Monday, July 28, 2008

One Step Back to take Two steps forward

Raid alliances are tricky things to navigate. They can be extremely powerful as noted in PTD's post on the recent success in Black Temple. However they come with some inherent pitfalls and traps that need to be navigated. SLACK is an interesting and long history that trails back into the days of MC, Onyxia and BWL. I would love to give you the long and storied history of SLACK, but the reality is that I'm a virtual newcomer to the Alliance. As I've stated in the past, I got to lvl 60 about two or three months before BC came out.

My original guild, The Crimson Knights, joined SLACK back in the MC days. SLACK was having some issues filling 40 man content and CK was a guild of similar size and similar mind set of the existing guilds. Thus CK was added to the mix. As time transformed and we eventually joined with ISCA Alliance (another long and historic guild on Whisperwind), we find ourselves still a strong part of a guild alliance. Many people have decried the alliance over the years. Some have abandoned their guilds because of it, but overall SLACK has remained relatively strong. Most of the guilds have suffered major guild splits, but they have all managed to recover in some way shape or form.

In our recent travails and progression into further content (T6) and interesting thing has occurred. Several distinct camps have formed. Interestingly enough I think this holds true for a lot of guilds on the verge of progression into further content.

The Progressionists
First there are the progressionists. Progressionists are the type of people who are the forerunners. They are the ones that really drive the raiding for the casual people. All of our guilds are relatively casual, but raiding really would just kind of flounder and die if we didn't have the progressionists. These are the raiding addicts. They manage to farm for their materials to raid as well as providing 4-6 days a week of raiding for their guilds and the alliance. For us casuals, they are the ones that boggle us. They are the ones that we stare at and wonder how they do it, but we must admit that they make our raiding possible. Progressionists are typically marked by top tier gear. They've put in the hours to farm stuff to get BOE's made or for top end professions, BOP gear. They have some of the best drops. They know their specs in and out. They've attended almost every raid. There isn't a boss fight or trash pull they don't know.

Their position is one of progression. They've seen it. They've done it. They are in need to move on. They want/crave further content. Beating down new bosses is important.

The Traditionalists
The traditionalist is marked by one who follows the progression the way Blizzard originally designed it. They want to see it in the order it was originally released. Vash and Kael are critical to progression into T6 the way that Gruul and Mags were necessary to progress to T5. These are critical to their success. Jumping to T6 while skipping the end bosses in T5 defeats the purpose in their eyes. There are important lessons haven't been learned. The time spent grinding on Vash and Kael also serve the important to ensure the raid is set up properly and properly geared before progressing to the next content.

These are critical road blocks that ensure the raid is geared to the nines so to speak before it progresses into the T6 content. For these people in many cases these critical bosses serve as key milestones. They are important from a status standpoint as well as from a standpoint of learning.

The Moderates
The moderates of course live in the middle. Stuck between both camps they are constantly pulled both ways. They feel a need to see the content. The order may not matter, but being geared and ready to progress is important too. Balancing between the two is very difficult. These people tend to end as moderators between the two sides. Pitching in and acknowledging both sides while adding their own middle ground flavor to the discussion.

So whats the deal???
Interestingly enough our progress into BT and Mt Hyjal has been fairly decent. The raiders have pulled some very nice progress and gotten to 3/5 in Mt Hyjal and 2/9 in BT. However the back lash has been somewhat interesting to watch. Several of the front runners have been really trying to balance out our sudden push to T6. Our T5 content work got cut dramatically and T4 Gruul/Mags almost eliminated. Some of the people at the forefront have begun to step back and try to really see if they are geared to progress. So a swelling of back pressure is building to reopen some more work on the T5 content. Some people are looking for some key gear upgrades in the T5 content.

At this time we are introducing new raid leaders and changes as well. So as the drama builds it will be interesting to see how it progresses and to what end. Change is inevitable. It happens to everyone, but as with all things, change brings both good and bad. And history is always written by the victor. At least the history you hear about most often.