Theory in practice: "good reasons"

The other day, I waxed philosophical about the open-ended question of whether we should care about what the reasons were for a player doing something that negatively impacted the group (a little or a lot).  Last night I saw the hypothetical become a reality and the result was inspiring.

Last night, during TOC-25, one of our mages suddenly went offline.  His wife said over vent at the end of the encounter (we wiped) “sorry Mage died, he needed to take our eldest daughter to the hospital.  I’m going to need to go as soon as you can replace me.”

And there was a chorus over vent and in raid chat of “GO NOW.  Seriously.  Don’t wait for us to get a sub.  JUST GO.  Why are you still here?”

To do otherwise… I can’t even imagine being in a guild that would do otherwise.  There was this overwhelming feeling of  camaraderie, that everyone spoke out in unison, that some things are so much more important than phat lewts.

The super-secret alt

Oh come on, you know you have one.  The unguilded “just for fun” alt that you use to get away from your “responsibilities”.  Spill!

I couldn’t last for more than a day without gchat, it was too quiet, so I guilded my baby Huntard.  Maybe some of you out there have more discipline than I do.

Should we care about the reason for a player’s detrimental behavior?

General Principle: We Excuse Undesirable Behavior for a Good Reason

Most “nice” guilds (and nice people) in WoW have this as an unwritten rule.  If a person does something detrimental to the guild/raid/group, but there is a “good reason,” we will excuse it.

Example: Tank Fails to Pick up Adds.

Scenario#1: I was distracted watching porn on the other monitor.

Now, nobody is going to cut the tank some slack in this scenario.  “Turn off the porn, moron” or a swift kick are going to be the responses.

Scenario#2:  I just had brain surgery.

Poor Cranky Old Gnome.  He had brain surgery.  Most of us civilized humans would forgive him for being a little “off” in the tanking department.  But the jerkfaces he ran with berated him and kicked him from the group.

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How do you handle Mains, Off-Specs, and Alts in your Raiding Program?

This is kind of an open-ended question, as our guild (and I would imagine other guilds) are struggling with this.

The Altaholic is the culprit

The scenario that every guild wants to avoid is the “altaholic” that gears up toon after toon.

At worst, he’s an obnoxious leach, expecting everyone to be enthusiastic about dragging his newest alt through the same content the guild already ran over and over with his last few alts.   He probably has a tenuous grasp on class mechanics of the newest toy in his arsenal.

At best, he gears up outside the guild, and is actually competent at his class. but it still feels like loot given to the latest in a string of alts is a waste.

Basic Concerns

Why to limit alts/offspecs in raiding:

  • “Wasted” loot
  • Class mastery (or lack thereof)
  • Additional resources outside raiding to “catch up”.

Why alts/offspecs are beneficial:

  • Creating class balance so a raid can happen
  • Providing alts for a separate raid ID
  • Preventing burnout
  • Versatility within raid (i.e. healer swaps to DPS for specific fights)

Our guild: Using EPGP

Because we were starting to do 25’s again, we reinstituted EPGP for loot distribution, since free rolls work pretty well in a 10 man but not so well in 25’s where pieces of loot are desirable to more than 1-2 people in the raid.   EPGP has the added side-effect of encouraging people to focus on one toon and one spec.

So far it doesn’t seem like it’s necessary to restrict people to main toon/main spec when they’re spending their EPGP.  In theory, people will hold out and spend their “priority” on items that benefit their main spec, and not waste it on off-spec items.

Spending EPGP on off-spec items

I’ve already had the opportunity to beat out a rogue for cat loot, and I chose not to, just out of “fairness”.   I’m not sure if guildies would have been peeved if I had rolled, even though  I use my cat spec, or at least would like to, and have worked diligently to get that gear up to par with my healing set.  (Actually now I’m pretty sure they’d be peeved, looking at the responses to Hana’s and Keeva’s posts on rolling off-spec in instances using the “LFG” tool.)

I wonder how I’d feel if the bear tank had chosen to spend his EPGP on spellpower leather for his boomkin set. Would it matter how often he got to play boomkin?  Or whether he preferred DPS to tanking and was only tanking to take one for the team?

Alts in raids

I wonder what will happen when we ask someone to bring an alt to make the raid work.  EPGP stays with the toon – but is that fair to the mage who really wanted to bring the mage and only brings the warrior so that we can have the raid happen at all?

What if that alt-warrior gains loot that the main warrior wanted?  On the one hand, it benefits the guild to have the main-warrior geared better than an infrequently used alt.  On the other hand, the alt won’t be useful for situations where we don’t have sufficient tanks if we don’t gear him at all.

Questions

1.   What is the main/alt/off-spec policy of your guild?

2. What is the raiding loot system used?

3.   Are you happy with the main/alt/off-spec policy and the raiding loot systems?   What are the problems, if any?

4.   What is your raiding program like? Do you do primarily 10’s or 25’s?   Where are you progression-wise?

How do you Roster your Raid Groups?

As you may know, I am in a casual raiding guild.  One of our principles is that everyone gets to participate, provided that they make the effort to get geared and ready. However, it’s a constant battle to make sure that happens, and different raid leaders have different ideas of how that should happen.

The following are my principles for successful, fair, and casual-friendly raid groups.

1. Static groups are not ideal for casual raiders

Some argue that static groups are good because people learn to work well together week after week as they progress together, making the group work as a fluid team. However, I don’t think that works particularly well for casual raiders.

Scheduling

In a casual guild there is NO way that you’re going to get 10 people week in week out who are able to commit to 2 raiding groups a week.  Just not possible.  We have people who can only go Tuesdays, some people who can only raid 1 day a week period… and we get them in.  With a static group we wouldn’t be able to include people with demanding schedules.

Creates a clique

If you run with the same people every week, you don’t get to know all the other guildies as well.  If you do end up raiding with a different bunch on a given week, you’ll be completely thrown off.

2. Skill/gear levels should be mixed

Some may argue that mixing the “haves” and “have nots” may make the “haves” feel like they are carrying the “have nots” – and that carrying a player will not assist him or her in learning his or her class.  I disagree!

Only one group may succeed

If you stack group 1 to be awesome, and group 2 to be anyone left over, you’re virtually assuring that group 2 is going to fail.  It’s better, in my opinion, to have both groups clear 2 bosses each than to have 1 group clear 4 and 1 group clear zero.

Social stratification

It will be perceived that there’s a “good group” and a “bad group” if every week 1 group is stacked with the best geared players and group 2 is filled with the lesser geared players.  It may cause hard feelings in the guild, and feelings of being inferior to other guildies.

A widening gear gap

And the more weeks the groups are divided based on skill or gear, the more Group 1 will advance, get more geared, and be even more superior to Group 2.  It will exacerbate the already existing gear gap.

Dear readers, how do you roster your raid groups?  Do you disagree with my principles?

Healer Crushes

Along the lines of the “Wow Spouse” (a term referenced by The Tree Unleashed as coming from Keredria’s blog – alas I cannot find the original post there!)  there are also “WoW crushes” or more specifically “healer crushes”.

1. The Awesome Tank

He can tank just about anything without problem.  Something is coming toward you… you think “help me!” and before you can even hit your Push To Talk, the mob is drawn right back toward the tank by some magical tank ability.  Nothing is hitting the healer on his watch.  When he offers to tank your 5 man, you sigh with relief.

The awesome tank also has a crush on you!  He will send you tells asking you to heal his 5mans as soon as you log in, and will confide in you that he doesn’t “trust” the other healers to do it right.

2.  The DPS Bodyguard

This DPS will actually pay attention to whether a mob is biting your face off and throw himself in the mob’s way, even if it means certain death for the DPS.  He recognizes, properly, that you’re more important than he is and acts accordingly.

Husband is this sort of DPS – whenever a mob is gnawing on the tree, I look for frost nova to appear as he locks the mob in place so I can move out of biting range.

3.  The Backup

This person is playing DPS, but he obviously knows a thing or two about healing, and does his best to help out. He’s the elemental shaman who immediately starts throwing heals when you’re impaled by the mob’s ability-of-incapacitation.  He’s the shadow priest who casts mass dispel, or the feral druid who pops out of cat form and throws you an innervate.

These backups understand that they can help a healer while still DPSing, and seamlessly can multitask to make your job easier.

Husband versus Wife: EPEEN

I actually got to dps last night on a random heroics run.   We got HCOS.

First, that dude who stops time.

(Not bad for my off-spec).

We’re about to get to the optional boss with 6 mins to spare, and the shaman (who is the only one who doesn’t have the drake) says “omg HURRY UP I want my drake!”

Husband responds: “I’m going to wand him so you don’t get it!”

He wasn’t kidding!

(Zomg 5600 DPS? I rule.   Sort of.)

Then I kinda sucked on Mal’Ganis.   I guess husband had to redeem himself.

Hey, I didn’t see him hitting 5600 DPS.   Nyah.

But… overall I winz!

When he reads this, I’m totally getting booted to the couch.

Oh ha ha

After the anniversary debacle, Husband and I put the Twig to bed and decided to run some randoms.

He suggested, “Why don’t you make a margarita?  We have the mats.”

Me: “Seriously… did you just say ‘mats?'”

Good thing I had that margarita in hand (complete with bendy straw stolen from Twig’s stash).  After whining about the scorpion trinket never dropping and then finally getting it, imagine my joy to be queued for HFOS as my first random last night.

The new armory tells me I’ve only run it 14 (now 15) times.  I call shenanigans on that number.  It’s really eleventybillion times.

Anniversary Fail

A brief interlude from ZOMG RL!  This may bore you wow people.  Move along, nothing to see here.

This Year (4 year anniversary)

Husband and I are sitting on the couch while Twig is watching Madagascar 2 (“LION MOVIE LION MOVIE LION MOVIE LION MOVIE” ok ok you can watch it again.)

Husband: Soon we will have been married 4 years.

Me: Oh crap, that’s today?

Husband: Nuh uh, it’s Saturday.

Me: Our Anniversary is the 14th.

Husband: The 14th is Saturday.

Me: No, it’s today.

Husband: No it’s Saturday.

Me: No, remember, the gas bill was due on the 13th which was yesterday?

Husband: Oh crap, we suck.

Me: totally.

Last Year (3 year anniversary)

(over IM, 3pm, January 14)

Me: Am I supposed to be mad that you forgot or are you supposed to be mad that I forgot.

Husband: Forgot what?

(Pause)

Husband: Oh crap!

The Year Before (2 year anniversary)

(Twig is barely 2 weeks old.  In a sleep-deprived haze, I grab some masking tape and a sharpie to label a bottle of pumped breast milk with the date.  Hrm… 1/14, looks familiar…)

Me: Oh yeah, happy anniversary.

Husband: Whatever.