I’m back! Sorry for the long break between posts, as I said in my last post between finals and ICC I’ve only been on my computer long enough to raid. My last exam was cancelled due to the massive amount of snow (!) we’re supposed to get tonight and tomorrow morning. (Finally, we’ve has such crappy, snow-free winters for the last decade that a blizzard is a wonderful early Christmas present!) Anyway, on to today’s topic:
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. Everyone has obligations to be there, to have flasks and food, and to come with the gear you need (an obvious statement, I know, but you’d be surprised). However, everyone has other things that raiders depend on you to execute by way of attitude. You’re going to spend several hours a week with your raid group and things can build up if the expectations aren’t met because of the way the group is handled, or because someone keeps screaming at people because they wiped again.
One of the most important things to realize is that your attitude effects everyone else in the raid group, and this is especially true if you’re doing ten man content. Progression takes time, and effort, and you’re going to wipe. If you’re the type of person who cannot deal with repeated wipes while you’re scoping out a fight then a progression guild is probably not where you want to be. An angry player rage logging leaves everyone else in a lurch and most likely will not get you invited back again.
Attitude is not just relevant when you’re wiping, it rears it’s head when you’re receiving criticism. Criticism is part of a raid. If your e-peen is so inflated that you can’t stand to hear people tell you, of all people, that you didn’t get on that add fast enough then, again, a progression guild is probably not for you. Trying to improve the groups performance to get that last boss down, or snag that achievement, is most likely the ultimate goal if you’re in a raiding guild. This takes time (and wipes), and it takes members being humble enough to accept that they did something wrong and to work on changing the problem in the next attempt. Raid leaders and guild masters, in my humble opinion, should be the ones to be taking the most criticism. You’re trusting the health of your raid group in their hands, and unless your guild is a monarchy and you’re all the serfs (in which case you need to get a Magna Carta signed a.s.a.p.…err, History joke, just for me) your after-wipe chats shouldn’t be limited to those raiders that are not in the upper echelons of the guild structure. As a raid leader you’re responsible for directing between 9 and 24 other people and you’re not immune from mistakes. People have a right to ask why you take talent A over talent B, or why you didn’t get agro/DPS on that add ,or why you didn’t heal that guy fast enough. Excluding people from the chopping block, and ignoring their mistakes, breeds discontent and bitterness in those players that are taking their criticism lumps. The criticism that you’re giving to other players helps them understand their strength’s and weaknesses better, which in turn leads to a better raid group. You shouldn’t slack on your insight or issues just because it turns in. If you find that you can dish it out, but can’t take it, you may want to reevaluate the benefit of you leading the raid. Is it benefiting the group that you’re not letting anyone tell you if you do something wrong, or you brush it off or get upset when people do? If the answer is yes, then by all means continue doing what you do, but if it is no (and I would assume that is the honest answer) you either need to change your attitude or appoint someone else to lead while you deal with those issues.
Another responsibility of a raider is to know the fight before the fight begins. Obviously in the case of Ice Crown Citadel, a new raid is not going to have detailed strats available on patch night. In that case turn to the PTR where you’ll at least understand the bones of the fight and their won’t be to many “WTF, How did I die?!” moments. But, if you are going into a run that has video’s available watch them, and then watch them again. Knowledge is power, and less wipes, which means more gold, and less down time. A video may not be a substitute for the actual fight, but it helps to know that those adds are resistant to AoE damage, or if you stand in that puddle you will die.
Listening is the most important skill a person can have, as I’m sure everyone’s kindergarten teacher reminded us while we were chewing on blocks and beating our classmates with stuffed animals. Listening during a raid is important for correcting on the fly. If you use Ventrilo, which my raid group does, then keeping vent clear during a fight is a necessity. Of course you raid with these people because you like them, and talking to your fellow raiders helps to bond the group together, but if the tanks can’t hear the “Okay, Taunt now” over “So, how do you guys feel about all the gnome killing in this patch?” then you’re going to find yourself wiping a lot, and tempers are going to flare. Having a quiet vent also allows raiders to adjust to new content and say strategies over their mic’s that could save a raid.
The final responsibility on my “Raider’s responsibilities” list is raid awareness. Healers need to work on not getting tunnel vision (A problem many beginning healers have, and which I catch myself still doing on a particularly tough fight), DPS need to know which target to be on without getting in fire, or whatever the mechanic is for your fight (Fire seems a safe bet for WoTLK), and tanks need to know which way to turn the boss so the raid isn’t lit on fire, or poisoned (oh Acidmaw and Dreadscale, how I loath your spit), and who is on adds and who isn’t. By constantly watching around your character you can catch that fire falling on your head and move before it hits, or frost nova that add so it won’t hit you. I find this is something that develops with practice. A fresh 80 isn’t going to have raid awareness like someone in ToC hard modes.
In my opinion these traits in a raider are more important that who’s flasked and who brought the fish. The best geared raider, the highest DPS, or that ballin’ tank healer may be a necessary part of your raid because of what they do, but if what they do stops at moving out of fire, receiving criticism with humility, or having a calm demeanor on your fourth wipe on Deathbringer Saurfang, then they’re not as useful and they’re probably breeding malcontent and frustration in raiders who are doing everything they need to be doing. Sometimes the best solution to this problem is just to remove the player. If that does have to happen the one can only hope that it will serve as a wake up call to that person, and improve the moral of your raid group.