My Mental Inventory
Ambrosyne of i like bubbles I Like Bubbles i like bubbles— …
Oh. My. Earthmother.
If you want to make an OCD, perfectionist blogger cry, write a thought-provoking article that almost demands a trackback — and then don’t capitalize the name of your blog. Amber, if I didn’t find your always humorous, occasionally indignant and endlessly varied style so entertaining … I would seriously hate you right now.
Like, GNOMEMAGE! KILLIT!KILLIT!KILLIT! hate you.
Let’s try this again, shall we?
Ambrosyne, who likes bubbles (see what I did there?), used the phrase “mental inventory” today to make a point about why raid sign-ups can be so much more difficult to manage than the average raider — or even officer, in the case of her boyfriend and raid leader — might think.
He doesn’t keep the mental inventory of people that I do — he’s not thinking of X the new recruit, Y who’ll PuG ANYTHING he’s not sure we’re doing as a guild, and Z who needs to arrange things with his wife.
The phrase mental inventory struck me as astoundingly appropriate, and something any raid organizer worth her Deeprock Salt maintains simply as a matter of course.
Good leaders aren’t goblins. Our players are people to us: not character sheets, not multi-colored bars on a DPS meter and certainly not the sum of their stats — but people, with identities outside of the game, real lives to plan around and a whole host of idiosyncrasies and personal preferences to take into account.
Mental inventory. Exactly.
From memory, here’s an excerpt from mine:
- Feral Druid (MT #1): Prefers to tank. Will DPS if he feels he has to (but mope about it for the duration of the raid). Can’t make Thursdays or Fridays.
- Prot Warrior (MT #2): Won’t miss a raid. Ever. Somewhat jealous of his MT role and will feel slighted on tanking assignments if we try to rotate them around. (Rotate them around anyway, but be gentle about it.)
- Prot Paladin (MT #3): Can only raid twice a week, and needs some advance notice to plan things with his wife. Always prioritizes progression raids above farm content.
- Prot Paladin (understudy): Wants to feel useful even more than he wants to tank. Don’t hesitate to ask him to respec to DPS or heal (but help him out with respec costs; he does it a lot.) Works weekends and can’t make the Saturday raid.
- Prot Warrior (understudy): Great guy to pal around with, but totally unreliable. Forgets to sign up for raids half the time, and occasionally no-shows when he does. Encourage him to level his warlock since flakey DPS is less morale-crushing than a flakey tank.
- Death Knight (understudy): Has no concept whatsoever of tanking etiquette. (Even I know it’s bad form to taunt off of another tank. >.>) Works graveyards and can only make weekend raids. Hates respeccing to DPS, but is open to healing on his priest if he isn’t needed to tank. Will PuG anything that isn’t scheduled on Group Calendar.
- Discipline Priest: Has been with us since day one. Lives three hours ahead of server time and struggles to make weeknight raids, but will drive himself to exhaustion trying if he feels the guild is counting on him. Don’t let anyone pressure him into staying online until 6 AM on a work night!
- Resto Shaman: Knows his stuff, but has the attention span of a goldfish. Keep him busy (involve him in healing assignments, engage him in conversation during trash pulls, etc.) or he will start running off at the mouth and aggro half the raid. Has the single-highest attendance in the guild, but is starting to burn out on healing. Let him raid on a DPS alt once and a while if group composition can accomodate it.
… and so on.
As the person who maintains this inventory for my guild, I’m also the one who posts and organizes raids 99% of the time. Even if another officer is slotted to raid lead, I will hold onto my little gold crown and micro-manage invites until the 25th player zones into the instance. Then, and only then, will I pass lead and settle quietly into the background to focus on healing.
Still, it doesn’t stop there. On the contrary, my mental inventory guides virtually every decision I make.
I suspect that my boyfriend and raid leader (who sounds a lot like Amber’s Josh, come to think of it) would be shocked to listen in on the stream-of-consciousness that even a simple question like
From [Keaton]: What do you think? Military or Plague Quarter next?
We-ell. Since you asked …
We have two priests in the raid at the moment, one holy and one shadow. That means that Instructor Razuvious is definitely doable. But our holy priest absolutely hates to Mind Control the understudies. If we ask him to do it, he will, and he won’t complain about it or cause drama because that’s the kind of guy he is — but he will stress out about it for the rest of the Quarter, and won’t be playing his best because of it. Also, our disc priest would really like a chance at a trinket that Gothik drops. He can’t make tonight’s raid because of the time zone difference, but he will be here on Saturday. We’ll also have an extra tank then, which will make Gothik’s adds and the Four Horsemen easier to control.
Meanwhile, our resident Aussie isn’t here with her through-the-roof latency, so I think we’d stand a real shot at the Safety Dance achievement. It’s also getting kind of late, and our fury warrior has an early morning final and I’m pretty sure our resto druid is already tiptoeing around trying not to wake up his parents. Plague Quarter is always faster for us than Military, so — yes — let’s do that.
To [Keaton]: Plague, I think.
From [Keaton]: Sounds good; that works with our comp because …
Keaton could probably write the complementary blogpost on raid composition and synergies; I’m sure he has a similar stream-of-conciousness for that. I’m not trying to discount its importance. I just don’t know how to paraphrase it, because it’s not how I think. Since I lack his expertise with classes other than my own, my primary concern is for the people who play these classes rather than the classes themselves.
Needless to say, I’m loving Blizzard’s new “take the player, not the class” philosophy. It makes my job a little easier — not a lot easier (the analogy is “herding cats” for a reason!), but I’ll take what I can get. 😉