Love is in the air!

Haha, suckers! Bet you thought this was going to be a post about that bloody in-game holiday. Well, it’s not. I finished doing all the holiday crap last Halloween and I refuse to do any of it again on any other character. For one thing, I have six 80’s and so that way lies madness. For another thing, I fucking hate PvP and I won’t be forced into it anymore.

Now, I’m not a big believer in Valentine’s Day, but many women are. It is a pretty good excuse to expect a little romance, a little of your man working to make you feel special. I’m all about romance and could frankly use more of it in my life (/eyes Atarax /clears throat). However, the idea of setting aside three days a year (Valentine’s, birthday, anniversary) for romance is the pinnacle of lameness and/or laziness. I am sure that despite my saying that, there could still be several guys or girls out there expecting something a little special here in the next week or so. And to that end, I give you a handful of ideas on what to do to bring a little romance back into your relationship. (Note: I will be talking mainly to guys because I figure that as a girl, I should have a better idea of what girls want. ) (Also, I am pretty sure a guy wants you naked and willing and that’s about it.)

Think Outside the Box

The biggest piece of advice I can give is to think outside the box, even if you’re going with an old standby. Getting a girl flowers is fine and all, but seriously? You’re going to get her roses? That’s been done to death, especially around this time of year.

Try finding out her favorite flower and getting her that. Or look into the meanings of flowers and try to find something that sends a unique message. She’ll be impressed that you put the thought into it, I promise.

Chocolates are another big item this time of year. Steer clear of those mystery boxes in the garish wrapping in the grocery store’s aisles, guys. Chances are good she doesn’t want a box of chocolates anyway, but if she would go for that, get something nice from an actual chocolatier. Yeah, it’ll cost more but you can get less and then she won’t complain a week later that you’re responsible for making her fat. Win!

Jewelry is the last of the big three items men are encouraged to get this time of year. I say, unless you’re married to her, don’t do it. And then get her something meaningful, not just a diamond encrusted piece of bling. Unless, of course, diamond encrusted baubles are what are meaningful to her. And if that’s the case, why did you hook up with this mercenary creature? Yikes.

Think Further Outside the Box

No really. Women like knowing that you put some thought into them. It makes us feel all warm and squishy inside. It does me, anyhow. Here are some less typical things guys have been known to do but which are still perfectly within the realm of possibility.

Romantic dinner for two. At home, please, gents, not the local watering hole. (Unless, of course, you never leveled cooking and the local joint is a nice, quiet, classy sort of place. Don’t go to a bar or anywhere that features sports on giant screens.) Be sure to set the mood. Even if all you can cook is grilled cheese and canned soup, presentation is key. Light some candles. Spread a picnic blanket in front of the fireplace.  Use the nice dishes and spruce yourself up a bit. If your lady, like me, is the sort of person who can’t stand knowing there’s a mess nearby, make sure to offer to clean the dishes afterwards while she enjoys a bubble bath or just a nice glass of wine and a book.

Take her away. Mu husband once reserved a condo for us for a few nights over a long weekend. He arranged for me to have time off without my knowing about it until he was ready to make the big reveal. Of course, since I was on my probationary period at a new job at the time, he told me over Valentine’s and then we had to wait for about a month for my benefits to kick in, but it was super sweet for him to work everything out without my knowing.

Pamper her. Buy some scented oils and give her a massage by candlelight. It’ll set the mood and she’ll get naked without prompting. You have to be careful with this one though. Don’t make the first move towards turning it into something more. Let her initiate that or she’ll assume that that the massage was a roundabout means to an end. Which, of course it was, but show some subtlety guys!

Campaign Day

If you want to make a big impact, I would suggest having a day or several days where you do all you can to express your affection. Write notes and put them places where she’ll find them throughout the day. Clean the house. Give her a break from cooking or laundry or whatever that one chore is that she hates. Send her to a spa. Take her shopping and don’t sit in the corner and glower over how long it’s taking her to choose between two shirts that look exactly the same to you. In short, be that perfect boyfriend you used to try so hard to be when you were working on your first impression.

Obviously none of these things can be sustained for very long periods of time. There’s life to consider, and the state of your pocketbook. And even the most romantic of gestures would get stale if it became unsurprising.

These are all fairly generic ideas because, hey, each and every lady is different and will want different things. But at the core, I think I can safely say that all women want to know that you put some thought into making them feel special, even if just for a moment or an hour or a day. Even as one of the least girly women I know, even I want to be a princess once in a while.

Now someone fetch me my tiara and tell me that my eyes remind them of the ocean with sunlight reflecting off the cresting waves.

So I think I am done

I just have to figure out widgets on this template and then I have hopes that the working on the back end of this will go away so I have a chance at writing something that looks a little more like actual content. Sorry for those who have been dealing with all the color scheme changes and inability to comment and I don’t even know what else.

In the meantime, here’s some more funny from my (former, in this case) guildies:

Now I am having problems with uploading pictures. So never mind on all fronts. Damn.

On Communication

The Problem

I have not been doing too well with communication as of late. That might even be a serious understatement.

As I am making this foray into wanting to be taken seriously as the GM of the guild, by both myself and others, I know that communication is one place that I am going to need a lot of work. The funny thing is, I don’t think it’s always because I choose the wrong words to try to get my point across, but can often be due to the fact that I, being a person who appreciates bluntness, will try to be blunt myself.

Whether I like it or not, there are just too many people who don’t see the value of straightforward, no bullshit, callin’ it as I see it communication. Ohh, there I go again!

One of my personal heroes and someone that I actually rather aspire to be like, is an anonymous blogger who ran this site here for a good, long while. V might be less anonymous now, I don’t know. I never cared who she was in the flesh because it was her powerful voice and her fearless, no bullshit attitude that made me want to read what she had to say, whether I agreed with her or not.

The problem is, that doesn’t mesh well with many people in my guild, for whatever reason.

Whatever. I have ideas on how to get around it.

But while I’ve been working on implementing those ideas, I haven’t been able to help but wonder why I am apparently more offensive now than I ever was when I would draft statements for At during times of drama and crisis, or even just simple organizing.

Now, we never really floated it around back then that I had been the one to write up something like 95% of the “State of the Guild Addresses” or “Quit whining because this is why things are how they are” type statements. Because I enjoy writing and am frankly better at it than At is, I would write up whatever it was that needed to be communicated and send it to him so he could look it over, tweak anything he wanted to tweak and then post it under his name.

The response was usually quite positive to those communications. Comments like “This is the best and most clear way I have ever seen this laid out,” quietly warmed the cockles of my frozen heart.

And I really don’t want to be the type of person to play the gender card and call unfair bias, but it does sometimes really seem that if you take a strong stance as a female, you’re a bitch. If you have a wiener, well, you’re just being a good leader. Not always, not by any stretch. But there is this dichotomy between my experiences of leading behind At’s throne, so to speak, and leading on my own merits.

So now what?

I know that one thing I need to change in my communication now that I am “really” the GM is to always strive for a professional tone when I have the GM hat on.

Frankly, I think this sucks. It just feels so politically correct to me and the whole PC mentality is one that can go die in a fire as far as I am concerned. But here I am, at least attempting to appear as though I buy into it in hopes that my way will be eased somewhat.

But here on this site, where I’m speaking as “Alas” and nothing more, I won’t do it. This website isn’t required reading for the guild and I have not even given the URL to anyone who hasn’t asked for it, except that one time I shoved it at Azzah but he doesn’t count. Because he still has not given me any totems to make love to. So while I will be working on being less abrasive in game and on the forums, here’s what needs to be understood about this space:

I do hang up my GM hat before I come in here. Do I talk about leadership and bemoan the breathtaking stupid I see in raids? Yeah. But it’s not meant to be taken as anything more than me blowing off steam and anyone who finds reason to cry about something I might say in the future will be pointed back to this post. This is my space, dammit, and I will use it how I want to. If you don’t like it, go buy your own domain and write about what a jerk I am, I don’t care.

In the spirit of wanting to be more like “V” I might tackle some ideas I’ve been kicking around but haven’t posted because I know from a mile away that they could be controversial. That’s right, I might be comparing church to guilds (it works, trust me) and political parties to certain player mentalities. My intent won’t be to offend anyone – these are merely thoughts I’ve found interesting to turn over in my own mind. But I have no doubt people will be offended by it if I get it wrong in execution.

If anyone decides to get into an argument with me here over whatever, I might play for a while. But I’m tired of circular arguments and bullshit rationalizations, so don’t count on me playing nice. I’ll be as blunt as I like and call you out on whatever I can.

In other words, warts and all, you can expect to find just me here and I won’t take any lip about it..

Things your raid leader shouldn’t have to say…

…that you need to know anyway.

1. Do not sign up on multiple toons for a single raid. I know who your alts are and if I need them, I will bring them. You should read the fucking calendar invite and note where I spelled out “Accept on your main only.”

2. Don’t presume to dictate the raiding schedule for the night to me. Nearly everyone else has shied away from handling this job. If I get all the headaches, I also get final say on what we’re doing and I don’t give a shit if your alts want something from a particular fight. You might feel like a princess, but that doesn’t make you one.

3. If you don’t sign up for a raid more than once a month, you will not get preference for the one time you do happen to get around to doing that. Quite the contrary, I will consider you dead last.

4. If you always sign up as tentative you’re sending me a message, and it’s not a positive one. Want to know what tentative means to me? It means you’re a lazy asswipe who thinks that he can sneak around the rules but no, I see what you’re doing. And I am not impressed. Even if you’re not trying to sneak around the rules, it tells me that you are unreliable and that’s just really not who I need in my raids.

5. Our raid schedule isn’t complicated. At all. It’s also been on the calendar for a month. Don’t get on and start asking clueless questions such as “Are we raiding tonight? Where are we going? Am I confirmed?” That information is as available to you as it is to me and I’m not here to hold your hand every step of the way.

6. Hanging around trying to snipe a raid spot doesn’t impress me at all. I will always, always go to people I’ve put on standby first.

7. Sign up and show up, means just that. There are no hidden clauses or secret rules in there. My rules apply to everyone equally. Along with that, “be ready” means I don’t want to wait for you to repair or make potions or buy a gem off the AH. Again, these raids are not surprises and no one is forcing you to come. You chose to come, you damn skippy better follow through.

8. If we have done a fight many times, don’t pretend that you’re in there for the first time. You know what your role should be and you know what the important targets ought to be. You also know our kill order. So don’t focus on the unmarked mob when we have a skull right there.

9. Don’t talk over me in vent. Ever. If I am explaining a fight to the new guy, wait until I ask if there is anything else that should be noted. If I am passing out loot, I don’t care to hear over vent that you’re passing or you like the looks of those particular pixels. Just, really, shut up and bid when I say to. Blather all you want on easy trash pulls or on boss fights that we can do with our eyes closed, but otherwise show some respect.

10. Don’t stand in the fire/green crap/black holes/blue lines of doom/red circles/clouds of putrid/whatever else Blizz throws at us. If you can’t make it through a raid without my barking at you to move outta the damn hurty stuff, you maybe shouldn’t be raiding. Because it is not my job to watch my feet and those of nine other people, if I think I can get away with it, I will not say anything and let you die of your own dumb and hope that maybe next time you’ll remember. More and more, that hope is frail and wasted and you are making me die inside.

Looking for a point

Things are fuzzy over here today. Not bear fuzzy or kitteh fuzzy. Just a sort of looking through the bottom of an empty wine glass fuzzy, after that wine glass has been drained something like seven times. I’ve been trying all morning to think of what it was I was going to post about here, but instead have been flailing about from topic to topic in my head and failing to make any connections.

Patch day? Meh. Easy heroics are easier. Big whoop. Nothing happening to my class either, soooo…. yay?

I don’t really have anyone or anything to yell about just now either. I mean, there is this guy and he is annoying me slightly, but it’s too hard to work up a good rant through this blanketing fog.

The apathy is smothering my rage! I think I’ll take a nap instead.

/wanders off to say happy birthday to the sister on FB

/peruses Twitter feed… lols at WoWTabloidNews

/stares at screen in puzzlement

/scratches head

So, here’s an observation. Since I have declared myself to be the GM of WWAB, I find that people have also automatically started calling me the GM. Not, “co-GM,” not just “Alas” hell, not even the GM’s girlfriend (long story).

(Okay, not a long story. Some jerk face left our guild a long while back and his friend was still around. The friend logged on and started saying shit about the guild and said his friend left because the GM’s girlfriend was allowed into Kara at level 69 and he didn’t think that was right. I said, “First of all, I’m the GM’s wife. Second of all, your friend left because he’s a prick with no concept of commitment to anything other than his own selfish goals and thirdly, I had to take the druid in because I ran out of 70’s who weren’t saved and, my God man, it’s Kara, not BT. Then Noxy gkicked him and the peasants rejoiced. Something like that anyway. It was a while ago, back when I thought my druid would be my tanky tank.)

Why, yes, this is how my mind works when I’m not really awake.

Right, I have an idea for tomorrow. I’m going to write it down and hope that it makes any sort of sense to me when I (hopefully) have a more clear mind.

Oh, and just wait for allergy season, guys. I really get circular and roughly 76.82% more pointless when I am jacked up on Benedryl.

In which my guildies bring teh funny

Also, At helped me finally find something to appreciate Google Wave for. Namely, that you can just drag and drop any photos you want into a wave and it is much easier than dealing with emailing crap back and forth and attaching files the old-fashioned way and blah, blah, blah.

Hence, I have a lot of material. But I will attempt to pace myself. Click to embiggen if needed.

And by “tomorrow,” I of course meant “whenever I manage to get the SS edited to size and sent to myself.”
Later on that night. I am sure I don’t want to know half of what goes on in the healing channel. (Holly and Hanse are married, so…. that’s why that’s funny.)
I think that conversation from the other morning speaks for itself…

Look! Over here! Not over there!

This post brought to us from Holly, my favourite Canadian (see what I did thar?) and the most cheerful person I know, even more than At.

Let’s talk about tanking… and PUG’s. Let’s talk about tanking and PUG’s.

First I’d like to say, I’m not a great tank. I’m a good tank. I know how to do my job, but honestly? Some days I’m just mashing buttons and running around like a headless chicken. I have good gear; not stellar but some great gear.

I know good tanks when I see them… and there have been quite a few. I remember wanting to be Haneen for the longest time.

I recognize bad tanks when I see them… and that’s because I’ve seen good tanks.

I’m a tank. It’s all I ever wanted to be and I strive to improve, to get feedback and to accept constructive criticism. I have a mage and a rogue that I fool around with, but I’m a tank at heart. Don’t ask Holly to DPS, you’ll see a grown woman cuddling her blankee in the corner and whimpering.

That being said, I had the pleasure of experiencing and OMFG. WORST. PUG. EVER. dungeon last night.

Let me start at the beginning. I was late getting home. I log on, say hi to the guildies and they’re all busy. This I can handle, I figure I’ll herb some and grab someone later for my random heroic, bring on the frost badges, run. Then I get a little bored with my healer husband out of town. I can PUG it, I think, I’m a tank… everyone wants a tank. I get compliments when I PUG, I hear things like “thank heavens, a geared tank”. It’s good for my ego and it’s just a random dungeon. Who hasn’t run every dungeon in Northrend at least 20 times before this random dungeon finder thing changed our lives?? Don’t answer that, it was rhetorical.

We pulled The Nexus; a baby dungeon, even on heroic. 20 minutes and I’m outta here, I’m thinking. Even with brand spankin’ new 80’s, The Nexus should be a cake walk. First couple of pulls and I’m feeling even more confident, pretty good DPS, mage is a bit out of control, but we’re handling it. We get through the Hall of Stasis without any casualties. We’re heading up The Librarium and just outside the entrance to Grand Magus Telestra. Pull and down the first group at the top of the ramp. No pat (mage slayer with dogs, you know the ones) so we head across the way to the group on the other side. ALWAYS take out the mage ascendant first, that bitch polymorphs. Well I no more than turn my head when the Mage Slayer pats into my druid and my mage. Before I have a chance to finish off the first four (thank heavens for the rogue and warlock in our group) and charge my way over there, the druid and the mage are dead. So we finish off the patrol and wait for people to come back. I want to say here, we didn’t wipe…we lost two people.

This is where things get a little weird. The druid, the healer, says… “Can we speed this up; I’ve got to go in 12 minutes”. WTF? I’m not sure how to respond to this. First, who gets in a group when they can’t stay? I know that shit happens, mom calls, the cat catches fire and people sometimes have to leave without warning but to only plan to be there for a limited time? Inconsiderate bewb. Second, I can roll with the punches as good as any, but her body is still laying there after 3 minutes and she’s (her character was female so we’ll go with that) not back in the instance yet. For someone with a time crunch they’re sure taking their sweet time getting back in the game. So I say “Let me see if I understand this. You want us to go faster but you’re laying there waiting to be rezzed?” This is where it gets fuzzy for me, I’ll admit, because it got kind of surreal. She comes back with some comment about “who would rez her (right, she’s the only one with the power but why else would she be taking so long?) and she was actually contemplating leaving and did I have any more snide comments to make?”. Well ladies and gentleman, let me tell you, that got my back up. She’s on a time crunch and just spent 3 of her 12 minutes contemplating leaving and I was the one being unreasonable? So I said, and I quote, “Go to hell, you try and find a geared tank who’ll put up with your shit” and I left. As I left I noticed her last comment about how I couldn’t keep anything off her…

Hasty? Maybe, but it’s a frackin’ PUG and these are not people I care about one iota. I was prepared to put in my 20 minutes, get my badges, say my thanks and run. It’s a game and I’m here for a good time, there are other PUG’s out there. Moving away from a druid with an attitude seemed like common sense.

Here’s where it got insane. She (still a female toon) whispers me on my server (I know she was on Shattered Halls) about how I’m not that geared and not that good a tank. Are you fucking kidding me? I whisper back “Says You” and “Leave me alone” and then I put her on ignore. It’s got to be the healer right? So I start telling officers about what just happened. These people are my friends and they’re going to tell me if I’m off in my own world or should have behaved differently. They’re vindicating my side when I get whispered by another female toon with a similar name to the one I just ignored.

OK. This is just psycho now. She’s going on about how badly I behaved and how pathetic I was. I remember responding with “I’m pathetic? I didn’t just create a new toon on a different server to give a stranger shit”. She effectively ignored this and accused me of being selfish. “Don’t you have to go yet?” I’m thinking her 12 minutes have to be up by now. My GM wants to know her name so that she can straighten her out. I’ve had enough and have put her on ignore again.

She then proceeds to talk to my GM for 30 minutes! No, you can’t make shit this ridiculous up. Alas, back me up here, honey. (It’s true! -Alas) Alas is in a rebellious mood and spends the 30 minutes making fun of her. I still can’t get over that. THIRTY (30) MINUTES. Apparently I’m leading Alas around by the nose making her believe I’m a good tank. It’s true. I’ll say it here, please sit down ‘cause I want you all to know that I just faked beating the bosses in Ulduar and TOC and that I’m a phony. You all have carried me for the past 3 years.

I forgot to mention. The reason she took 3 minutes to get back in Nexus? She got lost. She couldn’t find the entrance.

Also, if I was such a good tank why was I running randoms and not running with my awesome guildies? Turns out there’s only room for one tank in FoS. If she’s so great, why was she running randoms? Huh? Nub?

Anyway. There’s a reason its midnight and I’m listening to Sugarland’s “It happens” over and over. I’ve got to write this down before I forget. I’ve got to get this out!

Tanking is a thankless job but I love it. If someone dies, it’s my fault. If someone pulls agro, I must not have been doing my job. My hunter husband knows I’ll let him die if he pulls agro (we give a whole new meaning to “wife agro” in my house). If the group succeeds it’s all thanks to the uber DPS. But WOW, there is nothing quite like the rush of being the first one to run into a fight with the rest of the guild behind you. Better than any drug, or sex, or party or organized cupboard I can tell you. If I die, but we get the boss down, I know I did my job. If I don’t die, it’s even better.

Tanking a PUG though? It’s work. Hard work. I want a pug puppy but I don’t know if I can do it. Not with people like that druid healer out there.

Thanks for letting me rant. I’m Hollybrynn and I just want a hug.

Leadership from three angles

I know all of this has been covered elsewhere, likely by people far more clever than me. But recent events have made me stop and compile everything I know about leadership and from all the angles in which I have experienced leadership. I don’t expect this to be groundbreaking by any means, but I wanted to organize my thoughts.

Leadership from the bottom

In my real life job, I unfortunately have been working in non-leadership roles for the past several years. So I know what it is like to feel like the under-appreciated, unknown, faceless and nameless cog in the business machine. From down here, it is certainly tempting to believe that everyone who is in a supervisory role has perks that I will never get.

In the position I held before this one, I was expected to keep the phone/desk covered at all times, along with another secretary in the department. This meant having to coordinate lunches with her and being as punctual as I could be. If either of us made it to work a little late, that was a problem. Leaving early was nearly out of the question. And God forbid we ever wanted the same day off or both happened to get sick at the same time! To see every other person in the department strolling in whenever they felt like it, taking long lunches, going to the gym mid-day, being able to go to the bathroom without having to clear it with someone else first (no wonder I hated that fucking job), yeah, they had perks that came from their position.

However, I made a lateral transfer to another department where the requirements are different, and suddenly the game has changed. I take long lunches. I can come in a little late and work over to make up for it. I don’t have anyone making me dress up 5 days a week. I also get stuck with all the grunt work no one else wants to do and I see my supervisor abusing the living hell out of his “Exempt” status (no one has as much sick time as he takes). There still seem to be perks I will never have.

I have to assume that there are parts of these leadership positions that are less desirable. Perhaps dealing with the budget or attempting to steer an agenda through the turbulent waters of campus politics is more onerous than I imagine.

Still, it’s difficult to respect most middle management here – the “officers” of the business world. There are some who clearly watch out for their teams, but there are just as clearly some who play favorites or seek only their own interests. Some seem to be completely checked out as far as interest in their jobs. Sometimes the person watching out for their team might also be the same person who then plays favorites among them.

So what are the bright spots for a lowly grunt? What are the positives I have seen from management here and how might I be able to take that and translate it into watching out for my guildies? What should I avoid because it’ll make me look like a jerk? Here are things I would like to tell my boss (only without the WoW references, obviously).

Things to do

  • Greet people by name. I am blown away that the CIO knows my name. We don’t work in the same building, let alone have nice heart to hearts. And when I don’t even know who is who in a meeting I attend every week, it stands out that she knows me by sight and name.
  • Give praise for a job well done. Even if someone’s part in getting something accomplished was small or behind-the-scenes, they want to know their efforts have been noticed. Did someone’s DPS go up a few hundred from last week? Shouldn’t that be noted?
  • Offer assistance. I appreciate it whenever someone takes the time to help me learn something or get out from under a looming deadline. Back when I was a nubby 40-something mage, an officer gave me a run through ZF. That was huge, that he would notice me and offer to help.
  • Find ways to give to people. Being generous with mats, gold, or items that are needed for a quest doesn’t hurt someone with a raiding main. Don’t make it about anything other than “I am happy you are on my team,” and it will have all the more impact.
  • Plan fun activities/keep things light. No one likes to work all the time or for work to be 100% serious business. Even when staring at a wipefest in progression content, try to keep the laughs coming in between attempts. Treating the whole thing like a chore will make others feel that it is a chore and then it will actually become a chore.
  • Hang out. Learn about people’s lives. Today I learned that a guy in my guild has nine kids and is a farmer. How cool is that?

Things to not do

  • Act self-important. Seriously, you’re not the shit. No one is and no one likes the guy who acts like he is
  • Have obvious favorites. Nothing chaps my ass at work quite like having my boss say in a team meeting “X and Y are never allowed to retire! We’d be lost without them!” and ignore the fact that, oh hi, I contribute to the success of this team also.
  • Fail to follow your own rules. You’re not above them. You are held to them more than anyone else.
  • Fail to enforce your own rules. Talk about a fast track to breeding discontent, both for people who have to deal with your policies and for yourself when people mysteriously stop taking you seriously.
  • Parade your ignorance. It makes sense that one person can’t know everything about everything. But don’t make it a bragging point that you have no idea how someone does their job or that you really don’t know what they do. They’ll wonder why they’re following an incompetent.

Leadership from the middle

I see officers as being middle management, mostly because they do (or should) have power to handle enforcing whatever policies your guild has in place, but they aren’t necessarily able to act completely autonomously the way the GM can. From what I have seen there are two basic types of officers, those that are motivated and want to see things happen and those who just let stuff happen around them.

I am swiftly growing to loathe the second type. (Note: type, not specific people, lest any of my officers who read this try to take that the wrong way.)

Unless the GM wants a bunch of sycophantic yes-men, the ones who take no interest in performing their duties are wasting everyone’s time. They are the people who don’t have a lot of assigned duties and barely do even those. They don’t check the forums often, or if they do, they don’t contribute to the conversations that are going on, let alone start a serious discussion of their own initiative. They are probably friendly, personable people that everyone likes, but when it gets down to it, they should be doing PR as regular guildies instead of stonewalling decisions that need to be made by taking forever to form an opinion about anything or vote on it.

Give me officers who, when they see a problem, not only point out that there’s a problem but who also propose solutions to said problem.Even better, give me officers who are proactive enough to try to forecast a little and say things like, “You know, I noticed that our raid rules have a loophole here and guildie Z is known to try to exploit stuff like that. We might want to work on nailing that down to avoid trouble.”

And what if they then added, “Here’s some text you can look at. Let me know what you think.”

I would personally eHump that officer.

Levels of effort aside, the other thing that has to be – and is! – watched carefully is how do these officers behave? Do they embody the rules that you try to operate under or do they believe their title grants them immunity from following them? If it’s the latter, oh, there are problems. Guild members who are not officers and who believe that position of leadership = perks will notice and they will get disgruntled and there will be shit hitting your fan. It might take time to build up to that, true, but it will be all the more ugly when it happens.

Having been an officer of a guild for, oh, some time now, I can also say this with some certainty: If you’re an officer, you should be feeling like you have important work to be doing in game. Is it a game? Absolutely. Should it be fun and not all work? Of course. But if you signed on as an officer, there’s more to it than having a special channel to talk in for fuck’s sake. It’s on you to resolve problems, be available for people to talk to about concerns, organize events and raids, contribute to building a guild-wide community of people through initiating conversations in guild chat, make sure the bank is being used properly, help new people get started on whatever raiding path you have, monitor your guild chat to make sure nothing offensive is happening there, step in to help those in need as you have time and ability, keep track of who is who in alt-heavy guilds and make sure people are where they should be in terms of rank and on and on and on.

If this sounds nothing like anything you’ve ever experienced as an officer, you’re doing it wrong.

Of course, that means that there’s someone else in your guild leadership team who is trying to handle some or all of that, maybe with help and maybe without. Only a team effort from all officers can make being officer less like bloody, goddamn hard work and more like putting in some effort here and there to maintain a working structure and keep the wheels moving.

As a final thought about this position – if you’re afraid to take a hard line on anything because people might not like you, you are in the wrong place and should volunteer to step down posthaste.

Leadership from the top

I don’t have any brilliant – or even mediocre – observations about the top dog. I’ve held myself back for the past several years from truly seizing that power in the GM world. Co-GM has been fairly meaningless in terms of my just saying “this is what I think and I’mma grab the bull by the horns and just do it.” I take pains to consult with the officers and I can’t say that I’ve given a whole lot of directives.

That might be about to change. Because if there is one thing I believe about the top dog person, it is that they should work harder and longer than anyone else at making sure whatever it is they are leading is a success. Frankly, At has been checked out for some time and has become the type of “leader” that I bashed so heavily above.

Possibly I will screw up a lot and perhaps even fail. But I’m personally tired of holding myself back from saying and doing what I want to say and do on the basis that I’m not “really” in charge. It’s been a disservice to both myself and the officers to have me calling the shots but acting coy about my authority when it is directly questioned or challenged.

And even if no one else makes it through this wall of text or does, and finds it all pointless and obvious, I have arrived at a worthy destination. I’m the GM of War Within a Breath, bitches, and I don’t care if you don’t like it.

Fifty “fun” facts

  1. The first character I ever rolled was a druid
  2. It took me five or six tries to finally stick with a warrior
  3. I once thought my warlock would be my main
  4. I’ve deleted a level 50 priest
  5. And a level 30-something rogue
  6. I have tried gender-bending many times but there’s always something about the movement of a man toon that irritates me to where I can’t keep it
  7. I think that people who won’t play a certain class or race because “it’s too evil” are stupidlame
  8. I also think that no one is going to get addicted to something in real life just because they played a belf who was addicted to magic
  9. Speaking of addiction, the idea that WoW is harmfully addictive is a crock. It’s fun and some people just have no self control
  10. My baby huntard is still BM because I sort of like lol ez mode
  11. I also deleted a 20-something mage back before they super accelerated 1-70 xp gain
  12. I find the death knight class to be boring as hell but I’ll get one leveled anyway
  13. People who act like their time is more important than that of anyone else they are in party/raid with make me stabby
  14. PvP is unhealthy for my desk/keyboard/mouse and At’s ears, so I try not to deal with that aspect of the game
  15. If someone leaves my guild on bad terms I will carry a pretty unreasonable actual hatred of them to the point where I have cheered to hear that someone’s real life fell apart
  16. And yeah, I know it’s just a game
  17. But that doesn’t mean that people can’t be real douches in a fake environment
  18. I once had a GM tell me that my opinion as an officer wasn’t worth his listening to it
  19. That may have been the reason I cheered when I heard his real life fell apart. Maybe
  20. I find that there are some struggles to being female and in a leadership position
  21. But I will never ever use that as an excuse when I make a bad decision or am otherwise stupid
  22. I don’t think being female gets me any perks in WoW
  23. Unless you count being told that being a bossy raid leader is hott
  24. I have gotten a couple pervs before – that was interesting
  25. Even though we sometimes struggle with content for a while I do think Blizz is making the game as a whole too easy
  26. At scoffs at me whenever I start in on how no one should get ponies at 20 or flying at 60
  27. I used to think I would never level fishing or cooking on any character
  28. My main is max exalted with all WotLK factions except Ashen Verdict
  29. Lately I change Alas’ hair every few weeks because I would do it in real life if I could
  30. I think Renaissance faires are an awesome excuse for dressing up
  31. Alas was not supposed to be my main because of her name
  32. I have a different name I use everywhere else online but that name ended up attached to a nelf huntard
  33. That huntard got deleted at 44 to make way for my DK with the same name
  34. I’ve met several of my guildies irl even if it did mean driving to the deep South (imo) to do so
  35. Alastriona is the Gaelic form of my middle name
  36. And I cringe every time someone pronounces it “Alas-tree-OH-nuh”
  37. The first time I healed a raid it was in Kara and I didn’t have any helpful addons, such as grid or healbot
  38. Of course, that was the PUG raid that wiped on chess, trufax
  39. I call At “At” in real life but I almost never call him by his real name
  40. I’m ridiculously addicted to FarmVille, even though I see how brainless it is
  41. Of course, I also deal with faculty and buying random crap for a living (me, every other day: “How the hell do I buy printer memory? Printers have memory?”) so I try to avoid that as much as possible
  42. Unless I plan on writing either the fanfic or the novel, then I’m all worky worky worky
  43. I lol at people with naming conventions
  44. I am super cheap, to the point where even though I have over 30k across my toons, I still won’t buy anything off the AH unless I absolutely have to
  45. The cheapness also means that many of my characters don’t have epic flying
  46. I will not play undead, trolls or orcs because they’re ugly
  47. I will not play gnomes or dwarves because they’re short
  48. I would totally do any draenai  – male or female
  49. I have some moderate OCD tendencies
  50. I needed this list to have a random number and an alliterative title