Thursday, March 26, 2015

4.32. The Almighty

Artwork by Erika Nordmeyer

Pulling Teeth

"I don't understand why it's necessary to name someone."

It’s necessary because I fucking said so.

"The point of naming a Tactician is so that there is a way for us to mediate problems. If Herp Derp decides to pull some kind of crazy shit, someone should be accountable for it. They manage the group, enforce guild rules. Y'know? The common sense stuff that if I didn't actually write it down as a actual rule...that someone would find a way to throw it back in my teeth?"


"Look, this goes both ways. This isn't just a me-me-me thing. When you pick someone, it gives the group a sense that they're official, that they matter, that hey maybe one day in a former life they felt like a contributor to the guild via the 25, but now they can't...but they can! We'll cheer their accomplishments as if they were the 25s, get their kill-shots up on the website, get the guild to congratulate their wins -- the 'family' thing that is so often bitched about as something we're kicking to the wayside. And you get the same perks as the other 10s, remember? The BoEs, the guild repairs, etc…"

"...but not as much as the 25."

Why do you have to bust my balls on this, Drecca?

"Just pick someone. It doesn't have to be you…"

...but you and I both know it should be.

"...just make sure it's someone that's responsible and can act on behalf of the team."

"In that case, I pick Riskers."

I sighed. "Fine. I’ll update the rank and let him know what he needs to do. See? That wasn't hard, was it?"

"It wasn't hard, but it also wasn't necessary."

Well, Drecca, when you have a guild of your own, you can decide what’s necessary.


Herp Derp's rapid progress through 10-Man content was inversely proportional to their involvement with the guild. Drecca and Co. plowed through content...sorry...Riskers and Co. plowed through content at a rate unmatched by the 25-Man, knocking Nefarian out a full three weeks earlier than progression, and I made certain to join in the guild cheer and congratulations. A unified front is important. As the guild leader, it was the right thing to do. It just wasn't easy.

Outside of their raid schedule, members of Herp Derp were a little less easy to pin down. They kept to themselves and rarely spoke up in guild chat. Drecca did most of the talking, often issuing blanket statements that any player worth their salt would question. All topics became controversial, with Drecca leaning uncomfortably away from fact, his answers laced with prophetic subjectivity. These rage-inducing platitudes seemed crafted specifically to crawl under my skin.

Any opinion he voiced in the past was buried in triviality. I focused on the more important piece of the argument -- the factual part -- like when he joined me in agreeing that any rush to judgement about Real ID (before it was even solidified) would be self-defeating. Only when pressed further did Drecca clarify his personal feelings about Real ID, had Blizzard pursued their initial design:

"Publishing my real name next to my gaming account information is a complete violation of my right to privacy, and was not a part of the Terms I agreed to when I created the account. If the day arrives that I have to attach my identifying information to a 'technical support' forum post, I'll be cancelling my account."

For the early part of his career in DoD, Drecca's personal opinion rarely treaded over his own practicality. Eventually, it was the norm.

DoD's kill of Chimaeron causes Mature to
earn his 50th exalted reputation,
Blackwing Descent

10 vs. 25 - SOLVED

At first, the behavior was barely noticeable, and not nearly worth the energy to raise an eyebrow:

[Guild] [Drecca]: [Signet of the Elder Council] is the best-in-slot tanking ring before you see any Tier 11 drops.

Really, Drecca? Agility? That just came from your mouth?

This gave way to an underlying pretentiousness, slowly forming at the edges.

[Guild] [Drecca]: Any tank purposefully not hit capped is an embarrassment to the role.

EJ confirms there's no longer a need to cap your hit. Blizzard is purposefully changing interrupt mechanics to accommodate. Why do you insist on clinging to superstition?

Eventually, every statement was a full-scale attack. Marred by personal bias, his opinion stained guild chat, lingering in disrepair.

[Guild] [Drecca]: There is no such thing as ‘casual’ and ‘hardcore’ players. Only good players and bad players.

Nuance had long since taken its leave. And with every additional "fact" thrown into the mix, it became less easy to back him, even if there were still a smattering of accuracy tucked away under a barge of refuse.

It was no coincidence that Nefarian fell to the 25-Man the very same night Drecca happened to be a part of the killing squad. Hours of practice ending in wipes, did an immediate about-face, the boss being beaten in one pull...the first pull, no less. A blood death knight's kit was no match for that of a prot paladin's -- a testament to the tuning of the boss. The prospect that a competently geared/played 25-man team was unable to execute the encounter with their own choice of tanks not only contradicted Blizzard's mantra, it was just more evidence we could heap onto the 10 vs 25 argument.

I thought for certain any competent player...could see what we saw, could attest to the indisputable adjustments necessary to facilitate Nefarian's death: moving from two tanks to three, ensuring a paladin tank was present, the nightmarish logistics of separating interrupt groups into their own vent channels. Surely, he sees this, I reasoned to myself. These were the kinds of allowances that a 10-Man wouldn't ever have to make.

Wouldn't make? Or...couldn't make. See what I did there?

Drecca saw a very different picture, even after having been present (and responsible) for the kill that day. In perhaps his most prophetic statement to the guild, Drecca didn't care to see the array of complexities that the 25-Man had to deal with, because he was too busy focusing on what the 10s weren't able to deal with:

[Guild] [Drecca]: 10-Man is the most difficult content in the game right now. With only 10 people, we don't nearly have the options that the 25 has.

In his mind, the 10-Man was more difficult because they simply couldn't make the changes we were able to put into place. They couldn't put a third tank in, even if they wanted to -- there was no room to sacrifice DPS or HPS. They couldn't separate themselves into different vent channels; a smaller group inherits more individual responsibility, so pulling them apart was a self-defeating endeavor.

No gray area. No thorough examination of the mechanics from boss to boss. No contemplation of the of the subtleties of room size-to-party ratios. World first guilds would go on to state that Cataclysm's 25-Man raid content was some of the most difficult content ever seen in World of Warcraft. But Drecca made it all so perfectly clear, putting to bed that long argued debate that raged on even now within the threads of's forums, our own Great Conflict, with neither side gaining sway for very long. All they needed to do was read from the word of Drecca, and rays of light would bathe the vast armies in clarity, putting an end to the war.

It was a simple lack of options that made the 10-Man encounters the most difficult content in Cataclysm. So sayeth Drecca.

Mature and the guild assemble near the entrance to
Throne of the Four Winds to begin work on Al'akir,

The Last Moment of the Dark

It was late into the evening on March 4th, the first raid night following our clear of both Blackwing Descent and Bastion of Twilight. Blain's goal for us this Friday was a full clear of BWD in a single evening, and while the bosses leading up to Nef were no longer a concern, Nef was still far from a guarantee. Yes, we'd killed him once...but one kill does not a farm make. We were sans Paladin tank once again, but we kept faith. After all, what was it Ghostcrawler said?

Bring the player, not the class.

You got it, Greg. You're the hero of this story!

In the final thirty minutes of the evening, our attempt was going measurably well. Phase one was clean, and it was dry phase two -- an unusually rare occurrence in which no player had a problem hopping out of the lava. Phase two demanded unrelenting concentration, but was muddied by excessive communication between the individual teams synchronizing their interrupts. As usual, we solved by dividing those teams into their own vent channels.

As we waited for our turn to interrupt, the main channel suddenly exploded with distortion.



"Not the time, Ben."

After a brief pause, the hundred-decibel rant continued, our headphones filled with sexual obscenities and unfulfilled carnal desires. He was a wandering drunk falling over himself, in desperate need of an escort.


"Ben, SHUT...UP. Please!"

"QUIET. Ignore him. Mature is next."

The Chromatic Prototype wound up his Blast Nova.

I shut it down with Mind Freeze.

I alt-tabbed out of WoW.

I right-clicked Ben's name in Vent.

User Admin >> Kick/Ban

"Ben has been removed from the server."

I alt-tabbed back into WoW.

Silence. At last.

"...Jesus Christ."

Ben's impulsive effects lingered long after ejection, our fragile nerves already twitching in preparation to deal with split-second mechanics of Nefarian.

We never recovered. Nef avoided crucifixion that evening. As did Ben.


Two days later, I had yet to hear from Ben. I expected him to ping me upon sobering up -- offer up an apology for his abhorrent behavior, and we'd do the dance, as we had so many times before.

You realize this is inappropriate behavior. He'd concur. I want the 25-Man team to be treated with respect. Keep the vulgarity in Anni's channel. He'd agree, apologizing again. I'd release the ban, he'd return to Vent, and I'd reset the clock: Days Without a Ben Incident: 0.

With Ben, it was always a waiting game, and the odds were never in his favor to beat a previous record. His longest streaks of good behavior still stemmed from Wrath. But having since stepped out of the 25-Man, out from under a guild leader's watchful eye to keep him on the straight and narrow, Ben very quickly devolved back into his former neanderthal glory. And it was disappointing.

I only wish I could use 'disappointing' to describe what happened next.

1 comment:

Finnassann said...

Your cliffhangers are torture. Well done.