Archive for the ‘Raid Leadership’ Category

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

The Carrot and The Stick   12 comments

There are many ways to lead raids, some successful, some not so successful.  Some enjoyable, some not so enjoyable.  No matter which you choose they will all largely depend on the personality of those that you play with, and their goals.  I know that there are some guilds where leading with the stick is the norm.  Where nightly ranting and berating is to be expected, and where members accept that as being a part of that guild.

For me, I much prefer, and think that you usually get better results, from the carrot.  While I do sometimes get very frustrated on a personal level, I try to keep that out of the raid (unless Brade has his mic queued without me knowing…).  I find that, just like in life, most adults like to be treated as adults, and will generally produce better results when treated as such.  I think providing a pleasant raid experience tends to encourage people to turn up night after night to participate in whatever activity happens to be on the schedule.  I like the carrot.  I like positive reinforcement, and I like open discussion.

That being said, sometimes there is no alternative for the stick.  Sometimes people just need a quick whack to get them back on track.

As an example.  My guild has certain encounters that tend to just have our number.  The past two weeks, this has been Putricide, for whatever reason.  Sure, we get him down, but with no small amount of total stupidity ensuing (sometimes even from yours truly!), and frustration.  For whatever reason, people just fall all over themselves, and the stellar players that we saw all night long leading up to this point, let their stunt doubles drive.  I can think of no other logical excuse for what is happening!  Stunt doubles, I tell ya!

For the past two weeks, we have taken far more pulls than was necessary to finish this task.  And both weeks, I’ve had to revert to letting out my inner-bitch to get folks to focus after an hour or two of just flat out sloppy play.  Both weeks, the pull after the inner-bitch was let loose we netted a kill.  (WTF!  No, Seriously, WTF!).  In both of these instances, wielding the stick netted better results than offering the carrot.  Hell, I even half jokingly asked last night “Should I just yell at y’all before our first pull next week, and skip the bullshit in between?”.

I certainly recognize that sometimes the stick is needed, there is just no way around it.  The problem is…I hate wielding it.  I get inner-bitch’s remorse.  “Was I too hard on people”.  “Did I holler inappropriately”.  “Should I have just let it go”.  Nine times out of ten, the answer is always “no”.  I did the right thing, people needed to be whipped into line and brought back to focus.  But that doesn’t mean that I have to like it.

Quite the opposite, actually.  I much prefer to offer respect, and provide a venue for constructive feedback and growth.  I think that people are more open to fixing performance issues when they don’t have the fear of god (or Beru in this case) in them.  I think that, as a general principle, the carrot is a much better motivator.  At least it’s the one that I have come to prefer.

But…that doesn’t mean that there aren’t appropriate times to brandish the stick either.  However, I think knowing when to make use of it is extremely important.  Because if you swing it constantly, people will start to ignore it or just grow used to it’s sting.  But if you only bring it out on occasion, people know it’s “srs bizns”.  When the usually calm, collected, and friendly Beru is now in your face as if you were Private Pyle, people know that the shit has hit the fan and it’s the splash of cold water they need to regroup…usually.

As much as I hate it, I have to admit that the stick is sometimes a necessity.

Which do you prefer, the carrot or the stick?  At what point do you think it’s appropriate to bring out the stick?

Posted February 10, 2010 by Beruthiel in /rant, Raid Leadership

Holding Out   11 comments

No, you perverts!  I’m not pondering the latest love triangle presented in the most recent Twilight film.  😛

What I am talking about though is choosing how to gear up.  Largely, I am curious on how many people pass over upgrades waiting for that one item they desperately want to drop.

Why am I curious about this?  Well, because we are starting to see a lot of things that I believe to be upgrades for folks head to the shard bin and I want to know why.  I suspect it is because people would rather have item x and don’t want to have other loot on their record that might prevent them from obtaining the sought out item when it does drop. 

For example, I picked up a ring last night from the gunship battle that was a very minor upgrade to my 258 ring, but an upgrade nonetheless.  I had known that it was somewhere on my list of “good things” to pick up at some point, but previously we had seen lots of interest from our DPS casters trying to nab it up, so I had largely just written it off figuring I’d wait for the ring from Sindragosa at some point down the line that itemized spirit over crit. 

Imagine my surprise last night when the ring was in the chest and nobody sent a tell requesting the item.  I thought to myself “well, I’m sure not going to let it just rot”, and so I picked it up.  But then I got to thinking, why had nobody asked for it?  I mean, I know that it’s a very well itemized ring for caster dps having haste, crit and spell power.  But what had all of the sudden made it so undesirable that where I had 5 tells on it the first time we saw it, I had zero tells on it the third time?

I suspect the answer is pretty simple: Coveted Loot.

People sometimes seem to set their eye on that one  item that shines so bright it blinds them from acquiring other things that would be upgrades for them.  While this is all fine and good, it really starts to irk me when people let things go to the shard bin that would have been an upgrade, and that they will in fact ask for the next time it drops after they have obtained their coveted item.

To be fair, I also set my loot priorities, and when things drop I will prioritize when I ask for them, but I also won’t let anything be sharded that is on my list and is an upgrade for me.  That just seems wasteful and silly!

So I am curious!  Do you hold out or do you take your upgrades as they come?  Would you let an upgrade shard just to have a better chance at something down the road?

Posted January 28, 2010 by Beruthiel in Guild Management, Raid Leadership

Flexibility   3 comments

No, I’m not talking about the way that world class Yogi’s can contort their bodies to do things that shouldn’t occur in nature. I’m not talking about improving your downward facing dog.  I’m talking about being given lemons and making lemonade.

One of the first, and probably most important, lessons that you learn when you start down your career of choice is that the more rigid you are in how you think things should be done, the more stressed and frustrated you become when they don’t work out they way you had envisioned them.  As such, if you don’t learn to think outside the box, and you don’t learn to “roll with the punches”, you end up with an ulcer and more grey hair than you should have at such a young age!

It is equally important that after you have learned these valuable lessons in the workplace, that you let them flow over into the other aspects of your life…including WoW.  The fact of the matter is, there are just somethings that you cannot control. Read the rest of this entry »

What Is The Value of Alts?   13 comments

There are a lot of people out there, and a lot of guilds for that matter, that just flat out hate alts.  I don’t know if they’ve had a rotten experience with them or just enjoy a monogamous relationship with their main toon, but the result is often the same: someone says “alt” and you can just see them cringe.  It does not matter who is behind the character, they just don’t want to deal with an alt.

I think that this is the wrong attitude to have, and that there are a lot of benefits that a guild can enjoy from fostering the growth of their alts. Read the rest of this entry »

How Does Your Attitude Affect Your Raid?   11 comments

Last night we started our raid week as we are wont to do, killing new “farmed” content for gear upgrades before we start tackling the encounters we haven’t mastered yet.  In this case, we started in ICC, clearing up to Putricide.  Despite the occasional lag the first wing went fairly smoothly, however we did have one wipe on Saurfang do to some sloppy play.  I largely wrote this off to the “cocky” factor.  You know the one I’m talking about.  The one where people are largely on auto-pilot and think “we’ve done this I don’t have to think”.  Except that doesn’t really work well on that fight, and it seems to take a wipe to remind people that it’s time to wake up.

As we moved into the plagueworks, the trash was also a bit sloppy.  Not to the point that it wiped the raid, but people failed to kill things before they exploded, completely ignored whether or not the tank had agro before AEing on larger packs, and just all around were a bit sloppy.  Someone commented to me that we seemed a bit sloppy that particular evening, and I told him “eh, it’s just trash, I try not to holler unless it’s wipey and wasting our time”.  When he pointed out that Saurfang was a bit messy too, I gave him my theory on raid cockiness. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted January 14, 2010 by Beruthiel in eh?, Raid Leadership