Wyn’s UI – Part Two (Trash)

Part two of a series. Please read Part One

Note: It seemed more relevant to organize these shots by topic rather than in chronological order. So, we’re jumping from Akama to Illidari Council trash.

Typical Trash Heal Mix:

Click to enlarge

1. This is pretty typical mix healing on trash. With so much going on, I tend to focus on instant casts. I also use PW:S liberally, but that’s one of few things Recount doesn’t show. I didn’t take an SS of my over-healing, but on trash it’s substantial. My mana-regen is enough that I don’t have to drink between pulls (you can see my mana bar is full). You’ll notice also that I don’t simply spam CoH. It’s overkill, and it’s boring.

2. I have an Illidari Blood Lord set as my focus. This is because he’s a Paladin mob, who will bubble himself and start to heal. The bubble has to be mass-dispelled, so rather than wait for them to call me to dispel it, I just watch him, and cast it as soon as he has the debuff. (around 25-30%.)

3. Recount’s main window. One of the reasons I keep Recount open during combat is to get a good sense of what my fellow healbots are doing. Most of us have been together for a while now, and we have a pretty good idea of our standard baseline. Typically, I’m about 1.5% ahead of Wize, who is around 3% ahead of Eiz, who is about 2% ahead of Por… you get the idea. This is an atypical pull, because Wize is #3. As you can see from Grid, it’s because he got smooshed. (You can’t do your best when you’re dead! remember that!) Also, Por is near the bottom because he was AFK. It’s handy to be able to get a nearly-real-time idea of who’s paying attention to the pull, and who needs to take a break, without having to constantly over-communicate.

The other large reason I keep it open is because my guild is constantly auditioning new healers, and it’s good to be able to give the Raid Leader an accurate opinion of how the new guy is fitting in with the old guard. I also have a pretty good idea of my heal-mates’ gear, and if an under-geared newbie is out-performing a same-class veteran, it will become obvious very fast. With recount, I can see what heals they are casting, who their targets tend to be (tanks, raid, or a combo? do they follow assignments?), and how much over-healing they have. As I’ve said before, over-healing isn’t a huge issue unless people are dying or pulling aggro (then dying), but with a new person, a large amount of over-healing and a low amount of effective heals could indicate a lag problem or a lack of attentiveness. As an additional coaching tactic, I’ll frequently set the trial member as my focus – Quartz allows you to customize those casting bars as well, and I can tell what rank of what heal they’re using, on what target, and at what health level they began their cast. Recount simply makes it easier for me to stalk people, and keeping it open makes the data easier to access. As a side tip, Recount gives you a lot of options for linking the stats. I’ve found that guest healers appreciate getting a quick link to let them know that they’re doing okay. Running with a BT guild on farm can be intimidating, and everyone performs better when they’re relaxed.

I don’t pay a huge amount of attention to recount actually DURING bossfights, I have more to worry about. But I don’t like the idea of opening and closing it all the time any more than I like the idea of not having the trend-style information easily available. And, sometimes, having it up for things like Dispels on RoS phase 1 or Gorefiend helps give real-time feedback to people who need it.

4. With Grid, it’s after the pull, so not much of interest is going on here, but you can see in Wize’s frame what it looks like when someone is highlighted because of low health. Grid also shows exactly what their deficit is, and I have mine set to approximate the amount of incoming heals they’re about to receive. Wize has none incoming, because he just stood up. Again, the faded squares are people who are out of range. You can see the train of people making their way into the Chamber of Command on my mini-map.

5. Yes, we raid with a Battle-Chicken.


To Be Continued. . .

Why I Always Care About The Meters

You’ll frequently hear raiders knowingly make comments about “the meters.” DPSers who have to crowd-control or dispel have a bit of a case; it’s harder to be #1 if you have more to worry about than standing still, popping pots, and hitting your spells in the right order. Healers occasionally have a point, too: Purge, Dispel, Cure, BoP, PW: Shield, and buffs all take not only mana, but global cooldowns out of our resources to be the “best” healer on the charts.

Here’s the thing though: you will rarely, if ever, find someone complaining about the unfairness of the meters when their name is consistently at the top. Here are a few reasons why I never forget to check the meters:

Supervisory

Whether you think a player is afk’ing trash, throwing out the wrong heals, or making a serious contribution, it will show up on the meters. Add-ons like Recount or WWS allow you to access your players’ habits with an unbelievable level of detail. If you don’t know what’s wrong, you can’t make it better. If you don’t know what’s right, you can’t give meaningful encouragement. Especially when making quantum leaps in content, (10-mans to 25-mans, or jumping tiers) being able to coach your players effectively through the transition is important.

Consistency

This works a couple of ways. On a micro-level, some classes are better suited for certain fights than others. If your Druids typically own highly-mobile fights like Leotheras or Supremus, and a new Druid isn’t keeping up with their peers, it’s a good indication that they need some help. On a macro-level, if, week after week, no matter what the fight, a certain player is always dead-last or near to it, there’s either a gear, hardware, or player issue. The raid leaders need to be able to address underperformance quickly. Why give a raid spot to a 9th healer when you’re effectively only fielding 8? Bring in another DPS, and make the fight shorter instead.

Personal Benchmarks

The first time I consistently broke 1,000 HPS was on Illidan. At first I was proud, but then I realized that I should be pushing my limits that much on EVERY fight. The first screen shot of me breaking 2,000 HPS serves as a constant reminder of my capability, and pushes me to work, heal, and fight harder; every boss, every time. It’s also fun to have some small competition to wake you up when farm content gets boring. Personally, if my favorite resto Shaman gets within 1% of my heals, I start working harder to keep my #1 spot – and he’s not afraid to point it out when he’s gaining on me.

Comparative Benchmarks

I’ve heard the arguments that the meters are skewed: AoE healers always win, healers assigned to players taking the most damage always win, healers that can hold still always win, healers that don’t have to Dispel, Cure, etc. always win. It’s not about winning. It’s about proving to yourself and your raid that you’re doing the best you can. I’ve fought for the top spot with Shamans, Pallys, and Druids. Every guild and healing corps. is different, and the sooner people stop making excuses and start pushing themselves to be their absolute best, the faster the bosses all die.

Accuracy

No meter is perfect. Some of them don’t ascribe things like the last tick of Lifebloom, or the ping of a ProM to the caster. I haven’t seen one yet that records the absorption of PW:S as the life-saver it is. You can tweak some of them so that overhealing or out-of-combat heals show up as effective healing. They all have their quirks, but any data collected over time irons out a lot of the inaccuracies and shows you real trends. I would never chew a player out over one bad night. But if that same player has nothing but bad nights, it’s important to have specific concerns to address with either them, or their class leader.

Timing

Even if the quantity of healing going out is enough, if the timing is off, it doesn’t matter . A tank taking hits for 10k needs an 8k heal. Unless they’re already topped off. Or they’re already dead. Overhealing is sloppy and wasteful, sure, but it’s also unavoidable to an extent. And to be completely honest, if no one’s dying it doesn’t matter much. But if they ARE dying, you need to be able to identify the problem. Grim-meters let you know if poor timing (and inattentive healers) were the culprit, or if the tank needs to put Shieldwall on their bars and learn to move out of fires.

Fairness

Let’s face it. No one wants to be stuck working on the same boss for weeks on end. If the definition of insanity is performing the same action but expecting a different result, it can’t be far from madness to randomly change set-ups without any data behind the decision. If you need to replace a player, you have to know whom to replace. The last thing good leaders want to do is pull a player that’s really doing their best, and keep someone who’s not working hard. And if you’re the one on the cut list, having some data to back up your desire to stay is always a good idea.

No metric is perfect. You can nitpick any measurement of success as biased in any number of ways, and healing meters are no different. The meters are absolutely not the end-all, be-all identifier for the “best” healer – but they are an invaluable tool for improving overall raid performance. My bet is that if you watch them for yourself, and for your raid, and make some key decisions based on the information you learn, you and your guild will progress further, faster, and with better players.

Is it Time to Quit Raiding? 16 Questions to Find the Answer

With the recent disbanding of Death and Taxes, it’s time for another moment of introspection.

When is the best time to retire? Or at least, go on a hiatus from raiding? While it may not be applicable for everyone and their guild. Here’s a few questions you’ll want to ask yourself before hanging up your armor and weapons for good.

  1. What are the goals I have for this game? Have I achieved what I set out to do?
  2. Am I even interested in raiding anymore?
  3. Am I getting personal satisfaction from raiding?
  4. How many raids have I attended in the last 60 days? How many mandatory raids have I missed?
  5. Do I have the time to dedicate myself to raiding so that I don’t hinder the progress that is being made by them?
  6. Am I satisfied with how raiding is being handled?
  7. Are my contributions being noted or appreciated?
  8. Did I give this guild’s raid groups enough time to stabilize and progress?
  9. Where does this Guild expect to be in raiding a month from now? 6 months from now? A year from now?
  10. Do I have conflicts with the leadership that cannot be resolved in a way I’m satisfied with?
  11. Will I still be raiding in 6 months or will real life activities take over? (School, work, etc.)
  12. Is this guild dying?
  13. Am I getting tired from raiding? Is it sapping my energy and cutting into my life responsibilities?
  14. Am I an asset to this Guild’s raid?
  15. Could I be doing anything else other than raiding right now?
  16. How will my departure affect the guild? Will they survive without my presence?

EDIT: I forgot to hit the save button. I wanted to add an extra note that this post was inspired by this post at Problogger. Don’t forget to attribute your posts if you borrowed the idea from someone. Stuff like not crediting the original source would’ve gotten me expelled.

Finish this Sentence

I have one more exam remaining before I am free from the clutches of academia (for two weeks). My posts have been getting sparser and a little irregular and I apologize. The past few weeks have been fairly rough. Carnage lost a Druid, a Mage, and a Shaman to real life. I’m waiting for the word from the boss to see if I should go out headhunting for any of those three classes. Both the Druid and Shamans were resto. If there are any disgruntled resto druids, resto shamans, or mages who want to progress in the game and see the world before wrath hits, we do have openings. Feel free to drop me a line.

Now that my plug has finished, here’s a "finish the sentence" question I want to post to everyone.

Raiding is like…

For me, raiding is like writing a test. There’s an unbelievable amount of pressure to do well in front of your peers.

Random Thoughts for Thursday

  • Guild bank infiltrated. 80 hearts taken and many epic gems lost
  • Our bank was not the only one
  • Mages need another rank of conjured water
  • 1 healer means the difference between doing Black Temple or Mount Hyjal
  • Warlocks have something which allows them to increase healing done on them by some percentage
  • The feeling of dread is universal be it an exam the next day or a deadline to face
  • My Spiritual Guidance column is almost done and will be ready over the course of the weekend
  • I need to find more free stock photo websites
  • Freedom happens after 6 PM
  • Learning is not about regurgitating what is taught to you, it is about applying what you learn
  • Profs make more sense when you speak to them one on one than in lecture
  • How did Kael’s forces take over Quel’Danas?
  • Raiding on an empty stomach is not fun
  • Running Hyjal with 6.5 healers with the .5 being a Prot Paladin
  • Bocelli helps a lot with stress relief
  • Contemplating writing another RP post on a slightly larger scale
  • Dirty D is liveblogging tonight’s raid. Go check it out!

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.

Ask Matticus: Should I Leave my Guild?

Cathia recently responded to one of my latest posts in order to ask me an important question:

Hey matticus,im replying not because of iRaid but because i have an question,i role an holy priest myself and i have 1850 bonus healing but i still do kara and grulls only and i realy want more then that.Im waiting for my guild to go for 25 man raids but seems like is going to take more time before they start them.Should i leave them and adventure on an new guild or will that be incorect to them.Thx for your time

Well, you’ve just answered your own question. Your Guild will obviously want you to stay because your healing is an asset. But like you said, Cathia, you want to do more than what your Guild wants to do right now.

So what’s a guy to do right?

I was in your exact same situation almost a year ago. I was stuck in Karazhan and Gruul for about 3 months and I was getting tired and bored of raiding the same places. The first opportunity I had to depart the Guild, I took it and have never looked back since.

You can either stay in your Guild and raid unhappy or leave and try to find a new Guild that will satisfy your craving to raid. But do make your intentions known to your leaders, at least. Try to work out why you’re unhappy and what’s going through your mind.

I’ve got some bright readers here. Why don’t you folks chime in and let Cathia know what you think? Should this player leave for greener pastures?

6 Reasons Why I Haven’t Killed Archimonde Yet

6 Reasons Why I Haven’t Killed Archimonde Yet

archie-sad
Image courtesy of KLatham

Note: If you are against WoW players with elitist attitudes, don’t read this post.

"No sacrifice, no victory!"
Sam Witwicky (Transformers, 2007)

I’m sure you’ve read about some of the frustrations that I’ve had with Archimonde in the past few weeks that we’ve worked on him. I wrote off the first few wipes as attempts on learning. Following one of our recent raids, a raid leader asked me for my thoughts on the issue. At the time, I did not know what to say because I did not put a lot of thought into it. After a few days of reflection, I’ve come up with a list of reasons about what our Guild is missing and why we aren’t getting things done.

Willingness to bench players

Remember Bruce? He’s an active member of our 25 man teams. When I mentioned to my raid leader that we should be switching out players that aren’t cutting it, he responded by saying that it isn’t going to work all the time. This is true, I will admit. But this is a progression encounter and we need to bring our best players in at all times. The fact is, Bruce doesn’t qualify as that yet. I respect the fact that he decided to go hemo spec to further help the raid. Unfortunately, I don’t for a second believe the DPS output of the raid has increased to offset the amount of potential damage he can do if he’s not hemo. For a melee player on Archimonde, he has to perform more damage then that.

When we first started on Archimonde, the raid leader said he was going to keep a list of names on who was dying and why. Enough is enough. It’s time to put that list to good use and bench the players that are at the top of the list. I don’t care how good or reputable that player is. If you’ve died many times, then you’re only gimping the raid. Hell, if it were me holding up the raid, I would voluntarily sit out because I know that I suck.

But there are certain players who make me groan to myself everytime they raid with us. It’s because they’re stupid or they don’t listen or they don’t pay attention. I’ve had to mute myself on numerous occasions because I have one hell of a temper. I don’t mind occasional wipes as long as we learn from them and it doesn’t happen again. Those are called progression wipes, and we learn best by experience. Yet if the same players continue to die for the same reasons, why are we bringing that player to a progression raid?

Examples:

  • Players unable to time their air burst tears
  • Shamans who don’t stay with their group for decursive purposes
  • Paladins who can’t seem to listen or understand their assignments

Lag cannot continue to be an excuse

Several of our players were affected by lag issues (no doubt stemming from 2.4 patch related problems). But even before then, some players were complaining about lag affecting their timing. Those players have got to go. We cannot blame all problems on lag. If you cannot compensate for lag, then the law of probability dictates that sooner or later you will get air bursted, die, and subsequently wipe the way. In fact, based on the amount of players that were lagging that day, we should have done something more lag friendly instead. But my point here is the fact that if you’re experiencing connection problems, bow out of the raid and watch some TV.

Healers are being blamed

The whole blame healer excuse also needs to stop. Every once in a while, if it genuinely is a fault of one of ours, I know that our healers are man enough to accept that they had a brain fart and lapsed. But in an encounter with Archimonde that has Doomfires that snake out from Archimonde at a slow speed? We have the best healing corps, in my opinion. Yet a lot of pressure has been directed at us. Statements like "I need heals through doomfire" or "I wasn’t getting any heals" don’t cut it here. As a survival fight, there is no reason for any player to be suffering through doomfire. Healers might be able to compensate for one player getting it, but not when multiple players are getting hit. And they have the audacity to say that they’re not getting the proper heals? Why are you eating doomfires in the first place?

Consistency

In hockey, goalies that are on fire continue to play. Goal scorers that continue to score are paired with the same players. Why? Because of this magical thing we call chemistry. Those same players continue to deliver the same results night after night.

We’ve had nights where we one shot the first 4 bosses in Mount Hyjal with absolutely no problems on trash within the first 90 minutes.

If that’s the case, why do we change up our roster when we get to Archimonde?

The raid leaders said it themselves. This is not a DPS fight, this is a survival fight. We can afford to keep certain classes that might not boost our DPS up a lot because we know they’re not stupid. Instead, we bench those players to bring in players who aren’t as good but we unfortunately need their buffs that they bring to the table. I’d rather take an extra Shadow Priest or a Ret Paladin instead of an Elemental Shaman or Holy Paladin. I know it’s extremely hypocritical for me to say that after I mentioned Bruce earlier above. But that case is an exception. Melee players are the rare few who get to go all out on Archie without much fear of anything happening to them.

I will take veteran experience over buffs any day.

Where’s the focus?

Everyone needs to be present and on the same page. I downshift my focus on trash, but I still go through the motions. However, when we get to bosses, my back is straight, my door is closed, and my cellphone is off. One small mental slip in concentration will result in a wipe. In an area like Hyjal, it is often disastrous.

One of our Warlocks once pulled aggro on Azgalor without realizing it. The raid promptly died and it was 5 minutes to the end of the raid which lead to the raid being called. That’s 30 minutes wasted. For a guild that only raids 11 hours a week, every minute is precious.

One voice

It’s nice to have 2 or 3 authority players who are leading the raid. But there are times when too many cooks spoil the broth. I’ve seen times where one person said to do this, and another player told that same person to do something else. Both players hold rank in our Guild. We cannot afford to have more than one person directing the play. Uncertainty is going to kill us. Those raid leaders need to get together and pick one person to lead quarterback that play and be done with it. If he’s wrong, then it’s another lesson to add to the playbook. The point is that he picks a clear direction for the player to proceed in with no hesitations.

This is one of my harsher posts and it’s for good reason. But the tone of this post pales into comparison to the moods I’ve felt after some of the recent raids. I’ve tried to structure this post in a way that can reasonably convey how I feel about our Archimonde attempts with some reason and thought behind it. My tolerance level is quite high. I’m not at the point where I’m openly going to criticize my raid leaders (yet). This is just what I think and my vantage point is different than everyone else in the raid.

In review, I believe my Guild needs to :

  1. Toughen up and crack down on underperforming players
  2. Stop subbing out players
  3. Not blame lag
  4. Bring back the focus and turn off the distractions
  5. Have one leader that’s clearly in charge of the operation
BREAKING: Introducing the iRaid

BREAKING: Introducing the iRaid

I’m working frantically on an essay right now which is due tomorrow afternoon, so I don’t have a lot of time. I don’t want to reveal my source about this, but you know how Apple’s opened up their API’s and such for third party developers?

Yup, you guessed it.

World of Warcraft is now on the iPhone. In fact, Apple’s secretly working on a product that completely strips every component they have from the iPhone to create a new device that is far more superior than it’s predecessor in any way shape or form.

This new product is called the iRaid. You people with lives, yes you the ones that bail out at the last minute, now don’t have any excuses to skip out on raiding anymore! With the portability of the iRaid, now players can literally raid whenever they want wherever they want. It’s perfect for players whose lives are way too busy.

On top of that, the interface has been completely re-written. Actually, it’s been completely removed. Now World of Warcraft can be played without having to mash any buttons or observe any tool bars. Everything has been designed with simplicity and automaticity in mind. There are no bars at all, raid frames, or meters to worry about. Threat is automatically calculated and should you hit the cap, then the iRaid automatically locks up preventing you from casting any further spells. There’s a nice heads up display which shows useful information such as nearby players their information, nearby enemies, and their range.

How it works

Using Apple’s intuitive touch interface, players can simply create motions with their fingers to perform certain actions.

For example

  • As a Mage, drawing a circle with the letter "S" inside generates a portal to Shattrath
  • As a Shaman, drawing an "X" over an enemy target will automatically trigger chain lightning
  • As a Priest, drawing an oval creates a Power Word: Shield around the target
  • As a Warlock, tapping an enemy target followed by a fast jab in any direction results in a fear
  • As a Warrior, drawing swirls will trigger whirlwind
  • As a Paladin, drawing a square with the letter "B" adjacent to it activates Divine Shield and your hearth stone
  • As a Rogue, repeatedly tapping anywhere on the screen while adjacent to a target causes your rogue to perform sinister strikes
  • As a Druid, targets you tap on will get moonfire spammed

And it gets better! During raids, all that needs to be done is for you to tape a person’s health bar and it will cast the most mana efficient spell in order to heal that player. Heck, if you’re busy, you can always toggle the "lock" switch which locks your iRaid device and sets it on autopilot. It will not register any taps or presses on the screen and perform the logical actions. The new iRaid essentially RAIDS for you so that you don’t have to do a darn thing!

Chat Interface

The chat interface doesn’t deviate much from the normal iPhone. It uses the same interface which you can rotate in either direction. Based on the nature of the message, the iRaid is capable of determining what chat channel or person to send your message to.

 

Other useful stuff

iraid2The iRaid comes with extra features like a "death time counter". It tracks the amount of time that you spend as being dead so you can prove to the rest of the raid just how useful you are because you spend such little time being dead.

There’s loads more of other stuff, but it’s either still under development or under wraps.

No one knows when this product will debut, but my guess is that we will not be seeing it for a long time. It’s wonderful to see top companies collaborating together and combining innovative technologies and software to deliver even more fun addictions.

In order to maximize space, useless things like calendars, music players, browsers, and the like have been removed. Since the iPhone still has a mic and an ear section, voice communication has been built in to allow iRaiders listen to the praise of their raid leaders on what an excellent job they have been doing throughout the raid.

The all new iRaid: Buying skill is now a reality.

8 Great Rules to Follow for Forming Your Pickup Raid

8 Great Rules to Follow for Forming Your Pickup Raid

With the release of 2.4, I’ve taken the opportunity to organize Magtheridon and Gruul’s raids (with Dager’s help, since he’s the best pally on Ner’Zhul). For the most part, they are considered pickup raids in the fact that they do not consist entirely of my guild. Rather, we go through an exhaustive step-by-step process in order to filter out players and ensure loot fairness as much as possible. In today’s post, I want to highlight what was done in Mag’s encounter from start to finish for players who wanted to set up their own polished and successful pickup raids.

So why Mag?

Personally, I like to refer to him as Bagtheridon. In addition to 3 set tokens, he drops 3 badges, a 20 slot bag, and a bag filled with epic and blue gems. My motive for going in there was getting a 20 slot bag along with an epic gem. Other than badges, it’s the only early way for guilds to get gems unless they go take cracks at Hyjal or Black Temple.

"Before anything else, preparation is the key to success."
Alexandar Graham Bell

Set a time in advance

First, pick a time and day that will not conflict with your official raid. We don’t officially raid anything on Saturday and I know that we have players in the Eastern Time Zone. In my case, I picked a time of 4:00 PM on Saturday. This allowed ample time for people to run any errands they had before hand and allowed them to risk not losing the rest of their evening. I made a point of mentioning every day that I was organizing a Mag’s lair run on Saturday so that my Guildmates would know.

Handpick your players first

When you’re selecting the players to form the raid, want to ideally choose the players that you have raided with in the past or know by reputation due to their Guild. I started out initially with Carnage players. Many of them have alts that I knew would be interested in getting gear from Mag. Once I filled it out with players from my Guild, I started turning outward to players that I know. In this case, I alerted both Dager (Blue Moon) and Agrona (Fallen Heroes) that I was organizing a Mag run and asked if they were either interested or had players in their guild interested in going. I was able to cobble together an effective raid using no more than 3 guilds. In a fight like Mag, you’ll want a composition along the lines of:

  • 4 tanks
  • 8 healers
  • 2 rogues
  • 2-3 warlocks
  • assorted DPS

Again, adjust your raid group as needed.

Prioritize your positions

In an encounter like Mag, there’s a minimum number of tanks and healers that you need in order to successfully complete the encounter. I wanted at least 4 tanks since I knew Dager would be able to handle 2 of the initial ads (Prot. Paladin). For healers, I wanted to be conservative and take 8. Make sure you leave those slots reserved for those roles. The worse thing that can happen is where you have to ask a player to leave because you need a healer instead.

Start invites early

Even though I scheduled the raid for 4 PM, I started forming the raid at 330 PM. Because like life, you cannot control all the variables and it is better to err on the side of being early then being late. Forming a pickup raid is not quite the same as forming a guild raid. You never know which players might have to leave early or cannot commit. Our Mag raid didn’t begin until 430 PM. Yes, it took us an hour to form the raid and get everyone here. To be fair, I was munching on food and delegated some quick tasks to my assistants since we were missing a few more players.

Macro assignments

If it’s important, macro it. You don’t know what kind of players you are getting. You don’t know if they’re actually listening on vent or not. You just don’t know them. If it’s important to the success of your raid, macro it for easy repeating.

Some things to consider macro’ing:

  • Vent server: randomventserver.nationvoice.com :: 10001 :: PW – worldofmatticus
  • Loot rules: This might take up 2 different macros depending on how extensive it is. But you will want this in your library of macros for easy repetition. See below.
  • Tanking assignments: Hold your tanks by the hand. Write down exactly what marked targets they’re supposed to get.
  • Healing assignments: Once your tanks know who to go after, make sure you set up healers for the appropriate tanks. It’s okay to double shift healers. I put myself on the 1st, 4th, and 5th ad tanks. I set up a Druid to look after the 3rd and 4th ad tanks.
  • Cube clickers: Very important to have – /rw TEAM CLICKERZ: KAYPASSA RYANDAN GHETTO FAVRE YEESH

Having macros in place allows you to answer questions with ease. Plus if something isn’t working properly, you can go back in and adjust it without having to rely on your memory. I know I can never remember which healer is on which tank unless I write it down.

Make your loot rules known in advance

A surefire way to tarnish your reputation is by mishandling loot or misinforming your raid group. By setting your loot rules in advance, then the raid can at least hold you accountable. If someone raises an issue at the end regarding loot, you can also say that loot rules were mentioned beforehand and by coming into the raid, they waive any rights to complain about loot after (but that’s the law student in me).

Here’s an example:

/rw Loot rules: 1 Item per player
/rw NEED: Primary spec 1st
/rw GREED: Off spec 2nd
/rw Mag’s head: Free roll
/rw =============
/rw If 2 or more of the same tokens drop, top rolls get it.
/rw BAG and GEMS gets randomed 1-25 according to Saph’s Window

I allow players to free roll Mag’s head as I don’t know who has done the quest before and who has not. Typically when going through the rolls, I call out the name and highest roll number on vent so people know who is highest. If someone else rolled higher, I’m hoping someone else in the raid can correct me. During rolls, I also initiate a countdown from 5 down to 1 followed by a cut off dash. Any rolls that come after the dash do not count. I will not accept late rolls because they have 5 seconds to look at the loot being offered and decide whether or not they want it. We don’t have all day to stand around for players to ask opinions of their Guildies and friends on whether or not they should roll for it.

With regards to the 2+ same token policy, I set it this way so that I don’t have to sort through rolls twice. On the other hand, you could make the case that this allows players with low rolls a second chance at getting the set item that they want but that has both it’s upsides and downsides.

The random 25 policy on bags and gems is there because I really don’t want to go through everyone’s rolls 5 different times. After the 20 slot bag is taken care of, the gems are next. They appear in a nice, green bag that you have to open and extract the gems from (I had 3 epic gems, and 2 blue gems).

1 item per player is there to minimize any possible accusations of favoritism. This means that at least 10 different players will walk away with some kind of loot.

Notice that the loot rules and policies here are designed to be as neutral and self-explanatory as possible in order to encourage repeat raiders. Since I plan on making this a weekly operation, it would be very stupid if I changed the loot rules in the last minute or set them in an unfair fashion. I might prioritize loot in the future, but it’s extremely important for me to be as fair and objective as possible when it comes to handling loot. The last thing I want to get is a bad reputation.

Make sure everyone stays during loot

We did Gruul’s lair right afterwards and right after Gruul dropped, we had a Defender token drop. A portal was immediately established for those that didn’t need any loot so that they could get out. The Priest who won decided to pass in favour of giving it to one of the tanks who also rolled. That tank in turn wanted to pass to a different Priest who might have benefited from it.

It was a noble act that the players did in order to pass the loot to the undergeared players. But the 3 players that did roll took the portal out! As a result I could not loot it to them! This indecision resulted in the token going to someone else who had no interest in the piece and did not even roll.

So, for you players that have any interest in attending pug runs, here some quick lessons for you:

  1. Don’t ever leave until all of the loot gets handed out. You never know when a better geared player will pass the item to you.
  2. Either want something or don’t. Please don’t roll on an item and then pass afterwards.
  3. Roll before the line, not after it.

Know when to cut losses

Finally, establish a cut off point. Either pick a number of wipes or pick a time when you will call the raid. Pickup raids certainly aren’t worth the time or frustration of progression runs. A good number is calling it after 5 wipe or 90 minutes. It might be disappointing for sure, but realize that eventually you’re going to hear a chorus of "I gotta go!". Once that happens, the hunt for replacements is going to either take too long resulting in more people leaving or just not happen at all due to attrition and fatigue.

Oh, and if you’re wondering about the above image, yes Canadians do play volleyball during the winter.