Raiding: It’s a Team Sport

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This is a guest post by Thespius.

If there’s one thing I enjoy, it’s actually having fun playing WoW. I wasn’t around for "Vanilla WoW", but I am a 3 year veteran of the game. WoW is my hobby. I take it seriously, but it’s still the place I go to "escape". I’ve been in leveling guilds, raiding guilds (hardcore and casual), PvP guilds, and guilds with friends. When it comes to raids/groups, I’ve learned one thing that I bring with me at all times:

"How do you make the best party? Simple. Bring friends."

I don’t mean only invite the exclusives (guildies, RL friends, etc). It’s called the WoW Community right? How does one become a "friend"?

I tend to gravitate towards people that are positive and contribute to the group/raid’s success, not take away from it and hurt morale. Anyone that’s been in a raid knows how much smoother it runs when everyone has a positive, goal-oriented mindset.

Yes, this can be tough through wipe-fests or newer players in the mix, but there are numerous ways to contribute to keeping morale and spirits high: Attitude, Willingness to learn/help, and Courtesy among them. If everyone involved puts in that little extra effort, it keeps the fun alive.

Attitude

Don’t sweat the small stuff. Don’t cry over spilt milk. Don’t get pissed if you wipe. This has caused me to stop raiding with a group more than anything. Most of us aren’t in the "uber-leet" guilds and are going to have problems along the line of progression. The best way to always handle it, in my opinion, is to shrug it off:

"We lingered a little too long before starting Phase Two of Mimiron. It’s all good. Keep at it, and we’ll get it next time." (In my mind, even the top guilds could perform even better if everyone focused more optimistically than pessimistically.)

How do you make sure you’re making the best effort you can? Take the time to do it right the first time. The easiest way to waste time and boss attempts is to rush through them. Mark your targets, /readycheck, communicate. Our paladin tank (an ex-Army Ranger) always reminds us: "Slow is smooth. Smooth is fast. Fast is deadly." Truer words were never spoken. Be focused, but not rushed.

Once you get that in place, HAVE FUN! It’s a game. We all play it to enjoy it. I love joking around in raids–as long as it doesn’t distract from the raid itself. Keep in mind, however, that not everyone may share your brand of humor/sarcasm. Pay attention to the reactions of others and be mindful of possibly "crossing the line". If you want the raid to continue to go well, avoid making comments that can make it go sour really quickly. I know I’m a stronger healer when I’m having fun.

Negativity is going to breed more negativity. Even an optimist like myself is going to fall victim to it. It’s easier to make 5 people mad than 2 people happy. I actively take up that challenge to keep the raid’s spirits up. That’s my "hard mode" – Get through the raid night without people getting up in arms. I tend to call myself the "Guild Politician." I try to keep everyone happy. I’m a healer in game, and a healer by nature.

Willingness to Learn/Help

We all had our first toon. Mine was a Human Warlock (the original "Thespius"). I stepped into the world of Northshire Abbey and had NO idea what a spell was, or Intellect, or even that I would eventually battle with Talents. After playing this game for 3 years, I’m still learning new things every day. I personally love how this game is constantly evolving. New mechanics introduced, new thoughts shared. In this, I know I’m not perfect.

Avoid elitism. Be confident, but not pompous. I think when it comes to healing, I’m pretty confident. Am I the best? No. Do I think I’ll ever be the best? No. Do I strive to BE the best? Of course. I do that by staying open-minded, listening to those around me, and paying attention to the online healing community.

If I encounter someone who seems to be struggling with kill order, or threat, or healing "rotations", I could choose one of two ways to proceed:

  1. [Party]: HAHA!!! THIS N00B DOESN’T USE RENEW!! HAHAHAHAHA WHAT A LOSER!!
  2. [Whisper]: Hey, I noticed you don’t utilize Renew a lot. Is there a reason why you chose to do that?

I hope everyone can see that the second option allows room to suggest a change rather than belittling the person for not knowing. Who knows? Their reasoning may be solid, and may open your eyes to a different style that you can build on. I hope that others would exercise the same kindness if I’m having trouble with something. Remember, optomism over pessimism.

Courtesy

This is where you can make a raid stronger or label yourself as "selfish". A chain is only as good as its weakest link, right? We’ll start with the basics:

Make sure you’re not going to have to go AFK a bunch of times. Obviously extenuating circumstances arise (family, roommates, etc.). Ready to go means a stock of snacks/drinks and an empty bladder. We’ve all been there.

If you do have to go AFK, make sure you have clear communication with the raid leader that you’re gone. Raid Leaders, make sure you’re paying attention (or delegating that responsibility) to chat/vent to see who needs a momentary break. If you MUST go AFK, try to save it for a good downtime in raid. If the whole raid is going to take 5 minutes, go restock your supplies and empty the bladder, even if you don’t NEED to. Get back as soon as you can, and make sure people know you’re back.

If you must leave for the rest of the night, give as much notice as you can. This allows the Raid Leader to decide how to proceed. If you consistently bail at the last moment, it’s likely you won’t be asked back. It also puts undue stress on the raid, dampening the mood. Remember, easier to promote negativity than positivity.

However, I try to be most considerate about loot/upgrades. I serve as my own loot council. If there’s someone in the group (yes, even a PUG) that could use the gear more than I could, I’ll gladly pass to them. That gesture is usually a huge comfort to people, and promotes the Team environment I’m trying to build. In our raids, we give PUGs equal shot at gear. In doing this, we’ve created a great little niche of people to pull from when we need subs. We’ve also gained a few new guild members because of it.

Throughout all of this, our guild and its members have the reputation of being the best to run with. Why?

  • Our attitude is positive and team-oriented. We’re out for everyone to succeed, not just the individual. It makes every run fun and memorable.
  • We take a proactive approach to helping those that need it. We don’t belittle people for not being familiar with a certain aspect of the game. It allows for people to be honest about not knowing something, or being open to suggestion.
  • We exercise courtesy with everyone we play with. People know that they’re not going to get "screwed over" in a Team Sport run. Anyone that contributes to the run’s success should be rewarded.

Just mind the bad apples in the game, because they are out there. Keep your heads up.

About Matticus

Matticus is the founder of World of Matticus and Plus Heal. Read more of his columns at WoW Insider. League of Legends player. Caffeine enthusiast.

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