Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Raiding with another guild

Because of my views on raiding guilds, I end up running almost all of my raids as the only non-guild player in a guild-sponsored run. Lately I have been running with Origin, but last night I needed to get a bit of Kara in and got an invite to run with Alliance Homicide. They needed more DPS for Netherspite and the Prince, so in I went.

Being the only non-guild player in a run has the potential to be tricky. I find that it can generally go one of two ways. If the guild group is at a similar level of progression and has a good RL, then I will normally just STFU and do my best to fill my role. This is by far the easiest, and for me the preferred, outcome.

The other path is the tricky one. If the guild group is new to the content or the RL isn't quite where they need to be, I have a hard time with things.

But I'm starting in the middle. Let me back up.

Why don't I do the raiding guild thing? I used to, just not in WoW. I've played a few other MMOs, but by far the heaviest was Dark Age of Camelot. In DAoC, I progressed to being not just a GM, but one step beyond: the GM for the guild that led the largest raiding alliance on the server. In DAoC, for those that aren't familiar, guilds could join forces into an alliance, giving a shared alliance chat channel and other niceties. Raiding in DAoC was also a very different thing than in WoW — we'd regularly get 200+ people on a raid.

If you think coordinating 25 or even 40 people is rough, try coordinating 200 from 8 different guilds. Multiply your typical guild drama x8. So, after 3-4 months, I burned out. How could I not? Now, with WoW, I'm here with friends to just have fun.

Back to my story.

The problem is that I can lead. I really try not to, as I like being the anonymous face that helps but isn't noticed. But I do know how. When I am raiding with a group that the RL isn't stepping up to do what I think should be done, there is much gnashing of teeth as I try to bite my tongue. Instead, I offer up encouragement and try to motivate instead of pointing out what I think is missing.

Everyone has their own style, and far be it from me to assume that mine is any better. And, especially when running with a guild, I really don't want to step on their toes or make them look bad. The guild is supposed to look up to the RL for guidance, and I don't want to do anything to tarnish that image.

It's rough. Generally, even when I know that we're going to wipe, I'll continue to STFU and let us wipe. I know, that sounds horrible, but I am also a firm believer that wipes are a good thing, as they help everyone learn what not to do.

You're expecting me to say that the RL from the Alliance Homicide was bad, right? You'd be wrong.

The RL, Dytinn, actually did a pretty good job. Several of the players had never been to Netherspite or the Prince, and several were woefully undergeared, and yet we were able to down Netherspite and get the Prince to 2%. That's not bad! And, really, as it always is with the Prince, we didn't wipe due to lack of skill, we just got a few really bad Infernal drops. We kept an eye out and moved proactively instead of reactively, but we just had bad luck.

Through it all, I did my best to STFU and DPS.

But ... there was one thing that Dytinn needed to do that he didn't: he needed to get everyone on Vent. Eight out of ten were on Vent, but that just didn't work. The other two asked if they needed to get on Vent, but were told that it was no big deal. Sorry, but that's the wrong answer. Explaining complex fights like Netherspite and Prince to people that have never been there simply cannot be done effectively over chat and voice at the same time. Invariably, one of the groups is going to miss something. A few of our wipes happened because the non-Vent people weren't getting to where they needed to go.

In the end, my leader-nature got the better of me and I started outlining the main points in chat. "1. Don't ever pull aggro off the tank, so watch your Omen. 2. When you get Enfeebled and turn purple like me, run to the healer. 3. ..." I hope that it helped, but I am not so sure. It's a tough call, deciding where the line is between trying to help and looking like an overbearing know-it-all ass-hat.

I catch a lot of flak for being a non-guildie in a guild run. Some people think I am taking up a slot that could/should have gone to a guildie. Some people think that I am riding on the coat-tails of the guild. Some people are made uncomfortable by my very presence — like they can't talk with an outsider around.

It's cool. I swear. I'm here to do a job. I'll try to disrupt your lives as little as I can. Pretend I'm not here, and just know that the mana, health, DPS, and shackles are coming.

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