All-in-All I’m Just Another Cog in the War Machine:

Who’s going to run this raid tonight?

There has been some good discussion after raid on vent recently in my guild. Possibly because there is shifting in guild raid policy due to changing officer availability and trying to accommodate a few peeps (*cough* get a third healer on all three raid nights *cough*) with time… working out where flexi fits that sort of thing… and our communication on the forums has been flagging; in that we the officers initiate and we get excellent engagement but our followup is delayed – a guild leader with a baby at breast, a raid leader with one practically in hand (getcha catching glove on sir) and me in the new job flailing at life /weary. We do our best but actions to suit guild feedback aren’t snappy currently. One of the results from that is, in part due to having a higher load of vocal & chatty types raiding these days, if end raid doesn’t turn into something similar to “chats at the pub” it becomes a somewhat open forum on vent.

The discussions can get me on a rant. I am actually naturally ranty… a weird ranty introvert… but also it’s the late hour as I get tired I get rambly and by the end of raid (10.30pm … I am so old now) I am wrecked and if I hang about for a 1-2 hr conversation I am beyond space case. I am upsized Ranty McRant-Rant with a side of French Fries. Our guild leader is much more diplomatic than me, she’ll listen with open ears and then give feedback whereas I sit in there zoning out (enjoying the discussions and linking funny hats in guild chat) until someone says a one-liner in passing and I get “Rant-engaged”.

“Rant-engaged” is a term my RL friends actually use about me… I have a whole cohort that games these days and they know what a “Boss” is without having to crack the “Like a Boss” joke (yeah, we had one friend who did that – watching the uninitiated try to navigate gamer jargon is so awkward when they are the minority pffft.) These RL friends know about ‘engaging a mob in combat’ ‘drawing aggro’ ‘keeping threat’ yadda yadda. Not all of them are warcraft players, a large portion are into Guild Wars and let me say there is a whole different jargon developing on that side of the fence.

I can be ‘Rant-engaged’ reasonably easy – Like Marty McFly just call me a coward and watch it all go down. Only its things like ‘Flexi is easier’ ‘We don’t need a raid leader, everyone just does what they do best’ that set me off in vent, I almost feel sorry for them because no one can soapbox for two hours like I can soapbox for two hours. Lol but oh do they make excellent blog posts. Blog posts for me are just rants in written format.

My fellow raid leader managed to defuse me on the flexi is easier rant – it took him two weeks and we have negotiated to the statement: Flexi-raiding is more flexible (and thus forgiving to a raid team) however it requires an equivalent (to 10mN) amount of officer organisation and raider resources.

Easier = more battle rezes, more bodies, more room for mistakes and less brutal boss health and mechanics. Cross-realmed resources, no lockouts, no major loot mastering. DKP is a choice not a requirement. Inclusive, which means less benching and documentation (officer time sink.)

Equivalent effort = Must still have a raid leader. Someone still needs to watch the fight videos and strategize groups/markers/troubleshoot wipes, there are a dozen ways you can complete the content these days there has to be a voice that says ‘this is the fight-strat we will try’ until it becomes farm content. Someone needs to call for hero and call for  wipe.  Someone is still responsible for looking at the gear to vet out the unenchanted scrubs who haven’t gemmed their helms.

Equivalent resources = Must have 2 tanks, 3 healers (and roughly another for every extra 5 DPS once you are over 13 players), and at least 10 bodies to roll out.

The fourth raid night my guild set aside for flexi raiding pushed my raid officer time out past what I was able to sustainably cope with and every time someone said “Flexi is easier” the whites of my eyes would show and I would proceed to “Rant-engage”. See if you know where the markers go… and no one else remembers where the markers go… you will be the one putting the markers down. As knowing ‘what happens next’ is my job in the 10mN raids well it’s a consequence that I get placed in that position in the cross realm flexi now (should I choose to participate) on anything that is ‘fresh meat content.’  You can’t really respond with Yeah I know where the markers go, where everyone should be and all the major mechanics on this fight, including a dot point list of what will cause wipes … but I don’t want to talk about it.

Pffft! As if! You put the bloody markers down and you hope someone was taking notes.

I can’t see how flexi has changed anything much for me in the amount of work (or rather what I think of as higher cognitive processing) I sink in. Easier my fat-panda butt – or rather please refer to our negotiated compromise statement.

I was in an extremely toxic work environment the year prior (it broke me) and I am still picking up the pieces of my life, the government pays for me to talk to a psychologist so they don’t have to put me on work cover (and probably mostly so I don’t take a nail gun to work with me.) In any case let’s just say a regular sleep schedule stops me from devolving into a case of PTSD anxiety – I’ve had to defend my choice to continue participating in wow events which run late into the evening, where I enter this hyper alert frame of mind due to the amount of ‘critical decision making’ I undertake. I do yoga, I cut the caffeine, then I log into wow in front of a lit LED screen and wind myself spring tight sorting, bossing and raiding and by 10:30pm I am firing on all cylinders and I’ve gone from winding down in my day to revving up to six-cylinder operation. They have stopped trying to make me stop. Afterwards I ritualistically take a shower, I use a sleepbot app on my phone to track my sleep, I darken the room and I attempt to have a non-disruptive sleep (for that way madness literally awaits me) but I am up again around 5:00am to 5:30am like a machine. I burn the candle at both ends. The sleep debt tends to kick in on the weekend where I am well known to randomly just pass out during the day. Weekends are a lost cause for me. I honestly don’t think that wow is negatively impacting on me enough for me to give it up O_o I mean I don’t do hard drugs … I should be allowed my PG-rated dosages of wow-crack.

So they can’t stop me raiding, I can say professionals have tried. But I understand I have to achieve a balance. My raidleader friend has stopped me from wanting to rip the throat out of flexi to save myself and I am watching as peeps step up into the breach and slot into the jobs that keep the war machine ticking along.

On the topic of Raid leading ***rant engaged***

I have this philosophy about raiding – no one person should ever be a lynch pin your raid cannot move without. You have your tanks, and hybrid backups, you have your healers, and hybrids or reserves. If one raider falls no matter how high their output you put out your feelers (and your recruitment applications) and another warm body is found to become a part of the system that helps the war machine grind along. Raiding is a team sport and if one player packs up their ball and goes home in a snit the rest of the team will not fall apart… and nor will they particularly miss you because you are 10% of a 100% team effort. If you have to take a holiday you are entitled to take that holiday and the raid will fondly welcome you back after (after all the raid is the BORG they want you to become one with them). The raid will adapt, the raid will evolve. The raid will use a bloody spoorbat for a haste buff if it has to and the raid will succeed.

The officers and raid leaders can be a sticking point. I have read about some guilds grinding to a halt if the raid leader is absent. I wouldn’t say we are that bad but we have been known to switch main raid nights to accommodate a temp raidleader schedule. I am sure that if the net blew up for every active officer in the guild today – that my guild would still get the war machine out of the gate for raids. It’s just that sort of guild.

Currently jobs are broken up among our four officers, and usually 2-3 will be present on any one raid to carry the workload that comes with the ‘fun-raid’ time. The fellow raid leader (warlock) handles researching progression content and selecting a strat to hit new content with – there is a lot of behind scenes emailing occasionally, but the real burden isn’t the research or video watching nope – it is convincing a raid group of independent adults that the selected strategy is the best to try. It isn’t always the strat that succeeds but strats then get negotiated in the tank/healer channels or with direct whispered or vent conversation. All this is pretty much put to him. The progression raid leader deals with negotiating the guild strat with 10 people. It’s not a job I particularly enjoy myself, you ask a tank or DPS to do something, they can often reject you outright because of various reasons and you have to come to a compromise. To take the pressure off progression raid leading  the tank and healer channels exist – tanks are expected to develop a working partnership and the healing group will have someone handing out assignments that should enable the strat put forth to work. Then if something is issues it can be raised by the peeps that know best – communication channels are so very important. But I find progression content raid leading the most stressful flavor on the plate because there is also a lot of wiping, there can be a fair bucket of frustration on the dps/heal check fight Blizzard seems fond of lately, there is even occasionally an outright rejection of your proposed strat and can be open rebellion in vent and there are a lot of conflicting opinions to negotiate to find synergy and success. The more wipes, the more intense this gets.

I work best as support, ever a beta wolf never an alpha. Actually in 10mN my real job is troubleshooting a strategy, which is really working to mix it up and help the raid achieve success on a fight strat that has been introduced to the group but isn’t taking. Knowing what comes next & negotiating the new things was something I happily passed over to the fellow raidleader – he takes the brunt of establishing a new fight strat and I come along behind with ‘fix-em’ suggestions if it’s not working to improve or make it better.

Take Horridon – Progression raidleader constructed diagrams and bossed the raid into bashing their heads on the boss-wall, and when our tanks got confused I was the one that bullied him into giving an in game visual demonstration of what he was asking for in the way of positioning instead of a verbal run down. Verbal wasn’t communicating what he wanted. Then when we wiped too much on gate two the solution I put forward (based on the WOL damage log) was to rule that the druid-healer got the paladin symbiosis for double the decursing ability, because it was the venom priests killing people, and we started raid marking the blighters – I had to veto the druid-tank having the symbiosis for aoe on the adds if only one paladin showed … that was pretty brutal. When we kept dropping on the third gate (and our paladin tank pointed out the positioning was killing her) with the frost mages, I hit the forums to find out what other guilds were doing and recced making the third gate a slow-kite (like forums were advising – research is what I do) and we moved our paladin tank to the inside circle. It still took what three weeks to get past this. But they aced it pre-nerf and I didn’t do a single persons job for them… well I healed a bit.

Now that group can go through without officers and with two healers. Its farm content. Everyone knows well their jobs and they don’t need raid calls for “orb down” or “dinomancer up” or “Kite the dinosaur” – they could do it in their sleep.

So yeah I contribute to raid leading by coordinating heal team (usually by running farm content) but more importantly by troubleshooting and arguing the progression raidleader down to trying my ideas if I think there can be an improvement. Almost all my conflict resolution skills are aimed persuading him to my point of view, poor bastard. While he deals with negotiating with the raid.

But wait there is more!

  • DKP and looting – there are policies but someone has to do it (our mage officer or our guild master often take this job into hand), and it comes it formal ritual announcements and paperwork
  • Raid calling – I am … well awful at raid calling, but some things (like say Ultraxion) do require an extra voice on vent during the fight to coordinate the raid. Progression raidleader does this, our guild leader does this and even mage banker does this. Any but me, if I am alone I try to delegate. I cannot do it well and heal.
  • Player disputes & grievances – these generally go straight to the guild leader, she is a people person. Although I’ve helped sort some out.
  • Sourcing an extra raider – all officers are expected to help canvas for that extra warm body when we are short. For cogs are important and the war machine must carry onward.

Actually isn’t it even sort of negligent to let an official guild event like a main-raid roll out without some responsible party being present to make sure the guild values of fairness and respect are upheld? Not that you can’t trust peeps to do that, but it’s like playing football with no referee… if there is no ref you need to state before the game and make sure everyone’s okay with it, and you are still a bit screwed insurance wise if some idiot gets their kneecap dislocated and loses a nut because no one bothered strapping their jock bits.


About Bytes

Returning wow player, one of those elderly burnt out ex-officer types. My current main is a Hunter (MS the under-dog talent tree Beast Master), but thats shifting back to hybrid Shaman. Together with my virtual cat I battle evil, kick butt and take names.
This entry was posted in Guild Admin, Mists of Pandaria, MMORPG, Officer Concerns, PVE, Raiding, World of warcraft, Xpacs and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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