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What do you see?

What do you see here?

How about now?

Why is it you didn’t see the A, 13, C and 12, B, 14?

Here’s another famous one most of us have probably seen.


What do you see?

Some people will see an old woman. Some people will see the young woman.

Most of us have probably seen this picture before, but in case any of you haven’t the old woman is wearing a headwrap with her curly hair sticking out front. She has a long nose, thin pursed lips, and pointed chin.  If you look again at the nose and instead envision it as the chin of a woman looking away from you, the old woman’s eye becomes an ear and the lips become a choker or tight necklace.

So why do we see what we see? Well I’m no psychologist and don’t profess to be, but I think we can all agree it’s based on our own attitudes, experiences, and surroundings.

Queue the Dun, Dun, Dun!

So last night a little after normal raid times an officer of <ICESTORM> wants to get our group 2 Naxx-10 going again. So we start looking around and we’re short some of the people that are saved to that group. This fact is pointed out while one officer starts looking for fill-ins. Talk about “I still need item X, Y, and Z off bosses A, B, and C” goes on.

An officer finds Raid Members Q and R to fill in as DPS and all we need is one more and we’re good to go. I said “Wait a minute! I didn’t say I was going.” I said “idk”, which he read as “idc”. Big difference. 🙂 Anyway, at this point one officer gets really pissed off and says something to the effect that we’re going to screw Group 3 Naxx 10 by saving a bunch more people to Group 2 just so some people can get whatever loot they want and then proceeds to log. (I cleaned it up a bit, but that was the gist.)

Now people are panicking as to what happened. Wondering why he logged and why he was upset our GM calls a meeting on vent and they proceed to talk about what happened. The basic gist of it goes that the officer is just frustrated because he’s had a run of bad luck with raids lately.

Pause story. So who’s wrong here? The officers setting up the raid or the officer that logged off in a huff? I’ll bet most of you say the officer that got upset, because if nothing else he should have handled himself differently.

Continuing on… So after a minute I jump in and say they pretty much got it all wrong in my opinion. I proceed to say that I can’t speak for the officer in question, but I’m 99% sure that he’s upset because of a perception.

First, it’s a non-raid day. There are no scheduled raids. Unless we can get a majority of players to continue on a non-raid day we avoid going back so as to not be unfair to those who didn’t know and aren’t around as well as to avoid saving 30 people to a 10 man raid.

Second, it was pointed out that we were short the original members of group 2. That right there should have stopped the discussion based on the first point, but the push to get it going plus the talk of loot gave the impression of going for selfish reasons. Basically, “we’re going hell or high water because I want to get my loot and if others aren’t here, so be it. They lose.”

Third, by going and including others not saved to raid we now are screwing up any chances at a successful group 3.

Pause story. So now who’s wrong? I’ll be most of you are starting to think the officers organizing the raid and that the upset officer is now justified.

Let’s muddy the waters a little more by giving you a counterpoint to the previous third point. Very few people even knew that a third group was going to happen this week. I didn’t! Evidently it was brought up rather briefly last night when several of us weren’t even around.

I continued on and pointed out that chances are the officer doesn’t think the worst of the others, but rather the perception and the push to get a raid going all coincided in such a way as to give the wrong impression. Hell, even I had the impression they were going for loot! I know that our officers pass to others that need it more and this run would have been no different, but I pointed out that I could see how it rubbed him the wrong way.

I pointed out that there is a perception from some guild members that certain officers are sort of “playing the system” with their alts. I’ve defended those that have been complained about because again most of the complaining members aren’t seeing the officers gear up their alts through crafted gear and heroics. They automatically assume that the alts were geared up in raids.

For example, we recently had a priest leave the guild that was upset that several alts were more geared than hers, including mine I’m assuming. I have had Maedchen in 25 man raids for Instructor and even did so the night before she quit, but until just recently I have never received an item from a raid. That presumably wasn’t the perception.

Now this started a flurry of defense from the officers after I said all this and I’m not going to get into that. We can all guess at what they were saying. But the question remains, who’s wrong?

The simple answer? No one.

But the drama occurred, however minor and briefly, and it’s all because people took a view at things without considering the views of others. Everyone assumes they are right. And quite frankly from their own point of view they are.

Next time something happens, take a step back and really look at it from other angles. Remember that there are as many sides to the story as there are people plus one. There’s your story, there’s my story, and there’s the truth.


Additional Instances Cannot Be Launched…

So last night we decided to finally go back to Eye of Eternity for our 10 man raid. We hadn’t been back for weeks and it’s bugged the better geared among us. However, my wife had a church activity going on last night and I got the kids fed, bathed, and off to bed which meant I wouldn’t be going. We also had 4 healers sign up on calendar and I didn’t knowing that my timing would more than likely be off so it wasn’t that big a deal.

So as I took care of the kids, played, and went afk back and forth all night long, I decided to do a little questing and achievement hunting. I didn’t have Recipe: Roasted Moongraze Tenderloin so I headed off to do The Great Moongraze Hunt to earn the recipe and get that much closer to the Chef de Cuisine achievement. I’m not at home, but I think I only need about 8 more.

So while there, I did a few quests to further my ambition to get Loremaster of Kalimdor and 3000 Quests Completed. I have 490 quests to go for the Kalimdor one. /sigh I really am becoming an achievement junkie.

After a little while, I decided to go tackle Razofen Kraul and Razorfen Downs for the achievements as well. So in I went and of course got lost in Kraul. Took forever getting back out. As I got out, our 10 man Malygos raid finished him off for a guild first! AND I WASN’T THERE!!! /cry

Several of us were jealous, but we finally beat that guy, and we couldn’t be happier*! We’ve done it and now we can focus on it week after week. Our guild also happened to defeat 25 man Thaddius the other night, OS 1D, as well as complete 10 man Naxx in one night. We’re moving right along. I think we’re ready to start focusing on raid achievements.

So I headed to Razorfen Downs…

Even saw a small group of Horde heading in as well…

This is getting to be a problem. Spring for a few more instance servers Blizzard. I was outside for 10 minutes just to do an Old World instance.

The stupid things I’ll do for achievements.

* I will say one thing that didn’t make me happy because I think it was truly unfair. I noticed that Dyna volunteered to sit out when a Death Knight logged in for the Malygos fight. There was one person in that group who’s primary function was not DPS and should have been the person to volunteer to sit out. I’m actually a little upset by it. You were taken because there were no other viable DPS online at the time. It’s not that it’s a huge deal and Dyna didn’t complain, but fair is fair. I hope we can use what I consider “better judgment” in the future. And I think the rest of you in that raid owe Dyna a huge thank you.

The Social Debate Of Raiding

For those of you that follow Gevlon, as well as several others, you probably have been reading about Gevlon’s experiment at pugging raids. For those of you that haven’t, here’s a quick rundown as I see it so far.

Gevlon argues that:

    “Commenters of the previous article suggested that guilds are superior to PuGs because they are social groups and a person would not slack at the expense of his friends. Notice that there are many social guilds where slacking is rampart, to the point of boosting, where the slacker is the only one who receive reward, the others not. So social connections has nothing to do with stopping of slacking.
    However the solution has nothing to do with social groups, the solution is in the guild leadership who either punish or remove the slackers. This also mean that PuGs can be just as successful as guilds as long as they have effective leadership to make sure that no one exploits the common resource.
    Many commenters don’t understand why do I stay away from guilds? Because I want to prove the above. I want to prove that success – even group success – has absolutely nothing to do with any kind of social effects. You don’t need friends to be successful, you need business partners and you don’t need to be friendly, social, moral, noble, just economically effective. My goal is to prove this point by PuGging the whole content.
    PS: I don’t claim that having friends among your partners does not increase your well-being, or friendship is any way wrong. I just say that friendship has nothing to do with success, just as the color of a car has nothing to do with its speed. Pink and brown stripes can decrease your fun during driving, but not the speed or turning capacity of the car.”

There are several people, Josh included, that argue Gevlon’s incorrect.

I believe Gevlon will succeed in his experiment, but not because PuGs or Guilds are superior, but rather because at this point in time most people have had the opportunity to experience the 10 man raids and a good majority have experienced 25 man raids to some degree, so they now have decent gear. Blizzard’s change of mantra to “bring the player, not the class” and the so-called dumbing down of raids has made it easier for all players to experience end-game content. So Gevlon has a large pool of people he can bring to his raids and his chances of succeeding are greater than what many old players would call normal.

I believe that if Gevlon were to attempt this experiment the day Ulduar is released that he would fail. The pool of players he has to pull from will not be geared enough to make it as successful as he believes he can get. And looking back, this experiment would never have worked in BC. It’s my belief that Gevlon will succeed simply based on his timing of the experiment.

Now back to the real reason for this post.

Gevlon did a follow-up post about this experiment in his post about Phaelia’s decision to leave blogging and apparently even WoW altogether. Although I didn’t read Resto4Life much as my druid is only level 27 and work blocked her site, I have visited the site and know that she was highly respected. She will be missed.

Here are a few excerpts of what Gevlon had to say about why he refuses to join a raiding guild (color added to show emphasis on items that struck me):

    “Thanks to Phaelia I can explain why I will not join any guild and try to PuG the content instead: because I don’t want to be compelled to raid. Besides useless social guilds, every guild demands raid attendance. It’s obvious since the smooth guild raid is based on the fact that nearly the same skilled and geared group bash through the instance. If I take a leave, others cannot raid either. They won’t tolerate such behavior, I either raid every week (with a few exceptions) or don’t raid at all with them.”
    I don’t want to grind raidbosses the same way I don’t want to grind elementals.”
    “The key of not burning out is simply saying No! to anyone who ask you to do something you don’t want to do.”
    I’m a casual player, meaning I play casually.”

I used to have a motto on my blog when it was over at Blogspot of “A casual raider trying to stay casual.” I even changed the name of my blog to Casual Hardcore because I’m still a raider that wants a hardcore or serious approach to raiding, but with a casual atmosphere. This is a game afterall and not a job.

Gevlon’s post once again reawakened an issue I’ve been dealing with. (Damn you, Gevlon, for making me think! :)) I’ve been dealing with getting burned out with the game overall and in part it was due to the guild I am in and the pressures I have been putting myself under.

I want to raid and I usually want to raid 3-4 times a week, but like Gevlon, I don’t want to feel compelled to raid which is exactly what happens when people in the guild don’t sign up, don’t show up, and as a healer I’m required. I then feel like I let others down that really want to raid. Ironically, I still want to go as well, it’s just the atmosphere of the raid changed from “I get to go! Woohoo!” to “I have to go! Dammit!”

Do you have kids? Have you ever tried to get them to do something they didn’t want to by making them think they really did want to? Sorta the same principle here.

This whole thing has led me to burnout because I haven’t been able to say no in the past. I’m getting better at it, like last night after 3 hours in Naxx I told the others I had to go. It was 10pm my time. I was tired. The run wasn’t going all that great. We did clear Spider Wing though, but 3 hours?! We had several alts in there (including mine) and to be honest I think it was just an unlucky night (or the fact that we were stupid about Maexxna and kept getting web wrapped as she enraged EPIC FAIL!) and we saved a spot for someone who never showed so we were 9-manning it anyway. But it was time to leave. I went to bed, watched Chuck* with my wife, and fell asleep.

On the other hand, Maedchen did get upgraded gloves and after the first two bosses I was still #1 on the damage meters. Yay for Mind Sear! Damn, I love that spell!!! OK, yeah you might say it’s all aoe so sorta cheating, but take in to account that according to InventoryOnPar as a guide, I was only geared more than two alt healers (who are both fantastic healers btw) and still getting 2nd or 3rd in single trash pulls and bosses. There’s actually something really wrong about that, but I won’t point fingers. 😦

* Hooray for DVR!

A Newbie Raider’s Guide: Avoiding The Drama Llama

Raid Leaders often take for granted that everyone understands raiding like they do. What they forget is that “once upon a time”, they were just as ignorant…

We recently had a guild meeting updating and reiterating <ICESTORM>’s guild policies. One of the things we addressed was “drama”! Ooooh! Scary!!

But in all seriousness, drama is a big thing for raiding guilds. Ever seen a raiding guild fall apart because they decided they’d done it all and what’s the point continuing? No!

After our meeting it was whispered to me that several people didn’t speak up during the meeting and haven’t spoken up for some time because they are afraid of being labeled a drama queen. I guess I took it for granted that my version of drama was understood by all. As my father always says, “That’s what you get for doing your own thinking.”

What is Drama?

Merriam-Webster has one definition of drama as “a state, situation, or series of events involving interesting or intense conflict of forces “. I think we can all agree that’s a pretty succinct definition of what happens in WoW. 🙂

Where Does Drama Come From?

llama xingSo where does the drama come from? What causes it? Why can’t we seem to avoid it? I haven’t found one person that will admit they play the game for drama, so why is it there?

People play for different reasons, but all play because they get some kind of fulfillment from the game. With all of those people comes hundreds of different personalities and expectations so a few are bound to clash at times. There are those that like to level, raiders, looters, pvp’ers, achievement junkies (yours truly :)), businessmen/women, questers, social players, non-social players, and yes even wackos!

A couple of months ago I experienced my own drama from a stalker that wouldn’t leave me alone. I think it was a 12 year old kid (but he could have been a 40 year old for all I know) that apparently I had quested with way back when and somehow had given him the impression that I was his best friend. When I refused to help him level to 55 so he could create a Death Knight, he freaked out on me accusing me of being a horrible friend, etc. I finally put him on ignore, told him I’m sorry, but I have my own things to do with the expansion, and that I didn’t even remember who he was. For two weeks he created and deleted alts to whisper me as I put them on ignore. Finally his sister intervened and explained that he just wanted to apologize, which I said apology accepted, but I didn’t want the grief anymore and didn’t even know who the kid was. Thankfully, I haven’t heard from him since.

Fortunately, few of us experience the weird kind of drama. (Yes, I’m looking at you my friend*! :)) But as raiders we often encounter raiding related drama.

There are three basic types of raiding drama:

  • Raid invites
  • Performance
  • Loot

Raid Invite Drama

There are three types of people that generally get invited to raids.

  • The Good Raider – based on gear and/or performance
  • The Friend – whether s/he sucks or not
  • Others – based on lacking gear, lacking performance, or just not part of the “in” group

Drama from this situation arises when someone falls in the latter category.

Performance Drama

Performance is perhaps the second largest drama problem I see in raiding guilds and it stems from two sources: Raid Leaders and Raiders.

Raid Leaders often get frustrated on bad nights when people are going AFK, underperforming, not paying attention, etc. They can get verbally abusive and rude. Some are just that way all the time. Think Drill Sergeant. I will not condone disrepectful treatment of raiders in a raid no matter how bad it is getting. People can be called out for their actions in a respectful manner. There’s no need to cuss people out, call them names, etc. Nor is there reason that any raider should put up with it. The choice is yours.

Raiders often get frustrated for the same reasons and either jump on the bandwagon of calling people out when they aren’t part of that group or become defensive when they are. I have yet to find the one person who truly believes they suck at playing this game. Everyone’s skill is different. Some people can learn quickly, others more slowly. Some have fast reflexes and some have the reflexes of a body in rigor mortis.

Loot Drama

The topic you’ve all waited for and the reason I left it last. Had to figure out a way to make you read all of this. 😉

Loot rules are set up for a reason and every person thinks their reason is better. Whatever the loot rules are for your guild you accepted them the minute you joined the guild. If you don’t like it, you can always leave. Don’t start something by trying to get them to change the rules in the middle of a raid.

The biggest problem I see with raiders is they always want loot and they want it now! Keep in mind that raiding guilds for some reason always want to go back and redo the raid every week. I’m still trying to figure out why they’d want to do something they’ve already done, but they always do. Maybe it’s an addiction or a disease. 🙂

Remember, you’ll get your chance to get the item. Just keep at it. Have patience.

Avoiding the Drama Llama

dramallamaThe first thing you need to do is accept the fact that you can’t avoid the drama llama. Once you accept that simple fact, life gets a little bit easier. However, you can take steps to minimize the number of encounters with the llama and you can definitely control how you react.

Whenever the Llama rears itself ready to stomp someone’s head into the ground, begin asking these questions:

  • Is this the best time to bring up my complaint? If a raid is being set up or it’s actually raid time, then now is probably not the best time. A quick whisper along the lines of “Hey, I’d like to talk about this later” is appropriate, but unless an officer wishes to discuss it now, then hold off on giving details.
  • Have I taken the time to think about my complaint? This might seem an odd point, but the way in which you register your complaint often affects the outcome. If you direct a question in such a way that it places the onus on yourself as opposed to on someone else, the one you complain to will be more receptive. For example, I don’t get invited to a raid. I send a whisper, “Hey, I didn’t get invited to the raid again this week. When you have time later I’d like to talk to you about what I need to do. Thx.” Comments like this first address the issue (i.e. not getting invited). Then it relieves the recipient from having to address the issue now and acknowledges that s/he is busy right now. It also then acknowledges (whether right or wrong) that you’re willing to do something to get in rather than sending the message that you deserve the right to get in. More often than not I see responses like “Why didn’t I get invited to raid? You guys just don’t want to gear me!”
  • Does this situation affect me directly? If no, then butt out! It never ceases to amaze me how many people often give their two cents at the worst possible moment. You may think you’re helping out, but chances are you’re fanning the flames.
  • Am I in a position of authority and need to address this? If so, then address it. Find the proper avenue and time. Sometimes that means a swift /gkick and sometimes just arranging a private meeting for later on. As a raider, understand this and accept quick decisions from officers as appropriate.

Remember when something doesn’t go your way, no one’s saying you shouldn’t be disappointed. No one’s saying you shouldn’t get upset because this is the 10th time in three weeks you haven’t gotten invited to a raid. No one’s saying you shouldn’t be considering finding another guild. What they are asking is please don’t cause drama. They all know you want in. They know dozens of others that want in as well. They’re doing their best to accomodate everyone.

It’s like having people ask me for heals. I have raid frames. I know who’s taking damage. I know who’s my priority. I know you need a heal. BACK OFF!!! 🙂 Seriously though, raid leaders know everyone wants in. Good guilds will try to accomodate as many as possible, but they do have their priorities whether it be performance, rank/seniority, gear, or whatever else.

Complaining isn’t drama. How you complain can be.

*I have a friend in guild that had a stalker of her own that “fell in love” with her. I finally had to /gkick him.

Weekend Update: Rep, Dungeons, and The Stranglethorn Fishing Extravaganza


Friday. Ran 25 man Naxx and it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t pretty.  My memory is already fuzzy since I’m trying to put it out of my mind, but I think we downed about 4 bosses in 5 hours. Did we wipe, you ask? We did some, but not terribly bad. It’s those blasted AFKs!!! I swear we wasted 2 hours just in AFKs alone!

Saturday. Ran 10 man Naxx with Maedchen and got some new gear. No I don’t remember what, but I don’t care. I play to raid and I end up getting gear eventually anyway. That said, I think I was second on DPS and was the third least geared person in the group according to InventoryOnPar. Not trying to put people down, but that just says something isn’t right.

Saturday/Sunday. Worked on a few new achievements for Kyrilean.

Yup, finally got Exalted with Sporeggar and Cenarion Circle. If I never go to Silithus again it’ll be too soon! Sporeggar wasn’t too bad as I was already Revered. Cenarion Circle I was only Honored and not by much.

I’ve got 27 Exalted reputations right now and for some dumb reason I’m dying to get as many to Exalted as I can. So I headed over to the Timbermaw to try and do that. I was already about 300 points into Hated, but I killed a bunch of furbolg to get me started. Once I got to Honored, I could feel my brain oozing out of my ears so I decided to go find the Wintersaber Trainers and get that started. That one’s going to kill me…

Classic Dungeons. So many of them that I missed. I decided to run Wailing Caverns. I’d never been there. By the way…it sucks!

Oh yeah, almost forgot. I decided to try the Stranglethorn Fishing Extravaganza for the first time yesterday. Oh and I won! 🙂

I was so nervous getting ready for it. This is an achievement I’ve been wanting to get ever since it came out. It’s also an event I’ve wanted to do for about a year now, but I never found the time as I was usally raiding.

Anyway, I was reading El’s Extreme Anglin’ for some tips and because Wailing Caverns had taken so long, I was almost late. I set my hearthstone at the inn in Booty Bay and ran out to the beach to the northeast. Actually I started a little north of that sea giant on the coast. I initially tried to be friendly by not “stealing” any pools from people, but there must have been hundreds of people everywhere. Most pools ended up with 3-4 fishermen. So I said screw it and fished with everyone else.

I was pretty sure I wouldn’t win after I saw how many people were doing this event. I even saw one person begin hearthing back to Booty Bay and was certain she had won, until she ran past me a little later and no announcement had been made. I’m guessing she caught a rare fish???

Anyway, I won and decided to grab the Hook of the Master Angler. Check it out!

I could have instead taken the Arcanite Fishing Pole, but I like the Mastercraft Kalu’ak Fishing Pole and for +5 more fishing skill, it didn’t seem worth it. Who knows maybe I’ll do this again to get it.

AfterwardsI stayed around to try and get one of the rare fish, but gave up after about 45 min. The rewards are Nat Pagle’s Extreme Anglin’ Boots, High Test Eternium Fishing Line, and Lucky Fishing Hat. I’ve already got a Weather-Beaten Fishing Hat which is better anyway. Besides, when you’re maxed out with fishing, do you really need those last few points? Maybe not, but it’s still fun to do if you’re into fishing.

So what did you do this weekend?


I tried to work this pic my wife e-mailed me into my last post, but couldn’t get it to work. Screw it, the pic alone deserves a post. 🙂


No, that’s not my kid, but he’s darn cute.

A Place To Call Home

Why are we attracted to guilds?

This is a question that cropped up in my mind today after making a decision about whether or not to leave my guild.

If you’ve been following my blog over the last few weeks, I’ve talked a little bit about my frustrations with my guild and potentially looking at a server transfer. Several times I decided to bite the bullet and go through with it and yet as I logged on I found myself unable to /gquit, even as the frustration continued to build.

    jiminy2Me: Why can’t I not go through with it?
    Jiminy: It’s because you feel like you’re betraying your friends.
    Me: But am I not also betraying myself by being miserable and betraying the guild by being unavailable* for raids?
    Jiminy: Yup, but you’re afraid the guilt you’ll feel after leaving will be worse than the guilt you feel now.
    Me: Well, that’s not fair. /sulks
    Jiminy: Just remember that no one’s irreplaceable and they’ll get along without you just fine.
    Me: OK, I’m going to quit. I want to not dread raiding again and it isn’t fair to them that I’m online, but not available.

So I bit the bullet last night and decided to announce I was quitting in our Officer Meeting. I wanted them to understand exactly why I was quitting and leave on a good note. However, things went a different way and a plan was devised to make some things better***. (As it turns out I’m not the only Officer that’s burned out.)

Several Officers expressed their hope that I’d stay in the guild. During our Guild Meeting it was also expressed by some of the Guild Members. This made me feel good, as it would anyone. We all want to belong, whether it’s as the elite raider, the guy with vast WoW knowledge**, the funny guy, the well-respected leader, the nice guy, or whatever other role that makes us feel like we belong.

So it occurred to me that maybe guilds aren’t attractive because of raiding, socializing, leveling, pvp’ing, or whatever the guild does, but rather they’re attractive because “sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name and they’re always glad you came”. Guilds are attractive because we’re all looking for a place to call home.

* I’ve been purposely not signing up for raids for the past two weeks.
** Not me by the way. I screw up my UI at least weekly and can’t remember the names of 90% of my spells. 🙂
*** I suppose the worst case scenario is that it doesn’t get better and I bite the bullet. I’m just tired of worrying and writing about it as much as you are of probably reading about it. Sorry Amber, still holding you guys on the backburner.