Writing

Sometimes I start writing for this blog, and I don’t finish my thought completely. Then I don’t have time for a few days. When I come back, my idea seems weird and most likely I am now tainted with new information. It can ruin a good post.

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People do not change

… in World of Warcraft.

I have seen some people change in my lifetime. Usually confronted with some huge issue such as a chronic health problems, or a change in where they live, and sometimes I have seen people change for no reason other than they wanted to. But, in my time playing World of Warcraft, I have not seen someone change how they acted towards other people.

Most of the time, people put on a front. A fake outward impression of changing, but underneath, they are the same. I have seen guild members in my guild who stopped doing something when people said they were being annoying. The behavior always came back. I have confronted people about breaking rules, and they broke them again. Often times trying even harder to justify why they did it.

Currently I feel that if someone were to make a change in their life with respect to World of Warcraft, their first change would be to leave the guild or quit playing before altering their behavior. People don’t change because a disembodied voice or some text in a video game tells them to.

Do not kiss up to me!

The last thing I need is some new recruit kissing up to the guild leader. There may be leaders out there who love having their ego stroked and want to keep around some people who will make them feel good. That’s not me. Every time you remind me that I am the guild leader, it’s reminding me of all the work I need to do. You are reminding me that you are not a nice person who I want to play a game with, you are reminding me that I am responsible for making your time in the game fun. Stop it!

Kissing up is also a warning sign of a drama-bomb. The guild officers and myself are not controlling the guild. We are facilitators. So, when you think you need our consent to do anything, you are actually trying to change how the guild works. You are going to have to learn to look at the guild, and figure out how you fit into it. I’m not going to do that for you beyond you being in the guild, or not in the guild. That’s the options for me when it comes to your place in the guild.

And, for the record, you might have run a guild in the past, or been in a guild in the past. I wasn’t there. I don’t know what kind of crazy stupid DKP system you used. I don’t know how you ran Karazhan. I don’t know what kind of power hungry bat-shit insane guild leader you had. But this is my guild and you want to join it. It’s a new country and we are different. Start from scratch. Don’t try to show me how good you are. Don’t try to tell me how your old guild did it. Don’t expect me to cut you some slack or be your friend because you know how to play your class. Act like a reasonable human being and be honest with me and the people in the guild. Learn how to get along with people and understand how your comments make people feel about you. Grow a damned empathy bone or something.

Honestly, it’s like dealing with people in kindergarten sometimes.

Theft

I am surprised at the number of people in my guild who say their account was hacked. I am also concerned that many of them seem like really poor thefts of people’s accounts or gold. Every hack I have seen has been a “smash and grab” and never a real, professional style robbery. It makes me doubt that these people are really being “hacked”. It seems more likely that they are getting gouged or ripped off by an ex-friend of some kind who knew their password. I tend to imagine that someone who got a key logger onto a system and got WoW information would take the hour or so to really clean you out. Your password would be changed, and once you reset it, you would log in and every character you had would be deleted. Clean sweep. Every item sold, every drop of gold mailed off to another account, and every single thing they can do to delay the inevitable report to Blizzard, done. I think a real hack is pretty rare. It’s a lot of effort and work. And you would have to recoup every last bit of effort since you effectively violated federal computer intrusion laws to get someone’s WoW account information. I suspect that the results of such a thing result in a complete and total milking of every virtual item found.

I think that account sharing, on the other hand, is not rare. I think a lot of people do it. And I also think a lot of people never change their password. Those are two very common things, in my opinion. Combined, an ex-friend, or someone you thought was a friend, is now enjoying your gold and hard work without leaving you totally crippled. It gets chalked up to evil hacking and Blizzard refunds the lost items. No harm, no foul, right?

It’s the recruiting, dummy!

Our guild revamped our recruiting policy about a month ago. Keeping the crazies out is a huge chunk of running a guild properly. So what worked?

First of all, we force people to create an account on our forums in order to put an application in. The instructions are very clear and easy to follow. This step probably cuts down on a lot of people who should not be in our guild. It means having a valid e-mail address and being able to follow instructions. It weeds out the people who just want an invite and don’t care about communication outside of “LFG” in guild chat.

We had no problem with recruits who suck, or recruits who were awesome new guild members. The soul-grinding work were the people who sat on the fence. These people were often online very little, rarely spoke to people, or never really made any impressions on people. Some people suggesting asking the recruit to “shape up” to get them over the hump, but I am a firm believer that if they are a recruit and on their best behavior now, when they are a full member they will let their guard down and end up being a jerk. Asking them to change would just give me a false sense of security. Now we have a basic voting system. Recruits remain recruits until they get five positive votes. If they have more negative votes than positive after two weeks, they get the boot. If they have no negatives, and not quite five positive votes, they stay a recruit until they get the five. Those people who don’t engage the guild or actively interact with the guild will remain a recruit for longer. How hard is it to get five people to agree you are a good fit for the guild? If it’s that hard, maybe it’s not the right guild for you.

We also have a members-only section of our forums where these recruits applications are posted. Full members are allowed to post their votes and their opinions about the recruits. There just isn’t any way for the guild officers to really keep track of ten new people, so we use the regular members for feedback. In theory, these regular members are playing with these people and seeing them when the officers might not. Is the new recruit a jerk? Is he whining about loot? Do they have a great sense of humor? All great things to know when deciding if someone is going to be part of your guild.

Finally, you have to have good recruiters and members. Groups of people tend to attract similar people and your members are those people. You can not just invite everyone who is not in a guild and tell people to “just get along”. Bringing in like minded individuals will strengthen your guild and your recruiters are the gate-keepers who make sure it happens. If the recruiters have a good feel for the guild and what the current guild is like, you’ll get better quality people coming into the guild. If your recruiter was made a member one week ago and just wants to help make the guild “awesome”, you’re going to get crappy recruits.

So, in the end, what worked for us were a few things.
1) Higher bar of entry.
2) Recruit driven goals for membership.
3) Peer review.
4) Good recruiters and good guild members.

It’s THAT easy!

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