Wearing Many Different Leadership Hats

A popular topic on WoW-related Twitters this week is whether it’s viable to have one person be a combination of healing and raid leader. I admit, I sort of giggled. I’m guild leader, raid leader, healing class leader (or would be if our healers weren’t all little anarchists who dislike authority — for which I love them dearly), and quite often top of the healing charts. And it’s not because I’m some kind of amazing multitasking super gamer, trust me. The keys are delegation, trust, and triage.

A couple of jobs ago a boss told me a very wise thing: don’t be afraid to hire people who are better than you. I followed that during my brief stint in middle management, and I definitely follow it with the guild. I have people who are better than me at most things — making strategies, mathcraft, creative solutions, tanking/DPSing, mods. There are folks on my team who are far more vigilant about stuff like proper flasks than I would ever think or care to be. I know my strengths, which are good people skills, good critical thinking skills, and solid attention to detail. Beyond that, why not employ people who are better than I am?

During a raid, for the most part I leave many things to their respective geniuses. Sure, I’ll go into a new boss with what I believe is the best strategy, but after those first couple of attempts, I’m quite open to input and people know it. As raid leader, a big part of my job in our guild is simply to be the critical thinker and, yes, decision maker. I sort out the ideas and details coming in from people who are more clever with strategies and observations than I am. “If we tank him to the side we’ll get fewer bots.” “The rogues are a little slow on DPS tonight.” “Elementals are easier if we tried this…” I read everything, decide if we should do it, and then lead appropriately.

That’s not to say that I don’t try to keep my head on a swivel and watch how things are playing out, but wearing so many hats means that things will run smoother if I also rely on others to help.

Which brings me to the next issue — trust. This may come as a shock, but I can be a bit of a control freak. (Ha ha ha!) One thing I have had to learn as a simultaneous guild/raid leader and healer is to trust others to help. For example, my good friend and fellow officer bugged me for months to let him handle the looting and bidding on raids. Eventually in a fit of being overwhelmed I relented, and having that extra time during loot to handle raid issues has turned out to be a huge boon. As another example, If I am particularly swamped I trust the healers to sort their crap out because they are adults and awesome players and they should know to do that.

(My guild is much like Dueg’s old one when it comes to healing assignments. Our motto is “heal things, don’t die”, and it works for this outstanding team. They are smart, funny, care very much about healing, and little wingnut individuals, each and every one of them. My only regret about all the things I do on raids is that it keeps from chatting with them more.)

Finally, triage. Don’t worry about what isn’t important. If people whisper me ideas or strategies, I very rarely ever whisper back. I just use them or don’t. Any whiners of any sort are immediately told to save it until after the raid. Any non-raid tasks are just ignored. No, I am not guilding your alt while I’m in Ulduar. Semi-important things get passed to officers to handle. And woe betide anyone who whispers me mid-raid about recruitment. We have a saying in the Cats that goes “Send ’em to Blas or Kinch”, our two notoriously cranky officers, and mid-raid applicants go STRAIGHT to them with a vengeance.

So by working with your own strengths, and relying on others to fill in what you’re missing, it’s possible to wear many leadership hats at once and still get things done. Good luck!

You’re So Vain

You’re So Vain

liorelooksgoodLast night we broke into two 10 man groups (based on existing timers) and had a heck of a time. The group I was in already had most of the Keepers down, so we finished off Thorim and Mimiron and then two-shot Vezax! Three healers definitely helped. Then it was off to Yogg-Saron for the next couple of hours, which was okay by me. It was sooooooo nice to see him, even if he did eat our lunch.

We were also totally unprepared, strategy-wise, so it was an evening of moments like, “I wonder what these green beams do. Oh, I’m dead. Okay, avoid the green beams, people!”

Anyway, let’s get to the important bit: Liore looks awesome now. I feel I have finally arrived in WotLK tiered gear. I swore I’d never change her hair color, but Friday I got new shoulders, and new gloves last night, and I suppose Liore could DYE her hair temporarily, right?

Sure she could. Who’s a badass priest? Liore’s a badass priest. Awww, yeah.

Double Your Fun with Dual-Boxing

Double Your Fun with Dual-Boxing

So remember when I posted a couple of weeks ago declaring that I had forsaken all alts and alt leveling? Ironically enough, writing that post got me thinking about alts, and how I’ve always wanted a paladin. Truthfully, I think female characters look really awesome in most plate gear. More importantly, though, paladins are a great class for PVP, both battlegrounds and arenas. While I adore Liore and the priesthood, I’m saddened sometimes that I am destined to get chewed up and spit out in arenas, or that battleground achievements like Ironman are a million times more difficult with my chosen class.

zhevraOf course, I level like a turtle, and paladins are not renowned for their quick leveling anyway. I pondered my options, did a little reading, and then decided to join a whole new level of WoW-geekery: I was going to two-box a couple of characters and boost them using the Recruit-a-Friend bonus. It’s a little extra money for a couple of months, but it held the potential for fun and I love deciphering new toys.

Getting the account started was very easy. I mailed myself a Recruit-a-Friend code from my Blizzard Account, signed up with my own name and credit card, and voila! Starting up technically was a little trickier. I use one computer with two monitors and two accounts, rather than multiple computers. To start with this setup, follow the first six steps on this page. You’ll also want to install the mod Jamba on both accounts.

Getting the hang of dual-boxing is.. tricky. Set a master and a slave in Jamba on each character. Get them in a group, make each other their focus, and set the slave to follow the master. With Jamba you have to manually open dialogs such as quests and flights, but once you have it opened on each character the slave will follow the master. So, for example, if both have the flight dialog open, when the master hops on a bird for Dalaran the slave will automatically pick the same thing.

HotKeyNet (which you set up in the earlier guide) allows you to send a key press to both characters at once, which you can toggle on and off with the Scroll Lock key. (Type  in chat on the master char without deselecting the Scroll Lock, and your slave will start freaking out and opening windows and whatnot.) From here you want to write macros and keybind things. For example, the “2” key on my paladin is set to “/startattack” and “/cast [target=focustarget] Wrath” on the druid.

This is where the really neat aspect of multi-boxing comes into play. You get to look at the combat styles of two classes and figure out how they can mesh. My favorite is the button that casts Moonfire and Judgement of Light (with Seal of Righteousness, at the moment). A big burst of damage with a dot for the mob and health back to the pally — love it! Figuring out macros and spell rotations is like a puzzle, and great fun.

The XP bonus for RaF is ridiculous. It’s a flat 150% on everything. Killing a mob that usually generates 70xp will give you 175xp, and that adds up quick. In about 8 hours of play (excluding AFKs and just fiddling with the interface) both characters hit level 20. Watch out though — make sure you hit the auction house at least every 10 levels for gear upgrades, since you’ll be getting fewer quest rewards than usual.

Not only is RaF fast, but I ENJOYED those 20 levels like never before. Leveling is easy in WoW now, even without a huge XP bonus. You’ve got leveling mods to tell you where to go and when, quest items sparkle, and lowbie elites have been nerfed. But trying to move a duo through the content was a really fun challenge. I’m learning two classes at once, plus advanced macro writing, plus the puzzle-solving of how to mesh the two in combat. (As I joked in guild chat, I can blow away mobs 4-5 levels higher, but sharp corners have become my greatest enemy!)

Of course, I’m already planning on ditching little pally Miercoles and druid Suiyobi for the time being and focusing on leveling up a couple of Hordies. Feral Druid and Shadow priest, maybe? Suddenly, I’m looking forward to going home and leveling alts. How things change.

Midsummer Fire Festival

Midsummer Fire Festival

Enough about raiding, recruiting, killing, and stupid 3.2 priest nerfs and weird instance timers that make me want to GRAB A PUPPY AND THROTTLE IT AND O– wait! Right. Sorry. Scratch that last bit.

This Sunday is the Midsummer Fire Festival, which means it’s time for another crazed session of achievement grinding! I like world events quite a bit, and I will be sad when Brewfest is over in September and I have my violet protodrake and all the completed meta achievements to go with it.

Anyway, let’s go over the six achievements needed to earn the the “Flame Warden” title:

Ice the Frost Lord
ahuneSlay Ahune in Heroic Slave Pens. The official Midsummer Fire Festival page still says that Ahune is level 70, but I suspect he’ll be level 80 this year. Head into Slave Pens, clear just past the first room, and talk to the new NPC Luma Cloudsister to summon the big fella. He had a lot of adds last year that kind of added up, so assuming he’s level 80 you’ll likely need a full group of 5. Ahune also can drop a Scorchling pet and the completely badass-looking Frostscythe of Lord Ahune, so you’ll likely want to kill him a lot.

King of the Fire Festival
Complete the Thief’s Reward quest by stealing the flames from all of the major cities of the opposite faction. This is a great quest to do late at night, or early in the morning. If it’s like last year, the Undercity flames are easy, and the Orgrimmar one (right outside Thrall’s chamber!) is the most difficult. This quest gives you a Crown of the Fire Festival as a reward, which you need for later achievements.

Desecration of the Horde/Alliance and The Fires of Azeroth
A holiday staple, these are the “ha ha, you have to go back to Azeroth” achievments. Fly around Kalimdor, Eastern Kingdoms, and Outland and honor or extinguish fires in both Alliance and Horde towns. Fortunately, doing this will give you lots of Burning Blossoms, which is the currency for Fire Festival vendor items. Assuming you have nothing from last year, you’ll need 400 Blossoms to buy the entire Fire Festival outfit, which is required for other achievements…

Burning Hot Pole Dance
… such as this one! Getting the set will take a bit of time, but otherwise this achivement is simple. Don your full Midsummer set and dance at (aka use) any of the ribbon poles for 60 seconds.

Torch Juggler
And here is the achievement I’ve been dreading. Juggle 40 torches in 15 seconds. I’m not sure of the actual mechanics of this quest, but the juggling torches daily last year caused me no end of grief. I suppose I am just not destined to be a circus clown.

And that’s it! Those achievements are a little time consuming, but pretty simple and lacking any of that RNG madness that people hate. Happy Midsummer!

I Hate Recruiting!

Augh, recruiting. Augh!

I hate recruiting. It’s too much like job hunting or other related real life chores. There are always a glut of guilds, too, so we all line up and flash our beautiful plumage and hope that we entice the right people. Recruiting makes me daydream about terrible things like one of the larger guilds on our server going belly up, allowing the rest of us to cherrypick from their remains.

And I realize this makes me sound like an old lady talking about walking to school in the snow, but the quality and stability of recruits seems to have decreased over the past year or so. It used to be that I could rely upon someone who transferred realms to at least seriously give it a shot. It cost them $25 to raid with us! Now a good 15% of the time a transfer will show up and then just disappear a week later. Why did you pay $25 to waste your time? Why did you pay to waste my time? A pox upon you!!

I have cranked up the recruitment machine to full speed this week, mostly with responding to “Looking for Guild” posts on the official Alliance Recruitment forum. This gets our name out there, which is great, although it has not escaped my attention that (to my recollection) we have never actually gotten a reliable new member from this forum. Everyone who isn’t a friend of a friend came from other, more niche-specific sites.

Also, while I’m ranting, where did all the mages go? I don’t think I’ve recruited a reliable, butt-kicking mage in at least three years. Fortunately we have a couple, as it stands, but another one would be nice!

Tips for people who are in a new guild:

1) Participate! Not just in raids — talk in gchat, talk with other members of your class, try and put together heroic runs, and so on. Get to know people, and let them get to know you.
2) Be on time for raids! It’s not a real job, but first impressions still count. I have people with years of seniority, and then you. Don’t give me an excuse to bench you in favor of the devil I know.
3) If your guild leader is female, and particularly if she has seemed the sensible type thus far, don’t join the guild and hit on her. A majority of new male recruits send me a “So, how YOU doin’?” whisper within moments of being invited. How am I doing? I’m running a guild. Any other questions, new guy? :)


PS: WTB mage, ret pally, and elemental shaman. We will pay you in puns, epics, and good times, although the dental plan is shoddy.

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