Some nights, when raiding, you're all business. Others, well, not so much. I've written recently about raiding "off-nights", but what about when the off night is intentional? That is to say, as raid lead, what if you approach the night with a far more relaxed attitude?
Such was the case on Tuesday. I logged on fifteen minutes before raid time, expecting just to be gobbled up in the run and sit back and DPS. I've been busy at work, busy with football, and just generally busy in life. Not the good kind of busy either. Not like: "Whoa! Where has this week gone?" No, this was more like: "Will you PAlease get off my a$$ already?" -or- "Seriously? Why the frack would you do that?!" It happens sometimes.
So I log in looking forward to standing in the back with my sissy robe (which was a great blog by the way, and it's author has now moved here) only to be informed that I've been promoted to raid leader for the night. When you're known as a raid leader, every once in a while you get the nod. It happens. "Bring in the righty!" they screamed at me, and I jogged out of the bullpen with my head high, fighting the rising urge within me to vomit and return to the safety of the 'pen. It was game time and I needed to put on my game face.
Or did I?
Since I wasn't really in the correct mood and certainly not prepared to lead, I decided to approach this night a little differently. I signaled this intention on the first fight (flame levi) by saying: "Go wherever you want and stand by a vehicle, we'll see what we don't have and just go from there." So it was going to be one of those nights.
We'd been having a lot of drama lately, and I think everyone needed a relaxed, lets-just-do-this-and-not-worry-about-being-smart kind of night. It wasn't exactly an "off-night" since we didn't play horribly. We just didn't spend a whole lot of time discussing things or figuring our who's best for what. We just went and did it. I'd like to think that many people enjoyed this slight change of pace, but the reality is that I'm sure a good chunk of the group were frustrated by my lack of characteristically heavy handed leadership. It's not that I'm usually a micro-manager, because I don't really believe in that style, but I'm usually a lot more prepared and attentive.
I just went with it.
Instead of trying to force myself into the ol' shoe box, I just sort of let things happen. People chatted, there was a moderate amount of confusion, and we wiped a few times on the crazy cat lady plus one shameful time onRazorscale (due to enrage and being a couple DPS short of a full group). It wasn't perfect, but I hope it was fun for the people that desperately needed a "fun run". While some people may miss the structure, others can flourish in the freedom. Different strokes for different folks, amirite?
There may be some wisdom in what I did. There may be some folly. However, it is what it is and, for once, I resisted the urge to over-analyze it. I just played. Think about it next time you're feeling frustrated. An "off night" doesn't have to be horrible and frustrating... sometimes you can just go with it. Sometimes going out and doing instead of talking is preferable.
Even after several cat lady wipes, I was surprised when a majority of the raid wanted to continue fighting her. It's a frustrating fight to begin with, but I think we didn't let it get to us. We were being laid back. It was nice to see. I was perfectly prepared to go on to one of the easier fights, as much as I hate to do such a thing.
The people spoke, then the people went back and whacked that bitch. It was really a momentous moment in an otherwise run-of-the-mill night. It made me proud about our group again, and pride was something we'd been missing lately.
We didn't get a lot done in a short time, if you measure by bosses. However, if you measure by morale, I'm hoping we turned a small slide around. Only time will tell.
(P.S. - there was a small update I put in my AI post from Tuesday... times are official now)