Saturday, May 28, 2016

How to handle the "offensive" person

Occasionally I get a player that's a little "edgy" or "salty" as the current slang term is currently.  These are the kinds of players that go for the shock factor as "their thing".

You might also get a player that comes from a background where talking like a rapper is just how everyone does.

How do you deal with these kind of differences if it's a problem for you?

The first thing I do is try to understand why they are "showing out", as we say in the south.   I ask them if they feel like it's appropriate to talk/type that way and who they think might be offended by it and why?

If they have the mental capacity to understand that someone could and why they might be offended, that's negotiating grounds to bring them in line slowly.

The next thing is to explain to them that "Open Channels" such as "Trade Chat" or even "Guild Chat" are not necessarily the best places to talk about your privates or what favorite "positions" you like and why.   These type of conversations are really limited to close friends and its better to work toward being close friends and keep the touchier topics for a much much smaller audience ... say less than 5 people.

If you can't seem to get through to them.  You might have to give them options.  Options including submit, desist, or perhaps find another guild that is more like-minded.  Never cave, or you'll lose ground.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Guild Write-up / Policies / Rules

It's that time again, just before a new expansion, when guild leaders should be reviewing their guild policies for what worked, what they mentally adjusted during the expansion but didn't document, and get it all down in words.

I highly recommend all guilds have a basic document that does the following:

  • Explain what the primary guild goal is.  This goal should be as specific as you can make it.  Your goal here is to delineate your guild from every other guild.  Ways to be different include:
    • When you play - Pick a time frame.   Unless you are huge you can't be a raiding guild that raids in the morning, afternoon, night and late night.
    • When your primary activity is scheduled.
    • What content - Pick what activity will be your primary focus.  It is hard to be strong at Rated Battle Grounds and Raiding and Challenge Modes, etc.
    • What Type of Player - Pick if you are seeking hard-core raiders, casual raiders, ranked PvP, etc.
    • What age of Player - This might or might not be important to you.  I know it can cause debates, but people in different phases of their life have different priorities and these can impact guild activities.
  • Explain guild rules
    • How players should act and how infractions are handled.
    • How your guild activities operate, who to contact, etc.
    • What is required to join an activity, i.e. try out or logs, or just gear checks.
    • Their access to the guild bank and how it's handled and what the bank is used to hold.
  • Explain guild ranks.  What do your guild ranks mean and how do players get them.  For you, they may only mean access to the bank, but the members they are a prestige as well.  You can use them to signify what activity someone participates in, how much help they provide the guild or even how long someone has been with you.   Some guilds even give them cute names, but just having them is a plus.
  • Explain Guild Behavior.   In my guild, I want guild members that are cooperative.  It's very hard to Shepard cooperation but it makes a guild a family instead of just a group of people all competing for the same gold ring.
Doing these things will help slow down membership churn because as you advertise, you know exactly what to say to explain to them what your guild is about.  If they know, they are more likely to jump in knowing exactly what to expect.  Yes, people change and their lives change as well.  But, isn't it better adding members that fit you rather than you trying to fit them.

What kinds of things would you put in YOUR guild policy?

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Guild Recruitment

I haven't been posting much lately.  My game activities have gone from being lackluster to insane which Warlords of Draenor.

I have grown the guild from about 20 players to over 340, with 240 active and about 50 raiders.

I won't claim to be an expert by any means, but over the 2 years of this expansion I did my best to try and define what the guild was about and make sure anyone that joins the guild know in advance what we are so they know coming in what to expect.

Here are the things I tell them right up front before I send ye-ole invite.

  1. How many people are in the guild.  Some people like large and some like small.   And when I mean people I mean people not characters.    /ginfo will tell you accounts which is close enough.    But, it doesn't filter those that are absent.   So, I make sure to export my roster using ALTS add-on and filter it with Google Sheets.
  2. When they can expect player to be online.   This is important if they want to play from 8AM to noon and you guys all come on from 5PM to 10PM.   
  3. About how many they can expect to be online.   That is, I may have 250 players, but usually 10-30 are online in the evenings unless we have a big activity.
  4. What kinds of things the guild does.   Whether you PvP or Raid, when, what's required to join.   
  5. Ask them what they hope from the guild.   I always want to be sure they aren't looking for the 13/13 Mythic raid team when we are the 13/13 Heroic guild with a few toss in mythics.   The goal is to reduce the probability they will leave because you aren't their style of guild.
  6. Tell them Guild Policies up front... the big ones.   Can they curse?  Can they troll trade channel?  Can they use offensive toon names?  How long absent before they are removed, etc.
I also do my homework and look for bad signs.
  1. They claim to be something they are not.   That is, they claim to be a mythic raider but their char sheet says otherwise.   I am not looking for their skills, I am looking for their honesty.
  2. They change guilds frequently.   This is an indicator you might have a problem player.   And, then you can softly nudge them away with phrases like, "I'm not sure we have the kind of guild you want".
  3. They rail on their current guild.  If they are bad-talking their guild, guild leader, raid leader.  This is a sign that they will do the same about you when they leave.
Neutral Signs:
  1. The guild just kind of left me.  This happens a lot right now in WoW.  I am very sympathetic to this kind of player.   They aren't willing to follow the guild in race / server transfers.   Or their friends all went to play Overwatch and they still want WoW.
  2. I pug raid a lot because I don't have a good schedule.   Unless you force players to raid with you, it's great having a few that may or may not be available to fill in and pug raiders still seems to get gear now-a-day.

And after you feel confident they might fit your requirements and they are still interested.  You should let them know, you will be giving them a link to your guild guidelines.  That is, let them know you have rules and how the guild works.   If they are fine, invite away.

There is no promise they will stay, but you should feel more confident that they will be the kind of guildie you can keep long term.

Calling out mistakes

When raiding, mistakes happen.   You'll find that the basic sequence is:

  1. Here is the strategy - and perhaps your task assignment.
  2. Pull
  3. Mistakes happen
  4. Most learn from their mistakes
  5. Go to Step 1
However, occasionally, someone is truly struggling with a mechanic and you are faced with how to handle this.

We are a friendly group.   We strive to not call out specific players unless they are among a list of players struggling.   That is "John, Joe, Mary, watch out for fire".   But never, "John you were in fire". 

Most likely, instead, you hear, "Several people were in fire, here is how to handle that mechanic, please try to do better".

The key here is that some people are overly sensitive to hear their name called out.   And even especially sensitive when they are called out more than once.

Unfortunately, the more times the same mistakes happen, eventually something needs to be privately handled on the issue or someone else, in the group's frustration will cause them to handle it for you and not necessarily the way you'd prefer.   Drama will ensue.

This happened this week in raid.  Someone made the same mistake several times.  After having their name in the list 3 times, they quit the raid and quit the guild and insisted we were being disrespectful to (a) his age (b) his limitations as a player.

The problem is, this player never spoke up.  They never said, I can't do this.  They never said what other things can I try since I struggle with this mechanic.   Instead, they waited until they were past their limit and then up and quit.

If this happens to you, here is how I handled it.

I let them know, the mistake was not ours.  The rudeness was not ours.   All the mistakes  were on them.  Here was their failure.
  1. They failed mechanic - not the biggest problem.
  2. They failed to speak up on their difficulty with the mechanic. - BIG PROBLEM
  3. They quit instead of speaking up - THEIR PROBLEM.
Raiding is a team sport and team players have to participate more than just causing fails over and over.

If they speak up, and have difficulty, you then have options.   You can work around the issue if you know.   But if you work-around the issue without knowing, then it looks equally insensitive.   Don't let your raiders get away with being shy.

All-in-all, I'm saying.  Don't accept a criticism from someone when you know you are making all reasonable accommodations given a known circumstance.

Yes, eventually, it may come to sitting them out for a fight they can't do.  That doesn't mean they can't come back for later content.  Or eventually figure a new strategy.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

4.3 Gear Resets and LFR

I am loving LFR.  It's great to see content from this perspective.  But, as I posted previously, it came with a gear reset.  Blizzard needs to not punish the work of past raids by not having gear resets.   So, how to fix this?

It took me a moment to figure it out, but each raid level should work like this:

LFR for current tier minus 1, New Heroic 5-mans for just below current tier.
Tokens for each tier.

Players must progress, but they have LFR to help them progress.

346 -> 353 -> 370 -> current content.

LFR not on current content so current content is still slow.

Raids: 359 -> 378 (LFR Here) -> 397.

Player is behind.... he can LFD up to 370 and LFR to 378.

No gear reset required.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Patch 4.3 and Another Gear Reset

Greedy posts about a topic dear to my heart in feeling what saps the fun from WoW.  The problem is, I don't know a good solution.

To me, gear resets are a bad simple solution to a complex problem.

There has to be some guiding princples to inspire people to play. This is outside the constructs of the mechanisms created (e.g. quests, 5-mans, pvp, raids, professions, etc.).

Principles of WoW:
  1. People like to feel like they are progressing forward (like leveling, getting skill points, honor points).
  2. People like to be rewarded for their "play" effort (complete task get item / point / gold). It is the incentive.
  3. The amount of "fun" one feels is a ratio to the amount of effort and skill required for the desired reward value (if I do X, I get Y).
  4. For the maximum enjoyment of customers, content should be tuned such that majority of players (the bell curve) can complete normal versions of content (including raids) given a reasonable amount of effort. That is, given X hours of trying, they succeed.

Gear Resets Are Bad Because:
  1. Deflating the reward, removes the incentive. I can just wait and they'll give it to me for no effort.
  2. Since it will just be given to me, I'm not really making progress, it's just being given to me.
  3. I'm not having fun because the amount of effort required for the value is also deflated. Deflating fun.
  4. No pride in the accomplishment because I will have it given to me regardless of my skill.

Where Blizzard Fails
  1. They use Gear Resets to push players forward artificially by having them out gear content and by nerfing content so that more players can succeed. However, the "fun" has been removed because there is no longer any value other than to see "sort of" how the fight used to look. The gear is obsolete.
  2. They use gear resets to help players "catch up" that are "new" but it punishes existing players by devaluing their effort -- it becomes wasted.
  3. They believe that just "seeing" content is all players want... yawn. Just show me a you tube video.

The problem in the system is that players are interdependent to play this game. One must not only play it, but find people at similar skill / effort / gear levels to achieve the goals. The gear reset is Blizzards effort to help us find those people by creating more of them ... giving content... at the same time, reducing the value of exiting player's rewards.

You have to deal with the noted issues of player "poaching" and having to "gear up" players to catch up. Playing with friends at different skill levels and thus inhibits ones ability to progress because many of the fights are single-mistake-wipe designs. "Your not making an effort" slows "my ability to make progress".

I agree that gear resets are bad because they punish existing players, but I don't think Blizzard has made enough effort in really fixing the problem which lies in the interdependency of multiple levels of skill and maintaining the individuals ability to progress and be rewarded for it in a game that requires collective work.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

What's with this new archeology.

Why is archeology so passive.  You have no control over the sites.  You have no control over the locations within a site.  You're only decision is which site so you barely can steer the process toward an item you'd hope to get.  Sure it passes time while you wait for a queue or arena, but honestly, it's so passive... even more than fishing... it's mind numbing!