Posts Tagged ‘Officers


What motivates you?

Finding motivation…

I wanted to digress from theorycrafting and paladin tanking for another short blurb on something that comes with the territory when you decide to become a tank for a guild or even more so a leader for a guild. I wanted to talk about motivation and what keeps you going when the end is in sight. I am currently having a crisis of commitment when it comes to my guild, it’s overall mission statement, and what we are trying to achieve as a collective group.

About a month ago, one of our officers came to us with the suggestion to recruit a player from TBC who left the guild and later the game for a while. We are currently in need of a few good players and he seemed to think that bringing back his friend to the guild would help bolster our ranks and reinvigorate the raiding corps with a skilled player. What transpired as a result was a less than pleasant discussion between old raiders on whether or not they wanted him in the guild. One of our officers was persistent to the point of frustration, a few of our oldest members thought it was a good idea, while one of our long time members was completely and whole heartedly against it. After weeks of people talking to all the involved parties, a picture of what people thought came to light, and his application was posted for comments from the rest of the guild.

To provide you with a bit of history regarding this person, he was a skilled player who was one of our better rogues during Sunwell. However, he had issues, which he has admitted since then. He created a rift in the officer corps between people who wanted to keep him because he was a good player and people who couldn’t stand some of the things he pulled at the expense of the guild. Fast forward two years. He has been away from the game for some time, is more of an adult, and has admitted his faults. His friends are adamant that he is a better person and would be a quality player for our raiding roster. Some of the current officer corps still is against it, some is for it. Many of the old and crusty raiders are against him coming back, few of whom still raid with us but have stuck around and always have had the best interests of the guild in mind. In contrast, most of the new raiders, who have shaped what the guild direction has become over the past year are in favor of inviting him.

What this has to do with my motivations…

I just wanted to provide you with some context as to what is going on so that you understand where this is coming from. I have over the past month acted as a mediator to this painful and stubborn debate on whether or not this player will be accepted into our guild. There are multiple threads in the officer forums about it, and there is a three page application in our guild forums which contains all positive or all negative perspectives. I personally am conflicted from a different perspective. In Sunwell I was a healer, and I was not an officer. I logged on, played, and logged off. It was a beautiful time where no one was bothering you with issues, and you did not have to worry about drama, raiding logistics, or member turn around. From this stand point, I really dont have any strong opinion of this applicant one way or another.

I remember that he made a fuss when someone else got the first glaive, I remember the fact that he complained so much he got the next two, and I remember when he stopped showing up because it suited him. But, I have also heard countless stories about how he has grown up, changed, and is a better person from trusted sources. This is why I am in the middle when it comes to his application. What pushed me over the edge, and has brought me to the point where I have little motivation to log on any more is the persistance from both sides to either get him in the guild or keep him out. From one side, there is a raider who has been a member of our guild for close to three years, and more than that, a fellow guild member of mine for 5 years, who is adamant about the fact that he will quit or step down if this person is let into our guild. From the other end is the applicants best friend, and current officer of our guild. My fellow officer has pushed this application to the point of no return, making idle threats, talking to each and every one of the other officers about it, and confronting the opposition on multiple occasions.

I personally think that this issue has stressed the officer corps enough that it has taken weeks if not months off of the longevity of the guild in WoTLK. Most of our officers are on our last legs as it is, and this has just made the problems of leading this guild even more pronounced.  I am having a very hard time motivating myself to continue to lead the guild and play the game in its current iteration. There are multiple escapes to this. I can quit the game, but I still enjoy it when I play and when I talk about theorycraft. I could server transfer and join another guild. Or, I could just stick it out. The type of person I am makes me want to stick it out, as I am very loyal and do not leave at the first sign of a problem. However, this has illustrated a glaring gap in our leadership and our guild as a whole, which forces me to want to hang my hat up. I also fear that if the guild has their way, this applicant is allowed in, and a long time member or two quit the guild or the game, that I have failed as a leader. While our guild is on its last legs, failing at encounters which should be one shots, it is still our guild. We are a shadow of the top 200 guild we were at the beginning of ICC, but we are still just as good as any other horde guild on our server.

A way out

In the end it is just a game, and if the game is causing this much undue stress, then its not worth playing, however when I am not dealing with guild issues, it is still fun. I will really have to begin to reflect on what I want out of this game to see if it is worth continuing on. If i could go back to just being a tank for a top guild, worrying about my strategy, gearing, encounter mechanics, and cooldown usage, I would be much happier. However, I have made a commitment to my guild, and I fear that if I break that commitment, I will break the guild.

/end rant


That time of year again

Why raid when you content is on farm?

As summer gets into full swing, we have come upon that time of the year, the time that happens every year, the time of exodus. Now I am not talking about that guild that does a great job at slaying monsters, but the inevitable defeat of a raid via attrition. It is my experience that most of the people that play this game in the upper eschelons of raiding success are younger. They have more time on their hands, less responsibilities, and have grown up in the gaming culture.

This doesnt mean that all hard core raiders are 17-19 year old kids. Our raid is chock full of adults with carreers, families, and lives. However as a generality, most of the hard core raiders are in school and have the time to devote to raiding many days a week for hours on end. Because of this fact, we have a very real issue that crops up around the time school gets out. People go home, they get jobs, they have things to do, or they just enjoy traveling in their free time. Any way you slice it, your raiding corps decreases in size considerablly this time of the year.

As officers, we are forced to deal with this attrition on a yearly basis, and I for one feel that it neve gets any easier. Every year you can prepare a little, hedge your bets a little, or down right recruit too many people so that attrition doesnt hurt you. While there are top end guilds who never have this problem because there is always someone hungry for that raid spot in a guild who has the “Light of Dawn” title, the rest of us are the feeder guilds, the ones who suffer, and the ones who should be planning ahead of time to bolster your rosters to counteract the summer attrition.

How can we fight this phenomenon?

The simplistic answer is ususally the right one, have more people than you need, and when your raiding corps thins out, you can still field raids. Well this is easier said than done, because of the fact that if you maintain a roster which is larger than your raid by a significant ammount, you are going to lose people to lack of play time, feelings of exclusion, and overall dissatisfaction with the guild. The way in which you juggle 30-32 people for 25 spots is an art that few people do well. In order to make everyone feel like they are part of the team, you have to sit people periodically, rotate people in and out, and do a lot more work throughout the day in order to keep people happy.

Wait, you dont do those things? It’s ok, neither do I. If I had to grade myself as a guild manager, I would say that I have earned an A in leadership, an A in communication, a B in decision making, and a D in successorships. Thats right, we at crypt friends are horrible at planning for vacancies. We like things to be normal, consistent, and predictable. What we dont like is rocking the boat, having to make those hard decisions and have those hard conversations which are required to maintain a hard core raid group which will not feel attrition.

What we do is fight fires, we see people leave, and we look for new guildies. What we should do is constantly field new applicants, bring them to the “alt” raid, which should be more of a main raid with some alts in it, and ensure that we never have a night where we sit in the instance and dont have enough people online to play the game we love. Instead, because of the nature of our guild, the casual atmosphere that we promote while providing end game raiding, and the fact that all of our officers dont have every day of the week to dedicate to guild management, raid management, and time online, we have to fight fires.

We recently opened recruiting for all ranged dps, as we lost three hunters, a lock, our boomkin, and a few melee dps. We also lost a tank, but that is another story in and of itself. Because of these losses, and the fact that we were not properly perpared for attrition, we need to fill spots quickly with what we can from the pool of willing players who are looking for a new home.

What can you do to help with the situation?

When you are faced with something like this, a new influx of people if you are lucky enough to have the applicants you are looknig for, you must manage them properly to ensure integration and retention. The biggest problems that you will encounter are one that you can solve and one that you can not. First and foremost, you have to teach them the encounters, what to do, and how you execute fights so that you do not wipe too much. Most of this can be done with mentoring, with class leads so to speak, and a bit of vent communication mid fight. If they are talented and of the caliber which you are looking for to fill your guild, there will be little impact on your clear times, and lack of wipes.

The second and harder thing to do is integrate them into your dkp system. While all dkp systems are flawed in one way or another, some have bigger issues than others. Ours has an inflation issue, Loot councils have issues if the officers are not intelligent, fair, and reasonable, and bidding systems have problems with competition, back handed deals, and artifical inflation. If there was a great system, we would all use it, but there is not.

Gearing up your new recruits is essential to your cause of progression. If you do not gear up your new recruits, then they will not be able to contribute to the raid as much as they should be, and as a result will get carried through an instance. How you do this is the difficult part. In an ideal world, all of your raiders are selfless, not looking for loot as their primary goal, and ensure that the raid as a whole does better. However there is also a loot and scoot worry that one of your new recruits will take three or four pieces of 277 gear and run.

Proper leadership and preparation

All of these issues can not be eliminated, however they can be addressed with the proper preparation, and essential leadership when the time calls. Clear expectations of your new recruits should be set upon entry into your guild. You must tell them what your loot policies, what type of dps you expect them to hold (based off of their current gear), and what type of up front preparation, in game execution, and post game research they should be doing.

If the proper expectations are clear and set at the beginning of their tenure with your guild, they are more likely to perform, or understand when they are not allowed to raid. Set bench marks for your players, and expect them to deliver on said goals. If you can communicate effectively and often with your new players, pretty soon they will be old veterans, and your problems will seem like they were in the distant past….


Attitudes and Elitists

I was inspired by a post on my reader today, and so you get a double post! The Hunter’s Mark had a great post regarding hard core raid leaders, and I wanted to share it and some of my own insights with you. While it was a refreshing sight to see another perspective on my guilds style of raiding, and I have to agree that most hard core raiders are similar to the likes of what he described, you do not have to be that way.

The Knowledge of Leaders

One of the things that THM outlined as a reason behind the hard core raid leaders attitudes was the multitude of responsibilities which he or she juggles. While I agree that leaders in hard core, or progression centered, guilds have a lot on their plate, it is still the personality which decides how to deal with people who are not of like mind. While I am not the dedicated raid leader for our guild, it is still my responsibility as an officer and a Main Tank to understand all of the same things that THM outlined. I know what specs are best, and better yet, I know why they are best. I understand the mechanics of the fights, the group composition which is required for the best results, and the expectations of each classes performance metrics.

This is something that most end game leaders should know. They may not always know these things, but if they dont, there is someone behind them in /officer or a similar channel who does. I would not ever claim to know healing assignments for any given fight in ICC, as they are handled by our healing officers, however I completely understand what type of healers are needed and why. These understandings lead to better encounter progression and quicker kills.

Distractions and Responsibilities

One thing that most people do not see when it comes to raid leaders and officers is the massive amount of information they must process at any given time. While you are pleasantly plugging away with your rotation, watching out for fire, a leader is maintaining rotations, avoiding fires, and watching raiders and their peroformance, all while getting whispers from people out of the instance, out of the guild, and from complete randoms some times. At the same time, they are dealing with calls in vent, raider suggestions, and the constant stream of feedback from officer chat.

These things happen on a daily basis while raiding in a progression guild. If you are the best geared tank on the server, you have tanks from all over whispering you asking you about gearing, spec, glyphs, why this enchant, why that gem, etc. You also may have to be watching the newer recruits and judging their performance.

While most people watch a few vidoes, or even come completely unprepared to new progression encounters, leaders come with a very deep understanding of encounter mechanics, positioning, group composition and and overall strategy already planned out. These things are researched before hand and discussed in forums and in vent. All of this is going on at all times, and they are still topping the meters, or being the best they can be.

Elitists and Attitude

While many elitists and leaders have a lot on their plates, that does not excuse them from having the manners of a descent human being. There is a right way and a wrong way to manage a group of people. The problem with elitists is that you only remember the very bad and the very rare benevolent ones. Your gear does not make you a better person who is above someone else. The Caste system is not part of this game, and you are not entitled to treat people like they are inferior because of your gear or progression.

Just last night I had a random out of the blue whisper from a tank on our server who I had never talked to before in my life. He asked me about my weapon enchant and why I use mongoose. I took about 5 minutes of my time to talk to him, explain his options, and give him some reading material over at MainTankadin. I also explained to him that I have many different weapons for different purposes. I then tried to understand what he was going to use the weapon for and gave him my opinion. He replied with a thank you and a very nice comment that I was much nicer and more helpful than any other tank he had tried to get advice from.

Its the simple things in life. Be kind, and treat others as you want to be treated. We have plenty of people in my guild who do not understand this concept because they are either too young to learn how to deal with people, or they have too big of an internet ego. If you run into these types of people and they are frustrating you, leave. There are plenty of people out there in the game who are just as geared, just as skilled, and have more patience, or compassion to help someone out.

Herding Cats and Bottom Lines

THM compared leading raids to herding cats (or 5 year olds) and he is quite right. It is a juggling act of managing 24 people, each with their own agenda and motivations. This is something which you should think about before you start passing judgement on a leader. Do your goals and motivations align with theirs? If they do not, why is that and is there common ground that you can focus on? In the end you have to understand where the other person is coming from, and if you are willing to put aside the differences of opinions to play a game.

As for the bottom line, I will say that in my personal experience, that is exactly what this game is about to hard core raiders. We are all about the bottom line. You want to spec Beast mastery? Go ahead, just know that you will find yourself kicked from the raid. You want to be a shadow priest, but we gave you a ton of holy gear, tough cookies, your job is to heal and you will do it or we will find someone else who will. This game is about choices, and to progression guilds, the choice is simple, be the best you can or get out of the raid.

If this attitude carries over to a PUG or a 5 man, then there is an issue. This attitude should only be enforced in guild runs where progression is a factor. So, in a PUG, walk away if someone is too elitist, even if it means you dont get that shiny piece of gear you wanted.

/end rant


LFM again? You’ve got to be kidding

This is becoming a monthly occurrence

So once again I am back ranting about the same issues over and over again, and it is starting to get me truly frustrated. I got home a bit late on Wednesday for the raid, which was suppose to be either ToTGC for some 258 upgrades and Professor Putricide attempts. Our raid invites go out at 6:15 server and we take on time at 6:30. Well I logged on at 6:30 something, and there were less than 20 people in the raid. I just do not understand how we can go through such a good night of raiding the night before, killing two new bosses on both 10 and 25 man with little effort in the grand scheme of things, then not show up the next day for the real progression encounter.

On top of that, we are once again short people as not one but two of our priests bailed on us. One of them had to leave for school for the second time this expansion. Now while its frustrating, killing Anub’arak and Professor Putricide is no where near as important as your education and real life. When I saw that, from a raiding perspective, it sucked because we just got him completely geared up again and ready for content. However, the other priest to jump ship was a even more frustrating. One of our officers and legendary maces just cryptically said that he doesnt miss the game and wont be coming back after the holiday break.

While everyone is entitled to do what they please with their monthly subscription fee, I personally fell that officers, and people who have received a weapon that truly belongs to the guild have a higher obligation. I personally am losing the motivation to play with our guild, but it is my obligation as a MT to stick it out till at least the expansion pack. I think a lot of people don’t see this. Now beyond the amazing amounts of gear and legendary that we lavished our officer with, he was never much of a active leader, so from that perspective we are ok. The biggest problem with these two leaving is that they were two of our better healers, and we still have more than enough to do the encounters, however not enough to have the flexibility for the hard modes, as well as the attendance on our less stellar days.

Obligations and Exits

This has gotten me to think about how I feel about my role in the guild and the game, and how I would make an exit if my time has come. From my perspective, I already know the day I am going to hang up this game, and it has been predetermined by my loyalty to the 15 people that show up day in and day out. The day that the Expansion shows up, I will exit stage left. I am already longing for that day, as dealing with some of the more colorful characters in my guild is not an enjoyable experience, and I feel that even though we are an exceptional guild, who was in the upper echelons of this game, we are still burdened with the casual attitude of carrying less than stellar players because they have earned it by staying around for a really long time.

There is a small part of me that wants to enjoy the truly hard core, where if you are the bottom of the charts, or the guy who always gets hit by flying spell x, you are kicked and a more willing and eager replacement does a better job. However, my loyalty and conscience keep me from that. I have taken more gear than any raider by a considerable amount, and I am the only truly geared tank with any respectable attendance. This is just not something I can do to the friends I have made in my guild over the past few years.

The fork in the road always leads to recruitment

So here is where I go, once again, as we do every other month. We are going to open up recruitment and try to find another diamond in the rough. We are not a high enough tier of guild where we can just say we want some new priests, and tons of people are willing to server transfer. We have to recruit from with in Destromath. A few months ago we got really lucky. We were in need of another rogue, as a few of ours had school conflicts and were just not meeting the attendance requirements that we wanted. We picked up a friend of one of our best raiders, who was vastly under geared and in his first raid his dps was so so at about 5k dps. In a few short weeks of 100% attendance and a lot of gear, he has moved from close to last on the charts to a 10k plus dps machine. If we could get even one more of those in the priest department we would be set.

I know I shouldn’t be complaining, We are a top 500 guild with the capability of clearing pre nerf content with the best of them, in a very small amount of attempts. But for once I felt like our guild was in a great spot when we left for Christmas, we had 35 people in ever raid when we opened up invites, we got Anub hard mode on farm, ICC was a joke, and we were looking forward to clearing some great content. Now we are back in that place of uncertainty, looking for more, and its just frustrating. We will surely survive, we have for 5 years. We will clear almost all of the content, killing more than most, but not reaching that full potential on the cutting edge.

Professor Putricide

The good doctor is stitting with 10 attempts left on him in both my 10 man and the 25 man main raid. here is to hoping that we can get a raid together for Sunday to give it our best. I honestly think that we can kill him this week if we get our A raid in there. We have stellar dps, You only need one tank for most of the fight, and our healers are great. We have always killed things in a very small number of attempts and this would be no different, we just have to get in there.

Gratz to the few of you who have killed him, and good luck to those of you who are still waiting to for a shot…


Quality over Quantity, a theory on Raid Management

…and another one bites the dust

I am going to purposely neglect reading the previous posts that I have had on this subject ahead of time to see if my point of view has changed over the past few months on this subject. Over the course of the weekend, in addition to getting a nasty virus that kept me in bed for a few days (but not away from raiding, psh lets be honest, you can raid when you are sick), another guild bit the dust, and then another one (and another one). Well not the third one, but it seemed to fit the song title well. When I logged back into wow a few days ago, one of our main raiders whispered me and asked if we could talk in vent. After the pleasantries were exchanged, he got down to what he wanted to talk about.


One of his friends was looking for a new guild, as his was on the rocks and in the process of imploding. When we first started to talk about this, I was unaware that the guild that was imploding was one of our main competitors on the horde side for progression firsts. Shortly after that, another one of my guildies approached me with a similar request. This time it was a bit more devastating to the previously not to be mentioned guild. He was in contact with some of their officers, and a large portion of the guilds officer corps was looking for a new home with our guild. This would vacate not only the vast majority of the guilds leadership, but one of their main tanks, main healers, and their best dps.

While some guild politics prohibited the immediate acquisition of any of these players, It got me to thinking about stability, our server, and why so many guilds are failing. While some guilds were set up to fail, based on leadership inadequacies, player base, mass recruitment, or the end all of some high end progression guilds, the Attempts Remaining counter, Crypt Friends has endured. Now I ask myself, as we are running into raiding attendance problems of our own (take three), what do we do differently, and how do we set ourselves up for success over failure.

Two guilds, one result

In addition to our main competition guild having attendance issues to the point where they are looking elsewhere to get their shiny purples, the best alliance guild on the server imploded due to a handful of officers server transferring. While I don’t understand the logistics of why they would do such a thing, both from the perspective that they just got 25 man Mad Skill, an the fact that it was the officers that left, I have to ask myself what we do differently. With two more guilds down, we have unofficially moved into the ranks of number one guild on the server for 25 man progression, a few days after our guilds fourth birthday.

Since I was not a member of either of these guilds, I am left to speculate some of the reasons behind their demise. For the horde guild, I have run pugs with their members, and from the perspective of a main tank, their strategies, execution, and abilities are not up to the caliber of the progression they have achieved. This tells me that they are a brute force guild. What I mean by brute force is the fact that in Ulduar, they raided 5 nights a week to achieve the same level of progression as our guild achieves in two nights. I believe that the Attempts Remaining counter has devastated a lot of top tier guilds who were all about quantity over quality of time spent in an instance.

I can understand that their people who have seen nothing but 5 day raiding schedules would have a hard time with the paradigm shift of quality over quantity. It is just the way that things are. If you want to progress fast and hard, you have to put a LOT of time in. I am confident in my opinion that this is a complete fallacy. While I am not a member of a top 100 guild, we are pretty close, and we are doing it on a little over 1 night of raiding progression a week. We have been a guild that has always had something on farm once it was killed the first time. From my early days of raiding in SSC/TK, to the difficult encounters of Sunwell, up through the Hard Modes in ToTGC, once something is dead, It dies with out more than 1 wipe every week after. We are consistently getting to Anub’arak with 48-50 attempts remaining and have been since the week after we killed Twins. Once again, Quality over Quantity is the paradigm shift in top end guilds right now.

Should we change our Raid Management

I called a guild meeting last night to discuss with our raiders the possibility of open recruitment and stricter competition between our members to earn their raid spots. Even though we are a quality over quantity guild, we are still having attendance issues on our second and third raid nights. Tuesday is always bright with possibilities, and we kill everything in ToTC and ToTGC save anub’arak hard mode. We are basically done with raiding for the week. Our second raid night brings promise of a great night of learning and progress on Anub’arak, for which we have made a lot of in the past few weeks, however we do not have the numbers to do such an encounter.

How is it that a guild with such a relaxed raiding schedule and such success in killing bosses cannot get 25 people together two nights in a row? We are plagued with the casual hardcore raiders, and as a result, the brick wall progression fights are very difficult to fill. Our dilemma as officers and leaders of our guild is as follows:

Do we alter our dkp and attendance policies to better reflect the issues that we are having, rewarding our “SUP sunday raiders” as one of our warlocks loves to say to the 15 of us that show up 100% of the time, or do we recruit to fill those spots and alienate the people that have built this guild into the quality over quantity powerhouse that it has been for as long as I have been privileged to be a member.

As an individual in the guild, and a main tank with 100% attendance, I would love to invite 10 new top end raiders and make our current raiders fight for their raid spots once again, as we did in sunwell. I want to see bosses drop dead, and I want to know that when I log on during the week, that I will have the opportunity to push progression. However, as a leader and an officer, I feel that it is my duty to preserve what we have created in our guild; tolerance for sub par attendance, settling for less raiding days because we get to keep the quality and caliber of raider that we have built over the years, and ensure that our guild makes it to it’s fifth birthday.

Solutions are not black and white

I believe that in the end, the solution to our problem will be a mixture of both options. We will have to recruit if we want to continue to progress. We are going to lose people to real life, or the next spawn of top end raiding guild that appears out of the ashes of the two guilds that are dissolving before our eyes. However, we are, as officers, obligated to keep the environment and tolerance that we have built and which our raiders enjoy so much. To maintain the balance is the true challenge that our officers are faced with on a daily basis. There are some people in our raid that should be replaced, and if we can entice some newly guildless players with the talent to join our guild, then we will be better off than we were. However, we must balance new recruitment with tradition and a mindful understanding of the core of our guild, the players that define us and ensure that we do not go the way of the last four guilds which died.


Finding a new tank

Its been a busy day, and I really have not had time to sit down and write until now. I wanted to step away from the myriad of posts regarding min / maxing and the push between maximizing stamina and maximizing balance to talk about managing your guild. Specifically, what do you do when you have to replace a tank. For our guild, we have lost two tanks in the past few months to graduate school and a changing work schedule. As a result we were down to two tanks that were there the entire time, and a the other two that we would lean on from time to time to get things done. In the end, you will always survive, as we have continued to progress through the Trial of the Grand Crusade, but you have to deal with turn over on a regular basis, and there are a few things that I have learned over the years that help me with this.

Performance speaks for itself

Gear is replaceable, and is easily obtained when you are farming an instance. Specifically with the current difficulty, any one can obtain some T9 and badge loot. Performance however is not something that can be faked. In general, we make any applicant to our guild run in our alt 25 man ToTC so that the officers can monitor the play style, gear selection, and overall performance of any person that is interested in joining our raiding core. However with tanks you need even more scrutiny. For us, this is because tanks get gear for free. We prioritize all gear to our main tanks and they don’t need to worry about dkp at all. This is the way of a progression guild. From my perspective, in order to fall into this lofty category of loot sponge, you have to earn the right to bypass long standing guildies.

When we try out a new tank, we put them right into the furnace and we see what they are made of. Every new tank that has applied to our guild has been forced to main tank a progression style instance. And right behind that main tank are the officers alts, and our former main tanks turned casuals. By making someone MT an alt run, they are forced to show you their abilities, play style and demeanor when it comes to leading, all while knowing that they have no less than 7 sets of eyes fixed to the back of their heads. Now it helps us that a few of our officers alts are in the top 30 best geared on the server for their class, but none the less, we place pressure when it comes to threat, movement, marking, and overall cooldown management, to see how someone reacts in a dynamic situation.

For the last two tanks our guild has recruited, I was very impressed in their abilities to react quickly to the changing situations, and perform their jobs with relative ease. However, what happens once they have been let into your inner circle, and how do you incorporate them into a team of players that must act both selflessly and in unison to get a job done.

Creating an Environment of Inclusion

When dealing with our tanks, I always try to keep an open mind about where they are coming from and why they are here. There is no reason that we can not all have a great time, and be able to feel like we truly contributed to the raids success. When it comes to boss fights, unless it is a progression fight, we rotate who is on what in order to spice things up and ensure that every tank knows what each other is doing during the fight. If you only let a tank be the off tank that is on X mob, they will never have the confidence to step up the day that your “main tank” is not there, and after all tanking is all about confidence. By rotating the tanks around to different spots and different responsibilities, they all feel like they are equally essential to the raids success.

I think one of the true tests of a tanking core is gear selection and the method in which gear is handed out. For our guild, there is a “loose” loot council when it comes to tanking gear. What I mean by that is that the three of us decide who can benefit most by picking up a piece of gear. In the end if there are any disagreements, there is DKP and officer opinion, however we have yet to run into an issue where one tank will pull the dkp card. We all understand the loot, the gearing philosophies, and the needs of the individual character, and we put our best foot forward when it comes to upgrades. The fact that we distribute loot to the person who can benefit from it the most, and not necessarily the person who has the most dkp or is the most greedy to get that gear score up separates us from most wow players. When you feel like you have the power to get any piece of gear that you need, you are more willing to work with your fellow tanks.

Leading the tanking ranks

I find that one of the things that I enjoy the most about being an officer and a tank is that I get to lead the tanking core. This really forces me to learn the mechanics of fights better than the person next to me. Understanding the ins and outs of the fight means that you are prepared for what is to come. Assigning taunt rotations, placement, and movement is something that I really enjoy. This role becomes a bit more difficult when you bring a new tank into an existing core on farmed content. You have be sure that you communicate their specific role to the best of your ability so that there is no confusion when the encounter starts. The success of the raid is dependent on the consistency of the tanks and their ability to eliminate the guess work from the encounter.

I experienced this first hand last night on Anub’arak 10 man Hard Mode. In explaining the fight and how we do it to our new tank, I neglected to truly explain how to position him to help the add tank with pick ups. Essentially, the positioning was making the pickups and the interrupts difficult. This is something that I originally overlooked, and as a result cost us a few wipes. In the end, you have to ensure that you approach your tanks differently than the rest of your raid, as they are truly different. This is not to say that we are special, or we are more important, but we serve different roles, and become the focal point of a raid. There is more pressure on the tank than there is on the dps, and what we do effects everyone.


Stacking Raids for Success, and the politics of raiding

Tribute to Mad Skill!

I wanted to talk a bit about guild management again today, as it was an issue that plagued our otherwise great night last night. This is really in direct correlation with the great news that we got down A Tribute to Mad Skill last night with 47 attempts remaining. We ran into a few problems with positioning on Anub’arak. Our ranged and healers were all standing on the other side of a permafrost when Anub burrowed and as a result were spiking the add tank, leading to his untimely death and a quick and painful wipe.

Screen shot 2009-09-18 at 8.36.30 AM

The fact that we got this achievement along with the methods that we employed to get it were the main source of controversy and hurt feelings last night. A few weeks ago when we got our A tribute to skill achievement and saw that there were T9 trophies in the tribute chest, the officers of my guild started to discuss how we would handle this 10 man now that there were obvious benefits to the 25 man raid. After a lengthy discussion we had come to the conclusion that stacking a raid with some of our best players to get to the tribute chest in as few wipes as possible was the best for the gearing and progress of our 25 man raid.

Our reasoning behind this was simple, or at least we thought it was. If you balance your two 10 man groups for the week with half of your best players and half of your average players, you will have two teams that clear the instance in about 10 to 15 wipes, ensuring that both of your teams get a tribute chest with 2 trophies in it. This gives you a net gain of four trophies on the week. If you stack a raid with your very best tank, healers, and dps, leaving the other raid with average to above average players, you will have a four trophy tribute chest and a two trophy tribute chest, giving you a total of 6 trophies, a 2 tier piece gain. Sounds simple enough right?

The downfall of our assumptions

I want to start out by clarifying that when I say our best raiders versus our average raiders, we are talking about the difference between people that pull 7k dps and 6k dps, our two most capable healers, to two healers that are almost as capable but have not been around as much, or a pally tank (myself) and a warrior tank, both with 50k raid buffed hp, descent avoidance, and the skill to lead the encounters.

So we split our groups up, and when we dropped the people that we generally consider the cream of the crop into the stacked raid, we noticed that we were very ranged centric. This is not to say that our melee are not the cream of the crop, it was just the selection that we had online at the time. This lead us to make a few choices for the last few spots. We needed a dps/healer hybrid that could do both depending on the fight and we needed to fill one last spot. Our choice boiled down to do we take our best DK, who has 95% raid attendance and does sensational dps, or do we take both of our best warlocks who also have 95+ percent attendance but will benefit more from the buffs that the raid was providing.

In the end we sat one of our best raiders, and left him with the other group. Our main group was comprised of a Pally and Druid tank, Pally and Priest healer, with a boomkin offspecing as necessary, Ret paladin, two locks, a mage, and an elemental shaman. Our second group was Warrior and a DK tank, a Resto druid and Priest, healing, an enhancement shaman offspec healing as necessary, a dk and arms warrior, two mages, and a lock. We felt that we put together two strong groups that would succeed.

We were wrong

The group I was in was on the twins when the officers started getting whispers. We had one shot every boss, and in an exceedingly quick and efficient fashion. The second group was wiping on Gormok! Apparently the healers were not really executing the fight well and they were dying to snowbolds, fires, and what not. Eventually we told the raid to call it and we would get some different healers in there the next day, as our best holy priest and second best paladin healer were not online that night.

Screen shot 2009-09-18 at 9.26.12 AM

Thats when the real complaints started rolling in. We three shot anub, got our shiny epics, including a brand new tanking weapon for yours truly (Effective health weapon baby!) and we were in good spirits, however the other raid was no where near as happy as we were. After we started talking to the raiders in the other group we started to understand what they were upset with. They felt that we stacked the main group (rightfully so, as we had), and that they were all given the short end of the stick.

Feelings of exclusion and playing the blame game

After we realized that we had a bigger issue on our hands that originally thought, we got everyone from both groups into one channel in vent and we started to talk it over. The officers started out by telling everyone our reasoning behind the imbalance in the two groups and we took accountability for the issues that were caused by this balance. Then we started to ask for feedback on why things went so wrong. As the people that were the most heated started talking about the problems, what was happening and why they were frustrated, a new picture was painted of what the root cause of all of their problems was. The healers were not doing their job. A resto druid was carrying the brunt of the tank healing, they had a resto shaman healing as well, and a priest that has played his class for a very long time was holy at the request of the officers (another thing we took accountability for).

They realized that the priest should have been disc, but not until after the officers brought the true issues to light. The problem with the raid was they they were so focused on getting the short end of the stick that they didnt try to play the game when it got tough, they just started making excuses. In the end we will not be running a stacked 10 man again (at the overall detriment to the gearing of our raid) so that everyone is happy. The tears of the few have fueled the change of the many.


  • What is this nonsense? HoPo and a total overhaul. It's going to be a long weekend of playing around.. 8 years ago