Archive for May, 2010

h1

When The Going Gets Tough, Real Hardcore Raiders Dont Get Squishie

May 5, 2010

Larisa over at The Pink Pigtail Inn wrote a great blog on which qualities make a guild truly Hardcore. In her article, ‘A Hardcore Guild in its True Sense‘ she states:

It’s in those moments that your guild will reveal its true nature. How does it look beneath the surface – are you solid when you’re put at trial? Are you a hardcore guild in its true sense – meaning that you have a core that will endure and find ways to overcome the challenges? Or are there squishies among you, players who get cranky, bitter, blaming others, not taking responsibility or just hiding away from the problems when the success doesn’t come easily?

And it got me thinking. I mean.. my guildies, while they are great people and fun to be around, don’t always fit into the mold of a true hardcore guild. I often wonder if we got more professional about how we react to things, if we wouldn’t be even FURTHER along than we already are. I think its undeniable that if most guilds were mature in their dealings with frustration and constructive criticism they wouldn’t have recruitment problems. Look around at the forums, in this pre-catalyst expansion era, with raid leaders blogging that they can’t fill slots, guilds with a solid positive atmosphere aren’t hurting for the best of the best recruits.

But I can’t complain, most of the time it’s all good. People get along well enough, and the few personalities that are habitually bitter seem to be aware that they tend to implode and usually hold back. But it only takes one night of setbacks, and the same few people who always get flustered when things aren’t a face roll, start in with gripes and complaints and the usual passive-aggressive comments.

Last night the fuss started up over dispelling Lady Deathspeaker’s Curse of Torpor. One person was upset over who does it and who doesn’t. Unfortunately they lost their composure and made passive aggressive comments in vent and in raid chat instead of politely approaching the other dispel people directly. The negative feelings spread to a few others; folks chiming in, posting recounts, and questioning class responsibilities and what not, and before you knew it, people were walking on eggshells desperately trying to not set off the more intolerant volatile personalities. I kept wanting to pipe up with advice and remind them that it doesn’t MATTER how many dispels they or another person had done, as long as it gets done. But I knew from past experience that trying to help defuse things would only further ignite the griping to an all-out attack if they realized they had an audience.

Maybe its just me being a grumpy 42 year-old mom, but I think if people are responsibly mature and genuinely “hardcore” they won’t behave like real life “squishies”. Instead they will focus on getting the job done and be a pleasure to have around when things get tough. If the officers wont guide us, it lands on the shoulders of the guild members to be proactive and amicably take the initiative to work out simple raid duties like dispels.

It’s a comfort reading other blogs and seeing the guild recruitment posts. They all point out that I am not alone in being dismayed over having to spend my evening around folks who display such poor coping skills. Most guilds are trying to flush out gamers who display inadequate conflict resolution. As the average gaming population ages, and WoW becomes more mainstream, things are slowly getting better. But things are still far from perfect. Even the best guilds have a few entrenched people who act like spoiled children when things get rough. Those of us that enjoy progression nights and work hard to stay focused and effective, end up dragging the grumps through the content. I figure that those kind of gamers, while undeniably talented and a seeming asset to the raid team (until you realize just how many people their griping have driven out of the guild), stubbornly stick it out on hard nights soley for the glory and the loot. It clearly doesn’t seem like they are enjoying themselves.

But I don’t want to be all doom and gloom. Plus, I recognize that everyone goes through this learning curve at some stage in their life – it takes a bit of time for humans to grow up and decide to be a positive force rather than dependent on others for their happiness and prosperity. Being professional and truly “hardcore” takes practice, and sometimes, a little advice. Here are some tips you can share with your guild when people get discouraged or angry over lack of progression:

1) Don’t add to the Din: if you are getting mad at someone or notice they are struggling with the same content – no matter how angry they make you – step back and try to decide if adding your voice to the advice they are getting will affect things positively. Sometimes too much advice or too many people coming at someone trying to help only makes things worse. Its called performance anxiety and the spotlight on another player not only magnifies any faults they may have, the extra attention can also cause more problems from the added stress.

2) The guild really isn’t as scrubby as it appears right now: If your fellow guildie is making mistakes or the raid isn’t moving though content at a normal pace that night, refrain from commenting about it in vent or raid chat during the raid. While it may seem that everyone around you is a screw-up, the fact that your guild is advanced to this stage of progression means your fellow guildies actually do have skills to do things right. Remembering that the people behind the avatars, and the voices in vent, are skilled gamers who want to kill the boss just as much as you do, helps you keep your perspective when you are frustrated.

3) Composure = respectability: If it gets bad, and you are only seeing red or can’t stop the negative thoughts, just log out. Do it politely and exit gracefully. Any good officer will understand and support you in this – especially if they see you making progress in your reactions towards others. You do yourself and the guild a HUGE favor by stopping the chain of negativity – not allowing your mind to dwell on negative things and preventing negative behavior towards others. Remember, only YOU can choose how you spend your evenings. You decide if you want to spend the night arguing and fussing and being upset, or if you wish to spend your night smiling, laughing, and having a good time being around good friends.

4) They make the big bucks, let them do the hard work: If you have a tendency to let your aggravation over the situation come through in your advice, sometimes asking an officer to intervene with constructive criticism is the best choice. In fact, that is why they are officers – they get to wear the asbestos panties. People usually don’t resent an officer pointing out their faults and helping them with their performance – but you can bet that most players don’t like it when other players attempt to do the same, no matter how good the intentions.

I hope this helps someone out there. I know I have seen many people in this game grow up emotionally over the five plus years I have been raiding. Its always a delight and a joy to be in a raid or a guild with well-behaved gamers that put effort into maintaining a positive hardcore progression environment. As in any sport or competitive hobby, expecting the best and getting excellent results doesn’t mean you gotta act like spoiled children towards each other. In fact, that sort of mature behavior is what is considered the standard for labeling people “pro’s”.

h1

another facepalm moment – Healing heroics as a Fresh 80

May 4, 2010

A new article over on WoW.com recommends that fresh new level 80 priests jump straight into healing heroic dungeons after leveling.

“Don’t waste your time toiling in normal dungeons, trying to find one upgrade at a time while getting no badges.”

They urge you go to the Auction House and “Just buy one or two pieces and then trying queuing for a heroic dungeon. If you still get an error message telling you that your gear isn’t good enough, buy another piece and repeat the process until you can queue.”

This kind of stuff makes me scared. I mean, if you got a guild who is willing to mentor you or whatever, with a little patience and understanding, and some help, it would certainly work out. But new level 80 healers that, due to the nature of leveling gear, struggle for mana and are still learning how to heal and work the buttons need a bit more prepping than this if they are gonna roll in the unforgiving world of the Dungeon Finder tool.

It was one of Blizzard’s stated goals, back in the days they were leaking design news about Wrath, to have people run regular dungeons a little (not a lot, I realize this, but certainly a little) before they could jump straight into heroics. Most of us leveled in guilds and had friends who carried us a bit on our first heroic or two when we hit 80. In fact, I remember my fresh drood Alt failing to heal Utguard Pinnacle on a boss, and needing the DPS shammie to lend a hand. I can only imagine what kind of unhappy trauma would happen to a fresh 80 priest using the cross-realm Dungeon Finder if they hopped in there looking to heal a heroic right off the get go.

For the most part, my experience has shown me that a fresh 80 priest will have a MUCH easier time and learn the ropes faster (with less trauma) if they simply pug a 25man raid like VOA or one of the lower tier dungeon runs. More often than not, people in a lower tier 25man raid are there for badges or the weekly raid quest and dont mind a new healer that is trying to gear up. We’ve all been there with a new alt, and most people understand how it is at that level. Plus, in a 25-man, there are enough other healers to provide a cushion for the new 80 to fall back on when things get tight.

Telling fresh to level 80 healers to jump into heroics with their leveling greens/blues and only enough items to squeeze past the gear level verification mechanics in the Dungeon Finder Tool is irresponsible and thoughtless. The four other people in that heroic depending on that  poor new level-80 healbot aren’t going to appreciate it either.

WoW.com… you CAN do better than this. =(

edit… actually, they HAVE done better than this. An earlier article on WoW.com reads: Heroics as a fresh 80: Don’t be that guy. Anyone have any ideas why their policy changed?