I’m gonna start with some facts, then veer wildy off into the weeds. You’re invited to come along with me, and point at the pretty aminals just before they eat us.
Last night our guild leader Tom went looking to kick off an open Flex run.
He filled up the raid list with folks who wanted to go that weren’t already in the other main raid team slapping Sha around in Siege normal.
He thought we were a might light in our loafers where tank and healing was concerned, so he brought in a warrior offtank and a druid healer from Oqueue.
Sounds familiar? Seem pretty normal? Ask around with your friends first, and then move to a more open platform where strangers roam the arid plains.
Off we go to flex-mode Siege sequence two, the Galakrasical Wonders of the Flappy-Winged Age.
Kill all the trash, try like heck to pull everything on the beach at once to pad AoE DPS, fight to set off cannon bombs while players are still in them, the usual shenanigans.
We get lined up, set up a tower team, make the pull and midway through lose the new tank and healer down below in the valley and it all drops in the pot.
No worries, right? Most of us are on alts anyway.
Being on alts means, we HOPE to pull it out since we know what we’re doing, and get gear on our alts that could use it.
BUT… if the bosses aren’t dying, we swap alts out and bring mains in until bosses start dying. It’s the natural order of things.
Sometimes, you need bigger guns.
Ah, but then comes this gem. This was a first for me, a high point in the week, nay the month.
What happened, though incredibly minor, is the kind of thing I’ll remember long after I forget what raid we were even doing back in this expansion.
Two things happened at the same time.
Tom was driven to check what happened to the tank that he died so fast. Squishy, or standing in bad, or what? He was from Oqueue, maybe there were performance issues.
I hear a lot of people suffer from performance issues. They make a drug for some of them, but not one you can take that helps your raid. And how do you bring the subject up with your flaccid tank? “Hi, we’ve noticed you’re kinda… squishy… lately. We think this will help.” [presents bottle of ARMORALL armor polish]
So Tom does a quick look to see what happened, and at the same time Pumpken, the most incredible healer that plays a Shaman ever in the game, and who happens to be on her main at the time, gets a whisper from the Oqueue druid healer.
The whisper is as follows;
So Pumpken shares that whisper with us at the same time as Tom finds the problem. No heals coming from the OQueue Druid healer, who has low gear, no gems, no enchants, and apparently, no “try”.
Tom let the druid go, removed him from the raid. Told him, “Go get gemmed and enchanted, and we can take you some other time.”
The Druid called Pumpken a “Try Hard”. Like, as an accusation.
What, was he afraid she was making him look bad?
This is the great lie. Someone else does not make you look bad. Only YOU can make you look bad.
You, by not performing, by not moving out of bad, by not bothering to gem or enchant or reforge your gear.
By not trying.
YOU make you look bad, by not giving a shit. By not trying.
Others do what they do. Has nothing to do with you.
We were laughing about that “try hard” stuff in vent and in guild chat for a long time after that. Mostly ’cause I couldn’t let it go. That attitude is fascinating, I keep circling it like a dog smelling shit. It’s horrifying and yet I can’t stop looking at it.
Someone else in guild, not one of the progressive raiders, saw us basically mocking him for being upset at Pumpken for, what, healing too well? Giving a shit? And asked, legitimately not wanting to ALSO be mocked some time in the future, “What iLevel should I be to join your Flex runs? I’d like to start going too.”
Tom answered “Meh, whatever. It’s Flex, come join us.”
It’s not about being an elitist. It’s about whether you can do the best you can with what you’ve got, and that you try to be prepared. Basically, that if you’re putting yourself out there to join a bunch of others, that you’re going to give a shit, try to do your best (and raid utility!) and not tank the raid.
Unless you’re a tank. You know wtf I mean.
Listen, when all of your mains gear is 561 or higher, then everything else looks undergeared. You stop expecting the best possible gear, and instead you look at what seems reasonable for what you’re running at the moment.
And for Flex, what matters most is you are going to give a shit, you’re going to try, you’re going to care.
Since we can’t read your mind, we have to look at how you take care of your stuff.
Just like I, when interviewing someone for a job, will take a look at what they drive in to the interview, go out and look in the front seat while they are inside filling out the application. I hire service techs that will be out in the field all day long, given their own company truck. It’s reasonable to me that if I’m giving you a truck and I’m never going to see how you maintain it, then looking at how you take care of your personal car right now might clue me in as to whether you naturally give a shit and take care of your stuff, or just throw whopper wrappers and half-full pop bottles in the passenger foot well. It ain’t perfect, but it provides a clue.
Same with the character you’re bringing to the raid. If I look at your gear and see that it ain’t gemmed, enchanted, reforged, whatever. If you are missing major glyphs. If you forgot to take your level 90 Talent. If you never pop a flask, eat a food buff (even when given by a feast!) or cast your own raid buffs? None of that tells me whether you WILL try or not, but if some of it or all of it is missing, it’s a good clue that you don’t give a shit.
Or that normally you do give a shit, but this is an alt you don’t care about, so you haven’t paid it the attention a character you bring to a team raid deserves.
We have to look at these things, because now more than ever each player has to try hard.
When you get out there on the field of battle, you move your butt, you attack what needs to die first, you follow the flow. You interrupt. You move stuff away from others. You focus on the adds instead of padding the meters by burning the boss when it’s doing nothing to help us. Raid utility, whatever you brought, use it. It’s a force multiplier. Interrupts? CC on the trash before Garrosh? Big honking force multiplier.
This is what I love about the modern raids, and what increasingly irritates me about LFR and random person picked up from a queue.
These raids are designed so that every boss has a Lich King Defile.
Old school ‘get out of the bad’ meant if you stood in the bad, you died.
Modern ‘get out of the bad’ means, if you stand in the bad, the RAID dies. Or has a big pain in the butt to deal with.
It’s a shift in raid design. We had some special ones in the past. Remember Shade of Aran? “I will not move when Flame Wreath is cast or the raid blows up.” It was special and unique enough that there were monk chants on Youtube about it, it was infamous, because it was so damn simple… but if you had strangers in your raid group, somehow they always moved!
Now the fights are all like that!
Maybe it’s because of Deadly Boss Mods. Communication addons that, if you have them, clearly communicate in big honking letters, “pay attention naow!!!”
Maybe Blizzard feels if people are told what is happening that easily, then there needs to be more piled on top of it to strain your ability to process it all and react properly.
I dunno, but I like it.
At the same time, this is the biggest challenge I see in LFR and when I join other Flex runs, especially in OpenRaid with strangers.
It is not enough for the raid leader, tanks and healers to know what they are doing, move out of the bad, and by being awesome carry everyone else.
Each and every member of the team has to be a try hard. One person blindly attacking General Nazgrim during Defensive Stance, and endless Ravager axes come to eat you. That’s all it takes. One DPS who doesn’t act properly, and things go very wrong, very quickly.
Sure, you get enough really strong, solid raiders who outgear the stuff, and it compensates for a few that are in starter gear. Absolutely.
But that doesn’t mean it’s a blind carry. Those players in starter gear still have a profound impact on the flow of the fight. You don’t need mega-gear to interrupt a Shaman before they can get off a chain heal. You don’t have to do 300k DPS to pop a defensive cooldown and jump on a ticking time bomb before it blows and does damage to the entire raid.
Just, amazes the shit out of me. “Why are you such a try hard?”
There is a group of people sitting here beside you, thinking you give a shit.
The better question is, “Why aren’t you?”