It has been a while since I have posted anything about our guild's adventures into raiding and I wanted to update it so I do not end up with a massive post three months from now. I will hold off on giving impressions of the events until the end of the post because we are coving three weeks. So let's dive in shall we?
Alright so Tuesday rolled around the guild was pretty happy over their clear of Naxx and I certainly did not want to let it go to waste. I spoke with a couple of our core group and we decided that we wanted to pick the pace up some on the runs and also make sure to complete another full clear before the lock-out period would be up. We gathered our core group and received a little help from some friends outside the guild and set out to see if Week 5 was an accident or if we seemed to be getting better. Well, long story short we knocked out KT again and this time we managed to do it in less time over the period. I was pretty pleased with the results that we had in the ability to clear Naxx 10; however, I had other concerns and was interested to see what the coming weeks would bring.
One thing that surprised me was that one of our guild members, who sometimes is way too eager about things, requested we run the EoE (Eye of Eternity). I honestly did not have the time to commit to running it but agreed to schedule it. I knew that the members who signed up were not prepared, but felt it would be a good eye opening experience for them to see how far they have to go in their own development. I am sad to say that I was correct. They went in and had a rough go of it. It was so bad that no one said anything about it at all. That is pretty bad for a guild that seems to not know the meaning of the words "shut up".
So week 7 comes along and I refrained from posting a raid because all reports indicated the patch was dropping and I realized that when it did, doing a serious attempt at raiding would be very difficult as so many people would be looking over all the new shiny pretty purple loot that would be available. I was correct and the patch dropped. I personally was too busy with personal stuff and issues to really get in and be overly concerned about it. The only thing I really did during that week was create a Night Elf Druid before it became comon knowledge that you could. I had heard the rumor and needed to test it. So now I have Ruhtraa sitting on my account because we did not raid during week 7; thanks alot MAS!
So here comes week 8 and not one word in guild chat about raiding has been mentioned. I have to admit I was somewhat shocked, but at the same time relieved as this allowed me to be able to get a run in where I did not have to be the "raid leader" but could sit back and take it easy as a healer or something. I was actually surprised because I ran with a fellow guild that we have a good relationship with as retribution. With MAS, I am always stuck in heal mode. I do not know if I make it look easy to them or they are scared to heal, but it was refreshing to get in there and be able to work on some rotations and get a feel for where my true DPS was. I am happy to say that, with only a half day of being a ret Paladin under my belt, I got over 2,000 DPS for the overall run. I was really concerned about running with a good group who was used to my heals being off the chart great. However, it also showed a lot of area for improvement!
So I sit here today as I am writing this blog and I am wondering what the members of the guild really want to do. For a long time they complained that we did not raid enough. We have successfully cleared all of Vault, OS, and Naxx ten man versions. We have been able to get small groups of members into other larger 25 man runs. We have been able to help a very small group be able to start working on Ulduar 10. Yet, for some reason the overall improvement in our raiding seems stagnant.
In a past post I mentioned that I have grown tired of healing, this is true to a certain degree. I still love healing. I have a passion for it; however, I feel it is hurting the guild to rely on one person as their go to guy for healing. There are two of us who are full time healers and we both live in the same house and play WoW next to each other. If we go on vacation, the guild would have a hard time raiding currently. We have one other guild member who will heal, but the entire time we raid is constantly whispering me or asking in a party chat if I want them to switch to DPS. That is not a good sign for a healer. Further when I left early the one week, I trusted this person to keep the raid going from the healing side. They failed miserably. Not so much through a lack of knowledge, but rather poor communication skills on their part and no raid leader to step in and correct the issue at hand. We also have Edy's Pali Ty, but it is rough to go from DPS to healing and get your head on straight. After the four of us, we have a hunter who is always high that has a Priest who is geared almost as well as I am, yet never wants to heal. Then the rest of our healers are not yet level capped. This presents a huge issue. I mean you see where if me and my wife are out of town that this could be a bad situation within the guild as far as raiding goes right?
I think though that the lack healers has hid another problem that is festering/looming in the shadows of MAS. That problem is the lack of quality DPS. Please do not take this the wrong way, but there is a huge difference in being able to occassionaly put out large number verses sustaining large numbers. It goes even deeper than that though, how about learning to do things without one of the raid leadership having to tell you over vent to. For instance, on Gluth, we struggled very bad for a couple of weeks. We tried every known configuration to man with little success. The problem was not the heals or the tanks, but was rather the basic skills required for kiting and for other members to be aware of if the kiter goes down, then one of them would need to take over. It worries me because the core raiders are carrying those members who want to raid, and the key word is want. We are not seeing improvements in individuals DPS numbers even though they are getting much better gear than they ever had and that concerns me as well.
So how do we deal with this? We need to train some new healers. We need to train some new tanks. We need to train some DPS and help them become more situationaly aware of things that they can do to make life easier. One suggestion is to break the raiding group down and begin running the new five man with two squads/teams/groups. This will definitely help those members understand each other's limits. There are some good points to this, but there are some things that would worry me here as well. If they run the instance and get the charity PVE epics, then what incentive would they have to form back up to raid? Another concern is that the higher rated gear may make running Naxx seem pointless. I think there must be a middle ground, and one that does not involve spamming trade about recruiting. At this point I am not sure what it is. I would love to hear what other guild leaders/raid leaders have done when they hit this little bump in the road. Perhaps, I am just trying to be too strict and we should be happy as a casual guild clearing progression type content that is current and not from a year or two ago. In the end, time will tell and I will be here to report it to you all!