the relaxed laid back attitude I'm looking for, and others are just a wrong fit for the guild. There is a right fit for everyone

I'd love to hear how other people dealt with their dramas and created positive outcomes from them!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Guildleader chores - How can you make the WoW environment less toxic?

If I could figure this out, I think Blizzard should pay me. Or even better, have some item or NPC reference to me so that I can forever think I made a contribution to this game I love so much. LOL.

I had an incident the other day that I think I could have done a lot better, but it was a kneejerk reaction on my part and I wish I could do it over again differently.

It was my Friday PvP day, and I wanted to do some arenas. However, Crooked needs arenas, and Sev needs arenas and I don't need arenas (and I was worried that I would get us harder teams and less wins, and Crooked only wants wins). So I left BGs to go sit around and do some pet battles, and come back a bit later to do arenas. Hopefully.

I was chatting to Dan about raiding when Sars and Voe got on. Sars was bemoaning the fact that we did the alt heroic run and even though 5 items of loot dropped that he could use to help gear up for mythic, they all went to alts. Which is a shame and it's annoying, but what can you do? Dan suggested we go do normal Gorefiend so Sars could get his tier chest at least, and so off to group finder they went.

Reluctantly I said I would go, because their chances of getting into a group were a lot higher if a 732 ilvl healer tagged along to help. Dan and Voe were on their scrubby mages and Sars was on his shaman. We got into a group whose leader had the most AWFUL gear (he was in GREENS) and was just getting a plain carry! We had some wipes on Reaver (OMG how can you wipe to that) and people left the group (as they tend to do in Group finder) and then we did Kormrok which also had a wipe because nobody was doing the runes, though I was trying. Council too was messy and wasn't helped by the two mass dispels done by the priest, but it went down, and a second lot of people leaving the group went out.

Now we were on Kilrogg and there were a lot of new people. They started assigning groups, and I noticed they put me into one of the groups to go into the banish zone. I thought it would be better if I stayed out and healed everyone through the bleeds, because I didn't think the other healers would be able to do as good a job as me.

I mentioned it in raid to the person assigning groups. "Do you mind if I stay out to heal?"

A feral druid replied. "Just do what you're told c**t"


Now I hate that word. Just seeing it made me see red. I said "WOW" in raid and then I left the group. Which is what a few people may have done, but in hindsight, it's not what I SHOULD have done.

What I should have done, which would be more productive, was say in raid that I didn't think that was an appropriate thing to say, and then speak to the raid leader privately and tell them that I found that language offensive, and if the offending person wasn't reprimanded or removed, I would leave the raid. I achieved nothing by being leaving the raid except avoiding irritating behaviour. I didn't change anyone's attitude, nor did I set a good impression for good behaviour.

All my guildies left as well, and then I started getting tells from the druid, who called me a pussy. He said "were you actually offended by me calling you a c**t" and "you're such a crybaby wah wah wah someone called me a bad name"

I just reported him for language so that the spam would stop, but as I said, doing that didn't accomplish anything. It doesn't change anyone's behaviour, nor does it make any good impressions to other people on how we should behave.

I mentioned it to Luxy who said that kind of thing would never happen in Guild Wars. And I wondered, was it just WoW?

I think one of the problems is the lack of disciplinary action. People get banned for botting, for spamming, for playing other people's accounts, yet abusive people know nothing will happen to them if they bully or belittle or offend others. And if you think about it, those angry types who get banned from WoW will likely rant and swear for being banned and then refuse to play for ages. It really is a win win if there were actual penalties for crappy behaviour.

Obviously, it would have to have some sort of evidence base. Repeated offences should end up with a ban, but one offs can count as strikes, as long as they are separate incidents. Like you don't want the same incident to reported 9 times and then you end up banned, when really 9 separate events should be what leads to your reprimand. Also, you would want a screenshot of the offensive material, not just hearsay, or some other way to track the conversation that occurred.

Man, can you imagine what a crappy job that would be, sorting through all those complaints and trolling stuff. It would make you depressed. You'd have to share that out with some other tasks to dilute the toxicity!

Also, is the toxicity MORE than what it used to be? Some would say that it is, but in an article in Ten Ton Hammer by Memnock, she postulated that the trolls were always there, but now the population base is smaller, you're more likely to run into them. Also (and this is my theory), with the cross realm group finder things, trolls are more often found there as toxic people are unlikely to get into guilds because of their crappy attitudes, and so they are reduced to finding groups with random PuGs. Memnock also said that we're more aware of them now than we used to be. I find this a puzzling statement because how could I NOT be aware of them before? I don't think I notice bad behaviour more than I did earlier, but I don't do group finder often. However, I do random BGs a lot and I see plenty of toxicity there!

Setting a good example is also the best thing we can do that's not aggressive, but rather, something passive. If you TRULY care about the toxicity in the game, like I do, then you will make an effort to make your guild a less toxic environment.

You may think that "gaming chatter" and "smack talk" is part of gaming culture. However, I can testify that in Frostwolves we really DO make a concerted effort to curb the actual abuse that can be denigrating rather than that which is a just in fun. And the officers enforce that as best they can in guild when it's being seen. I am no angel and my potty mouth does run rampant in PvP but I try to do that in a private channel where people have to actually JOIN it to listen to it, and I won't have to worry about offending the general guild populous. Besides, it's mostly just swearing with frustration rather than calling people offensive racist names.

When everyone around you is behaving well, you tend to behave well. I've noticed that when we add one person into the mix who is smack talking or aggressive, it immediately seems to multiply and others follow suit. That's why it's important to get as many people to realise what the normal kind of behaviour is so they will all follow it. Herd mentality exists in people too!

So how can you introduce that into your own guild environment?

Remember, aggression breeds aggression. You can't yell at people to change, they will just get annoyed at you and maybe even do it more. It's like dealing with children - you see some behaviour you don't like, you tell the child that you don't like it and if they do it again there will be x consequence. Child does it again. You give them the consequence. You don't even have to say anything.

I guess one of the best examples, is something we did when we had a Rukhmar run. We organised a group finder for it and invited people, and one person was really rude and saying nasty things. Kyxyn said that behaviour was not acceptable and removed him from the group. He wasn't rude about it, just matter of fact, no swearing or anger, and everyone accepted it. We made at least one good impression that day, with one of the pugs saying they really liked that attitude and asking to join the guild!

That can be you if you end up being a leader of some group finder event. Be calm, state the facts and the consequences and remove the offender after saying what it was they did wrong.

How about if you're just a spectator though? One of the people in the group?

I would recommend NOT just dropping group like I did in my example earlier in this post. Just making a calm statement in the raid about it such as "I don't think that behaviour/language is appropriate/acceptable," and if that comment is met with further derision, then you can speak to the raid leader just letting them know that you will drop group because you find the behaviour unacceptable. If they fail to respond to you, or they are on the side of the offending person, then just thank everyone for the group and then leave.

What if you are the leader and someone whispers you that they aren't happy with the behaviour of someone in the group?

Hopefully you've witnessed the behaviour. If you haven't, it's a it hard to go on hearsay. If there is no evidence just reassure the person that you will do your best to intervene but without evidence you can't do much. Maybe they will send you a screenshot of said abuse. However, if you are armed with evidence (such as the offending chatter was in party/raid chat) then calmly say to the offending person in a public chat that their behaviour is offending some people, please stop or you will be removed. The best scenario - they'll be contrite and apologise. The worst scenario - they'll get even more abusive. Either way, it's clear what to do. Keep them if they're repentant, remove them if they're without remorse. Easy.

What if, you really want this kill/loot and you don't want to jeopardise your chances at it by complaining about a person in the group or upsetting people in the group?

In that case it's down to what you really want. I have never wanted anything so badly that I would put up with crappy behaviour. I always say something in BGs if someone is being an idiot (but it's very hard to remove someone in a BG) but if the whole raid is being offensive then I just say I don't like this behaviour and leave.

CHANGE can happen. You can't expect to change it all overnight, but if you really want it, you play the long game. Implement and wait for results. You will never know if you don't try. And at least if you try, it means you want to make a difference.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Giveaway time! Win a Personalised light #FWMyLight

Thinto made me something from his company which was a promotional thing and I liked it so much I decided that I want to give one away myself!

So what was this thing, you ask?

This is from MyLight, an Adelaide based company that makes personalised nightlights. I had heard of them, they make kids night lights and stuff. However, I hadn't thought that the applications would extend to bars and mancaves too!

And my light also changes colour! I would take a video but it was too long... and boring staring at my name changing colours. My daughter might have thought it was fantastic - she immediately demanded I put my new light next to her computer instead of next to mine.

I liked my new light, and I was very grateful for my gift, so of course I would promote it as best I could! Hubby wanted one for his practice, and I decided to gift one to my guildies, and I want to give one away for my blog readers/twitter followers too!

So if you would like to win your very own custom designed light (with rainbow colours!) then comment on this post! Tell me what you would like written on your own personalised night light. I will draw a winner on 31 March.

And a note to all my Frostwolves guildies - I have two giveaways going, one for you guys and one for my blog, so if you're not on the Facebook page, you can enter here and I'll put you in the competition.

You can also enter the giveaway on Twitter - use the hashtag #FWMyLight in a tweet. I wonder if anyone will enter? I hope someone will! Good luck to all entrants!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Guildleader Chores - Watching everyone moving guilds is depressing

Not something I have to worry about in my own guild at present but it just feels in the last week everyone is sad and moving around.

I mentioned before that Sonuku from Onineko moved to Tyrants, which is a 13/13M guild on Barthilas. That obviously meant one person we counted on to raid was removed.

Anghelz, the rogue from Onineko is soon to follow suit, I think. I know he is keen to raid, and we don't provide that in the capacity he would be interested in. Seeing Sonu leaving probably would push him to go play somewhere else also. That would be a second person that we normally counted on to raid disappearing.

It was nice that Cinder and Thor/Grimgash came along and bulked up numbers - having competent raiders with raid awareness is so nice on a casual alt raiding night! However, the reason I got in touch with Cinder in the first place was because I was perusing the forums and came across her post looking for an Alliance guild. I did see it on her blog also, as she was a mythic raider who landed up in a nice guild that didn't want to progress beyond Heroic, and it made her a little sad. And also she likes alliance. "If you like the Camelot style of stories, Alliance is for you," she wrote last weekend.

Zeirah had a response of her own after that, as she and Cinder have been friends and guildies for years. Sometimes I envy people that they have the choice to be able to do that, but the envy is only fleeting. I like routine and consistency. I feel comfortable and safe where I am. My guild is familiar, they are family, and even though I may want more, I am happy to stay with everyone because raiding is not the game breaker for me. Mythic cross realm means that me and my guildies can PuG mythics if anyone is starting them. In fact, we could use group finder but everyone has been really against that. There may be a lot of bad eggs in group finder but there are also a couple of gems that you can find in there too, and they might be just what we are looking for.

There is also a bit of drama in another guild on another server whose guild leader is a friend of mine. There has been some tension and the raid team may break up. I think that one of their officers can be rather abrasive. Interestingly, someone from that guild approached me via my forum post and asked about pugging mythic with us and I said that I haven't got enough people yet - just needed a few more. Told him next week is a possibility.

Well, at least one person read my forum post ;)

In the meantime, I might consider doing some raiding on Sunday. We'll see if anyone needs a resto druid. And maybe we will get to do mythic again next week. Here's hoping!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Raiding and Navispam - With a special visit from Cinder!

I was in two minds about raid on Wednesday - I will go into that in a separate post - but we ended up doing Heroic HFC Manny and Archie (and having one of our cleanest Archi's in AGES).

I had a few friends that I brought along - and most people didn't know any better because they were all from Barthilas.

From Nostalgic I had Anna and Gal come along (they were going away on Saturday so they couldn't do Heroic Archi with their guild). And Cinderstorm had been on the forums (and writing on her blog) about looking for an alliance guild, so I decided to ask her to come along and hang out with us until she found a new alliance guild to join.

Cinderstorm is Cinder from Twitter, who also blogs at Cinder Says, and also cohosts the podcasts Reins of Azeroth and Battletagged! Interestingly I know Cinder through Zeirah, as they are long time guildies and friends.

Her partner, Thor, was a little undergeared for Archi, so he was happy to drop, but we got him straight back for the lower level. We cleared the bottom floor (including Gorefiend) and everyone seemed to have fun! Crooked even tanked on his DK with Peggy for the bottom floor! And I even got to play DPS for a bit. I admit I was skeptical with a whole bunch of alts doing things like Kilrogg and Gorefiend but it turned out OK and we finished at 11pm exactly. The other good thing was that most of the loot was taken. That makes my shard collection sad but at least people are getting stuff, which is good!

And all that time I forgot to take pics with Cinder. At the end I remembered so I had to tell my guildies to wait a few minutes on that mythic dungeon heal so I could hightail back to garrison to grab my Navispam pic.

Navi: "Hey Cinder, can I take a pic with you in your garrison?"
Cinder: "Sure thing Navi!"
And THEN Cinder posts a pic of us on Twitter and to my mortification I have the WRONG TITLE ON!

That'll teach me to go wandering around with my named turned off...

Thanks Cinder for a great night, I hope you can come again a few more times before your new guild calls you! And to you too Thor, it was a pleasure to have you both!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Guildleader chores - Reduced to Forum Posting! Egads!

With the decline in raiding this week, I have been thinking about what direction I want to go from here.

It's not a unilateral decision of course. I have enough friends across servers that I could be pugged in if needed as a healer if required, but I don't want to be doing mythics on my own unless EVERY raider said they didn't want to play or raid anymore. And as a guild leader, the guild looks to me and the officers for direction. If the officers give up, then the guild starts to give up. But I am always reliably on (except for Tuesdays) so there is always the knowledge that I haven't given up on my guild, nor have I given up hope.

It's not like we are the only guild in the same situation. Mythic guilds are recruiting non stop. They are welcome to all the guild hoppers who are looking for greener pastures. I am not looking for someone like that. What we would love are just regular people turning up to raid, and if they come from another guild or server and are loyal to their own guild and don't want to leave - even better! Guild loyalty is a quality I greatly admire, and if someone is happy to help out because their guild isn't raiding, but wants to be available for them as soon as they start mythic, then I can totally understand that.

But WHERE do you find these people?

We had a discussion last night at the start of raid when we had a really poor turnout. What are we going to do, what would the raiders like to do.

We aren't going to stop raiding. It's something our guild loves to do together as a bunch of friends, but what capacity of raiding are we going to do? Are we just going to do Heroic HFC alt raids? Are we going to recruit? Are we going to team up with another guild again?

Peggy said why don't you make a forum post? Well, I'll tell you why, I hate making forum posts. It feels so impersonal, and to be honest, the last time I made a forum post I did get one choice person - Morz! But I have been avoiding it because I don't really like putting my name and guild out there - I really like the personal touch and looking at a person as a whole, rather than just a number or a raider. 

Besides, I doubt anyone would respond to my request - if people were happy with their guilds they wouldn't be out looking for a new guild. I had been hanging around in Nostalgic and a few of their players had pugged for us before. However, they are now foraying into mythic so I can no longer ask them to fill for us. And where does that leave us?

One person had a few friends that they thought they might ask. However, I think the reality is that he would go and help THEM rather than us.

So in the end we decided to do alt Heroic HFC and my version of alt Heroic HFC was to DPS. It's good practice for me and I get to try something I'm not always doing and I also get to try to improve myself. Of course, gear carries me a long way but I'm starting to get the hang of it. However, I do admit that I was tunnelling a bit and Koda mentioned rather pointedly that Voe and I were standing next to a swirly hole during Gorefiend's trash and neither of us thought to step into it. Oops.

However, despite being half an hour late, we managed to do the first 6 bosses on lower floor. Previously we had struggled getting even Kilrogg with alt groups! But, it was actually kinda fun, and I even got to DPS in the banish zone of Kilrogg (which was scary!).

I would have liked to finish Mythic before the Legion dropped. We had finished all raids just before a new xpac in the last few xpacs (Lich King, Cataclysm, Pandaria) and it will be a bit disappointing that we haven't done it this time around. Should I go PuG it? It doesn't feel right to me, because my loyalty is to my guild. What they do, I do. It's ok for others to go PuG it, I think, but I should set an example and show that I wouldn't abandon anyone and keep myself available for anything that we do as a guild. Sometimes being a guild leader is not about I want, but to be there for everyone else. I think if a guild leader loses interest, then so does everyone else. Let's see how things go this week!

Friday, March 11, 2016

A week of no raiding means we do other things

4 short for Mythic. With Cel tired and unwell, Rey now stepping down from fulltime raiding because he is tired from work, Yuuda at his mum's birthday, Dan at a family thing, Rag celebrating his own birthday and CT having some email disputes we were short.

So we ended up doing heroic Archimonde with a bunch of alts and carrying Splatz and Tye. I wished Luxy was there but she is not available at present, and we actually managed to kill Archi which was great.

However, after that we killed Xhul then couldn't get Socrethar! Bloody Soc is such a pain in the ass. Firstly neither Kyxyn nor Peggy liked doing the construct. And then after a few wipes we decided to one tank and have anyone jump into the construct. Ultra had a go, and then didn't do it very well and we wiped. By now I was asking HK to get into the construct and he reluctantly said he would. I said in officer "Yay now you can show these idiots how it's done."

Xyn said in officer "Navi, are you calling me an idiot?"


"I guess I am," I replied. "Sorry!"

But that wasn't the end of it.

"Ultra," said Xyn, "You wouldn't believe what Navi just said."

"HEY!" I exclaimed. "That's private OFFICER chat!"

Xyn kept talking. "Navi said to HK, now you can show these IDIOTS how the constructs done."

"Awwww!" said Ultra, in that sad whiny voice that always makes me feel bad. "But, I was TRYING and I said sorry..."

Needless to say we still didn't get it, much to Angry's disgust. He really wanted the trinket from there. At the end of the raid, Ultra said "I'm going now to have dinner and play with my Gundam. At least that's a robot I know how to play."

Which made me laugh out loud.

So Wednesday was a bust. Do you think Thursday we had any interest for Blackhand?

Only 13 people showed up. We called the raid then split into our different favoured activities - a group went off and did Mythic dungeons whilst the rest of us went to arena and skirmish.

There was a DK/warrior/paladin group that were damn excellent - undergeared but smashed us every time. It was painful and embarrassing. We at least got our conquest done (and also I noticed they fixed the conquest reward - now they reward you the 500 and it doesn't show that it counts towards your weekly conquest cap). I felt bad because I let Crooked die a lot as a hunter and I copped a big lecture because I wasn't listening to him. After that we actually won a few more games and then did a BG to wind down afterwards (which thankfully, we won!).

So, will anything happen on Monday? Who knows? If it does, I'll be ready. If it doesn't, I have achievements to chase!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Raiding - So Kilrogg is easier on Mythic than Council, right?

So we managed to do two weeks with two days a week raiding. It was nice that on our second attempt at Council for the evening, we got a kill. It was a crappy messy kill at the end, but it went very well until that part!

Raid team selection is becoming an issue. Deidria wanted to come but since it was his first mythic, I thought it would be a bit harsh to be dragging him into our progress mythics - he should just come to our farm mythics.  I'll see what he's like tonight - Yuuda won't be on tonight, and neither will Dan, so it's just as well that we aren't extending the raid to do Kilrogg.

We had a fair few goes at Kilrogg but we still had issues with trying to get the adds down fast enough. We also did the raid backwards to how we normally do it - apparently it was so the melee could help DPS some of the adds down as well - though we have very few melee but we have a ton of ranged.

Healing was struggling by the time it was my turn to go into the zone, perhaps I just needed better use of my cooldowns. However, I thought I was supposed to save it till after I come out of the zone with my enhanced healing and cleansing abilities.

However, I am wondering if two days a week is too much. Because we are doing 2 days a week, we are reluctant to extend on the following Wednesday, which we would be more likely to do if we did a 3 day per 2 week cycle. We might make more progress then. But now, we have to start again and reclear.

I've been amused with the reasons people have that makes them unable to raid. Obviously, I understand that real life has an impact on your playtime, but for someone like me, who works 730-6pm 4 days a week (plus 30-40 min travel time each way), has two children and a number of animal pets to look after... it's just lucky that I don't need as much sleep as some other people because I can happily play from 9pm till midnight, no dramas. And that's after getting doing homework with the kids, getting them into bed. I usually roll my eyes at Sev who used to whinge about having to leave the house at 9am, or Rag when he says he's so tired after work. But I guess the difference between them and me is that I really LOVE this game, and it's part of my daily routine, whereas for others it's just another computer game! And I get that. I just wish that I could find more people like me who love to play this game (like Crooked and Tacky) because they get excited about some of little things in game just like me!

Anyway, it's raid time soon. I'd better go and see who is ready to raid today.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Powermonger Gold at last

I have been struggling to do Powermonger Gold for months. It might have been almost half a year!

I had watched how-to videos so many times, and I haven't been successful. I have to admit I wasn't trying very hard, but I would get frustrated easily and then put it off till the next day or next DMF.

This month, I gave it a try and as usual I bombed out at 12 tolls (you need 11 tolls to get the achievement). I have gotten 12 tolls multiple times and I just felt like I wasn't achieving anything so I gave up again.

Crooked got on and said he would come with me and do it with me (he already had it) and said that when he did it, Tacky and he were doing it together and they got their achievement that way.

Wonderful! I was going to have a witness to my ineptitude and clumsiness! But moral support is moral support. I did wonder if he would make the whole process more humiliating because he would get within 11 tolls on his first attempt on it after having not done it for months. But, as humiliating as that would be, I am sure Crooky would walk me through each step of it to help me get my achievement, so that would be a good thing.

So he tried it and got 14 tolls. Then he did 12 tolls. I wasn't there at first, but when he told me he was at Darkmoon Faire, I thought I should go since he's making the effort to help me. And I might be able to get it.

Whilst he was still attempting to do it, I thought I would try NOT getting any jumping bonuses and just go straight for all speed ones, since I had been fixated with trying to use the jumping ones and NOT hit a tree, yet I still hit the tree each attempt.

My first full speed one was another 12 tolls, but I had actually made a mistake and got caught going through an electric fence and that made me go slow. So I tried it again, and this time....

Bang! I got the achievement!

Crooky said that I got it without him even helping, but it was actually his moral support that helped me do it. If he hadn't been there I wouldn't have tried it again, which means I wouldn't have gotten the achievement. So he really did help me get it. Yay! Thanks Crooky! I have such great friends and guildies :D

Saturday, March 5, 2016

PvP - Warmongering Conquest

So now I can take it easy. I've gotten all my achievements for Warlords season 3 since I managed to get my Warmongering Conquest today.

Tonight we did a few arenas, and I think I must have been playing poorly. We lost a lot of games (though we were in higher arena bracket) but that doesn't make me feel any better! Crooked at least got past the 50 games won mark, and he is really hoping to get 1550. However, with last night's track record.. bleh! :D

We still haven't managed to get a guild group together for Fight, Kill, Salute! Aza was on and he said Friday night was good, but Taxar wasn't on, nor was Tyefoods (though Splatz was), and Cel is not feeling well so she hasn't been doing any group activities this week. Kyxyn was on later (usually he watches TV with the family), Tacky was on as was Crooked, myself and Sev, so perhaps I should start up a group finder to see if we can get other interested parties along.

I have been trying to play Boomkin more (especially in Ashran) so I can practice and also get some Bloody coins.  The other day I managed to get 100 and I was excited about that, however Crooky informed me that the achievement goes on to 2000.... (!!)

I need to work on my battleground achievements - I only just finished Silvershard Mines a few weeks ago. To think after all these years I am STILL not exalted with Warsong!

I can see a long frustrating road ahead!

Friday, March 4, 2016

Raiding - Will Mythic Blackhand break the casual people?

We are down to our last boss in Mythic Blackrock Foundry!

I watched Method's first kill, and it's so amazing when you watch the co-ordination and team work that they put into their videos and kill. I think about when we did Heroic Blackhand and people were all over the place, but as expected from the guild that got the first Mythic Blackhand kill, their execution was beautiful.

I look at their guys placing their Marked for Death's perfectly spaced next to one another in the final phase - like a dance!

So we managed to get 16 guildies on!

Kyxyn, Aimei, Sevrus, Navimie, Crooked, Cptsars, Lushen, Taxar, McTacky, Ultra, Deidrea, Rag, Splatzor, Mauve, Danleet, Koda. We also had Peggy, Ang and Brambling/Poshkin helping as well. Kael joined us a bit late, and then Splatz had to go so we dragged Sonu along.

Mythic Blackhand is a little bit much, I think, for a fun run night. I asked Ang what it was like and he said "it's like LFR" and I was rather dubious - I had watched the video, there seemed to be a lot of coordination going on and a ton of fire!! He had done it with his mythic alliance guild and they had a hell of a lot more higher geared players (and also those whose raid awareness was a bit better also) and that probably helped a lot - more brute force and ignore some mechanics.

However, we had to do mechanics. It was difficult when not everyone was on Discord. I think we will have to tell people that they must be on Discord or we can't bring them. Trying to tell people where to go is a pain in the bum when they're not listening!

The usual thing with everyone stepping on the bombs was a pain.  Then we had issues with people being marked for death running behind the tanks and not knowing that you had to run behind a stick pile. Then people were getting hit by Marked for Death because they were standing in the way!

I was doing LOL DPS as boomkin because we had quite a few healers, and I was supposed to get up onto the balcony. Yeah, that was a bit of an issues. If I wasn't dead, I missed the knock up, and then if I did get up, I was unable to get back up again because I was getting Marked for Death all the time!

We did make it to the final phase once, and of course we forgot we had to soak something and that ended up with fire piles EVERYWHERE. And everyone ran their bombs and Marked for Death all over the place.

My computer cracked a nut and decided to do updates in the middle of raid. That was a bit crap. I couldn't play for about 20 minutes.

I think that people would like to do Mythic Blackhand again next week, and I certainly hope we have the guildies available to do it. People may be turned off by how hard it is, but it's not going to be easy! I for one am enjoying trying to get it right, but that's me - and I know it would be a nice thing to finish off before Legion hits.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Raiding - Our first success at a 2 day a week Mythic raid

We didn't get much interest in a second mythic day last week, but this week we managed to scrape just enough people to raid. I was happy. A whole do to work on council properly!

People tell you how easy it is, but it's never really easy till you do it.

We were having issues with a few things. Positioning was the big thing. Where do you put the ranged group that gets those bloodboil stacks and then we have to swap, and how far away do you put them?

Then there were the reaps. People were dying to reap. One of the problems was that one set of healers would be far away because it was their turn to get bloodboils and then the reap people were out of range.

Also, we hadn't quite worked out our cooldowns for Jubei'thos' multiple spinning copies. I was so busy trying to heal up people for reap that we didn't weren't using them for the spinning phase.

And then there were ghosts. I was hopeless at avoiding them, as I was smooched up against the wall but I wasn't the only one dying to ghosts.

So we changed it up a bit. We moved to the middle, which meant I could reach all the reaps. We saved our healer cooldowns for the mirror images, and then we ran into the corner when ghosts came, because apparently it's "safe" there. We had a 1% wipe where Kyxyn was on his own solo-ing Dia, but that didn't last as long as we hoped! But on our last attempt of the night we got our kill!

Poor Sars had been dragged along as the 5th healer. I might have forgottten to mention we were doing mythic (and he was surprised and shocked that he came) but he got his first mythic kill so that's good for Mondays. Just need to get him geared up now.

So our attendees were:
Tanks: Aimei, Kyxyn
Healers: Bish, Navi, Angry, Rag, Cptsars
DPS: Sev, Aza, Ctwin, Ultra, Reyuk, Danleet, Celaena, Sonuku, Nez, Lushen, Anghelz, Crooked, Peggysui

Now that we have the positioning right, it shouldn't take that long again to get the fight down. Though, I have to admit that it's a really good fight for druid healers. But mana was a bit of a commodity!

Well done Frostwolves and Onineko!