11 Raid Finder Personalities You Will Never Escape

After running my alts through them numerously over the past two weeks, I think I’ve just about experienced every combination of player archetype that the raid finder had to offer. I wanted to post this as a guide for you to keep an eye out for them and conduct yourselves appropriately.

Raid Leader Randy

This is the guy who checks the “Raid Guide” icon when he queues up for the Raid Finder. He’s made a whole page of macros devoted to all of the encounters. Each macro spells out (briefly) the strategy being used to kill the boss. He also takes the time to mark targets or setup flares on the ground. Randy does his best to keep the 24 other strangers in the group in line and focused on the right direction. He’s got that personality where seemingly nothing is able to faze or rattle him. He just doesn’t give a crap because he has the ability to maintain a laser like focus on the prize: Boss kills.

CAPSLOCK CAROL

HER KEYBOARD WAS BROKEN AT AN EARLY AGE. DOESN’T MATTER SINCE SHE DOESN’T THINK IT’S RUDE TO TYPE IN ALL CAPITALS BECAUSE SHE BELIEVES IT’LL DRAW ATTENTION TO WHAT SHE’S TRYING TO COMMUNICATE. SHE’S ALSO KIND OF DENSE.

Carrying Chris

He’s the guy who is decked out in fall heroic raid quality gear. He just sneezes and stuff dies. He offsets the DPS from the bottom 4 players in the raid and manages to be the driving force which normalizes overall raid DPS. If the boss hits enrage and players are dropping one by one, you can count on Carrying Chris to get max range and activate reserves just before crushing the boss. (Thanks to Vashv17 for reminding me)

Lootwhore Larry

Out of all the players in the Raid Finder, Lootwhore Larry could very well be the worst. He need rolls on everything – even if it isn’t suited for him. I’m sure we’ve all come across him at some point. He could be the Warrior he rolls need on 1 handed Agility weapons. Or maybe the Rogue who opts for strength trinkets. Maybe he just doesn’t know or doesn’t give a crap. The only way to fight back against Lootwhore Larry yourself is to pray to the dice gods. Although, it is nice to see that this is being examined by Blizzard specifically.

Clueless Charlie

Poor Clueless Charlie. He just… doesn’t have a clue! Not only when it comes to bosses but when he gets picked on by the other members on the raid. He walks in, starts auto attacking and uses skills from time to time, but he doesn’t have the faintest idea what’s going on. He’ll attack another tentacle on Spine of Deathwing just because it’s dirty. He’ll stand there and take an Ice Wave before realizing that it’s bad. No matter how many times fights are explained, Charlie is just hopeless and is along for the ride. (Thanks to GottaHaveFaythe for this one)

Gogogo Gary

Gary’s gotta go! He’s on the clock and wants to pull everything! He’s always impatient and just wants to start trash pulls. Believes in maximum efficiency and not wasting time. Hates the players who are constantly AFK. Problem with Gary is that he’s a little too ambitious and ends up pulling two waves of Oozes in Yorsahj’s room or something. Whoops!

Elitist Ernie

Ernie frequently gets into raid chat fights with Recount Ryan. He’ll always mock the other player’s DPS or usage of cooldowns. “What’s that? You only used Ghost Wolves once? Well I used them twice!”. In the grand scheme of things, no one really cares. Ernie ends up being ignored because the rest of the raid is trying to concentrate on what Randy’s saying. Ernie tends to make a big deal out of 35 DPS. He’ll try to find a way to justify what he’s doing for either maximum DPS or maximum survivability. When pointed out that he does something wrong, he’ll try to find a way to reverse that as well.

Recount Ryan

Incidentally enough, Recount Ryan’s actual damage output drops on Ultraxion because he forgets to turn off Recount. Ryan is a fairly competitive sort. He’s always listing the top 5 damage done on everything. Yes, even on trash pulls. You see, poor Ryan is the youngest of 9 brothers and 6 sisters. He’s always been outshined in everything in life by the rest of his family. Mom doesn’t even remember who he is. So he seeks validation and affirmation in what he does by repeatedly linking meters so that someone out there might just say to him the two words he’s been hearing his whole life: “Good job”.

Tryhard Terry

This is the younger brother of Carrying Chris. He just doesn’t have that same level of gear. He idolizes him and tries so hard. He’ll interrupt the most redundant of abilities. He’ll always DPS the correct ad down (even if the other 20 players are on something else). Won’t have to worry about his cooldowns or anything as he’ll make sure they’re always being used. The trouble with Terry is that he is so focused on doing the right thing, that he sometimes might lose track of everything else going around him and tunnel vision. Because you see, Terry isn’t that great when it comes to adapting.

PvP Peter

Needs no introduction. Walks into raid finder wearing nothing but PvP gear (and still manages to out DPS certain raid geared players, but barely). Elitist Ernie will also pick a fight with Peter. But somehow, Peter just manages to destroy him anyway. Peter doesn’t really give a crap about what Ernie says. He’s also one of the few players that benefits from the implementation of the Raid Finder because he just doesn’t have the time to commit to actual raiding and prefers to PvP on his own time.

Pissing Contest Penelope

Penelope always has an opinion about something or some remark she likes to add. Even if the raid is going smoothly, she’ll find a way to bring it down. She’ll occasionally take a jibe at Raid Leader Randy even though he’s doing such a great job. Tends to be really snarky for no discernible reason. When Randy lays out a target order, Penelope is first in line to say “but my guild does it this way, and it’s way better” and tries to rally support from everyone else. It usually doesn’t end up working and she often gets placed on people’s ignore lists because they’re just tired of her being difficult to work with. She’d be much more enjoyable if she stopped giving Randy or other players a hard time and just stuck to playing.

Each of these players are unique in their own way. Together, this Raid Finder family manages to score boss kills against the most unlikeliest of odds. If you ever find yourself under any kind of abuse though, it’s best to just focus on your own responsibilities and don’t feed the trolls. The Raid Finder takes no more than 2 hours usually. If you want to get some upgrades and see some bosses, just grit your teeth and suck it up. You’ll be out of there in no time.

Common Recruiting Terms

Hey everyone! The other day, I gave you a quick method on narrowing down the collossal amount of search results you’d get from recruiting and compiling a neat, orderly list to work with. Today we’re going to hit up the actual recruiting forums and pick out some common jargon for new recruiters who are confused with the terms or have difficulty reading between the lines. Some of these are serious and some are rather tongue and cheek. I’ll let you decide which is which!

“We are exceptional <class> looking for…”

What they really mean: They think they’re really, really good and clearly there is no one in the entire 11+ million pool of players who are better than them. Not just some average Joe Raider. It’s just no one wants to take a chance on them on their server. Like seriously, it seems that half the recruiting ads I see are from players who believe they’re really exceptional. But if everyone says they’re exceptional, how can they all be exceptional? Unless they were the exception to the exceptionism.

E X C E P T I O N

“US Top 100 only”

What they really mean: They’ve been around since beta. They’ve seen it all and done it all. They’ve got lots of time to spare for progression. Whatever needs to be done, I can do. Looking for the best guilds only! These types mean business. Either that or they’ll wash out when they realize the raid leader really can remove them from the raid and they’re not the center of the universe.

“Progressed realm”

What they really mean: Clear desire to get off their low population, backwater server. They need a life line and they need it fast. Thinks they have what it takes to raid at a higher level but have trouble finding other like minded people.

“No less than 5/7 Firelands”

What they really mean:  Clearly they took a break at the end of tier 11 and missed the first few weeks of Firelands. Probably just started Firelands for the first time and got trounced. Wants to get back into the thick of things again. Probably stonewalled on one specific boss for a long time and cannot seem to muster the man power or skill to power through.

“25 man only”

What they really mean: Possibly prone to screwing up. Likes to hide along the relative anonymity of other players. Has a 4% chance of being blamed for a wipe on 25 man instead of 10% on a 10 man. Hates the closeness of 10 mans. My kind of player.

“LF adult guild!!111”

What they really mean: Likes to make lots of sex jokes. Possible cybering involved. Use caution.

“Immediate core position for <class>”

What they really mean: Wants to feel like that special snowflake. You know, like the only Shaman or Boomkin in the guild. Wants to feel really unique and indispensible. Yeah. That guy. Works great until you discover they can’t sustain their Molten Feather stacks or circumvent tornadoes properly :(.

“Must be able to accept all 3 of us”

What they really mean: Will quit if even one person is deemed not good enough. Must accept all or accept none. Strong desire to stay together.

“Professional environment”

What they really mean: Likes to raid with really loud music. Doesn’t want Mumble chatter to impede what they’re listening on iTunes or what they’re watching on Netflix. He’s the guy who constantly blasts top 40 music whenever he speaks.

“No female officers“

What they really mean: Deemed “sexist douchebags”, according to one player. I’ve actually seen a recruiting post once that specifically stated no female officers. May have suffered some type of traumatic experience earlier in their gaming career and doesn’t want to go through it again. If I remember right, the reasoning behind the original poster involved something about cattiness and snark because the applicant was also female as well. Maybe Kat would know more about this than I would. All the female officers I’ve ever interacted with in my own guild or other guilds seemed pleasant enough.

And now you too can navigate the murky waters of recruiting! In any case, good luck to you young recruiters out there and may all your apps last long term!

How to Lose 14 Players in One Night

It took the guild 3 years, but it was bound to happen sooner or later.

I just lost over 14 players from my raiding roster.

It started out as a simple personnel disagreement. There was a quiet debate raging within me for some time. On the one hand, I understand the strains of progression raiding and the impact it can make to a roster especially on the drive to having flawless raid nights. We all want a mistake-free raid group with players who can ace every obstacle thrown at them.

But does that mean putting up with personalities you don’t agree with all the time? The game was getting to the point where it was no longer fun for me.

Actually, scratch that. The game itself was fine. The managing social dynamics and personalities aspect made the game not fun. All I ever wanted to do was kill internet dragons, with friends or otherwise. One of the policies I even had in place for players was that they weren’t required to be friends with everyone. They didn’t have to go to the bar with them or anything. Over time, however, I began to wonder if that was a standard I could hold to myself. I realized that I had a very difficult time doing that because of all the added responsibilities and inter-personal problems that I had to deal with as part of my rank. As a player, in contrast to being an officer or guild leader, the only person you really need to be cool with is the GM. If the GM isn’t cool with you, then there’s no point in being there. This goes hand in hand with the chemistry clause – The right for applicants to be rejected because they don’t “fit” with the guild.

Competence and likeability are not mutually exclusive. The players I’m looking for have both. But it seems that the higher the skill level you go, the more disrespectful people become. Why? I can’t help but wonder if it’s because they believe their skills can give them an excuse to act however they want and get away with it. I don’t want to deal with that. If a player is skilled but not likeable, I’ll end up showing them the door. If a player is likeable but not skilled, eventually a newer player will work their way in and take their spot. That’s just how it is going to be.

Respect the chain of command

For any budding officers out there, this is the most important rule. If you bring up an idea, any GM worth their salt will at least hear you out and weigh all the negatives and positives associated with it. It’s up to you to sell your perspective. But once the decision from the top is made, that’s that. There is no higher authority to appeal to. You’ll have a hard time finding a GM who says otherwise. Do not try to circumvent it even if you know every fibre of your being says it is the right or wrong thing to do. The only thing you can do is look inside yourself and decide if it’s worth leaving over. That choice is absolutely yours to exercise. There’s no contract obligations that force you to stay in a guild.

In this particular case, cliques were cliques. When it comes to social groups like this, nothing’s going to stop people from playing with who they want. Trying to would just cause a social group to leave and create their own guild. This was a scenario I actually had in my mind as a realistic possibility. I don’t take kindly to ultimatums or threats of leaving at all. Given the option between killing internet dragons with people I’ve shared beers and had a good time with versus players who are willing to throw other people under a bus at a whim, I’d rather shoot for the former. I absolutely love raiding but not at the cost of my own mental health. Leading a guild isn’t easy at all when it comes to executive level decision making.

I still maintain that is perfectly possible to raid in a progressive raiding environment with people who you enjoy playing with. I see it in other guilds all the time. It’s my ongoing goal to reach that state, current drama aside. The only thing I can do is look forward and exercise my recruiting skills. And what an opportunity!

The thing about hindsight is that it always occurs after the events. I wish I had gone on offense sooner and made earlier changes. I don’t know if that would have offset the events, but it means I would have been forced to start the rebuild earlier. You always think and second guess to yourself wondering if that was the right thing to do. Or if there was another alternative solution or another way. I can’t answer that because I don’t know. I felt I offered enough of a compromise by allowing a player to stick around in the guild and idle on our Mumble servers even if they weren’t in our raid team any no longer. But that’s not enough.

Regardless, I’m sure they’ll be fine. I know for a fact we’ll be fine. 9 out of 10 rebuild guilds don’t actually make it and I have zero intention of being a statistic.

I also may have made up said previous statistic.

My options

  • Do 10 mans
  • Look for another guild
  • Quit the game
  • Rebuild us back to even strength

10 mans are okay. I could go look for another guild. I could just retire from the game and step down from blogging and writing on WoW Insider.

Or I can pick my ass up off the floor, dust myself off and get back to work. I challenge you to find a GM more determined than myself. Am I saddened? Yeah, a little. Do I feel that I can recover? Oh, you bet I will. This is a great opportunity!

That being said, Conquest is open for business. Firelands 25 man raiding only and we’re presently 6/7. We’re looking for all players in any position. I think we’re stacked on Resto Shamans though. I have almost no melee DPS remaining so I’ll be entertaining Rogues, Warriors, DKs, Enhancement Shamans. Hunters, I have many of. But at this point I just need bodies. I’m interested in any caster classes. I’m also looking for hybrid specced tanks who can double as DPS (a main tank and an off tank position).

Join now

If you have any questions or want to discuss a few things beforehand, feel free to get in touch with me or Lodur anytime.

Healing Lord Rhyolith

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Can’t drive in real life? Maybe you’ll do a better job against Lord Rhyolith.

Imagine if you were driving a bumper car. The catch is that there is no steering wheel. Instead, you have to lean in a certain direction in order to get the car turning. Not only that, the accelerator is locked in place. You can’t stop, you can’t slow down and every few seconds it randomly decides to just give out before restarting again.

Oh, and if you make it to the side of a room, you explode.

That’s essentially Rhyolith. I haven’t even mentioned the numerous fire effects yet.

Your job as healers is to buy your raid group enough time for them to steer him into volcanoes and get rid of debuffs.

Dividing the raid

Drivers: About 7-9 total DPS (As much melee as possible)
Ad control: Everyone else that’s not driving
Healers: 6-8 (Recommend 7 to start)
Main tank: Pick a tank to exclusively pick up Fragments of Rhyolith. Their job is to stay near the center of the room and snap all of them the moment they spawn. If they’re not dead within 30 seconds, their explode and deal half their remaining health to a random player in 25 man (they deal their current health to a random player in 10 man)
Off tank: Infernal Rage are giant fire elementals that need to be snapped and dragged away from the group to the edge as fast as possible. They AoE any players within 12 yards. Their damage gradually increases every 5 seconds but the good news is that the amount of damage they take also increases every 5 seconds. Don’t let that fool you. Kill them fast.

Pick 1 player to call out the foot that needs to be DPS’d. Our caller experienced success when he was positioned to the side of Rhyolith instead of behind him. Rhyolith’s body has a habit of obstructing the view. Going from the side should at least give you a rough 270° degree field of vision which includes the direction Rhyolith is facing.

Dividing the healers

Main tank: 1 healer
Off tank: 1 healer + 1 raid healer who can float HoTs or shields
Raid: 4-6 healers

Phase 1

With his 80 stacks of Obsidian Armor, the firepower in your raid group is going to get blunted until they whittle that armor down by steering the rock dude over exploding volcanoes. The only way to steer it is for your players to DPS the foot that you want him to turn.

For positions, instruct the the raid to stay near the middle of the island (and your drivers are exempt).

Tip: Enable name plates as it clearly labels the legs.

For starters, pick a leg to get started with. We like to open up on his right leg first just to get him gradually spinning around.

Concussive stomp: He lifts his foot up and then stomps the ground. Contrary to popular belief, it appears that jumping at the precise time of the stomp does not negate the damage. There is a slight chance you may resist it.

Volcano: When Rhyolith ignites a volcano, every player is going to 36000 damage or so over 6 seconds to 6 players on 25 (3 players on 10). When a player is hit, they gain a debuff (Eruption) causing them to take an additional 10% Fire damage every 14 seconds. If your own stack goes above 8, use a self cooldown.

Heck, use a raid cooldown until they wear off.

Crater: This is the most dangerous ability. It will catch players unaware. There is a chance that a crater will cause a stream of lava to stream outward. Any player caught in the path takes 70000+ damage. One or two players eating that is no problem. Raid healers can take care of that easily. When you have a dozen players getting ripped by that with the fire debuff, it becomes a problem.

Tip: Designate a specific player or 3 to specifically call out streams when the ability kicks in. With the amount of stuff on the ground, it’s easy to miss.

Once Lord Rhyoliths’ stacks drop to 10 or less, your group doesn’t need to worry about steering as much. Enough armor has been shaved off to the point where you can bring him down to 25%. That triggers the second part of the encounter.

Phase 2

The last phase is extremely straightforward. Once you get to that point, you essentially have the encounter in the bag. He can now be tanked. Regroup your tank healers on your main tank.

All healers

Pay attention to your individual stacks of Eruption. I found that if exceeded 8 stacks, the damage would be almost unbearable and a wipe would be imminent. Raid cooldowns are needed until the stacks drop off.

The biggest threat are the fire veins that seem to sprout from volcanos. Between that and the decreased fire resist, players will die if they’re not watching where they’re standing. You might be able to eat the initial burst. I’ve had to do it once or twice to close the distance to a tank. I certainly don’t recommend doing it unless you know what you’re doing, have little to no stacks and have a self heal (or a healthstone) to negate the damage.

Priests

Desperate Prayer really helps here. Watch the ground for any fire veins before using your hymns.

Shamans

Lay down Healing Rain somewhere around the middle of the map. Your players can spot the blue circles and stand on top of them easily.

Druids

Not uncommon to see Rebirths being used on the encounter. Get away from any craters or volcanos before using them. Watch the ground for any fire veins before using Tranquility

Paladins

With so much rampant fire damage going around, there is no wrong time to use Aura Mastery throughout the first phase.

Lord Rhyolith Resources

Discuss

Plus Heal thread

Getting Rid of the Ready Check

The ready check is an easily understood command which has one question for players to answer.

Are you ready?

Traditionally, raid leaders use ready checks to ensure everyone has their buffs, cauldrons and consumables. It’s a last minute reminder for everyone to see if anyone has any questions before going into the pull. Anyone steal a ninja AFK to wash their hands or sneak a drink? The alarm would sound informing players to rush back to their desks or switch programs back into the game.

What if your guild stopped using it? What would change? How would the players and the atmosphere change?

In an upcoming interview with Mel, one of the powers behind the guild of <Edge> and a blogger at Sacred Duty, does not utilize ready checks at all. Here’s a brief excerpt where he explains his reasoning.

Rumor has it that your raid group does not utilize ready checks. If it’s true, how come?
Ready checks are an opt-in system, and opt-in systems deflect responsibility.  Instead, we make the choice to assume that everyone is at keyboard and ready to play when we’re raiding – when they’re expected to be.  We’ll often be discussing strategy during runbacks, so it’s a bad time to just take off the headset and run AFK anyway.  If someone has to take an emergency break, the onus is on them to inform the raid, and then we wait.  But I don’t see a reason to waste 20 seconds on every pull just to ask if everyone is actually at their keyboard, when I could just be informed that someone isn’t there for the one pull that it’s an issue.

This isn’t a completely foreign concept to me since my guild utilizes a sign out system for attendance. We’re not the only ones as other progression oriented guilds do the same thing. Making the assumption that you are ready instead of asking if you’re ready is presents an interesting shift in dynamics. It places a bigger emphasis on players to really speak up if they’re not sure about something or if they need to step out momentarily. In the long run, if you multiply the time spent on ready checks before every pull on a per week and per month basis, the time really does add up. It’s definitely one way of shaving off precious seconds on a raid night.

I’m considering implementing this in Conquest. I might just try it out for a week and see how we respond collectively as a group. It might end up being a positive change for us.

On a side note, a warm welcome to Morynne who has joined the guild!

Occuthar Strategy, the new Baradin Hold Boss

This mutt has been available on the PTR for some time. He had way too much health on 10 man during my initial times with him. He’s much more manageable now. You’ll find that this fight is a slight DPS check and skill check.

When you first engage the encounter, the tanks will need to pull him back to a corner and point him away from the raid. The rest of the group will need to stand and spread out around him. Naturally, there is a tank switch involved. When your first tank eats the shadow debuff, your second tank needs to taunt right away until that debuff wears off. The second tank needs to stay off near the side so as to not get hit by Searing Shadows.

Watch out for large, glowing circles around the room. Stay out of those. The DPS check kicks in when he does his Gaze of Occu’thar ability. He launches those little eyeballs of his from the top of his head and sends them towards every player. They’ll hit for around 5000+ damage a second. Have everyone gather up in one central location and light up your AoE. If you don’t kill the eyes quick enough, they’ll explode and dish out 25000 damage to everyone nearby. Spread back out as soon as that’s done!

Enjoy the ridiculous amount of PvP gear that’s bound to drop!

Here’s a kill video from Memento  Mori and Method on 25 man in the PTR

A Lesson in Guild Ultimatums

It’s been 2 and a half years since Conquest has been formed. We’ve had our shares of victories and defeat. I figured a situation like this would come one day. I never imagined it would come from a main tank. Least of all from a main tank. I knew he wasn’t having much enjoyment out of the raiding scene.

Let me be clear for a moment. The story I am about to tell is not one of vindication or shame. It is one of education so that my guild leading colleagues would be better prepared should a scenario like this arise. It would come in many forms, but the most common would be if I don’t get <this>, I’m leaving.

Threats never work. Even if the leadership allows the request to go through, you can be damned sure it’ll be done so reluctantly and not out of loyalty. If anything, such gains are only for the short term.

Right, let me resume my story. Our main tank had opted for retirement. Not having fun’s a perfectly valid excuse and one that appears to be echoed throughout the community by several players. I have absolutely zero desire to force someone to play a class or role that they don’t want to play. It’s just bad for business. So I accepted it and moved on. Every player that had a tank position in my raid group was bumped up 1 rank. The secondary tank became the primary tank. Tanks 2-4 frequently rotated depending on the encounter. I am blessed with having 6 players w ho are capable of tanking should that need arise.

I come back the next day and visit my forums. I discover that our retiree posted a message:

“If you don’t make me an officer, I’m going to quit the guild.”

Was that what this was all about? Power and recognition? My gut instinct was to flat out say no. Officers are selected based on certain qualifications. There are certain traits that make them special and dependable. However, what you may not know is that there are qualities which automatically discount a player from ever being an officer.

I’ll list some of them here.

Attendance

When a player takes a break from a game without mentioning anything, I might give them a bye for it if their reason is justified. When a player pulls that stunt multiple times without saying a word, that’s the line for me. I cannot have leaders who decide to come and go at their own whims without notice. It would do more harm than good. A leader needs to be available when they can and to say so when they cannot. If a raider does this, I cannot trust they won’t abandon their position when issued additional responsibility.

Shirking responsibility

Conquest has an unspoken leadership ladder. As leaders are appointed by myself with the consent of the other leaders, there needs to be a way to evaluate their mettle and skills. Our loot system involves the use of loot council. The only way to ascend is to go through the process and sit on the council at some point. If a player refuses to handle loot council, then they may not be fit for command at all. If they’re not willing to handle important decisions like who they believe loot should go to, then I don’t know if the harder decisions can be handled (such as roster, player evaluations, and so forth).

Saying no the first time

When the boss asks a player if they want additional responsibility, the player shouldn’t just say no and then issue an ultimatum months later. If I asked someone and they said no the first time, that’s that. I wouldn’t approach them again because I figure there’s no interest in it. Onus is on the other player if they reconsider. I can’t chase people down and hound them repeatedly. I do that enough during raids calling stacks, spreads outs and debuffs. I generally don’t make offers more than once. But that’s a personal style.

Stability

This one actually just occurred to me. Leadership players need to be a rock (or at least, pretend to be one in front of everyone else). It’s okay to be pissed off and upset once in a while. But constant brooding does no good to anyone. A long time ago, I had a player who would crumble and fold when they were chastised for blowing an assignment. Officers have to be made of tougher stuff to withstand the criticism that’s bound to happen. Someone who sheds tears or anger every time something negative is said in their direction isn’t a player fit for command and I doubt such an individual would be able to garner the respect and loyalty of the players.

That being said, I learned a few things from this experience. Strong player depth is what allows guilds to keep going and to survive. The very day that ultimatum was issued, the player was flatly denied and practically laughed out of the guild. We went and took down Theralion and Valiona on heroic mode that same night. While tanks are a critical component for raiding guilds, an awesome tank does not a successful guild make. You still need the DPS and the healers to play at their best. One of my faults is not keeping a tighter finger on the pulse of the guild. It’s difficult to split time between work, raid and just general socializing. It’s also nigh impossible to know what goes on in the heads of others. But I have to make a better attempt somehow even if that means sacrificing my peace and quiet time.

The burden of command is not a light weight to carry at all. Anyone that tries to make such demands for it is just out of their mind.

Next time you’re annoyed about something, I’d suggest talking about it first and requesting it rather than trying to make a threat. Odds are good it won’t end well.

How to Own Your Trial Run Like a Champion

Been addicted to read the Game of Thrones series right now. Not watching the TV show just yet. I want to get through the books at least. Also, my hometown team of Vancouver in the Stanley Cup finals for the first time in 17 years! Hockey has killed some of our raid nights with about 5 of us from Vancouver. We can still work and raid if it’s just the 5, but we could certainly use more players (DPS with off specs would be great).

Recruiting’s a bummer right now. Everyone that applies could be a stud or a dud. Today’s post is a story of how an undergeared player just strolled in and wrested a full time roster position into his grasp.

Step one: Getting In

At first glance, he didn’t have the best of gear. He sporting blue quality items. What sold us for the trial though was the application. One of our questions involved a spec explanation and what is done to maximize it. He lists the correct primary stat and then goes on to list exact DPS rotation and why it had to be modified due to additional factors like glyphs and secondary stat allocation. It’s easy enough to parrot the information that can be found on prominent community websites, but those typically demand precise gear levels before optimal equilibrium can be met. Most players applying to raiding guilds don’t meet that quite yet. A little explanation on the side helps. It’s an ideal world we live in where every player is expected to be optimal.

But, we don’t live in an ideal world. We adapt to what cards we’re dealt and make it look awesome.

Step two: The Trial Run

This is where the applicant shone. He had never seen any of these heroic encounters before first hand. But you don’t need previous experience to understand that stuff on the ground is generally bad, or to run to a specific location with a bad debuff. Stand out applicants pick up mechanics within one or two attempts and maintain a high level of consistency in play.

Absolutely nailed it. You know you’re off to a good start when no one calls a Rebirth on you because you didn’t die. If you don’t stand out negatively like that, you’re golden.

Step three: The Aftermath

Didn’t do so hot there? That’s tough. I daresay most guilds allow recruits additional time to get acclimated and comfortable. You might get a second or third shot later on where you can really rock their world. The line that annoys me the most as a recruiter is the “I don’t have enough gear to make an impact” argument.

Now, I get that.

But if gear level really was that low, they wouldn’t have been screened through in the first place. This applicant barely scraped by our minimal expectations laid down in an application but came in and nailed DPS rotations and survived like the best of them. Their numbers were on the low end of the curve relative to the other players. But they kept quiet, made no excuses and did the absolute best they could. They didn’t complain, they didn’t whine when they weren’t brought in at all knowing that sooner or later their chance would come if they continued to appear. Summer is here which means roster sizes are going to be all over the place.

For me, it’s always been about the attitude. It really annoys me when performance is blamed on stuff like gear. I second guess their mental fortitude after that. What happens if they have a crappy raiding night later on? Is it going to be blamed on gear when they’ve already been outfitted with what’s available? Relax a little and do what can be done, listen to the feedback given by evaluators and run with that. Not everything needs to be a point of contention.

Sometimes the best thing you can do is sit your ass down and shut your ass up. Don’t be difficult. Our new player acknowledged his short comings and resolved to try harder. Since then, he’s worked his way into a starting spot.

* Bonus step: Fitting in

Hang out with the guild for a while after raids. Just be sociable and get to know people. They’re your new guild. Find out what makes people tick and just try to be friends. Don’t start off holding grudges against other players who do better than you or getting too competitive. No one likes a loud mouth who comes in trying to rock the boat. It just makes them seem desperate for attention.

New Appreciation for Potion of Concentration

I’ve started using Potion of Concentration on some of the more difficult fights more out of necessity than anything else. That additional ~10000 compared to the standard issue mana potions offer a sizeable advantage. The catch is that you need to find a time during the encounter where you can spare the time. Although you can interrupt it anytime, don’t do it. Maximize the gain. There were times where I’ve cheated and took a tick or two of needless damage to squeeze out as much drops as I can out of these potions.

Heroic Magmaw? Any of the head phases.

Heroic Maloriakk? I use it during the first part of any Dark phase.

Nef? Once I’m on a pillar.

Cho’gall? Any part where there is no abomination  (Or whatever its called) up.

I’m not sure if I can find a spot for it consistently on other bosses. I’ve only recently started using it. It’s going to take a bit of trial and error until I find the perfect sweet spot on encounters like heroic Chimaeron, Atramedes, and Theraliona. 

Also, ding guild level 25! It took us about 4 months but we did it!

Tough Call: Fighting Progression Frustration

Image courtesy of leonardobc

This week the crew has been hitting our heads against a progression boss, and the talk around the campfire has a decided air of frustration to it. As a leader, you need to be aware of your team’s motivation levels when tackling new challenges. Encounters surpassing your raid team’s ability level can often turn frustration into futility.

But how do does a raid leader handle this precisely?

The same way we handle any problem – with planning and execution.  Sun Tzu, who probably would have been a Vodka/Paragon level raid leader, teaches us:

“The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand.”

It sounds simple, and when you’re doing it well, it really is simple.  Knowing what needs to be done ahead of time and adjusting as you go along are the two key ingredients to successful raid progression no matter the size of the raid or the strategy being used.

Below are a few points I recommend keeping in mind when your raid team is approaching difficult content:

Planning For Raid Progression

  • Read, understand and analyze the intended boss strategies as dictated by your raid leaders well in advance of attempting the fight. This allows you to see mistakes as well as make changes easily.
  • Be honest with yourself about the capabilities of your team. Have an idea where your weaknesses and strengths lie. This could be include aspects ranging from movement, DPS, healer skill or people with high raid awareness.
  • Know when to call a wipe and when to extend an attempt to see the next phase. Part of your team being dead might still allow the rest of the raid to practice key mechanics of the fight.
  • Experimentation is good. Figure out what works and what doesn’t when you deviate from a typical boss strategy. It might just be easier for your team.
  • Ensure your team is on the same page. Present a united and focused front for your troops to follow.

Sometimes, though, even our best-laid plans… well, you know what happens.  So the question becomes, what next?  What do I do when my team is getting weary, my strategies are in question, and I need a win quickly?

First of all, do not ditch your plan just because it isn’t working.  A strategy can fall apart in a lot of places. It may be execution, it may be a certain raid composition due to attendance; it could be any number of factors.  Find out where the strategy is failing and decide which elements you can change.  Can you swap personnel?  Slight positioning adjustment?  Time your cooldowns better (this is often a fix in Cataclysm raiding)?
Whether your plan needs a complete overhaul or just some minor adjustments, it is still crucial to address the frustration of your raiders and regroup.

  • Do not avoid the tough conversations. When your members bring up their gripes, listen to them. Answer appropriately.
  • Know the difference between toxic negativity and someone just blowing off steam. Sometimes people just need to vent. However, there is line between getting out some frustration and poisoning the morale of your squad.
  • Give responses that are logical and concise. You need to lay out for your team exactly what you’re doing, why you’re doing it that way,  and why you don’t think it can be done in an alternative way.  The more details, the better.
  • Accept suggestions and give them their due consideration. After all, if the 9 or 24 other people in your raid aren’t intelligent enough to help you with their observations, then you probably shouldn’t be raiding. Applaud valuable and constructive criticism from your raid.
  • Kill the boss and go out for beer!

Remember, the future is brighter.  Your raid will down this boss and will continue downing bosses. Success breeds further success.  Get out there and prove you’re all winners.


Reader Question

Last week, regarding my post on Real Officer Set-Ups, Kalette asked:

“Do you have any comments on how to incorporate this into a 10 man guild with two separate 10 man teams?”

Recently I had a conversation with Matticus about different ways guilds could operate more than one progression-oriented raid team within the same guild. (See Matt’s post here for his thoughts.) My feeling on the idea is that when you’re setting up policies for your guild, (attendance, loot, recruiting, critique, etc) they should apply to everyone playing that portion of the game, not just your raid team.

Clearly each raid needs their own raid leader, both of whom will need to be equally trusted by the GM, and trusted to work alone, because at least one of them will likely be raiding in without you overseeing them.

Beyond that, I think you could pull off a two 10-man raid guild with the same positions mentioned before.  You may have to get creative about which officer raids with which team, but in theory your role officers could oversee recruiting, critique and mentoring for every raider under their domain.  Since we’re talking about smaller numbers, they would each be responsible for roughly the same amount of players as they would in a healthy 25-man team, they would probably just need to be better at analyzing WoL logs parses since they can’t see everyone first hand.

Another approach is to combine a few roles, and have those role leaders cooperate with each other.  Tanks and melee DPS can easily be combined, and you could put ranged DPS and healing in a group together.  Then each 10-man raid would have one officer over each of those pairs.  Outside of raid, you may naturally specialize and have one ranged/healing role leader who is more attuned to healing and another who is better at the pew-pew, but so long as they can learning from each other, you can benefit from both being specialized.

By the numbers:
1x GM
2x RL
1x each Role Leader

Alternative:
1x GM
2x RL
2x Tanks/Melee Leader
2x Ranged/Healing Leader

I think the key caveat I’d make is that recruiting should still be done on a scale of “does this person meet our guild’s standards”, not just will they meet the needs of Raid A or Raid B.  When you’re fielding two squads who are both responsible for pushing progression and increasing your guild’s standing, it’s important to make sure that every raider meets the criteria to deserve that guild’s name above their heads.
Kalette, great question; I hope this helps.  If not, call me dumb and I’ll give it another look.

As always, leave your questions/comments/paternity suits in the comments.  I’ll lovingly read them all.  Also, if you have a topic you’d like to see addressed in a future episode of Tough Call, just let me know.