Friday, June 13, 2014

What Constitutes Actually Being a Raider?

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.
... etc

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.


  1. The LFRcakewalk introduction spawned this new breed of "Raider". Easier doors to open with less mental retention. A by product of catering to the masses. It's just something that has to be dealt with..much like the mindless blathering in trade chat, the moronic profanity and racials slurs thrown out in /yell and the "CAN I HAS SUM GOLD?" beggers that plague the Aezeroth's fine capitols. Just add the "New age raider" breed to the throw away pile. Or instruct them on the finer arts if you can. :) your raid list pre-reqs and I can personally put a check mark next to all but one. I've never heard a raid leader tell me to use personals....Am I off the list now? :P

    Always a great blog, keep it going.

    1. Well, if a raid leader never told you to use them then you could not follow the instruction. Therefore you can not fail there true?

      I try to teach those willing to learn. Those not willing to, there is nothing I can do. Or for that matter, there is nothing I want to do. I would rather not raid with someone not willing to learn. Give me a 435 geared person that just hit 90 6 seconds ago and wants to learn over a 565 rogue that doesn't any day.


  2. I just had a crazy thought.

    Grumpyelf. Have you raided on horde site before?

    What if the allianze site have all the bad players. And just like pvp, you will experience the opposite of what you have spfar?


    1. I only have 1 90 horde at the moment and it is not raid ready. Sure, at a 530 item level without being gemmed and enchanted I could probably still beat 90% of the player I would run into but for matters of self respect and knowing I can do better, I would not join even a pug under those conditions.

  3. It's not just individual players but even some guilds that have fallen into the trap of everyone is a raider if their iLvl is high enough. They'd rather take players with a higher iLvl than a higher skill level which just seems backwards to me.

    1. I get asked the item level question all the time when I ask in guild, "need one for for SoO" and someone says "what item level do I need".

      I should make a macro that says this, because I have to repeat it every freaking day it seems.

      "I don't care what your item level as long as you know how to play your class and can listen to instruction you can come along. We can get you gear if you can bring the skill to use it."

  4. Currently, I'd add "reforged" to your list, at least while it's still available.

    I don't see much on the list I disagree with... things like potions and flasks are iffy, only in that most casual raids shouldn't require potions (they're very situational) and in general I feel that guild raids should provide flasks and food... the gold perk should generally pay for those in most cases.

    (yes, I realize there isn't a lot of gold coming in right now due to game design but normally there is and there are other ways for guilds to raise funds for those things)

    Myself personally, I'll generally do everything on that list with a possible exception of potions, I only use those on heroic fights where there's a good chance that 1% more dps will actually have an impact... none of the items on your list require being an exceptional player, they're basically just a list of things that acknowledge you aren't playing the game alone, there are 9 to 24 other people who your actions have an effect on.

    I do think raiders should also do appropriate dps for their gear... seeing folks in i560 gear who are barely breaking 100K is concerning (especially when they're pugging in on heroic fights), especially by the 5th or 6th pull on a fight when they should have a better idea what they're doing.

    I also think that anyone calling him- or herself a raider should have the basic performance requirements beyond appropriate numbers... be able to handle standard mechanics without prompting (bad circles vs good circles, when to use personal CDs, etc), melee players attacking from the back, taking acceptable risks (and being able to adjust the definition of "acceptable" themselves on the fly), getting better from attempt to attempt, acknowledging errors when asked either directly or indirectly (RL: "Anyone know what happened there?"), etc, etc...

    I think some of the fights are simply too complex for some players... myself included, although I eventually figure stuff out. Hopefully among the other WoD changes will be somewhat of a simplification of raid mechanics... if a fight requires 6 active DBM timers that will all expire within 30 seconds and mixed stack- and spread-mechanics simultaneously while requiring constant movement, puddle soaking and add switching (*glares at H Sha*) there might be a wee bit too much going on. Not many are that bad on normal, though, to be fair, and heroic should be a step up in complexity as well as difficulty.

    1. Reforged, forgot about that one. See, things that I think should come automatically to anyone that wants to raid, it is easily forgettable.

      I am sorry, but even on the first pull if someone can not break 100K in 560+ gear they have no business being in a heroic. Heck, they have no business being in a normal. I'll be the first to admit that my DPS goes up substantially when I become more comfortable with a fight, but even at worst I don't think I would do less than 200K even being confused and having no clue what I was doing. Unless you knew ahead of time and were willing to carry a person, doing less than 100K even in normal is not acceptable.

      I give a big plus to someone that admits their mistakes. If I ask anyone know what happened and someone comes out and says I screwed up the placement of X then I give them the credit for admitting it. At least they know what they did wrong which means they are less likely to do it again.

      What I hate is when I know what the problem is and ask that and no one says anything. Yes, even if I know what wiped us I will sometimes still ask. People should know what they did right and wrong and where they can improve on their own.

      As far as not needing call outs, for heroic raiders, yes you really should know that all on your own. With casual raiders I find it is a great help for me to call things out.

      A guild mate, a good player at that, one that does not need things called out, ran a pug a couple of weeks ago on an alt and came to me to say, I never realized how important a good raider leader is until I ran in that pug. Thanks for all you do. He said the group had lots of problems, problems he never once saw in our groups, even when we were first doing the fights, all because the raid leader did not actually lead. For casual raids calling things out is really the difference between one shotting everything and wipes.

      I agree, some fights are just too complex and even good players will have problems with some things. Last boss in MV is my bane. I can avoid the moves as a tank, but as a melee I am freaking useless. I don't know why, I just can not avoid them. And even on my tank, the one he does straight down always gets me. I just can not do it. I am sure with more practice I could, but we killed it and moved on, we did not go back and do it again and again being there was a next tier of raiding available at the time. But that fight, I just doubt I would ever be able to get it as melee.

      As far as WoD goes, they better really limit the amount of movement needed or it will really suck for casual guilds. Ranged having less movement abilities, and healers having no instants mean if we need to move even half as often next expansion as we do in this one, no casual guild will ever managed to down normal (flex) in a timely manner.