I would like to take this opportunity to share a bit of behind the scenes Marine stuff, as it can relate to World of Warcraft. And I’m going to do it by planning a Gruuls Lair – High King Maulgor raid.
To be specific, I’m going to talk about a couple of the acronyms that Marines are taught to use as mnemonics to remember a sequence of steps.
Today’s fun Marine Corps mnemonic acronyms are SMEAC and BAMCIS.
SMEAC, also known as the Five Paragraph Order, stands for;
- Administration and Logistics
- Commands and Signals
And is used as part of the Execution step of BAMCIS.
BAMCIS, also known as the Six Troop Leading Steps, stands for;
- Begin the planning
- Arrange the reconnaisance
- Make the reconnaisance
- Complete the planning
- Issue the orders
SMEAC and BAMCIS are small unit Marine NCO acronyms. It’s not exactly rocket science, which is likely why the acronyms are hammered into new Marine Jarhead’s noggins right from Boot Camp. (Actually, since it’s been over a decade since I left the service, things may have changed. But this is what I learned and used. Feel free to correct me if you’re in now and there are better ways of doing things.)
Simply put, they are to remind a Marine NCO of what steps to complete and in which order to perform them when assigned a mission, in particular for the small unit tactics that Marines specialise in.
Oh, crap. Sorry. NCO is another acronym, and it stands for non-commissioned officer.
You gots two kinds of Ossifers in the USMC.
First, there are those that are men and women that done gradiated (spelling int.) college and are therefore smarter than everyone else, and after completing Officer Candidate school are commisioned by the President to serve as officers and gentlemen in the honorable Marine Corps.
Then there are the Marines that are enlisted, go to Boot Camp, and after considerable time spent in the service, gaining experience and passing evaluations, these jarheads are promoted to a rank that is considered a position of leadership. They are assigned responsibility over a number of lower ranked enlisted Marines, and see to it that the orders of commisioned officers are properly implemented and carried out. Since these Marines were never commisioned by the President, they are ‘non-commisioned officers’, or NCOs. Also, it is understood that while they may be a type of officer, they are sure as hell no gentlemen. Or gentlewomen, for that matter.
There, clear as mud, right? Anyway, this has been your public service announcement. Now back to the damn show.
So NCOs are Marines that have risen through the enlisted ranks, from Private on up to Corporal or higher, and are generally without benefit of a college education. This, by definition, means that commisioned officers figure we’re dumber than a sack of rocks. In fact, one of the most common terms used to describe a Marine that did something really stupid, is to call him a Rock. Which makes me laugh everytime I see Dwayne Johnson, but that’s a topic for a different day.
So, you’ve got eager young Marines that need to be taught some basic principles of leadership and mission planning right out of high school, none of which have had the benefit of college education. Not having had a college education, this means they are still capable of learning new things and retaining them instead of flushing everything as soon as a test is taken. So they’ll learn it, and retain it, but you gotta put it into tiny words.
So they get complicated concepts broken down into simple bullet points, then the bullet points rearranged into an acronym, and the acronym hammered into their wee itty-bitty little brain housing groups. And when they mess it up, they get exercise. Lots and lots of exercise. It’s good for you!
Let’s apply the Six Troop Leading Steps to a World of Warcraft situation; preparing a guild for a Gruuls Lair run, especially High King Maulgor.
Before we get started, we have to know the most casual part of the mission… what the hell are we eventually looking to do? In this case, we’re gonna try and tackle Gruuls Lair.
Begin the planning – We want to tackle Gruuls Lair. We’re gonna need a bunch of people, 25 good and true players, the instance is in Blades Edge Mountains, and there are two main boss encounters that drop loot. But we’ve never been there and don’t know what to do. We need more info.
Arrange the reconnaisance – we need hard intel on the enemy; strengths, weaknesses, location, numbers, the whole enchilada. We know there are raid strategies out there written by people that have successfully taken on this enemy before; let’s go find them. Guild Officers, move out!
Make the reconnaisance – three initial sources of intel are found – Wowwiki, Bosskillers, and MMO Champions. All three are searched, and links to their info are dutifully copied and shared in the Guild Forums for quick and easy access. The three are studied, each is completely different. One of the guild officers has participated in a run using the Bosskillers strat before, taking down High King Maulgor near the entrance tunnel, so that one is approved for planning purposes.
Complete the planning - Figure out what classes will be needed, and what their roles will become. Special circumstances indicate an unusual need – a mage tank with very high stamina to spell reflect and survive. Other requirements are worked out; frequent wipes suggest that the guild bank needs to be used to provide Flasks whose effects persist after death. The strategy and intel show that, using Ogri-la Shards, special Flasks only usable in Gruuls Lair can be bought. These should be obtained. Let’s hit specifics. We’ll follow SMEAC, the Five Paragraph Order, as the structure of our plans.
SMEAC for the run –
Situation - Gruuls Lair, a raid to take on High King Maulgor and his 4 adds. We will require 25 guild members, consumables, and time.
Mission – 25 guild members and alternates will form up in Blades Edge Mountains at 7PM server time on Friday prior to entering Gruuls Lair and taking down High King Maulgor. We will do this because we have not done so before and we want to see the instance, we want the pleasure of achieving difficult objectives and overcoming challenges, we want bragging rights as a guild that downed Gruul, and we want phat lootz.
Execution - To do this, we are going to need 25 players of certain specific classes. We will break the fight down into 5 key elements conisisting of tanks and their healing support.
Element 1 – Krosh (Mage) - This element requires one Mage Tank that will be tanking and spellstealing, and needs over 10k health. He will need as much fire protection as possible, and two Healers in support.
Element 2 – High King Maulgor – This element requires one main tank, either Warrior or Druid. As this is a melee battle, Amplify Magic is a great buff for the tank to increase received healing. Likewise, a Shaman Grace of Air totem to increase dodge is highly desirable. The main tank will require three Healers in support.
Element 3 - Kiggler (Shaman) – This element deals Nature damage, either ranged or melee. He polymorphs the tank on him, and he deals knockback from melee attacks. His melee damage is far higher than his ranged damage. Therefore, either a single Druid tank is good because of the immunity to Polymorph, or two Hunters as tanks, with very high Nature resistance and their Nature resist buff, are very good to keep him at ranged, and to trade off as 1 and 2 on the Threat meter, with one taking over when the other is Polymorphed. 1 Healer in support of whichever Hunter is the tank of the moment. High Arcane resistance around 200 can reduce the frequency of Polymorphs on the tanks, but is not necessary.
Element 4 – The Seer (Priest) – Needs to be tanked by a Warrior, with Amplify Magic on him, and can be supported by one Healer. This target will be burnt down first, so Rogues should start in this team and use interrupts as often as possible to prevent healing.
Element 5 – The Summoner (Warlock) – The summoner needs to be tanked by one tank, preferrably a warrior, but apparently any type is okay as long as their survivability is high. He will instantly summon a Fel Hound that has the Spell Lock ability. A Warlock must be in this party to Enslave the Fel Hound and turn it and its Spell Lock ability against the Summoner. The Warrior AND the Fel Hound need to be kept alive as long as possible to reduce wasted Mana. There need to be two Healers in support. This is a difficult Healing fight.
Breakdown of elements – 1 Mage tank, assume 2 Hunter tanks due to shortage of other types of tanks, 1 Warlock, 3 Druid or Warrior tanks, 9 Healers. That is 16 committed player positions, leaving 9 openings for extra healing and especially DPS generation. For the long fight against High King Maulgor, that team could consist of 1 tank, 3 healers and a shadow priest DPS as a mana battery. But this leaves wide variations in the DPS classes.
The kill order is Priest first, then that element moves on to burn down The Summoner. After the Summoner is down, one Healer moves to support the High King Maulgor element, while the other Healers, the DPS and tanks move on to attack the Mage element. Once the Mage is down, all elements can move to down the Shaman, with the healers splitting up to support each remaining element as best as possible. High King Mauldor will be finished off last.
Positioning can best be seen by visiting the graphs and pictures at the Bosskiller website.
All classes will need to bring consumables, and Flasks that can be purchased using Apexis Shards are very good since their effects persist through death.
Administration and Logistics – Having identified who and what we need, our next step is to arrange for 25 players of the correct classes. To achieve this, the Guild Officers need to plan ahead of time which positions need to be filled, and then work at placing player names in those positions until all possible player names are somewhere, either as primary or alternates. Then those players should be approached and asked, specifically, if they will be able to participate on a raid at the designated time and place. This will ensure an accurate prelimary idea is formed of who is willing to go, and the players will know which of their mains/alts are desired, and what role they would be taking in the fight, to help them study in advance. At least 3 alternates, Healers, Tanks and DPS, should be available.
The second step is to identify which special raid consumables are required, and assign a Guild Officer to see about having them made in advance, and bringing them to the run. Delegation is necessary for this, as each Class Lead should determine the consumables needed for their class, and special requests will likely need specific prior farming by Herbalists. The Guild Officer will be responsible for bring the consumables to the raid from the Guild bank. Those specials, such as Fire Protection potions, Nature Protection potions, and Apexis Shard Flasks, definitely will need to be farmed for in advance to ensure an adequate supply.
Repair Bots may also be neccesary, as well as top grade bullets and arrows, food and Wizard and Mana Oils. All items should be planned for and supplies laid in advance of start time. These tasks need to be delegated.
Commands and Signals – The Raid leader and assistants will be designated in advance, and only they will be allowed to talk openly in chat. All other communications should be made by typing. Which marks are used for which target, and what exactly the burn order is and who will support whom after a target is dead needs to be made clear to all members. The Raid leaders need to spend time prior to the raid making sure they are each clear on the various parts of the raid, and should take steps to visualize each task from start to completion to be better able to respond to changes in the fight, and who will respond to those changes on Chat.
Back to BAMCIS.
Issue the orders - Nail down the players that will participate, and make sure everyone knows to study their part of the fight, knows when to be online, what consumables or gear they are to bring in preparation, and which Guild Officers are to obtain consumables and bring them. Document this in the Guild raid forums.
Supervise – Follow up during the course of the week to make sure that each delegated part of the preparations are being performed, and remind the players via Guild Announcements and, if necessary, in game mail or Guild Website forum acknowledgements the day prior to the run that everyone, and their alternates, are still planning to attend.
That is how I interpret the old USMC Troop Leading Steps could be used to organize, plan for and operate a raid on High King Mauldor in Gruuls Lair.
Why did I go to these lengths, to write all this down?
Because we were supposed to do Gruuls Lair on Friday night… and we failed to even try, as we lacked the people and the commitment from several players other than the Officers. And we did not have the correct classes, properly prepared, and in general a lot of other things went down that has left our Guild Officers depressed.
I think it’s time for more organization… and a bit more participation on the part of the players. And a hell of a lot more commitment.
It is NOT the job of the Guild Officers to provide the players a chance to walk in without bothering their pretty little heads on what they should be doing. And it’s past time we made sure they knew it. Everyone that intends to raid needs to take personal responsibility for doing their part to make this a success. Officers need to lay the foundation, YES, make the needs clear, set goals and delegate tasks, and make sure that everyone involved is engaged and eager. But there is only so much the Guild Offciers can do… and if a player will not step up and do their own part, then I say, screw them for future raids. My time is valuable to me, and if you have no problem wasting it, then screw you and the Nether Drake you rode in on.
This is not the military, it’s a video game. But it’s a SOCIAL video game, based on interacting with other people. I do not have the time, nor do I have the inclination, to teach other players what social skills are, or what behavior is or is not rude. What I do have, is the desire to only play with people that ARE polite, and considerate, and mature in the way they deal with other people in social settings.
If it is too much effort for a player that says they want to raid to bring their consumables, be repaired, be knowledgeable of their role in the fight, and be on time, then I do not personally want to play with that person anymore. Because wasting my time and effort trying to organize a raid you told me you wanted to participate in is rude and inconsiderate, so screw you too, buddy.
I could seriously rant on about this, but I’ve made my position pretty clear. You want casual, we’ll do casual. But if you want to seriously raid, then obviously it’s time we made sure that we speak, individually, with every raider and find out how much effort they are willing to put into raiding… and just ‘showing up late on game day’ or blowing off the raid doesn’t damn well cut it.