Counting the Reasons

Back when there was much discussion going around about the changes to ten and twenty-five person raiding, I wrote a post detailing how excited I was about the changes and why they were a fabulous thing for my raid group. After that post, I was asked to write about just why I like ten person raiding so much. I know it’s not for everyone, and some people feel really passionately about twenty-fives. I think the danger, when writing or talking about ten-person raiding is falling into the trap of “It’s not this,” or “It’s not that,” – always equating it with a negation. It is, after all, a newer form of raiding, and the sort of redheaded stepchild of the raiding scene. But I’m not going to talk about those things today. I am going to tell you why I love ten person raiding. Seventeen reasons why, in fact…In no particular order.

Leaves not pictured.

1. This is Alawyn. She joined the guild at a time when our roster was so full that we didn’t need any people. She was so determined to join the guild, in fact, that after we rejected her application she wrote me a three page in-game mail about how she’d be willing to be a social member, because our guild was exactly what she wanted. (I later found out that she had to kill a countryside worth of boars in order to earn the money to send the letter. Now that’s dedication.) She is a tireless researcher of healing strats, our healing lead, an extraordinary tree and a lot of fun to boot. I can easily say that she’s my favourite ever rejected applicant!

I think he "hunts" for the two keys he presses.

2. Here’s Kayla, who joined along with Ala (snuck past our quality assurance, clearly). He is always the one on Vent giving people a hard time, but he’s actually nice. Don’t tell him I said that. Well, he’s nice sometimes, when he isn’t misdirecting things to the wrong people like a healer, or a tank who is DPSing, or another DPS. Oh, the list goes on and on. He’s also like Vid’s polar opposite, in that she has ridiculously good luck with loot, and his is notoriously lousy. It reached a point where we’d had so few Sanctified tokens drop that the warriors, shamans and hunters considering asking him to leave the raid just so that they’d have a snowball’s chance in hell of ever seeing a token for their classes. It’s always his fault, you see. (That goes for most everything.)

We call him "Dirtface" for a reason.

3. This is Idkfa, affectionately known as “Id,” that’s I and then D. He’s a fury warrior, which probably should mean that he is angry, but he generally isn’t. He is ferocious with regards to his DPS though… so zealous that the nickname Dirtface is well-earned. Not because of an ugly face, but a tendency to faceplant. This applies equally well to any character he plays, it seems, because just this Sunday on our alt run his warlock was also taking a dirt nap. He has an affection for obscure great words much like mine. When we did Tribute to Insanity and got a fancy horse, I went to have a look at it. Someone said it was like a pally mount, and I said, “No, it’s a white horse like the other Stormwind horses, only with Alliance-coloured barding.” Id whispered me, “Did you say barding? No one even knows that word.”
But actually, they do.

This is the only time you'll ever see him out of tree form.

4. Ulla is one of the oldest members of the guild and the other half (sometimes one third) of our personal forest. He just became a Loremaster last week and dedicates all his time to his druid, and when the tree form announcement was made he was so upset he rolled a priest alt. (I don’t think it stuck, though). He’s totally deadpan but every once in a while he’ll crack a joke on Vent that has me rolling because it’s so unexpected. He’s the first person I talked to about joining – when he was still new to the guild himself – and his only complaint was that he’d had to spend too much time in moonkin form.

You have to watch the quiet ones.

5. Stews is our newest member, a person so dedicated to alts that the only one he didn’t have at 80 was a mage…Which he promptly began to level not long after joining. He helped me with my paladin tanking (largely fail, prior) and transferred a warrior so he could do alt runs with us. He knew Pan before, so we knew he’d be a good fit with us and he has been. At least, he sometimes laughs at my bad jokes, which is something like a 50 DKP plus (if we used it).

Resemblance to a warlock here is purely coincidental, Pan is 100% priest.

6. Pan was one of our great finds from a guild that wasn’t doing so well – he needed a new home, and didn’t laugh when I suggested he might want to consider strict ten person raiding. He’s quiet and generous and an all-around great guy who occasionally guffaws in Vent when something is particularly funny. His interview was the first time I felt really bad for our admittedly somewhat gruelling interview process. It’s not easy to handle at least eight people on Vent at one time listening to you and asking you questions. But usually the people who can put up with that can put up with us, and Pan does, healing our sometimes foolish selves with good grace and humour.

Words fail me.

7. Noodlestein is the exuberant, rage-filled dwarf personality wielding sharp objects. My favourite Noodle memory is when we were going back to do One Light In the Darkness and he ranted that “If anyone touches a cloud, I don’t have enough hands to strangle people!” …and then, he promptly ran into a Yoggcloud, and he was the only one to do so. He is an incredible player and sometimes an incredible jerk, which makes him extremely lovable (it only takes two hands to strangle him, after all).

The fact of the matter is, our raid group has an abundance of female draenei.

8. Ambriel is the oft-referenced super holy paladin who provided guidance as I was leveling and pug-flailing. When he’s not doing that he is healing along with the rest of our great team, getting bored on normal Sindragosa and standing in her cleave and then saying, “Oops, I forgot that the breath weapon slows you down.” He’s been ret when we needed him to be, tank when we needed him to be, and is pretty much awesome at everything he does. He’s the guy you want to hate for being such a good player, but can’t. My favourite Am joke is still the first time we were heading to Plague wing and an abomination kept scourgehook yanking me around (to my irriation) and he piped up, “In Soviet Icecrown, the mobs pull you!”

Can I get a confirmation on "Meraxis"?

9. Meraxis is steady and dependable as a tank should be; like a rock you’d be happy to stand behind. Should you need to stand behind a rock, that is. I do like a good rock, especially after I’ve cast Starfall. He’s quick to offer help to anyone, for anything, and I believe utterly incapable of being mean. Wait, I have to take that back, because the other day he told us a story about going mountain biking with his wife and falling into a mud puddle. She had a lot of fun at his expense, right up until her own bike tire hit a rock and she wound up in a sizeable pile of cow patties. He was laughing pretty hard at that one, which might have been a bit mean. Karma can be rough.

Go Gnome or Go Home

10. You’d think that Fsob would be relatively easy to spot in our raids – he’s the only gnome. Unfortunately, the only time he actually appears as a gnome is when he does his naked gnome dance from Saurfang’s stairs. The rest of the time he might be – oh, a skeleton, a pygmy gnome, a blood elf, or… a furbolg. And believe me, you haven’t lived until you’ve seen four furbolgs casting in unison. It’s hard to believe that so much firepower can come from such a small package, but this is a hard-hitting gnome. As my fellow mage-ish brethren, he brings a tear to my eye. A happy tear, like I just got hit by an Arcane Blast with 4K spellpower behind it.

The druids have not yet begun to bite.

11. Sanakil used to be a regular raider before life things dragged him away. He and Ambriel are long-time friends and he’s a great guy to have around. I remember raiding with him back during the ToC days when I was maging it up and was worrying about my DPS. He told me I should just close the Recount window and go with it and not stress out. I followed his advice (it made me twitchy not to have Recount RIGHT THERE) and my DPS increased incredibly on the next attempt. He was absolutely right.

Don't call him "Heroism" to his face.

12. It’s tough to describe Shaen if you haven’t heard his sarcastic drawl ‘in-person’ as it were. He’ll make fun of everyone equally but will also be the first to defend and speak up for others. He puts in a lot of his personal time to maintain our website and add features that people request. He’s been an officer and raid leader the longest (definitely longer than I) and so must have an infinite well of patience as far as I am concerned. I went to look him up on the armory to see his character model, and he has it saved to a picture of Shaen zoomed in and chortling. It’s perfect.

Sadly a bearface I haven't seen in some time.

13. Sometimes you’re fortunate to meet people in-game that you know you could chill out and be friends with if you met them in person, too. Baddger is one of those people for me, and I’m sad that he had to stop raiding and hasn’t played in months. He was always a ready ear for everyone’s problems or successes – even know when he doesn’t have time to play he’s still kept checking our boards regularly, congratulating us on our kills and keeping in touch. I still hope that someday his family and work life will permit him to login and hang out.

It's all about the accessories, you see.

14. I don’t know what it is about AFK druids; Draos was one who was gone for a time but came back (though he wasn’t always a druid… it’s one of his personal goals to have an 80 of every class). I was sad to see him go, glad when he came back, and always happy to play alongside any of his characters. He is one of the people I consider to embody the true spirit of the guild; helpful, friendly, responsible and dedicated. Maybe with a hint of mischief. Some of us have a bit more of that than others, I’ll grant you.

Every raid group needs at least one angry dwarf, possibly more.

And a night elf hunter, for that matter.

15, 16. Because I’d already prepared these images before two of our folks moved on the other day. Cheers and all the best to the both of them (names not disclosed because I don’t have permission, anyway I wish them both best of luck).

But why are there only two male draenei? Oh well, we probably have enough draenei either way.

17. Last but certainly not least, Vosskah is our die-hard warrior, another raid leader, and also coincidentally married to me. Okay, so it’s not really a coincidence. It’s his soothing dulcet tones that often guide us through various encounters, and he brings an air of calm to everyone when he isn’t ranting about how much he hates paladins. He’s supportive of me, incidentally, but I’m fairly sure this blog kills a part of his soul.

In conclusion, if you made it this far, kudos to you. It might be a post only my fellow guildies desire to read in its entirety. It’s also probably only the first in a series of posts that I’d like to write about how much I enjoy the raiding format I’ve chosen, but it’s the most important one, I think. It cuts right to the crux of what I love; knowing the people so well and depending on each other. I didn’t want to reveal personal details too much – things like real names, occupations, locations. But I know these things and I love it. These are my people.

This post took a really long time to do because I first had to draw all the images and then actually write the thing, so sorry for the long delay between postings. It’s been in the works for a while! The other set-back was that I initially just made a colour background for each in whatever colour I felt suited a person – resulting in an array of images that was truly retina-burning to behold. Separately, they looked fine; so I had to adjust that a bit too. Even if you didn’t want to read about my awesome guildies, at least it’s also an arty sort of post.

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37 responses to “Counting the Reasons

  1. By far the best “argument” for one raiding format over the other I’ve seen yet. ;) That must have taken so long to do all those sketches! Also, it’s hilarious how many female draenei you guys have, haha.

    • I know right?! We used to have just one, and thus why tonight when I asked if someone could cut me a 30stam gem I heard Ambriel pop up saying he could, so I threw it to the nearest female draenei only to realize it was Kayla, our friendly hunter >..<

    • Not too long; about 3-4 hrs for the sketches. The post itself I didn’t time. Thanks Rades. :) My only regret about the draenei is that none of them is ME! /cry

  2. I love that picture!
    And it was something like this I believe, doing Yogg1, I say “If anyone touches a cloud, I’ll strangle you”, the promptly half the raid touches clouds, unfortunately realizing that “I don’t have enough hands to strangle you all!”
    Following with Ulduar months later for our next batchs of Protos, I repeat my previous statement of stranglage, only to then after a wipe come back and hit one myself XD
    Oh good times, Good times.

  3. I had never thought about the benefits of 10 man raiding including knowing the group better. Makes sense I guess, with 25 people its just so many more people that you are less likely to get close to.

    My biggest problem getting into raiding has been finding a good bunch of people to do it with, which, fortunately, has recently changed.

    Its really cool to see how close you are to you’re fellow guildies, and I think this is actually a touching tribute to them all.

  4. What gorgeous pictures :) The sketches put characters behind your guildies, more than just their in-game models would do.

    • Thanks Angelya. :D Id asked me in raid last night “So what exactly were you going for with my face there?” and before I could tell him, “You know, angry, fury warrior, etc,” someone else piped up, “Constipation!” … Not exactly what I wanted, no…

      • I’m pretty sure ‘someone else’ was Noodle. She looks great though… very furious. And not furiously constipated.

  5. Very cool Vid, nice to read about such connections even without having the good fortune of having met them.

    Actually from a team management perspective, 10 people (actually it’s apparently 7 +/- 2, but details aside…) is just about ideal for communication, getting to know each other, and working well together. The “perfect” team size, put simply. Any more and you start to form sub-groups within the team, communication breaks down, and team cohesion is lost.

    So there. Along with your clearly awesome guild, a management/scientific(ish) reason why 10-mans are likely to be enjoyed and played more than 25s. :)

    • I approve of management theories that support my raid of choice. ;) What it comes down to though really is personal preference. Sub-groups may not be a bad thing for people who like to feel part of an epic team, a veritable army versus the bad guys. I just don’t like that myself, or rather, I like this a great deal more. :D

  6. Great work, Vid! I think you covered all of the biggest reasons why you like 10 player raiding; every other reason you could come up with is secondary.

    It’s his soothing dulcet tones that often guide us through various encounters, and he brings an air of calm to everyone when he isn’t ranting about how much he hates paladins. He’s supportive of me, incidentally, but I’m fairly sure this blog kills a part of his soul.

    I can only imagine your husband’s reaction when you announced the Vid project. “Hilarity ensues” wasn’t exactly what I thought of. Then again, he might actually come around to our side after having seen your efforts on behalf of Pallys everywhere.

    • I think the discussion started more with “What? Another alt! Oh crap no… A pally? I think I’ll go let myself die in my chair there…”

      And no, sorry, can’t come around. I’ve tried the pally and I just can’t stand the class. Too many shiny things happening and I don’t like needing to wear my sunglasses to play. :-)

      • You sound just like Souldat, my blogmate. In the early days of WoW he’d leveled a Holy Spec Paladin, and hated it. He just can’t stand the class, and being a tank, he dislikes the tanking a Pally does.

        Ah, well. Like the imps say, “Can’t we all just get along?” ;-)

    • Sadly no, Redbeard. :( He did get a paladin to level 30 (shock and horror!) but abandoned it cruelly.

  7. I think this was a sweet post. It made very envious of your ability to draw, for sure. If I had to try to capture my guild-mates, it would be screenshots for sure.

    The intimacy of 10 mans is one of my favorite aspects of them as well. The only problem is that you get so attached to your “war buddies” that it feels like a genuine betrayal to see them move on within the game

    • Thanks Alas. And yeah, I suppose that can be a problem. I’ve moved around enough in the game that I’m reaching a point (I think) where I recognize that people’s needs change, and I try not to take it too personally. There is still a friend I had a year ago who left without a word though, and him leaving felt like a betrayal, especially since I never knew why or heard from him! But it happens, the internet is unfortunately a fluid place.

  8. Yay, pretty sketches! Don’t let my guildies see this or they’ll be asking for more than stick figures :)

  9. I envy your artistic ability. All I can really do is draw shapes in Powerpoint. What fee do you charge if I commissioned you for a new profile picture on Blogger? Do you take currency or only souls? :P

    I agree with you, 10-mans are nice because it allows you to get to know the people you run with. Unfortunately, when times are tough, having someone who’s necessary to the raid (*cough* Bloodlust) but who’s dragging their feet will result in a lot more tension than in 25′s, it seems.

    Long story short, choose your raid members well.

    • Yeah, it can be tricky when you come to depend on folks/raid buffs. Right now we’re suffering a bit without replenishment providers. There’s always going to be something we’re missing. The ghetto versions of things (drums of kings etc.) was a nice boon for our raid balance.

      I don’t take souls, I do take currency; and if you’re interested I’ll send an e-mail your way, thanks! :)

  10. Aww, what a sweet post! I like my 10 man group for the company as well. I get to know my team mates better and we have our inside jokes and such. I have a really good crew. But I still like the 25 mans (which *are* more of a pain to organize) because you get to hang out with more of the guild, see people you don’t normally raid with.

    I’m glad you know and love your peeps like you do, it’s always awesome when you have that. :)

  11. What a lovely post. The pictures are great!

  12. If i could edit your post, i’d add

    #18 And of course, there is Shae/Vid…our esteemed GM and leader of all things Business Time (with a great supporting cabinet). And Shae, your guildies are all “into that sortof thing, if you are” and we hope “Business Hours are never over” and happy we raid for “3 hours; because 3 hours is better than 2”.

    Shae/Vid leads us with grace and treats every single member with respect and dignity. She must have a guild greet add-on as every member who logs on is greeted with a quick “Hi {you}!” while “still very important” for a guild, its how we all like to be treated when we see friends. She runs her guild without a ton of “rules” because the players she attracts do not need rules beyond “don’t be a jerkface”. She holds herself accountable to the high standards she asks from everyone else and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

    Huzzah for Shae/Vid/Millya

    • Hear hear.

      Pan, I could not have expressed it more eloquently.

    • I must admit that it sounds like she runs the guild in the same manner you see in her writing. As my southerner in-laws would say, “Y’all have a great thing going.”

      She runs her guild without a ton of “rules” because the players she attracts do not need rules beyond “don’t be a jerkface”.

      I mean, really: that’s the Golden Rule in WoW. Amazing how many doors that opens when you act considerately toward each other.

    • I said I wasn’t going to get all maudlin. Darn it, Pan! *tear*

  13. I really enjoyed reading this post! Your guild sounds really great and I can see why you want to raid as you do.

    (Also, the Soviet Icecrown joke was hilarious!)

    • Thanks, Anea. And I know, it was, wasn’t it? These people kill me. Yesterday Id logged in and whispered me “I have a present for you,” and then switched over to his warlock alt… He’d changed his name to “Dirtface.” Haha.

  14. I got to number 8 and was thinking aloud, “I wonder if Vid realizes how many female Draenei she raids with?” Apparently you do!

  15. Amazing!
    Question: Why would someone want to read about your guildies?
    Answer: The reflection of the guild is in how you write about each of them. For a GM to be so passionate about their team is awesome. I would love to be a part of such a great team. As it is, I took this reading as a lesson in leadership. Well done.

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