11
Mar
10

Expectations and Shortcomings

The Prologue to Frustration

I have been battling back and forth in my head about posting this blog entry, because of the fact that so many of my guildies read this blog, but in the end, everything I will talk about was something which happened, and what good is a blog if I can’t record my thoughts on it. I want to discuss our raid night last night, and more importantly the concept of personal accountability. This is a subject that is very important to me, as both a person in real life, my job, in WoW, and as a Leader in a guild. Personal accountability in combination with respect for your peers is something that is called a “soft skill” in the corporate world, and is something that is essential to career development. Most people in our guild are not to the point where they need to worry about this yet, however when the real world calls, the rose colored glasses of University are removed, and the brutal and painful truth of the real world hits, they are going to have a very hard time adapting.

I want to provide you with a brief overview of the past two nights (past marrowgar) and follow that up with my opinions on our raiding corps, and some issues that are bothering me. Tuesday night, after a nice successful kill on marrowgar (even with the Lag), we did Lady Deathwhisper on normal, Loot Ship on heroic and then we got to Saurfang. We wiped on Deathbringer Saurfang for three hours. We had add control issues at first. The adds were killing the dps because they were not all getting slowed and would kill our ranged dps as the slowing debuf made it too difficult to kite. We countered this with asking one of our Locks to go Destruction. We had a shadowfury queued for the spawn, and a typhoon as soon as SF wore off. This eliminated our problems with the adds.

After this was addressed, we ran into what I assume was the real intended challenge of the fight. The dps race and healing demand of the Marks. Our dps was acceptable, hitting 5 marks in the 30% range. The adds were dying for the most part, with a few slip ups and on all of our optimal attempts, we wiped in the sub 10% range to a marked target dying and healing saurfang. Our healing corps just could not keep up with the damage. We had two holy paladins, two priests, a shaman and a druid. The way that our healers spread out the healing, from what I understand was that the paladins took the first two Marks, and the tanks and the four other healers had the rest of the raid and the rest of the marks. In the end, we could not kill the boss, someone died of mark every time. We eventually switched him back to normal mode and killed him with the first mark going out at 32%. The disparity between normal and hard mode is enormous.

Festergut…

Last night we set out to get back in the groove of things. From all the sources I normally use for encounter mechanics, strategies, and changes, the non counter bosses in the upper spire ranged from loot pinatas to marginally difficult (but nothing special). For our guild this was far from the truth. We cleared to festergut, detailed the changes, our positioning and strat, and pulled. We wiped, and we wiped in the first minute of the fight, to poor play, raid damage, ooze, and lack of awareness. This would turn into the theme for the night. Four and a half hours later, and close to 20 attempts later, Festergut was still alive, and we were done with the night. We wiped and we wiped a lot.

The source of the wipes was plentiful. We wiped to people being out of range of their healers, of people eating goo, of people standing too close together and vile gassing each other, to ranged gassing the tanks, by poor management of the spores, and from overall raid damage (people dying to straight tick downs from the pungent blight). To be quite honest, and some times it is not pretty, this was the first time I have been purely disappointed in our raiding corps. The fight is simple, the mechanics are the same, and if everyone stays alive for 5 minutes, you have a kill. That just didnt happen for our guild. We had a few attempts where we saw sub 10% at the enrage timer, but in the end, people were playing poorly and they were not ensuring they get the spore debuf, getting out of the way of goo, or just checking their range finder to ensure they were far enough away from each other.

This fight was far from predictable, easy, and simplistic. The view from the balcony of Putricide makes the differentiation of melee oozes to tank oozes nearly impossible. The coordination of 25 people understanding what to do with the Spores seemed to be more than our guild could handle, spreading out caused its own problems, and our resto druid was dying every attempt to something, leaving the burden of healing the raid on a few priests and a shaman. I will be the first to say that you should never criticize healers, their job is very difficult and blizzard has continued to challenge them as they did in sunwell. But at some point deficiencies have to be filled, and people have to take accountability for their actions. We have a few stellar healers in our guild, and a few mediocre ones. The difference is make or break on fights like this, and while the blame is as much on our dps as it is on our healers, the raid as a whole sees one side of the story.

Why does Personal Accountability matter?

Really what it came down to last night, is a bunch of people either pointing fingers at others when it came to their short comings, being completely quiet and not sharing their mistake with the raid so we could all learn, or straight up hindering the raid environment with what they consider (but really is no where near) constructive criticism. In order for a person to grow, and to learn and improve, they must have the ability to become introspective and see short comings or errors and fix them. Accountibility is something that is highly valued and an expectation in the real world, however when it comes to WoW, the younger crowd has not learned this skill at all. They will laugh at other shortcomings, and then make a similar mistake themselves.

The more you can see what you have done wrong, share your learning experience, and grow from your mistakes in a collaborative and non condescending way, the faster a group can achieve success by ensuring that the mistake is not repeated. Well, last night we repeated mistakes over and over again, and it was the reason for which we were so unsuccessful.

My expectiations and Shortcomings

When I started to prepare for this weeks raid, early last weekend, and did all the write ups in the officer forums on each boss, the differences in the encounters, the strats, the tips, and my gear sets for each fight, I prepared to take our guild to 8/12 hard modes. It was all there, I was ready, I had my pots, my food, my flasks, and the knowledge. After about 9 hours of raiding, we are 2/12. I would be lying if I said I was ok with that. I am embarrassed, disappointed, and down right pissed that we are where we are. The first thing I can do is look to myself and see what I can do better, so I will talk out loud about my roles, how I did my job, and what I can do better.

I was the second tank, so my first responsibilities, and the one which I did poorly was calling out the oozes that came towards the tank. with out the ability to position the boss, i was unable to affect my viewpoint of the balcony where putricide stands. It was hard for me to make those calls and i screwed up a few times. On top of that, I missed a few calls because I was busy using my raid utility. I need to be able to do more. I missed calls when DS/DGing, I missed calls when I was HoSac’ing my tank at the second Inhale, and I missed calls when I was watching my own cool downs on the third inhale.

My cool downs, and defensive mitigating skills were always on cool down. I used everything I could think of, DS/DG, Sac, LoH, DP, armor pots, health stones, and still I feel like there is something else i could have done to make this easier. In the end, I know that I can not make up for the mistakes of the many, but I still try. We had melee constantly eating the goo, we had raiders miss the spores, we had people standing too close to one another. As a tank there is absolutely nothing you can do about these things, other than hit your DS/DG during the pungent blight and hope for the best. I even sac’ed a healer who only had two spore debufs once, but sometimes they are out of my range. Yes the MT while tanking saced a healer.

I don’t know what else to do, and I don’t know what else to say. I am extremely disappointed in our performance. I don’t know what we could do to make it better, because this encounter, like most other hard modes, requires every raider in the group to do their best to succeed. Our raid lacks a few essential buffs/roles and it shows on fights like this. We do not have a shadow priest, and I can not tell if the healing that said priest would put out is enough to make the difference, we have one resto druid, and I don’t know if rolling hots from two would help. At this point, aside from perfection from 25 people for 5 minutes, I don’t know if there is anything else we can do to improve. One thing is clear though, Our dps is not high enough to brute force these attempts to give our healers a bit of breathing room. At the same token, our healing is not good enough to compensate and handle the raid damage which is a result of the the dps. Both of these observations are not independent of my own roles shortcomings, if I could find a way to mitigate more damage, take less spike damage, and better utilize my cool downs, my healers could help the raid out.

In the end, what is done is done and we cannot change the past, what I have to figure out is what I can do to effect our chances in the future, if we have the attendance for a Sunday raid.

/end very long rant

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12 Responses to “Expectations and Shortcomings”


  1. March 11, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    I’m sorry if I contributed to misleading you, or helped set unrealistic expectations. We didn’t really have the same issues at all on Festergut. Saurfang was definitely a PITA, though.

    I can offer a few tips for both Saurfang and Festergut, though.

    Saurfang: We use 5 healers (2 holy paladins). Any ranged/healer that gets Marked moves into melee range. The additional splash healing from CHs/WGs make a huge difference to mark stability. We have one paladin take the 3rd and 4th marks, and the 2nd paladin takes the 5th mark (with beacon), while healing the tanks. 1st/2nd marks go to raid healers. With perfect BP play, you have about 4:30 seconds or you get a 6th mark and probably wipe. BoP Mark targets late in the fight, when healers are at risk of falling behind… it’s also a good time to Dsac. Use heroism during the frenzy… and use it about 40 seconds before your anticipated kill time. It helps the healers more than DPS for this fight. Get them to the end. Make sure the healers know that Mark healing is more important than anything else. If someone dies to blood boil – you can win. If someone dies to mark, you lose.

    Festergut: We just let the tanks eat any goo that goes directly to tanks. Melee sets up on left leg, and moves to opposite leg (and stays there) for melee goo. If it’s targetted at a tank, melee moves and won’t get hit anyway. Ranged just needs to be responsible. Mobile healers (resto druids) are best kept in the melee clump, if possible. It should ensure that they have range on the whole raid.

  2. 2 Calleana
    March 12, 2010 at 5:49 am

    I felt your pain making this post, discussing your disappointment with your guild and raid corps never feels very nice.

    Our guild has not made it to hardmodes, we haven’t even managed to make it downing the entire instance through a combination of attendence issues and sever crashes (TM on the EU servers). But doing the best you can and finding other people are not is very frustrating even at this point.

    Good luck and I hope Sunday improves your fare.

  3. March 12, 2010 at 8:51 am

    Sometimes I read your blog expecting to see into the mind of a main tank and raid leader for a guild I think of as entirely different from mine. Ranked high on progression; working on hard modes my casual guild will probably never see… I expect a window into a totally different world, a guild with totally different problems and attitudes. I should stop being shocked when I read a post that is painfully familiar.

    I feel your frustration at the beginning so keenly. I’m just out of university; I’m familiar with the attitude you describe. Personal accountability is not exactly a skill college cultivates in people my age.

    You can only do so much. As the RL you can identify mistakes, but you can’t make people take responsibility and step up and say when they did something wrong. You can’t make people learn from their mistakes. And you can’t prevent them from instinctively looking to blame others and call others out to avoid taking a close look at their own performance. Even if they’re not doing it out loud, on vent, they’re doing it silently to themselves. It’s an awful attitude and one that is so prevalent, especially among people my age … and when it happens vocally, it creates a poisonous attitude that makes the quieter people even less likely to step up.

    Well, I have faith in you & your guild. I’ve been reading this blog for long enough that I know you will persevere. Things will look up! Maybe some of your raiders will grow up a little, shut up a little more, and quit bickering in favor of progressing πŸ™‚ They certainly have a leader they should listen to.

    You might be disappointed. I’m sure your whole raid is disappointed. But I’m sure there are lots people who are depending on you to be disappointed, who depend on you to react just the way you have.

    For those of us who are just raiders… who are not officers, leaders, or MTs … who don’t have an outlet, like you do … it’s nice to know our MT/ RL has high expectations of the raid. We don’t just trust our leader to have the right attitude, we trust him to expect it of everyone in the raid. I am confident your raid will improve because they have someone with the right expectations at the top.

    I hope some of your raiders will grow up a little, shut up a little more, and quit bickering in favor of progressing πŸ™‚ They certainly have a leader they should listen to.

    Anyways. Here’s a final note from this blog-length comment.

    The part at the end of this blog where you try to identify all the things you did wrong … sure sounds familiar! I liked seeing how you apply such a critical eye to your own performance. Certainly made me feel better to see someone I respect doing the same thing I do – taking out one’s frustration with uncontrollable aspects of a raid by being very very self critical & nit picking one’s own performance. At least, that’s what I see in the end of your post. πŸ™‚

    Cheer up! Things will improve. πŸ™‚

  4. March 12, 2010 at 9:23 am

    Just to add to what Meloree said, normally we run with a near identical healer setup to you: 2 Holy Paldins Holy Priest, Resto Shaman, Resto Druid, and a priest who switches between holy and disc depending on the fight (but mostly Disc).

    Because Saurfang gains blood power so quickly, we use Hand of Protection on the first Blood Boils (we run with 4-5 paladins most days) until all HoPs are on CD. Rogues cloak it off, mages use their iceblock immediately, Paladins bubble it off, so we don’t HoP those classes since they can clear it themselves. I don’t know how much this actually helps us, but our healing lead seems to think this is significant, so we do it. If a melee or a healer gets marked they are able to stack on melee but we chose not to have any ranged people leave their spot to stack in the melee for fear of agro’ing adds as they dps them. We’ve seen that guilds do it with 5 healers (presumably to increase raid DPS) but we tried it with 6. Our two Holy Paladins took 2 marks each (beacon and spam) while the other healers took their marked target and the tanks. The biggest contributor to mark-death was actually Mark+Boiling Blood which caused the target to typically take a 10k hit, 8k tick, 10k hit, in about 2 seconds. But we didn’t actually clear the encounter until I respec’d Holy and we had 3 Holy Paladins (all I really had to do was beacon the tank and spam my mark target so it didn’t exactly require me to be any good as a healer) so I’m not entirely sure if we had 7 healers at this point or not… I do not believe we had a 6th mark go out, but we were probably close.

    Our biggest problem on Festergut (who we have not downed) is actually two-fold: tank-death during mid-2nd inhale (poor warriors) and melee having a hard time telling when a goo is aimed at them and how to get out of the way. The ranged and healers seem to have a much easier time of this. I’m not sure of the actual positioning you guys use, but when we tried tanking him right on the wall (outside the obvious ring on the floor, Festergut facing the balcony) the melee wasn’t able to see the balcony really, so we backed him up so that melee is able to stand on that thin grey ring and they were able to see better (they moved as a group from one leg to the other leg when a goo was aimed at them). After several deaths mid-2nd inhale, our warrior threw up his hands and demanded I tank Festergut from the start, bubble my 9-stack off, and keep him until I was no longer able. The one time we did it this way (before all the trash respawned on us), I had no real problem surviving through the inhale phases and I was not even able to use Divine Protection because I had to save my forbearance to taunt-bubble-cancel at 9 stacks to keep the boss (whether this will ultimately put us too far behind the enrage timer, I don’t know yet). What actually killed me was a melee swing after Pungent Blight because I didn’t get enough direct heals (I’m not actually sure if I had 2 or 3 stacks of inoculate at that point, melee spore positioning was kinda poor). It is, conceptually, not a difficult fight, but like you, we’re still having trouble fine-tuning our execution. Our biggest problem with spores is adapting to times when a tank or tank healer gets one so that the specific mark (skull for example) cannot move to where it always goes when marks go out, and the melee spore not always hitting the tank with it.

  5. March 12, 2010 at 9:25 pm

    what an awesome post Wrathy.

    As you likely know, I am also on Destromath, a prot pally, raid leader and one of the guild leaders – and what you did truly helped me prepare for the challenges that I expect to soon encounter. Our guild, Fates Hand is definitely more casual, but I do anticipate a LK kill with our 25 man group soonish.

    The expectations that the general raid members have, which I have come to expect, is that they do not prepare, they dont generally want to hear me read off a wall-of-text, and they need to see it with their own eyes. Being in the space industry, quite a few of my team wouldnt make it as a high school intern since learning from studying and data review is the only way to know what it is like to be outside in a space environment. I have come to be patient for the nights that you express above as the time for everyone to “learn by doing”, and as a result our guild does progress well, but not at the pace that I would like. A little homework and understanding by the team has a big return and many fail to do that. I do accept our casual-progression/semi-hardcore/casual-hardcore guild for what it is though…a bunch of buddies some of which are really good and we stick together now just almost solely on loyalty.

    I can say that I was caught off-guard in the 10 man heroics, for which my 10 man team is starting to charge through. Holy shit Marrowgar shocked me on how much more coordination was required for the rest of the raid, since for me, there wasnt that big of a change. Lady Deathwhisper was much simpler, and gunship was thankfully a loot pinata however likely that we are all generally main raiders in 25 man raids with weeks of gear upgrades. DBS has been the next shock to the system that i havent yet figured out how to optimize without me going holy for the fight, and having a top dps warrior tank (seems ok though since that forces a priest to go shadow, which is likely better).

    anyways, your honesty in your blog certainly wont make all of your guildies happy, but stating clear expectations is never something that can make you wrong. the expectations for each player need to improve against the ezmode normal was, which bad habits likely already formed. I hope this posting of yours puts a shock to your teams system so that you can continue to be successful.

    Regards-
    Rocket

  6. March 13, 2010 at 7:35 pm

    I’m not sure how I feel about this post either way. On one hand I’ve seen this sort of thing before, on the other hand it’s become a part of being a raid leader that I’ve come to expect over the past 3 or 4 years.

    That being said, I think you set yourself up for frustration without realizing it. Your success in 10 man might have clouded your judgement as far as what hard modes you should go for first. It might have been prudent to go ahead and take on some of the easier bosses (Rotface instead of Festergut, Council, Dreamwalker) instead of starting in on 2 of the hardest out of the first 8 available (BQL could also be ranked easier than Festergut). Getting a boost in morale would help propel you into next week’s more challenging encounters.

    Gradually stepping up in difficulty tends to prepare raiders when it’s time to focus up for Festergut, Saurfang, or Deathwhisper heroic mode. Simplify the fight instead of trying to tackle it all at once. Festergut is a fight that requires a good deal of practice (one we have not yet downed) and impatience on the part of the raid leader is the quickest way to propagate a sense of failure through your raid. Carrying a positive attitude can be very hard to do, but sometimes it’s a rallying cry and not a whipping post that people are looking for.

    Taking responsibility for everything and trying to be the one true source of raid source is going to lead to more posts like this. Sharing the responsibility of developing a tactic and focusing on turning points in each fight can help the raiders become more involved, and take more ownership in the solution.

    In the end, I’m sure you’ll turn it around in the coming days and resets and be successful, and I only wish you the best of luck. Just keep your head on straight and instill that confidence into those that you raid with.

    Regards,
    Borsk

  7. 7 Luis
    March 14, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    Sigh…….

    I come to check once a while to see your inputs and strategies of the point of view of a pally tank but seriosly as a guild leader I can say that I am soo happy you are not in my guild. Really…. I mean how many people of your guild read this rants of yours? Is this helpfull to your guild? Or is for publicity stuns. I wonder !!!!

    • 8 Vorian87
      March 15, 2010 at 12:00 am

      What about his “rant” do you disagree with? Would YOU be happy if YOUR raiders weren’t giving their best for progression fights?

      Wrathy is writing from the point of view as a raid leader and as part of his guild’s leadership. He is sharing his frustrations with the community he is a part of and one that he has helped develop.

      I completely fail to see how you see it as a publicity stunt. Or maybe you are just here to troll? I wonder!!!!

  8. 9 Sindy
    March 20, 2010 at 12:21 am

    I’m sorry to tell you that… Well it was mostly your fault, in both examples of saurfang and festergut. I’ll explain myself. Recently I’ve been reviewing Ulduar videos, looking through tactics and positioning of my guild compared to world top guilds. And I came out to this statement.

    Raid performance depends on tactics same as much as on personal skill. So your obvious lack of tactics lead to the bad raid performance. The problem around that is – you don’t honestly go far enough on tactics. You might think “This is only festergut. It should be down by itself, it’s not a hard boss (looking by how many guilds have killed it)”, but that’s completely wrong. Do you honestly think you had ABSOLUTELY BEST tactics, by starting blaming raid members for failing? “I don’t know what we could do to make it better” – yes, you think your tactics is perfect, not even bothering watching closely through world top guilds videos and how they do their job.

    I understand that my words sound pretty harsh and useless, so I’ll give you small examples, how using described philosophy would affect your raids.
    Saurfang: 5 marks at 30% point is FAR from “ok”. How can you improve that? Look through WOL on who is chaining blood nova, increasing INCREDIBLY the amount of power saurfang gains. This is most likely the reason of that many marks. Oh and slow taunts, but I’m pretty sure that you (again) feel your personal performance to be perfect.
    Festergut: You know, you can make melees to be ABSOLUTELY immune to Goo? Oh, rly? Remember Algalon? Same tactics as there. Melee should move EVERY time Putricide casts goo, from one leg to another. Even if goo is not on them. This way they won’t be EVER hit. Is it hard tactics? Is it hard to come out with that? No. It’s so easy, that you should honestly be ashamed, that your melee got hit by it.

    So after all, my point is – when raid tactics lack, people do bad. Because it sometimes gets too hard, or you can be distracted by vent shouts, or whatever. You, as a leader, need to make it as easy as you can. IN TACTICS. You failed on it from what you write. Hope you’ll do better next time.

    • 10 Wrathy
      March 20, 2010 at 10:18 pm

      I am of the mind set that anyone should be able to speak their mind on my blog, but honestly I think that you are a bit off base in your assessment of our guild. Unless you were part of our raid, how do you even know what the tactics are? Secondly, I am not the ultimate raid leader, I am only one of the officers, and our guild as a whole develops what you call the tactics, not an individual.

      Some of the things you suggested as tactics we should employ, we did employ the first week when we wiped, and the second week when we killed 8 bosses on hard modes. Honestly I feel as though you are trolling here, and I am not appreciative of that. Tactics require proper execution from every raider. I can tell anyone how to tank a boss, however until they learn to execute, the tactics are useless. Success is based off of a learning curve of the weakest link of your raiding corps.

      Finally, I do take accountability for my faults, fixed them and came back and did my job. If you do come back to my blog to comment, please try to be a bit more constructive in your thoughts and communications.

    • 11 Morlin
      March 21, 2010 at 10:45 am

      From my understanding, Wrathy’s guild IS one of the top world guilds. It’s clear that much of that is credit to the leadership, the guild’s tactics, and the execution of those tactics by their raiding crew. To get those difficult encounters down, it takes every single one of those raiders doing their job, and working seamlessly with the rest of the group. No one is perfect, however, so even the best of the best are prone to making mistakes from time to time, and when you’re used to being in sync and everything is clicking, it can be frustrating at those times when things go less smoothly. Wrathy has been forthcoming for his part in being a raid leader and tank, holding himself accountable even though he may take on more blame than is required, but that’s one of the things I admire about him. I don’t raid with him, nor am I on the same server as him, but just from his posts both here and on Maintankadin, I respect him. Sindy, I don’t think your post was very helpful or constructive at all, and it just comes across as elitist, which I’m not too sure you have the right to be. Wrathy is one of the elite players in the game, but doesn’t act superior to everyone else in thinking that he’s above them. Next time please be more careful in the words you use. Attitude plays a big part in this community. If you have the right one, respecting others and being constructive, then you in turn will be respected and listened to. If you come across as pointing fingers and having a snobbish attitude towards others, you become discredited quite quickly. The same happens in real life.


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