I’m baaaaack. Which might be a scary and otherworldy concept if you enjoyed all the fabulous people who took time out of their own blogs, WoW time, or other free time that they could have used for something else than keeping the flame burning here at Jaded Alt. I thought I’d have something all nice and prepared for last week to cover “the event” (i.e. getting all that yucky hardware out of my leg) but I was just so darn relieved, ecstatic and pooped to be done with finishing the first part of research and writing done for my thesis that it just didn’t happen!
So before we move on, a big thank you to Naithin, Jack, Sam, Oestrus, and Brunpal (who amazingly enough doesn’t have his own blog but may pop in as the mood strikes) for writing a little something for us. Although some folks have been nice enough to compliment me on the raiding guides, I didn’t particularly want to dip my metaphorical toe back into writing with something so precise… and dry. I’ve been doing dry for the last couple of months, and while I intend to (and hope to complete) the heroic guides in the near future™–before Firelands or nevah!–it’s just not in the cards for my very first post in *gulp* a month.
Now in that month I’ve been quietly pecking away at a comfortable musing that I think will be fun if I ever manage to recapture the excitement that had me throwing the original idea in the draft folder. However, this musing is closer to the surface. If you follow my recent reading, you might have read a lively and interesting post by Oestrus a couple of weeks ago entitled “Lucky.” I found it myself a few days after the original posting, and I thought, what a great post!
Just to summarize the main points a bit for those who refuse to click links (or fail to read people that I constantly suggest! For shame!) O had stumbled across a conversation that had gotten her thinking: Why should I feel bad for my progression? I never said I was the bee’s knees, or put a little pin on a map saying “THE ONLY SPOT IN THE UNIVERSE WHERE AWESOME HAPPENS.” I get to act like everyone else when it comes to my guild and my expressions of it. I might sing on the mountaintops or grumble in the rickety inn, and that’s OK! I shouldn’t have to feel like some crazy dingbat who can’t appreciate what she’s got. I’m sure I left some important bits out BUT that’s what I got out of it.
I was just so happy with this post that I decided to go throw in a comment. And as I often do once I click through to comment, I spent some time reading other people’s comments while I was at it. And there was one in particular that just set my teeth on edge and led to this post today. I replied to the post (and the comment) where I read them first, but somehow, it just doesn’t seem like enough. The comment ran thusly:
What annoys me are the people who post massive guides on guild leadership or raiding strategy and try and shoehorn some kind of high minded philosophy into their posts about raiding. Then you check their progress and they’re like 5/12 normal. It’s just pompous in my opinion.
But then again what do I know I’m a casual.
Oh, please be still my little nerg-raiding heart. It can’t be good to be seeing red after a whole week has gone by. But I still find this comment incredibly distasteful. We’ll completely ignore the whole “casual” equation because it’s completely irrelevant and rather passive-aggressive. What I wanted to talk about today was the value of “non-progressed” players and the advice they can bring to the table. And I’m going to drag my friend Awryt through the sacrificial fire and hope she forgives me using her as an illustration in this next part.
I’ve spent the bulk of my WoW career raiding in “non-progressed” guilds. Some have been more successful than others, and most (I think) could have been wildly successful but lacked a little *something* that seems to make a guild’s raiding progression to forge itself into a powerful driving force that knocks down all obstacles. For many it was simply a matter of longevity. I tend to spend rather involved in more and more protracted processes in getting involved in new guilds because I invariably feared would implode in the near future. I actually began this blog in the throes of guildlessness on my path to the least raiding-progressed guild I would ever take part in. I happily became involved with this group, and left with much angst and wringing of the hands, because it had things that so many other of my guilds had lacked: a fun and caring environment where everyone was valued.
And that’s where I met Awryt. She has successfully run a guild holding several hundred players for over five years. They have raided together as a cohesive team since vanilla WoW. Their progression has been rocky and sometimes fraught with peril, but they have always been involved and moving forward as a group. Awryt opens her house every once in a while to all the friends she’s made in her guild, and great frivolity is had.
Awryt and I had a number of discussions about leadership, her guild, my ideal guild, as well as pretty dress clothes, her kids, and all the other things that friends talk about. If Awryt decided to start a blog tomorrow (hell I’d offer her a place on mine in a heartbeat) I would fervently hope that she would dissect and discuss those hundreds of five minute conversations and ideas that we had about guild and raid leading. And I would suggest that you all read it. Even if her guild is only 6/12 (which is awesome by the way!)
I would instantly turn into a raging ball of death if I had to deal for five minutes with the hassles, gripes, and management issues that Awryt deals with every day with (I imagine) a Madonna-like grace. It’s not that she runs a raiding guild. It’s not that she runs a family-style guild. It’s that she runs them together, for a 25-man raid team that raids 3-4 times a week at 3-4 hours a pop. Do you know how insane you have to be to run 25’s (which assume that you have all available raid buffs) when you don’t know who’s going to be on your roster from night to night (and sometimes hour to hour–they’re that freaking flexible). When you have a large complement of wonderful, stable, fun players who regularly get shipped overseas with limited internet access and who are lovingly welcomed back into the fold upon their return? Where practically no is denied a raid slot over something silly like gear or skill?
I think everyone with half a whit of sense can learn something great and wonderful about managing a guild from someone who purposefully has designed and managed her guild to take into account what is generally considered opposing forces in successful raid teams: instability and minimal (raid) screening. Oh sure, guild members are screened, but Awryt wants to know if the guild will like you. This is a top, not a bottom concern. This is a successful guild. It’s a fun guild. It’s a raiding guild. What can I not learn from someone like this, especially about “fluffy” things like guild and raid philosophy, guild management, time management, and 101 things that make a guild work. Obviously, the overall raiding philosophy of her guild (we’re together, so it’s fun) and mine (if we don’t kill this boss in X number of attempts I’m going to slit my wrists or find a way to destruct so and so’s computer remotely to relieve my nerd-rage) were not compatible, the discussion of the management of the guild itself and our differing ways to work around and with raiding were always insightful.
Lately, I’ve been seeing a number of guilds crop up with multiple 10-man teams. Not because they eventually want to merge into some huge 25-man raiding guild later, but because they like 10-mans, but want to be a part of the a big guild. I think these people are insane. How does that even work? How do you handle sniping between the different “teams.” Do you think it’ll work long term? How long have you been doing it? What problems have you had? I’d love to read a blog from someone involved in this type of guild environment, what they think about the pros and cons. What about guilds that have hundreds of members and only one 10-man or 25-man team? Maxed out members and two 25’s? I think we could learn a lot from all these teams regardless of their “progression.” It’s called management, and to keep your guild alive and kicking for any length of team, regardless of your raiding goals, there has to be a cohesive, organized, and dedicated officership steering your guild through patches, expansions, and player meltdowns.
I actually have no idea where most of the bloggers I read are in terms of progression unless they mention it in a blogpost. I imagine Vixsin is 13/13 or very close. I know Ophelie is not in her ideal raiding environment in terms of progression, but whether that’s 2/12 or 11/13, I have no idea. Do I want to read your advice on an encounter that you haven’t successfully completed yet? Probably not, although it can provide some useful tactical advice since you’ve taken some time to research stuff I’d probably end up researching anyway. I definitely want to read anything you have to say about your class, regardless of your progression (I loved a recent post by Rhii about training your raid for 10-man chain healing love). The ability to transform esoteric numbers on a spreadsheet into something I can use is extremely valuable. And you can bet, I would love to see discussions from guild members of any kind about their guild experiences, from large to small, regardless of “progression.”