Post Raid Reflections, Anxiety, and Member “Poaching”

Bear with me. This post isn’t about anything empirical. It’s not a list post. It’s not an informative post. I’ll even be happy if it draws 0 comments. I’m a little overwhelmed at the moment and it’s an odd sensation. I’m usually in control of myself during raids.

But before I continue, I think I should update you (my dear readers) with the results of tonight’s operation.

I led a strike force into Obsidian Sanctum and into Naxxramas. I could not field a full crew of 25. But I felt that the time had come to give my guild a preview of who I am and what I could do. I had never raided or played with these players before. Some of them had transferred because they were long time readers. Others were recruited on server. There were 19 players with the Conquest banner. We took our Sartharion (35 minutes). We entered Naxxramas and wiped the floor with the entire Spider wing (90 minutes). We entered the Plague wing and one shot Noth before two shotting Heigan. By this time, it was 9 PM and it was time to call it. I ended the night’s raid on a high note immediately after the kill. Each boss so far has dropped 4 pieces of loot. We received 24 items overall and upgraded players. This was a pug raid, therefore pug rules were in effect. This won’t be the case when guild raids occur. I felt that I had to go in there and instill confidence in my guild. More than that, I had to do this for myself. I wanted to see if I could do it.

I figured the barrier tonight would have been Heigan. I thought to myself “Yes we can!”.

On the second attempt, Yes we did!

I picked up the Staff of Restraint from Sartharion. I’ll be passing on every weapon. I don’t know if there are any significant upgrades from here on out (45 Spirit or 63 Spellpower?).

Apparently, we were the 4th Guild to clear out Spider Wing (Alliance side at least).

Miscellaneous thoughts

* On raid leading: It’s tough. It’s really tough for me especially as a Healer. I’ve never truly understood or appreciated the hassles and the challenges it took to engineer a raid from start to finish. I’ve developed an increasing amount of respect for players like Lume as well as my old raid leaders from Carnage, Aurora, and Angelic Advocates (40 mans. Ick).

Is there like a raid leaders anonymous or some sort of leadershipholics type counseling somewhere? I think I could use some.

A raid leader’s job never ends. There’s checks to be made before the raid. There’s enchants to dole out after the raid. There’s the strategy and the explanation in between.

And yet, throughout the night I was slammed with a cocktail of emotions. I was nervous. I was frightened. I felt anxious. Tense. Happy. Disappointed. Unsure. Guilty.

My heart rate was up there. I could feel it.

But why?  Years of psychological study in University has taught me one important thing about human beings every where.

Fear is a powerful motivator.

Fear of a neighboring enemy causes people to take arms and strike first.

Fear of starvation causes people to try their best to put a roof over their head and food on the table.

Fear of failure causes people to reach unreachable levels of performance and drive. It forces students to go through sleepless nights to try and know exam material. It forces raid leaders to check and double check everything. Every success is viewed as routine. Every failed pull or wipe is taken personally as something they did wrong. Every forgotten ability or strategy is a swift kick in their own ass and a muttered curse because they forgot something important.

I’ve led raids before. I was fine then. But I think that was because people were familiar with the encounter and what their jobs were. It’s a fault of mine that I didn’t post the strategy in advance. The flip side? I think I did a pretty damn good job of explaining things and covering the bases as best I could. I couldn’tve done it with Doc, Ice and Hassai as well as the support of everyone else.

Yet I’m still shaking. I don’t know why. I ended the raid at 9. It’s now nearly 11 PM. Yeah I live in Canada and yeah the heater isn’t on. I guess that might partially contribute to the shaking, eh? I think as time progresses, I’ll continue to devise strategy on progression content. But on farm nights, I may have to defer raid leading to other people. There’s simply a large amount of micro managing to do for fight explanations, pull setup and healing assignments. It really does take a lot of effort out of you.

But I’m going to battle through it. I embrace this challenge. It’s what I wanted and it’s what I accepted. I have to put this behind me in order to be the leader that I want to be and am expected to be. I have to accept that I’m not perfect. I have to really understand that this is my first time doing this and that as much as I want to, I can’t do it all as effectively as I like. Sometimes I wish I wasn’t married to the healer class so I could do a better job on raid adjustments. It’s a feeling of helplessness. But I’ll get over it. For the sake of myself, for the sake of my Guild, I have to get over it and I have to battle hard.

Performance, progression, perseverance. Always.

* On raid policy: A lot readers took exception to my zero talk in General chat during raids only. After tonight’s show, I’m going to do away with it. Players were focused. Banter was light. It seems Syd, Doc and I recruited a fairly skilled and disciplined crew. But we’ll see. This was just the first raid.

* On cursing: I need to stop swearing randomly. After someone dies, it’s the f-bomb. After the wipe, it’s an f-bomb. It’s not necessary. I think I’ll replace it with “zoink!” or “squirtle” or “Yaarrrrg!”

* On relaxation: What do raid leaders do after the raid to try to relax? I have this problem where I can’t seem to “take it easy” or “downshift” or “calm down”. Alcohol’s out of the question due to personal health issues (it sucks).

* On member “poaching”: There appears to be a misconception floating around about myself and my recruiting techniques. I’ve been accused of attempting to “poach” or steal members from Carnage in an attempt to “destabalize” my past organization.

From previous experiences, I’m going to define “guild poaching” as the following: Attempting to influence and lure people from one organization to another with intent.

The main reason why I wanted to form my own guild is the fact that it’s a a challenge in the game that I have yet to conquer. I have a different set of beliefs and directions. I did not feel that my past guild shared the same vision that I had. I did not think it was right for me to make such serious and dramatic changes. As a result, I left. I left with friends that I’ve played Counterstrike, Warcraft 3, and other games with for the better part of 8 awesome years. The fact is that I didn’t want to play this game with players who I felt did not share my goals and my beliefs. It’s not fair to them. I don’t want to impose my impatience or my vision on players who don’t share it. As a result, I left to form my own guild and recruit a strong team who did share what I want. Since this is a new expansion with a gear reset, this was the ideal time to do it.

Now you’re aware (for the billionth time) of what I want from this game. Why would I intentionally attempt to steal players from another guild who I felt did not share my same work ethic, beliefs, or vision? Because I’m not. I am not whispering them. I deliberately avoided contact with them. When they approached me, I tried to be as cordial and as professional as possible. I’m guilty for being friends with them and trying to convince them of joining me when I have done no such thing.

I’m not harassing them. I’m not intentionally whispering them. I’m not begging them to quit and join me. That’s not who I am and that’s not what I’m about. Carnage and Conquest are two entirely separate organizations with separate goals. If they wish to apply and join me, they do so under their own accord and their own mindset. I make it clear to them that this isn’t the type of guild that they’re accustomed to. I’ve raised my standards high. I take a no-nonsense, zero BS approach to raids. I believe in swiftness and efficiency. I learned a lot in my time from Carnage from both its successes and failures. I adapted some of their policies because I felt it worked. I’m not going to reinvent the damn wheel. If I like something, I’m going to use it and model it so that it works for me and my purposes.

I honestly don’t give a damn. What’s the line that the Captain of Serenity from Firefly says?

My Ship?

Yeah, My Ship. Not Doc’s. Not Sydera’s. Not Ice’s. My ship, my crew, my way. If you think it’s selfish and ruthless, that isn’t the case. If you think I’m being manipulated or if I’m someone’s bitch, you’re wrong. This is my ship and this is my crew.

I’ve tried to explain to everyone, colleagues, server transfers, and other recruits about who I am and what I believe in. I try to treat everyone the same. I tell them all the same thing that this isn’t a casual raiding guild. This is a progression raiding guild with casual hours. Even though we may not pull 20 hours a week, the work ethic is still high. I constantly remind people of this. Take some time off. Reflect on yourself. Talk to your GMs or friends. But most importantly, find out what you want to do for yourself. In the end, everyone pays money to play this game. I’ve made an unbelievable investment into my guild in terms of ventrilo, website hosting, and other software. I do it because it’s what I want to do and what I believe in.

Should I simply put up a wall that says “No former guildies allowed?”.

No, I’m not going to do that. But at the same time, I’m not going to influence, black mail, trick, or coerce them into joining me because that’s not who I am. If they do decide to apply, then they do so knowing full well the consequences of what they’re getting themselves into. It’s entirely their decision. I wish players would understand and respect that. They have the right. Players aren’t contractually bound to their guilds. Everyone plays in their own self interest. Guilds consist of players with similar self interests because the strength of the group is greater then the strength of the individual.

It’s extremely unfortunate regarding this mistaken perception. I think it’s due to a misunderstanding of communications. I’m not looking to actively recruit people from old guilds or other guilds. All I do is advertise in trade chat that I’m looking for players. Syd handles the off server transfers.

And you know what? My guild happened to clear out Obsidian Sanctum 25 and the Spider Wing of Naxx. Pretty good for “a bunch of trash picked off the streets”, as one former colleague referred to my “ragtag” guild.

So be it. There will be no more reservations. To the players that choose to progress with me, I welcome you with open arms and the spirit of working together once again. To the players that choose to treat me with scorn and hate, good luck with your futures. I hope you accomplish your goals because I am well on my way to accomplishing mine. Attempts to confront me about this is a waste of my time and my energy. I have better things to do like knocking out raid bosses.

Thanks for reading. I’m in quite the mood. Watch what you say in comments, if you choose to say anything. 

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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