What is your ideal raid group?
Mine is a group of highly competent people who enjoy each others company (or at least tolerate each other), are progression-minded, and have the drive to get things done while treating each other with respect. The question is – do raids like this exist? Am I expecting too much?
I think there are two basic categories of raid groups: family style or business style.
The family style raids are the ones where everyone gets along and has fun with what they’re doing. Some people may not have the absolute best dps or raid awareness, but these raids work with what they’ve got because they’re more concerned with the people than the progression.
The business-style raids focus on results rather than people. If your dps is too low, if you die in the fire one too many times, you’re out. These guilds are not tolerant of mistakes and poor performance, no matter how likable the person making the mistakes is. Do your job or step aside for someone who will.
Of course, these two raid styles are very black and white and I think most raids (including every raid I’ve ever been a part of) fall somewhere in the middle. I assume that getting bosses down in a timely manner is something most people hope for, but it doesn’t always happen. What separates raid groups is how problems are addressed.
No raid aims to progress slowly and wipe to silly things multiple times, but many will not take the steps necessary to reduce the chances these things happen. How do you reduce the chances these things happen? There’s proper preparation – well thought out strats that are shared with the guild pre-raid and discussed and tweaked until they work. There’s proper class balance to make things as smooth as possible. And then there’s the people you choose to bring to raids.
Other people are both the best and the worst thing about raiding. I’ve met a lot of fantastic people and made a lot of friends through raiding. I’ve also come close to being overtaken by homicidal urges towards some people I’ve met through raiding.
I’m a progression-minded raider. I’m competitive. I’m not perfect but I do everything I can to be the best healer I can be – to heal all the things and stay out of all the fires. At the end of a raid I want people to think to themselves “gee, I wish Jasyla was in the raid all the time, she makes things easier.” If they’re not thinking that, I’m not doing my job.
So what happens when the progression-focused, competitive raiders come across people in their raids who don’t have the same level of motivation, understanding and skill? What happens when you run into raiders that make you think “gee, I wish this person weren’t here”? In the guilds who are all business these players will be dealt with. Their performance will be called out and if they don’t improve they’ll be replaced. But in most guilds it’s not so easy. These people stick around for one reason or another. It could be because the raid leaders really have no other choice because there’s no one to replace them. It could be because they’re popular in the guild, no matter what their raid performance is like. It’s hard to tell someone they’re not good enough.
There are more cutthroat guilds out there, who can be ruthless about who they take to raids to ensure the best progression possible. These raids are like a well-oiled machine, killing bosses left and right and getting those server and world firsts. Sounds fantastic. But if you look a little closer, those raids aren’t all sunshine and ponies either. Take the BlizzCon live raid for example. Though Blood Legion’s run of Firelands looked perfect, according to everyone who listened to the raid with voice streaming Vent was full of people screaming profanities and racial slurs. That really taints an otherwise pristine run.
I’d like for the people I raid with to be friends, but at the same time I wonder if that negatively affects progression. Personal feelings create biases and skew perceptions. You need distance to accurately evaluate a raider and decide whether or not they deserve a place in your raid.
Can these things be reconciled? Can you have a group of people who enjoy raiding together and respect each other while still having the determination to cut out the weak links in order to get ahead?
Would guilds benefit from saying flat-out what type of raid they’re trying to run so everyone’s expectations are set?