The Problem of Grouping

April 18, 2006

Everyone who plays World of Warcraft should be familiar with the problems of pick up groups. After spending an hour or more putting the group together, the odds are quite good one of the players is a complete numbskull and will find an endless variety of ways to get the entire group killed repeatedly. This will also be the person who ninjas the best loot and suddenly remembers an aunt is flying in and they have to go the airport. Or the dentist, or chemotherapy. Whatever the reason, the blue item drops, they need after everyone else chooses greed and then poof, they are gone. 

Sometimes those are the good pick up groups you get. 

Recently I joined a larger guild and I was hoping that this would make working in groups less painful. In fact, things are worse. 

Even with a hundred players in the guild, putting together a five man group is only slightly easier now than it was before joining a raiding guild. There is the added dimension of guild dynamics that are never a factor in pick up groups, and there is no way for a new guild member to know the sordid history of the guild they just joined. But after a few raids, you will know all too well. 

As of this moment, I have gone on four raids with my new guild. One of those raids was AQ20, the others were all Zul Gurub. The total time I have spent grouped with this guild is close to 25 hours now. By my rough calculations, less that half the time has been spent actually fighting mobs; much less that half. The rest of the time has been spent either waiting for the raid to fully form, or just standing around inside an instance for up to two hours waiting for new members to arrive after a wipe. 

After four runs with this guild we have killed only two bosses. Even worse we have at least three wipes per boss even when we did manage to kill the boss. This past weekend we made five attempts before killing a boss that everyone swore they had killed scores of times before. People do dumb things sometimes during raids. Sometimes it accidental and sometimes its just a stupid mistake, and I find both easy to forgive. But this weekend, a player actually was running his pet towards a Boss while we were waiting for a new member to arrive just to see how close he could get the pet without it being attacked.  

What is really disturbing to me, however, is that during one of the raids where we killed a boss, I won an epic mace. Somehow, this made up for all the insipid bullshit I had to endure. Am I really that easy?

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One Response to “The Problem of Grouping”

  1. GodsofLust Says:

    Pug’s are just certain to be problematic, I mean you can expect people to come and go, the down time between fights to be twice as long as usual … repair runs after the first couple bosses. I think this is mostly because of group organization. Even in 5 man instances, with good people, you still usually have a bit of time where you’re learning your role in this group. One of the things I think Blizzard does to minimize the effect of that is to put a bunch of crap mobs in the early part of each wing. During that time, someone better lead the group. Everyone had better show what they can do. Or you’ll give up before you get anywhere.

    In raid instances, that problem amplifies … a lot. Not only do you need someone with great leadship skills, you need someone who knows the next fight. Intimately. They need to lead in no uncertain terms. Everyone needs a clear idea of how things will work. Without that “been there” experience, you can expect, almost with certainty, 1-3 wipes on a boss. But it is both parts, the leadership, and the experience. If only the guy trying to capture everyone’s attention and show them how it has worked, and should work, if only she knows what is going on, it is still doomed to fail.

    I think part of the reason raid boss fights are so positional is because it is by forcing people to move, to cooperatively experience the explanatin of how things work, that someone can get the point across to everyone.


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