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.

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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.

Comments

  1. This is a great article and one I completely agree with. I especially liked your ex-army ranger’s motto about preparation = deadly.

    Attitude is so important and it comes across in the smallest things. There’s nothing that upsets me more than when 1 raid member makes a mistake and is given grief over it. As if somehow everyone else is playing perfectly all the time and never makes mistakes.
    .-= Cassandri´s last blog ..Raiding 10s vs 25s =-.

  2. I’ve been amazed at the amount of negativity from some players. It seems every time I start wintergrasp there’s someone saying “I’m the best (hunter/paladin/etc) on this server, you guys had better not suck.”

    I’ve definitely found that I have more fun doing random dungeons with friends that don’t get me eq, versus doing top end stuff with guys who fly off the handle on a single wipe.

    If only all players shared your outlook!

  3. Very nice piece, Thespius. There are times when I look at my guild’s progression and think ‘man, I’d love to be in one of those cutting-edge guilds’ — but I like my guildies and the way they play too much. We get along really well, which is part of what makes the triumphs sweeter. I was in a ToC recently with another guild and the people were so nasty that I would have been more relieved than happy if we had actually beaten the encounter.

    One thing I would add somewhere is, especially if much of the group is new, don’t tell them how ‘easy’ the raid is. Nothing worse than hearing how ‘EZ mode’ a boss/raid is, then going out and failing repeatedly. It really brings people down.

    @Bean — I’m not much for pugging, but my guild doesn’t really organize for VoA so I’m much more likely to join a random group forming for that. However, I avoid any group where I see the leader spamming trade chat with something like ‘LFM heals VoA must not fail’. It feels like finger-pointing waiting to happen.

  4. Good article! Well done sir.

  5. @Jeffo – I completely agree with your “EZ Mode” comment. I don’t ever see an issue with calling something a simple fight, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s easy. Personally, I like a tough boss. I still don’t quite feel confident in Hodir, for example. Not sure why, but it gives me a goal.

    On the opposite end of the spectrum, I saw someone post a thread on MMO-Champion today about “Onyxia is too hard”. All I have to respond with is “what fun is a boss that you can go in and one shot?” I like bosses you have to work at, because it generates an animosity in your raid towards his/her demise. Then when you finally get it, you get that momentary impetus to jump up and scream for joy.

  6. Awesome entry!

    The thing I love the most about the game is raiding, and I never thought I’d say that when I started, because I thought “raiding” equated “hanging out with socially inept people”.

    Now that I’m in a well-run raiding guild and contributing the best I can to our sometimes very tough progression nights, I know exactly why raiding is so cool, and have made some amazing in-game friends who I believe will span past World of Warcraft when the time comes.

    I’d gladly put in the efforts in in order to stay with a group like this, and I am happy when others get to join our team and see how very awesome raiding can be in the right circumstances 🙂

    Valdesta / WoWGrrl.com
    .-= Valdesta´s last blog ..Bugged “Chug And Chuck” Allows Iron Dwarves To Run Rampant =-.

  7. @thespius one of the reasons I was so excited about the Onyxia fight being brought back was that it’s not a walk in pushover fight with as many variables as it has.

    I love hard fights. I love fights that make me use my raiders in new and unusual ways. I love fights we have to work on, because it makes the sense of accomplishment that much more sweet. I wont ever tell my raiders how easy a fight is, I will remark how easy moving out of fire is though lol.

  8. @Lodur — Typical WoW rule. If the ground changes underneath you, get out of it.

  9. I just read an article on Gateworld about when working on Stargate SG-1, Richard Dean Anderson wold start yelling “LTS! LTS!” when too much drama started. It stands for “Life’s Too Short!” and I think it was a great idea to really diffuse a difficult situation.

    That, and the optimism you mention will keep people actually wanting to raid instead of ninja log because it’s not fun. Let them know what’s going on is just a minor setback, not that the entire raid is incompetent, and you’ll have a better time. I’ll always sit in for one last attempt if I know we’ve done something wrong, but if I get yelled at for playing a video game by someone else playing a video game, I’m not having fun, and I’d rather be doing something else.
    .-= Professor Beej´s last blog ..MMO Guilds – Are They Friends or Coworkers? =-.

  10. I can totally relate to you. I think things get done quicker and easier if everyone is chill. In an environment where people aren’t afraid to make mistakes or try new things.. or better yet they are comfortable with the situation – everything seems to run smoother.

    Luckily I’m a switchover from PvP, so I’ve spend countless hours in BG’s with people who don’t really know how to play their character.

    I originally started with bashing people, but then figured out that the kindness atmosphere works a lot better.

    Additionally I’ve noticed that, there isn’t always ONE correct way to do things.. I’ve watched some battles in PvP thinking “wow…why is he doing that…” then a few seconds later I think “oh..well I guess that’s a way to do that”.

    There’s so many different combo’s, rotations, situations, specs, etc that there could be a very optimal reason for a player playing that way.

    -Derek B
    .-= Derek B´s last blog ..A New Way To Level? =-.

  11. Great post! Thanks for passing it along.

    This reminds me of what Daewin and I was talking about on our last show. Raiding is about the team. And as the old cliche goes, there isn’t an I in Team. 😛

    Again great job!

  12. Some awesome points there. Great article 🙂 I haven’t had much of this sort of experience in WoW but I had a fantastic social life in EQ2. My guild was amazing and the people I grouped with were, on the whole, fantastic.

    I’m finding it hard to get into the grove with WoW and I seem to get lumbered in poor guilds or stuck with terrible groups. Maybe it’s just my misfortunate or something the game encourages… I dunno.
    .-= We Fly Spitfires´s last blog ..MMORPGs: Ultimate Hobby Or Waste Of Time =-.

Trackbacks

  1. […] So, a while back, a guest writer over at World of Matticus talked about how raiding was about being part of a team. […]

  2. […] came across a great post on the MMO-Champion forums which let me reminisce about my original post here when I was still a guest. I’ve tried to focus a majority of my blogging on how everyone […]

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