Last night, the hardware and software in some unmarked, far away server farm did its best to prevent successful raiding. I'm proud to say that we beat it, if not slightly.
The Scene: Darkspear's World Server was going up and down like a yo-yo. Scanning official WoW forums identified the cause as wintergrasp's capture destroying the world.
Our first measure was to gather and organize in Vent, as opposed to outside the instance. When we knew who was going in, we rushed the place during the next uptime (identified as being 5-15 min long, the amount of time it took for WG to get captured).
Everyone outside the raid was encouraged to go hide inside Occulus or Nexus, which was safe from the unstable world server's reach. If needed, we were able to summon them right from there into the Eye of Eternity (albet with an two min. cooldown on the Warlock summons that was put in at the last min as a temporary fix for an exploit). If we wiped, the plan was to use wipe recovery unless the server had crashed/come up in the last few min, and if so run back ASAP.
Then we discovered when we got into vortex, was that priests and druids "couldn't heal"- they were receiving "Invalid Target" messages with Circle of Healing and Wild Growth. People died, and panic rose as people died each vortex. I'll admit that I considered calling the raid, with everything looking against us - and I was sure that their inability to be cast was the result of some coding accident and would be fixed. On top of that, sparks weren't getting killed, and Malygos was eating them.
At that point I was sitting out of the raid, but moved myself in, and started to ask very pointed questions. Heals not being cast? When the initial assumption of some healers was that no insta-cast spells were working, we established that Renew, Rejuv, Lifebloom, Holy Shock, PW:S, ect (everything but WG/CoH, and PoM on a target that already had a stronger version on them) were working, and that we would just have to make do with them. What exactly was killing people? Turns out, a few cases of arcane storm hitting after vortex, but probably also as many people not running the correct way after vortex. Sparks not dying? DPS failing to do their job in the midst of the confusion.
I put my foot down - we did not come this far through lag and DCs, only to be defeated by ourselves. The non-constructive complaining got stopped, the raid woke up and decided that a bugged patch did not reduce their personal skill or ingenuity, and we got the job done. The kill itself was the fastest we'd ever had.
After that we moved to Naxx, and had various lag issues, but still managed to kill some bosses.
The important thing about this story is that you can get alot done by focusing on overcoming issues, instead of complaining and/or moving on to something else. I think the large amount of the "casual" WoW community has failed to adapt this as their Modus Operandi, and I'm afraid that the "hardcore" community may have this lesson become dulled if they neglect to work towards difficult achievements.
Raid Leaders: Do not ignore problems. After a wipe, identify everything that went wrong issue by issue, why it happened, and how you can fix it. It is an incredible moral boost if people can hear exactly what caused a wipe, and how/why that isn't going to happen again. If you just run back in silence, people expect more of the same (dying). Treat other success-preventing occurances (like buggy patches) the same way - figuring out how to beat disconnects can be just as satisfying as beating a boss.
Raid Members: Feed important information to your Raid Leaders. As much as they want to be omniscient, they are not. Someone will undoubtedly notice something unknown/helpful on progression/new patches, which should be relayed to others. Do this in the most narrowly applicable channel you can, to reduce clutter (whisper < specific chat channel < raid chat < vent), but make sure it gets documented somewhere (like guild forums). There is a danger that your repeating something which is known / obvious, but if you've been paying attention and read up on strats, the odds are that something new to you is new to everyone.
So despite all difficulties, I found last night to be a satisfying event- and come next patch, we already have some solid strats for the World Server Boss. Now if only servers dropped emblems of valor when they went down...
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