Tag Archives: progression

Why I Don’t Like You, And Probably Never Will

UPDATE: There’s been a meeting of the minds, so to speak, and our guild and the guild that is the subject of this post (and the myriad comments below) has reached an agreement. Good grief, I sound like I’m writing some kind of political release.

Fahget about it. We’re starting over, clean slate. Nothing to see here, move along.

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For weeks, I’ve been telling my guildies not to feed the trolls, and (for the most part), they’ve been great. Here I go ruining it, because I have a big bag of troll food, and I’ve got to use it up before it goes stale.

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So this is an open letter to whom it may concern:

It’s one thing to win, and the truth is, I don’t fault you for being first. I’m not all that jealous of your progression or gear. See, our guild never set out to be first. We were (mostly) content to do the best we could do, which sometimes was great and sometimes wasn’t.

We got a new team at the helm with some new ideas about raiding, and we got a little better. A little more consistent, a little more focused, a little more driven. That, combined with the server we’ve called home for nearly 10 years now crumbling into pieces as guilds drifted away, transferred servers, or just collapsed completely, resulted in us being in the number one position. It was cool, but we didn’t stop being, well; us.

If you think my dislike comes from a place of jealousy, I’m afraid that’s your pride getting the better of you. If you had arrived on our server and taken the lead graciously, we’d probably get along extremely well. In fact, I’d probably look up to you and encourage our raiders to take notes from yours. We’d still be driven to try to keep up with you, no question, but I imagine I would think you were pretty cool.

Instead, I watched as you easily took over the 10-man progression slot and immediately started giving crap to the only 10-man group that was, at the time, actively pursuing heroics.

Why? What did putting them down do for you?

Then it was Challenge Modes, and again, you circled around those players with the previous bests like vultures, ripping on them whenever the opportunity arose. I knew as soon as I heard that we would be next.

See, I knew you guys would probably catch up and overtake us, and I knew the minute it happened that the silence would break. You wouldn’t sit around watching our players at the dummies anymore, you’d have to say something.

And, unfortunately, I wasn’t the least bit wrong about that. The day after you took the lead in progression, your members immediately started in, trolling and mocking ours as they waited outside the instance on raid night or stood in the Shrine. It made me angry, not because you had passed us in progression, but because you felt the need to turn around and try to make my friends feel like crap about it.

So I asked them to maintain the silence; to take the trolling in stride. There were some–interesting–ways my guildies took this request, but by and large, they did as I asked.

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And yet it continues. Maybe you think you’re just being funny, but that’s not the way it comes across. So no, I don’t like you, and I probably never will.

I’ve been on the internet long enough to know the responses to this post, so in an effort to save your time, I’m going to list them below and you just circle the ones that apply to your reply:

A. It’s just a game, get over it.

B. You’re being stupid.

C. If you don’t want to hear crap, then get better.

D. You’re just jealous.

E. It’s just fun, lighten up.

And maybe it’s true, maybe I do take it too seriously, too personally–but I only do because people like my husband and some of my friends do, too. I’m protective of them, and I don’t like to see them feeling frustrated because you decided it’s your job to remind them that you’re first and we’re not.

Well, congratulations, but there are different kinds of winners.

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Play as a Team: Guild Progression

What is a guild? Very simply, it’s a group of players who come together under one banner to achieve a certain goal.

That goal can be anything: friendship, camaraderie, questing, leveling, PvP, role playing, raiding, progression. Most guilds combine at least a few of these, though I think we all know some guilds who are more focused on one or another.

Herding Cats...

Casual Progression

My guild is a casual progression raiding guild. I define “casual progression” as goal-oriented but more flexible than hardcore.

We raid three nights a week for about 3 hours per night. The other nights of the week belong to me (okay, actually, they belong to work and family, but I’m cool with that).

If my daughter wakes up with a bad dream, I can walk away for five minutes and not lose my raid spot. I can sign out of a raid for dinner with my husband. I don’t have to be perfect.

But I darn well better try.

That’s the key to any progression for me: be as close to perfect as you can be. Come prepared: bring a flask, get a stack of potions, eat your buff food, read the strats, watch the videos. When that pull countdown starts, be as ready as you can be and do everything you can to be as good as possible.

When the raid is over, take a look at performance. How did you do? Can you do better? (That’s a trick question, the answer is always yes). How will you do it better next time?

Guild Progression

I said all of that to establish where I’m coming from with this topic. The above is my raiding philosophy,  if you can call it that. I can say with complete certainty that all of the officers in my guild would agree that it’s what we expect from everyone. It’s definitely what we expect of ourselves.

The reason for performing your best is not to be awesome. Sure, it’s nice to be awesome. It’s certainly helpful if you are awesome. But the reason your ability and your performance matters comes down to one thing: guild progression.

Ultimately, I want to be in a guild that kills bosses. My personal role in that experience is to do whatever I can do to help kill bosses, and that is much more than a performance issue.

The fact is, sometimes the best thing I can do to help my guild get a boss kill is to sit out of a fight.

Sometimes the best thing I can do is admit I am stumped on a mechanic or that I need some help with my class and my role.

Sometimes the best thing I can do is to pass on a piece of loot that I could use but that would help the guild out more in the hands of a player who can utilize the optimization better or needs the upgrade more than I do.

Why? Because I care more about the guild progression than my own.

Personal Progression

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Personal progression is extremely rewarding, let’s be honest. It feels great to get new loot. It feels great to be involved in a boss kill. 

If you’ve ever gotten one of these whispers:

  • “Man, I wish I had your gear.”
  • “How did you get that title?”
  • “Congrats on the boss kill, we’re still stuck.”

You know there’s some pride wrapped up in personal progression.

But none of us live in a vacuum. I can’t walk in there and solo a progression boss (I’ve proven this with a few misfired Moonfires). I rely on the 24 other people in my raid.

One person’s progression is far, far secondary to the guild’s progression. A raider’s personal progression is only relevant in how much it helps us succeed as a guild.

My Bottom Line

I’ve been thinking a lot about this topic this week, mulling and stewing and raging, depending on the day. All of my thoughts come back to a few principles:

  • No raider is irreplaceable. If you’re in a guild that’s been raiding for years, the very fact that you are in the raid at all is a testament to this truth: you replaced someone. 
  • You raid because the rest of your raid allows you to do so. As I said before, you can’t solo bosses. If you’re in a raid group right now, it’s because the other people in your raid find you valuable for one reason or another. Keep being valuable, and you’ll probably get to raid for a long time.
  • Guilds don’t exist to serve you. Guilds are communities created by like-minded individuals, each with their own motives, desires, and objectives. We are not merely a vehicle to achieve your personal goals. We all have individual goals, but our primary objective is for the guild’s boss count to go up.
  • Guild progression > individual progression. I love to be present for boss kills. I love to get new loot. I love to do well on meters and get acknowledged for my contributions–who doesn’t? But I care much more about where we are as a guild, and if it takes me sitting back on the sidelines, playing a non-favorite role for a boss or two, or passing on loot, then that’s what I’ll do.

I’m in a progression-oriented guild because I like to be involved in a group that gets things done. I like being part of something bigger than myself. I like knowing that I play a role in what the guild is doing. Those things are rewarding to me; those things are fun to me.

In a conversation last night, one of our officers dropped the key word: teamwork.

Do your best, put in the effort, admit when you’re struggling, make a sacrifice for a fellow raider: play for the team.

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5 Tips for Every Raider

“Five Things” returns with a post inspired by my GM (/RL/Overlord), Boomslang.

I’ve touched on similar topics before, like applying to and impressing your guild, but this is going to focus specifically on raiders. There are different classes, different roles, different buffs and rotations and responsibilities, but there are some things all raiders need to do.

Best. Edit. Ever. Thanks, Goph.

1. Learn the Strat. If you raid regularly with your guild, you know which bosses are progression. You know which bosses you’re comfortable with and which still give you trouble. It’s your responsibility to learn everything you can about these fights and your role in them. Chances are, someone in your guild has posted links to boss strategies and videos in your forums, but if not, there are lots of websites out there with guides and videos.

Not only can you learn the basic boss strat, there’s also usually information out there about how you can maximize your class’s or spec’s performance on the boss in question. Look for “<insert class here> POV” videos to see how other people playing your class are doing the fight.

If you don’t run with a guild, it’s still worth learning the basic strategies for PuGs or LFR; believe me, your group will appreciate it. This goes doubly for LFR tanks.

Strat sites: Tankspot, IcyVeins, Learn to Raid, Manaflask

Hey, could happen.

2. Show Up (or notify!). If you commit to raid, it’s like an appointment or a date. Hopefully you wouldn’t assure your boss or significant other that you will be there at a certain time and then not show up, so don’t do that to your fellow raiders.  Sometimes real life happens. If something gets in the way of you making it to your raid on time, let someone know if you can through an in-game message or a post on your guild forums.

If it’s a short-notice emergency, at least touch base with your raid leader afterwards. “Sorry I didn’t make it to the raid; we lost power for 4 hours because a giant ninja panda karate kicked down the power plant,” is fine (as long as it’s true…).

3. Know Your Class. Some guilds are going to require you to perform at your absolute A-Game best. Some aren’t. But pretty much every raid you go to you are going to be expected to play your class appropriately. You might not know everything yet or you might not have figured out how to execute everything perfectly (and that’s okay), but you need to have an understanding of your basic stats, rotations, gear choices, and utilities.

If you want to be an okay raider, you can stop there. As long as you’re fulfilling your role adequately, you’ll probably be fine, at least for a while. But if you want to be a good raider, keep learning. Don’t get too satisfied. Find out how to maximize your dps, how to use your cooldowns in each boss fight to maximize your survivability, or how to conserve mana while still keeping the raid or tanks alive.

I’m not where I need to be dps-wise. I’m not where I want to be, and you can be sure I’m going to keep finding ways to improve.

Basic class guides: ElitistJerks, Noxxic 

4. Know the Loot Rules. It seems so minor, but I’ve seen more outbursts over loot than probably anything else in the game. If you’re raiding with a guild, chances are they’ve posted the loot rules somewhere. If you can’t find them, ask someone! If you know how the loot’s going to work before you ever get started, there won’t be any surprises.

If you’re running with a PuG or have been picked up to supplement someone else’s guild, clarify the loot rules beforehand. Open rolls? Is anything reserved? Is it okay to hit “disenchant?” Save everyone some drama and find out.

5. Be a Team Player. It sounds trite, but trite doesn’t mean untrue. You are one of 10 or one of 25 raiders. If you could solo the bosses, you would, but you can’t. Be respectful of your fellow raiders. Don’t publicly insult them. Don’t act like you’re the best thing that ever happened to them. Do what you can to help them. Let them give you advice without being defensive. If you have a problem with something, go through the proper channels. Don’t stir up unnecessary drama.

TL;DR: Be the raider you want everyone else in your raid to be. 

Thanks @__ashima and @aerix88 for suggesting Noxxic and Manaflask (and the other sites you mentioned!). Our guild resource guide is coming along nicely. <3

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I Told You So: The Decay of 25-mans, Part 1

On the day Blizzard announced that 10- and 25-man raids would share the same lockout, I looked at my husband and said, “I don’t like the sound of that.” When they announced that the raids would share the same loot, I said flat out, “That will be the death of 25-man raids.”

"Trade Chat" by Neko-samma

For the next several months, the discussion about the two popped up in a lot of places: my guild forums, the official forums, Twitter, blogs; heck, even Trade chat took a break from linking things inappropriately to talk about the change. Some people were really heated on one side or the other (which I think is pretty silly; it’s not about which one is better, it’s a matter of preference and opinion), while some didn’t care. Most sat in the middle, reserving their full opinion for when we actually saw how this would work out exactly.

Well, I’ve seen it. And my opinion remains unchanged.

I prefer 25-man raids. People tend to say, “The only thing that makes 25-mans harder than 10-mans is organizing it all.” That’s neither true nor false; it’s just an incomplete picture.

Yes, 25-mans are harder to organize. It is a million times easier to organize a 10-man if that’s your plan from the beginning. Finding 10-15 semi-reliable people who can make up a pretty decent composition is a cake walk for an experienced raid leader, and not too complicated for an inexperienced one, either. Wipe recovery takes less time because there are fewer people to recover, and having one hybrid dps/healer in your raid makes it a versatile environment for moving through bosses with different mechanics. Getting 25 people together at the same time and keeping them invested in a raid for a few hours is certainly a challenge.

But there’s so much more to it than that. The reason 25-mans are harder, all raid-forming considerations aside, is because there are 25 people. No, I’m not being stupid; follow along with me. In a 10-man raid, if one person fails to perform either in the meters or in raid awareness, it’s darn easy to spot: they’ll be the one whose dps is consistently holding you back during burn fights, or whose target continually dies, or whose mobs always go awry. Out of 10 people, one bad egg is going to shine like a glowing, shimmering Star of Fail.

In a 25-man, that person isn’t necessarily going to stand out as being consistently bad unless they’re either really dreadful or you’ve been alerted to the issue. You could have someone who is inconsistent in their performance but does just enough better than a couple of other people to keep their inconsistency hidden for a while.

This matters because having 25 people also means that there are more opportunities to wipe. This seems common sense, but really think about it for a minute: if you have 10 people, there are only 10 people who can wipe you. Even if you can only get 7 or 8 solid, consistent people in your raid, the odds are in your favor. In a 25-man, however; you’re going to reasonably have more lower- to marginally-performing raiders, so the pool of likely wipers goes from 2-3 to 5-6, not counting bad luck or a moment of indiscretion from one of your good raiders. Even if Blizzard really has tuned every raid to be the same level of mechanical difficulty for both raids, I think they are hard pressed to account for this difference.

If a 10-man raid and a 25-man raid go up against the same boss with relatively the same ratio of good to mediocre players (and luck not included), I think it’s fair to believe the 25-man will wipe more times than the 10-man raid in conquering that boss. Here’s the kicker: I don’t have any problem with that. For me, that level of difficulty is what makes raiding a challenge, and therefore, makes boss kills feel like achievements.

I know everyone doesn’t share that opinion, and I wouldn’t expect them to. Some people hate that aspect of 25-man raids, and for them, 10-mans are certainly the way to go. It doesn’t make them less accomplished in my eyes; they just like different aspects of raiding than I do, and I think having a choice to raid the way you want to is phenomenal.

However, while I’m not ready to say 25-mans are dead (not by a long shot; I know lots of 25-man guilds who are raiding and succeeding!), the ability to choose to raid in a 25-man setting is getting harder. This post is already longer than I intended, though; so I’m going to slap a part 1 sticker on it and explain why I say that tomorrow.

Continue on to I Told You So: The Decay of 25-mans, Part 2.

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5 Things About Loot

TLBC: The FiveThere are few things in WoW as desired, discussed, and controversial as loot and how it’s distributed.  Loot discussions have come up in every guild forum, realm forum, and officer chat.  If you haven’t seen one yet; trust me, you will.

So here are five things to keep in mind when you’re thinking about loot:

1.  It’s About Guild Progression if you are in a raiding guild.  PuGs exist to help individuals improve themselves; guilds exist to help a group of like-minded players achieve a common goal.  This is a distinct difference.  If you are in a raiding guild, your goal is to see all of the bosses as quickly and efficiently as you can.  Gear is a means to an end.  Granted, I think we all want to see our characters do their best in the best gear we can obtain, but in the end, gear upgrades exist to help our guild move further into instances.

This is something that has been woefully forgotten across the board.  I’ve seen it in my guild, and I’ve talked to many people who echo my sentiments.  It seems like a lot of people are all about gearing themselves and improving their personal performance.  They’re cutthroat, greedy, and thoughtless.  Yes, there are plenty of people I really like who have turned into loot whores.  I still like them, but these traits apply to them, too.

For instance, let’s say a nice trinket drops.  It’s an upgrade for you, yes; but do you ever inspect the other people rolling on the item?  Do you check to see if the other druid (who’s there almost as often or more than you are) is still carrying around something from Ulduar?

I want to have awesome gear, but I also want to kill bosses.  If passing on that trinket and giving it to consistent raider who needs it more than I do helps us achieve that goal, then so be it.

TL;DR: Don’t be a loot whore; consider your guildies and how gearing them up will help you progress.

2.  What are the loot rules? It’s an important question, both in guilds and in PuGs.  If you care about loot at all in the raid you are about to get saved to, you need to know what to expect.  Progression raid loot is loot council-based for us.  Those who need an item put their name up for consideration.  The loot council (comprised of both officers and raiders) then choose the person they think will benefit the most from the item (in theory).  Main spec takes preference over off spec, and Raiders take priority over Initiates.  If you don’t know the loot rules for your guild, you should ask.

Usually PuGs are set to a Loot Master, who links the item and then prompts for main spec rolls.  If no one rolls for main spec, that person opens it for off spec and then gives it to the highest roller (whether or not people actually need the item or not is an issue for a separate post!).  Sometimes you’ll get into a group that has special loot rules, such as: “This is mostly a guild raid, and we will be keeping patterns for our guild bank.”  At that point, people who are dissatisfied with the rule can opt out.  Special loot rules should be expressed up front.  If you’ve got a question about anything, make sure you ask, so you don’t get halfway through the run and find out someone else is going to be preferred for the items you want.

TL;DR: Know what to expect from loot before it becomes a problem.

be nice3.  A Little Consideration goes a long way.  No one likes being in a group where one person rolls on everything.  Yes, it’s an upgrade, and that’s awesome (it really is, upgrades make me drool), but if you’re sitting on two new pieces of loot, let someone else have a turn.  Something you might see as a minor setback might really help someone else out, and people remember these things.  There are people I get into PuGs with today that when I see their name, I think, “Cool, that person was so awesome last time.”  Accumulate gear, but be reasonable; there are 9 or 24 other people in your group who are there for the same reason you are, and you can’t solo Icecrown.

TL;DR: Play nice and take turns.

4.  Know Your Role!  Before rolling on loot, you should know what stats are best for your class and spec.  A warlock rolling against a healer on an item with mp5?  Bad.  A healer rolling against a mage for an item with hit?  Also bad.  There are hundreds of resources on the internet to find out what stats (and in some cases, which items) you should focus on.  Do your research, know your class, and roll on the right things.

I C U

TL;DR: It’s 5 sentences, don’t be so lazy.

5.  It’s Just Loot.  I know, I can see that look on your face right through the computer screen.  “If it’s just loot, then why did you waste a whole blog post on it?”  Here’s the thing:  loot is important to players.  I think it’s perfectly reasonable to question loot rules, to get frustrated or disappointed with the way loot distribution is handled, and even to sometimes get angry about getting treated unfairly when it comes to loot.  There have been times I have been seething over the way something loot-related went down.

However, is one item worth losing your guild over?  How about a friendship, in-game or real life?  Is it worth earning a bad reputation on your server?  I don’t think so.  If your guild is repeatedly shafting you, then yes, maybe you should bring it up (tactfully), but if it’s a rare occurrence, or a one time thing, respond carefully and try to keep it in perspective.

TL;DR:  There are things much more valuable than epic loot.

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