Oh, Not This Again

So, the lure of the wild has called. The call of the wild has lured. I am heading back into the frontiers and wilderness to experience this physical, natural science we call geology in all it’s glory. Oh, and there will be potash.

I won’t be gone long, (Field Season 3.5 The Search for OH GOD THIS CAMP IS DRY OH SWEET JESUS WHYYYY????) but I don’t know exactly what kind of time and internets connectivity I’m going to have. There is likely to be some blogular whining about how I can’t play Warcraft and how much I miss my guild and how my attempts to reach the gold cap are falling behind.

I will miss the Good Ship Imposs. I will try and stay connected via out forums, and hopefully someone will take the time to say “hey” every now and then. I will miss the blog communities that I have become a tangential part of. I will miss my my home and my cats and my better half.

On the plus side, I now have both coveralls and a winter coat with my name stitched on them. 8 years of University have finally paid off!!

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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.

This Wasn’t In My Contract

So, if you’ve surfed onto this blog from one of my forum posts, Welcome! Thank you for taking the time to indulge your interest in my wonderful guild, Impossibilium. I’m justifiably proud of both this blog and the guild that it’s about so please, make yourself at home. Have a little look around and become part of the extended Warcraft community!

Good grief this recruiting stuff is hard work!

I don’t usually do the recruitment dance. That’s the baliwick of my co-guild leader and partner in crime. It’s something she’s always tackled with her usual zest and effusive charm, and something that I’m a little … clumsy at. (For the record, the last time I tried I got a 24 hour forum ban. Doing it wrong, to be sure.)

But some days Real Life cannot be crowd controlled and poor Shanaria is being hit hard by the twin evils of illness and general economic troubles, so the task of beefing up or ranks has fallen to yours truly.

Post on the recruitment forums? Check!
Post on the realm forums? Check!
Obsessively checking, rechecking, bumping and generally fussing over said posts? Check!

Now, maybe when I get home from work tonight I can start the “flogging of the guild over various chat channels” routine as well as stalking searching for unguilded folks who might be willing to join us.

I’m exhausted already.

Our raid enthusiasm is really coming in fits and spurts lately, and I’m very optimistic about the possibilities of the new content that’s coming down the pipes today (today!!!) really lighting a fire under the guild members. However, I think to really be able to give the guild soup a good stir, we need to introduce some new ingredients. New guildies are always a cause for excitement. Who are they? What are they like? Do they sound sexy over vent? What is their playstyle like?

Yay for healthy competition too! I think a few of our raiders (not the least of which is me) have grown a little complacent in their spots in raids and on the meters. A little bit of threat from the Young Guns might shake up the Old Guard a bit and get them back on their toes. I know that there is a vast sea of players out there, and I can feel it in my bones that there are some future Imposs lifers (and officers???) out there, I just have to find them. I’ll be casting my net far and wide over the next few weeks, working diligently to swell our ranks, so any advice or words of encouragement would be most welcome.

Also, maybe the forum trolls are all asleep, but I’ve avoided them so far. Yay for me!

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.

Do You Feel Motivated, Punk?

So, we’ve been having some trouble with Malygos. It’s a bugger of a fight, the timer is always against us, we wipe a lot and people have gotten really discouraged. Maylgos is the first fight in WotLK that has been a true challenge for us, and it seems that since Patch 3.0 came out, some people in Impossibilium have forgotten what it feels like and what it means to really have to work to see content. We’ve steamrolled through Naxx and Sartharion and come to a full stop up against the massive blue roadblock that is Malygos.

We tweaked some strats and found some videos and begged, pleaded and cajoled our members into reading the strats, watching the vids and doing the Aces High! daily every day. And still, last night we went into Eye of Eternity and there were raiders who hadn’t taken the time to do any of that. And we’ve been working on Maly for three weeks now. There have been guild MotD posted about the vids and the importance of doing the Aces High! quest. There has been forum post after forum post after forum post about the importance of the daily quest and the strat videos and people just talking about the fight in general and still there are people who don’t care enough to come to raids prepared.

At least everybody flasked and food buffed last night. Thank god for small mercies.

So lasts weeks’ wipes were characterized by a complete lack of focus. People were using vanity trinkets and noncom pets and mounts and a very silly (but highly entertaining) mod called Gag instead of paying attention to the fight. Too many afks, too many DCs and just a complete and utter lack of dedication and motivation for success. It was frustrating. It was disenheartening. And people have stopped signing up for our Malygos runs. We’ll readily have over 30 signups for Naxx, any day of the week. But post a Malygos run and the signups vanish into thin air. And of the people who actually sign up – an even smaller fraction deign to show.

There was much weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. And loss of EP.

I thought about it, and I realized that the old school raiding mentality where you would toss yourself at the immovable object of a difficult boss fight over and over and over and blow through a week’s worth of gold in consumeables and repairs just because you were a raiding guild and that was what you did – well, those days are gone. That raiding mentality can go hand in hand with a lot of feelings of arrgoance, superiority, and a generally negative >”50 DKP minus!!!!1oneone” sort of leadership that is something we did not (and do not!) want for Imposs. Yelling and screaming and ranting and raving and shaming and punishing people was (in my mind) not going to work to get us a dead dragon.

What I did was go to our forums and post this:

Now I know that 100g isn’t a huge amount. I thought it would be enough to take the sting off of a night’s worth of repairs. (I also didn’t want to bankrupt the guild vault – any amount of gold I handed out would have to be multiplied by 25!) However, 1000 EP is an enormous amount of EP. In a good night of raiding Naxx, where we get three wings clear the average raider will earn between 600 and 700 EP. And a truly awesome item – like my sweet new gun or my beloved Black Ice – will set you back around 300 EP. So earning 1000 EP in one big chunk on top of the regular raid time and boss kill EP is something that I hoped would make people sit up and take notice.

It did.

I put that wanted poster on the forums on Friday morning. On Saturday night he was dead in 10 man. ON Monday night – 25 man. 2 Nights of raiding, 2 dead dragons!

So thank you Impossibilium. Thank you for putting in the effort, thank you for staying for wipe after wipe, thank you for doing your dailies and watching your strat vids and tweaking your gear and spec and trying a little bit harder after every wipe. (And thank you for your generosity in carrying those rare few who didn’t put in as much effort as you did.) The vast majority of this guild is made up of capable, competant, hardworking, wonderful players and I am very proud to be part of your successes!

It’s Been One Week

So, here is what Wrath has brought to Impossibilium.

successWe have three of our players to 80, and at least 5 over 75. One of those dings to 80 was the server first for Night Elves. I was really hoping we were going to get a few more server firsts, we were close for warriors, druids and for blacksmithing, but alas, ’twas not to be. I’m pretty excited about the presence Impossibilium has on the server. The realm first really drummed up some interest in us and seeing our members amongst the select few who are flying around Northrend or pounding around on their mamoth mounts really warms my heart. We were one of the top 10 raiding guilds on Thorium Bortherhood (top 5 for Alliance) and I’m glad to see we’ve really come into our own.

tensionBut the success has brought some tension. There is already some grumblings that the people at 80 are not looking forward to the heroic and rep and badge grind and want to raid right now. Well before Wrath came out we set Feb 1st to be the date we would start raiding again. The leadership felt that this was a good date to give enough time that our members would be able to enjoy the content, learn how to best utilize all the changes to their classes, enjoy their Christmas holidays and do some badge and heroic farming to be well and truly raid ready. There has been some noise from some our of 80 and near-80 people that the Naxx requirements are not hard to meet at all, so I can has raid nao plz?

balanceOur class balance has changed quite a bit. One thing we gave to our members with Wrath was a Change Your Main Free card. There were more than a few people who wanted to make a really big change in Wrath and so some of our tanks are now healers, some of our melee are now tanks and some of our healers are now ranged. Things are still shaking themselves out and we’ve given everyone until New Year’s to make a final decision. My own decision has been causing me no small amount of stress, but I think I will write about that a little later. It’s sort of odd to see all the changes, close to a quarter of our membership has switched up their raid roles, so I’m excited to see some of the new dynamics developing.

silverliningWe’re growing closer as a guild. There’s a real sense of “us against them” in Imposs these days. I’m well aware of the Internet Ashattery Equation but it seems to me that something about Wrath has brought out the Inner Shithead in everyone. There are a few guilds known on our server for being complete wastes of space, and their up to their old spawn camping and kill stealing tricks and no one is batting an eye. But what is really staring to bother me is that people I have seen behave in much kinder and more generous ways are suddenly transformed in to slavering, lurching, grasping Monsters of Greed. It’s not doing a damn thing for the tone of the server, but it has tightened the relationships within the guild, so I guess I should be looking at the mithril lining here.

awardIn BC we took a page from Blizzard’s playbook and introduced the concept of an earnable title within the guild. We called this title “Dedicated” and it was awarded to raiders who showed exceptional dedication to their class, their guild and our raids. It came with some perks, namely a discount from the bank, preference for limited raid spots and a discount on the amount of points you’d have to spend to win raid loots. It was a very good system for us, it brough out some healthy competition and it reiterated to the membership that raiding is what this guild is all about. Along the same lines, we’ve instituted Guild Achievements now for Wrath. There is a sticky post on our forums celebrating the first of each class, race and profession to max out, as well as our first Explorer and Loremaster. The crafters get a bundle of mats from the guild bank as an award and the first of each class and race to 80 get a complete package of all the emotions food so that they can get themselves the achievement.

guild tagI’ve talked before about how Burning Crusade was the Guild Killer and how our officers were working as hard as we could to make sure that WotLK would not do the same to us this time around. It’s still a little bit early to tell, but I’d really like to think that all our hard work has paid off. There has been no great cataclysm, no astounding upheavals and I havn’t (yet! knock on wood) seen one hair of the drama llama. I know that we will have to tread cautiously to keep the guild cohesive, and to keep the slow levelers and the hardcore levelers happy and I know that once we start raiding it will be a whole new box of frogs, but I’m cautiously optimistic.

Keep up the good work, guys, I’m more proud every day to wear our guild tag!