The term raider is wider used now than it has ever been thanks to the addition of LFR and now flex to the game but I am still stuck in an old school mentality about who I call a raider. While it is only an opinion of course I wonder if I am right in my thinking or if I am out of touch with the players of today.
Talking to a few people in the comments here recently has showed me that it seems many people that have raided, myself included, for a few years at least are in some way out of touch with the average player or average raider if you will. We all expect too much out of them maybe.
As a casual raid leader looking to rebuild after having many regulars quit in the past months, mostly quitting the game outright but a few saying they might return, I have seen a steady stream of new players applying to raid and calling themselves raiders. When the time comes to test them out I can't help but believe these people do not understand the word raider the same way I do. Or maybe it has just changed it meaning with the times and I am the one that needs to change the way I view the word.
Of all these new people there are a few rules to being a raider I see constantly being broken. Things that immediately say, you are not a raider. Things that I consider staples of what makes someone a raider that goes well beyond ability to play well in a raid. However playing well enough to raid is an issue of itself, but I will save that for a little later.
You are not a raider if...
... You consistently sign up for raid events and do not show.
... You do not let the raider leader, raid assistant, or any officer know of a change in your availability.
... You do not have whatever standard voice communication your raid team uses ready to go.
... You never come with your own flask or potions.
... You do not even consider using flasks or potions.
... You are not gemmed .
... You not not reforged.
... You are not enchanted.
... You are not using your profession bonuses, such as black smith gem slots.
... You do not have an encounter mod like deadly boss mobs installed.
... You show up to raid late.
... You expect people to wait for you 10 times a night.
... You are never ready when there is a ready check.
... You can not tell the difference between a healing circle and a hurting circle.
... You die on every fight to avoidable damage.
... You can not listen to simple instructions like stand on the marker.
... You do not know what the raid leader means when he/she says to use personals.
I could go on, I could probably go on for another 20 or 30 lines, but really this sums it up, the idea I am trying to get at. I am not even talking about the ability to raid here, I am just talking the basic things that people who want to raid regularly, as in raiders, usually take for granted.
I have a fair deal of alts as anyone that reads here knows and on some of them I do not really gem or enchant them until it is current item level of normal or better because I have no intention of using them in raids. They are profession alts, fun to play alts, farming character alts, or what have you. They are not characters intended for raiding. So I understand completely why someone would not be gemmed or enchanted or have flasks and potions on them. On characters I have no intention of raiding with I do not either. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. But I would not call myself a raider on my mage until it was raid ready.
Do I raid on those characters? I'd do an LFR here and there, maybe even join in on a flex, but only if it is a really strong group that I know can cover for my unprepared non raiding character. Most of the time if I plan on joining a flex I will still get myself raid ready however, just because that is who I am, but I would not always expect it of others.
I often ask people to bring an alt in and never fault them if they are not ready for it. If it is not their main toon or a toon they intended to raid on then it is understandable. But even in a casual raiding guild there are the basics of being a raider that must be followed and it is amazing that all these people coming to me saying they are raiders looking for a raiding guild because they want to raid are anything but raiders.
We had a warrior a few weeks ago that we needed to walk through installing our voice chat program because he never used it before. He had signed up for a raid, he had been approved for the raid, he was on 30 minutes before raid time when I started to assemble, but he waited until we zoned into the instance to ask for our voice chat information even if he was asked a few times to pop on earlier. Sorry, this is not a raider.
We invited a new healer to a flex four as the second healer. Our main healer can solo heal it, but it is a good way to test a new healer out. I was solo tanking so I will not make a big deal of me out healing them because they did have low gear and solo tanking those 3 bosses means lots of vengeance and that means lots of healing for me, but when other non healers are out healing them because they died to every single mechanic and kept needing all our battle revives and when they were not healing much even when they are were alive, so much so that a hunter almost beat them on 2 of the fights in healing done. Sorry, this is not a raider.
We invited a rogue to a normal run that was a 565 item level, fully gemmed, enchanted and accurately reforged, to the naked eye at least, but he never managed to reach 90K DPS on any of the first 8 fights before we called it a night. Sorry, this is not a raider.
And that leads into performance. It was always believed, at least to me, that raiders were better players than the people you might bump into otherwise. They had to be if they wanted to be downing bosses right? Wrong it seems.
I've tested out so many new damage dealers in the last few weeks my head explodes just thinking about it. We found one semi decent one and countless players I would throw back to the sea because they are not quite big fish. People I would not think of even bringing on a flex run based on their performance for the gear level.
Then there are the ones that make a huge deal about being raiders and joining to raid and not getting an invite to the raid like one three weeks ago. I explained to him that he just joined the guild today, this run would be a continuation of a run from the day before and the people that were there the day before would get invites first but if there was an open space we would let him know if he wanted to hang around. He then whispered me, but I signed up for the raid, send me an invite.
I explained to him again, he responded, I came here to raid, invite me. When I rebuked him again he whispered someone else in the raid to invite him, then a third person, then made a big deal about not being invited to the raid in guild chat and rage quit, all because he was a raider, in his own words, and he came here to raid.
After the run I looked on battle net to see he had limited raid experience in LFR, no flex, no normal raids, not even older ones. What made this person think they were a raider?
Would I have taken him, yes, for the earlier bosses as least to see what he could do. Even without experience, even with lesser gear, we could easily carry him through normal or take him on a flex, just to see what he could do. As a causal guild we never had a problem with new players to the raiding scene or people that needed to gear up, we will take anyone that is willing to learn and get better. For him I would take it from there, can he be taught, is he good enough as is and with practice will he get better, will he show up each week at a set time ready to roll. All those things need to be seen when you have no raid experience before I would even consider calling someone a raider.
Is it me just out of touch with the game the way it is today or is everyone a raider?
People like I mentioned I could call them back ups, trainees, fill ins, retired, a million and one things, but I would not call them raiders. Not when you show up without the basic simple things that actual raiders know are required, like gems and enchants.
Do you think we need another word for people who want to raid but are not actively raiders? I think so. It would be so much better than hearing someone bitch and complain that "I'm a raider and I should get an invite" just because they did the LFR once.
LFR is like riding your bike with training wheels, being a raider is like riding a motorcycle. Sure, learning the ride a bike will help when learning to ride a motorcycle later, but just because you are riding a bicycle with training wheels doesn't mean you can join the hells angles motorcycle club.
I think it is just me, I am out of touch. Everyone is a raider now, just like blizzard wants it and that rogue that can't do 90K with perfectly set up 565 gear deserves a spot over... you.