Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Experiment

My first blog entry will not be something in chronological order tracing my wow history back to my vanilla days, but I am sure I will blog about that experience if I do not burn out on blogging First, I wanted to blog about a recent experiment that when looked at from every POV could be considered a great success story as well as a resounding failure.
So, some history may be needed in order to frame this entry. In TBC I joined a guild named Dead Gnomes Float (DGF). After some time I became an officer in that guild and the guild went from a pvp-centric guild to a PVE raiding guild re-named to Broken, admittedly, I miss the old DGF guild name and Broken was not my first choice, but I wa overruled. Well, long story short, I became a prominent leader in Broken for 5 years until the time when Bloodrooted/Porkofdoom (the guild leader) and I decided we did not have the time or energy to recruit again for Mists of Pandaria and decided to give Broken a rest after 5 years of raiding. We did go on hiatus during progression during Heroic Dragon Soul and a void was left that I needed to fill.

The Void

I filled that void by joining a Heroic Dragon Soul team in Masochistic Tendencies (MT), a guild run by a former guildie of DGF/Broken. I soon was leading that group and helped it get to 6/8H at 35% nerf and then when 5.0 hit servers prior to the MoP, we wrapped up H DS up and got to 8/8H. Granted it was nerfed and 5.0 mechanics were in play, but it was a MT guild first. At this time is when an idea hit me.

The Idea

I approached the GL of MT with an idea to bring an invite only/detailed application process, progression type raiding team to MT. It would likely lead the charge in progression for the guild and entice more seasoned raiders into MT and drive the raiding level up for the entire guild. I would only play the role of raid leader for this one team and was not interested in being an officer as I had just hung that hat up after 5 years and was relieved to have a “break” from guild leading. The idea was not accepted as universally as I would have thought. It certainly took come convincing that this idea would benefit the guild. Either way, good or bad, it was on its way.

Proof is in the Pudding

T14 started out rocky with this new progression team affectionately known as Team Moist (TM). The initial hoopla wasn't seen, but after a few weeks the team started to gel and progression started happening as this group did lead the charge for the guild. The issues arose once members of TM left and new members were needed and oftentimes some of the better raiders from other teams would want to join TM. This began the rift and divide between TM and the rest of MT. It started out as a whisper, but it got louder over time which was a combination of things happening to this raiding guild and not just the TM experiment.


I am not sure many understand what it takes to run a group like this and to keep it focused and on target. I would say 10-20 hours OUTSIDE of game is a good estimate. I would plan all strats and track everyone's schedule weeks in advance and look for fillins when gaps emerged in the roster. It was a lot of work. I believe raid leading a team of this caliber required it or it would have failed. I gathered everyone's emails and phone numbers to be in touch with all 9 of my raiders especially with last minute changes to raid schedule and strats. I believe part of why the TM experiment worked was this effort. I do not want to pat myself on the back, but I worked hard for this. No one handed me a team and said show up twice a week and kill bosses and go into heroics and watch bosses fall over. If it was that easy every raiding team would be a heroic raiding team.


What measures success? “Let's see how we do” is really not a great way to push or drive raiders IMO. Success needs to be measured and establishing a set of goals per tier I feel is important to raid teams. If goals are not met, make changes until the personal and group goals are met for your raiding team. With only 5 hours of raiding a week, TM goals had to be realistic. T14 was 25% heroics at 0% nerf before T15 was released. T15 was 30% and T16 is 40% although now 60% as 40% was just met this past week. To date, TM has achieved every goal that was set out for it since its inception in MoP.

Guild Firsts

MT had 1 tier prior to T14 where the guild cleared a tier in regulation and that was in T11 (I am pretty sure only 2 of those members from MT are still in MT). I define regulation as being my term for clearing a tier while the tier is current and no blanket nerfs. TM provided MT with an additional guild first with a heroic kill in regulation. Reserved again for another blog, I did become a raid leader of a 2nd team in MT as some other raid leaders had left MT and raid leading which left a void and I stepped up to lead a 2nd team. T15 presented itself as the most successful raiding tier for MT in its guild history although it seems to have not been spotlighted. In T15, 3 teams cleared the entire normal raiding tier in regulation for MT. Another MT first and IMO a crowning achievement for the guild and proof that MT had escalated its raiding prowess. Unfortunately, it didn't seem like the overall happiness in guild was there even with this achievement. T16 is when trouble emerged and some groups started collapsing and the segregation of TM from MT was at its highest point.

The Break-Up

I felt TM brought a lot of positives to the MT as a guild and ,in fact, escalate raiding for the entire guild. Maybe MT wasn't ready for it, maybe its leadership wasn't ready for it, maybe it was bad timing, undoubtedly there were a number of things at play and all played their role in the final chapter called “The Break-up”. I wholeheartedly do believe this experiment (which was successful) could have worked, but the idea would have needed to be universally supported by the leadership and majority of the guild members. (100% compliance and agreement is impossible in WoW) For many reasons TM felt it was time to move on. In addition to the general feeling of not being wanted/appreciated, the announcement of the new raiding schema in WOD really changed my opinion of guild core values and direction/approach for WOD. To truly achieve a mythic raiding team (20 person) a full guild effort must be behind it. Yes, I was an officer of MT, but it was not my guild to transform and change its underlying core values for MoP or WOD. So, Broken was re-born with members of TM.


Do I feel the experiment failed? No, I do not. I think it did a number of things for MT. It gave some members of MT a place and a team to achieve their personal goals while striving for a group goal. I think it also opened some eyes into what it takes to run a true progression minded group as it is not for everyone. Were some feelings hurt with the break-up? For sure. Will I rehash them here? No. Was I one of the people hurt? Yes. I've been playing wow for nearing a decade and been in a number of guilds. I feel my best shot at achieving and getting what I want is to run it my way with my longtime WOW friend Bloodrooted/Porkofdoom. We know we can do it. We have done it before and we will do it again. Will we please everyone? No. Will we try? Yes. So, I started this blog entry outlining an experiment with the guild MT and will conclude it with the inception of a new experiment with the guild called Broken, that was re-emerged and found life once again. To me, this is home sweet home especially when I get to be part of making all  the rules. ;)

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