What’s New with Kurn

Hi, folks! I have had a heck of a weekend, first watching my brother (aka Fog) get married and then skipping his reception to fly to Toronto where I stayed overnight before grabbing a flight to Newark, whereupon Daey and Toga picked me up and then I got dropped off at the lovely golf club where Majik was going to get married — and I was a bridesmaid.

I’ll write up a post later, I’m sure, about meeting Daey, Toga, Dar, Kam and all the others, but I’m still exhausted from my 4 airports, 3 flights and two weddings in the span of 72 hours. (Add 11 hours of sleep in that time span to get a really good idea of how tired I still am.) Short version: Everyone was awesome and excellent and the 21 hours I spent in NY were not enough.

Also, I have a short recording from the post-reception afterparty that I will be using in a super special BONUS episode of Blessing of Frost! It is hilarious and I can’t wait for you guys to hear it.

In the meantime, I’m still writing up that how to be a kick-ass GM guide. Not done yet and I’m at nearly 27,000 words for the whole thing. The first module (about actually starting a guild and getting things in place) is just over 5,000 words and I think most modules average 5,000-7,000 words, although the How to Recruit module is almost 11,000 words and I am still adding to it, because recruitment sucks a LOT.

Anyhow, this is really going to be a complex, in-depth, modular guide and I hope you guys will enjoy reading it and learning from it as much as I’m enjoying writing it.

Oh, speaking of the guide… From this weekend’s post-reception afterparty: Dar told me that Daey was telling her that the only thing I need to include in my guide section about loot is “/roll”. Oh, Football. Never change.

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention this game called Healer that Megs pointed me to. Dar and I were talking about how we missed healing and I said that this game was really the solution to healing without playing WoW. It’s very, very similar to WoW healing and there’s even an Onyxia-type encounter. Dar ended up playing the game on my iPad post-afterparty for like, 20+ minutes and this game is the sole reason she actually wants a tablet now. (I think the game is only available for iPad, not iPhone or any other platform.) Time to start up a Tabletfordar fund. ;) The game is really neat and I quite enjoy it. Check it out if you have a healing itch. (Note, it’s $4.99, but I think it’s pretty well worth it.)

Okay, I should wrap this up as I have some errands to run and, clearly, lots of guide-related and Blessing of Frost-related work to do! Enjoy your 5.3 patch day, folks. :)

Retirement Reasons and Reminiscing Part 5

Welcome to my last post in a series in which I’ve been discussing my reasons for my retirement from raiding and the game as a whole. As usual, I’m not trying to tell anyone else to quit. If you enjoy the game, please, keep playing. I’m just trying to share my reasons and help myself (and anyone else, I guess) gain a better understanding of why, exactly, after seven years of playing this game, I’m pretty much done. And yes, my series here will also serve as reminders to myself why I quit when, six months down the road, perhaps I get that itch again.

As always, please do respect the comment policy! Thank you. :)

Reason 5: A sense of accomplishment.

I started out in this game, as I’ve already said, without knowing a lot. I was a scrubby, scrubby n00b like many new players, but I got my act together, learned how to play the game with its fairly steep learning curve and did what I had wanted to do before I even hit that very first level cap of 60 — I became a raider.

I have been a raider, for better or for worse, since early April of 2006. I have been a casual raider, I have been a much more hardcore raider and I have been a raider who has spent most of that time somewhere in the middle. My ideal raid schedule is about 12 hours a week, or 4 nights of 3 hours apiece. I’ve raided as much as 20 hours a week (wayyyyyy too much), as little as 9 hours a week (not quite enough for me) and spent most of Cataclysm raiding with two guilds (Apotheosis and Choice) for about 15 hours a week (just a bit much, but since 6 of those hours were spent as a regular raider and not a leader of any kind, it worked out okay).

I have dissolved guilds (RIP, Fated Heroes), I have created guilds (hello, Apotheosis), I have left guilds, I have joined guilds. I have raided with seven guilds over my career. I have killed … oh man, this might take a minute… 155 raid bosses while content was current (including all the beast bosses in Karazhan and including all the opera event types there, too, but not including heroic versions of fights).

I have earned three raid achievement mounts (25-man ICC, Firelands, Dragon Soul). I have cleared one single heroic tier since they came out with that infernal change (Dragon Soul). I have earned a server-first kill (Heroic Hagara the Stormbinder).

I have satisfied my curiosity.

I’ve also shown myself I can make gold, recently, by starting out at the end of Cataclysm with 20,000g and (with Majik’s help via cooldowns and supplying me with raw materials) turned it into 444,000g (and change) in just over a month (since I got back from Italy on October 5). I’m sure with another few weeks, I could have hit the gold cap, but I didn’t really care that much, although everyone should open their mailbox to 30k gold or more at some point in their lives.

Given the fact that I wasn’t terribly impressed with the expansion (although they did do a lot of neat things that I’m sure I’ll talk about at some point), I had no new goals. I had very little to motivate me to keep playing. Instead, my sense of accomplishment over the history of my play has continually nagged at me saying “Kurn, you can hang it up. You’ve done everything you’ve ever set out to do and more.”

And it’s true.

I didn’t just become a raider. I became a raid leader. I became a healing lead. I became a guild master. I became a WoW blogger. I became a WoW podcaster.

World of Warcraft has been a great place for me to hang out for seven years. It’s great bang for its buck. $15 a month has allowed me to spend countless hours (okay, not countless, we’re talking 400+ days /played) lost in Azeroth. When you think about how much a movie costs, for two hours of entertainment, you can pay about the same amount for unlimited hours of entertainment in a month.

I was happy to spend all the time that I did playing. I got involved, I became really active. I did it all for the love of a game and enjoyment of a game that, these days, no longer inspires me, about which I am no longer passionate.

I accomplished what I wanted to do and more. I satisfied my curiosity. And mostly due to the changes I’ve seen over the last couple of years to the game I once was very passionate about, I can’t get excited about it any longer.

One of the changes I haven’t talked about much isn’t something Blizzard did to the game, though. One of the changes is the people.

Players often say “if it weren’t for my guild, I would have quit long ago” and that’s true for me, as well. Were it not for Apotheosis, I would have probably quit during the Firelands nerf and if not then, certainly the Dragon Soul nerfs. But I had made a committment and I stayed on.

Others did not.

Shadowcry, Osephala, Euphie, Terex, Tia, Kam, Toga, Dar and Daey are all people who raided with us for at least a short time in Cataclysm but are all people I’d known for years, dating back to Burning Crusade. These people are among those I considered the core of Apotheosis in Burning Crusade. And one by one, all of them stopped raiding with us in Cataclysm, mostly due to time considerations or a lack of interest in the game.

There is a single person on the Mists of Pandaria raiding roster of Apotheosis who was in Apotheosis during Burning Crusade and that’s Dayden — and even he took a break for a few months in there.

Without most of my old friends and especially without Majik playing seriously, there’s no reason for me to continue. No in-game reason and no social reason. It’s not to say that I don’t think the current Apotheosis roster is awesome, because they’re pretty great people, but they’re not Shadowcry, who reflected caster spells back at them on Hyjal trash. They’re not Euphie, who was our Divine Spirit priest. They’re not Kam, who was our warlock tank. They’re not Toga, who usually forgot to unequip his fishing pole after fishing up Lurker. They’re not Daey, who snubs his nose at 99% of addons and still destroys things with ease.

Those were the days, for me. I kept playing for in-game reasons beyond Burning Crusade. And I continued through Cataclysm due to having made a committment to my guild.

But the game holds no more for me at this time. And all of my long-time friends, save Dayden, the Last Naked Man Standing, have stopped raiding.

So it’s time.

Here’s to three 45-minute Baron runs: one where Whisper or Volloz bugged it out for us, a successful run with me, Tia, Tan, Crypt and Daey and one in 39 minutes without a tank (Tia, Tan, Crypt, Maj and me).

Here’s to “HE’S GOT A REALLY BIG SWORD” and the Dire Maul arena and the NPA crew.

Here’s to soulstoning Daey on Hakkar so he could die and drop aggro, then rez.

Here’s to Toga and I never missing Tranq shot on Magmadar.

Here’s to 27-manning Gehennas.

Here’s to pony kegs after Maulgar and Majik blinking into Gruul.

Here’s to WEST SIDE, STRONG SIDE on Vashj.

Here’s to Lay on Hands critting Dayden with Vashj at 5%.

Here’s to me forgetting to heal Kam on Kael and her never living through Leotheras.

Here’s to Daey running to the corner of Void Reaver’s room for a timeout.

Here’s to Daey and I being mistaken for each other on that fight at least once.

Here’s to Dayden healing and Daey tanking on our Illidan kill.

Here’s to “WARTHON STOP NOT TANKING SHIT PLZ” on our first, and only, night in Sunwell Plateau.

And here’s to the current Apotheosis — best of luck to you all in this expansion and thanks to all of you for the unprecedented (for me) levels of raiding success.

This ends my series of retirement posts, but I’m sure I still have some things to say about the game. My subscription officially runs out today, but the blog isn’t quite done yet.

Thanks for reading.

Retirement Reasons and Reminiscing Part 1

It’s official. In eleven days, my World of Warcraft account subscription will expire and, for the first time in years, I will not be renewing it. This, I imagine, is not news to anyone who’s read this blog more than a couple of times in the last several months, or listened to Blessing of Frost since, oh, Firelands was nerfed.

I haven’t actually clicked the “cancel” button yet, but the last time I renewed my sub, I used a game time card so that even if I forgot to cancel, they couldn’t bill me again. Once I do hit that button, I plan to use these forthcoming posts to help describe my reasons for leaving the game. (There’s no way 500 characters or something like that would ever even put a dent into my reasons and feelings about the game.)

Anyhow, I’m not out to convince anyone to quit or that the game sucks or anything of the sort. Play or don’t play, that’s your choice and your choice alone. I feel compelled to document my decision and my reasons to better understand it all myself. I also want to blog about it because I’ve become more interested in the decision to game/raid/etc than the actual content of the game and so exploring my own reasons seems like a good place to start.

Reason 1: The Evolution of Raids/Accessibility of Raiding Content

Since I discovered what “raiding” was, back in Vanilla, I have wanted to raid. I wanted to be like that guy from my server, Thack (no, not Theck, Thack) who was in 9/9 Dreadnaught Armor (warrior T3) and who was a Scarab Lord. He would stand around Lagforge Ironforge on his bug mount, in his gear and would basically just look awesome.

I was fascinated by the idea of a team, a real team, of 40 people working together in concert to do stuff. So when I discovered what raiding was, courtesy of my brother who was killing Ragnaros with another guild, I went into research mode. I found out everything I needed to know about attunements and questlines and then I shared that info with my guildies. The old Fated Heroes guild had a significant problem in that people would join the guild, we’d work hard to help them get to 60 and then they’d hop over to a raiding guild on the server. So I approached the GM and asked him if he WANTED to raid. All the officers did, they just didn’t know how to retain the players. That’s where I came in. I helped to educate the players and helped to put into action these plans about raiding. I did attunement runs out the wazoo. I helped recruit people. It was a great team effort just to start raiding ZG, then AQ20 (to an extent) before finally hitting up MC and trying to down Onyxia.

Then, the guild kind of fell apart and we kind of went our own ways for the start of Burning Crusade, only we all regrouped in May and then formed Apotheosis on June 1st, 2007.

Here, I thought, was my chance to raid with some people whose company I really enjoyed and we’d do it better than we ever did back in Fated Heroes. We formed with the goal to kill Illidan. And, eventually, we did.

While we fell apart in Wrath of the Lich King, we reformed for “Apotheosis 2.0″ for Cataclysm and we put the old Apotheosis to shame by doing 7/13 HM in T11, 6/7 HM and Glory of the Firelands raider in T12 and following it up with 8/8 HM in T13 Soul along with Glory of the Dragon Soul Raider. These were unprecedented levels of raiding success for our guild. So many people had grown with the guild and had come back to play with us and it was really amazing to see this mix of old and new together, working as a team and succeeding.

Having said all of that, I play the game to raid. I LOVED learning Lucifron in Molten Core. It was such an epic fight to me back then. I remember this one moment where I realized I was about to die, because I had Impending Doom on me. I had used my healthstone. My health potion was on cooldown. My bandages were on cooldown. In fact, here… Since I knew I was going to die, I took a screenshot of it. This was taken on July 22nd, 2006.

So I did die after that Impending Doom. And yet, that ended up being the winning attempt. Lucifron down! And I got the Tome of Tranquilizing Shot. Then we played with Gehennas a bit (Magmadar with just 1 Tranq Shot? HAH.) and called it a night.

I loved the teamwork we showed in this instance. I loved setting up my hunter rotations for Tranq Shot — there was me, Toga, Kaiu, Sharpbow and a few others over the course of the next few months. We never missed a single rotation. We nailed it. Because we worked together as a team.

Now, you may be wondering, Kurn, don’t you still have to work as a team to defeat raid encounters?

Yes. But only to an extent. Why only to an extent? Well, dear reader, if you wait long enough, Blizzard will nerf the encounters.

In their ongoing goal to make raid content “accessible”, their design choices have changed drastically from what they did in Vanilla to what they do now.

TO ENTER MOLTEN CORE IN VANILLA:

- Attunement quest at Level 55, requiring you to defeat most of the bosses in Blackrock Depths in order to get your core fragment. This often required you actually knowing how to play your class well enough to be part of a successful core attunement run. (Or for you to be carried by friends/guildies/etc. Or summoned by a warlock.)

TO ENTER DRAGON SOUL IN CATACLYSM:

- Ding 85.

It’s not exactly even. And don’t get me started on Onyxia attunement. (Dammit, Maj, I still cannot believe YOU DIED on Jailbreak, dude. ;))

Now, and this is where I think a lot of people misunderstand me, I want to make it clear that I don’t much like jumping through arbitrary hoops, despite my admiration of attunements. I think a lot of things they’ve changed about raiding through the years have been quality of life changes.

In Burning Crusade, they introduced the “1 flask or 1 Guardian elixir and 1 Battle elixir” rule. They also changed food buffs so you could only have one on you at a time.

Lots of people cried “NERF OMG” but I was one of many others who were like “oh thank God, I don’t need to have a flask, plus another 5 elixirs on me.” I mean, look up at that screenshot again — I don’t even have an Elixir of the Mongoose on. (Bad Kurn.)

The change made sense. It allowed the devs to assume everyone would have one flask OR two elixirs and one food buff and they would build the encounters with that in mind and it allowed people who wanted to raid to not, you know, farm for the 20 hours a day they didn’t raid. ;) I was a fan of this. (Less of a fan of them nerfing holy paladins and Illumination, but ANYWAY.)

Later in BC, Blizz lifted the attunement requirements to Serpentshrine Cavern, Tempest Keep, The Battle for Mount Hyjal and Black Temple. While we didn’t do the attunements for SSC and TK in Apotheosis back then, we did do the Hyjal and BT attunements just by virtue of progressing through T5 and we also wanted the shadow resist necks for the Mother fight in BT, so we got just about everyone that attunement.

While I wasn’t, shall we say, thrilled by the change, my guild benefitted from it. So I can’t really complain too much. And we did the “important” attunements anyhow, getting most everyone Hand of A’dal and their BT necks.

One month before Wrath of the Lich King was to be released, Patch 3.0 dropped. With new talents and abilities and such came a 30% nerf to all raid bosses. Unchangeable, couldn’t turn it on or off. If you were raiding, you were dealing with a 30% nerf to everything. More, it was initially undocumented.

This was the first really big nerf that Blizzard implemented.

Again, my guild benefitted from it. We were 4/5 Hyjal and 5/9 BT at that point. We knew we would get Archimonde down without the nerf, but didn’t have the opportunity to prove it. Then again, without the nerf, we probably wouldn’t have gotten through the rest of BT and wouldn’t have achieved our goal of killing Illidan.

I never thought this would become a trend.

The next time we saw huge buffs/nerfs like that was in Icecrown Citadel, with a stacking “buff” to make players more powerful in increments of 5% all the way up to 30%. I first killed Heroic 25-man Sindragosa at the 15% buff and later, repeated 11/12 HM progression on 25-man mode (with another guild) at the 25-30% buff level. It was still difficult, because fights like Heroic Putricide and Heroic Sindragosa were more about coordination than raw power.

I was okay with the buff, for the most part. It got pretty silly by the 30% point, but I told myself it was just because the instance was going to be the last major one (please, who counts Ruby Sanctum? Screw you and your boots, Halion!) of the expansion and it was going to last a while. And it did last a while. It lasted a year. A YEAR.

Then Tier 11 showed up in Cataclysm and, well, chunks of it were really difficult. Apotheosis went 7/13 HM before Firelands came out and we were like “SEEYA” to Blackwing Descent, Bastion of Twilight and Throne of the Four Winds.

They nerfed T11 normal modes when Firelands came out. They did not touch the heroic modes.

I felt that nerfing T11 normals was a bad plan. My guild’s alt run carried me through T11 normals on my hunter post-nerf and it was ridiculous. In a single night, Kurn got Defender of a Shattered World, a title that had taken Madrana several weeks (three months?) to earn.

Still, they hadn’t nerfed the heroics and we weren’t touching T11 content anyhow, so I thought, well, that’s fine. I guess.

And then came the Firelands nerf. This is where I became acutely aware that Blizzard’s ideas on raiding were now significantly different from mine.

What had previously been end-of-expansion nerfs or buffs, what had previously been “last tier of content” stuff, was now hitting my CURRENT normal and heroic raid content.

That’s when it stopped being okay for me.

“We want raids to be more accessible,” Blizzard told us.

Fine, okay, I get it. And then we got LFR. And I thought “hey, there might be a bright side here. ANYONE can see raids through LFR. Now they’ll leave our normals and heroics alone!”

But I was wrong. They continued to nerf the crap out of both normal and heroic Dragon Soul, ultimately reaching a 35% blanket nerf on all encounters.

This was basically my breaking point.

I had started raiding back when it was a pretty punishing hobby. I enjoy many of the quality of life changes we’ve seen since then (don’t get me started on how they’ve now removed cauldrons and made feasts inferior to 300 stat food) and have enjoyed how raiding has absolutely gotten more accessible. However, when I started, people worked and worked to get bosses down. There was nothing on the horizon that was coming soon to help you get over that hump. All you had to work with was your raid team and all you could do was keep bashing your head against the boss, until you suddenly had a breakthrough and got the boss down.

These are the epic moments I remember best. People didn’t rely on just waiting until they became more powerful or the boss became weaker due to some developer tweaks, they worked hard to improve themselves — farming gear, using consumables appropriately, researching their class. Gruul did not just fall over for us one day, he finally died because we realized we needed this thing called “hit rating”. Lady Vashj was over 100 pulls of over 35 different raiders and a variety of strats before we got her down.

That’s the challenge I like, knowing that I am stuck on this boss until I down it, knowing that the boss will behave in exactly the same fashion time and time again until such time as I work out what it is we’re doing wrong.

When Blizzard buffs the players or nerfs the encounters, that changes and it infuriates me. I feel like they’re saying “oh, you aren’t progressing fast enough, so here, let us help” and then they drag that finish line closer to us by about 10 meters. That ruins the kill for me.

Let’s look at when Apotheosis first killed Heroic Ultraxion, shall we?

It was Tuesday, February 28th. We had had a crushing 0% wipe on Heroic Ultraxion on Sunday, the 26th. We had spent pretty much all night on Ultraxion by that point, but because we wanted to clear the rest of the instance that night, we had decided that our last pull on Ultraxion would be around 11pm, leaving us an hour to finish up the rest of the instance on normal. The date is important. Why? Because on Tuesday, February 28th, the 10% nerf to Dragon Soul went into effect. This made a huge impact on our decision for Sunday’s raid. “Well,” we said to ourselves, “if we don’t get it tonight, at least we’ll get it on Tuesday with the nerf.”

That’s my problem. Even though I have serious issues with Blizzard nerfing the instances, I had to take it into account. What was more important to us? To kill Heroic Ultraxion and maybe miss out on Madness loot (which was still a bit new to us) or to ensure a full clear and know, with total certainty, that we would kill Ultraxion on the next reset?

Logistically, it made more sense for our raiders to get new trinkets and weapons from Spine and Madness, so that’s what we did. Had we not had the nerf incoming, I think I would have continued to work on Ultraxion until he died, because that kind of “he will die next reset” certainty wouldn’t have been there.

The very presence of the nerfs altered the way I ran my raid. That isn’t a concession I’m happy to make. I do miss the old days where if you were stuck on a boss, you were stuck on the boss and all you could do was farm previous bosses and improve your own performance to get through it. Now, you just wait for the nerf. Even my raid group did it, although I’m not pleased about it, because it made sense for us at the time.

Of course, not everyone misses those old days of being stuck on a boss for weeks, months at a time. That’s a great segue to my next point. My next post will discuss the disconnect between other people’s thinking and my own as a reason for my deciding to quit.

(As always, please remember there is a comment policy in place. Thanks!)

An End and a Beginning

Months ago, I came to the conclusion I would not be raiding in Mists of Pandaria. In fact, I may not even be playing after my Annual Pass paid subscription runs out. As such, it was important to me to make sure to give my officers the heads up and ensure replacements would be found for the vacant positions. Once replacements were found for me, it also became important to have a timeline of the changeover of power.

September 18th, two weeks after our last raid, one week ahead of Mists of Pandaria, seemed like a good date to give GM to Jasyla, who was the chosen replacement for me as GM. It also seemed like a good date to demote Majik to Member from Officer.

So as of this writing, I am no longer the guild master of Apotheosis.

It’s a weird thing.

When we started Apotheosis in 2007, Majik was the GM to begin, but that was quickly given to Toga after a vote. It was in January of 2008 that Toga had to step down from raiding and so I became the GM.

In March of 2009, I gave GM to Majik. We had lost too many raiders in late BC/early Wrath to continue, so Maj held on to GM for a while and I headed to Bronzebeard on my pally and to Proudmoore on my hunter.

It wasn’t long before Majik chose to let his subscription lapse so my level five hunter, whom I was using primarily to save the name Kurnmogh on Eldre’Thalas, became GM of Apotheosis again. The guild still existed and people were still in it, but most had stopped playing or had moved on. There was very little GMing to do, really.

In September of 2010, I brought Kurn back from Proudmoore and regained GM on that character. And Apotheosis 2.0 was born.

Two years later, for the first time since Majik briefly was GM in 2009, someone else is the GM of Apotheosis.

It’s weird, in a way, how people choose to identify themselves. For 14 months, I was Kurn, GM of Apotheosis. Then, I was Kurn of Kurn’s Corner, while I was simultaneously Madrana of Bronzebeard, Proudmoore and Skywall. Then back to Kurn, GM of Apotheosis.

Now what?

Being Kurn has been a huge part of my identity for over three years of my life. I have ALWAYS been an officer of the guild, since June 1, 2007.

That is a long time.

Soon, not only will I no longer be the GM, but I won’t be an officer. I won’t be raiding. I might not even be playing.

It’s a very odd thing to be saying goodbye to these identities I’ve constructed over the years. Officer. GM. Raid leader. Healing lead. Raider. Player.

It’s happening at a time in my life when I’ve finally finished university, too, so at the same time, I’m also shedding the identity of student, which is actually a lot harder than I thought it would be.

Change abounds. Adventures await. And while my adventures in the World of Warcraft have been unforgettable and awesome, occasionally annoying and disappointing, but ultimately rewarding, it’ll be good to explore the new adventures that await me without being tied to my email, the forums, the game, the raid times.

It’s a good change. The guild is in good hands.

None of that makes things any easier, though. How do you stop a seven year habit? How do you stop identifying yourself as what you’ve been for the last several years? How do you say goodbye to those who followed you on your various adventures?

For me, I guess the answer is to find something else about which I’m passionate and create a new identity, perhaps one relating to finding a full-time job or actually finding the time to have a relationship.

As to saying goodbye, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to say something as final as “goodbye” to my guildies. I will always keep up to date with Apotheosis happenings, boss kills, server firsts and the like. But as time goes by, it will certainly be from the sidelines and it will definitely be from the perspective of having helped to create the guild that is now kicking ass, kind of like how I imagine a parent looks at their child as the child grows into a fine, upstanding young adult.

Once again, I am honoured and humbled to have played any kind of role in the history of Apotheosis. The guild has been my baby for the last two years and though it’s difficult to give it up, I know they will be in good hands and I know they will kick some serious ass going forward. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is really what any GM wants their guild to be able to do without them at the helm. Mission accomplished. :)

I know, I’ve been slack with these posts, for which I truly apologize. Hopefully we’re not too late with this final post. Please do read Steps 1 & 2 and Steps 3 & 4 before you move on. :)

STEP 5: Roster Confirmation

My last post shared this spreadsheet with you. Here’s an updated version.

As you can see, we’ve lost a couple of other people from the current roster. Cinder, Majik and myself, but also Innerbite (which is a whole other story on its own) and Miurne, along with confirmation from Hitoku that he will not be raiding in Mists. We never did hear from Delandruss (and we hope he’s okay!). Walks decided to go monk, while Dayden elected to remain an enhancement shaman, not wanting to add to the glut of tanks. Kripptic went from being a hunter to being a DPS warrior in our raids and that’s what he’ll be playing in Mists.

We also added:

Ghostlore, Ilumi, Mabriam, Reax, Smmoke and Sturm (of which, Mabs and Sturm had previously raided with us)

We also went recruiting specifically for Mists! So we have the following who will be starting (mostly) their trials in MoP:

Grumdy and Zazii (zomg warlocks!), Leenewton (moonkin), Jacii (holy paladin), Poz (will be a windwalker monk) and Stariian (rogue who had maybe two raids with us before we stopped raiding for the expansion).

Current count:

23 DPS (10 melee, 13 ranged)
3 tanks (brewmaster, guardian, prot pally)
8 healers (2 resto druids, 2 mistweaver monks, 2 healing priests, 1 resto shaman, 1 holy paladin)

Honestly, I’m pretty happy with that. 34 people confirmed, although one must always prepare for the unexpected. The officers anticipate somewhere in the realm of 20% attrition, but some of that has already happened, so we were at 37 people before Inner bailed and Miurne and Hitoku wouldn’t be continuing. and 20% of 37 is 7.4. That means I estimate another 4 people will either bail, won’t be ready for raiding on October 9th or won’t pass their trials.

So Apotheosis is pretty set moving into Mists, although we could still use a shadow priest to keep Srsbusiness company, would consider another elemental shaman, another hunter and even another moonkin.

At this point in time, your roster should be more or less set. You should have confirmed everyone’s role with everyone and given them a bit of time to change their minds or even make up their minds. You should have a good idea of what you need to recruit and you should be exploring those options.

What’s left?

STEP 6: Paperwork & Policies

If you follow me on Twitter, you have doubtlessly seen tweets of mine wherein I complain about “paperwork”. Welcome to running a guild. Even if it’s virtual paperwork, you still have a crapton of it to do if you want to be organized about stuff.

Apotheosis is a guild where 100% of our information that is important to the running of the guild is found on our guild forums. There are two major reasons for this.

1) To share the information with our players. As a raider in Apotheosis, you are expected to check the forums regularly. All policies, strategies and announcements are posted on the forums, all feedback is done back and forth on the forums via private message and all guild bank requests are done on the forums. It means there is a central place for information and if the officers have posted the appropriate information, the onus is then on the players to make sure they’ve done their reading. This is also important for the sake of transparency. If it’s on the forums, we stick to it. There are no surprises.

2) So we don’t have to remember it all. Human memory is a funny thing in that sometimes, we don’t remember things. Or we remember them wrong. Having it all written down in a centralized location means not only that I don’t need to remember that, for example, normal-version shoulders cost 750 GP, but the person in charge of loot isn’t completely irreplaceable in case of emergency. Having all our EPGP values posted on the forums means that any officer can do loot (in theory). It means that anyone can read or re-read our various policies or strats. I know I referred to our H DS strats even going into our last couple of raids. It’s just not viable to expect everyone to remember everything with perfect clarity. Writing it down saves you the trouble.

Of course, the downside here is that we need to keep these various posts and documents updated.

Jasyla, who is the incoming GM of Apotheosis, spent several hours updating and re-writing and re-organizing several of our policy posts, many of which hadn’t been updated since, oh, the start of Cataclysm… Oops. ;) With feedback from the officers, Jasyla meticulously updated these posts and started posting them to our new guild forums. We elected to move to a new set of forums to have a fresh start without thousands of posts already. We took the opportunity to change how permissions worked on the new forums so it’s a lot easier to keep track of who can see what on the forums, plus it’s easier to know which permissions to give to which members. We also asked people to register for the forums using their new names, so Kaleri (our disc priest who’s going to be a guardian druid for us) changed her name to Kalbeari, which is her druid’s name. This makes things a million times easier for people to know who is who and avoid the dreaded “user not found” error when you try to write to someone only to remember, belatedly, that their toon name is not their forum name.

Essentially, assuming your roster is set, you’ll want to update your policies and expectations, start getting raid strats out there and then you’ll want to tackle something else that can be pretty overwhelming: the guild bank.

Tikari, in addition to being our melee lead again, will be handling the guild bank stuff. By “stuff”, I mean, he’s basically in charge of cleaning out the bank of stuff that won’t be useful and managing our 678,000 gold. This is not the time to be a packrat. This is the time to get rid of 90% of the crap in your guild bank and save your gold.

Right now, Apotheosis has 8 bank tabs and we require anyone who is a Raider or above to have an authenticator on their account. Here’s how we used the tabs in Cata and I expect they’ll be used similarly going forward.

1) Guild Trade: Anyone can deposit/withdraw junk here. We get a lot of AQ idols and scarabs, a lot of DMF quest items and other junk.

2) Glyphs/Enchants: Anyone can deposit/withdraw some glyphs here (as well as some enchants on scrolls).

3) Enchanting/Tailoring/LW/Vol: This was a tab for all our enchanting mats as well as cloth, raid drops (Essences of Destruction), leatherworking stuff and volatile storage. Anyone could deposit, only officers could withdraw.

4) Gems/Ore: This was where, not surprisingly, we kept all our gems and ore during the expansion. Anyone could deposit, only officers could withdraw.

5) Food: This was where we stored fish for the fish feasts. Anyone could deposit, only officers could withdraw.

6) Flasks: Also unsurprisingly, this was where we stored all our flasks that we used for raids. Anyone could deposit, only officers could withdraw.

7) Herbs: We had a small store of herbs once we moved to a system where people would donate flasks for cauldrons, but kept using it for various potions and elixirs and the like. Anyone could deposit, only officers could withdraw.

8) Secured: Patterns and BOEs made their way here. No one but officers could deposit and only the bank admin or GM could withdraw.

So what you need to do is clean out your bank and organize your tabs for efficient use.

Yet another thing to check out is guild ranks.

Apotheosis currently makes use of all 10 guild ranks.

Guild Leader is the rank for the GM, obviously. Bank Officer is the rank for the main character of the bank administrator as well as our “Apothbank” toon. Officer is for the other officers, Officer Alt is for the alts of officers, so they don’t have to swap over to throw out invites to the guild and such. Veteran is a new rank we brought in as a test (which has worked very nicely) that currently is for any non-officer who joined us before Cata dropped without pausing in their raiding with us. Going forward, this will be anyone who has raided with us for a full year without a break. Officers and Veterans are considered “Raiders” for loot purposes, but get slightly more repair ability and can invite people to the guild. Raiders are those who raid with the guild and have passed their trials. We’ll come back to Member in a minute, but Initiates are for our trialists, which typically lasts 3 weeks (9 full raids), or if content’s on farm and we’re doing 1 night a week clears, 4 weeks is the duration. Friends are friends of raiding-ranked people (or Members) and Alt is for everyone’s alt, except the officers.

Members are a little strange — they’re basically retired raiders from any point in time in Apotheosis’ history and, yes, I’ll be there soon enough. But a lot of our members who raided with us in BC are in this spot. You only ever get DEMOTED to Member after you’ve stopped raiding. They are important people to us who made it possible for us to get to where we are today and we like to recognize that by giving them their own rank and privileges that are more than what Initiates get but not quite what Raiders get. We are, after all, a raiding guild.

Speaking of being a raiding guild, one other thing our officers have hammered out is a good feedback system. Time and again, the biggest complaint we had as an officer group was a lack of feedback for the raiders, but to be honest, we didn’t have a group that had the time to give a lot of feedback. Our unofficial policy was “no news is good news”. We worked to change that in the last few months of Dragon Soul and the officers will be doing much more extensive feedback going forward. That was a major problem area for us and we worked to fix it, so raiders (and initiates) in Apotheosis will have a better idea of various expectations and will have more communication with their officers. We’ve added that to their roles as officers and, due to the fact that there are four people doing my jobs (GM, RL, recruitment, guild bank), we’ve had to specify what each role is responsible for.

Finally, THE LEGENDARY. Or legendaries.

Chances are, the moment you kill a boss in a raid instance in T14, something associated with the various legendaries out there will drop. What you need to do WELL before you walk into a raid instance is figure out who’s getting a legendary and in which order. Apotheosis is not prepared for this (yet), but I’m sure the officers will get that organized soon enough. (That said, I am selfishly REALLY GLAD I don’t have to make decisions about this.) Still, this is something any raiding guild will need to deal with and so you need to be clear about it before you start raiding.

CONCLUSION

Obviously, the most challenging thing is making sure your roster is settled, but once that’s done, it’s time to deal with the administrative side of things.

- policy updating/rewriting
- website/forum cleanup
- guild bank cleanup
- ranks/roster cleanup
- role duties for officers
- legendary

Once you’ve taken care of that stuff, you are pretty much good to go and ready to embark upon a new adventure in Pandaria! Don’t forget to keep your policies and such updated; review your policies every couple of months and make sure you’re still adhering to them or that they’re still reflective of what you’re actually doing.

Best of luck to you all in Pandaria! And feel free to let me know what other things you’ve done to help prepare your guild!

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