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).
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.