Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Guardian Knights of Tyria

With a little over 24 hours to go before the headstart event for Guild Wars 2, I'm trying to find ways to pass the time in between helping my wife pack for her 10-day visit to New York City with our son to see her family.  Of course most of this time is spent reading about various things concerning GW2 and I've found myself studying closely how guilds will work.  Let me just say that I LOVE how guilds will work in GW2.  If any of you are familiar with FFXI's linkshell system, that's essentially what GW2 has done.  I'll explain!

I can be in as many guilds as I want to be in.  Let's say I'm in a PvE-focused guild that works together questing, dungeon-crawling, etc.  I can ALSO be in a PvP guild and a Raiding guild and a Fashion guild and a... you get the picture.  All of these memberships are kept in a list and, when I log in, I simply pick the one I wish to be "representing" at the time.  I show up on their guild list and the guild itself gets some xp points toward upgrades.  I'm under the impression that I can switch between each of these guilds on the fly and so now there's no real need to be a jack-of-all-trades guild where you have to eventually worry about organizing raids or PvP events or PvE groups because if your guild isn't really into that, a member doesn't have to leave in order to pursue that.

My old guild has been on my mind quite a bit lately because of this system and I'm sure it comes as no surprise that there has been a Boon and a Guardian Knights guild in every MMO I've played.  This includes The Old Republic, Rift, TERA, Everquest 2 and even The Secret World.  However!  While I knew that SW:TOR would be a home of sorts and that even now I'll still be playing it to finish the storylines and enjoy some science fiction MMO-age, I believe that GW2 is going to be my primary MMO home for quite some time.  This means that it's probably time to seriously give some consideration to fleshing out the guild more than just what it's been in those other MMO's.

Your brain tends to gloss over the "glory days" of times you enjoyed, often making them seem shinier and more perfect than they actually were.  I've been giving this some consideration these past few days as I start to really give the structure of the new Guardian Knights some real thought.  And the one thing I keep coming back to is that I'm unable to find, in the foundations, a flaw with the original guild on Alleria.  I'll outline its structure a bit and why I think it will work in Guild Wars 2.

Firstly I think the key to a successful and well-rounded guild is leadership.  Not just a guild leader but officers that are grounded in the well-being of the guild.  Anyone, from the lowest ranking member up to the guild leader wants to belong.  Wants to feel like they contribute, that they have a say.  In the Guardian Knights this is the case.  Officers are leaders who have equal say to the guild leader (who is just another officer but someone has to have the actual title I think).  This means that it isn't the guild leader that has final say but the entire officership.  When I was the leader of the GK's on Alleria, if I was in the minority as to how we thought we should proceed, it wasn't in my power to simply say "Forget that, I'm the guild leader!  We're doing it my way because I said so!".  A round-table of officers lends a more balanced guiding force for a guild than a single person.  It also alleviates the strain of being in a leadership position which, for the most part, is a pretty thankless job on the internet.

Let me say that I've been in quite a few guilds in my tenure as an MMO player and in every instance have, at some point, been asked to take an officer-like position.  I've always tried to do right by the guild in these positions and the only time, and I mean the only time I've ever left a guild was when we had a guild leader who believed that their role as guild leader was similar to a general leading troops.  In the end, leadership such as this (and I'm not saying it's a wrong style, just not one I agree with or find inspiring) leads to a migration of thinking, mature players ...elsewhere.  After all, who wants to be told what to do and expected to do it without question because someone with an arbitrary title said so?  This isn't the way that leadership should work and I let my feet express my opinion.  Lost a good friend over it too but in the end, if that sort of situation causes the end of a friendship, it was likely going to end sometime soon anyhow.  Ah well, ONWARD!

I'm not sure how it'll lend itself but the GK were also an RP-lite guild.  I sat down one afternoon and started thinking about how to do ranks and came up with a rank for every 10 levels a character could achieve.  In vanilla WoW it was 60 levels, so there were 6 ranks.  Each rank was bestowed once the character did two things; get to the appropriate level AND complete the rank quest.  You read right, I had rank quests for every rank.  It took some thought and some flexibility, and I implemented some crafting alternatives, but almost all of the feedback from the guild members was positive.  You had to earn your ranks consecutively so you couldn't just go to level 60 and do that quest.  Maybe I'll do something similar but I don't think I'll do it the exact same way (I'm looking at those 80 levels!).  I think it'll depend on player interest and officer input.

The core of the Guardian Knights of Tyria will have to be PvE focus.  Getting players playing together, tackling content, explorable dungeons, jump puzzles.  Being a community instead of everyone doing their own thing all the time.  Not to say that it'll be a requirement and also not to say that we'll be wagging our fingers at players who do primarily want to play alone and chat on the guild channel... but if everyone feels a sense of community, I think we'll have a successful guild to call home.

Recruitment.  Again, I emphasize that once we're established with an officer's council, it'll be decided but man I couldn't advise against blind recruitment more.  In every instance of it that I've experienced the broadcasting a general invite on general chat channels yields little to no quality players.  Primarily you get players who join just to see what sort of goodies are in the guild bank, how many mats and gold and walkthroughs of dungeons they can get from generous guild members... and then they move on to the next guild.  Usually after scarring guild chat with horrific statements and drama for a week or more.  With the GK's general 'party with them and if they seem cool, offer an invite' or just the whole 'this guy is good people' vibe, we only ever had to boot one player.  I can still remember it to this day because I was the one that did it.  It was NOT a surprise to the entire guild.  He was... well, not for us.

In the end a guild is what you make of it.  Literally.  You're a part of a community, and if you're lucky, a family.  It shouldn't be a military unit with a single general barking orders.  It shouldn't be a collection of cliques and pariahs, though groups of people who mesh well and like each others' company should also be allowed and encouraged, as long as it doesn't do harm to the community over time.

If that sounds like something you'd want to take part in, something you'd like to help build, and you're reading this, I'm certain you know how to find me.  You're welcome to come see if we're for you.

See you in-game!  (Man I hope I get Boon.)


Thursday, March 5, 2009

Frame of Mind...

I have a favorite video on Youtube that was put into a contest a year ago, I think, and won first place. I'm sure that most people who watch WoW videos have seen it but it really was one of the few videos that stuck out in my mind because of the lesson involved in it, and it seems even more appropriate to me now than ever.

Nobody sets out to lose themselves in the game. No one I know actively says that they will be choosing loot over friends, raids over groups, or anything like that. But it seems very easy to me to be able to lose sight of the real reason to play ANY game, WoW of course included, amidst trying to do what you set out to do in the first place.

Casual guilds like mine are forever in danger of the pitfalls of becoming a raiding guild, or vice versa, a raiding guild becoming too casual. Good players, like my wife (amongst others) are constantly at risk of becoming so dependent on addons and wow blogs that they can no longer see the game that they're playing, or are spending more time reading about the game than actually playing it. (No, I'm not actually saying this is true with K, I'm using her as a frame of reference for the caliber of player I think is most at risk.)

Every now and again it would serve anyone well to be reminded of exactly WHY they do what they do, so they can re-evaluate if WHAT they do is actually still moving them in the same direction they first started out intending to go.

And this video serves as a reminder to me, and maybe now to you, of exactly that. There are things far more important than raiding or efficiency or rules or ranks. No amount of epic loots, achievements accomplished, raid bosses downed, or Armory/WoW-Heroes rankings will ever replace or compare to downing VanCleef your first time, with your best friends.

Not ever.

Frame of Mind

Thursday, February 5, 2009

A Hidden Secret Rating!

On my way to Stormwind I uncovered something I wish to share. Something so hidden, so secret (by Blizzard) that many of the up and coming level 80 DPS'ers have no idea it even exists. Yes, friends, I'm talking about the Secret Hit rating.

Here's how it works. As DPS we all know that we have to stack our respective skill sets in order to do massive number attacks on the things before us that must die. Whatever your class is, there's a balancing act to address when it comes to what you should stack and how.

One of these things to stack, though it should be at the bottom of your list really since it provides no large numbers that I can think of, is Hit Rating. This little number is Blizzard's way of making sure our numbers don't go too high so the tanks can do their jobs and such.

But what no one knows is that it's linked to a stat that isn't shown on equipment at all! The Secret Hit rating, which for sake of ease, I'll refer to as S-hit rating from now on.

And here's how it works out. For every point in hit rating you get, up to your hit cap, your S-hit rating goes DOWN as a DPS. The less hit rating you have, the higher your S-hit rating. So essentially, it's in all DPS' best interest to stop stacking hit rating completely. It's a win-win situation that Blizz really doesn't want us to know about. We'll have larger numbers when we hit, and a massive S-hit rating that isn't even showing up. And all DPS knows it's about the big numbers.

In the end it comes down to this question, fellow DPS'ers. Do you want to DPS with Hit or do you want to do S-hit damage instead? It's not really a question when you get down to it, eh?

So that's it in a nutshell. I may or may not be around to make more blogs as I've unveiled probably one of the biggest secrets in Blizzard history. Aside from their shameless copying of Boon jokes that they put the name of Chuck Norris in instead. Stealing from me to give to Chuck Norris, really? Like he isn't made of money after all of his Bowflex commercials.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Dark Lady

So I'm Horde. I'm running around near Silvermoon and what should drop? A necklace with an interesting story behind it. I haven't completed the quest yet but I know what lies at the end of it. For anyone interested in the lore of World of Warcraft or just a well-done storyline, this one is certainly worth aspiring to view. With the new allowance of level 55 characters on any server as long as you have a 55 SOMEWHERE, you can even skip the Youtube videos and see it yourself if you like.

The item dropped at the tower on the western bluff of the Ghostlands. You really can't miss it, because if that were possible, I would have. ;)

P.S. Hopefully anyone wanting to play a Death Knight on a new server made theirs already. Reading over some notes from Blizzard it appears that they've suspended the creation on any server, and you can only create them (now) again back on servers that you are established on. I was attempting to test this and make a DK on the new server, Borean Tundra, and confirmed it. I could NOT make a Death Knight there. Fortunately my other new Death Knights still exist and are accessible!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

You can't always get what you want...

...but if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need.

I made this blog a long, long, long (did I mention long?) time ago with the idea that I would put here thoughts on WoW, being a guild leader, being in a successful guild, and from time to time, some insight into how I play my characters. It was called "Tales of a Guardian Knight" because MY guild is called Guardian Knights.

There's a running joke with me that some people know. I'm terrible at giving directions in-game. If you need to get somewhere, you really shouldn't put me on auto-follow. I'll kill you. You will perish in a most spectacular fashion. But most importantly, you will be dead nowhere near where you intended to be. I've, seriously, even placed people in wrong instances. If you put a gun to my computer and told me that the life of my little electrical friend was tied to my ability to lead a character into say, Steamvaults... I'd be buying a new computer.

So when someone asks me directions, I say "First, go to Stormwind". Each and every time. So I kind of figure it's as good a title as any and at least it has a bit more meaning than my first title.

Anyway, I'm a somewhat decent paladin. Spec? Any of them, though I figure I'm best at healing. I don't give answers to healing questions, but I'm happy to shoot the breeze and see what works best for you if you need it. I despise the opinion that there's a "right" way to spec a character or that there are "correct" ways of stacking gear. Player ability trumps gear trumps spec any day of the week. But really, I'm just a guy on the internet, why should you give a rip about what MY opinion of YOUR character is? See where I'm going?

That's me in a nutshell. I just started a new server with a Death Knight (thank you Blizzard for the implementation) so I'll probably be writing a few DK posts soon, and some spoofs on "serious" issues like gearing a character, what stats each class should stack, etc.

If you ever find yourself taking anything I say seriously, you should take a breath and re-read it with a more light-hearted tone. I'm just some guy, nobody special, average in every way, and the only real thing any of us share in common is that we play the same online video game. The only thing I ever really want someone to walk away from when partying with me, or dealing with me, is a good laugh, maybe a smile.

I'll see what I can do. But first...

go to Stormwind.

Friday, October 3, 2008

The Wrath of Burning Crusade?

A lot of people are bored right now. I've noticed a certain listlessness in my compatriots, and even myself. It happens, I guess, this close to an expansion. We've had nearly two years to play through this content and being married to K and her altism, I've seen everything at least 7 times.

With that said, people who still play are doing what they can to stay energized. The patch may help (Oct. 14th for those that don't know) and it'll certainly give me something to do as I learn my new specs. Yeah, I said specs. I don't intend to level as holy, hopefully giving Blizzard enough time to fix what I view as some real holes in the Holy spec. I think Holy is a weak, weak tree. Still, I'm a holy paladin at heart so no matter, I hit 80, it's Holy for me.

Anyway! People are moving around. Some leave smaller guilds for 25-man content, or to try to PvP their asses off. It's understandable, at least from my perspective, but it's probably very trying to guild leaders and small guilds to understand since they will see the flux of people most.

Just keep your heads down, keep doing what you do, and when Lich King hits you'll have guild stability again. This time, even, I don't think you'll see that kind of flux at 80. Not with the 10-man content running parallel to 25-man stuff. Small guilds should rejoice over that decision by Blizzard.

Still in my guild, disagreeing when I do! *gasp*

Thursday, September 25, 2008

What makes a paladin?

When asked why he climbed Mt. Everest, a paladin replied "because it was there."

It is this kind of spirit that makes a paladin a paladin.

We are the bold and the brave, the elite and the 1337. We are the line that cannot be crossed so long as we stand. We are the hammer and shield, the light and the way.

Essentially this all boils down into one word, which should be used from here on out to describe paladins (although sometimes not ret paladins) thoroughly. The word?


If a paladin were polymorphed into cake, which kind of cake would he be? Easy. He'd be strawberry cake with strawberry icing. Why? Because that kind of cake is awesome.

If a paladin were polymorphed into a hot female movie star, who would it be? Easy. Helen Hunt. Why? Because she's awesome.

In the coming weeks I'll hopefully be talking a lot about how to be a proper paladin, what kind of gear you'll need, what kind of attitude you'll need, and the appropriate and meek style and philosophy that makes us so awesome.

I will not ATTEMPT to flame anyone or any class here (again except probably ret paladins) but, since some of you reading this probably don't have a paladin, you'll feel flamed. This is simply because you don't have the degree of awesomeness that a paladin has, which would provide you with a bubble to keep the flames from hurting you.

Hmmm, that's something. I think I know what a paladin's bubble is now made of.

No guesses?

It's made of awesome. No wonder my bubble works better than other paladins (like ret paladins).

Off to ponder this, and mock ret paladins. (and maybe ret paladins)