Thursday, May 2, 2013

3.2. The Grand Reveal

Zanjina sees a bugged core houd pet at
the release of the 3.0 patch,
Shattrath City

Officers React

"So", I said, "any questions?"

Silence followed, as the new looting system began to sink in. What remained of my officer core at the end of TBC sat in a admin-only channel in Vent. The leadership roll-call consisted of:

Priest Officer Neps: Having been with us since the tail end of Vanilla, Neps rose to the rank of priest officer, taking over for Haribo. Humble and quiet, Neps spoke volumes with his healing ability in both raids and PvP; he was the type of person who would drop everything to help a complete stranger in need.

Warrior Officer Kurst: One of the older players, Kurst was a family man and recently became a father. He, too, dated back as far as Vanilla, acting as one of the most consistent warriors throughout our illustrious career. Kurst had recently taken the responsibility of officership at my request, after Ater's exit from DoD and WoW.

Warlock Officer Eacavissi: Eaca (pronounced "ekka") was a university student, pursuing a PhD in physics. He'd been with us throughout The Burning Crusade, and was the only reliable warlock in progression to speak of. Eaca had built a reputation for doing extraordinary amounts of damage -- so much that he would often pull mobs off even the best of tanks. As his impending fate stomped towards him, Eaca would exclaim "DPS HARDER!", an in-joke demanding the boss die before it reached the warlock.
Hunter Officer Larada: Larada had become a major contributor to DoD's progression throughout TBC, and with my previous officer Skarg retiring (taking his radio-quality voice with him), Larada became the next best candidate.

Paladin Officer Klocker: A funny and extremely well-played healer, Klocker stood side-by-side with Kerulak throughout our 40-Man career. His time in DoD surpassed all the other officers, prompting the guild to knight him "Sir Klocker".

Rogue Officer Blain: I knew Blain was already on the way out, as we had previously discussed. Nevertheless, I made a special request that he be present for the discussion.

Druid Officer/Number Two Dalans: I trusted the hot-headed, take-no-prisoners guild member to rule DoD with an iron fist in my absence; he had essentially become the guild's new main tank (post Ater), and had little tolerance of incompetent players. His treatment of Wyse remained especially fresh in my memory.

Vacancies remained in both mage and shaman officership. Goldenrod the mage exited WoW in frustration at Blizzard's handling of PvP and BlizzCon '08 ticket sales. And as for the shamans, I'd not yet come to trust anyone as deeply as Kadrok since his departure for Elitist Jerks; the role of shaman officer remained unfulfilled. Until which time that a suitable replacement made him/herself known, I unofficially managed the shamans (which meant I managed Ekasra), and the other officers ran their own ship.

...until today. 

It was the proverbial come to Jesus meeting, where all hands were on deck to listen in on the changes, provide whatever feedback they needed to, and then make a judgement call as to whether or not they were aligned with our new direction. As predicted, the officers got directly to the point, addressing what they felt was the biggest question mark on the list: loot.

50 DKP Plus

"So...certain people will get to bid on an item before anyone else?" asked Dalans.

"Correct", I replied.

"What's going to keep people from cleaning up and preventing noobs from gearing out?"

"The point is not to use 1st-round bids on every item that drops", I answered, "The point is: we're giving players...the really good opportunity to bid first. If an exceptional item drops. Part of this is going to be educational. We're going to get the raiders into the habit of learning when the appropriate time to engage in a 1st-round bid is."

"When do we figure out who gets these Elite promotions?" asked Kurst.

"We're gonna have a trial period, the first tier of raiding in Wrath. At the start, everyone will be on the same playing field. We'll watch signups, rotations, run damage and healing reports, see who performs at the top of their game and is reliable. Those are the folks who'll receive the first round of Elite promotions."

"Ah, everybody gets a shot at loot out of the gate, then", said Dalans. They're starting to get it.

"Exactly. From our perspective it's business as usual when raiding starts. Because we won't know, right? It's going to take time for some players to ramp up and demonstrate ability. Find out who the rock stars are. By the time everyone's fully decked out from that first tier, and we transition to the next, then the Elite rank will demonstrate its effectiveness. We're going to lose people...I'm planning on it. The difference this time around is that I want to make sure to protect the players that are in this for the long haul."

Blain broke his silence, "Do the Elites have to pay any special prices?"

"Nope", I replied, "they follow the same rules as everyone else." 

Suddenly, a bunch of voices all chimed in once with groans of concern. Blain spoke for them, "You're gonna have an inflation problem."

"Yeah," Klocker added, "if these 'Elites' pay no penalty for first rounding, and they don't go up against anyone else, they're going to sit on huge pools of DKP."

"Massive!" laughed Blain, feeding Klocker.

" we need any more reason for folks like Blain to hoard DKP."

I pivoted. "OK, let's talk this out. What do you all think is a reasonable minimum bid to get into the 1st-round?" Various answers shot out as the group weighed the pros and cons of each numerical value. Eventually, they came to an agreement on 50 DKP.

"Alright", I said, "I'll amend the rule so that if an Elite wants to exercise his option to bid in the 1st round, he'll have to start the minimum bid at 50." The officers in Vent agreed this was a good move to make.

Blain added a final note, "It's still not going to solve the inflation problem...but it'll be better." A few folks remained quiet. "Eaca, Larada...thoughts?"

"It's good. The changes are good", Eaca answered, "I think people have an incentive now to actually show-up and perform." Larada concurred.

"Neps, what do you think?"

"I think they're horrible and I'm gonna go join Pretty Pink Pwnies!"

Everyone laughed.

I breathed a sigh of relief; the officers were on board. Next up: revealing our intentions to the rest of the guild.
Uld the Rogue,
Darkwhisper Gorge

Frequently Repeated Questions

I obsessed over revealing my intentions to Descendants of Draenor so much that I mapped out my entire 'reveal' schedule in a spreadsheet. The plan was to slowly dole out bite-sized chunks over the weeks leading up to Wrath. I didn't want to overwhelm them. The reveal began with a forum post entitled Who We Are, and Who We Are Not, the intent of which was to realign our goals as a guild. If there was ever any doubt as to what we were here to do, that doubt would be gone by the time the guild had completed reading that post. No more excuses. No more "I didn't know that's what you meant."

Next, I revealed the age restriction, limiting new recruits to 21 years of age. Soon after, out came the new hierarchy of ranks, listing out every specific requirement that needed to be met. I made an effort to draw attention to the matching reward structure for each accomplishment, easing anxiety that no particular rank was expected of you. Participate as much (or as little) in the guild as you want to -- and you will be treated appropriately. After that, I revealed the new application process, concluding with the changes to raiding rules and how the Elite rank would be affected by them. Now that the floodgates were wide open, I funneled the rush of questions toward a forum topic, encouraging one and all to engage.

Initially, the discussion was heated. Many players began to express concern around the rigid structure. The officers swarmed into the forum topic and began to defend the changes I proposed. They voiced opinions on how many of our rules were simply "written down versions of common sense" things, to which I clarified, "common sense is something we've noticed a lot of players lack." Better to be safe than sorry.

"Do we have to become an Elite?" -- Absolutely not, no rank will be enforced. You play as you like, and based on your level of commitment, and you'll earn the appropriate rank that matches said level of contribution.

"Are Elites going to bid 1st round on everything?' -- No, they'll save their 1st round bids for important items, so that brand new players can't come in and take away your hard work in one raid night.

"Do I have to be a Raider to earn Avatar?" -- Not at all, players of all shapes and sizes can be great contributors to this guild, and we'll recognize all of the players that do so.

One by one, the officers and I put their minds at ease.

Do you hear that sound? That's 'buy-in'. It's working.

Indeed, it seemed like my once biggest fear, the total collapse of my guild, had been averted. On the contrary, players were warming up to these new rules and this new structure. With the officers and the troops both won over, it was time to lead by example once again.

I had to start by applying our new rules and vision to myself.


Anonymous said...

Love the new installment!

Btw, small edit: "doll' should be "dole".

Shawn Holmes said...

Thank you! And thank you for the edit--fixed!

Anonymous said...

Great post! Really interested to read more. I remember the change from TBC to WotLK. It's a credit to you that you held your guild together. :)

Shawn Holmes said...


Thanks for the feedback, I have plenty to go--the next five posts themselves only take us through The Twilight Zone, if that's any indication of the pacing for Part III.

On keeping the guild together: Thank you for the praise; I think we saw our greatest successes during WotLK--the true challenge was keeping things together during Cata...

...but we'll leap that hurdle in the blog when we get to it. :)