A Bad Raider

What makes someone a good raider?

There is a lot that goes into it. There’s performance – using the right spells at the right time, not standing in bad, doing well on meters, having good reaction time. There’s preparation – knowing the boss fights ahead of time, having proper enchants and consumables, having the best gear possible. There’s personality, which may be more of a concern to some people than others – people who are pleasant to be in a raid/on Mumble with generally make for a better raiding experience, and people who can constructively problem solve when things go wrong are appreciated.

There has been a lot of discussion through this expansion about how much should be expected of raiders. There was the debate about effort vs. reward for 300 stat food. There has been debate on the requirement of doing LFR. There’s been debate about dailies, rep grinds and valor capping.

Today I read a post by my friend Stormy, who was talking about how annoyed he was by the continual daily and rep grinds. Here’s the quote that inspired my post (which is specifically addressing mandatory faction grinds) :

If you’re in a raiding guild and you’re not doing the most you can to maximize your gear, enchants, valor points, etc., you are not pulling your weight. You can call them “optional” all you want, but if you’re a raider and you’re not doing them, you’re bad and you should feel bad.

(Note: This actually wasn’t the main point of his post, and my quoting it is not an invitation for you to go tell him he’s wrong if you disagree).

Confession time!

Dailies and rep have not been a priority for me this expansion. I just got exalted with Shadow Pan this week. I’ve only been exalted with Golden Lotus for a few weeks, and I’m not even Revered with August Celestials yet. Operation Shieldwall? I think I just hit honored. The first two reps I got exalted with were Tillers and Cloud Serpents, the two factions that give me nothing to assist me in raiding, but whose dailies I found the most fun. And this from someone who considers themselves, above all, a raider.

Maybe this makes me bad, but honestly, I don’t feel bad at all. In fact, not burning myself out doing things I consider chores in a game that’s supposed to entertain me makes me feel pretty good.

I do think personal experience (and luck) had something to do with my apathy towards dailies. Sha and Garalon were very good to me. So were raid bosses. A week or two into raiding I think I had 2 pieces of gear that could be upgraded by rep rewards. For those two pieces I would rather wait and hope for boss drops than spend an hour (likely more since I’m a healer who is terrible at killing quest mobs) every day for a few weeks doing something I didn’t enjoy. I also have a bit of a mental block about buying gear – I want to tear my spoils from the claws of an enemy I’ve vanquished, not purchase them from a cuddly panda vendor. But that’s another story.

So I return to the original question. What makes a good raider?

To me, gear is the last thing on the list of what makes a good raider – within reason of course, someone in greens would not likely be of much help to their raid team on heroic boss progression – and the thing I’m least concerned about (not unconcerned, just least concerned).

The performance someone puts into the actual raid is what I consider most important. I try to stand in as few fires as I can, I try to keep everyone alive, and when I heal a raid I strive to make everyone else’s job easier. The best gear in the world isn’t going to help me if I have no skill. Of course I’m not perfect – sometimes I heal x when I should heal y, or I stand in front of Garalon’s swipe because I’m trying to be in range of the kiter and the rest of the raid so I can heal all the things. I think my energy is better spent trying to improve on those things than a piece or two of gear.

If I ever felt that I (or my raid) was being held back by this view, I would change my tune. But I think I’m doing just fine (truth? a symptom of me suffering from high self esteem? who knows!) I’m pretty sure no one in my raid has ever thought to themselves (or said to me) “Gee, I wish Jasyla had better gear, she needs all the help she can get.”

The fact is, there are only so many hours in the day. And despite much evidence to the contrary, WoW is not a job (at least not until someone starts paying me). I put a lot of time and effort into this game. I raid 9 hours a week, I’m GM of a guild, I’m a healing lead, I write raider reviews, I do log dives of my own performance, I interview potential recruits, I do guild bank stuff, I spend a lot of time trying to optimize my healing, I write guides on this blog that I hope are helpful to other players… Plus, sometimes I like to just play and do things in game that have nothing to do with raid prep or guild management. 

Some people can do it all, but for others, the question of effort vs. reward arises.

I have a choice (really, it is a choice). I can cram dailies and valor capping – things I do not enjoy – into my schedule and slowly but surely become burnt out and start hating the game. Or I can just not do them if I don’t feel like it. I can accept that being 2 ilvls lower than I could be or getting the extra socket in my Sha-Touched weapon 2 weeks later that most is an acceptable trade-off for maintaining my sanity and desire to play. I also suspect people perform better when they actually want to be in a raid than they do when they’re sick of the game. Seems like a pretty easy decision to me.

Does this make me a bad raider? Well, maybe. But I’m cool with that.

24 Responses to A Bad Raider

  1. I think we all find a balance between being able to play the game effectively in a way that doesn’t let our raid down, and playing the game effectively in a way that doesn’t make us want to huddle in a corner mumbling “No. No more dailies. No.” For you, that boils down to running your guild well and playing your heart out, and you’re having great success with it. I certainly don’t think anyone would accuse you of being any sort of burden or weak link in Apoth, and I don’t think anyone would ever accuse Apoth of being poorly run or unsuccessful.

    For me, it means doing two rep grinds at a time (because that’s all I’m willing to do) and accepting the crippling sense of guilt that comes with knowing that I only got 480 valor points last week. Consequently, Penguin kicks my ass on the meters every week. I accept it because I have to, or I’d be all sorts of crazy right now.
    Stormy recently posted..No.

    • I actually wrote a bunch more about striking a balance and deciding what’s important, but it started getting preachy and gross and I deleted it. The thing that strikes me is when people write about how they “need” to do something they hate. This is a game, it’s supposed to be fun. If you’re doing something like raiding, where other people are relying on you, I certainly think you need a certain level of dedication and effort, but there is a line to draw. It makes me sad when I hear about people sinking hours into something that makes them miserable, and it’s something I’ve done myself. There have been times when I’ve been working on some dumb achievement or something and after hours of being bored and thoroughly unentertained I think “what are you doing with your life? what’s wrong with you?!” What’s wrong with me is this game feeds my compulsions and I’ve had to make an effort to not let it.

      I guess my main point is to not let a game make you feel bad or guilty for avoiding things you don’t enjoy.

  2. Rep grinds, valor capping, etc. have little or nothing to do with being a good raider.

    Maybe when the xpac launched and someone expected to be really competing for world firsts that the extra rep gear might have helped. Valor capping now has little do with downing anything. I don’t think there are any encounters that the enrage is at all important, except for maybe Garalon heroic. By the time guilds are at these stages, most of the raiders are in 4 piece tier stuff, etc and the raid DPS/HPS is well above the “mendoza line”.

    Good raiders are positive, non-drama, non-emo, passionate, good players. Non-keyboard turners and people with above average reactions and abilities to follow directions and adapt to strategies. Etc.

  3. I got exalted with the Shado-Pan yesterday. I seriously don’t see dailies or rep being completely required unless you are a cutting edge guild, in which you should expect to put in that kind of effort anyway, or your guild has ridiculous requirements. I got exalted with Golden Lotus when I saw that the end quest chain neck was a very nice upgrade until the stupid raid boss would drop his for me. I’ve capped my valor for the week a total of once, MAYBE twice.

    If that makes me a bad raider, then I’m a bad raider, but my dps is fine and I generally don’t die to stupid mechanics on bosses, and I feel like that’s more important.

    • I think it definitely does depend on what your guild expects of you. If you’re in a guild that requires valor capping, then you should, or you’re not doing your part. In general, I think people should make their best effort to improve their characters outside of raids, but different people have different amounts of free time available and tolerance for boring tasks.

  4. I can’t disagree more with the people that think you have to do everything that the game makes available or else you’re doing your raid/group a disservice. Everything is always a balance of effort vs reward and that has never changed. To these “all in or nothing”, “optional is a myth” people I only have to ask them one question:

    Were you spending as long as it took to maximize your rotations / develop new and advance theorcraft to get your player skill on par with all the world first raiders? If not then there was something available to you that you _chose_ to not do to help your raid. You’re bad and you should feel bad…

  5. I love this post. I can’t imagine any reasonable person I know thinking that you’re a bad raider. From my perspective, you’re a very successful one, and this post describes doing the things you need to do to progress and improve… WHILE having fun.

    Keep playing the game the way you do, and keep writing what you write. :)
    Mushan recently posted..Perspective (the Tranquil Master)

  6. So i definitely agree on this post for our guild, and our level of play. But I totally different argument has to be made if we take into account a) higher levels of play and b) the tragedy of the commons (inc Sara philosophy story time.) Not doing reps, not capping VP – fine for us, and fine for a few people to do that. The counter argument that comes to my head is that if EVERYONE did that, then we might run into problems, and certain world first guilds would. I remember back in ICC trying to decide whether to roll on bracers with .1 % more crit on them and asking a friend who said something along the lines of “how many times have you seen a tank survive with 300 hp, or wipe on a boss with sub million HP left” – and for me, taht was the kicker. So my choice (and i don’t get burnt out by doing dailies, so it’s easy for me to say i guess) is to go for that (analogical) .1% crit in every way i can.
    Anyways, i’m glad you didn’t burn yourself out because i still need you to babysit me all the time :)

    • Of course my argument can turn into a slippery slope of no one doing anything to improve. I’m not suggesting that everyone stop trying to cap valor/grind reps/make 300 stat food/whatever else, just that for some people, doing ALL of those things is unreasonable and in many cases it means putting in a lot of effort for very little reward. Rolling on bracers doesn’t really involve any effort :P

    • I came here to make sure Sara mentioned the tragedy of the commons. Was not disappointed.

  7. Great post. Having read Stormy’s post earlier, a bit of the forums (oh the sad humanity), and now your take on the raiding/dailies/VP situation, I feel like there’s this big disconnect between what “feels” necessary to raid right now, and what is factually necessary. Factually is easy – an approximately 463 Ilvl and 9 or 24 other people. That’s it. It might not be easy or pretty, but that will get you in.

    The tricky part I think, is that we as players and Blizzard in the way that VP items/gear have been available previously, have created the kind of psychological stress on ourselves to attain and achieve these things as much and as quickly as we can, and anything less is failure. With MoP, the devs at Blizzard have done an about-face, repositioning the valor gear as post-initial raid supplemental (what I think it was meant to be originally), but we the players are left with this legacy thinking that we MUST have these reps and items BEFORE going in, if we’re to succeed at all, leading to unnecessary gaming guilt when we inevitably fail or take too long to get them.

    I’m no expert, but I believe that a good raider is so much more dependent on the person than the gear. I could have +1000 stat foods and 520ilvl gear, and I’m sure I still wouldn’t be half the druid healer you are, simply because I don’t have the training, experience, and mindset for it. In the end, I suppose both perspectives are correct, by degrees- a raider shows up, a good raider preps, a great raider parses logs, and uber raider does everything. You just have to do as much as you’re able, before you make yourself miserable. It doesn’t make you “bad”, just not as “good” or well off as you could be. But seriously, we as players need to drop the guilting and shaming, of ourselves and others.

    • Yes! I just want people to stop feeling bad about not doing things they don’t enjoy. We’re supposed to be having fun here.

      I know that any gear upgrades help – dps or healers with better gear can make up for one person dying. Gear allows you to power through some amount of screw-ups during fights. But you really shouldn’t NEED the best possible gear to kill things – the top guilds are relatively undergeared when they kill things since they spend all their time progressing, and not farming for more gear. By the time most of the other guilds start on heroics, or the harder bosses, their gear is more than enough to kill things as they’ve (generally) done many more repeat kills and have geared up through raids.

  8. I don’t think it necessarily makes you a bad raider. However, the bottom line is that if you don’t grind that gear or get that food you will, as mentioned, not be the best you can be. Which is okay in some guilds. I guess it comes down to different levels of commitment. In a world first group you will be looked at as not prepared, while in a semi hardcore group it might be alright not spending 1-2 hours a day grinding this stuff, as long as you’re not hitting enrage timers. There’s probably not a right and wrong. But saying it is OK because it makes you feel good might be a bit optimistic. I agree 100% though, that personality, reaction time, knowing your class, encounters etc. has a lot more to do with being a good raider.

    • I think that being a healer is a big part of my attitude towards this. If I was a dps and saw someone else of my class with better gear outperforming me, it would light a fire to improve my gear and performance as much as I possibly could so I could beat them. With healing there’s much less of a direct correlation between gear and healing done. There’s so much else that goes into the amount of healing done (fight length, damage taken, cd orders) that gaining 500 Int does not guarantee you a better performance the next week. Of course, I’m not going to let myself get behind in gear, but I put less value on it than other things.

  9. I’m pretty much the same this time around. Most days I’d work on two or three reps. I got exalted with August last week so now pretty much all I do is hit the anglers and maybe another. I don’t feel the need to keep at it though. Had this been Wrath I would had taken a much different view, but these days I’m ok with where I’m at.

    • I’m not particularly crazy about having the reps associated with gear. When I think about (for example) grinding rep with Golden Lotus to get shoulders, then getting shoulders from raid just before I reach Revered it makes me really mad. I don’t want to waste my time on that stuff.

  10. Ok You manage to pull it off but now i’ll speak from my experience where some of Our dps also hate the dailies and the rep grind but unlike you don’t pull the numbers and I’m not even talking heroic content I’m just talking about the first bosses of mogushan vaults.

    So we have a few geared to the teeth from the content we have access to (rep,lfr) and a significant bunch who are not if we killed the bosses I wouldn’t mind but since we wipe week after week I resent them not doing what they can so we won’t wipe.

    To put numbers in perspective we are doing between 24.5m to 51.9m on the stone guards with top-bottom dps in the 52k top 31k bottom dps for our last week best attempt.

    So congrats on managing to pull it off but some people can’t say the same.

    • Hmm, not really sure how to respond to this. I can understand how you’d feel that way in this situation. If your raid is having so much trouble, it would probably be a good idea to impose some kind of ilvl minimums on raiders so that people know they need to do something to improve themselves. If people are performing poorly, way behind the other people in their raids, then they are doing something wrong.

  11. The thing is and sorry if it wasn’t clear none of it matters when you sucessfully kill the boss.

    It’s when you don’t kill the boss that people start looking at your rep,enchants,gear,ilvl, etc.

  12. “I also have a bit of a mental block about buying gear – I want to tear my spoils from the claws of an enemy I’ve vanquished, not purchase them from a cuddly panda vendor.” Jasyla, are you my sister? I swear I feel the same way!

    “I have a choice (really, it is a choice). I can cram dailies and valor capping – things I do not enjoy – into my schedule and slowly but surely become burnt out and start hating the game. Or I can just not do them if I don’t feel like it.” Yes, yes, yes a thousand times yes. I have had this exact argument with others many many times. At the end of the day, if skipping dailies so that I don’t burn out makes me a bad raider, so be it.

    I feel like I belong in a Bad Raiders Anonymous meeting. “Hi, I’m Bells and I’m a bad raider.” And right now, I’m in good company. Great post as always!
    Bells recently posted..Initial Thoughts on Garalon

  13. Hey, I’m a keyboard turner!

    I’ve been trying to get some epic legs out of LFR since… I don’t know, since I’ve been going to LFR. They just won’t drop. So I’m doing Klaxxi dailies to get to revered so I can buy some. But I’m a resto-druid so if I’m gonna grind out rep I have to switch specs (kitty dps) and that spec is not very well geared making the rep grind even more unpleasant. Does that make me a bad raider? I don’t think so.

    Oh, and about that keyboard turning… I use Vuhdo to heal and never got the hang of mouse driving while trying to click on the interface to heal. Worst. Raider. Ever. =P