As Mists of Pandaria was in its final days, I decided to go for one of the achievements I had unintentionally started and therefore never finished. Anyone who quested through the Krasarang Wilds and Townlong Steppes will have defeated the Sha of Despair and the Sha of Hatred, and thus be one third of the way to completing The Tranquil Master achievement. I had also killed the Sha of Anger one night in Kun-Lai, and so all that were left were the Shas of Doubt, Violence, and Fear.
I decided to tackle the Sha of Fear first since it is the boss of the Terrace of Endless Springs, a short raid from Mists’ launch with only four bosses. Given that most players were equipped with gear from Seige of Orgrimmar I figured it should be no hassle to assemble a group to outgear the fights and stomp our way to victory.
I was wrong.
The first night I found a group forming for Terrace of the Endless Springs (10 man normal). I joined, and after waiting a few minutes for the group to fill, we engaged the Endless Protectors and wiped with about 25% left on the final Jinyu. Unlike Raid Finder, which buffs the group after each failed attempt, the Premade Group tool does not, and so after the second attempt went worse than the first, several players left and ultimately the group could not find ten people to attempt the raid again.
I left and instead opted to kill the Shas of Doubt and Violence in their respective dungeons. A quick (and failed) attempt at soloing meant I would need at least one other person to help, and so the dungeon finder tool found me four other players to stomp through the Jade Temple and Shado-Pan Monastery with me. I never realized how much the Shado-Pan Monastery sets up Townlong Steppes, as it introduces characters like Master Snowdrift, who becomes a quest giver in the following zone.
The next night, with only the Sha of Fear left to contend with, I joined another group to complete the raid. This time, we were able to defeat the Endless Protectors, only to wipe on Tsulong. After wiping, the group disbanded, and I was left alone. I did not want to waste my instance lockout (we were 25% of the way there!), so I ventured into unknown territory and decided to form my own group using the Group Finder tool.
The first thing I did was advise players that if they were looking to get the Chimera of Fear, they were better off using Raid Finder. Provided you stick with it, using Raid Finder usually results in a clear of the raid, simply because of the Determination buff that stacks with each defeat. It only took one or two wipes for the premade groups to fall apart, and there was no point to subjecting oneself to that much strife when an LFR queue can provide the needed item. That said, a few people still looking for the Chimera joined the group. Eventually, after coaxing some DPS to switch to Tank and Healer specs (since the only people joining the group were DPS), we were able to field a proper group and engage Tsulong successfully.
We then moved on to Lei Shi. During the fight one of the DPS died early, and after we survived one of the other DPS messaged me (the raid leader) to kick the player because of poor DPS. I pointed out that the person had died, which should explain the low damage output since a dead player does no DPS, as the saying goes. The other player responded, “Exactly. Kick him,” and I was instantly reminded why I am not a guild leader.
I did not have my own meters installed (presumably a requirement for these situations going forward), but I would have no doubt that this person underperformed due to their dead status. I did not want to mercilessly kick them from the group, but with DPS always ready to queue for anything, it would not be difficult to find a replacement that would potentially perform better. (and even if not, more poor DPS would be just as expendable).
Before I could get into an argument with the player encouraging me to kick the low DPS player, the underperforming member left the group. I was glad that the situation appeared to work itself out on its own, but I have no idea if the other player persuaded (harassed) the low-DPS raider to leave the group of his or her own accord. All I can do is give everyone the benefit of the doubt.
Of course our replacement DPS was well-geared and skilled at the fights. We blew through Lei Shi and the Sha of Fear in no time, and some players acquired the Chimera while at least one other player earned the title. Overall it was a successful, if not surprisingly eventful, run.
Tools like OQueue have been around for a while, but there is a challenge to running a group that one needs to be ready for, and just running LFR for almost two years is inadquate preparation. For an assembly of ten random strangers, it’s amazing that politics could come into play. The player who wanted to kick the other player may have been right – we needed to jettison the low-DPS to advance through the raid, but that’s not the kind of group I want to lead. Then again, who knows if we would have ever been able to clear the raid if that player had not voluntarily left?
I don’t think I’ll be running any groups of my own for some time. If anything, I’ll be one of the endless DPS looking for a group to join. It’s going to be interesting to see how these groups fare in Warlords now that Normal and Heroic raids are live. With LFR demoted to tourist mode and offering loot only slightly better than Heroic Dungeons, the temptation for me to run some Normal dungeons is suprisingly strong. But if I have to deal with leading a group and considering kicking members, it may not be strong enough.
Tier 17 Raid Armor Preview! I’m pretty sure the Mythic Death Knight helm will steal your soul. http://us.battle.net/wow/en/blog/16803825/tier-17-raid-armor-preview-11-24-2014
Some uncraftable glyphs are now available by vendor. All my leather gear is uncraftable, because I still don’t have enough Burnished Leather… http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/15353876648#1