Mid-Year SWTOR Assessment: Active Guilds Are Hot Property

Anexxia posted her Mid-Year SWTOR Assessment and it got me thinking about what’s happened with me, the guild, and the game in the last 6 months.

It’s been 6 months, more or less, and the biggest thing I’ve noticed is a lot of people stranded – and I don’t mean stranded on a low population server.  I mean stranded by their guild.

As is natural with a new game, people get psyched to play it and find out it’s just NOT for them.  Hell, I lasted maybe a week in EQ2 before I was like I HATE THIS I CANNOT DO IT ANYMORE!  But a few of the people I started playing with loved it, stayed, and played hard-core end game for YEARS.

We started out with a piddly little guild of 8-10 people (because I am too lazy to go back and count), and we didn’t really know what to expect.  We had all raided together in WoW but we didn’t know if people would go back to WoW or what.  And before we had a viable raid team (people were still leveling) it was a bit of a struggle to keep people interested.

But as soon as we started raiding, it clicked.  We know how to do this!  We know how to not-stand-in-bad.  We know how to analyze an encounter and figure it out – even without meters (I know, the shock.)  Maybe what’s even more shocking is that we were having so much fun, nobody went back to WoW.

Sure, we had people who were unhappy with this or that, but we worked through it as a team.  One guildie decided he didn’t like the class he had chosen, and was just miserable.  Well, don’t go back to WoW!  Just reroll!  Instead of QQing about any possible holes in our roster, we adapted, because this isn’t a JOB, this is a game, and if you’re not having FUN, that sucks.  We pulled together and helped him level and gear his new main and hot damn, he’s happy, he’s good at his new role, we’re happy.

As for recruitment, it’s really hard to integrate people into an established group and have them really feel like one of the team and not like a junior member.  Here, I think we actually did it.  Well, Alex did it.  She’s in charge of that stuff.  I’m pretty derp when it comes to recruitment.

Here we are 6 months in.  We can most of the time fill the roster unless a bunch of people go on vacation at once, and usually we don’t have more than one person sitting out on a given night.  We’ve had people’s schedules and mains change and managed to adapt the roster to make it work.

I hear about these guilds falling apart and I wish I had a magic bit of advice how to keep your guild strong and together, but I honestly have no fucking clue how we did it.  We just kinda did.

There’s a domino effect when a few people leave, and more tend to leave.  There’s also a domino effect when you manage to stay together.  Suddenly, we have (unsolicited!) applications to our piddly little guild, which we didn’t expect, and we have to adapt and figure out, as a guild, if we should limit growth… and honestly, that’s a conversation I never thought we’d have.  I am as shocked as you guys.

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    What Am I Doing Lately

    I figured you guys wanted to hear what I’m up to, right?  RIGHT?  Ahem ok…

    (Can we tell I’m out of writing ideas?  There are only so many ways I can yabber about Fashion, and it’s not like I know anything about playing my class…)

    Synthweaving.  I actually finished out my orange recipes and got every last stinkin’ one of them, even all the sithie ones (but not the pvp crap).  I guesstimate that’s 140 recipes.

    Toward the end, I was missing 2 key recipes and actually ran underworld trading missions in the appropriate level range until I got them.  Luck was on my side, and I managed to get each recipe within a day, and that’s not really a day of PLAYING, more a day of logging over every once in a while to send the minions back out.  Yes, I am aware that running UT missions for a specific recipe is crazysauce.

    Now I’ll cry big salty tears when 1.3 comes out and I have to ferret out any new recipes.  Ok, I’ll be happy to have new recipes, but crying due to the difficulty of procurement.  You know what I mean.

    Armormeching.  Remember how I went insane and dropped cybertech for armormech because I had to have all the fashion?  Thanks to being maxed in the relevant supporting skills, having some mats already in the bank, and having 5 minions in play, I got to 400 armormech 24 hours after starting.  And yes, I also went to work that day (and I don’t have one of those jobs where I can play the game at work).

    I have a spreadsheet – when I say “I”, my husband actually made the dorky spreadsheet and I copied it for my armormeching.  3 columns (hat, chest, and legs) by about 30-something rows, let’s just say there are 90 recipes.  I’m missing 6.  Of those 6, they are sithie gear, hats, or sithie hats.  While I want to be completist and get all the recipes, I’m not that worried about sithie gear that we won’t wear or hats that we won’t show.

    Legacy stuff has sped up recipe gathering – and what I mean is that I can mail an opposite faction toon goods and money.  I now check both auction houses, Rep and Imp, every day for the remaining recipes.  For whatever reason, the imp auction scene is pretty good, expensive but good, and I’ve gotten most of my stuff there.  I also have been known to buy republic-only recipes on the cheap from the imp auction house and sell them on the rep side (and vice versa).  Since my imp is questing out of Nar Shaddaa, I also check that auction house periodically, but it’s not very widely used.

    Social 5! Party Time! Excellent!1 I hit Social 5 which comes with the “Party Time” title (perfect for the Pretentious Legacy) and opens up most of the social gear (except for the corsec outfit).  I ran around buying up all the social gear, which is incredibly stupid because I don’t have the bank space for it.  Fortunately, it’s really cheap so I can just vendor it for the space and then buy it again later if necessary.  I was a bit disappointed how some really desirable pieces clipped or colormatched poorly.  My dreams, dashed.

    The Belsavis set comes with a shock collar.  Unfortunately, I do not have Social 5 on my Consular… because I’d totally put that collar on Tharan, whom I hate.

    A New Self-Indulgent Gaming Mouse.  Guys, the naga was redesigned for 2012!  Now, my naga works well.  I don’t need a new mouse.  However, the new version has 2 extra buttons on the top, where I can reach them.  2 extra buttons in a convenient place are SRS BZNS.  What can I say?  I bought one.2  I justified my purchase by sending my old and perfectly functional naga to a guildie whose naga had broken recently.  See, I’m doing a good deed.  And getting 2 extra buttons.

    The problem was, of course, learning to USE those damn buttons.  I ran some dailies to practice, during which I was completely inept at interrupting anything (as I had moved my interrupt key).  However, that was resolved by raid time (whew).  Muscle memory is hard to overcome.

    Guild Stuff.  I’m lazy.  I already wrote a post on how awesome my guild is.  Go read.

    If you got this far, it’s amazing, because I confess that when a blog has a wall of text like this, I tend to glaze over and move on…

    1. If you don’t get this reference, you’re too young to be reading this blog. Begone, fetus!
    2. Once again, I paid my own money and didn’t get any freebies or payment for writing about this.

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      The Case for Trying Clothes On

      If you’re serious about getting your outfit right, the preview window has several major flaws:

      It’s teeny.  But you already knew that, right?

      For example: these 3 headgears look pretty much identical in the preview window, but they are clearly different (some more different than others) when tried on.

      Continue Reading »

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        All The Cool Kids Dress Their Companions In Bikinis

        Seriously, all over the fleet I see Kira, Elara, Risha, and Nadia roaming about in bikinis.  Well, if dressing your companion in a bikini is the cool thing to do, I’m not going to be left behind.  Behold, my bikini-clad companion, Akaavi Spar.

        Does she remind you of anyone?  From Futurama?

        Death by Snoo Snoo!

        I think Akaavi might murder me in my sleep.

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          All Ur Fashion Is Belong To Me

          I’m clearly crazy.  Last night in a fit of fashion-lust and frustration that cybertech is getting absolutely nothing useful (probably EVER), I dropped cybertech on my smuggler and picked up armormech.  I’m going to be able to craft ALL THE THINGS.  And if you’re wondering, I have a spreadsheet of all the orange recipes so that I can track which ones I have and do not have.

          Deranged fashionista looking for recipes, PST.

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            Mako the Whiner

            I’ve been playing a sithie bounty hunter lately, because I was pretty happy with the class in beta.  Something about a gruff american accent in a sea of brits.  Because of legacy unlocks, I made a “rep-style” Zabrak bounty hunter, which I don’t find as anachronistic as big fat red sithie jedi, but that’s a topic for another day.

            That totally isn't the exact same toon as my main with a different hairstyle...

            Now, Mako.  I think it’s so overpowered that my first companion is a healer.  Yes, I feel bitter that on my main (sentinel), I had to wait until the late 30′s to get a healer companion.  She’s really into bounty hunting.  She knows all the great hunt winners, and you keep her happy by sticking to the code.  So you’d think that she knows what being a bounty hunter entails.

            But no, she’s a big fat whiner!  Every time we’re about to go into someplace spooky or yucky, she say “We’re not going in THERE are we?”

            Yes, Mako, we are.  You begged to come along.  I have to go THERE for my great hunt assignment.  You know, the hunt that you LOVE and want to win more than anything in the world… so yes, we are going into the big scary fort/cave/nest/temple.  Shut up.

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              Hats and Hoodies Redux

              A few weeks ago, I talked about hats that push the hood down but still allow you to see your character’s hair.  At the time, it was bugged and caused you to GO BALD.  They fixed that.  Today they seem to have changed a few circlets that formerly fit under hoods and now they push the hood down.  For some people, this is awesome, for others, they really liked the look of that particular headgear under their hood.

              Now, it may very well be a bug that these select circlets now push the hood down, and it may very well be reverted (after I pay to move all my mods).1  It may also be totally intentional.

              Without further ado, here are the republic2 synthweaving craftable hats that both show hair and push the hood down.    Anything marked (new) didn’t push the hood down prior to Tuesday’s patch.  From the forums, I found out that there are also non-craftable circlets that have been changed to put the hood down, but I don’t have a list of those.

              (Insert disclaimer here about how, as with all my research, this is incomplete and half-assed.  Also the icons on the mouseover tooltip show the empire version.)

              Heavy Armor

              Medium Armor

              Light Armor

              The rest of the craftable circlets fit under a hood and do not push the hood back (i.e. the Traditional Brocart Headgear for light armor).

              Now, excuse me while I squee like a schoolgirl because now I can push my hoodie down when I want to by showing headgear, and the headgear isn’t ugleh.  I hope this isn’t a bug, or if it is, that they never ever fix it.

              My favorite hoodie in the game anyway (because it isn't so face-covery)

              My shiny new Ablative Plasteel Headgear!

              1. The bug doesn’t appear on the known issues list (updated May 15), but a CSR (not a dev) has stated that it is a known issue and will be fixed in a later patch.
              2. Honestly, you sithies have plenty of hood-down options.

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                New SWTOR Fashion Website

                You probably already know this, but Dulfy and Mr Robot have launched a fashion website for the orange moddable gear in the game.

                tor-fashion.com

                Remember, with 1.3 social gear should scale with armor type and you can add augment slots to existing pieces – so oranges are even more serious business!

                It has pictures of (most) all the things!  They keep adding things!  You can help them add things!  You can sort by armor type, see the social stuff.  I am drooling on my keyboard.

                Why are you still here? Why are you not ogling the fashion?  What’s wrong with you?

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                  New Blogger Advice

                  Ok, this new blogger initiative is going around1 and I decided I’d give you my stupid advice.  Because, you know, I know things.  At least about the technical setup of the blog.  About content?  Community building? HAR HAR.

                  In no particular order:

                  A Blog Description

                  A first time reader isn’t going to scroll back to your intro post where you’ve laid out your introduction – especially if your blog is a few months old.  And a reader visiting for the first time doesn’t want to dig through pages of posts just to see if he or she is interested in the subject matter.

                  For example, I play SWTOR but not TERA.  If you’ve been in the TERA beta or something, your front page might have 4 posts about TERA, and I’ll assume it’s a TERA blog, and move on.  If your blog description states that you write about multiple mmo’s, including WOW, SWTOR, TERA, and Hello Kitty Online, I might subscribe.  The more specific you are about what you intend to cover, the better.

                  Finding Stuff

                  Your posts are listed chronologically, but that might not be the best way for a new reader to sort through your past posts.  There has to be a way to find things without just going page-by-page.

                  A search box is an absolute must.  The rest is up to you.  I recommend having clear categories so people can find what they are interested in quickly.  Also, highlight your “important posts.”  If you made a post that is a GUIDE to something, and is a resource that someone would want to find again, consider adding a link to it in your sidebar or on the top menu.  If you have multiple guides, you might create an index page for all the guides.

                  Commenting – Make It Easy

                  Guys, especially you using Blogger, listen up.  People want to be able to comment without being logged in to anything.  Name + email address should suffice.  There have been times that I’ve written up a whole damn comment only to discover that I can’t post it without logging in to google + (which I don’t have), wordpress (which I don’t have, being self-hosted), or a variety of other things I also don’t have.  Your commenters aren’t going to sign up for a new service just to comment on your blog.

                  Now, spam.  I know that if people can comment with only a name and email address, you open yourself up to more spam.  However, start with the least intrusive spam protection measures first.  See if you GET spam.  If you just can’t get rid of it, then maybe you’ll need to use a CAPTCHA, but that kind of thing is a last resort.  Remember, people are lazy.  If it takes extra steps, they’ll just hit the back button.  Or become enraged if they fill out the captcha wrong and the comment gets EATEN.

                  Another point – make sure people can subscribe to comments by email, so they can see if someone later posts a comment on an article they already commented on.  This is pretty much built in to blogger and wordpress.com, but for self-hosted, you might need a plugin.

                  A Nice FULL Feed – Do Not Truncate

                  I know you want people to come to your site for precious hits or advertising (more on this later), but truncated feeds are not the answer to getting more traffic.  Many people read in a feed reader, and don’t want to click through – or can’t if they’re behind a firewall.  They’ll just move on without reading your article or, worse, unsubscribe completely (that’s what I do).  The big sites can get away with truncating and not losing readers, but if you’re just starting out, you need to make your blog as accessible as possible.

                  Story time: After drafting this part, I discovered that another site was “scraping” my content – republishing my articles in full from my feed.  I sent a copyright notice, and the scraped articles were taken down, after the site owner suggested that I truncate my feeds to prevent this from happening in the future.  It is true that truncating feed makes it more difficult for scraper sites, but it also makes it more difficult for readers.  I decided to keep publishing a full feed, and just keep a “cease and desist” letter handy.  If you’re reading this in a feed reader, you’ll see a big obnoxious footer on my feed that makes it very obvious that if it’s published on another site, it’s scraped.  That’s my solution instead of a truncated feed.

                  Ads? In My Blog?

                  Ads are annoying and break up the flow of navigating your blog.  I’m not talking about ads on wordpress.com hosted blogs, that you don’t control (although paying to remove them wouldn’t hurt).  I’m talking about ads that you choose to put on your site to make money for hosting or whatnot.

                  Yes, you get money when people view or click on the ad, but if you drive away people with those ads, that means fewer views and clicks.  So examine how much money you are spending on your blog, how much you are earning from ads, and whether it’s worth it.

                  Now, ads in the feed… don’t even get me started.  Nothing will make me unsubscribe faster – big blog or little blog.  I get that people need to recoup costs.  But they need to get that I won’t be one of their readers (and maybe others feel like I do).

                  Contact Information

                  You need to have contact information SOMEWHERE on your blog.  It can be on your profile page, or on your sidebar – wherever.  But you need it.  I recommend making a separate gmail account for your blogging persona for privacy reasons.  I would also recommend not listing your email address in the standard way, but rather as blahblah [at] blahblah [dot] com, to avoid spam engines finding you.  Or create an image with the text of your email address, with a signature generator or plain old MSpaint.

                  There are legitimate reasons someone would want to contact you outside the comments section.  Story time: A guy whose blog I read had accidentally turned off comments.  I wanted to tell him, but – surprise – I couldn’t comment.  Don’t be that guy.

                  Read Your Own Stuff As A Reader

                  What does that mean?  It means that if something is WRONG from a reader’s point of view, you might not notice it as a logged-in person.  Log completely out of your blog.  Make sure you can comment.  Make sure you can subscribe to comments by email.

                  Subscribe to your own feed and by email.  If something is wrong, you’ll be the first to know about it.

                  1. Like space herpes

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