First let me say I r a bad blogger. Its been a week since my last post and though I have a list of excuses I'm not going to use any of them. My experiences over the last week, however, have lead me to the topic of Player Liability.
It is no news that there is an increasing amount of raid burnout in the last month or so. In fact I have been feeling a little bit of that myself when it comes to progressing in Ulduar. I've given this a lot of thought over the last week and I think the reason, at least for me, is that raiding relies heavily on good players. "Thank you Captain Obvious." I'm sure you are saying to yourself. In truth though I think we are facing similar events (or so I'm told) as to what happened after the release of Burning Crusade.
It is no secret that during the MC Vanilla WoW age, that you could very very easily carry bad players. I've heard stories of people just going afk on follow while watching a movie or eating dinner. Then the Golden Age of raiding came about in Burning Crusade. Kara didn't require 40 people to raid... it required 10. More then that though it required 10 skilled players. This meant that a lot of guilds had to "trim the fat" of their core raiding team and remove those players who weren't capable.
However, some guilds refused to do this. Over time they gradually lost more and more people because the bad players in the guild, who very well could be the social core of the guild, were still let into the early raids. Frustration ensues when the content became too difficult leading to the downfall of guilds.
Enter Wrath of the Lich King
The beginning of WotLK saw a similar move in player base, but for entirely different reasons. Many guilds lost members due to the content being so easy, that they lost the desire to raid entirely. Many guilds broke up in wake of this, those that didn't though supplemented their groups with new players who had the heart and desire to raid.
These new recruits may very well have been a mixed bag. You get some very good players in with some very bad players but since the difficulty scale in Naxx was much lower, it allowed the lesser skills to raid with the guild fairly successfully. I'm sure most of the officers knew who the lesser skilled players were but since the bosses were still dying, who cares? The fact that there is an achievement for running Naxx 10 with less then 9 players tells you that Naxx had an inherently low difficulty tune.
Then when everyone was comfortable in the guild... 3.1 was released. Ulduar is a fairly well tuned instance. Some bosses are much easier then others, but it is still a step up from Naxx. This especially holds true on 25 man. Here, unfortunately, is the rub. By 3.1 there is a good chance that some of your very dedicated and social members are deeply embedded into your raid group. Chances are if you didn't have strict standards on your 10 and 25 man Naxx raids... some of these are less then stellar players.
Player liability comes about when those raiders start posing a threat to the progress of the guild (or raid group in my situation). The leadership is afraid or unwilling to kick a member who has shown up ready and diligent for months of Naxx despite the fact that their poor performance is not only dragging down the raid, but also causing wipes.
This isn't meant to be a slam against Kat... as a person. As a tank though... where do I begin? Katmandue is a warrior tank that has been with the raid group since well before I ever joined. When I joined they had been farming Naxx 25 for awhile. Kobeck and I showed that we knew what we were doing and were quickly adopted into their core raid group. You could tell during those raids that Katmandue was not the greatest tank. He had issues during more complicated fights and managing cooldowns effectively.
He was, however, geared out the ass by the time Ulduar came out. Ulduar really started to show the quality... or lack thereof... of a player he was. He had issues picking up trash on razorscale, or taunting at the right times leading to our tank dying. On ignis we wiped countless times because one of the adds he was supposed to be tanking decided the healers tasted better. He would taunt other tanks constructs and we had to overcompensate for his lacking by running with 3 offtanks for ignis.
Thankfully XT and Kologarn don't require much in the ways of an offtank, so those fights never gave us an issue. But Auriaya did. He would consistently fail to pick up the adds and generate enough threat so they could be burned quickly. As a result he was put on Auriaya where he never once would use thunderclap or demo shout for the debuff to reduce the damage... or even use cds at all for that matter. When he was placed on the 3rd and 4th kill target for the cats he would then use mocking blow on Auriaya (god knows why) which would cause her to turn just enough to cast her frontal aoe cone killing off one or 2 people in the process.
Burnout was definitely starting to take its turn on me. Even though half the raid was talking about him behind his back... no one would say anything to the leaders. Ok. I'll admit the one night I drank a little and started calling him out on stuff... which ultimately lead us to the events of this past weekend. The silence that was kept has been broken and while Katmandue isn't banned from raiding with us... he now knows without a doubt that he has a lot of work ahead of him. After some fruitless attempts on Hodir 25, a similar warning went out to everyone in the raid.
Concentrate and focus or gtfo.
So do you have any instances of Player Liability in your guild or raid group? One of the hardest things to do is to call someone out or to bring your frustrations to the raid leaders... but this is the most important thing you do. If someone isn't doing their job then you won't be the only one to feel this way. Often times you will lose more people by keeping that one liability in your raid group then sacrificing his feelings and letting him go.