Friday, March 6, 2009

10 Reflections About 120 Days

Matticus, GM of Conquest, posted his reflections on the first 120 days of the guild.

Here's some things I'd like to add about the experience. If it feels like fanboi jibber jabber, well, maybe it is. Bottom line is that the guild has been able to deliver on what is stated in its charter, which is a decent way of measuring success as an organization.

And since I took the leap of faith to transfer servers and join the guild based largely upon how strongly I agree with the mission stated in the charter, I'd say its been a pretty big success for me, individually as well.

Lets take a look at some specifics from my experience so far:

1) Bringing Like-Minded People Together. The biggest thing I enjoy about the guild is that we all have a pretty similar approach to our shared hobby. I think the charter, plus the general tone and expectations from the Matticus blog, make it very clear to applicants what the atmosphere will be like in the guild. Many people would not enjoy it, which is perfectly fine and hopefully those players find an environment suitable to their tastes. The most toxic thing to any group is when members have dramatically different expectations, and Conquest does a very good job of providing an environment consistent with its charter.

2) Successful at Progression. Conquest members signed up to defeat content, and we have accomplished that at the T7 level and are well positioned to continue to do so in T8. We do not aim to be server- or world-first, but we do aim to progress steadily and efficiently in a reasonably limited number of hours per week. "Reasonably limited" by our definition, your definition may vary.

3) Minimal Drama. It is a funny thing to consider how much press the Wayne situation received in the blogosphere (player who geared up very very quickly and decided to stop playing until T8). That is perhaps the single example of "drama" in the first 120 days, if you even want to call it that. The team reacted seamlessly and continued progress.

4) Recovery from main tank hack. It is awful for a player to have his account stolen from him. I hope he's doing well IRL, because he is a good person and we miss him. On the flip side, it is awful for a guild to lose their main tank. It is a testament to the strength of the organization (and the new MT's versatility and skill) that we adapted very quickly to such a big loss.

5) Healthy Turnover. We lost only a single raider due to differences of opinion, and the situation was handled by the leaders, members, and the departing player in a very mature fashion, allowing the guild to continue progress and the player to leave with zero bad blood between us. Any other turnover in the raiding team has been reasonable and mutually agreeable.

6) Efficiency. We start on time. We end on time. We waste little in between. One of the biggest things I appreciate about the officers in Conquest, that I was never able to provide for my raiders in my old guild, is an outstanding ability to deliver on the schedule. We all benefit from the time efficiency of the raids. Can we improve further? No doubt, keep pushing those limits.

7) Staffing. Conquest does a good job of maintaining a proper sized raiding pool. To ensure you can handle turnover, hacks, sickness, real life, and at the same time also stick to the schedule, you need to have the right number of raiders. Too many and you've got unhappy bench warmers. Too few and you've got late starts and canceled raids. It is always a dynamic balancing act and the guild has handled it well.

8) Vibrant Forums. One side of the guild that the public does not get to see is the level of engagement the team has on the forums. Lots of conversation involving a wide player-base, ideas, critiques, strategies, and even social threads having nothing to do with WoW (Oh noes! You mean you guys are both friendly with each other AND able to constructively criticize raid performance/strategy at the same time? Inconceivable!)

9) Loot Council. This one is probably the most subjective, and each player's opinion is his/her own. IMO, it is working exactly as advertised. Whenever possible, loot is rewarded in a way that will provide benefit to the guild. Whether that means it goes to a toon that will get the biggest benefit, or to a toon who's player reliably shows up on time ready to rock, or to a toon that specializes into unique and weird roles for specific situations (Sarth+3, here's looking at you), there has been a very good distribution of loot, which is a testament in part to the LC, but more importantly to the type of players that are in the guild. More often than not, raiders actually work the loot out among themselves with no need for LC involvement, and when LC needs to decide the outcome has been generally effective.

10) Blunt Feedback. I wrote about the style of very direct feedback from the raid leadership. If you like sugar to coat your pills, you would not enjoy a progression night in our raid. However, if you have a thick skin and like examining and improving your own performance with the help of those around you, even if that means you need to accept responsibility for your action...nay...specifically when you need to accept responsibility for your action. It'll be blunt, but it'll usually be right, and if you think they're wrong for saying you messed up, you better have some hard data to back your claims, because our RL sure know how to interpret a combat log and he rarely misses something. But if you do have evidence to support your position, they're all ears.

All good?

I'm sure there's more positives to write about, but you're probably getting nauseous already. Along the way, there's of course been hickups.

There was the Wayne situation, which really only was important because it was the first bump we hit.

I've had small nitpicks with the LC along the way, some of which got written up for the public here, and some of which were addressed in private channels. End result is small tweaks leading to a stronger operation, rather than silent resentment leading to total collapse.

Having your main tank get hacked is traumatic, especially right in the middle of progress through Sarth 3D. That was a massive challenge, definitely slowed us down by at least a week on the encounter, but was handled well by the team.

I wrote about a leadership mandate (shoulders and helms getting polished) that was premature in my opinion. Good intent, less good timing. But that's just my opinion, others in the guild have commented to me that they appreciate the leadership pushing hard and pushing early.

Are there any other issues?

Bottom Line

There might be other challenges, mix-ups, fumbles or whatnot that Ive written about or thought about along the way.

But the important thing to take away is that I can't remember them or they're not lingering because they came up, they were dealth with, and they're gone now.

Real life, hacks, nerfs, patches, guild policies, who said what to whom or who got offended by what on vent, silly wipes, educational wipes, achievements, dead bosses, epeen, recruiting, you name it. Things come up in any group activity.

That to me is the true sign of a healthy organization, the ability to adapt to changing circumstances and continue on with the mission.

1 comment:

Ithiel said...

I guess it's true that for a guild to be run properly, it needs to be run as an organisation (or a company in some situations). Keeping drama to a min is really hard, especially with te varing age groups.

I still get a kick out of it when I hear people listing being a GM on their resume or something (heard a story a while back where a guy got a job from it. lol).

Btw, I found your blog from MendPet's link list and was wondering if you might be interested in a link exchange?