The King is dead…. Long live the new King! (part 2)

•July 12, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Yesterday, The Insiders guild took a giant step into a very bright future. The guild officers decided to place the guild leadership into the hands of Minaru. Other than being a bit of a grammar nazi, I think of Minaru as a good friend. He is strong and politically savvy and he has the wits to know when to make a decision and when to ask for help. I believe Minaru has all the traits that I listed in my ten leadership skills post. This change of guild leadership will be a good thing, I give all my support to Minaru in leading the guild.

Along with that change there were some slight guild structure changes, our former raid leader Xinnith has been promoted to Officer as well as my close personal friend Onondaga. This provided the guild with two new leaders who are strong and ready for the job. I support the decision to have these two men join the council of The Insiders.

Although I support David, I have decided that I must stay in the game to help provide stability to the guild. I still have many close friends that are in the game that I feel need my presence there. This decision is not without a time limit though, as soon as a game competitive to World of Warcraft surfaces, I will leave the game and hope my friends will join me there. (I am really thinking that next summer’s Star Wars game is where I will be heading) Also, as a sign of support for David, all World of Warcraft related links are coming off of my pages. (with the exception of Clearcasting and The Average Wanderer blogs) I also am through listening to podcasts such as The Instance, Casually Hardcore, and Rawrcast. Blue Plz remains on my playlist because he is not a fan based podcast and is highly critical of what Blizzard is doing. (besides, he is just that good) I am planning on linking to Bioware’s ad page for the new Star Wars game as well. I also will no longer be using World of Warcraft as a framework for my posts. I will instead use good leadership books to teach leadership skills and good teamwork books to teach team skills and allow you to find a use in-game. This will of course make it harder for me to write posts but I haven’t been consistent in writing recently anyways.

One World of Warcraft podcast I will be supportive of is the soon to be released podcast which Steve is planning to release. (I believe he said he wanted to call it The Liquid WoW show) Those of you who listen to podcasts and read my blog, please watch for this podcast and support it. I like to think of Steve as a friend and wish him success with both that show and his current Wizards 101 podcast.

Until next time…

Don’t stand in the fire.

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The King is dead…. Long live the new King! (part 1)

•July 10, 2010 • Leave a Comment

As some of you may have heard by now our guild leader, David, is leaving the guild and the game. I have considered David a friend, even though I have only known him personally for the last eight months. He had shown me trust by giving me the rank of officer in the guild after only having been in the guild a few weeks. I have tried to reward that trust with loyalty. David is one of those people who you either love or hate. I know anybody reading this blog will probably agree  that we loved him for his honesty and integrity. This integrity is what led him to his decision to leave the guild. He was entertaining and thought-provoking on the Inside Azeroth podcast. His work behind the scenes of recording and editing the podcast (Steve does this as well) put the shows quality on par with other top World of Warcraft podcasts. His leadership and recruiting for the guild led to the creation of three very good ten man ICC teams and was on course to create a fourth. The very first team is on the verge of downing the Lich King on a realm that is sadly behind in progression. The guild David created has a family friendly atmosphere and yet the freedom for people to speak their minds. (as a matter of fact members of both David’s and My families are in the guild) David found very trustworthy officers who have great patients, a willingness to listen and yet the strength to stand up for what they believed in. David found raid leaders who learned the raids inside and out and who were very good at developing strategies that are effective for the raid composition. David found raiders who either knew their class or had the willingness to learn. Best of all David helped create friendships between people who are very different, friendships that may last a lifetime. I wish David well as he goes on in his life. I wish the best for him and his family. I hope our path will cross again someday sooner, rather than later… I heard something about a new Star Wars MMO. (just don’t know if I am ready to play Sith.)

Best Wishes, Your Friend..

Firemantony

Rested, Recuperated, and Ready to Respond.

•June 21, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Firefighters have a nice phrase they use when it is time for a down day. The truck captain will come in after equipment checks and tell us he wants us rested, recuperated, and ready to respond. This is a signal to us the crew that there will be no extra duties that day. It means we can sit back and enjoy each others company, socialize, and overall just relax. It does not take us out of our normal duties of responding to an incident, but it removes some of the stress of filling the boxes of paperwork that are required by the supervisors. (training, inspections, etc.) The reason there has not been a post recently is because I have been in that mode in my personal life. I took a short vacation with my family and took a break from World of Warcraft and this Blog so that I could simplify my life a bit. (for only a couple of weeks)

So how can this apply to you and your raid group? Raiders perform better if they are rested, they are more alert, they have better reaction times, and they think in a logical pattern. If you are getting to a progression boss late in your raid time it might be better for you to put that boss off till the next raid night so that your people are rested. Also, encourage your people to take  breaks away from the game occasionally to get their minds clear. If you know you have progression down on a boss, and the next boss is a pain (ie. Sindragosa), feel free to take a week off to let your people prepare mentally for that fight. Worst of all, if you are a raid team member and you are to the point of burn out, especially if you are a vital part of that team (Main Tank, Raid Healer), don’t be afraid of asking for some time off to rest. If you are a guild officer or raid leader, try to use your bench players to produce these breaks.

Breaks are important in your real life also. Never skip on vacation. Even low stress jobs can eat at you if you don’t take a break. Spending time away from the phone and the noise of real life will recharge your batteries. For a low-cost option, find a motel with an indoor pool within driving distance and just play in the pool for a couple of days, watch movies at night, and enjoy some local mom and pop restaurants in the area. Just remember to leave your cell phone off and leave your computer at home.

On a personal side note, I have a personal achievement to gloat over. I recently pulled off playing all four raid roles during Wrath of the Lich King. A big thank you goes to the Insiders, and specifically the West Coast Raid group that let me tank for them on my Druid Bear.

Until next time,

Don’t stand in the fire.

Playing it right.

•June 6, 2010 • Leave a Comment

After weeks of frustration at the groups that I have run with, I found a team that is doing things right. Mages drop tables and portals without being asked. Warlocks open closets and drop cookies with no prompting. Everyone is flasked, fish feasts are dropped, and everyone listens intently to the raid leader for instructions. When we wipe, and we do wipe, everyone just gets back in, re-buffs, listens to the adjustments and right back at it. Vent discipline is insane, almost to the point of believing people are to shy to speak. During breaks everyone has fun, getting pets out, dancing, and Nogginfogger flows like milk. I break out my Iron Boot Flask and Footsteps of Illidan every chance I get. This group is here to have fun.

This all came about because The Insiders guild finally formed a West Coast time zone raiding group. They are fresh to ICC but they still got past Deathbringer on their first run. (and one shot Lady Deathwhisper) The group is a bit under geared, even my alt that ran with them is behind the raid curve a bit, but they have great team work. Best of all, despite most of the team being new to the guild, they act like friends. The raid leader runs things like a good leader should, gaining input from the group often, listening and thinking about what was said, and then making a decision that is appropriate for the team. This team acts as a team, the group good matters a lot more than individual achievement. (Unlike some other raid leaders and former raid team members that I know)

So why is this team so much more laid back? Do the West Coasters just have a surfer mentality to their gaming? Are they just more friendly? I am starting to believe that might be true. They are also not being influenced negatively by people who care more about themselves than the group. There is no purple fever, there is no raid leader envy, and there is no raid leader dictator in this group. I don’t know if things will stay that way forever, but for now it is really nice to have.

So, here is to the West Coasters of The Insiders. Stay strong.

Until next time,

Don’t stand in the fire.

Is it only a game?

•May 28, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I am having an issue, one that I don’t quite understand myself. I love raiding. I love challenge. I love teamwork. BUT… I keep running with people who think this is more than what I think it is…  A GAME!

It is a game I have invested a lot of time into. It is a game I have invested a lot of money into. It is a game I take seriously. It is also a game in which I try not to waste other peoples time. (they have the same investment) So why do people treat this game as if it were life and death. Why is it that if different people make  mistakes that wipes the raid on the first, second or fifth attempt they feel the need to get angry or upset. (especially when one of the wipes was on them)

The whole point of progression raiding is to learn the fight, people WILL  make mistakes until it clicks for everyone, not just the few who may have seen it several times before the group gets there. Last night we one shot Blood Princes on only my second time seeing the fight even though three dps and one healer were not flasked up, one of which was the loudest when we started wiping on the Blood Queen. I saw a lot of mistakes, a few made by me, but I also saw improvement. Each real attempt got us closer and closer to our goal, I was ecstatic when we got through a fight and hit the enrage timer.

Now, we did have a few face pulls during this, inexcusable. We did have one major healing mistake, also inexcusable. (It was my mistake and I will own that one) There was nothing that occurred that night which should have upset someone so much as to create a giant grumbling battle. Remember when I said emotions are contagious, this is another example, one person shows a lot of frustration on vent and pretty soon it catches on like wild fire. This is not only inexcusable, it shows down right disrespect to the others who know enough to keep their trap shut.

Just so every one knows, by the end of the night I knew myself why we were not successful. I wasn’t getting everyone topped off before the third Blood Bolt Whirl. This is due to me stacking a bit of spell power on to my gear from gems rather than focusing on haste to get my heals off quicker. (which was done to provide flexibility for possible tank heals)  If there was going to be a next time I would say I would have my gear fixed next time, but I was only filling in for a justifiably absent raid healer for that group. (I still took the time to changes my gems back around a bit)

I am glad that I am going on vacation soon and will be taking a break away from this game to recharge my batteries. I hope that by the time I get back that the grumbling will stop and I can start having fun in the game again.

Until next time,

Don’t stand in the fire.

Weathering the tempest before Cataclysm.

•May 24, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I was inspired by the weather in Utah this morning. Snow, in the middle of May. Global warming is a farce. It made me think about all the weird changes that guilds go through as the seasons change. In the next couple of weeks school will be out and that means one of two things to your guild. Either you will lose your people to summer vacation or you will see increased activity due to increased free time. This means one thing is for sure, change is in the air. Lets add to this, that some guilds are winding down on raiding as they achieve the ultimate goal of killing the Lich King and this is going to be a recipe for disaster. I would love to be able to tell you how to overcome this but I have very few words of wisdom on this matter.

Our guild, The Insiders, is currently having a mini version of this occurring as real life concerns of our raiders combined with a bit of spring fever are creating an environment where it is hard to keep the raid teams intact. (even as we create our third ten man team) Our guild leader is off and the lead guild officer is trying his best to hold things together as best he can. The hardest part is that we have lost three of our four main tanks and people are scrambling to gear up alternate tanks to fill the gaps. This has created an opportunity for me to tank in a raid if I can work by Druid up in gear enough to fill in. This excitement will keep me going till I either lose the race to having a tank worthy of ICC or till I down the Lich King on my Druid. If I pull this off I will have raided all three major roles in Wrath of the Lich King, as I have raided Ulduar on my Warlock; Ulduar, ToC, and ICC on my Shaman; and ICC with my Rogue.

I have also suggested that we could fill some time doing retro-raids in an effort to keep our people involved. Going back to Vanilla WoW and doing old raids creates some flexibility as to roles, so that people can raid on what ever character they like as long as we have enough bodies and allows us to bring people who don’t normally raid. (It also allows us to get some really good gear for those who are just entering Outlands) If a guild were so inclined they could do the same thing with level seventy raids in Outlands as well, I just like the flexibility allowed by forty man raids.

Lastly if you’re having too few people to even pull off the Vanilla Raids find a couple (three or four) friends and go back and form a dungeon team. Go level or clear old dungeons that you have not seen, or at least not seen in a while, to make the game fresh and fun. A couple of my guildies and I had recently started some low-level alts to do just that, although it has been put on hold as some of us are scrambling to gear tanks.

There are many things you can do to weather the storm until Cataclysm comes out, I hope one of these suggestions fits your bill.

Until next time,

Don’t stand in the snow. (oops I mean fire)

Gratitude and Appreciation.

•May 18, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I read Zephon’s most recent post and it got me to thinking, what is the power of gratitude and appreciation? As a firefighter I often get both of these in abundance from people who I neither serve nor protect. I am not a firefighter in their area, why do they have gratitude towards me? When I served in the military I understood, it was because people like me served to protect their families and their way of life. It wasn’t me specifically, but people just like me. This just doesn’t feel the same as a firefighter. (now that I read what I wrote, I think I understand) Confusion aside, these comments always make me feel good inside. I feel like I am doing the right thing. I feel like my work counts for something. The only gratitude, in regards to work, that feels better is when I am noticed by a peer or supervisor. (sometimes even that is debatable)

Zephon suggested in his post (and you really should go read it yourself) that we should show this same gratitude and appreciation to our raid leaders. I say to him that you are both right and wrong. I think there should be appreciation both up and down the chain. Now I am not talking about some hippy love-in, I am talking about expressing appreciation when it is deserved. If someone is doing great things leading your raid, they should hear that over vent. If a healer did an outstanding  job on a boss fight, he should hear it too. Appreciation should always be given with sincerity, never fake. This is something I always hoped I was good at but never knew for sure. (I guess I should ask sometime if people feel that I appreciate them, because I hear all the time how they appreciate me)

This is something I think I am going to work on a bit more in my gaming life, I hope you will too.

Until next time,

Don’t stand in the fire.