The team sport of “the raid”10/03/2009
I’ve been thinking an awful lot about what I like to call “raiding mindset.” I’ve had numerous discussion with people about what that entails and why it’s a necessary part of successful (and enjoyable!) raiding. Some warning has to be given at this point that I use many, many sports comparisons, as they make understanding all this a little easier. There’s a reason the Olympics has such international appeal! We humans love our sports!
– Thinking like a team –
One of the major issues I see with raiding groups is that people get too focused on their own wants/needs/issues during the raid itself. This tends to be less common in healers, simply by way that they’re thinking about the status of the other raiders constantly (or at least that little green health bar) and tends to be more common in tank, who have to be constantly thinking about their own survivability in order to not die (which in turn means they’re thinking about the raid, in a way). Even so, it is important to remember than you are just one part of a whole and that if the other 24 people weren’t there to do their jobs, it wouldn’t matter how amazing you are. Likewise, if you’re not doing your job to the best of your ability, it is 24 other people who are paying for it with their time and energy.
Sometimes, team activities mean doing things that you don’t particularly find enjoyable. When I used to play soccer for fun, I hated it whenever I was asked to fill in for the goalie. I’d be stuck in this smallish area with all this pressure on me all at once when that player came hurtling at me with the ball. No fun! Likewise, you may hate having to do Sunders on a raid mob or heal instead of going Shadow when you’re short healers, but you know what? It’s for the good of the team! I know, I know… “It’s your $15 a month, you do what you want with that, yadda yadda…” You’ve chosen to use that money to join in with other people to raid, so it’s time to be a team player. If you’re absolutely opposed to doing anything outside box of your comfort range, then don’t waste the time of 24 other people.
– Loot: It’s why we’re here, right? –
There are two things that cause more raiding drama than anything else: loot and wipes. Mmm, lovely epics… They’re our reward for downing bosses, right?
Nope. At least, not in a consistent raiding group. The purpose of upgrading gear to progression raiders is that better gear allows you to do more difficult content. By having more survivability/healing/DPS, you’re able to tackle harder foes. Therefore, it’s in the interest of the group that people gear up as best they can and in the most efficient manner possible. Makes sense, right?
There are many raiding groups out there that prioritize better gear to healers and tanks, something I know that makes DPSers -nuts.- There is a logical reason for this, however, in that when you first encounter new content, survivability is the first major hurdle that needs to be taken care of. If the tanks can’t stay alive and the healers can’t keep everyone up, it doesn’t matter how great your DPS is, at first. (I’ll stress this again, I’m speaking of when you first encounter new combat. Once you’ve been successful with the fight enough times, you can power through it with high DPS, but you really need to be -alive- to learn a fight.) Think of it this way: A set of gear that was given to a healer would have increased a mage’s DPS by 2k. That’s a big chunk! However, for the healer it allows that priest to keep the raid alive through a fight more effectively, thereby increasing potential DPS of every damage dealer in the raid. So, if your group runs off these rules (mine actually doesn’t), try to keep a cool head about it, whether you’re the DPS being passed over or the healer getting all the gear. It’s just a system that your raid leadership feels necessary.
Lots of other loot systems exist, of course, from loot council to Suicide Kings to zero-sum DKP (which we use). No matter what system you use, you can pretty much assume that at some point you’re going to not get a piece of gear that you really wanted. Happens to us all! It’s best at that point to step back, realize that it’s nothing personal and that it’s all a game. If you feel that you’re constantly being passed over, try to look at it from a “team” perspective. Do you have a history of switching main characters or main specs? How is your attitude during raids, are you a team player? Do you have low raid attendance? (Side bar: Yes, I know, real life comes first. Being passed over because you’re not around as much as other people isn’t a judgement on you as a person. The people who attend more regularly will be using that piece of gear more for the team than someone who is infrequent. That legendary weapon will do the raid no good if it’s gathering dust because you went back to school.) All of these things may be contributing factors in how loot is distributed and all of them are able to be controlled by you.
– Raiders are only human –
We all make mistakes. I think that needs saying again… WE ALL MAKE MISTAKES! Crazy things will happen during raids, people will goof up or encounters will bug. (I’m looking at you, Malygos!) It happens and that’s life. How we deal with those happenings is what makes a great raiding team. There are two sides to wipes: those who caused it and those who have to deal with it.
If you made a mistake, don’t get defensive about it. Look at the problem with an emotionless eye to discover what happened, why and how to fix it. It sucks to be the one that caused the error, it really does, but it’s better to correct it than to try to defend it. Are you having issues seeing the void zones? Adjust your video settings. Are you uncertain what you should be doing during a certain point in the fight? Send a tell to your section leader or raid officer. Are you unable to DPS down the add before it explodes? Ask to be temporarily removed from that assignment and then spend some time outside the raid to experiment on how to up your DPS. One of the -most- important things when you make a mistake, in my opinion, is to stay off of vent! It sounds odd, I know, but even if you’re incredibly calm about what you did wrong, the other humans on vent with you will be picking up shades of meaning from your voice, be they good or bad. Just don’t take the risk of pissing off people by being too upset/angry/nonplussed and type in raid chat instead. It can help prevent emotional issues. Oh and make sure you actually work to correct the issue. No amount of good manners is going to help if you keep getting frozen on every Hodir attempt.
If you aren’t the one who made the mistake, try to relax. Everyone does stupid things sometimes and it just so happens that you’re playing a game where one person screwing up, screws the rest of you up. Sometimes the only way to learn something is to screw up at it, especially with new fights. If, however, someone is repeating the same mistake over and over, it’s time to appeal (in private tells) to that person’s section leader or raid officer. If it’s a raid officer that’s -doing- the screwing up, appeal to a different officer or to the raid leader. They’ll typically be better able to address issues, since they’re in a “position of authority.” (Or, as is more likely, they just have a stronger rapport with the screw-up-er and is more skilled at delivering the hard line without hurting feelings.) The number one thing when a mistake is made? STAY OFF VENT. Don’t even use it to say “that’s okay, it totally happens.” Even being friendly can be taken as condescension or pity. If you need to say it, type it. And mind your manners. The other person probably isn’t happy about what they did, either.
– Be prepared –
Nothing makes a raid leader more nuts than having to explain a fight over and over again because people can’t take the time to read up on it or watch a video about it. Now, I’m one of those people who has to do a fight in order to really understand it and I’m sure there are plenty of other out there, too. But that doesn’t excuse me from reading what I can and watching videos. It takes maybe 10 minutes to get a basic understanding of a new fight and it saves your leaders many, many headaches, not to mention your time in the long run. If you don’t have time to read a short blurb, you really don’t have the time to raid. Could you imagine going to a football game not knowing any of the rules to the game?
Along the same lines, there’s really no excuse for not having all your consumables in place before a raid and all your gear enchanted/gemmed. There really is no excuse for it in the game as it currently is. It takes mere minutes to get those things taken care of before raid invites. Could you imagine going to a football game without your helm or your Gatorade? Not bringing flasks, food, spell materials means you aren’t a team player. Be a team player. Don’t be a mooch on 24 other people.
– Go team, go! –
I don’t view raiding so much as “serious business” anymore than I do other fun team efforts like the theater or sports. Just because something is fun, however, doesn’t mean that you can do whatever you want and still win. Often times the difference between a decent raiding group and a great one is how dedicated you are to each other as people, not how dedicated you are to the game. When you want to do your best for your friends and your teammates, the rest can just fall into place.