An Annoyance

Those of you who are long-term readers may recall a post I made over a year ago. On November 9th, 2009, I posted about missing Apotheosis. That followed a post from June 4th, 2009 where I informed everyone to prevent me from doing the whole GM thing again. (And no one did. Typical! ;D)

Basically, I have been working to get Apotheosis back together for over a year.

A year.

While raiding from 11pm-2am with my RL friend the Resto Druid or 9pm-12am with Choice (in need of holy pallies for Cata!), I was also getting back in touch with people. Making plans. Setting up forums. Organizing people. Inviting people back to Apotheosis from my level 4 toon.

When Cataclysm launches on December 7th, that will be the real start of a new era in Apotheosis history. But all the work that went into ensuring there WOULD be a new era in Apotheosis history is crazy. It’s been a long, long road. Assembling officers. Checking in with people. Making sure people are still around and interested. More recently, interviews, loot rules, forums, recruitment videos, 10 and 25-man raids…

I’ve put a lot of effort into this over the last year and certainly a lot since 4.0 hit and I moved Madrana home to Eldre’Thalas.

None of this annoys me.

What annoys me is the people who clearly haven’t put a moment’s thought into expansion plans.

I’m talking about a mage app who applied with a bad spec, bad gems, bad gear and bad grammar who said they’d decided to make the mage their main. Really? Did you decide to make your mage your main five minutes ago? Looks that way from the effort you’ve put into the toon. Nice spirit gems, by the way, and that green trinket is just to die for.

I’m talking about guilds out there who haven’t started retooling their rosters and recruiting. Seriously? How have you not started to prepare, yet? I’ve been preparing for a YEAR and you, yes you, with your raid group that’s 11/12 ICC 25HM while working on HLK attempts, how are YOU less prepared than I am?

It’s true that when you’re running a guild, you have a lot less time to prepare for the future than someone who’s “just” a raider. I’m deluged in emails and private messages this week. I get it. But good leaders don’t assume anything. A good GM and officer team checks in with their members and keeps checking in. Just because I have… 39 people on my Google Docs spreadsheet does NOT mean that come the first planned raid date, we’ll have 39 people ready to raid.

I’ll have to make sure that everyone listed HAS the expansion and is over on Eldre’Thalas. I’ll have to make sure that everyone’s levelling at a reasonable rate or maybe drop them from consideration for that first raid. And depending on how hard it is to finish dungeons and heroics and gear up, we might even have to push our first raid date back a week or two.

This is what annoys me — I’m already working 3-4 weeks down the road and looking at problems that may arise. And so many people aren’t making plans, aren’t trying to work around potential problems, aren’t even bothering to discuss stuff.

I realize that plans aren’t that important in terms of RL priorities, especially during the holiday season, but if you play this game as a raider — or you want to play the game as a raider — how have you not been thinking this stuff through already when I’ve been doing this for a year, now? Raiders and guilds alike, I see so many people completely unprepared and it’s like, well what have you been DOING since Cataclysm was announced?!

The people who haven’t done 4.0 research for their classes just make me sad.

The guilds who haven’t got planned raid dates and deadlines make me facepalm.

These are going to be the people complaining out the wazoo when Cata hits and they can’t immediately queue for a dungeon because they don’t know where the entrance is yet. These are the people who will be mystified that half their guild has left for another guild because they weren’t ready to raid, yet.

I see so much disorganization that is going to lead to a huge wakeup call, which will lead to so much complaining, which, God willing, will not lead to demanded nerfs or buffs.

As a result of this general state of unpreparedness that I’m witnessing, plus my experience in going through the BC and Wrath expansion transitions, here are three predictions:

Fearless prediction #1: Random dungeons will suck for a minimum of 3-4 months, probably closer to 6. Random heroics will possibly suck until people really outgear them, meaning the first raid tier (T11) being available to the general public, so this is looking at when the second raid tier comes out (T12).

Fearless prediction #2: Guilds who have been recruiting and plotting out dates, deadlines and plans will be much better at dealing with issues that crop up mid-January than those who haven’t even started to plan things out.

Fearless prediction #3: I’m not going to feel prepared enough because there’s ALWAYS curve balls thrown at guilds during expansion transitions, but, by golly, Apotheosis will prosper because my officers and I actually care about the people and the guild and we will do what we need to in order to hit those curve balls out of the park.

I feel a bit better for having ranted.

Coming soon: pre-raid gear suggestions!

21 Replies to “An Annoyance”

  1. What you’re talking about is a hardcore guild (at least my idea of a hardcore guild). What would make people leave MY guild is telling them a veiled ‘be 85 and geared by January 5th or GTFO’. We can’t recruit without knowing WHO will come back for Cataclysm – potential numbers run from 20 raiders to 9. We had around 12 for most of the guild’s existence in Wrath, so we might be screwed either by too many players or too few.

    Different approaches work for different guilds. For you, the fact that I only have a forum thread asking for people’s specs and mains probably isn’t enough. For me, having Google docs is overkill. (This probably has something to do with guild sizes too, it’s much easier to keep in touch with everyone in a 10-man guild.) Also, I was in a 25-man guild where the officers kept posting inspiring and uplifting posts about the great plans and nothing happened, so since then I’ve tried to curb my enthusiasm and forum posts. We have some guidelines in mind and we’re going to deal with issues as they come up. In the meantime, I know my guildies well enough to be confident we won’t have “OMFG WHY RNT WE RAIDIN!!!” problems… and if someone feels that way, we’d probably be better off without him/her.

    I don’t know exactly where your annoyance comes from, but also remember that guild members don’t always know all the plans. Me and my co-GM have been throwing ideas back and forth for a long while now, but most of them haven’t made it to the forums. We’ll post our Cataclysm plans after it hits, not before.

    Sorry for the wall of text, you can tell I don’t feel like working :P

  2. You’ll get SO annoyed with my slacking and lack of proper preparations when you read my next blogpost. Still I consider myself a fairly serious raider.

  3. My wife and I have been preparing for Cataclysm, although in an unusual way.

    I’ve quit WoW for now. My subscribtion ends today and I don’t plan on returning just yet. I’m satisfied with my point of progression and gear and I’m confident I’ll be just fine leveling in Cataclysm – at some later point in time.

    My wife and I decided that we’ll level her shaman to 85 first. We’re in a guild that at least takes the effort to prepare a raid roster and gives leveling and instancing tips on the guild forum. Also, they’ve gone trough the effort of making dungeon teams. These will be the people that will level through some all-nighters together and most of them have real-life backup. That’s pretty efficient.

    Once my wife’s shaman is level 85 (which we will probably manage to do in a few days), then I’ll start picking up on my own shaman again, while she levels her druid (her JC). By then, my own shaman will have a nice rested bonus from being in the SW inn all that time since launch ;)


    At least I’d like to think we’re prepared.

  4. The mass of admin that is required for 25s is one reason why we have decided to go 10s this time around. The Mage you describe is typical of the applicants we used to get over and over again in Wrath. Then there are the drop-outs, the no-shows, people who suddenly fall ill after 8 wipes on a boss and ‘can’t continue, sorry’, replacements who say they know the fights and plainly don’t, and so on.
    25s are a lot of work, and I don’t think people outside of the management team can ever imagine just how hard it can be. I wish you every success.

  5. I think it’s even more frustrating given the easy availability of such resources. We don’t know things that the average raider couldn’t just as easily discover on their own. They can visit MMO or WoWInsider, which make great starting points for such things and those can lead to blogs that each site plugs or can lead to Elitist Jerks and it can snowball from there. The PTR was up consistently, since changes were released and none of what we’re experiencing should be real news. If information is that easy to access and people still choose to not soak it up, that’s more frustrating to me.

    I think we’re also really lucky to have you as our GM, because you were so thoughtful and planned everything out. We’re lucky to have guildies who will link things they recommend in the role forums or if they see someone not doing well will converse with them to fix that.

    I don’t think what we have here could ever be done as a majority and I don’t mean that to sound superior or anything like that. Our guild is really an anomaly and there are a small number of guilds that are as fortunate as we are, to be run as well and have the sense of skill and community that we have. In a perfect world, this is something that every raider would get to experience.

    In terms of issues, there are going to be issues. But like we discussed last night, it’s about early detection and eliminating them while it’s still early and not letting them fester into full on debacles. As long as you remain aware of the tone of the guild and the vibe (for lack of a better word), you should be able to spot an issue forming, before it goes too far and you can remedy it and go forward.

    I think we’re pretty well prepared, as much as we can be and I look forward to seeing how everything pans out.


  6. I admire your drive and from reading your posts for the last months it’s obvious that you put in a LOT of work for your guild…but have you ever considered relaxing for a minute? :)

  7. I think a lot of guild and individuals are going to be caught off guard when cata is finally released. The entire “pace” of leveling in the game is going to change in many ways. Here are just a few of the ways…

    1) Two starting zones, however, Hyjal will be the one most everyone goes to…its preferred by casters because the rep gained there puts you on a course for the head enchant, its quests zones are closers and quest lines more linear then the other zone Vashj’ir. Vashj’ir is “underwater” and will be perceived as a slower grind until you get the underwater mount. Prediction: Lopsided number of people in one zone will make leveling pace slower for everyone not just the people hoping to get a start on the head enchant.

    2) Unlike past expansions, leveling by repeatedly running the same dungeon over and over will not yeild as much xp as it did for other expansions; Blizzard actually nerfed all dungeon xp in a recent patch (xp from dungeons in the beta was higher so they could have people test more of the game). Doing the quests for a dungeon (quest givers located at the instance entrance) will be a huge cache of xp for players, but after the quests are complete xp from a regular run drops off drastically. Prediction: dungeon xp being nerfed in cata will slow leveling even further and likely result in forcing people into zones for quests and thus expect even more quest competition then year past.

    3) World mobs are not pushovers this time around. Unlike past expansions where great gear from the end of one expansion gave you a leg up on the other, people are going to find that mobs generally hit harder this time. In other words be prepared to pull fewer mobs at once and even die more than was experienced in other releases. Those people that are switching mains may want to level with others especially if the gear on the new toon is in poor shape. Prediction: No more people running into the middle of a group of mobs expecting to tag them all and getting a quest completed in 15 seconds, completing “kill” or “collection” quests will take a bit more time than in the past, this will slow leveling further.

    4) You’re going to need gear upgrades before Heroics and raids can be attempted. In WotLK, people in good gear at the end of TBC were able (with a solid group of guild/friend/members) to step almost immediately into doing heroics and the first raid instance. People this time around really need to plan not only a “leveling path” but also a “gear progression” if they’re going to be serious about raiding or doing higher end content sooner. Blue rep rewards will actually be useful this time over previous expansions. Prediction: Expect some frustration by people who have become use to easy “sloppy” runs that let great gear (and great supporting players) carry them. People will have to play at a higher level to compensate for available gear.

    One more point…and I think this point is sort of the white elephant in the room…25man guilds are going to have a tougher time in Cata. With gear rewards being the same for both 25 and 10, as well as both being on the same lockout, its going to be easy (if frustrations run high in a larger group) for individuals to say the “hell with it” and break off to form a smaller 10man guild. Even before Cata started we saw this happen. Hopefully the guild achievement system will combat this…we’ll have to see.

    People are going to get a wake up call on the length of time it takes to level up…
    More frustration by those that just want to rush to 85 to raid…
    Gear upgrades are going to be more important before attempting raids this time around…

    Anyways I hope this encourages people to start taking a look this weekend and plan for Tuesday’s release.

  8. Looking forward to your pre-raid gear list!

    I have had my list up for quite some time. over here . Edited some pieces for more crit post 4.0.3a when Infusion of Light, and Speed of light changed. I felt Infusion of light is quite important to proc as often as you can, now you don’t have speed of light to fall back on. Anyway, Enjoy you paladins in cata. only 3 days to go!


  9. I’m curious why it bothers you so much what other people are doing (or not doing) to prepare for Cataclysm, provided they are not guildies that you’re counting on to be ready at a certain date or applying to your guild. They’re not hurting you or effecting you in any way, are they?

  10. Beezlebubba – Beeeeez! And yeah, definitely not worth the pain, I agree. I plan not to pug anything for a good six months. :)

    Darista – My pleasure, lady!

    Jen – Obviously, it depends strongly on what your guild’s goals are, this is for sure. I guess my post is more directed towards people who want to hit the content ASAP. I wouldn’t even necessarily term the type of guild “hardcore”. Maybe “impatient”? Maybe those who want a fast start?

    My annoyance stems from two major factors:

    1) I wasn’t prepared enough, by far, to lead my guild from Burning Crusade into Wrath of the Lich King. I still feel that if I had bothered to do much recruiting/retooling, then we would have raided into T8/T9 at a minimum rather than give up at Thaddius. And I see people making the same mistakes as I did. I coasted. I lost a lot of people and naively, perhaps too confidently, figured we’d be okay. We weren’t. And I see a lot of that happening in various guilds right now. Lots of people who are apping are telling us that their guilds are falling apart because they’re not prepared, aren’t discussing things… That’s annoying. It’s working in my favour, but it’s annoying that anyone is being treated the way they are by their guilds. If there’s no plan for their guild, people can and do leave.

    Obviously, a lot of people don’t leave, too. But then they can be screwed over if their planned guild just doesn’t work out for the expansion. So many of my older players just flat-out stopped playing when Apotheosis stopped raiding in March of 2009. I guess part of my annoyance here is because I feel like I screwed over those players and I care about those people. So to see other guilds maybe not respecting their players the way they should be respected concerns me and annoys me.

    2) The arrogance displayed by the playerbase. THAT is what really ticks me off. That some mage can just show up to my guild forum and apply with the gear (seriously, a green trinket), the spec (prismatic cloak, ffs!) and the gems (spirit?!) that he did and EXPECT us to look at him seriously… It looks like he levelled his mage in the last week and decided to make it his main. I’m surprised he was even level 80. I require more thinking about the toon than that if you’re going to make it your main. I expect you to do some research on your preferred class that you’ll bring to 85. You know?

    I feel as a GM, it’s my job to communicate with the guild what we’re talking about behind closed doors. And anything we haven’t posted about gets the “we’re currently discussing it, you’ll know as soon as we’ve decided” treatment. Like the caster legendary, for example.

    Anyways. I’ve rambled too much.

    TL;DR: I recognize the amount of prep I’m putting in won’t be necessary for all guilds or even all 25-man guilds (although I do think most of what I’m doing is stuff most 25-mans ought to be doing).

    Larisa – haha, I read your post and if it makes you feel any better, I’m not JP capped on any of my toons and have a 35 mage already. ;)

    Kaboomski – I’m not sure about this, but you might want to log in once after the launch. All our rested will be gone once Cata begins, but I don’t know if you’ll start to accumulate any rested experience until you log out again.

    AliPally – Wow, thank you for the comment. The admin stuff is definitely overwhelming at times for a guild focused on 25-mans. For me to do what I’m doing now is taking some time and energy and I’m practicing the cat-herding all over again, which is never “fun”. Two no-shows to raid last night, another person who sent me a PM saying “might not show”, which was fine, and one who had trouble downloading the updated tools who ended up only logging in when we’d just finished RS trash. And then addressing these issues — talked to one of the no-shows, PMed another, thanked the third for the heads up and was just glad the fourth could actually log on in the end. Whew.

    Thanks again for the comment — best of luck to you as well. 10s sound like less of a headache to be sure. :)

    Oestrus – I think you’ve nailed it on the head. There is nothing I am doing or providing that people can’t do for themselves and that kind of lack of effort from people is frustrating and annoying. Like that mage app had obviously not spent three seconds looking up a good spec or anything.

    Man, no pressure with all that talk about how awesome we are…. sheesh! ;) I’m gonna have performance anxiety!

    Thanks for the early detection talk, btw. That was helpful.

    Jasyla – hahaha, a GM’s job is never done! ;) I do take time to relax, although sleep is something else entirely. I’m up on all my favourite TV shows (and some shows I watch as filler), I got some writing done in November during NaNoWriMo and I have a baby mage who is 35, so I’ve had some time to chill out. Sitting in the Wetlands over the course of 30 hours also allowed me to relax a bit. ;)

    RDruid – Interesting notes!

    1) Thing is, you get the underwater mount in about an hour’s worth of questing and all the quest stuff before then is pretty close. The issue I had there is I got lost a lot. Like, a lot. hahaha. I do think Hyjal will be more popular, though.

    2) You may be right, but I think a lot of people will really just run instance after instance, particularly tanks and healers, with the random dungeon finder available for the first time ever during the beginning of an expansion.

    3) This is absolutely true. Things hit like trucks, you can’t do 2-3 mobs at once. If you’re lucky enough to have CC, you can do 1 mob with another CCed. Best example of this for me was being in Uldum and repentencing a mob and fearing another while wailing on a third. I think I ended that pull with about 1000 health and 0 mana. Good times. :P

    4) The 333 blues will be good enough to get you into heroics, so I think the gearing should be okay. I was able to queue for any dungeon until Vortex Pinnacle in my 264/277 gear and those dungeons had some upgrades for me. But people ARE going to be sloppy, I completely agree.

    As to 25s… we get more loot and more points from bosses, IIRC. I think the disincentive for splintering off will be the fact that a 25-man guild will gear more quickly, overall, plus you will no longer have the perks that a 25-man guild might have unlocked.

    Gortlol – Thanks for the link to your list!

    jeffo – You’re right, of course. It’s no skin off my nose if other guilds and people aren’t doing what they need to do in order to hit the ground running. In fact, it’s to my advantage because better players who ARE prepared would then app to my guild or my guild will advance through the progression more quickly than others.

    Except that I care about the whole freaking community. Since I’ve started blogging more seriously, I’ve wanted to raise the community’s level of knowledge. I’ve worked hard to try to make sure holy paladins in particular have a good idea of what’s needed/desired/etc. I have this thing where I have a burning desire to share knowledge and seeing other guilds around me not being prepared makes me wish I’d done a few posts about a GM’s checklist of things to do pre-Cata that basically there is no more time for. Like, even if I got a full post up immediately, most of the items to do on the checklist should have been done months ago, in some cases.

    So no, it’s no skin off my nose and it’s even to my advantage… but I now wish I could go back and help the other GMs out there to learn from my own problems at the start of WotLK and how I’m fixing them now. It’s frustrating to see so many people sitting on their heels when they should be ramping up for the third expansion.

  11. I think it’s a bad idea to judge the preparedness level of individual players.

    Many players did not prepare by choice because they want Cataclysm content and playstyle to be a fresh experience to them. Others want to experiment different (maybe even unusual) while leveling. Who knows, maybe the mage wearing Spirit gems think this will allow him to chain-kill mobs without any downtime?

    Some players will prefer to go blind into an encounter and figure out for themselves, even if it means wiping several times before they find a strategy that wiorks for their group.

    One’s personal taste are just that, tastes.

    Preparation at the guild level is another matter. If your intention is for your guild to raid very soon (1 or 2 weeks) after the release of Cataclysm, then your level of preparation may be well warranted.

    If your intention is for your first raid to be 6 or more weeks after the releasse of Cataclysm, why worry so much how indivual players will level? If players are given a goal and a deadline, should you care about the exact path they took to achieve the goal?

    It is my experience serious raiders will do what is necessary to achieve the “privileged raider” status in guild. Trust them.

    But then again, I am not familiar with your guild culture and make-up, and what you are doing may be the best thing for YOUR guild. If this level of preparation makes you happy, even better.

    Good luck!

  12. Reading what you and other 25-man GMs are saying… God I’m happy we chose to go the 10-man route! No amount of bosses would make me want to deal with this. I’m seriously impressed by anyone who can herd 25 cats successfully.

  13. So, yeah, Kurn is most definitely a dedicated GM. I’m not just saying this because she’s my snotty, older sister. I’m saying it because she takes the time to do exactly as she mentioned earlier. She is trying to raise the level of knowledge of WoW players – which admittedly she has done for me.

    Kudos to you sister!

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