A funny thing happened to me on the way to the raid, today…

14 September 2009 § Leave a comment


Or – The joys of raid leading.

Let me make one thing clear: I don’t think of myself as a raid leader anymore. In fact, one of the reason I stopped even doing 25-man raiding is precisely because I have this weird personality where I hate seeing bad leadership, and at the same time I get tired doing it myself. Leaving aside any comments about my sanity or congruity, when we formed our 10-man I made it clear to everyone (I think) that I wasn’t the raid leader, that I wanted all of us to take equal responsibility in (and equal commitment to) the raid’s success.

In general, this has worked very well. In fact, I’ve completely abdicated any responsibility about raid strategy to the main tank, and we had a fantastic mage dps (who sadly left us recently) who was great at calling out various things during the fights – from Mimiron frost bombs to Hodir’s freezes to Vezax’ crashes… This is great, because it means during a fight I’m free to focus on healing and moving out of the void zone du jour (something I seriously still need to work on, as my raid-mates can attest).

However, I still think of myself as raid leader for most of the stuff that happens before and after the raid. Finding replacements, organizing consumables, selling BoEs – that’s stuff I do with pleasure, and I think I am actually fairly good at it. I have been playing on Feathermoon Horde since March 2005, and on average I have a fairly good, friendly personality, so I tend to have an extensive social network on the server. I’m also obsessive compulsive about some things, so I organise and reorganise guild banks trying to make them more user-friendly, I collect trade goods, I max all my trade skills and then hunt for rare recipes all over the place. You get the picture: a regular Monica personality.

Problem is, our raid has recently been experiencing a lot of turnover. Since May, we lost:

  1. A ret paladin, who was our replenishment (server transfer to be with his brother)
  2. A tank (/ragequit because he felt we were not listening to him enough)
  3. A healer/dps (couldn’t handle the pressure)
  4. A mage, the one mentioned above (time constraints/loot complaints/pressure complaints)
  5. The tank we had found to replace our original one (Hello Ezma – but we knew she was only available throughout the summer, and she may be back)
  6. A Dps warrior (went on holiday, never came back…)
  7. The healer/dps we brought in to replace the one from # 3 (school duties)
  8. A healer (got banned for botting – don’t get me started on this one)
  9. A survival hunter, who was the replacement replenishment for #1 (personality clashes with the whole raid)

That’s 9 people in less than 4 months – or more than a person every 2 raid lockouts. Also, that doesn’t include people going on holiday (myself included) and not being able to come for a raid or two because of RL commitments – which still requires that we find someone in the pool of people online at 2am.  The other raid members help out, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say I still find most of the replacements. Now, let me add a couple of things about the raid, to make things harder:

  1. We raid at 2am server (we’re on a PST server, but we started out as mostly Oceania based players, so that was the best time – we now mostly have graveyard shift US players)
  2. We like doing hard modes: we’re currently working on Algalon and Anub’Arak Heroic. That means we cannot really take people with Naxx gear, so every time we replace someone, we spend a week or two throwing gear at the new guy/gal to get him/her in a position to actually contribute to the fights.
  3. We tend to be a very critical raid: because we like doing hard modes, we always try to improve, and we dissect our performance every time to know what went wrong. Although we do this with the best intentions in mind, I realise that this attitude sometimes comes across as finger-pointing. This means that, for someone who is not thick-skinned, our raid may turn into a fairly high-pressure environment – which, once again, may not be what people look for in a game.

Fortunately, it’s not all bad news. I put word out I was looking for a healer/dps, and I had three people apply – and they at least pass the “time zone” test. They still need to survive through a whole raid without bursting in tears, but it’s a start. I’m actually very hopeful about one of them, as he knows us relatively well, so on one hand he knows how we play, and on the other we know that he can perform satisfactorily. If we get two out of the three on-board, we’re back to having a full 10-man roster, which will be a relief. This time I may not stop there, though, and actually go ahead and build some redundancy into the system, so that the next time someone leaves, we don’t have to scramble for people. So, if you like to raid at 2am PST, have an 80 character, and want to see some hard modes, feel free to contact me – with faction and server transfers, you never know where the next recruit may come from!

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