The bitter taste of defeat and people problems
You would not believe the hell of a week I had last week. I returned from a 5 day long business trip a few days and so haven’t really had much blogging time (after a 10 hour day in a hot loft space I wanted to kill stuff* not engage my brain for writing). So as I left just after the patch landed last week it was down to my friendly co-editor, Cantor, to give you chaps (and chappesses) a taste of what we were thinking. Now it’s my turn :)
The bitter taste of defeat…..
Over the last few months, we have, just like everyone else, been poking around in Firelands. We started a bit late, but managed to get to Ragnaros a few weeks ago. Initially our attempts seemed to be ok. Within 10 pulls we had hit P2, within 15 we were regularly getting to P2. With this in mind I had set up a little poll for my raiders regarding killing Raggy. The choices were;
- Kill Ragnaros no matter how long it takes
- Poke him for a few more nights and move on if we don’t get anywhere
- Drop FL like a hot rock the week DS is released.
Ultimately it had been decided to go with option 1. So we tried some more over a couple of raid nights and frankly we were fucking awful. There is no one person to blame, but for whatever reason the raid just didn’t seem to get the feel for it at all.
I don’t know if it was the distraction of 4.3, the fact that we were doing it simply for completion as the gear would be easily replaced or if was just that my casual raid team was sick of FL and sick of P1 Ragnaros.
Whatever the reason, we suddenly had trouble getting through the first transition phase. People were all over the place, no matter how we tried to organise things, used markers or whatever, the sons just did not get dealt with correctly. The first night I thought it was just a bad night, but after 3 nights of not consistently getting to P2 everyone was getting stressed and it was clear that we were not going to get Ragnaros down easily.
Obviously this was quite a downer as we had really thought that we would be able to get Ragnaros down, if not before 4.3 then not long after but it was now clear we were banging our heads against a wall. So I took a quick cast of votes from my raiders and we decided to just sod Raggy and move onto DS rather than bang on against him and delay our start of Dragon Soul.
Now to a lot of people out there this is no big deal. The attitude would be “so what? you were not good enough, get over it” and so on.
It isn’t that easy though, we had all worked together no matter who we had (we never force people to change their mains etc, we run with what we have pretty much regardless of balance) and fought our way through Firelands after a delayed start (we didn’t start until the beginning of September) and we had really felt that we were making good steady progress – we had got 2/7 (and nearly had Rhyo) before the nerfbat hit and then we had had a bad four weeks with people on holiday and such that meant I had to cancel 7 raid nights (we only raid twice a week), but despite this we had then gone on to clear 6/7 without too much trouble. We had reached Ragnaros with good morale and what we considered a reasonable expectation of downing him. We had also managed to get a few people through to 6/7 who had little to no raiding experience, and they were pleased they got to see the inside of FL and maybe some loot. So all in all, we were feeling pretty good when we got to 6/7.
However, to get there and then to seemingly hit a wall was exceptionally demoralising. Even though we ended up with no where near as many attempts as other guilds before we called it, the fact that we seemed to have it going ok and then suddenly we lost it was a huge kick in the teeth. It was frustrating that we knew we were decent players, we know our stuff and we have worked together as team no problem for some time now and then all of a suddenly it all goes to shit.
Even though my team is generally very good at not pointing the blame unfairly and they don’t get too angsty with each other, that doesn’t stop me feeling responsible for the team as a whole. After all, I am the raid leader – was the teams failing due to me? Possibly, possibly not, but it doesn’t prevent the paranoia – could I have done more to help the raid through? This is always the problem with a position like raid leading or being a GM; the ephemeral “stuff” about actual leading. It’s easy to identify certain problems with raid team e.g. standing in fire, not add switching etc. However, RL problems are not always as easy to spot and that also makes it so much easy to get paranoid about it if the group fails. So, while we were all unhappy and stressed by not downing Ragnaros, I feel like I got a double helping. /sigh
Then as if things couldn’t get any worse…….
On my way back to the hotel last week after a lovely Japanese meal (at which I also got a very provincial guildie to try an assortment of raw fish!), I suddenly was bombarded with texts all at once. It would appear that in my absence Otaku ahd decided to implode. I won’t go into messy details, but the short story is that a guildie and the GM have rubbed each other up the wrong way for some time now. As a good friend to both, generally I have defused any major situations and we have moved on. This time however, the GM snapped and just kicked the guildie in question.
In turn this spawned a mass exodus of virtually all the regular guild members and the vast majority of my raid team. So I get back to the hotel and log in to find a barrage of /w, calls to go on vent for one party and calls to go on skype for the other and so on. Basically as a friend to both sides, as well the 2IC and RL for the guild, I was informed that the direction both parties would take would be pretty much based on my stance on the whole thing. Thanks guys, no pressure.
The reason this was so difficult was that on the one hand I had a guild I have been a member of since only a few months after starting to play (so nearly 3 years), and over those years I had gone from a lowly little warrior who knew nobody and nothing to the player I am today. After my first summer there, I was promoted to officer and then 2IC, between us the GM and I plugged away and slowly built up Otaku into a well known and respected guild with a decent raiding team of friends. If anyone asked, I honestly loved that guild and saw Otaku as my home until WoW died, and even then it would probably still be my home but in whatever game we all moved too. However, with the exception of just a couple of people, everyone I would consider as a true part of that experience had suddenly gone. Suddenly Otaku was a hollow shell with just a name and a few regular people to keep it open.
So on the other hand, I had a loose bunch of around 12 people who I was friends with IRL as well, who chatted with me on vent, listened to my IRL bitching (and I theirs), who had raided since ICC with me and a whole host of other things. I was close enough to some to consider them family.
What to do? No matter what I chose to do, some people would be upset – either my larger group of friends who felt that they were missing a major part of the group if my wife and I were not with them, or my GM and guild who would feel equally upset if I turned my back on them and left after all we had been through.
So for 48 hours I sat on the fence amidst an ever tangling web of ventrilo and skype conversations, text messages, emails and forum posts. I had told each party that I would not do anything rash or without thinking. I wanted all pertinent information from everyone regarding their plans and how they wanted to proceed either with or without me.
Finally I had to make a decision. In the end I chose to leave Otaku behind and form a new guild with my friends who had left. Was it easy to do? Hell no, I spent over an hour chatting with my GM about this and explaining that ultimately it wasn’t a choice between 2 people, but between a group of 12+ friends and my team on one side, and a couple of people and a pretty dead guild on the other. In a few years time, the guild would be gone anyway, but some of my team I felt would be friends for life. Do I think I made the right choice? To be brutally honest I have no fucking idea. I have never actually run a guild “properly” and I may end up not being that good, we may end up as nothing more than another tiny guild who tries to do as much together as possible, we shall see. Am I happy? Again, hell no. It wasn’t a choice between loosing a eye or not loosing a eye, but a choice between loosing the right or the left. I knew that no matter what I did, I would feel guilty, some people would feel betrayed and let down and I would possibly lose the support and respect of some of my fellow guildies. I really am not a “people” person and social stuff makes me panic like nothing else so this was a few days or sheer hell and left me feeling totally drained and exhausted and still unsure of if I did the right thing.
So we got together and formed Peep Derple, hopefully we will now be able to put this behind us and move on. The one nice thing after the downer that was the two events mentioned above was that the night we formed Peep Derple, we had a little raid time so we hit DS and managed to down the first two without a wipe. Kat even got some MS and OS loot. Further discussions on that will be saved for another day though as we progress further.
Then I realised I still hadn’t updated my guide to 4.3 and that I now had to organise a new website, forum, vent server and so on.
*by kill I ofc mean heal other people while they kill stuff :D