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New Personal Blog

I love writing about stuff too much to give it up totally so I decided to create a personal blog. So as requested by Kimberly, here it is.

Be forewarned that it will be random stuff as I come up with it. It will not be about WoW although I’m sure I’ll write about it from time to time. It won’t be for everyone, but if you’d like feel free to drop by.

So Long And Thanks For All The Fish!

I’ve been fighting it for weeks now. Months really. End game has lost all interest for me. A very small part of me wants to down the Lich King, but the larger part couldn’t care less anymore.

I let the other officers know that I was going to take a raiding break. I decided that I would stick around to be a backup, but as long as any others were available, they should take them.

I?m not actually quitting the game yet. I?d still like to experience Cataclysm. But I also feel as if I?m done with the raiding scene. The inconsistent progression has left me wanting more than what Blizzard can offer there. Even sandbox video games (GTA anyone?) have some level of consistent progression, why shouldn?t WoW? I suppose it works for some, but not for me.

Because of that my interest in the endgame was lost. I stopped researching my classes. I stopped attempting to min-max my toons. I stopped gear research. I stopped boss research. I stopped all of the fun things that make the actual act of raiding fun. I really do believe that 75% of the fun in raiding is doing all the stuff to prepare before actually setting foot in the instance.

As for other aspects of the game, I still intend to finish leveling my toons to 80 if at all possible. But that too has lost some of its appeal as well. I get the feeling that Mach hopes dps’ing will get me back into raiding. And I suppose part of me hopes that as well, but I’m not too positive it will. On top of that my wife is pregnant with our third and should be due right around October. Given that Blizzcon will be in October and everyone’s expecting Cataclysm to immediately follow I won’t be available for raiding in the new expansion anyway.

I would like to experience PvP with a decent PvP class/spec, but I don?t know that I have the patience for that. I?ve always sucked at it and the only times I?ve truly enjoyed it was when it was going my way. :P

I have a lot of emotional attachment to this blog. So it is with somewhat of a heavy heart that I close this one.

I’d like to thank the writers of all the blogs I’ve been following for some time now (all 141 of you!!!), most of whom don’t know I follow you because either work has blocked you or I’m just not that social of a person. You’ve saved me from many a boring day when work was slow.

I’d like to thank all of my readers! Every one of you! Even though few of you ever commented, the support I got from those of you that added me to your feed readers was absolutely great! It kept me going at times when I felt like quitting, but didn’t want to.

I’ll still be leaving this site up. I like to think there’s still some good information on it and with everything I invested in it I cannot bring myself to delete it. I’m especially proud of my Newbie Raider’s Guides and the whole Auction House Experiment. Regardless of how the game changes, a lot of the ideas there I believe will continue to be valid.

I’ll leave comments active for a time, but I’ll probably turn those off in a month to keep those damn spammers off of it! :)

So thanks again! And if there’s one thing I hope you went away with besides entertainment, I hope that you can strive to be a little nicer than however nice you were before. Just because someone’s a jerk, don’t let that ruin the experience for you by dragging you down too. Just remember it’s a game.

[Edit: I tried to leave a comment from my phone today and somehow lost half of my post. I've tried to recreate it here. I also didn't realize it was April Fool's when I posted this. Although that's pretty hilarious, I did want to let you know that this isn't a joke. My time blogging is over. Maybe someday I'll pick it up again, but I doubt it.]

60 And Counting…

I Need Cataclysm

Man I need Cataclysm. I do. I caught myself double checking my account status just the other night. Apparently my six-month subscription terminates at the end of May. I found myself considering letting it expire.

So Cataclysm apparently is going to be released this year. Well, not to be pessimistic, but I’ll believe it when I see it. But I sure hope it does. I need it.

Why?

‘Cuz Cataclysm is gonna save the world by destroying the world!

Yeah OK, again I’ll believe it when I see it, but I do need some change.

I’m burned out. Recent guild drama drained me emotionally. It isn’t anyone’s fault, it’s just part of the job we do. I signed up for it when I agreed to be an officer. I knew this would happen at times. But unfortunately it is not helping the burnout I’m feeling with raiding.

For me right now, raiding is about signing up, showing up, and downing bosses or pounding my head against a brick wall. I don’t read strats. I don’t read up on the latest glyphs, specs, enchants, gear, etc. I haven’t done a gear plan since Naxx.

In Burning Crusade I was all about reading boss strats, gear strategies, stat priorities, talents, etc. That was fun! I remember looking at Atlasloot and WoWHead on a daily basis trying to figure out the best way to plan my gear progression. I analyzed my gear constantly on websites. It was fun!

Why can’t I plan gear now? Well, I can but there isn’t any point to do so.

First, you can farm heroics for gear in the matter of a couple of days. In BC it took me weeks to farm one piece. Three hour heroics for three badges didn’t allow for quick gearing.

Second, because of limited time buying a piece of gear was a real investment. Sort of like how Frost Emblems are now to a certain extent. You were nearly guaranteed to get the drop you wanted the day after you spent your badges. And when you just spent 2-3 weeks farming the badges you really had to think about your choices.

But there was the fun! At least for me. Maybe not for everyone.

You can argue whatever position you want about gear progression in Wrath. Emblems are great! Emblems suck! Most of you know my position. It doesn’t mean that I disagree with those on the other side, it just means this is how the current gear system has affected my game.

Working my ass off to get one piece of badge gear was a feat! And no one can argue that I didn’t earn it! I remember that people were upset with badge gear when it came out. Supposedly it was just as good as T5 or better, although based on my own experiences I really didn’t think most of it was and still had to farm Kara for stuff.

The point is I had to research my gear. Plan the best course. Was it better to buy that badge gear or wait for the boss to drop loot? So researching and planning was an important part of the process. But even more importantly it was half the fun!

Gear in my opinion is messed up in more ways than I can count. It occurred to me that although I can reconcile my issue with quick gearing, what I can’t reconcile is my lack of interest.

Wednesday night I was bored out of my mind. I had no mana issues whatsoever and for you GearScore fanatics, I think my GS is around 5200. I don’t even have the best gear available to me.

So why bother? Why bother to do all that research in gear, talents, glyphs, gems, etc. to eek out a couple more points in spellpower, mp5, intellect, etc. when I’m just gonna faceroll my way through the content anyway?

Oh sure, there’s the argument that on the progression fights it’s important to get every last bit out of everyone and it is. Problem is our progression is never really an issue about gear, talents, gems, enchants, buffs, etc. It’s always about skill, paying attention, and fighting the lag boss. So again, why bother?

I miss the need to research boss fights. I miss the need to research specs. I miss the need to research gear. Maybe you don’t feel the same and think the way things are in end-game right now are great! Everyone’s seeing the content! And I agree that it’s great. I just disagree with how it’s been handled.

For light’s sake this is Casual Hardcore! Casual in play, but a hardcore attitude towards raiding and the endgame. I lost the drive that pushed me towards the hardcore. The game got too easy. And that’s why I need Cataclysm.  If for no other reason to have a solid breaking point where I can say I’m done with the endgame and just play to hang out.

Respect Starts With You

One of the big parts of our guild meeting the other day revolved around respect and knowing your audience.

We have a lot of new people. And with all of those people come a lot of different personalities. So it was inevitable that some head butting was going to happen.
But there’s one thing that really upsets me. Showing lack of respect.

Oh I’ve heard it before! Respect is earned! When they respect me, I’ll respect them! They haven’t done anything to earn my respect! Oh, that’s just the way I am and they need to learn to respect that!

Respect Is Earned!

Yes. Respect is earned. I will not debate that. But a certain level of respect should be earned just by being a living, breathing human being.

You’re a human being. I hope. As such, you deserve a certain amount of base respect. Until you prove to me that you deserve less or more that will not change. But how much respect I show you is entirely up to me!

This is the part where I get upset at people. Just because someone’s a complete ass, doesn’t mean that we should treat them that way. For example, there’s a guy at my work that I have absolutely no respect for. He’s a terrible manager. He’s horrible at his job. I have only found one person that works for him that actually likes working for him. Everyone else has done everything they can to get out of his department. I’ve personally had to work with him several times in the past couple of years and every project he’s touched is plagued with issues that I can trace directly back to him! But the worst part is in how he treats others. He shows no respect and is horrible to most people.

Do I show him disrespect? Hell no! Why? Well I’d get fired for one, sure. But ultimately it boils down to the fact that he’s still a person and given that someone gave him his position he still deserves to be treated with the respect that position requires. He’s the boss. I do what he says when working with him. I may not always agree. I may think he’s a complete idiot. I may know he’s making my life a living hell because I’ll be the one correcting the mistakes when I buy out the job next year. He may not deserve respect, but my not showing any respect will only make matters worse in the long run.

Point: Having respect and showing respect are not the same thing.

When They Respect Me, I’ll Respect Them!

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this in game and in real life. Seriously? You really believe this? This is a philosophy you follow? OK then, who starts?

What if they have the same philosophy and both of you treat each other with little to no respect?

Point: You have to start somewhere. Want to make it easier on you? You be the one to start.

They Haven’t Done Anything To Earn My Respect!

Have you given them a chance? Do they know what they’re supposed to do to earn your respect? Are your standards much higher than the average person?

Point: Why isn’t it enough that someone just being a fellow human being earns a bit of respect? Let them show their true colors before they lose it.

Oh, that’s just the way I am and they need to learn to respect that!

This statement never ceases to amaze me at how arrogant some people really are. Why do they need to learn to respect you for who you are and you don’t have to respect them for who they are? The vanity of some people is downright mind-boggling!

Point: Give what you expect! Respect is a two-way street!

Know The Street You Are On

It’s a two-way street! What a cliché! Respect is earned. It can take years to build and seconds to destroy.

Important thing is as a street it’s important to know what street you are on. Knowing the street is knowing your audience.

BoO is full of jokers. Different people have different styles to their jokes. The predominant tendency tends to lie in the extreme range of silly to the extreme perverted. Although somehow I’ve gained the title The Perverted along with my Old Man nickname, you may or may not be surprised to know that I’m not the most perverted in the guild. That title probably belongs to one of our bloggers, and trust me you might be surprised as it isn’t Amber or Frost! :P

My humor tends to be slightly sarcastic, and mostly one-liners. Apparently during my little hiatus away from all things chat, several people commented on missing my one-liners. But I have to take care because I still don’t know everyone and a one-liner could be taken the wrong way, even on Vent.

For example, Amber’s a disc priest (God only knows why!) and I like to give her a lot of shit about it. So I’m often heard saying that “Real priests Holy!” and it nearly always gets a laugh from others and a “F@#$ YOU, KY!” from Amber. Now to someone who doesn’t know me and the relationship I have with Amber my comment might be seen as demeaning and her comment to me might be taken as amorous. ;)

Now take a new disc priest that joins our guild. He’s nervous about performing well and showing that he has what it takes to raid with us. While on Vent I make the joke “Real priests Holy!” Being nervous enough already and worried about how much he’s under the spotlight, our new disc priest could take offense wondering why we would invite him to the guild if we felt that holy priests were superior to disc?

This may not be the best example because who really would take a statement like that with laughing in the background seriously? But then again, someone might. So it is important for me to think about what I’m about to say or do before I say or do it.

Here’s a generic illustration of the way I saw several events that happened recently:

Guildie #1 says something innocent.
Guildie #2 takes offense and assumes a defensive posture.
Guildie #2 says something back that although correct or just an opinion does so in enough of a defensive way as to offend Guildie #1.
Guildie #1 gets his/her panties in a twist and begins to fight back thinking they’re doing it respectfully, but fails either literally or…
Guildie #2 fails to perceive said respect.
Guildie #3 jumps in on the side of Guildie #(take your pick) and problem escalates.
Officer #1 is in vent talking to Officer #2 completely oblivious to Guild Chat. (OK, this part was me.)
Officer #2 notices something near the end and starts frantically scrolling back up to find out what happened.
Officer #1 grabs Guildie #1 and asks wtf is going on?
Guildie #1 tells his side of the story.
Officer #1 plays Devil’s Advocate and tries to get Guildie #1 to see what could possibly be Guildie #2′s side of the story. Main objective is to just get others to think before they react.
Guildie #1 says you know me, that’s just how I am, and I didn’t mean anything by it.
Officer #1 smacks head against keyboard, begins attempts at smoothing things over, but secretly wonders if everyone in this guild ate paint chips as a child?

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a billion times…there are always as many sides to a story as there are people plus one. There’s my side, there’s your side, and there’s the truth.

So remember that just because you’re looking at a situation differently than someone else, doesn’t necessarily make them wrong or less deserving of your respect.

Pointing Fingers

Like I said my initial post inspired by Beruthiel was getting rather long and I started to break it up. So risking sounding like a broken record I’m going to continue…

Record?

Records! 45s!!

/mutters incoherently…young little…whippersnappers…new fangled…empty3s…i-toons…*

Screw you all! Kestrel knows what I’m talking about!

Anyway…

We had our guild meeting. I think it went well. I think the ultimate source of all our recent problems is and was communication. And I’m not just talking the negative jabs and misunderstandings that have occurred; although that’s ultimately the part that everyone sees. I’m also talking about the expectations, goals, and views of members and officers alike. Because it’s very easy to see how when all of those expectations, goals, and views don’t mesh well, things can get a little out of hand.

So where did it start to go wrong?

Pointing The Finger

On Thursday unfortunately we weren’t able to field a 25-man ICC. We had a record number of cancelled signups due to real life. But the positive is that we had CANCELLED SIGNUPS!!! I for one was ecstatic! I’ll save that for another post though.

So we pugged a few people and plowed our way through ToC25. Then we decided to hit up Ony25 without pugs. And in true BoO fashion we wiped the first time. Although I wonder if that fight was a little bugged because I was nowhere near the tail or Ony for that matter. In fact I was in the middle of a pack of people off to the left side of Ony when I got blasted through the air straight into a whelp cave…

Suffice it to say that a couple of people started to point fingers. Given our recent drama, the fact that we were having a pretty damn good night, and the only reason that I was even in ToC25 or Ony25 was to support fellow guildies there was NO WAY IN HELL I was gonna let a couple of upstarts ruin the night by bitching and pointing fingers! So I said something sarcastic about pointing the finger and blaming each other which got everyone to shut up and we downed her with no problems on the next attempt.

But if I were to point a finger at the problems we’ve been having, I’d point it at the officers.

But I’m An Officer!

Damn straight!

I’m a big believer in if you’re not a part of the solution; you’re a part of the problem. And that goes double for officers! Officers have the power and responsibility to keep things in check.

So where did we go wrong? Where to start?

Up Front Expectations – Officers

I’m going to pick on a few of our guildies that came over en masse and Amber. I wasn’t part of that recruiting. So I know very little about what expectations from our side and theirs was communicated. And who’s to blame? I am.

I remember one night running 5-mans or just hanging out on Vent when our lobby filled up with potential recruits from another server. Amber and a couple of members (non-officers) jumped over to talk to them. I remember thinking to myself, “I wonder if I should jump down there too? Naw. Amber’s got it.” And that’s where I screwed up!

No, it wasn’t a screw up because I don’t trust Amber. It was a screw up because I like to make sure certain things get communicated when recruiting. But I didn’t know if those were the same things Amber likes to communicate. To appease my own curiosity and concerns I should have jumped down or at least talked to Amber and I didn’t.

How do I know those items weren’t taken care of? Well because of some of the fallout that occurred shortly after they arrived. I remember putting up a post regarding ranks, raid invites, and DKP as a reminder to all of the older members and in hopes of making the newer members feel at ease. I was very concerned about several older members seemingly coming out of the woodwork now that viable 25s were on the horizon and I wanted to protect the new recruits interest and rights to raiding when we wouldn’t have had to recruit if the older members hadn’t disappeared in the first place! But what I did was scare the shit out of the new members!

It finally dawned on me why this happened. I don’t think any of us talked to them about our use of DKP for 25s, the use of ranks, or several other items specifically related to raiding.

But all of this information is on our website!

Um yeah, but is it coherent?

Take a look at this screenshot.

This is pretty much what you have access to before becoming a member. Additional forum access wasn’t granted until after they had already made the server transfer. But all of the information regarding ranks and dkp is there, right? Right.

But is it coherent?

Take a look at our Rules/Policies Forum.

Under Announcements, Brotherhood of Oblivion Raid Rules and Etiquette last updated on Jan 20, 2009: here you can find our rules regarding raiding and it’ll tell you we use random rolls and sometimes a loot council.

Go under the Topics section and you’ll see BoO DKP Rules (As of 04/13/2009). Here we talk about the use of DKP for 25s!

Can you say fail?!

We say two different things roughly in the same place. One appears to be given higher priority by being listed under Announcements and yet it’s older…

It may not be a big fail, but it’s still a fail. For most people in our guild it’s not a big issue. But there might be that one person that really, really doesn’t like DKP and refuses to be a part of it. In that case, who failed?

Make sure the expectations you communicate are clear.

What Else?

How about failing to stop drama as it happens? There were times drama was occurring in guild chat and we as officers failed to do anything about it until it escalated a little too far. Doesn’t that make us just as guilty as the people that started it?

How about the person who continuously pushes the boundaries? Is it not our responsibility to find out why they keep pushing, to help them understand where the boundary lies, and ultimately ask them to leave or remove them?

I’m constantly reminded of a hunter that Amber had to ask to leave. I remember the name. I remember the hunter. I cannot for the life of me remember why or when, but ultimately it was decided that perhaps BoO wasn’t the home this hunter was looking for and he was asked to leave.

Although we were constantly running 10s, did we communicate that we are in fact a 25-man guild? Did we define what BoO classifies as “hardcore”? Do we still really believe our Mission Statement as it is listed in the forums?

It’s very easy to become complacent when leading an established guild. You take it for granted that all the information is there and that all the members, recruits, and officers understand and accept that info. But it’s rarely the case.

Make It Clear

Making it all clear up front does one of two things for you to make your life a hell of a lot easier.

First, it keeps everyone on the same page. This happens by keeping those who are looking for something else out and avoiding the drama that entails when they aren’t happy. It also serves to keep understanding, acceptance, and the happiness levels of current members up.

Second, it allows people to shoot themselves in the foot.

Being in contracting I’m all about mitigating risk. If I can’t control it, put the risk on someone else. In a guild this means that if I can’t control the member, put the risk on that member.

What the hell does that mean? It means I give you all the information, expectations, promises, etc. to you upfront. I do everything I can to let you know what I’m willing and capable of giving you. When I fail to live up to my end of the bargain, then I fail. I cannot penalize you for my failure.

When you fail to live up to your end of the bargain, I feel no remorse in being able to point out that you were given adequate notice up front and you signed up for it. So if you don’t like it, feel free to leave. I can now sleep well at night knowing full well that I did everything I could and apparently there was nothing I was going to be able to do to make you happy anyway.

The point is whatever you do, make sure you keep those lines of communication open at all time. And good luck!

* I kid you not. Just the other night one of our guildies makes a dirty joke that includes a bobby sock. (Trust me, you don’t want to know.) At which point several people ask what a bobby sock is…INCLUDING THE GUY WHO MADE THE JOKE!!! *sigh* When the hell did I get old?!

Blogging About Your Guild

Well as you may or may not be aware Brotherhood of Oblivion has been having its problems, hiccups, road bumps, snafus, etc. And like many guilds we were perhaps a little slow to react. There are an infinite number of fine lines you have to walk when leading a guild in a game. In doing that sometimes you find yourself reacting a little slower than you should, but faster than appropriate and finding the sweet spot is a bitch!

I don’t know that we hit our sweet spot, but there are already a few simple posts reacting to our guild meeting.

But let me take a step back and beat the dead horse by talking about something that’s flooded our little corner of the blogosphere the past few weeks. Several posts already exist right now about blogging publicly about your guild and more are being added every day. One reaction was the creation of a blogging guild called Single Abstract Noun that I’m sure we’re all familiar with if we haven’t already joined*.

Blogging About Your Guild

It’s your blog. Write what you want. Just be prepared to deal with the potential backlash.

This is the message we conveyed at our guild meeting. This is the message I personally believe in.

Contrary to what our blogging mage believes, this point was not brought up initially** because of his blog. Rather this point was brought up…how shall I put this? It was brought up because real people have real feelings. And it apparently became an issue that surfaced behind the scenes and was addressed in an officer meeting. To protect the people and the blogs involved, I will go no further than that.

Now you could argue that I gave away too much. That it’s easy for people to figure this out. And from my perspective, being aware of who and what this revolves around, it is. But from the average reader’s point of view it may or may not.

I am one who believes there’s no point in hiding anything. But…and there’s always a but…there is a proper way in which to do it. I for one do not normally believe in calling people out by name unless I’m willing to deal with the aftermath.

But what if I describe some guild drama that’s prevalent enough that guildies can figure out who and what I’m talking about?

So what? Those guildies already know who those people are and probably already know the situation so what’s really different? Perhaps I’m only adding fuel to the fire by being more verbal about it, yes. And that is one more factor I have to consider when blogging about my guild. But for non-guildies chances are you are not likely to care about the specific who’s who of any drama.

As part of that discussion though, the point was brought up that blogging publicly and addressing negative aspects about your guild makes it look bad.

I disagree.

If written correctly and as long as it doesn’t appear to be a non-stop tirade of drama after drama, I don’t think it makes the guild look bad at all. It makes the guild look real. Any guild out there professing to be drama free is a guild I’d be scared to join. Even social leveling guilds have their level of drama. What’s important is how they deal with that drama.

Beruthiel wrote a great post a while back giving us (Brotherhood of Oblivion) what she calls unsolicited and possibly unwanted advice. To that I say hogwash! What is a rant post except a cry for help and/or understanding?

So blog about your guilds! No one wants to read strats and theorycrafting 24/7! And if you do? Seriously. You need a new hobby. Seek professional help. :P

*I’ve debated whether to join this guild. On the one hand, I’m sure it’s pretty cool to actually get to talk to a lot of you. On the other hand, I’m a horrible conversationalist with people I don’t know. I’m the guy who doesn’t rock the boat until I’m comfortable knowing full well that everyone will think it’s funny as hell when the others fall out! :P

**I say initially because obviously afterwards there were discussions about some of his and others’ posts in recent weeks.

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