Posts tagged ‘Guild’

The problem with Ulduar is Naxxramas.

I love Ulduar.

I love the scenery.  I love the lore — what I understand of it, anyway (I’ve never paid too much attention to that aspect of the game, which is ironic for someone who considers herself a compulsive role-player).  I love the boss fights with their fun, occasionally gimmicky mechanics; the trash pulls that require creativity and thought; the unexpected humor (XT-002’s voice, AoE mobs named Trash and V0-L7R-0N spring readily to mind); and especially the newness of it all.

I love that healing is hard again; that I have to utilize my rotations rather than simply spam Chain Heal on the melee.

What I don’t love — and what actually caused me to end last night’s raid in tears (something I don’t dare confess to the guild-at-large) — was the Naxx-inspired cockiness that we took into Ulduar with us the first time we zoned in, and the inevitable crash that followed it.

I don’t think Ulduar is “too hard.”  On the contrary, compared to SSC and TK — The Burning Crusade‘s sophomore tier — Ulduar’s easy modes are… well, easy.  Laugh if you like, but we didn’t down Void Reaver the first time we attempted him.  It took two days for us to master that particular fight, and we raced the enrage timer every week for a month before we could consider the “Loot Reaver” on farm.

I stopped counting after the first few dozen deaths (and I was playing a warlock at the time, so they were plentiful!), but I rather suspect that A’lar’s trash wiped us more times than Razorscale, Deconstructor and Ignis combined.

So, no, the problem isn’t Ulduar itself.

The problem is that Naxxramas was so easy by comparison to the raids that preceded it that we actually forgot what it was like to progress through new content.  Once upon a tier, we congratulated ourselves when it “only” took a week or two of raiding to defeat a new boss.  Now, we feel like we’ve failed if it takes more than two or three attempts, let alone nights.

Tensions are running high in my 25-man raid.  We’re making decent progress — nine bosses fell (or were redeemed) in our second full week of raiding — but we’re certainly not one- or two- shotting encounters like we were in Naxxramas when it was new.

To be fair, most of us don’t want to.  We complained bitterly that Naxx was “too easy”; by the time Ulduar was released, we were desperate for a challenge.  (Granted, Sartharion 3D was a challenge — but it was also a hard-mode, so we tended to view it as an encore performance rather than a legitimate step in our progression.)

Still, there’s a difference between wanting to wipe in Ulduar and actually wiping in Ulduar.  In the heat of the moment, it’s easy to forget that this is exactly what we’ve been crying for, and start to lose our patience and eventually our tempers.  This happened repeatedly in Saturday’s 25-man raid, as the same officers and veterans I count on to help me lead when Keaton isn’t around (and he wasn’t this weekend) tore into each other for perceived slights, mistakes, lapses in judgment and even disagreements over strategy.  As hard as I tried to run interference — reining in tempers, soothing ruffled feathers, mediating the inevitable disputes privately while remaining outwardly positive — I failed utterly to control the raid and ended the night thoroughly exhausted, demoralized and in tears.

Even Sunday’s Ulduar 10 was rough.  We cleared everything before General Vezax in just five hours, with a dozen wipes along the way — most of them on Mimiron.  Given that this was only our second week of raiding, I think this is outstanding; GuildOx agrees, and ranks us as #1 Horde-side and #6 on the server (which is pretty awesome, if you ask me).  Nonetheless, the bickering that was so prevalent in Saturday’s Ulduar 25 raid polluted our usually relaxed Ulduar 10, and far from enjoying the new content that I claim to love, I find myself dreading it.

Don’t get me wrong: I really enjoy the people I play with.  I’ve said over and over again that they absolutely make the game for me, and it’s true.  It’s the short-temperedness and the peevishness among my core raid — two very recent developments — that are slowly spoiling the endgame for me.  It may be a bit of a cop-out to name Naxxramas as the culprit, rather than the players themselves (or the guild leader who is accustomed to leading by example, and floundering now that she needs to take a more hands-on approach…), but I sincerely believe that the precedent that it set six months ago is hurting us now.

*  *  *

As I was writing this (in between SQL queries at work >.>), Matticus posted a theory about Ulduar frustrations that has since been picked up by WoW Insider:

Many guilds have forgotten what it’s like to hit a progression wall.  Raiders who felt good about themselves and their abilities started having doubts about themselves.

This is what we’re experiencing.  Exactly.

For us, the problem lies in the fact that these doubts have manifested as fits of temper — and, in some cases, depression — that are quickly snowballing through the raid.  I’m going to have to give some serious thought to combating them, because I refuse to let Naxxramas of all things break my guild six months after we trounced it.

April 27, 2009 at 6:00 pm 81 comments

Well, that’s cryptic …

With the notable exception of Keaton, none of my guildmembers are aware that I blog.  At least, I think they aren’t.  One of my hunters is a frequent commenter over at Gevlon‘s place and occasionally Drotara’s, but I doubt he’s followed the links back to me yet.  (Or if he has, he’s been discreet about it, which I appreciate.) 

On the other hand, I do know that at least one of my guildmembers also maintains a WoW blog, which he updates infrequently enough that I recently removed it from my blogroll.  Nonetheless, I’m scratching my head over his most recent post, which just went up today:

Geez. Louise.

Can someone please give me a home?  I need to find a good server.

I know he loathes the PvP server culture, and has tried at least once before to make a home elsewhere.  I’m (selfishly) hoping that’s what this is about, because I’d hate to think I missed some bit of guild drama that could be driving him away.  I thought we were back on an even keel, but who knows what happens when I’m not online.

Then again, if it is guild-related, then it’s at least something we can work on — in contrast to the over-arching server culture, which is beyond all hope of redemption.  I wouldn’t blame anyone for wanting to transfer off; if I weren’t so invested in my guild, I would too!   You know things are bad when the #1 Horde guild on the server hosts trade-channel PuG’s for nothing more than the dubious joy of ninja-looting all of the drops to guildmembers who don’t need them (and, in many cases, can’t equip them) over PuG’s who do, and then mocking anyone who dares to complain about it in trade chat and on the realm forum.

Anyway, I can’t comment on his blog because it’s blocked at work, but I’ll make a point of talking to him tonight.  In the meantime, I’ll just … obssess quietly over it, I guess.

/sadface

March 30, 2009 at 4:16 pm 7 comments

Priestly love?

“Where did all of these priests come from?” —our shadow priest, upon noticing that we were running two shadow priests, two holy priests and a disc priest in a recent Naxx-20 clear

“Well, when a mommy priest and a daddy priest love each other …”  —our smart-ass resto shaman (who boils water like a pro!)

“… or get really, really drunk …” —our other smart-ass resto shaman (is there any other kind?)

“We have five hunters, too.  Half of the raid is priests and hunters …” —our survival hunter, clearly feeling left out

“Do you want us to tell sexy stories about your parents, too?” —one of the shamans (I can’t tell them apart anymore!)

 

Yep, still love my guild!

(And still working on a real post.  Promise.)

March 9, 2009 at 4:28 pm 4 comments

She’s just three apples tall.

SmurfetteOur Brazilian magelet logged on this weekend to do some serious leveling.  She took time off at the end of The Burning Crusade, but is back with a vengeance.  (We’ve missed her on Vent!  Raiding just hasn’t been the same without her random, pre-pull serenades.  You haven’t lived until you’ve heard the Johnson & Johnson jingle, immediately followed by Dory’s mantra — just keep swimming! just keep swimming! — and then some Green Day.  All in Portuguese.)

As you might expect from someone new to Northrend in a guild full of players who have leveled multiple alts to 80, our magelet is full of questions.

Should I start in Borean Tundra or Howling Fjord?

… How do you pronounce Howling Fjord, anyway? 

For the record, I’m pretty sure it’s fee-yord.

DHETA?  Really?!  Have all these druids lost their tree-loving minds?

Hey, can someone help me with this group quest real quick?

And, most recently:

Why is there a … leaf … on the guild tabard?

Our American critchicken (who is the process of growing bark; welcome back to /surrheal, Dio!) clued her in:

OH CANADA?

The magelet said it best: 

¬¬

I love my guild. ❤

 

P.S.  She’s a blue-skinned troll mage who shares a name with the Brazilian version of Smurfette.  Hence the references.  … also, don’t search for Smurfette in Google Images.  The 80’s will never be the same.  /shudder

Now please excuse me while I carve my eyes out with a spork and rinse my brain with bleach.

Assuming I survive, a real post will follow …

March 9, 2009 at 10:26 am 7 comments

Torontadin is -so- a word.

Surreality, eh?The running joke in my guild is that the Canadians are taking over — so much so that our resident Torontadin recently suggested adding an “…eh?” to the end of the guild name.  /facepalm

Between the not-infrequent AFK’s for hockey, endless teasing about maple syrup and bags of milk (NO, I am not talking Tauren!), and the fact that those of us who can remember our very first foray into Karazhan are absolutely convinced that there’s a level 73 elite boot hidden somewhere in the Shade of Aran’s chamber …

Let’s just say that it’s nothing short of a miracle that our guild tabard doesn’t have a maple leaf on it somewhere.

(… Don’t go getting any crazy ideas, now.  Yes, Mr. “I-Blame-The-Hunter”, I’m looking at you!)

Who buys their milk in bags? Really?

Anyway, when the illustrious Kestrel linked to a WoW blog/webcomic by the name of World of Warcraft, eh?, I was intrigued.  And afraid.

Very afraid.

Keaton and Karthis, this one’s for you.

March 5, 2009 at 4:11 pm 8 comments

/castrandom

cuteratMy guild has always had a “just for fun” rank.  It serves no useful purpose, changes on a whim (usually mine), and is seldom occupied for more than a few seconds at time. 

Currently, that rank is Fails Frogger.  Two nights ago, when our fury warrior and unholy death knight were competing for critter kills in Heroic Utkarde Keep — much to my dismay, gentle soul that I am — it was Evil Rat Killer.  And in our Karazhan days, it was I Wipe On Chess… in honor of the time that we actually did.  /shameface

It’s a silly little thing, but in some ways, it’s the silly little things that make a guild.  The server measures our success in terms of our raid progression — but at a time that trade-channel PuG’s are one-shotting Malygos, our identity as a guild is defined by the strength and character of our community.

March 2, 2009 at 2:09 pm 2 comments

Gender + WoW = Nonissue

Larísa made an excellent “Why aren’t we over this yet?” post today in response to the perennial debate about women in WoW.  I’m not really interested in chiming in (those six little words sum up my feelings on the matter exactly!), but I was somewhat startled to realize that I’m the only female raider in my guild.  

You’d think that someone who actively blogs about her guild, and spends significant amounts of time observing and analzying its social and political currents, would be more aware of this. 

But, no, it came as a complete surprise … which just goes to show how much of a non-issue it truly is!

Taking a few minutes to look at our roster — and forcing myself to think of our players as male and female, rather than as individuals (which is surprisingly hard) — we have:

  • Me, core-raider and guild leader;
  • a Marksmen Hunter (and certified altoholic) who raids exactly once a week, because she lives in Australia and can only make our Saturday raid;
  • a still-leveling Mage, who joined to play with her boyfriend — a raiding Rogue — and stayed with us after they broke up (he /gquit because she wouldn’t);
  • my Mom, still-guilded on her Warlock (even though she now leads a social guild from her new Death Knight main); 
  • another Hunter, the fiance of one of our long-term non-raiders (who himself was “grandfathered in,” as a member of one of the several smaller guilds we absorbed as we grew);
  • our Paladin tank’s sister, who is guilded on a level 20-something so she can keep an eye on her her son (our youngest member at 12, who joined as Friends & Family for no other reason than to share a guild tag with his Uncle); and
  • our Holy Priest and healing lead, who is actually male, although half of the guild still refers to him as “her” because his character’s name is Annah and he doesn’t talk on Vent.

And … that’s it. 

I guess someone could look at this list, realize that most of our relatively few female guildmembers joined through a real life association with another (usually male) player, and make some kind of inference about women in a supporting role vs. men in an active role and present that as evidence of an in-game glass ceiling.

But that would be silly.

Besides, we actually had a fairly balanced mix in The Burning Crusade.  Unfortunately, real life crit us at about the same time the expansion came out and we ended up opening recruitment for WotLK raiding.  All of our new applicants were male, so the balance shifted. 

And I didn’t even notice.

/shrug

February 16, 2009 at 6:22 pm 9 comments

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