Thursday, August 13, 2015

4.44. The 90-Minute Demotion

Joredin and Mature earn 1000
Conquest Points in 2v2 Arenas,
Ruins of Lordaeron 

Right Spec, Wrong Patch

Another gaming night came and went with few internet dragons slain, thanks in part to a more formidable foe: ongoing micromanagement. I spent the evening checking up on Tacticians, those 10-Man leads running their own mini-guilds within DoD. After getting updates from Borken and Bovie, I wrapped up with Joredin, head of Recovering Raidaholics. Joredin just happened to be my on-again, off-again 2v2 partner. I honestly couldn't tell you how Priest / Death Knight fared competitively circa 4.1, we did it for fun. It was important to keep my relationship strong with all the Tacticians, so I could trust they'd give me the straight story on their own folks. I needed to know if rough times were headed our way.

"I don't have two other healers, but luckily I've been about to pug them each week," Joredin said. "Funny story: we wrapped up Blackwing Descent and were headed to BoT the other night, and I had a DPS switch to heals. We have Halfus down to 50%, healing is super intense. Then I realize our DPS never switched to heals. I was solo healing and dispelling the entire fight. Luckily we didn't wipe, and only had one death."

Pro.

"Jesus," I said, "was this Disc or Holy?"

"Disc. I don't think I'll ever play Holy."

"Not a fan, eh?"

"I really got into the style of Disc in Wrath, this entirely new way of healing through bubbles. It was fun. Holy really had a tough time keeping up with that. Now in Cata, that gap is even wider. I mean, Holy is even more complex to play than it was in Wrath, and you really have to be at the top of your game to pull it off well. Disc is great because I like the style and it frees me up to keep an eye on all the various things going on in our 10."

"I've got a heated debate going amongst the officers about a particular spec. Like to hear your opinion. It has to do with the change to Chakra."

"Do tell."

"Apparently Chakra was raised to 1 minute in 4.0.6 and most top end priests are no longer spec'd into 1 / 2 State of Mind...they put the point elsewhere. I realize there aren't a lot of options, unless you count Desperate Prayer...if the priest happens to be fond of dying."

"So the debate is where to put the points?"

The debate is about why her attitude sucks.

"I can't say for sure," I told Joredin, "but would appreciate a second set of eyes."

Joredin pulled up the logs of our latest 25-Man progression kills in Blackwing Descent, and started cross-referencing Lexxii's spec with her individual tactics.

"I can't really tell how she is on mana from these logs," he said, "but Renew is one of her top spells. Renew is thirsty. Throughput really comes from Heal, particularly because it relates to Chakra and SoM. But her style really isn't benefiting from these choices. A tiny bit of Circle of Healing, but not even any Holy Word. AoE heals should be a lot higher on this chart."

"One of the arguments she's made is that she is 'always always always' using Sanctuary."

"Again, I don't know her specific role on these bosses, which is highly dependent on how she heals. But to the point, if she claims she's spending all her time in Chakra: Sanctuary, then why even use SoM? It isn't for extending a stance anymore. It's for changing stances more frequently."

Lexxii's tactics were for a spec that no longer existed.

Neps overrides Lexxii's request for more healers,
Undercity

Excuse Navigation

"You know what this is about, right?"

"I'm guessing you want to get rid of me."

"And what makes you think that?"

"Well, it really isn't that much of a secret. I mean, I know that Jungard doesn't like me, Fred is constantly giving me a hard time, and whenever I try to get support, nobody wants to listen to what I have to say, about strategy or assignments, or whatever. I know they are calling me a bitch behind my back. Which I don't care about, that's fine. I mean, whatever, if that's what makes them feel better about it."

"So you don't really feel like you're getting the support you need."

"Not at all, not really, no."

"Can give me a specific example where you weren't supported?"

She sighed into the mic.

"Ok. Well, like, there was that one time, about a month ago, where I was trying to get seven healers for heroic Halfus, and Neps just rolls right over me."

He's 2nd-in-command. It's his job to override bad decisions.

"Blain never really listens to me, either. Whenever I try to push harder, sure enough there's Neps and Klocker and Jungard right there supporting him and shutting me down. I mean it really is insensitive, which is surprising because I've never really been in a guild before where the guild leader is supportive, but the officers behave like that. It's just been a lot of ego and bullshit and children beating their chest."

It's called a 'unified front', Lexxii. You might take a page from their book.

"Blain doesn't approve of redoing strategy mid-raid. That's something he made clear when he took on the role of raid leader. I know you weren't around for the early days, but allowing officers to second-guess and debate him as he prepares for a pull is inappropriate. I don't allow it. Neps and Klocker and Jungard are doing their jobs in support of that policy. Blain's made it pretty clear that if you want to debate the merits of certain tactics, that those debates need to happen post raid."

"Yeah, but he's never available."

He's never available? Or you aren't.

"I've seen you spending a lot less time online in the evenings these days. Is it possible that you are the one that's not readily accessible after raids?"

"I've had a whole bunch of things going on in the evenings that normally weren't taking up a lot of my time, back in Wrath."

"OK, that's fine. We all have real life responsibilities. And I'm pretty sure you know what kind of a ship I run here. That's why we have a static raid schedule – so our players can re-arrange the rest of their stuff safely. They'll know it's Friday night and Sunday day, and that's it. No surprises. But if you're going to be a leader, you're expected to stay on top of specs. If it comes naturally, then there's no issue. But if it doesn't, some extra time and effort might be warranted."

"So it's about the spec."

Aha. So you do know there's an issue.


Lexxii is the sole death as the 25-Man progression
team defeats Heroic: Halfus Wyrmbreaker,
Bastion of Twilight

On Credibility

"So what's the deal with the spec, then?"

"They're giving me a hard time because I'm not spec'd into whatever cookie cutter build is at the top of worldoflogs or wherever they're looking these days."

Get specific, Lexxii. Demonstrate some expertise.

"Can you elaborate?"

"They keep bitching about how I’m spec'd into State of Mind, and they don't understand how I'm using it."

"Enlighten me."

She sighed again, as if being forced to a re-paint a freshly painted house.

"The way Holy works is that the Chakras are all a stance that boost a particular proficiency. Sanctuary is the one I spend all of my time in. State of Mind lets me extend that stance."

Wrong.

"And what problem do they have with it?"

"They're saying that I'm not able to permanently keep the stance up, since the 4.0.3 patch, so why bother even using it. But they don't understand that I’m not trying to keep it permanently up. I'm aware 100% uptime isn't possible. It doesn't matter, the throughput that's generated from being in Sanctuary is better than not being in it. So, yes, I may not be able to keep it up permanently, but the longer, the better."

"You say SoM is more important than something like Surge of Light or Desperate Prayer. Let me give you the benefit of the doubt. If Sanctuary is your go-to Chakra, the one you're most comfortable in, that should mean your healing spells should reflect Sanctuary, right?"

"They should, yeah."

"The last logs I pulled off Atramedes show you leaning heavily on Renew. But Renew doesn't benefit at all from Sanctuary. In fact, would you not agree that it's costly, and therefore, not a great example to push your throughput?"

"Atramedes isn't a very good fight to look at. The entire second phase we're constantly running around, banging gongs, dodging fire. Even phase one has us dodging rings, I barely have any time to pull off Circle of Healing or Holy Word."

"Hold on, now. Stay with me a moment. So your Renew is way up, and spells that are directly benefited by Sanctuary are way down. Can you see why the officers might be concerned that you're spending time in a Chakra that doesn't reflect the way in which you heal? Does that make sense?"

Lexxii repeated her initial claim, a bit louder this time. As if I hadn't heard her.

"Atramdes isn't a good fight to measure this by!"

"So if you know that Atramedes doesn't play well to your spec, why are you using it?"

Another audible sigh.

"Lex, I don't want to sit here and tell you what's right and what's wrong. Only you know what spec works for you. What I want to stress that's far more important than individual talent choices is how you defend those choices. You're trying to convince me that Atramedes is a bad fight to use as a gauge of effectiveness. What you should be convincing me of is why you aren't switching to something else when we get to Atramedes."

More silence.

"It's OK to not know the answer. It's not OK to defend those reasons for answers you make up. You're a good healer. You're competent."

Barely.

"I fast tracked you to Elite in Wrath because you represented the type of raider I hoped others would emulate. But today, we’re talking exclusively about your role as Healing Officer, a role you and I agreed that would be something we'd try out. And for that, I need more than competence. I need you to understand the nuance of your class so well that you are in a position to defend something perceived as a bad spec choice. Without even giving it a second thought, you should be able to tell me exactly why you stay in your spec for Atramedes, and give me...or anyone in the guild...the kind of answer that stops us dead in our tracks. The kind that makes us go 'Ohhhhhhh. My God. I never considered for this or that. You've given me some significant insight into Holy today.' And if you can't, that's perfectly OK...but you cannot be in a position to lead until you do."

I continued, "You said yourself that you have more on your plate now, after hours, then you expected. Let me lighten the load on your behalf. We'll be professional and discreet about the change -- this isn't going to be an attack or smear on your skills. The guild is very appreciative of you stepping up and handling things at the start of Cata. We'll swap Fred in and give him a shot, and let you take a backseat."

"So am I going to end up losing a bunch of raid spots now?"

"Absolutely not. I still consider you top tier, and I expect to see you at every Fri/Sun raid here on out. From now on, you can focus on doing what you do best..."

Bullshitting.

"…healing. And this will give you an opportunity to get a bit more flexible with your spec if you need to try things out, without being under the scrutiny of the officership. Make sense?"

I waited for the "Yeah. You're right, Hanzo. I never saw it that way before. Thanks! I appreciate the support."

No such luck.

"...I guess so. Whatever works. I mean, it doesn't matter if I switch up my spec, or stick with a particular spec, I feel like they're going to find a way to tell me why I'm wrong, or why I have to start using a particular spell on a particular encounter, and I really thought I would get more support on my reasons and…'

I shut up and let her talk. And talk. And talk. And talk.

9 comments:

James said...

Um. I think anyone being told they are given the time to 'step back' knows they are being replaced and don't really have a place in the team anymore. There wasn't even a warning, a 'step up your game'. Why would you expect a thank you? Also, your comments now - you say you were bullshitting so maybe she simply saw through your lies. Why weren't you capable of being honest and up front? This is a game, but shit like this, playing in an environment where people lie to you and don't like you and gossip behind your back can do a lot of harm.
It's pretty clear you had a very bad opinion of her in which case I wonder why did you keep her around, because there was no one else? You say she was barely a good healer, why was she even on the team? It's misleading and 100% unfair to her as a person. I used to like reading your stuff, but you're proving to be someone I would never like to meet, someone who uses people even though he dislikes them just because there's something to gain at one point. You were not a leader, just a guy in charge. A petty one at that.

Matt Morrison said...

@James

I think that you are reading a lot of information into this post and forming a fairly negative impression of Hanzo without really understanding the post.

As an example you say

you say you were bullshitting

I am pretty sure he was trying to say the thing she was good at was Bullshitting but that at that time he said Healing instead, not that he was bullshitting her.

Is he being harsh on her? Yes. Is she showing any sort of responsibility to the role of Healing officer? No.

She was obviously someone who was good at the game... but assumed she was GREAT at the game and never bothered to learn the difference. That's fine... a bunch of those people in the raids will down bosses... but they won't push the envelope, they won't lead well, and they won't own up to their mistakes.

Remember that their are two sides and I am sure Hanzo would admit that he is only telling his. He is not trying to present his as the only true path but rather telling the story and letting us decide for ourselves.

Just my two cents but I wouldn't go insulting him either. That makes you come off as the petty one my friend :)

Fred said...

@James

It's not that there wasn't a 'step up your game warning', there were plenty. One thing Hanzo always had was the expectation that if you were in any role higher than 'Raider', you had to have a certain level of knowledge of your class. He never cared if your spec was not cookie cutter, however, you damn well better be able to argue as to why. She couldn't.

A common theme, through out the history of this blog, has been red flags. Lexxii raised a lot during the first tier of Cataclysm. None more important than the choices of talents. She chose to spec in to a talent that did nothing for her and she didn't know why.

There are a lot of things that built up to this decision (that may or may not come up in future posts so I won't spoil them here). While Hanzo's opinions of Lexxii were rather high at the end of Wrath, she was able to change those opinions with not only her play style, but her attitude as well.

klocker2003 said...

@James

One thing that may not have been mentioned yet, Lexxii's issues didn't just pop up in a couple of weeks of raids and then she got immediately demoted. It was cropping up during the entire first tier of cata, *all* her performances in raids were at a level expected of very new raiders still learning the ropes. Not even mentioning the various red flags that started showing up, her healing numbers and survivability were just far below our fairly low standards. She was offered a ton of support and advice, but you have to understand her personality did not mesh well with that. It was always a fine line of trying to get her to fix some of her issues and not having her get super pissed and just shut down.

There was a lot of effort put into bringing her game up from others, it just wasn't getting returned by her. When you have to stick an extra healer on anyone your healing officer is assigned to just to make sure they stay alive, its not something people will put up with for long. Bad weeks turned into bad months, and with someone who is unwilling or unable to take advice or improve, it was a long time coming when the demotion came.

By the time the events in this blog took place, she was healing officer in name only pretty much. Between Fred and Neps all healing questions and duties got taken care of, but most annoyingly, at least on my end, most of it consisted of multiple hours calming people down as to why action wasn't being taken to resolve the 'Lexxii issue' right away. She was cruising through cata on auto pilot, putting in the minimal amount of effort into her character. Whatever her reasons may have been there's really not much you can do to fix that.

Shintar said...

I know that this post is supposed to highlight why Lexxii wasn't suitable for the leadership position she held, but as someone who used to main a holy priest it brings up painful memories and makes me feel some sympathy for her. Blizz did so much screwing around with holy priests at the end of WotLK and during Cata...

Legends Anonymous said...

I may have said this before, but this is a clear case of guild members who think that just because they are good at the game, they think they can "lead" people in the game. Nearly all of Hanzo's problems stem from this simple fact: Every player that does well in a raiding atmosphere thinks this translates into leadership. Couldn't be further from the truth. I think the reason DoD even made it past Tier 12 in Cata was because of the hard work of Hanzo and a select few officers that carried the guild into the raids while the players were spending most of their time trying to make it easier on themselves or get more loot.

Selfish players kill guilds. GM's like Hanzo keep them alive for as long as they do. DoD seemed to have a shelf life that shouldn't have went past Wrath. Enter Cataclysm, he couldn't stop the bleeding.

I feel really bad for you Hanzo, the crap you put up with from selfish people would drive a lesser man insane.

Legends Anonymous said...

Also @James, it's so unbelievably ironic to say that Hanzo was using people. In fact, its 100% the guild members that use the officers and GM's to satisfy their WoW needs whether it be loot, kills, etc. As you have read this, you have seen guild members collude loot in other teams, attempt poaches and exodus simply for the pleasure of trying to harm the guild, and an overall dissatisfaction with anything that doesn't benefit them.

If anything, Hanzo went WAY out of his way (as do all GMs/Officers) to make sure Lexxii and other players had a place to play the game. Without GMs/Officers, there are no guilds. Just a bunch of people with no direction and no sense of leadership, collaboration, or cooperation.

100% of the reason why guilds collapse is due to the members, PERIOD. It is in the GM/Officer's best interests that the guild is successful. That is thier goal/job/duty. We have seen that it is the members' duty, like Lexxii, to due their diligence if they wanted to raid hardcore heroics in Cata 25's. It is up to the members to follow the leadership or start their own guild.

But as you can see, most people are unwilling and (mostly) unable to even run a 10 man pug, let alone a large guild.

Shawn Holmes said...

@Shintar

It sucks that Holy went south in Cata. But so did Unholy for DKs, and you basically had two choices:

1. Switch to a viable spec, or
2. Quit.

Fooling yourself only made things worse, not just for yourself, but for the people relying on you.

@James,

I liked Lexxii and gave her the benefit of the doubt early on, even when folks like Drecca and Bheer (among others) thought I was making a mistake. She was promoted over Fred, after all. I didn't need to give her warnings to shape up -- she knew: folks like Neps were dropping more than enough hints to give her time to think about her choices, and consider new options re: spec, healing, surviviability. These things were an issue, even for a regular old raider (or Elite!).

For someone in command, it needed to change. It was the Kurst story all over again. Not a bad person...(and actually not a terrible player)...just not appropriate to lead.

Anonymous said...

@Legends..."100% of the reason why guilds collapse is due to the members, PERIOD" is an absolutely untrue statement. Not all GLs and officers are good at their jobs and many do use people to their advantage. I have had friends in guilds where the GL and/or officers routinely sent the choicest bits of loot off to themselves or their friends. Needless to say my friends did not remain there long. I was in a guild myself back in Wrath that imploded because we had two cliques of officers who wanted to go in two different directions and a GL who's idea of leading was to create more officers. Half the officers left and took half the guild with them. It was ugly, it was hurtful and it had NOTHING to do with the peon members.

@James...that said, I think you are being too harsh on Hanzo. I've read this blog for years and for the most part, I have appreciated Hanzo's take on how to run a guild. He seems to have his guild's best interests at heart, even at the expense of his own game fun. On the other hand, no one is perfect and yes, there have been things he has said that sent up red flags of my own. Does that make him a bad or selfish person? No. Does that make me nit picky and over judgmental? No again. It just means that Hanzo and I have a few areas where we disagree philosophically. It might have meant that my mage would never have been a good fit in his guild. After all, those red flags work both ways. But on the other hand, most of the people in his guild seemed to be having a good time, the ones who still come here to post on his blog seem to continue to consider him a friend and respect him. Even some of the ones who were not exactly painted in a good light in his blog have commented here and have not thrown any stones. So, I cannot think that he was a horrible guild leader or that his guild was a tense, unfriendly place.