Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A Hardcore Guild in its True Sense

Yesterday was One of Those Nights. I think you know what I mean.

On nights like this you’ll have to make an emergency switch to another vent server, since the original won’t work as intended. Nights like this “something” seems to be going on with half of the raid - players turning up late, disconnecting, getting unexplainable lag spikes, being unlucky or just “out of shape”, unable to bring their A-game.

It all adds up and even if you try ever so hard to keep up the focus, you will see your raid session effectively chopped into mince meat because of all the interrupts. Time passes quickly, but the flow won’t appear, and you don’t seem to get anywhere apart from possibly going backwards compared to last raid.

Yeah, it was one of those nights.

Hope and disappointment
I wrote a while ago that we had wiped 38 times on LK. By now I’ve lost track on it, but I would easily estimate that it’s the double or even more, and it has gone from the “we’re still learning the encounter” stage over to something closer to “why haven’t we killed him yet?" rage. We should be done with this by now, or at least we should flawlessly enter the final phase on every single attempt. And yet we aren’t.

Last week the ICC buff went up to 15 percent and the difference was noticeable as we more or less steamrolled through the first 11 bosses Thursday night. And I believe this adds to the disappointment after the futile efforts to down him during the Sunday and Tuesday night. We know how to do this by now and we definitely should have the necessary dps for it. But for some reason we lack a bit in the execution, playing below what we have set as our standard.

Before the raid start yesterday we were pretty optimistic about the outcome. This was it. This would be our last week of (apart from LK) rather unchallenging normal modes in ICC. How we longed to finally start working our way through the herioic modes! It was just this mean guy stopping us from it, but not for any longer. We had made the final tweaks on our strategy for phase five on the forums and victory was within our grasp. Little did we realize that this would be One of Those Nights.

The higher you aim, the harder you fall.

Revealing the true nature
When you have nights as this, your guild can easily slip into a state of apathy, particularly with the end-of-expansion-blues currently spreading in the game.

It’s in those moments that your guild will reveal its true nature. How does it look beneath the surface – are you solid when you’re put at trial? Are you a hardcore guild in its true sense – meaning that you have a core that will endure and find ways to overcome the challenges? Or are there squishies among you, players who get cranky, bitter, blaming others, not taking responsibility or just hiding away from the problems when the success doesn’t come easily?

I have every reason in the world to believe that our core is solid. We’re looking over our performances once again, we're checking if there are smaller tweaks we can make to improve our strats and we’re extending our ID next week in order not to waste any more raiding time on farmed content – it isn’t gear that we’re lacking. We’re more determined than ever to move forward into the hardmodes.

This morning as I checked out our guild forums, I didn’t just find the first reflections about our night before. I also find this little video, posted under the headline “Are you prepared?”

It’s obviously a teaser for our upcoming two-year anniversary. The one we had last year was so well done that it even was highlighted at, so the expectations on our officers are huge.

And the fact that they’re putting this up, right after One of Those Nights is a sign of high class.

We’re a hardcore guild, in its true sense.

And LK will die too, no doubt about that.


Edawan said...

My guild is not hardcore. :'(

We've been working on LK for a few weeks now, and we've had quite a few people who stopped showing up, who conveniently "don't have fun in wow anymore".

Ironically it's mostly the "leet" guys, the people who were always quick to point at other people's mistakes, to complain when someone's under-performing a bit, that disappeared.
Apparently we're not good enough for them, so instead they pug ICC or show up for farm content. -_-

Grimmtooth said...

Well, glad it wasn't just us having "one of those nights" last night.

Somebody must have spilled a few barrels of fail on the internets. It washes right off, though.

Here's to a better night tonight :)

Anonymous said...

Ever notice how "those nights" occur more frequently on server maintenance days? :)

Seriously, bummer to hear last night was one of "those" nights for you and yours. As you know, when they do occur they truly suck; however, you also know how good it feels when the raid goes perfectly. Keep you head up, kiddo, 'tis only a matter of time. Most importantly, it was good to see how your guild responded positively.

Unfortunately, I wish my guild was that hardcore - have had two (2) officers \gquit in the 3 weeks I have been a member and found out that 2 more had quit the week before I joined. Ugggh, WTB full disclosure when switching guilds.


Tam said...

I very much like your reclamation of the term 'hardcore'. Obviously we're not working on the same content as you but when we have Those Nights I am deeply reassured that people don't break into bitching and bitterness.


AnToXa said...

Oh we had this i think, back in the days when ToC was relevant and we were wiping on Anub25Hard. The same feeling, why the [censored] haven't we killed this yet, stupid stupid silly mistakes (that are specially disheartening when fight just starts in phase3 anyway).

But looking back, it's tests (and shapes) your leadership most of all. I'm pretty sure we owe our kill to our GM/RL for the most of it, he kept pushing us, staying calm, being focused and never despairing (not in public maybe).

And looking back... second kill is almost always much easier than first one, so you'll be laughing about it in a week or two :) keep the spirit up.

Rhoanna said...

The Lich King is probably the first fight in ICC where a single mistake by a single player can wipe the raid - thanks to defile.

It really means that a hardcore core is not enough. This can get quite frustrating for everyone concerned.

I'm sure he'll go down for you soon, though!

Anonymous said...

The thing with LK is that the fight has a very steep learning curve and a huge skill check in the middle of the fight : quite quickly the P1 and first transition are mastered. P2 is the raidkiller, we were stalled for two weeks with my guild on that phase, trying everything to not get the huge defiles, to avoid learn how to deploy enough DPS on the Valkyr...
One day it all clicked for P1 / P2, we were thinking it would take at least one more night of tries to master P3 and then on the very last attempt we went into P2-P3 transition with 25 alive people for the very first time, our healers had devised a working strategy to deal with harvest soul on previous less good attempts...

The first Vile spirit wave takes 5 people out of the picture, the second one takes 3, at this point everybody is still in learning-mode, let's see what works, what doesn't, I yell to everyone to kite the spirits and the raid slowly dies one by one...

Actually the raid dies very slowly, I take a look at the HP of Lich King and find him at 17%, there are still 13 people alive and I yell at the raid that it's doable, slowly the HP bar goes down in between marathon sessions of spirit kiting, Lich King enrages following a dead harvest soul, MT1 is one-shooted, MT2 blows cooldown and BAM, everyone is dead...

Musta been one of the most surprising first kill ever...

icbleu said...

=D You are so lucky to have such a great guild with whom you can enjoy the game.

My guild, while seemingly further along in progression, is filled with 'squishies' in key positions. Those of us that enjoy progression nights and work hard to remain focused and effective kinda drag them through the content. I figure that they stay for the glory and the loot.

>>> WTB a guild with mature hard core raiders.<<<

Cheers on your IMPENDING LK kill =D

Gronthe said...

My guild's raiding performances often look like a decrescendo notation on sheet music.

We start off great, strong, powerful, then taper off into moaning, irritation, and soft & squishy performances.

Of course I'm not talking about myself, I'm perfect! :)

I've seen squishies before, and I really don't understand the mentality. Maybe they have never had to overcome anything in RL, so when faced with challenges in a game their true self is revealed.

I know you and your guild will down Mr. Arthas, it's good to see ya'lls are hardcore patient.

Larísa said...

@Edawan: :(
It's funny that those leet people turn out to be so squishy and whiny sometimes. To only sign up for farm content... that is just pathetic imo.

: hehe... thanks. No raid tonight, but I'll bear your good-luck-toast in mind for the Thursday raid.

: actually the maintenance day in Europe is Wednesday nights, when we normally don't raid (and yeah, servers tend to be nervous those nights when there has been a patch.)
However maybe Tuesdays are bad for lag because the server desperately is longing for arest and some care?
It's a theory.

@Tam: Thanks! I believe that a truly "hardcore" attitude according to my own definition may appear in guilds spread out over all of the scale from supposedly "casual" to "hardcore". It hasn't necessarily have to do with how progressed you are. It's about what you make out of it.

@AnToXa: yeah, it's definitely a trial for the leaders more than for anyone else. I feel horribly bad about letting them down. They definitely don't deserve this. But as you say... we'll soon get out of this tunnel and see the light again. Can't wait for it!

@Rhoanna: well, we're managing defiles better than before. A lot better. But there always seem to be something new coming up and above all individuals missing out on something. And as you say there's absolutely no margin for that kind of errors in this fight.

: hehe, grats! We've had him at 17 percent at the best, not in the failed Tuesday raid though. But soon, soon he'll fall, for sure!

@Icbleu: yes, I'm fortunate indeed. Regarding your description of your guild I seriously doubt you'll survive as a 25 man guild in Cataclysm. It sounds as if your progressed minded players would be better off making a focused 10 man team.

@Gronthe: I honestly think you're right about the age thing. I think that if you're a bit older and more jaded and have been through some stuff in RL you have learned more about endurance and become a bit more thick skinned than the younger squishies. I know I'm generalizing terribly now, but I think there is some truth in it. Younger players on the other hand will overtrumph the old people with quicker reactions.

Archaius said...

Dont loose hope, persevere and you will eventually huddle around his corpse in an entranced dance, while you pilfer his body for his purbles.
It will happen one day, and when it does,I assure you it will be a very excilarating experience.

Fairwell ,Archaius!

Calli said...

His ass is grass and you're a teeny pint-sized rocket-powered lawnmower! He's going down!

Perdissa said...

We had one of those nights last night on our third 10-man LK attempt. For some reason, my toddler kept having nightmares and woke up cranky and crying several times. Since both my wife and I were in the raid, it was very disruptive to the raid as either of us had to run off to coax him back to sleep. To add to that, a few people had DC, lag spikes and add-on problems.

I felt really bad for being one of the main causes of a lot of waiting, but its comforting that no one threw a hissy fit or made snide remarks when this kind of thing happens.