Quote of the Week:

May 30, 2011 at 10:38 am (5-Mans, QQ)

On Jan’alai:

Rusty: You can’t let all the eggs on a side hatch.  The healer died because you couldn’t hold aggro on any of the adds.
Tank: Haha.  I’m a warrior, it’s impossible for me to hold aggro on that many adds.
Rusty: So … don’t let the guy release all of the birds at once.  Kill him before he breaks more than one or two sets.
Tank: Well, none of the other groups I was in had a problem with it.  But, if the DPS can’t handle it…
Rusty: Were you tanking the other groups?
Tank: No.
Rusty: And you don’t see the problem?

At this point, I firmly wished to have a head extraction device, because the tank’s was firmly lodged in his posterior.


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Of Call to Arms

May 27, 2011 at 2:49 am (5-Mans, Snark, Tanks)

If I can get through on the phone line, I’m sending this to the Raid Warning rant line:

Of Call to Arms

Of Call to Arms, that is the name;
The latest attempt, to get tanks in the game.
Despite my latest try at e-mail;
The devs don’t understand the idea is fail.
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The youngest tank yet!

May 26, 2011 at 6:02 pm (Real Life)

A special shout-out to my brother-in-law, who’s family increased by one: Zachary Thomas. He’s 21 3/4″, and a whopping 10 pounds, 2 oz. I’m guessing warrior..

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I give up…

May 25, 2011 at 6:37 pm (QQ)

Blizzcon tickets sold out with me #417 in the quene. They need to come up with a more honest system, given that some folks manage to push the button at EXACTLY the right time year after year. A notable number of them ticket resellers…

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The Substitute

May 24, 2011 at 2:49 am (Guild Relationships, Raiding)

With the onset of summer vacations and raid content in Cataclysm becoming stale in some players’ minds, some guilds have noticed a drop off in raid attendance, and some burn out has occurred.  One method of combating these issues is introducing substitutes into a raid group.  While the addition of new and sometimes untried players may be cause for concern, there are a number of positives as well.  Guild cohesion, raid viability, and planning for the future may all be addressed though relieving players, if handled correctly.  The decision cannot be made by a raid team’s leadership lightly, and much of the following should be considered to determine if switching players on a temporary basis might provide a positive result for a raid team.

The positives for substituting members in and out on a raid team are varied; some are well recognized, others not so.  First and foremost, it allows other members of a guild to gear up, particularly useful when someone is needed at the last minute to fill a hole in progression content.  In addition, guild retention as a whole appears to be better.  Giving a dedicated guild member who might not be able to raid full-time, yet performs services and benefits the guild, will keep them coming back for more.  Less often considered is using raider rotation to prevent or forestall burnout.  A dedicated tank or healer may well prefer to give up a slot on farm content, particularly when they have no loot dropping from the bosses at hand.  The result is less stress.

Conversely, there are a few negatives during the substitution of raiders.  Leading the pack are deficiencies in gear.  Raid members are then left with less health, mana, and DPS; virtually guaranteeing a longer fight and increased odds of wiping.  Along with this is the lack of “muscle memory” of a particular fight.  After a number of attempts at a particular encounter, an experienced raider understands not just the mechanics of the fight, but also the actions they need to take to insure success.  Finally, there is a limit to how much a particular raid group can “carry.”  With the ever increasing number of group-wiping abilities by bosses, expecting multiple new raiders to mitigate the mechanics of the fight each and every time has become even more difficult.  Lack of experience in tanking or healing often lead to shortages in 5-man groups, raids experience the lack of these positions even more.  Raid lockouts may limit the number of “farm” content available.

Once the decision to rotate new raiders into a group has been made, some key logistics need to be worked out.  It is usually best to begin by asking if anyone wishes to rotate out for a night or week.  However, one should probably either ask before raid time, or ask that folks whisper back.  I’ve seen instances where members were pressured into raiding, and their performance was visibly off.  Pressure by peers you’ve never really met can be just as exacting as anywhere else.  If you still need to remove players after the call for volunteers is met, be as fair as possible – try not to have someone ride the pines 2 weeks or nights in a row.  Consider finding innovative ways to help compensate – additional loot points for example.  However, getting into an argument on vent or in guild chat is to be avoided – raid drama never helps a guild and may cause resentment towards the person stepping in.  The persons that will be joining the raid should, in theory, be told in advance that they will probably be raiding, and given the homework necessary to prepare them – gems, enchants up to par, the fights researched and any strategies or guild discussion threads read and understood.  They may be a substitute, but there is no substituting for the preparation required. 

Once the switch has been made, remember that someone who isn’t normally a part of the raid team will be present.  Everyone in the raid has to reduce their expectations.  Allowances must be made, don’t forget that they may have never seen this fight outside of a video.  The raid leader should give a general description of the fight again, just as a refresher for the strategies.  Role or class leaders should also give reminders of what abilities are useful, and any particular threats they are going to have to avoid or mitigate.  Once the attempt is over, for good or bad, be sure to ask if the replacement has any questions.  If the result was a wipe caused by the player, gently instruct them how to prevent it from happening again.  In addition, raid leaders have to be quick to squash any comments or suggestions from other raid members over vent or in chat.  Any such information should be whispered to the raid or class leaders.  Save any in-depth discussion of performance and how to improve it until a break or after the raid.  It is best to do this on a separate vent channel, never in a general audio channel or on chat – it’s far too easy to misunderstand meaning.  It’s never easy being told of your faults and areas for improvement, it needs to be handled in a professional manner.  After the raid is complete, no matter what the outcome, be sure to thank publically not only those who were left out, but those who joined the group as well.

If done for the right reasons, and handled properly, substituting players can be a positive experience for the raid group as a whole.  Some time off benefits every raider, even if they don’t admit it.  So don’t be afraid of changing things up now and again.

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Friday Screenshot 5-20-11

May 20, 2011 at 6:17 am (Friday Screenshot)

Well, back from Maine, and some horrible time during travel.  To say that my griffon provider wasn’t up to par is an understatement.  Well, here’s a pic from better travel days:

Blackrune takes wing with a little help from his friends.

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