|DoD congratulates Jungard on acquiring|
the guild's second Shadowmourne,
Number TwoIt was time to celebrate. Spell effects filled the screen as guildies hopped like freaks or knelt in nerdy honor, paying respect to DoD's second Shadowmourne. For once, I was satisfied with my decision. Months earlier, it came down to Jungard or Crasian, and Jungard's long, patient wait from promotion to prominence was over. The warrior that Annihilation took a chance on, that fateful day back in The Burning Crusade, had come far. Today, we celebrated him. Jungard proudly wielded the frozen axe, and assured me that my short-lived days of dominating the melee meters were about to end.
I felt a strong kinship with Jungard; we both believed in the value of effort. In his early raids with the guild, he never once demonstrated fatigue, insolence, or rage. Jungard was every bit enthusiastic to participate, whether it was the first attempt on Illidan, or the forty-first. When I reflect on my guild, wondering why everything went the way that it did, I can't help but feel a certain extra bond to the guildies that predated Wrath of the Lich King.
They knew the meaning of difficult.
Jungard's ideology transcended WoW. He erred on the side of treating people with kindness and respect and watched his words carefully; he knew how easily a lack of context could so ruthlessly corrupt a simple message's intent. Jungard took care to consider people's feelings, even if discussing unquestionable math -- a topic people still felt the need to interpret. It's easy to tell someone they suck. With all things he approached in the guild and in life, Jungard preferred not to take the easy way out.
Having an officer that thought as I did worked wonders for DoD leadership -- trust came much more easily, felt natural. I felt relieved to have him in charge while I was away. In a game of cretins perpetually brofisting each other, Jungard's attention to social skills was a rarity that few awkward gamers could claim. And his hard-working ethic translated from the real world into WoW, demonstrated by his exceedingly high damage and constant focus to improve. Jungard didn't tell people how to play...that wasn't his style. His was more of a set of friendly suggestions, things to try, interesting facts to point out. He humbled me, in both his treatment of the guild and how he inspired the 25-Man progression team to accomplish great things.
Shadowmourne found an adequate home in Jungard's titan grip.
"I wanted to talk to you about a possible recommendation, if you're interested."
"I'm all ears. Whaddya got for me, Yungard?"
I took pleasure in keeping the J silent. It's the little things that count.
"I think you should give Fred a chance. He's put in a lot of hours, and not just with the 25-Man. He's been in nearly every Alt-25 since starting. Really trying to better his play and grasp on the game."
I wasn't surprised at the suggestion. I knew they were close: Fred had ties to Starflex, the 10-Man team (formerly a guild) run by Jungard's brother, Randyflagg. "It's nice to see someone dedicate themselves to improving. Especially in the healing department. So many players sweep it under the rug...what did you have in mind?"
"I really think he'd do well as a Healing Officer."
Officer? That seemed a bit much. I filtered my response; I knew Jungard would pay me the same courtesy, "I'm not certain he's ready for that level of responsibility." He's not a good enough healer.
Jungard acknowledged my concern, "There's been some rough patches, sure. But he's definitely working on improving, and really has the guild's interests at heart. He's a team player, first and foremost."
"I wouldn't argue that for a moment. But healing lead requires more than just being a team player. It means being sharp across the entire role. Knowing the strengths and weakness of all the healing classes, being able to direct traffic, assigning the right people to the right responsibilities." And those were just game mechanics. None of my speech addressed his ability to lead people, which he couldn't do if he didn't have their respect. I couldn't say for sure that DoD saw him as credible; I needed that consistent demonstration of proven knowledge. And if my optimism couldn't put a finger on it, how would skeptical Elites see him?
"Maybe you could talk to him, discuss a few things he could work on?"
I agreed. It was a perfectly fair starting point. Fred was making noticeable improvements in healing, and was a likable, friendly guy. But when it came to leadership vibes, I drew a very weak signal off of him.
Finish It"It's all lies, I swear." Fred joked as I pulled him into officer vent. We both laughed. "What's Jungard said about me this time?"
|"Retadin - Blood Elf Paladin"|
Artwork by Duneboo
"I'm in deep shit now, aren't I?"
"Breathe easy, Fred. In fact, there's good news here: Jungard's recommended you for a promotion."
"Wow, really? That's cool."
I slowed down, punctuating words with the hopes of conveying some significance in what I was about to say: "I like Jungard. A lot. I trust his judgement. The guy's been one of the most consistent people ever to set foot in this guild. He's earned his stripes. So, when he has a good thing to say about a person, I take it seriously."
I paused, in case Fred wanted to inject anything; he remained silent, so I continued.
"I think there's a little bit of housekeeping in order, first. I haven't made any decisions about changes in the lineup yet. But I am in the midst of revising rules. So, if a position opens up, you're going to want to have your ducks all in a row...if it interests you."
"What that means is: I need you to be an expert healer. Hear me on this. Not just an expert pally healer. An expert healer, period. You need to have all the bases covered. Be able to know the strengths and weaknesses of each healing class. Be able to look down the list of healers at your command and determine who is the right guy or gal for the job, boss-to-boss. The raid leader is going to rely on you to deliver healing assignments that are appropriate for the boss and for our group."
"Got it. What would you suggest between now and then?"
"Well, Jungard tells me you've been contributing to the Alt-25 in your spare time. Get with Mang and Drecca. Offer up your services for healing assignments. Keep a cool head, get some practice leading people....which also means practice dealing with their shit."
"Well, I typically don't do a lot of healing in the Alt-25...mostly I just bring my enhance shaman...."
I waited for Fred to finish his sentence. The part where I expected him to say "...but I can switch to heals next week, to get started mastering resto..." His sentence dangled, and I waited for him to finish. Hoped he would finish it. For Jungard's sake. And for Fred's.
The ending never came.
His answer just trailed off into silence, silence that told an entirely different story, "I only bring my enhancement shaman, so I'm not really sure how I could possibly begin the task of learning restoration." He never spoke those words, but that's what I heard.
I came out of the conversation no more convinced of Fred's ability to assume leadership than I was going in. Time would tell if he had the inclination to turn it around. But time was limited, and Cataclysm drew near. I hoped Jungard's recommendation panned out, because I trusted his judgement; he thought as I did. I hated the thought of having to tell him his first bad call was one that misjudged a close friend.
|Neps powers up his rocket-powered ram,|
with help from Drecca and Mature,
Everyone Has One And They All Stink
"F U Cata, and F U Blizzard, this is so fucking dumb", said Riskers, "These changes have really been pissing me off as of late."
"I actually like the change," said Omaric, "I can spend the same amount of time in game that I do now, but have two fully geared characters instead of boring myself to death on one."
I watched the forum drama unfold to see where allegiances would fall. Drecca's topic, "Looks like no more 10 man teams in Cataclysm...", produced a variety of stances. An astute observer might catch a glimpse of a guildy's future, just by watching how emotional they got over this touchy subject. Perhaps someone might even play their hand unintentionally.
"It's not so much about the same character in the same content," Drecca replied to Omaric, "The social dynamic is different as well. I’m all about killing internet dragons, but I want to have fun doing it -- which includes people."
I couldn't agree more. Again and again, players wanted to see how they could bend and shape the game to suit their own needs, forgetting that this was WoW, that dealing with other human beings was baked into the admission fee.
Jungard remained skeptical, "Sometimes the difficulty difference between 10 and 25 comes from the margin of error you have, based on who you bring. If WotLK was any indication, I'm not entirely convinced they can balance the difficulty between both." Jungard continued to demonstrate the traits that drew me to him initially: a perceptive eye and a cool head, so necessary in analyzing every change that trickled down through the patch notes. Jungard understood as I did: It's OK to be critical of the things you love.
"It reminds me of TBC," added Lexxii, "If you'll recall, our T4 tokens came from Kara, Gruul and Mag," referring to Blizzard's insanity asking us to collect our first tier from both a 10 and a 25 man. It was a situation that had less than stellar outcomes for DoD. "I'm still debating the positives of this. Not everyone can be a part of progression. Forcing us to spread our time across alts would definitely liven things up. But, it could also mean the death of the 25. Personally, I don't think Blizzard will let this happen." Lexxii was optimistic, but concerned.
Anyone worth their salt would be concerned.
Bonechatters was next, "25s will always have a different setup than 10s. If anything, this means we'll be able to gear out toons faster. I don't see anything negative to this. Maybe someone can explain?" Bonechatters was still reasonably new, still had that tinge of youthful naiveté common amongst the younger crowd. I didn't hold it against him; we all start somewhere. Guild leaders rarely get the chance to bring any insight on people to the table -- it isn't asked for. Their concerns were of raid rotations, of forum account activation, and of adequate repair gold subsidies. Few cared about behavior. I wasn't an expert yet, but offered what I could to this seldom broached topic:
"Pretend for a moment that you're the leader of guild comprised of multiple cliques. Some of the players in one clique aren't necessarily the best of friends in a group from another clique. Also, both cliques participate in the 25-Man Progression team. Now tell them they can reap the same rewards from their own clique running a 10-Man version of the raid, as opposed to running with a bunch of people that rub them the wrong way. Do you ever think they would show up in the 25 again? If you believe so, explain how."
A few minutes later, Boney changed his stance completely, "In posting, I didn't see the part about the 10 and 25 locks being shared. I retract everything I said. This is a shitty decision and fails hardcore."