Saying Goodbye

I have to get this off my chest, because it hit me harder than I thought it would.  Six weeks ago, I lost a gaming buddy that I met back in Beskar.   And while the guild leader of Beskar, these days leading a crew in Guild Wars 2, has already written a fantastic memorial to him, I guess there was a part of me that wanted something for myself as a matter of celebration, reflection, and closure.   Though he was an “online friend,” those friendships can be as meanginful as our face to face ones, as Flosch has pointed out before.  And that is the reason why I picked TOR back up, and that is the reason I logged in and played all weekend, despite being mad as hell at Bioware.  TOR was the last place I “saw” him, and so that is where I wanted to go.


While his name was Mike, we often referred to him by his gaming handle of LP – short for Little Powell, a nod to his favorite Civil War leader (he was something of a history buff).  Without going into too many details, LP had a medical condition that meant, basically, that he was going to die within a few years of that diagnosis, and that it would be unpredictable.  His health was never good, and there was always the sense that each day could be the last.  His handling of that was, to me, the single greatest example of courage I have personally witnessed in life.


Because of this, he was often stuck at home, and so was light year’s ahead of me in the leveling game.  I still don’t have a character to 50 in TOR, I know at the time we disbanded he had at least 2, maybe more.  He loved crafting, and he loved PVP – the bigger, the more open, the messier, the better.  So while I talked to him every day for over a year and a half, I rarely saw him in game.  Maybe that’s why I needed to go looking for him there – at least in some spiritual fashion.   So I spent the weekend on Tattooine on my newly christened Sith, the name a hat tip to him, though he was a Mando to the core.  When I got to the Dune Sea, I remembered him talking about the balloon that flies over the zone and I thought maybe that would be nice, a chance to do something he had done and reflect and remember.   So I started my questing in the zone, figuring I’d run across the landing dock sooner or later.   And I quickly remembered something about the zone.


We know this is the deep desert and all, but if you could just make two trips instead of one, that would be great.  Mmmm'kay?
We know this is the deep desert and all, but if you could just make two trips instead of one, that would be great. Mmmm’kay?


The class quests will lead you around the zone in a counterclockwise fashion, while the world quest, common to all classes…leads you in a counterclockwise swing.   Genius.  In any case, after a full time of questing and wandering, both clock and counter-clock wise, I had seen the balloon…but never found its landing spot.   I could have kept looking, or wiki’d it I’m sure, but it was getting late, and somehow – it seemed fitting that I couldn’t catch up to the balloon, much in the same way that I just can’t catch up to LP right now.


So, I settled for returning to the wrecked space cruiser deep in the Dune Sea, and much as Luke would do, several millennium afterwards, gazing at the twin suns setting and wondering what the future will hold.


The lone Sith ponders the universe.
The lone Sith ponders the universe.


LP, you were a good friend.  Full of great advice.   If blur was the platoon leader, you were one of the veteran sergeants, equal parts gruff toughskin and kind denmother.   I’ve always wondered if you admired General Hill not only for his tactics and for the parts of his personality that he shared with yours, but for the ironic name he gave to his troops – the Light Division.   It didn’t actually fit, as big as they were, but one of his soldiers after the war, commented that it was a fitting name, “for we often marched without coats, blankets, knapsacks, or any other burdens except our arms and haversacks, which were never heavy and sometimes empty.”   You marched everyday with so little in your packs, and yet you made it work with what you had – and still had some to share with others.  Your stories, your film reviews, your outrageous avatars on the forums, the wisdom you shared in our emails – thank you for those.


I hope that one day I do catch up to you, in levels and in life.  For for right now, you marched too far ner vod, and you outpaced me.  And I miss you.


Ni su’cuyi, gar kyr’adyc, ni partayli, gar darasuum.


“I’m still alive, but you are dead. I remember you, so you are eternal.”

Five Things Your Guild Should Be Doing.

Guild = Corp = Guild = Alliance.  These apply across the board to any game and any grouping:



This assumes you have a website.  If you don’t, stop what you are doing now and go set one up.  There’s enough free forum and web hosting sites that there is no excuse not to be able to close the loop on in game matters outside of the game, and give people a chance to bond even when not playing.

Now for the love of all that is holy, keep it updated.  If you’re guild’s website still lists it guild House/Corp HQ/Primary Meeting Place as it was months ago and not what it is now, you can’t really blame people for not being more active in guild activities.  It’s also infuriating to new recruits (noob and vet) to be researching a guild and have it make promises it can’t keep on its website.  If you are offering an incentive for joining, when someone joins, you had better damn well have it wrapped on a silver platter and hand delivered within 24 hours of their joining.  Don’t make them ask for it.


Follow these simple elementary school rules: who, what, when, where, why, and how.  If you’re directive/missive/vision/orders do not include these basic things, you are wasting your breath because people are not on board with you.   This includes planning raids, farming quests, moving corps, and yes, even identifying sections of your guild facilities/webpages/treasure troves. 

Sub-rule: if you are not giving the guild any objectives, like on a weekly/monthly(with weekly updates) basis, why the hell are you leading a guild?


Getting noobs going is like teaching a kid to ride a bike.  You put training wheels on, not so you can be hands off, but because you can’t be hands on enough.  Give them guidelines, daily advice, solicit feedback, schedule time to help them and train them.  The first time my daughter went to her bike, I even had to tell her which leg to pick up first to get on the bike!  So don’t assume anything.  Its better to have an over-eager noob learn the hard way that he wasn’t listening well than to have a noob blaming you for their heinous death at the hands of that-which-you-can’t-be-bothered-with-anymore.

As they get better, you can take the wheels off, and be more hands off, until they get to the point where they are running around the neighborhood with confidence and clarity.


If a guild member says someone is a wanker, don’t let them in.  If someone sneaks in, kick them out.  If they threaten to take x percentage of people or cash or mojo or whatever, let them, because those are people who are no longer loyal to you and things that are worth the price to get rid of that person.   Guilds demand loyalty to function smoothly and if someone will not give you that loyalty, they do not need to be in that guild, no matter how talented they are or how badly they want to learn the game from a vet like you.


Sure you can hand out items to that noob who you ran across at whatever station/quest hub/coach you happened to be passing through at.  Nothing wrong with that.  But if you are going to reward people for an op or a raid or a questing run or a guild event, make sure people know ahead of time, and that the reward is scaled to be equally incentive across all skill/character levels.  Dropping a pile of cash on a noob is just as bad as not handing out enough at the top.

And not just loot.  There should be forum titles, guild positions, ranks, goodies, awards, and whatever other shiny you can creatively come up with.  It helps people feel like they belong to the vision you are building and have a place in the system.  This is especially true if your guild is larger or wants to be larger, because it counteracts the lost feeling that those outside the social epicenter of the guild *will* be feeling.

Fun example – One guild I was in had a guy playing six time zones away.  He overlapped a little, but most of the time was alone.  They gave him recruiting privilages and some loot to spread around and a shiny badge/title/whatever and encouraged him to be a leader.  He went from being the guy on the edge of leaving the guild to a big player who brought in a number of good people that helped cover the rest of the time cycle and improved the guilds presence and notoriety.  That was pure win.

And before you ask – Yes, I have had leadership positions in guild before.  Everything from being the Head Honcho to diplomat to recruiter and back again.  So, no, I am not talking out of my ass.  Go forth and get doing, or get to a guild/corp that is.