Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Raid mana – how to feed it or drain it

Without mana my mage is pretty helpless. And so is my rogue without energy. Damage isn’t created out of nothing and the same thing goes when it comes to the people behind the toons – the raiding players. They need mana to play at their best.

I often tend to think about myself in mana terms. I guess it’s a side effect from too much WoW playing. Whenever I’m physically or mentally tired I think “oh dear, it’s time to mana up a bit”.

When it comes to the physical mana needs while raiding, I’ve found that a glass of orange juice mostly makes the job for me. It gives some fast sugar, while it’s still a bit refreshing. And no slowing effects from alcohol.

But the other part, the mental mana is just as important. There are ways to boost it, like when you give a little speech trying to make the raid focus a bit better, which I’ve written about in an earlier post.

Today I’ll speak a little more about how to feed the raid with mana (not literally though, so if you were expecting a post about how to optimize your use of innervation, evocation and in which group you should put your shadow priest, you could as well stop reading now).

Feeding the raid group with the mental mana it need isn’t just the responsibility of the raid leader. Every single individual has got to do their share. Ideally we should all provide some energy into the raid group and help everyone else to keep the spirits up. Now, giving out energy is actually somewhat of a talent, so you can’t expect everyone to do that to any bigger extent. But what you could demand from every single raider is that they’re not allowed to burn the mental mana of the raid.

Don’t burn the raid mana
So what are the mana burning activities you should refrain from? I guess it’s quite obvious, but I’ll still give a couple of examples. One thing is complaining about small, insignificant things. Whining in general, no matter if it’s related to the raid or to real life. People think they’re entitled to vent stuff – and you are, sharing is a part of building friendship. But come on, you should pick the right time to do it – and a raid definitely is not the right spot. A constant whining, moaning tone in your voice will give the raid a small but significant mana leech.

Another way of stealing mana from others is to repeatedly take strange, unannounced AFKs and showing an absent-minded way of playing, where you ask about things that have already been said. It’s to show disrespect of others and it gives a bad taste in the mouth that eventually will make the raid a bit uneasy at mood.

But there are even worse things you can do, things that actually will drain all mental energy from the whole raid group in the matter of minutes.

Experiences from a mana wipe
I experienced it myself the other day, an event which inspired me to write this post. We had entered Mount Hyjal for the second time ever and were having a just wonderful night. It was my first visit there and I was thrilled. It was all green and beautiful, the birds were singing, we were dealing with the waves just splendidly. We had downed two bosses pretty easily (well, Anetheron was bugged so no infernals landed, but still it felt like quite an anchievement, especially since we had had previous doubts about if the pala tank was geared enough and if we had enough healers). We had been doing it at a decent pace as well, so we clearly would have a go at the third boss.

Then it happened – a loot drama came up, pretty unexpectedly. I’m not going into details about the issue as such – it’s enough to say it was a guy who was playing an alt and already had gotten two epic drops at the trash and now wasn’t allowed to roll for a third item. He went furious and he ended up leaving the raid, logging off. And the cheers you would expect after a first kill, the screenshot ceremonies, the celebrating of our sweet victories suddenly just disappeared, as quickly as he had done. He hadn’t only left the raid, he had taken the mental mana of 24 other players with him as he did it.

Of course we didn’t end the raid because one player had left, we moved on and the raid leader tried to explain the next fight, but I think people found it pretty hard to focus and listen, with the drama song still singing in their head. We just didn’t pay attention enough so we wiped after half of the waves and then we called it night.

How to deal with it
I don’t think this player intended to destroy the raid for 24 other people. Had he realized what effects his outburst had, he might have have thought twice before behaving the way he did. (I sincerely hoped that he would make an apology the next raid- and bring a cushion or something else he could use to deal with his frustrations; anything goes as long as he doesn’t vent it publicly. However he chose to leave the guild yesterday, so he can't make up for it, sadly enough.)

I guess it happens to many players; sooner or later we will get carried away and say or do things we’ll later regret. But don’t forget: the effect from it is much bigger than leaving an empty spot in the raid group – it’s a complete mana wipe. Do you really want to cause that to 24 other people?

On the other hand I think there’s also another side of the issue. To be a raider is to act professionally and keep your head clear, cool and calm even in tricky situations. You should train yourself mentally so that you’re able to deal with dramas like this. If I had been better at this I shouldn’t have let all my mana go with the guy. I should have shrugged at it and kept my focus where it should be – at the next upcoming encounter. As a raider you should follow the example of elite sportsmen. Do a professional football player care about the weather, jerks in the audience and such stuff? No. They’re trained to keep their mana bar up no matter what happens. So should we.

How to give mana to the raid
In this post I intended to talk about how to give mana to the raid, and so far it’s mostly been about how not to drain it.

Raid leaders provide a lot of mental mana all the time – by the way they talk by the praise they give, by how they give attention to players and show their trust to them. By showing a good example and always boosting the morale. But also we who are ordinary foot soldiers can be mana feeders – by joking and in other ways showing our good mood, by cheering when it’s appropriate and by noticing other players and giving positive feedback whenever we get the opportunity.

Try to always see the good things people do and then tell them about it. We all need to get some kind of appreciation from time to time – the unsecure fresh raider who has come to the raid prepared to the teeth, anxious to make a good impression, as well as the veteran raid leader who’s frustrated that you aren’t progressing quite as fast as you should, considering your gear and experience level. Don’t be shy! Tell them those things they need to hear, in whispers if nothing else, during a break. Or publicly, when you feel that it’s really needed. I assure you, it will give them some mana that will last for long.

Above all – take any opportunity you can to share the joys with others and to take part of their happiness. Notice the small progress you do (wow, this time we actually took this bunch of trash mobs without a single death, every time before at least one priest was killed, we’re learning how to do this!). Be happy when you get some loot – and be happy when someone else gets it. And then I mean happy, not just a lame “gz”. If it’s a real upgrade for that person – it’s a real upgrade for the raid group, which will help you a little step further on your path towards Illidan or whatever your goal is.

Always keep attention to the mental mana bar of yourself and everyone else in the raid. In my opinion it’s one of the most important keys to be successful in raiding.


Anonymous said...

As per usual a great post.

I think it was worth spending so much time on the drains... why?

1 little drain can empty 25 mana bars.

25 big mana drinks, might not lift anyone's reserves.

So the important thing is not to drain.. then do a bit of Shadow Priest constant topup to keep the raid going.

krizzlybear said...

I was never the greatest with metaphors, but I can see where you're going with this. Very insightful. I hope one day I can get a chance to experience something beyond once-a-week Karas.

Anonymous said...

Nicely Put. It actually explains some things I have noticed but never connected, thanks for the insight.

Anonymous said...

Nice that you found me and quite the coincidence since i was reading this blog for the first time last night ( about all of it too)
about SB: well summertime messes things up, ppl want to do diffrent thing irl and in game. Before summer we were starting on voidreaver but atm we can't really take kara, that sucks.

ppl are doing twinks, leveling alts or joining raidguilds who manage to raid during summer.

btw i was in hyal for the first time last sunday, epics for dummies needen another healer, i like that scenery and yepp 2:nd boss was bugged for us too.

Anonymous said...

Oh thank you all!
Nice idea about the Shadow priest guy... Maybe you could have a mental mana provider asigned, just like you have classleaders and raid leaders? Give them cred for the job they do, the ones who make us smile and give us energy.

Vitaii! I can't believe you made it here at last, nice! Please drop by the server some day.