Category Archives: Guild Life

Blizzard and guilds

As requested – and, to be honest, intended anyway – here some thoughts on the announced premium (i.e. pay-for) feature to, in some future, be able to invite people to groups who are on a different server, but on your RealID friends list.

Before I begin, let us get something out of the way. Something that needs to be considered in all musings about WoW: Blizzard is not stupid. This is very important. Blizzard didn’t get to where they are due to blind luck or by comically stumbling around. Of course they do make mistakes on the small scale – like in balancing, tuning, or with particular design decisions – of course some of their experiments do not work out as expected or intended, but on the large, strategic scale, Blizzard achieved success exactly because they played the market exactly right, pushed the right buttons and pulled the right levers. If an argument, at any point, hinges on the assumption of Blizzard being stupid, the argument is flawed. Just because they do something you don’t like or I don’t like, doesn’t mean they’re wrong, it means they deliberately and consciously don’t care about you and/or me, they simply cater to others. Keep that in mind. Now, let us begin.

What happens when you kill a raid boss? I mean, what does really, tangibly happen, what is the change that measurably takes place? I tell you what: in some database, a variable flips from 0 to 1. Or increments by 1. Or something pretty closely along those lines. This is what actually happens. Was it worth it? But, wait, no, you overcame a challenge, you mastered a difficult task – that’s what counts! Really? Well, single-player games are capable of offering a much better tuned, much more thrilling, much more involving level of challenge. Why, then, do we (if you’re reading this, you’re likely an MMO-gamer, like myself) rarely derive the same (or even any) sense of satisfaction from beating them as we derive from beating a raid boss? Because this boss kill contains so much more. It contains the unlikely stories how you crossed paths with the people around you, and sometimes the equally unlikely stories of how you all developed into the players you are now. It contains that time you had to deal with that huge drama that nearly tore it all apart, but those who remained, came out of it as a stronger unit. It contains that time when you were short a permanent tank, or running low on healers and people volunteered to respec. It contains those times when you had to adapt to having a rather exotic raid composition and managed to play to your strengths rather than succumb to your weaknesses. It contains that time when you were way past raid end time, but kept going and got the kill you were so desperately after. It is this “social context” that gives the actually measurable impact of an entry in a database changing value .. well .. context. A bold statement to make, maybe, but truth is, you can make that statement because it’s the only difference. Everything else is just electrons heading from A to B.

Now, I am a sucker for this whole deal of team success, prevailing together, figuring it out, winning as a team, Semper Fidelis. I don’t know why, but this whole coming together and walking the path really makes me feel good inside. Which is why online games and I are such a good (and dangerous) combination, I guess. Being the team-spirit-junkie that I am, I find it easy to make a concession that is, literally, unfathomable for the vast majority of people: I’d rather miss out on something now and do it with teammates later, even if it means much later. Understand, this is not about “demonising strangers” – strangers won’t ever become your friends if you don’t meet them first. It’s about doing it with strangers being ultimately meaningless. “Why don’t you pug it,” is a question I’ve heard a hundred times in the last several years. “What do you have to lose?” Err, nothing. The point is, I don’t have anything to win either. I don’t care about flipping it from 0 to 1, it’s meaningless to me. I don’t want to do a dungeon to “have it done”, I want to do a dungeon to enjoy doing it. I want the emotional context. I want the jokes (although not too many please, let’s focus when it’s needed! … I know, I’m an ass, yes). I want the memories of “back in January, I used to run lots and lots of dungeons with Alq, Dy, Daine and Ron, and we really grew together as a unit, knowing each other inside out”, rather than “and then I hit the DF to make the raid requirements”. I want to save each other’s asses in the most unexpected ways, and I want to let each other die in the most hilarious ways. I want to have a story to tell. It’s deeply important to me, it’s what I play for.

RIFT has an interesting example for the above with the .. err .. rifts. You run into one, you can just click a button at the top of your screen to join up with others who are nearby, you fight it, you close it. It’s good, emergent, quick, no-strings-attached fun. We do it for the reward and because fighting monsters is fun, and those are some pretty cool monsters to fight. Really, rifts are just FUN, there is a simple structure, there is a sense of accomplishment, cool effects and even some (not entirely fake) sense of impact. I don’t even consider it negative that there’s usually not much (mostly none at all) talking in the process. It actually makes perfect sense. You’re an Ascended, I’m an Ascended, we see planar invaders, we fight planar invaders, the “grouping up” is not some emotionally charged event, it’s only there so we can see each other’s names, roles, positions and health bars. Immersing into the simulation aspect, if it was “real”, we wouldn’t stop and converse about the necessity to rid the land of the evil that besmirches it either. We’d cut the crap and get on with killing it. We’re only random people who met based on the shared desire to slay monsters. So, yeah, it’s good fun (and I do make a point of thanking the others or congratulating on our victory in other ways). But it also feels relatively meaningless, because we are, after all, only random people who met based solely on the shared desire to slay monsters. It becomes meaningful when you are working in a specific group. Together with your friend and regular adventuring partner (I can’t even begin to describe just how much RIFT rewards pair-levelling), when you can really see your teamwork develop, reacting to each other, supporting each other. Or even with another person you just randomly met, but you are actually a bit too weak for what you’re supposed to fight, so you really try and work to your strengths and bite through it. Meaning is acquired through people. Special meaning is acquired through special people.

The following is going to be a somewhat bold statement: people like me are the backbone of guilds. People who prioritise “getting it done together” higher than “getting it done myself”. People who are willing to sacrificein a game. We’re not “the only thing that makes guilds work”, far from it, but still, we’re kind of important, regardless of whether we’re in some official role or simply there, contributing energy and investment.

Guilds, on the other hand, or clans or kinships or whatever they’re called in different communities, are the backbone of online gaming. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean “everyone needs to be in a guild”, or “everyone needs to be a raider/endgamer”. There is a lot that can be enjoyed solo, or mostly solo, and that’s good and important. What I mean is that long term commitment to a game (and thus long term revenue for the provider) tends to correlate with guild membership and participation in multiplayer activities. Not all that surprising, seeing as these are multiplayer online games, and the presence of other people is what separates them from single-player games.

Guilds are the gate keepers to a significant part of the content and experience (not XP) online games can offer. Blizzard knows this. Last year, or maybe the year before – those rants are impossible to date – I read someone on some forum go for the usual “do what I want or be doomed” angle, saying that if Blizzard doesn’t change the game the way he wants it to be (can’t even remember which way exactly that was), over time it will piss off all the guild and raid leaders, those will leave and then the game will die. Hyperbole, of course, but not without a grain of truth. Blizzard is wary of guilds, because while World of Warcraft belongs to Blizzard, the guilds, as a hypothetical whole, have an uncomfortable amount of control over it. And so, bit by bit, Blizzard started its quest to weaken the position of guilds and repossess that control.

Please pause and re-read the second paragraph of this post if necessary. No, Blizzard is not stupid, nor evil. They are strategically savvy and they don’t like the idea of another institution, or structure, having that much control over what is theirs. People quitting because their guilds fell apart and there was nowhere else to go; people quitting because their guilds got stuck and they could not get into a better one; people quitting because their friends quit and they suddenly felt alone in Azeroth – it’s not something that is or was happening “left and right”, but it was happening, and it was not to Blizzard’s liking.

The first monumental battle Blizzard fought – and won – against the influence of guilds was the introduction of the Dungeon Finder and its subsequent ascension to the widely accepted standard of group play. It fundamentally changed the way we approach group content. Think back. Does the line “find a decent guild” seem familiar as an advice to someone complaining about having difficulties assembling dungeon groups? Obsolete. Even more importantly, simply jumping into the DF queue became the more efficient mode of action even compared to asking guild mates. Not necessarily “better” or even “preferred”, but for many, more efficient. Asking means waiting for answers. Asking means potentially waiting for someone who says they’ll be available in half an hour. Asking means not being independent and self-sufficient (curious, you’d think the very point of a multiplayer game is not doing everything on your own). You’d get guild mates pugging at the same time instead of queueing together. If you read a lot of blogs, you’ll often find the episode of “and then I took care of my gear by running many randoms”, rather than “and then we as a guild helped each other gear up”. Curiously, this process of helping each other gear up is among my dearest and most pleasant memories – of early Mines of Moria, of early Cataclysm – it was team progress, and team progress was great.

The downside, of course, was that the randomly assembled groups would frequently underperform, not because they were filled with bad players – we all live in the Gaussian curve – but because all these people didn’t really care, because the runs, see above, were meaningless to them, except for the end reward. At least we all got an entertaining amount of rage-blogging out of it.

Why is there no Raid Finder then, if it’s so important to Blizzard, you ask? At this point in time, I am convinced that the only reason is that they truly can’t figure out how to implement one – how to handle composition, lockouts and the compared to 5-mans higher time requirement. Once again, Blizzard is not stupid and they don’t want to come out with a tool that won’t work satisfactorily.

So, indignantly ask efficiency fans, would I rather go back to cumbersome and time consuming group assembly? What, I would like to ask back, is more important: running a dungeon, or enjoying a dungeon? Again, I don’t see an inherent value in simply running a dungeon – I want to do it for the pleasure of doing it, not to get it done. So, yes, I’d rather invest extra time in improving the quality of my experience, rather than into complaining about it not meeting my desires. Of course, we got an external value in place – badge reward. Clever, eh?

The second great and genius move by Blizzard was the introduction of guild-bonuses and guild-levelling. Wait a second. Were those not supposed to strengthen guilds? And now I’m claiming they were intended for the exact opposite? Guild-levelling and guild-bonuses changed the very notion of what a guild is. The exceptional position of guilds used to be that they were social constructs. They were so strong exactly because they existed outside the system, outside the game mechanics. Inside the Matrix, they were everyone, and no one. Ahem. Becoming part of a guild was a decision based on what the people in that guild would provide you with (access to content and friendship both being viable criteria). Admitting someone to your guild was a decision based on what that person would provide you with. Guilds were about people. Now guilds are about points and percentages. Perks and privileges. By moving guilds into the realm of game mechanics, Blizzard dispelled the mysticism surrounding them. Your guild became a game element, like your buffs, like your mount, your talents. I don’t even want to get at pushing non-team-oriented players into guilds or encouraging guilds to accept everything with a pulse. Just think of the word “guild” now. Was the feeling it evoked the same as the feeling the same word was connected to a year ago? It’s a different thing now.

RealID .. well, RealID doesn’t need much commentary. However, it offers an opportunity to link to maybe one of the best posts ever written about WoW. Reading highly recommended. RealID is the bold first step from “heroes venturing to vanquish evil” to “people hanging around in a lounge and playing games”. Like, you know, Facebook gaming. Yes, yes, I know. I won’t go there. Not now, at least. Just keep this in mind: the market for Facebook games is much larger than for the “real games” we enjoy (again, I’m counting on you being a certain type of person, based on the observation that you’re reading this). Blizzard wants that bigger market. If you believe anything else, you’re being naive.

The recently introduced Looking for Guild tool is another interesting actor here. Like Adam, I can’t help but wonder how little someone needs to care about what guild they’ll end up in to use it for their search. And, also like him, I also can’t help but wonder whether the principle of the path of the least resistance will, over time, make this into the default method for most people regardless, similar to how the Dungeon Finder – in a shorter period, due to much more immediate benefits – became the default method of group forming and obsoleted all other methods for most people.

Roughly 2.5k words in, we’re now getting to the promised topic. What about the announced premium feature? First, the indisputably good: it does offer a fix for the much-lamented (at least by me) problem of meeting someone nice on a random-dungeon run and having to leave with the near-certain assumption of never seeing them again. Of course, the peculiarities of the RealID system render this application worthless quite quickly – there is a certain cleft between “nice person, during the last 30 minutes they appeared polite and competent, would be happy to group with them again” and “here’s my real name and email address”. It’s not, you know, quite the same.

The other positive: you can now finally group with your dear friend who is stuck on a different server! Err, wait a second. No one’s stuck anywhere these days. If you are such good friends, why are you not on the same server to begin with? Maybe because your gaming habits do not match up quite as well as your personality traits? And, you know, maybe running a dungeon is not necessarily the best way for friends to “catch up”. Especially if you are doing it with 3 other people, whose intentions are statistically most likely “get through here as quickly as possible”. Meaningless dungeon run is still meaningless.

What it does though is to further dislodge you from the “grasp” of your guild, your server or any other virtual-physical place of origin. It is a logical and sensible addition to RealID to help its goal: change your mindset from that of a player of an adventure game to that of a user of a social network with 3D graphics and instanced gaming. The good news is that this feature puts us only one step short of having at least one way to form cross-server raids. The downside: Bastion of Twilight or a bit of Starcraft 2 – at which point will you stop caring? At which point does the world turn into a lounge?

So, did I just bore you with a long winded conspiracy theory? Not really. The difference between what I wrote and what you usually find tinfoil-hat-inducing is that my reasoning is not based on the assumption that Blizzard is simply out to troll you. What I described matches observation and makes assumptions based on Blizzard being a strategically wise player (cf. paragraph two again, if necessary). Silly conspiracy theories claim that for some reason Blizzard collectively wants paladins to be bad. My theory claims that Blizzard wants to maximise their profit and is taking appropriate steps. The game environment they envision does not appeal to me – doesn’t mean they’re wrong, it means I’m no longer their target audience.

Oh, and about it being a feature that needs to be paid for? Hey, why not. Lots of people have claimed they’d be willing to pay extra for the privilege of being surrounded by a better community or a better Dungeon Finder pool. Will they put their money where their mouth used to be? Or will they think of it as ineffective, e.g. due to the aforementioned caveats? In either case, another interesting field-study for Blizzard regarding how much people are willing to pay extra.

I’m sorry the climax I built up towards got a bit short, but I hope you found the intended meaning in the context of the run up to it. Have a nice weekend!

The curious case of a curious guildie

No drama contained.

A (long) while ago we recruited someone into the guild. She had a Death-Knight in the 70ies and a druid in the 50ies or so and for a (long) while just occasionally played and levelled those two characters. She hardly ever interacted with anyone and had frequent periods of extended absence, and so pretty much everyone pretty much forgot who she actually is. Except me, that is, because I’m still pretty good at remembering things. Nearly every time she reappears after one of those periods of disappearance, I get quiet whispers “hey, do you know who that is?”, sometimes from the same people as last time. Luckily there’s a catchy way for me to remind the asker, provided they know that little bit of trivia about her, and if not, well, then they don’t know anything about her anyway, since, again, she never took part in guild life or interacted with anyone in any significant way.

The one time she came closest to actually participating in any sort of guild activity was some time after her DK reached level 80 and we invited her to join in on some heroics at a time when heroics were like bonbons and we asked her along because she was online and, you know, one can always ask before fetching a random, plus we thought maybe she’ll get kind of involved given the chance to be .. involved. We did two heroics during which she utterly failed in the basic-social-interactions department and at the end of which we gently pointed out to her that even when it’s found on plate, spell-power and intellect are not good stats for a DK. When I looked at her armoury profile yesterday, it became apparent that even at level 83 she still did not come to believe that lesson. Oh, yes-yes, of course she reappeared some time after the Cataclysm (isn’t it amazing how those phases of “stress iRL” seem to adjust to releases of new content? Okay, now I’m being mean), and of course I once again got gently asked who the hell she actually is.

And yet, when I’m going to suggest to consider a separation of ways between her and the guild, simply due to the fact that she unexceptionally failed at being a member of the guild in any reasonably conceivable meaning of the term, I’m going to be the mean and heartless guy again. Despite at the same time being the only person to reliably remember who she even is. Oh the irony.

King of Queens on WoW guilds

Caught an episode of King of Queens during lunch today. Doug and Carrie had their bed break under them. So, for the period until the new one would be delivered, they got old single beds from a friend. Putting them together didn’t work because they were on wheels, so they ended up “sleeping in different beds”. And it turned out to be awesome! Doug could turn as much as he wanted without disturbing Carrie’s sleep, when they wanted to get husband-and-wife-ey, they’d “visit” each other and it would be exciting, everything was fresh, new and optimal. Suddenly they discovered that they are very happy with it!

Soon they went to the cinema and couldn’t agree which film to watch, so they got this idea – since it worked so well with separate beds, why not go in separate films? It’s dark in there and you won’t be talking much anyway, so what? And then they went to separate places to eat, because they have different tastes. And then they started thinking about going on vacation separately, because they have different interests. And so on.

“There’s nothing wrong with our marriage just because we sleep apart, don’t share our tastes or free time activities!”

No time wasted for compromise, for thoughtfulness. You do what you want, you make the best of your time, and if both make the best of their time, then together they’ve made the best of their cumulative time. A perfect partnership. Or is it? Of course, by the end of the episode they realised it just couldn’t work that way. Doing what you want just isn’t that much fun if there’s no one to share it with, if no one you truly care about is there to do things together with, even if they’re not the things you love doing absolutely most. They missed each other. Optimising everything for yourself runs the risk of ending up with only yourself for company.

So, they got their new bed and slept happily ever after. I’ll leave it as an exercise to the reader to conclude what this has to do with WoW guilds (or any other game communities, for that matter). I’ll just ask: do you truly believe in the whole being greater than the sum of its parts?

Social Linear Algebra

Today I am going to explain social relationships with math. Because I’m lame like that. To emphasize how lame I am, this post is going to contain lots of lame drawings, fabricated with Paint.NET. Where shall we start? At the beginning.

This is a Cartesian coordinate system. With unlabelled axes, so, technically it’s crap in a bag and my school math teacher would’ve killed me for it. But as for the sake of the argument we’re abstracting from what the axes could mean anyway, let’s just pretend this is a Cartesian coordinate system. Moving on.

This is the vector a. As is not atypical for vectors, it has an orientation and a length.

This is the vector b. It also has an orientation and a length. The attentive reader may already have noticed something curious, which we will emphasize with the next graph.

Behold, for the vectors a and b have the exact same orientation! All they differ in is scale. Scale, on the other hand, is something readily ignored by mathematicians. Why? Because scale is only a number and real mathematicians don’t concern themselves with numbers. The numbers, you see, are always there, so if all you need to do to get from complex thing X to complex thing Y is multiply by trivial number Z, then the difference between X and Y is trivial and can, on a theoretical level, be ignored.

Now, if we transfer this into the social space and imagine that vector a represents the opinion of person A, and vector b represents the opinion of person B, we quickly realise that A and B actually share the same opinion. The difference is only one of scale.

  • Both A and B are excited in the exact same way, but A is more excited.
  • Both A and B are annoyed in the exact same way, but A is more annoyed.
  • Both A and B are ready to act, but A is .. uhm .. more impatient, maybe.

The problem is that in practice A and B feel the same say … but not really the same way. They have the same opinion, but A reacts more strongly, expresses themselves more strongly, seeks more pronounced consequences within a shorter time frame. They both see the same, they both think the same, they both want the same (equal orientation), but they differ in approach (scale).

The trouble is that on one hand, A develops a sense of a hero fighting on their own, abandoned by friend and ally, no one able to see their way, no one sensing the dangers and the pitfalls. They feel like they are surrounded by insensitive people, so they think they need to crank up the scale even further, to make them realise, to make them see. Everything turns into impending doom and the end is constantly nigh. On the other hand, B really would like to hug A and say “hey, I’m with you on this, mate”, but the problem is that B isn’t really with A, as the following graph demonstrates.

Despite the underlying difference being only scale, A and B simply do not stand in the same place. So A continues to feel like the lone fighter and B continues to feel unable to give their friend the support they’d like to give. And where does this all lead us? That’s where:

C wut I did thar?

Calling a tail a leg

So, yesterday I respected my national duties and watched football. Germany won against England 4:1. Yay, and everything. Sunday afternoon game, it just offered itself to spend a few hours to avoid being the one who doesn’t care among lots of people who do care. Luckily, it was an exceptionally good game, so I wasn’t bored too much. What does this have to do with WoW? Getting there.

In the German midfield, on the left wing, we’re playing a guy who is actually a forward. Why, you ask? Well, he’s a lefty (foot-wise), he’s very quick, has one hammer of a shot and is always good for scoring a goal; but on the other hand he’s not a very effective striker for an offensively oriented team, as the downside of his quickness is that, as has been joked, he needs half a field run-up to get something going, doesn’t have a strong header and such. As this is not a football analysis blog, let’s just say, he’s frankly the best candidate for the left-wing-midfield position. Except, he’s no midfielder. He’s a forward.

Early in the game, around the 10th minute maybe, Germany was running a counter-attack, three-on-three. Said forward-playing-midfielder was leading the ball and going central, one teammate in position to penetrate the penalty box on his left, another on his right. At the point where he couldn’t effectively advance any further himself, he fired a shot. One of those shots where once every blue moon you hit it perfectly, hammer it in and everyone drools at your shooting technique, but in the other 99 of 100 cases you just fire it into the stands. This one, naturally, went into the stands. And all the fans were like “oh my god, why did he shoot”, and all the experts were like “that was not good decision making on his part”, and I was like “well, of course he was going to shoot, he’s a forward, damnit, and everyone’s giving him a daily manual for his oh-so-hard shot, he has a well-nurtured hero complex, of course he was going to shoot”.

You see, this was not a game deciding situation by any stretch of imagination. Nor am I trashing him or his selection/utilisation – like I said earlier, he is the best man for the job, and he’s always likely to offset whatever shortcomings he has with the talents he possesses. But, of the four German goals, three were a direct result of a temptingly well positioned player passing to an even better positioned player for a relatively sure-fire thing. And that’s why we try our best not to force people into playing a specific class/spec. Because at the end of the day, you are what you are.

The Musical Easter

In response, or rather in reaction, to a brief ABBA moment I shall publish the Little Rogue song I composed (*coughs*) about a month ago.

*clears throat*

When I was just a little rogue,
I asked on EJ, how shall I spec?*
Will I be Combat, will I be Mut?
Here’s what they said to me.

Que Sera, Sera,
There’s upside in every tree.
The future’s all RNG.
Que Sera, Sera.

* The author hereby denies all responsibility for any corporal or mental damage that may result from asking questions on EJ that may be deemed inappropriate.

The tale of a Gnome Mage

No, not Coltoon. Nor Frostydude.

Once upon a time, there was a gnome mage. He grew up, experienced 5-man dungeons and obtained gear of a reasonable level. There were these raid things he had heard of, so he went on the official forums to ask his fellow inhabitants of Azeroth for advice on his further mageing and on how to transition from 5-mans to that fabled raiding. Coincidentally, we were also about to take that very step and just started active recruitment. So, we left a message in his thread (which quickly became an EJ-outpost of arcane mages beating each other in wit while reasoning over trinket cooldowns), I added him to my Friends list, greeted him when he logged on and after a bit of chatting he agreed to “join and see”.

“Hmm, you only have 6 level 80 characters in the guild,” he keenly observed first thing after joining. And, just to be clear, I had not lied about, not even concealed our small scale and state of development.
“Well, yes, but at least they’re actually from 6 different people. And we have 2 friends who run with us,” I tried to come back.
Hmm,” he concluded. Abstract friends reliable guild rosters do not make, and even 6 + 2 still only gives 8, which is remarkably less than 10.

A couple of hours later he apologetically explained that he received a better offer and that although he’s sorry, he will seek his luck there. You shall not hold up the travellers, as a German saying says. I politely expressed my regret about his decision, but assured him I can’t blame him for it and wished him all the best.

Today, little more than a month later, we have close to 30 level 80 characters in our guild. People transferred server and faction to play with us, people resubscribed to play with us – you cannot imagine (well, maybe you can) the magnitude of pride this fills us with, more than any measurable in-game achievement. We’ve cleared Naxxramas and The Room of the Crusader, as well as VoA, Sarth and EoE. We have two bosses left to best in Ulduar (not counting Algalon…yet!). Our raids are some magically impossible combination of competence and amiability – even though we are still working on the structures and infrastructures around them (that punctuality issue was pretty severe and started, as always, at the head – myself. I think we’re getting a firm grip on it now though). When we feel prepared and roll up in ICC, that Arthas dude should better make a life insurance. Or death insurance .. whatever it is he’d like to insure.

But on that chilly evening in late February, I felt very, very helpless and borderline desperate. Yes, of course, the very fact that he left was best proof that the gnome mage was not a fit for us. That was not the point, though. The point was that terrifying vicious circle starting up a new guild this late into an expansion (and even later into the game itself) puts you in. You can’t do anything exciting unless you get the numbers – you can’t get the numbers until you can offer them something exciting to do. We were lucky. We were incredibly lucky to find and be found by some incredibly nice people who then recommended us to other incredibly nice people or just contributed their incredible niceness. It’s all pretty incredible. And nice.

But back when even a totally inexperienced little gnome left us for greener pastures the probabilities looked rather dire. So, what is he up to now, you may wonder? According to the Armory, he has yet to set foot into a raid and changed guilds at least yet another time. He came back into his thread once or twice saying, right, thanks everyone, now he’s got a guild and is prepared and totally looking forward to raid really soon. Which made me smirk, because at that point we were already raiding, and he’d have been raiding as well had he remained with us. But he did not believe. And wanted to go the path of the least resistance. The thing about the path of least resistance is however, sadly, that it rarely leads to the place you want to be in.

What was the point of this post? I’m not sure. But I am sure how I will end it – by thanking everyone who believed and took the risk with us. It is a pleasure to be around you, it is a pleasure to log on and emerge in your company and it is a pleasure to do our best to reward you for your faith with the best you could believe in. Thank you.

This guild’s bank is guarded by a corehound

Just had a thought. Assume you’re running a guild, and thus you control a guild bank. Whom are you going to give access to it? Obviously, people you trust. However, there is also the possibility of people you trust being hacked. Admittedly, just like Tobold, I believe that in the vast majority of cases “having been hacked” is simply a euphemism for “having done something very stupid”. But it happens. Clever people can do stupid things – when they’re half awake, when they’re distracted and not paying full attention, or whatever. Windows does its share by still using the “hide known file extensions” default, thereby opening something that cannot be legitimately called a backdoor, but rather a user trap. You see, those very intelligent people whom you really trust as much as you trust yourself may happen to just not be geeks. Those who are not geeks may be legitimately unaware of what file extensions are and how they work in Windows. Long story short, account theft happens.

Surely, it is again a matter of trust. In addition to asking whether you can trust a person to treat guild bank access responsibly, you may have to ask whether you can trust that person to treat their own account securely. Enter the Blizzard Authenticator. While not a “slay all” weapon for security problems, it does reduce the risk of “being hacked” significantly (see Tobold’s reasoning on how it’s a dual-improvement). So, we can simply demand people to make use of an authenticator, if they want access to the guild bank.

How can we verify if they have an authenticator? Corehound pet. I don’t know if Blizzard had this in mind when introducing the pet and the way it works, but if they had, compliments. If someone can summon a cosmetic corehound pet, it means an authenticator is linked to their account that very moment.

What if they unlink it later? We can’t make them show their corehound every day, after all. Well, at the very least, that would constitute a conscious move towards compromising their own account security. Which would be stupid. We covered clever people doing stupid things, but is unlikely to be one of those. Why a person would unlink their authenticator is beyond me. So, as long as you can verify that you’re dealing with sensible people, and maybe hold regular “Banker’s Trust” meetings where everyone shows off their corehounds, that’s one step against unexpectedly empty guild banks.

Mind you, this has just as much to do with responsibility and credibility. “Yes, the log shows I’ve emptied it, but I was hacked. Luckily, I got my account back before they sold off my gear and sent off all my gold, but the guild items are all mysteriously gone. Sowwy guys” – just doesn’t fly. Either you did it, or you compromised your account in a grossly negligent way (as opposed to the “oops” way) by putting the corehound to sleep.

Want access to the bank? Show your pet. If you can’t, you’ll have to resort to asking others to retrieve stuff for you. Until they get sick of it and tell you to GTFO and get an authenticator. See, smoking’s not the only thing peer pressure can lead to.

I told you

This is not directed at those who read this blog, but those who do, know whom it’s directed at.

I told you. I didn’t, admittedly, do it in the most diplomatic or clever way, but rather in the form of an emotional outburst. But I told you there are issues, there are problems. You told me I’m the problem. You told me to take it or leave it. And I left. Others left with me. Only the problems, the issues, they didn’t leave with us, they remained with you. Now you’re stuck with the under-performers and the ride-hitchers, whose equality rights you were so eager to protect. Those who sleep through the raid and only wake up when it’s /roll time. Who don’t want to bring a character as soon as they’re geared, but to have their next alt geared instead. Who laugh when you bring the topic up, because they don’t understand why you suddenly have an issue with it. Because you failed to make a stand when you could have had. You cannot now, and thus you’re stuck with the split mentality, which you failed to acknowledge for too long. A house divided against itself cannot stand.

And yes, I bath in gloating. Because I told you. And you didn’t want to listen.