Big Crits

So I read Derevka’s post about Big Crits last night and was instantly hooked. I mean, instantly.

I highly recommend you go read Derevka’s post, but basically, Big Crits is a web series about a real end-game raiding guild in World of Warcraft. There are four episodes so far and I adore it.

It’s awesome for so many reasons, but the primary reason is that it isn’t just about focusing on the game and progression and the encounters. With the inclusion of talking heads (you know, when someone faces the camera and speaks their mind, like they do on The Office or Survivor or The Apprentice), they’re not just showing a guild downing a boss. They’re having their actual guild members talk about their actual raid experiences and it’s all woven really well together.

Who wouldn’t love that? I LOVE talking about my raid experiences (as this blog proves) and I love hearing about cool happenings for others. Plus, the talking head segments are comprised of actual video of the people, not the toons.

I majored in Sociology, so I’ve always been absolutely fascinated by the social interaction in WoW. Don’t get me wrong — I still can’t stand stupid people and I would very much like to wipe them off the face of the planet. But how guilds who raid together gel (or not) and deal with various in-game issues is just awesome to me.

The biggest challenges of being a guild master aren’t really the in-game encounters, although I will admit that getting 15 people to know their Bloodboil rotation sucked, just as getting 25 people not to die from air bursts or fire on Archimonde sucked.

But that wasn’t the big challenge. For me, the toughest thing was knowing when to be a hardass and knowing when to be more understanding. (And also, when to stop talking or typing, because I am the most long-winded person in the world.)

A classic problem any guild faces is the following:

A long-time member who is basically universally adored by all guildies for being so awesome in so many ways is, in fact, one of the worst players we’ve ever seen. He has consistently died on whatever progression fight we’re currently on and his death has had repercussions that lead to a wipe. Say that, I don’t know, four of seven wipes on this one fight can be traced back to a chain of events that began with his death.

What do you do? Do you swap him out for someone on standby? Do you bitch him out and tell him to shape up? Do you warn him at all that if he doesn’t do better, he’s on standby? Honestly, how do you deal with that?

Then, assuming you chose the more diplomatic method of getting his class/role lead to talk to him and apologize while swapping him out, then what? Is he going to leave the guild? Stop raiding? Is he going to be disappointed and sulky? What about the morale of the guild and raid team? If the guy they adore is wiping them (but perhaps they’re not aware of that?) and gets swapped out, are THEY going to be sulky because he got sat out?

Here’s a second scenario that has happened to every single guild:

You are in dire, I mean, DIRE need of a specific class/role, to the point that if the one person who does fill that role isn’t there, you can’t do a whole lot.

So you go recruiting for that particular class to fill that particular role. Granted, it’s much easier in Wrath to swap any kind of DPS for any other kind of DPS, so let’s imagine that what we want is either a moonkin or a retribution paladin because we don’t have Improved Moonkin Form or Swift Retribution in the raid on a regular basis. We have a prot paladin, so we have various blessings and we have Heart of the Crusader. We have an elemental shaman who is occasionally not around, but we generally have Elemental Oath and Totem of Wrath.

But we don’t have that pesky 3% haste buff and everyone is getting pissy about it, plus we don’t have backup for that ever-important 5% spell crit, so if the elemental shaman is out, we’re screwed. So ideally, we want a moonkin, but would take a ret pally.

So we go out recruiting for both.

After three weeks of searching and four nights in that period where casters were without their crit buff and still no one had that 3% haste buff, we finally get an app from a moonkin.

He looks awesome.

He is appropriately geared, gemmed, enchanted, specced and glyphed. He’s moonkin and resto, but also has a tank set. He wasn’t significantly behind you in content, just a boss or two.

He’s perfect.

So you accept his app, he transfers, gets a ginvite and then you realize, right smack-dab in the middle of the first raid… this guy is a jerk. I mean, really, no question about it, he’s pretty much That Guy that you want to punch in the face. Maybe he’s told a dead baby joke in raid, maybe he yelled profanity at someone who wiped the raid or maybe he’s just overly superior about his skill and is boasting constantly.

Of course, he’s topping damage, CCing appropriately, helping out on decursing, innervating and tossing battle rezzes as needed. In short, he is a freaking excellent player. He’s pretty much the opposite of our first example.

Within a week, you’ve heard about 12 people complaining about this guy, but you’ve killed two new bosses, largely because of him. His role lead has tried, without success, to rein him in a little bit, but he’s still mouthing off in raid, if not in Vent, and it seems like he just doesn’t understand that his comments aren’t appropriate.

So what do you do, as the guild master or member of the officer team? Do you decline his application and remove him from the guild? Do you warn him that the previous action is a possibility if he doesn’t stop being such a jerk? Do you try to appease your guild members individually and asking them to be patient? Do you hold on to the jerk until you get another moonkin or ret pally app? Perhaps more importantly, is being a jerk who helps the raid to excel such a horrible thing after all?

These are the real challenges in running a guild. It’s all about taking actions for the betterment of the guild as a whole while simultaneously trying to achieve goals as a raiding group.

I really think Big Crits is going to bring up these kinds of issues. They’re common problems, but everyone has a different opinion on how to deal with them. This is what is going to make this web series fascinating to me; how others deal with problems I’ve dealt with within this incredibly rich game world.

So go watch Big Crits from Week 1 (they’re up to 4 now)! Let me (and, more importantly, the guildies themselves) know how you liked it. :)

16 Replies to “Big Crits”

  1. See – we had this problem recently with the 25m guild we joined (this should really become a blog post). The short version is they needed some serious progression raiders – so we came as a package deal. Our Ret pally is our local goon. The guy does insane DPS, and is basically the moonkin you described. He’s also got a mouth on him the size of TEXA$, so he steps on toes.

    Or eventual break-up from that guild was in part due to his mouth. They had numerous complaints about him, his tone of voice, etc. My response was “mute him on vent and /ignore him if you don’t want to see it”.

    Problem solved.

  2. Ad – that’s absolutely a method to deal with it. The counter-argument I see to that right off, though, is: “should I have to be in a guild where I have to mute and /ignore someone?” And raid leaders/officers can’t really do so, in case he has important things to communicate or whatever.

    Like I said, everyone has different ways of dealing with these issues and what fascinates me is how different solutions work differently depending on the group. Your solution would probably work in my current guild, although I think the officers would boot his ass eventually. But it wouldn’t work in my former guild. That’s because the two groups are both extremely different, and both are different from your 10m group and your 25m guild.

    I love this stuff. :D

  3. xeppe has an interesting post about the same thing over at “An absolutely ordinary priest”. She gave up friends, the people she liked, etc – just to raid progression with people she can’t stand. I’ve done it myself. I want the kill, and if the group of friends I’m with can’t get it done – I’ll go somewhere else and get it.

    Fortunately with 10m raiding I’ve been able to cultivate a great group of friends who can kill most anything. Stupid H LK……/kicksdirt

  4. Ad – I was placed in the position that my raiding guild was no longer raiding, so I went out and explored my options that led me to Bronzebeard and a guild that was more serious about raiding than my own, but still social. Then the RL chucked a fit and gquit and I had an opportunity to come to my current guild and heal alongside my RL friend the resto druid. Considering we’d been talking about healing together for two years, I figured I may as well.

    But I don’t like it. I like getting the kills, I like the progression, but I miss my friends and I miss the actual social aspect of being in a guild. My RL friend offsets things a bit (I once raided at her place with her, which was awesome!) but not enough, ultimately.

  5. I’m digging Big Crits, but I could totally deal without the holy priest. :|

    Watching episode 2 now, I’m sure you know what moment I’m talking about.

  6. I’m not a fan of the part in 4 where he’s talking about unchained magic. :P

  7. I must be the only person that doesn’t enjoy it, I guess.

    With all the bragging that Stoney did about the guild and how “hardcore” it was going to be and whatnot, their progression is… fairly lacking, IMHO. Combine that with the fact that it doesn’t feel like anything particularly new or interesting – it’s the same sorts of things most raiders deal with on a daily/weekly basis – that it just doesn’t interest me in the slightest.

    Plus, Stoney’s personality makes me want to stab something and I have no idea why.

  8. Rilgon – I read Derevka’s post and that was the first I’d heard about it, so I had no preconceived notions about how hardcore they’re gonna be or whatever. I liked seeing them screw up on BQL and wipe on LK because it was so relatable. I remember when we would kill BQL — on normal — but always lose the tanks because we’d just hit enrage.

    I’m not sure how I feel about Stoney yet, but I think he’s an interesting character, whether or not I end up liking him.

    My old guildies and I are laughing about this concept and applying it to ourselves and epic raiding moments of the past, over on our facebook group. A sample:

    Kurn’s talking head: “So, I had made the mistake of eating a sandwich while in my officer meeting before the raid. And had made the further mistake of having mayo on the sandwich. Which, of course, got on to my microphone and left me completely unable to verbally communicate with my raid.”

    Cut to a raider’s voice on vent: “Kurn? I haven’t read the strat for this yet. Can you explain, please?”

    Cut to my typing in raid: “Down here, (name of raider), I’m typing it all out.”

    Cut back to raider’s voice: “Kurn?”

    Cut to typing: “OVER HERE. HELLO.”

    Raider’s voice: “Where’s Kurn? Is she here? Why isn’t she talking?”

    Cut to /o:


    Cut to an officer: “Kurn’s microphone is busted. She’s typing to you in /raid.”

    Cut to raider:

    “KURN!!!! THERE YOU ARE!!!!!!!”

    Cut to me, IRL:


  9. Ah, see, I was there when LoL Insider was talking it up and they were gonna be this “hardcore” guild that was gonna get lots of kills quickly and blah blah blah.

    And then they’re wiping on/unable to down normal LK 25 with 15%?

  10. Rilgon – I only randomly drop in to that website every month or so to see if there’s anything of interest in terms of holy paladining. I really do avoid it like the plague — no feeds for it, no visiting it, etc.

    Even if I had known about all the talk, though, I would probably still be interested. What made this guild that was going to be EPIC turn into just another guild? What does it mean that they were on LK when I was killing heroic Deathwhisper and Saurfang for the first time, after having already done Marrowgar, Gunship (hah), Rot, Fester, Council and BQL?

    What repercussions, if any, do these unmet expectations have on the guild? Morale? Overall recruitment/retention?

    Basically, it’s like they’re little rats running through a maze and I get to watch and it’s COOL, because I’ve BEEN in that maze before, more or less, and can relate to what they’re going through. ;)

  11. So, having watched it… is this what other raiders put up with? <_< Seriously? For as far as they've progressed, there are quite a few tight panties in there. There is no way I'd raid with a group with that kind of attitude, even if it was LK hard they were wiping on…

  12. BTW, the holy priest milking the meters and glorying in his 3 million healing on Sindy? Yeah, I’d never have him on my crew. Ever.

  13. Codi – parts of it absolutely rang very true for me. Maybe not for my current guild (yet, anyways) and not for my own previous guild, but the one in between the two. People’s attitudes suck. A lot.

    Hahahaha, you and I both, Codi. I wouldn’t touch that priest with a 10ft pole!

  14. This is why I’m not a ‘raider’. Hell, this is why I knew almost every one in my guild before I started playing with them.

    I’m content having downed through plague quarter, and dreamwalker, IF it means I don’t have to put with guild drama. Ever.

    I mostly pug, and will occasionally fill in for another guild (got a /w last night asking if I was down for filling in for one of their healers this week as he will be out, woot!). Even that guild, which is just barely above 10 active raiders has drama to deal with. I hear about it through my friends in the guild, but I don’t ever have to deal with it, and I’m happy this way. Happier than I would aiming for 12/12 or something.

Comments are closed.