The lull and burnout, slacking raiders

I’ve noticed these topics being discussed more recently: burnout, slacking raiders, low attendance, and poor morale. Pre-expansion, it’s something we all expected. The summer in the northern hemisphere also correlates with raiding problem, since for some reason beyond my comprehension, people want to go outdoors and not play WoW.

True geeks have no life outside their cave.

Jokes aside, the impact of all these factors can be personal and upsetting. It’s also inconvenient. Finding a new guild can be tough, and it’s hard to judge their raid standard when you’re effectively in an “off season”.

In the forums we’ve had two threads which included some real gems of advice I wanted to draw out here on the blog.

One thread dealt with people playing badly. Not bringing their A-game anymore. Khaas, a hardcore tank, wielder of Shadowmourne and one of the most chronic overachievers I know, had this in reply.

I wanted to say something to this, because I feel like I’ve gone through very similar circumstances.

I’m reminded of something that happened to us while working on Hard Mode Sindragosa 25, now we’ve killed her regular mode just fine for a long time now. And this week was our first work on her in Hard Mode. We discussed the mechanical differences of Hard Mode and worked out our strategy. For regular we’ve just had marked people fan out at the bottom of the stairs before Ice Blocks. In Hard Mode however we adopted a 2 x 2 x 2 approach. First two marks side by side – up front. And the next set behind those, and the next set behind those. First couple of tries there were some issues with execution but nothing to write home over. After about 3 attempts someone began to call for normal mode.

Now, we only raid 8 hours per week (Tues and Thurs for four hours each), Thursday we have RS, Valithria, Sindragosa, and Lich King. We still had nearly 3 hours left by the time the complaints for “Normal Mode” started. So, I took to Vent with my verdict: “I don’t expect us to kill Sindy in Hard this week, because some of you obviously don’t care about it. But this raid’s got 2 and a half hours left, and if you want to see Lich King loot you’ll execute these Ice Blocks as directed. If you can’t accomplish this simple task you don’t deserve anymore loot this week. And if you don’t like that, you’re welcome to leave. I’m done with lowering expectations… you guys can do better than this.” I further let them know that if they executed the blocks properly and we still failed, I would set it to normal and we’d burn through. But if they didn’t execute the blocks they weren’t going to get anywhere tonight.

Apparently that got their attention. Next attempt we got her to half, people hit their marks and honestly I think we could’ve taken her out with another couple of tries. But I’m a man of my word, they executed the maneuver. I gave them a “hell yeah, that’s what I like to see” over Vent and set it to Normal Mode. We ground her into the dirt, then one shot LK. We still left ICC early, and everyone in the raid learned a valuable lesson.

It’s tough times right now for a lot of people. But as ever, I’m a believer in balance. Be firm, don’t let people settle. And be fair, one more attempt means one more attempt. If you do adopt a similar stance, don’t flinch from it. Or you’ll undo everything you’ve worked for.

Brilliant. I love that. It takes some intestinal fortitude to draw a line based on expectations, and standards, but he did it. Great leadership.

The second thread was started by Brangwen, one of my favourite boss-strategy bloggers. I need her to be in a good guild so she can write strategies for Cataclysm! She’d had a rough time in her guild, with the atmosphere being like a vortex of doom. The replies included how some guilds have reduced their focus to just a few nights a week, or deliberately do fun things to keep up spirits.

Right now it’s tough to be a GM. My guild’s fine (I’m not even an Officer, it’s a nice break). However I know that many guilds are struggling to get through this lull. A few people on twitter talked about burnout too.

Personally, because I’m in the beta, I’ve got a lot to do. If I wasn’t in beta, I’d probably be levelling an alt to pass the time… and I don’t even like levelling.

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