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2011 in Review

Mia mentioned another blog in one of her blog posts, and since Mia makes good use of her mention karma, I had to go take a peek at this blog I hadn’t heard of. Anexxia had a great little list of retrospective questions, so I thought I’d take my own stab at it.

In the spirit of making this more appropriate for a blog about tiny guilds in WoW, I’m going to don my Guild Leader hat, and answer (most of) the questions from that perspective.
What were you most excited about in the past year?
Guild Achievements. Watching only a handful of people get together and really pull through on achievements like Critter Kill Squad and That’s a Lot of Travel Time just really feels good, and it also gets to the heart of what makes us tick as a tiny guild. That’s a Lot of Travel Time especially shows off our guild culture, due to the sheer amount of questing we do. We are all altaholics, and that achievement, in particular, really shows it.  The 14 level 85 toons are spread across 7 accounts. Three of those seven accounts only have one toon at level 85.

What was the best thing you bought?
They didn’t cost much, but I got several prairie dogs for the winners of a contest we had early on.  Every single person who won one of the prairie dogs was thrilled, which made me feel very good about them. The best part was the people who hadn’t been paying attention, and therefore had no idea they’d even won something!  (For you Hordeys out there, imagine being given a Snowshoe Rabbit for fishing. No, really. That’s why they got it.)

What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?
More people using the guild bank! I might joke, but it frequently feels like people put stuff in but never take anything out. Sometimes I feel a little guilty for taking things out of the guild bank to level my alts, but I figure if I can’t lead by example…  and if you don’t believe me, I dedicated an entire post to it.

What was your biggest achievement of the year?
That’s a Lot of Travel Time. That was accomplished by only a handful of toons in 10 months. That’s a lot of questing per capita. The lion’s share, I’m sure, going to our resident rogue who not only leveled three toons to max, but also got several toons to level 60 during that time.

What was your biggest failure?
One of the huge advantages of a tiny guild, particularly a casually oriented one, is that I don’t have to fess up to any failures unless I told the guild what I was up to.  But to be completely and honestly retrospective, I think that my biggest failure was not being able to figure out a way to get some actual, honest recruitment out there. I’m an introvert, and I think most of my guild are also introverts – that doesn’t make recruiting particularly easy, even if we can blame some of it on the current recruitment climate.

What do you wish you’d done less of?
Worrying about whether my guild mates enjoy being in my guild. I’m pretty sure that they’d leave if they weren’t happy; but I still worry.

What did you do in the World of Warcraft in 2011 that you’d never done before?
This one is really tough to answer from a guild leader perspective. Since the guild is pretty settled in terms of what we do and how we do it, there’s not a lot of “new”. I guess, therefore, I’d have to say arrange a guild event around guild achievements. This is different than just arranging a guild event. For starters, with a multi-level guild, there is the challenge of finding something compelling for the max level toons but still viable for the low-level toons. Then, there’s finding a day when your players can actually choose to commit. Due to the nature of my guild, that meant guessing, and then hoping (and using as many different methods of getting the word out as possible!)

What was your favorite new place that you visited?
Again, there weren’t very many of those, particularly from a guild perspective. I think I’d have to say Serpentshrine Cavern. it’s prettier than Black Temple (the other place we went that was completely new for me) and we were much more successful completing the instance.

What was your favorite WoW blog or podcast?
That’s a really tough one. The one I visit the most is WoW Insider, but I don’t read it as much as I used to. I go there mostly for news and tin-foil hat goodness.
Cymre’s blog Bubbles of Mischief is very inspiring for me to pursue things in game outside the level > gear up > run dungeons PvE mentality.  She also takes gorgeous screenshots of all kinds of things, and inspires me to take more.
Chronicles of Mia seems to be inspirational to me as a blogger. She either picks up great ideas from other people (like this one, or comes up with great ones of her own.) Either way, she has inspired more than one post.
Alto, on the purported Worst WoW Blog Ever, inspires me to dabble in the AH, giving sound advice on auction PvP, or even just making some gold (if only I would take it for more than a week at a time).
Ratters at Need More Rage cracks me up immensely with his wonderful butchering of the English language. And he has some good things to say and fun topics.

Picking a favorite out of those? I just can’t. Each one fits a different niche in my reading needs. Consider them categories: Newsworthy, Gaming Inspiration, Blogging Inspiration, Advice, and the all important Humor.

Tell us a valuable WoW lesson you learned in 2011.
This one was definitely hard-won, and I still sometimes struggle with it. But, here it is: Even if you are close friends (or even family) and even if you have the same general ideas for how you want a guild to run; it does not mean that they want to be in a guild run by you. And that doesn’t mean that they like you any less. 
I have several in-game friends who have created toons in the guild, but primarily play on other servers. Most of those toons are rather disused. I suspect because, like me, they tend to play on their main server most of the time, and don’t switch servers very often. They still chat with me via RealID, so I know they still care about me, but that doesn’t mean they want to play on my server, or possibly in my guild; and that’s really ok.
Also, when our former guild leader (and an extended member of my family) came back to WoW, he opted to create a new character, which is not in our guild, rather than come back to his old, max-level character in the guild. Again – it’s not a reflection on me (or more importantly his daughter) as a person, but probably a reflection on play differences.