Visualizing and Achieving Success in a Virtual World
Today’s discussion topic is going to be a little different from my normal posts. This is going to be more of a brain dump as I analyze WoW with a management/leadership mindset. There is probably not going to be a start, middle, or end, and some of it may or may not follow any logic. So, bear with me. – Miri
World of Warcraft is a funny beast. It’s been studied by people in many different professions, espousing the logic behind what makes gamers tick, how we work together, etc. Even I have given presentations to my office about WoW and the Flawless Execution process.
But what does it all mean? How does this impact or affect a raid team? How can this help make you (or you in turn make your raid team) better players? How can you achieve success as a team? How do you evaluate performance? How do you handle the low performers? The list can go on and on, and I could ramble for hours about it. But the realization that a Raid Leader, or a Guild Master, doesn’t have a WoW job that ends when they end the raid or log out of the game. A good RL and a good GM will continue to hone their craft outside of WoW.
So..let’s talk management and how I handle things.
So, the Flawless Execution model is something that we implement at work. It also makes perfect sense in WoW. Let’s break it down:
I’m going to completely leave out the management speak associated to those four bullet points, but any good GM or RL should be able to look at those points and say “Hey, I do that on progression nights!” A good GM or RL should be able to say that, but it’s even better if your raid team has open (and comfortable) communication to discuss and fine tune the raid’s success. Remember, there is no “I” in TEAM.
Before any progression night, I go and I watch a video, or multiple videos of that boss fight. I’ll read the fight on WoWHead and on Icy Veins. I’ll make notes about specifics. I look to see if I can find specific fight information for a tank–if I should be swapping gear sets around, if there’s a glyph option I should be targeting, etc.
When we get to that boss in the raid, I’m ready to discuss ideas with my fellow raiders. Is there positioning we should be aware of (Domo/Ragnaros)? Is there something we can practice before we engage the boss (Crystal swapping on Bale)? Are there distance limitations we should visualize (Shannox)?
This can also include diagrams to help the raid understand where they should and shouldn’t be! When researching diagram data for Beth’tilac, I actually learned the spiderling spawn points, which completely changed how I handled the Drones. Remember, knowledge is power. If you’re the only one coming prepared to your raid, you’re probably going to be a fairly unhappy camper by the time the raid is over. You also probably won’t have much success if you’re shouldering that much of the responsibility.
This can be as simple as the team agreeing on a strat for the fight. You want everyone on the same page going into a fight–if not, you’re going to have a clusterfuck and a repair bill on your hands fairly quickly. Let’s be honest–we’ve all gone and read a strat and said, “okay guys! This is how we’re going to do this!” I remember us doing it in BC! But that strat worked for someone else. Not saying it won’t work for you–but you know your group’s synergy–you know what works and what doesn’t. If your mage doesn’t have spatial awareness, you probably don’t want to send them up on Alys. Don’t send your mage up just because a guide says they sent their mage up. My strats on this blog are purely me capturing was worked for TTGF. It’s not an end-all-be-all, but a highlight of how we do things. If it works for your team, then great! That means I write stuff at a high enough level that others can digest it and reapply it to their own raid teams. And then my job as a blogger is done.
If your raid team can work out specifics before you even get to the boss, you’re doing well. A healthy guild forum will always have some random thread going about how to handle an upcoming boss fight. With all the tools currently available to WoW raiders, there’s no reason that a lot of these things can’t be figured out early on.
It’s not just a warrior talent (Execute). The execution phase is obviously important–if all goes well, there’s loot involved! Your goal is to have a clean execution of a boss fight. People don’t stand in bad and die (and thus need a battle rez), healers don’t go OOM. Everyone times their CD usage well (and actually USES their CDs). Now, a clean execution will come with time–as you become a pro at a boss fight–but even the best are still maligned by issues which can result in a messy kill.
Some will say “a kill is a kill,” and that logic is fine. But why do something messy when you can do it well? A good team will work together to guarantee success.
A debrief can take place anytime. It can be short and simple as you run back to your corpse (there have been LOTS of times that you’ll hear “Raz, what killed you?” in vent as we are working our way back to Rag). It can be a full blown analysis on the guild forums after a rough night. It can be an adhoc discussion in vent while running a 5-man. TTGF does all these things–it helps us better understand each other and how we mesh together. If you don’t feel comfortable debriefing with some, or all, of your raid team, you’re not in a healthy place.
So, we’ve walked through Flawless Execution for your raid team–now, how do you visualize that success so you CAN be successful? Do you walk through the fight in your head, do you watch a video and imagine you in it? Do you imagine getting the achievement for finishing the raid tier? Or getting your shoulders or helm to sport proudly in your home city. Only you will know how you visualize success. Set a goal, work towards it.
The one thing to remember is that you’re on a TEAM. You can visualize your own success, but in order to achieve it, you need to work as a team. A good raid team will each pull their own weight in order for the TEAM to succeed.
So how do you do that? Here’s how I help out myself and my raid team:
- I use my OCD to keep the herb tab stocked to the max in our gbank so we always have mats for our Guild Cauldrons
- I fish up my buff food before raid, making sure I have at LEAST a stack going in to a progression night
- I carry 2 stacks of all elixirs at any given time
- I run randoms and cap my VP every week -EVERY DAMN WEEK-
- I run guildies through Heroics even after I’m capped to help them cap
- I have all my gear sets organized in my bank and ready to pull for each raid night
- Keep up with current theorycrafting
- Proof seen as me leveling JC in 24 hours and spending an evening with a spreadsheet and a calculator determining how I needed to regem
And I still have time to do dumb things, like naked dungeon runs, the ability to write long winded blog posts, and sleep (sometimes).
It could be said that if you’re not willing to exert the effort then you shouldn’t be a raider. I don’t raid “casually.” I raid 2 nights a week, and I bring my focus and my energy those two nights. I bring the best of me to those nights for the 9 other people involved. I hope that they are willing to do the same for me. Just because I went from raiding 25s 4 nights a week in BC, and 10s and 25s 4 nights a week in Wrath doesn’t mean I feel that 2 nights a week is nothing. Would I raid more? Sure. But I don’t have any desire to run the same raid on multiple characters. I did 10s and 25s in Wrath. I saw so much of Maly, Sarth, and Naxx that I wanted to scream as a healer. My mindset is that of a tank–I don’t change roles well!
BUT (getting back on topic here), even if your guild is only raiding 2 nights a week, you should STILL put forth the effort to earn your slot. You should help with mats, or with crafting, or with runs. If you play at odd hours, you should take responsibility to get your VP yourself. Don’t ask your husband/wife/brother/sister/cousin to play your character and gear them. The fastest way to end up on a GM (or RL’s) shitlist is to pull crap like that. Don’t waste my time. I always hated signing on and thinking I was talking to one player and it was soandso’s wife farming for them while they were at work (dead serious, this happened ALL the time). You basically are dead in my mind and the furthest from a raid invite in the future.
This especially holds true if you’re one of the recipients of the Legendary for the expansion. Your guild is helping you achieve an enormous feat–and you are getting to wield a weapon that very few will have. If you can’t make sure you’re helping your guild do the best that they can in raid (mats/crafting/capping your VP), then honestly, you’re not the best recipient for a Legendary. If you can’t be bothered to take care of yourself for a Tier, where your guildies are putting themselves to the max to help you achieve a Feat of Strength, then why should your GM or RL expect you to even stick around for the following Tier(s)? Prove that you’re in it for the long run. Prove that you value the contributions your guildies are putting forth by putting forth the effort to be the best that you can.
Pull your weight, help out your guild. Research your role, research your upcoming fights, study the outputs (World of Logs funtimes!) of your fights. Make yourself the best player you can, and you’ll always have a place in a GM and RL’s heart.
This post is in no way directed to any member of my guild or raid team–just an overall observation as I watch words fly across my screen via WoWHead, Twitter, and MMO-Champion.