Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Women in the workplace of WoW

I think that the WoW world of raiding and guilds and everything else that comes with it lends itself to comparing it to a workplace. Ok, even if you think it doesn't, just stay with me here, ok? If we think about WoW like your work environment, a bunch of thoughts around women in the workplace of WoW. First,

Do you think women are harder on each other in WoW?

Women being overly critical of each other in a social and workplace setting isn't anything new, and has often been discussed. This article has an interesting discussion on why women are so critical of each other.

"Too often I hear women admitting that it is women’s criticism more than men’s, “that you have to watch out for”. Why do so many women feel unsupported and criticised by other women"?

So is there a part of this in WoW? Myself, I've been in our guild pretty much since the beginning and haven't had to join a guild and thus meet and try to fit in with a bunch of new people. For those of you women who have, have you dealt with women in those guilds who were somehow threatened by you... leading to you being ignored or criticized? Does the social concept of women being bitchy and unwelcoming to each other in RL translate into guilds? Are the guys much more welcoming?

I have also thought about this from the other side, as a long standing member and officer (aka I really run the show but make Jess think he has some authority and decision making power from time to time) of our guild. How have I treated women who have joined our guild? Am I overly critical? Not welcoming?

If we are to talk about performance, I don't think that I am necessarily any more critical than the guys are... whether the performance comes from a guy or a girl. But I will say that there may be a part of me that may take more stock in the performance of a fellow female raider more than the male raiders. Why? Because its important to me to show that the gals can play just as well (and sometimes even better) than the boys. So when a female raider doesn't do as well, I feel like I have a more vested interest in seeing them improve. (Even though yes, I know there are plenty of male players who suck). It's like I don't want those females, especially our females, to play into that misguided stereotype that girls can't play.

So does this all lead me to being more critical? I don't think so. I hope not. But I think its something interesting for me to keep in mind and be aware of going forward. I will say that when I have been less welcoming or leery of certain people in our guild, it really had less to do with gender and more to do with my intuition that they weren't the right fit.

But as an officer in our guild, here's my next topic/question. It's interesting and kind of sad that in the business world, there is a lot of literature out there around the fact that most people (both men and women) prefer to have a male boss than a female boss. This article on Forbes talks about some of this where they cite a survey of 2,000 British women in full or part-time employment, where 63% said they'd prefer a male over a female boss. Is this true in WoW?

Do players, both male and female prefer dealing with male GMs and officers?

There's been more research lately around whether women actually make better bosses. An interesting op-ed kind of article from the NYTimes talks about this. One of the researchers starts out by saying:

"I have read hundreds of studies that have compared women and men as managers. When we summarize all of that research, some differences do show up, although only “on the average.” As with all averages, there are many exceptions."

Good point to keep in mind. The article continues with:

"Female managers are more collaborative and democratic than male managers. Second, compared with men, women use a more positive approach by encouraging and urging others rather than a negative approach of scolding and reprimanding them. Third, women attend more to the individuals they work with, by mentoring them and taking their particular situations into account."

"No doubts: Some sex differences exist, and there’s new evidence to prove it. Women are often better communicators because their brains are more networked for language. The majority of women are better at “mind-reading,” than most men; they can read the emotions written on people’s faces more quickly and easily. And the thicker corpus callosum connecting women’s two hemispheres provides a swifter superhighway for processing social messages, such as reading the morale of a group, or the mood of a colleague. And there are measurable sex differences in empathy."

This article (last one I promise!) also addresses some qualities that distinguish women leaders:

"Women leaders have an inclusive, team-building leadership style of problem solving and decision making... and are more persuasive than their male counterparts. The strong people skills possessed by women leaders enable them to read situations accurately and take in information from all sides. This willingness to see all sides of a situation enhances their persuasive ability. They can zero in on someone's objections or concerns, weigh them appropriately, address them effectively and incorporate them into the grander scheme of things when appropriate."

So, do you see differences in male and female WoW leadership?

Again, of course these are all average differences and individual differences exist. So what am I trying to say after all this ramble? I think women in guild leadership roles, as GMs or officers, are bringing something different and significant to the table. I, for one, would be leery to join a guild that didn't have a single female, not just in membership, but in some sort of leadership role.

Jess and I have talked about this before, but I think part of why our guild has generally been successful is because of the fact that we play off each other and the stereotypical male and female leadership and management styles. The ever present joke of us being the guild mom and guild dad works well. Because, yes (and I will admit it Jess), there are advantages to male leadership:

"Men also, they’re definitely better on the “whatever” side. Things tend to roll off their back. We women take things very personally. We’re constantly playing things over in our head — “What did that mean when they said that?” — when they mean nothing. And I’m certainly not immune to this. So there’s a downside to women."

Other noted male leadership styles include being more direct, task oriented, and being risk takers.

At the end of the day, whether in a real life job or in a WoW guild, I think men and women in leadership together makes for the best outcome.


Friday, January 21, 2011

Are we tolerating crap from healers?

Beru and most of my guildies have already heard me ramble about this, but a number of questions/topics that I've had on my mind for a while and want to get out.

Just to step back a bit, the recruiting for our guild has gone surprisingly well overall. I don't think that Jess and I expected the interest that we've gotten. We've added several people to the guild who look like they are good players and good fits, but also want to step back to a two night a week raiding schedule. But I think that I would feel better if we had one more healer. So I was talking about the dearth of healers in game and on our server and trying to figure out exactly why that is.

Topics that came up included the whole responsibility bit to healing, as well as the fact that more women tend to play healers and that less women play this game. Though the whole female thing doesn't apply to the fact that there also aren't enough tanks in the game either. So is it the responsibility bit? Is that why we have less healers and tanks in game?

I do think that one difference between tanks and healers is that in raiding, you tend to need more healers than tanks. So even if there are just as few tanks as healers, it seems that the healer shortage is felt more strongly within a guild or a server. And this ever present need for healers, in numbers greater than tanks... has it created overconfident and misbehaving healers?

I guess what I'm asking is... can you be a not so great healer and still be in demand on your server because guilds always need healers? And by not so great, I mean not just in performance, but in how you act. Jumping from guilds to guilds, not showing any sort of responsibility or commitment, just trying to find the most progressed guild as fast as you can to get the phat purple lootz.

Jess has said something around this several times, the crux of which is that healers are in a place where there are enough slots that they don't need to seriously compete for slots like tanks do. Healers are needed enough and there is enough of a shortage of them that one must tolerate "some stuff".

Are servers and guilds tolerating crap from healers?

The very top raiding guilds probably don't face this situation. But if you are a more casual or less progressed guild and raiding on a slower schedule, I wonder if others are seeing the same thing. It irritates me to see healers who are just ok healers (and some even with bad specs that make me sad) feel like they have this sense of power or entitlement to go wherever they want because they are in such demand.

A part of me does recognize that not everyone plays this game the way I do. I mean while loyalty and commitment to a guild is an important thing for me, I know I can't expect that everyone else is going to play that way. Not everyone is going to raid from a mindset of a group of friends working together to establish a common goal. Some people's objective in this game is just simply to get the best gear, however they can. But, I will be damned if I am going to let that attitude into our guild. That is one thing that I can control.

So if I haven't scared you off and you are a healer looking for a family atmosphere type guild, wanting to raid on a more casual schedule, get in touch with me or Jess.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

How to bring WoW into your every day life

1. Do the real life version of The Bears Up There quest in Hyjal (pic from The Animal Blog):

2. Show your appreciation for Cthulhu, the probable Lovecraft inspiration for our AQ40 boss C'Thun:

3. Practice for the Lawn of the Dead quest to get your sunflower pet (who kind of creeps me out with the way it hums/sings) with your own PvZ lawn ornaments:


Friday, January 14, 2011

The resolution of the creepy archaeology voices - once and for all

Are you crazy or not? Why are you hearing these creepy voices while picking up archaeology keystones when guildies swear they hear nothing? The resolution, once and for all, found somehow by Jess:


Yep, DBM. Nothing to do with Blizz. The latest update of DBM has an option under general that is called "Make archaeology more interesting". It's apparently defaulted as on, though I would think some of my guildies have updated DBM and theirs obviously weren't turned on.

Here is the DBM change log that details this. Thanks DBM for making me and my guildies question my sanity! Though as Nkm noted, I am still crazy, just not because of this. Hmmm.

I think I'm going to keep it turned on though. It does make archaeology more interesting, and now I'll know where its coming from instead of getting creeped out.


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Relative difficulty of heroics and creepy scary archaeology voices

A couple topics today.

1. Relative difficulty of heroics

I was curious as to whether there was some listing of the relative difficulty of them. I came across this from wowwiki:

Sure relative difficulty, is well, uh... relative. Of course its going to depend on your gear, or perhaps your group composition. I've only been in Deadmines once and that was a long time ago when the group was very very undergeared. So maybe I think its hard, but wouldn't be hard for us now.

But uh really? Lost City and Blackrock Caverns at 4 stars? Harder than Deadmines or Throne of the Tides? Though I guess some my questioning of these ratings may only be specific to certain bosses... like having enough dps for the last boss in Throne of the Tides or Commander Springvale in Shadowfang.

But on general, my vote for the relative difficulty from easiest to hardest would be more like this:
- Vortex Pinnacle and Lost City
- Halls of Origination and Blackrock Caverns
- Deadmines, Throne of the Tides, and Shadowfang
- Grim Batol and Stonecore

2. New guildies

Surprisingly enough we have gotten a decent amount of interest in our little guild. We've added a warrior to the guild, which decreased the average guild IQ quite dramatically. But we also added a shammy healer, so our IQ is back up to where we were before. I am hopeful that we will be able to raid by the end of this month.

3. Scary creepy archaeology voices

So yes, I am archaeologizing (I love making up verbs!) like a mad woman to try to get Tyrande's Favorite Doll. The RNG aspect of it all is yes, creating some outbursts when I continue to get crap nightelf commons or rares. There might have been an outburst last night that went something like this:

"The nightelf rare I get is the windchimes? Really? Really? F U ARCHAEOLOGY! F U!!!!

Anyways, I'm archaeologizing the other night while Jess and Sam are on vent with me. Now I've had this happen a couple times before, but I brought up the fact that sometimes I get creepy scary voices when I pick up a keystone. I think the first time I got "You... will... die" whispered in my ear when picking up a troll keystone, I about fell out of my chair. I've also gotten voices from picking up nightelf keystones, though they are sometimes unrecognizable to me in terms of what they're saying.

So I ask Jess and Sam if they've heard these voices. And we asked Nkm on guild chat if he's heard these voices. None of them have! So I go and try to look up some evidence that I'm not going crazy. While Sam insists that I found "this evidence" on, I found some validation on the comments for Troll Tablet on Wowhead. Some quotes from the comments:

"The voice you're hearing is the whispers of old gods. More specifically, I believe the ones we're hearing are a combination of the sounds you'd hear inside AQ40 (C'Thun) and Ulduar (Yogg'Saron)".

Accumulated quotes from picking up various keystones.
- "It was your fault."
- "Your friends will abandon you."
- "You will die."
- "Kill them all before they kill you."
- "They have turned against you. Now take your revenge."
- "Trust is your weakness."
- "You will betray your friends."
- "Hope is an illusion."

I swear, the voices are creepy as hell. I'm not sure why my guildies haven't heard them. But see, I'm not the only one! I'm not crazy! I'm not this guy!


Friday, January 7, 2011

But some things never change

Original card from Bluntcard


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Things are always changing (and O hai thar)

One of the things that I've long recognized about this game is that it is not a static game. With real people and lives involved, things are always changing. I've talked about this before with Jess and guildies, perhaps even blogged about it, but I've been thinking about it a lot more lately.

While questing at the start of Cataclysm, when K got early green staff upgrades, I couldn't replace the staff from Saurfang for a long time. Why? Well, when I look at that staff, I see how hard it was for us to get Saurfang when we were starting on him. I remember about how long it took for the staff to drop. Then when it did finally drop, how all of the other healers and casters did not roll and passed it to me. The staff represents so much more than just a square icon in my weapon slot. It represents what this game means to me, and probably a large part of why I came back.

I think back to those raids with fond memories. I recognized at the time that things were always changing, but of course its natural not to realize how much until time has passed. Things have changed a lot for our guild. We've lost 6-7 folks who raided with us in ICC (some regulars, some not so regulars) because they have left the game. We've also lost 1 dress wearing pally boy healer who was deployed overseas at the end of last year. It's kind of sad for me to think back to some of those ICC raids and the vent conversations and realize that those raids will never be again.

So yes, the "O hai thar" part, I did come back for Cataclysm. Rades actually ran into me and Jess questing together in Hyjal the first night, though I didn't even notice the hordie gasping and waving at me. Rades sent me an email later saying that it was him. I was probably too occupied "questing with Jess" which for me meant fishing and herbing nearby while Jess got his hands dirty and killed mobs. It was a good system.

I leveled K slower than most folks, taking about two weeks. Probably because I got a little obsessed with the money making and ended up making 40,000g in the first two weeks of Cata. A sickness I tell you, a sickness! K is currently gearing up and running heroics and getting used to being oom most the time. Which is yes, making her crabby. Which is probably why her hunter guildie Kalthan named his newest pet, the rare crab pet "Keredria". Because the pet is super crabby and was hard to tame. Har... har... har...

On my farewell post back in October, I noted that one of the reasons I took my break was so that "if I do come back for Cataclysm I can play it with a better sense of balance, a balance within a fuller and richer life". Have I done that? Am I doing that? I think so. I made a couple changes in my life back in October that I've continued. Though it is kind of hard to know if the game is being properly balanced given that everyone goes a little overboard with the excitement of a new release. And that I was on vacation and home in Chapel Hill for 12 days. So seeing whether it is really being balanced adequately has yet to be seen. But I think its been a good thing for me to keep in mind, especially now that I'm back in Chicago on a more regular schedule.

The other question at hand is whether I am back to blogging here. You know, I'm not exactly sure. There have been a lot of times in the past month of playing where I've missed having an outlet to share thoughts and funnies, but there have been other times that I've been glad that I haven't felt the pressure to put up 2-3 posts a week. I think it has yet to be seen if I am back blogging here. Maybe I'll just post when I feel like it even if that means only once a week.

So I mentioned earlier in this post that we've lost a huge number of guildies for a 10 man guild. So yes, we are currently recruiting. Our plans this expansion is to cut back raiding to two nights a week, between Thursday and Sunday from 9-12 EST. A tank or a healer would be awesome, but dps is welcome as well. I think adults who have their own lives and priorities, but also want to raid once or twice a week would make the best fit. Those who have never raided but want to try are welcome as well.

Jess has the full recruitment post up on his blog. We figured that we'd try recruiting on our blogs, since you guys have more of a flavor of who we are and what we've done, then relying solely on the blind and often crazy nature of the WoW forums.

The Left Claw is never going to push for server firsts amongst the 10 man guilds on Drenden. But if the last expansion is any indication, we are going to see all of the content as it comes out, while doing it within an environment of friends. My hope is to get another Saurfang's staff whose little square icon will bring similar memories and mean as much to me as that staff did.