Midnight Monday Musings: the Summer Edition

Clock just turned 12 AM out here in the west coast. Finished a roller coaster of an ICC 25 run. We were short 1 DPS tonight and opted to nail ToGC. We were subsequently rewarded with a Solace and a Death’s Verdict. The two back to back Vortexes on the 4th and 5th special abilities really did a number on 4 of the 5 groups in the raid. But we managed to squeak through in the end.

The blog

First, I want to say thank you.

Thank you for continuing to come and read what’s on the blog after three years.

Yeah, it’s been that long. Many of the people I knew as bloggers have moved on from the game or from blogging entirely. There is a high turnover when it comes to WoW bloggers unfortunately. I wish I had the energy and the time to actively go out to the newer ones and say hi, and welcome.

You can bet I’ll continue to blog from here onward. I may be slow at updating at the moment, but someone has to help contribute to the all the Cataclysm stuff in the future. I’m also working on a bunch of behind the scenes stuff. You’ll see it when its all ready.

The raid

Tonight’s raid felt like a slight setback for me. We were putting in a lot of hours into Sindragosa hard mode on 25. Most of the time on Thursday was spent getting an understanding of the different phases and making minor adjustments to positions. It appeared that we would have been able to continually get her into phase 3. It just seemed like we had a regression night. Ice Blocks were broken too early. Inability to hide behind tombs and getting destroyed by bombs. Players weren’t properly getting rid of Unchained Magic before getting pulled in. Ran phase 3 tombs to the wrong side or not fast enough. It seemed a little more chaotic and uncontrolled. I had to do everything in my power to try to keep the team settled and calm. I don’t get mad at the players, but I do get frustrated at the situations.

The senior staff have been utilizing spreadsheets to keep a careful eye on cause of wipes. An encounter like this greatly magnifies what players can do and what players can’t do. We note what happened, which players involved, and how many times. It’s our hope we can notice and trends or patterns and take necessary steps to address it, even if it means replacing players.

To be fair, we’ve only invested 4 hours so far. We’ll see how it goes. Telling players to take a seat never comes easy for me and I suspect it never will.

The wipes were offset by one of the most hilarious moments in the guild though. On Lich King, we’re on the final phase and we’re going back and forth from one side of the platform to the other. All of a sudden I hear a frantic call on vent:

“Taunt! TAUNT! I FELL OFF THE LEDGE!”

Yeah.

Our tank who was on Lich King backed right up over the ledge and fell off. Luckily our off tank was quick on the ball and grabbed him before he could cause any other damage. He died moments later.

But once we hit that 10%, everyone started laughing and choking. The good thing is that I’ll probably never get made fun of for fat fingering Mana Burn on Instructor Razuvious instead of Mind Control (and yeah, I cost us that Immortal run :\).

The guild and me

I’ve re-learned an incredibly valuable lesson over the past few months. Not everyone is going to fit into every guild. I did a particular strong job of making our loot system known to potential players and turning people away who didn’t quite fit what I was looking for. But it wasn’t until the departure of two players did I begin to question myself and my abilities. I spent a good week having a heart to heart talk with as many raiders and players in the guild as possible. My questions all involved:

  • Why are you here?
  • Are you happy here?
  • Do you have any issues with the way me or my officers are running things?
  • What do you plan to do in Cataclysm? Explore free agency or stay? Everyone’s contract ends when the expansion is out and is up for renewal.

The answers were resoundingly positive.

When I realized that the 25+ group of raiders had no issues, were committed, and were happy being here, I ultimately concluded that there wasn’t a major problem at all. In fact, it was simply a culture clash and a significant difference of opinion. After that, the choice was made to let them go. I figured they wouldn’t be happy here and that’s the last thing I want.

Since then, I’ve started undergoing chemistry checks with new players who get into the guild. Week 1 is to see how they mesh with everyone in the guild. The trial period isn’t just for us to see if we like them, but it’s also there to see if they like us. I’ve been a bit a bit more aggressive when it comes to cuts after week 1. If I get numerous complaints from other raiders, I’ll generally cut them. It’s not a good idea to have a person in the guild where no one gets along with them.

That’s just a complete personality clash and it would lead to problems later on down the road. I’ve had to deal with this multiple times, and those players ended up leaving on their own anyway. It isn’t just chemistry that we look at, but skill checks are also conducted to see what their up times and DPS output is like on a regular basis in a raid environment. If they have difficulty with Defile or Frost Bombs or any of that fun stuff, they generally don’t make it past week 2.

And then there’s the “difficult” player.

They’re the ones who just can’t seem to let things go or continue to make life difficult. They question your loot policies and offer strong suggestions even after agreeing to them in the first place. Or perhaps they offer the raid leader and half the raid personal tips on increasing DPS and better performance the first time they’ve ever been to an encounter. Normally, I welcome advice and feedback like the next guy. But I make it known that it should be done on our forums, not during the raid when we’re 3 seconds away from a pull.

It’s always been my personal belief that a new player should never offer unsolicited advice in the first few weeks of their time in the guild. Only until after they get accustomed to their surroundings should they start volunteering any knowledge. At least, not unless its a really good idea that would virtually guarantee a kill on a boss.

Nevertheless, I’m still on the lookout for more players for the present and for the future. It’s going to be challenging to find someone that fits the mold of what I’m looking for, but I know they exist. I have them in the guild already. Heh, it’s funny looking back at all these predictions of having a fail guild that wouldn’t really get far or that would implode. I suppose that will happen after a heroic Lich King kill or Halion or something.

I’m working on a post at the moment revolving around men and raiding. There’s been lots of posts recently about the whole feminism thing and while I respect and understand it, I wanted to write about male raiders and how motivated, angry men can go out and kill bosses. It’ll be an interesting case study, I’m sure.

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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.