Its all about the attitude.

Firefighters have a certain personality, a certain swagger about them. The only difference between a cop and a firefighter is the personality they display. Firefighters have to be take charge people, but at the same time be very political. (We often get people to do things for us with out fighting with them) We have a can’t lose attitude, failure is not an option. (and yet, occasionally we do fail) We also have to be very caring. (would you take the time that a firefighter does to protect other peoples’ belongings in a fire) This combination of a winners attitude with one of a caring person is exactly what gaming needs. Good players who don’t want to ruin other peoples fun. Please note that if you like PvP and are getting sick of that hunter or rogue on the other side, this is not him ruining your game. (in fact I often relish the challenge of trying to survive a better player)

Attitude is the single biggest killer of individual performance. It has been known to destroy guilds, ruin game play experience, and even break up friendships. Having a proper attitude can sometimes be the only thing holding a group back from performing above their expectations. We will delve into the problems and benefits that attitude can have on a group.

Can-win-attitude: I have often seen groups with either too little or too much of this. This is something that needs to be balanced. The group does need to have a bit of a reality check on this. If your group is just under geared, that is one thing. If there are too many inexperienced players in the group, that is another. The first time I took my 10-man group to Naxx we were under geared, we beat our heads on the first boss of the spider wing for two hours straight. Nobody got upset, we knew we were under geared, we just wanted to see if we were even close. I know two hours fighting the same boss, trying different tactics, trying different raid setups, would seem a long time to some people, but we thought we were close. (and we were) I have also beat my head with an accomplished raid group in Ulduar for 30 min. and then had the guild break up. (WTF) That was only a couple of attempts, come on, this is not the way to be. As a firefighter, we keep fighting till the fire is out, sure we take breaks if we are there for a long time, but the fire is still burning. We don’t get mad at the fire, we don’t get mad at the person who started the fire, there is a fire and it needs to be put out. For those that are knowledgeable about fire, haystack fires come to mind. They are dirty, they are smoky, and the only thing you can do is pull the haystack apart and spread it all out and soak it down with water one pitchfork full at a time. This is the proper approach for a raid boss, don’t get mad, just do the work and enjoy the shiny purple gear and the sense of accomplishment after.

My e-peen is bigger than yours: I hate this attitude. In the previous example of my Ulduar group breaking up we had two members quit within the week (one the raid healer and the other was top of the boards on dps, but not damage done) They both had an elevated opinion of themselves, but the raid healer was horrible at mana efficiency, and the dps was always standing in the fire. It took 5 min. to replace the healer, we just swapped in a dps and someone with dual spec swapped to heals. The loss of the caster was not quite taken as well, and the guild died the next day. I feel we could have replace that caster with one that didn’t stand in the fire, and moved along our merry way. Could you imagine if a firefighter had a my hose is bigger than yours attitude. (to be honest some do) A fire scene would be mass chaos. The phrase too many chiefs not enough firefighters comes to mind. That’s why most fire departments run as a para-military organization. If you have this attitude in-game, check it at the door. Nobody cares about your epeen. Nobody cares how good your gear is. If you are in my group, we are a team, and you are part of it. (and a replaceable part if your broken)

I am the boss and you will do what I say: Yep this one goes over like a lead balloon. Teams work best when the leader is part of the team and does not put him self above it. (Even if his title or experience give him the right to be) The funny thing about this attitude in a game is that people will just do what they want anyway. The best way to lead a group is to communicate and then get feedback. Maybe that mob that you want the rogue to sap is immune and he knows it. Maybe that druid knows that his mana won’t support that kind of healing for the fight. Maybe the tank knows that if he lets up even a little that on his rotation that the over-geared warlock will pull aggro. Feed back is important to group leadership. My groups always sound more like a committee than like a dictatorship, yes it takes more time. I sometimes forget things like the shaman can hex, or the warlock can banish, and I play these classes myself, but usually somebody will remind me when I am listening. The captain of a fire truck is the leader of the team,  but they often are standing right behind the nozzle man in the fire and the heat.  Even though they are the boss, sometimes there is a senior firefighter that they will bounce things off of just to make sure they are keeping themselves in check. A firefighters job is inherently dangerous, a captain should (and usually do) go out of their way to make sure that the crew doesn’t take any unnecessary risks.

“See it, Say it, Do it, Teach it”: This is the model that is often used for fire service instructors. If more raiders had this attitude there would be no “baddies”.  With very few exceptions, anyone who shows up to your raid week to week is not out to ruin it. They are there to have fun first and be successful second. So why not teach? I know, old content, not fun anymore, hate to waste my time. I have heard all the excuses, but you know what they say about excuses and butt holes. There are still encounters in the game that I have not seen, that doesn’t make me a baddie, just makes me behind the raiding curve. I know there are others out there that are the same way, guild with 5-7 great friends that work together well, but just can’t seem to find those last three to raid a ten man. Now, I am not saying take time out of your raid prep to go help a group, but why not help a group through Naxx or Ulduar, to get some experience, that way you have a recruiting pool for your raiding guild. Imagine, no more waiting on person x to finally log on so you can get your raid going. If person x isn’t on time replace him with person y that I ran through Ulduar yesterday, who has acceptable gear, and seems to know what he is doing. Also, and especially for tanks, how do you know that you really know a fight if you can’t teach it to someone else.

Willingness to learn: The opposite of the prior statements is that if you are the new guy, be willing to learn. (heck, sometimes the old guy needs to learn too) Start by studying the fights that you are geared to do. If you are entering Ulduar next week and have never gotten past the crazy cat woman, start there, and then study each of the watchers fights. If you are in ToC and never done Onyxia, go and study that fight. If you have done it all, go and study the videos from the PTR. There is always something to study, even if you are testing the endgame stuff on the PTR, you can always search for nuggets from data mining. Try as the new guy to be able to say, “I have never done the fight, but I understand the mechanics of the fight”.

Lastly I would like to say, Learn Patience. Be patient with those that are learning their class roles, be patient with those that are learning the fights, and above all be patient with those that are failing to learn, because they will eventually get it. Use whispers and not party/raid chat to send your lessons. Be specific in what you want them to learn. Don’t be accusatory or confrontational. When you make a mistake, own it, that way people know you did it and will learn from it. If you didn’t make the mistake, stay quiet unless you want to tell them nicely how to improve their performance. When I first learned how to tank I wiped the group quite a bit. They were patient and understanding, and I learned from every mistake I made. I eventually became my guilds main tank. After we had a couple of really good tanks for our raid group, I stepped down as main tank, so that the others could learn and I rolled a healer, I took that rather steep learning curve and am now one of my guilds best raid healers, although it took a long time for me to learn, and I am still less than perfect at it. I have also raided as ranged dps, although for some reason the only real lesson I needed to learn were what tools I had in the tool box, and not to “stand in the fire”. I recently picked up a melee dps toon and am learning that its more like “don’t stand in the whirlwind”. All of this makes me a good leader and makes it easier to answer my guilds questions when they are asked. It also means more learning on my part because I now study the fight from all four views instead of just one. It helps me teach, which I gladly do, in hopes that like me, you will pass it on to someone else and make us all better.

Until next time,

Don’t stand in the fire.


~ by firemantony on April 25, 2010.

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