I’ve made a couple of posts this tier that haven’t gone over very well with progression oriented raiders. I’ve been told, and quite frankly, that I am damaging my team, that I’m encouraging other players to embrace horrible playstyles, that I am the anti-thesis of a responsible raider. I rarely let these comments bother me too much. I know the pressure I put on myself to be a contributing member to my raid team, and my raid team accepts my foibles and has found me to be an acceptable member. I’ve watched this team step up again and again, and I’m happy to have found a home.
There’s a reason I keep standing on that line making people uncomfortable. There’s a reason I’m willing to take a bit of flak, and even misrepresent my raiding environment to some extent in order to make my point. I absolutely nerd-rage over a number of the standards I’ve seen set over the years from guilds of every stripe and character about what is acceptable for raiding environments. As challenging as raiding can be, as important as basic activities like talenting, gearing, gemming, enchanting and having proper consumables can be to the success of your raiding environment, in the end, raiding is a learned skill. If raiding guilds are not to fizzle out from attrition in the next expansion, there has to be some flexibility in allowing new players/raiders into a raiding environment to learn what the hell is going on.
For me, and many of those who I write for, having a guild to run heroics with or researching the hell out of a fight is easy business. We’re jaded folks. Even without reading strategies or watching a video we’ve seen a lot of the same dance moves over the years. While there are a couple of curve balls thrown our way, we understand the game and the basics of successfully getting through a raid environment. While this makes the progression reel move a bit faster, there’s no reason that another player without years of experience can master these same techniques: they learn like we learned. They come in and face the mechanics and they figure out how to move, how to do another activity while they’re moving, and beat the ever loving snot out of that raid boss.
But raiding, and the requisite requirements, can be intimidating for a lot of folks. I’ve been in less progressed guilds that raided a whole crapton more hours than I currently do. I’ve had more abusive raid leaders, I’ve had immature and shit-talking raid mates, and I’ve been in environments that had limited, if any, standards. Running a raiding guild is a fine line between insanity and success. Part of the intimidation that many players face when considering raiding is that they’ll never, ever be good enough. That they’ll be rejected over and over again while they search for a place to learn the skills they need to be good raiders. That the bar is forever outside their reach because they didn’t raid last expansion, or the one before that, or even the original game.
When I’m looking at a new raider, I don’t look at their experience. I peruse their gear for proper kitting choices, but not at the quality of that gear. What I care about, and what I think provides the base for a raider that is going to succeed is their attitude. I want a player that’s excited about facing new challenges. I want a raider that wants to push themselves to their personal best. I want a raider that is looking for the long-haul, to be willing to stick with the team and the challenges of dying again and again. Some people find that time invested is a good indicator of what they can expect from a raiding member, but I’m on the fence about this one. It’s easy to lose focus and take your time when all you have to look forward to is a new set of gear that you’re wearing for 2-3 months while you wait for the next expansion.
Sometimes attitude doesn’t cut it. Sometimes you find that the diamond in the rough you thought was going to stand up just couldn’t. Sometimes people have bigger hearts than skills. But in my experience, more often than not, those that wish to succeed, those that are excited about what they’re doing and are engaged in the process step up to the plate and perform. I’ll admit that I was a gamble experience wise for my guild. We took in another player this expansion that hadn’t ever raided. Period. And all I can say is that player is one of the greatest additions to the guild we could have hoped to find. It doesn’t matter where you stand on the progression pole: finding the right people is about finding the right attitude and personality over anything that they’re bringing with them from in the game. Skills can be learned, heart can’t be taught.
You might not be willing to take a new player into the fold to see if they can learn or they can’t. That’s cool, I get that you don’t want to disjoint your raid team in order to give someone a chance. You have goals, commitments, progression to make. But you can stop applying your standards to other raiding environments. You can stop judging guilds that make the effort to take in and train new raiders. You can stop walking around with the Holy Grail of raiding requirements, and just accept that some people will never be up to your standards, but they still enjoy raiding. They are willing to die on the 1st boss of a tier for the entire patch, and by God, they’re having fun doing it.
There isn’t a wrong way to play the game. There’s only the wrong way to play the game with your team.