Archive for the ‘Goals’ Category
Last night we killed Sinestra. This did a several things for us – for the first time in our history as a guild, we can definitively call ourselves a “server first” guild, having snagged all three server first end boss kills. Additionally, depending on which set of arbitrary rankings you look at, we are debatably a top 100 US guild…for now (if you’ve been reading here for any length of time you already know how I feel about progress rankings). But in the aftermath of Sinestra dying, instead of being overjoyed I found myself asking “at what cost?”.
All, I am about to share with you things that I’ve not really shared to anyone, save privately to Brade.
Aside from the fact that this content tier has been excruciatingly long – I can honestly tell you that in my six years of being in guild management in this game I’ve never worked harder or felt more unappreciated and disrespected as I have for the past few months. And I find myself asking if it was worth it. Were all the hours I spent researching, reaching out to anyone and everyone I could for help when I found us struggling and crying myself to sleep at night because I was worried about if I was missing something or handled something poorly, worth it?
I don’t expect people to shower me in accolades, but every now and again a simple recognition for the work I put in or a thank you would go such a long way. You don’t even know. To be fair, a few people do occasionally thank me or say very nice things to me – usually when I need it the most and it shows I need it. And I’m grateful, because what they probably don’t realize is that they were the person that kept me going, that picked me back up when I was certain I wouldn’t be able to stand up again.
Last night after our kill instead of someone saying “man Beru, those tips you dug up these past few days were great!” – I was advised that I wasn’t the top healer for our kill. I’m sure it wasn’t meant maliciously, and I know that wasn’t this person’s intent, but I was pretty hurt by the comment nonetheless. I mean how do I even respond to that? “Sure, but I had 1mm more healing done to the tank than the other raid healers and was more of a team player?”. “Ok – but there was less than 500k healing difference and I still ranked on the fight?”. “Sorry, I’ll do better next time?”. I mean, seriously, what the fuck do I even say to that? Ultimately I opted to respond with (what I felt) was a gracious response: “It’s good for other people to outheal me, I shouldn’t always be at the top, plus it keeps my ego in check!”. After I picked my jaw up off the floor, that is. Because I’m going to admit to you, I was pretty upset by the comment. That after all of the work I put into the encounter, the only thing anyone said to me was essentially “you weren’t the best on our kill pull”.
I can’t help but feeling a little bit like this expansion and tier of content has changed my guild – and while it is for the better in some ways (progression), I’m not entirely sure it’s for the better in others (community). Perhaps I’m just being cathartic about it, I don’t know.
Recruiting this tier has been brutal, and it has taken a lot out of me. We’ve had more turn over in our raid roster the first few months of this expansion than we had in all of WotLK combined. And while I’m fairly certain we aren’t alone in that, it has been difficult to juggle that on top of everything else. I will also be honest – we have some personalities right now that don’t mesh well, and it’s been extremely taxing to keep them in check every raid. There’s been more than once that I’ve felt the need to actually ask “do I need to turn this car around”? Which is tough, because we built our guild on the foundations of respect – and to have people shitting on that pretty much just pisses me off. I’ve had to have more individual talks with people this expansion than I have….ever.
There are a couple of people right now that seem to come into the raid some nights with a giant chip on their shoulder – and I don’t have a clue as to why. Frequently these are the same people that get immediately defensive at the suggestion that they have room to improve or that they made a mistake. And to be honest with you, it’s not healthy for the raid – and it’s certainly not healthy for me. Their attitude is obvious, it does not go un-noticed by myself or others and it’s poisonous. It’s vital that I contain it and do not let it spread, or it will overwhelm what I am able to control. I’m trying to be patient. I’m trying to be understanding. I’m trying to be the bigger (responsible) person. But deep down inside I really just want to get up in their face and scream at them drill sergeant style asking “what the fuck is your problem?”.
Maybe I’ve also changed.
Please don’t get me wrong, I love my guild. I am amazed and grateful at what we’ve been able to accomplish this expansion. I’ve poured so much into the guild, more than probably most people realize. It’s hard to watch something you put so much of yourself into grow, evolve and change. Everyone that takes their leave has left a footprint on the guild – and on me (ps I miss you so much, Chris, you have no idea). Just as everyone that comes into the fold creates a new footprint. Some will create bigger footprints than those that preceded them – and some won’t quite fill those that were previously left. But those footprints will be created and will remain, nonetheless.
I’m worried. No “server first” guild on our server has lasted the entirety of an expansion. They’ve all fallen down and broken apart. It was Rapture back in Vanilla. Pinnacle in The Burning Crusade. Anguish in Wrath of the Lich King. We’ve always acknowledged that the candle that burns twice as bright often only burns half as long. Monolith has always been the slow and steady turtle in the race – maybe we didn’t get server firsts but we always saw content and survived into the next expansion. So that leaves me to ask, is this Monolith’s flash of light? Are we going to burn bright and then fade giving someone else the opportunity to rise and shine? I’d like to think that after six years, we’ve got some stamina and can survive the curse of the “server first” guild – but it’s not going to be easy, and it’s going to take true dedication. Which is something I’m not convinced 100% of our raiders have, and I have no doubts that there will be a need to recruit again as we continue through this expansion.
The truth is, I love the progression. I thrive on it. But the question I’m left with is: what cost am I willing to pay to have it?
Over the weekend, I was struck by a very nasty bout of apathy. No matter what I sat down to do, I ended up feeling very “meh” about it. Personally, I blame the never ending rainy season…if I don’t get some sunshine soon *mumbles* So I decided that perhaps it was the perfect time to tend to an item that was on my “things to do before Cataclysm” list…get my Timbermaw rep to exalted.
And farm I did. I went from neutral to exalted all in the course of a day. I don’t know that I would necessarily recommend grinding all of it out over the course of one day…unless, of course, you are feeling quite apathetic and nothing else tickles your fancy! However, here are the results of my efforts!
Cute little bugger, isn’t he?! What is that you say? You’d like one of your very own? Well, why didn’t you just say so! Here is the advice that I have to impart on the adventure:
Read the rest of this entry »
I often think of our guild as a giant, functioning machine. Just like many machines, I am sometimes amazed at how the gears continue to grind and how each individual piece plays its role, continuously turning its cog wheels to catch the next and so on and so forth. Even though our officer team may be the motor that powers the machine, without each cog, the machine would cease to function. I am sure that you are wondering where I am going with this.
When we set out for this expansion we set out a few goals for the members of the guild. One of those goals was to see all of the content this expansion had to offer before the next expansion. Last night, our guild hit a milestone in achieving that goal.
Going into this raid week, we had exactly 5 things in the game we hadn’t killed yet: The three new bosses of the plaugeworks, Algalon and HM Anub. While we did kill the first two bosses of the plague wing the first night we encountered them, which was exciting, that isn’t what I’m hear to talk about.
Last night Monolith hit a milestone in achieving our goals, defeating Algalon and “finishing” Ulduar. Nine months after the release of the zone, this is a task that only about 1500 guilds in the world have accomplished to date. We were the second guild on the server, and only horde guild, to accomplish this task. Was it easier for us than some others because we had better gear? Yes. Did that make our kill any less exceptional for us? No.
Not only did we kill Algalon, but we also hit a progression milestone on HM Anub, getting him down to 19%…in our first night of seeing phase 3, ever. I have a sneaking suspicion that his days are numbered. And I also have a suspicion that I’m not the only member of our guild excited by this new development.
When we made the decision to “beat” the raid game, as it were, we sometimes received criticism from those outside of the guild…and, at times, even from those within the guild, but not part of our progression team. I have to admit that the night one of our friends and family members, who had recently left his guild and accepted a non-raiding spot with our guild…just to get away from his guild, questioned why we were still doing Ulduar and advising me how worthless it was and how we were wasting our time, I was very close to going “Sebudai” on him, and borrowing the “your guild sucked, that’s why you’re in my guild” line. Alas, I am not Sebudai…and relayed a similar message, just in a far more diplomatic way.
What a lot of people seem to forget is that every guild is different, and has different goals. That doesn’t mean their goals are “wrong”, it just means that they are different. And I, personally, think that is something that should be respected. Regardless of what anyone else thinks, I’m confident that we’ve made the proper progression goals and decisions for our guild. Our members generally seem very pleased with our progression, many being more excited about our Yogg 1 kill than most of our TotGC kills to date. (And quite frankly, it was a much more challenging encounter than most of what we encountered in TotGC). Hitting the Algalon milestone last night felt very much the same to me. Zoning into work on Anub afterwards and seeing damn near 25 “Astral Walkers” was proof enough for me that this was an important milestone for everyone else as well, and something that they were proud to have been part of accomplishing.
And for me, Beruthiel the Astral Walker, I don’t need any other justification than that.
We missed the first round of 25 man 310 speed mounts for our guild by not focusing on The Immortal early enough. This was 100% the fault of the leadership, we made a mistake. We told ourselves that we wouldn’t make that mistake again with Ulduar. We nearly had to eat our words when they announced the release of 3.2 and we thought they would be removing the drakes, with us only part way through the hard modes. We nearly had to eat our words as we came to realize how challeging the hard modes were for us as a guild and grew uncertain at our ability to finish what was needed for the meta.
But we weren’t going down without a fight. We’re stubborn that way. When so many other people gave up on the zone, we went back every week and poured our blood, sweat and tears into what we had remaining to complete. And you know what? It was worth every second of time we spent in the zone post 3.2. Perhaps we are “months” behind, and I will admittedly state that the 245/258 gear helped with some of the later hard modes immensely (good god, the people who did things like Yogg 1, Freya and Firefighter 226 gear…how?!?! /salute).
But none of none of those factors make our victory any less sweet :) Celestial Defender Beruthiel here I come!
Running a guild is more than just recruiting (oh god), leading raids and dealing with bullshit. One of the most important things that comes with running a progression raiding guild is making decisions on prioritizing content. Now, if you are in a cutting edge guild, it’s pretty easy, because you just have to push to the next thing available. However, not all guilds can be cutting edge, and not all decisions can be so black and white. For those of us still trucking along with Ulduar when ToC came along, we had a decision to make: Keep at what remains in Ulduar or can Ulduar and focus solely on ToC.
There are plenty of guilds that opted to never step foot in Ulduar again, and just focus on the ToC content, and that is fine, if that is what worked for them. We decided, however, to take Monolith in a different direction, and it’s this decision that I’m proud of, and think that we “got right”. Read the rest of this entry »
Attempting to teach forum decorum on the WoW forums is an act in futility. I know this. Yet there are certain things that are so damn tacky, that I can’t help myself. I reach out my hand, filled with cookies for the trolls, and open my mouth (or keyboard, as it were!). There was an incident that warranted exactly this response on our realm forums the other day.
Like most realm forums, ours has a “progression” thread that is updated with varying regularity to inform others of the progression of the various raiding guilds on the server. People tend to post their accomplishments in the thread so that the owner of the thread can update their progress. Personally, I think it’s kinda neat to keep track of what people on the realm are doing, so we participate in adding our progress to the thread.
One of the more progressed alliance guilds on the server recently was able to add Hard Mode Twins to their list of achievements. Like all of the other guilds, they went to the forums, posted their accomplishments, and moved on. But here comes the part that pisses me off…some asshole, on a level 1 alt comes along behind them, quotes their post and then adds his own commentary of “i hear door strategy is hard lulz”. Grrrrrrrrrr. Read the rest of this entry »
Also known as a Beru update!
Wow! It was a whirlwind week last week, with tons going on both in game and at work! I apologize for my lack of posting! I have a few informative posts in the works, with one that should be up a bit later today. However, I thought I’d drop a quick note now, with some updates on what’s been going on with me for the past week!
We went about our happy raiding way on Wednesday night, everything going smoothly and as planned. Bill got his 30th fragment from Auriaya and there was much rejoicing! Why? Because it means the end of the full Ulduar clears for us, and lets us focus on Hard Mode work in both Ulduar and ToC. Woohoo! We went in Thursday night and pushed through the keepers to get to Yogg. We offered a small bribe for a Yogg 3 kill (if we get this done tonight, repairs on the guild bank Sunday!). It took us a few pulls to get into our groove, and we were almost resigned to having to return on Sunday to complete the mace. But in grand Monolith fashion, we managed to eek out a kill on our final pull of the night, and Bill got his mace completed (grats Bill!). WooHoo!
Also on during the week (on Wednesday), I devised a plan to get my 4 piece T9. I had gotten the robe about a month ago, as I wasn’t using the T8 robe anyhow. I was sitting on two trophies in the bank, waiting to see if VoA would drop a fourth piece for me before I could get another trophy lined up so I didn’t buy an item that I could get without the use of a trophy. But, then I used my noggin a bit. I made the T9 shoulders and helm with my two trophies, as VoA can’t drop them. I then spent 30 badges on the T9 iLevel 232 gloves, which were still a fair upgrade from the T8, and 30 badges really isn’t anything. And thus, I now have my 4 piece T9 bonus.
I’ve raided with it for 3 nights now, and have had a minimal time to look at my parses from those raids. From what I did see, my rejuvs were critting around ~3650. They critted about 22% of the time. I haven’t had time to really dig down and look at my healing with the new bonus and compare it to my healing with the gear from the old bonus yet. As soon as I have a minute, I’ll post my thoughts on it! What I can definitively tell you from the change is that I had a 50 spellpower gain, 45 Intellect gain, 48 spirit gain…and a 40 haste loss. The haste loss really bugs me a bit, as it drops me below the soft cap. I tossed a haste enchant on my cloak and am back up to 355. Anyhow, more to come on this once I have time to dig into my parses!
I did not organize any 10 mans for this weekend, and had the weekend “off”. It was my first weekend completely off in awhile! I was really excited. So…what did I do? I made a cream cheese poundcake (so yummy!) and watched a lot of Iron Chef (does anyone else find that show oddly addicting?!). I joined an alt ToC 10 run with my shaman that was run by one of our mages. Mynn got some booties, and had a good time chainhealing my way through the zone. The other cool thing is that I didn’t have to lead it, the guy that put it together would shoot me a tell here and there with a question, which I was happy to answer, but he ran the raid beautifully! Honestly, I think he was a bit surprised when I offered help as they were building the group. But, I’ve told the guild before “If you organize something, don’t be surprised if you see me sign up to come help”.
Since I had the free time, I took the opportunity to finally finish my Loremaster title. (Dear, Jarl, I love you and your hidden quest hub with all those follow ups!). I was so excited to finally be finished with it, as I had been sitting at 65 quests left in Kalimdor for quite some time. In the process of my Loremaster questing, I completed both the red and blue questline for the Scepter of the Shifting Sands quests. Brade and I had fun two manning MC (took about an hour) for my scrying goggles and a rag kill (sadly no core hound pup). On our way to MC, we stopped by the bar in BRD and two manned Coren Direbrew who was gracious enough to drop his Brewfest Kodo for me! I put a group together via guild and LFG for a fast BWL zerg for my Red Shard, and everyone had a blast (p.s. if everyone without an Ony cloak stands behind Nef’s throne, they can avoid the shadowflame on landing). Going back in there reminded me that BWL really was one of Blizzard’s masterpiece instances. I truly loved that zone!
One of our rogues came out and helped me kill Maws for the last part of my Blue Shard (Dear Judis, your reputation with Beru has increased by 1000, and you now have 1 Beru IOU stored away for a rainy day). I should note that this particular rogue and one other (Rholm) were of great help to me finding my last few Kalimdor quests as well. It must be something with our rogues…these two are both “Insane” and loremasters!
And then to top off the weekend, we went in last night and knocked out Heroic Beasts of Northrend! Everyone was so excited about it, as we’d not put a huge amount of time in on the encounter thus far due to our weekly Ulduar clears. I wasn’t sure if we’d get it or not, but we made a tweak to our strategy and ~5 pulls after the change netted our kill. The only thing that really sucked was having to sit some of our members who couldn’t stay online during the encounter, an issue that is on Blizzard’s end and acknowledged by them. Hopefully they get it resolved soon.
And, just because we could, we took a few pulls on Jaraxxus. I think in our ~3 pulls we saw 64%. With any luck, we will snag him tonight when we go in fresh. There really isn’t much different about the fight, just a bit more healing that needs to go out, and a bit more attention to be paid to everyone’s surroundings :)
So…that is where I have been! It was an extremely relaxing and fulfilling weekend! All in all, this weekend did a lot to put a breath of fresh air into the game for me, which made me very happy.
My next goals for Beru?
Achievement- “The Exalted”. I am sitting at 36 exalted reputations. I am revered with: Oracles, Defilers, Warsong Offensive. I intend to complete my Timbermaw Rep as well. Of course, I’m not entirely sure how to raise my Warsong Offensive rep, it is done through the Northrend PvP dailies, right?
Achievement- “They Love Me In That Tunnel” and “The Diplomat”. I just need to grind out my Timbermaw reputation for these two achievements.
Achievement- Mountain of Mounts. I’m at 92. All of the last mounts I need can be purchased (3 left I can buy) or ground out via PvP and AT daily quests. Of course, I could also farm for the Barron’s mount, Anzu’s mount, and Midnight!
If you’ve been following me for any length of time, you know that I will randomly use this space to fester out issues that I’m having with my guild. Either personal issues, progress issues, or just things I need to get out of my system. Having an avenue to do that is one of the reasons I started blogging. I find blogging to be…well, therapeutic, I suppose.
I’ve been extremely frustrated lately, which I think has certainly come out here. So I wanted to share the last few days. Caveat: There isn’t anything informative here. It’s just me sharing my experiences, so if you aren’t interested just check back later! Read the rest of this entry »
A while back I had been reading about druids who where hitting 10k HPS in Ulduar. I remember thinking to myself “how the f…”. So, I did a bit of reading on how we were seeing these astronomical numbers, and I said to myself “I can do that”. I set out on my mission, determined to reach this benchmark and everytime we tried an encounter where these numbers were popping up, I did my damndest to try and reach them.
Every week I creapt a little bit cloaser to that 10k mark, and then I finally hit it. One night a few weeks ago during Steelbreaker attempts in Ulduar, I reveiwed my progress and lo and behold there it was: 10k HPS. Of course, that wasn’t good enough for me, I wanted to do it on a kill. So I kept trying at it, and sure enough the parse from our recent kill netted me this:
Yes, I not only achieved my goal, I blew it out of the water, hitting a whopping 14.7k HPS (and still hitting 10k + in EHPS). I felt extremely proud of myself, happy to have reached a personal benchmark. But the more I thought about it, the more “meh” I kind of feel about it. Where I probably should feel accomplished, I really just feel…not?
How’d I do it? Well, to be perfectly honest with you, it’s a bit cheesy. I also can’t say that there was a whole lot of “skill” involved. Do you know how you heal hard mode Iron Council? Rejuv x5, WG. Rinse and repeat for 6 minutes. Watch GRID to make sure you don’t rejuv over a ticking rejuv, and wildgrowth every time it’s off cooldown. The fight itself is really built to showcase a HoT healer’s strengths. It has a lot of inherent static damage that is not only present for the full 6 minutes of the encounter, but grows stronger as the fight progresses. Almost 100% of my heals counted for something by the end of the fight.
Sure, perhaps not everyone can do that. But honestly, where is the challenge in such a set way of healing? Don’t get me wrong, there were certainly nail biting moments when you had to get the just ressed tank topped off and buffed. Or everytime a fusion punch is about to land. Or when you are at the end of the fight and the enitre raid is taking ~5k damage every few seconds, and your soakers all but need a dedicated healer (beacon of light is OP for this). But still…there wasn’t a whole lot of thought that went into meeting my goal. I litterally went “one, two, three, four, five, WG” in my head . Sometimes it changed and I went “one, two, innervate, swiftmend, four, five, WG”. But really, couldn’t a monkey properly trained have done the job?
I’ve often talked about becoming a rejuv bot, and honestly, that is all this was. Beru being a rejuv bot. Sure, I put up some big numbers, but what was so special about what I did? It wasn’t really anything impressive, was it?
The more I think about it, the less impressed I am with it. I made no “decisions”, no snap judgments that lead to success. I hit some really high numbers by doing a repetitive action on an encounter that favors that action. I reached my goal, I guess, but I have to wonder if it was ever a goal I should have had to begin with. Instead of feeling /flex, I feel more cheated by my accomplishment.
Am I the only one that feels this way? Have you ever reached a goal and then been like…that’s it?