Friday, July 3, 2015

Raiding - A small turnout but a good raid night

When I logged into raid last night I was the only healer.  Rowyn/Kaillynn was on call so she couldn't raid, Yuuda had messaged me saying he'd be late.  Rag was feeling sleepy and wasn't sure if he could stay awake. And we only had 11 people in raid at 855!  Talk about a meagre turnout - still enough to raid though.  Luxy, Sev and Ultra were very under the weather with colds/flu. And I heard rumours that Crus would no longer be raiding.

However it soon filled to 15 and then eventually to 18 and Yuuda managed to make it with Crooked doing a bit of healing to fill in whilst we waited for Yuuda to arrive.

Iron Reaver went a lot better. We got that down and happy people got some loot.  I still forgot to take a picture though!

Unfortunately, I had been in Ashran earlier in the evening and I was in a PvP mindset and I had so much foul language!  I really need to NOT hit push to talk when I'm about to let loose with some swear words.  I was having some really brain dead moments.  The classic one was when I asked Kyxyn if he could put markers up for Iron Reaver and the reply was:

"Umm.... they are already up?"

Duh.

That got me a lot of prodding.  And then after Iron Reaver was down we had people sneaking in.  Sev joined the raid and I wondered out loud when he had arrived.  Everyone said he had been there all along and I was concerned over my lack of awareness until I realised I was being trolled.

Then Ultra joined and the whole thing started again.  I may have let a few more potty mouth words let fly....

I still don't like how all the ranged are killing the outside bombs and poor melee are running into the fire to get the inside bombs.  It should be the other way around!  Hopefully that will improve.

Owl and the warlocks seem to take so much damage in that fight!  I wonder if the warlocks had some of their defensives nerfed.  Or maybe they just have to actually pay attention to mechanics now LOL. I despair of getting them in range of healing and hope that Rag or Yuuda has them topped up.  I seem to be able to easily spot Madcow, Duck and Rag (who doesn't even need healing from me).

Council was actually very easy.  I just had to keep an eye for that ghost that goes across the room, but once I figured that out I was ok.  Healing was good, the debuffs were easy to see now that I had added them to my healbot and overall reap was done ok.  The leather loot that drops isn't very inspiring, and though more leather dropped it was sharded.

Oh and we got our first BoE!  Kyxyn got some plate boots which Madcow took at the end of the raid. It's nice to see that they still do drop.

We had a few attempts at Kormrok and Madcow had a big blow up and yelled at Nok (who had told Madcow not to run the runes that way) and that was awkward and uncomfortable.  I apologised for Madcow to Nok, and Crooked whispered me saying this is what happens when I start swearing.  I should exert a bit more self control next raid (and not do Ashran right before raid) and I'm looking forward to trying some new bosses on Sunday on normal.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Guildleader chores - Trying to better teamwork out of a raid team and guild

My raid leader, Hwired, has been really tired lately and has decided to take a break from WoW.  You could see that he was winding down anyway - he wouldn't login till raid time, and when 6.2 hit he was not on in game at any time to do any Tanaan or shipyard stuff.  If you want your legendary quest chain done you need to do those things.

Who's going to direct this pack of wolves now??

There was a TED talk by Margaret Heffernan, "Why it's time to forget the pecking order at work".  It was the talking about chickens that fascinated me.


An evolutionary biologist wanted to study productivity so he studied groups of chickens (because productivity could be measured in egg production).  In one group, he just put 6 ordinary chickens and left them alone for 6 generations.  In the other group he chose 6 of the most productive chickens (superchickens!) and in each generation he only selected the most productive egg layers to breed.

What he found after those 6 generations was interesting.

The first group were doing well, healthy and egg production was good.  The second group, or the superchicken group, was very different.  3 of the chickens were dead because they'd been pecked to death.  Those superchickens had only achieved their success by suppressing the productivity of the other chickens.

It turns out that social connectiveness helps make a successful team.

A group at MIT studied this, putting volunteers into groups and giving them hard problems to solve, and the teams that were the most successful were NOT the ones with the highest IQ or had people in them who had the highest IQ.  The most successful teams demonstrated three characteristics.  The first one was high degrees of social sensitivity to one another. The second, was that they gave equal time to one another so that no one voice dominated.  And thirdly, they had more women in them. I think part of the third component is that women (as an overgeneralisation) do better in terms of social sensitivity.

I do feel that when we had some super competitive raiders within our team that the team in general did poorly.  They were like superchickens, pecking at the not-so-super members until they broke. There is no doubt that tension within a raid team does not create a productive environment.

One thing I like about our healers is that they tend to function as a unit than with individual heroes. For example, Kaillynn has never been a strong healer, but we helped her as much as we could, giving her advice on how to be better, always including her when possible, but still letting her know her limitations (H Blackhand, for example).  She has taken it all on board with grace and determination, and when she made her transition over to priest for the new tier because she felt she wasn't contributing, she has made a marked improvement.  Her healing is much better, even though she is 10 item levels behind the rest of us. Rag has always been a really strong healer, but he never throws the "I'm carrying the rest of you guys" line because we have always managed when he ISN'T there. Yuuda has also never had the attitude of an arrogant mythic raider, and knows that healer output depends a lot on what other healers are out there and the roles they play.  People comment to me sometimes about low healer output for certain people at certain times, but each healer plays a part in the healing, with cooldowns that need to be used at certain times that save the raid, not the actual numbers that they produce. I make a note of those things, yes, but raw healer numbers mean nothing when people are still dying from lack of heals.  We don't peck each other in the healer group, and hopefully that will improve healer longevity and productivity. Interestingly there are lots of females in that group.

The DPS are not quite as socially sensitive as the healers and often peck point fingers at who is doing lower DPS.  Low DPS does drag a raid down, but if there are tasks that certain people are doing that ends up decreasing their damage output that should be taken into account. There also tend to be more "heroes" in DPS but it speaks well for a team when those heroes are absent and the team manages to pull through and make a kill.

At present our two tanks are quite communicative and similar playstyles.  That works well for them as they function more as a team and less as individual superchickens heroes.

Leeroy Jenkins Chicken by Scott Derby
Making the effort to know each player makes a big part of having people feel like part of a team.  And guildies too.  Mctacky is a bit of a friendship bandwagon and Luxy chats to people who make the effort to chat to her.  And of course I am Ms Nosy and I will be asking all sorts of questions to get to know people better.  Individuals making the effort to get to know their fellow players plays a huge part.  Look at Brahski, for example. Unfortunately for him, the only person who knew him and talked to him was me.  He didn't make much of an effort to fit into the guild, hang out or help others, or talk to them.  He left one day because there was some tension in raid, but mostly, he didn't feel like he belonged. Other guildies wondered why he left, and found it strange that he went straight to another guild especially after we had spent time giving him tier, but in reality, he was just another number to the other raiders in the guild.  They noticed him when he was doing poorly but didn't notice him otherwise.  Koda also told me recently that she wanted to step down from raiding because she didn't really have any friends in the guild and she had been playing with her sister and her friends just casually and enjoying that.  I wondered if I had failed there - perhaps trying to include her more in things would it have increased her satisfaction in the guild?  The social connectivity is so important for holding a guild together and she is a lovely person - I could see why she felt isolated and I felt partly to blame. It's different from someone like Ultrapwnd, who is a lot more boisterous.  Not only is engaging in raid when he first came to the guild, but also is helpful, modest and willing to take on shitty jobs and at the same time forging relationships (of sorts) with other members of his class. The shamans too, in general, tended to be quite close together as well and they coordinate who will do the bloodlust and whatever other cooldowns they have. Both our warlocks are chummy and will pass on gear for the other and not peck each other to death.  I think that's nice, because that's social collaboration at its best.

To paraphrase Margaret Heffernan:  We need to redefine leadership and teamwork as an activity in which conditions are created whereby everyone can do their most courageous thinking together. Problems won't be solved if we expect it to be solved by a few superchickens.  You need everyone, because when you accept that everyone has value that will inspire the momentum from the team to get the best out of each and every member.

And I hope that we can try to do that in our guild.  I'm sure as hell going to try!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Minipost: Raiding - Yay Iron reaver down on heroic!

I ALWAYS forget to take pictures of our kills these days. I need Dragonray to come back and take pics for me :(

On Sunday we did normal and got down 4 bosses.  It was good because we saw the mechanics for the last 2 fights and it was useful to learn it, and they weren't as cakewalky as the first two bosses.  I thought that Kormrok looked a bit hard and wondered how that would go on heroic.

Monday rolled around and we managed 21 people again, which is a nice healthy number.  Rag, Koda, Rowyn/Kaillynn, Bish and I were healing and Yuuda was DPS, so we had enough to throw around. Voe was missing in action and Crusnik is still not around at night.  Iron reaver (which is a SHE by the way, because Siegemaster Martak from Hellfire Assault runs away during that encounter and jumps into the Iron reaver) was our boss that we were working on.  We spent the rest of the night getting used to the mechanics and we had some poor peeps who could not seem to get out of Barrage. We even had Arelion doing a single taunt for one section - there is a part where the tank swap seemed a bit funny and the boss moved around and the melee moved along with it and it just went a bit ugly.

But we kept improving and on our 16th go we got it. Phew!  Aimei thought it was a lucky shot but I think people were improving bit by bit on the fight.

We accidentally stuffed up loot because it was still on group loot instead of personal, so there was 1 item taken with EPGP, 1 offspec item P and 2 leather gloves which got the shard treatment.

After that we went to look at council, and that seemed to be doable, but will just need people to move appropriately and get the dispels just right!  I'm looking forward to raiding on Wednesday night - would be nice if we DON'T have a shutdown right in the middle of raid like last week.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Whaaat?? Being a GM and raid leader can land you a RL job in business?

Kyjenn linked me this article in Forbes titled "7 Ways World of Warcraft Builds Better Leaders".  It was an interesting read, but you have to remember that it's not just talking about any old WoW player, but those who are raid leaders and GMs.  The article is articulate, and the 7 points were also well tied in to real life situations, but I thought I'd add my thoughts to the mix.
  1. Virtual teams and Seamless Collaboration
    Think of a board meeting with members all over the world/country.  Sounds like your typical raid team.  And they're all working together to achieve the same goal.
  2. Digital Communication Channels
    Conference calls are so last decade.  Skype/Ventrilo'Mumble - every company should use them IMO.  And if you can talk and type whilst dishing out orders, aren't you just the little Gen Y genius!
  3. Creating a successful team
    A great team has specialists in it, all with a specific task.  Healers. Tanks. DPS with specific jobs (though that pretty much seems to hunters for EVERYTHING lately). A raid leader/GM needs to fill the team with appropriate members for the task and juggle the abilities of those available to be able to fill those roles.  So... I guess that means since I tend to fill a raid with melee and have 3 druid healers, my team building could use some improvement...
  4. Motivating volunteers
    I think one of the biggest motivations of raid members is that everyone wants the same goals and that we will all share in the spoils and the glory.  Volunteers seems like an odd word to use here.  Every raid member is a recruit!
  5. Taking risks and continuous improvement
    Trying new strats for a raid boss is one way to look at how people tackle a problem. Trying different things and seeing what works and what doesn't is a great learning experience for all members in a team.  Not sure how many times you can wipe and reset an encounter if you stuff up a major business deal though...
  6. Poise under Pressure
    If you can be a good raid leader and not go screaming -50DKP at your raid members then I think that's always a plus. People love those who can keep their heads cool under pressure. However I am unsure how this translates into RL though - how would anyone know that you are a calm and collected leader just because you say so on your job application?
  7. Visibility and Accountability
    This is important in all team things that have rewards and the rewards are distributed. As long as when you're leading you let everyone know beforehand how loot is going to be handled and everyone understands how it works, then it should be better.  Those raid teams that have secret officer/raid leader business that ends up with them taking all the loots tend to do poorly and that translates the same over into RL situations as well.
I think that it's all very well and good, and I can see the advantages that being a successful guild and raid leader would infer upon you, but how does one establish that in a job interview? I think that it would be more useful to say that the skills you acquire from raiding may actually be able to help you in the future if your job requires a lot of teamwork and you are going to be in a leadership role.  But to actually put that on your CV?  Well, to be honest, if you note that in your hobbies/interests that you are a computer game player then I will notice your CV and probably ask you about it, but it doesn't mean that I think that you're a great leader because you say you are a raid leader or GM.  I suppose if I ask about how to deal with certain situations and analogies are drawn between their in game experiences and translated to the real world (with ideas that WORK of course), then I can see how game playing enhanced their abilities to perform in a RL job.

John Seely Brown, said that he'd hire an expert player in WoW over an MBA from Harvard.  Sounds outrageous?  Well it certainly does to me.
When we look in to the social structures and the knowledge capability, refining and generation capabilities of these guild structures, there is something going on here. These are not just self-organizing groups. Basically every high-end guild has a constitution. The leaders of these guilds also have to do dispute adjudication all the time. They also have to be willing to say, “Let’s measure ourselves.” These guilds are truly meritocracy-based. And so even if you are the leader of this particular high-end raid, at the end you do an after-action review, and the after-action review each person is open to total criticism by everybody else. You can replay the whole thing because basically its all computer-meditated so it can be captured.
Trying new ideas, reworking it until it works, then measuring your performance against others by looking at meters that are open for everyone to peruse and critique - sounds great on paper and hihg end WoW playing does help you but I hope that people don't get the wrong idea and think that just because you play WoW you will be good at teamwork, or that you need to play WoW to get ahead in a business job.

The more practical thing I would be interested in is HOW to use your leadership skills in a game like WoW and turn it to your advantage in an interview.  Merely stating it is not enough - the context for the discussion is not going to arise (unless it's a long interview).  But here is a small tip where you could bring it up.

When your get asked about your strengths and weaknesses then you could mention that you have a penchant for competitive computer game playing.  The strengths of that is that you are good at virtual team building and coordinating large groups to function in individual roles to secure a known outcome.

In the medical field, computer game playing probably doesn't help you much in terms of securing a job, but if people in business think it does?  Well, you will just have to play your cards right to use it to your advantage.