Friday, August 20, 2010

The Confidence Game: Prologue

When Ruby Sanctum came out near the end of June my realm was down for the Super-Extended Maintenance (24-hour variety). The following day was a regular Icecrown run, so we didn’t set foot in there until a whole 2 days after its release. We didn’t do so well. Actually, we did quite well on the trash and the mini-bosses, although I think there was at least a little bit of luck involved with Saviana Ragefire: we killed her without really knowing how we did it, which was evident the next time we went in there. Halion was a different story. The big lavender dragon ate us alive during phase 2. We took several shots at him over the night and crawled away, vowing to get him the next time.

Over the next three weeks we took several shots at Halion, but they were half-hearted attempts at best. At that time we had another dragon on our minds: Sindragosa. We were working hard with a Super-Extended Raid Lockout (2 month variety), and Sindragosa was all that stood between us and the big boss, Arthas. Our raid group was spending 2 nights a week, about 3 hours each night, working on Sindy. As much as people were excited about ‘new content’, the truth was most of us were really focused in on Sindragosa, Arthas, and claiming Icecrown Citadel as our own.

So we would go in and take our shots at Sindragosa, and we made our progress, finally conquering her on July 8th. For the rest of July (one week off for vacation) we went in and worked on Arthas: 10, 11, 12 attempts or so per night, sometimes more, once less when we just had absolutely no mojo whatsoever. Halion? Well, we would pop in once a week and get him to phase 2 and die. Four, five attempts, no real nights of bashing our heads against the wall like we were doing with Arthas. Our minds were really on killing Arthas and, on the odd week or two where we didn’t try Ruby Sanctum, no one really seemed to care at all.

On August 11 we finally vanquished Arthas along with some personal and guild-wide demons. We did it on our second attempt for the night, which left us, once all the screen shots, rehashing the fight and running up and sitting on Bolvar’s lap (well, not really. That would be kind of disrespectful, don't you think?) was finished, with about 2 hours of raiding time. What to do? Ruby Sanctum! Why not?

I think it’s no surprise that, buoyed by our conquest of Icecrown, we went in and had little trouble with Halion. On our second attempt we hit phase 3 (which I think we had done maybe once before), though all the dps for the physical realm were dead. Our third attempt was magic, and down went Halion. Two guild firsts, two big bosses in the same night. Kingslayers! Twilight Vanquishers! There’s nothing we could not do!

The confidence we gained that allowed us to roll over Arthas and Halion as easily as we did started the previous Monday when we wiped to Arthas 12 times. The progress made that night in particular fueled us. We walked into Icecrown Wednesday knowing that we could do it, feeling pretty strongly as a group that we would do it, but not being so cocky as to set us up for failure.

Confidence in yourself and your raiding team is such a key ingredient to success in WoW, yet it easily the most fragile. Over the next few posts I’m going to look at some of the elements of confidence and the effects they have on the group and the individual. I’m going to leave off here today with this gem of a commercial from a few years back. While it’s about ‘experience’, most of it applies to confidence as well. Enjoy!

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