In Which I Attempt to Bring Order to Chaos

Lich King attempts. Recruiting. Thick skin. Compromising principles. It’s been a while since I last wrote about my guild and I don’t know where to begin.

The Lich King

We’re getting better. With every attempt, we last seconds longer. Phase 1 and 2 have been all but mastered. I play Discipline during the encounters and focus on Infest prevention. At the moment, we’re struggling with breaking through the Defile and Valk phases. Some of these defiles have been absolutely spectacular. It’s difficult for us to set our stuns and slows around the valks though since we just don’t seem to know who is available and who isn’t. Both 10 man groups have also reached Arthas and are working on him as well. One of them managed to reach the second transition phase. If we can just carry that experience and that momentum into 25s, then I expect we’ll see him down soon enough.

In order to do that though, we need to hit that consistent roster. Unfortunately, we don’t have that. I’ve gone on a fairly massive recruiting spree lately. Some of them stick around, others join and then disappear after a week. When our A team roster is here, then we should be able to hit it. Sadly, this is the time of year where real life just manages to slap everyone and the face and show them who is the boss. I got some players that are moving. I got some players who on the injured reserve. Others can’t seem to show up because of a variety of reasons. I suppose I should be glad that we’ve been able to field raids at all.

Compromising Principles

You may wish to check out the Bossy Pally’s musings about a recent recruit before coming back here. Not exactly one of our star hires, but recruiting is extremely tough right now at this time of the year. From what I’ve seen, most players are either looking for hard mode guilds or are just starting to work their way into ICC. This is exactly the same thing we saw during the tail end of Burning Crusade as most guilds were either hard at work on Black Temple, Hyjal, and Sunwell or were just getting their feet into Karazhan, Gruul’s and Magtheridon. Guilds that were in Serpentshrine Cavern and Tempest Keep kept folding simply because there just weren’t enough raiders within that raiding bracket. As it stands right now, it doesn’t seem as if there’s any players interested in the late ICC 25 normal raiding bracket.

Ideally, when it comes to players, you want them to possess these three following qualities:

  • Skills
  • Gear
  • Respect

In most cases, players only come with 2 of them.

Skills: The thing about skills is that players will either get better or show zero signs of improvement. You can give them all the theorycrafting, have them watch all the videos, and read all the material. This doesn’t guarantee any improvement at all whatsoever. I call them dead-end players because there’s nothing more that can be done for them. If you want to push on and succeed in later raids, they need to be cut in favor of someone else who is better.

Gear: A lack of gear problem can be easily fixed. It requires players to take an active role and do what they can in farming for badges or getting their gear crafted. When they do come into raids, any holes in their gear can be plugged in appropriately. The problem? You can’t take an undergeared player into Lich King and expect super positive results. It takes time to reduce that gear gap to an acceptable level. These players I take in and have them brought on early bosses of ICC before swapping them out accordingly.

Respect: Sigh. I’m guilty of turning a blind eye to stuff that goes on in guild chat. I don’t like it and it’s not particularly something I’m proud of. But it doesn’t mean I won’t step in if it gets too far. I’ve got principles of my own. And yet, there are times where I have to temporarily shelve them for the sake of getting a raid going. Does that make me an inherently evil person? I don’t know. But my number 1 priority and mandate has always been to get a successful raid going. Sometimes I’ll play with the nicest people and they’re awesome personalities to boot. But they just can’t hit the benchmarks or performance targets I set. So what can I do? I don’t want to hold back 24 other people no matter how nice and courteous some player is. At the end of the day, we’re all about killing bosses.

Don’t misinterpret that as an unwillingness to take action. I’m quite capable of ejecting players when things get out of hand or go too far. What’s different is that my level of tolerance is arguably far greater than most players.

Thick skin

Players need more of this. I see some of the stuff that’s said in different chat channels and it’s like “Really? Of all things, that sets you off?”. I don’t know. Another possibility is that I could be an extremely insensitive jerk. But as a GM, I’ve got to know where and when to pick my battles accordingly. I don’t like having to deal with players who come complaining to me over every little thing. Thankfully, that hasn’t happened. In most cases, players are strong and able to stand up to themselves. No GM wants to deal with baby sitting problems and resolving conflicts in raids. Those are bad problems to have. Good problems to have are issues like deciding who gets to go in raids, which boss to take out, which tactics to use and so forth.

Human resource problems between players? Arguably the worse thing to deal with in the world.

What’s worse is that when there are issues between two players that get escalated by both sides. I attribute that mostly to an ego problem. No party is willing to stand down or lose face. If ego was taken out of the equation, I’d guarantee like 95% of problems would stop before they reached a breaking point. I took a course on policing years ago and one of the chapters was on crisis management. Police officers routinely deal with all sorts of people on a daily basis. There were some important lessons I learned in that class which I’ve managed to carry over into the whole GM thing.

We’ve been bleeding players right now and we’ve hit another rebuilding phase. Some have left due to work or lack of interest. The guild’s at a crossroads right now. My plans for the future have been to carry on into Cataclysm. I face a lot of internal pressure right now, mostly from myself. I want Arthas dead as soon as possible. There are days where I start doubting myself and my own capabilities. Everyone keeps telling me the same thing about having faith and things will get better. It doesn’t always work that way. I can’t just sit back and expect things to get better. I have to work hard for it and attract the right players. Sometimes a little luck helps.

Now I just have to find me some DPS players and healers. It ain’t just for the short term. Players in Icecrown will be auditioning for Cataclysm as well. I’ve got to go look for the long term players who buy into the system and are willing to commit.

I wish Syd was around. She’d always know what to do or what to say. I imagine she’d say something along the lines of “Just listen to yourself” and “You already know the answers and what to do”.

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About Matticus

Matticus is the founder of World of Matticus and Plus Heal. Read more of his columns at WoW Insider. League of Legends player. Caffeine enthusiast.

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