Thursday, April 25, 2013

Who We Are, Who We Are Not


After returning from my summer vacation at the end of August 2008, my plan was to restructure Descendants of Draenor from the ground up. Part of this process involved me making a public declaration about who were were as a group of players, and where our focus lay. The goal was to have this mission statement realign the members of the guild, so that there was no misunderstanding about what we were here to do. Additionally, it would serve as a "sales pitch" to possible guild candidates looking for a new home.

This statement was wrapped up into a forum post and revealed to the guild on October 1st, 2008, six weeks before the release of Wrath of the Lich King. Included for your perusal is the complete body of that forum post.

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We are not like other guilds. We are unique.

You can join any guild on this server (or other servers) and expect to find:
  1. An excessive amount of l33tspeak.
  2. Constant trash-talk/ignorance in WoW General Chat or the Public Forums.
  3. A guild comprised of people who know each other only by their character name, and know nothing about people's personalities or history, and whom show no compassion or empathy towards one another (or give a shit to even think about that).
  4. A guild interested purely in raid progression, focusing more on raid stacking and brute-forcing content via excessive raid schedules and raiding hours, and who cares little (if any) about personal responsibility or utilizing accurate communication skills when teaching/learning.
  5. Unfair treatment of guild members when it comes to anything from raiding, to guild vault access, to even the way guild members speak to one another.
  6. Lack of structure and rules, and enforcement of those rules.
  7. Instability. Guilds rise and fall like the tides.
The above traits are common in many guilds. They aren't wrong, but they are not how we do business. Other guilds employ these traits for any number of reasons: intolerance, lack of time management skills, inexperience, immaturity...to name a few. Here is how we are different:

The Guild Leader (Hanzo/Kerulak)

The guild leader treats the guild like a business.

He pours countless hours of energy and thought into the management and shaping of the guild.

He spends a lot of time getting to know as many of his troops as he can.

He is open to have any issue brought to his attention, and very rarely dismisses problems without further investigation.

He wants you to play the game the way you most enjoy it (provided you are not exploiting/cheating).

He doesn't have a problem telling you directly when you have fucked up. He is good about letting you know privately and what steps you can take to repair/improve. He'll also notice when you don't...and has no problem removing you from the guild.

He doesn't have any expectations on the amount of time or energy you invest, but he is actively aware of who contributes more than others, and he makes a habit of rewarding guild members who consistently go above and beyond the call of duty. Furthermore, he has set in motion a risk/reward structure into the guild rules that enforces this theory.

He wants every guild member's experience in DoD to be exceptional. He doesn't expect you to be perfect, but he expects you to evolve. It's ok to make mistakes. It's not ok to repeat them.

When the day comes and you move on, or put WoW down for good, the guild leader's goal is to have you reflect back and say, "The best guild I ever had the luxury of being in during my time in WoW was DoD." Above all else, he wants to have fun playing WoW, and he wants you to have fun as well.

The Guildies

We play WoW. A lot. For the majority of us, it is our favorite game at present.

We are stable. We have been around for the full duration of WoW and have never broken up, disbanded, re-formed, or taken time off. We are constant.

We are a guild comprised mostly of adults. Ages vary, spanning from the teens to the fifties.

Many of us have jobs. Many are 9-5, Mon-Fri. Some have jobs that span the weekend.

Some of us are married. Some of us have kids.

Many of us have been playing WoW together for several years and know quite a bit about one another. We understand each others nuances, behaviors, and mood swings and have grown accustomed to them. As such, we have the ability to resolve conflict quickly.

We enjoy the social aspects of the game and are a very social guild by nature. Some of us have friends that started in the guild and extend beyond WoW. We like people and we would like to get to know you.

No guild is drama free, but we keep ours to a dull roar.

No guild is free of oppressive, dictator-like officers, but ours just come across that way because they are more annoyed at incompetence than anything else. Some of our officers are actually patient and kind. In most cases where ex-guildies have complained about being oppressed, it is almost always a direct result of said guild member not taking criticism well.

We are respectful, both of guild members, and of other guilds and unknown players. We joke and kid each other, and will often ride each other in guild chat or vent, but this is because we are a group of friends who have been playing together for quite some time. We are helpful and considerate.


Our Approach to Raiding

We enjoy raiding and we enjoy raiding efficiently. We don't have time to fuck around. After four years, we know a few things about the game, and although we are usually good about helping new people learn the game, we are also not terribly focused on reiterating the same things we've done time and time again. We're looking to try and do new things.

When the guild re-evaluates its rules and regulations, it keeps the majority in mind. If one or two people feel very strongly about starting to raid a 3rd or 4th night a week, that's not very likely going to affect change. However, we have added raid nights in the past when there has been an overwhelming need to fill. As the demand grows, we will make an effort to meet that demand (so long as there is an adequate supply of guild members who are dedicated to making it work).

We are respectful to guild members who raid, and we expect that you return the favor. We will be mindful of speaking to you fairly in raids, giving you assistance where you need it, and doing our best to treat rotations fairly, while adhering to the rules of the guild. As such, we expect that you are consistent, reliable, communicate emergencies to us, and are a team player.

No loot system is free from being corrupt, but we have a reasonably solid one that has been, for the most part, fair to those who have raided with us. No one single person is in charge of being master looter and many officers with differences of opinion oversee loot distribution, while adhering to our guild rules. It is reasonably well monitored, and in the history of four years of raiding, has almost never caused drama.

We are not a "hardcore" guild: We don't raid every night of the week. Some of us need to get up in the morning and go to work, and we give a shit about our jobs, so we don't want to do them half-assed. We also give a shit about raiding and don't want to execute raids half-assed either; therefore, we have focused, quality time on the weekends to take care of business in WoW. When we do raid, we come prepared, as if we had to lead the raid ourselves. We don't expect anyone to hand us explanations or hold our hands while we re-learn content all over again.

We don't take the same 25 people when we raid. This is because we don't expect to have the same 25 people every raid night. We don't kick you out of the guild for not raiding every single night of the week, so we work with who we have. Some people raid more than others, and we make an effort to keep a large pool of players available to switch in and out. This is a very flexible model that allows you to raid as much or as little as you want. The side-effect is that you don't get to go all the time. If you prefer to go all the time, your raiding is probably best done in another guild where they raid every night and require the same people to be present, kicking you out of the guild if you miss one night out of 30.

We will not be the first guild on the server to kill a boss or clear a raid instance. If this is your priority, you may be better off elsewhere.

We are not ultra-hyper-focused on loot. We care more about the progression and accomplishment than handing out toys. Having said that, loot is fun. We like to play with new toys, and we are happy to reward you with loot for your contributions to our team. If you are thinking about quitting the guild because you feel you got the shaft on a new piece of loot that went to somebody else, I recommend packing up now; you will find no shoulders to cry on in this guild with those priorities. Sorry.

We won't guarantee you a raid spot. Raids spots are earned. If you have signed up for a raid, there is no guarantee either way that we will take you, or that we will not be requiring your services. Signing up tells us you are ready to commit. If you don't show up, chances are you've blown any chance in hell that we will take you seriously. Equally, there's no guarantee that existing raiders won't lose their spot to you...if they have been performing sub-par, and you demonstrate excellence...you may very well switch places with them in the raid lineup.

Challenges You May Face

We're not here to babysit you. If you don't get along with someone in the guild, I don't want to hear about it (unless you are being abused and/or neglected by an officer). You'd best deal with it.

We're not a faceless organization. We don't keep to ourselves, login, do some dailies and logout. We have names and are real people. We're uninterested in having people in this guild who are unwilling to communicate. If you keep to yourself, you are going to struggle to get things done in DoD.

If you insist on communicating in guild chat, and prefer not to speak in Ventrilo, you are also going to have real problems. Think of guild chat as just another instant messaging/IRC window that's up while you're at work...you may shoot the shit with other people online from time to time, but in actuality, you are getting work done. In DoD, the brunt of the work is done via Ventrilo. Insist on remaining silent in vent and hyper-focusing on guild chat and why nobody "listens to you" or "hears your requests when you ask for help", and you will surely be disappointed, time and time again.

Our schedule is what it is. It has been molded and shaped over time by the majority. As stated above, we have other interests, priorities and responsibilities outside of WoW that cause the schedule to be the way that it is. We apologize if it doesn't work for you, but it's unlikely to change, so if you cannot change your own schedule to meet the needs of the guild, it is going to be difficult for you to accomplish what you want.

If you like to cause drama, or bitch about trivial things that are out of your control, or even make generalized statements that have no basis in fact, you are going to be hard-pressed to find people to side with you. Also, leaving the guild without saying a word or putting us on /ignore doesn't "teach us a lesson"; it only makes certain you have poured the final drops of gasoline onto your newly burning bridge, and will only serve to make you look like a fool when you apply to other guilds and those guilds' officers ask us about you and your time spent here.


Your Reward

If you've read this far, it's clear that you still give a shit about DoD and are intrigued enough to make it your home. I assure you that you won't be disappointed. Let's review what your reward is for choosing the best damn guild on Deathwing:

  1. The most stable and reliable Horde guild on the server.
  2. The most dedicated guild leader in existence, who may even sing during raids (just don't loot during combat to prevent this).
  3. A group of intelligent, funny, mature and fair (but firm) officers.
  4. Low drama. Low corruption.
  5. Guild structure and rules that have been tested through time and are enforced.
  6. A fixed raid schedule that you are able to devote as much or as little time to as you wish, and a loot/reward system that quantifies your dedication to the guild.
  7. A massive collection of guild members with varying personalities and interests, all of whom enjoy WoW and would like to have you join in.
If interested, I encourage you to apply.

- Hanzo, Guild Leader
Descendants of Draenor, Deathwing-US

13 comments:

Blain said...

"No guild is free of oppressive, dictator-like officers, but ours just come across that way because they are more annoyed at incompetence than anything else."

LOVE IT!!! hahahahaha Who could that be directed at....DALANS! >_>

Dalans said...

So sayeth Blain the tyrant. Methinks thou doth protest too much...

Goldenrod said...

Blain is a pain...and that is the truth!

Wylset said...

More awesomeness Hanzo, please keep the blog posts coming. There are some fantastic key components to guild (and people) management that I'm passing on to the other officers in my guild.
Seeing how you've handled the issues that confront most (if not all) guilds in their existence really helps.

Blain said...

@Gold - always

@Wylset - Nothing a good backhand won't take care of!

Shawn Holmes said...

@Wyslet,

Flattery will GET YOU EVERYWHERE.

@Blain,

Still working on those people management skills, eh? ;)

Zyr said...

Dalans:"I'm gonna staff this bitch" still cracks me us

Jonathan Surber said...

"guild leader who will sing during raids. Don't loot during combat to prevent this!" Fantastic. Pure. Genius. We have Master looter on all the time, otherwise I might have to steal this idea.

Shawn Holmes said...

@Jonathan,

Here are the lyrics!

(sung in lounge-style)
"No fuckin' lootin' in com-bat...
...I'll kick you outta the guild.

...HEY!"

I guarantee they hear that a few times, they'll quit looting while you are trying to tank/dps/heal.

Zievarrenna said...

I wished I'd known about this guild back when I was still playing WoW (09/05-03/13). I think (from reading the start to this post) that a guild environment like this might have gone a long way towards keeping me interested and logging in.

Shawn Holmes said...

@Zievarrenna,

Thanks for reading! You may not have the same opinion by the time we get to the end of the story!

Or maybe you will, it remains to be seen how many readers stay with me to the end, or give up in the short-term because I'm too idealistic.

TMB said...

"The guild leader treats the guild like a business."

That's a huge part of the problem, in my observation - I'll be interested to see where this ends. I'm not sure why everyone thinks "treating X like a business" is a solution to their ills.

Raiding guilds are essentially groups of uncompensated employees who may or may not feel they have enough upside to the experience to balance being treated carelessly on many occasions. This happens in every guild.

I'm fascinated to see if that mentality shifted in your guild over time.

Unknown said...

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