June 25, 2010 – 6:30 am
Hooray, it’s Midsummer!
Except… for all extents and purposes, Azeroth is a world without electricity. Which means it’s probably a world without universally available air conditioning. (Of course, gnomes are a likely exception) Fortunately, Azeroth is also a world with “climate controlled zones”… but that doesn’t mean we can’t add a little seasonal flair to our Midsummer celebration.
As such I propose a Friday Five-hundred! If you choose to take the challenge, write a 500 word (or fewer) ficlet that addresses the following prompt in some way:
A record-breaking heat wave hits Azeroth just in time for Midsummer.
When you’re done, post the fic (on a forum, on your blog) and leave a comment so I can go read them!
Questions to get started: How does your character deal with the heat? Do they try to “stick it out” in the city? Take a trip to the beach? Maybe go visit Winterspring or go hang out in the Library in the Storm Peaks? Is your character an engineer, attempting to find a way to cool buildings or rooms or people? How is your character doing health wise, and will this affect them? What about plate armor wearers? Does your elemental shaman cut a deal with Air? Maybe your frost mage keeps himself cool with a small, portable blizzard?
I’ll admit, this was prompted by both my own reality (which has been sauna-like for the last few weeks), and by a wonderful image, suggested by the Panzercow, of Aely sitting in front of a running Gnomish fan with her hair draped over the back of a chair, eating frozen grapes. We’ll see if the fic ends up being publishable
June 24, 2010 – 7:58 am
Leading a guild is hard. I’ve never attempted it, but I’ve been both a raid officer (currently) and a guild officer (formerly), and I have seen first hand some of the crap that guild leaders go through.
Good leaders manage to make this look easy. Bad leaders make everyone around them miserable. Sometimes guilds with good leaders fail anyway, for reasons unknown (or known… usually Drama).
Enter The Guild Leader’s Handbook:
The Guild Leader’s Handbook, by Scott F. Andrews (the “Officers Quarters” columnist at WoW.com).
Published by No Starch press and available for $24.95 print or $19.95 e-book (ISBN # 978-1-59327-258-6)
This book is pretty much what it says it is:
“The Guild Leader’s Handbook is for anyone who is or ever wanted to become a Guild Leader.” (p xviii, Introduction)
Andrews lays out clear leadership strategies for building your guild from the ground up.
Rather than going willynilly and ending up like the character from Illegal Danish (WANNA JOIN MY GUILD!?!!?), Andrews advocates a reasoned, planned strategy for creating a guild, coming up with a concept and a name, managing officers and events, recruiting, raiding, and even what to do when the drama llama follows you home (as it inevitably will, in ANY guild).
The book is well laid out, easy to read, and written in a comfortable, conversational style. The book nerd in me would like to mention that it’s also nicely typeset, on thick paper, with an appropriate font, pleasant cover, and nice embellishment.
Andrews takes examples from his own guild leading as well as prominent/famous/infamous examples from across the MMO spectrum.
I’m a big fan of the diagrams he created as well; The Guild-ID Flowchart, Policy Triangle, Player Character Types and other specific concepts are both explained and then outlined in “pop out” boxes or placed into easy to read charts. His ability to break things down into basics keeps this from being too much of a “MMO-specific” book as well, and any gaming jargon is quickly and simply explained.
Particularly noteworthy, Andrews breaks down the differences between leading a guild and leading a raid, explaining very clearly what’s needed for both. Since not everyone can do both of those roles well, I thought it was well placed in the book, and an important point to bring up to new PVE guild leaders looking to get into raiding. His chapter on loot systems is also very good, though it generally leaves out the personalities of the raiders (since some loot systems will work well with one group of personalities but fail horribly with others).
Unfortunately, while Andrews attempts to address the idea of leading a roleplaying guild, he’s obviously inexperienced on the concept of Roleplay as a whole.
The roleplay section of The Guild Leader’s Handbook is very weak. While that’s somewhat understandable – this is not a book for leading an RP guild, it’s a book for leading ANY guild – it’s obvious that he’s led guilds that engaged extensively in PVE and occasionally in PVP, but is relying what he’s picked up secondhand for RP guilds.
His information is often either incorrect, limited, or both.
Using examples that perpetuate RP stereotypes is kind of cringe worthy.
As a full time RPer, I’d have a pretty hearty chuckle at someone that said “I must meditate for a moment before we begin our assault ((AFK Bio))” . The sentiment is good, but it rather unfortunately populates the “RPers are poncy gits who talk too much” stereotype. In such a situation, it’s absolutely acceptable to simply say “Wait just a minute” or some other… not affected, not pompous statement. Sure SOME characters might talk that way, but it’s pretty unusual in my experience with RP.
Maybe that doesn’t sound “roleplayish” enough to use as an example, but it’s a pretty distinct caricature, and not really representative.
The Guild Leader can’t be the guild’s Dungeon Master.
Yes, sometimes the GL will take on that role, but so should all the other members of the guild (or at least a handful of others). A guild that’s entire storyline, plot, events, and actions are tied to the creativity of one person will inevitably fail. A Guild Leader (or even a designated “Storymaster” officer, as suggested elsewhere in the book) may coordinate things, and help make sure that player created content doesn’t overlap, and perhaps work to create a direction or a goal for the guild, but what keeps an RP guild going is the interplay of creativity between guild-mates.
Yes, a RP guild needs their Guild Leader and officers as coordinators, but if all of your stories rely on one person, they will burn out VERY quickly.
Encouraging player storylines is equally, if not more, important than coming up with them yourself. And guild stories can stagnate without multiple people working on them and moving them along – especially if they are in any way extended. Placing that responsibility entirely on the guild leader ensures burn out, as well as players quitting the guild when the guild leader has a bad idea, or runs out of ideas, or can’t sustain a story.
Basically, RP happens with the guild, not to the guild, and an RP guild that relies on a single person to come up with and coordinate all the RP will quickly either fizzle out or explode.
The book also doesn’t address (m)any of the specific issues that come up in RP guilds.
In fact, the only “Roleplaying Issues” mentioned are Erotic RP and Mary Sues – neither of which is usually guild-breaking. In fact, I’d say that at guild creation, either Erotic RP is allowed in guild chat, or it’s not, end of story, no more issues. Mary Sues are really only a problem if they’re negatively impacting the story or other players – which is a simple player to player conversation… but it straddles the IC/OOC boundary. Unfortunately, the book never mentions how to navigate the IC/OOC interaction balance, especially with regards to drama, nor does it go into the balance between in-game and forum-based RP, how to handle timelines, and how to handle patches, new lore, and other gameplay changes. These are issues that will come up in most RP guilds, especially those that want to work on group storylines and plots.
Also, the designations of “light, medium, and heavy” roleplay are pretty much obsolete in my experience. With the creation of player channels and the changes to in-game RP (at least in WoW), most RP guilds can’t be placed fully into any one of those categories, and it’s over-simplistic to try to set up a guild specifically as one or another. Most guilds are either just RP-friendly or have explicit RP rules and protocols that are explained to any new recruit. Those RP rules and protocols usually evolve organically out of the specific community.
As an example, the Wildfire Riders have IC only guild chat, plus a secondary, non-guild-restricted IC chat channel, but we also have an OOC chat channel, and you can find people participating in all three – sometimes simultaneously!
As Andrews admits that he’s never been part of a roleplaying guild, let alone leading one (only having done some occasional, very loosely roleplaying world events that were connected to PVP), these shortcomings aren’t surprising, but since RP is the focus of this blog, I think it’s important to note that there are definitely some things that a RP Guild Leader would want to know about that aren’t mentioned.
All that aside, would I recommend this book?
Absolutely, but not with any specifics towards RP guilds.
The Guild Leader’s Handbook is a solid introduction to guild leading and a good resource for anyone (RP or not) wanting to run a guild. A new guild leader, of whatever type, would do well to read The Guild Leader’s Handbook, and could glean a lot of information from it, hopefully avoiding some of the pitfalls of new guilds. While long-term guild leaders may already have picked up on some of the information, Andrews’ breakdowns, charts, and easy to read examples still provide useful “extra experience”, and having everything in one, easy-to-reference guide is quite helpful.
The Guild Leader’s Handbook is not, however, in any way RP specific, relegating RP Guild Leading to a poorly done half of a chapter – which is understandable given the content (the vast majority of guild leaders are not leading RP guilds), but ultimately not very helpful for a fledgling RP guild leader.
For most guild leaders, you’ll get the majority of information you need to get started from The Guild Leader’s Handbook. For RP guild leaders, it is a good stepping off point, but you’ll need either trial and error, experience, a mentor, or more information to get into the nitty-gritty of leading a group of roleplayers. While Andrews’ information is a very solid start, it won’t prepare a RP guild leader for the issues he or she is likely to face on top of the usual issues found in guild leading.
Full Disclosure – I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher, as a review copy. I am under no obligation to review it favorably, but I did promise a review in exchange for the book. (And I ought to probably apologize to Andrews and his editors, as I’ve had the book nearly a month now. Whoops!)
June 23, 2010 – 12:16 pm
Bricu posted last weekend about how to deal with RP lulls. In that post, he mentioned a bit of RP that we were working on in Google Wave (that moved to GTalk yesterday when the servers were down).
This story happened a little while ago, and is (in a lot of ways) a setup for things to come, both in game and things that you’ll see here. The Riders and other Feathermoon RP groups collectively decided to wait until 3.3.5 released to consider Arthas officially dead, and those stories are just now beginning. Some of them, you’ll be seeing here. Some will be Arrens/Aely fic, some more general, but I’m looking forward to writing all the stuff rattling around.
Hopefully you guys enjoy this little look into how the Northron Riders are preparing to deal with Arthas’ death.
Naiara Bittertongue, by Loreli of AOD Studios
Three weeks ago, in Stormwind. Two redheaded paladins and one little girl.
“The missus an’ I were a bit worried that our wee one wouldn’t be able ta play with a dog, ’cause she’s spent so much time with the cats. Then she went off an’ started callin’ Blue a kitty, an’ reachin’ out fer ‘im. I think our fears are misplaced.” Bricu said. He was leaning forward at the waist, holding his fingers out so Naiara could walk in front of him, but still grab on to something if she lost her balance–which she did frequently. She was still a little wobbly on her feet.
“So yir thinkin’ oan a dog?” Aely watched the little girl amusedly. “If ye take care with it, ‘s quite possible t’ get one that’d put up wi’ a wee one, an’ what she could grow up proper with.”
“Aye.” Bricu said.
Naiara looked up at her father, then at Aely. “Ki-yee!”
“Aye love, a kitty. A dog Kitty. Can yeh say Doggie?”
“Kiyee.” Naiara said somberly.
“So aye, a dog. So in case someone else tries ta take her…”
“Fir protection too, then.” Aely looked over at Roger, laying peacefully by the door.
“Well, I canna offer ye any ay’ Rog’s pups, but I’m pretty sure Lady – th’ mum ay all those pups I found last year – I’m pretty sure Lady’s a wolfhound. ‘s an old breed, out ay th’ really old North, ‘fore e’en Lordaeron wis a proper kingdom. Lotta old stories have ‘em as characters. They’re raised in Eastvale too now, pretty popular fir shepherding an’ farmdogs, ’cause they can take out a wolf if need be.” Roger perked up one ear, as if to acknowledge his name. “Real loyal too, an’ gentle. Like Blue.”
“Strewth, a Northern breed raised by Southrons. Tell me, have these folks been doin’ it fer long, or is it another necessitiy pushed by our Bloody Prince?”
Aely shrugged. “Long time, yeh, ‘least as far as I ken. Old kingly gift ay sorts, beautiful an’ loyal dogs. Th’ ones I’ve seen down here, like Lady, ‘re jus’ as fine as any I saw back North. Rog’s half worg, by th’ look ay things, but he’s likely ay th’ same air similar stock.”
“It’s the half worg I’d be worried ’bout. I Don’t want ta get Naiara a pup that’d turn on her in a year or two. That’d be ba….”
“BAWKS!” Naiara shouted.
“Aye, love. Ballacks. So, Aely, when can yeh take me ta this farm in Eastvale?
“Whene’er ye like, really – I’m na oan leave much, but I’ve got ’till Sunday ay this week. If ye’ve a date in mind, I c’n send word tha’ wir comin’.'s Threnny up wi’ a puppy?”
Bricu nodded, helping Naiara to balance as she stood up on tentative legs. “She’s more open ta the idea, since Thenia decided that she knew better than me an’ Threnny. I think ta really make it clear, I’ll need ta find the sweetest, most loyal pup–but one that’s got a back bone. IF yeh can help me with the breeders, then, an’ take me there on Sunday, that’d be brilliant. It’d also give yeh time ta answer a question I have.”
“Well, an’ a proper bred one ‘ll be all those things if ye train it proper. Sunday’d be brilliant. So wha’s th’ question?” Aely opened her arms, inviting Naiara to wander over.
Bricu let Naiara walk a few wobly steps ahead. “Yeh want ta host the Bloody Prince’s wake?”
Aely watched the little girl, quiet for a moment.
“Wake, eh? How’d ye figure it’d work? Mos’ folk are’na like t’ think oan him wi’ any kind ay… kindness.”
“The tenor o’what they want ta say doesn’t matter. What matters is that it’s said, that dues are paid. The Bloody Prince will get what he has comin’, but we have ta make sure that we do what’s right. So we can heal proper.” Bricu shrugged.
“So, muir fir us t’ lay th’ bastard t’ rest, an’ less fir any sort ay kinship.”
“No lass, more like layin’ what he did ta us ta rest. Still. We’re killin’ our Bloody Prince. That has a price.”
Aely scowled. Naiara plopped down on the floor, looking back and forth between the two Lordaerii accents. “Aye – fir wha’s left ay Arthas Menethil. I’m na proper sure how much’s left, an’ how much’s jus’ th’ Lich King these days.”
“Does that matter? We’re doin’ the world a service, but he is still, and will always be, the Prince of Lordaeron.”
Bricu made a small, very old gesture. Aely ignored it.
“Does matter, ‘least when ye think oan it wis him wha’ killed his King.” She sighed. “I’m na sayin’ we ought na do it, jus’… well, I dinna ken wha’ muir we owe ‘im than th’ death he’s got comin’. We owe it t’ us, an’ t’ our home t’ lay him t’ rest proper, sure.”
“We don’t owe him, not like that. We have responsibilities. Traditions ta put right.” Bricu looked at the other paladin, rather pointedly. “Yeh hear o’the Erik?”
“Aye – ‘s th’ price paid fir committin’ crimes. Like… th’ cost t’ ye fir doin’ sommat against th’ law.”
“Exactly. Ol’Lordaeron traditions. Somethin’ we can use ta help others heal. My idea is simple Aely: We get the Northfolk. Everyone brings their story an’ their Erik. We tell our tale an’ pay the price for our deeds. I’ve got a crown I’ve made… figure it’ll fetch a hefty sum fer a fund ta rebuild the North.”
“Aye. ‘s a lot ay good can come ay that.”
“Aye..an’ let’s face it, when the bloody prince falls, it doesn’t do a …” Bricu grabbed for Naiara as she attempted to stand up under the little table, grabbing onto the dangling tablecloth to steady herself. “Doesn’t do much fer healin’ the hurt. It just cauterizes the wound.”
Aely nodded. “Aye – Revenge dinna actually solve anythin’, other’n th’ actual removal ay th’ problem. Th’ healin after – tha’s th’ hard part.”
“Northmen’ve been fightin’ the Bloody Prince in one way, or another, since he killed our King. Our hurt is the oldest in this war.”
“Aye, ’tis. So ye’ve a plan fir this?” Aely asked.
“Aye. I know who I’ll invite.”
“Those we go wi’? Th’ old North runs strong in the Black an’ Red.”
“Andrick, Chryste, Tarquin, Norvallen” Bricu frowned. “Feliche. Feliche thinks like us.”
“Aye. An’ Caltrains.”
“Arvoss. Edour. Balthasar.”
“Aye, Balthasar. Darrows”
Aely furrowed her eyebrows a moment. “Fuck it all, Taborwynn.”
Naiara bowed her head, “Bawks.”
“S’why it should be at the farm.”
Aely blinked, silent for a moment. “Yeh, aye.”
“Fact is lass….how many o’us have drifted since we lost our home? Turnin’ ta the old ways might give us a what we need,” Bricu said.
“Aye, an’ if naught else, it’ll be muir closed ‘n just a “well, tha’s o’er”. An’ much’s some proper folk dinna like t’ hear it, th’ old ways worked fir a long bloody time.”
Naiara pulled herself up to standing, little fingers clamped tightly to the edge of Aely’s boot cuff. “Figured oan a time yet then?”
Bricu nodded. “Two weeks after the bloody prince is dead.”
“Sounds good. Gives folk time t’ plan fir things.”
“So, Aely, I can say that then? Two weeks after he’s gone, the Wake will be at the Farm?” Naiara pulled herself up into her father’s lap, nestling sleepily against his chest.
“Aye. I’ll plan fir things – crash space fir folk wha’ needs it. Ye’ll let me ken if’s anythin’ I need t’ do beyond ‘at, yeh?”
Bricu paused, thinking for a moment. “Just one more thing. Need yeh ta come up with a proper prayer.”
“Aye, I c’n manage ‘at. I’ll… do some readin’, I s’pose. ‘s a differen’ sort ay last rite.”
“It’s somethin… somethin’ only yeh could manage. I’m not sure I could do it without cursin’.”
Aely grinned, rather without humor. “I’ll do m’level best t’ live up t’ that. Dinna promise oan na swearin’ though.”
“Good. That’s poetry from yeh. Common fu–earmuffin’–speech from one like me.”
“Dinna ken – ‘s all Lordaerii. Th’ poetry ay th’ North, yeh?”
Bricu nodded solemnly as the little girl on his lap murmured into sleep.
“Aye…Aye it is.”