Monday, December 21, 2009

Tamarind gave me Syphilis

Ahahaha, I’m sure people are looking at this the wrong way round – I mean, this way I get to sit around, asking people questions and reading blogs :) Whenever I read your blog I’m always impressed by how well you seem to handle some of the more, err, challenging situations WoW can throw up sometimes. So, what’s the most difficult thing you’ve ever had to deal with in WoW, how did you handle it, and looking back on it would you have acted differently?
This is the reply that I got from Tamarind when I enthusiastically signed up for his syphilis meme. I have to admit, it's one that got me thinking. Since Tam didn't specify in which are it had to be difficult I pondered into different directions for a little, and then decided that I might as well describe it per subject.

Raidleading

The most difficult thing I have to deal with, with regards to raidleading, is something that I run into almost every week; you cannot bring more than 10 or 25 people, and so you have to sit people.

Blizzard still hasn't implemented expandable raids, and until they do you run into the happy joy of selecting who gets to sit that week. And though you don't want to rotate through the same set of people the fact that you need a certain composition to be successful, forces you to do just that most of the times.

A standard raid composition in a 25 is 3/16/6. 3 tanks, 16 dps, and 6 healers. In our Pugtastic raids we often have more than the 3 tanks, and more than the 6 healers, and yet I do want to give dps a fair chance too. And of course you want to bring the highflighers as well since they make raiding have a higher chance of success, hence making it more fun for everybody who is involved.

And in 25s you can still afford to bring someone who isn't the best of the best, but does bring utility. But in 10s progression content every person really has to pull their weight, and be up to the job they do, so it becomes even more important to bring the exact right people.

I have to say, I hate it. I hate doing it, and yet I do it. Why? Simply because I know that when I sit people I do that with a specific reason, and I know that I do it for the best of the raid. If I have to disappoint 2 or 3 people for the good of 25 others, I will. Because I know that the success of those 25 is much higher than when I would be social and bring people based purely on a /roll bases, or a 'social' ground.

If I take a step back and don't look at the people involved, but purely at the roles, this is how I 'pick' who gets to go.

- Do I have enough tanks? Bring 3 tanks, and preferably a backup tank who can also dps/heal.
- Do I have enough healers? Bring 6 or 7 healers (depending on content), and preferably a tank or dps who can step into a healing spot if needed.
- Do I need specific abilities? Heroism? Totems? Decursing? Ranged? etc. I make sure that I bring the highest dps with the abilities that are needed for the raid. This may mean that I sometimes bring a mage where I know that the dps isn't amazing (though pugtastic mages are amazing), just so that we have int buff, decursing, sheep, and of course strudel.
- High dps
- Low dps

It completely sucks to be in the last group. It really, really does. But I don't create the raid requirements, all I do is try and make it as fair as possible, and as big of a chance to success for the entire group as possible, while providing a good time to my raiders.

Social

WoW is a game where you will play with other people. Real life persons! People who think real thoughts and have real feelings. And unless you're one of those people who decides to approach WoW as a single player game (nothing wrong with that, but they are rare) you will have to deal with these real thoughts and feelings.

And yah..there are annoyances that come with those thoughts and feelings, like you run into them every day. At work or at school, maybe when dropping off your kids at school, or when you go to play sports. There are guaranteed people who annoy you, hurt you, anger you, or on the upside, people that you enjoy hanging out with.

I think the most difficult thing I dealth with in the social aspect of WoW so far was dealing with a fellow guildie and officer (now ex-guildie) whose character didn't mash with mine. He had his way of doing things, and I had my way of doing things. In the end it got rather messy, and I think the entire guild was negatively effected by it.

So how did I deal with that? Badly. Simple as that. I wish I had been the bigger person, and I wish that I hadn't made some of the mistakes I did make, but I did make those mistakes. The guild currently feels stronger than ever, but back then it hurt. And I wish I could say that I would do this differently when I could go back, but I know I wouldn't.

I did however learn from it, or at least a little. I don't exactly have to get along with everybody, and as long as they respect me, they get respect back. But I can still be a hothead, and while you can go a long way with me nowadays, there is an end to my patience. And while I am supposed to be this all cool, and all understanding raid/ guild officer, I am also still very human, and there is a limit to what I've learned (and am willing to accept).

So it's very likely that I'll face more difficult situations in the future still. How will I deal with them then? One at a time hopefully. (though life does have a tendency to throw all sorts of shit at you in big piles).

Game Mechanics

With this I mean specific tactics, or class changes/abilities, etc. And here I had to think looong and hard. Not that I've not ever failed, of course I fail, just as everybody else screws up at times, I've had some big screw-ups of my own (yeah I'll share some at the end).

However, my way of thinking is that every fight, every encounter, and every class change is just a new trick to learn. You find the best way to do the trick, and then you repeat it every time, until everybody's performance comes together, and you beat the encounter.

And yes, sometimes you need longer to learn the trick. I know Yogg+1 is still managed to beat our group. But it's only a matter of practice and gettingthe tricks lined up correctly, until we beat the fight.

The hardest thing about fights is the psychology. We cannot do this boss without so and so composition. Well, certainly a specific raid comp can make a fight easier, but if you've already decided that it cannot be done without that raid comp than surely you're not going to beat it.

A nice example of this is who we brought to our very first firefighter success. We brought 9 people who had been there, and who had been going through the hell called Firefighter, and 1 person who had never even seen the fight, not even on normal.

We went there with a feeling of 'oh well, it cannot be worse wiping than we did before' but this person actually picked up, and we beat the encounter. Remarkably enough, this person was even one of the few people still standing by the end of the fight.

So yeah, psychology is definitely part of beating encounters, but it does come down to tricks.


Shy's Screwups

And as promised some of my screwups...

Lets start with a fairly recent one. I had been fiddling with my clique settings and somehow my disease cleansing and my PWS click combination had gotten turned around. And we were in Naxx...on .....yeah indeed, Grobbulus.

You can imagine the succes I had when I was trying to bubble people who were neatly running out when they had diseases, only to kill them on the spot because I kept cleansing the disease of them. The worst part is that it took me like 4 or 5 diseases to notice, all the while cussing at my screen what the hell was going on with my fingers.

I can also remember a dungeon run back in BC where we went to Magister's Terrace. Back then the hardest instance in the game, sort of like the new ones in ICC are now. We were working our way to the PVE type fight, and I managed to pull healing aggro. Some mobs were attacking me and I hit the fear button. I knew I shouldn't because there are mobs all around you there, but out of instinct I did so anyways.

On it's own this isn't too bad, I mean, small mistake, you wipe try again. Right?

Yeah, wrong. We go back, buff up again, and same situation, and of course I manage to find the fear button again. I hate when I screw up like that, surely I should be able to learn from the first time >_<

And the all time never goes wrong one...follow the rogue into places where you really shouldn't be standing if you cannot stealth. I've had this happen many times, but hey, at least I'm not the only one in this, since I've seen most of my fellow raiders do the same thing at least once or twice...including the rogues (yes you can stealth, but you do have to hit the button to do so) ;)

Spreading the disease.

So while I might have the same readers and bloggers as Tam does, I did figure I would pass on the Syphilis.So if you want me to give you a topic to blog about leave a comment and I will do my best to give you a nice challenge. Thanks Tam, your topic was a nice challenge to write about!

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