Talk to Me

So, we’re trying a little experiment in our guild. We’ve shaken up the raid schedule a little bit on order to get more of a focus on clearing 25 man content and to keep that good old raid momentum moving from week to week. A suggestion was made by some guildies that maybe we could structure our raid weeks different, and the officership decided to give it a try – despite the reservations of some guildies and some officers. (And me.)

Our old raid system was a “two on, one off” sort of thing. We’d raid two weeks, usually 6 days a week, then have one week off where there would be no scheduled raids. You could PuG any content you liked, do your PvP, your farming, chill with your fam – do whatever you needed to do on those off weeks. We raided pretty hard during our on weeks, but never had a set schedule – just some 25 mans and some random 10 mans, whatever we were feeling like doing whenever that week.

I liked this system because the time off was nice. I disliked this system because of the lack of focus and structure. The opinions in our guild varied, but most people really seem to like that week off – it’s really helpful in managing raider burnout. It’s why we have that system in the first place.

We are in the second week of a trial run of a new system. (We’re expecting to go with this new system until mid-December.) Under this new system, we raid three 25 mans a week, and two 10 mans a week. (We raid slighly different days every other week, so as to make sure that if people have one set day a week they absolutely cannot raid, they can still make at least some raids.) The 10 mans are completely optional and arranged so that if you decide to not go to the 10 mans, you can have four consecutive days off in a week. The idea here was not only to have set raid days, but to really focus on 25 mans, as well as to give people some time off during the week, now that we don’t have off weeks.

Results have been mixed.

We have some people who like the structure and focus of the new system, but we have some (vocal) people who really want their off weeks back and who are feeling even more burnt out after two weeks of this new system than they are under the old system.

I understand that just because a raid is (repeatedly emphasised) as completely, totally, guilt-free and optional doesn’t mean that people will not feel any pressure to attend them. And I understand that even with four days off in a week (two of those days being weekends – which may or may not need to be Family Time) that there may not be enough time to get the gold and mats you need to keep raiding. (Though I think Gevlon might have a thing or two to say abbout that.) And I also know that I myself am not raiding because I’m out here on the Bald Prairie, working, so I’m disconnected from being able to judge my own level of burnout or monitor others in person.

I’m witholding my final judgement on the effectiveness of the new raid schedule. I’m going to keep observing and listening to people and collecting data and viewpoints. I think that this experiment should at least run another two weeks to really judge it.

So, in the spirit of gathering data – how do you schedule your raids, O Great WoW Blogspherizens? Do you have off weeks? How do you manage raid burnout? What do you think of our raid scheduling, both the new and the old? Talk to me, it’s lonely out here.

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A Loaf of Bread, A Jug of Wine

So, I like to drink quite a bit. I like to grab some friends and family and head down to my local and eat their delicious, delicious greasy food and drink beer and scotch until it comes out my ears. That is a fabulous time in my opinion. However, when we do such things, we usually take it in turn to decide who will be the responsible person for the evening – and it’s not so much fun when it’s me.

It’s not that I miss drinking, it’s that I hate having to shepherd and corral and manage 17 people who behave for all the world like small children. It’s wearying. It has its moments – seeing someone miss their mouth entirely and splot their drink in the centre of their shirts is (usually) well worth the hassle of spending the night herding people who are working on a three minute, closed-loop memory. (Where am I? How did I get here? Whose pineapple is this?)

The converse, however is pretty entertaining, too. Having one drunk person in a crowd of sober people can be quite a lot of fun. Well, for the sober people, I guess. I know that I sure enjoy teasing and laughing at (in a friendly way, of course) those people I know who are brave (or foolish) enough to come drunk to a sober gathering.

After I logged off on Saturday night (and well into the wee hours of Sunday morning) a guildie of mine (one of our tanks – a drunk tank! punny!) came home from a birthday party absolutely shittered – and decided the best thing to do was to get onto vent. While I am so very grateful that he made the decision to display his drunk ass for our entertainment, I’m even more indebted to the kind and clever soul who decided to record the vent conversation.

And post it on the forums.

Mondays being what they are, I was surly and miserable when I finllally oozed into the office. After I did all my normal Monday start up things, I checked the guild forums and decided to download the file. It was 58 minutes of absolute bliss. I laughed loud enough that a few people poked their heads into my cubicle to see just what the heck was going on. I was tempted to link the recordings here, but I don’t know how entertaining they’d be to people who don’t know the guild or recognize the voices. You’ll just have to trust me that listening to an absolutely plastered man with the Bostonian accent howling “heroic throw, heroooooic throoooowwwww” like an abandonded wolf pup is pretty much the bestest thing evar. It was exactly what I needed first thing in the morning. It’s exactly what I need a lot of the time.

I know this may make me sound like Nerdly McNerderson, Mayor For Life of Nerdtown, Nerdvania, but I was actually mopey when the recording was over. For a little while there, it was like being at home, online, (virtually) surrounded by my friends. A couple of times while I was listening, my fingers twitched a little, unconsciously typing /g in preparation to reply to something I heard. It wasn’t just that my guildies were having fun laughing at our very very drunk warrior tank (they made a drinking game out of his drunken ramblings. If he says “what planet am I on?” – everybody drinks! If he says “I’m soooo hammahhed” – everybody drinks!) but that they were together and having fun. I love that so, so much about my guild. I love the way that I feel like a part of a community – a family almost (OMG someone call the cliche police!)

For all they drive me bugnutz insane sometimes, I really do love my guild. Actually, I think that’s why they have the power to make me so crazy – and to cut me so deeply. I care for them so much, and that means that I leave myself very vulnerable to being hurt by their indifference or their scorn.

Drak, Sora, Undi, Chiclet, Jett, Ama, Thunder and everyone who was online – I enjoyed your company on Monday morning. Impossibilium – I quite honestly and truly love you guys.

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly.

So, this is how my Wednesday went down.

The Good: I did my Brewfest dailies on my priest, got 351 beer tickets, and got my achievement! Look!

The screen is fuzzy because it's Brewfest

The screen is fuzzy because it's Brewfest

Loooooook! So pretty! My Flying Purple People Eater!

Do I eat only purple people?

Do I eat only purple people?

The Bad: Word got around that there was going to be an Onyxia raid. So our 25 signups dwindled to 19 (mysterious!) plus two late people. So 17. Enough to do a 10 man, though! If one of our late people (a healer) had shown up, we very likely have been able to do two ten mans. But, it was not to be. I gave a stern lecture to everyone on the importance of signing up up for raids (novel idea!) and expressed how disappointed I was in the people who declined over the last 24 hours. (Except for the one guy who had a good excuse – he got a new job today! Yay for gainful employment!) and then stemmed the flood of QQ.

Now look, I know that there is going to be QQ no matter what happens. I know that I could magically give everyone GM powers and let them loose on the world and there would still be QQ. (Whaaaatt? I have to type in .kill to take down Arthas??? But that’s tooooo haaaaarrrrd.) But Christ on a candlestick people – don’t complain at *me* when the signups dwindle. Complain at the selfish bastards who decide that if the raid isn’t going to be something they’re crazy excited about or need anything from that they don’t care enough to go anyhow. And also: STFU about the fact that when we post raids, we just say “25 man raid” and not specify where we’re going until right before raid. You know why we do that? This is why. This is also not my fault and I respectfully direct your attention to the “Not A Team Player” section of the guild.

Anyhow. One ten man raid. We have an earnable rank in our guild, based on people who go above and beyond what is expected of “typical” raiders. One of the perks of this rank is that if there are limited raid spots, they go to these people first. I do not have this rank, because there is a pretty strict attendance requirement and I havn’t managed to quite make it yet. So, I got to sit on the sidelines for our very first (New! Improved! Now with more whelps!) Onyxia raid. It made me pretty bummed, but hey I guess them’s the breaks. I make the rules, I have to live by them, too. No matter how much my squeeing Ony fangirl heart longed to be in there, pew pewing, and handling the many whelps.

The Ugly: Look, the other night (Monday, maybe?) I had talked to our late healer. He said he was going to be late. I asked him to send me and/or our Raid Leader an in game mail about it, because I was unlikely to remember five minutes from now that he was going to be late. Let alone two days. He gave me some guff about it (but, but, but I doan waaaaaannnnnnnnaaa) and I reminded him it was actually part of our policy, could he do it please? He got pouty about it, and huffed off, but I assumed that he had done it. He evidently had not because I didn’t have a mail last night and neither did our Raid Leader. And I – of course – had forgotten that he had mentioned it.

Half an hour into our raid time, our late healer comes onto vent and in an insolent, sassy-bitch tone says, “Oh, Ori, I’m sure you noticed I didn’t send you an in game mail about me being late tonight like you asked. I’m *soooooooooo* sorry,” and then brightly, “Well, arewe doing anything tonight?”

First: You know what? I didn’t much like your pushing the boundaries and your “tee hee I am so disobedient and naughty” attitude when you first came into this guild. My liking for it has not increased with exposure.

Second: YOU SIGNED UP FOR A RAID! YOU KNEW YOU WERE GOING TO BE LATE! FOR A RAID! WHAT IN THE FUCK DID YOU THINK THAT WE – A RAID GUILD – WERE DOING AT HALF AND HOUR AFTER OUR RAID START TIME!?? ON A RAID NIGHT!?

Third: That there is the final straw.

To the guild: I’m sure you all saw me spend the night in the officer channel on vent where only officers could come talk to me. And I’m sure there are people amongst you who thought I was ‘off sulking’ and honestly, if you want to think that, that’s fine. The reality is that I didn’t feel like being in your company. I was embarassed at my reaction to our healer’s jerky attitude on top of the QQ about raids and the lack of concern for my feelings about the Onyxia run. I didn’t want you all to hear that in my voice. I also didn’t want to listen to you guys try to re-learn the Ony fight. I didn’t want to be a part of you last night.

I didn’t feel like you wanted me to be a part of you.

Post Scriptum: Titled “Insult to Injury or Here Is Some Salt For Your Wounds.” The computer ate this post and I had to re-write it. Prolly a good thing as there was a lot more “fuck” involved the first time.

YARR!

So, today is the Autumnal Equinox and I was trying to come up with some deep way of connecting the idea of the balance between night and day and the balances between Horde and Alliance and maybe work in some waffle about the factions transfers and how they’re affecting recruitment and all that good stuff.

Then I thought, fuck it, it’s Monday and my brain isn’t even nearly ready to deal with that nonsense. Plus, nothing I could write would compete with Jov and Seri’s Big Day!

So here are some pictures from my pirate misadventures this weekend, instead. YARRR!

Eqqie and I meet some oddly dressed folks in Stormwind

Eqqie and I meet some oddly dressed folks in Stormwind

I see a ship in the harbour

I see a ship in the harbour

I obtain the proper Pirate Acessories. I shall call you Squawkers McCaw.

I obtain the proper Pirate Acessories. I shall call you Squawkers McCaw.

I spend some time going all Fangirl on two very famous pirates.

I spend some time going all Fangirl on two very famous pirates.

I meet up with the Dread Captain and her First Mate. The grog is flowing freely by now.

I meet up with the Dread Captain and her First Mate. The grog is flowing freely by now.

Thar she blows! KA-BOOOM!

Thar she blows! KA-BOOOM!

I get my dance on with the Dread Crew

I get my dance on with the Dread Crew

I meet some new friends. There were all shades of pirates there.

I meet some new friends. There were all shades of pirates there.

I have a bit too much grog and stumble off the roof into the harbour. Likely a good thing, before I got too disorderly and they made me walk the plank.

I have a bit too much grog and stumble off the roof into the harbour. Likely a good thing, before I got too disorderly and they made me walk the plank.

A good time was had by all! I headed back home to rest up for Brewfest – these alcoholidays are tough on the system!

And the Horse You Rode In On

So, we had to guild kick someone the other day. I don’t generally like to guild kick people because I’m a) kind of soft-hearted and sentimental and b) afraid that if I start I won’t be able to stop. We at Imposs like to use gkick as a last resort and we like to make it stick. In the past year I think we’ve only asked about four people to leave and it’s mostly been without seeing hide nor hair of the Drama Llama. Well, after the kick that is. (One of my biggest fears is that someone who has been kicked will get all disgruntled and start some serious shit. Not happened yet, but I worry. I always worry.)

We have a policy in place that details the behaviour that the guild community expects from its members. Generally, if someone is transgressing, a simple whisper from an officer is enough to get them back on the right track. Sometimes two reprimands are needed, but there’s never been a guild kick over it until just recently.

In the case of our erstwhile guild member, they decided that calling our raid leader “gay” several times over vent was an appropriate way to express their displeasure. Seeing as this was coming the day after a late-night vent conversation between this guildie and one or two others where the offender also used “gay” as a synonym for “stupid” enough times to warrant two unhappy emails in my inbox the next morning (and neither of them from any of our openly gay members, btw), our homophobic slur-slinger got a whisper from me post-haste.

“Hey, I know you’re not intending to do any harm with your word choice – but I just want to let you know that you are. There are people – real people – in this guild who identify as gay and they don’t appreciate you (or anyone) using ‘gay’ to describe something you dislike. I know that you don’t want to hurt any of the friends that you have in this guild, and I know that you’re more than clever enough to come up with another way of expressing yourself, so please do so. Thanks so much.”

That was met with a surly silence and a marked display of ‘pouty’ behaviour from our former guildie.

Later on that night (after I had logged off, tellingly) there was a rehash of the earlier vent conversation. Not one, not two but three members and three officers (not including me) told this ex-Imposs member that his language use was well over the line and that he should just stop. Please stop. Please, please stop. His response was to gquit on his alt. The response of the officers was to gkick his main. My response was to post this on the forums, under the title “The Language Police.”

Yup, they’re here. And I am them!

I think it would behoove everyone to take a look at this post again, maybe check out some of the finer points on it, including the bit that goes:

The final thing I want to say to you all here is to reiterate something I’ve posted on these forums before:

your right to swing your fist ends at my nose.

The general channels are open to any form or topic of conversation, but that freedom is granted on the grounds that it will be administered with a respect for all of the members of the guild. If someone voices an opposing viewpoint, or someone requests a change in topic or language, then – as long as those views or requests are presented in a respectful manner – they must also be respected. I don’t mean “respected” in the form of “obeyed” but in the more literal sense of treated with compassion and dignity.

Because we all live in an imperfect society, and we all drop the occasional sexist, racist, homophobic or otherwise unacceptable comment through a combination of laziness, ignorance or just plain thoughtlessness. It happens, and I’m not here to scold everyone or make them watch every word they say at all times.

But when you start dropping a sexist, racist or homophobic slur like it’s on your fucking Word of the Day Calendar, and you’re asked politely by several people to stop – stop. Stop using it, and start thinking about how maybe there are actual people who are gay, female or people of colour – and who are people who don’t appreciate being compared to all that is stupid or worthless. Maybe there are people in the guild who are not directly affected by your words but who are nonetheless tired of you using them anyhow.

We’re all adults here. We’re a community here. Let’s realize that we should act like one. And acting like an adult within a community of adults means being able to use the phrase “whups, my bad” and move on when you’re respectfully asked to stop offensive behaviour.

There has not (as of yet) been one reply on the forums to that post.

The post script to this story is that over the next few days I had a series of conversations with our former member. The first conversation did not go well. It basically consisted of a non-apology along the lines of, “Well, I didn’t mean it in that way. I’m sorry people are upset.”

Dude.

I’d like to make it clear that intent does not bloody well matter. It doesn’t matter if you meant to hurt someone with your words – you did. It doesn’t matter if you meant to be a douchecanoe – you did. The big boy response here is to say “I’m sorry.” Just, “I’m sorry.” Not, “I’m sorry you were offended” – which is about as meaningful as “I’m sorry I got caught” btw. But, “I’m sorry.” Period. Full stop.

I suggested to our no-longer-raider that because his offense was pretty public, and that most of the guild was hurt and or pissed off, then the appropriate response would be to make some sort of public apology. Not just to try to get your way back into the good graces of everyone, but because our ex-member had been a member for a long time. And had made many friends and many connexions within the guild. A forum apology would reach everyone and show that even though you’ve been asked to leave, you still value the Imposs community, its members and the history you shared.

Surprisingly, he did.

I was actually shocked by it. He made a real and genuine apology to the guild, and the n server transferred with quite a respectful and remorseful adieu. I was impressed by the fact that he realized his behaviour had been sinking lower and lower over the past few months and that with his homophobic rant he had finally hit rock bottom. In the end he bid Impossibilium and ThoBro a graceful goodbye.
There is a lesson to be learned here.

I Want You To Want Me

So, what is this Real Life thing I keep hearing about and why has it taken all my raiders away?

The Good Ship Imposs is looking a little empty these days. Our raid signups are really low and even at a time when the vent channels should be hopping, there is only one or two people lurking around, listlessly doing dailies. Where have all our raiders gone? Is it because we’ve dropped Maly 25 (once!) and now there is a feeling we’ve “beaten WoW”? Is it spring break/exams? Is it shoddy leadership? (ok, ok, I know I havn’t been around much except for raids, but I swear everyone in my extended family has gotten some Canada Day long weekend – judging by the amount of birthdays in early April.) Is is just a lack of raiders on Thorium Brotherhood?

What I’ve decided to do is completely ninja an idea from Larisa of the Pink Pigtail Inn and create a guild recruitment post here in the wonderful Warcraft Blogsphere. Thinking about server transferring? Thinking about joining a new guild? Thinking about how awesome I am? (You know you are!) Then read on! Maybe Impossibilium has what you’re looking for.

We’re looking to recruit about 8 – 10 new people; 4-5 ranged dps and 4-5 healers. (Please feel free to apply if you’re a melee dps or a tank, we’d love to hear from you, but I can’t make you any promises.)

Ranged dps
(In the order we need them)
Elemental Shaman – At the moment we have absolutely none of these. WTB Spacegoats!
Warlocks – We have one that runs regularily and two others that are on-again, off-again raiders. Be warned! My co-guild leader may look like a tree, but she’s all warlock underneath. She knows her stuff, you should too!
Hunter – I’m the only hunter that runs regularily, we have at least two who make a good many of the raids. I’d love to welcome a few more hunters into our ranks.
Mages – We have two who run regularily, one frost and one arcane-fire. More water dispensers are always a good thing!

Healers
(Also in the order we need them)
Druid – Only one who runs regularily. One who runs very intermittantly. We needs more trees!
Priest – Real life has completely robbed us of all our priests, so we don’t have any full-time priest raiders. We have three (not including my alt) who run sometimes, but we need a dedicated priest healer. I’m open to taking either Holy or Disc, but I don’t want to load up on one or the other.
Paladin – We have one regular pally healer and I’d love to see somenew blood come in to keep her onher toes!
Shaman – We have two regular shaman healers, but we’re losing one soon to his new job.

Requirements and Other Important Info
What we’re looking for in our recruits are people who are available 4 out of 6 of our raiding days, looking to/getting prepared to run Ulduar, and who are still willing to run and raid now to help the guild get prepared. There seems to be a trend to slack off a bit now, but we’re not willing to do that. We’ve taken Maly 25 down, but only once. We’ve never done Sarth with any of his drakes up, though we came very very close once with 1D. We’re not done all of our raid achievements. My opinion is that there is still a lot of very fun raiding for us to do between now and 3.1 and I want people in my guild that want to do that raiding. Who want to head into Ulduar in tip top shape as a nicely knitted team. Right now, we’re fragmenting, drifting and just plain loafing, so I’m hoping that the influx of new blood will light a fire under some of our exisiting membership.

We are looking for people who have all of their gear properly gemmed and echanted, who have the frost resist set which is also gemmed and enchanted and who can lay down 2.5 – 3.0k dps, fully raid buffed in a 25 man. We expect our members to come to every raid with all of the consumeables they need – food, flasks, reagents – though we do have a guild vault tab that we use to help people out if they can’t find the time to farm for consumeables that week. Otherwise our vault runs on a ‘karma’ system – you put items in and you earn points that you can spend to take items out.

Our raid-required mods are Omen and DBM or BigWigs. We dole out loots using the EPGP system, and you can find the mod here if you like, though it’s not required for anyone other than officers. Participation in our forum community is very important, and once you’ve been accepted to the guild, we’ll walk you through the process of getting an application in to the forums. It’s critical that our raiders check the forums once a day, and that new folks spend a good amount of time there reading the important posts on our policies and procedures.

We raid on a three week cycle, with a ‘week’ defined as Tuesday to Tuesday (i.e one server reset to another). We raid 5-6 nights a week for the first two weeks of our cycle, then we have a week off of raiding so that folks can have a rest, restock consumeables, do some PvP … whatever you need to do to still enjoy the game. There are typically “fun-runs” posted on our off-weeks, but they’re not mandatory, nor are they run under the EPGP system.

We have an earnable title in our guild – Dedicated Raider. Dedicated raiders are those who go well above and beyond the minimum requirements for raiding and are a true asset and shining example to the guild. They get some pretty nice perks, mostly top consideration for raid spots and discounts on loots and items fromthe guild vault. We do an audit every off week and make sure that people who have the Dedicated title are continuing to put in the effort required of our top-notch members.

You can find Thorium Brotherhood here on WoWProgress and Impossibilium here.
If you’re into WoWJutsu (and there are some reasons you might not be) you can find Thorium Brotherhood here and Impossibilium here. There are also links to my two characters in the armory on my widget sidebar, as well as a page about my guild.

Our guild website is here and the application form is the tab on the lower right. I really, really look forward to hearing from some of the folks out there in the Warcraft Blogging Community. I’m thrilled to be a part of this larger WoW community, and I’m really hopeful that you will want to be a part of Imposs. It’s an amazing guild to be in, it really is.

Post Scriptum: If you do plan to apply, and you’re using a gmail account, please drop me a line at my blogging email and let me know. I get a metric assload of spambots applying from gmail accounts, and I generally just delete them.

DKP Killed My Father

So, I hate DKP.

Hate hate hate hate hate. I spent a lot of time raiding under a DKP or similar system when I was just another grunt raider and not a guild leader. When I became the head of my very own guild, my raid leader and I agreed that DKP was a tool of the Adversary, and we wanted to use something better. So we used a nested loot ladder system.

The basis of the loot ladder system is that all the raiders are ranked from one to whatever. The way we did this was that all the people who showed up to our first raid did a /random 100 and that’s the order they were in. Anyone who showed up after that was placed at the bottom of the ladder. Then, when a piece of loot dropped, the person at the top of the ladder had the option to take it or pass. If they passed, the loot was offered to the person on the next ‘rung’ down and so on. If they took the loot, they were moved to the bottom of the ladder.

It was a ‘nested’ loot ladder because we had a seperate ladder for the tier piece tokens. The ladder for the token might be warrior –priest — druid, and then the first warrior on the main ladder would be offered the loot. If he refused it went down the ladder to all the other warriors. If they all didn’t want it, off it went through the priest ladder and so on. If a warrior did take it, then warriors went to the bottom of their tier token ladder. We also rewarded folks for attending raids. If you came to a raid, you went up one rung, regardless of whether you received loot. We hoped that this would help us combat our huge problem of raider apathy.

I'm melllltiiiing!This worked pretty well for us while we were still a small guild, running one team for Kara every week, with the odd Gruul’s Lair thrown in. As we got larger, this sort of system became cumbersome and the fiddly work that raid leaders needed to do became a larger and larger task. As well, people started looking at the ladder, looking at their spot on it, calculating that there was exactly a snowball’s chance in Hellfire Peninsula that they’d get loot that night, and not showing up to raid. So we ended up with the same problem we initially had, plus the micro-management of the ladders to boot.

When my guild merged with another, we looked at their roster, looked at our ladder and junked the whole damn thing. It would have been a monumental task to make a whole new ladder for the new, combined guild, and managing it would just consume more time than our officers were willing to put in. So, we needed to find something better. Something that was also not DKP.

.what is that smell!?
We didn’t want DKP for a few reasons. One because I personally feel its is unfair and subject to too much abuse, including the type of hoarding Larisa talks about. Two because I, and a good deal of our other raiders have a really negative attitude towards it. Actually, it was more of a deep and desperate loathing for the system. Imagine the entire guild squinting one eye, raising a clenched fist in the air and shouting “KHAAAAAAAAAAN!” every time someone says ‘DKP’. People really didn’t like the idea of it. So, the last thing we wanted to do with our brand new guild was to bring this sulphur-scented pile of felhound excrement into our midst. What we decided to go with instead was the EPGP system

EPGP works sort of like a combination of DKP and loot ladder. It’s actually really hard to explain to folks, and we even had one raider ragequit because he just so offended by the mere thought of it. But, in my mind – and in the minds of the rest of the officers that decided on it – it really is the most fair loot system for our guild. I think it might even be worth looking at for your guild! I think it’s just great and I hope you bear with me while I explain it.

The first thing you need to know about EPGP is the terimology. There are three main acronyms: EP, GP and PR.
EP: Stands for Effort Points. These are points you earn by putting effort into the guild.
GP: Stands for Gear Points. Every piece of loot is worth a certain amount of gear points.
PR: Stands for Priority Rating. PR is the ratio of EP:GP.
So, the short and sweet version is that you earn EP, you “spend” GP and your PR goes up and down depending on which you are doing more of.

I got what you need!Now I know all your greedy little goblin minds want to know, “How do I get as much EP as possible?” The answer is simple. EP is earned by putting effort into the guild. The mod can be set up so certain people can award EP (in my case the officers) and they can award any amount at any time to anyone.

How we do it in Impossibilium is like this. We award EP for boss kills – usually 50 EP for non-progression and 100 EP for progression. This EP goes to everyone in the raid. The mod also allows you to do something called Recurring EP, which lets you give EP over a time period. So our raiders also earn by having their butts in the raid. (Usually 10 EP per half hour for non-progression and 15 EP per half hour for progression.) We like to reiterate to folks that boss attempts are an important part of progression as well, so we will give EP for boss attempts when we are learning fights. We don’t always give it out for every attempt, but good solid attempts where people are actually trying to learn and not pissing about or facepulling or anything are rewarded with some EP as well – typically 25% of what a boss kill is worth.

So far, I know this is sounding very much like DKP. But the thing we like best about the EPGP system is that you can reward any effort, not just showing up to a raid (a discussion about how someone who just shows up to a raid isn’t necessarily putting good effort into the guild and its progression will have to wait for another time). We can award someone who goes out of their way to farm up a bunch of flasks to give out at raid. The person who pays for our Ventrilo server gets a small amount of EP every month. Our Webmonkey who pays for and maintains our site and forums gets a bit of EP every month as well. As does the hardworking officer who maintains our guild vault and the system we use to manage it (a topic for another post!) One thing that we in Impossibilium pride ourselves on is being a very human guild. We understand that our raiders are people with lives and families and goals outside of the game and that you can be an important contributing member of the guild without being at every single raid. EPGP is the perfect system for us to reward that ‘extracurricular’ effort that is so important to our success.

Yeah, whaddaya want?
Now all those little goblins are counting their EP points and wondering what shiny things they can spend them on. Here’s how! The EPGP mod will set what each item is worth. When an item drops, the mod shows the raid (on a tooltip) and the loot master (on a pop-up window) its GP value, and then we do a secret bid for it. You’re allowed to bid either NEED or GREED and a greed bid must be followed by a percentage from 50-100. If you bid need, that means you need the item and you agree that you will pay the full amount of GP for it. If you bid greed, it means maybe it’s a side-grade for you, or just for certain situational fights, or maybe an offspec, so you want it, but not bad enough to take it from someone who actually needs the item. The percentage after your greed bid tells the loot master how much you’re willing to pay for the item. Anyone who bids need will automatically win the item, and pay the full GP price for it. If no one bids need, it will go to the greed bidder with the highest greed % bid, and they will pay the GP price they bid for it. And of course if no one wants it, we will shard it and the shard goes to the guild bank.

I know you’re all thinking, “But what if there is a tie bid?” That is where the PR comes in. If two people have the exact same bid (need or greed %) then the item will go to the person with the highest PR. The reason for this is that PR is a direct measure of how much gear you have compared to the effort you’ve been putting into the guild. So if your PR is low, you’re either not putting in very much effort or you have already gotten a bunch of gear. So the idea behind giving the the item to the person with the higher PR is to make sure that loot is being spread around equally and in proportion to the amount of effort you’re putting into the guild. If there is a tie in PR (rare, but it happens) then there is either a random roll, or if one of the people in the tie has our special “Dedicated” raider rank, they get the item. (Again, our Dedicated rank is a topic for another post).

One of the best things about EPGP is that it circumvents the hoarding of points you see in a DKP system. For one, it’s a ratio of the effort you put in divided by the gear you’ve already received that determines if you get loots or not, not just a straight amount of points like in DKP. As well, the EPGP mod allows you to apply a decay. You can set the decay to any amount you like, and you need to manually apply it. We have a 10% decay every Monday night, and the decay applies to both EP and GP. Your PR thus does not change, as both the numerator and the denominator in the ratio that determines PR changes by the same amount when you apply decay. Your absolute position on the ‘loot ladder’ portion of the EPGP system does not change, but your ‘purchasing power’, as it were, does. This means that you have to use your points or you will eventually lose them, so don’t hoard them. It also weeds out people who show up to a bunch of raids, collect a load of points, then disappear off the face of the earth for a few months then expect to get all the loots when they get back to raiding.

Another thing I hated with DKP was that it quickly becomes a debtor’s prison. If your guild does not allow you to go into negative DKP, then this can solve the problem, but if you can accrue negative DKP (like the guilds I used to run with) then when someone new comes into the guild, they start at 0 DKP, which is effectively above you. Then not only does someone brand new come in and grab all the loots, but you’re ever furthur down the loot totem pole. And if you’re raiding is sporadic or not as ‘hard core’ then you just get yourself deeper and deeper into DKP debt. With the EPGP system, new people to the guild still start at 0 EP points. However, they are not allowed to bid NEED until they have accumulated 1000 EP points. This means that someone brand new can not take loots from anyone who acually needs it, but will get gear over folks who just want something for an offspec or maybe just for a few restricted fights. This is something inherant to the mod, but you have to tell it what your minimum EP will be.

The EPGP system is that it can also act as a discipline measure if needs be. We can “fine” people EP for breaking rules, and I do have to say that just the threat of losing even 10 or 15 EP is enough to make people sit up and take notice. One of our biggest issues is that folks will sign up for a raid, and we will of course plan on them being there. Then when they don’t show, we’re left sitting around and in some cases the raid doesn’t go at all. So we instituted a 25% EP penalty for a sign-up, no-show (SUNS). Of course if that raider comes to an officer the next day and explains that they had some sort of real life issue that didn’t allow them to raid, we’re not ogres, we give that EP back to them, but it’s a hefty enough amount to make people realize that the rest of the guild is counting on them to be there when they say they will. We also had an issue with people taking extended or unannounced afks in raid. Those are worth -5 EP for every minute afk, with a maxiumum of-50 EP and a boot from the raid. We very rarely have to enforce this policy which says to me that it’s working. It also shows the raiders who are at our raids on time and when they say they will be and don’t waste time by taking unannounced or extended afks that their time is valuable to the guild and people who waste their time will be dealt with.

Something else that I just can’t talk enough about it the amazing flexibility of the EPGP system. Because the officers can award EP for anything we like, we generally do. And because those EP points directly translate to gear, people are willing to go through great lengths to get them. When we were learning the Magtheridon fight, I had a lot of trouble getting our ranged dps to stop pewpewing and to focus on cube clicking. To drive home that point, I would award a whopping 25 EP to the cube clickers if we didn’t wipe due to poor clicking. Not only did we down Magtheridon two attempts after I started doing that, but I had dps just clamouring to be cube clickers. And with WotLK, we knew that some of our raiders would storm ahead and try to get some realm firsts, but that a lot of our raiders were slightly slower at leveling and getting heroic gear. So we started a system we called LAWLs or Little Achievements While Leveling. If someone who was already 80 helped out someone who was levling, then the person who was helped could nominate that helper for a LAWL, which were rewarded with cold hard EP. This gave the people who were already 80 motivation to help the slower folks, as well as gave them a leg up when we did start raiding.

ka-BOOM!Gevlon over at the Greedy Goblin is several orders of magnitude more clever than I when it comes to working a system and getting the most for yourself. So, I’m sure that he could come up with ways to beat this system as well. The only ‘trick’ that I know of – and one that I encourage my raiders to use – is to bid low when you know no one else wants the item. Let’s say some warrior loot drops, and you’re the only warrior in the raid. You need it, but why bid need and pay full price? No one is going to bid against you, so bid greed 50% and get it for half price! So far the only loot drama that EPGP has created for us is people bidding need on items that other people don’t think they needed, but that was only at the begining of the changes to the ‘spell damage’ system. We do have an as-yet-unused officer veto clause in place. For example if a mage bid need on a plate spell caster helm, the loot master would just tell him no. We’ve never had to go that route and I hope we never will have to.

I know that this is a huge post, but there are a lot of subtleties to the EPGP system. It is so malleable to the needs and goals of a guild, that it was just incredible when we stumbled upon it, and I’m really shocked that more guilds don’t use it. The mod itself is not a memory hog, it’s pretty user friendly, it’s very intuitive to use and most of all it’s very fair. You put effort in, you get loots out. And in my mind, that’s what being in a raiding guild is all about.