Feeling Let Down .. a follow-up

My last post explained the happenings of our baby alliance guild, and the problems caused by acting quickly when the status of the guild leadership changed.

Since then, myself and the member who had been entrusted with leadership of the alliance guild have had a good long chat and resolved the problems.  In effect, we’ve hugged and made up, and all is right with the world.

But this has outlined how easy it is to cause offence, to view actions taken and words said in ways that they were never intended to be viewed – especially when you don’t know people “in real life”, it is easy to assume the worst of people.  Everything that occurred over the last few days could have been avoided if contact had been maintained … if I had been more on the ball and realised in good time what might be happening with the guild leadership I would have had time to notify the guy who was leader, to get him back online.  If he had realised that the de-throning deadline was coming up, he could have simply logged in on that character – or contacted me to arrange something.

Instead, we were both being reactive rather than proactive – dealing with the fall-out rather than being aware ahead of time what needed to be done.

Hopefully, this can simply be viewed as something to learn from, but I’m even more concerned for the future of our baby alliance guild now – I really don’t want to spend even more time running a second guild, but if I had felt this guy was the best man for the job at the time, and I’ve been let down by him … what are my chances of getting someone who can fulfil my expectations?  Perhaps I’m just a control freak with stupidly high expectations (ask my husband, and he would certainly agree with that!!).

Feeling Let Down

Many moons ago, Blizzard announced their “connected realms”.  Following a lot of research, we (myself and guild members) came to the conclusion that our realm would probably be one of those that, eventually, would be “connected”.

Not realising it would take quite so long, we got all excited and decided to create another guild on the same realm, but on the other faction, so that we could experience the other side of things.  Most of us have a lot of alts and primarily play Horde, so were hoping that, when we got connected to another realm, we could create a bunch of Alliance alts on that realm, and still play together.

As I spend a lot of time looking after our Horde guild, I was looking for a volunteer out of those I trusted from our current guild, to run the Alliance one – initially just to keep things ticking over, but potentially to do the whole shebang – including online presence of website, facebook page, twitter, etc.

One of our well-respected high ranking Horde members volunteered to be that person – he regularly played, he was organised, he was level-headed and he already had high level alliance characters so knew the Alliance landscape.  Various of us created alts, we created the alliance guild and we had a brief flurry of activity.

Unfortunately, as the weeks slipped into months and very little was mentioned about connected realms, and nothing about ours, less and less people logged into the alliance guild – I popped in from time to time, but was basically hoping to level after the realms got connected, so didn’t do much.

Two days ago, I logged in after some time away, to discover the guild was pretty much in storage … the roster showed that most people had not logged in for months.  Including the GM.  He’d also not been online in the Horde guild for ages, and had not contacted us at all.  There was the odd character that had been on fairly recently, but I didn’t know them .. most characters had their “main” horde name in notes, but these didn’t.

I was a little concerned about this .. a guild member in our Horde guild had recently told us a tale of a previous guild they were in, where a similar thing had happened .. the GM had not logged in for months .. and then a random member from the guild had managed to take it over, demote or kick the other guild members and steal the contents of the guild vault.

Obviously I didn’t want this to happen .. not least because it had a link with our Horde guild and I didn’t want the Alliance “version” of our guild to get a bad reputation.

So this morning, when I logged in, I saw that the automatic dethroning process had kicked in, and immediately set about taking control.  My character was in the middle of no-where .. I had no access to mail boxes or banks and had no idea where the closest ones were – and to be honest that was not my immediate concern.  I simply wanted to ensure that the guild stayed linked to our other guild and in our control.

So I just clicked on the button to take control, changed the Message of the Day, posted a note on our website, our Facebook page and Twitter, letting people know, and assumed everything else would continue as normal.  I didn’t see any point in changing anything until the guild got used regularly.

Within a very short period of time, I received a very terse message from the guy I had entrusted the guild to, basically complaining that I hadn’t tried to contact him before the “takeover”, saying good luck and goodbye.

I was gutted.  I had acted immediately, in what I thought was for the best of intentions, yet here I was, my first contact for months from this guy, and he was basically accusing me of taking part in a hostile takeover.

Twitter isn’t the best place to go into any detail, although I tried to explain myself.  I also apologised and said if he wanted it back, he could – that I’d just done what I had done, to safeguard the guild.

He sent a reply saying he just wanted his stuff back from the guild vault (he’d apparently been using one of the tabs as a private, personal storage area) and to be done with it.  That he wasn’t planning on playing again until Warlords came out.

So I logged in, only to find that he’d removed his one alt from the guild, and sent me roughly the same message in-game (he wanted his stuff back) – but he wasn’t online.  I logged into our main Horde guild to find that he had already been online and removed all of his characters from that guild too.

Now I feel awful.  I feel really bad that this guy, who I’d always admired and liked, now views me as an untrustworthy guild-grabber.  I’m wondering if I should have waited until I’d managed to contact him direct prior to acting – but then would I have left it too late?

I’m also feeling let down by him.  I’m very proud of our Horde guild.  I helped create it in early 2007 – I was an officer for a while, then when the GM gave up playing, he handed the reins to me.  I’ve been running it since then, with the help of a few officers, but mostly (and I’m sure those officers won’t object to my saying this) on my own.  I’ve organised the vault, the roster, raiding, raiding alliance, potential mergers, recruitment, websites, twitter and facebook virtually solo, simply leaning on the officers when things got too much.

When the opportunity came to create the Alliance guild, I wanted the same for the future of that guild, but just knew that I was unlikely to have time to do the same for that guild as I do for our main guild.  When this particular guy stepped up and volunteered, I was relieved.  It was in safe hands.

Yet I feel let down that, although the guild isn’t particularly busy at the moment, and requires little admin, the one thing that SHOULD have been done (the GM to turn up occasionally, to keep the guild safe), didn’t happen.

I spend hours and hours every week NOT playing WoW, because I’m looking after the Horde guild.  Was it too much to ask, for someone to simply turn up occasionally on the alliance guild, to keep it safe for us?  And now, I’M the one feeling like I should back down, apologise, that I’m in the wrong for doing just that?

I don’t know – it may be just that I’ve finally succumbed to the cold that my family has been infecting our house with, and my brain has gone all mushy – notwithstanding hindsight, what would you have done, especially bearing in mind the horror stories I’ve heard about other guild take-overs?

A Call for Change

You may have noticed I’ve done a few posts recently about PuG groups, and my experience in them.

Luckily I’m fairly thick skinned and, even when something REALLY annoys me in a group, I try not to let it show in my interaction with other group members.  But boy, it’s sometimes difficult!

My general policy is that, if it is possible to live with the person causing the problem until the end of the instance, then I will, for the good of the group.  However, at that point I will generally tell them that they are going on “ignore” and have lost a potential healer for future groups.  If they’ve been particularly bad, I’ll report them too.  Admittedly this means that I reduce the pool of available group members, but I’d rather wait for another 10 minutes than have to deal with a torrent of abuse, etc, from a bad PuG.

Unfortunately, the /Ignore option in WoW sorely needs an overhaul.

Why, for example, when I ignore someone on say, my shammy healer, does that person also not become ignored on any of my other characters?  It’s not like they’re going to be any better to be around just because I’m on a different character, and why should I allow them that benefit?

Looking at it another way … why, when I ignore someone, am I only “ignoring” that one character?  It’s not that character that is a horrible person, or a bad player .. it is the person in control … and they’re not likely to be any more polite just because they’re on a different character.

They don’t know me … I could be their next door neighbour, their school friend, their mom, their dad, their grandad, their nan … I could be a new player to the game taking my first gaming steps, I could be 12 or 13 … I could have some severe disability or suffer from depression … we’ve seen the stories before, we know that all sorts play, and one of the massive benefits of WoW is that it doesn’t matter WHO you are … what matters is HOW you play, how you interact with people … and how you do that can affect people in dramatic ways, for good or bad.

Taking the point further … that when you click that “ignore” button, you should be able to ignore an entire account, with your entire account … this action should also be noted against each account.  There should be a note against the person being ignored, and a note against the person doing the ignoring.  Over time, as that “ignore” button is pressed, there should be some result … those who have a large amount of notes against their account should feel the consequences .. especially for those getting a lot of ignores against them.  And they should be able to see these rack up .. there should be a viewable section on their character or account screen, that shows how many times that button has been pressed, the current consequences (say, lower in queues, or only being placed with others of a similar “rank”) and where the next consequence is likely to happen (ie, “after 2 more ignores against this account, you will no longer be able to queue with any random players”).

There should also be a wearing-off period, where, over time, the earlier ignores drop off .. so that, if they behave themselves, slowly their “ignore” rank will head back towards a neutral setting … what do you think?

The Good & the Bad of PUGs

I’m going to get to the point soon where I might rename this blog “name and shame” !!  Perhaps it’s because the times I can get in to level my shammy tend to coincide with those times that the rudest players are mainly on, I don’t know, but I’m experiencing a lot of inconsiderate players at the moment.  The problem is, a bad dps isn’t a major concern .. it’s usually fairly easy to get another one and generally a bad dps simply means they’re having problems with doing damage or hitting the wrong thing, or standing in the wrong place, and often dying .. the worse that can happen is that they stay dead :p

As I’m the healer, obviously I don’t have any (major) problems with the healing (although I have occasionally nearly let someone die because I got distracted *eek*) .. but it seems that a lot of the rude/inconsiderate players are tanks.  I’m assuming (hoping) that they are actually simply inexperienced, don’t know how it’s supposed to work and have just queued as a tank because it comes up as an option and it means instant/faster queues.  Some of these “tanks” can’t really be classed as bad players .. I’ve had them before who are immensely apologetic .. they try hard and quite often we can muddle through an instance regardless .. but it’s all about self and group awareness – especially for the tank who is supposed to be keeping threat on everything around him.  The worst player is the one who (a) doesn’t know how to fulfil his role and (b) blames someone else for his lack (unfortunately, usually the healer).

Today, I came across a pair of bad players who also happened to be inconsiderate and downright rude .. a dps/tank combo.  Luckily the rest of the group were nice and obviously felt the same as I did … here’s a little bit of the “conversation” (I’ve removed most of the names, but didn’t feel the urge to be kind to those who weren’t kind to me!):

[Me]: hi
[DPS]: hello

This is the point where the second pull happened, which was a huge one .. two or three packs of mobs.  I kept most alive, but one dps (I’ll let you guess which), died under a massive pounding that was not healable …

[Unibetkiller-BurningSteppes]: NOOB HEALER
[Unibetkiller-BurningSteppes]: RESS
[Me]: i know :p
[Unibetkiller-BurningSteppes]: noob
[Unibetkiller-BurningSteppes]: bb healer
[Me]: hmm .. and who was dead?
[Unibetkiller-BurningSteppes]: kick healer
[Me]: do what you like .. it wasnt a healing problem :p
[Unibetkiller-BurningSteppes]: noob u are healer so heal me!!!!!!!!!1
[Me]: you are dps .. so dps without pulling threat!!!!
[Unibetkiller-BurningSteppes]: lol
[Unibetkiller-BurningSteppes]: go fucking away
[Me]: and be nice to the healer, or you don’t get healed :p
[Notnot-BurningSteppes]: unibet are is my friend he pulling for me
[DPS]: It’s saturday morning, you get the rude kids playing. I’d rather kick the abusive one :)
[Me]: cool .. in that case, can we just agree that only the tank should have threat .. anyone else should be able to tank if they pull
[DPS]: Agreed :)
[Me]: unless its healer aggro .. which is caused by having to spam heal :P

For info, if you can’t guess, Notnot is the “tank” …

We managed another couple of packs, then they pulled an entire room between them .. silly amount of mobs, some of whom were doing fears, spell-locks and stuns ..

[Me]: pulled enough:?
[Unibetkiller-BurningSteppes]: NOOB HEALER
[Notnot-BurningSteppes]: noob HEALER
[Notnot-BurningSteppes]: rees
[Me]: omg really?  did you see how many you pulled?
[DPS]: You ttwo are idiots, no healer could have healed thrugh that.

We dusted off, started again .. same thing happened … (you would have thought they would learn?!)

[Unibetkiller-BurningSteppes]: ak0pjo
[Unibetkiller-BurningSteppes]: afw
[Unibetkiller-BurningSteppes]: afj’anfwj
[Unibetkiller-BurningSteppes]: dfak´0afijpafsi9jafii’afwaifjua
[Unibetkiller-BurningSteppes]: NOOB HEALER
[Unibetkiller-BurningSteppes]: fuck u
[Unibetkiller-BurningSteppes]: noob
[Unibetkiller-BurningSteppes]: noob
[Notnot-BurningSteppes]: NOOB HEALER COME ON
[DPS]: Unibetkiller you are wearing heirlooms yet your dps is CRAP so SHUT UP!
[DPS]: Leave him dead, it won’t make a difference :)
[Me]: ok .. just so you know .. you can kick me if you like .. but you two are a nightmare, are getting reported and ignored, and will have one less healer to queue with
[Notnot-BurningSteppes]: shut up you are noob
[DPS]: Hehe, good move :)
[DPS]: Choose your friends more wisely Notnot.

This was the point where someone initiated a kick for “Unibetkiller”, which went through, and then the “tank” Notnot decided it would be best to pull the entire instance and then leave …

We waited only a minute or so (which was spent on a corpse run!) before we got another tank who, if he’d stuck around long enough at the end of the instance, I would have hugged until he squealed .. he did his job perfectly, no-one died, virtually no-one needed healing and it went a smooth as butter on hot toast ….

My worries are two-fold .. firstly, in order for that bad dps to get heirloom gear, I’m assuming he had to have at least one high level character?  I really hope he doesn’t raid or do any “serious” instances with random people; secondly that both of them will continue being a nuisance right up to pugging at maximum level because not enough people will ignore them … or .. the only people left open to pug with them are newer players, who will have a very bad experience and not know how to deal with it.

As a final word .. if anyone reading this finds that they are going into random groups and regularly dying, perhaps you should look in the mirror before blaming others …

The Joy of Pugs

Just a short one … I’ve been trying to sneak in the odd instance run to get poor old Sprowt levelled a little and, on the whole, I’m rather enjoying it.  But when did virtually EVERY SINGLE pugger become an arse?

I’ve been zoning in as usual, ready to go, prepared for the usual go-go tank who doesn’t wait for the rest of the group to turn up before pulling, for the inevitable hunter who Needs on EVERY .. SINGLE … THING … and then lies about it, for the split in the group where the tank goes one way and at least one dps goes another (and then I get blamed for letting someone die!), for the tank who decides everyone else needs to run constantly to keep up .. even the dead …

However, I knew it was going to be a bad one today when I zoned in and the first thing the tank said was:

 [Snorärgott-Azuremyst]: if the healer sucks i report u bitch to the cop

Then proceeded to pull a couple groups of mobs and a random rare, without bothering to keep aggro .. and then shouted at me to heal him.

I have to admit I did lose my temper a little bit and swore at him … and because I really couldn’t be responsible for my actions when I got the inevitable backlash from his death, I reincarnated, left the group, reported and ignored him.  If we’re really lucky, enough healers will put him on ignore and he’ll have a hard time getting a group.

Rather ironic that the current guild he is in, is called “Socialize” … he obviously needs to work on that a bit …

Dieting, Dieting sites and losing weight …

So … I’m overweight.  I’ve been overweight for years and years.  It didn’t happen all at once, it kinda crept up on me.  Initially I blamed the washing machine for shrinking my stuff, or Christmas (or any other special event) for putting on a little extra.  I had friends who were heavier than me and seemed happy, and decided that it didn’t matter what I looked like, as long as I was happy.

But there’s the thing … overall I was still generally happy, but I was restricting myself more and more as to what I would and wouldn’t do – the heavier I became, the less active I  wanted to be … I didn’t want to go out, because I didn’t want to show how exhausted I was when I walked up that little hill; I didn’t want to go shopping because I struggled to find clothes that fit; I didn’t want to wear short skirts or short sleeved tops because I didn’t want to show off my arms and legs … and this was all compounding the weight gain.

I was overtaking heavier friends, or they were losing weight, and I  was getting more depressed about it .. and then I’d eat to make me feel better.

Then a few things happened at once.

My husband, who likes to watch cookery programmes (a form of torture, if you ask me!), started watching a series by the Hairy Bikers, who were a couple of overweight cooking “celebs” who loved their food, who decided to lose weight by cooking more healthily; we came into a little bit of inheritance about the same time as our dishwasher died and flooded the kitchen, so we decided to get a new fitted kitchen; we decided to get the garden done at the same time, and had some raised beds put in, and space for a greenhouse (which we’re still to get, because, well, we’re tight, and greenhouses are expensive!).

Prompted primarily by the Hairy Bikers, we decided to follow their recipes together – we set ourselves targets, made the decision to weigh ourselves regularly and note those weights down, and to try to stick to a calorie controlled diet.

I have to stress at this point that we’ve tweaked the idea of “diet” in order to fit in with our lifestyle, and decided that simply “going on a diet” would not work for us … certainly not for me.  The concept of a diet for me seemed to be that you ate less, ate a restricted diet, until you got to your target weight, and then you went back to how you ate before.  You’d pay for a gym membership and spend weeks sweating buckets, then get to your target weight and stop.

But I didn’t want to do that – I wanted a “diet” that would be for life .. something that didn’t cut out all those nice things completely, that had space for cake, wine, chocolate, crisps and all the nice stuff, that didn’t require me to completely change my life, I didn’t want to be getting up at silly times in the morning to go jogging, spending hours on treadmills .. basically, I didn’t need a “diet”, I needed a change in my attitude towards food … otherwise I knew that, at some point in the future, I’d simply give up on the diet and go back to where I was before.

So .. we’re on our own version of the 5:2 diet .. 5 days a week we try our best to stick to the calorie counting.  The other two days, we let ourselves relax and eat (and drink) what we want.  Although I have to say, as the months rolled on, we still generally stick to the right foods on our two days “off” – we just tend to add a few glasses of wine into the mix!!

Because of the kitchen and garden refurbs, I enjoy spending time in the kitchen now … which is probably just as well, considering the amount of stuff we grow in the garden … we had only three raised beds put in, but boy, they produced a lot of food – and all of it healthy and low in calories.

I’m not losing the weight fast … and for a few months around Christmas time I hit a kind of plateau, although that seems to be dipping again now … but I am losing it fairly steadily.  I see people who say they’ve lost 3 stone in three months and feel a little jealous, but even thought my way is slow, the weight is dropping off and I am feeling much better.

The thing that prompted me, really, to write this post, is the amount of “clubs” out there that want a subscription for joining, and helping you diet.  I’m a bit “tight” when it comes to money .. if I see it and want it, I try to ask myself if I actually need it, and if there is a decent free alternative.  Obviously there is a reason for people paying month after month for diet clubs – and I can kinda understand it for those where you actually turn up on a weekly basis, get weighed, see presentations, mingle with others in the same boat .. but I really don’t understand paying for an online service.

Because we’ve become such fans of the Hairy Bikers Diet books, I’ve “followed” them in a few places, and received an email a while back saying they were putting together an online diet club and would I be interested … it would have forums, recipes and various weight tracking tools.  I liked the idea so, when it launched, I was straight there to sign up .. only to realise that all this stuff was locked behind a subscription service.

Well .. I’ve already paid for the books, use them regularly, so I’ll just bide my time for those extra recipes .. no doubt at some point they’ll stick them all in another book – and I’ll probably buy that.

The rest of the stuff … well I’ve been using a free site for quite some time called MyFitnessPal … it has the forums, the tracking tools .. it even has an app you can use on your smartphone to help you track calories (zap the bar-code and it’s automatically entered into your daily log, for example).

I just feel a little saddened that people, who no doubt are already making plenty of money off their TV shows, public appearances and books, seem to feel it’s fine to exploit those who really just want to get fitter and healthier … surely this is something that should be freely accessible to all?

So .. in conclusion … thanks for the kick up the bum I needed to get going, Hairy Bikers, but bigger thanks to MyFitnessPal for providing the means to track it all, for opening my eyes to how certain individual foods are stupidly bad for you, and providing the tools for free … big thumbs up :-)

Steelseries – WHAT is going on?!

Okay .. due warning .. rant incoming!

Steelseries had a sale on several months ago, so I treated myself.  I bought a keyboard and a couple of gaming mice which had decent reviews, looked really cool and, once they were in the sale, within my price range (which is pretty low).  The only way I could justify getting the keyboard was by making it a birthday present .. so when it arrived, it got given to my husband to wrap and keep until my birthday about a month or so later.

They keyboard was a SHIFT keyboard bundle .. it has a standard keyboard “base”, and then two removable keysets .. basically keyboards that fold into 3 when not in use, or clip into place on the base.

Well, my birthday arrived, the keyboard was opened up and excitedly installed .. only to realise that I’d somehow ended up with a US version.  It was my own fault .. I had just assumed, buying a keyboard from a UK shop (okay .. their online UK version of their shop, but still ..), that I would be getting a UK keyboard.  I paid in UK currency, to a UK storefront, to be delivered to a UK destination … I don’t go into a local shop to buy something and double check if it’s going to work in this country … I just assume that, as it’s being sold in this country, it will.

Anyway .. I immediately sent Steelseries an email through their website, asking if it was possible to either exchange the whole bundle for a UK version, or just the keyset.

I waited days with no response .. so after 5 days I sent another message, just asking them to respond.

Nearly a WEEK after that .. so almost two weeks in total, I finally got a reply.  Telling me that they didn’t have a US keyboard in stock (yes .. a US version?!), but also telling me how to set my operating system up to use a US keyboard.  *sigh*

So I replied the same day saying they had possibly misunderstood my original request, and attempting to put my request in plainer English.

Then waited.

Another week went by.  I sent another “chase up” email.

Two weeks later, I have finally received another response, now telling me they don’t have a UK version either.  And that, hey, if I bought my keyboard within the last two weeks, I can have a refund!

So .. two things .. firstly .. how can the manufacturer of a keyboard NOT have a UK version of the keyboard when I know that they sell a UK version of this keyboard in a local IT store not 10 miles from where I live?  I could order it online right now, and collect it from the store tomorrow.  Unfortunately I’d have to pay non-sale price and would end up with an extra base .. but if I could afford it, I could certainly do that.

Secondly .. a refund only available within 14 days of purchase?  Notwithstanding the fact that this was bought as a gift and wasn’t even unwrapped until the 14 days were well up, it’s taken more than 14 days for them to even reply to me properly!!  You can see, in their ticket system on their website, the full list of correspondence, from start to finish, complete with dates .. and yet they still seriously tell me they can only refund within the 14 day timeframe?

I’m seriously unimpressed with Steelseries.  I’d always viewed their products, from a distance, with a kind of awe .. looking forward to the day when I could use them.  Not so impressed now.

Not only is their customer service laughable .. but to be honest, I’m not even that impressed with the gear.  Perhaps it’s just a matter of getting used to the keyboard (and of course it doesn’t help that it is a US layout, so the odd character is in the “wrong” place), but I have had several problems with the mouse too … in fact, over the years, I’ve had a whole bunch of “gaming” mice, and none have them so far have lived up to the old Logitech I used to have.  Perhaps when companies specialise, they lose touch with the basics (buttons that work consistently would be a start!)?

Perhaps they view this as the price you pay when you can’t actually afford full price?  I thought we were getting a really good deal when we bought this bundle .. at the time it was less than £30  – if I bought it on Amazon today, it would cost almost double that (and yes, now I’m double checking the obvious, but that’s for a UK version).  Perhaps I should tell Steelseries where they can buy the US and UK versions, as they’re obviously having stocking issues …