The Raiding Manifesto

This is a post and topic from January 2008. It has been the bread and butter of our casual progression and hopefully outlines both what is required to raid and why we do what we do.  Focusing on the core ideals expressed herein has really turned our PVE around while still keeping the guild identity and purpose intact.

 

I would like to take full credit for this but it was taken in part from a post on Elitist Jerks that has long since been buried.  I have edited it to fit our purpose and interjected my own twist and humor.

 

From January 2008:

Right now, in order to continue to function as a “casual raiding guild”, we need to formalize our structure somewhat. That means having expectations, standards, and commitments, figuring out who among us is willing to participate in that structure, and then looking outside to fill the remaining slots until we have an adequate core of players.

Fear not, I have no interest in a hardcore-style “5-6 days a week, 6 hours a day, farm consumables for another 4 hours every day, and be available until 2am if I say so” regime. I work too many hours for that shit, and so do most of us.

My vision of our raid week is 3 days a week, 4 hour sessions. Three days out of the following five: Tues/Weds/Thurs/Sat/Mon/Sun. Traditionally Saturday has been our weakest night for raids with Tuesday having the best turnout and then Thursday in between. Ideally we can clear all of our existing farm content in two nights giving us an entire night to work on new bosses and gradually add more kills for the front page.

Here are my expectations:

1) A minimum of 66% attendance long-term (i.e., 2 days a week). Ideally 90%+, and higher attendance will mean a guaranteed raid slot unless you actively would rather sit out. Attendance will be taken for every boss kill and progress night, including Maulgar/Gruul/VR, and will include a waitlist of participating Raiders. I’m not talking about awarding “DKP” or the like, but raw attendance will be tracked. When I say long-term I obviously understand that people will go on a trip somewhere, or have a brutal week at work, or have unavoidable obligations crop up, and miss raids. I probably will too. But on average, 66% attendance is not too much to ask for. I expect people to plan around our raid times to the extent possible.

They will be fixed timeslots, and they really are not severe. All of you played more than 12 hours a week leveling to 70 (much, much more, in many cases). You can give the guild 8 hours a week now. People who fail to meet attendance requirements in the long-term will be rotated out of the raiding roster.

2) Preparedness for every raid. This means knowing the fights, knowing your role in the fights, and yes, having the consumables needed to perform your role to the fullest. I do not intend to turn into a flask-chugging guild and throw thousands of gold at every boss, but if it would be fruitful, the option always needs to be there. “Oops, sorry, I don’t have any pots” isn’t acceptable if we decide that we need some DPS buffs in order to secure a kill or more meaningful learning attempts. People who are not prepared will be replaced by those who are. People who are chronically unprepared will be permanently replaced.

3) Competitiveness and achievement.

On a guild level: Being “ok” is not enough. The point to the raid game is to see the content while it is fresh, to challenge ourselves, and to prepare ourselves for the next tier of difficulty as efficiently as possible once the prior tier has been learned. Waiting around for everything to get nerfed before we can do it, or watching dozens of videos for every boss we fight before we pull it for the first time is not what I have in mind.

On an individual level: Being “ok” is not enough. As a DPS class I can’t understand how someone can just shrug their shoulders and accept that they are 20%-30% (or more in some cases) behind other members of their class, or 20-30% behind people in other guilds. I can’t understand how people can watch others consistently out-heal them, without actively seeking to change that. And so forth. For DPS classes in particular, you are more important now than you ever have been before in WoW. Before, it used to just be a matter of needing good tanks and good healers to keep those tanks alive, and you couldn’t possibly lose. DPS just meant fights ended a minute faster. Not anymore. I am not a blind damage meter-whore, of course, and there is much more to skill than that. I take all the rest as a given, whether it’s CC, kiting mobs, performing encounter-specific functions like clicking cubes, buffing the raid, and so forth. I take all of that as a given. All of that must be done.

But what distinguishes you is the damage you do in between taking care of all that other stuff. At the end of the day, small differences in gear may account for a couple dozen DPS here or there. Or maybe someone had a shaman/moonkin/spriest in their group and someone else didn’t. No problem. But we all have access to roughly the same gear at this stage of the game, and ideally our DPS classes should all be vying with each other on any fight. There shouldn’t be a “#1 DPS mage” or a “#1 DPS hunter” because everyone should be capable of being #1 on any given night, depending on how your crit streaks and other random factors play out. If there are things people can do to improve their performance, whether it’s gear or spec or less tangible factors, I expect people to do them. We all need to be on the same page in that regard, or this won’t work.

In terms of skill otherwise, this can be difficult to quantify, but for those of you with whom I’ve been playing for a long time, I have a pretty good sense of where everyone stands. So do most of our veteran players, really, even if it’s not often discussed openly. Speaking of…

4) Criticism: Don’t be an insecure and delicate flower. If you keep screwing up, understand that it’s in everyone’s best interest for you to be replaced. Don’t get defensive. We all make mistakes. Just don’t make the same mistakes twice. Every one of the 25 people in our group should be an asset.

5) Using the word “casual” to defend poor performance and/or attendance. Casual raiding does not mean that it is ok to screw up. Casual raiding does not mean that there are no commitments. Casual guild does not mean that when you don’t feel like showing up one night when your needed that you did not just screw over 20-24 other people who all planned on doing something together that night.

I would akin WoW casual raiding to something like joining up with a local slow pitch softball or adult kick ball league. You join a team with your friends. You have a few practices and you all know that you will have games every Tuesday. You plan your week knowing that you will be busy Tuesday. Sure you don’t have to show up but if you don’t show up your team may have to forfeit. Everyone else on the team paid their $25 to be in the league and with too many forfeits they will be kicked out of the league.

When the team does play they obviously play to win. Sure it is all in good fun but no one signs up to loose every time. If there was an outfielder that can’t catch a fly ball to save his life, strikes out every time he comes to the plate, and can’t even be counted on to be there on time, how long do you think his friends would continue to carry him?

Yes it is a video game. However, the characters that you play with are real people.  Only by all of us making a conscious commitment will we be able to move forward.

People who are willing to accept, and continue to honor, the above guidelines, will be Raiders. The same way a 5v5 arena team might have a 7-man or 8-man roster for flexibility, I see our raid group as a 25-man team, and I envision a roster of an appropriate size, in the same general vein. I would like us to maintain a balanced roster of ~35-40 Raiders at any given time, figuring that we will have 40 people with 66% attendance for a core of no fewer than 30 on any given night.

We will recruit, starting immediately, to flesh out that roster. Other guild members outside that roster will be “Casuals” or “Non-raiders” or whatever you like to call yourselves. If needed due to holes in our progression raid groups, or on easy farm content that we’ve otherwise out-geared, you can raid. When we’re looking for new Raiders to fill any holes that form in the roster due to attrition, we will look first to interested and proven members of the guild, and if none exist to fill the immediate need, we will recruit from outside. But actively trying to rotate dozens of people through every bit of content the moment we’ve beaten it will end in nothing but tears.

Honestly I would rather spend the next month gearing up a new set of players in tier 4 content knowing that they will be more interested in raiding than spend the next month rotating people in and out of raid groups based on their own personal preferences. To put it another way I would rather have an under geared and inexperienced raider who I know is going to be giving it his all than another burned out raider sitting on a ton of DKP and whose bags are fat with epics simply going through the motions.

If you are willing to commit to the above, and you think this interests you, post below. Please include some comments regarding your raid availability (remember, Tues/Weds/Thurs/Mon/Sat evenings are the potential raid slots, and I expect 3 in any given week), and any other comments you think are relevant.

Be warned that I’m not rubber-stamping everyone who posts. There will be some people disappointed by this process, and I’ll speak with them privately, and I’d encourage them to speak with me. Selectivity and high standards are necessary if this is going to be anything other than a meaningless exercise.

If you want to discuss these changes in general, discuss in another thread. Recognize, however, that solution is not really particularly flexible. It’s not necessarily a joyous occasion, but it’s a crucial one. This will leave some people feeling shut out, but let’s be honest here — right now, we’re barely raiding at all to begin with, so what is there to be shut out from? The alternative is watching the sad conclusion of the inexorable path to burnout down which many of our best players, as well as myself, have been walking. And then there won’t be any raiding in this guild left to save.

So, who’s in?

 

 

 

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~ by Centuri on August 19, 2008.

 
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