I’ve been raiding for a very long time, and mostly was in officer position for most of my WoW game time. One of key components to successful raiding is having similar mentality in your raiders, when mentality of raiders is not aligned between each other and very importantly – with the leadership of the guild then you start seeing disagreements and cracks in your raid team.
Players who feel like they’re putting in more effort than others end up feeling out of place, because they feel their energy is being wasted and their abilities used to ‘carry’ players who are not taking nearly as much effort and in end up with similar rewards in the end – plus there is only that much carrying you can do before it gets too much for one to bear.
We went through an episode of that several times already in our time – and if it left unmanaged it will weaken your resolve and guild for a long period of time, even after you might have already fixed the issues that were present at the time.
At very least it casualizes the guild and then making raiders budge to be more serious is very difficult, mainly because integrating more serious raiders into the guild becomes a problem as the guild which is more casual organically rejects them or makes them feel less welcome – or frustrated.
As an example we can use our own guild as comparison, while we are keeping up with progress – basically staying near the top at all times (top 3) in now our tri-realm area (The Sha’tar, Moonglade, Steamwheedle Cartel) – somewhat easily it is far from what some of us are used to or rather far from what I know we’d be able to achieve with a bit more dedication.
People often mistake dedication with massive amounts of raiding – and while it is important to raid good amounts (some will disagree – i’ll touch more on this in a moment), it is only a tool to help bring out the best in players.
I think anyone who played with Dark Glare in the past would most likely agree that start of Ulduar was our most productive and strongest time – we raided a massive amounts, 6-7 times a week, 4 hours a day with about 27 raiders total. (For a period of 30 days – then dropped down to 5×4 and then 4×4). This was not elaborately planned – raids were put up every day, and if 25 people would show, we would raid. And people just did show, when they stopped showing we reduced the raids to days where people did show. It was very organic, but more than anything mentality was aligned perfectly. People were hungry for raids, and we provided, they prepared well, and there wasn’t even a question, if you were brought into raid at any point, you knew how the guild was doing things and what tactic changes were made – even if you weren’t in raid when they were made.
Is it like this right now? Absolutely not.
Is it bad? Yes, sometimes. It happens that the tactics change and are explained during the raid, and people fail to have heard it due to distractions or cause they phased out. Never mind actually checking up if something changed since last raid.
I think over the years we changed the type of raiders we attract, we went from energetic younglings with average age of 20-25 into region of docile 28-35 year olds. Work and family commitments do take effect on the whole atmosphere but only until people realize where they’re lacking the buzz that the raid needs.
It isn’t all in the age and commitments, a lot of it comes from simply not knowing that what they’re doing is potentially hurting the group as whole – or rather putting too much effort into a specific thing.
This might feel ignorant or overly critical but it isn’t meant as such – only as gentle reminder that the effort and dedication is placed too much in one aspect rather than spread in all various parts of raiding.
What do I mean?
Good tactical preparation amounts to 80% of success. The last 20% comes from individual preparation in terms of obvious perks like potions, buffs, flasks, food, enchants, gemming and personal skill level.
Right now we have a whole bunch of extremely dedicated players, who are capable and more than able to be best group on the realm but we are lacking in three distinct areas :
o Tactical Preparation
Vast majority of raiders today in Dark Glare, read few guides, take a quick look through dungeon journal, watch a video (if available), maybe read some class specific tips then show up to raid and simply try it out, listen to the tactic I’ve chosen for the boss and then try to execute it until boss falls over, or wait until adaptations are made and then boss falls over.
A vastly more productive approach (which has proven to be our key point in former successes) was that raiders were versed in various different tactics before we ever attempted the boss, and then when a specific tactic to be used were suggested we could quickly brainstorm the most efficient combination of sometimes several tactics that would work best for our group before even pulling the boss. This meant that people knew in very deep detail what each ability did, what were the parameters of the fight when the ability was used and how it synergized with other abilities the boss used. Also what to do to counter it in several different ways.
If more effort was put in to tactical preparation (i’m thinking about 5-10 hours per boss) it would save us roughly 4-6 months of raiding per expansion. That is let’s say (10 hours per 30 expansion bosses = 300 hours), if we save only 6 months of raiding (on year long tiers more) – we’d save at least 384 hours of raiding. While already raiding reduced hours before that due to faster clears, which means even more time saved. Large time investment in short periods of time reduces total time investment, plus makes the atmosphere much more competitive, interesting and successful – because when you are actually in raid you know every fight in detail and you fail much less on things because you can expect and predict every tiny bit of the fight. Even if something goes wrong – you know how to handle it.
o Comfort Zone
When people play together for a long time, cliques develop – and often it gets harder for newer people to fit in easily. This doesn’t mean that people aren’t willing to help – far from it, I think we very often have people helping eachother with various things be it heroics, chalenge modes or anything but people are sticking to their preferred groups a bit too much. I made it a point to try to have a different challenge mode group (during gearing for WoD) each day, both to assess the state of gearing of the whole raid group as well as their play, but also to try to not conform to being with one ‘elite’ group at all time. The whole idea of elite group is silly because group is only as good as its communication primarily and only then skill level.
People should go out of their way to play with as many guildies as possible, and help rise those who are worse to our their own level of play, rather than to avoid them because they are currently worse. Best raiders are homegrown – they are supremely loyal, thankful and will go out of their way to prepare once they’re opened up.
People tend to group with one other or two other specific people and while I understand fully that you enjoy playing with specific people more, there is little to no place for sentimentality when it comes to raid preparation – especially at start of an expansion. Missing out on loot, and in turn having other people miss out on loot as they can’t get groups for things that give them the upgrades is very shitty and we need to do better if we want to ever be first again.
Comfort zone is also visible when people feel their raid spot is guaranteed – or when people wrongly feel that they’re actually significantly better than their real performance shows. This ties in to the next point. There are ways to fix that like re-trialing whole raid group like some opt to do at start of expansion but I think clear communication and criticism when due is more effective, I also think long term members of the guild deserve respect and honor and re-trialing them would be unworthy however for that very reason they should be the ones to pull the cart forward rather than dragging it down – and abusing the privilege of long membership.
o Personal Damage Taken Reduction
With ‘safety’ of spots often comes safety of slacking, right now this means that only roughly 7 people had 640+ ilvl before raiding started, and only two over 650+ ilvl. This in turn means much lower dps than expected – aim for START of mythic is 25-30k dps per person, higher the better – not many are at those numbers.
Also we’re taking fuckton more damage than needed, looking at logs many people aren’t using personal damage reduction cds on cooldown or not even when big completely predictable hits come.
Until we as a group decide to go for realm firsts we won’t get any, or if we do get some it will be because of our current strong point – raiding dedication and willingness to push extra hours, not because of our ability to play, gear or tactical preparation.
One last bit
We have the potential to do better and we’re on good track, extra dedication in terms of hours, and realization that many are underperforming has spurred you a bit – in a bit of a wake up call. If we improve on points written above – then results will come. People often like to throw the phrase around that results will “come on their own” when things are sorted, but only as long as we’re willing to put in the extra effort.
– Prepare better tactically (5-10 hours of preparation per boss)
– Group for things with as many different raiders or trials as possible, and in case they’re not as good as rest of the group, bring them to the level of play that is expected from a Dark Glare raider.
– Don’t take your spot for granted, especially if you’ve been in guild for a long time – go the extra mile to be better than everyone else so that they have something to aspire to and that your spot is earned by more than just past merits.
– Use defensive cooldowns or I will trade you.