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Wipe Aversion and Baggage

September 20, 2013

Dear Reader,

I’ve identified another difference between guilds that probably should be discussed during interviews.  Luckily, it’s a pretty minor one, and as is usually true, one way or the other isn’t right or even better, these two approaches are just different.

I’ve got a background in moderately hard-core guilds.  I’m sure you’ve heard me bandy about the term “part-core” before, which means a hardcore ethic with less actual time requirements for raiding.  This both fits my mentality as well as my professional lifestyle.  As a result, I’ve become almost unaffected by glass chewing, the term my buddy and I use for grinding wipes on a boss for hours at a time.  Mind you, I’m not entirely immune, and I don’t believe anyone really is; everyone’s morale can be affected, but I’m pretty resistant to it.

My previous guild was very wipe averse.  If we were struggling on a boss (or, likely with that guild, a trash pack), they’d just call the raid and go do a 3 Drake OS or something similarly pointless.  That frustrated me a lot because there was no challenge there, no meaning to the raid I’d signed up for, so when that guild and raid leader would start hemming and hawing about doing something else, I’d tense up and feel frustrated and a little betrayed, since I’d signed up for a raid, not a police action (our term for a very easy activity).

My new guild is also wipe averse, but they’re much more thoughtful about it, which leads to much more logical decisions.  Before 5.4, a lot of public discussions were being had about what our raiding would be like once flex was available.  I have no doubt a lot of private ones were, too, among the officers.  Those conversations came to a head when we were struggling on Norushen.  As a result, rather than spending a night wiping on the boss (or, perhaps, downing it), our third raid night was spent re-clearing Throne of Thunder.

The logic behind that – and I want to be clear that I think it’s sound logic; I’m not complaining – was the people in lesser gear could have a chance to improve in an easier setting and then bring that new gear to the flex raid in the future and do more dps or healing or whatever.

I asked then about the wipe-averse culture, and people were pretty up front about it that, yes, that’s how they did things.  I heard, though I’m not sure if it’s true or not, that the guild spent many months in Terrace after Throne was available to make sure their first foray would be as good as possible.

I couldn’t raid on the previous Throne of Thunder night anyway because I got very sick very suddenly, which has happened a few times before (doomsayers, please keep it to yourselves) where I get very cold and start shivering uncontrollably.  I usually just go to bed and bundle up, and it passes in a few hours.  When I heard they needed people to sit, I was secretly very relieved and went to bed.

But last night we were all posed to go into SoO flex wing 1, where they’d successfully downed Norushen the night before (when I also couldn’t raid because I had to go to a business-y dinner).  We were quite literally standing in front of the Sha of Pride’s room when someone who I respect in the guild suggested that “we’d spend our time better by finishing Throne of Thunder than banging our head against a boss all night.”

Ten minutes later we were in Throne of Thunder.

I’m wasn’t so much upset by this as a bit disappointed.  The guy who suggested the change was right; I don’t dispute that, but I was primed for new content.  Except, of course, the end bosses of normal mode ToT are new content for me.  So I don’t know.  I know I wasn’t thrilled, and we ended spending 90 minutes at the end of the raid banging our head against Iron Qon (that’s a WHOLE different story), so I just sort of feel like flex would have been a better use of that time.  More people would have been included, and the end result would have been basically the same – a lot of head banging and (potentially) a little loot.

So I’ve got to get used to this more wipe-averse atmosphere.  I think my only real problem with it stems from my previous guild, which constantly fled from challenge to mindlessly easy content, and it’s not at all fair to my current guild to let that baggage inform my reaction to their wipe aversion.  Still, whether I can adapt or not, I know I’d have preferred glass chewing to falling back, even if falling back was the right move.

It’s a tough situation, but luckily, a short-lived one, as the officers have ensured us that we’ll move on from ToT for good very shortly.


Stubborn (and risk-taking, at least in a video game setting)

4 Comments leave one →
  1. September 21, 2013 12:24 pm

    The funny thing is that wiping is more important than a 10% nerf/buff. The difference in execution is massive after wiping on a boss a dozen times. People figure out the mechanics, they get more comfortable with their role, and they improve lots of little things.

  2. September 22, 2013 6:01 pm

    To stop just short of the boss room is foolish, in my opinion. The best way to practice how to do something is to go and do it. If I want to make a tortilla, I don’t think I’m going to get any better if I just crack eggs all day long and not actually attempt it – regardless if by some chance I get an egg with double yolk.

  3. September 23, 2013 10:25 am

    I have varying opinions about wipefests, sometimes I’m fine with them, sometimes they make me want to scream. I think the main difference is the cause of the wipes. During the learning stage of a boss (typically what I think of as “progression”), wipes don’t bug me. I’m learning, everyone else is learning, the raid as a team is learning. Where it starts to turn from being okay to being less okay is when the wipes become less about learning and more about execution or other factors that can’t be overcome by continuing to wipe. There’s a point where there’s less learning than wasting time happening.

    I’m a fan of sticking with a fight when there is legitimate learning involved. The key aspect of learning is IMPROVEMENT… getting further into phase one. Moving into phase two. Getting the boss to 40% with two players dead instead of five. I can absolutely spend a night (or week or, occasionally, multiple weeks) with progression wipefests as long as there is general improvement over time or if there are new strategies that can be tried that could lead toward improvement.

    Once you legitimately hit a wall, though, of any sort (people having off nights, not enough gear, having to sub in people who are holding you back), my tolerance level drops significantly. In those cases, I’m a fan of a 3-and-out or similar policy (3 attempts without any noticeable progress, you either call the raid or do something else that will provide secondary benefit (like a ToT clear, for instance)). This is especially true for farm bosses, I find struggling on farm bosses to be incredibly demoralizing.

  4. Bytes permalink
    September 25, 2013 11:02 pm

    Our barriers have been MS raid healers… we roll out, don’t have enough healers, then the raid will fold to flexi only for a half dozen guild members to put their hands up and wave them in the air (despite crys for help earlier being ignored) – giving us a full 10man but with flexi on the agenda head/desk. Too much wiping and suddenly its all “Flexi?” /grumble. We are recruiting but its a slow process. The healer role attrition has been huge in this pandas xpac.

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