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Lessons for a New Guildie

March 2, 2009

Gavlin from The Greedy Goblin made an interesting point today when he compared his experience at a college poker night to raiding in WoW. He states the point of the poker night is to drink beer and spend time together, not to win at poker.  The game is just an excuse, a framework for the social gathering. Likewise, the point of raiding for most people is spending time together, not downing bosses or farming loot. The raid is just the excuse, the framework for getting together.

While I do not agree with all of Gavlins philosophies, I will admit this point rings true. I continue to raid four or five days a week with my guild, but most of the content is entirely lacking in challenge. There are very few drops I need, and it’s not as if those upgrades would make a difference at this point anyway.  The only reason I am still raiding at all is to spend time with my friends.

Outside of raiding for the social aspect, I find very little that interests me on Aleathea anymore. Professions are maxed, reputations are exalted, and there are only so many times you can run the same heroics before your eyes begin to bleed. Additionally, I hate achievements. Yeah, my guildies think I’m an ogre too. Truth is, I just can’t get into them. If you find falling off buildings, slaughtering turkeys and hugging dead players enjoyable, more power to ya. It’s just … not my thing.

Fortunately, I have found a new pursuit in Reants adventures on the RP realm,  Cenarion Circle. Last week I was fortunate enough to be accepted into one of the oldest and most well respected RP guilds on the server.  There is no lack for RP interaction there either in game or via the guild forums and my RP nature is beginning to assert itself even on my non-RP server. 

Yesterday Aleathea was tanking for an OS guild raid. In between pulls I kept /emoting (very creative things I might add) until the other tank stopped, looked at me suspiciously and asked, “Do you play on an RP server?”   Arrens would be proud.

I also find a bit of the casual attitude toward WoW that is pervasive on an RP realm infecting me. I have always been very “hard core” and taken the game, especially tanking, extremely seriously. I would literally have nightmares after a night of wipes and most progression raids ended in tension headaches.  I find myself much more relaxed these days and am able to shrug off mistakes much more easily.

Besides the fun of learning to RP, my introduction into a new guild provides a fascinating opportunity to get to know a new group of people. I am intrigued by the way we interact socially, especially in an on-line setting.  It’s quite a new sensation, being the new kid on the block, especially coming into a group with such a well established history together.

This guild actually reminds me very much of my Alliance guild where I have been an officer for nearly three years. It’s interesting to find myself on the other side of the fence and I’m taking notes on what challenges I encounter. It’s been so long since I was new, I think this experience is very good for me and will help me be a more sensitive guild leader.

There are several principles I have learned over the years watching new people come and go, seeing who makes it and who doesn’t.  Their application is somewhat more difficult than their recognition, but these are the principles I follow while establishing my place within a new guild.

1.) Do not try to change the way they do things. There are few things more annoying than this. Just consider for a moment, the guild existed perfectly fine before you ever came along. They don’t need you, and if you think anyone is interested in your newbie ideas to change the guild, you are in for a rude awakening. If you see something that you think could be improved, make a note of it. One day, if you find yourself in a position where your opinion is actually sought, you can bring it up. Until then, do yourself and everyone else a favor and keep it to yourself.

 2.) Do not ask for handouts. This happens in ever guild I have even been in.  The most obvious example is lowbies asking to be run through instances. I can’t even express how much this irks me. The newbie who does this is a scrub in the making. They want to be run through by stronger players because they aren’t willing to put in the time and effort to earn the xp and loot for themselves.  Additionally, they do themselves and others a great diservice by circumventing the process by which they should learn to use their skills in a group setting.  No wonder we get so many level eighties who have no idea how to function as a productive member of a group.

3.) Be respectful, courteous and appropriate. It is utterly astonishing the lack of basic emotional intelligence that some people exhibit.  As a new guildie, do not insult,  smart off, or be sarcastic in your conversations.  This is especially important in on-line socials interaction where people have only your words to go by to judge your intent. They can’t see the smile, the tone, the body language that conveys so much of the meaning behind the words we speak each day.  Once you have gotten to know people and developed a relationship and history together, then you can be a little more colorful in your communication. But at the beginning, you do not have that history with people and you can do damage that will take months or maybe even never be repaired.

Finally, there is one point that I want to make to myself, as a guild leader.  It is not easy to be a new member in a group of people with a long history together. There is a lot of guild culture that is understood by those who have been there a long time, but is not clearly laid out for those new people coming in. It is easy for a new person to make a misstep without knowing it. When this happens, the kindest thing you can do is be up front with them and communicate clearly what is expected of them. Give them the opportunity to make mistakes while learning and don’t hold it against them if a few toes get stepped on in the process.

This is something that I highly respect from the leadership of my new guild. They are extremely communicative and open about what is expected and what they feel. It is an example I need to emulate. Too often my tendency is to quietly blacklist someone rather than confront them. I am learning a lot about myself, about my interactions with others, and about areas for growth both as a leader and as a follower through my experiences in this World of Warcraft.

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2 comments

  1. Emotes while tanking Sarth?!?! You get down with your bad self!


  2. Heh, I almost wiped us at one point too.

    The rest of the raid had engaged Sarth and, while I was waiting for the drake to enter the fight, I was “slowly picking the wings off Anomolous and tossing him in the lava.”

    (Anomolous is a big, flappy, winged insect pet that my hunter buddy, Opt, loves to bring to raids. I always give him a hard time about it.)

    I got so carried away emoting that I was late picking up the drake and almost got a healer killed. *oops*



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