First let me apologize for the lack of the new post on Friday. I had been trying really hard to keep something fresh coming up every day. However for lack of a better term I was overwhelmed. Friday was a very busy day, I had been fighting with a bit of video at work trying to get it ripped and encoded and onto our webpage. So from the start my blog post was going to be coming later that afternoon.
However around 2:30 that afternoon, my “keyboard turning” post was featured on WoW Insider. My highest readership shot from 60 unique users to 6000+ unique users in a single day. I was deluged with comments and did not get a chance to put up any new content. Then the weekend happened and with it came a wedding, all the mothers day festivities and a night out with friends. And while I had the cultural awakening of experiencing a “biker” wedding, it was not necessarily proper fodder for my blog. I am hoping with the new week that things return to normal, but maybe with a bit of an increased readership.
Where is Mike Rowe when you need him. Of all of the jobs that falls upon the raid leadership, the most distasteful is pulling a member aside and talking to someone who has been underperforming. You can look at the meters and see that something is drastically wrong… but I personally have no clue why. Were it a warrior, rogue, paladin, or even a boomkin I would be able to look at their ability rotation and glean some basic understanding of the thought process they are going through to piece together their attacks. However, I am presented with our present under performers being classes I have never played for any amount of time.
So I am forced to go into the battle under informed, and tackle issues that face “finger wigglers” when I have often had a disdain for actually playing a dps caster myself. I am slowly adjusting to them myself, since I am trying my best to play as good of a Boomkin as I can. I am trying to rely on players who seem to be doing a phenomenal job playing that class as a basis of comparison and a resource for suggestions. However I still feel completely blind rushing into battle with someone who honestly feels like they are doing everything right. I am hoping this gets easier with time.
In Naxxramas, we needed 15 players who were performing exceptionally, and could drag along 10 players who were under performing their classes either due to lack of gear or skill. As we have moved into Ulduar this is not the case. During many of the fights like Ignis we are literally 2 or so players away from a successful kill. So I have taken it upon myself in a few cases, the uninformed habitual melee, to try and work with players and find out exactly what the issue is.
I try and take the meters with a grain of salt, but at the same time feel that DPS should been fairly tightly clumped. When there are outliers to the negative side, I feel those players are underperforming their abilities. Someone has to be dead last, its a given, but when there is a wide gap between the DPS haves and have-nots, I feel there are other issues at work that can be adjusted. We have actually managed to increase a few of these players performance through this process of talking to them… so here is hoping that the latest crop can be effected the same.
I am still very much licking my wounds from our last trip into Ulduar. Thursday night, our various attempts on Ignis ended up costing me around 300 gold for the night. I am not really sure how much it was, all I know is I went in with 1600 something gold, and came out with 1300 something. Granted many of those attempts included me getting battle-rezzed mid fight, so I took far more deaths than I would in a normal run. But when each repair costs between 20-30g it adds up quickly.
Ulduar is giving us a much needed scrying stone that we’ve have never had before. Considering the ease at which we moved through Naxxramas content, it was difficult to sort out the players that were doing well and the players that needed lots of work. In truth it was more that so long as we were progressing smoothly we had more important “fish to fry” than to figure out why certain players never seemed to perform the way they should. We should have taken time back then, but when the raid has been held up on the shoulders of two people for months… we just did not have the bandwidth.
So now we have set in front of us a path that is going to force us to deal with the little issues standing in the way of success, and as a result force us to make significant efforts to recruit and replace those members who are not currently performing. In the coming weeks I am sure there will be many feelings hurt, and many players who cannot see the big picture. Players who won’t be able to separate the fact that anything I do, I do for the good of the raid, and not because of personal agenda.
I have seen comments brought up already, that people want to play this game for fun and not like a job. I agree this game should be fun, but fun for everyone. Let me tell you, playing 300 gold for 2 1/2 hours worth of repairs is in no way fun, especially when it was caused by the fact that not all of the players were giving their full measure of devotion to the effort. Wiping is not fun when there are many players fighting harder than they should to try and even out the effort.
The Hard Path
As a raid we have to accomplish in 5 hours a week what most raids do in 15. The only way we will do this, is through the hard work of the entire raid. This is going to take research on the part of each player in order to make sure they are doing everything they reasonably can. Raiding is a team sport, and we can either allow ourselves to be beaten by it, or all rise to the occasion and get past our difficulties.
We’ve never been a hardcore raid, and I hope that we can continue approaching content in a casual but serious fashion. However as a part of this, we as a raid with have to arrive at some form of a cultural ethics, and an agreed upon level of effort expected by every member. The path ahead of us for the next few weeks I feel will not be our most enjoyable.