– a dependable raider. 99.99% of the time I was punctual, and I ALWAYS had my own flasks and feasts.
– I also had the good sense to repair BEFORE the raid, unlike the idiots who would zone in and, literally a few seconds before the first pull, pipe up: “Um, anyone got a Jeeves? I forgot to repair.” >.<
– I knew how to avoid crap on the ground, not caring if my DPS took a hit if I stopped to run away. I’d rather stay alive.
– I was NEVER a loot whore. Not once did I ever whisper the winner of a loot roll that I deserved it more than he did, or how much he’d want for it, or how he didn’t deserve it because his DPS blew monkey balls.
Top-Ranked Realm Doesn’t Always Mean Top-Quality Players?
I said my goodbyes in that post I wrote on January 7th. I handed over my WoW account to my husband, who has the privilege to use my characters for farming purposes. My sub expires next week. It’s up to him if he wants to extend it.
Since hanging up my plate gloves, I’ve been busy with classes and homework, fixing up my home, writing my novel and visiting relatives. Every now and then I would lurk on my level 90s spread across different servers to check out a few guilty pleasures (read: trolls like Icebat on Whisperwind, who is still on a roll on how awesome a president Obama is, thus earning him the ire of half the country and a number of international terrorists). On some days when I’m on break, I would hop on my DK to run my husband’s alts in old school raids for the mounts he doesn’t have yet or farm his mats while he’s at work.
I’ve been meaning to write this particular post for ages but somehow never got around to doing it. But after last night’s event, I decided that it was high time to write it (and dang it, I paid good money for my domain and hosting service, so might as well keep this little blog active).
You see, I got my first normal Garrosh kill last night.
(Click to see actual size)
(Yeah, what a way to spend the last week of my sub, right?)
I ended up with a bunch of French dudes talking rapid-fire, um, French and could barely keep up with my weak grasp of the language. But to my relief, a few could speak good English.
It wasn’t a guild run. It was a pug group of random people put together. The French guys were as cool as a cucumber even on what was probably our sixth low-percentage wipe. Even more amazing was that no one quit. In my experience, people would leave group after the third wipe.
My DK’s last four servers, including this one, are consistently ranked among the top 20 realms in WoWProgress.com. I chose those realms because I was naive enough to think that if a realm was in the top 20, it meant that the majority of its playerbase was top caliber and the chances of ending up with baddies were low.
(Image source: imfromohio.com)
Now the description “top caliber” in my personal lexicon doesn’t just mean skilled. It also means disciplined, dependable, reliable. It means you know when to jump out of shit, topping-the-damage-meters be damned. It means learning from your mistakes. It means being a team player and acknowledging that there is no “I” in team.
Well, after being in four highly-ranked servers, I learned that it doesn’t necessarily follow that you got excellent pickings left and right. In my experience, I ended up playing with plenty of people who were guilty of any or all of the following:
1) Got carried to their title by the truly skilled.
2) Just want to get carried by all and sundry.
3) Wasted my time by not showing up.
4) Wasted everybody’s time by committing the same stupid mistakes on a boss that should already be on farm.
5) More worried about topping the meters than staying out of the bad stuff.
6) Tunneling. You stubborn sons of bitches.
I don’t know if it’s just really bad luck on my part, but I always seemed to end up with a team who couldn’t get their shit together. Now I’m not saying that each and every person I’ve played with was a baddie, but there were always these certain individuals who proved to be very detrimental to our group. Even if it was just two or three people, the selfish and stubborn actions of a few could still impact the team’s progression in a big way. And sad to say, my time on Zul’jin has seen me springboard to a happy high only to crash to a depressing low until Real Life came calling. I lament all that time wasted.
And now, it took a random pug group I joined on a whim, on a random night when I was supposed to be just farming Frostweave cloth, for me to get my normal Garrosh kill – a kill my own raid team can’t even achieve because of certain people who shall not be named.
So what’s the takeaway from all of this? That regardless of what server you’re on, it’s all about getting lucky with the people you group up with? That one can only hope and pray you find people who share your strong work and raiding ethic? Kind of like the mindset players possessed back in Vanilla and BC, when shit was really hard (so I was told) and people brought their game faces to raids. Just how many players in this entitled, spoon-fed LFR generation have that kind of work ethic?
Regardless of where your server is on WoWProgress’ list, it all boils down to the community’s attitude to help make it a great raiding realm. People need to stop being selfish and stubborn and learn to play their class, pay attention to mechanics, and patiently work with each other. That no matter what the illustration above shows you, and no matter how hard you smartasses insist, THERE. IS. NO. I. IN. THE. WORD. “TEAM”.
Let’s see, how to describe tonight’s attempt at Spirit Kings in 10-man NORMAL Mogu’shan Vaults, a boss fight that, by now, everyone and his grandmother – save for certain individuals in my raid group – have mastered?
It was, to put it charmingly, like one-ply toilet paper.
It took so many attempts, so many wipes.
All because of one or two people dying to Qiang the Merciless’ Annihilate at the start of the fight. And you know what happens when you lose two people right away:
After the 1,875,694th wipe, our Raid Leader called it. Yup. Another craptastic night of not downing a single boss.
I am at a loss as to how else to describe or even fathom what has become of our team.
“Well, face it, the talented folks who were with you in Heroic Dragon Soul have either left the server or quit WoW,” Bloodsoed reminded me. “You’re not about to quit, but you sure as hell are not going to put up with all that constant wiping. It’s not worth it!”
You’re damn right it’s not worth it.
My friend Eric asked, perhaps out of a mix of curiosity and excitement, “So you moving to Alliance soon?”
1. IF YOU SIGN UP, SHOW UP. Signing up in advance reserves you a raid spot ahead of late signees. Said late signees, upon seeing the slots have been filled, might not bother showing up on raid night anymore since they’d already have the notion that their services won’t be needed (nobody likes being a benchwarmer). Now if you don’t show up and no one else is there to sub for you at the last minute, we’re screwed.
2. IF YOU SHOW UP, BE ONLINE AT LEAST FIFTEEN MINUTES BEFORE THE START OF THE RAID. Don’t keep everyone in suspense. Also, don’t show up one minute before the raid only to realize you’re not ready for summons because you have yet to gem or enchant your gear. Get your shit together way before the raid so you don’t waste the team’s time. Oh, and if you think you will be running late that night, notify one of us via phone call or text message.
3. MINIMIZE THE AFK’ING. It drives people absolutely bonkers if you’re constantly having to go to the bathroom, kitchen, liquor cabinet, bedroom (for a quickie), and wherever else you do your business. Maybe you shouldn’t have signed up if you knew a million things needed your attention that night?
4. RESPECT LOOT RULES. Main spec before off spec. Don’t be in a hurry to roll for your off spec because it makes you look like greedy. It irks me when main spec hasn’t even rolled and people are already saying, “can I roll off spec?” Sheesh.
5. LISTEN TO THE STRAT. You may have watched the videos, but our RL might want to try a different strat, so if he’s yakking away and placing markers and saying who goes where, listen up! Do not, do not, DO NOT alt-tab to stalk your crush on Facebook! Many a raid has failed because someone was checking out potential booty calls on Facebook. Or watching wife swap porn. Or microwaving fried chicken. Just ask Leeroy.
6. DON’T BITCH ABOUT WIPING. It’s progression, dude. Expect a lot of wipes, a lot of frustrations. Take it like a man. We’re all in this together.
7. DON’T PLAY THE BLAME GAME. Calling out people on vent, blaming someone harshly for a wipe, blaming everybody but yourself are morale killers. Let the RL deal with the person who made the fatal error and don’t contribute to the dressing down.
8. BE HONEST IF YOU CAN’T MAKE IT TO THE RAID ON A REGULAR BASIS. Raid Leaders normally prefer to bring the same set of people each week. It only makes sense especially during progression, when raid members start to mesh well with each other to the point where you can almost read each other’s minds and gut instincts and reflex naturally come into play during crunch time (like when the off-tank dies when the boss’ health is below 20% and I or another melee automatically step in to off-tank). That said, if you can’t show up every week, please let us know and maybe the RL can recommend a casual raid group in the guild for you.
9. LET US KNOW IF YOU’RE DROPPING OUT OF THE RAID GROUP TO JOIN ANOTHER TEAM, MOVE TO ANOTHER SERVER OR SIMPLY QUIT WOW. Yup, that’s what happened to us recently. Two regular members stopped logging in way before Christmas, keeping us in the dark and wondering if we should start recruiting replacements or perhaps give them a little more time. Well, we gave them time, and while everybody else has resumed their raiding after the holidays, we’re stuck with one less tank and healer. Sigh.
10. BE READY TO SWITCH SPECS ON AN AS-NEEDED BASIS. If you got the gear for both main and off specs, and our usual healer happens to be indisposed, we hope you can rise to the occasion by playing heals just for that night. We’d rather pug a DPS than endanger our lives even further by pugging an untested healer.
And here’s an extra guideline inspired by a certain ex-raid member:
11. IF YOU’RE GOING TO LEAVE FOR ANOTHER GUILD SO YOU CAN TEACH THEM THE ROPES (a hopeless cause in my opinion since you can’t tank for shit), PLEASE DO NOT TAKE OUT VALUABLE ITEMS FROM THE GUILD BANK TO GIVE TO THE OTHER CAMP. You took out an assload of enchants, feast mats, and gems before you jumped ship. But knowing you, you’ll be back. And when you come back, you sure as hell are getting the iggy from me!
This news probably shouldn’t come as a huge shock to anyone who understands the ebb and flow of WoW expansions, but GuildOx, a site that collects all kinds of data from the WoW Armory, has discovered that raiding guild activity has fallen 50% since the beginning of 2012. GuildOx site runner Polar tells us that a raiding guild is defined as “a guild that has gained a boss kill or raid achievement within the past month or those guilds that have completed heroic Madness of Deathwing.” Activity in this case is defined, obviously, as killing a boss that week.
Again, not a huge shock; we’re officially in Cataclysm’s twilight (heh) years, and drop-off like this before an expansion is to be expected. It’s worth noting in this case that the numbers for active raiders might be a little better than what’s reflected here — after all, plenty of guildless people have been able to raid thanks to Raid Finder, and that sort of activity wouldn’t be tracked by this metric.
One thing’s definitely for sure, though — the game needs a jump start in the form of Mists of Pandaria if Blizzard wants people to stick around. Thankfully, it’s right around the corner, but one wonders just how long this cycle can perpetuate. The end of Wrath and the lifetime of Cataclysm showed us that diminishing returns are already in effect, Annual Pass or no, but MoP’s endgame is decidedly different than what we’ve seen in the past. Perhaps things will be different this time.
But it was the comments from the readers that really hit me — a lot of them experienced the same thing I did: their guilds died, they lost members to Diablo 3, people lost interest. In short, even their own friends got bored. Nice to know I’m not alone in this.
I haven’t had time to feel bored, mainly because I was too busy running an interesting spectrum of emotions ranging from frustration to excitement to homicidal tendencies since transferring to a new server. The emotional roller coaster plus an unfulfilled bucket list have kept me going and wanting to play this game. The challenge is finding people who share the same bucket list, and so far I’ve been finding those people in pick-up groups (read: people who were also abandoned by their guildmates).
Misery loves company.
I’m just hoping said company keeps marching on and not cave in to pre-Mists of Pandaria ennui and frustration. At the rate things are going, it’s getting really hard to find interested and dedicated raiders who want to keep at it in spite of running Dragon Soul 137,478,075 times since day one of the tier. But if us like-minded people stick together, we can accomplish our goals and keep things interesting till MoP drops.
Congratulations once again to my long-time WoW buddy Denefblah on his promotion to Officer. His Raid Leadership at our last Blackwing Descent run was excellent — he was as cool as a cucumber throughout the process of gathering people and explaining the fights and picking us up after each wipe. We got so close to downing Magmaw but the massive lag just killed us. Still, it was our best performance as a young guild considering most of us have little to no experience doing Cata raids.
I did not hesitate recommending Den to be made RL (and I was confident then that he would be made Officer soon) knowing his caliber. Our GM asked me if I wanted an RL position too but I politely declined; I know my limits, and you will know what they are in a bit.
However, in spite of my response, Ducelet my GM still went ahead and included me in her list of new Raid Leaders, along with Den and Goobernoggin (who is probably the best tank in Ever After). Guess sweet Duce has that much faith in me, but truth be told, I’m really more of the dutiful follower and supporter who cheers people up after each wipe and contributes feasts to help buff us up. Nevertheless, I’ll still do what I can to help lead raids in the event one or two of us suddenly become indisposed on the day of a scheduled raid.
But if you ask me, I’d rather leave the primary raid leadership to others because…
1. I’m not that good at explaining fights. If pressed to explain, I’d probably end up just parroting everything from the Tankspot tutorial. I also am not quick at spotting errors made by others in the heat of the moment so I can’t really give the feedback necessary to let them know where they messed up and how they should do it next time.
2. I am not familiar with how all classes work and which spells of theirs we can use at which critical stages in a fight. I have this nightmare of calling out for Bloodlust or Time Warp at the most inopportune time and getting everyone killed in the next phase.
3. While I consider myself a very patient person, I have very little patience for impertinent, time-wasting divas and brats who hold up a raid and give lame excuses for being late. If I say raid starts at 20:00 server time,that means the first pull is done at 20:00. So be there at least 15 minutes before start time, which gives you time to gather your stuff and repair and whatnot and get summoned. If I do a ready check five seconds before 20:00 and someone suddenly says “anyone have a repair bot?” or “I need to poo”, I swear to you I will be very angry. And to borrow a line from Bruce Banner (aka The Incredible Hulk), you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.
4. While I consider myself a very patient person, I have very little patience for people dropping out of the raid so they can have sex with their girlfriend. I kid you not, someone did that to us in Ulduar just before the Flame Leviathan pull. If it were up to me, I would have kicked that person’s ass out of the guild for bailing on us and for needlessly going TMI with his excuse. It would have been better if he had just said that his grandma was on fire. Now every time I see him online, I get visions of him naked and doing the deed with a faceless chick. I hate having such a vivid imagination, I swear.
5. I hate unnecessary chatter on Vent during a raid. If I were to lead a raid, I will impose a very Draconian rule: no talking on vent; speak only when spoken to or when you spot an incoming patrol or any similar danger; do not drown out my instructions with the sound of your chitchat. I’ve met my fair share of cocky raiders who just won’t shut the eff up, causing more delays. You know the type — the ones who keep a running commentary on just about everything under the sun. Naturally chatty people will hate me, for I won’t hesitate to pull a Cat Deeley on Vent to embarrass them if they repeatedly refuse my request for quiet:
I’m not kidding, I AM capable of doing that. I once worked as a communications trainer at a call center and when my trainees sitting at the back kept chatting amongst themselves, I blew a gasket and called them out in a way that could have killed a herd of wildebeest. A co-trainer told me one of the people called me a colossal bitch. I replied that indeed I am, and I’m damn proud of it.
6. Speaking of Vent, if you do not have Vent and refuse to download it, you can’t be in my raid. I don’t care if you know the fight, you have to be on Vent. AND DBM! You gotta have DBM.
7. I will not permit anyone to post/spam Recount results on raid and guild chat. (Recount whores will hate me for this) I don’t care if you’re top DPS, your DPS did NOT single-handedly down the boss. Everyone made a contribution so quit crowing over being number one in the charts.
Besides, studies show that Recount spammers do that to make up for their small man parts. You wouldn’t want us to know you have small man parts now, do you?
8. I don’t know if I could calmly and diplomatically referee squabbles over loot. Trust me, even with loot rules explained and ostensibly understood and agreed upon before the first pull, there’s always this person (usually a puggie) who will ruin the moment by saying he deserves it more than the winner because he’s more skilled than that person or whatever reason he can pull out of his ass. My first instinct would be to tell him to STFU and man up, but then again, that wouldn’t be very nice of me, would it?
9. If you’re in my raid and you keep bitching about the constant wipes and cost of repair (even if the guild is already paying for your repairs!), I will wordlessly kick you out. Yes, I know that sounds harsh. But your negativity and impatience have no room in my raid. You want to learn the fights? Be prepared to wipe, rez, and repeat ad nauseum until we get it right. You’re an idiot if you think a boss fight can be perfected in one night. Or if you think you’re so good, why aren’t you in a hardcore raiding guild? Go join one if you think this guild doesn’t pass muster in your eyes.
10. I’m a parent first and a WoW player second. My daughters’ needs take precedence over everything. Raiding will always be dropped in favor of recitals, trips to the pediatrician, school events, and other milestones. While my current lifestyle allows me to play WoW more than the average parent, Raid Leadership is something I can’t really commit to 100%. There’s my children, and there’s another relationship that needs building and sustaining, plus sundry friendships.
That said, I can’t guarantee to give all what I got to Magmaw et al every week without fail, as Real Life can be very unpredictable, so a secondary leadership is the most my situation (and my temper) will let me accept. But at the very least, when I find myself online and available to kick pixelized butt, my guild can call on me to help DPS the crap out of mobs and bosses galore. And they have my assurance that I will be there on time, silent but deadly, following the strat to the best of my ability, not complaining over repeated wipes and lost loot rolls and such, and certainly not excusing myself to have sex with my significant other.