Some Folks You Just Can’t Reach

This is something I’ve thought about a lot over the years. It’s a topic that I’ve never seen anyone really address, and my instincts say most folks choose to avoid it with a ten foot pole.

I’ve mentioned ‘ten percenters’ before, but I’ve never really come right out and talked about it.

There are folks in this world that aren’t as fast on the uptake as other people, or who make choices and decisions that seem odd.

Call them (or me) stupid, or whatever, or say we’re all challenged in different ways, I don’t care what labels you put on it.

Some folks do not learn, process information, react to changing circumstances, improvise, adapt or overcome sudden obstacles at the same rate of speed as other people.

Physical? Mental? Lack of caring, lack of focus, cat ran across the keyboard every pull, degenerative nerve disorder, stupid as a suit made out of tacks in an inflatable inner tube factory? 

Not my concern.

I’m concerned with results.

I am on one side of a keyboard, staring at a monitor screen. I do not have any idea what is going on behind the screen of anyone else’s monitor.

For all I know, your character is being controlled by two cats, one moving the mouse and the other controlling the keyboard, working together to farm goods to sell on ebay to afford iPad butt warmers and chicken livers.

No clue.

What I see is what the other characters do in game, and what people type in chat. And, occasionally, what people say in vent.

Sometimes in random groups or in LFR raids, I see people do stuff, and I think, “What a stupid son of a bitch.”

I have no way of knowing what is really going on with that person. I don’t.

Half the raid is dead, and someone runs forward and pushes the big red button to start the next boss fight, initiating a wipe.

Intentional troll? Ignorant player? Stupid son of a bitch?

No clue.

In the Marines, I had a Sergeant who used to say, often, that being stupid wasn’t something to be ashamed of. If you were born stupid, there isn’t a damn thing you can about that. Algernon had a special treatment, but we don’t. And if we did, much like for Algernon, I doubt me it would last.

But if you’re ignorant… well, he had some seriously direct things to say about ignorant people. Ignorance can be corrected by education, by effort, by study and practice. If you’re ignorant, there are definite things to can do to correct the situation. The sin is in refusing to do something about it.

So, do you blame someone else for being slower than others, if they’re trying like hell but just aren’t getting it?

Well, do you really know they are trying? As I said, how do you really know what is going on behind the other keyboard?

If you don’t know… if someone keeps doing things that screw up the group, make mistakes, react in the wrong way, move too soon or too late, make the wrong decisions, you have to start wondering.

Is it a troll? Is it someone who doesn’t know what to do, and could have gone and watched videos and read strats, but didn’t? or is it really someone trying like hell but who can’t quite get it?

If you just don’t know, hopw do you handle it?

This really is something that is important to me, because I feel stupid. A LOT.

I have days where I just feel like an idiot. Things don’t click. I feel like I’ve got all the pieces right there in front of me, but I’m not putting them together right.

Someone will say something, others will laugh, and I’m wondering what I missed, what connection didn’t happen in my brain. Was it a pop culture reference I didn’t get because I don’t watch that show? Was it a play on words that I wasn’t smart enough to tie together?

Other days, I’ll feel pretty sharp. Those days are a mixed blessing, because I love them so much at the time but I know I won’t feel that way for long.

Like I said, I think about this stuff a lot.

I feel like an idiot a lot, and I’m not immune to peer pressure. When I spend time playing with other people, I don’t want to be the one making mistakes.

I don’t want to be the one person in a ten person group making mistakes or doing the wrong thing. Whether anyone says anything or not, I’ll be the one thinking, “Everyone else moved out of the Cobalt Mine before it went live, why the FUCK can’t I move out of the way fast enough? Everyone else is able to do this, so what is wrong with me?”

Or with the Stone Guard, and Jaspar Chains. I don’t want to be the one where, oh look, Jaspar Chains on me, and I didn’t even notice that I’m killing a melee player because I’m so focused in on pew pew pew that I’m oblivious to everything else.

“Oh shit, run in! Whoops, sorry, too late, I wish you hadn’t died like that just because I was too slow to react.”

Here’s the thing. Mistakes happen, yes I know, especially when what you’re doing is coming at you live and fresh like on the first few hours of a new boss.

But what do you do when the whole group tackles a challenge together, and there is confusion the first few times… but some of the group starts to get it, and others just don’t?

What do you do when you’ve got someone in your group that is not coming along as fast as everyone else. Someone who just does not get it, hasn’t had the encounter ‘click’, hasn’t gotten that flash of insight that suddenly brings everything into focus.

I just don’t see this question answered out there in the community, I don’t see it addressed.

If you’re in a raid group, what do you do when someone doesn’t get it, and the ones who do and think they should be able to kill it and move on get frustrated?

Worse yet… what do you do when you’ve got a raid member that isn’t consistently bad at just one thing, but seems to screw up all the time in all sorts of different ways?

And the capper – what if the person is in your guild, and is a good friend (or family member) of yours?

I have had days where I knew exactly what I was supposed to do, and the simple fact is, I could not get it done.

I mentioned Jaspar Chains earlier. Let me go into Stone Guard in more detail.

I had a raid pull a few weeks ago where it seemed like I did something wrong every single time I took a step. not per wipe, per step.

I knew what I was supposed to do, but I could not actually DO it right.

I have chosen Talents so that my Deterrence is on the shortest cooldown possible, and I take the least amount of damage possible when it’s up.

I did it specifically to be of more use on the Stone Guard for the Cobalt Mines. When you pop Deterrance this way, you can run over and trip Cobalt Mines when it’s not the Cobalt petrify phase, and you take seriously reduced damage AND you don’t get frozen in place.

The idea here is obviously to pull minesweeper duty on the Cobalt Mines whenever you need to, not just during Cobalt petrify, freeing up the work space if you have to deal with the Amethyst Pools as well.

Now, that’s nice. I did that on my own, practicing in LFR, worked nice. But Deterrence is only up for 4 seconds. I figured it would work best if our Healing priest Disco were to spec into the Talent that increases run speed when bubbled.

So the idea was, I would announce that I was popping Deterrence in two secs, get a bubble from Disco, and run faster, letting me cover more ground and pop more Cobalt Mines in a tight span of time.

Disco was gracious enough to change Talents just so I could do that.

So I ask you, how many times do you think I remembered to give her a two second warning in vent before popping Deterrence?

If you were to say “only once in a four hour span of wipes”, that would be pretty damn accurate.

I just couldn’t seem to move in on Jaspar Chains, pew pew the correct dog (the one in a group of two, NOT the solo one), avoid the purple puddles, pop Cobalt Mines, break things when the correct petrify was up, AND remember to give Disco a two second warning.

If I remembered to give the warning, I popped Deterrence and cleared Cobalt Mines that weren’t actually in the way. Or I stood in Amethyst for 5 seconds before going, “huh, dying, wtf” rather than getting the heck out of the way.

I tried my best, but I just kept making all sorts of stupid mistakes. The kinds of mistakes that are scattered around, and make it hard to point to one thing and say, ‘I need to do that better.”

Instead, it was the kind of pull where I had to point at myself and say, “You need to take a deep breath, and chill. Because that crap ain’t funny. Pull it together.”

You know what I mean? Just an entire pull where I was a day late and a dollar short.

Now, I’ve gotten a lot better since then. I’ve seen the fight often enough now that I can move properly for some things without having to focus extra hard on it. That frees up some of my attention to more judgment-oriented tasks.

But what if I didn’t get better? What if I came back, week after week, and I just kept being a spaz with no improvement?

I mean a spaz like “We are not progressing past this point because out of ten of us, this one person keeps doing stupid shit every damn week, and I’m sick of wiping for two hours.”

I see people talk about practicing, and working with players by going over recount, or World of Logs, or reforging, or rotation help, etc.

What do you do when you can ‘coach’ until you’re blue in the face, but they ain’t getting it?

More to the point… what do you do if the person is a friend, like in a friends and family guild raid team, and you can’t just say, “Sorry Raider X, you’re not getting it, so we’re benching you for someone that can.”

Does someone really have a good answer for this?

It’s one thing for me to look at a complete stranger in LFR doing something, and think (NOT SAY), “What a stupid son of a bitch.”

That is a private judgmental thought that hurts nobody but me and vents a little steam, because the person has no idea what I’m thinking, and they will never see me again. And again… it’s an unfair judgment because how the hell do I know what was happening on the other side of their monitor?

But it’s something else entirely when the person knows you, you know the person, you want to do this thing together as part of a team and to build shared experiences and have fun together… and now friendship, ego and pride are all tied into something like raiding progression pressure while one of you is doing stupid shit.

What do you do? Do you put progression before friendship, and tell them they aren’t welcome just so you can get a win?

Or do you put friendship first and stick it out together, even if that means wiping for three weeks straight without a single boss kill, holding your group together against the frustration because yo’re gonna get it together, or you’re not gonna get it at all?

I wonder about this a lot. Like I said, I have days I wonder why the hell I pretend I can raid.

I have days where I strive for brilliance and have to settle for competence… and wonder if I’m fooling myself.

I wish I could say that everyone would of course put friendship and family first, that what is truly important is the bond we have with the person behind the keyboard, that is the only thing that is real in a digital world.

But I see LFR, and I see the intentional trolls, and  wonder what guild they are in? Who chooses to have them as members?

I see people who don’t give a shit, and afk follow through LFR, and bump into walls because they can’t even be bothered to pay enough attention to walk straight. People who click the ready checks, and then stand there immobile through the entire fight, not even auto-attacking, as if to show they are too good to lower themselves to play in LFR with the likes of me.

Where are they guilded? Do they raid? Do they show that level of don’t give a shit with their friends?

And I think about how damn hard those of us who do feel like idiots try to learn and do better, so we don’t drag the group down with us… and I wonder how many people I play with wish they were on a team with someone who didn’t fail quite so bad.

There are stupid people in the world, and I often suspect I’m one of ’em. And we’re in your game, standing in poo.

What do you do?

23 thoughts on “Some Folks You Just Can’t Reach

  1. Pingback: [Links] Links for the new year « Welcome to Spinksville!

  2. I think maybe you don’t hear about solutions a lot, simply because each situation requires a different one. I led a small casual guild that over the years eventually built up enough people that wanted to do group stuff, but just for fun. And yeah, we had that one or two. But we had one rule for the guild: “don’t be an asshat.” Anyone who violated that rule was gone. While mostly casual, we did have a couple that were progression minded. We did 10 mans and the fun-lovers and progressives started to get on each other’s nerves. One poor guy, the sweetest guy in the world who helped found the guild, was just a little bit older and just not as coordinated and quick to catch on as others. He built the guild up through a lot of years, but really held the group back on progression. We worked and worked with him, and he tried so hard to learn, study the tactics, and ask experts about his class. Every new raid would hold a new challenge for him mechanics-wise, that would take weeks longer for him to overcome than everyone else. But he was such a great guy, and he was a lot of fun to be around. Most everyone loved raiding with him, so we dealt with it. We helped him, and there were times when he made the decision to bench himself – but that was very rare, only when there was no other solution. Mostly we just had fun and took it slowly, no pressure, carried him when we had to. He worked up alts, and sometimes changing roles helped him. One of the min-maxers helped him a lot with add-ons and gear choices and pet choices (hunter) etc, that took a lot of mental pressure off during the actual raids, though it took a ton of time to work on during the week – luckily he had that. That helped him focus on the mechanics more as well.

    We never wanted to be progression oriented anyways as a guild. So those that couldn’t deal with the slowness finally left, but it was hard for me and others to allow that – even with all the reconciliation attempts we tried between the two groups. After that, it was much better. I think in the end, each person has to decide where they belong, and what they want to get into. We didn’t care as much about progression (as a guild), though one or two of us wanted that. The couple of people really concerned about that started their own raid group and were happy to sub in alts for the casual group when needed, so it worked out.


  3. My solution was to quit raiding, after 4 years of steady raiding progress with my casual guild. My opinion is, normals ought to be doable (if painful for me as the healer) with a few of those people, and Blizzard’s opinion is they should not.

    It was a pretty wretched decision, me quitting hurt a lot of people, there’s not a lot to heal (my favorite role) doing solo play, and I don’t know how long pet battles are going to entertain me. I simply couldn’t bear the idea of doing Garalon Normal with some of the people in my raid 😦


  4. I have been giving this some thought, too, and feeling guilty over my one-time troll/asshat/”what does this button do?” moment. But I also know that Blizzard hires folks who do that full time, like the man from Catch Me If You Can –banks hired him to help them catch check fraud. Now I’m not suggesting that I am at the level of Machiavalian mischief – hell no. What I am saying is if it’s a human there, and not a bot (which that ready checker may be a carefully constructed bot, btw) and we do make mistakes, be it from our own psychological or physical obstacles, then so much the better. I’m not quite ready to hand over the reins to the robot overlords just yet.

    Ninety-nine point nine percent of the time – who am I? Mostly good and friendly, and one who tries. Sometimes that just has to be enough.


  5. There’s no right or wrong answer here – a lot of it, in my opinion, has to do with the kind of guild you’re in, and the culture of the group you raid with. Those are not necessarily the same thing. For instance, my guild runs 3 different raid groups. One is our “more hardcore” group, which is constantly pushing heroic progression and world ranks. The other two “prefer to occasionally sleep,” as we advertise them, and are solidly in the middle of normal HoF. On top of that, we have a casual alt raid and a decent amount of social members who can sub in if there’s an unexpected absence.

    Expectations and culture across our three groups differ greatly. I raid in our progression group, and we have a very low tolerance for “slow” or “stupid” people – but that’s expected. Our entire group is like that – we expect you to catch on quickly, and we all play at somewhat of a higher level. We do have one or two people who learn slightly slower, but as much as we sometimes despair about them, for us there’s a healthy balance of elite performance AND friendship/attitude. What I’m trying to say is even though sometimes our “slower” raiders cause us a few extra wipes and we despair over them learning at the brisk pace our RL sets, they still learn quickly enough that we enjoy playing together. If that were not the case, we would have to cut them and find new raiders. Ultimately though, the ten of us thrive on the pressure and stress, and we work well together because of it.

    Right now we’re at some wonderfully magical place where eight of us have been raiding together for over a year, and our two newer members are such a perfect fit playstyle and attitude wise, and it’s happy and we’re just pwning. Historically this has not always been the case, and if someone is not performing as well as we expect, we let them know what we feel the issue is, we go over logs to determine where they’re struggling, and we try to work the situation out (and I say “we” because generally 3 of us counsel them – myself as GM, the RL, and either their partner healer, tank, or another dps, depending on what role they perform). But the fact of the matter is that progression is SO fast-paced that if someone is definitely hindering the group, they’ve got to be cut, and quickly – and we try to handle that as professionally as possible (‘You’re a great person and we enjoy having you in the guild, but we feel you are not quite a good fit for this group because of x and x reason, so we need to let you go. You’re welcome to stay and try for a spot in one of our other groups, or we understand if you can find a better home elsewhere. We appreciate the time you’ve given us.’)

    Speaking of which, if I had to raid with one of our other raid groups (which I did occasionally in Cata on an alt, on our off night when they needed a sub), I would go crazy. They lack the same kind of pressure and stress that I enjoy, and feel TOO casual to me. I get aggravated at slow performance and lower numbers, and on the other hand THEY get aggravated with my attitude and frustration. I can’t emphasize enough that the way they play is NOT wrong, just that I am not a good fit for that type of group and they are not a good fit for my type of group. WoW caters to a wide variety of players and playstyles, and there should be homes for all of them. I don’t view myself as snobby because I know I can outperform others in my guild, and I LOVE being in the same guild with them… we’re all friends, we all hang out in vent, we’ll run dungeons together and LFR together and so forth. Because that group is more casual, they have far more tolerance for slow learners, and they do much more mediation. Pretty much if you have a good personality and get along well, they work with you and take more time. My group expects you to know what you’re doing, theirs expects to teach you how to be a better raider.

    What I’m trying to say is that your raid group should have expectations in place that they should communicate clearly with raiders. How fast are you expected to learn? What type of help is there for those who actively seek it? Playing with real life friends and family members can get really sticky, but in the end you should be able to discuss what your raiding expectations are and if they don’t mesh, maybe you don’t need to be raiding together. My best friend IRL is an officer in my guild, and I love questing with her and doing old content with her and talking and running the guild together, but if I raided with her I would commit murder. I am far too hardcore for her and she is far too lax for me, so we raid separately – and it’s okay to do that!


  6. This is a really hard situation to be in. Much of my personal experience happened back in Dragon Soul. I joined up on a Shaman to heal for a casual raiding group near the beginning of the expansion. It turned out that “casual” in this case meant “mostly really good players who had Real Life commitments that limited their playing time”. We progressed quickly through Dragon Soul, taking out Deathwing the Sunday before the first round of nerfs and, for the first time for the guild, finishing a current content raid!

    As we started progressing through heroics, I started to notice a few things. In the group there was quickly forming two tiers of raiders. About half of the raiders, including me, were really interested in the game, the mechanics, and min-maxing their characters and hammering out their rotations to be the best they could be. The other half did not care as much and had spotty attendance on raid nights, sub-par DPS for the group as a whole, and was making progression harder for the group.

    This all blew up after the second week of wiping to Ultraxion at <2% health. Some of the officers complained, if only our warlock, or only our shaman could up their DPS by 1-2k we would be golden, if only they could read through and take note of the guides on Elitist Jerks he would be dead, if only the paladin did not screw up his Hour of Twilight for the *fifth* wipe that night we would finally be able to progress on to other heroics. If only. If only. If only.

    This was incredibly frustrating. Yet at the end of the day, I found that I was happy raiding with these people. I really liked our warlock as a person; I laughed and joked with our shaman all the time; and even through I ended up muting our paladin on vent, he was a good guy. The fact that they were not as interested in the game was a fine cost to pay to have the pleasure of raiding with the group as a whole.

    It turns out that the officers of the guild disagreed with me. This division between the guild sparked drama that ended up fracturing the guild in half. The more hard-core raiders switched servers, some quit the game, and all burned bridges. I was left holding the smoldering remnants of a formerly solid raiding guild. It sucked. A month later the guild leader hung up her hat and put a halt to raiding until Mists of Pandaria. She found a raiding home for some of the guild members still interested in raiding. I took some time off from the game and worked through some personal issues.

    Looking back on it, a few more hours of wiping on a boss for each encounter was frustrating, yet that was a price highly worth playing for the enjoyment of being part of a fun, helpful guild of new-found friends. Sometimes people will not have time, or do not care enough to read strategies. Sometimes guildies (my Big-Bear-Tanking-Butt included) will make mistakes. Repeatedly. Sometimes no amount of coaching or cajoling will get them to improve.

    In my opinion the best approach is clear. Do what we druid's do best: grin and bear it!


  7. I like that anecdote about your sergeant distinguishing between stupid and ignorant. That is a point I shall file away in my mind for future reference elsewhere.

    As for what do you do… I’ve been with raid teams where there were some people who were clearly struggling but still trying their hardest and asking for help. I’ve spent week after week raiding with them with no new boss kills but I don’t regret it the least because they were friends and the experience helped them (and me, when you’re carrying someone, you need to work harder and improve your own game – so the help goes both ways).

    That said, I had the displeasure of raiding with someone who was weak but instead of trying to get better (and sitting out on progression if she couldn’t handle a fight), her response was to blame tanks or healers and start a blame spiral. She used her position as a guild leader to stay on the raid team – standing in bad, ignoring mechanics, doing less dps than a tank as an arcane mage on single target fights (Yor’sajh in DS). She never took responsibility and would just berate the entire raid for not doing enough dps (the top two dps were doing nearly 2x of what she was) led to so many people burning out and quitting the raid team and guild. Any advice or criticism, even in /w was enough to cause her to become vindictive.

    I’m in a guild with a much cooler GL now, one who is an incredibly good healer and DPS yet is very nice to people trying to learn and whom she tries to help as much as possible.

    Anyway, my rambling point is, today I prefer to raid/rated pvp with friends of equal skill. I don’t like to run with people who are far better than me (i.e. working on heroic content when I’ve not cleared normal) as I feel I’m holding them back even when doing my best, nor do I want to raid/rated pvp with people who are very new/not skilled as I feel it places unreasonable demands on them.

    So what do I do? I fill in for raid teams in my guild when they’re short a healer/tank/dps. Or usually, I pug. Believe it or not, on my server, its pretty easy to find middle-of-the-road pugs who’ll down 3 bosses in HoF10m or do a full clear of MV10m. This way if I run into a group which is very weak, its just a few hours and not weeks upon weeks of playtime down the drain.


  8. It depends, I think. I’ve been in situations where things like this have gone very wrong, and in other situations where things have turned out ok.

    In ICC10, we had one player who just couldn’t get the timing for the run out after you got sucked in to Sindragosa. It was tight for us all because we were in Australia so everyone had a 400-500ms ping (which makes most fights more difficult). After a few wipes and a lot of embarrassed silence in vent, I suggested to her (a resto druid) that she try cat form sprinting out. She quit the raid and the raid team on the spot. I think that was a bit over the top, but she had a lot of things going on in real life that were stressing her out too. So that didn’t go so well.

    Now, I am a 25s healing lead and have some of my healers that just can’t get certain mechanics. I try to organize things so that it minimizes our reliance on them executing the mechanic – for example, I have one person who just can’t run tornadoes on Blade-Lord Ta’yak, so he doesn’t do the run at all – he stays at the end, heals up the people as they’re leaving and heals them again when they’re coming back in, which is actually pretty helpful. That’s a mechanics where we can do that though. Other mechanics are not so optional – and then I have done things like ask people to practice in LFR, and other guildies have made explanatory videos to help people learn.

    One of the things I learned from my Sindragosa experience was to never let it get to the embarrassed silence phase. If I think someone is struggling with a mechanic, I ask them what they’re struggling with and try to pull other people to help them where I can – and I tell them not to give up and that I know that they can get it. A lot of the time I find that people give up too easily and say “I can’t do this”, so helping them avoid that is useful. I have never benched someone for not being able to handle a mechanic – we have always worked through it.

    That said – like other people have mentioned, it does sound like your issue on Stone Guards was a mental overload issue. Sometimes people have bad nights and you just can’t handle your normal load.


  9. An excellent post.

    “There are stupid people in the world, and I often suspect I’m one of ‘em. And we’re in your game, standing in poo.

    You made the great distinction of stupid and ignorant. I wish I could have thought of that. Maybe you’re not as stupid as you think you are.

    What do you do?”

    Nothing much these days. Used to get under my skin, alot, alot, alot.

    These days, in an uber casual guild that is a mix of not so skilled gamers (reflexes, co-ordination, etc) and the complete clueless non gamer types, like a level 87 warlock girl with an 185ish ilvl trinket. (Because the icon looks way cooler that the others!)

    When we queue heroics together (which I no longer need except the daily 80 valor) I casually get up to 85k DPS. A second guildie DPS can maybe top 40k, the rest is usually far behind.

    My brother used to be in the same guild, he can outperform me easy. He couldn’t take it anymore, dealing with fellow gamers in WOW unable to do the basic things. He’s now in a progression raid doing the real thing.

    Me, I like running around with the clueless warlock girl. The things she does, or doesn’t, no epics in the world could replace that. So you go ahead and be your stupid self 🙂 (No harm intended)


  10. I have benched my self on more then one occasion. i completly gave up on ds. the mechanics just seemed beyond me. there were mobs i couldnt find too target.
    My point is i thinkmost people who acctualy care dont want to be the reason.9 or 24 other people die.
    And if you have half a brain ( which may be all i have at times 🙂 ). You can still see its your fault toons are dieng.
    And will bench your self for the good of the team. no matter how bad you wanted the staff from ds


  11. I used to co-raid-lead/guild-lead, back in Wrath, mainly with Naxx. Small, casual-ish guild, we’d find folks to pug in, find reliable folks who we could often call in to fill spots. If people were genuinely terrible and weren’t making any visible effort to improve, my very blunt boyfriend would usually call them on it. Anything before that point, I would do my absolute best to give them any and all help I could think of.

    Funnily enough, our guild somehow managed to “raise” a paladin tank from total newbie, under level 10, to main tanking for us at level 80. Great guy, but like you said, pretty slow on picking things up. RL would pull him aside before raids, give him a crash course in whatever was likely to be problematic, so on. I am absolutely certain we modified some boss strats to play to our tank’s strengths and do everything possible to avoid his weaknesses. Was it frustrating at times? Absolutely. But in his case, I don’t think either of us ever considered replacing him. We’d make it work with him tanking, one way or another.


  12. My solution was to re-activate my SWTOR account. I.e., give up on group WoW content. So many of these failures have nothing to do with “playing your class”; they’re how well and how quickly you react to a boss specific dance. Blizzard’s design of “LFR is not real raiding” (which placated the 1337 raiders but IMO was a mistake), means you can’t really keep a PvE guild together with LFR. And this tier has a number of those fights that are designed to focus on the weakest link; one person can wipe the raid. An great idea for Heroic Raids. But it tends to make things more and more unpleasant as you get to the bottom of the pyramid. We had a grandmother who you didn’t want to get chained to a healer. Not only was she nice and friendly and helped guildies, she was reliable and did infinitely more DPS than someone who was not logged on. Blizzard seems to be going out of its way to make sure people like her don’t raid. And I focus so much on healbot that I am quite slow to the latest poo-on-the-ground mechanic, so I am in no position to cast stones. at all.

    I’m through anger & denial & bargaining but not quite through depression to get to acceptance. My latest insight is that WoW raiding requires somebody to run a HR (human resources) department with scheduling, hiring, firing, and performance reviews. Even when my company is paying me non-trivial money as a manager, these are not my favorite aspects of the job. But the idea of paying $15 a month in order to have to do them is of zero interest to me.

    The side effect of going from 2xGL, K, SP, AC dailies seven days a week to zero was absolutely wonderful.


  13. What do you do? You talk to them. If they’re the ones seeming to hold the group back, chances are they know it, they feel bad about it, and they’re just as interested in fixing it as anyone else in the group is (if not more so).

    So, you talk to them. You listen to their point of view and you try to help them figure out the root cause of their problems – not just what’s going wrong, but why. You try to suss out little statements that help you diagnose the problem, and possibly offer potential solutions (provided they’re open to feedback, that is). For example, hearing something like:

    “I just couldn’t seem to move in on Jaspar Chains, pew pew the correct dog (the one in a group of two, NOT the solo one), avoid the purple puddles, pop Cobalt Mines, break things when the correct petrify was up, AND remember to give Disco a two second warning.”

    would probably lead me to the conclusion that the root cause of the issues is not enough mental bandwidth to keep track of everything that needs to be kept track of at once. Fortunately, such a problem has a variety of potential solutions, such as:
    – having the person put a sticky note on his or her monitor to help with mental organization and to act as a cheat-sheet so as to minimize mental pressure;
    – offloading the task of giving a two second warning to the Discipline Priest so that the Hunter has one less thing to keep track of;
    – encouraging melee to prioritize getting to their chained partner above maintaining 100% damage-dealing uptime so that the consequences aren’t so catastrophic if ranged players aren’t as on-the-ball as needed;
    – or potentially doing a couple back-to-basics practice pulls where the priority is for everyone to focus on getting one or two fight mechanics down pat rather than constantly trying to defeat the boss.

    As you can see, potential solutions are offered not just for the individual having problems, but also for other members of the group. After all, overcoming challenges is a big part of raiding, and by giving everyone positive, constructive outlets to focus their efforts (and channel their frustrations), everyone gets to feel like they’re contributing and making progress.


    • My guild did a lot of ‘phase 1 to perfection’ then ‘phase 2 to perfection’ nights. We knew we were going to learn a new fight and prepped for it, knowing full well we wouldn’t get the boss down probably. A lot of times, just because of the extra prep, we did better than we expected. A few, Sartharion, for example, were weeks of getting the phase mechanics down. (And we don’t speak of the LK – 6 weeks it took to finally get him down.)

      I guess there are expectations, and if the expectation is for the raid team to blaze through new content first week out – but execution doesn’t merit it – then you, like BBB did, need to shift focus and expectation.

      I guess it also depends on how long the guild has been raiding together – a newly formed guild comprised of groups of friends and cemented with /trade seekers will work on progression issues differently than a guild that’s been raiding since Vanilla and knows everyones quirks.


  14. We sometimes have people who just have an off day, or week, etc, or just don’t “get” an encounter as fast as the rest. Sometimes that person is me 😛

    But we’re pretty casual about it – as long as we know those guys are trying their best, we do our best to accommodate, to rethink strategies, discuss what is the sticking point and work our way through it. However, I kinda suspect that if anyone got to the point where they just felt they were holding the group back big time, they would simply sit themselves out. Its not only frustrating for the team, it’s very frustrating for the person trying to get the tactics right – and I suspect they feel the pressure more than the rest of the group – which can then lead to silly mistakes just because of that.

    We are, however, a very casual raiding guild, only just working our way through normal Mogushan.


  15. Back in Naxx [Lich King version] we were leading the 25 man raid through and we had a healer who could NOT get the swap mechanic on Thaddius and she ended up constantly killing the entire raid by having the wrong polarity. We went through wipe after wipe after wipe. We tried having her go dps, tried explaining it multiple ways and even had a friend of hers whisper her and explain it.

    24 other people are mostly not messing up the mechanic and trust me, officers are pissy on ochat, raid is tense as all get out and we’re getting pressure to remove her. Now she was the sweetest person ever [a grandmother] and it was a very casual guild – there was really no precedent for removing anyone at that point.

    I finally whispered her and told her to ignore healing and dpsing and just learn the mechanic. Lo and behold, not getting sucked into the bars and worrying over her rotation – she lived. And she finally broke that mental block that had been causing problems and the next pull, we downed it [a few others goofed that time]. It was never a problem again, for her anyway.


  16. As I have never raided at the top of the raider pile, I have always raided with people who learn at different speeds, and with a few who never get it right, ever. Generally I tend to shrug and help the rest of the team pull that one person’s weight amongst us. We’re not doing anything bleeding edge, so that’s a feasible solution.

    In the case that a good friend actually kept us from downing content? I would bench them. Not in a malicious get off my team, you goon sort of way, but I’d bench them nonetheless.

    I struggle to understand the idea that allowing frustration to build between friends would be preferable to taking one aside and explaining the problem, then the solutions. I don’t think it’s a matter of prioritising raid progression over friendship; I think it’s a matter of prioritising respect over a notion of friendship that turns a difference in learning speeds to a major point of contention.

    And I know it’s all subjective, but on my stupid days I would be outright relieved to be replaced. I hate stupid days enough when they happen while I’m queuing solo in LFD or LFR and can drop right outta there; I cannot tolerate them at all when my brain is inflicting them not only on me but all my friends too and I’m necessary so I’m just going to have to go on being stupid in public and getting people killed and doing substandard DPS and running into walls and being a mess until the blessed raid end frees me from my own nonstop wiperific blundering. Or, well. That’s how it feels at the time, usually.


  17. Back when we were raiding (grr), we had a couple people who seemed not quite right in the head in the guild raiding roster. Turns out, one was in Hawaii, and just had bad ping (and an overly aggro wife) – he worked on timing issues and got pretty decent, to where he wasn’t a hindrance. The other was just plain dumb – and we gave him the simple jobs, and sometimes just had to let him die to the stupids and power through.

    It did make progression pretty much impossible. We milked the ICC and DS buffers for all they were worth; I think in all of Cata, we did Heroic modes in BoT only. But it was fun.

    Now, I’d give my eye-teeth to do a normal raid. I’d love to actually see the mechanics of Mogu rather than the watered down, doesn’t really matter, version of LFR. I always enjoyed puzzling out and those Ah-Ha! moments are the best feeling ever (well, at least regarding gaming 😉


  18. Amythyst, Cobalt, and Jasper is the hardest possible combination for that fight. You’ll get it.

    We’ve had to deal with this situation before, and it’s never fun. First, we give them at least four nights of chances, but if its still not clicking, one or two of us will take them into a channel after the raid. We try to find out what the issue is and if there is anything we can do during the raid to help out.

    If they still can’t get it, we’ll talk to them again (privately) and see about reducing their responsiblity in that fight. We still take them, but maybe we don’t have them interupt.

    In the example you provided, if we had a mythical Hunter doing what you describe, we would probably not have him do any minesweeper that week. Let him work on just Chains. Reduce the demands on his mental bandwidth.

    In another week or two, we’ve gotten more upgrades from LFR and it takes pressure off of everybody. Everybody has more health, does more healing, and does more DPS. Fights are shorter, and we can better survive an oops moment.


    • I’m not talking about what to do about me or how I feel, except as an example of what I’m talking about. Most of the time in raids that I’ve had a chance to study and practice on, I feel pretty good. Not top level skill, but adequate, competent, and consistent.

      I don’t want this turning into a ‘let’s cheer up bear’, I want to know how people have really addressed the situation of having people in the team who don’t improve at the same pace as the rest of the group.

      That one person who will die on Heigan, every single time, doesn’t matter what you do. lag? Who knows, when what you have to deal with as a raid leader is someone dead on the floor doing no heals or dps every single pull, forcing you to either give up or figure out how to 9 man it, or set your sights as a group on something else.

      Because nobody ever seems to talk about it. As if not one single group out there has people who have trouble. It’s only all those other groups out there that do, not ours.

      I was once a guild leader as well as an occasional raid leader, and I’ll be blunt. One of the reasons I stopped trying to lead raids in my guild was that our ‘friends and family guild’ had people who could not figure out how to be on time, how to prepare, how to bring food or flasks, and how to play their classes with skill. They were always behind the curve, far far behind, and after a while I made the decision to cut the raiding out of the equation. I preferred to keep them as friends and just stop having raids, because if there were raids, I’d get frustrated with them and I didn’t want that as part of our relationship. I preferred to keep things friendly… and I didn’t want to pull a real friend aside and say things to them that would make them feel bad. I didn’t give a flying shit about progression, I wanted to have fun with friends. And so, since progression raiding was not working, I set the sights lower.

      So I already know what I did when I was in charge… in a raid group of nothing but friends, I took the progression pressure out of the picture, and I never regretted it. Other members of the raid team did, and eventually started forming their own progression team and excluding people from the guild and tryed to make things progression oriented again, but by then Cassie and I had had enough. We killed the guild and retired the name, they formed a new one and everyone moved on with their lives.

      But was it the right thing to do? Are there other approaches that can reach a happy middle ground? Is this what separates a progression oriented raiding guild from other guilds, that the good of the team comes before friendships, and if so, does that mean there aren’t real friendships in progression raid teams, just mutual alliances?


  19. I say this, only because I’ve done it. I’ve bitched about it in my head at the time, but I did what I considered the “right” thing to do.

    I’ve toughed it out for the person. I’ve toughed it out because I remember being the one that “just didn’t get it.” Since then, I’ve gotten to know people with real life disabilities that hamper what some would call a “normal” playstyle. I would rather play with them, those that “just don’t get it,” a lot of the time more so than anyone else.

    Here is my example… I was brand new to a guild during Wrath, and we had to pug a player. We pulled a random Hunter out of the LFG channel (sorry, no auto-grouping at that time). This guy came in with a Bear pet (a static tanking pet for those that remember), and off we went. He never did pull out a dps pet. The tank noticed that he had growl on his pet, and the Bear kept doing that front/cone AOE all of the time. There was talk in /gchat about canning him, because he was an obvious noob. Instead, I told them to wait a minute and I /w him. I told him that I had been playing a hunter since 2006, and wondered if he was willing to take some friendly advice. He said he would.

    It turns out he was just like me, when I started playing! He had no idea what he was doing. That bear was his very first pet from the dwarf starting zone. He had never upgraded the talents on it! Never! He had no idea about the difference between a dps and a tanking pet. He saw that I was sporting a cat, and left the instance got rid of his bear, and came back with a pet. This was actually traumatic…he didn’t know how to get rid of his bear w/out abandoning it. I showed him how he could tame another one, when we got out of the instance. HE HAD NO CLUE!

    After some mentoring in all things Hunter, he turned into a first class casual raider. He became a great dps-go-to person in a pinch. He was a blessing to know, and I’m so glad that I took the time to spend some time with him.

    Getting to know others is the blessing of WoW; not the Internet Dragons or the Epix they drop. It’s all about the people, if we give them a chance.



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