how to make a bunch of people a guild #onlygmthings

I always say: “A guild can only be successful in what they do if all the members want the same thing and are willing to do it a similar way.” Focusing every guild member’s effort on the same goal is why guild masters exist, but human relationships inside the guild often gets overlooked by dps numbers or whether everyone has flasks or not. A wise GM of a raiding guild spends time on preparing for the next patch by not only arranging the comp, preparing tactics, and optimizing the time spent on bosses, but also by making sure people like to play in the guild. In addition to forcing rules that are fair and treating all guild members equally, the GM should pay attention to the fact that how guild members perceive each other plays a big role in how comfortable people are playing in the guild. When people enjoy each other’s company, they are less likely to leave. This also means you are more likely to get to keep the better quality members longer.

I’ve always loved leading people and observing them interact with each other. This blog post is about the things I’ve learned about leading; about building that mystical “guild spirit” and making people like each other more.

It all begins with “the right people”. The GM is responsible for selecting a bunch of people that can and want to commit to the cause of the guild, whatever that may be. After that, the hard part begins. You, as a GM, have to deliver what you promised your guild members, and what’s worse, you need to get everyone to do it together. At this point you actually get to see how different the people you recruited actually are, and you are the person who has to deal with everything that comes with it. It may be that all the members of your guild want the same thing, for example be a top 50 guild in the world, but some are prepared to do more than the others to reach that goal.  At some point something in the guild doesn’t go as planned, and then you as a GM need to deal with with members’ negative emotions and behaviour. And at this point you need to be a damned great leader to keep it all from collapsing.

The best thing, however, is that you don’t need to hold it all together by yourself. People tend to act more sane if they respect the people they play with and even better if they feel like they are actually friends. So how to make that bunch of (hopefully not too) different people to get to know each other? How to build those relationships your guild members share? Where does that magical “guild spirit” come from and how is it actually made? Here come actual tips I’ve discovered in my earlier guilds and in the one I captain at the moment.

If you can’t be arsed to read the looong text that follows, TL;DR everything boils down to: “spend time together and do things together”

Make your voip the place where people want to spend time and afk

This should be a no-brainer to every GM who wants to make the guild members know each other more, not less. It’s extremely important to make the voip you use a place that is easy to join and fun to stay in. The goal is that after the raid people don’t simply log off but stay behind and talk about whatever. You as a GM should set the example (in this case as well) and be there a lot as well. You at least should be easy to talk to and people should feel like they can contact you if they have anything to say. From there you can build the community starting with the opinion leaders of your guild – the talkative people and the people who play like gods. The talkative people in the guild are the key to this – try to get them to your side. This means make them feel relaxed and free to chat and they’ll want to hang around. They will keep the discussion alive and make sure the people who are slower to warm up are comfortable and that those silent moments in the conversation get filled up.


Hold competitions

I must admit this works the best if you have extremely competitive characters in your guild. (Like 95% of the people I’ve played with have been.) In raiding guilds the competition is of course always present in form of damage or healing meters. However, the winners usually tend to be the same people – often the best players in your guild. Your job is to come up with something else to make building your guild’s legend possible, and perhaps motivate your players to play a bit better at the same time.

One reset our guild was wiping on Mythic Archimonde pretty bad. Among other mistakes, people didn’t interrupt the add’s cast. I ended up starting a competition where the person with most interrupts on the kill would get a free alcohol shot and a commendation at our next meetup. Needless to say, all casts were interrupted afterwards. And of course the winner was a person who was under age and never showed up at the meeting, but it doesn’t matter. Now we have a great story of that raid and that member topping the interrupt meters when it mattered the most.

Play other games together

Everyone gets sick and tired of World of WarCraft sometimes. So pick a game together and start playing. In fact, many people from Paragon still stay in touch after all these years because they play other games together.

IRL meetings

Meeting each other IRL is naturally the best way to get to know each other. When you can actually see how your guild member looks like when he says something or reacts to something it makes it possible for you and everyone else as well to understand him better. And when you do, you know better which strings you should not pull to keep the person happy.

The most important thing about organizing a guild meeting is that it should be open to everyone, so everyone should be able to fit in. A cabin or a boat trip (in Finland) have worked really well for me in the past. In addition you can of course arrange smaller happenings, such as house parties or picnics, but make sure even the ones who can’t attend because of whatever reasons feel like they would be welcome if they chose to come. If you already know each other better and people like similar things, sports like karting, frisbee golf (us going about it in the picture below) or bouldering can be cool. Or you can can go doing real sports like football together, but at least we Finns are too nerds for that.


I’ve always been a huge fan of IRL meets and nowadays I organize something for the guild almost every month. In fact, most of the people I spend the most time in my life at the moment play currently in my guild. And a few of those people are starting to feel like they’ve come to stay in my life for good.

Arrange so that different cliques in your guild mix

This is the toughest one and the most crucial one if you want to make sure everyone functions with everyone else. It’s natural there will be cliques in your guild since not everyone will like everyone. But it’s very important that everyone is at least on talking basis, and can play together if needed. There will be a moment at some point in the raid where the people who don’t like each other that much need to cooperate on some mechanic (or share loot!). At that point it’s crucial that the two have at least a basic level of respect towards each other. No one can make a person like someone, but the GM can require that when people communicate on raid, they behave politely (at minimum).

It’s not a good idea to force the people who don’t like each other spend too much time together, but it’s a great idea to try to encourage people from different cliques to play with each other. The GM should be active in this as well by trying to play with different members of the guild as often as possible. If there is need to organize groups for a task on officer level, making sure that people get the experience of playing with less familiar faces from time to time.

In the end it all comes down to squeezing people in situations where they learn about each other and end up having fun together. Fun turns into great stories of the people playing in the guild, and those turn into stories of the guild that will be retold to the new members joining the guild. And that is how guild spirit is born.


Guild legends, baby!

These important situations that bring people together also make them feel that they are first and foremost a member of the group; xenophics of <Rooster Ranch>. Those moments also make people feel like they can and should depend on each other (at least ingame). Besides, how can you play a healer if your guild can’t trust you to keep them alive? And speaking about guild legends, the ending of this world first video here is one of the more epic ones from Paragon.


Ps. if you are interested in hearing more from me and seeing more of me I have great news! I’m starting streaming in Legion. You can check my stream out at



raiding became my office

“Damn it’s Wednesday again and the raid is starting.”

There is something else you’d rather be doing, but you have reserved the whole time just to be there. You prepare to go to work and join the team. You say “hi” to your coworkers and find your spot on the office. You turn on all the programs that are needed and check your potions and flasks so that you know they’ll last you through the whole ordeal. You start clearing the trash from your day’s to-do list. Sometimes people are late so you need to start undermanned. Perhaps you listen to music while you work to make it go quicker or so that you don’t need to listen to the others talking about something that doesn’t interest you. Sometimes things don’t go as planned, your co-worker might make a mistake and you might need to work overtime. When it’s time to pack up for the day, people say “goodbye” and then they are gone. You don’t really know who they are, where they went, or what they do on their freetime. You just know that in the office you are all in it together, and you need to be there every day.

But you don’t get paid for playing World of WarCraft.

The game is supposed to be something you do to get entertained. When the thing you do is not entertaining you but you still have to do it, and you spend your time in a company you haven’t chosen yourself and which you might not particularly like, it’s called “your job”.


Is this your office door?

People in high end raiding guilds know the “office-syndrome” very well. It’s the endless farm time time between progresses. I’ve discussed the topic with many ex-Paragon players, and in the long run the office got to them as well. I remember the time before I quit when people logged in only for the raid and there was little to no interaction in the game outside of raids. That’s how it goes: little by little the fun progress you had turns into farm that is uninteresting at first (who doesn’t want to kill Hellfire Assault for 52 times?!) and in the end you feel like you’d rather be doing something else than playing World of WarCraft. At this point the people who stay and raid either find the fun from playing with the awesome online friends they have, or they just suck it up and start going to the office.

There are a some players who only play the game for the kicks they get from being the best and optimizing (and those are usually the best players in your guild), but for most at least some of the great experience, if not all, comes from having fun with the people in your raid. And office is what happens when you take away the fun in the raid. At that point you either quit, change guild, or do what couples do in a dull relationship they are determined to keep; wait out their boredom because they hope the times will get better.

The absolutely best memories I have from the time I played in Paragon are of course from world first kills and all the effort we put into getting them. However, those memories of victory are followed closely by the memories of times when we just used to just sit on TeamSpeak after the raid and laugh and talk about anything. Or the times when we met up after Assembly-lan event at the legendary park next to our house to have a party. There are so many epic tales from our cabin trips and they are re-told every time we meet up with the old gang. It’s kind of the same nostalgic feeling as when talking about Vanilla wow, except that those clouds’ lining is not silver, it’s purple!

Most people, if not all, experience the office in their wow-career at some point. That’s why everyone needs inspiring companionship, because Mondays are like Flame Leviathans or Hellfire Assaults, and they come for us all. So make the best out of the people you spend that /played of yours with. Don’t start going to the office, or at least make sure your office is full of people you want to be with.


World of WarCraft at its best.

Ps. I hope you love your job and this kind of description of office doesn’t apply to you! I certainly love mine, so I’m in a happy place where not my work nor raiding is an office experience.

the big opener quiz

Are you the biggest World of Wacraft PVE specialist of them all? Have you played all classes and specs and know their rotations inside out? You can prove it right here!

Below we have some opening rotations for warlock, warrior, priest, shaman, hunter, rogue, monk, paladin, druid, and mage (not in that order) .Sorry dks, I had no one online to consult tonight. The images below are the openers illustrated with the key bindings my guild members use. In the picture the line in the middle indicates pull, and the purple squared means that the key bind is a macro and it contains multiple abilities that can be used at the same time.

Do you know (or can you guess) which opener belongs to which class and which spec?

None of the pre pull abilities or opener abilities are bloodluslust/heroism/timewarp or lengendary ring. In some cases the opener contains big procs, but mostly the openers are done with average luck with procs. Openers are done by players with near bis HFC gear and according to their best understanding of their class – they also use the racials that are available to them at the moment. Raids buffs, flasks, and runes are not listed.

If know which is which write your answer down below in the comment section – I’ll start approving the comments a bit later so that people don’t spoil all the fun for others too fast!

I wonder who knows the most!

* Extra question: can you name the abilities a specific spec is using?

* Extra extra question: which key binds do you press in your opener before and just after pull? Do you have any key binds you are ashamed of? Or super macros that save the day raid after raid?


1. the F2


2. the mousewheel


3. 1-3


4. Five – “Keep on Movin'”


5. From shift to 2


6. Number two is a great bind!


7. hardest prepull


8. never press the same button again


9. put your hands in the air


10. the bastard child


legacy of the great king

A few things lately have made me as sad as hearing that <Paragon>, the old World of Warcraft guild I used to raid in and one of the best guilds of all time, decided to stop raiding for good. Not only has the guild given so much to me personally, but they’ve also left an indelible mark on the World of Warcraft raiding community. The creative, world first hungry Finn’s always did things their own way both inside the game but also showed incredible sportsmanship towards the community as a whole. Needless to say, I’m extremely proud I have had the privilege to play with these extraordinary gentlemen. It leaves a hole in my heart seeing <Paragon> being reduced to nothing but a memory as of yesterday.

<Paragon> has shaped the world first race as much as the world first race has shaped <Paragon>’s players (including me) during the seven and half years the guild had existed. The legacy of the guild is very visible in today’s PVE scene and the legacy will continue to live on long in the world first race.

Below are a few things <Paragon> introduced to the raiding scene first, and by it changed it forever:

  1. Epic kill videos – you saw and especially heard it in <Paragon> first. Our old raider Maeil started with (at that time) very traditional trance videos, such as Professor Putricide video, but ended up switching his music picks to ones from epic movies. There are so many great videos that have been published on <Paragon>’s Youtube Channel and my personal favourite of all time is Al’akir (even when I didn’t end up playing in the kill). Nowadays the community gets to enjoy epic kill videos from many guilds who have ended up following Paragon>’s lead. There are no video editors in the World of Warcraft PVE race scene who don’t know <Paragon>’s videos and their style.
  2. Split alt raiding. Whether you like it or not <Paragon> was the first guild to start using alts to gear up for the harder bosses, and at that time, scout for tactics. When Trial of the Grand Crusader was introduced in Wrath of the Lich King with limited attempts per week, we decided to artificially get more tries by practicing the bosses first on our alts. Later split alt raiding has grown and evolved and nowadays it means that the people who want to raid on the bleeding edge need to play around 5 characters to be able to funnel gear to the mains / characters that need to be used at the hard bosses. Of course we didn’t know this would happen when I entered Trial of the Grand Crusader with my druid tank Xate 5 and half years ago, but that’s where it all started.
  3. Mythic raiding: 10 and 25-man races were combined in Warlords of Draenor. I don’t claim that <Paragon> was solely responsible for forcing Blizzard’s hand to combine 10 and 25-man brackets, but the disturbance in the force <Paragon> created by raiding whole MoP in 10-man while the rest of the competition played in 25-man certainly played a role here. No more does the community have to fight over whether “the fight was easier/harder in 10/25-man”.
  • Extra: Class stacking: Perhaps <Paragon> wasn’t the first to do it, but we did it with the most style. *meow*
  • Extra extra: All the awesome memes and memories this guild has created by playing creative have made the history of world first race a fun one. And yes, balls, <Paragon> has them!


So not only has <Paragon> shaped the game and the raiding scene in a profound way, but it has also shaped me as a person and a player. Nowadays I raid with my casual guild, but my foundation in this game, and also in most of my adult life lies in playing in <Paragon>. The (at the time) best guild in the world with the most dedicated, fun, and inspiring players I’ve ever met.

During the time I spent in <Paragon> I got to become better as a player but also travel the world, make new friends, and take my first steps in the path that later became my profession. But the most important thing was that I got to play the game I loved at its highest level.

I got to play the race to world first with the best.

Now I feel sorry for the other guilds out there, since as Illidan so elegantly put it, “The Huntress is nothing without the hunt, you are nothing without me.” Don’t get me wrong, new challengers will appear but never again will anyone get to play against <Paragon>. And that is breaking my heart.

hello world (of warcraft)

Your first is always special, they say. And this sure is my first. Here begins an adventure, that might lead to something cool, or may lead to nowhere at all.

I’ve been, for some reason, itching for quite some time now to start a blog of my own and tell the world about my online adventures. That mostly means writing about a lifetime companion of mine called World of Warcraft, which has been part of my life for over eight years now. In some ways the topic never gets old, but being as old as I am, I need to find a fresh approach to things to keep them interesting. So this blog will be a sneak peek into what is going inside my head when I try to keep myself entertainment and motivated about the game.

xenophics, ex-hardcore raider of <Paragon>, now retired old fart leading her own casual guild on Lightning’s Blade.

To write about things that I find fun online and to see what does it mean to have a blog.

When I come up with awesomeness.

Online tales about my life and no-life. Suggestions will be welcome after I’ll get to show you my style. Ps. this post is not in my style.

What to be here since the beginning? Follow me everywhere!


There is more to come.