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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. 😛

*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! 😛

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

Ky’s Moral Code (Ky Has Morals?!)

When I was 7 or 8 years old I remember getting mad at my younger sister a lot. She was only a year and a half younger than I and we used to compete in everything. She was a major tomboy and growing up on a farm in Bear Lake, Idaho only served to reinforce that trait in her. Being the younger sister she felt compelled to be better at everything I did. As the older sibling and feeling superior for being a boy (Hey, I was 7 or 8! Boys were better at everything! Besides girls had cooties!) I didn’t feel too threatened, but there were times when she’d just push me a little too far!

I remember one particular morning. I’m pretty sure it was a Saturday. Dad had gotten back from milking the cows that morning, finished breakfast, and was getting ready to head out again. As a young half-Japanese boy I was pretty sure that I was a ninja. So when my sister upset me, I did what any ninja would do. I jump kicked her in the chest and knocked her to the ground! Hai-ya!

Unfortunately young little ninjas are no match for 5’10” 190 lbs of muscle…

My father played football. He was in the Army. He worked on a farm. He chucked bales of hay. He fixed fences. He worked on tractors. He moved sprinkler pipe by hand. I’m talking the 40′ length 6″ diameter bastards! And probably a mile or two of it when he did! In winter time he did this in his army jacket.
In other words, he was big and he was scary when he wanted to be!

So it is no small miracle that I didn’t crap my drawers as he grabbed the front of my shirt, lifted me up, looked me straight in the eye and said in a very calm, but stern voice, “If you ever hit your sister or any girl ever again, I will hit you as hard as I can.”

As I stared at this bear of a man, my life flashing before my eyes and praying for a re-run, I choked back the tears and with a timid gulp replied, “Okay…”
Fast forward four or five years…

We had moved off the farm and were living in Eugene, Oregon. It was a beautiful, sunny (which is a miracle in and of itself west of the Cascade Mountains) Sunday afternoon. Church had just finished and I was looking forward to going home, taking off my blasted tie, and goofing off. Unfortunately, my family had a tendency to take their time once church got out. They would get caught up socializing with people in the hallways and foyers. And with the impatience of a 12 year old I decided I was going to “prompt” my family into going home by waiting for them in the car.

Wading through the sea of people I approached the exit, walked calmly through, and proceeded my way across the parking lot…

“BRIAN!”, came the yell that stopped me dead in my tracks. “Get over here NOW!!!” (Yeah, my name is Brian. How weird is that?)

Turning I saw my father standing at the door to the church in a fit of rage. Wondering what in the world I could have possibly done to have upset my father, I noticed a woman walking through the lot looking at me obviously wondering the same thing.

As I approached my dad he placed his hand on my shoulder and firmly turned me around pointing at the woman. “Do you see that lady?” he asked.

“Yes,” I gulped. Clearly more confused than ever. Secretly wondering if she had told on me for something I wasn’t even sure I had done.

“You didn’t hold the door open for her,” he said.

Blinking I couldn’t believe that my dad had yelled at me from across a parking lot at church of all places for this! Are you kidding me?! How was I supposed to know that she was there? I didn’t see her coming behind me. And I told him so.

“You didn’t bother to look,” was his only response. I could see the disappointment on his face as he turned and walked away.

I normally tell these two stories around topics of chivalry, dating, and the general treatment of women. My dad raised me to respect women and treat them differently than men. I hesitate to say better, because he wanted me to treat everyone with respect, but he did teach me to treat women differently. But for the purposes of this post, I tell these two stories to explain my own views of how to treat people in general.

1 -Just because you can do something to someone else, doesn’t mean you should.

2- Just because you didn’t know doesn’t excuse the fact that you didn’t bother to look.

This post was inspired by a recent post by Beruthiel. It reached a length over 3400 words and wasn’t close to being done, so I shortened it considerably. The other two parts will probably appear in the next couple of days as separate posts.

Guild Update

So we’ve had some major changes in guild and we couldn’t be more excited!

We’re making new friends from Doomhammer that decided to transfer over and join the flail that is BoO. Twelve of them made the transfer, although if I’m not mistaken only 10 of them will be raiding with us. The excitement is pretty thick right now! We’re pretty sure we’ll be able to start fielding full guild 25s!

That said we lost about 20 other members… Oh wait! That’s just two with all of their alts… 😄

Apparently something happened in Vent while the officers were in another channel. I don’t know all the details. All I know is that something was said and one of our new recruits began defending the others. Apparently several minutes later the person who said something that was taken as rude, apparently was butthurt and in a fit of rage started gquitting all of his toons and I think his wife’s toons as well.

Well apparently she felt bad and apologized several times. But this isn’t the first time this guy has gquit and I’ll bet it won’t be the last.

Don’t get me wrong. I like the guy, but even not knowing the whole story I can believe it because the first time I ever encountered him after transferring to this server he rubbed me the wrong way. I remember he said something to me and it wasn’t so much what he said as how condescending he sounded.

So all I can say is don’t feel bad. It’s just the way he is. If nothing else, perma-mute him. I did for 4-5 months. Besides I’m sick of the drama. It was funny the first time, but not so much anymore.

Maybe I’m a dick, but I whispered Amber wondering if it would be inappropriate to promote you for doing us a favor. LOL!

Naxx 25 Is SRS BZNZ!!!

So our ICC25 continuation didn’t happen because well…we’re BoO and people don’t show.

Since we had potential recruits listening in we decided we should probably not completely fail so why not do the weekly with the 14 people we did have? Anub’Rekhan is gonna die!

So we have 14 people and don’t want to sit 4 of us so let’s just 25 man it. What’s the worst that could happen? …

In true BoO fashion we run in and wipe to the first two groups of spiders because…well we’re BoO. What other reason could there be?

Because not only are we BoO, but we have potential recruits listening in on vent.

So we run back in and get to the boss. Last minute buffs and mana. Then the pull…

With the confidence of a million Lich Kings we decided to ignore the adds and dps the boss not remembering that the debuff stacks. Our add tank starts taking massive spike damage and almost dies, but our epic heals keep him alive as we readjust our strategy to down the adds.

At this point I have to admit that I failed to get out of Locust Swarm completely forgetting how bad that is. As I stand there unable to cast I calmly await my demise when I finally instantly die along with four others. It’s not long after that the rest of the raid dies only getting the boss down to…yes, roughly 600k…

At this point several of us are laughing hysterically as we regroup, run back in, and then Hunt decides he needs to repair.

Amber, in true leadership fashion, points out to Hunt that “It’s customary to repair before a raid” and chastises him in front of everyone.

After a couple of minutes she announces that she will “Berb (BRB)! Since it’s not a good thing to do the chair peepee dance.” And if I’m not mistaken this is almost a direct quote!

As she gets up to leave, I calmly announce that “It’s customary to go to the bathroom before a raid” at which point everyone dies laughing. Unfortunately no demotions because I believe she missed the comment, but you gotta love karma! 😀

Anyway, an ICC10 formed and a real raid actually happened, but those aren’t as much fun.

I’m Back; And I Carry My Guild

So last week apparently was really bad for our guild’s first attempt at ICC25. Apparently we didn’t down a single boss. Oh and I wasn’t there.

Last night’s attempt saw us succeed in downing two bosses plus Gunship which doesn’t count. Apparently I carry my guild. 😛

Even though we wiped several times on Marrowgar it went quite well and I had a ton of fun. Cuz of crap like this. 😀

To: Mom w/ <3

Amber: I hate you
me: ?
Amber: “Ky told me to call you mom.” Haaaate.
Old man.
me: lmao
seriously. lmfao
Amber: /rude
me: rude w/ ❤
Amber: Pfft
me: i totally forgot about that lmao
Amber: THEY DIDN’T
me: yeah well you can hate me more now lol **
Amber: …what did you do?
me: …nothing…
Amber: ….
me: there really needs to be an emote for shit grin
Amber:

*See my comment about Amber in yesterday’s post. 😛
**See my comment in Amber’s post. 😛

Later that evening…