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June 2008
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Group Calendar 101

The following is a guest post from Breana of Gun Lovin’ Dwarf Chick.  Listen to her, she knows what she is talking about!


Schedules.  Don’t cringe!  No matter how free-spirited and flexible you may want to be, if you want to organize an event with more than just yourself, you need a plan, or in this case, a schedule.

Okay, so you know you want a schedule, now what type should you get?

Many guilds rely on their guild websites or forums for their scheduling needs.  However, I found that in my guild that didn’t work.  People just didn’t want to go to a site and sign-up for raids.  Which meant raids and runs were done in a haphazard fashion with whispers and tells flying back and forth and no real concrete start and finish time.

Then I found Group Calendar.

Now, this may not be perfect for every guild, but for me, it is a godsend!  Let’s see how it works:

First thing you need to know is that there are two version of GC running around the net (3.4.4 and 4.0 +).  These two versions are incompatible and before you start demanding your guild to download, please make sure you all download the correct version.  4.0+ is the current incarnation and I highly suggest you make sure everyone is on that version.

Next, configuring.  This part isn’t too hard, but I will go over it quickly so you understand what all that techie stuff means:

config

When you install, the mod should load, by default at Automatic.  There is an Administrator option, but that should be reserved only to officers and GLs.  Now, you need to make sure the “Use Guild data channel” is checked off. This will allow all the databases GC finds through your guild to sync up.

The rank to show means all those of that rank will be allowed to post events to the calendar.  This is used to restrict event posting privileges to members of a specific rank and above.

Next important part of this section is the Sync status.  When you sign in, the calendar will automatically take a couple of minutes and begin syncing with all the databases in the guild data channel.  When it is done your database will be up to date.

Important to note.  Events are tied into the account that created them.  Meaning, if you create an event, members can sign up for the event even if you are off line.  However, they will remain on “standby status” until you log in and approve them.  Thus meaning that if you create a “ZA raid” on Monday, for that Wednesday and 10 people sign up, but you miss the raid and don’t log back in until Thursday, that event will not be up to date on the calendar.  Now, you don’t have to be on the toon that created the account, simply the account itself, meaning if you create a ZA raid on an alt, that event will sync the next time you log in, regardless of the toon who created it.

For some guilds this may be a problem, but as of yet, it hasn’t been an issue.

K, now all set.  What does it look like?  This is a snapshot of my calendar.  Notice the two women in purple, those are Kara raids, the one-eyed screaming dude is Gruuls, and the guy with the mohawk is ZA.  Creating an event is very simple.  Just click on the day.  Click on New Event and the Add/Edit Event window will appear.  You can add everything from raids, BG’s, meetings, guild events, personal events (not shared) and birthdays.

eventnew

When you add a raid, you are able to do a number of things with it.  You can manually restrict the number of participants by class, you can manually add players to the raid and it allows you to label what role your raider will have during the event.

eventpart

One other great feature in GC, is the mass invite feature.  When it comes to raid time, you can open the event and click on the group tab in the Add/Edit Event box.  When you do, GC will see who is on (members signed up but not online will be grayed out).  Each member will have a small box next to them.  Click on these boxes and then press invite.  It will invite everyone checked into your raid!

Overall, GC is a fantastic scheduling tool which can really help a causal guild, start to get its ducks in a row to start doing organized raids.  Go check it out!