Standards

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.

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23 thoughts on “Standards

  1. ” … raiding is a learned skill …”

    Absolutely this. I’m not sure how we can expect players who are relatively new to WoW, or to the end-game aspects of WoW to step into a raid completely ready to go. Yes, it’s easy to say that they could Google the strategies for the encounter or the gearing priorities for their class, but how difficult would it be to weed out the good advice from the bad if you had absolutely no context to work within? There MUST always be environments where new players (or new raiders) can learn with a sense that it’s “safe” to make a mistake or two along the way.

    I loved your post, and your message. Thanks for this.

  2. I agree completely. When I was an officer in a raiding guild we never focused on experience after all, we were brand new raiders once. It wasn’t about gear either, but about finding people who were the right fit for the team. After all, once people get the idea of fire=bad, the rest is more about gear (which they get from raiding with you) and teamwork.

    People’s attitudes is one of the reasons why since my return I haven’t looked for a raiding guild. Part of me still wants to raid, but I keep being put off by recruitment advertisements. That and the fact that most guilds seem to want to know ALL your raiding experience from Molten Core onwards. A fact which must be really daunting for those with little or no experience.

  3. Hi there and thanks for your blog first time replying but an avid reader here…

    As to the article, I’ve been playing just over 3 years, took me over a year in TBC to get my toon into a raid, after that i was always scared that time off raiding i.e. Real Life would make my Charters less wanted and that has been the case after becoming ill with the Big “C” and taking time off, on my return after 3 months I’m an alien to the game no one wants to know you people have left and moved on.

    Know I find after raiding all of Northrend and the start of Cata having to sell myself and write up long application for guilds asking for my whole life history whys and what’s, I fill very dishearten at the whole prospect.

    • A big part of why raiding experience is important is to look for trends in attitude. For example, someone who guild-hops when progression stalls, or someone who takes time off when the content becomes a little stale. No experience doesn’t say anything good or bad. But we’ve declined more than a few applicants based on trends we see from from the applicant’s years of raid experience.

      BTW right now is the perfect time to recruit new people, especially people who don’t have a lot of raiding experience. This tier is going to end soon, probably in less than a month. It’s the time of guilds running alts, and successful pugging. It’s a perfect time to be a trial member of a guild and learn the ropes. You’re only talking about 3 raid lockouts.

      • Edit: Patch 4.3 data just started being served via the background downloader. (Not live yet, but very soon.)

      • Thanks for the words of advice I don’t see who some of it applies to my comment as a whole I have not taken time of due to game stalling etc. but by circumstances.

        I have taken Windsoar words and found the right place for me I hope to be making relations with my new guild mates.

  4. Pingback: Is an inexperienced raider a “diamond in the rough” or “just a low number”? — MMO Melting Pot

  5. @Tzufit
    I often find it depressing that even the most “casual” and fun-oriented guilds feel pressured to set up standards that have nothing to do with their core values because they feel it is the only way to succeed in a raiding environment. Simply put, I don’t think that’s the case. My first raids were outdoor boss affairs, and I just did the best I could. My first forays into 10-mans in vanilla were fraught with peril (and often death) but that’s how you learn, and even better, how to learn for yourself how mechanics work. I *hope* that the LFR tool will assist newer players in getting some raiding experience under their belts, but I’m afraid of more progression oriented raiders on their alts making that climate difficult and fraught filled for people trying to break into the raiding scene.

    @Erinys
    I know the feeling! I have a rather long raiding history, but I know if I didn’t have it I’d find most guild applications daunting. For the most part, I floated around in Wrath, so while I was sure I’d be capable in a HM environment, I didn’t have that experience to back me up. I think one of the things that made this guild worthwhile in terms of even putting in an application was that while they asked all the standard type questions, they were much more interested in personality and good fit than in what I’d done or what I was wearing.

    @Zaralynda
    Thanks!

    @Duw
    Welcome! I’m sorry to hear that you had to take time off to deal with such a difficult illness. While I would expect people to ask what made you take a break, unforeseen life circumstances, for me, don’t compute as to making a raider unreliable. We all have personal issues that can take us out of the game, and if you’re willing to recommit, that’d be a good starting point! I know it gets disheartening, but I firmly believe that finding the *right* guild can be found for anyone. Don’t give up, and good luck!

    • May thanks for your words of hope I will look at the whole thing in a differant light, your right its finding the *right* guild.

  6. Hi! I’m working on actually getting an alt to level cap so I can try out raiding. Thank you for this post. Most things I’ve seen, on-line and on the forum, have made me wonder a time or two if I could even do it. You’re post gives me hope, so thanks again!

  7. I was very against gearscore and similar tools being used to evaluate people.

    However, if you have two unknowns, and one is in 340 gear, and one is in 360, you have no reason not to give priority. Obviously there are many, many other factors involved in the recruitment/grouping process, but someone without experience has not gotten that experience for a reason. Diamonds in the rough are called as such because of their rarity.

    All that being said…

    I am a ret pally. I was accepted into my current guild, 7/7H, historically top 50US, one week before T12 was released. They averaged around 375 ilvl, having farmed 13/13H for nearly 3 months. My gear was in the 340s. I hadn’t specced ret since Sunwell, 3-4 years earlier, and I was making a large leap in terms of guild progression, jumping from top 300-400 to top 50, and adding a raid day to my schedule.

    Had I been reviewing my own application, I almost certainly would have denied myself.

    Luckily, I was not, and things miraculously worked out. I received a trial invite the same day I submitted my application, and things have gone incredibly well since. Both the guild and I are very happy with our decision to give each other a try.

    Granted, I had prior raid experience, and had swapped mains in the past, but they took a huge chance on me, and it paid off.

  8. You can teach a skillset to a motivated, inexperienced person. You cannot teach the same skillset to an unmotivated, experienced person. Actually, the experienced person will more likely push back, insisting through their experience on the ‘right’ way.

    I was once a world top 25 DPS for my class at a given point in time. I worked alongside a friend I met online to raise his DPS. Literally for almost 2 years, we practiced different techniques, rotations, builds, gear… to find *what worked for him*. Eventually, something clicked and overnight he went from the lowest DPS I’d ever seen a hunter do, to giving me a run for my money.

    Let the ‘purebreds’ do their talking. If you’re doing it your way, your actions will [eventually] do all the talking for you.
    Great post!

  9. To me, it boils down to the old “you need skill to get a job, but you need a job to get skills” cycle that has started to permeate WoW. I point to trade PuG spam demanding certain ilevels and achievements to participate in said raids. If people would look beyond the quick and easy route and actually educate/train folks in the encounters, the available pool of able raiders would grow, and they would spend less time spamming /2.

    I admire your philosophy a great deal, and more would adopt it.

  10. The way I see it, having certain standards and expectations of your raiders is good, as long as they aren’t ridiculous. We expect people to do some basic research into their class and spec and take pride in the gear they have, regardless of it’s quality. I would be much more impressed with someone in ilvl 346 blues that are fully gemmed, enchanted and reforged than someone who is in full epics but missing all gems and enchants.

    When it comes to experience, we’d prefer people to have prior raid experience, but it’s not strictly necessary. Skills can be taught. Gear is pretty easy to acquire. Attitude, motivation and a good personality fit are much more important. The absolute most important qualities are willingness to take advice and the desire to improve.

    One of our top raiders joined us in Tier 11 with absolutely zero raid experience; however, he had taken the time to research his class and read up on every single encounter, and when we brought him in he performed flawlessly. Sure, his DPS was a bit low at the time, but he handled all the mechanics like a pro and we never had to ask him to do something twice. Now he’s one of our best players.

    I vividly remember being a brand new player trying to break into the raiding scene, and how terribly difficult it was to get any experience. (“I can’t raid because I don’t have experience. I don’t have experience because no one will let me raid. I can’t raid because I don’t have experience…”) I was lucky enough to find a small guild struggling to fill the roster and therefore desperate enough to take me, and I’ve always felt grateful for the opportunity. When my guild was founded for Cataclysm one of the goals was to find good people who wanted to raid and help get them experience. However, our guild has since grown and progressed to the point where not only can we afford to be a bit more picky about who we accept, but where it’s actually tough to *not* be picky because brand new people just aren’t ready for the content we’re attempting. So I find it can be tough for a guild to balance the need for experienced people who can jump right into progression with the need to help train up new people to become the next generation of experienced raiders!

    It can take a lot of time, effort and patience to train up new raiders. The entire raid team has to be willing to bring in someone untested and risk failure. Some of our raiders are more willing to do that than others. We’re finding that since both of our raid teams are now working on heroics, it’s a lot harder to bring in a completely new person and show them the ropes. Throwing them into heroic content right off the bat is also pretty unfair in some ways — no one wants to feel like it’s their fault the group couldn’t make the enrage timer. Part of our solution is to offer alt-raids and retro-raids so that new raiders can get their feet wet before taking the plunge into more unforgiving content.

  11. “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.”

    Oh dear. I wish I could print this out and staple it to the foreheads of soooo many raid leaders out there. Periodically I get it into my head that I would like to get serious about raiding and perhaps apply to a raiding guild or three, and then I look at her blue 346 staff and her lack of raid achievements from T11 and T12 and I just kinda…give up. No one would ever give me a chance, so why bother?

  12. @ketawafox
    There’s always good guilds out there, the trouble is finding them! Many times becoming involved in random pug raids will be your best bet (assuming you’re attached to your server). I wish you luck! (And hope you’re enjoying the leveling experience ^^)

    @Ratshag
    Orcs always say it best ^^

    @Pliers
    Gearscore makes my eyes bleed. On my paladin (who’s cleared 4/7 Firelands) I can’t queue for Trollroics.

    There’s always been an experience curve between the non-raiders and current raiders. I can remember waiting for hours to find a group that was willing to take me into Strat/Scholo in vanilla because I wasn’t in a raiding guild. As your guild moves deeper into a tier, it becomes much harder to take in new members (especially totally inexperienced members) but as tiers/expansions begin is a great time to step outside your comfort zone and give a new raider a chance. It doesn’t always pay off, but in my experience, those who *really* want it step up.

    I remember telling my current guild during my application process that I’d definitely throw my own application out, but they took a chance, and I think it’s been a good fit for both of us, but it was a decision based on attitude, and not on gear/experience.

    @Ahtchu
    I remember having a new recruit who in previous expansions had much higher raiding experience than the rest of the guild. While our progress was just what we’d said it would be, he was horrible to interact with. He berated the other healers, he complained about our strategies, and regaled us with war stories until we kicked him in self-defense.

    Some of my best in-game experiences have been with helping people new to group play becoming comfortable and learning to excel in the environment. It’s not always pain-free for me personally, but isn’t it fun when the lightbulb goes off and you’ve got a great player?

    @Dancingblade
    I think /2 perfectly encapsulates the group that aggravates me the most. I understand wanting to be successful, but players without a consistent group are the most logical place for new raiders to get acclimated to a raiding environment.

    @khizzara
    I definitely understand this issue, and I know, right now in our raiding situation it would be very difficult for us to take a new raiding member with zero Firelands experience. However, we could and did take a new tank with no Heroic experience even when we were 3/7 or 4/7 HM. Mid-tier, accepting new raiders is tough; however, with a new tier coming out, and even more exciting, a new expansion on the horizon, I think is a good time to talk about how raiding guilds view applicants.

    @Stormy
    Although it’s been awhile since I’ve been looking for a guild, when I was halfway through Wrath I did a reroll. Completely new character, no raiding experience on that character, and a long way to go to chase all those points to deck out in the best kit I could find and I *did* find a raiding guild. It didn’t turn out to be the best place for me, but it did keep me involved and active as a raider, so I would definitely counsel you not to give up all hope 😉 Especially if you’re staying on a particular server, find the websites of the guilds on your servers and check out their application process and goals.

  13. If it were not for a few willing people I might have never got into a raiding guild myself. The guild that decided to give me a try, based on the fact it seemed like I knew what I was doing, I basically have to thank for one of my biggest enjoyments in the game, raiding.

    Back before LFD was around and people use to spam trade for groups I got into a group that was all guild and needed another DPS. I ran the dungeon with them, thanked them for taking me along and told the leader that if they ever needed a fifth please feel free to look me up.

    A few runs later and after talking to the GM I was invited into the guild with absolutely zero raiding experience. I had never even accidentally stepped into a raid.

    This was a tight group that had been raiding since vanilla. I sat on the bench for a few weeks, only getting taken to older content, but I was given a shot and proved that I could listen to assignments and I researched fights on my own before hand.

    A few years later and the raid leader decided it was time for him to step down having had done it for so long and in desperate need of a break. Surprise surprise he suggested me to take over the job as raid leader.

    I actively feared the job, I never wanted to do it, still don’t really, and I’ve been raid leader for almost two years now, but I follow the lead they set for me.

    I will take anyone to a raid, no matter what, and I will judge them on the effort they put into it. Their performance, their items, how they reforge them, how they enchant them, how they gem them, if they know something of the fight before we get there.

    I judge the player and while I might ask what raiding experience they have I never judge them based on their experience alone and lack of experience has never been and never will be a reason to not invite someone to a raid.

    Players like you are good for the game. Don’t ever change. Raiders need to learn somewhere and it is people like you that make that happen.

  14. “Sometimes you find that the diamond in the rough you thought was going to stand up just couldn’t..”
    And then you sheep it, right?
    Seriously, though, I know exactly what you mean. I’ve said before and will again (exhaustively if I must) that I’d much rather take a group of new raiders who are energetic, interested, informed, and friendly than a callous, experienced super-raider. It may be that I self-select for that type of thing since I have neither the time nor skill to play with super-raiders, but we’ll never know.

    What I do know is that leading the raids I’ve led from Kara to Throne of Four Winds, attitude, as you pointed out, matters a hell of a lot. Tolerance, forgiveness, focus, and the willingness to try new things when old things don’t work (whether it’s your fault or not) also matter a lot. Skill is secondary (or, I guess, like hexiary) to those (I could have gone with sexiary but didn’t think that’d sound right) by a long shot.

    Skill does matter, of course. You can’t play with people who cannot or will not learn, but 9 times out of 10, people who can’t or won’t learn are being held back by their attitude. There it is again.

    Great post!

  15. Thank you, thank you, and thank you again. I am a 50+ year old player in love with literally the only game I have ever played, and I want to experience all of it, raiding included. You have stated so eloquently and concisely what I have felt throughout my brief WoW career. I am one of those players who want to raid, who gems, enchants and reforges all but the lowest green gear, and learns, improving with each encounter, and eventually I get it right. I’ve maxed all my professions, give freely to my friends and guild to improve their game experience, and make sure my raiding friend has all the pots flasks foods gems and enchants necessary to be able to do his best without having to scramble during his precious play time to get it together.

    I’ve actually pugged with this friend’s raiding guild a few times, and they have told me I have great potential, follow the instructions well, learn quickly, and have good raid awareness. Unfortunately I have been really put off by the elitist judgmental attitude of the leadership and virtually all the raiders in that guild, and have not been invited back because I am unwilling to join their guild to see if I might get a waiting spot in a run that is always filled with the alts of core team members. I have tentatively mentioned the thought of raising up another group of new raiders to be able to build an even better team, but they are friends who have raided for several months and are comfortable with their imbalanced group simply because they are downing (nerfed) bosses, and appear to be only interested in players that already are geared and know the fights, regardless of their behavior and treatment of others. While they try to present a civilized front in trade chat, listening in their vent I grieve over their private ridicule and horrible dissection of anyone not meeting their leet standards.

    I had nearly given up hope of ever finding a guild to raid with where being an adult and exhibiting mature behavior is the accepted standard, and where the person is valued for who they are and everything they can bring, not just their DPS and gearscore. You, dear friend, have restored my hope. I would gladly server transfer my raiding character Horde-side anywhere to find a raid leader like you have described. You have my deepest gratitude.

    • Reminder that Production Company is recruiting. (Link top right side.)
      And a reminder to Windsoar that we are recruiting more than just a druid.

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