That little phrase has been the spark for numerous arguments in the various guilds I’ve been a part of in my eight years of playing WoW.
Inevitably, it’s uttered on the heels of a night of working on a progression boss. A night that has ended up in repair bills. Or even one with a boss kill on the last attempt of the night. It is tossed about with mentions of how raiding used to be fun. And people are taking things too seriously. And how could you have shushed me in the middle of that attempt when I was telling that funny story about what I did over the weekend?
But here’s the cold hard truth: the raid boss doesn’t care that you’re “not a raiding guild.” If you and your team want to be taking down new content, at level, while it’s still the top-of-the-line tier of instance, you are going to have to take it seriously.
You WILL do better if you have a static team instead of switching players in and out each raid night. Players WILL have to use consumables and ensure they keep themselves gemmed and enchanted to the best items available to them. And your raid leader WILL need to decide upon and coach the team through a winning strategy.
Otherwise, you’ll keep hitting your head against the same boss over and over without making progress.
If you want to faceroll content while doing tequila shots, set up a retro raiding night and hit up content from expansions past. Retro raids are a great opportunity to casually play while getting to know guildies and garnering a last few sought after achievements. But it’s unrealistic to expect to have a voice chat free-for-all chat fest while taking down new to you content. It takes time and dedication to make progress. And that’s not a bad thing.
Last night, I spent a couple of hours in LFR, working through the first offering from the Throne of Thunder Raid.Normally, you’d see an awesome purpley screenshot up there. But given the concentrating on doing a new raid, and discussing tactics with the other raiders, I somehow didn’t manage to take even one screenshot last night. CRAZY! I know. But I digress.
The great thing about doing an instance and having a wipe or two on each boss is it gives you some time to figure out your strategy for maximum DPS and utility. And before it all leaves my mind, I thought I’d share it with you.
Jin’rokh the Breaker
What is it about the first boss being the hardest? In many ways he was the most difficult for all the newbies to adapt to (I think we had 3 wipes on him, and a number of people dropping in and out). Your key to do’s here:
Watch for pools of water to be set down on the ground; when you see one, run for it ASAP and stand in it. You will see a serious DPS increase (40% is what I recall from last night)
Don’t get too comfy in that pool of water — when he casts lightning storm, you need to GTFO out of that pool as it is going to become electrified, and kill you. Run and stack with the group near the boss
As you are running out from the lightning storm cast, pop your Vampiric Embrace up on the boss. This will very likely save a life or two, perhaps even your own. Coordinate w/any other friendly shadow priests in raid to trade off on casting it.
If you are the focus of targeted lightning, make sure to run away from the group and DO NOT STAND IN OR RUN THROUGH THE WATER, lest you electrocute everyone.
TL&DR: Stand in the pools of water; run out of water in lightning storm; do not electrify the pools.
This fight is somewhat akin to being at the 6 a.m. opening of a superstore on Black Friday. Angry mobs everywhere! Total chaos! Whch is why it is important to stay focused:
As the tank moves Horridon around the circle of the room, from door to door, avoid his head and tail.
Keep DoTs up on the boss but focus on the adds.
DoT all the ads then focus fire the add with the least health, unless there is a Dinomancer up in which case he’s your priority.
Don’t stand in bad.
If you happen to be close to it, click the Orb of Command when it appears.
After Horridon is done smacking his head against the wall, focus DPS on War-God Jalek,keeping your DoTs up on Horridon as well.
You are most likely to die by aggro’ing too many of the adds in Phase 1, so try not to be the first to DPS all out on them.
TL&DR: Focus on adds; prioritize DinoMancers. Kill War-God Jalek then finish off Horridon.
Council of Elders
Unlike other council fights, killing off one at a time doesn’t seem to make the team more powerful. So try to get folks to pop Heroism/Bloodlust when Sul is empowered; getting rid of his quicksand will be a big help. Here’s your to do’s:
Prioritize the Loa Spirits and Living Sands adds.
When adds are dead, DPS the empowered boss a.k.a. the huge shadow priest.
Keep an eye on the ground — quicksand and barrel rolling trolls can do some serious damage to you.
We had folks try to start in on the usual “you are all so fail” trash talking, but happily it was shot down quickly. Look folks: this is new content just now available to Raid Finder. Most everyone is learning the ropes. So chill out already! Let folks who haven’t read the strats know the basics of what to do. Then everyone wins and we all go home happy and understanding how the fight works for next time. MMMM’kkkk?
Speaking of going home happy, I took home a pretty new dress so that totally made my day.
I hope your first trip into this new LFR is rewarding!
…My gnomey shadow priest’s looking more than a little Sha-touched these days. Between her strangely frightening visage, as you can see above, and the Shafiend that keeps following her around, even on her farm (see below), she’s gotten a little bit more evil as the season has worn on.
I completely blame/credit LFR. While it certainly can never take the place of the feeling of exhileration that comes from being part of a successful collaborative raid team that’s kicking booty, it has been a great way to keep a toe in raiding on my favorite class, despite not having a schedule that could accommodate regular raiding with a guild.
I’m crossing my fingers, however, that we’ll be able to do some 10-mans with Friend or Foe soon. I had the pleasure of finally completing Terrace of Endless Spring last night, thanks to two FoF tanks (/waves at Manglehaft), and can tell it would be a great experience to casually raid with those folks.
I haven’t made much progress on the alts, other than getting the shaman to 90 a few weeks ago. I mean to be leveling my boomkin, but I mostly want to play my shadow priest. No, my Alliance shadow priest. Not, you-know-who. She’s still hoveringaround at 85, trying to figure out if there’s anyone left to play with on Bronzebeard…
I recently had a conversation with a buddy who hasn’t been feeling the raiding urge this expansion, and felt bad for not turning up for raids. But I assured him I don’t mind if folks don’t feel like raiding and thus are not turning up for raid nights.
What drives me up the wall are those who DO turn up, unprepared, and unwilling to actually make a real effort, and proceed to waste the time of the 9 other people on the team who actually logged on and wanted to raid.That’s right: people who show up out of obligation but make no real effort to be a productive member of the raid team are my pet peeve.
I do not mind a night plagued by unavoidable failures due to DCs or power outages or bugged bosses. It happens. I do not mind a night of attempts getting progressively closer to a boss kill without success. Learning the strat takes practice. But I DO mind raiding nights plagued by people ninja AFKing, or having no clue about the bosses we’re fighting, or dying due to continually standing in crap on the ground they can move out of, or having mysteriously changed their spec so they are no longer able to do their assigned job in the raid. This sort of thing makes me want to log off in a nerd rage.
World of Warcraft raids are not a spectator sport. They are a team effort. Perhaps with the latest nerfs, pro guilds can carry through more slackers and malcontents. But perhaps not. And regardless, I’m not your mommy so I don’t WANT to carry you through content. There — I’ve said it.
When did going to raids become an unbearable chore that one slogged through, seemingly trying to do as poor a job as possible so it would get called early and you could go back to picking herbs? What is it exactly about Cataclysm and its raid structure and guild changes that has made this seem like an all too common and prevalent issue?
I don’t have the answers. but I do have a request: if you are not feeling like raiding: please don’t sign up or accept the raid invitation. Everyone is entitled to a night off. And if you’re not willing to come in and give it your A game, you’re doing the rest of the team (many of whom spent time farming food and flask materials and repair money) a disservice.
Try, or don’t try, but please don’t waste your raid team’s time.
You have set times to raid.
Specifically, you raid at 6 p.m. pacific or a little bit after. This does not change based upon whimsy. Or enough people being on earlier. Or your raid leader not liking someone who can’t get online until 6 Pacific and thus trying to get things started before they log on.
You confirm your raid slots in advance.
No, not 30min in advance; a day or two in advance. Or better yet, you have a set raiding roster, and I’m on it. No one, including me, want to rush home form work to warm the bench.
Your loot policies are clear, and not subject to change.
Loot isn’t handed out based on their personal relationships with the raid leader/guild leader. RL/GL don’t get “dibs” on all the loot. Officers don’t get special consideration for special drops. There aren’t special requirements you’ve never heard about previously when a mount or a legendary drops.
You have people on in your non-raid times.
If your guild is a hot bed of activity during raid hours and a dead zone thereafter, that says to me there isn’t much camaraderie or community other than your raiding. And even if that’s very successful raiding, you’re not gong to be a good fit for me.
Your guild leader/raid leader/officers are experienced and well respected.
I am sure that there are many children under the age of 18 and people who’ve only been playing 6 months who are excellent guild and raid leaders. but so far, I haven’t encountered them. I’m a cranky 5 1/2 year veteran of WoW, and enjoy playing with people who are pretty experienced, mature, and with whom I have things in common in addition to playing this game.
What are the things you look for when shopping for a raiding guild?
One of the hardest things I’ve had to adjust to since leaving behind my more serious raiding guild days, and joining a series of casual guilds that raided, is the loss of being part of a set raid team.
There was the guild that seemed to have a core raiding group, of which I was apart, raiding every night for a year until I was unceremoniously sat for having reminded the tank’s brother to turn off his Crusader Aura while we were on Kael. Or the raid group where the raid leader would never tell any of us standby folks if we were needed or not, then get huffy when asked if we were needed or could be released to go do something else.
What I Like About Set Teams
My first, and most serious, raiding guild helped shaped my expectations, and preference, that raid seating be transparent, and communicated in advance. And it also showed me the power of having a set raiding team, with designated backups, rather than having some sort of round robin seating. When we started up our raids each week, there was no need to spend excessive amounts of time re-explaining fight mechanics for farm bosses. Previously killed bosses were summarily handled, leaving us with maximum time to head in and work on our progression boss or bosses of the evening.
Because we had the same base team each raid, and didn’t constantly change up strat, folks had a chance to practice their role, learn how to optimize it during the fight, and set goals for exceeding the prior kill’s perfection in execution. We knew which raid member would pull out all the stops if there was a mishap, whom was best suited for which special task, etc.
In the last 2 years especially, I’ve primarily raided in situations wherein the raid had an entirely different make-up week-to-week. Different healing classes, different distributions of DPS, entirely different players week-to-week. While I do understand how for guilds with too many raiders for a 10-man raid and not enough raiders (or desire) for a 25-man raid can see rotating people in and out of one 10-man to be the path of least resistance for raid seating, I also think it is a key contributor to slowed progression through the content.
From my personal perspective, I’m just not as sharp on a boss I am only seeing every few weeks as I am on content I’ve done on a regular basis. And it takes time to build raid synergy and relationships. If you are spending 30min of your 3-hour raid time explaining fights to people who have never seen them before, you’re not left with much time to build camaraderie — or to work on new content either.
And What I Hate Most About Unschedulers
In the case of the unschedulers, who can’t confirm people When I’ve hurried home from work to make a 6 p.m. raid start, only to find the raid has started in my absence, or to be told I’m being sat for a new person, it’s peeved me. I could have gone out for a drink with a colleague, or stopped by the Farmers’ Market, or finished up one last task at my desk. If only the raid leader had changed my status to Out for that raid I signed up for 2 weeks ago.
We are all busy people. If you are working 40+ horus per week, it’s hard enough to schedule your raid nights around everything else you need to get done. So when you do those scheduling feats, or spend $30 to catch a cab home to be there for your raid team, it truly sucks to be warming the bench for the night. Yes, it takes extra time for the raid leader to confirm people, and yes it requires those who sign up for raids to be committed to actually attending them, but I do believe having a set slate of raiders, confirmed in advance, is the best course of action to progress through raids.
How to Deal With Backups
Now, when I’ve gotten into heated discussions int he past with folks over this issue, it’s often been due to the thought that a set slate of core raiders causes a team experience gap for the inevitably needed backups/fill-ins. But I disagree. My most successful raid team had several slots set aside in each raid to rotate backups in and out to ensure they learned the new fights and could keep up on the farm content. Yes, in a 10-man you have less leeway than in a 25-man, but it’s still doable. You can set aside a healing slot and a DPS slot that rotates people each raid night. If you are in the envious position of being a guild with a surplus of tanks, you can also rotate your off tanks from DPS to Off-tank each raid.
In my opinion, having a more disciplined approach to your raid seating can strengthen the camaraderie of your raid team and be a solid base for progression success. What are your thoughts on raid seating?
You may have noticed some shiny new locales in my screenshots as of late. That’s because I’m in a new guild horde-side. They’re 10/12, and I get to raid 3 nights per week. A nice upgrade in the raiding department over my prior situation.
That said, like any guild change, it’s an adjustment. I’ve gone from being an officer in a guild that I was in for almost two years, to being the new kid in the progression raid team in a Cataclysm-birthed guild. Easing the transition is the fact that the guild leader is my SO’s buddy from way back. So that helps. But it still takes time to get to know everyone and get a sense for the flavor of the guild. And it’s easy for a new team member to feel left out of all the inside jokes that you just had to be there to understand. And if you are a highly competitive player, used to being recognized for doing a kick-ass job, it sucks to go back to unknown status.
All this got me thinking about how you as a new guild member can best get assimilated to a new guild.
3 Ways a New Guild Member Can Get to Know the Guild
When a guildie asks in G for someone to come along for a heroic, raise your hand. Even if you don’t need anything else from justice points. It’s in the 5-mans you actually have time to chit chat and get to know your fellow guildies.
Lurk on Vent
Even if you’re not the type to chit chat yourself, if you find that a number of your guildies stay logged in to Vent for hours, that may be a great way to get to know them a little better. And they don’t have to know that you’re surfing the Internet or reading blogs while you do it. ANd in fact, that may even give you some conversation fodder.
Connect via Social Media
No, I’m not talking about SPAMming folks with your get rich quick schemes. I’m talking about joining your guildies’ conversations on twitter, in the guild forums, on blogs, or even on Facebook. Pick the venues you are most comfortable with, and go raed through the past month or so of activity. Then add guildies to your connections, and say hi. I’ve been amazed at how much you can learn about your guildies just from being active on twitter.
So, what are your tips for getting to know a new guild?
Ah, the main tank. This is the raid quarterback role. All eyes are on them, all the time. Unfortunately, as a result, and due to how important and seemingly irreplaceable a good tank can be, some guilds bend over backwards to keep them happy. Often at the expense of the rest of the raid team.
My last serious progression raiding guild, circa Burning Crusade, had such a tank. He slowly but surely drove off many skilled raiders who were also great guildies (disclosure: I wsa one such member driven away), negatively impacting their ability to progress in raids. When last I checked in with them, in very late Wrath, the primadonna tank was gone for greener pastures, and they were nowhere near a Lich King kill. From progression raiding group, to a guild unable to get even one ten man kill of the Lich King. That was the cost to the guild for coddling a tank who was a bad fit for the guild– but able to talk a good game about how the guild couldn’t progress without him.
Don’t become that guild. You really don’t have to. There are always early warning signs that you have a toxic main tank that needs to be neutralized before he disolves your raiding team. Here are five:
Disrespects the other raid members.
This can manifest itself as talking over other people or shouting them down, fingerpointing at others whenever an issue or challenge pops up, and telling other people how to play their role. Often, this behavior is also related to not taking personal accountability for one’s actions and their consequences. Don’t chew out a melee for not knowing which add you wanted them to focus on when you 1) didn’t tell anyone beforehand and 2) didn’t mark a target. Bonus points if the tank also tells other people how replaceable they are.
You’ve told more than 1 raid member to just put him on mute on Vent.
Guildies should not have to put other guildies on mute or ignore. This is not open to discussion for me. Guildies should not have to put other guildies on mute or ignore. Yes, people are people and will have disagreements and different — sometimes clashing– points of view. But I have an expectation that I am playing with people who can be mature enough to have a difference of opinion without being nasty and rude to each other. If your main tank is mouthing off and being disrespectful to guildies to the point folks are upset, maybe you should tell the MT to mute himself.
Comes to raids…whenever he feels like it.
Oh, he missed the raid tonight without telling anyone because he was tired. MMMM’kk. But he wasn’t too tired to come online an hour and a half later to go to another raid? Um, no. He’s playing you. By not signing up for raids in advance, and then not always showing up, he’s playing a game designed to keep you walking on eggshells, saying things like “don’t upset the tank!” How much do you think it upset the 9 people who didn’t get to raid when he blew them off to show them their place? And double minus points if he has transferred off the server to go play with a more progressed guild at some stall in your progression.
Is an alt, with a main in a more progressed guild.
I’ve seen a lot more of this in the past 2 years, likely because of the ease with which we can get our alts geared up through heroics and badge/points gear. My serious raiding guilds would give an auto gkick to people who were raiding (or applying to raid) elsewhere. Why? Because you don’t want a raider who is only half committed to your raid. If you’re super casual this may not be an issue. But if you are working on Al’akir, and finally making some headway, do yuo want to call it when your tank bails to go do something with their main’s guild? Because that’s what starts happening eventually. And again, that leaves your raid team in the lurch.
Thinks (or even says out loud) you can’t possibly carry on without them.
It sucks to recruit a tank for your guild. But that doesn’t mean your toxic tank is irreplaceable. None of your raid members are irreplaceable. And if someone on the team has this attitude– this arrogance, it spills over into their interactions with the rest of the raid team. People don’t like someone who wields their smug superiority over them. That’s not how to build team camaraderie.
A raiding team full of frenemies may have some initial success, but once you hit the end of the tier bosses, you need true collaboration and teamwork to pull things off. If your main tank is exhibiting a few of these traits, sit him or her down and have a conversation about the importance of working as a team. Don’t let a key player unravel the team.
On a recent raid night, we somehow ended up one DPS short of a full raid (hold the jokes, please ;p). Thus, we ended up taking with us a member who had just joined the prior evening.
As it turns out, the officer who had invited this person, must not have known them very well, if at all. I say this because if they had, they wouldn’t have suggested bringing him in so far into the instance. Why do I say this? Because I’m pretty sure it was his first ever raid instance.
This player kept asking what color dot he needed to follow on the mini map and was clearly perplexed when asked to just visually look at his screen to see where folks were standing and moving towards. After partially wiping the raid group by running fire in the opposite edition (he literally ran me down), over Vent he asked repeatedly why the instance wouldn’t let him back in. And when he finally was in and we were about to go for what was his third attempt, he asked us to wait when the ready check popped up, and proceeded to ask why we didn’t all just spread out instead of moving around on the fight.
I believe we gave him three attempts before we cut him loose. And I don’t foresee our taking him with us ever again. Why? A few key reasons:
He didn’t say he was new to raiding before accepting the invitation
He demonstrated an inability to follow instructions
He talked over vent almost non-stop through the attempts, distracting the entire team from doing their jobs
Despite having no idea what he was doing, tried to tell the raid leader and team what we should be doing differently, on a boss we’d previously killed a number of times.
Start with Baby Steps
Now, I do understand why someone without any raiding experience would want to join a raiding guild. And why they would be excited to be invited to a raid. And we do al have to start somewhere. But if you have no experience with grouping for raids, unless you are a WOW savant, a difficult boss towards the end of an instance is not the place to do that. You really need to start with an easier fight, and to have prepared for it.
Your best bet for getting your raiding feet wet is Baradin Hold. A slight bit of trash, only one boss, and a likelihood your guild can carry you through the content makes this a good starting point. You’ll be able to start to get familiar with the dynamics of coordinating 10 or 25 players to achieve a common goal. And gain an understanding of the tasks your class and role may be asked to perform in a raid.
Once you start to feel like you are keeping up with the group, you can start thinking about hitting some of the entry level raid bosses. But you’ll want to make sure you go watch a video of the encounter and read a description of what your role does in that fight, so that you are coming into the raid armed with enough knowledge to give it a good try. Be sure that your raid leader knows you are new to the instance, and ask clarifying questions if you are unsure of what you personally are being asked to do.
I understand it can seem scary to admit to being a newbie, but we were all newbies at one point or another. And a good team of folks will appreciate your ‘fessing up, versus not understanding why you are having trouble with executing on something they consider to be on farm mode.
It’s Friday, and we’ve got five keys to raiding success:
Raid leaders must remember their raid members are not mind readers.
If you need someone to do something, tell them — in advance of pulling the boss. Yelling at someone for not doing something you didn’t ask them to do, on a boss they’ve not seen, is not cool, and not effective.
Select and confirm your raiding teams a few days in advance.
If you have more people who want to raid than you have slots, this is imperative. It’s no fun to log on, revved up to raid, then get kicked to the curb. Many of your raiders are fitting raiding into already very busy lives. If they aren’t seated for a raid, and know that in advance, that gives them the opportunity to go do something else offline; it’s a lot harder to pull plans together last minute, after not getting in.
Let your raiders know your instance plan for the week.
THis allows them to watch videos the day of working on a new boss, prep their action bars with any macros, or go out and poke around blogs for tips on how to maximize their performance on that boss your team inevitably struggles with.
Make every attempt a serious attempt.
Don’t pull a boss while someone is AFK. Or before everyone is buffed and ready. Ask folks to get their food buff on and be running some sort of flask or elixir. Hand out — and use — healthstones if you are lucky enough to have a warlock on the team.
Keep finger pointing and backseat driving to a minimum during the fight. Keep Vent clear! The raid doesn’t need to know that the spatially unaware ranged DPS died unless they have a specific task that needs to be assigned to someone else. The know-it-all tank doesn’t actually know that it was the melee’s fault for whatever minor hiccup (that you just recovered from) happened. Mid-fight, when people start in with this stuff, or worse yet, rambling on about things completely non-related to the fight, it distracts the other raiders from doing their jobs, and can cause a wipe. Do your postmortem AFTER the fight, not as a play-by-play while the raid team is still working on it.
As always, YMMV, these opinions are solely mine and do not reflect those of any specific raiding team, and no fluffy animals or raiders were harmed in the making of this Friday Five. What are some of YOUR tips for raiding success?