Site Meter Curse of Senility: The Online Equivalent of a Major Life Decision

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Online Equivalent of a Major Life Decision

As I mentioned in my last post, I was forced to disband my raid group recently, largely due to scheduling problems. And since then, I haven't logged in much. I didn't even participate in Noblegarden--so that's at least another year until I can get my hands on the violet-proto drake. It's actually kinda funny; I always get into a slump this time of year. This is the third Children's Week since I started playing the game, but I've never actually participated before. Though, since there's no Children's Week achievements directly related to finding a new raid group, I guess I'm pretty off topic right now.

Raiding with friends is great. Sitting down with 10 of my pals and trying to take out 'Count Monsterton, the Evilest of the Bridge Trolls,' is part of why this game still holds any appeal to me at all. Unfortunately, schedules don't reconcile with one another just because people are friends, not unless everybody thinks it's important enough to plan their lives around. I've spent the last 18 months, off and on, trying to schedule raids with tanks who quit the game or have to spend every other weekend obliging their family, DPS whose work schedules fluctuate so much that it's impossible to raid with them unless you're willing to change the time of the raid every week, and healers who have to get up at 7 in the morning to make it to our 3pm raids, due to time differences. It doesn't work. I've tried every reasonable course of action I can think of, but half the time or more I end up sitting in /2 recruiting DPS who have deluded themselves into thinking that their 900 DPS is actually 4k DPS.

The worst part of it is that these players are not just my friends, they're the best damn tanks, healers, and DPS I know. I wish I could have them there on every run, because when I can actually get them into the same raid with one another, things are amazing. This is a group that full cleared Naxx in two attempts, even with some of our best players missing. But without consistency, it becomes difficult to maintain the level of knowledge I feel Blood Pact deserves.

So I'm faced with a simple question: how do I get the raiding I need? There are really only two answers. The first is most obvious: join a raid group. Or, failing that, start my own raid group. Of course, I could just wait around in trade every week for somebody to starting shouting "LFG DPS," but I don't think I need to waste my weekly wordcount on explaining why that's a bad idea. So, we come to the meat of the article. Join a raid group, or start one?

Join a Raiding Group


1) A lot less work for me than the alternative. Which is good, because I'm a rather busy fellow.

2) Easier to shop around. If I join a raid group, run with them a couple times, and discover they suck, then it's no big deal. I tell them thanks, but it's not for me, and I shop around a bit more.

3) Experienced players. I'm not arrogant enough to think I'm the best. Hardly, there is a lot I could learn about how to raid and how to play. Not every group is going to have much of substance to teach me, but thanks to point #2, I could make such a quality one of my search criteria.

4) A ready-made raid group would be proven. Unless I do a terrible job of selecting who to run with, then I can be relatively sure I'll be able to clear significant amounts of content right off of the bat.


1) Loot distribution isn't up to me. I'm quite used to, what I consider, the perfect loot system. I've never actually run into another guild that used it, though I know at least some other people do. Finding those people might be difficult though.

2) If something is going horribly wrong, then all I can do is make a suggestion. If the raid leader doesn't like it, I have to deal with mounting repair bills while he fumbles to find a solution.

3) Availability. Most good raid groups have spots that open and close as applicants join, and groups that accept anybody anytime are usually absolutely atrocious. This might make Pro-point #2 a bit difficult.

4) I'm a leader. That's not to say that I'm the best leader, but being in charge of a project causes the project to bring me an immeasurably larger amount of pleasure (or pain) than simply being a component part of the project does. That's not to say I can't handle being subordinate, nor that I can't enjoy being a subordinate. It's just not my strong suit.

Screenshots haven't worked so well since 3.1, but here's a picture of me, as the only member of my potential new guild, rocking the DPS meter in Kara!

Start a Raiding Group


1) I like being the guy in charge. And sure, it sucks balls when I fail to do things right, I've demonstrated in the past that I can do things right.

2) Any success is something I can feel much more proud of than I would be able to if I joined a raid group rather than formed my own.

3) Loot distribution will be up to me, so I'll be able to stick with the system I'm most comfortable with.

4) I can continue raiding with those members of my old raiding group who are able to commit to the raiding times I set.


1) Mistakes are my mistakes. Obviously I can't know everything, and sometimes things just...go wrong. But if a group is bad, then it's the raid leader's fault for putting together a bad group.

2) I would need to do somewhere between a shit ton and a fuck ton of work to keep everything running smoothly.

3) It would take a lot of time to actually get a group together.

4) Even if I force everybody in the raid to go through an interview process that includes a few heroics, I can't be sure of how well they'll work together in a larger group.

I've been wrestling with this decision for a week now, and I'm still no closer to a real decision. At first, I was determined to find a raid group I liked, and try to join it. It would be fast, and I would finally be relieved of all the stress that had built up over the last few weeks. But at the same time, I knew I was coming off of a string of failures, and wasn't in the best emotional state to make that decision. It didn't take much time for me to realize how much I would hate dealing with being some other raid leader's subordinate. It's a weakness of mine, but it's not one I can simply wish away.

Over the last week, I've been talking with friends who have known me and raided with me for a long time about what they think I should do. One of my friends told me that I should join another raiding group, at least for awhile. His rationale was that I could learn a lot about how other people manage their groups, and it would help me progress more quickly than starting my own group would. Another friend finds the idea of me playing any part in a raid other than leading--or at least assistant leading--almost laughable. Talking to her, I'm surprised my pals haven't organized an intervention for my power addiction.

Even without input from my friends, I've had a tough time settling on a decision. For the last seven months or so, I've had a lot of ideas I wanted to implement in a new raiding group, and this is a golden opportunity to put those ideas into practice. But the process of finding people interested in joining the group, making sure they're fit to be part of the group, and getting started on clearing content will take time. A lot of time. A problem I wouldn't have if I joined another person's group.

Whatever I choose, it needs to be soon. I haven't killed KT in almost a month, and that's just silly. Haven't even seen Ulduar yet.

Any suggestions would be keen.


  1. I would join one in the interim- you at least get moving until you make a permanent decision. Perhaps you'll enjoy the relaxation from the stress of command; perhaps it'll drive you so mad you'll wonder why you considered it. Even if you wind up fed up and forming your own, you at least will have a better grasp of potential pitfalls- and you might meet some other kickass healers/ tanks/ dps that you otherwise wouldn't have.

    Just my thought.

  2. Well, it sounds to me like you're feeling pressured as to what to do due to Blood Pact needing things about Naxx and Ulduar - I know there were a few flames about your last post, which was catering to the less-hardcore people. So my first point is don't worry about that, because people are rude and impatient, and I doubt WI is going to fire you for not discussing Ulduar right away like every other writer there.

    I really feel that you'd prefer setting up your own group. That's the certainly the impression you give, and provided you can put in the time and work, this seems like the best option, as you can get everything the way you want it - if the main problem is going to be time, and the how long it might take, then don't worry about that, like I said in the above paragraph.

    Simply put, do what you want, which seems to be setting up your own. Run a feature over at WI about something for a few weeks, and promise them an Ulduar guide coming soon, or similar.

    Keep up the good work regardless!


  3. Good points on both sides of the issue so far. Thanks for commenting.

    Since Veliaf brought it up, I guess I should clarify my motives a bit.

    While it's true that my desire to start raiding again soon is motivated significantly by my desire to provide content for Blood Pact, rude comments left on my column aren't the reason for that. I always try to take criticism seriously, but sometimes criticism is wrong. And those who criticize me for not being in Ulduar yet are wrong.

    The real fact of the matter is that Blood Pact is the best job I've ever had. It's fun, challenging, and a great learning experience. I want to make the most of it that I can, and finding a raid group is part of that.

    But your advice still stands--if I rush into a situation I'm unhappy with, the long term results may be more detrimental than taking it slow and creating a situation I'm happy with would be.

  4. I think, on many levels, that you should wait and try to form your own raid group. I'm not trying to be insulting, but comments like "I'm quite used to, what I consider, the perfect loot system," "If the raid leader doesn't like it, I have to deal with mounting repair bills while he fumbles to find a solution," etc., indicate that you are not happy unless you are in charge, and that you have a very direct "my way or the highway" leadership style. My immediate sense from reading this (as an officer in a casual guild that has cleared Naxx-25) is that you'll probably be the guy who's constantly nit-picking and second-guessing the raidleader, other people's gear/talents/rotation/buffs, etc, and the current content doesn't require that much micromanagement. (except for Hard-mode Ulduar, perhaps) If you can put together a group that can handle that kind of attitude, by all means, do so, but I expect that may prove difficult.

  5. If I may be so bold as to give an opinion of myself, your analysis is very much off, anon. In fact, the most consistent comment I've gotten from people who've been in my raids is that they're fun to be in.

    Obviously though, it's my fault for giving the wrong impression in my post. If that's what you read, then in some sense, that's what I wrote.

  6. Ah, I don't think anon meant anything derogatory by it. What I believe they meant was that you sound like the kind of person who likes to lead - and of course you said that - and so they reckoned you should wait and start your own group as you'd be happier. The examples given just made it sound like they were having a go at you. Although, they do seem to contradict themselves at the end of the post...

    Anyway, it's good to know you're handling the criticism well, and I still feel that starting your own group is for the better. Surely there are benefits in organizing your own raids as opposed to following the guild's? You can pick days, timings, people, the instance, etc. If Blood Pact needs Ulduar-talk, you can run Ulduar. If you want to write about Sarth2D, randomly, you can schedule that. There's just more freedom, which would benefit your job, surely.

  7. my opinion... i think that even though you like to be in charge...maybe you should let go for a bit and see how others do it - both the good and the bad. that would give you more of a starting platform for starting your own raid group and may even help you find some new people that you work well with. i don't necessarioy think it would be bad to try and form your own right away, but i think it would lead to some unnecessary frustration that could be avoided by playing the field a bit first. just my opinion though, i am sure you will figure it out! ^_^

  8. Speaking as a 'leader', I doubt you would be happy in a raid group for a long time. I lead raids, when I did not lead raids, I would get frustrated with the way it was done. I lead a guild, when I did not lead one, and was a member, then officer, I would get frustrated as well.

    Leading is a lot of work, there is no way around that. But the amount of work beats the amount of frustration that comes from not really having a voice, at least for me.

    And you know what... if you are structured, and you have 2 or more good officers backing you up, it's quite okay.

    I am guildleader of a very big RP guild that raids about 2-3 times a week, and has 1-2 RP events per week. I have a fairly busy real life, you know, a balanced one. But I pull it off. Why? because I have one dependable co-leader. yes, 2 people in charge of 100+, and it works fine. We have no drama, none, zero. Because people are happy. Of course I get tired sometimes, and it wears me down, so I log off, watch television, and the next day I am good to go again. I think you are too much of a leader to be happy following. Of course I do not know you personally, but I know your type, I am your type, so speaking from my own experience, I would start the own guild, not follow someone else.