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I Don’t Want to Top the Meters

Posted by Malevica on March - 16 - 2011

Well, OK, I do enjoy topping the meters from time to time when I really get into my groove or a fight seems tailor-made to a Priest’s healing style (I’m looking at you, Atramedes and Nefarian!), that’s just natural.

What I’m talking about is the conflict between being a big fish in a small pond and being a small fish in a large pond.


It’s a metaphor.

As I’ve progressed through this game, the average skill and potential of the guilds I’ve been in has tended to improve each time, from the guild where the Maiden of Virtue was an insurmountable challenge to becoming stuck at Kael’Thas (twice) and finally to my present guild.

In each of my previous guilds (not this one!), I’ve eventually found myself topping the meters on a consistent basis, either as a damage-dealer or healer. Now I know that meters suck, healing meters in particular, that they don’t tell the whole story and that there’s more to a player than their ranking. So don’t write in! Just consider it a shorthand for “performance”, OK?

The point is, eventually you may simply outgrow your guild, you become the big fish in your guild’s small pond, and it may well be time to consider moving on.

What’s wrong with being the big fish?

If you’re happy where you are, then stay where you are. But there are some pitfalls to being the big fish.

Frustrated potential – This is probably the most significant problem you’ll find, sooner or later. If the rest of your guild is ‘lagging behind’ you in terms of performance, then you might not be experiencing the level of content, with all its associated challenges, that you really need to give you a truly fulfilling gaming experience.

This is a common source of friction in just about all raiding teams, and is very difficult for leadership to manage because the solutions take time, or might mean an unacceptable compromise on principles. You can’t simply “kick the bads and recruit better players” (because they might not want to join you, or their desires and needs might conflict with the guild’s founding principles) and nor can you expect a Hollywood-style inspirational speech (and certainly not a rant) to instantly boost your raid’s DPS output by 30%.

Usually a move to a more progressed guild is the eventual outcome. If you’re willing to stick with the guild though and work patiently with your guildies to develop their skills and inspire them to greater things, you may earn yourself a lot of respect and some friends for life.

No yardstick – The question every raider should be asking themselves is: “how am I doing”, followed by: “how can I do better”. When you’re in a situation where you have little or no competition, you will struggle to answer those questions and that can easily lead to stagnation.

Accepting that healing meters on their own don’t tell the whole story (or damage meters, to a lesser extent), they can at least be an indication of how you’re doing as a raider. If you’re always head and shoulders ahead of your classmate and it can’t be put down to assignments or fight mechanics, you have no immediate pressure to improve, nor any inspiration to derive from them.

This one can be a slow-burner, but eventually you will probably begin to feel like you want to feel a challenge to hone your skills, and to have someone to look up to and emulate.

The pressure to attend – While it might be great to be your team’s all-star player, particularly in smaller teams your presence might be make-or-break for success in a particular fight; or at least you might have that impression. Either way, that can lead to a strong sense of obligation to be at every raid.

Quite apart from the pressure being problematic in its own right, everyone needs a guilt-free night off from time to time after all, it also locks you into a class and spec. If you’re irreplaceable, you don’t have the freedom to change your mind at will, which might also trigger a change of guild.

Resentment – Finally, there’s the ever-present human nature to consider. This one depends strongly on your guild and team, and how you present yourself within that team, but there can be a certain resentment of the big fish that builds over time.

Maybe someone is worried that they’ll never get a regular raid spot while you’re around; maybe they don’t want your advice on how they can improve; maybe they think you’re trying to pull the guild in directions they don’t want it to go.

Whatever the reason, and however well-founded it might be, these feelings are real and can be very destructive if not dealt with. It’s possible that you can change how you interact, but maybe it can’t be fixed and a change of scenery ensues.

What about the small fish?

Well, unless you make only the tiniest step up the progression ladder, chances are you’ll find yourself struggling to keep up and maybe fighting for your survival within the guild. How much of this you subject yourself to depends on how ambitious you were when picking your new guild.

To make matters worse, your skills are likely to be at least a little rusty. That’s either the reason for the move or a likely corollary. So it’ll take a bit of time to stretch out your muscles and perform at your best.

The transition can be very tough. The automatic respect that came from being thought of as a “good player” in your old guild won’t be present in your new guild, which means you have to be very careful how you offer comments and suggestions. And, regardless of what anyone says, it is nice to see yourself on top from time to time.

Get through it though, and maybe you’ve found your new home. At least for a while…

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Categories: Opinion

4 Responses so far.

  1. Alacran says:

    One of my greatest pet peeves is when a new guild member starts making calls in raids over vent. We had a new dps who went as far as to call wipes!

    I really love this post because it offers the big picture of a situation that I’m sure myself and many others can identify whether it be in the past or present.

    The funny thing about healing meters is that there is only so much that can possibly be healed, it depends on the damage taken. Some classes have a way of edging others out where its difficult for them to get a heal in. I remember back in middle ICC, holy priests were sometimes below ret pallies with JoL because of raid blanketing shields, rejuvs, and super-hasted chain heals.

    • Malevica says:

      I know I wound up the leaders of my current guild really badly when I joined, because I was coming to them having been a raid leader and guild leader for a couple of years and it took me a while to learn my place. I wouldn’t call wipes (we’ve actually had the same problem in our guild recently too) but I was very vocal about questioning strategy and policy.

      I do agree about healing meters; especially as a Disc Priest I know I can deny my fellow healers some opportunities since absorbs always get used up first. On the other hand, if there’s someone falling dramatically behind and you’re not just running with one more healer than you need, there’s a chance they’re either slower off the mark or not picking their targets wisely. In either case, it’s something you might want to take a look at.
      I would always advocate comparing apples to apples as well: make sure you’re comparing similar compositions, similar fights, and similar assignments. Meters do have value, but you’re right that you have to be careful how you use them!

  2. Minstrel says:

    Nice post. It’s something that speaks to me, to an extent, because I know that I’m in a guild that doesn’t really share my commitment entirely. There are a few of us who spend a fair amount of time reading about our class, working on anything we can do to improve our gear, work as hard as we can to improve our skills…myself and about three other people.

    Everyone else has a varying degree of interest and don’t quite reach the same standard. So we struggle with raid content that the other four of us don’t feel should be all that difficult. When we occasionally help out friends in other guilds on raid content, we find it pretty easy (and our easy-to-track indicators, like meters, suggest we’re easily pulling our weight).

    The complication is that it is a guild of friends, essentially. I love the people and I feel raiding is most fun with them, when counting in the social aspect. But I can’t deny the frustration of not progressing as quickly as I feel would be possible with another team. I’ve grappled with the issue and never chosen to leave, because ultimately I choose the people over the more rewarding play experience.

  3. Gina says:

    great post! I know what you mean.. it’s all about balance and not always black and white especially when it comes to healing, there’s a lot of gray. I really REALLY hate in-game healing meters for the pure “OMG I AM NUMBER ONE I AM ZE BEST HEALER !” that it drives. It really doesnt matter who’s topping the meters (or HPS for that matter), what matters is did you wipe? Did the healers stick to their assignments and communicate if help was needed? Did you effectively use your cooldowns when needed / high damage? Looking at that stuff is what matters through log parsing.

    Sometimes the fish are mostly all even in their pond (this is beautiful) and you have healing leads who really get it and healers who don’t qq over meters and mostly all pull even weight.. but many times there’s one tiny fish that’s a bit lacking and being carried by the rest.. this is also something to look at and an issue where logs can help. Not topping meters, but the “other stuff” in the logs. This person can even be topping meters by spamming divine light all night, but be the biggest bottleneck to your progression as a team.

    But in the end, it’s all about balance and what works and building a healing team that clicks with each otther, even if one is a tad bit slower but is loyal, and in fact, can learn.

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