Interview with a Guild: <Dark Crusaders>

interview with a guild: dark crusaders

This article is from Missanthropy, guild master of <Dark Crusaders>. I stumbled across the <Dark Crusaders>’s website and noticed their ‘mentoring’ threads. This intrigued me and I wanted to know more. Missanthropy was incredibly kind to my inquiry, generously writing the following fantastic article about his guild. He is very well spoken and has some things to share that are a first for me. I’ve enjoyed my brief conversation with him and know that you’ll enjoy this article.

Mary, Mary, quite contrary

Think of me as a gardener. I prepare the soil, plant the seeds, pull a few weeds, and enjoy watching folks blossom when they find fertile ground. But the seed packets aren’t very well labeled. The Red Hot Raiders stand in the fire most of the time and the Social Butterflies can’t seem to decide on a spot when they need to land. If we also throw in a couple of Blooming Idiots and a few Clinging Vines, our garden is going to be a real mess.

So, how can we get accurate labels on our seed packets? Who needs a lot of sun, and who prefers to grow in the shade? Who likes to lead, and who prefers to follow? How do you recalibrate the problematic egos, and how do you recognize the folks who are quietly effective, and deserve nurturing?

I was quite happy as the Bank Manager and Webmaster, three years ago when our Guild Leader realized that leading a guild is a different sort of beast than leading a raid team, even a large raid team. He was struggling, so I accepted the challenge of leading our guild. The Dark Crusaders is now more than three years old, and our mission statement has evolved along with our guild.

We are a large, low-pressure guild that has no room for either brash players nor flakes.
Our mission is to ensure that serious players enjoy the time that they can devote to our game.
Several of our members happily ignore the entire raiding scene, preferring questing and professions.
Alpha is 6/8 on Dragon Soul, Bravo is 4/8 on Dragon Soul, and we run ad hoc legacy content quite frequently.
Although our PvP community has more than a million honorable kills, our approach to RBG and Arena is casual.
We expect our veteran players to have broad experience, with at least 10% of the achievements in each subcategory.

More numbers. We’re a level 25 Guild with 1750 Guild Achievements. We have 663 members, on 364 accounts, with 327 level 85s. We’re one of the top dozen raiding guilds on our realm, per WoWProgress, and we have 40 to 50 guild members on-line throughout the evening.

interview with a guild: dark crusaders

How does your garden grow?

The thread titles in our mentoring forums are clusters of alts, so you can find somebody by simply entering their name in the forum title search box.

HelpUsHelpYou: Our lower limit for unsponsored applicants is level 10. New members get immediate access to 16-slot bags and other inexpensive items, 85g maximum value per slot, in our first two bank tabs.

Citizen: When folks verify on our website we promote them to Citizen, with access to our assortment of glyphs, and three more bank tabs to a maximum value of 340g per slot. We do a mentoring workup for all recent citizens, and they are eligible for riding scholarships up through Cold Weather Flying, a total of 1055g per character.

About 80% of our revenue is generated by the folks in the guild who prefer the procurement metagame. They’re grateful to be important. They buy or craft anything that they can find at bargain prices, wash it through the guild bank, and then sell it a couple of weeks later at the market price. Our guild bank inventory is FIFO (First In First Out). We add new items on the left side of each tab, shift items to the right as they age, and then peel off and sell the rightmost of the unclaimed items whenever we need more room. Our inventory velocity is around 3 turns per month.

Our glyph assortment allows us to bug people, at levels 25/50/75, to start thinking about their skills, rather than just chasing gear. Experienced players tend to jump at the chance.

Less experienced players, when they reach level 60, are suddenly staring at a 500g bill that there’s no way they can cover, so they panic and ask for a loan. You (everybody) can respond, “No, but if you register on our website we’ll promote you to Citizen, and you’ll be eligible for our riding scholarships: 250g for Expert Riding plus 250g for your Master’s Flying License.” It’s an elegant way to block the beggars.

Veteran: We can’t hardly call you a veteran player if you’re missing entire chunks of the game. For Veteran we require 10% or more of the achievements in each subcategory, decent glyphs, gems, and enchants, and an opportunity for one of our raiding officers/alts to vouch for your playing skills.

We total your achievements across all of your guild alts, so you can do PvP on one character, Raid on another, and enjoy World Events on a third.

Champion requires three times as much experience as Veteran. Specifically, 30% of all achievements, with a 40% cap in any particular subcategory.

Reserve isn’t a guild rank, per se, rather it’s a high visibility forum for folks who DON’T YET have a slot on one of our progression raid teams, but who do have PvE gear with an iLevel of 372 or higher (Dragon Soul Raid Finder), appropriate profession buffs, plus glyphs, gems, and enchants that are optimal, or nearly so, per Askmrrobot, and Ventrilo.

interview with a guild: dark crusaders

With silver bells and cockle shells

So, seed packets again.

The WoWHead Profiler presents information in a consistent way for levels 10-85, and does a dandy job of presenting all of the available gear upgrades in a list that’s ordered by stat weights which are, by the way, based on Askmrrobot’s simulations.

I use an Excel 2010 spreadsheet to track promotions and character development. There’s a row for each character, with columns for achievement subcategories, iLevel, reforagable attributes, resilience, and the “main” character for each cluster of alts. The information that I want to put in the forum is macroed into a pivot table that’s saved in *.htm format. I then open the *.htm file with FrontPage, which strips out the Excel gewgaw, select the table, and then copy paste it into the forum post. Once reviewers get used to the format, which is the same for everybody, they can very quickly get a lot of information about multiple alts.

“Are you nuts? Doesn’t that take 20 minutes per character?” Perhaps, but our retention rate is to die for, and folks tend to respond in kind. As one of our officers expressed the concept, “You’re awash in Karma.” Folks who ask interesting questions, and validate our mentoring efforts, obviously get more support, while folks who ask lazy questions get a URL, “http://www.wowpedia.org/Mount has lots of information about where you can get a Dragon.”

You are more than welcome to look at some of our mentoring posts, which are intentionally public.

interview with a guild: dark crusaders

And pretty maids all in a row

Randoms, and the Dungeon/Raid Finder, are a mixed blessing. Folks can run randoms until their eyes bleed and, with the new Raid Finder, they’ll have iLevel 384 gear to show for it.

But they won’t have a clue what teamwork looks like.

– To use a football analogy: they’ve made it past the tryouts, now they need to learn the playbook.
– To use a driving analogy: they can operate their car, now they need to pay attention to the traffic.

How many times have you heard, “I’m doing more DPS than everybody else, so why do I need gems and enchants? I want to raid!!” Do watch this video. It’s delightful.

But there’s hell’s own canyon between the teamwork required for random instances and the teamwork required for coordinated progression raids. We are trying to bridge that chasm:

– By providing our aspiring raiders with a clear view of our expectations, which this video does nicely.
– By providing our established raiders with a clear view of who merits their attention.

If somebody blows off our mentoring advice, it’s a given that they’ll also ignore instructions from our raid leaders, so we let them drift. We expect folks to try it our way at least once and, if a worthy effort gets bogged down, then we’ll consider other approaches. We’re talking about science, not magic.

Our teams raid on alternate nights, M-W-F 7-9 and Tu-Th-Su 6-8, so we always have off-night raiders running dungeons and ad hoc raids. Most of the aforementioned skill evaluations occur during such runs.

There are nine other guild members on each of our teams, and we firmly believe that they should have a lot of say about who shares their playing time.

<Dark Crusaders>

(Full credit to http://www.teachersandfamilies.com/nursery/marymary.html for the graphics.)

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3 Responses to Interview with a Guild: <Dark Crusaders>

  1. What a nice write-up, I even watched the videos. This guild sounds like a great guild and there “demands” are mostly common sense and reasonable requests.

  2. Swanhild says:

    I am in awe…a truly awesome set up you have there.

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