Why Loot Council, Matticus?

Why Loot Council, Matticus?

elrond-council

Veneretio: @behemothdan “Agreed there is no perfect system, but there are good systems and bad systems.”

This statement was, of course, in regards to a post Syd wrote earlier about her early experience with the implementation of Loot Council. Like good systems and bad systems, there are good people and bad people. Power, when used for good, can be used for great thing. When used for bad, can lead to not so great things.

Before I can go into any greater detail, you need to understand the Matticus Doctrine when it comes to raiding. There’s a specific line in there that effectively summarizes my thoughts on loot:

Loot may not be fair and it may not be equal, but I will do my best to ensure that it is effective and not wasted.

A lot of players will say that LC shows favoritism and isn’t fair. I think that’s a matter of perception. What does fair mean? What is your definition of equal? Can you distribute loot fairly and progress? Can it be done quickly?

When we talk about progression, fairness and equality are out the window.

Is fair giving 3 pieces of minor upgrades to the Mage who’s earned that right after months of raiding and then taking a 2 month hiatus but exercising their DKP option when the tier tokens could’ve benefited the Rogue who is still wearing T5?

Or is fair auto looting a crucial piece to a tank to make progression raids that much easier instead of the Priest who can also benefit?

We’re in the business of progression and that means the players have to trust us. Loot gets distributed with the intent to boost and maximize raid performance. And it may not always be “fair”. This means withholding items from the player who frequently AFKs in trash. This means deciding on the player who flasked, brought reagents, repaired and enchanted and gemmed all of his gear instead of the player who didn’t repair to full, asked for Paladin reagents because he forgot to stock up, and isn’t playing 100%.

Factors include but are not limited to:

  • Present gear
  • Tier token count
  • Performance
  • Attendance
  • Attitude
  • “Clutch”ness
  • Etc.

What makes it work?

In order for the system to work, there’s a few important things that I took into account and into consideration:

Numerous Loot drops: Bosses drop at least four items. It’s not a matter of who gets loot. It’s a matter of when. Everyone’s going to get the gear they’ll need and want fairly quickly.

Accountability: It’s not in my best interest to screw people or my guild over. Why not? I’ve got over a thousand regular readers. I just reached the 1 million page view mark a few days ago. I do have a reputation to keep. I don’t want to be known as someone who constantly loots stuff to his friends or someone who shows favoritism all the time. I want to recognize hard work and effort and I want to reward it accordingly.

Progression oriented guildies: I’ve surrounded myself with players who want to kill bosses. They don’t care about the loot they get. They’re not greedy. They’re willing to share it with others who benefit more then they do. I do not have players who only care about themselves. I do not recruit players who are selfish and greedy and want the best epics in the game just so they can look good.

In fact, the biggest problem is when everyone passes or there is no interest at all. If anything, some of the players are too generous.

Member input: Like Syd said, our players are allowed to give some input into whether or not they want an item. It’s a unique system that has worked out for us thus far.

Sometimes decisions will be easy.

Plate Spellpower? A quick glance at the raid shows there’s only one Paladin. Same thing with Resto Shamans.

What makes it not work?

Human error: This is the biggest strength and also it’s biggest weakness. In fact, I won’t hesitate to admit that I’ve already screwed up looting once. You’ll find out more on Monday night on the weekly Post Raids. We’re all human. Sometimes we all overlook things. We all make mistakes. Once in a while, we’ll make the wrong decision.

Loot council cannot work based on the effort of one person. It can only work with the collective effort and trust of the entire guild. Without it, you may as well just go back to using a DKP system. It’s not the best system nor is it by any means perfect. But perfection was never one of the 3 Ps. It’s the best system for the goals and directions of the guild. Players need to buy into it or else it will end up failing.

Mistakes are going to happen. But if I can maintain a successful looting average of 0.990, I think I’m doing a pretty damn good job. For players that don’t agree with it, then my organization may not be the one for them.

I know some of you have had bad experiences with it. Others aren’t so sure if this is the right system for them. Hopefully my blog can help shed the light and paint a better picture of what loot council can do when it’s done correctly.

Conquest Conquers Naxx 25

Conquest Conquers Naxx 25

Actually we did it on Saturday. But I was busy. Syd will be along at some point for a weekly progress update.

WoWScrnShot_120608_202707 WoWScrnShot_120608_195303

11 Reasons Guildmasters Fail

11 Reasons Guildmasters Fail

master

Guy Kawasaki tweeted a link to an article that caught my eye. It was a psychology blog called PsyBlog. Long time readers know that after WoW and tech blogs, I frequently read psychology, blogging and personal development blogs.

So what exactly did I read? 7 Reasons Leaders Fail is the original post.

Already you can see where I’m going with this. I noticed characteristics highlighted in the article that were exhibited by leaders I had in the past. So in this post, I want to apply some of the reasons listed on PsyBlog to WoW leaders and add a few more of my own.

Strict Hierarchies

This is the first reason listed in the PsyBlog post. Here’s a typical hierarchy of a raiding guild:

  1. Executive (GM)
  2. Advisors (Officers)
  3. Raiders
  4. Everyone else (Socials)

Some of my former GMs in the past were stubborn and not open to using methods that would make life easier for them and the raid. Often times, the raid would “play dumb” and did what the boss said (which includes me). We assumed he knew best when it wasn’t always the case. He set up the pulls, assigned the healers, organized positioning and did everything else himself.

A present Warlock in my guild alerted me today that he could tack on Detect Invisibility on several players to help spot for those pesky black shades that seemingly appear out of nowhere in Naxxramas.

Poor Decision-Making

This is number 2 on the PsyBlog. Let the experienced veterans make some calls. Some people aren’t cut out to make certain decisions. I should never be allowed to setup pulls or mark targets (as Hassai so kindly reminds me). I should leave that to the tanks. I should not be setting up crowd control targets. I Should not be the one calling out Battle Res targets. There are other players in better positions who can make effective calls quicker than I.

Let your best people do the jobs they are suited for. Focus on your individual strength. My strength relies on healer organization and assignments.

Something I pride myself in is the ability to ask questions. If I’m unsure about a mob pull or an item, I’ll ask the experts. I expect them to give me precise information so that I can make the right call.

Impossible Standards for Leaders

Here’s a good one. The reason says it all. Leaders are expected to know every little thing.

We don’t.

We’re only human. It is so true it is scary how accurate this statement is. I’m expected to know optimal Mage DPS rotations, tanking orders, MD targets, gear choices and so forth. I’m not exactly a walking WoW Wiki. A few of the qualities leaders are expected to posses, according to PsyBlog, are integrity, persistence, humility, competence, decisiveness, and ability to inspire.

So where do I stack up?

Here’s my self evaluation out of 5 (with 5 being the most and 1 being the least).

  • Integrity: 5
  • Persistence: 3
  • Humility: 5
  • Competence: 3
  • Decisiveness: 4
  • Ability to inspire: 2

(Note: Guildies may comment without fear of reprisal)

Treating People Like Crap

It’s a simple concept. If you treat people like crap, you can expect crap performance. I don’t like to yell but I can and will speak firmly at times in order to crack the whip. In this case, my guild is also my boss. If they don’t like me or my performance, nothing is going to stop them from departing. I don’t want them to leave. I want to foster a friendly yet professional environment. But I can’t afford to be too friendly as you’ll find out later on.

Psychology of Followship

This is another intriguing point from the PsyBlog. What makes people follow someone else? I think it’s important for GMs to ask themselves why these people are following them and why they trust them. GMs are obviously doing something right. If they weren’t, then members would be sporting a different tag. This is especially true in WoW where leaving and joining guilds can be done in mere seconds.

Like people who think alike will generally do similar things. I want to kill Arthas. I want to do it on these days. I want to take this approach. I have over 20 members who have a similar stance. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be here.

Lack of a Presence

Leaders need to show themselves. They need to be visible. When BC came out, my GM was hardly ever around. I thought he didn’t care about the game. He didn’t have any plans for Karazhan. In my next guild, on the day we were working on Gruul, my GM wasn’t in the raid. He was out farming on Elemental Plateau instead of being with us killing Gruul. We had to pug a player for his spot.

What am I doing following someone who doesn’t seem to care about this game as much as I do? Is this someone I really want to follow?

No Confrontation

If you have a player who is performing poorly or is behaving poorly, they need to be spoken to and the situation needs to be resolved. I’ve had leaders in the past who did not have the spine to call their bluff. I think a GM needs to be prepared to remove anyone from their organization if the situation ever demands it. Be prepared to sit a player out. There will be times when the success of a raid rides on a single player’s performance. If they can’t hack it, they need to be told to sit for the night in favor of someone else.

If the guild I’m in ends up wiping to a single boss for 15 straight tries and the rest of the guild feel that it’s the result of one person, then something’s got to change. Maybe they’re disconnecting like crazy or having computer issues. Whatever the reason, it has to be fixed. The raid must go on. As much it sucks for me having to make the call, I have to be prepared to do it. Even if its me.

Alienation

In a recent post I wrote about Deciding Between Normal Raids and Heroic Raids, AltoholicsAreUs wrote:

The only thing you MIGHT have to watch out for now, is “cliques”, meaning groups of people who plow through the ten mans to farm or obtain gear, but do not allow newer or outside members of your guild to participate.

I’m not the best baby sitter in the world. I got kicked in the groin once by my little “buddy” in grade school. Cliques are going to crop up no matter what and there’s very little that can be done to put a stop to it. You could try, but the clique could react in a bad way. The GM and officers need to be intimately aware of the guildies around them and attempt to include them in guild wide activities such as Lake Wintergrasp. Check in with players from time to time to see how they’re doing.

No Enthusiasm

A GM needs to have a level of energy and passion for something like this. No matter what you do in life, be passionate about your interests. If you’re not, then you’re not doing what you like. Seth Godin’s a great speaker because he’s passionate about what he does. Garr Reynolds is a greater presenter because he excels at speaking and presentation delivery. A great Starbucks barista separates herself from the rest by adding the little swirly thing to my venti sized iced double chocolate chip mocha frappucino!

They all love what they’re doing. I love what I’m doing. I don’t have to be skilled at hockey to be passionate about the game. Are your GMs passionate about what they’re doing? Are you?

One of my new recruits appeared to be delighted when he found out I wrote a WoW blog and contribute to WoW Insider because it demonstrates that I like what I’m doing.

Empathy and the Lackthereof

Some GM’s I’ve had were self centered and self absorbed. They weren’t capable of putting themselves in the shoes of others or just plain didn’t care. Now I may never be able to wear the shoes of Brio or Hassai when it comes to tanking business. I do try to make a concerted effort to listen to them and see where they’re coming from if they feel the need to say anything. Don’t ignore your guys and don’t brush them aside.

General Ineptitude

Some people just should not be trusted with leadership. It’s sad to say, I know. Not everyone is capable of being a Michael Jordan or a Tiger Woods. Not everyone is meant to lead. Whatever the reason is, bad leaders will eventually lead to a fractured organization that will have no future as a worst case scenario. Maybe they don’t have the social skills or the time. Perhaps they can’t take the disciplinary actions required to do something. If a guild loses faith in its leader and no longer has confidence, something needs to change before it deteriorates further.

Where does this leave us?

I can’t just talk the talk. I have to walk the walk. If I can’t back up my words or beliefs, then I am no better than some of the GM’s I’ve had in the past. But by being aware of what makes bad leadership, I can consciously make an effort to steer myself away from the behavior that made them that way.

I’m in a unique position since I have several bloggers in my guild who aren’t afraid to call me out and keep my honest. It’s in my best interest to not suck and to do the right thing. I can’t just hold myself accountable to my guild. I also need to hold myself accountable to my readers.

Here’s a challenge for the WoW bloggers and readers out there.

What makes your GM great?

I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter. Whether it’s stories about bad experiences or good experiences, others including myself would surely benefit.

What’s In a Name

What’s In a Name

Wynthia copy

 

My guild made the decision to transfer to a larger server – seems like the opposite of the trend right now, what with all the free transfers to small servers, but we’ve found that recruiting and raiding at an end-game level are infinitely more difficult when your ONLY recruiting source is off-server, and you have to do all your own farming due to artificially high AH prices.

A few days ago, our officers told us they had narrowed it down to two servers, and the idea was bandied around that we may want to reserve our names.

“Silly. I’m the only Wynthea on the armory, and have been for years. The level 11 is my alt. No one will have my name.”

I’m sure you can guess where this is going.

Someone – either in my own guild as a joke, or, more likely, from our rival guild on our old server – registered my name.

I am not amused.

(before you ask why I think it might’ve been the other guild, quite a few of our more prominent members’ names were also registered. Uncommon, not found on a cool t.v. show or book names.)

Aside from my identity as associated with World of Matticus, I have an email address, a twitter, and a close affinity with this name. I know many people *cough*Matt*Cough* are perfectly comfortable hitting the “random” button, and wearing whatever comes out of it for the rest of their toon’s life.

I am not. I spend, quite literally, hours naming a character that I plan to play extensively. Hours.

I research the meanings, the language of origin, and imbue the name with a personality before the character selection screen even comes up.

Trivia, for the interested: Wynthea, meaning “healer” is a Welsh-spelling of a Hebrew name. My mother’s family is Welsh, and my own real name is Hebrew. The name holds quite a bit of significance for me.

My character is currently named “Wynthia.” Not a huge distinction, I suppose………. and one that I will remedy as soon as possible. But it bothers me. A lot.

Anyway, if you’re looking for me, I’m currently Wynthia *wince* on Firetree.

Oh, wait, I guess I should make this more than a Rant-post.

If you are considering creating a character, for RP purposes or not, but you want a name that actually carries weight, and means something – “noobpwnerx” I’m looking at you – there are some really great resources on the vast interweb. First, though, you need to have an idea of what you want.

Wyn’s character-naming guide

1. Start thinking about what you want the character to be, and to do. Before I name a character, I come up with an attribute I’d like the name to mean.

For example, if you’re creating a character to PvP, you may think about words like “Victorious” or “War-like”

For a bank alt, you may want something meaning “Wealthy.”

Just think about words that mean something you’d like the character to embody.

Whatever you do, do NOT name your character after something you really liked in a currently-popular book or movie. Old books are fine – for example, Renwein (my Human Priest) is named after a relatively obscure character in Arthurian Literature. It’s also possible it wasn’t even her name, but just a generic word for “maiden.” Bonus points if you go look it up.

2. Pull up a baby-name website.

This one freaked my last boyfriend out when he found it in my internet-history. One of my favorites is Baby Names World, because it allows you to search by meaning, and create lots of fun filters.

It also allows you to filter by gender and language of origin.

3. Google a search like “Names meaning….”

If you don’t like anything on a standard baby-site, just give Google a shot. This is actually how I found Wynthea.

4. Refine your choices.

You need to pick a couple. If you’re creating a Female Human Prot-Warrior, and like Irish names, be aware that “Bridget” (means Strong) will probably already be taken.

Say them out loud a few times. People will be trying this on vent, so don’t spend all this time creating a name just to hear it butchered every day.

See what abbreviations you come up with. Wynthea shortens rather handily to Wyn, which is an awesome nickname. (Full of wyn, for the wyn… it’s an unexpected thing I really love about the name.)  

Make sure it’s relatively easy to type. Elves especially seem to have a hard time with this one. I had a friend named Randirardhon who a) hated to be called Randi, and b) couldn’t figure out why people had such a hard time typing it out.

5. Name your new best friend.

Or alter-ego. However it works for you.

Then get really upset when some Jerk steals your name. (Yes, I know that reaction is probably exactly what they wanted….. )

 

My next post(s) are coming, as promised. I just can’t believe you guys wanna read about REP FACTIONS. That’s not one I had 1/2 prepared. That was “no one will choose this” poll-filler. Argh!

 

Luv,
Wyn

Guest Post: Mana Tide – To-do List for the Level 80 Resto Shaman.

Guest Post: Mana Tide – To-do List for the Level 80 Resto Shaman.

This is a guest post written by Devon.

guest-post Prologue

Click the link above fellow totemites, let the rejoicing begin. This position of power ensures Shaman buffs in the future (and hopefully a college football playoff); not even Blizzard can tell this guy “no”. Damn government just can’t keep its hands off, but in this case I’ll keep my trap zipped.

In preparation for the shaman revolution and my PvE aspirations I’ve compiled a quick gear list and to-do list for the chain healer in all of us. This can, and should, be started at late level 77 and 78. The goal is not to make heroics manageable, but to make you one of the best resto shamans in your guild regardless of your time in Naxx.

Print it out, tack it to your wall, and let it do the thinking for you. You know you want to.

*Steps 0-0.5 are preliminary. The rest should be completed every day until your desired epeen loot level is achieved.

Step 0:

Get your freak spec on.

Before respeccing I suggest getting your Icecrown quest achievement. It will get you the Cannoneer’s Morale trinket, Knights of the Ebon Blade rep, and Argent Crusade rep. Searing totem just doesn’t kill as fast as ye ol’ Stormstrike.

http://www.wowhead.com/?talent=hZ0xxIZxMezVxogkrIRt is my recommendation.

The 16 points in Enhancement are very solid. The following build has the restoration tree must-haves, everything else is just gravy (or filler you pessimists):

Must have talents click here.

Head over to the AH and grab your Glyph of Chain Heal, Water Mastery, Earth Living Weapon, and Water Shield. You should have already had the latter Boudreaux.

This oh-@#^& macro free of charge from elitistjerks.com:

#showtooltip Nature’s Swiftness

/stopcasting

/use 13

/use 14

/cast Nature’s Swiftness

/Cast Tidal Force

/cast Healing Wave

With this and rip-tide I’ve had no heroic troubles. This has the over-zealous rogue seal of approval.

Step 0.5

Where the little guy gets his totem.

Grizzly D. Adams will give you Totem of the Bay.

Dis one, it’s da best. Get 30 of these.

Step 1

What’s with the fat guard standing on the quest giver? Go do your Wyrmrest Dailies everyday until you are Exalted for the Grips of Fierce Pronouncements.

- Drake Hunt at the Nexus. Raelastrasz 33, 34 coords. The harpoon has ridiclous range. If you don’t have your flying mount I recommend the western platform.

- Defending Wyrmrest Temple at Wyrmrest Temple. The quest-giver is on the MIDDLE level of the temple. As with all dailies practice makes perfect, but I recommend renew and the sprint (press 4) every time they are up. For those going for time note that it only takes one dot and one flame breath to kill the drakes, pwn and move on. Happy hunting.

- Aces High. See comments here.

Step 2

Knights of the Ebon Blade make me think of emo kids at my high school.

Ebon Blade Dailies everyday until you are Exalted for your Kilt of Dark Mercy.

Icecrown dailies:

Repeatable Quest:

Step 3

Troll Pa’troll everyday until Exalted with Argent Dawn for your Signet of Hopeful Light.

The Troll Patrol quest is given in the Argent Stand of Zul’Drak. 3 of them are very easy, the quest form Alchemist Finklestein WOULD be difficult if you didn’t have this mod: http://wow.curse.com/downloads/wow-addons/details/easyserum.aspx

You get a bonus for doing Troll Pa’troll in less than 20 minutes, there should be time to spare using this mod.

Step 4

No moar dailies, so sayeth my sanity.

All in all I spend about 1.5 hours doing dailies. I try to keep my play time at less than three hours a day for personal reasons so another 0.5 – 1.5 hours lets me run an instance or two (good riddance UBRS). In addition to the loot list below I recommend doing the daily regular or daily heroic instances for the reputation and emblems of heroism. Much of the gear you get in this step each day will be a place holder for crafted epics listed in Step 5. Start with the Wyrmrest Tabard since those dailies require longer flights between quests.

Step 5

Ok, I can haz gold now.

As money permits purchase the following items or their respective mats as they show up on the AH:

Revenant’s Breastplate (Leatherworking): 12 Heavy Borean Leather, 12 Eternal Water, 1 Frozen Orb

Revenant’s Treads (Leatherworking): 10 Heavy Borean Leather, 10 Eternal Water, 1 Frozen Orb

Titansteel Guardian (Blacksmithing) – 6 Saronite Bars, 6 Titansteel Bars, 2 Frozen Orb

I haven’t gotten my guardian yet because I’m scurd of handing a stranger that many mats. Guild blacksmith has a wifey, no chance for me there. The two revenant’s pieces cost me about 1000 gold, which you should have after all that questing you did RIGHT? Quick aside: Lesser Healing Wave and its associated glyph rocks my healing socks.

Regards,

Devon

Guest Post: A Micro Level Look at a Priest’s Trinket Usage

Guest Post: A Micro Level Look at a Priest’s Trinket Usage

guest-post This is a guest post from Calogero

Hey all , this is Calogero, level 80 discipline priest from Lothar. A little about me before I begin: I am currently raiding with ‘Legion’, a guild that has pushed through all of Naxx 10 up to Sapphiron in the past two weeks. My raid experience includes everything up to AQ 40 in vanilla, up through Black Temple in BC, and now through most of Naxx and Sartharion in WOTLK. I actually only started playing the priest about 3 months ago, when a friend asked me if I wanted to roll on his server (Lothar). Outside of WoW, I’m a 20 year old guy from New York, I go to school and do data management for a hospital.

Topic of the night: Trinkets

I recently picked up the Spirit-World Glass from Gothik in Naxx-10 and the Majestic Dragon Figurine from Sartharion-10. These two can make a wicked regeneration combo that should not be overlooked for longer fights. Any and every spellcast will trigger the Majestic Dragon figurine. Cheating the 5SR with this trinket can regenerate a lot of mana. In addition, Inner focus triggers the figurine, and all ticks of the following spells will trigger the figurine: Hymn of Hope, Penance, and Mind Sear.

So, in a perfect world, to regenerate the most mana, I’d do the following, assuming I had 10 full ticks from the figurine:

FYI: O5SR means out of the 5 second rule

Don’t cast for 5 seconds, then pop Spirit-World Glass. Stop casting for 4 more seconds, cast Inner Focus, which renews the Figurine tick. Wait another 9 seconds, cast Penance, which renews the figurine tick 3 times. Wait another 9 seconds, cast Hymn of hope, which gets 8% of my mana back, and the last tick will renew the figurine, which gives another 10 seconds of extra mana, O5SR. If this was at all possible to pull off uninterrupted, I could get 12 ticks of mana regen O5SR, which, at my current gear level, gives me about 1300 Mp5 when raid buffed with the Spirit-World Glass in action, and a little less than 1000 without it. This all would come out to around 13000 mana over 60 seconds.

Matt’s included a little diagram to help illustrate this better:

trinket-timeline

Obviously, in a raid situation, it’s near impossible to get all of these off in a row. This is where trust comes in. If you have another trustworthy healer or two, let them know, and see if they can keep an extra eye out. See how much of this you can play with and manipulate to keep yourself out of the 5 second rule, while keeping the Figurine ticks up. You can throw a shield, renew, PoM, and pain suppression on the tank before you start. The penance will heal your target for around 9k health on average. It’s very possible to get a few ticks off if you’re prepared.

Gone for the Week and an Optimal Mana Regen Tool

Gone for the Week and an Optimal Mana Regen Tool

future-post Hey readers, just wanted to let everyone know that I’ll be gone. As I’ve hinted recently, I have exams to study for. My last one will be on Friday the 12th. But don’t worry, I do keep a reserve of posts for rainy days so you guys will have something read during my absence.

It’s like I’m still here when I’m not really here!

I’d like to extend a special thanks to both Devon and Calogero for answering the bell when I put the word out for guest posts. I hope you’ll enjoy reading them as much as I have. Be nice in the comments!

I’m sure Syd and Wyn will also supplement my posts with some of theirs and I’m sure they know not to publish anything at the 6 AM server time slot because that’s when all these posts will go live over the next week.

But I want more!

Have you been visiting the Plus Heal forums recently? Posts are slowly cropping up about gear, quests, and handling raid bosses. Players are now getting back into the swing of things and there are a ton of active discussions going on and here’s but a small sample:

  • For the lore junkies, Zellea’s asked for some recommended readings
  • Shammymammy needs some help with the mother of all bosses, Patchwerk!
  • Sapphiron is serious business as sunsoar discovers. Would 4 healers work in 10 man? Join in on the discussion!
  • Turns out you can Hex mobs off of horses and drakes. I had no idea!
  • Zusterke likes to make my head spin by outlining the delicate balancing act of Spirit and Intellect!

Speaking of Zusterke, he’s released an online tool for us Spirit users! I won’t claim to be able to understand it but it looks impressive. I know Wyn was taken aback by it when I showed it to her.

I believe her reaction was “Squee!” and that’s a good sign.

I wish I could help out in some way, but I just don’t have the necessary skills :(. So I’m going to help in the only way I can do best which is by spreading the word!

He doesn’t know it yet, but I’m probably going to end up interviewing the guy at some point in the near future. It’s been a long time since I interviewed anyone at all, come to think of it.

So what does one ask theorycrafters?

Guild Goals: Deciding Between Normal Raids and Heroic Raids

Guild Goals: Deciding Between Normal Raids and Heroic Raids

10s-raiding-25s-raiding

A number of guilds are beginning to have their members approach level 80. Now they’re stuck at a cross roads. Do I raid 10s or 25s? Setting a raid to Normal difficulty allows only 10 players to enter. Toggling it to Heroic allows 25.

First question GMs need to answer is what kind of raiding guild are you? I’m not referring to casual or hardcore or anything like that. I’m not interested in your style. I’m referring to your end game goals and intentions. When I formed Conquest a few weeks ago, this was the first question that popped into my head. I felt that it was important for a GM to define what their end game is so that steps can be taken towards achieving it.

I basically had 3 options when it came to guild endgame objectives:

  • Strictly 10 mans
  • Strictly 25 mans
  • Both 10s and 25 mans

Not only that, I had to make a choice for myself as a player. If you think about it in terms of BC, this would’ve been tantamount to running SSC, TK, Karazhan, and 2 or 3 resets of Zul’Aman per week. I wanted to commit to no more than 12 hours of raiding per week because a lot of players have other things to do.

Looking at that list, I crossed 10 mans off the list. I am far too ambitious for that.

This left me with the option of either 25s or guild sanctioned 10s and 25s. I had to deliberate this a bit more. Having to organize both 10s and 25s meant extra organizational and logistical work on my part. Since most drops from 10s will be replaced anyway, it made much more sense to me as the GM to stick the guild into the 25s.

Factors

Organizational and logistical: I’d have to plan out raid days for 25s and I’d have to plan out raid days for 10s. I would have to run 2 separate raid groups which would involves its own unique set of challenges. I have to pick out the days for the right group. I have to ensure there’s enough tanks and healers. What happens if someone can’t make it? I’d have to scramble to find replacements. That’s too overwhelming for me to do.

Time: 12 hours of mandatory raiding per week is all I ask for. My experience in beta taught me that 12 is the right amount of time to spend in order to clear out all of the raid instances. To ask them to do more would tax their stamina and increase burnout which is something I want to avoid. Throw in 10s and I could be looking at 20 hours a week of raiding. I won’t even consider that.

Increased freedom and autonomy: By not making mandatory 10 mans, I give them the option of participating in it on their own. From a personal standpoint, I have almost no innate desire to run Naxx 10’s. I suppose that was a side effect of the beta. The 10 man instances are nice, but they’re just not my cup of tea. Between blogging and school, it’s difficult for me to find the time to run 10s on top of the 25s. If players have friends in different guilds, they don’t have to feel obligated to turn down runs with their friends for the sake of guild runs. I make it known that they are on their own. There’s always a few people in guild that feel otherwise and I’m sure they’re capable enough of organizing runs on their own.

Besides, I prefer Earl Grey.

At the end of the day, I decided to give my guys the choice. They can run whatever 10 man they like on their own time with whoever they want, however they want. Loot Council won’t be responsible for how the drops are done.

And it becomes one less burden. This belief plays into the concept of the path of least resistance assuming 25s are the primary objective.

Loot Council: First Raid

Loot Council: First Raid

Monday night was Conquest’s first mostly-guild Naxx 25, and we premiered our Loot Council system for guildies and pugs alike. I think that we successfully distributed loot in a fair way, but I have to say that it added to the tension factor of raiding for me.

First, the rules for players. At the outset of the run, I explained the following.

When useful loot drops, players type one of the following things in raid chat. Interested means that the player wants to be considered for the item right now. Pass means that it’s a good item for the player, but he or she wants others to have it first. If no one is interested, the item will go to a person who passed. If no one has a use for the item, it will be disenchanted. Any questions about the process should be dealt with in whispers.

The members, thus, play a bigger role in our Loot Council than they might in other guilds–they have a hand at deciding when to take something and when to share. However, the big deliberations happen in Loot Council chat. For those of you who might be interested, here’s what happens behind closed doors.

Loot Council Deliberations

1. First, we inspect the interested players and evaluate the relative value of the upgrade. We type our opinions in chat.
2. Second, we list out the number of items the player has already received that night.
3. We determine the use value for the raid–as in, do we need this item on our tank/healer so we don’t all die?
4. We consider performance on bosses.

I felt good about all but one case last night. When you’re debating between equals, sometimes it doesn’t matter who it goes to–the other person will get the next thing, after all. However, our LC is not all in agreement about what to do about pickup raiders and trials. My opinion is that we should try to give puggers and trials a prize if we can. There are special cases, as in when we need to gear our tanks in order to live through the content, but in general, I like to consider pickup raiders under the same criteria as everyone else. In the case of trials, I would give them more consideration than our own raiders–if they’re working hard for a spot, they should get a prize, even if it ends up being a consolation prize when we ultimately do not invite them to our guild.

The only other case that took us some time was tank loot. I have a strong desire to see the tanks work out their drops among themselves. The warrior tanks of Collateral Damage, my former guild, did that in T6 and it was a great benefit to the guild as a whole. I’d like to see our tanking corps be somewhat independent–and to build stronger relationships with each other through sharing the loot. That sounds very kindergarden doesn’t it? But so much of a guild’s success depends on trust among members.

On Trust

I think that trust is the key concept to talk about when we’re doing Loot Council. I used to administer an Ep/Gp system, and believe me, the responsibility is much greater when serving on a Loot Council. With Ep/Gp, the top person on the list got the item and that was it–there was little for the system administrator to do other than read the list. For me personally, being part of the Loot Council is a trial in every sense of the word. I want to be a fair and trustworthy person. Sure, I want my share of the loot–but only what should go to me, and not a bit more. As such, I’m instituting a personal policy of frequent passing. For example, last night I would have been awarded an awesome mace had I not passed–I did so, not because the upgrade wasn’t great for me, but because the other player had received less items that night.

However, the bigger challenge is keeping my mouth when I’m supposed to. If I have a personal failing, it’s giving my own opinion rather insistently, whether people ask for it or not. I also tend to go on crusade when I believe that I am right, or even worse, when I believe that an injustice is being committed. However, I’ve got to learn to keep to the rules. I wrote the Loot Council policy myself, so I know why I’m not supposed to weigh in on my own or Briolante’s loot. However, it gets tricky when I just want to give useful information–which I might have, as I actively research healing gear for the blog. I’m not voting on my own loot or tank loot, of course, but I have to draw that fine line between informing and meddling. I think the key here is going to be trust. Do I trust the other members of the Loot Council to give all the tanks and healers a fair shake? I guess I’m going to have to.

However, trust is earned. All of us–me, and the other members of the Loot Council–are going to have to work incredibly hard to maintain balance. We all have friendships and allegiances, as well as personal desires. We just have to learn to keep them out of LC chat.

Healing Naxxramas – Maexxna (10 man)

Healing Naxxramas – Maexxna (10 man)

maexxna

Maexxna is the last boss in the Arachnid Quarter. I don’t know if it’s a he or a she, but I think it’s a she. Let me tell you that she is one heck of a honkin’ big spider.

Tank that boss at a distant pace away. Try to keep the raid near a wall and the tank in the middle. Make sure the tank faces the big Max away from the raid. She’ll periodically do a Spider Wrap cocoon that will temporarily stun players and prevent them from moving or casting spells.

Every so often she’s going to target a player and fling them to a wall. You can adjust the direction you get thrown because it flings you in the direction directly behind you.  At the same time this player is going to be wrapped in webbing and will not be able to do anything. Other players in the raid have to go up to the webbing and DPS it down until the player inside is free. If you can afford it, I suggest tasking your strongest ranged DPS on webbing breaking duty. For myself, I used a Hunter for this. Any class will work.

Little mini spiders will periodically show up. Have a mage freeze them up and the raid AoE them down. No mages? Well, then just AoE them down. Frost traps and Earthbind totems for extra marks. Get your secondary tank to drag the suckers toward Maex herself and get the melee in on the action.

At the 30% mark, big M gets even bigger and hits like a freight train. Around the 35% mark, I strongly suggest all DPS to stop what they’re doing. Wait for the next web spray to go off. When that’s over, pop Heroism/Bloodlust, initiate all cooldowns and tip her over the point of no return.

This is where it gets dicey. Pay close attention to the web spray timer. As the countdown gets closer, load up on HoTs on the tank. Have the tank blow their emergency survival cooldowns to try to survive the wrap.

For the next Web Wrap, have a Priest watch the cooldown accordingly. As it counts down, have them light up a Guardian Spirit along with full HoTs. The HoTs should be amplified by an additional 40% and the GS will ensure survivability long enough until players are out of the wrap.

If you have a Discipline Priest, do the same thing. Have them use Pain Suppression instead of GS. Don’t worry about threat. It shouldn’t be a concern here. If Pain Suppression causes your tank to lose aggro, something is very wrong with the tank.

I think a Prot Pally can help if they’re specced accordingly. Make sure that the Prot Pally isn’t the one tanking. A Divine Shield should mitigate further damage done by 30% since some of the incoming damage is redirected to the Paladin. Just make sure they’re not tanking Max.

For Healers

Necrotic Poison – This is the main reason why the tank faces the big M away from the raid. It reduces healing taken by 90%. It must come off. Any Druid, Paladin or Shaman can remove it. She also does a 15 yard conical directly in front of her. That would be the second reason.