Tuesday, August 25, 2009

What to do when you hate your raid leader

Here was the problem I was stuck with.

I am the guild leader, but I hate the guy who runs the raids. Personality issues really. The problem is that he's pretty skilled at what he does, especially good at explaining the fights.

I was also in the raids he was in for a while, but due to scheduling I could no longer do that.

I was stuck with two choices. Fire him, and take over the raids myself. It would be abrupt, and 9 people would probably feel quite the lurch. And I couldn't be sure I could do the job as well (although I probably could).

Or not replace him and don't raid with the guild I lead and co-founded.

After some thought, I decided to put the guild first and not expose them to a meaningless change in leadership (meaningless in that the only reason I would replace the RL is because I couldn't stand him).

So I may form another raid group within the guild. Or I may go back to my alliance guild and start raiding with them again. I'm not sure. Time will tell. I think running a raid group would be challenging and if successful, would lead to a transition where we could do 25 mans. Although I view this prospect as highly unlikely its still something that is doable.

The point of this post is to put your guild first. I will not and would not ruin the fun of dozens because I couldn't get along with a guy. Although it is so tempting just to drop kick him to the curb that time hasn't come yet.

Adventures in guild management

Been a long time since my last post, and that one looked pretty bad. I was pretty bored at the time, having just leveled my 'last' (haha) toon. Things change. I was laid off 3 weeks ago, and I had alot of time on my hands. So i started playing WoW during the day while waiting for school to start up. At some point, not recently but not so long ago, my best friend stopped playing, got burn out. So he gave me the reins of the guild. However, given the high relapase rate, he came back, just in time! I'm handing the reins back to him.

What did I do? Well, I didn't make any sweeping changes to the guild. We had a pretty solid core and everyone was more or less happy and drama free. I did keep the recruitment thread up to date. I did outline my vision of the guild as far as raids go. I organized some retro-raids as before. I took care of the guild bank but elected some people to take care of it. I promoted some people who were officer material.

What did I learn?

1) Deligate. If you have a large 100+ member guild, you arent going to be able to do everything for everyone. Yes, as an officer I feel i have a duty to help people with heroics and the like, but I will almost never do run-throughs for someone unless they are a friend (and side note - most adult players will never beg or ask for run-throughs). But I added some officers to handle the duties I used to have.

2) Backup. Its not a bad thing to have two people do a task. They can divide the task however they want, but as long as it gets done, it's fine. I gave the bank job to the new, eager officer and an old hand who doesn't play much any more. That way both have a role in the job and it gets done smoothly (sometimes too many people is bad though).

3) Continuity. It's hugely upsetting as a guild member to find your friend the GL has just gquit (effectively). It's not you, its them (well its proably not you). Burnout is natural and expected, nobody likes doing the same thing forever. It helped alot I think that I was pretty involved in teh guild as the GL was stepping down, thus not too much changed. People got used to seeing my face and having me handle the issues that crop up.

4) Vision. For 3.2 I knew we were going to have a huge bolus of people and raiding was going to get alot easier. I implimented a no-brainer vision.

a) Get naxx over and done with, even if it requires extending raid lockouts.
b) Do TOC and hTOC every day until you got most of the gear from that place - naxx25 gear from hTOC is better than any drop we could get.
c) Start doing Ulduar as soon as possible.

I think this vision lead to us (well, the guild's raiding group) going into ulduar and doing flame lev (which is damn easy but big for confidence).

Now I gladly hand the reins back to my friend, who is much more experienced with people management than I am. I'm grateful for the opportunity to gain some experience, and I think did pretty well actually.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Now what?

Well, I have my fourth level 80, and I swore I wouldn't level another one. Already i'm thinking of the next one :) The only toon i have left horde side is my warlock. After being camped in dalaran for so long she might like to see the world again. We'll see. I'll def. try to get the chest piece for 20% more XP, and I think i'll need some shoulders bc I have leather BOA shoulders. May be some time before that happened. Wish you could share badges between toons!

I think the current plans are to max out herb and inscription, get into some raids and get the druid geared up, work on the DK more for heroics. I'd like to get the kirin tor rings (8000g each) but not sure I want to grind up that money. I'll still continue my inscription business and JC, i'm sure there will be stuff to buy in the next expansion, and I need to cover raid expenses.

Maybe I'll do recruit a friend dual-box for a month; should be quite inexpensive if I can buy WoW used or something, maybe do the free trial thing. I could level a paly and a mage or something. From my guildmates, it only takes a month or less to get to 60 using RAF.

Patch day :(

So, another 6 hours until realms up.

What did I do this week? Make a ton of money off JC. Actually much of it were sunk costs, but still looks like the original 2000 investment netted 6000 or more. So what did I do? I bought the last guild tab! Now unless i get one of those money sinks (like the rings, the Hog, the mammoth), I don't have anything to buy.

Most of the week was leveling the druid, about a level a day. Yesterday at 4pm I hit 80. The later levels were indeed short, I only spent about 3.5 hours from 79 to 80. Thank god I had enough rested to get through it.

I found leveling speed depends on the area; some areas only have one linear quest chain. Which is fun for lore purposes and so forth, but is ultimately quite slow. For example in Zuldrak the Knights of the ebon blade have a mostly linear quest line, and was very timeconsuming and unprofitable. The Argent Crusade guys had a bunch of parallel quests, as did the trolls to the east of them (actually this area was excellent for leveling). Scholozar basin - again nessingway had a bunch of parallel quests, for some of the mobs you were doing 3 quests at once. The frenzyheart quest chain is fun, but not parallel. Bad time sink. So is the Freya quest chain.

I noted that once I got the flying costs out of the way, i started 73 at 100g and finished at 80 with 2000g, paying for training along the way, vendoring greys and quest rewards. So pretty much if you start 70 with nothing you can get cold weather flying and slow flight at 77, with just the quest rewards in game, nothing to do with professions or AH or anything. Then you could finish the level 80 quests for another 2000g or so, leaving 2000g to grind for the mount (or 10 days of dailies).

Northrend leveling guide

My feeling in the future (if i ever level another toon) is to skip the known slow areas, could speed up leveling by 50% i think. And above all, avoid instances like the plague. They are horrible time investments for the XP return.

Some good quest hubs (off the top of my head).

Borean Tundra:
Warsong Hold
Taukale Village
Borgorok outpost

Actually all the quest hubs are pretty non-parallel. Agmar's hammer has a few parallel quests, as does Venomspite (the New heathglen quests are good xp/time)

Grizzly hills:
Conquest hold has a few parallel (or easy) quests. If you do all of the quests from the hub you can get the gladiator quest series (Conquest Pit), which is yet another arena quest series. THese are so good for xp/time if you can get a group. Avoid the troll mojo quests like the plague.


Skip Ebon Watch. Do Light's Breach, and Argent Stand. Also the small group of guys just northeast of Ebon Watch has a good quest hub. Do ZimTorga, and def. Ampitheatre of Anguish. The 4 mini quests for Argent stand (Troll Patrol) has an achivement if you can do it within 20 minutes, and rewards supposedly 60-80kXP.

Scholozar Basin:

Do all of Nesingway quests. Do Rivers Heart. Skip the rest. Most of the quests in this zone are non-parallel.

Storm Peaks:

Do K3, do the Hodir quest line (which opens up a nice quest hub at Brunnhildar village). You can stop when you get to the Hydemeet, or keep pushing to open up Sons of Hodir. Do the crash site (Gromarsh) - this unlocks several quest hubs, one which is good and easy is for the Earthen just NE of the crash site. Quests in this zone are pretty fast IMO.


Not an expert on this, but do Argent Vanguard to unlock Argent Pinnacle? quest hub. Do the Ebon blade quests which unlock dailies which are quick. Much of the quests here are either dailies or group quests, so this zone isn't all that great for leveling.

Howling Fjord: I never really did this zone in full. I'm sure it's like BT though.

Overall I'd say

Borean Tundra 68-72
Dragonblight 72-73 or 74
Grizzly Hills 74-75 or 76
Zuldrak 76-77
Scholozar (Nessingway quests only) 77-78
Storm Peaks: 78-80.

Once you finish the major quest hubs in Dragonblight go to GH, don't finish the zone. Ditto for GH, ZD, and Scholozar. SP and BT are the only zones that are decent for leveling to do in full.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Post 3.2 thoughts

Well, the realms are down, and on a Thursday.

How do I like 3.2? I f'ing love it.

Leveling. First thing I did was buy cold weather flying and epic flying for the druid (and swift flight form). That was a cool 6000g. Yeah, i forgot, but unless you've been grinding rep for whatever reason, your average joe 60-79 isn't going to have rep with the factions needed to get the discount. So, epic flight is still damn expensive. I can't be positive leveling is actually faster, but I think it is. Regardless, it's a good deal *easier*, due to all those gather quests I can do in flight form and never touch a mob. However, if you are doing those quests the right way, you get just as much XP from killing the mobs as the quest reward itself. Consequently I've been leveling the druid like mad on Tue/Wed. Started at high 73, now I'm high 75. I blew through borean tundra (finally - ended up ditching a few quests but got most of them done), all of dragonblight (except wraith gate), and started in to zul-drak. Note that scholozar basin is really 76-77, not 75-77 as I thought. So i'm heading there when I hit 76 for sure. Leveling is still slow slow slow but I think its about 4 hours per level now versus 5+ per level with ground mount. That said, I have easily 20 more hours to go (ugh).

Professions. JC is making good money as expected. However, I think selling the rare ore at the right price is more valuable. The prospecting rate is not that great, I didn't keep stats, but it seemed on average to be one epic per stack of ore. Well, the uncut epics are selling for 300g or less now, whereas the ore sells for 300g. Green gems for example (eye of zul) are selling for 80g each and I can just see that number going down. Cut gems are doing decent. I tried for an hour or so to sell cuts in /trade. It was hit or miss. I tip well for things I really need, but for example I had one guy who asked for 10 cuts, i said it was 20g each, so he gave me a cardinal ruby instead. That's nice, but now I have to sell it. And I can suspect he is going to flood the market with his cuts. Would rather have cash. ANother guy gave me 4 cuts to do and tipped 15g. Another guy, i bought the pat for him, and he gave me a nice 40g tip. So, hit or miss. But generally speaking it's not a good way to make money. Best to sell the stuff in AH. From my 14 stacks of ore, I sold 2 of them, prospected 10, sold the cuts on AH. I'm up 1400g and I have over 1000g out on the AH. All in all i should get 1000-2000g profit, which isn't huge. The smart money would be to stockpile the titanium. However the market can only absorb so much. I can predict within a few days the prices are going to plunge back to 100g per stack, where they were before patch.

The new 5 man Trial of the Champion - I love it. I think its quite unique and challenging enough, and the drops are just fantastic. We ran it 2x and out of the 10 epics i dont' think anything was left to rot. Well all need gear badly though, so just gotta keep running it and get everyone geared up. The bosses are a bit challenging but not too hard. Both times we wiped 4-5 times but the run back is so short.

The Future.

For me its running lots of ToC, getting my druid t0 80, and getting geared quickly through ToC. For the guild, I think we are going to run ToC for a few weeks and head back to naxx and finish it. I think we'll end up running it once or twice more, then move on to ulduar. When the gear starts to rot then its time to move on I think.

BRK's new gun.

Gratz to him!