Traveling the Multiverse

Aka Ironyca Stood in the Fire – gaming blog

29 Thing I have Learned from doing In-Game Server Events (WoW Factor Shows)

These are the things I have learned from doing 20+ in-game transmog competitions. People looking to do either transmog competitions or just any larger event in game where you invite a whole server (or both) might find this valuable. A lot of these points are probably not applicable to smaller events, especially when it’s for the guild only.

Most of these points deal with something negative, but I hope they can be a source of amusement too.

Cho’gall-US WoW Factor Show

1. The expressed positive and negative feedback is about 50/50. This means, as a recent sponsor put it: “I think even the trolls had fun tonight”. If people bother to sit through three hours constantly complaining, which happens, then take it as a compliment.

2. People favor a more lateral gold distribution over singular high prizes. We give out gold to 30-40 individuals each show. Our thumb rule is to keep the highest prize pool (top 10 fx) at or below 10% of the total fund.

3. People will say you’re hugely biased, every bias you can think of. If it’s not dwarves, then it’s warlocks, male characters etc. This complaint might also come out as “this competition was rigged”, which is a funny remark, I’m not really sure how we can favor complete strangers in a transmog competition instead of just focusing on the mogs.

4. Sometimes you’re not really welcome. This happened even on me and Noelani’s home realm and it can be very uncomfortable. Sometimes they’ll let you know that they could have done it better, and its their realm anyways!

Note the quote above: “our money” – I thought it was the sponsor’s money? It’s always an individual/guild sponsoring, there is no such thing as a whole server sponsoring. Then there’s “off-server people” and “utlendrs” (which I assume means outlanders) – very strange, what does which server you’re from have to do with transmog? It sounds xenophobic to me, I thought we were all WoW players getting together about the game – no? If they want to run it themselves though, great! More events means more fun for more people, but don’t make it about keeping “a bunch of utlendrs” from crossing your server borders.

5. Speaking of xenophobic, we get some really disturbing trolling only when we go to American realms, aimed at Noelani, who’s from England and thus speaks English. Sometimes they equate everyone to being from England, which then turns into something about us having bad taste, something homophobic and something about tea (I’m the tea drinker in this house btw, Noelani is all about the coffee). For the sake of clarity, Elvine is American (most guest judges are also American) and no one can tell where I’m from, so I guess they assume I’m English too.

6. People get very focused on how much certain guilds have won. None of us have the attention span nor the time to care about keeping track of which guilds get what. This is purely a server-specific obsession. I don’t know what they expect – “sorry, your mog is great but your guild has met our quota”.

Man, I wouldn’t want to attend his mog event. But remember, he can take shit and reason being is because noobs.

7. If the event is big enough and attracts enough players, some people will report you for “trying to crash the server”. This has never actually caused any of us to get banned, however, giving out big portions of gold in short amount of time did get Keelhaul banned a few times, so consider writing a ticket to inform them that you’re not selling the gold for real money.

8. Some people take it personally when they are not pointed out … like really personally. Some will also start complaining about being “ignored” after 15 minutes. At this point, we’ve maybe pointed out 7 people out of… say 100. If I see someone constantly sighing and grumbling about not getting attention, I’m actually prone to pass them by. I don’t want them to think you get attention by demanding it. It’s about the goddamn mogs, not about who can yell the loudest and spam the most.

9. People think you’ve only really looked at them if you also inspect them. I’m very baffled by this, it’s not like they are wearing invisible gear.

10. Everyone goes into it with the knowledge of how much they have worked for their mog. The more they have worked for it, the higher the expectation. It’s impossible to know these expectations and even harder to meet them. It’s inevitable someone will be unhappy.

11. I suspect a fair amount go for the gold alone. We warn people on the livestream that they will get bored if they are only here for the gold. Some people care only about about their own mog, but couldn’t give a damn about anyone else’s. These are the ones who get really upset if they do not win and proclaim loudly that they “wasted” 2½ hour.

12. Some people care only about getting attention on the stream.

Innocent, but a very common type of whisper.

13. And some people will thank you and tell you they had a great evening :)

14. Sometimes people think we are game masters and they complain to us that we don’t answer their tickets. Generally people’s experiences of the event differ wildly. There are so many misunderstandings about what this event is about that I don’t know how to address this issue anymore.

Apparently we are not the judges? I don’t even know what to say to this one, it’s sad someone is so misinformed, but I can’t help but laugh either.

15. Even people whom you’ve awarded gold will troll the event. I thought for a long that time that the gold was the defining factor, so that people who won gold left the event happy and satisfied and people who didn’t left the event unhappy. Someone at Cho’gall-US won early on for a Druid of the Fang themed set, but proceeded to troll at the end anyways. Gold will not shut up a troll, it’s best to disqualify them and /ignore as soon as they have been identified as obstructive.

This guy trade blocked everyone and spammed every judge with comments like these. He spent over an hour harassing people. His character was eventually banned.

16. Fairness is an overshadowing theme that forms the base in a lot of complaints, yet it’s impossible to to live up to a 100% fair mog competition because it will always be subjective.

Damn right creativity should be rewarded in a mog competition.

17. “I did a bunch of Barrens quests to get this shield, and I didn’t even get looked at” vs. “I paid 100.000 gold in total for this outfit and I didn’t even get looked at” vs. “I am wearing something unobtainable/heroic, yet 100% recipe, and I didn’t even get looked at”. I didn’t make these up, people have very different ideas about what features should be valued above others.

18. “The event is too long” vs. everyone wanting attention.

19. The biggest hard limit is actually time, not gold. You can always adjust the gold prizes, but adjusting how much time you spend on each person will affect the quality of the competition. Not too little, not too long.

20. A lot of the same discussions/complaints appear at every event. It gets tiring but you get used to it.

21. We’re always expected to cater to both factions on a realm, as if Horde and Alliance are jealous siblings that demand equal amounts of parental attention. The sponsors are often completely overlooked in these “faction fairness” issues.

22. Some assume that we can just come to their realm when asked, and the prize gold will magically appear. I wonder if this has to do with gold being a currency that can be endlessly mined from the system, so people forget that its always earned by someone at some point. The fact that people think we choose exactly where to go, also produces complaints that we don’t do enough horde shows.

Hmm, he’s a little demanding.

23. Some people go to these events expecting to be paid for the effort of attending alone. In fact, I think a lot of people forget that the gold comes from generous sponsors and that no one is automatically entitled to winning it.

24. We see people suggest for us to take entry fees, but I would strongly advise against it. Our sponsors go into it knowing that they will not win their gold back, it’s a donation for them. But if random individuals are asked to pay up, they will think of it as an investment and expect to get something in return.

This is the most I’ve ever been whispered. I don’t want to think about how many Elvine got at that event.

25. Some people call for more methodical arrangements in the shape of fx moving contestants around in groups of 5 to ensure everyone gets looked at, without regards to the huge amount of time and work in-game organization like this require. Some people literally prefer us to go through everyone saying yes or no. Urgh, I’d hate having to do that! If there are more people than there are time, we want to spend that time on the positive highlights, not saying “no” 10 times in a row.

26. If you’re the one streaming, expect to get whisper-spammed.

27. Roleplay realms can have their own special complaints: One being that they want to wear rp gear. Even when informed in advance, they’ll put on a cloth hood or take off their belts. Roleplayers are sneaky people! Another complaint can be about the location. My “dear” home server (Argent Dawn EU), had particularly big issues with us hosting it at the cathedral, even though we told them repeatedly that there currently are no alternatives.

You can wonder whether one should respect a certain server specific culture – or stand on the principle that all game space is for all players, you can’t claim some for yourself and chase others away. In this case though, we didn’t have a choice to host it anywhere else, so a lot complained about the event location even though our event was notified well in advance and only lasted for one evening.

28. Some people are unhappy that some of the same people win in the first random round, and later go on to win a top spot. If we weren’t allowed to award the best mogs gold during the first round, we would have to ignore them for 1½ hour, then award them gold at the end. Not to mention the outcry if a certain clearly amazing mog did not win anything early on. The competition has a tiered structure, but this doesn’t always go down well.

29. Trolls are not inevitable and it is possible to have an event which is troll-free. Our stats say 1/21.

27 comments on “29 Thing I have Learned from doing In-Game Server Events (WoW Factor Shows)

  1. Cymre
    August 15, 2012

    I didn’t realise all the stuff you had to put up with but it was still nice to get a mention from Noelani (on the stream) when I walked in the other day. I think you all do a great job for what you have to put up with. Keep up the good work :)

    • Ironyca
      August 15, 2012

      In the beginning it was horrible, most of it now is just a case of shrugging it off. It’s my impression sponsors get a lot of thanks and I hope people in general exchange some nice whispers too, if so, then all is good.

  2. prettyflydraenei
    August 15, 2012

    Nice write up Ironyca, I am constantly amazed at the fortitude you, Noelani and Elvine have for doing these shows so often. At last week’s show, I just finally turned off all the chat channels. Regarding, #5, I though you guys were Australian until you announced your home server show :D

    • Ironyca
      August 15, 2012

      Haha, you Americans need to practice your accents :D
      But, Noelani can actually fake an Australian accent and I can fake the worst British English accent you can imagine!

  3. Vaneeesa Blaylock
    August 15, 2012

    I don’t understand why the judges take all the massive piles of gold that Blizzard gives them to award to the hard working moggers and just spend it on themselves for a debaucherous party… and then they tax the real server residents to give out paltry prizes to the people that work so hard, but by that late in the night the judges, who are apparently all Irish and have passed out in a drunken bar brawl by so late in USA time (apparently you can buy A LOT of dark ale with that much ripped off stolen gold) but it doesn’t matter because the judges aren’t really the judges anyway, apparently there’s just a party at Howard Stern’s house and he watches the stream with a bunch of losers and THEY vote on how to pass out the ripped off gold from the poor server peeps — OMG — talk about taxation without transmogrification — you guys suck!! And anyway, how come you haven’t been to my server yet? I sure hope you get here soon, I’ve been preparing some supa’killa mogs for you to not look at as you’re punching Bono in that slimy Irish bar with the crappy wifi. k then, see you guys soon? LOVE YOU!!! Keep up the awesome shows!! xoxo

  4. Navimie
    August 15, 2012

    Oh I had a good laugh remembering a lot of these sorts of things – some you were telling me and others just .. well typically trollish! Having been a big $$$ winner I know all about trolls and harrrassment and I valued your advice to me when I was talking to you about it. Great post Ironyca! I don’t envy you your hard job, but you do a damn fine job of it :) I hope people learn to respect you guys more and stop shooting the messengers! Remember we all LOVE you guys and I hope that nothing not even trolls can keep you guys down!

    • Ironyca
      August 15, 2012

      Yeah, I remember Dath’Remar. We’ve actually had potential sponsors wanting to do singular huge prizes, but mostly based on your show, we advise against it. It seems to really get the anger flowing. I don’t know if it’s because they mistake a 100.000 gold prize as being 10 times better than a 10.000 gold prize, which is not what the top prizes are supposed to symbolize.
      Anyways, sadly you are not the only winner who has been harassed, it’s something that really bothers me, when people turn against each other and put each other down. It’s an unfortunate side effect sometimes :(

  5. Vaneeesa Blaylock
    August 15, 2012

    I’ve been thinking more about this since my first, ahem, “insight” above…

    I’ve been thinking a lot about gamification lately… and of course “normal” WoW is “gameified”… or actually… A game!

    Point is, while it may well require a certain “art” or finesse at times, the game is (you tell me, I’m faking it here of course) “mechanical”… in the sense that if the Quest is “Kill 10 thistle boars and level up” then you know EXACTLY what to do to “get the prize”…

    But if it’s… go for something non-specific, and see what some judges from someplace think of it… then that certainty is gone…

    That non-certainty I’d call Art and Culture and Creativity and Gestalt and Zeitgeist and Love and, kinda like, everything worthwhile in life… but I’ve found that students hate “subjective” grading… I always thought they hated essay exams and liked multiple choice because multiple choice is easier and less work… well… I STILL think that’s true… but apparently… that ALSO hate essays because they’re “subjective” or to use a word some students like, they’re “bullshit” or “lack structure”… to my most literal of students, “structure” means “don’t give me any of this ‘Creative BS,’ just tell me EXACTLY what to do to get the grade” — some have literally told me “I really care about my education, so tell me exactly what to do”

    Anyway… I think your intro idea that no matter what you do it’ll be 1/2 complaints, may well turn out to be some sort of constant of the universe… I’m pretty sure I heard that from Einstein or Feynman or Hawking or someone like that…


    I also wonder if the idea of you JUDGING their CREATIVE efforts isn’t a BREAK with the normal qualities of the game.

    • Ironyca
      August 15, 2012

      Lots of great points in this comment Vaneeesa!

      “I also wonder if the idea of you JUDGING their CREATIVE efforts isn’t a BREAK with the normal qualities of the game.”
      – Indeed! Also, listen to how it sounds – “judging”. Ew, it doesn’t sound pleasant, don’t know what else to call it, it is a competition.

      I agree that this extra niche part of gamified transmogrification does not sit well with a lot of players. WoW is very mechanical, it’s code, tons of math that people reverse engineer out of the system to conclude what the correct elemental spec and rotation is for a shaman, it can be proven, it’s numbers. But this is about self expression, so why should we come and tell them what’s right or wrong?

      But the thing is, our events are just one way to do it, with one set of tastes and opinions. It has a tinge of elitism that I don’t like, but we try and keep the attitude as positive as possible. If you would want to do a transmog competition, someone has to make the decisions, unless there is a voting system, where you can democratically vote for the best mog. This might be more sufficiently done out of the game though.

      We have actually experimented with having everyone in the room vote between three people, by standing behind them in a line. What do you think happened? They write their guild mates to come and vote for them, it starts looking like a popularity contest, because everyone is willing to help a friend, surely (s)he deserves it. It’s hard to do with large crowds and you have to be quick before random friends come in to “help” someone win.

      It also comes back to the point that a lot of people don’t want to run large events themselves – it’s a lot of work (like someone in one of the quotes said “less work for us” as an argument for letting us do the transmog contest), especially preparation, and a lot of people are probably not that excited by the amount of resistance you meet when doing it.

  6. Farli (@TheOvercut)
    August 15, 2012

    Really interesting post, i remember the 3 colour bloodfang rogues ^.^

    I dont have the stamina for long shows so i normally just watch them fast forwarded a bit on twitch after the event. However i do try and get to every EU show even if just to check out all the outfits for a few minutes to get some ideas / inspiration.

    • Ironyca
      August 15, 2012

      I’ve always wondered if the live shows had any relevance to people not actually attending, but I know some tune in to do their own voting and have fun doing that. Otherwise, there’s always the screenshots we post afterwards.

  7. tomeoftheancient
    August 15, 2012

    How dare they call you utlendrs! I don’t know what it means but doesn’t sound nice! I can’t imagine all you put up with, I was also saddened but not surprised by the trolls on US servers since I’m on one.

    I hope the people who do enjoy your events are as vocal in thanking you as the complainers are.

    • Ironyca
      August 15, 2012

      There’s a lot of sweet people, that’s for sure. And I do believe there’s a group of silent, but content people as well, who probably talk amongst their guilds mates or so.

      Also, usually there’s also a fair number of people apologizing for the trolls, usually the sponsors feel very guilty – poor people ^^

  8. flosch
    August 15, 2012

    Fascinating. I stopped playing before transmogrification was introduced, and our server never was hot on events. So I had never heard of this event series before. Sounds like awesome work on your part, especially considering how much you have to put up with. I probably would’ve given up after the first or second try.

    One thing I’m wondering is… you said you’re streaming, probably via a stream hoster like livestream or own3dtv or something similar? Do you typically black out your chat box via the streaming tool? Because if so, I wonder what the “I’m on TV!” attention spam whispers would bring. Except, you know, annoying you pointlessly. But it sounded like you put these people into a category of their own. God, I would not be able to keep this up! :)

    And “utlendr” sounds weirdly Scandinavian, Icelandic or such. Which would give the insult some originality, but make even less sense. Are the Icelanders complaining about the US people playing on the US servers? o.O

    • Ironyca
      August 15, 2012

      It’s livestreamed by Elvine through and you raise an interesting point. Elvine has blanked out the chat windows, but you can still see chat bubbles of /shout and /say and people really do say “HI MOM” and stuff like that :D The thing is, people still try and get inside Elvine’s view anyways, they try and block people and move in front. That we can probably not prevent unless there’s an addon that lets you size up the inspect window. But I have not found such an addon yet, it would be priceless though.

      Yeah, utlendr does sound strange, maybe a movie reference? I have no idea.

      • flosch
        August 16, 2012

        Ah right, didn’t think of the chat bubbles. And I assume you don’t want to disable them altogether, because it would make it much harder for you to communicate with people on the livestream… Shame.

        Never heard of an addon that changes the inspection window itself, just gear tooltips. Though I’m horribly out of the loop anyway.

  9. Bristal
    August 15, 2012

    It seems that, in a virtual event as opposed to a RL one, you get to (have to?) hear what people are actually THINKING. Chat is so anonymous people lose their filter.

    Don’t you think if you could read minds that you’d hear a lot of those rambling thoughts from people in an event like that? People get tremendously anxious when they are on display and their minds go nuts.

    The anonymity probably encourages some to express what should just be a silent stream of consciousness.

    In a real life event, I can see you look at me, and in less than a second I can see that you did spend some time, and I probably have some sense about what you thought.

    My time in the spotlight is short, but it’s palpable.

    In a virtual contest, I just sit there, not even totally sure you can even see my avatar.

    Maybe it would help if at least one judge did a /look emote to each contestant. Something that gives even the slightest notion of getting the spotlight for a second or two. Maybe use raid markers to mark people. Or group with 9 contestants at a time.

    Since I have no idea how you actually run your events, these are just random impressions. Personally, I support any interesting in-game events, kudos to you.

    • Ironyca
      August 15, 2012

      You mention performing gaze, which is something I’ve touched upon before in an attempt to try to deal with this specific issue:

      What we’ve done to address it is to let people know that they only see one version of what is going on, through the eyes of the streamer. So even though we are in total four judges running back and forth, people seem to forget that theoretically there’s four streams, they can only see one of course.
      Another thing we’ve done is to run around clicking people, and like I said in the list, a lot of people think this equates to being inspected, which you don’t really need, to see if the mog looks good or not. But this is purely performance on our part to meet a demand and communicate our presence and attention to people.

      Moving people in groups is something people have asked for in the past, but I can say with confidence that I know we will never incorporate it. None of us wants to turn it into a conveyer-belt like experience. I can’t really imagine this being fun, just a long queue and a bunch of people trying to skip the line. As mentioned in the list, regardless of method, there’s not enough time to do everyone anyways, so we focus on spending the time efficiently on the positive highlights.

      I wonder if people compare what essentially is an amateur initiative to professionally produced media content and find that we just don’t measure up, and that there’s also some dissatisfaction coming from that end too.

  10. satsuri
    August 17, 2012

    Wow…I can’t understand why people have to be like this. Do they act like this IRL too? Is it just necessary to be rude because you’re sitting behind a monitor? I guess I’m pretty naive when it comes to the “trolling” at the WoW Factor events since the two that I attended on Proudmoore went great!

    • Ironyca
      August 17, 2012

      LIke Bristal says above, I think they are more honest and with less polite wrapping.
      It’s ironic though, it’s an event where some generous people have allowed us to give out THEIR gold to people FOR FREE. It should just be super positive, it’s a huge gift-party, but some people become competitive and sometimes even entitled. The entitlement is what bothers me the most.

      You mention Proudmoore and I have a theory to why that realm (and Tichondrius and Earthen Ring) were always better and less up in arms than the rest.
      It was Keelhaul who started it all, he earned so much gold from selling transmog gear on those realms and gave out a lot of that before he invited us to become partners. So a lot of people have received gold from him on several occasions and therefore, I suspect, have a lot better attitude. I mean, that must be nice, having someone on your realm who once in a while goes and shares their wealth with other players. What’s not to love :D

      We’re going to Tichondrius tomorrow and I suspect it will be generally better, we’ve been there before and it’s also one of Keelhaul’s original realms.

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  12. Töki
    August 23, 2012

    This was quite an interesting read; but how do you actually deal with the trolls, those constantly sighing and jumping around to get your attention or those that just get on your nerves? I’m just asking in case I ever bring myself up to holding a transmog contest on my server; although I fear I’ll be too quick with the /ignore’s.

    • Ironyca
      August 24, 2012

      We ignore them as much as possible. Some of them gets bored, but some will stick around all the way through.

      If someone is being scammy and asking for “entry fees”, which is something we don’t use at all, then we tell people to ignore said person.
      Some will just stand there screaming profanities, don’t waste a second on them, just /ignore.

      The most difficult ones are the ones who keep on the border all the time, they like to portray themselves as more clever than you, very arrogant, but they are not directly obstructive. They call into question everything you do, will try and find weaknesses all the time to call them out, they will disagree all the time – loudly. Those are the hardest because they sometimes express what some other individuals may be thinking, so we do occasionally address the issues they will bring up, knowing that they would love to start an argument, so don’t address them more than once, just move on afterwards. I’m sure you’ve seen this kind of behaviour on the forums :)

      Basically, go in there and do what you have to do, only address legitimate concerns, deal with the trolling, the “boohoo, I didn’t win” and “this was bad because x.y.z” on the forum afterwards. Keeping one eye blind while the event is going on might be good as well. I don’t have the time to read everything said in /say for example, and I think that is for the better :D

      I hope that answered a little and I wish you well if you go ahead and arrange something. You can always email me if you have more questions or the like :)

    • Ironyca
      August 24, 2012

      I made it sound really bad with that comment, it really isn’t!

      If we have about 100 people showing up, there might be 1-2 people mindlessly yelling swearwords. 1-2 will stand on top of people and maybe 2-3 will be extremely critical as described before, so it’s not that many, it’s just that they soak up so much attention for what they do.

      I don’t want to scare you away :D If you want to do it, you really should!

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  14. Deyvaen
    September 24, 2012

    Nice post, I had to laugh at so much of the irony in the complaints, ie ”took too long” but then ”look at everyone for yes or no” and the trolls just make it harder and take longer, lol. As for one guild having several winners – I know at least in my guild in addition to regular raids, we go on x-mog runs together, we usually know which piece so-and-so is looking to get and have even presented each other with birthday gifts of that one elusive piece to finish a set.
    I think the wowfactor show at scarlet crusade [H] was one of the first big ones, but I thought it was well organized and the judges dealt the best they could with the few others causing confusion and generally we all had fun. I loved seeing everyone’s great x-mogs and chatting about how we made our sets or how long we looked for a certain armor piece. A lot of us who met there still talk and compare x-mogs with the new friends we met chatting while there :) Actually I haven’t heard anything nasty between anyone I met there since then, mostly people complimenting each other on new x-mogs, saying ”hey you won didn’t you, you deserved it!” or ”nice x-mog, you would’ve done well had you been there” type of things. So I wanted to thank-you and let you know that many of us had a great time, met new friends with the same interest and had a positive outcome from it.

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