Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Raid Project: Week 3 & 4

Alright, so it is Tuesday and there is a post up! That must mean it is time to take a look at the adventures in raiding that MAS is going through. So without any more cheap/bad jokes let's take a look at the events of the last couple weeks!

Week 3

Alright, so in week three we decided that we wanted to switch things up slightly and see how far the guild could go and also check our DPS. The first two weeks were really more focused on getting people use to running as a group and also to see how the healing and tanking would work out. Having established the fact that we are blessed with solid tanks and heals, it was now time to set our focus on our DPS, since they have not really been challenged. So with the goal in mind, I informed the folks that I discuss raiding with and we decided we were going straight into the Construct Quarter and using Patchwork!

Now there have been a lot of horrible stories of raid groups going down in a blaze of glory against the big bad boss and to be honest, the raid leadership was expecting to hit some rough spots on this boss. To our surprise we steamrolled over top of Patchwork like he was not anything more than a normal boss. Now to be honest, I was worried as we were running with a three healer set for the fight and our DPS had not been tested to that point. Needless to say it was all for not. As we were able to utilize duel healing from the Paladin healers to their respective tanks, it left little healing for our Shaman to worry about. So let me say publicly that I was proud of the guild as I did not foresee that fight going that easily, especially since we had several members who have never been in Naxx for that particular run.

We then proceeded to move on and unfortunately we did raid wipe on Grobulous, but we expected this and quickly recovered and downed him on the second attempt. Now the stumbling block for the first night of raiding was on Gluth. We just could not down this beast. We tried several different methods and decided that, rather than lose the momentum, we would switch and move into the Spider Wing which we then proceeded to destroy. We called it at the end of that quarter on a high note with several guild members getting some nice gear upgrades. We also had some PuG members with us and they too received some gear for their efforts.

We came back the next night and picked up the raid and went back after Gluth and proceeded to wipe a few more times. Deciding that we had some sort of issue with this boss, we decided to move on into the Military Quarter, which I am happy to say we handled quite easily. Someone who reads this from the guild can correct me, but I do not believe we had any wipes on any of the bosses. That is a great accomplishment for the guild as many folks have never seen those encounters and to one shot them, was a great thing. Even the Four Horsemen were handled with minimal issues.

As it was still somewhat early we decided to try our hand at the Plague Quarter where we quickly moved to Heigen and the dance. We still have some issues with the dance and unfortunately could not clear that boss. We called it there as it was getting pretty late and we could sense some tension building at the thought of wiping again. We did not get a chance to go back in and try to clear out Gluth or Heigen, but it was a major push by the guild members and they showed that they had the skills and ability necessary to handle some of the hardest fights in the instance. Now we just need to work on some minor dance steps and make a few adjustments on kiting methods and we will be clearing this place weekly.

Week 4

Alright, so I was riding high from the previous week and looking forward to running with the guild. However, I am guessing that the guild did not feel the same as we had many no-shows and non-commitals. So a half hour before the time to start I made the call to cancel the raid as one other member was not feeling well and had to withdraw. I was not feeling to well either so I was not upset at calling the run. However, I did feel aggrevation over the lack of participation.

Thoughts

I have mixed feelings on the progress that we have made into raiding. On one hand I am very proud of the guild for doing so well on some of the more difficult fights (Four Horsemen and Patchwork), but on the other hand I am very aggrevated by the unwillingness to commit to runs. They showed such great promise, yet it seems like that if we hit a roadblock they lose their edge and just want to go about doing dailies or leveling alts. Now do not get my wrong, there is nothing wrong with this, but we have to look at this honestly in that it is much like a little baby who is learning how to walk. First they have to master rolling over, then sitting up, then crawling, finally standing and eventually taking that first step.

Another thing that I am careful to do is not refer to something as easy or so simple because I remember that people progress at different levels and I also remember running those same bosses and wiping over and over and hearing someone eventually say something like, "this is so easy guys, c'mon you can do this!" I know that folks mean that as encouragement, but it becomes frustrating when you are doing everything you can and it just does not seem good enough. I remember the first time I encountered the Heigen dance in a PuG where I knew no one and they tried it 15 times before they could clear it. I died every time save the last one and the entire time was so mad because they kept referring to it being so easy. Is it easy though? It really depends, eventually you begin to see a path that opens up for you and it does not seem as difficult, but if you have any lag or are trying to follow someone, then it is extremely frustrating. So I have really been careful to try and keep that type of talk out of the raids and I think that can contribute to some of the success that we have experienced. I have found that people will listen to you much more closely if they are not mad at you for insulting them the entire time you are running.

Another thing that I have done in the raids that I think has helped us out is by placing the members of the raid that I think of as key to the success of the run in the same party. Typically I try to add our tanks, healers, and top DPS into one party so that we can communicate without the rest of the raid seeing the conversation. It is important that the raid feel 100% confident in the decisions that we make, so we just make those decisions and display our not so condifent moments in the party chat.

So why bring these last two topics into this particular post? Well, that is a great question and deserves to be answered. My main reason is that this series is not just about the progress of MAS, but also a resource for those who want to start a raiding guild. I also believe that what makes a raid successful is how you manage the raid. It is not only about getting the right balance of people, but also in how you manage those individuals. So I share the insight that I have gained here for those people who are just starting out to see what has worked or not worked for us. So that is why I mentioned keeping a positive attitude on things and not letting people refer to something as easy and also why I mentioned placing your raid leaders in a party together. These are things that have proven successful for us and unfortunately, I do not see many people who share those kind of ideas. I will however see people who love to brag about how easy content is or how great they are, but this is more about how did the content become easy and how they became so great.

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