Authority: Who Has It?

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.”

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13 thoughts on “Authority: Who Has It?

  1. Welcome back!

    Thank you for writing this post. It was wonderful and soothing to read.

    I wholeheartedly agree with you, yet I'm constantly afraid of attitudes like the one in the comment you shared. When I had to quit raiding progressively, my knee-jerk reaction was "Oh no! My blog!" Even though I barely write about paladins these days anyway.

    I think it's important that bloggers who wish to educate others write about their own experiences. Yes, a 5/12 raid leader might not be qualified to write about competitive, edgy raiding. But, likewise, a 13/13 raid leader isn't qualified to write about the challenges that come with leading a less-progressive/casual guild. (Unless he has a double life leading a less-progressive guild as well, and then he should probably write guides about time management!) And its just as well because both types of leadership are just as relevant and there are many readers out there looking for one or for the other.

    Every type of experience is worth sharing and, somewhere out there, someone in a similar boat will be looking for guidance and will appreciate your efforts.

    • Thanks!

      I think most bloggers deal with some issues about authenticity when dealing with their "authoritative" voice. I may not be the best, or even the 100,000 best druid in the game, but darn it, I play one, I can sure talk it up! When you're trying to communicate, educate, or even just talk your way through an issue, the more voices from different perspectives, the better!

  2. Welcome back, and I hope you're feeling better!

    I run a raid team out of a mega guild (550 characters at last count, and we've been running 5-7 raid teams over the past several months). I've written about it a little, but I'm currently working on a post that describes the interactions (in my guild anyway) – it should be up this week! Please come over and check it out!

    • Thanks–I'm still in the limp stage, but no more crutches (and after only a week!)

      I went poking around at your suggestion, and I thoroughly enjoyed your post about Loot Systems and look forward to reading more about your guild environment.

  3. Welcome Back!

    Just reading this post and I find it really great to point out things like managing a guild even though the progression is only 6/12 or even lower than that and normal mode too. Everyone put effort to do what they want and have fun. I really appreciate and admire all those great raid leaders, guild masters and officers who put time to manage such wonderful guilds.

    It's alright to talk about your guild progression and put a guide in your blogs even though your progression is not that hardcore. because guess what at least you learned something and you are able to share it to everyone. for me I think that is great! =)

    We can't please everyone.

    And if Either it is a casual raiding guild, a hardcore raiding guild or just for fun. For me Time and effort of each player who plays in game and post guides or random thoughts you want to post in your blog for me that is admirable and needs to be appreciated.

    I was in a 25 man raid progression but I chose to be in a guild where I had fun playing with in 10 man content, though I know we have not done any heroic modes yet but as long as I enjoy every minute I spent with them that is all important for me too.

    Anyway, hope you feel better. Just thought to drop by here and say hi /wave ❤ Take care hon.

    • Thanks!

      I agree, there's a lot of raiding environments out there because there's a lot of different people who different things from the game time (whether or not raiding is even in there!)

  4. Hey, you're back!

    On the multiple 10 man teams that ridiculously flexible:

    The reformed guild I left on Eonar runs two 10s, as far as I can make out. When it was still The Scarlet Robes and I was still in it, we'd run raids from about 7-8 in the evening until 1-2 in the morning, just switching people out. Literally about half the guild was East Coast and half was West Coast, and just as the East Coasters were about to log off, the West Coasters would log on, and night owls like myself just decided to keep going.

    Now, I believe they (Gods of Eonar) have two separate raids: one is at an East Coast time, and the other is at a West Coast time. I'm not sure how far progression-wise they are or anything, but I do miss that highly social atmosphere.

    • There's something about two different time zones in one guild that just make a lot of sense to me if you have the members to sustain it. I know there's plenty of people whose schedules change annually (or who work that icky shift work) where something like this might be the perfect solution (depending on the permeability of the teams).

  5. Welcome back.

    Awesome post. Good ideas and good players are everywhere. There are a lot of awesome raiders in some really small and casual Guilds, that even tough they progression might be low, their knowledge on their class might be really good. And it really is a shame that a lot of good players or ideas get dismissed with comments like the one you mentioned. Truly theres more than just progression to dismiss awesomeness.

    It really was a wonderful post.

  6. This is great. I've often theorycrafted my own perfect guild and a perfect raiding guild doesn't have to down all the content at the expense of their relationships. Great ideas written here and a tribute to the true 'successful' raiding guilds.

  7. Great post! Though my half asleep brain couldn't work out, "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." But yeah. I'm probably quite similar to you when it comes to raiding. I can't stand elitism and I like the "casual" raiding approach, as I call it, which is basically sign up if you want to come, otherwise don't, raiding a couple of nights a week for about 3 hours a time. But it also bothers me when people just don't get a tactic. If you're struggling with something, there is no harm is asking for helpful tips, or even browsing the net for something that might help, rather than struggling through and causing multiple wipes. I also can't stand raid leaders who name and shame, I had this a few times and it just made me play a lot worse. There's no harm in quietly taking somebody to one side and asking them what the problem is and if they need any help. *shrug* Ideal raiding guilds though, they're pretty damn rare.

  8. Chiming in quite belatedly here (sorry!) …

    I oftentimes wonder, can you be too progressed (as a blogger)? The theorycrafting, the min/maxxing, the fine-toothed-comb analysis that make up my world on a daily basis (especially with the Firelands prep we're doing), is stuff that's relevant to me but I oftentimes wonder, right before I hit [Publish] if I'm going to completely miss the mark with the community. More than that, when I talk about the state of HPS or Resto Shaman performance, I'm talking about a very limited perspective on the game and on raiding. Is that even relevant to someone who doesn't operate on the bleeding edge? (Moreso, what sort of ripple effect do I create if I make a statement like "[x class] stinks at hard modes", based solely on my own experience?)

    So, I guess what I'm saying is … there's a flip side to those who pontificate without much basis: those of us who might be prone to rambling on, with tons of basis, but very limited application (and even less of an audience, I'd imagine).

    • I'm so happy I got this comment, because it's the basis for a lot of arguments I've had with players over the years. Most of the "experts" that we trust for our information are bleeding edge. The need to understand the ins/outs of your class and to get that .1% out of every moment is horribly important when you're breaking content in gear from last tier. I've never been a bleeding edge shaman, hell, I was barely a raiding shaman, but I did keep up with your posts because I wanted another player's opinion on what I should be doing.

      However, that doesn't mean I always followed your example, or even ran into problems similar to yours because I wasn't in your position gear-wise/progression wise to have the same problems. It's great to have perspectives, advice, and information from players who run at the edge, but I worry that we (as players and readers) put too much value on where player's stand on the progression pole. Having players, through their blogs, providing a place to discuss issues that don't affect the few on the edge of progression is great, and I wish more would share their experiences and insights to dealing with problems they face at a different place in the progression: of their raids, guilds, and leveling.

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