Thursday, December 5, 2013

3.44. Bullet Points and Lies

What Their Body Language is Telling You

The Read

When you sit across the table from someone, leafing through their resume, you're trained to pay attention to the cues that are present. The stranger staring back at you is now more than just a name and some impressive typography printed on fancy paper. When their credentials first hit your desk, the best you can hope for is to look beyond the literal content and examine the little things like their choice of fonts, how they've decided to prioritize their education or their experience. If their name is enormous in the header, are they demonstrating a mastery of Microsoft Word or are they overcompensating for a deficiency in their confidence? Do they describe their work history as a series of things they've done or ways they've made their former companies successful? When you look them straight in the eyes, it's much easier to read the nervousness, the constant uncomfortable shuffling; the body language of folded arms shielding them from the onslaught of incoming questions. When they're in the room with you, it's a little bit easier to tell if they mean what they say, or if the resume you hold in your hands is just a series of bullet points and lies.

But if you never get them in a room, it becomes more of a Herculean task to get a good read.

There aren't so many cues when you run a guild. You don't get the luxury of a professionally written resume, and there is no table to sit them at; all the body language is absent from the equation. Without these cues to help bolster your ability to read their true intent, you're left with what floats to the surface: their actions, their measurable contributions, and if they treat both stranger and friend alike -- the kinds of things you might consider when judging a person's integrity. If the person is genuine, it is a simple task to walk your list and scratch check marks next to the ones demonstrated by candidate X. But when a person has another agenda in mind, the items you check off your list become their strategy. The key is determining what parts of their behavior are just for show, and digging through the dirt to reveal their actual motivations.

I know this strategy because I've employed it myself. I've changed my own line of questioning to suit an agenda I felt my interviewees wanted to fulfill, and it may very well have been the deciding factor in gaining The Final Cut back in Vanilla; my last real opportunity to leapfrog into 40-Man raiding. When I began to ask about how they would handle fixed schedules, strict start times, the administration of all added up to the same underlying theme: we're a casual guild that has the professional approach of the hardcore. In actuality, we hadn't pulled off a single, successful raid by that point. But it was enough for them to take a gamble on us, thankfully, and it paid off in dividends.

I was closing in on my decision regarding who to go with for melee officer. I had conferred with Neps and Dalans, rounded the candidate pool down to two options, and attempted to wrap my arms around who was more aligned with the best intentions of the guild. For Descendants of Draenor to continue down its current path of success, leadership had to be just right, and I was becoming hyper-vigilant at scrutinizing my decision-making process. Mistakes of the past coupled with recent events made this a choice that I couldn't gloss over.

It was time to sit both Jungard and Crasian down and determine who was going to be the best fit for my next melee officer position. I wanted their perception of things. In my mind, listening to them explain how they saw events unfolding would paint a clearer picture of who I was considering. This, in my mind, would be the best opportunity to get a read of the candidates. And when I stepped into the interviews, I prepared myself for the same treatment I dished out to The Final Cut years before. If players were prepared to tell me what I wanted to hear, how would I be able to cut through their bullshit?

I did this by asking them their opinion of each other.


"So, which do you like more right now?"

"I dunno, I really like the idea about armor pen at the moment, and Blood is pulling some sick numbers but you really need the gear for it. Having to re-gem everything across the board like that? Doesn't seem very practical. I mean, I like to change it up a bit, and I can pretty much do that now if I want to flip between Frost or Unholy. Strength is strength, y'know?"


"I'll probably give it a go at some point but right now I'm getting the numbers I need from Unholy. The rotation gets a bit dull but it's doing more than Frost at the moment, so I probably won't change it up anytime soon."

"You don't mind losing Frost's burst?"

"Well, there are ways around that. It's just a lot of Death Knights aren't paying attention. Y'know? I mean everyone seems to have a DK but that doesn't mean they know what's going on. Simple things like spreading diseases before dropping a DnD on the twin valks. Most DKs could give a shit. It's pretty common knowledge. But instead they have to resort to exploits and pulling the valks into the doorway, or whatever. Sad."

"Crasian, let's change the subject quickly. What's your opinion on Jungard?"

"Ho, boy. Jungard? Um, he's a good guy, I guess...I can't say I really know too much about him, y'know? I mean, like...we've run some stuff together. He's offered to help out on a few fillers in the Eh Team runs, so we've brought him along for those. But I know he's helping his brother run Starflex throughout the week, so other the 25...I don't get much of an opportunity to hang out."

"Do you think Jungard's competent enough to lead the melee team in 25?"

"Oh, no doubt. No doubt at all. Yah, he's sharp, he knows his stuff."

I waited to see if Crasian would offer anything else up in Jungard's favor.

"'s the decision on Shadowmourne coming along?"

And just like that, the discussion shifted to more important things.

"Still deciding. I'm getting close. Just a few more loose ends to tie up."

"Sweet! Yeah, let me know how it goes!"

I went into Crasian's interview with a hunch. His responses confirmed where my head was at.

Artwork by Dan Scott

Insane in the Brain

Omaric and Bretthew made it clear to the 25-Man progression team that in order to execute One Light, the keeper we would have to leave alive was Thorim. By phase three, we'd already be stretched thin by moving slower, taking more damage, and receiving less heals. We'd probably be down a few folks as they lost their minds to the gaze of Yogg-Saron. All of these hindrances would add up to a drawn-out phase three; we'd need every last ounce of help during the final burn. That meant Thorim had to help us kill those Guardians. So it was decreed. During our clear toward Yogg, Omaric and Bretthew directed players to talk to Mimiron, Hodir, and Freya, removing their protective gaze from the Antechamber.

Omaric's primary tactic was, first and foremost, for players to get a handle on managing their sanity. Many of the progression raiders voiced their opinions in this department on the forums. Jungard, Crasian, Mangetsu -- folks passionate about their play and determined on being focused towards the win, shared their thoughts on the DoD boards. Omaric remained resolute in his stance: by reducing the various mistakes players could make throughout the course of phase one and two, the raid would ultimately transition into phase three with a healthy abundance of sanity. Without Freya's sanity wells as a crutch, players would have no choice but to perform with a high degree of precision. This essential tactic had far reaching effects in our One Light attempts for the duration of the raid that Friday evening.

When we returned to the instance Sunday, rested and ready to dig back in, it was as if we had never left. Each pull got a little cleaner. Transitions from phase one to phase two got a little quicker -- Bretthew expedited each attempt by purposefully walking into clouds in phase one, artificially spawning more Guardians than the default -- their subsequent deaths eating away at Sara's illusion in greater haste. Meanwhile, phase two continued to receive the spit polish. Jungard helped direct our melee in the nightmare, reminding folks to face away from the skulls as they dug their way through each dream sequence, eventually exposing Yogg's brainstem. As the attempts continued on into the evening, we closed the gap from three nightmare cycles to two. If we could burn the brainstem hard enough during those two cycles, we'd have enough sane people alive to deliver the true death to Yogg and transition the Old God to phase three.

At 9:18pm, the dual raid leaders made the call to melee: Get out now. This is it. We're pushing into phase three.

DoD defeats Yogg-Saron under the sole watch of Thorim,
earning "One Light in the Darkness (25 Player)",

One Light

With my back to the Old God, I resumed my role, calling out in Vent which tank was getting the next Guardian. Omaric and Bretthew did the same. Players continued to catch a peek of Yogg's horrific face and their sanity bled away. Another guardian spawned in the chaos, too close to pick it up. With maximum health, the Guardian was at its greatest strength. It turned to Sixfold, killing him instantly. The tanks fell back into our rotation. Crasian and Jungard hammered away at Yogg along with the rest of melee, risking their own sanity in the process. Turtleman came up snake eyes in the luck department and his sanity melted away. Bretthew called out to kill him, and the raid converged, blowing the undead Mage apart. More succumbed to Yogg: Abrinis, then Sir Klocker. Crasian focused on the kill as the last bits of his own mind were stripped away; the raid soon turned to kill him as well. Yogg's health continued to drop. Jungard held his faculties for a few additional moments, slashing his dual two-handed weapons into the hundred gaping mouths. Finally, he joined the list of the damned, killed by the raid amid his own insane ravings. In the last remaining percentage of health, Bretthew, Omaric and I could barely keep ourselves alive with the weight of the Guardians continuing to press down on us.

And then...brilliance.

Our screens lit up with a double dose of achievement spam. Both "Two Lights in the Darkness" and "One Light in the Darkness" had proc'd side-by-side, the result of our urgency to complete Glory. Cheers and screams filled Vent as we picked ourselves up and distributed loot. The reality of how close we were set in. Only one meta remained. Adrenaline pumped through our veins and we felt unstoppable. With forty minutes remaining in the evening, we celebrated our accomplishment by taking the raid back to Obsidian Sanctum and executing a three-drake kill for old times sake. This produced a Twilight Drake flying mount for Omaric in the process. It was well-earned and well-deserved. I took a moment to address the raid before they disbanded and headed out for the night.

"I just wanted to thank you all for the hard work everyone's been putting in on Glory. We're just about there, gang. Make sure you hit the forums and do that research on Firefighter. While I have everyone's attention, I have an announcement: I've come to a decision on the guild's next next melee officer. Most of you probably saw this coming, as the guy contributes so much to the guild and progression, that he's practically an honorary officer by this point. So it's time to make it official. Everyone, please join me in congratulating Jungard."

Again, the Ventrilo server erupted -- this time with congratulations and cheers for DoD's newest officer. A random voice piped up as the cheering subsided, "So does this mean Jungard's getting the ol' legendary axe first?"

"No," I replied, "I am."


Anonymous said...

Oh wow... I bet that went over poorly with some. O_O


Shawn Holmes said...


Stay tuned!

Dalans said...

We rioted and held up the guild bank as retribution!


Brett Easley said...


zole said...


Anonymous said...

It light of the situation I think this was a very smart thing to do... eliminate the drama over the weapon by giving it to a third party no one can argue about.

Also a nice test of patience and loyalty

Anonymous said...

"eliminate the drama over the weapon by giving it to a third party no one can argue about."

Oh, there's ALWAYS something to argue about. XD

And, "The GM is being favoritist and hogging all the best loot *whine*!" is certainly an easy card to pull. -_-

----Catelina, KT Alliance Priest

Shawn Holmes said...


Amen to that, which is why I am highly suspicious of any guild that claims "No drama!"...

...which is the same as claiming "No body fat." There's *always* some fat...

Rick said...

I was actually very surprised that you weren't certain from the start that you were getting it first. All the worries surrounding the legendary was giving it to the person who would stick around the longest, and the obvious answer was the guild master himself, who deserved a legendary after all his hard work.

Then again, you may have actually been relatively certain from the beginning that you were in fact giving it to yourself, but had to build up the suspense for the sake of the story :D