Archive for the ‘Raid Leadership’ Category

The Importance Of Having Fun At The End Of An Expansion   21 comments

No matter where you turn in the blogosphere right now you can’t go 2 clicks without being assaulted with Cataclysm information about this, that and the next thing. People preparing, people sharing Beta thoughts, people taking wild guess about what it’s all going to be like. In all that saturation, there aren’t a whole lot of people still talking about the game. They are talking about the future. Which, I guess I understand. The current iteration of the game has been around awhile, and there are new shiny things on the horizon. But let’s be honest here – we are, at best, almost two months out from a release.

Now, I don’t know about you, but for the most part I am feeling overwhelmed with Cataclysm information. And by overwhelmed, I kinda mean that with the exception of some of the resto druid changes, I’m tired of everything being about Cataclysm. As I sift through my blog list in the morning, I find that I revel at posts that are about anything other than Cataclysm, they are a breath of fresh air and I cherish each of them. More and more, I find that I largely just skip over the Cataclysm ones. If they seem somewhat interesting, I’ll give it a skim, but otherwise I generally just shrug and move along.

As I flip through post after post about Cataclysm, I can’t help but wonder if bloggers aren’t sort of doing to Cataclysm, and WoW in general, what the Paparazzi did to Britney Spears. Overexposed and Oversaturated to the point that largely, save the “can’t look away from the train wreck” factor, people just stopped caring. The more I read about Cataclysm, I’m finding, the less I care about it. I can’t imagine that this is a good thing! Read the rest of this entry »

Posted September 29, 2010 by Beruthiel in Guild Management, Raid Leadership, Raiding

Chicken Soup for the Raider’s Soul   3 comments

Have you ever had one of “those” nights? You all know the ones I’m talking about. The ones where anything and everything seems to go wrong for no concrete reason, almost like someone stole your mojo and you must find it before you can be whole again. I know that I’ve had them. As a matter of fact, I had one this past Sunday while we were throwing ourselves at HM LK…again.

Things just weren’t gelling, for whatever reason. As a raid, we had completely and totally lost our Mojo.

Of course, at this point there is only one thing to be done: find it.

You can’t find it by hollering at people. You can’t find it by screaming (although I try). You can’t always find it by continuing to throw yourself at the thing that stole it from you. You can’t find it by looking under someone’s motorbike or skirt. So, how do you get your mojo back?

For me – I needed to kill something. After having my face smashed in for 3 hours, I had a bloodthirst like you wouldn’t believe, and it was only going to be sated by…going to Ulduar? Yes, you read that right, our raid lost our mojo and seemed to have found it in Ulduar. And why shouldn’t we?!

After a frustrating night with dear Arthas, we took ourselves to an instance that we had partially cleared and reactivated our raid lockout. The goal? Alone in the Darkness. Why? TENTACLES! Well…and because we hadn’t done it before. But mostly for the TENTACLES! And you know what? It was a lot of fun. It was silly, we did achievements, we unwound all of that pent up LK tension, and somewhere along the way we regained our Mojo.

I had joked as we headed to Mimiron that if a year ago you had told me that Ulduar would be the chicken soup for my poor raiding soul, I would have told you to put the crack pipe down. However, the truth of the matter was that coming back to something old made it fresh and restored me. And it was exactly what I needed at that time.

I am sure that everyone has different releases. So I’m curious, when it’s clear that it’s just not your night, what do you do? How do you get your raiding mojo back?

Posted September 8, 2010 by Beruthiel in Just for Fun!, Raid Leadership

Invincible?   13 comments

This is something I ponder as I think about a topic that was just recently presented to Monolith for discussion. Are we Invincible? Why, you may wonder, am I asking this question. Well, we have just started the discussion on whether or not we think we should pursue “the Light of Dawn” – or in other words, is chasing Heroic Lich King something that we want to do as a guild.

So, why are you asking if you are Invincible, Beru? Well, you see, it’s a play on words. My attempt to be creative! The mount that drops when you kill Arthas is named Invincible, but from all accountings that I have seen regarding this encounter your guild also needs to be damn near invincible to survive the journey there.

I am having a really hard time placing my feelings on the question that I posed to the guild – so please forgive me as I stumble through my thoughts on the topic a bit here.

Throughout this entire expansion, there has not been a boss encounter out there that I saw and thought “I don’t know if we are capable of doing that”. Until now. It’s not that we don’t have some wonderfully skilled players, because we do. It’s not because we don’t have drive, because we do. But I have watched and read about guild after guild that have out-geared, and out-skilled, us come to this encounter and crumble. Guilds that reached Heroic Arthas months ago – and have spent months trying to kill him – completely break down because of this fight.

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Posted August 19, 2010 by Beruthiel in Guild Management, Raid Leadership

What Makes the Lich King Important to You?   4 comments

A little while back I asked the questions “what’s in a title”; the discussion that followed was regarding people’s feelings on selling Kingslayer titles. There was a lot of good conversation as people shared their opinions on how they felt about “selling” a title. I had brought the topic up because as a guild, we were discussing whether or not we wanted to offer Lich King kills. We had been approached several times from players outside of the guild asking if we were ever going to do this.

Ultimately, we decided that we didn’t want to sell titles, but we liked the idea of offering experiences for those who may not have an opportunity to have them. So, ultimately, we decided to do this (copied from my post on our realm forums):

“Arthas and the Lich King have been a pinnacle of Warcraft lore long before Blizzard introduced WoW, the lore rich and intriguing. It’s my belief that part of what made this expansion work so well were how the stories wove together and immersed the player into their history. Every action had a reason (we will just forget about ToC…), and you were part of the story. The end of this expansion includes an epic battle with one of Warcraft’s most notorious, and loved, villains.

We are also aware, based on the number of people that have spoken to us, that even after all of the story, all of the lore, not everyone has the opportunity to experience the final showdown with Arthas.

Because we recognize the importance that Arthas plays in WoW lore, and because we’d like to offer something back to the server community that we have been part of for going on six years now, we have decided to offer the experience of facing Arthas in his final days.

Now, to be clear, we aren’t going to “sell” Lich King titles. We aren’t particularly interested in your gold. We are freely offering the opportunity to meet Arthas in his final playground.

If you don’t want our gold, what’s the catch? (I can hear you thinking it!)

Well…you will have to tell us why you want to kill the Lich King. You can do this in any number of ways: a short essay, a piece of fan fiction, a short comic, or a role play story are all acceptable submissions! Regardless of your method, what you need to convey to us is what makes killing the Lich King important for you.

We don’t care about your gear, your gear score, or how amazing a player you are. What we do care about is why it is important for you to kill the Lich King. Creativity is encouraged!

Each week, we will look at our current, and past, submissions and select up to two people to join us to kill The Lich King.

(hint: because you want a Kingslayer title isn’t going to get you a raid invite!).

There are a few things that you will need to know should you be selected to join us:

Vent will be required, this is non-negotiable. You will not need to speak, but will be required to listen.

We will give you one opportunity to truly experience and be an active participant in the encounter (do your research!), however should you cause a wipe, (defile us to death!) we will suicide you on any subsequent pulls where you can still see the fight in its entirety, but you will not be an active participant in the kill.

Ok, sounds great! Where do I sign up?!?!

There are two ways to enter submissions for a chance to join us: send a PM to Beruthiel on the Monolith forums (monolithllane . Be sure that you include your character’s name and a way for us to contact you, along with your submission.

Please note that making a submission does not guarantee that you will be selected to join us. We will contact you should you be selected to arrange a time. Hounding us will only ensure that your submission is not selected.”

We thought it would be cool to offer the opportunity to kill the Lich King to someone who really wants to see him dead, not just for a title, but for a more compelling reason. The guild is largely very excited about it, and thinks it’s very cool. I think everyone is looking forward to seeing some submissions. (Hopefully we get some!).

But, then that got me thinking, well I wonder what the Lich King means to others? I certainly know that for me it was some closure to one of my all time favorite story lines in the Warcraft Universe. And while I loved this expansion for the lore, and certainly the Lich King was a part of that, his demise was more than that too. It was another statement of survival for my guild. We came, we survived, and we kicked some ass. It was a statement to our tenacity. Well, at least I felt that way!

I am happy about our decision to offer experiences to others. While they may not have to suffer through the 100+ pulls it takes to learn to deal with defile, they will have to “earn” the kill in another way: proving to us that it’s important to them. And you know, that’s OK. Personally, I’m happy to offer what I would hope is a very memorable experience for someone. And it’s my hope that when they look back on their WoW adventure and they’d remember this experience fondly, and that it would be something that stuck in their mind as part of their WoW memories.

So, how about all of you? What does killing the Lich King mean to you? If you were on my server, would you participate in our little contest? How would you enter your submission?

What’s In A Title?   16 comments

Over the past few months I have received a number of queries from members of our server’s Horde Faction regarding whether or not we, Monolith, were (or would be) offering to sell Lich King titles, as was being done on the Alliance. When I started getting the queries a few months back, I opened it up to the guild on if this is something that they wanted to offer or not. There was some discussion on it, with people on both sides of the fence on the matter, and ultimately it was decided that it was not something that we would offer at that time.

However, I continue to receive queries from people seeking to experience the Lich King, and are desperately willing to do whatever it takes to do so.

Today, someone opened the thread back up for discussion in the forums, so I have been giving it more thought again.

The last time that we discussed this, there were three big arguments against doing so:

1) If people want the title they should earn it. To offer to “sell” it belittles the achievement of all those that spent the time to learn the encounter.

2) Once the buff reaches 30% everyone will be steamrolling Lich King anyhow, and PuGs will be killing good ol’ Arthas with no trouble. It will be available to people if they wait.

3) We, as a guild, need to clean up our performance on the encounter (so as not to embarrass ourselves) before we consider offering this as an option to the server.

I think all three of these concerns/commentaries are viable objections to the question “Do we want to fill this gap” at the time the question was discussed. Two months have passed since we discussed this as a guild; and because I’m still getting queries, I wanted to go back and explore this a little more.
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Dealing with the Blahs, and other Monday Musings   5 comments

You may have noticed that in the past few weeks my posting has dropped down significantly. That’s not by design, and I do intend to keep my general posting schedule, but you see, I’ve been very busy with work and was traveling for almost two weeks. But that’s not even all of it. I’ve been a little bit burned out and I’m trying to un-burn a bit, so bear with me while I ramble through my thoughts here.

With WoW the past month or so, I’ve been, for lack of a better term, stressed. This stress has lead to frustration on my part, and honestly, that frustration has led a little bit to a lack of desire to play…and that in itself is frustrating. Let’s step back a little bit and see where it all starts, shall we? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted June 28, 2010 by Beruthiel in /rant, Guild leadership, Raid Leadership

Making Lemonade, or How to Deal with the Summer/Pre-Expansion Slump   7 comments

One of the hardest things for me to do is to cancel something that is scheduled. Our guild cancels raid very infrequently, largely because I’d rather find a way to make it work than saying “sorry guys, we didn’t plan well enough so we aren’t going to raid tonight”. I tend to take it personally. We try to have fairly good foresight into attendance issues on certain days, and adjust our scheduling, but sometimes we just don’t get it right.

Now, we are fairly fortunate in that running a guild comprised 98% of working adults has the perk of having a little bit less of the “summer” fall out, largely because when you work year round, there aren’t huge “summer” changes, outside of vacation time. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t times where there is slim picking as it comes time to get your scheduled raid going. And meeting the end of an expansion, coupled with summer, will still meet some lack of attention when it comes to raiding.

So, what do you do when faced with a less than optimal situation when it gets to raid time? Well, I have learned that it’s best to punt. Or, make lemonade, as it were.

The number one thing to remember is that sometimes shit happens, and there is nothing that can be done about it. You just make the best of what you can.

So, exactly how DO you make lemonade? How do you know how far to punt the ball? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted June 1, 2010 by Beruthiel in Guild leadership, Raid Leadership, Raiding

Things That “All You Can Eat” Will Teach You   6 comments

We have had a fantastic raid week this week, and had actually finished our targeted goals very early in the week, which meant when we got to our raid night on Sunday we had only two bosses left up: Sindragosa and Lich King, and had two nights to kill them. Not wanting to waste raid time we debated heavily how to structure our raid last evening. Do we jump ahead and start Sindragosa Hard Mode work? Our next targeted Hard Mode is Lady Deathwhisper, so if we started Sindragosa Hard Mode it is possible that we wouldn’t be coming back to work on it for some time. That and we are seriously considering doing Putricide before Sindragosa, as from all accounts we’ve read, and our 10 man experience it’s supposed to be the easier of the two.

Thinking everything through, we just weren’t sure that we wanted to dive into HM Sindragosa just yet. So we decided that we’d go ahead and make attempts on something else Sindragosa related…her Meta Achievement: All You Can Eat. This achievement requires that no one in your raid receive more than 5 stacks of Mystic Buffet while killing Sindragosa. It’s arguably the most difficult of the Meta Achievements with fewer than 1% of all 25 man guilds in the world having completed it, and we knew that it was going to be a challenge for our guild. We have a range of players with different strengths and weaknesses, and this particular achievement leaned towards some of our weaknesses (such as awareness).

We went into the night with a plea for patience from the guild, not having any experience with this achievement on 10 man, we were all going to learn together. We toggled on guild bank repairs, and had provided flasks for the evening. The only thing people were out for the night was their time while we made attempts at the achievement. Just so you aren’t waiting in suspense until the end of the post…we missed the achievement, but not for lack of trying! We came heartbreakingly close all night and saw a number of ~3% wipes before someone hit 6 stacks, and in our final “hail mary” attempt of the evening, where we were killing her regardless, only our tanks hit 6 stacks and that was only because of a mistake. While we won’t spend another full evening attempting the achievement again, unless it’s the last thing we need, we will probably set aside a handful of pulls each week to keep making attempts at it if we have the time.

But what is most interesting is that contrary to how I thought I might feel at the end of the night, I think we actually had an extremely productive night. I can hear you now…wtf Beru, you spent 5 hours trying for an achievement you didn’t pull off and you thought it was productive?!?! You need your branches examined! And to that I would like to say that we learned A LOT of things about the fight by working through this meta that will invariably assist us as we start pushing through Hard Mode, and I think will clean up on normal kills until we get to that point.

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Posted May 3, 2010 by Beruthiel in Raid Leadership, Raiding

Hard Mode Reflections and First Thoughts on ICC Hard Modes   9 comments

Hard Modes have been both a blessing and a curse this expansion. Blizzard wanted to make content more accessible to all different levels of players, while at the same time still provide challenges to those who wished to be pushed. They did this through Hard Modes. I have mixed feelings about the success of this strategy. While I do feel that it gave Blizzard the opportunity to open up the raiding game to more people, I’m not entirely certain that Hard Modes hit the mark as far as satiating the need for higher end raid content.

I’ve posted before about what I thought did, and did not, make an appealing Hard Mode so I won’t go into that particular rant again. (Hint: Dropping half your healers for DPS to meet the threshold for a fight isn’t it). However, as we are now into the last raid instance in this expansion, I thought perhaps another exploration of Hard Modes was in order. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted April 5, 2010 by Beruthiel in Hard Modes, Raid Leadership, Raiding

To Buff or Not to Buff…   12 comments

That is indeed the question.

Unless you’ve been living under a virtual rock, you are probably aware that Hellscream’s Warsong (and some alliancey named, but far less cool sounding, version from Wyrnn) have been added into Ice Crown Citadel as of yesterday.

I am a little bit torn about this.  I mean, I knew that the instance was “self nerfing”, but I guess I sort of thought that the buff wouldn’t be active quite so soon.  I mean, my guild has only gotten 2 nights of solid Lich King work in the 25s (and 2 nights in the 10s as well!).    Granted, we aren’t a cutting edge progression guild, but we certainly aren’t a slouch of a guild either, generally falling within the top 3-5% of guilds in the world as far as 25 man progression is concerned.

Why does it bother me?  Because I know that as a guild we don’t need this buff to kill the Lich King.  We just needed more time to work through the mechanics of the fight.  Our DPS is fine.  Our tanking is fine.  Our healing is fine.  We just needed time.  That’s it.  I suppose that perhaps I feel that by using the buff, my first kill is going to feel tarnished.  Dirty.  I’m always going to know that we could have done it without the buff.

However, now that the buff is here, we have a decision to make:  To buff or not to buff.

While my moral high ground is screaming at me in my head to shun the buff in all it’s 5% glory, giving it a proper two finger salute, and say “we’ve come this far without you, we can finish without you”, my realism is also screaming at me.  “Sure, you can do it without, but why make it harder than it needs to be?  Why not access your Hard Modes sooner?”.

In all honesty, who is going to know that we didn’t use the buff other than us?  Now that it’s out, I am sure that the assumption is going to be that anyone who killed the Lich King after 03/02/2010 did so with the added benefit of the zone wide buff.  Of course…I will still know if I did it with or without  help.  But, I am also one of a team of many, and I am sure that my feelings on the matter are different than others.

My moral dilemma aside, at this point it truly almost seems detrimental to our guild as far as progression goes not to use the damn thing.  If it means we kill the Lich King even one week sooner, it means that we will have access to our hard modes sooner, which of course means more progression for us, which in turn boosts guild morale (at least theoretically).  And I guarantee you that a good number of guilds out there won’t be having this internal discussion, and are happy to see the free boost to their performance.  So now if we opt to stick to our morals does it put us at a detriment?  Probably, as I suspect most guilds will not be opting out of the buff.

It seems to me that it puts a good number of folks in a bit of a damned if you do, damned if you don’t, situation.

So, what will we end up doing?  It’s still up in the air a little bit, as we’ve opened it up to discussion for our raiders to give their two cents on the matter.  But I will say that the overwhelming number of people who have responded have said “buff it and get to hard modes”…so I imagine that is likely what we will be doing.  While I am a little disappointed, there is a lot of good sense in using the buff as well, and I’m not so foolish as to not see that.

So how about you?  Will you be using the buff or turning it off?

Posted March 3, 2010 by Beruthiel in eh?, Ice Crown Citadel, Raid Leadership, Raiding