Getting Rid of the Ready Check

The ready check is an easily understood command which has one question for players to answer.

Are you ready?

Traditionally, raid leaders use ready checks to ensure everyone has their buffs, cauldrons and consumables. It’s a last minute reminder for everyone to see if anyone has any questions before going into the pull. Anyone steal a ninja AFK to wash their hands or sneak a drink? The alarm would sound informing players to rush back to their desks or switch programs back into the game.

What if your guild stopped using it? What would change? How would the players and the atmosphere change?

In an upcoming interview with Mel, one of the powers behind the guild of <Edge> and a blogger at Sacred Duty, does not utilize ready checks at all. Here’s a brief excerpt where he explains his reasoning.

Rumor has it that your raid group does not utilize ready checks. If it’s true, how come?
Ready checks are an opt-in system, and opt-in systems deflect responsibility.  Instead, we make the choice to assume that everyone is at keyboard and ready to play when we’re raiding – when they’re expected to be.  We’ll often be discussing strategy during runbacks, so it’s a bad time to just take off the headset and run AFK anyway.  If someone has to take an emergency break, the onus is on them to inform the raid, and then we wait.  But I don’t see a reason to waste 20 seconds on every pull just to ask if everyone is actually at their keyboard, when I could just be informed that someone isn’t there for the one pull that it’s an issue.

This isn’t a completely foreign concept to me since my guild utilizes a sign out system for attendance. We’re not the only ones as other progression oriented guilds do the same thing. Making the assumption that you are ready instead of asking if you’re ready is presents an interesting shift in dynamics. It places a bigger emphasis on players to really speak up if they’re not sure about something or if they need to step out momentarily. In the long run, if you multiply the time spent on ready checks before every pull on a per week and per month basis, the time really does add up. It’s definitely one way of shaving off precious seconds on a raid night.

I’m considering implementing this in Conquest. I might just try it out for a week and see how we respond collectively as a group. It might end up being a positive change for us.

On a side note, a warm welcome to Morynne who has joined the guild!

Tough Call: Fighting Progression Frustration

Image courtesy of leonardobc

This week the crew has been hitting our heads against a progression boss, and the talk around the campfire has a decided air of frustration to it. As a leader, you need to be aware of your team’s motivation levels when tackling new challenges. Encounters surpassing your raid team’s ability level can often turn frustration into futility.

But how do does a raid leader handle this precisely?

The same way we handle any problem – with planning and execution.  Sun Tzu, who probably would have been a Vodka/Paragon level raid leader, teaches us:

“The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand.”

It sounds simple, and when you’re doing it well, it really is simple.  Knowing what needs to be done ahead of time and adjusting as you go along are the two key ingredients to successful raid progression no matter the size of the raid or the strategy being used.

Below are a few points I recommend keeping in mind when your raid team is approaching difficult content:

Planning For Raid Progression

  • Read, understand and analyze the intended boss strategies as dictated by your raid leaders well in advance of attempting the fight. This allows you to see mistakes as well as make changes easily.
  • Be honest with yourself about the capabilities of your team. Have an idea where your weaknesses and strengths lie. This could be include aspects ranging from movement, DPS, healer skill or people with high raid awareness.
  • Know when to call a wipe and when to extend an attempt to see the next phase. Part of your team being dead might still allow the rest of the raid to practice key mechanics of the fight.
  • Experimentation is good. Figure out what works and what doesn’t when you deviate from a typical boss strategy. It might just be easier for your team.
  • Ensure your team is on the same page. Present a united and focused front for your troops to follow.

Sometimes, though, even our best-laid plans… well, you know what happens.  So the question becomes, what next?  What do I do when my team is getting weary, my strategies are in question, and I need a win quickly?

First of all, do not ditch your plan just because it isn’t working.  A strategy can fall apart in a lot of places. It may be execution, it may be a certain raid composition due to attendance; it could be any number of factors.  Find out where the strategy is failing and decide which elements you can change.  Can you swap personnel?  Slight positioning adjustment?  Time your cooldowns better (this is often a fix in Cataclysm raiding)?
Whether your plan needs a complete overhaul or just some minor adjustments, it is still crucial to address the frustration of your raiders and regroup.

  • Do not avoid the tough conversations. When your members bring up their gripes, listen to them. Answer appropriately.
  • Know the difference between toxic negativity and someone just blowing off steam. Sometimes people just need to vent. However, there is line between getting out some frustration and poisoning the morale of your squad.
  • Give responses that are logical and concise. You need to lay out for your team exactly what you’re doing, why you’re doing it that way,  and why you don’t think it can be done in an alternative way.  The more details, the better.
  • Accept suggestions and give them their due consideration. After all, if the 9 or 24 other people in your raid aren’t intelligent enough to help you with their observations, then you probably shouldn’t be raiding. Applaud valuable and constructive criticism from your raid.
  • Kill the boss and go out for beer!

Remember, the future is brighter.  Your raid will down this boss and will continue downing bosses. Success breeds further success.  Get out there and prove you’re all winners.


Reader Question

Last week, regarding my post on Real Officer Set-Ups, Kalette asked:

“Do you have any comments on how to incorporate this into a 10 man guild with two separate 10 man teams?”

Recently I had a conversation with Matticus about different ways guilds could operate more than one progression-oriented raid team within the same guild. (See Matt’s post here for his thoughts.) My feeling on the idea is that when you’re setting up policies for your guild, (attendance, loot, recruiting, critique, etc) they should apply to everyone playing that portion of the game, not just your raid team.

Clearly each raid needs their own raid leader, both of whom will need to be equally trusted by the GM, and trusted to work alone, because at least one of them will likely be raiding in without you overseeing them.

Beyond that, I think you could pull off a two 10-man raid guild with the same positions mentioned before.  You may have to get creative about which officer raids with which team, but in theory your role officers could oversee recruiting, critique and mentoring for every raider under their domain.  Since we’re talking about smaller numbers, they would each be responsible for roughly the same amount of players as they would in a healthy 25-man team, they would probably just need to be better at analyzing WoL logs parses since they can’t see everyone first hand.

Another approach is to combine a few roles, and have those role leaders cooperate with each other.  Tanks and melee DPS can easily be combined, and you could put ranged DPS and healing in a group together.  Then each 10-man raid would have one officer over each of those pairs.  Outside of raid, you may naturally specialize and have one ranged/healing role leader who is more attuned to healing and another who is better at the pew-pew, but so long as they can learning from each other, you can benefit from both being specialized.

By the numbers:
1x GM
2x RL
1x each Role Leader

Alternative:
1x GM
2x RL
2x Tanks/Melee Leader
2x Ranged/Healing Leader

I think the key caveat I’d make is that recruiting should still be done on a scale of “does this person meet our guild’s standards”, not just will they meet the needs of Raid A or Raid B.  When you’re fielding two squads who are both responsible for pushing progression and increasing your guild’s standing, it’s important to make sure that every raider meets the criteria to deserve that guild’s name above their heads.
Kalette, great question; I hope this helps.  If not, call me dumb and I’ll give it another look.

As always, leave your questions/comments/paternity suits in the comments.  I’ll lovingly read them all.  Also, if you have a topic you’d like to see addressed in a future episode of Tough Call, just let me know.

Tough Call: Time vs Talent

Tough Call: Time vs Talent

803068_47829639aWelcome back for another episode of Tough Call with me, Viktory.  Today I want to discuss roster evaluation, and specifically, two factors to look at when examining your depth charts.

You do have a depth chart for your raid positions right?

… Please tell me you have a depth chart for your various raid roles and you’re not just bringing whoever shows up first …

(For anyone who doesn’t get the sport analogy, a depth chart basically lists each position and ranks the players have that position in order. You have your go-to guy/gal, the back-up, the back-back-up, etc.)

Editor’s Note: Before we go any further, if you are of the steadfast opinion that nobody deserves to be benched, or that your best friends deserve a spot in every raid, you will likely want to stop now.

Okay, so let’s say you’ve got your full raid roster in front of you and you’re trying to figure out who’s going to make the cut and get a stable spot in your 25-man raid. Obviously you have certain roles you need to fill (tanks, healers, melee, ranged) and certain skills you need players to possess in those roles (AoE heals, interrupts, soak tank, kiting, etc).  You’ve got a lot of criteria to look at when deciding who is THE BEST player for you to bring to your raid. 

(Remember, “take the player, not the class” implies “take the best possible player”.

One of the more common downfalls I’ve seen leaders suffer, and one of the worst traps I’ve seen players try to spring on their Raid Leader, is the substitution of Time for Talent/Aptitude.

A few weeks ago I told you that “preparation is king”, and while that still holds true, by now you should be seeing who actually knows what’s expected of them, and who’s just reading a script.  In fact, if we think of raiding like a foreign language, we can come up with three archetypes.

Native Speakers

Some players have a lot of natural talent.  These players are the mage who always does crazy DPS and makes it look easy, the guy who plays a utility spec and still manages to do competitive DPS, the healer who can instinctively spot issues with the raid and react in a clutch moment (see Matticus in his prime*).  Everyone loves to have these guys around, especially when they don’t act entitled or get lazy because they think they’re too good to need to put in the grunt work.

*Note: I said “see”, not “listen to”.  He’s a horrible story-teller.

Fluent Professionals

Other players have to work hard to produce the output you’re looking for.  Think Rudy here, the guy with a lot of heart who does his homework and gives you the results you’re looking for.  As a leader you know that he’s always reading up on the relevant websites, maybe talking to other progression raiders who play his spec, and is constantly seeking ways to improve.  Through their effort, they are just as good, or nearly as good as your top tier guys.  The key here is that you DO see them improving, carrying their load, and not causing wipes.

I think a “perfect raid” is filled with a solid mix of these two personalities.  However, we need to minimize or weed-out the last group:

Tourists

The personality to absolutely avoid is the “trained noob”, to borrow a term from Pure Pwnage.  These are players who bring sub-par skill, spend a lot of time logged on, but instead of learning and absorbing their class mechanics, they may have only learned the accepted boss strat.  These are the guys at the cafe with their French-to-English dictionary out, trying to look-up each word the waiter just said, because they were not expecting that response.

Players like this will present a liability to your raid anytime things deviate from the norm.  Get bad RNG on a boss, or timers that don’t line up with the abilities the boss is using, and you can bet that these players will be toast.  Customize the Tankspot strat to meet the capabilities of your raid, and you just may find these guys out of position and thoroughly confused.

Don’t be fooled by people who have a lot of time and very little aptitude.  It all comes down to who can get the job done. 

It is up to you, as part of raid management, to spot the player who may have raid knowledge, but not raid awareness, and figure out a solution.  Determining who’s a “fluent professional” and who’s just a “tourist” will help boost your raid output (and morale) immensely. 

If it’s my call, I’d put that person as far back on my depth chart as possible, only bringing them when I must class-stack, or when other players are missing, and I’d definitely keep recruitment open until I found a good core that was made up all “native speakers” and “fluent professionals”.

Please leave any questions or suggestions for future topics neatly stacked in the comments below.  Shoot, if you’re so inclined, leave details of your most epic knitting accomplishment, too. Those are always cool.

Matticast Episode 5

Welcome to Episode 5 of The Matticast. This week MattLodurKat, and Brian discuss:

  • Randomize raid encounters
  • Why healers always get blamed
  • Update on the Druid/Shaman healing situation in progression raiding.
  • The listener topic this week tackles difficulties you face as a raider.

Don’t forget you can send us your questions or topic, and be sure to checkout and participate in the listener topic every Wednesday.

Subscribe to the show: iTunesRSS

Matticast Episode 4

Welcome to Episode 4 of The Matticast. This week Matt, Borsk, Kat, and Brian discuss:

  • How to keep your raid team intact when progression stalls.
  • How to motivate raiders to be better than average
  • The listener topic this week tackles difficult boss encounters

Don’t forget you can send us your questions or topic, and be sure to checkout and participate in the listener topic every Wednesday.

Subscribe to the show: iTunesRSS

Crafting Your State of the Guild Address

For guild leaders, expansion transition is one of the most perilous moments. I know it can be difficult at times to convey thoughts and desires, but it is absolutely vital to do so before the expansion. This guild leader has a bad habit of occasionally forgetting to communicate. Like any relationship, back and forth discussion is always key.

What is in a state of the guild address?

Every guild will have different points to cover. There are a few similarities. The basic intent here is to state what it is your guild is going to do in the expansion. Even if there is zero change in purpose from Wrath to Cataclysm, it’s a good refresher for existing players and serves as a good place to start for prospects.

Some things your might want to cover are:

  • Direction: Casual guild? Social guild? Raiding guild? PvP guild? What is the point of this guild?
  • History: This is a good time to reflect back on the expansion of your guild accomplishments and anything you wish you could have improved upon.
  • Recruiting: Has anything changed regarding recruiting? Are you accepting max level characters only? What about re-rolls?
  • Raiding: Is the  raiding schedule going to change? New days or new times? What about 10 vs 25 man?
  • Policies: This is a great section to list any updates for any policies like alts, guild bank, loot system changes, attendance and so forth.
  • Timeline: For progression oriented guilds, consider stating intended timelines for leveling and raiding. Which week will the guild hit level 85? When will the guild begin formally raiding?
  • Leadership: Any officers stepping down? Any promotions being handed out?

In your address, you mainly want to target your guild. Your members want to know what is going on because there will be players who might wish for a change of scenery. At the same time, leave it in a publically viewable area like the front page or on a recruiting forum. This way, potential applications can read it and have a better idea of what your intentions are.

Here’s the one I wrote for my guild and I’ll do a breakdown of what I was thinking.

Raiding progression plans

There were a large number of players who have entered the guild. Raiders will come and go. Life happens, right? But I wanted to acknowledge their contributions.

Conquest started during Wrath. The first two years were spent seeing consolidating and seeing what we were capable of. I want to thank the over 100 players who have played alongside Conquest over the years. Without your efforts, we would not be where we are today.

I want to elevate this guild. Right now, we’re a little over 20th on Ner’zhul. I’m not going to be satisfied until we break and maintain at least top 10. Ner’zhul is extremely competitive. There’s over 20 guilds that have downed heroic Sindragosa 25 (pre-patch 4.0.1). I think we can reach that next level.

Our raiding interests will remain in 25 man.

What did I want to do differently? We’re already raiding. There were points during Wrath where I felt the guild “lagged” a bit compared to other raiding guilds on the server. Yes, this is a Wrath guild but now that the guild had been around for an expansion, I wanted to “get there”. I know that over time, we’ll eventually see bosses but I want to clear out the entire expansion. The ambition and the drive wasn’t completely there for me in Wrath and consequently there are a few encounters we did not take down.

A shift in recruiting

After discussion with officers, it was decided to open recruiting up further. With the expansion weeks away, there isn’t much of a point to recruit for current content. We’re just in farm mode and finishing up drakes for players who still need them. The time is best used to recruit anyone who wants to raid in the expansion regardless of their level.

Getting into Conquest is easy. Raiding with Conquest will require a little extra effort. For the time being, we have shifted our recruiting policy. In light of the new guild leveling system and guild perks, we have opened our doors to any player who believes they can contribute. Friends of current guild members are welcome to apply as is anyone else looking to hang out.

Rerolls and non-maxed characters

If you are not max level or wish to reroll, simply go ahead and apply anyway. List any existing 80s you have and fill out the application as normal. Add a note at the end saying that you have no desire to raid current content and you’re here to have a shot for our Cataclysm raiding team.

Why?

We’re planning for the future. We’re not simply looking for appropriate class or spec make up. We’re looking specifically for players with the right character and personality for the guild. Evaluation is always an ongoing process. Players that pass their trial period sometimes leave weeks after citing difference of opinion or other problems. I encourage players to experience the guild environment first before committing themselves to raiding after.

Trust me when I say I made some mistakes regarding personnel. I have no intention of seeing it happen again.

I have always maintained that different players will favour different guilds. I would not last very long in a casual raiding guild or a PvP guild. Can you see me in an RP guild? It would be amusing to watch me, but I would simply drown.

Scheduling

It’s not enough to say that you want to get there. In my case, I had to back it up. I didn’t want to another day or more hours. But I knew there were times when if we had just one or two more attempts, we would have gotten that boss. The decision was made to add 90 minutes overall to the raid schedule. I’m banking that it might be enough to put us over the top.

In light of the renewed commitment from the leadership, we’re looking at a minor extension of the raiding schedule. A fourth day will not be added. Instead, the intent is to run 2 raiding schedules: One for progression and one for farm.

During progression, an extra 30 minutes will be added per raid night.

Tuesday: 6:00 PM – 9:30 PM
Thursday: 6:00 PM – 9:30 PM
Monday: 6:00 PM – 9:30 PM
On farm, we will continue at our current pace and adjust accordingly.

Tuesday: 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Thursday: 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
* Monday: 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM

* We’re going to reach a point where all content can be cleared within that time. As we do not know the scope nor difficulty of the new raids, it is hard to say. Raid times may still be adjusted depending on our progress.

Naturally, this will depend on what raid instances are like. How many bosses are in them? How much trash do we need to blow up? All that stuff adds up.

Timeline

I leveled to 85 once on beta, so I had a rough idea of what to expect. I number of my guild mates have already scheduled time off of work for that opening week (on a side note, have you cashed in on your sick days?)

Here is the expected course for the first opening weeks of Cataclysm.

December 7th: Cataclysm released

Week 1 (December 14th): Guild members at 85 and geared to run dungeon heroics.
Week 2 (December 21st): After farming and acquiring mats for craftable gear coupled with heroic items, we should be ready to begin raiding.
Week 3 (December 28th): Multiple raid boss kills by now.
Stock up on the red bull and the pizza pops.

Please note: 10 man raiding operations will begin immediately the moment we have enough players and the appropriate raid composition. The goal is to get in there and start familiarizing boss mechanics. Any extra loot is a bonus. An item earned then is an item we don’t have to craft or waste time on getting from heroics. We will transition to 25 as quickly as possible from there.

On the beta, when I took down those raid bosses, my average ilevel score was approximately 350. I believe a minimum of approximately 340 ilevel could be sufficient enough.

This is a really optimistic time line. It took me about 50 hours combined just to go from 80 to 85. But I had the advantage of being on a PvE beta server and rested experience. Ner’zhul is a PvP server and I seriously doubt I’ll have that much rested experience lying around. Clearing out the entire normal mode bosses by New Years is something I secretly wish for but that might be too wishful. We entered Wrath as a 25 man guild and we’re going to go into Cataclysm the same way.

Those were just some of the major points. If you’re interested in seeing the rest, feel free to check it out. There really isn’t a wrong way to writing one. You could deliver it verbally over Ventrilo or Mumble but you’ll want to avoid cases of “he said, she said” type situations. Having it laid out in text keeps everyone on the same page.

Now I’m trying to remember what’s next on my to do list. Transitioning expansions is never easy.

Why Loot Council, Matticus?

Why Loot Council, Matticus?

elrond-council

Veneretio: @behemothdan “Agreed there is no perfect system, but there are good systems and bad systems.”

This statement was, of course, in regards to a post Syd wrote earlier about her early experience with the implementation of Loot Council. Like good systems and bad systems, there are good people and bad people. Power, when used for good, can be used for great thing. When used for bad, can lead to not so great things.

Before I can go into any greater detail, you need to understand the Matticus Doctrine when it comes to raiding. There’s a specific line in there that effectively summarizes my thoughts on loot:

Loot may not be fair and it may not be equal, but I will do my best to ensure that it is effective and not wasted.

A lot of players will say that LC shows favoritism and isn’t fair. I think that’s a matter of perception. What does fair mean? What is your definition of equal? Can you distribute loot fairly and progress? Can it be done quickly?

When we talk about progression, fairness and equality are out the window.

Is fair giving 3 pieces of minor upgrades to the Mage who’s earned that right after months of raiding and then taking a 2 month hiatus but exercising their DKP option when the tier tokens could’ve benefited the Rogue who is still wearing T5?

Or is fair auto looting a crucial piece to a tank to make progression raids that much easier instead of the Priest who can also benefit?

We’re in the business of progression and that means the players have to trust us. Loot gets distributed with the intent to boost and maximize raid performance. And it may not always be “fair”. This means withholding items from the player who frequently AFKs in trash. This means deciding on the player who flasked, brought reagents, repaired and enchanted and gemmed all of his gear instead of the player who didn’t repair to full, asked for Paladin reagents because he forgot to stock up, and isn’t playing 100%.

Factors include but are not limited to:

  • Present gear
  • Tier token count
  • Performance
  • Attendance
  • Attitude
  • “Clutch”ness
  • Etc.

What makes it work?

In order for the system to work, there’s a few important things that I took into account and into consideration:

Numerous Loot drops: Bosses drop at least four items. It’s not a matter of who gets loot. It’s a matter of when. Everyone’s going to get the gear they’ll need and want fairly quickly.

Accountability: It’s not in my best interest to screw people or my guild over. Why not? I’ve got over a thousand regular readers. I just reached the 1 million page view mark a few days ago. I do have a reputation to keep. I don’t want to be known as someone who constantly loots stuff to his friends or someone who shows favoritism all the time. I want to recognize hard work and effort and I want to reward it accordingly.

Progression oriented guildies: I’ve surrounded myself with players who want to kill bosses. They don’t care about the loot they get. They’re not greedy. They’re willing to share it with others who benefit more then they do. I do not have players who only care about themselves. I do not recruit players who are selfish and greedy and want the best epics in the game just so they can look good.

In fact, the biggest problem is when everyone passes or there is no interest at all. If anything, some of the players are too generous.

Member input: Like Syd said, our players are allowed to give some input into whether or not they want an item. It’s a unique system that has worked out for us thus far.

Sometimes decisions will be easy.

Plate Spellpower? A quick glance at the raid shows there’s only one Paladin. Same thing with Resto Shamans.

What makes it not work?

Human error: This is the biggest strength and also it’s biggest weakness. In fact, I won’t hesitate to admit that I’ve already screwed up looting once. You’ll find out more on Monday night on the weekly Post Raids. We’re all human. Sometimes we all overlook things. We all make mistakes. Once in a while, we’ll make the wrong decision.

Loot council cannot work based on the effort of one person. It can only work with the collective effort and trust of the entire guild. Without it, you may as well just go back to using a DKP system. It’s not the best system nor is it by any means perfect. But perfection was never one of the 3 Ps. It’s the best system for the goals and directions of the guild. Players need to buy into it or else it will end up failing.

Mistakes are going to happen. But if I can maintain a successful looting average of 0.990, I think I’m doing a pretty damn good job. For players that don’t agree with it, then my organization may not be the one for them.

I know some of you have had bad experiences with it. Others aren’t so sure if this is the right system for them. Hopefully my blog can help shed the light and paint a better picture of what loot council can do when it’s done correctly.

Great news, Good news, Bad news

Quick hits here, guys. Had an extremely eventful Sunday.

Great news: I’ve acquired my Stanley Cup Rings (RE: Band of Karabor) x 2. They’re both fully enchanted.

Good news: My Guild apparently killed Archimonde.

Bad news: I wasn’t there when they did it.

Really bad news: Apparently the Apostle of Argus dropped.

Just when you think it can’t get any worse: It got disenchanted.

EDIT: My Guild’s a bunch of practical jokers. *whew*. What’s worse is that now I’ll have to endure the gloating from that OTHER healer. Yeah, you know, the furry one. To which I’ll retaliate with songs from West Side Story.

 

 

 

Excuse me while I go cry myself to sleep.

3 Approaches to Guild Progression

Progression

Does this sound familiar? Your raiding Guild has been at the same boss for a while and you’ve reached a wall. Night after night your Guild continues to throw themselves at the boss to no avail (Does 40 raids and 40 wipes sound familiar?). Some of your raiders begin to show signs of frustrations to the point of threatening to leave if there are no additional signs of progress.

Some players are so inherently selfish and don’t seem to understand what progression truly means.

The Definition of Progression

My Guild has been stuck on Kael’Thas for the past several weeks dating back to early December. I know I’m not the only one that had problems with him. But we killed him and that’s the bottom line.

Or is it? Are boss kills the only way to measure progression?

That’s the first thing that needs to get changed. Your perception of what progress means has to change. As boss encounters become more complex, the measuring stick must also become more complex.

Progression used to be measured in boss kills a week. Some Guilds and players still follow this old school belief.

It’s time to change it. By changing your approach to progression, then you will a suitable way to benchmark your Guild and set realistic targets . Consider looking at progression in 3 different ways.

Percentage

Last week, you took Lurker down to 80%. This week, you brought him down to 50%!

Congratulations! That’s progress!

Players appear to be a lot more negative lately from what I’ve been noting. It’s either “kill” or “wipe” and nothing in between. Thinking like that is poisonous and dangerous.

The bottom line is that your Guild knocked a progression boss down by 30%. Don’t let the naysayers get you down by saying “but oh we didn’t kill him this week!”

Use that criticism as motivation to edge him down another 10%. Start thinking glass is half full and not half empty. By chipping away slowly at the boss, you’ll eventually kill him

Phases

Bosses like Lady Vashj and Al’ar within the encounter. There are different steps to take during each phase in order to reach the goal of downing a boss. I like to think of them as mini bosses similar to the last boss in Arcatraz.

Think back to your days in school when you were assigned to write a large paper. Instead of rushing from start to finish, the boss fight should be broken up into chunks.

Your progression can be measured by how far you get through these stages. You beat down Lady Vashj phase 1 and now you’re working on getting the cores to the generator to shut down her shield. Think of each successful core as an individual step along the way. Last week, you got down 1 core successfully. This week, you were able to get 3 down.

That is progress.

Player Survival

As a healer, I have always preached about this in my blog:

I don’t care how much spell damage or healing you have. If you’re dead, you’re useless to the raid.

The longer people stay alive, the easier the encounter is. Simple concept right? This can also be applied in the Zen of progression. What’s the difference between having 3 DPS dead and 3 DPS alive between the transitions from phase 3 to phase 4 on Kael’Thas? They represent 12% more player activity. Sure you can easily get to phase 4 with only 3 players dead. But if you have them alive, it sows confidence that yes your Guild can this with the healers you have available.

I measure my personal progression how many players I can keep alive until the raid buckles.

To Summarize
  • Don’t be a downer
  • Look at the bright side of the raid
  • Progress in any shape or form is good

Tango Down

Zul'jin's corpse

Zul'time carnage kill

We killed him. 8 Carnage and 2 of our allies. It was midnight when we threw ourselves at Zul’Jin and we were able to gradually wear him down. Well, that’s one resolution for the new year fulfilled. Could this be a sign of redemption? Let’s hope the momentum from today will carry on to Sunday’s Kael’Thas raid.

Loot

Cleaver of the Unforgiving
Loop of Cursed Bones

What Matticus Wanted

Two-toed Sandals