Monday, June 13, 2011

My Raids not performing!!! What do?!?

So you've got your team, you know the fights, but it's just not happening

Quit WoW and break your computer, lol, nah just taking the piss. I've had to deal with this several times before and there really isn't a tried and tested solutions but there are a few things you can investigate to see whats going wrong.

Running Combat Logs
Is a great was to break down 'who's doing what' after the raid, site the like of are great for finding out whats happening and when... or more impointantly, whats not happening when it should be, and why it isn't happening...
I'm no expect on reading the findings, but i've stumbled my way through enough of them to figure out where a 'pit fall' is many times.

Assessing (Auditing) you Raid Team
Making sure your team mates are Optimising their toons can mean the difference between a night of Single Digit Percent wipes and getting that sucker killed.  I've only ever had to do this once... and realistically i probably went well overboard when I did, but when we failed at Heroic Sindragosa for weeks upon weeks I seriously started to suspect that something was well eschew with peoples setups. That fight was well demanding for the best of players, but when things aren't quite right with a chunk of your group making sure that they are tweaking all their Stats, Specs, Gemming, Enchants and now Reforging can mean the difference between a Wipe and Success.

Revisit your Strategy
So we know that some bosses simply have to go down in a certain fashion, there are always slight variations based on Raid Composition but you generally can't ignore a mechanic until you Out-Gear the content. Make sure every member understands their Individual roll in the fight and that all mechanics are being countered appropriately. This really is less time consuming than Auditing your group, and really i probably should have put this before that because your Strategy is more likely to be the problem than a specific character issue. That said you want to be getting it All Right if you can.

Group Composition
Blizzard have said time and time again how this isn't a factor in raiding anymore... for some reason i suspect that the Devs mainly participate in 25man raiding, because having a well balanced group has never been more important in my eyes since the game conception ((with the exception of never taking a Warlock to anything in Vanilla) mainly from what i've read not experienced). Making sure you are maximising your possible Buffs and having specific classes for certain fights can and will make things a lot easier on you.
The big kicker is for smaller guilds that don't have the luxury of choice, my guild has been in this situation for a great big chunk of this Xpac so far, and this has only started to change in the last 2-3 weeks. Honestly it's something you either need to recruit for or try working on the other issues more... but I do feel that having more than 2 of any class puts you at a disadvantage (the majority of the time) in 10man content.

Harmonious Playing Environment
Yep... I never thought I'd talk about this and I will probably dedicate an entire post to it in the near future, but this really is one of the most important factors in having a successful raid. When Raid Leaders start getting aggro and stressing out about the things that are going wrong, it cascades through the raid, bringing the entire run into a wallowing rut of discontent. If you are Leading make sure you keep a Cool Head, flying off the handle at someone isn't going to help at all even if the problem should be obvious. Hell if you need to let off steam let go of the Vent button and take of your headset before you scream your head of at someone/something. They wont hear it, you'll feel better, and no one got hurt. But really keeping things constructive will help overall performance, if people are enjoying themselves they are more likely to be attentive to what is going on, and Awareness is about 70% of Raiding.

I feel like I should be drawing some insightful conclusion here, but really all I can thing of is Make sure you are doing your Job properly before you bollock others for not doing the same. Also keep your raid environment light and enjoyable, there isn't a need to be intense for all of your *insert raid time length here* raid, tell some jokes between bosses. Keep the medium between both of these and i'm sure you'll see great improvement in your raids performance.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Raiding is a Science (and math... physics... hell why not just go back to grade school)

So I really wanted to talk about this without it sounding like I was having a bitch fit, but I'm not really sure that is going to be possible.

Raiding is fun, and it is supposed to be... but what do you do when fun and progression clash.
It's a tough situation, on one hand a raid needs to perform but at the same time everyone needs to be having fun doing it. It is clearly possible for these to co-exist but only if every member is putting in as much effort as every other member.

I like to run my raids as a fairly tight ship. I like to make sure every member is meeting the minimum requirements, i.e. Geared appropriately, gemmed, enchanted, reforged, and spec correctly... and yes there are some right and many wrongs for all of those. This is where one of the biggest problems can arise...
How do you make sure everyone is getting the most out of their raiding toons?

If you're in a Bigger Guild, ie 25man with 2 or 3 teams running, you probably have Class Leaders. The Demi Gods who walk amongst us and know the ins and outs of all that is our Toons, and hell... be happy that they are willing to put in the Time to learn all this and openly share it upon request. For the rest of us there is ElitistJerks, Rawr, TankSpot and various other Tools and Think-Tanks filled with these people, who seem to thrive on just being able to tell us the break down of all our Stats, Abilities, Talents, Glyphs and much much more.

So here is the rub... If all this info is freely available why not use it? In short some people just don't care enough to goto the effort to learn these "ins and outs". The "Why should I?" question is something that still sends me into conniptions. I mean really... we play games to Win, you're not going to play Tetris for 5 years and just keep slamming down the blocks without rotating them and just hope that all will fall into place of its own accord.
Some don't have the time, and to be honest time is something that is an absolute premium in my life at the moment (hence the no post for weeeeeeeks), so I can totally dig that. But but but don't get angry when your DPS is barely average, or you're OOMing before the boss is 50% dead, or you can't hold threat to save you're life let alone the rest of the group. If you don't have the time to find the info yourself DONT BE AFRAID TO ASK one of your Guildies, or someone from a reputable guild, or even that other *insert class/spec here* in that Baradin's Hold PuG you just did that creamed you... Almost no one is douche'y enough to have a shot at you for asking questions, so DO IT!!! lol. But really... if time is an absolute luxury to you wouldn't you want to make the absolute most of it when Raiding???
Last are the people who 'Think' they know what they are doing and wont take any advice from anyone, even the Dev's would probably have a hard time telling these people that you just can't stack Stam, as a tank, like you could back in Wrath and not have threat issues. These are the ones that burn me as a GM and RL, and thank christ I've rarely ever had to deal with it. Generally the only way to get through to these peeps is by blatantly proving them wrong in no uncertain terms... sounds brutal i know, but i'm yet to find the soft sugar coated, marshmallowy softness way of doing this.

For my Guild I've been compiling Links and Descriptions of the current, most thought to be accurate, information about Spec, Talent, Glyph, Reforging, Stat Weights and Rotations, just so there is no excuse for anyone in the teams not to be up to speed. Probably a little too much, but I want to remove the Excuses for not doing it

I don't know, I guess what i'm really trying to say is... We generally play games to win, we Definitely Raid to win because Winning is Fun... I've never met someone who wasn't happy to Win, with the exception of the girl in the middle of the 'Human Centipede'

Comic from Flintlocke's Guide to Azeroth, possibably the best WoW Comic ever.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Making A Guild: Part 2: The Finer Details

Welcome back for Part 2 of my guide to making a Guild.

So you've figured out exactly what you're aiming for in a Guild, now lets look at some of the finer details. No I'm not talking about the name, really as long as it's not offensive the name is fairly irrelevant, i'm talking about Structure.

First off you're going to want to outline some Rules.
Simple guidelines your guildies can follow to keep a harmonious playing environment, and to be perfectly honest it's better to have a rule for everything you can think of and not just believe "oh i'm sure people will just 'blah blah' without me telling them", seriously it's better to have it in writing than not.
Simple rules the like of "No Spamming in Guild chat", "No selling items out of the Guild Bank on the Auction House", "No buying gold from Gold Sellers", "No Trade Trawling" and "Don't be offensive to other Guild Members" are all good rules to keep things in guild running smoothly. 
More specific rules appropriate to the type of Guild you decided to start are also necessary, i.e. if you are making a PvP Guild you make want to have a rule stating that members must be a part of Guild Based Arena teams before they can make teams with non members. If you have formed a Raiding Guild you may want to have rules referring to PuGing or Loot Distribution (well get back to Loot in Raiding Guilds at a later date).
But with Rules comes the possible Need to enforce them. While you can do this alone, as I said in Part 1, having some Officers can make all of this much easier to enforce. As for actual penalties for breaching the rules, I'll leave that up to you. I myself have only ever had a couple of situations occur where an immediate Guild Kick was the only way to resolve the issue, most problems can be resolved through open dialog with the parties involved. If that fails you can introduce steps such as Rank Demotion or Event Exclusion. Just remember that we are all here to have fun and while rules are rules, being too heavy handed can have adverse consequences.

So moving right a long, Ranks.
Ranks are a fairly important part of Guild Structure. Ranks are used to define a members position in the Guild, Social Members, Raiding Members, Officers, etc. Each of these ranks can have different Guild Rights, Bank Access, and Rules attached to it.
Having a Rank setup for New and Probation members can be a useful tool, I personally use the First rank as such, all new members go straight into it. The rank has no Bank access, and breaching any of the guild rules or not performing well in raids can get you immediately removed from the guild while in that rank. While this can have the effect of people being on their 'Best Behaviour' while on Probation, generally I haven't found this to be the case.

Probably something I should have covered first off, but really when you are making are making a guild for the first time this will come with experience is Officer Rolls.
I've said previously how having Officers can make your job as Guild Master easier and more enjoyable, this is done by having specific guild members in charge of certain aspects of your guild. A simple example of this is having a Bank Officer. A Bank Officer can be used to keep the Guild Bank tidy and divide Wealth, Items, and Trade Materials between guild members.
Generally the bigger the guild, the bigger need for Officers. In Raiding (more so 25man than 10man) and Hardcore PvP Guilds you may want to have Class Officers. These are people who know specific classes and roles 'to a tee' and as such are in charge of making sure every member of that Class/Spec are getting the most out of their characters.
In short Officers are a useful tool in keeping your Guild a well oiled machine, whether you are running a Hardcore Raiding/PvP guild to a smaller Social guild, having people to bounce Guild issues off and share the work load with will be invaluable to you, trying to do everything yourself will eventually burn you out and have you dreading logging on.

So now you have your Guild! You know what you want to achieve and how you're going to get there, you have people in positions of power to help you achieve these goals. Structure in the form of Rules and Ranks and level headed Officers to help you monitor, alter and enforce them. I sincerely hope that these 2 parts will help you in your journey as a Guild Master

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Making a Guild: Part 1: The Basics

"Wouldn't having our own guild be cool?!?"

It surely is, but you have to know what you are getting into before just leaping in the deep end. You wouldn't buy a new car without looking it over and making sure it was exactly what you wanted now would you?
Same goes for making a guild, or taking one over. You need to clearly define what you want to achieve as a Guild Master, what you want your Guild to achieve and how you are going to get to these goals. It is foolish to think that it will all just fall at your feet and go exactly how you want it to. So here is a little check list I believe is a good starting point before you even goto the Visitors Centre and create a guild.

"How experienced are you at WoW?"
This is really important, don't get ahead of yourself! You don't want to set out on making a Hardcore Raiding guild if you've never played End Game content before. I mean... you can, but you're going to hit a wall really, really quickly. I've seen time and time again, these 'flash in the pan' Raiding guilds fold as quickly as they sprung up and it's mainly because the people in charge had no idea of what Raiding actually was. The next question is a very good follow on, if not joiner to this one.

"What do you enjoy doing in WoW?"
So a good place to start is with the K.I.S.S. theory, Keep It Simple Stupid. If you're still levelling and you want to start a guild, start a Levelling Guild (by the way I really do not advise people who are levelling their first characters to start a guild). If you really just want to meet new people, start a Social Guild. If you're really into PvP start a PvP Guild. Are we starting to see a pattern here??? You need to clearly define what your personal goals are in WoW before you want to start worrying about defining the goals of others, and you will have to define the goals of others eventually! Basically you don't want to be running a guild that revolves around something you have either no interest in, or don't enjoy.

"How much time do you have, and do you mind spending some of it managing a guild instead of doing other things?"
This really can be a deal breaker. Running a guild can be time consuming from time to time. You are going to have times where you really want to be levelling an alt, or running a dungeon and you're going to have to put that aside to work on your guild. It can be frustrating, but also very rewarding.

"Do I have a group of like minded friends, or am I going this alone?"
This really is a lot more important than it seems, you are going to need help running your guild eventually, and probably sooner than you anticipate. Running a Raiding Guild is hard work, really at times it can feel like a full-time job, thats why you are going to need some Officers in charge of certain aspects of your guild. Even a Social/Levelling Guild needs things looked after, no one likes a disorganised Bank, no one likes trying to organise events by them self all the time.
A Group of friends can be good to have as Officers, but it can also lead to disharmony. You need to define if your guild will be an Autocracy or a Democracy and make sure that all your Officers understand this before they become Officers. On the same note, you also must adhere to that as well!

So now you should have a good outline of what type of guild you want to make, it's time to figure out the finer details. To be continued in Part 2: The Finer Details... (lol)

Monday, January 24, 2011


Soooo... Heyas, I'm Knaikar (aka Rogue Leader, aka Owen Haskett), Guild Master of Nagrand based League of Awesomeness. This is my first blog-thingy and in it I'm hoping to talk about some of the challengers faced in Guild Management and Raid Leading.

A little about me: I'm 26 years old living in Adelaide, South Australia. I'm a Hospitality professional, but have dabbled in IT and manual labor over the years. I enjoy long walks along the beach, sunsets and am a virgo, lolz. I'm a gamer, always have been, and probably always will be.

About me gaming: I'm a self confessed gamer, started with Super Mario on the NES when I was a kid, amongst other great classics like Metroid, Battle Toads, the list goes on. It wasn't until the Play Station came out that I really started RPGs, the like of Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy VIII, Secret of Mana, Chrono Cross and Chrono Trigger.
To be perfectly honest I always thought the MMO was a bit too nerdy for me (boy was i wrong, lol) and I never really became interested in the whole Virtual Worlds until the release of Second Life for Mac OS. So I used to bum around in SL a lot, but I started to get bored with the lack of any actual gaming to be done in it. I had some friends who played EVE Online, arguably the most Hardcore of all MMOs out there, but it took me a while to really get into it and back then the game really lacked any tangible lore to lock onto.
So for a little while I went back to consoles, but I had this one friend who started World of Warcraft and I distinctly remember telling him he was nuts...
Probably due to all the negative publicity in the mass media the game received, I had it in my head that the game was the biggest and most addictive time-sink and that I just didn't need to get involved. But after about 8 weeks of nagging I finally caved and played the 10 Day Trial he gave me, and boy was I hooked!

Almost 4 years on I'm the Guild Master and Raid Leader of a successful End-Game guild. I have met some people who have changed my life through WoW, and had a lot of fun playing, managing and just being a part of the biggest Gaming Community in the world.

So as I stated at the beginning of this post, I hope to address some of the issues I've had to overcome as a Guild Master and Raid Leader during my time in WoW, some of the fine points of running a successful guild, and how to tackle the most common problems faced by GMs and RLs in WoW today.