Monday Night Insights

It’s late where I’m at right now. The clock just turned 10 PM. So what’s been going on lately?

The blog

One of the suggestions made in my recent reader survey was to update my blog links on the side as many of them have called it quits or have been (presumably) abandoned. I couldn’t agree more. It was about time for a changing of the guard anyway. I like to deliberately keep the list limited (under 20 or so) so that it maintains some degree of exclusiveness. That, and I find blogrolls with 30+ links difficult to go through as I never know where to start first so I figured a small selection is the way to go.

Miss MedicinaShe was dumped recently. Maybe a link here will cheer her up. You’ll recognize her as the source of the original healing questionnaire.

Shields Up – We came close to losing drug. Great Resto Shaman posts and is no slouch when it comes to tracking down addons to try out. For some reason, my spam filters like to flag his comments as spam (I’m sure it has something to do with his name, heh).

Divine Aegis – The tag team of Lilitharien, Lyriel, and Oestrus have been hard at work here for a while. They’re currently on a brief hiatus (I hope).

Restokin – A product of Lissanna which as you can tell by the name centers around Druids of the deciduous type (I think that’s the one where foliage is shed, except these trees don’t really shed). Some space turkey action is rotated into the mix. Has some great stuff planned, too.

Bossy Pally – Another recent addition, Ophelie not only made it onto the list, she’s been a welcome addition into the guild. Appears to be suffering from a bout of insecurity and nervousness though. I don’t know why. She’s held her own in heroic mode 25s after barely a week of being invited into the guild and came through when needed most in a heroic Anub 10 (which was two shot after). That’s way better than me as it took me about six shots to get down on my first time. I’m still hoping she gets my hint and cook up a guest post for display here. But then, maybe you guys can help with that.

What kind of blogs are on the blog roll?

Active – When you visit, you’ll generally find new content. It’s updated fairly frequently. I’ve been lax about it lately, but in the past I’ve always removed blogs from the list that aren’t updated or the blogger has gone MIA.

Recommended – These are blogs that come straight from my personal reader. That means I’ve read them myself and that I personally vouch for them.

Value – You’ll get something for your money’s worth when you read it. These blogs tend to offer some insight and wisdom. At the very least, the posts will make you think.

Sorry guys, bribery doesn’t work.

The raid

We were lacking some muscle tonight and the decision was made to not engage Faction Champions on heroic. Instead, we split into two 10 man groups for hard modes and finish up the raids that were started last week. We’re at the point now where we can successfully field two full groups for hard mode and clear them within a reasonable amount of time. Faction Champions continues to routinely thwart us, but every week, new lessons are learned and adjustments are made.

We’ll typically use three healers on most of the fights for the sake of raid stability and increased success. Dropping down to two healers is necessary for Faction Champs and Anub’arak as the extra DPS is a requirement. Unfortunately, with three main healers who do not have secondary specs that can be switched to, it becomes a problem when deciding who sits.

For example, on Anub’arak:

  • Resto Shaman
  • Holy Paladin
  • Holy or Disc Priest with Val’anyr

Keep in mind, the Resto Shaman is the only Shaman in the raid. In this case, the superior combination of the two would be Resto Shaman and Holy Paladin. Having a Heroism and Holy Light bombs with Divine Sacrifice is a formula for success. Granted, I didn’t need any gear anyway and I had a heck of a hard time as Discipline healing in there (by the way, case study of Anub 10 heroic to come up this week). The Shaman (joined last Thursday) and the Paladin (Ophelie’s blog is linked up there) were new healers in to the guild. I’ll admit, I was worried that sending two new healers into one of the hardest healing fights in the game wouldn’t work.

I’ve never been more delighted to be wrong.

The two of them cleaned it out in two shots.

The guild

It’s about the time of year when things slightly slow down for the holidays and such. Some effort was made to pick up extra players in anticipation and I’m glad to see it has worked out quite nicely.

How has our healing corps changed?

healers-year-ago

 healers-now

I hope I counted that correctly. Knowing me and my counting ability, I’m off by 1 somewhere.

5 total Priests (Technically it’s 4.5 since he doubles as shadow)
2 total Druids
4 total Shamans
4 total Paladins

In a year, we’ve more than doubled the amount healers in the guild. My greatest worry has been finding ways to keep them occupied and busy doing stuff. So far it seems as though they’ve been doing a great job of staying busy on their own. Inactive healers are players who’ve had to take a brief break from the game due to stuff happening in their lives.

For the new players, it’s nearly the same story. They join the raid and and get a few upgrades. Then we do hard modes and one of our top 7 healers has to step aside as something has come up. We insert the new guys in, and they continue to impress.

On a side note, I need to work on my bar graphs.

Trying to be a good host

Sometimes I forget what it’s like to be a new player in a foreign guild. Just transferred over and don’t know anyone, right? Want to make a good impression? Believe me, the same thing works the other way around. I remain conscious of the fact that these people paid money to get their character over here and I don’t want to disappoint them.

Another thing is to integrate them in with the rest of the corps. They’re new and they’re not accustomed to the Matt way of doing things. Sometimes I’ll have less than a raid to get them familiar with the system. Players making the jump from guild environments that aren’t as disciplined to one where every cooldown is meticulously timed and serves a purpose can be a shocking experience.

New players are like new hockey goalie equipment.

They’ll feel a bit uncomfortable and it takes some time to break them in.

The best way to do that is to put them through constant use and continue adjusting as necessary. Either they disintegrate under pressure or they’ll hold up and withstand the toughest of shots.

What is the system?

After a couple of raids, most people manage to pick up the highlights of how things are done fairly quickly.

  • Immediate feedback: Doing something wrong? We’ll tell you what and how to fix it.
  • Goals: If you have a specific job or purpose, we’ll tell you. It can come at any time such as before encounters or during encounters (if the attempt is about to take a nose dive).
  • Mission critical information: At the same time, there are certain things we need to know during the middle of the fight. Sometimes we can’t find the visual warnings or we want to confirm. If a cooldown is available, and it’s asked for, players are encouraged to snap a yes response. Silence usually means no. Speak freely if what’s on your mind will contribute to the success of the raid.
  • Mistakes are allowed: Feel free to screw up. It happens. We learn best by watching and experiencing failure so that we know what not to do in the future. It’s not like we’ll dock DKP or anything. But show evidence that you’re at least learning from your mistakes by not repeating them. I can’t remember the last time I’ve switched a player out for dying in fires 5+ times. We are clearly too lenient.

Geeze it’s almost 1 AM. Time to log some hours on Modern Warfare 2.

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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.