Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Rambling - ROBIEOETSRPCDU - Alphabet soup!

And now I ramble on moving from topic to topic...

Last week I didn't balance out the raiders in my guild for two ICC10 runs because of the holidays. I didn't know who would be around and who would be away so I grabbed people that wanted to go and we went in and punched it. Little did I know that more people wanted to go and that our second group wouldn't do as well. Part of that was that I just suck on my hunter but it's also partially due to mains that were preforming lower than my huntar. (There's no excuse for 900 dps on the boss. Evar.)

My hunter didn't do well, but was 3rd out of 5 on DPS for Marrowgar and when one of our dps had to drop I went up to second. I'm beating myself up over my hunter's suck and am working on figuring out what I'm doing wrong and how I can do better, but it's still a bad bad place for my guild that I'm in third place. This means that my alt is outplaying other people's mains, and my alt isn't the only one doing this. The difference between me and the other two dps that were low was that I didn't die to the fire and that I did target people that were boned and nuked them out as fast as possible.

With this in mind, I am now working on gearing my Hunter (so I don't suck) and my DK tank (for fun) at the same time. I'm also working on bettering my main, the Healadin, by shuffling through all my alts and getting ready to run the daily random heroic every day for 12 days straight. I may also hop the weekly raid when possible. My mission? To replace my iLevel226 crafted boots. I need 6-7 Primordial Saronite, one for the bullets pattern (so I can create both, yay), one for the blacksmithing pattern, and five for the actual crafted item. That's right, I'm using my alts to better my main. Altoholic advantage right there, but I digress.

My raidlings suggested that I split the groups more evenly so everyone can get a chance to kill the bosses (and so we don't get all of the lower geared / inexperienced players in one team). To this, I agreed. That's been my intention the whole time, but holidays come around and I'd rather get one group through than hold up raids and not go because people show up missing and have zero raids clear.

So I mentally worked out in my head who should go where and for what so we would have a good strong balance, with the less experienced slower learning players spread out. I slotted myself and another experienced players alt into spots for one of the runs so we knew we had some ok hitters who at least knew what they were doing.

When I arrived home from work, I heard that it was implied in guild chat that people were upset about alts going to raids over mains. It was pointed, once again, in the direction of the altoholics of the AA guild. In particular, I think it was pointed towards myself and one other raider, whose alts have been demonstrated as running equal to or slightly ahead of some of our slower players mains.

The other alotholic for whom this was pointed at was pretty disheartened and resigned himself to sit out for the night. I pondered the setup of groups and arranged to have a different paladin healer, a regular guest, go in my place, and also resigned myself to the bench. (We're usually, literally, found sitting on the bench just inside the door of the north bank in Dalaran on the left hand side. So we were, quite literally, on the bench.)

I put together the group, using my hunter as the invite source. I grabbed two tanks, three healers (one of whom was going on a trip today so had to go with that group), two strong melee dps, one dps dps shaman who could go melee or ranged (he has a level 1 humanoid and can't play all the time), and had two ranged spots. I gave the tanks promotions, set them as tanks in ora, threw them leader, left who they'd bring as their two other ranged up to them, and had them go ahead and roll out. I told them to grab the flasks from the bank and shooed them down to one of the raid channels.

They did ask if altoholic tank and I wanted to bring our warlock and hunter. I privately noted I wasn't feeling too hot, and was pretty down on myself for my poor performance on my hunter, that I feel he's not ready for ICC yet. I also explained that people were bitchin' about others bringing alts, and that the tank and I would try to get a pug on our alts later, but that we were fairly content with the bench. The response I got from the players was that the complainers would just have to deal with it.

They wound up taking one of our slower players and a regular from a TotGC10 a handful of the team has been doing. (I've not gone for my own reasons.) I would assume that if the regular guest hunter was in there in TotGC and could beat the dps requirements for Northrend Beasts that they're probably good enough to make up for the slowness of the less experienced player.

I sat on the bench for a while. I kinda wanted to go because I loved raiding, and moreover, I was one frost badge away from my pretty new shoulders. I brooded for a few minutes and wondered if I did the right thing and questioned my own motivations and desired outcomes.

  1. I did make my best honest effort to give them a reasonably stacked group so they could succeed.
  2. I tried to keep groups of players (friends, significant others, etc) together for maximum happy and comfort in raid.
  3. At the same time, I also gave an honest effort to slot the people who could only make it that night. Level 1 humanoids and trips overseas happen sometimes.
  4. I attempted to appease the anonymous complainers by not slotting well geared alts of experienced players over others mains, even if those mains weren't as effective.

  • I genuinely wanted the group to succeed, I really genuinely and sincerely want to have two strong teams capable of clearing 10 man ICC.
  • I feel like I am being pushed to include some of our slower learning players on progression by other members, members whom I suspect are subject to listening to players complaining about how unfair things are and sympathetic.
  • I feel like when I include them others get frustrated by their poor performance, and players get frustrated at me for including them.
  • I wanted the decision to bring a player with sub-par performance to be up to the other players rather than me, so I am not the target of blame and frustration.
  • I kinda wanted others to learn what it's like to lead and have to make these tough decisions and learn for themselves why I do what I do. There is a method to my madness.
  • I'm tired of being made out to be the bad guy and getting hate for benching people. Seriously, one of my raiders spoke of me to my fellow raiders, in my presence, and said they wanted to throw me in a fire because I wasn't benching a regular to take them when they happened to feel like showing up.
I phantomed down to listen to what was going on at one point during the night and they were wiping on Saurfang. I cheered for them in gchat, listened to their last attempt on Saurfang, which was a really close wipe, and frowned. I was pretty sad and hoping for them to get it on their last try.

My brooding session didn't last most of their instance. It only lasted a few minutes and after over-thinking and worrying, one of my players who wasn't going expressed interest in the weekly raid. I collected the players that weren't in ICC10 and wound up with 8 people. We pugged a strong rogue from another raiding guild we're on friendly terms with, and one of my players found a willing holy paladin.

Gleeful, the pug healadin was one whose name I have on my friends list. They were one of the people who seemed to, according to wowprogress, disappear from the roster of a guild I used to be in around the time that one of my critics was bragging about gkicking people and implying I was a bottom feeder. Former GL critic has a tendency to trash talk former members, he did it when I was there, he probably does it about me too. The person probably was unsure about us when he realized I was leading the raid, likely having heard trash-talking of me.

Regardless, we went in and cleared the instance with little issue, and the paladin happily got several tank offset upgrades and the shield off of Anub by default. We gemmed and enchanted it too, and in the end he thanked me for the run, said he had a good time, to friend him (way ahead of him there), and if we ever needed a healer again to let him know, he'd be happy to run with us again. I gave him our friends and family chat channel that I send out calls on before looking externally, and he went on his merry way.

Hit a heroic on my tiny DK then went and ran with members of the group that went into Icecrown for them hitting the weekly raid on my hunter. They asked for anyone before they went to trade so I went along. Vent was quiet. Either people were tired or in an upset mood, and it's probably upsetness at me. =(

As a guild leader and a raid leader, I try do the following things:
  • Recruit - I spend time recruiting new people. I give them attention, welcome them, make sure they have what they need and have direction.
  • Organize - I schedule events and herd cats to go to them.
  • Balance - I choose who goes what what group so that things will be balanced. This can be pretty hard. Do I take everyone and spread our strongest players across two groups or do I make one really solid group and push progression?
  • Invite - I invite people to the raids.
  • Explain - I explain the strategies.
  • Observe - I observe what happens, what people are doing.
  • Evaluate - I evaluate how people are doing and what's going on.
  • Troubleshoot - I troubleshoot what went awry.
  • Solve - I present solutions to problems.
  • Reiterate - I reiterate important things that might have caused a wipe (like, seriously, spread out on Saurfang. Seriously don't let the beasts touch you, it's really really important).
  • Praise - I praise people when they do well.
  • Congratulate - I celebrate the success of the raid.
  • Diffuse - I try to difuse trouble and conflicts before they get out of hand.
  • Unruffle - And I try to unruffle feathers of people who are upset.
Sometimes I don't succeed, but I try, and that's really all I can hope to do.

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