What is "errata'? It's a fancy word, taken from Latin, that basically means "errors" or "mistakes." As much as I'd like it to, running a guild doesn't pay enough to make it my full-time job. So I work in publishing. Whenever we publish a book, before the pages even begin churning off the press, we're already hard at work looking for any mistakes that we need to correct in the next printing. Like most media companies, we call these mistakes "errata," probably because by giving them a fancy name it doesn't sound quite so horrible that we printed a book with a picture of Cookie Monster above the caption "Vladimir Putin." (Just a hypothetical example . . .)
With 15 columns under my belt, I thought it would be a fine time to look back and, in the tradition of publishing, point out some of my errata for our readers' benefit and amusement.
This first quote gives me a chuckle, and it's the one that inspired this column idea. A few days before the official announcement of Wrath of the Lich King, I posted the following statement:
Personally, I'm hoping for a BG with player-controlled zeppelins, dwarven planes, giant steam tonks, shredders, and destructible buildings -- but that's probably going to be implemented right after hero classes (i.e.: never).
Ouch. It's almost as if Blizzard designed this expansion solely to prove me wrong! Well, in this case I was quite happy to be shown up, since hero classes, siege weapons, and destructible buildings have been on many people's most-wanted list since Blizzard started talking about these features about two years ago.
Let's reach back farther, all the way to May 14, when I posted about dealing with Karazhan drama. I cringe thinking about this column, and I seldom link to it. I think my advice in the majority of this post was sound, particularly for the reader who sent in the question, but just imagine how this scenario would work out in a typical guild:
If you have enough members to do so, your second option would be to form two teams: one team for your highly motivated individuals, and one for your more laid-back players. Typically those in the first category are harder on themselves and each other and can't stand to fail, whereas those in the latter group will tend to be more forgiving when people make mistakes. It's often this clash of perspectives that leads to arguments in raids. With this option, your motivated members won't be held back or frustrated by the others (at least in Kara). And those on the other team might find more motivation to play well if they aren't getting carried through encounters by better players.
For a lot of guilds, this plan is pretty much a recipe for disaster. Your "laid-back" team is going to struggle every night until they just get too frustrated and go back to running high-end 5-mans and the occasional Heroic. Meanwhile, your hardcore team is going to tear through the content as fast as possible, gear themselves out until they have nothing else they need, and then . . . what? Set up 10-player Gruul runs? Twiddle their thumbs until Zul'Aman gets patched in?
No, if you're a guild that has a mix of very good and somewhat average players, you need to find the ratio of good to average that allows you to succeed without hamstringing your guild's progression. In addition to that, you need to either get people to step up and play better or step down until they have the gear and motivation to win. If you're loyal to your members, and they have the desire to improve, you'll get your class leaders involved, use some statistical tools, and help those average players become raiders you can count on.
For those on the outside of raids looking in, I posted this column about getting your officers to notice you and give you a chance when they're filling up the raid window. One of my suggestions was to
Donate some Super Mana Potions to the healers . . .
Yikes, did I really suggest bribery as a viable course of action? I didn't mean it that way, honest! I was giving an example of something that hardcore raiders do for each other from time to time, and offering some pots to your guild's healers would show them that you're willing to make some sacrifices to be a helpful part of the team. But it certainly didn't come across that way, did it? Most (ethical) officers don't respond well to bribes. Unless you bake us cookies IRL. It's a well-known fact that all officers love cookies.
Who else loves cookies? Kids love cookies. While some of them are fun and generous players, not all of them are great to have in your guild roster, as I discussed here. I wrote,
For kids without parents, it gets a lot tougher. There's no safety net, and they can bring a world of hurt on your guild's reputation without even leaving Orgrimmar. [Bold for emphasis]
I don't know what I was thinking here. Obviously I meant to write Ironforge.
I'm sure there are plenty of other errata in my posts, and there will undoubtedly be more to come. In fact, there's probably some mistakes in this post, too. I'm sure someone will point them all out. This is the Internet, after all. All I can do is ask for your patience and understanding -- and of course say, Thanks for reading!
Send Scott your guild-related questions, conundrums, ideas, and suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may find your question the subject of next week's Officers' Quarters!