Bang head here…

So what do you do when you find yourself banging your head over and over again on the same issue? Well, there are multiple options ahead of you…the least objectionable in my humble opinion? Move on.

Yes, that’s right. GIVE UP! Concede defeat. Move the frell on!!!

Ok, so I do not mean do the above and never return. What I mean is to move on and try something new. Circle back again another day. When you are finding you can’t over come a hurdle, its best to back off and try something different for a time. That is certainly not going to solve the problem, but it will ensure you don’t become stuck in quicksand.




Our raid team was at a roadblock with heroic Lord Ryolith. You can argue that its too little dps. Not enough hps during phase 2? Perhaps the positioning is off? Maybe the steering is faulty? RNG?!!? Does it even matter at this point? Reality is we weren’t getting it. There are 2 choices when you are in this situation, and we’ve all been here, you can forge ahead and keep slamming your head against that wall; or trying something different. Take a break from it.

Now personally, I like the notion of changing gears and doing something fun! Real life example: Your work team having issues, in-fighting – go for ice cream! Take them out to play mini golf. Watch a movie. Even just a simple lunch break out of the office or after work round of drinks can be enough to snap people out of their bad mojo and get things moving in the right direction.

The issue we’re talking about here is “state of mind”. You need to clear people’s heads and continuing to another challenge may not help matters. In game I like to think of FUN things to do that will clear heads and restore a sense of fun. Raid on a capital city anyone? Maybe old school raids? Perhaps a specific achievement run for folks? A mount run of some kind? I could go on, but you get the idea.

In short you need to determine what your raid group needs to unwind and settle their thoughts. Allow them to clear their minds and refocus their energies to the proper course. Our raid team hung in there slamming their heads. We downed him last night. Everything finally clicked and we managed to finish him off in good order.

This doesn’t always work, but it did this time! 🙂

To sum it up…finding yourself hitting a wall with leveling, raiding, PvP, any in-game challenge? Step back. Walk away. Do something else for a minute or hour, or day. Try to unwind. Try to take a break. Try to do anything BUT what you were doing. Clear your head and thoughts and then come back ready to roll. Being refocused and engaged on your task will lead to success. Trust me on this one.



Firelands Nerf comments…

I don’t like saying something that someone else has already stated well enough. So, let me suggest you read these 2 articles instead of me blabbering like a blithering idiot.

Mory has a nice take on Firelands nerfs here.
Lyraat has a different viewpoint here. (bonus, he also has his class feedback comments in the same article)

So, why these 2 in particular? Well, one – hunter friends. And Hunters ALWAYS stick together! ALWAYS! But, two – they have contrasting viewpoints if you really read into the tone. Mory is a progression raider in a 25 man progression guild. Lyraat is casual raider in a 10 man raiding guild. (if either of you feel I am miss-representing – let me know)

This is an important distinction as to how players feel about incoming “nerfs”! One views it as “TOO SOON” the other sees the opportunity to prep for the next challenge.

Let me say….NEITHER IS WRONG! AT ALL! They are both right. But this folks…this right here…is the rock/hard place Blizzard finds itself in. As always no matter which they choose, they are wrong in someone’s eyes. They can’t win. I do pity them…seriously, I do pity Blizzard in this regard.

So give those 2 articles a read, and definitely keep reading them both! Totally worth the brain power.


Making the Transition: Casual to Progression

Or vice versa!

I’ve been around.  I’ve done stuff.  I’ve seen… things.  I’ve raided everything from Karazhan to Firelands.  I’ve raided casually when I felt like it, to hardcore “berated if you don’t show up” heroic raiding.

My experiences are likely unique based on the people I’ve raided with, but the lessons learned are pretty universal.  First, let’s talk about moving from a casual environment to more progression oriented.

Casual to Progression

The biggest difference to expect between a casual raid to that of a progression raid is you can expect that your performance (whether it be healing, dps, threat production as a tank, cool-down use, consumables use, etc.) to be under the microscope.  Mediocre playing likely won’t fly.  You can also expect to be talked to regarding ways you can improve your performance — and not everyone is able to deliver feedback in a constructive way.  It’s important that you have a thick skin if you really want to get into progression raiding.

Here’s some good habits to get into for progression raiding:

  • Optimize your spec, glyphs, gems and reforging.  Everyone typically can use some help in this regard.  Hunters are fortunate and get Female Dwarf‘s optimizer.  Use it. Love it.
  • Read and watch lots of strategies. I prepare myself by watching Tankspot and Learn2Raid‘s videos. Know the fights before walking into them.
  • Spend time with a target dummy.  If you’re DPS, time yourself to 10-million damage on the Raider’s Target dummy.  Most fights in Firelands won’t require more than 6-7 million damage per player, so make sure you’re getting there as quickly as possible.
  • Learn how to read raid logs.  It’s an art, and can be super confusing. World of Logs is my choice.
  • Know your class, and your roles inside a raid.  If you’re a hunter, there’s tons of resources out there to make you a better player. You can find most all of them linked somewhere off of WoW Hunter’s Hall.
  • Always carry your own food.  Feasts might not always be available.
  • Always carry your own flasks.  Cauldrons might be on short supply, or you might miss it.  Best to be prepared.
  • Carry potions.  Lots of them. If you’re DPS, pre-pot before fights it would make sense. (which is an entirely different discussion for a later time)
  • When in doubt, ask questions.  It’s better to ask and prevent a mistake than make one and get reprimanded later.

Progression to Casual

So you’ve figured out that progression raiding is no longer for you.  That may be because you’re not into raiding several nights a week, or if real life has caught up and is demanding more of your time.  Whatever the reason, you’re likely in for a culture shock.  Making the transition to casual from progression is easier from a preparation standpoint, but from my experience, difficult for the mindset shift.  You already have the good habits I’ve mentioned above, but you have to prepare yourself to wipe several times on something easy, expect to hear the fights explained several times, and if you’re recently from a progression standpoint, feel like you’re carrying the raid on your shoulders. (Not really, but sometimes it can feel that way)  Gear will be slower to get, but hopefully you have more fun getting there — after all, the pressure’s off.  Enjoy it.

Ideally everyone finds a raiding team that fits their play style – there’s lots of options out there. It could even be found in some hardcore progression guild’s alt-run on the weekends.  I ended up doing that for awhile, and enjoyed it.  There’s a raid team out there for everyone, it’s just a matter of taking the time to find the right one.

It’s never fair…

So, one of the sticking points with some guild members as of late is our loot distribution method. When we ran 25’s we used DKP, now that we are on 10’s its Loot Council. Some of the raiders call it QCouncil because I run it. Most feel I am absolutely fair about it. I follow an old school thought process of Tanks and Healers first, DPS second, Off Specs third. That’s nothing new there, and I think I am on solid ground (please let me know if you disagree). The next thing I look at is contribution; performance, attendance, etc. Are you a liability to the raid or a benefit? Do you do your job without prodding or do you need multiple reminders as to what to do? Typical thought process there to I think. Lastly, need. I am more apt to give a tier token to the one who has 3/5 and will benefit from the 4 piece, as opposed to the one at 2/5 tier pieces. A 346 – 359, or 353 – 378 upgrade is better than a side grade or slight upgrade. Best in slot items are always a concern as well, wanting to ensure an item that is BiS for one class but not another is considered.

Here’s the issue…loot distribution is NEVER FAIR. Ever. Ever. Ever. Seriously, no matter how fair you make it, someone always feels shafted from their perspective and as a result feels slighted. You hope they see the big picture, but often times they won’t.

The one thing I truly hate is rolling. I hate ROLLING! Why you ask? Hunter A has been waiting for a drop for 3 months. Always performing, always there, patiently waiting. Hunter B joins the guild and comes on a run. “ZOMG BiS RANGED WEAPON DROPS!…roll!” Hunter A rolls a 32, Hunter B rolls a 98. Was that fair? Really, was it? And all of us long time raiders have experienced such a thing.

There are a lot of loot methods available: DKP, EPGP, Loot Council, Suicide Kings (my personal favorite for 40 mans), and the list goes on. If you are in a guild and do not like their method, you are free to start your own guild and do it your way. No one is tied to where they are and everything is “at-will” employment.

For those who feel “Loot Council” is horrible…understand this. If you do not get an item, it doesn’t mean you are hated. It means the decision was made that someone else was the priority. If player A gets something on boss kill one, and then again on boss kill two it does not mean they are the Raid Leaders favorite. Big picture…the next time those items drop, they won’t need them! Items drop off a table…they will drop again, just be patient. And if the raid is progressing, even if you have gotten nothing – THE RAID IS PROGRESSING! That’s the ultimate goal, not your personal iLevel rating.

Have other people had this issue? Have you all also felt the pains of griping, complaining, and finding your name burned in effigy? What do you do as a GM, RL, or Officer? Would you just jettison them from your guild or allow them to stew?

It’s a “teaching opportunity” to be sure, but what happens if they won’t learn?


Love letters…You’ve Got Mail!

So I got a love letter in-game this weekend!!! I kicked a few people out of the guild, and a somewhat expected response was a love letter. It was exactly what you could imagine, “You suck, you are the problem, its all your fault, everyone hates you, no one likes you, no one thinks you are good, you need to leave, quit, get out, get away.” Yadda yadda yadda. So, the letter was from an unguilded toon that was never a member of my guild. I am assuming its an alt of someone who was in fact kicked by me. So a quick look at the 3 I kicked…

  1. Young new member (yes young in age). He was chatty, very very very VERY chatty. I found him annoying, but tolerable. He was not insulting or anything, and I think was more guilty of trying too hard to make people like him more than anything else. However, I was getting tells constantly, “I can’t stand this kid!” “Please remove him!” “Hey, just an fyi, he blows. He can’t play for squat.” Well, I felt bad in a way, but if you have an overwhelming number of folks wanting him gone, your hand is played for you. /gkick
  2. Buddy who I have not seen on before (joined within the last week or so) starts asking how long server transfers take. I ask why he wants to know? He won’t answer insisting someone just tell him how long it takes. I suggest to him that since none of us work at Blizz doing server transfers, it might be prudent to go onto the WoW website and look for FAQs regarding transfers and I bet his answer will be there from the experts. He recoils and says to effect “Just tell me how long! I want to move a toon here from another server” Yeah, right…I almost believe that. Within a few more pokes and prods he admits he is transferring as soon as he can and wants it to go through right away to get off our server. /gkick
  3. Now the same fool who my previous post was in regards to jumps into gchat with all he wanted to do was get information! I respond with, “Says the same guy that told his guild how he hates the server and can’t wait to transfer.” He of course insists the Server and Guild are not the same…so even with a few days of some level of reflection he still does not get it. You can’t say you hate all dogs, but love German Shepherds. You can’t tell me you hate the entire server but love us…we are a part of the server!!! /gkick

I asked folks in guild if they new the toon name…no one did. I did some research and found their guild history and matched additional names that corresponded and narrowed it down to a reasonable conclusion. Numerous people defended me in g-chat, so I felt a little bit of love from folks which was nice.

Here’s the point: Disagreeing on the direction, tact, tone, rules, etc that your RL, GM, officers put forth is fine; however, ensure you are doing the mature thing to have a conversation regarding said disagreement. In other words, get together and discuss it. No screaming & yelling. DISCUSSION!

Hey, I don’t like the way you speak to us, can you maybe turn it down a notch!
Oh, I didn’t realize that; I certainly can!

We aren’t making any progress, what the heck is going on?
We’re analyzing the raids and trying to figure it out now. Do you have some suggestions on what we can change?
Yes actually, let’s start with this…

I am not even going to get into the obvious things like speak civilly, use your main to speak (not some alt that no one knows), and be sure to give some practical information and constructive criticism not just “we hate you”. Everyone wants to get better, and no one has all the right answers in their back pocket. Collaboration is the key. Benjamin Franklin said it perfectly, “We must all hang together, or assuredly, we shall all hang separately.” The strongest and best foundation is and will always be that of solidarity. Sappy? Perhaps. But very true.

Work together toward one common goal and you will have success. Continue to fight amongst yourselves casting blame, taking credit, and disparaging character; you will assuredly fail. I told my new raid team who may not be the best players, but are for the most part good people who I am beginning to enjoy playing along side…”TRUST! Simply trust us that we are guiding our raid team to a point of success. If you have suggestions or see things that need correcting, let us know. Myself and the co-raid leader Tank are here to help everyone have success. Trust us!” Trust is the hardest thing to establish, but the most powerful tool in building a cohesive team.

Sappy? Perhaps. But very true.