Tag Archives: guild

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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A Letter to World of Warcraft Raiders

Dear Fellow Raiders,

It’s the end of the expansion. None of us have failed to realize that, I promise. Some are farming for Mists and leveling alts, others are taking a bit of a breather or playing different games–I get that. I’ve been victim to it too, lately. Besides, everyone needs a break now and then, and if you’ve been pouring time into Cataclysm non-stop since it came out, you’re probably due one.

Patrolling Blackwing Descent

However, can I make one simple request? Please tell your guild before you stop showing up to raids. Really, it’s a courtesy. The 9 or 24 other people who are showing up are counting on you to be there to fill the raid and kill bosses. Continue reading

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Do You Remember the Time…?

If you’ve been in a guild for any amount of time, you have stories. You know the ones I mean: they become guild jokes, nicknames, and when you need encouraging between wipes, they come up during AFK’s. I adore story time.

I’m not going to tell every story, especially not the ones that are still in circulation–some things are meant to be just ours, after all–but I wanted to recount a couple of stories from our raiding history. More importantly, I want to know YOUR stories.

Pull up a seat on my story rug; here are two of ours:

The Ember of Azzinoth is Not a Good Raider

Image from Wowhead.com

Go back in time with me to Black Temple. Illidan dropped some nifty weapons, but the focus was all on the legendaries, as usual. Take your eyes off the shiny glaives for a minute and take a look at the Shard of Azzinoth.

It’s a dagger, green and smoky and glowy and rogue-y. Here’s the text from the weapon: “Chance on hit: Calls forth an Ember of Azzinoth to protect you in battle for a short period of time.”

This dagger ended up in the hands of one of our notorious rogues. We won’t discuss why he was notorious. At any rate, he equipped his shiny new dagger and proudly carried it into our next raid. We ooh’d and ahh’d a bit over the Ember, but otherwise we didn’t think about it much…

Right up until we headed to Reliquary of Souls. For those of you who didn’t experience the walk to RoS, a brief explanation:  it was a gauntlet down a long hallway full of ghosts. You’d run as a tight group, AoE the ones you pulled, run again, and AoE again. And you would never, ever, ever attack the mobs before the tank called for AoE. Good raiders don’t attack before they’re told to.

The Ember of Azzinoth is NOT a good raider. Halfway through the gauntlet, the Ember spawned. Pets that were not strictly player-controlled were still kind of idiotic then, and a randomly spawned pet? Even worse. He took his big, glowy butt right into the middle of the ghosts and killed us all.

Do not invite this guy to your raid, or do so at your own peril.

HAI KALECGOS!

Image from Wowwiki.com.

No one likes long run backs. Mass rez is SO BEAUTIFUL. /tear. I didn’t get to experience the Molten Core run back when it was content, but I’ve heard it was brutal. I did get to do Serpentshrine Cavern, because nothing’s more fun than swimming through a narrow tunnel when you’re a wisp. Really, try it.

One night while we were working on Kalecgos in Sunwell Plateau, we were doing a run back…again. We’d even pulled and reset to get some more people rezzed. We were recovering, a bunch of us seated outside of his circle, eating and drinking our way back to full health. A few people were still running back.

I think a lot of us have employed auto run for these moments. Sit back, let your character do the work while you eat a sandwich, it makes perfect sense–until you drop a tomato on your lap. Or your dog tries to take a bite from it. Or your wife complains that you didn’t make HER a sandwich. Whatever the reason, you look away.

One of those running back that particular night was a priest. I always watched for people coming into my range so that I could buff as soon as everyone was there (I actually remembered to buff when I was a healer…). I saw the priest light up on my Grid. Then I saw him gallop past me.

Then I watched him run right smack up to Kalecgos’s face.

The random yelling on vent and everyone scrambling was worth it.

What About You?

Like I said, I love story time. I KNOW there are other stories out there. I know as you were reading this you were instantly reminded of some moments of your own.

Tell me a story!

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Sometimes It’s Just Right

Ladies and gentlemen, last night was a good night.

Sometimes you don’t have good oozes. Sometimes you don’t have your normal healers or the purple debuff stacks a little to high. Sometimes tanks die. Sometimes adds overwhelm the raid or you stand in the Searing Blood or you don’t kill the Mana Void near the healers or you stack up when you’re supposed to spread out.

Sometimes you don’t have the dps. Sometimes button-pushing is hard. Sometimes Fading Light only gives you a three second warning or you aren’t paying attention to the Hour of Twilight castbar or someone forgets to soak and the raid erupts. Sometimes you try to push dps to the last second. Sometimes computers lag. Sometimes tanks die.

And then sometimes–sometimes it’s all just right.

You have the people you’re supposed to have.  Everyone heals what they’re supposed to heal and bites their fingers to keep from healing past four stacks. Everyone dpses what they’re supposed to dps and doesn’t try to pad the meters too much. Everyone stacks when they need to stack and spreads out when they need to spread out and switches targets when they’re supposed to switch targets.

Sometimes everyone pushes the button at the right time and tanks survive and we have an extra battle rez. Everyone pre-pots and uses their cooldowns and pushes the meter just enough. Everyone who is supposed to stay out stays out and no one erupts. Sometimes the healers switch through their healing cooldowns perfectly and everyone m0re-or-less lives–everyone except the boss, that is.

And sometimes, on those nights, these things happen:

Job well done last night, guys. Grats to us!

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The Expansion is Ending?

In Trade yesterday, someone mentioned that the expansion is ending. Someone replied, “what do you mean, ‘the expansion is ending?'”

Mists of Pandaria is around the virtual corner. Some guesses put it as soon as June, some as late as September, but regardless of when it comes, we’re wrapping up Cataclysm. We’re in the last tier of content, we’ve killed the Big Boss, and Blizzard has repeatedly confirmed there will not be a filler raid between now and MoP. Further, beta started this week. The door is closing.

I don’t do postmortem breakdowns. There are plenty of MUCH more qualified people doing that (specifically, Blizzard itself). I’d feel remiss, though; if I didn’t go back and ruminate a bit on what Cataclysm was for me and figure out how to wrap it up in proper style.

Story

I’m going to be honest, even if it’s a bit fangirl-ish: content-wise, I loved Cataclysm. My introduction to World of Warcraft lore took place in three parts, or more correctly, one story in the parts: War of the Ancients. Knowing that I would get to team up with and face off against the characters and dragons I’d read about put me on the edge of my seat for the expansion.

I enjoyed every raid. Really. Okay, I didn’t love Throne of the Four Winds, but I adored Blackwing Descent. It was everything I wanted the first raid to be. The fights were fun (okay, maybe being a moonkin on Atramedes when Lunar Shower still rocked made it a little more fun, but still) and everything felt fresh again. I needed fresh after months and months of Icecrown.

Although I took a several month break from the game and missed the introduction of Firelands, I’m glad I got the chance to see it. I never got to see Ragnaros in Molten Core, at least not when he was the Big Boss. I liked the environment and the fights, even if the instance and I had our disagreements. Plus:

I mean, even I can’t argue with that.

I grinned all the way through the 4.3 heroics, despite the fact that I don’t like the Tyrande’s voice acting (not because the acting was bad, but because I don’t feel like it fit the character). While seeing Deathwing meet his “end” was a little anticlimactic since I fought him in LFR before we ever got to him as a guild,  I still liked the encounters and the story.

My Raiding Experience

I started out on a great foot when the expansion began. I knew that I knew my class, and I proved it over and over again. Even when things got rocky and the guild I was in switched to 10-mans, I did pretty well in every role I was asked to fill (which often ended up being healing).

The only thing I wasn’t completely comfortable with was tanking, but this is where I have to give a shoutout to the awesome people of Ephemera who encouraged me to try and gave me  ample opportunity to practice. They were persistent and non-judgemental, and I love them for it.

After my several month break, I returned, ready to raid again. Things had been in a bit of an upheaval, and I ended up returning to my guild Chi Cerca Trova while I got my feet wet in Firelands. What a culture shock. I’d never taken a lengthy break from raiding like that, and it took me a while to get my bearings straight.

Even now, I don’t feel like I’m back to where I was. I struggle to see the numbers I want to see. I get irritated with myself for not performing the level I feel is acceptable. Right now I sit in a place of deep frustration, and if I can’t find a way out of it, Mists might see me taking on a new role or even a new class. Tastes Like Death…Knight? Tastes Like Holy Priest?

I intend to moonkin to the best of my ability until this expansion officially ends. Time (and beta) will determine where I go after that.

What to Do Now?

We’ve got 3-6 months before we’re standing in line at Gamestop to pick up our copies of Mists of Pandaria. It sounds like a long time, but in Warcraft time, it’s not really. What are you doing to pass the time until we’re rolling our monks?

These are the things I’m doing:

What are you doing to say goodbye to this expansion, and are you ready to step into Pandaria?

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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. ❤

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The Pressure to Be Bad

When I was younger, I heard about peer pressure all the time. Posters in my classrooms told me to stay above the influence, to think for myself, or to stand out in the crowd. School counselors came and told me to be bold and be a leader, while tons of TV shows (from Saved by the Bell to Boy Meets World) tried to demonstrate the consequences of caving to peer pressure.

Somewhere between then and now, peer pressure became much more subtle for me. No one even uses the term “peer pressure” to describe it in reference to adults, but it still very much exists. Feeling forced to bake an extra two dozen cupcakes for the bake sale because Jimmy’s mommy said she was going to? Peer pressure. Feeling bad about ignoring a coworker but doing it anyway because your office buddies think he’s stupid? Peer pressure. Or just ask any parent  you know about the “advice” he or she has been given about parenting over the years. The things we buy and say and do in our lives as adults are influenced by peer pressure every day.

World of Warcraft, at least the social aspects of it, is mostly populated by teenagers and adults, and whether we realize it or not, there is ample peer pressure in the WoW community (if you really don’t believe me, go take a close look at the forums sometime).

I’ve experienced this before and admittedly, I have caved on more than one occasion. There are lots of situations this comes into play, but today I was reminded of a particular circumstance that I have seen happen a dozen times over: the pressure to be a jerk.

Maybe you’re the kind of person who doesn’t care if someone’s DPS is low, and as long as you get through the instance, it’s okay. You might talk about it with your guildies, but unless the person seems open to suggestions, you’re not going to confront him or talk down to him, and unless he’s keeping you from succeeding, you probably wouldn’t be the one to initiate a vote kick for low DPS. Maybe you put him on ignore at the end of the run so you don’t end up in a group with him again, but overall, you leave him alone.

But perhaps you’re running with a group of friends who do make it a habit to berate players they deem “bad” (and sometimes they are bad, that’s the catch). Perhaps they start making snide comments at Low-DPSer until they’re straight-up insulting this person. What do you do if they try to draw you into their bashing? Do you ignore it? Do you tell them to lay off? Do you join in because it’s what’s expected of you? It’s easy to say that you wouldn’t be affected by their opinions, but it just isn’t true–if these are people in your guild or people you know in real life, their opinion is going to stick around you for a long time, and you’re going to make decisions at least partly based on that.

I’ve been in this situation many, many times. I have run with a lot of people who are exceptional players (and some who only think they are), and sometimes they forget that not everyone plays the game for the same reasons we raiders do, and sometimes they’re just full of themselves (or are so self-conscious they need to bully to feel big, just like IRL). Whatever the cause, it’s pretty easy for one or two people in a group to start a downward spiral of insults against another player who doesn’t meet their personal qualifications (protip: if you are this person, please run with guild groups and save us all the hassle of watching you be a butthead).

At the end of the run, what have you accomplished by joining in an unfriendly roast? Maybe you’ve gotten some kind of WoW street cred with your guildies, but if they’re the type to start this in the first place, their friendship is most likely fickle and definitely not worth the maintenance cost. Most likely, you’ve just made another player log off in disgust, swear off of tanking forever, or spec away from healing. Even if you haven’t affected them in that way, at the very least you made it to their ignore list. Congratulations?

It’s cheesy, it’s preachy, it’s childish, but it’s true: stay above the influence. Think for yourself. Stand out in the crowd as a leader, not a follower. Your bully buddies aren’t the only ones watching your actions and judging you on them. Your officers are watching, your class lead is watching, future guildies (or not) are watching–and so are the rest of us.

Set the tone. Greet your fellow PuGgers when they join the group. Take responsibility for the things you’ve done wrong. Be humorous, be friendly, be forgiving. It goes further than you know.

Play well, friends.

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