Friends and Raiders: My Healing Team

Friends and Raiders: My Healing Team

As a healing lead, it’s my job to keep my healers informed and assigned to positions where they will have maximum effect. I organize, strategize and when necessary discipline the healers. Sounds like all work and no play right? Well the truth of the matter is these people are some of the best friends that I’ve ever made in and out of the game. It’s virtually impossible to spend as much time together as we do weekly and not talk about things other than the game. We laugh and joke together, talk about real life frustrations and triumphs  and when meeting up at places like Blizzcon we raise a toast and throw back some shots in the name of camaraderie.

Another truth is that I wouldn’t be where I am now if it wasn’t for these folks. When I started as Healing Lead, and then moved into Raid Officer it was these folks who helped make the transition easier on me. They are my think tank, my support group and they were the ones that let me know I was doing a good job and helped me find my feet . They were my first inspiration to start blogging and lead to me writing here, as well as being a co-host of my very own podcast and if all goes well, much much more.

I can’t sing the praises of my healing team nearly enough, and as we know healers don’t often get a thank you. Today I’d like to take a moment and introduce you to the healing team of <Unpossible> as well as give them all a great big thank you for all the hard work they put in!

This terror on a motorbike is Wistoovern. A Discipline Priest. Strong of heart and stubborn of mind he has been a stalwart companion of mine both in and out of game for several years. We might not always see eye to eye (he’s almost a foot and a half taller than I am) but when asked to do something he dives right in.

Some interesting facts about Wist here

  • He’s hugged Felicia Day (saw it with my own eyes)
  • He’s “Raid Buffed” his car (if you got the raid buff bumper sticker at Blizzcon you can thank this man, he made them)
  • He innovated the “lowbie chaff” decoy maneuver (where one brings a lowbie to a city raid and then ejects them from the passenger seat while running in for boss kills)
  • He’s a twitch healing shield monkey

 

This is Shammyx the second Restoration Shaman for unpossible. Shammyx was the literal inspiration behind my first blog Way of The Totem. I needed a good place to consolidate Shaman specific raid information without cluttering the guild forums with it, and thus that blog was born. Shammy is a quiet guy with a good sense of humor. A fantastic healer with a large array of alts ranging from Mages, and Hunters up through a DK and Pally. His healing output is always fantastic and he is just awesome to have in any run we do. I can’t see going into battle without his Chain Heal chiming a chorus to my own.

This tantalizing trio of trees is my forest of win! My three ladies Dianarah, Shenweh and Bellabeast. Collectively they are my healing rock. I know I can count on them in a pinch to do everything and anything they can to keep the raid alive. Our guild leader I think said it best:

Let me introduce you to each

Dianarah is my right-hand tree. She is my second in command, my number one well.. you get the picture. Anything I miss, she catches. I know she’s got my back and isn’t afraid to call me out on anything that might be just a little too wacky. In times of need she also carries a Crit Chicken spec to help increase DPS in the raid. You can see her in Boomkin form in the article image at the top here. She is also one of our membership officers and helps make sure our guild is full of amazing people to play with. She also has great taste in tequila!

Shenweh is my left-hand tree. Modest almost to a fault, Shen is the one that will often times play down the praise she receives. She has proven herself time and time again to be just amazing both in heals and personality. She is also the Morale Officer for our guild, and her husband is the Rogue Class leader. She makes sure that our guildies are all having a good time. Thanks to her we now have the tradition of every new boss kill we kick Zabos from the guild. (If you’re on Zul’jin you know who Zabos is then you’ll understand. If you aren’t and don’t know who he is, you’re better off ;) )

Bellabeast is a recent addition to our guild. Her and her husband (Prot Pally raider) joined our ranks not too long ago but have already become members of our family. Bella is also one of those quiet types not saying much in the raid, but goes about her job with focus and determination. She rounds our the trio of Arboreal Awesomeness

 

Next up is Kaylestera our resident Holy Priest. Kay and I actually met through Twitter of all places. I had made a call out looking for new recruits during our summer raider lull. Kay responded asking some very very good questions. Eventually our conversation bled over to Google talk. Kay originally was from the Firetree server. After talking for a few weeks she took a leap of faith and transferred over to Zul’jin. She brought with her a multitude of people and the ranks of Unpossible swelled. Since then she has solidified herself as one our our key healers in the group. She brings with her Raid Leading experience, her wonderful personality and a great sense of humor. I know during our raids and in between I can count on her to offer information and solutions to encounters and problems that the guild faces.

 

This fellow you might have seen around once or twice, Thespius here is the guilds second Discipline Priest. Again another person introduced to me through that wonderful social media tool Twitter. I was looking for another healer to round out my team and a mutual acquaintance of ours suggested we talk to one another. We hit it off right away and it seemed that Unpossible was just what Thes was looking for. A fun family type atmosphere where we still progress in content but have fun doing it. He transferred servers and was welcomed into the guild very quickly. In game I know I can count on Thes to do everything and anything he can to help the raid succeed, whether it’s going along with a wacky raid strategy or switching specs so we don’t have Shield collision on certain fights. Out of game Thes has also become a fantastic addition to Team Matticus here, as well as appearing as a co-host on the podcast Raid Warning. His personality meshes perfectly with that of the guild and he’s quickly been assimilated as one of us. He wears his <Unpossible> tag proudly.

Last but not least we have an honorary member of the Unpossible Healing team. Archaan is the Priest Class lead and ranks among my oldest friends in the guild. He used to be our resident Holy Priest and eventually moved to shadow for a change of pace and to help out guild needs. Archaan will always be a member of the Unpossible Heal team in whatever form he decided to take. He pitches in and heals when we need him to, he organizes our Priest’s Divine Hymn Rotations and he is a card carrying member of the Dwarven Mafia Mechano Biker gang. Archaan is one of those people I know beyond a shadow of a doubt I can turn to both in game and out of game for advice and conversation. Oh, and he’s actually taller IRL than Wist. Which is a site to see when him and I are walking around Blizzcon. He also has amazing taste in beer!

There they are folks, the healing pulse of <Unpossible>, and a group of friends that anyone would be proud to have. I want to once again thank every single one of them for their contributions to the guild, as well as my own personal sanity. You guys are the best group of healbots this Shaman could ever ask for. You rock so hard!!!

With that I declare today Thank Your Healers Day!! You know who they are, show them a little love, it does go a long way.  From this Shaman blogger I’d also like to issue a thanks to the healing community out there. Between here, Plusheal and the various other blogs and sites the passion for the job is obvious. Thank you our readers because the truth of it is, if there wasn’t such a strong healing community we wouldn’t be here!

(Don’t worry Tanks and DPS You’ll each have a day soon too!)

Have anyone you want to say thanks to? Want to give props to the pugger who pulled off some amazing heals? Lets hear it!

Until next time, Happy Healing!

Friends and Raiders: Raider Accountability

Friends and Raiders: Raider Accountability

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So, it’s a topic that is always present but not a lot of people seem to want to touch on is disciplining raiders. It’s a topic most people hope to never deal with, but inevitably it comes up, how do you discipline your raiders? My guild has several ranks, the hierarchy goes like this.

GM

Officer

Class Lead

Raider

Veteran

Applicant

The raider rank offers free consumables for raids and a guaranteed raid spot on our 25 man raid nights. Pretty sweet deal right? The officers thought so too, but we felt it had to come with some requirements. Last year at Blizzcon 08 my guild was lucky enough that almost all the officers were able to attend. We hit up a pub, ordered a few pints and decided to hash out ground rules. We understand everyone has off days, so with that in mind how do we evaluate our raiders? We have three categories which we judge our raiders. Performance, Attendance and Attitude.

Performance

This is judged by varying degrees depending on class and role. We divided out the basic archetypes into 4 groups and an officer looks over each group one for melee, one for hunters, one for casters and one for healers (guess which one I take care of). We don’t set hard numbers but we look for a couple things. Is the player performing well based on assignment and others of their class? Is the player prepared with proper gems, enchants, talent spec and consumables (and using the provided consumables)? Does the player have their resistance gear(if applicable)? Is the player following assignments (healers on their target, interrupts doing what they need to do, the right sheeps going out)? Is the player consistently dying to void zones for no good reason? Is the person looting / herbing / mining etc instead of doing what they are supposed to be doing (ex: picking flowers instead of healing the tank)

That’s a rough sketch but you get the idea.
Attendance

This one is a hard number. We require that those of the raider rank attend 75% of the main raids (we only count our 25 man raids since for us that’s the focus) if you are not going to be able to make an official raid we expect you to give us notice so we can prepare. We understand that life happens and well, real life is more important then the game. We just ask that our raiders give us notification so we can bring in a replacement and keep the raid going for those that are on.

We also require that raiders be at the instance at the time of raid invites. This is not too much to ask, log out at the instance the night before if you have to. We don’t want to keep an entire raid waiting because one or two people are horsing around in Dalaran, or are always waiting for a Warlock to summon them.

Attitude

This one’s a bit of a wild card for some people, but the basics of the concept is as follows. Is the player badgering other players? (this includes harassing classes on the same token if they are going to drop or pass the token to the player) Is the person constantly in a sour mood and taking it out on the raid? Is the person ignoring assignments? Is the person acting like they just don’t want to be there? This also includes personal grievances between players. If one player has a problem with another we investigate it.

For this one it’s more the temper tantrum rule. If you’re being pissy, expect to be called on it.

Punitive Measures

So, now that we’ve metered out the 3 categories to go by how does one go about reprimanding offenders? For attendance issues we review the monthly numbers and people below the 75% mark are brought to the attention of the raid officers. If we see that there is sufficient reason for a demotion (ie skipped two weeks of raids for beer blasts) we will demote the person from raider status. We understand that real life happens and of course won’t hold unavoidable events against our raiders.

For performance and attitude we follow the Three Strike Rule. Each time a raider breaks one of the rules they receive a strike. Along with the strike comes a warning, usually handled in whispers during a break in the raid or if its severe enough during the encounter. We try to avoid public defamation on vent (but that doesn’t keep us from screaming to get out of the damned void zones when needed). Attitude problems are dealt with swiftly and on the spot. Informing the raider that they can and will be removed if the behavior continues (and following through with it). There is an officer in every class channel and usually one per group in 25 mans, so we have a good idea when someone is acting up. When a raider reaches three strikes they will receive two treatments. First is a docking of DKP. My guild still uses the DKP system so this is a major check point for most of our raiders. The degree of the docking depends on the severity of the strikes to be decided by the raid officers. Along with that comes the evaluation of the person’s raider status.  The raid officers decide if the person should be demoted.

Personal grievances are set for investigation. Officers will step in and separate the people in question, find out whats happening and determine what needs to be done, if anything.

To be honest we’ve never gotten to the third strike for anyone. DKP docking and removal of rank act as great deterrents and our raiders are generally pretty adult about most things, our officers are pretty proactive as well. We hold clinics and workshops as necessary if a player decides they need help. An officer is almost always on in game and class leaders are always afoot. We are very active as a guild and work together to bring everyone up, as well as weed out anything that might threaten the stability of our raid and guild.

You’ll find most raiding guilds have something like this set up. Ours is probably more lenient then some, but it works for us. We have a pretty long app process so people who make it through generally are good seeds and mesh well with the way we do things, so disciplining raiders doesn’t come up very often.

So how about you? How does your guild handle your raider? Do you Handle them at all? How do you handle personal grievances among guildies/raiders?

Until next time, Happy Healing

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Image courtesy of Guardian.co.uk

Friends and Raiders: The Social Aspect of Warcraft

Friends and Raiders: The Social Aspect of Warcraft

social-network

Someone once said “Hey it’s no big deal, it’s just a game right?”. As a kid, those games of jacks or playing war were always competitive but the statement held true. At the end of the day it was just a game and you could walk away and go back to being friends with your nemesis of twenty minutes prior. The games we play evolved over time and became not only part of daily life for a lot of people, but a part of culture for us. Take a look at the Nintendo Entertainment System, even if you never owned one you know about it. Products bearing it’s symbol are still present.

Fast forward to the discovery of the MMORPG. I played Ultima Online for a good long while as a teen, and then moved away for other endeavors (see trying to be a rock-star). I came back to the MMO scene with City of Heroes and of course World of Warcraft. What stands out about these games is not just the amazing content they can provide and the hours(years) of enjoyment they bring you, but you get to talk and do things with friends and other people. Working towards a common goal whether it is downing a boss or capturing the opposing factions flag still feels great at the end of the night no matter what if you can do it with your friends. It’s that aspect of the game more then anything else that draws me into Warcraft.

Warcraft is a rare  and unique snowflake. Not only has it set the bar unbelievably high for game content and playability,but the community that has sprung up around it has gone beyond the normal social aspects of any other MMO. There is a feeling of comradeship and competition that spans millions upon millions of people. The first time the true scope of the community hit me was when I read the story of Ezra Chatterton, otherwise known as EPhoenix. He passed away October of 2008, but before that touched so many of our hearts with his visit to Blizzard’s HQ as part of a make a wish deal. Hunter season 2 crossbow? That was his idea. It was also a wonderful way for the company to give back to a kid who found true joy playing their game with his father. When his ailment was reported, the outcry and comments from thousands upon thousands of people wishing him well, making characters on his server just to say hi and see how he was doing and even digging in their own pockets to donate funds was overwhelming. It was one of the largest showings of concern and care I’d seen in a long long while. When he passed millions of players mourned together. We has lost one of us, and we grieved as one. That was just one life, one player, one character.

Think back on your own travels through WoW. Have you ever had a friend you made in game that turned out to have a large impact on your life? Did you meet your potential love in real life while running an instance? Do you find yourself making friends in game and then moving those relationships outside of the game? I’m guessing more then a few of you do. I know I do. Lets look at some of the social parts of the game.

Guild

The guild is the family unit of the game. You play together,craft together, and more often then not raid together. You share your victories and your defeats with them. You spend the majority of your time in a guild. Think about it, You spend your time with these people like a family or coworkers, and over time you develop strong bonds with some of them. Take a moment and look back on it. I’m sure you can think of a few people who you met through your guild that you considered a close friend or confidant. Like families your guild will also interact with other guilds on your server who are of a like minded direction. They tend to flock together. Top end raiding guilds all know each other, the “brass” so to speak knows each other and interact on a regular basis much like families in the same neighborhood would. I’m sure you know more then a few people from other guilds around the same tier as yours pretty well. Your guild also more then likely has some form of website or forum that lets you keep in touch, even with those who leave the game.

WoW Websites / Blogs

I’m a recent addition to this world in many ways, but it’s still amazing to me the sense of community you get when you browse private blogs and websites dedicated to the game. I have met so many people through these sites, not just as a writter here at World of Matticus but through reading other’s blogs, following them on twitter and even randomly finding them on facebook. Talking about the game has bled over into talking about real life. Sure there will always be exceptions but I find more often then not bloggers and people who put their WoW ways up on the Internet are a friendly bunch (in my case the term jovial has been applied). You yourself probably have had interaction with a blogger that has grown to what you would call friendship. Communities like Plusheal are great examples. So many people from all different servers sharing ideas, helping each other out with tips, strategies, loot ideas. You can even find WoW Twitters like Mine and Matt’s and in fact using such a site further highlights the sense of community. These sites bring us news of events like Ezra and highlight the triumphs and hardships of our gaming community. If not for websites like Plusheal I never would have met Matt, Syd and Wyn and lets face it, those three are pretty alright =D

The Friends list

Throughout your travels you’ve more then likely gathered a few friends that you’ve tossed on your list. Occasionally those friends are Real Life friends who happen to be in another guild, or sometimes ex guildies. Sometimes the game can cause a divide in a friendship and cause people to no longer speak out of game let alone in game. I’d like to share a bit about my friends that I’ve acquired through the game.

One of my best friends is a raiding warlock in my guild. We met through the game and found out we lived in the same city, all of 10 minutes away from each other. He has become one of my closest companions and is like a brother to me (talking about you Tim!). But I probably wouldn’t have met him if not for the game. In fact the vast majority of my guild. I talk to them outside of the game and look forward to events like Blizzcon as excuses to meet up with them have a few beers and share in a solid friendship that has be cultivated over the course of years. I miss some that have left the game to pursue other endeavors but I do try to keep in touch. And occasionally I’ll get a surprise like last night where friends of old that fell off all radars years ago pop back in the game with a fresh game card and their old level 60 toons.

One of my longest in-game friends left my guild a long time ago, but I always kept in contact. We talk whenever possible and its nice to catch up. She also listens to my rants which is a bonus and she helped me understand a lot about paladin healing when I switched over to healing lead and before I stumbled upon the websites here and Plusheal for information.

I met my girlfriend through the community as well. We started talking about being healers and the game and found out we had so much more in common. I recently made a toon on her server and was invited into the guild she is part of. Within minutes I was welcomed warmly and sincerely and was made to feel a part of the guild immediately. They are a great bunch of folk, and I never would have met her or them if not for the community surrounding WoW. I’m very glad to have met them and look forward to spending more time with them.

I lost a friend because of the game too. There was a disagreement over specs and honestly rather silly things. When the dust settled whether it was pride or whatever, I lost a real life friend that I had for years prior. It hurt but it’s just the nature of the game.

I’m in awe daily by the amount of people I get to talk to and interact with through twitter, this website and the game in general. That’s the part that really draws me to World of Warcraft, I love interacting with people. I find it so much more gratifying then say, just stomping goombas (although mario time will always be a treasured event). I think it’s safe to say that WoW has moved beyond being “just a game”.

So how about you? Have any stories of friendship gained or lost to share? Do you think the social aspect of WoW is what makes it such a powerhouse?

Until Next time, Happy Healing,

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Image courtesy of www.yourmwr.com