talkgroup

how Night Witches uses cloud documents

I’m so glad you asked! We use google sheets and google docs a lot.

We make heavy use of google spreadsheets. Two of the most important ones we use as a guild are:

  1. raider roster, attendance tracking, and loot tracking. at the end of every raid, our officers manually type in who every piece of loot went to. when someone new starts raiding with us, an officer has to type in their name and class and specialization.

  2. loot priority. this is the first guild i’ve been in that uses a “Loot Council”[1] system of distribution. every week, the loot council meets on a tuesday, and spends hours talking about what every raider currently has, what they need, and who should get Ashkandi, Greatsword of the Brotherhood, if it drops from Nefarian. lol. then they write down “who’s next” for a given piece of gear if it drops. this reduces confusion, and any member can see who’s next for a piece of gear. some pieces of gear that are really contested will have a whole list of people in order. i actually really like this system. it’s way better than DKP, especially DKP with bidding wars[2].

We also make heavy use of google docs. Some examples I can think of off the top of my head…

  1. Guild bylaws. Not only that, we used the “add suggestion” and “comment” features of google docs to allow members to suggest amendments. We voted on them in discord. This is a relatively static document.

  2. I created this document for a new system I made up that I called “Raid Buddies.” I wrote down everything I wished I knew when I was a new raider. I am encouraging people to buddy up. It has been helpful. Night Witches Raid Buddies - Google Docs This document changes whenever I feel like changing it. It feels like a work in progress still. I’m kinda overwhelmed by trying to recruit more experience raiders to accept a buddy lol. I am not an officer, and I didn’t even nominate myself for the latest round of officer voting lol. I’m just going to volunteer some random things once in a while. Still, I’m kinda proud of it.

  3. People use it to write and share RP (roleplaying) stories. Sometimes they’re backstories of a character. Sometimes they’re a retelling of a raid but in character. Sometimes they’re totally made up. Sometimes the stories are based on ingame interactions they had with NPCs or with other players. It’s actually really fun to be on an RP server and I wouldn’t have it any other way now.

  4. One of our newer members used her real-life organizing skills to create an RP event ingame called “Pull Up The People” where a bunch of us donated materials, crafted items like bags and armor and food, and found magical items, and then a bunch of us reported to the Crossroads (a town in the Barrens, the big early horde zone) to give out items to any lower level player, whether they were totally new to the game, new to the server, or just rolling an alt. It was an amazing event, and the amount of organization she put into it was incredible. It included an RP backstory for why we needed the event and what we hoped to accomplish. There were descriptions of upcoming RP events run by other people in the server. There were warnings about enemy alliance players who might try to come disrupt us (and they did! and we fought them off!). There were detailed and well-though-through asks of X number of silk bags, X number of runecloth bags, their required crafting materials, sign-ups so that people could say “hey i’m crafting the silk bags,” or “hey i’m going to craft these potions,” and so on. Then there were screenshots of where each volunteer distributor of goods was going to stand during the event. There were even sample scripts we could /say in game to advertise what we were giving away, and we were encouraged to write our own. Seriously the event was incredible and I was so happy to be a part of it. (I donated leather for bags, even farmed a bunch of heavy leather with my sister, out of our way lol; I also distributed magical items! I suggested in the google doc afterwards that next time, we have different volunteers assigned to distributing different types of armor because it was very overhwelming for me to match cloth armor to a mage while a warrior who needed mail and a rogue who needed leather were also whispering me lol.

Did I mention we are an explicitly LGBTQIA+ and leftist guild? I love playing this game with a bunch of gay communists. It’s seriously the best.

footnotes

[1] here is an example from 2010 about how one guild used loot council. https://www.tentonhammer.com/guides/how-to-run-a-loot-council . systems vary across guilds and across time. i just think this particular link is interesting as a piece of WoW history, and it’s not on fandom.com or on reddit lol

[2] lol wikipedia has an entry for DKP: Dragon kill points - Wikipedia

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one more thing. we copied a template (also made in google sheets) for a guild roster, pre-populated with every piece of gear from every level 60 endgame dungeon out so far (MC, BWL, Onyxia, world bosses, i think even ZG is included), that another guild somewhere in the world on some other server (maybe even a private server years ago) made. This is the template: Mk. Ultra Guild Management Sheet - Wow Classic - Barrens Chat

It is extensive and a lot of work went into it and then a lot of other kinds of work went into making it accessible to other raiding guilds in the world. Wow, I’ve given it a passing glance before, but I’m reading it more now because I’m linking it to you, and sometimes (not all the time) I like to know what I’m linking before I link it. lol. We don’t use most of the tabs. There are even graphs. Dang. This is a kind of programming, I think, but also community-building. And it’s ALL on google sheets!

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Thanks! It sounds like a really great guild. Does it take its name from an in-game reference, or the Russia women fighters?

It sounds frustrating that in order to participate one must use those closed tools.

the Russian Nazi-fighting women!!! Yes!!!

I watched the drunk history episode about them. Succeeding even with shitty planes, what badasses.

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I always love finding a minor edit on Wikipedia! This one was clarifying how Raisa Surnachevskaya was, “one of the very few pregnant women to have flown in combat.”

:exploding_head:

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We need a loot council for hardware/stuff.

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from the Russian women fighters! from one of the recruitment posts <Night Witches> is a Horde leftist guild in Classic WoW - recruiting now on Deviate Delight : Sigmarxism.

Our name is a homage to the 588th Night Bomber Regiment. During WW2 they were an all female bomber unit. Using modified crop duster biplanes made of wood and cloth that didn’t show up on radar or infrared they terrified the Nazi military over almost thirty thousand sorties. On a bombing run they would idle their engines, and the only sound was of the wind rattling over their wooden frame like the sweep of a broomstick. This led to the Nazis giving their foes the name die Nachthexen, which translates as Nochnye Vedmy in Russian or “The Night Witches” in English. As a guild name this honors that leftist military history and symbolizes our fight against militant fascists and imperialists that outnumber and outgear us, through the use of stealthy, unexpected, and unconventional tactics.

yep!

WoW itself is a closed tool (though for the last fifteen years before WoW classic launched, people made their own private servers and did all of the theorycrafting we all now rely on!).

Discord is a closed tool. our guild (and many others) absolutely cannot function without it. we use a lot of text channels for coordinating everything from voting in new officers to scheduling and signing up for raids to off-topic chatter to pictures of our pets to supporting each other as humans to discussion of leftist politics to encouraging each other to read kapital. we use voice channels at every single raid and in other events too. we hang out in voice chat to keep each other company during late nights when we’re farming honor.

i have considered posting in Discord “hey anyone interested in experimenting with us self-hosting a Discord replacement lol? i really love this forum software called Discourse!” but haven’t yet.

however, for my last guild, i actually did set up a Discourse instance on digitalocean. i bought the domain name and everything. i set up about four other officers of that guild as administrators and mods on that Discourse instance, but they posted 0 times hhaha. i made like 8 posts and talked to myself on that Discourse. i posted bear tanking gear lists. i re-posted MC strats from our Discord, hoping it’d be a place that could be more permanent (stuff vanishes from Discord really fast because the text channels move really fast. there are pinned messages, but everybody always forgets to check pinned messages). i was really hoping i could get poeple to use it in addition to Discord, but nobody did. i think one person liked one of my posts lol. that instance lasted 2 months and then all my credit cards broke and then i couldn’t pay for it anymore. i was going to get help from the guild master to pay for it (he asked me to set it up), but never did. i don’t really talk to him anymore lol. so i’m not, like, trying to recoup that investment. i learned some stuff and it was a good experience setting up Discourse for the first time. it was way easier than i thought it would be. did i write about it here?

we also use Discord to communicate with other guilds. extensively. there is a community-run Discord server for our entire server, Deviate Delight, which is unique in that it’s explicitly cross-faction (meaning horde that i keep joining and leaving because it’s fucking toxic. (my current status: i left it last month lol.) there are servers that people have made for guild coalitions. there are servers for every guild, and if you befriend another guild, or you pvp with them or something, or you are a guest raider with them sometime, or you go to an RP event, you might get invited to that other guild’s discord server as a guest, and so everybody is pretty conversant in using Discord’s “roles” feature to keep guild stuff private and guest stuff accessible to guildies and guests. that’s been interesting to watch the community learn.

i play with A LOT of addons. they’re written in lua. they are all “open source” because you can just look at the lua files. the site i use to download them is curseforge, which got bought by twitch some years back (i think), which is a closed system. i used to manually download zip files of addons from curseforge and wowinterface, every time an addon was updated, but i broke down several months ago and installed the twitch native windows app for one reason: automate updating of my addon when addon authors release new versions.

wago is a fan site (i guess another closed system, but i don’t know who owns it) that hosts code for plugins that go along with wow addons. yo dawg, i heard you loved addons so here are some addons in your addons! i use wago to download new auras for the popular addon WeakAuras2. they do everything from remind me to cast omen of clarity (self buff, expires every ten minutes), to announce when i’m spinning while tanking a drakonoid in bwl and therefore melee dps needs to run away from me, to number of seconds till a mob dies based on incoming damage to help me decide when to blow my cooldowns on a boss fight. wago also hosts custom code to share rp items used by rp addons, something i have no direct experience but am curious about.

a lot of free accumulated person-hours go into making this game playable by me. i don’t pay the addon creators. i think some of them do it for fun in their free time and have fulltime jobs. some ask for donations via (closed systems like) patreon, paypal, etc. some use ad revenue.

a lot of that labor is “invisible” to me.

i mean, even the labor in my own guild was invisible to most people. i didn’t know until raiding with them for a month that the attendance+loot tracking and loot prio spreadsheets existed. i knew officers “handled it” somehow but had no idea someone had to do manual data entry in a good spreadsheet at the end of every raid. trying to make this work less “invisible” was the actual motivation behind me starting a raid buddies program. i want every new raider to have someone tell them “x person does hours of work every week so you can just show up and get a chance at some purples.”

it took me a while to learn that while playing the game, our tanks and raid leaders carry us so hard. when our raid leader was absent because of a power outage or something, we scrambled to fill in all these gaps we didn’t even know we had. so leadership is working on writing down everything they do so they can reproduce themselves. even now though, while we’re trying to train up new raid leaders, new holes are revealed every week and last raid we had to halt at every boss fight to do tank and healing assignments (because usually the raid leader invisibly spends hours before every raid looking at the people who signed up, assembling tank and healing assingments, copying them into text macros, and adjusting it when the raid starts and we find out who couldn’t show up). it’s a lot of work.

i can’t show up to work due to illness, so as much as i want to volunteer to run the guild because i’m extroverted, love making up processes, sometimes love documentation, and love disseminating information. so i considered nominating myself for officer last week (elections happen every six months), but i didn’t, because i think i’d just use it as a way to self-harm by signing up for a lot, then not showing up and not telling anyone why i wasn’t showing up, and then abandoning them and forcing them to fire me, like i do with any job. so just doing what i can when i have a spurt of energy and then stopping before anyone actually has to rely on me for shit is better for how sick i am.

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yeah and a housing council lol

i read the dispossessed finally because a guildie was like the 20th person to tell me “you specifically should really read it” because we were talking about anarchism. it was important to me to read because it’s one of the most fleshed-out thought experiments on small self-governing communities that i’ve seen. (i’m sure there are others that i don’t know anything about.)

i think gaming communities, especially WoW raiding guilds, offer a place to start for studying small communities attempting self-governance. a WoW friend who is still in my old guild told me “they figured out ‘from each according to their ability, to each according to their need’ on accident” and i think that is hilarious. he was referring to how the old guild started using a DKP system where DKP is awarded not just based on raid attendance, but also for non-raid participation, like farming herbs for potions that the raid needs.

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