After reading here there and yonder over the last few days, it becomes obvious that I am surely not the only person who has gone from casual to hardcore and casual again in their efforts to continue to raid. However, casual and hardcore are such slippery terms. Does it mean the number of hours a week you commit to raiding? Your gear level? Your spec? You ability to perform your role?
Most often, people attach a label to themselves based on personal skill of their members and/or raid time committed. The BM debate focused heavily on how you choose to spec your character, but honestly was more about being able to perform at a benchmark standard of dps.
I’ve talked to people who feel they are falling behind if they don’t raid every day. The raid may or may not be with the guild on off-days, but the pressure to gear quickly is so prevalent within their guild structure, that they feel a day without frost badges is a serious competitive disadvantage.
I know people who flask if they remember, eat the fish when prompted, and generally bumble along waiting for the loot to drop off the boss.
Does Raider A deserve to see more content than Raider B?
Probably. It is after all a video game, and even Super Mario Bros. required you to master the best hopping techniques to save the Princess from that ruffian Bowser.
With that being said… you could potentially bribe someone else to get you to the big bosses if you had enough M&M’s and Coke on hand. A more dexterous friend could do the tough levels for you, hand you the control, and let you experience showing the King of the Koopas that, no really, the Princess is mine! Bwahahahahah. *cough* Ahem. *cough*
The same can be said for MMO’s. There are excellent players, good players, mediocre players, and down-right bad players. Sometimes you’re destined for an awesome group that brings its A-game all the time. Sometimes you feel like you’re backstage with Larry, Moe, and Curly. However, despite the rhetoric that everyone hears rattled around daily, being a ranked guild, being a top-end progression guild does not make any one individual person on that group better than a lot of other very good players.
It’s all about the team. Top guilds refuse to have anything to do with players who struggle with mechanics, rotations, or movement, because it makes it harder to kill things. For easiest progression, getting together a group or 25 like-minded and skilled players makes progression less of a hassle, and more of a numbers game.
Your casual, normal 25-man guild isn’t so lucky. They are not only learning the encounter, but they’re also having to learn how to compensate for members of their raid who are having problems. To make matters worse, in my experience, it’s a new player every night OR the same player who, having mastered the old mistakes, is now making different ones. *facepalm*
You would think everyone who plays the game is a numbers-cruncher–a real whiz in min-maxing for every encounter–but honestly, most people aren’t. They think playing a mage sounds cool and they wander around for 80 levels casting fireballs exclusively. Guess what? They’ll probably be -o.k.- Not great, not wonderful, but an acceptable warm body who eeks out some numbers.
The people taking up the slack are the 24 other people in a raid with him. They have two choices: don’t take him on raids until he can figure things out, or compensate for his lack of awesome dps. Most casual guilds will follow the latter.
Because they recruit people that they enjoy playing with and realize that while they may spend some extra time seeing the content, in the end, they will fumble through and get the kills that the big guys did. Honestly, casual guilds, as a whole, work harder and deal with more frustrations and alternate strategies than any end-game guild.
People highly dedicated to raiding end-game content get their reward by having done it first. Like any other video game, just because I beat Mario before my neighbor doesn’t mean that I get a special dungeon, while he gets squat. The same bosses’ are dying for both groups… it’s just a matter of timing.