Posts Tagged “Guild”

So, I know that I usually don’t write about guild leadership stuff. Wouldn’t really make sense, since I am not a GM, after all! However, I heard some great stuff today which I think applies just as well to guilds as it does to schools. Oh, yes, if you didn’t know today was my very first day of my internship (scary stuff!), which is where I stole all this from. Funny how school applies to EVERYTHING! I try to tell the kids that, but they never believe me.

1. You should always aim for value-adding.

Value Adding is the latest catch phrase on the educational landscape, I swear. It simply means that people are continually learning and improving – you are adding value to their abilities. In the schooling context, we measure this by student marks – if a student’s marks improve as they go through school, then we have added value to their education.

This means that there is no settling for second best. Sure, you may recruit someone who isn’t the best at their job. You train them, teach them, and they improve. Does this mean that we can stop? Heck no! Even the highest achievers have some room for improvement. Sure, it may not be in their DPS, or their crowd control. Perhaps they would be a valuable addition to a leadership team, or just need a little nudge in their intrapersonal skills. There is always somewhere that we can ‘add value’ and increase their achievement.

2. There is no such thing as ‘best practice’. Always aim for ‘better practice’

This relates to the point above. Continually assess what you are doing, and actively look for room for improvement. I seriously doubt that everyone could be perfect, 100% of the time. Learn your flaws, and work on them. Don’t be too embarrassed to discuss them with others, whether it be to look for solutions, or to share your solutions .

3. The loud kid in the class is not necessarily the best kid in the class

This is something that lots of early teachers can fall into the trap of. The kid who answers every question? Who occasionally puts down the other kids about their answers? Well, he isn’t necessarily the brightest kid in the class! Many times the quiet, unassuming kid is. Or your average, answer a couple of questions, get distracted a little bit kid is. The same thing applies to guilds. All too often guilds promote the most vocal members, thinking that their constant chatter means that they are the most knowledgeable members of the guild, or the most suited to raid leadership.

However, these people aren’t always the best for the job. Sometimes they are, sure, but most times they aren’t. They can come across as brash, occasionally obnoxious, and sometimes forget to mash the tact button before they speak. Pretty much like one of those kids in the classroom. When they are like this, they make other guild members feel at best uncomfortable, and at worst completely insecure in their own abilities. Never a good thing for a guild as a whole!

4. Feedback is good. Meaningful feedback is godly.

Just like when a kid brings home a report card from school, your guild members need feedback. Occasionally, report cards can use a lot of words to say very little at all. Our feedback to guild members can be much the same: “you have to improve” without specifying what is wrong, or “you are doing well!” without saying what is great about that player. Tell people why you think these things!

5. Praise, then criticise, then praise.

The fair criticism sandwich should always have some form of praise as bread, to make the nasty tasting criticism go down a little easier. People tend to have difficulty accepting criticism, no matter how fair it is, if you don’t praise them as well. Human nature is a pain in the derriere!

So, these are the five lessons I brought home from school today for you. Aren’t you glad I am a good teacher?

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One thing which I often find both amazing and interesting about the World of Warcraft community is that it is in a constant state of flux. It never really stays the same – people come to and leave the game, guilds change and develop, new blogs crop up and old blogs take their graceful exit from the scene. It is really interesting to meet the people who write these blogs and find out the different perspectives that they have. I think it is this change which is what keeps our game so interesting in some ways – I definitely play for the social aspect, as I have oft stated, and I enjoy the relationships that are built up throughout the community. I don’t log on each day to grind some gold, or conquer an instance, or farm any gear. I log on to chat to my friends, and find out how they are going, especially in their real lives. Yes, I care that a friend has been kept up all night with a sick child, or if it is nearly their birthday and they have planned something special.

Anyway, this has gone somewhat off topic at the moment. So back to my focus! Even the most hardcore of us do have difficulty overcoming the social aspect of the game. My now infamous friend Kalfurion was considering leaving our guild and joining a guild which is much further along in terms of progression. As you no doubt now know, my guild has hit a point of stagnation (for lack of a better term) due to summer – Darn you people and your real lives! – and some other essentially unidentifiable factors. He had gone so far as to have a couple of trial runs with them (in Sunwell, can you believe it?), and they sounded pretty interested in what he had to offer.

Monday rolled around, and that was the crunch day. The raids he participated in before were on days which Arcis does not raid, so there was no real conflict. Mondays however ARE an Arcis raid day, and the other guild (I enjoy saying it like that, it’s almost like ‘the other woman’) wanted him to come to Black Temple. I said to him, quite frankly “Well, you need to talk to the officers about this before then. They really will not be impressed about you skipping a raid day to go off with some other guild” (and I got to throw in all sorts of other things, including “You can’t have your cake and eat it too!”). He hummed and hawwed over it for a bit, finally decided that he was going to go and join the other guild, and prepared to let our officers know.

Well, best laid plans and all that… when he was telling them, the GM got fairly upset over it (as you would). Kalf is considered to be one of the more central members of our guild (imo), despite his lack of attendance and such recently. It is always a blow when a friend leaves a guild. Then, what do you know, Kalf got himself upset as well. I can’t really laugh at this (this IS the girl who cried – about 5 times – when she left her old guild), and he didn’t cry or anything. This horrible feeling though was enough to convince him to change his mind and stay with Arcis.

This, my friends, is the power of the social aspect of WoW.

Other random stuff to whack in under social aspects!

There is a new healer community abounding – Plus Heal (not Plush Eel… I always manage to read everything wrong!)

Guided by some of the best healers in the blogosphere (so, rest assured, I have nothing to do with it!) including Siha, Matticus, Phae, Auzara and Lume (and heaven knows who else I forgot!), Plus Heal provides all healing classes with a place to discuss the fine art of healing.

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Once again I have been thinking about loot systems and how they work. As you probably know, my current guild works with Suicide Kings (also known as SKG from the name of the mod – Suicide Kings Geo). For the uninitiated, here is a brief run down of how the system works. SKG is based upon having master lists of everybody in the raid. We use a three list system: one for Tier, one for Raid (armour and weapons), and one for Miscellaneous Items (trinkets, relics, off hands, etc). The purpose of having three lists is to ensure that items of equal value are banded together, which makes it fairer (because all suicides are not equal after all).

At the beginning of the system, everyone used a random roll to establish their place. Raider rank members of the guild rolled 500-1000, and non raider rank members rolled 1-500. This ensured that those with Raider rank maintained their first preference for loot (at least to begin with). People who join the guild, as well as PuGs, join the list at the very bottom.

The system then works by having people ‘suicide’ for an item of loot they want. Suiciding simply means you sacrifice your position on the list and move to the bottom. When more than one person suicides, the person highest position wins the item. Everyone in the raid then moves up a position, while the people not in the raid do not. This is SKG’s way of rewarding people for attendance.

I think SKG sounds to be relatively fair in theory. Everyone has a chance at all loot (rather than DEing items because people have insufficient DKP, or other happenings people have heard of). Pugs also get a chance at the loot if no one needs it, which I believe is preferable to it being DE’ed or given to someone for an offset that they will never use. However, there are some major flaws, which I think really need to be addressed.

- There is no real reward for showing up when you have a character who is ‘fully geared’ (to farm content).

- Alts in our system run off the same list as the main – i.e. If I wanted to take Hermia to a run, I would use Saresa’s position on the list to suicide. Saresa has built up a fairly high place on the list by holding back from suicides, and can now take loot that would perhaps be better served going to a new recruit.

- In some ways, luck still plays a fairly major role. A great example is the Tier pieces. I have awfully bad luck when it comes to drops most of the time. I also make basically every required raid (if I had to guess, I would say I have 90% attendance). Through sheer dumb luck, everytime we downed a boss who dropped Tier gear I was away, or they didn’t drop a Hero piece. Of course, if it only dropped when I wasn’t there, all the other Warlocks, as well as the Mages and Hunters, advanced ahead of me on the list. It got to the point where people who attended far less than me had 3/5 of Tier 5, while I had none.

- Pugs can end up ahead of guildies. An instance of this happened today. We had a warlock applying to the guild who we decided not to let in. Now, for some reason or another, they have been present for a couple of raids throughout the application process (three I believe). Through this attendance, and the fact that I suicided for my T5 shoulders last week, they were above me on the list. When 3 Hero T5 Pant tokens dropped today, I felt fairly confident that I would get them (because most everyone else had them or better). Instead, one of the guild mages won them (perfectly fine), a guild alt-become-main got them (OK I suppose, although I still disagree with being able to swap an alt to a main simply because your main is now fully geared), and this app warlock got them. That really ticked me off, because the officers had decided half way through the raid that he would be rejected, because, frankly, he was not at all good.

I think that these issues are a major problem for our guild. The encouraging of alts to raid is a detriment to progression, as is letting upgrades go out of guild. People have no real incentive to show up, which means our core has deteriorated, resulting in the need to recruit and train. Of course, a loot system surely can not be the sole cause of guild trouble, but it helps.

My Ideal Loot System

- Rewards raiders for showing up to farm content

- Rewards raiders for raiding with their mains, despite the fact they may not need anything else from that place.

- Rewards people for showing up to ‘wipefests’ (new difficult content)

- Rewards people of Raider rank (or equivalent) before non-raiders

- Ensures that guild mains ALWAYS get upgrades before pugs or alts

- Discourages people from ‘main swapping’, as this often hinders progression.

- Rewards people for being punctual, reading strats, and being prepared.

- Discourages people from leaving upgrades in order to ‘save’ for more significant upgrades (DKP hoarding)

- Is ultimately beneficial to the guild’s progression.

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Now, I have always known that Ammana (one of my DB guild mates, and good friends) is a dab hand at sewing. Thanks to WoW Insider, now you all know!

Squee! Grats Amm!!

(Oh, and to those negative commenters out there, I find it amusing how you feel ‘brave’ enough to attempt to insult a complete stranger through a basically anonymous forum. I really have to wonder about how secure you are within yourself if you need to make yourself feel superior by bagging on someone you do not even know. Just go and bathe, I am tired of seeing your filthy presence on various forums, dirty trolls!!)

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As you all know, Sar has come to a bit of a crossroads in her progression. Recently, I was also informed that the guild’s raid times have been changed to an earlier start, which means that it is going to be increasingly difficult for me to make raids on time (since it translates to raid starts being at 11.30am for me, and that is really not practical). So, I have 4 options:

  1. Quit raiding and go back to casual 5 manning and Kara-ing: Not especially appealing to do on Sar, because I can do this on Hermia with much more satisfaction.
  2. Try and make raids: I CAN plausibly make the required raids, but it means that I need to commit hours during the day which I would rather spend doing ‘real life stuff’
  3. Look for a new guild: There are two guilds on Cenarius that raid hours which are fantastic for me (WipE and Demons Downunder). Both of these guilds also have good reputations on Cenarius, so it would certainly not be a matter of the only available guilds being filled with asshats.
  4. Find an alternative to raiding: Start focusing on arena or battlegrounds on Saresa, or make Hermia my main.

Point number 3 is a difficult one a couple of reasons. I am an exceedingly shy person, and I do have trouble getting to know new people. Being in raids with people I do not know makes me nervous, and when I am nervous I make a lot of silly mistakes. This is hardly ideal when you are trying to make a good impression on new guildmates! Also, I have perhaps an extreme sense of loyalty. I feel bad for contemplating the idea of leaving the people who geared me up and helped me along!

So, for now, i think I have settled for point number 4. This means that I am going to spend a bit of time experimenting with different arena specs, but for now am leaning towards trading my cookie cutter Succy Sac spec for a cookie cutter SL/SL spec (because I will be doing 2v2 battles with Kalf, our friendly neighbourhood resto druid). Of course, because I am a total noob at PvP, I am happy to hear tips from some friendly arena lovers out there!

So, instead of working hard for the loot, I will be working hard for the glory! I am not focusing on gear here, instead on just honing my skills and learning something along the way. Perhaps being a bit inventive and creative and coming up with different ways of killing suckers some other undoubtedly nice people. I will certainly keep you all posted.

P.S. My sister is watching Sex and the City… again. She purchased all six seasons, and is currently half way through. I am going insane. Save me!

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Today one of my guildies accounts was hacked. We were in the middle of transferring between Hyjal and Serpentshrine Cavern, when he disappeared all of a sudden, and then logged back on within five minutes. Of course, we noticed straight away because he wasn’t responding to tells, and he dropped from the raid group. So out guild leader demoted him to prevent any access to the guild bank, and we just sat there.

I have to say it is one of the most horrible feelings in the world sitting there, completely helpless, just staring as you know your guild mates things are being sold or deleted. In my usual impulsive anger, I sent a series of abusive tells to the hacker. I really don’t know what I was hoping to achieve with this, and I got no reply, but the venting at least made me feel like I could do something, even if it was tiny. Of course, I got no response back. Perhaps my abuse actually made the hacker feel more inclined to destroy things. If that is the case, then I am deeply sorry. Especially since not all the things the hacker did were at all beneficial to anyone.

The hacker only accessed one of his characters, his main, and screwed with him. He sold off a variety of things from his main set and from his bank, so his main has been rendered essentially useless for the time being. He also dropped his alchemy profession, which I think is really low. Dropping a profession that people have worked at, spent time and gold on and value, for absolutely no profit is stupid and outright nasty. I hate to think that this was caused by my tells to the hacker. Especially since I am unsure if Blizzard can restore professions to a person.

Now, I am not sure why he didn’t try relogging in to boot the hacker off. I am guessing there is a reason why he didn’t, but I can not guess what it could be. He did try to change his password, but had trouble remembering the answer to his secret question (remember, always choose a secret question that you can easily remember!). By the time he got back in, it was too late.

So, in an open letter

Dear Mr/Ms Hacker,

Let’s be honest here. I really have no idea what your motivation is for hacking. I can not imagine that in this era of dailies you are that desperate for gold. I do not know whether you work for an RMT service, or whether you hack for personal gain. I can not fathom what it is that makes you want to steal other people’s things rather than earn them yourself. However, since you have some form of motivation, I would like to address some other issues.

If you hack into my friend’s account, could you please do the ‘decent’ thing and sell all the items? Please do not disenchant things, because it makes it very difficult for people to get items restored to them. I know you do not much care who you hurt, but if you could lessen the impact of these things, then that would be wonderful.

Do you really need to drop somebody’s professions? I assume the only motivation for hacking into someone’s account is profit, so there really is no need to undo many many months worth of work. Doing so is nothing more than petty and malicious. Sure, you may receive some tells from angry guild mates while you are in the middle of looting and plundering. You can’t expect these people to not be angry! These are friends of the person you are stealing from, they will feel defensive and upset. You would not like it if someone was stealing from one of your friends, would you?

Lastly, I urge you to reconsider your reasons for hacking. As I mentioned previously, there are easy (and much more honest!) ways of earning gold, which do not impact on other players in the game. Please remember that every character out there has a real person behind them. Yes, real people. People who get hurt and upset when their things are taken.

Yours Sincerely,

Saresa.

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OK, OK, so I don’t really want to dominate the world. Well, it would be kinda nice… but altogether too much responsibility. My secret ambition is something I have never really discussed much to be honest. My pipe dreams are often, well, exactly that. While I have been lucky enough to see many of them achieved (becoming what I would term a ‘serious raider’, beginning this blog – and still writing it!), this is one that I know will just never happen. Oh, to have My Own Guild.

Why on earth would I want to run my own guild you ask? Well, there are a variety of reasons. The biggest and most selfish of them all is that I am an alpha-female. I like to be in charge, I enjoy being the boss. I also think that I happen to have excellent organisational skills, which in my opinion is one of the most important things to guild leadership. I like people, and I like dealing with people. Guilds are about people.

Many people assume that a good guild leader should be the best at their class. I don’t agree with this. I think I certainly know a lot about warlocks – most of my friends think so too I suppose, because they generally ask me all their lock related questions. I can give fairly sound advice on most matters warlock related. I may not be the top DPS, but I do fairly well for myself all in all. However, I have a rudimentary understanding of other classes. I build upon this understanding through exhaustive research, and through not being afraid to ask questions. In my mind, a good leader is the one who wants to know as much as possible about everyone’s role, and who is willing to occasionally make themselves look stupid to find out the answer.

I also think that I am capable of dealing with drama. Face it, I am going to be working in a profession where I have to see over one hundred hormonal teenagers each day, I had better want to be good at dealing with people and drama! The inner counsellor in me thrives on helping people sort out their issues with each other, and doing so in a manner which encourages and fosters respect.

Now, we all know that no one is perfect. I know that there would be things I would be outright bad at. I am occasionally too concerned with people’s feelings, and when something needs to be said bluntly I hesitate. Conversely, if I am having a ‘wrong side of the bed’ kind of day, I can get snappy, and am sometimes prone to exploding. Gosh darn moodiness!

The biggest thing that stops me from starting my own guild though is that I love the people in the guilds that I am in at the moment. While I would dearly love a leadership role again in Dying Breed, I can easily see why I do not have one. That makes perfect sense. I don’t long for one so much in Arcis, and I can’t really explain why. Perhaps I feel I haven’t paid my dues there or something. If I were to start my own guild, I couldn’t poach people from others in all good conscience. I am completely unsure how one goes about building up guild membership from scratch – I do not know that many people who aren’t happy where they are. The whole situation is positively fraught with problems!

So that is why I will probably never be a GM. No matter how much I want to do it, I just don’t know how to go about it. Especially without hurting those whom you love and respect.

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No no no, I am not leaving either of my guilds, calm down people! However, I was reading one of Matticus’ posts today which uncannily reminded me of my own experience in leaving Dying Breed, and my thoughts and feelings about this leaving ever since. In my opinion, joining a guild is one of the biggest decisions you can make in World of Warcraft – taken seriously enough, it is almost like a marriage (albeit a weird, polygamist marriage in perhaps a cult like situation… again, I digress) where you are absorbed into a new family and made a part of it. Perhaps some people don’t approach it seriously enough, and perhaps some of us take it all far too seriously, but basically thats what it means to me.

Now, I am not saying that all guilds are alike. Dying Breed felt (and still feels) like home to me. My friends there rank up among some of the closest friends that I have in my ‘real life’. Sure, they weren’t progression focused, but they were a close knit bunch of people who enjoyed each other’s company and occasionally going out and kicking some ass. I had been there long enough that I was well known and respected within the guild, people would ask me my advice and opinion, I would ask for theirs, and we would have some very interesting discussions about this, that, and the other (including thirty minute long debates about the ‘awesome’ factor of Vegemite!). When I left Dying Breed, it honestly felt the same as when you leave home for the first time. I know you may laugh at me, but yes, I cried. I felt horrible that I was deserting the people who had helped me and been there for me throughout my time in the game, all for some shiny loots and a couple of boss fights.

Now a couple of my friends at this point had already joined Arcis, and they suggested that I apply for the guild. They (well, Kalf) reassured me that Arcis had a similar sort of feel to Dying Breed, but with a more raid oriented focus. This sounded reassuring to me – I couldn’t bear the thought of going to a guild where the people weren’t friendly and chatty, it would all be too alien and strange to me. Well, he didn’t lie – the guild chat in Arcis is quite noisy during the day, and people are fairly friendly, but the focus of the chatting is not at all the same. It’s kind of like when you go to work – the people are nice enough, but most of your co-workers don’t really care about your real life, so long as you show up and get the job done. There is also a much more competitive and aggressive atmosphere when it does come to performance – rather than alot of encouragement from others, there is direct competition as to who puts out the most DPS, the most HPS, and people are not afraid to comment on anything you do (regardless of how well or ill informed they are). If you screw up, you will be reminded, and not always in a happy joking way either! Everyone is vying for the top spot, because if you aren’t at the top you are open to criticism from the whole raid.

(** rant incoming!! Be aware!! **) A case in point the other day was when one of the paladins of the guild questioned my spec, gear, and spell rotation. Now, I was a bit affronted at the way he said some things to me, especially as he has never played a warlock in my knowledge, and certainly not one to 70 in our guild at any rate. When I mentioned to the guild leader that I didn’t appreciate the way he spoke to me about it (and apparently he was giving some of the other locks a hard time as well, which I mentioned) I was basically told to get over it. That was fine… but then she said “The other locks do put out more damage than you usually, you know”, which kind of got my back up. Just a touch. Not because I would object to them out dpsing me, but because I know it to be untrue. I run my own damage meter in a raid situation, and I also look at the posted ones, and my damage output is generally respectable. I am never first (that position goes to Candi of the uber-DPS), but out of the warlocks I am generally 2nd or 3rd (Ri and I are incredibly close in damage output, although I generally win out by the end of a raid), and generally within the top 7 in the raid. Not great, but certainly not bad. I don’t mind advice, but when this advice is all founded upon something which is untrue… well, I get kinda mad (** End rant **)

So, what is the point of all this ramble? Do I regret leaving Dying Breed to venture into raiding? Truthfully, I don’t. I am not sure what I would be doing now if I was still in Dying Breed, but I certainly was not enjoying Karazhan anymore, and I was getting tired of playing Saresa. However, I can’t say that I don’t regret leaving Dying Breed – ever since I left there has been a constant stream of people leaving to join raiding guilds, and I can’t help but wonder if I kinda started it all (Narcissism is rampant here, I know). Someone mentioned the other day that perhaps if everyone had’ve stayed, we may be in SSC or TK by now. Well, that may be true. I personally believe that we wouldn’t be, because to succeed in those instances you need a dedicated raiding focus, and the attitude that it’s OK to criticise people at any point if you don’t think they are living up to their max potential. That just wasn’t present in Dying Breed… which in my mind, was a good thing. That is the reason why I will be going back to Dying Breed when WotLK comes out, and I probably won’t be leaving again. Sure, I’ll have to listen to my raiding friends gloating about their progress. Well, big whoppeedoodah. I also get to miss out on the immature, epeen stroking conversations that occur in Arcis guild chat occasionally, and WoW can go back to being fun for me, rather than being a job.

Note: This isn’t to say I don’t enjoy raiding. I do. I just don’t like the occasional asshat behaviour that accompanies it. In my mind I guess, a lot of raiders are like doctors – they are ego driven, confident people. That is how they do so well. I also do like the majority of people in Arcis. I just don’t enjoy feeling like I am at work when I am playing.

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I know that it is a day early for most, but I would just like to wish all the great Mums out there a wonderful day, where (hopefully) the kids and the hubby do everything for you and make you feel loved. Please, enjoy it!

Yesterday was one of our scheduled raid days in Arcis, and we ventured into SSC to do a bit of killing of the ‘farm’ bosses in preparation for today’s Vashj-fest. Now recently I have noticed that we are having fairly high amounts of difficulty on what we have been terming farm content (prompting one person to question whether we truly had these bosses on farm or what). I think that the high level of recruitment that the guild has engaged in is more of an answer to this – when we first killed the bosses in SSC and TK, we had a core group of people who ran most every week. We knew each other well, and each other’s play styles well, and were able to easily organise ourselves around each other. Recently we have been taking a lot of new people in, who have to both learn all the fights, and learn the playstyles of each and every person in that raid and work well with them. The new players are also generally somewhat undergeared for the encounter, which makes perfect sense – people aren’t going to join a guild where their progression is behind what gear they have! In my opinion, this massive amount of learning is a pretty big ask, so of course there are going to be a few wipes.

Now, the thing that really got on my nerves was that people who have been in the guild for a long time, who have attained Raider status within the guild, have picked up a nasty habit of leaving early because they are ‘tired’ or some other similar excuse on the days where we face a lot of wipes. It doesn’t seem to happen so much on days where we are just flying through the content and clearing the place out. I don’t know whether this is an adrenaline thing – the excitement isn’t there, and it is more of a struggle to stay awake – or just a plain, out and out act of rudeness and inconsideration. The point is, each person leaving wastes the raid’s time, and means that the person who comes in and replaces them will have to (more then likely) have things explained to them. It also kind of annoys me because that is another person that I have to summon into the instance, and if you have been wiping fairly regularly you tend to be low on shards. But that’s just selfishness talking there.

Basically, I believe that everyone knows what the raid times are. They do not change from week to week. I know that some people have valid excuses for leaving early (I myself have left early twice because of family committments – but I let the raid leader and the guild leader know prior to the start of the raid so they had the choice of even including me), but ‘tired’ does not work. Everyone is tired by the end of raid. Deal with it. By leaving early, you are costing the raid itself valuable time, and slowing the progress down.

On another note, my T5 pants still elude me. From what I have seen, I am actually the only raider in the guild who still needs the T5 pants, and through sheer dumb luck just hasn’t been able to get them. Talk about frustrating!

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