About a year ago, something happened in Canada that hadn’t happened for a while. The Winter Olympics were held in Vancouver, and while that was great, it wasn’t the best thing that happened. Canadians were loud and proud for their country, and celebrated what the atheletes had accomplished for their country. We went from previously being the only country to not ever win a gold medal on home soil to the country which won the most gold medals on home soil. Everywhere I went, all I could see were flags, banners, shirts, mittens, jackets – whatever was available, a maple leaf was proudly displayed on it.

Normally when someone thinks of a country with a great national pride, Canada is far from the top of the list. For a time last February, I think that our country experienced something that I wish would stay a part of our culture. Unfortunately, that just isn’t how it is for most people. I’m one of those weird people who loves his country and is very proud to be Canadian.

Canadian Olympic fans in Vancouver
From National Geographic

There are many things to be proud of in life. Getting married and becoming a parent are two things that I’m most proud of. If you work towards something for a really long time and finally achieve it, you should definitely be proud of it. As an example, the show Departures is about a few guys who travel around the world for three years, seeing and experiencing so many awesome things around the world – Scott, Justin, and Andre should definitely be proud of that.

We should also be proud of who we are. I am a geek, and I don’t care what others think of that. I wrote before about embracing your geekiness, and it still holds true. Like many others, I’ve had some self-esteem problems in my past, because I let others get to me. I’ve learned to not really care about what other people think of me, but to care about: who I am, what I’ve done, and what I stand for. If my wife hates my guts one day, I care about that. If a random person on the street hates my guts, I won’t give it a second thought.

A good experience to help with your pride is to go to a convention like BlizzCon or the San Diego Comic-Con. You get to be with thousands of other people who share your geekiness, who like similar things to you, and where you don’t have to hide what you like. When my wife and I went to BlizzCon ’08, it was surreal to walk down the street and see people with the goodie bags, then go into a restaurant and have almost every table full of other people talking about what was coming up. There’s a great sense of acceptance when you have people there for a similar reason.

What I’m getting at is simple: be who you are. If you’re a geek, nerd, or whatever other stereotype or social label you can think of, be proud of it. You are who you are, and there’s no reason to change or hide it.

Guilds & Curling Leagues

I’ve never been in a bowling league. I’ve never had a poker night with buddies. I was in a curling league for a year…

A former officer of our guild gave me this great analogy: gaming guilds and raiding are very much like a sports league or games night. They both are scheduled activities with a set group of people, all for a common goal of having fun and achieving something. Whether that goal is bowling or raiding, the ideals behind the scenes are the same.

I can’t stress this enough: fun first. If you’re not having fun, why bother going? When something gets to the point where you dread doing it, it’s time to change something. Going through a few nights of no progression in a raid? Step back and see what the atmosphere is like. Are people yelling at each other? People stressed out over minute details? Something needs to change.

Now, I’m not suggesting that there be no order to a raid night. If people are doing whatever they want and not caring about the other 9 or 24 people who are present, that’s unacceptable. But at the same time, laugh a little! During our Molten Core days, we had the “Arch of Jamaxsum” – right before Lucifron there was a tunnel to go through with a ton of flame imps and elementals. Once in Lucifron’s room, the imps would aggro if you got too close to the entrance of the tunnel since they had such a large aggro range. More often than not, it was Jamaxsum who would pull them in during a fight and wipe the raid. Also more often than not, we would all laugh and /roll for blame.

Everything in moderation: there’s a time and place for lots of fun, as well as being serious. If you’re learning a new fight and something happens that shouldn’t happen, make sure that you learn from it. If you wipe the raid in the Lich King fight because you didn’t move out of Defile, you need a swift kick to the head and an explanation of how the mechanic works – not someone continually yelling and screaming at you. If you repeat the same thing over and over again, that’s a different story.

Next, be serious when it comes to raid nights and real life. In my previous post I mentioned having a good balance between real life and gaming, and this is one of the biggest parts that people can have problems with. Come to an understanding with your significant other or family, and treat it as you would for a night you would go out and play sports. If you sign up for a raid, you commit to it. If you know you can’t make it, let someone know so that a replacement can be found. Small guilds can really suffer from this, since there could be a smaller group of people to choose from.

If you were in a sports league and couldn’t make it to a game, would you just not show up or would you call someone to let them know? Yes, I know that a WoW raid isn’t really the same thing since you don’t sign up for a whole season of raiding at a time. At the same time, there are other people who are relying on you being there to fill a spot if you’ve committed to it.

Finally, treat the team captains with respect. The guild master, officer(s), and raid leader(s) of a guild do a lot. They have to make sure that there is the right class balance so the right abilities are all present, they have to make sure that people actually show up for the raid, and they have to keep things moving along through the event. They also have to be the disciplinary force from time to time as well. If this happens, remember that by being in the guild you accept them as the people who are authorized to do what needs to be done.

If there is a problem, bring it up to the people who need to know. In most guilds, I’d say that the normal chain of communication for problems with a raid would be to go to the raid leader first, then officers, then guild master. More than likely, if there’s a problem there wouldn’t be just one person who would say something. If there is only one voice, maybe that person just caught it before others.

All in all, just remember the golden rule (of raiding): treat others as you want to be treated. Treat others with respect, if you sign up for a raid and can’t make it be sure to tell someone, and try to have fun!

It’s painful at times…

Once again, I have to lament about being an Edmonton Oilers fan.  I love the team, and they’ll be my team whether they win or lose – it’s just incredibly frustrating that they keep losing.

I know there’s a bunch of injuries, the lines are all mixed up, but we have some great talent – there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be at least scoring more.  At the moment, I have no problem with Pat Quinn, as he seems to be doing a good job.  He’s doing what should have been done a while ago: not take any crap.  A fresh look into the team, someone without any bias or history with the Oilers.

However, it looks like all of that potential is being wasted.  Losing to Columbus again, at the bottom of the Western Conference, and second last in the league for points with 37 (only Carolina is lower, at 29 – funny that the teams who were in the Stanley Cup Finals in 2006 are now both at the bottom of the barrel, eh?).

If only they could play like the Canadian IIHF World Junior team.  They may not have won gold, but they sure played great games.  It also makes me very glad that Jordan Eberle is our draft pick.

Oh well, if we continue the way we are now, at least we’ll be near the top for the draft picks this year.  Yay?


Being a sports fan is annoying at times.  I love my teams, but they frustrate me to the very limits of my sports-devotion.

Yesterday, the Edmonton Eskimos and the Edmonton Oilers made a great show of failure.  I’m huge fans of both teams, but the way that they played makes me want to reconsider that thought sometimes.  Oh, and again today, the Oilers lost.  Not just any teams – no, they had to lose to the Atlanta Thrashers yesterday and the Columbus Blue Jackets today.  Yeah, not like they’re real hockey powerhouses.

The Eskimos game yesterday wasn’t as bad, thankfully.  Amazingly enough, Ricky Ray didn’t blow it for them – it was a few bad penalties at the end of the fourth quarter.  Of all times to make stupid mistakes, that was not really the best.  Great field position, and you get 35 yards worth of penalties, and then Ray gets sacked.  Only down by three points at that time, a lot could have happened.  It’s the CFL for crying out loud, in two minutes you could have a bunch of touchdowns.

Oh well, the Eskimos will just have to hopefully regroup and get their acts together for next year.  As for now, all I can hope is that the Oilers will shape up.  As always, they started great – it just seems their downward spiral has started earlier than usual this season.

Fortunately for both teams, I’m not a fair weather fan.  I’m a huge fan of both, and will continue to be.  Go Oilers Go!  Go Esks Go!