(Note: This post contains adult language. You have been warned.)

A familiar story for all of you, though one I am sharing because I couldn’t believe just how stereotypical it was.

I had time to kill today. I’ve done most of my major raids for the week and nobody was running TOGC that I could find, so I decided to bum around, take care of some auction stuff, and have some fun with some more off the wall activities. I ran Wintergrasp, cashed in about 60k worth of honor on epic gems, sold them all for a nice haul on the auction house, and then looked to go make trouble.

Now, I have never been able to clear Naxx before. I came to be level 80 at a time when the Dungeon Finder had just taken off, and Naxx became a completely optional place for anyone looking to do end-game. One could gear up exclusively through heroics, the ICC heroics added even nicer gear, and by the time I was running raids regularly in a guild we had TOC on farm and were knocking on ICC’s door. I had cleared the Arachnid Quarter once, gone back for bosses required for the weekly raid quest, and that was it.

However, I’d always wanted to go back. I love being able to check out epic content, even if I’m overgeared for the task. As a raider since Vanilla, Naxx has a special place in my heart from its early reputation as a guild-killer. However, nobody really runs it. We tried once by enticing people to come along due to Patchwerk being the weekly raid. We told everyone we intended to clear it. Everyone agreed. We made the mistake of going for Patchwerk first. 6 people immediately left.

Today, however, a player put out a call for more geared players to come along for the 20-man Naxx achievement. He wanted people with full clears already on their record. However, I messaged him, knowing my gear was way over his baseline for bringing people along.

“5557 mage get me in without the full clear achievement?”
“How much have you done?”
“Arachnid Quarter, and other than that I’m a fast learner.”
“Alright, I’ll give you a chance.”

Read that exchange again. Commit it to memory. Our story continues.

We gathered 20 very geared players together. I will now begin my checklist for….


1. Do not pass up the opportunity to use Ventrilo.

I asked innocently, “Do we have vent for this?” You would have thought I was from the planet Mars from the reaction that I got. R U SRUS? OMG. “If we need vent for this run, then we FAIL.” On and on and on. I replied by shrugging it off and saying that it was a simple question. I then sent the Raid Leader a message:

“I’ll probably be bugging you once or twice for boss strats, or just let me know if anything is more complicated than ‘DPS boss.’ Thanks.”

No response.

One more vocal warrior *demanded* we did Inquisitor first, or he was leaving. We headed in that direction as people started having an angry debate about how many priests we needed. All of these separate incidents evidence of how badly Ventrilo was needed here. Ventrilo cannot be as easily ignored as raid chat. Ventrilo forces one person to talk at a time. And most importantly, people are not nearly as willing to be a dicksmack when audibly speaking and the curtain is peeled back that much more.

2. Do not forget that adjustments are needed when overgeared.

We wiped our 2nd trash pull. 3 mages and a hunter, AOE attacking 5 mobs almost immediately after the tank ran in. The massive torrent of DPS was too much, everything got pulled and we were dead. Surprisingly, nobody rage quit, but the chat was quickly turning into an e-peen measuring contest. People lambasting each other for their idiocy, going on about whether the tank should have had thread managed already, complaining that this raid was a waste of their time (yet curiously not leaving), and how we were all fail. I was told this many times.

We made the adjustment of giving the tank 5 seconds to build aggro, continued on, and we had no problems from there.

Until the Inquisitor.

3. Overgeared does not equal Omnipotent. Overgeared does not equal “mind reader”.

We approached the boss as one of the players made the mistake of asking if anyone had the quest and wondering if they could share it. People responded by calling him a moron. One person left after this, spitting venom at the group and their lack of ability as they hearthed. I vocally bid them good riddance and prepared to receive the strat for the boss.

I did not receive the strat for the boss.

The priest asked if he was needed to mind control. He received a quick instruction which the priest seemed satisfied with. I messaged the raid leader. “Dps boss?” the response was a ready check and the order to charge in. We did, the fight started, people started dying because someone surely wasn’t doing their job, and everyone got angry AGAIN.

Then the raid immediately fell apart. I was the only character to survive, seeing the writing on the wall and turning invisible and hugging a nearby wall. The leader began berating everyone, nobody was happy, and I had this wonderful exchange (click to embiggen).

If I may be an old man for a second, this is so often the problem with WoW players. They absolutely refuse to put in the 5 extra seconds that they could spend getting everyone coordinated and working together because they MUST. DOWN. THIS. BOSS. RIGHT. NOW. I’m not exactly unveiling any deep secrets at this moment (Penny Arcade nailed this topic years ago), but the idea that any end game raid is an automatic win at any level of gear is laughable, and to believe so is to make an incredibly silly gamble. One of the warriors made the comment in the raid as things were starting to unravel that “You can’t pug Naxx anymore, it’s impossible… people think they are too good.” And here we watched that point be proven for us in person.

So, to the Raid Leader whose name I am withholding (due to some strange sense of pity and the realization that this is not a revenge post), who is an unguilded Shaman of Cho’Gall who hasn’t even come CLOSE to finishing ICC (Achievements being listed in Armory is a real bitch, ain’t it?), read the above summary a few times and start to reflect on how easy it would have been to salvage that raid, even with all the inflated egos running around. I find it funny that as far as I can tell, I’d done my job just fine and yet here I was the one being berated for my mass inferiority. Your job as raid leader does not end the second the group is assembled.

I welcome your thoughts.