When a Raid Member is Not a Team Member

Quick summary: When the announcement was made that 10mans and 25mans would be on the same loot system, I cheered. All things considered, I just enjoy the feeling of 10mans more. More responsibility on each member, the boss fights can be less forgiving.  Because of work reasons, I had to take a break from Unpossible, Lodur’s guild.  As much as it pained me to lower myself to the bench, it needed to be done.

In that time, I’ve been pieceing together a 10man team that will be Cataclysm ready. Starting with a core group of players that I’ve been gaming with since Pre-BC, it’s starting to flourish. And now, the tale begins…

First Incident

We’re keeping it simple. As our guild name implies, this is a Team Sport. Everyone plays a role. Those of us that are “raid leading” are putting forward the effort to bring these people together. We’re not the “you need #### gear score” or the “link acheivement” type. As I’ve posted before, it’s more about the people than the gear/class/loot. I’ve downed Arthas on 10man normal with Unpossible, but killing Putricide with my friends gave me an even bigger rush.  It may sound crazy, but it’s true.

We’ve been doing what we can to accomodate schedules. We’ve found that Tuesdays and Thursdays yield the most guildies. So, I put up the signups on the calendar. People click Accepted/Declined/Tentative. If they click Tentative, all I ask is that they contact me when they know ‘yay’ or ‘nay’. They all have my email, as well as my cell phone number. This leads me to “Kevin” (not his real name).

The first time Kevin signs up for raid, he lists himself as Tentative. After being a random no-show, the next time I see him, I simply say, “Hey Kevin, sorry we missed ya Tuesday. If you sign up as Tentative, would you mind shootin’ me a text when you know if you can or can’t make it?”  He replied, “Dude, that’s why I signed up Tentative.”  “I know,” I respond, “but I just need to know if we’re waiting for you or moving on.”  “Oh yeah, sure.  Sorry man,” was his final quote.

Second Incident

Kevin signs up for the next night as Tentative. Totally cool. Obviously, real life takes precedence over WoW, and it should. Time ticks down to the first pull of the raid night. No text from Kevin. No email. No in-game mail. His status still listed as Tentative.  So, I text him. His girlfriend has been sick, and he’s taking care of her. “Oh, sorry to hear that. Awesome you’re taking care of her. If you could just shoot me a text if you know you’re not gonna make it, that would help out a lot.”

His reply: “Yeah of course, no problem.”

Third Incident

This time, Kevin signs up as Declined. He sends me a whisper, “Hey, I’m signing up as Declined because I’m not sure I can make it or not.” I say, “Cool, we’ll count you out for the night. If that changes and you can come, just text me and we’ll see what we can work out.” “Yeah cool!” is all he says.

Raid starts a little late because our MT got bogged down with work and needed time to do it. We grab a couple new Applicants to the guild, a few of our usual non-guild friends we raid with, and we set off into ICC to at least get through the first wing.

Approximately 3 hours after the raid was scheduled to start, Kevin signs on.  “Hey guys, how goes ICC?” “Pretty awesome, actually. We just started,” I answer.  Raid continues, we only get through Saurfang with the 45 minutes we had before we started losing people to family, work, sleep, etc.


After the raid is over, I get a whisper from Kevin. Here’s essentially the conversation:

Kevin: “Hey man, whatever happened to Team Sport?”

Me: “Not sure what you’re getting at.”

Kevin: “You had 3 Applicants and 2 PuGs in there. What happened to full members getting priority?”

Me: “Well, you signed up as Declined, and didn’t let us know you were coming.”

Kevin: “The Team Sport I know would boot one of the Applicants or PuGs to get a full member in there.”

Me: “Actually, that’s not the way it’s been. If you would’ve given advance notice you were coming, maybe we could’ve work ed something out. I’ve made myself available for you numerous times to get in touch with, and you haven’t taken advantage of it once. Just because you wear the tag is no guarantee, Kevin.”

Kevin: “Whatever dude, I’m out”

**Kevin leaves the guild.

You get the point. I was also called selfish, and accused of not caring about the Team. In actuality, it’s because of this team that we’re trying to make it work. The core of us could go anywhere to raid. We could join random guilds just so we could see and conquer the endgame content, but it’s not how we want to do it. Building and filling out this group is vastly more important to us. If other guild members are up to the task, awesome. If not, no big deal, there are other options to explore.

There’s only so much reaching out we can do.  We can’t do much for people that don’t reach back.

TL;DR – Raid Leading is hard.

**If you’re interested in possibly becoming a part of this team, email me at the link provided below. We’re building a small 10man group of talented and friendly team players. Particularly looking for dps with off-specs in healing/tanking. Even if you don’t fit that bill but are still interested, email me all the same**

Email: Elder.Thespius@gmail.com | Twitter: @Thespius

27 thoughts on “When a Raid Member is Not a Team Member”

  1. This is the type of guild myself and my OH have been wanting to run, we get members in they expect to be pushed through content to be geared up but we don’t have people to do that, the only reason I, or my hunter boyfriend, have as good gear as we do is we pugged, we worked hard and we made friends on the server. We run one raid night a week, people barely turn up to that one let alone others, and then they complain because they can only run Naxx or Uld but a) their gear isn’t strong enough to go further because b) they won’t research or listen when our RL tries to give them tactics.

    It’s becoming a farce, and I almost gave up when the off tank happened to put in raid chat one night “What’s DBM?”


  2. Yeahhhhhh. It’s so easy to fall into a ME FIRST attitude when we play our video games, and we’ve all been taught that Video Games Aren’t Important. They tend to fall to the bottom of our priority list if we don’t make a distinct effort to think of raids as a commitment to the other people there.

    I’m sorry you had to deal with someone with such a poor attitude.

    I feel your pain. I lead one of the two 10 mans in the guild and I can’t believe how difficult it is to schedule 10 people for a single weekend raid each week – a 10 man out of a huge 25 man guild!! In the past month alone I’ve dealt with:

    1) Every single week, one, two, or three people have failed to show for legit reasons.

    2) Someone signs up for a 4 hr raid and mentions to me, “Yeah, I can make the first two hours! Oh, I can’t make the second two. What do you mean, you have to replace me?”

    3) Someone telling me they could go in a conversation, never ‘confirming’, and then telling me later “Hey, I never confirmed because this thing came up.” (Not really his fault but damn, annoying)

    4) Someone signing up for my raid and then the next day dropping for the other one without telling me.

    Sighs. I really like raid leading, I really do. It’s the raid scheduling that really gets to me. Because if it works perfectly you still have people mad at you that couldn’t come for some reason, and if it doesn’t? You raid with a subpar group or you don’t raid at all, and that’s even worse.

    I think scheduling is the hardest part. And what the heck do you do with “tentative”? In a 10 man raid, does that person really expect a spot to be held for them? What about the poor person who thinks he has a spot until Mr Tentative decides to show up? GRRR. I am anti-“Tentative” for a 10 man raid. It only works for 25s because our 25 has a standby system.

    Anyways. Like you said, you are establishing a new raid. Once everyone gets comfortable with the way it works, you’ll probably encounter less friction like this. I know I am lucky enough to raid with a thoughtful and entirely un selfish group of people. Despite scheduling hassles that I whine about, now that we have raided for 4-5 weeks together, we are all getting the hang of how things work. I am sure the same will be true for you after some time.

    Good luck with your raid 🙂

  3. If you’re going raiding, you’re playing a team sport and the team needs to know if you’re going to turn up to the game.

    And if you’re not there on time, they have to use a substitute. And you don’t ever kick someone from a raid you’ve saved them to in order to bring in someone who can’t even turn up on time. The substitute might well turn out to be reliable and regular, but you KNOW the other guy isn’t.

    If the rules are laid out beforehand, and they can’t follow the rules, they don’t get to go.

    In fact, if they’re not online 15 minutes before the raid, with all consumables, I start to get annoyed. I pay everyone else the courtesy of being on time and prepared, they should do the same.

  4. Having been a raid leader of a decently progressive guild for … years and years. You begin to develop a 6th sense about players such as “kevin” (Frankly why bother protecting a douchbag) I start feeling these players from the first oddity. There are so many ways to reach most of us RL (Forums, twitter, ingame etc) And to not be contacted is a huge red flag that reads (I am more important than the guild) 95% of the time this initial feeling pans out to be true.

    My advice is get ready for this stuff, its GOING to happen, and its going to happen more than once. I have developed a no BS raid structure, if your new and you redflag me your done. I don’t hide the fact that it will happen when they join.

    I will say on a lighter note, I have a super close group of friends going into 10 man Cata raiding. Coming from 40-25-10 I am simply tired of the bad play and if I can center myself around my good friends, get the same things, and feel accomplished. WHY NOT 🙂

    Oh and please send blizzard email asking for 15 man raids.

  5. With all due respect, what do you expect Kevin to do? Certainly you can’t schedule him in if he can’t be more than tentatively present. However, should he really not sign up as tentative? He signed up as declined, and you complained about that, too!

    Keep in mind that many people play Warcraft as a game, as a second priority to most every other part of their lives. They can schedule one or two nights a week, but they can’t tell you with perfection whether their spouse will be wanting to go out for dinner on Wednesday, or whether your friends are going to be going to a blues bar on Thursday. These things might or might not happen, and if they come to pass, they’ll take priority over WoW.

    Likewise, potential atteendees need to know whether they will actually be raiding of not if they clear out the time slot. It’s one thing to clear out an evening to play WoW and go raiding. It’s an entirely different matter to clear out an evening to log in and *maybe* go raiding. The latter, for many of us, is not a tenable choice. If you end up not raiding, you’ve cleared an evening with friends to go level an alt or farm up herbs. You can’t even do stuff with your WoW friends, because they are all busy raiding.

    Thespius, are you confirming raid invites in advance? It solves all the problems if you finalize a raiding roster 2 days before the raid happens. Anyone not confirmed for a raid is not required to show. Anyone tentative doesn’t get confirmed in the first place. If there aren’t enough people, then no one is confirmed, and the raid is probably off. However, if enough tentatives happen to log in, you can fill up a raid in priority order: accept > tentative > guild > non-guild.

    • @Ohken: The problem, Ohken, is that Kevin did NOT actually confirm yes or no. He just said I might be there. What’s a raid leader supposed to do at that point? Er on the side of yes and prays he shows up? Yeah, you could do that, but then you’ll have 9 very pissed off raiders if he doesn’t show up. When I see my raiders tell me that they “might” be here, I usually assume they won’t be until they’re actually there. We run a very tight schedule and I personally want to maximize as much time as we can clearing stuff.

      The guy was given multiple avenues and opportunities with which to contact Thes. I think he only exercised it a couple of times, and he shows up late on the raid before he departs the guild.

  6. I think you should be happy that he left. If every time you raid he doesn’t make clear if he wants in the raid or not, that becomes very tiresome for you and the other raiders.

    You have set some rules about signing up for raids which aren’t that hard. If he doesn’t follow them, he should feel the consequences. And if he didn’t like this rule, he should have spoken up. If he didn’t like the rules and didn’t speak up, then only one can be blamed: him.

  7. @Ohken matt is right here. My guild has a policy in place that says RL comes before game. That said though, if you sign up to the raids as confirmed you are saying you are going to be there. You are choosing to show for that raid. If you sign up as available but not confirmed, it is up to you to let the raid leaders know if you are or are not available. In most cases it is safer to assume a person who is a maybe is a no just to keep things rolling for everyone else that is a yes. In our guild we ask that you give us a heads up as soon as you know you aren’t going to make a raid so we can fill the spot and not keep everyone waiting on you. Thespius has seen this first hand.

    It is not too much to ask for someone to let you know they aren’t showing up. A quick txt, a fast email an ingame mail. only takes a few seconds and no harm no foul.

  8. Part of the confusion here is over tentative signups.

    I think Kevin was totally in the wrong here, but I know from my experience that a clear invite and sign up policy makes things a ton simpler. I myself have run into situations where I’m like “This person was so thoughtless!!!” but it was my own failure to implement a clear policy that made the situation possible.

    Useful guidelines for a 10m raid-
    1) Tentative means no. There is no tentative. You need 10 “yes”‘s.
    2) Confirm invites so people know the raid lineup.
    3) Make sure people know to tell you immediately if their schedule changes.

    Schedules are hard, I know. But if you set the raid roster days in advance through confirmations, then people who were tentative or “didn’t know if I could come” can’t sign on and demand their spot.

    I know I am guilty of forgetting to confirm invites and letting people slack off and forget to respond. But then, I have to blame some of it on me when Sunday rolls around and I only have 7 raiders show up.

  9. @Anafielle The thing is, I think they DO have a clear policy in place with regards to a “tentative” signup – you sign up as tentative if you want to go but aren’t certain at that time if you’ll be able to – you then follow up ASAP with a text or email or whatever to the RL letting them know if you can or can’t make it.

    It doesn’t seem very “unclear” to me, and it also seems rather useful. If I have to sign up for next week’s Thursday raid, for example, on Wednesday, Thursday, even Friday of this week, I don’t necessarily have my work schedule for next week. I don’t know if I’m going to be closing (and therefore not logging on until 8:30 or 9, which might be after the raid starts), or if I’ll have the day off but be opening the next morning (which means that I have to be logged off by midnight at the VERY LATEST), or if on Thursday I’ll be on my sixth day of work in a row and I know I’ll be ready to just fall over and sleep when I get home. Being able to sign up as “tentative” and tell my RL that I’ll get back to him or her as soon as I get my work schedule would be a lifesaver. That way I won’t be signing up for raids I won’t be able to handle, in the hopes that I CAN make it, but I won’t be declining when it turns out I’ve got Thursday AND Friday off that week and could raid Thursday night to my heart’s content.

    Now, if I did that and then never get back to my RL, she should absolutely assume that I won’t be making it and not save a spot for me. If something comes up and it’s a situation of “I honestly don’t know if I’ll be able to log on, and if I do, I might be late”, then I think the best thing to do is talk it out with your RL, and see if they’d be willing to have you as a first-standby in the event you CAN log on. Obviously you’re not guaranteed a spot, and if they don’t need a standby for any reason, you won’t get to do anything in the raid, but that’s the best way to do it, in my opinion.

  10. I was one of those Raid Leaders that cheered when blizzard announced “Tentative” as and option. I thought to myself “Yes! finally! now people will click something instead of not responding at all”

    Didn’t work out though. Some people still don’t respond to calendar invites, some people abuse tentative as a way to sneek one by the raid leader.

    Tentative to me is “I’ll let you know closer to the raid but start planning for me not to be there.” I can’t work magic at the last second to put a raid together but if I know a week before that my raid healer might not make it I can start thinking up all the possible ways to reorder the group to make a raid happen.

  11. You’re better off without “Kevin”. If he’s gonna make a fuss like that every time it’s not worth it. Have the rules written down with easy access for everyone. If he doesn’t accept or follow them. Unlucky. I know, you’d think that playing with friends and keeping it small and simple should work but from my experience it’s hard to get things done that way. You end up with 7-8 showing up ready to rock and have to pug/friends the rest. Wish you luck with your guild

  12. Meh, it happens. We call these people asshats ^.^

    If they wish to make the commitment to be in your raiding guild then fail to adhere to how things are set up and do nothing but hinder the guild – then expect exceptions when they think they deserve something they have not earned, I would not worry about it. Be thankful he quit and made things more reliable – even if its just knowing you need to pug 1.

  13. I agree with all the people who say that “tentative” doesn’t help much for scheduling. You can’t confirm people who click it. However, I also agree with the people who say you need to follow your policy. If your policy is that tentative is an option, then don’t flame people who use it.

    A lot of the discussion seems to be about the in-advance notice by tentative people. What’s the point? If raid hour comes, and they’re not logged on, do you really need them to email you and say they are not there? You already know.

    Scheduling is hard. I would focus more on improving the scheduling approach and less on chewing out guild mates….

  14. I don’t really see why you can’t plan a night free for gaming because your spouse “might” want to go out for dinner. Certainly if you are at that point in your life, your spouse knows how important gaming is to you and let’s you bring it up as a valid reason for a night of “you time”?

  15. Thats a remarkably unusual (i’d say silly, but i’m not sure) way to define “Tentative”.

    If they’ve signed up as Tentative, why do they have to confirm that they will not be there?

    The way Tentative should be is “I might be there. If I can come, I’ll let you know, otherwise if you don’t hear from me assume I won’t.”

    Requiring confirmation either way seems to entirely defeat the purpose of ticking any option at all.

  16. Just make your life a little bit easier and go with Tentative = Out, but I might show up as replacement.

    As for the “but members get a place”, add a rank called “absent” and if you miss two raids in a row, you get that rank until you have been there for two in a row.

    About Kevin I’d kick him after the “the guild i know would do it different” comment already, but I am trigger happy when it comes to stuff like that …. that might be the reason why I am not allowed to kick people anymore 🙁

  17. Until that third part, I was with the guy about the concept of Tentative.

    I’m not sure if you’re willfully redefining the word, or you’re confused on what the point of tentative is, but it’s being poorly applied if that’s how you’re using it.

    I’ve considered it to be “count me out but if I show up on time I go before a pug/friend/etc” and nothing else. Asking someone to interrupt their life and put you (someone in a video game, just so we’re clear you’re not a real person to %99.9 of the world) ahead of whatever it is they’re doing to tell you they can’t kill e-dragons with you tonight is beyond what that %99.9 are willing to do for a video game. I sure won’t do it, and I feel like I’m a pretty responsible person. Unless this is just a super tiny guild and you’re all my actual friends instead of just people I play WoW with (big difference, despite how much you might figure otherwise sometimes) that changes things, but I’m old and I don’t do texts. If I hit tentative, I expect you to move on with your life and not be needy. If I hit Accept, I expect that you expect that I’ll show up. If I hit decline, I’m guaranteed out and if I show up that’s all my fault and you don’t need to boot a pug before the raid starts.

    That’s the gradience involved to me. Nothing more complex than that. It’s not really selfish, it’s just that you’re wanting people to conform to your definitions of a word that’s been in practice for a lot longer than WoW has been around. If I personally rang up every person who tentatively agreed on any of my work meetings I schedule, I’d end up in the HR office in no time and I’d probably end up with empty meetings. If I just ignore the people who can’t commit and move on with my work, things get done and I find out who the people are I can count on. If they’re not interested in showing up for raids, you move on. Not a huge problem right?

    I think if you keep up with the idea that people have to change their worldview to fit yours, you’re going to end up burned out sooner than you think. That, or your recruitment process isn’t up to snuff and you’re letting in people that don’t fit… which from my experience is a way faster road to burnout.

  18. @Dave – Actually, according to dictionary.com, their 2nd definition of “tentative” is:

    – unsure; uncertain; not definite or positive; hesitant: “a tentative smile on his face.”

    We do run a very tight team. I want to have as few standby’s as possible. “Kevin” is someone that we’ve been playing with since BC. He lives not too far from me. We all know each other on a first-name basis. We know what’s going on in everyone’s lives (job, significant other, kids, etc.). I actually disagree with your comments about the “99.9% of the world”, and take issue with it. Gaming, in general, has developed into a huge social platform since the days of Atari and Nintendo. To a lot of people, it’s a great way to keep in touch over distance. Consider it like an interactive phone call, etc. You may think that the people you game with are just a bunch of pixels, but not everyone shares that view.

    My raiders use “Tentative” as “I’ve looked at the invite, and I’m trying to see if it can work that night.” People have work schedules that change. Other people have family issues that don’t materialize until the last minute. That’s the real life part. Let’s say you’re a raider on my team. There are 9 other people that have worked out their own lives to make room for the raid. My buddy Jayme arranges his work schedule. Sam gets his take-home work done early. Others make sure to spend family time before or after the raid. By saying maybe, we’re being told that real life plans are still being fleshed out, and hopefully we can be told “yay” or “nay” soon. Our fill-ins are people outside the normal group that we “tap” if we need them, but they need advance notice, too. We rarely just “PuG”. If you show up at the last minute without giving any advance notice that your status has changed and assume we’re going to “oust” someone else, then that’s not fair to the other raiders that have set time aside to raid. No one is asking you to interrupt your life, but we are asking you to have some common courtesy for other people’s time. “Tenative” is unsure; it is not a guaranteed raid slot if you decide at the last minute to show up.

  19. Fortunately (or unfortunately for some), in my guild, we only have the one 10man team at the moment and we are getting over-subscribed to that, so in a couple of weeks, we might have to split the current main team into 2 and organise 2 runs into ICC10.

    We have a very mixed group of people in the guild where we have some very experienced and good players and a few new players who are basically students learning all the right ways to go about it. We also have a nice social attitude and we don’t tolerate people who are there when they feel like it. We acknowledge that some people have issues in RL that mean that they can’t make raids when they have signed up for it, but because of our over-subscription to the raids, we can easily replace people.

    Plus, we only ever get in pugs when we are doing non-guild related content (although this week, we have run 2 weekly raid boss raids into Ulduar and have had a good time at it).

    What we also do is schedule the raids 15 minutes before we actually start them so that we can get people online and ready to be invited as required.

  20. For our guild “Tentative” means we don’t count on you, but if you happen to show up and we have room … you may be in. It’s clear. Potentially more problematic are the late sign ups.

    But we’re so casual even that doesn’t really impact us much.

  21. Regarding tentative – I am on hiatus from the game due to a return from school, but spent a long time as GM, and help set up our raiding policies.

    I found that, if I went and tried to ‘check up’ on everyone that was tentative (anything more than a whisper before confirming slots), I or my RL spent a lot of wasted time trying to get a hold of them.

    Tentative means uncertain and unsure. We only confirm people to raid who are ‘confirmed’ or state ‘absolutely available’. However, if someone updates their status later, or they log in night of and we use them, they generally get in without difficulty. However, it’s on the guildee to let us know if their tentative becomes a ‘confirmed’ or ‘yes’. It’s not our job to do so.

    That said, his reaction to what the guild did the time he signed up as ‘declined’ was certainly a big deal, and obviously not a fit for you.

    Sounds like you are starting some of your raids extremely late due to no-shows or no available subs. We started instituting a policy that we would confirm roles 24 hours before the event, OR we would cancel if there weren’t enough sign-ups (we didn’t count tentatives unless we were missing only one spot). This was especially effective in getting people to sign up, and to confirm with us their availability before-hand, and helped us avoid those last minute raiding hopefuls.

  22. I do occasionally sign tentative myself, for me it means I will be there and fill a spot if needed, I usually do this when I have cleared content but am willing to support other raiders to help them clear the bosses. But yea some people think others should be dropped to give them a slot, this gives the guild bad press and can put off potential talent.
    Kevin seemed to expect the other raiders to hang around and wait for him and then drop an invite when he eventually logged, he was wrong and unlikely to find a guild that will support him in this way. I think in any other guild he wouldnt have had the option to quit he would have been kicked.


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