Why I Prefer to be Part of a Set Raid Team

It's a bummer that Magni is now Crystal Clear; likewise it's a bummer when your raid seating priotiy is not.

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?

4 thoughts on “Why I Prefer to be Part of a Set Raid Team”

  1. I feel that any raid group that wants to make consistent progress basically has to be stable from reset to reset. Sure, you can swap out a person or two sometimes, and it will slow things down but not stop them; but if most of the group doesn’t stay the same, you’ll be always and forever starting over, dealing with the same gear and communication issues, and building frustration in the group.
    Like you, I strongly prefer to know in advance whether I’m going to be raiding on a given night. It’s okay to bench me, I know everyone needs a turn, and sometimes that means I have to wait. But if I didn’t find out til the raid starts, I’d be unlikely to sign up again.
    I think that in raiding, as in life, good leaders are rare and precious. It’s so easy for personal issues and thoughtless favouritism to spoil a good group dynamic. Everyone likes to show up to a party, but a lot fewer are excited about organizing and cleaning up afterward. I feel like it’s a matter of basic respect for everyone to at least try to do their share (and that includes making and sticking to a schedule, for leaders and followers alike).

  2. I’ve been in guilds suffering from both sides of this. One was a 4 night guild that only required attendance 3, sometimes 2 in special cases, nights. This meant we had a very large roster, and most people only raided 3 nights a week. There were definitely days when we couldn’t repeat kills because the composition was poor, or we had a lot of the worst raiders.
    It only worked at all because the family atmosphere was a huge draw, and the guild was extremely stable – anyone who lasted 3 months was likely to still be there 2-3 years later. It meant they suffered very little from having to underman content.
    I’ve also been in a guild that could not recruit enough people after burn out took its toll, and everyone could raid every night they wanted to, but getting 20 people or less was pretty common. To me, that was worse. I can respect the giant roster of guild 1 after seeing what recruitment issues did to guild 2. (When that guild had enough raiders, we rotated in and out on a per-boss basis based on gear/loot/volunteers, which worked great. Crying baby? Ask to sit. Next in line for your BIS trinket? Ask to raid.)
    A heavily rotating schedule works well if everyone accepts that the entire guild progresses together, even if that means more slowly, and if those sit outs are planned in advance. I could absolutely not deal with being told I was sitting on the night of the raid.
    Like most of the issues you blog about, I feel like a clear guild objective, personal responsibility, maturity, and good communication between raiders and guild leadership are the keys to making any situation work.

  3. Completely agree:It’s okay to bench me, I know everyone needs a turn, and sometimes that means I have to wait. But if I didn’t find out til the raid starts, I’d be unlikely to sign up again.
    It’s an issue of courtesy and respect for each others’ time. But a lot of folks don’t seem to get that.

  4. I do think guilds with a solid family atmosphere can do things like having a boss-by-boss reshuffle of a raiding team. Unfortunately, that’s been more the exception than the rule to the environments in which I’ve raided. And when I’ve been that flex person bringing the toon/role that was needed, I’ve found that I’ve gotten more grief over it from players who didn’t swap than kudos for being a team player. Not to mention watching gear I needed on my main go to shard.

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