So as I’ve been flitting from post to post to post among the priestly community here on the blogosphere, there has been one prevalent theme amongst them all. Ulduar is fun, but it’s rough and most fights result in multiple wipes. Plenty of guilds are butting their heads against bosses and spending whole nights trying their best to get them down with mixed results. Because of this, plenty of guilds are becoming reacquainted with an old friend that they may not have seen too much since the days of BC raiding, the Mighty Reaper, Wiper of Guilds, and Crusher of Newbs.
Another consensus that seems to be floating about regarding this ugly friend though is that some people are glad to see him again. The constant threat of danger and ever growing challenge of the content is perceived as a good thing by a raiding community that feels a lot of people have grown soft suckling at the teat of easy lewtz that was Naxxramas. It’s also serving to slowly bring into light areas where people need improvement and maybe problem people in the guilds who just aren’t going to be able to cut the mustard as far as Ulduar is concerned. Yes, for the moment, wiping on bosses is back in style and it seems to be serving it’s purpose.
But there is a limit. When a raid group sits down and hashes out the strats for a coming encounter for the first time and a majority of the people who are there are doing it for the first time, there’s a sense of excitement. People want to see how things work, want to throw their heals or dps around and feel like they’re making a difference in the raid group. Then the first wipe comes. It’s all gravy though. Maybe one person showed themselves to not be listening in vent, or a couple were so occupied with how awesome that boss looks when it engages in phase 2 that they let their dps slip slightly.
It’s not too big of a deal, because no one expects to one shot a boss the first time they’ve ever seen it. Then comes the second wipe. Hopefully people are not doing the same things like standing in a fire or getting distracted by unimportant fight mechanics. Maybe the fight is explained again for those who weren’t paying close attention the first time, but either way people might seem to be getting it at least and moving in the right direction. Then comes the third wipe and now things are becoming a little clearer.
Perhaps raider X is constantly dying to a fire because he just doesn’t realize how quickly you have to move out of it. Maybe someone is too concerned with movement, knowing that to stand still for too long could mean death, so their dps is suffering for it. The multiple wipes might even start to let you know who needs better gear or who has issues with raider awareness, but no matter what, the point is that wiping can be a good thing. It’s part of the process of beginning to understand how to accomplish a fight and where your strengths and weaknesses lie and every good guild needs to know that. Once weak links become obvious, they also become easier to fix.
But there is another side to wiping besides improvement. I can lead to the most vile and wicked of all beasts, one that every good raider fears because of it’s abilities to rip guilds apart. I speak, of course, of the dreaded Drama Llama. In the beginning wiping is part of the game, but once you hit the first, second or third hour of wiping, people begin to lose the attitude of “how can we improve?” and start to morph that to “ok, who’s fucking up?”. When the baleful eye of officers starts landing on repeat offenders with more and more weight, that’s when issues can arise.
Let’s face it, no one like to be called out, and certainly no one wants to be spoken to in a rude or accusatory tone. I know in my guild, the best way I can describe my officer’s attitudes is “no nonsense”. We have a couple who are a little harsher than the others, but they won’t unnecessarily call someone out or brow beat anyone and I have never seen them be unfair to any one raider. Usually it’ll consist of something along the lines of “Dueg, you’ve died in the fire on the first five attempts here (true story, sigh), you need to fix that”. Of course, this was true and I felt embarrassed and stupid about it myself and was already working to increase my raiding performance, but some people don’t see it that way.
You’ll have multiple types of personalities that will begin to surface at this point. But let me make this one hundred percent clear, if you blame your poor performance on another raider, either directly or indirectly, you are gearing up to be a drama llama. Nothing will get you on a healer’s blacklist (and yes, we do have them) quicker than excusing your death by saying “I didn’t get any heals”. Of course you didn’t get any heals, if you got heals, you’d be alive now, wouldn’t you? You’d also maybe have gotten them if you hadn’t stood in the fire that kills you in less than two seconds. Ahem, but I digress. The point is that if you’re making mistakes during wipes, you should own up to them and resolve to do better. If someone isn’t doing their job correctly, whether it’s tanks, heals or dps, it’s going to become obvious and people will know.
So now I ask you, gentle jerkwads, how goes the wiping for you so far? Is it something that’s improving your guild, slowly turning your group of raiders into well oiled machines who are ready for Yogg-Saron? Or is it slowly but surely revealing the cracks in your foundation by pointing out problem players or causing accusations to fly? Whatever the answer, I think there’s only one solution really, and that’s more cowbell.