Thursday, April 28, 2016

4.69. The Other EQ

Goldenrod acquires the Heart of Flame,
the prerequisite to Dragonwrath,


I scrolled through the various pictures of people in costume, relieved that they were in photos and not standing behind me. Paladins in Judgement, Night Elves, one dressed as Nova, another as the silver-haired, unnamed female monk from Diablo III. I clicked on the photos and labeled them "BlizzCon 2011," then spun the mousewheel to review my photography under duress.

Photos shot up to the top of the browser, disappearing from view, while older images emerged from the bottom of the screen. Pictures of my kids and of my house, of a trip to Dad's farm. Visions of pugs being petted scrolled by, of my new job, and soon...of my old job. In moments, I was back to our last Christmas, kids tearing into presents intermingling with shots of snowstorms slamming in Denver. Unsurprisingly, a picture of a freshly opened World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Collector's Edition appeared.

And just like that, more costumes appeared -- costumes from a year earlier. More Nova. More Kerrigan. An unmistakably brilliant tree druid who tragically missed the costume content registration by mere minutes. It was all coming back, in digital form.

Then, a picture of smiling faces scrolled into view. The faces collected around several tables shoved together at a restaurant, all smiling, all turned to face the camera. The guild.

Several of them raised a glass in toast, others grinned boastfully, proud to be a part of something bigger. Some will forever pigeonhole gamers into the antisocial stereotype, but you'd never know it by looking at this pic. It was a group of friends, together, celebrating, partying, reminiscing. And all the pairs of eyes looked back at the camera, as if saying, "Here's to DoD, Hanzo. Here's to you."

All but one.


[From: Xane] Only one Hunter?

[To: Xane] Yep. Cynergy is all we have. LB on vacation, returns next week.

After losing a week of progression to the festivities surrounding BlizzCon 2011, the 25-Man progression team prepared to close out October with unfinished to-do items. We had exactly one month left before Patch 4.3 hit. Of course, no one knew the official patch day. I simply acted as if it were fact. Better to err on the side of sooner rather than later. I kept the pressure on the guild, keeping watch for burnout, motivating as necessary, and reminding them of how close we were to wrapping things up.

I returned home from the BlizzCon trip-turned-work-week the night of Thursday the 27th and was welcomed by yet another incomplete signup sheet. The Oct 28/30 weekend was short, one for Friday, two for Sunday. I thumbed text messages out in an attempt to plug the holes. Insayno answered the call once more, this time bringing a freshly leveled rogue -- currently relegated to arenas. Players wearing PvP gear to progression had long been a pain point of mine. Insayno's enthusiasm and ability to fill trumped any antediluvian beliefs I clung to.

Sunday remained unfilled, permanently stuck at 24.

With the roster comprised of more fills, coupled with the fact that Goldenrod was mere smouldering essences away from completing his legendary staff, we opted to clear and gear. By prioritizing Goldy's completion of Dragonwrath, Tarecgosa's Rest, a healthy boost of DPS would take the edge off November's most brutal, final achievements. That Friday, we cleared Shannox, Lord Rhyolith, Beth'tilac, and Alysrazor...all heroic. The ilvl 378 gear was nice, but even if a fractional improvement could be gained from ilvl 391, we had to make the effort to acquire it.

For Sunday, October 30th, DoD targeted Baleroc, Majordomo Staghelm, and big Rag himself. The two formers were non-factors, and Goldenrod siphoned his 250th smouldering essence from Staghelm's carcass. Ragnaros dragged on and on, still a painfully chaotic encounter. After the two-hour break, Insayno hopped online, again saving our collective assess. 45 minutes later, DoD slew Ragnaros.

A legendary awaited. As Rag's loot was handed out, Goldenrod ported away to Coldarra, handed in the quest to combine his smouldering essences into a Heart of Flame. Then, the raid joined Goldenrod back in Orgrimmar to celebrate the completion of Dragonwrath, Tarecgosa's End.

It was the last legendary item DoD would see.

Goldenrod complete DoD's final legendary quest item,
earning the guild "The Ultimate Collection",

This One's For You, Ekasra

Three Metas remained for Glory, two were inconsequential. Bucket List saw us dragging Shannox around the entire wasteland, touching five checkpoints, up to the mountain of Shatterstone, along the Path of Corruption, across the Flamebreach, over to the Ridge of Ancient Flame, and finally, back towards Beth’tilac’s Lair. The most strenuous exercise (if you can call it that) involved clearing extra trash. It was accomplished in one pull, with 45 minutes to spare, at the end of the November 4th raid.

A second trivial meta, Not An Ambi-Turner, required us to kill Lord Rhyolith by spinning him in place, preventing him from making a left turn. None of us were eager to return to Rhyolith, and although it was rudimentary achievement to execute, nobody spoke those words aloud. We came to a silent agreement to leave this to the end.

That left the one difficult meta: the Ekasra-themed Do a Barrel Roll! The achievement demanded a clean execution of Alysrazor -- so clean, that no one person in the raid could suffer an attack. Four attacks were on the to-avoid list: Brushfire, Incendiary Cloud, Lava Spew, and Fiery Tornado.

Do a Barrel Roll! sparked seizure-inducing memories that made me break out into a cold sweat. Those memories were of a different time, one fraught with mistakes so minute, so surgically precise, anyone could make them (and everyone did). Thankfully, Blizzard had long since loosened the rope they gave us to hang ourselves with achievements such as these. No longer was it a one-attempt-per week type of achievement; if someone messed up, we called for a reset. We could also knock out parts of it across raid-locks: If it came down to the wire, we’d focus on avoiding Brushfire one week; another week, we’d avoid Lava Spew, and so on. The day after my birthday, we returned to Firelands to do exactly that.

There was only a brief moment of stress after the first hour, when it seemed like we might be there all night. In the end, we had nothing to worry about. After 90 minutes of work, Alysrazor collapsed and the achievement splashed up on our screens. The “worst” of it was behind us.

"Happy Birthday to you, Hanzo. 38 is it?"

I feigned grumpiness, "I was 30 when I started this damn game."

Get the hell off my lawn.

Aw, man, that dude is totally panicked!

Not EverQuest

"Overall, feeling pretty good. We're on track to wrap things up very soon. There's...definitely some pressure near the end, but nothing insurmountable. I've had to ask them for a bit of flexibility, but so far, they've been very accommodating."

"No concerns with attitude? This is usually where you'd see it."

"No, I really don't think so. I mean...I'm sure you know the drill: each of them handles the stress a bit differently. Just last week one of them was hesitant to give me a straight answer. It didn't take a mind reader to tell. You know it when you hear it, right? The pauses, the waffling, remaining purposefully's like, 'Hey. Time to give me a straight answer.' Right?"

"Quit equivocating!"

"Exactly! 'There's clearly something going on you need help with, let's talk through it. Let's figure it out.' So I'll hammer on that until I get somewhere."


"It ended up being he couldn't figure out how to find his old code differences in the repo. Just didn't know the tool as well as he let on. No big deal. Solved it in five minutes with another quick lesson. No rocket surgery at all."

My boss leaned back in her chair, "Remind me've had no professional training as a manager, right?"

I shook my head, "None. All the management I've done has been...shall we nature."

Hope you like the laugh track that accompanies the "World of Warcraft Guild Leader" references on your CV.

"Some people are inherently good at that sort of thing, though," she continued, "I'm starting to suspect you have a naturally high EQ."

"A...what now?"

"EQ. It's your Emotional Quotient, or 'Emotional Intelligence'. It's how well you recognize other people's emotions, how effectively you adapt in order to establish rapport. You said yourself: each person requires an appropriate communication style. People with high EQ make good managers."

The manager bit again? Really? You really think you're going to leave coding behind...for people management? Enjoy irrelevancy.

"Hm. I've never heard of EQ. Is there a way to measure it?"

"There's official tests and training courses and such. You could start with an online test to get a general idea...look for something like 'Reading the Mind's Eye'. There's a lot of great material out there, but start with that quiz."

Sure enough, a little Googling revealed a site titled "Reading the Mind in the Eyes" test. I sat up straight, focused, and began clicking through each question -- each of which came with a set of eyes staring back at me.

Each black-and-white photo revealed eyes fraught with emotion. Some narrowed in inquisition, others looked away, suspiciously. The question remained the same with each set of eyes: "What word best describes what the person in the photo is thinking or feeling?"

Contemplative. Panicked. Desire. Jealous. Indecisive. Playful. Guilty. Bored. Upset. Confident.

I clicked through each pair of eyes, making my decision. The quiz concluded and the results splashed up on the screen: 33/36.

Don't get your hopes up, chief. Just because everyone says something over and over doesn't make it true. For all you know, this could be more MBTI junk science.

...maybe. Then again...maybe not.


Fredrick said...

Cool, got 31/36 when I tried it now ^^

Shawn Holmes said...


That's enough to be dangerous. :)

For the folks who take it and score abysmally low...and are too embarrassed to say anything: good news, there are ways to improve EQ. Just like music / art / programming / anything, it comes naturally to some, but others can still train.

JC Sway said...

That was the last true legendary anyone saw. It was a TEAM activity. I've never been congratulated by strangers for my cloak or ring..

Littlebear said...

"LB on vacation, returns next week."

It took me a second to realize that was my Honeymoon.

Hurricane said...

Been a long time reader (hell, might be nearing 3 years). Love it so much. I power read then come back a few month later and am excited to power read again!

I wanted to say that I especially enjoy the various managerial tips and insights. I have read a few of the books in your book tab since finding your blog. I have also recommended several to my wife and friends. There is one that I think you would enjoy (or, maybe you have already read it). It is called "Leaders Eat Last" by Simon Sinek. Check it out if you are interested. I loved it and it fits right in with your other books.

Laeus said...

33/36 represent! I wonder how much we overlapped on our three strikes.