Building a better Raid Leader

Posted in General on March 20, 2010 by Steven Blokh

I’ve been thinking about how I want to write this post for quite a while. I have a somewhat hardcore raiding mentality…yet I am the raid leader for a casual raiding guild. I’ve been doing the job for years and from what I am told, quite well. To be honest, Raid leading and I have a love/hate relationship and it can really be a strain sometimes 😛 I love being the “Go too” guy. I love picking apart boss fights, developing strats, identifying problems and solving them in creative ways based on the pool of raiders I have to work with. I take almost as much pride in raid leading as I do as a main tank. But don’t be fooled, it’s not all rainbows and sunshine. Raid leading tends to lead to an overwhelming number of misunderstandings and conflicts. For any RL to be successful he requires the support his or her raid group. He must earn their respect and therefore they will “follow him into battle.”

Some months ago I was very burned out with the job, maybe it had something to do with the game in general but all I knew was that it was time to take a break. In that time we made some progress…but it just wasn’t the same. I found that part of what makes this game so much fun for me is doing that job. I was discouraged because I felt as though the guild wasn’t behind me and so it felt like I was herding cats. More specifically I found that quite literally almost every call I made was questioned. Normally if its 1 or 2 times a night, no big deal but when it’s so frequent that I spend more time defending my logic than actually raiding….= Burnout.

So I took my break, recharged my batteries, and here I am right back at it! Getting the guild back into 25s is likely what prompted my return and despite whatever conflicts have arisen I haven’t faltered. The frustration of being challenged midraid is gone! It seems that I’ve once again earned the respect and trust of my raiders so look out Arthas; we’ll be knockin’ down your door in no time!

Now to the actual point of my post: What makes a good raid leader?? I’m sure just about everyone has their own answer to this question. Some like a raid ruled by the hand of a wrathful god! Others like a silly yet intelligent leader. Some expect 3 hours of progression standup comedy …and then there are those who expect me to speak as a pirate while we mop the floor with boss after boss just for the lulz.

So what’s the best way to Raid Lead?

I think it depends on the group you have to work with. Brotherhood of Oblivion is full of all sorts of people and it’s hard to please everyone at the same time…try as I may I can’t always leave everyone with a feeling of satisfaction at the end of a raid night. My style is unique…or so I’m told. I try to keep things casual and fun and silly but make sure we make the most out of the few hours of progression raiding we have to work with each week. There are a few basic qualities that every good raid leader should posses:

First: RAID LEADERS ARE NOT INFALLIBLE! We make mistakes! We can and often are wrong! Any good RL knows when to admit that he/she has made a mistake or a bad call and most importantly doesn’t feel bad about doing so!

Second: Because all raid leading is like herding cats to some degree…Posses a firm hand and a sharp tongue BUT only whip those out when absolutely necessary.  These weapons in my arsenal are not meant to upset anyone! They are used to give me a desired effect and keep the raid on track. No one should ever take anything I say personally in a raid.

Third: A good raid leader must always see the bigger picture and place the needs of 25 people ahead of any 1 person. Now this doesn’t mean screw anyone over and over and over…. This means that because it’s basically impossible to keep everyone happy at all times, occasionally you are going to have to do things such as ask someone to sit for a week, or change specs, or participate in a strat that they are not fond of. In the big picture the needs of one are outweighed by the needs of many.

And lastly:  PATIENCE!! Take your time! Go slowly! Give the raid enough time to digest the instructions you’ve given or the boss fight you just picked apart and explained for 15 minutes. Not everyone can pick up a fight with the snap of a finger.

So I want to open this up. I want to hear what other qualities a RL should have. Do I basically have it down? Am I flat out wrong? What can be improved upon?

My GamerDNA Designation:

Posted in General on January 28, 2010 by Steven Blokh

The Achiever motto:

“No goal unfinished!”
Description:

Best, first and most are the favorite adjectives of the Achiever. They love comparison not only against others, but also with themselves. They enjoy setting goals, surpassing previous performances and hitting new milestones. They tend to have lots of high scores, badges, trophies and other concrete evidence of their successful endeavors–and they love it if someone notices these. However many enjoy the quiet satisfaction of knowing they simply did better than most.

Secondary influences

Achiever Killers like to be the best-of-the-best at everything the game has to offer including PvP. They often mock Killer tactics such as surprise and stealth as “ganking” because they prefer a more controlled arena where fighting skills can be compared in a straight forward manner. Achievers often look to 1v1 duels for proof of their superior play and are frustrated by “rock paper scissor” game mechanics because of this. Their prowess in PVP is generally supported by a large degree of understanding and possession of the best equipment and skills.
Achiever Explorers are interested in the PvE aspect of a game more than anything else. The AE thrives as a solo adventurer, counting coup with each new destination and discovery, poking into every corner of a map and toying with each nuance of a game mechanic. AEs prefer not to be hampered by a group and usually find PvP to be more an annoyance than a feature.
Achiever Socializers appreciate groups, clans or guilds for than just pure social fun. An AS relishes the camaraderie of cooperation within a top flight team, savoring the renown gained from successfully pitting themselves against the grand-challenges of a virtual world and attaining goals that cannot be reached as an individual.

I remember a time..

Posted in Tanking on January 19, 2010 by Steven Blokh

 

..When tanking used to mean something! Now I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. Its unfortunate that I never got a chance to raid in vanilla wow but I think I still have a decent picture of how it was back then. Celaeno; a guildie of mine recently brought up a good point on her blog about tanks, healers and how little praise they receive for a job well done. Now I’ve done it all, healed, tanked, and topped the damage charts so I’d like to think that I know what I’m talking about. Tanks and healers have in many cases a significantly more difficult job than dps (not always, but a lot of the time) and the consequences to their failures generally affect a greater number of people in raid. They are first to take the blame and last to receive praise.

DPS have damage meters. Healers have healing meters. Tanks have…meat shield meters?? No, they don’t have anything. Whats more frustrating is that 90% of wow players don’t know enough about the various tanking classes or the job itself to tell a good tank from a fail tank. It can get really depressing sometimes.

BUT

I remember a time when being MT of your guild meant a great deal. No one needed a quantifiable means to judge my performance. Why?? because MTs don’t fuck up and if they do, they fix it before the next attempt. They are immovable pillars upon which good raid groups are built.  Now I know thats a rather bold statement to make but if you speak with any successful vanilla wow tank he will tell you close to the same thing. Tanking in WotLK has been a joke compared to prior expansions. Today anyone can pick up a sword and board, shape shift, or chance presence and be an acceptable tank as long as either fucking GS is over this weeks outrageous number and they have more HP than the next guy. These are sad times indeed.

I think back to my own experiences back in BC. For a young level 70  tankadin the quest to reach uncrushable was EVERYTHING. It meant something to be uncrushable, or to mitigate more damage, or to make that crazy last second clutch move to save a raid from a wipe. But no one notices these things anymore untill they are no longer there.

We tanks of days long past are a dying breed. Trully a dime a dozen. fortunately for my wonderful guild, this tankadin won’t soon lay down his sword and board, We’ve got bosses to down and dungeons to conquer.

Farewell 2009 (Hangover Edition)

Posted in Guild IRL on January 1, 2010 by Steven Blokh

So in preparation for the new year I decided that it would be prudent to prepare a long, sappy, memorable, inspirational post recapping the events of 2009 from my perspective…

…Who am I kidding, this is me we’re talking about. The long wonderful post will come eventually, let’s be serious though, we have far more important things to talk about.

NEW YEARS PARTY BOO STYLE

Guildies in attendance:

Megaburger – FAILTANK
Phaseroll – LOOTWHORE
Zoja – CRANKY TANK
Amber – FEARLESS LEADER

There were others there, but because they don’t play wow…they arent worth mentioning :-P. Aaaany way the night started off well, we all met up at Amber and Zoja (Josh)’s apartment which is conveniently located across the street from mine. So I wander over there with approximately $400 of booze from my very own stash because I figure if you’re going to do something, why not do it right?

My Mission: GET JOSH DRUNK, and not just any drunk, drunk enough to remove his brain to mouth filter…which if you know Josh (Towers at 6′-10″ and ?? lbs) is no small task. It’s safe to say that if I succeed in this perilous journey that hilarity will ensue.

So back to the story, it was not yet time to drink because we needed foodz. In total we had 7ish people and we really didn’t want to take more than one car to the restaurant so we decided it was a good idea to take out Amber’s car that she calls Jr. but everyone else calls the spacemobile (or Starfighter). As you can imagine just by the name, it’s a big honkin’ minivan. The starfighter’s got some years on it but has proven time and time again to be one hell of a trooper in a pinch. Phaseroll and I are sitting in the last row of seats as everyone else is piling in when Amber asks for help opening here door.

Note: It’s roughly 7 degrees outside and the starfighter hasn’t been driven in a while so its pretty frozen up.

Her friend Braden who doesn’t play wow and isn’t worth mentioning decided to help. (I speak of him now because of his relevance to the story) Braden grabs the handle and pulls and pulls and pulls and SNNNAAAAAPPPPP…So the Starfighter needs a new door handle, it’s still good, it’s still good.

We manage to pry the door open and pile in, safe to say, Josh is PISSED. So pissed that he slams his door after boarding the vehicle hard enough to knock the cover of an overhead light off…this is where Phaseroll and can no longer contain our laughter.

We arrive at the restaurant and have a nice civilized New Years eve dinner filled to oodles of interesting conversation about boobs, poop, cars, and computers. (All of Josh’s favorite things) After dinner we head over to the store to pick up a few items we’d forgotten for mixed drinks. While there I decided that new years was a perfect time to experiment and try a new beer. Now I know nothing will ever replace my love to Guinness but whats the harm in trying right?

I picked up some Flat Tire, a beer I knew nothing about but decided would be a good choise just by its name. and let me tell you folks…if there ever was a beverage that tastes like its name sounds…THIS IS IT. I had to take 2 shots to wash the taste of rubber out of my mouth. So the lesson here is…stick with what you know! 

We made it back to Amber and Josh’s apartment and promptly started drinking. We had movies playing on the TV for those interested and the rest continued our silly conversations. Megaburder (Bill) prides himself on his redneck heritage and decided that it just would be New Years without a 6 pack of PBR, thats Pap’s Blue Ribbon folks, one high-class product let me tell you. So while he was enjoying this, Josh and I decided to partake in a little tradition on invented in drink form. 😀

I call it: Big Mach’s Blood, Sweat, and Tears. Not a complicated drink, similar to a tequilla sunrise just sub the tequilla with your choice of vodka and use sunnyD instead of OJ. It looks a pale orange and tastes like a dreamcicle even with 50% vodka! Then we would all gather in the kitchen for shots when anyone could think of something meaningful to say. We have two favorites this time around.

My famous “Cranberry Love” This is a (I shit you not) Home made Cranberry vodka. A recipe that’s been in my family for generations…Sometimes its good to be Russian :-D.

And we new concoction by the name of “Apple Pie”…and it actually TASTES just like apple pie! I don’t know if I remember the ingredients exactly but I think its something like: Cinnamon, peppermint schnaps, Apple cider, and Everclear…Fantastic drink.

After getting warmed up we thought it would be a good idea to play a drinking game. I had thought of a way to play Apples to Apples as a drinking game so we tried that. (Apples to Apples is a cheesy word association game that when played in our crowd is full of crude and sexual hilarity) This is where things got interesting. between Bill shooting Braden in the face repeatedly with Josh’s novelty NERF gun arsenal and Josh fumbling his words and falling over himself, I was having a blast :-D. After a little while Josh got worse and worse at the game and I accomplished my mission! I will respect his wishes and keep the contents of his mind a secret as they should be. Somewhere around 3am, it was time to head home so I left with Amber passed out of the couch and Josh on the floor mumbling incoherent ramblings while unable to move.

Ladies and Gentlemen, it was a Happy New year. I hope everyone had as much fun as we all did…accept Kyr…he’s to old for fun!

**Watch Amber’s Blog for pictures of our antics**

Enter: Lazy Blogger

Posted in General on December 24, 2009 by Steven Blokh

Hello everyone and welcome to my failtastic blogging experiment. I’ve tried this several times before and always end up letting it slide after a  few weeks so lets hope I manage to stick to it this time! I guess I should start out by explaining a little bit about myself so here goes…

I am a 22 year old component level circuit board technician. I work for one of the largest and most dominant consumer electronics service companies in the US. In my spare time I enjoy World of Warcraft a great deal; hence, the blog. Ironically, I hated WoW and everything it represented before I started playing. I’ve never considered myself a “gamer” but I’ve always played something. First it was Counter-strike which I played since beta and competed in many season of CAL (Cyber-athletics Amature League) and CPL (Cyber-athletics Professional League). Next I was sucked into the whole Diablo thing and quickly moved to my very first MMO. Eve-ONline. For those of you who have never heard of this. It’s a futuristic MMO where you are a lone pilot or the vessel of your choosing. The game has a very interesting backstory and had it not been for the persistance of my WoW friends I might still be playing EvE. It basically came down to my friends buying me WoW and asking that I try it for the free month you get with purchase. So in my noobishness I agreed and rolled a young and impressionable human paladin named Macharious about a week before Burning Crusade was released. Several months I was 80 and took over as GM of my guild. Global Gaming Syndicate on Azgalor. Eventually I failed as GM and the guild fell apart. I was still rather noobish but decided to continue playing. My guild has always meant a lot to me. If it wasn’t for these friends of mine I would have never started playing. We reformed as our current guild: Brotherhood of Oblivion. I served as GM for 2 and a half years before I gracefully stepped down. I still log on often and greatly enjoy the game.

Now that I’ve bored the hell out of you all I guess I should talk a little bit about what this blog is actually going to focus on. I’ve never really been a huge fan of traditional blogging. I’ve read quite a few and don’t often see anything I like. So let me assure you that this won’t be the semi-coherant ramblings of a POed WoW fanatic. I prefer to inform rather than complain. I’m one of the oldest prot paladins on Azgalor with a lot of game and raiding experience. I have several other toons I enjoy a great deal including my somewhat neglected fury warrior and my lovely Nelf holy priest. I’d like to help others with these classes and specs as well as receive some constructive feedback. COmpare notes, that sort of thing. Also, because I love my guild so much, it might be nice to keep my readers up to date with guild related current events as well as all the lawltastic moments we seem to have from week to week. Thats all for now, stay tuned for more!