Written by | Posted September 8, 2015 – 9:51 pm Descent and Ascent

It didn’t take long to get from Thunder Bluff to the Echo Isles – Ankona took advantage of a wyvern so she could think and plan before getting to her destination. She had information to confirm with the spirits – was Gromnor dead? Was he really in the northern part of the Eastern Kingdoms, somewhere […]

filed under Feature, Raiding
The Power of Experience
comment 7 Written by on June 29, 2010 – 10:29 am

Back in the bad old days of Molten Core, I was a hunter. I was also totally new to raiding, and had done very little/no grouping or instancing as I was leveling. WoW was my first MMO, and because of some issues I’d run into early on, I decided instances were awful and eye-stabbing, so I just never went. Once I hit 60, though, I started raiding, first in Zul’Gurub and then in Molten Core with a newly formed 40 man raid group in my guild. I was one of /seven/ hunters in that raid.

I was very, very new. Shiny, squeaky new. Freshly baked noob-pie new.

But I stuck with it.

I discovered I kind of liked raiding, especially at the beginning. I slowly picked up information about pulling instances and shot rotations and controlling my pet. The internet wasn’t nearly as full of WoW information as it is now, and I didn’t even know that such a thing as boss strategies /existed/ until we started learning fights like Garr.

Unfortunately, in our group was another hunter, experienced in the ways of MMOs and quite possibly raiding on another character at the time. My performance as a hunter did not meet his standards, and he expressed that to me – repeatedly, and in several forms: in whispers, and by complaining to the raid leaders, and by spamming Damage Meters parses at me. He went so far as to say that I didn’t deserve the loot that I was getting (even though I too had earned the DKP for it). No matter what I did, how prepared I felt I was, or what my placement was on the DPS chart, it wasn’t good enough.

When I got my Ancient Petrified Leaf, he told me (and the rest of the hunters) that I was a disappointment and not worth my raid spot when I didn’t have a completed Rhok’delar the next week (I didn’t complete my Rhok until 2.0 talents released and I moved to a new apartment, because lag really was not a good thing for two of the demon fights). He kept his raid spot because he topped the damage meters each week, and I guess the raid leaders didn’t think it was worth asking him not to come back or whatever. Either way, it went on for awhile, even though my class lead knew about the problem.

To this day, I still get irrationally furious any time someone links damage meters in chat, and when that raid fell apart, I decided I was done with being a hunter in a raid instance. Fortunately by then I was also raiding as a priest, and I’d discovered that there was a totally different measure of how to be a healer (and that the raid I subbed into did not have an antagonistic jerk in it).

If someone were to act that way today, I would tell them exactly where to go and how to get there. I know how raiding works in WoW, and I know when someone is legitimately saying “hey you could do X better” and when they’re just being an asshat. But I didn’t know that then.

And I almost quit raiding because of it.

So what’s the point?

The point is that experience, like the abilities you train and the boss fights you learn, is a skill that aids with raiding. That skill is something a lot of us take for granted, especially if we’ve been raiding awhile. But every new expansion comes with a new raid reset, and each raid reset brings new players to raiding. I’ve been raiding since UBRS was the “intro” to raids. Some people cut their teeth on Karazhan. Still others on Naxxramas. A whole new group of players will earn their raiding stripes on whatever the first raid instance is in Cataclysm (I don’t know what it will be and don’t care to know yet).

Raid experience is not just about having seen the inside of a dungeon either.

There are skills you learn, certainly, and boss fights. But you also learn group coordination, what to expect when you show up for a raid, how things usually work, what it’s like to wipe on a new boss for hours or weeks. You learn how to read patch notes, look up strategies, and learn to be effective at your class. You pick up raiding jargon (like tank, crowd control, adds, line of sight, DKP) as well as picking up on little jokes that later become Raid Tropes to refer back to and laugh about. Some jokes become universal – The Safety Dance, Don’t stand in fire, Merely a setback, IN THE MOUNTAINS, 50 DKP Minus, Many Whelps Handle It, Leroy Jenkins. Other things will be raid specific in-jokes – Prydion’s hair, 17 is less than 30, Don’t talk to Akama, Suddenly all the world was Bear, Things and Stuff, the Trinagle.

Every one of those little jokes, bits of jargon, raiding skills and coordination skills get filed away in your brain under “Raids”, and you become an experienced raider.

However, that doesn’t mean it’s your job to be responsible for everyone in your raid.

Is it your job to teach a new player how to play? Of course not. As a rank-and-file raider you are only responsible for yourself. But you should know the power of your words and actions towards other people, especially if they’re new.

Everyone has to learn somewhere, and everyone sucks when they’re new and starting out, and experienced raiders (whether they recognize it or not) have the power to make or break someone who is just trying out this “raid” thing.

Whether that means knowing where to point someone on the internet for great advice, how to walk someone through a new spec and rotation, who they should talk with to get that information, or simply when to shut up or suggest to your role/class leader that a discussion might be necessary, being supportive isn’t hard. It requires a modicum of patience, sure, but not everyone wants (or needs) to be a walking raid encyclopedia. Even though lots of resources do exist, not everyone instinctively knows about them. Being able to point someone at a Heigan youtube video that you found when you were learning to do the Safety Dance can save a wipe or five, repair bills, and frustration later on.

Perhaps the solution is to have a Troubleshooting and Complaints officer in your guild or raid, who can specifically be there for these types of situations.

If nothing else, follow the rule of DBAD (Don’t Be A Dick). Unless it is your job as a raid leader or officer to call out players for performing poorly… don’t. Trashing someone who is new can end up pushing them out of the game entirely. Most people are willing to learn, if approached in a way that doesn’t make them feel stupid or defensive.

Now, let me tell you another story (this one is shorter and happier).

When I first started raiding with Totally Raids, I was an enhancement shaman – for one raid. They desperately needed healers, specifically resto shaman flavored healers, so I decided to suck it up and try healing as a shaman. My first week in, I cast chain heal exactly twice, went OOM from trying to cast Healing Wave all the time, hardly used Earth Shield, and probably had my talents in all the wrong places.

After that raid, someone (I think it was Tarquin) sat me down, pointed me at Elitist Jerks and suggested I read up on healing strategies because I’d had some trouble and he thought maybe I needed better information.

Within a week, I was performing at levels that were up to par with the other healers. I learned.

The difference was all in the approach.

Tarquin was my raid leader – he had a voice of some authority, and also was someone that I trusted wasn’t just being overly competitive or a jerk. He spoke to me like I was intelligent, pointed me towards good resources, showed me how to read WoW WebStats, and sent me on my way. One of the other healers may have said “Wow, Annorah really doesn’t know how to play, and she’s making this harder on all of us,” and they would have been absolutely right. But rather than attack me for it, the TRI raid group decided to see if maybe I just needed to learn, instead of assuming I was just stupid.

In a few months, Cataclysm is going to come out and with it will come a whole swarm of new players.

Some of them will have raided in other games; for others, like I was, WoW will be their first MMO and/or their first time raiding. Everyone who runs raids right now in Wrath will become an “old” player – we’ll be the voices of experience, even if we don’t feel qualified.

How will we – the experienced raiders of Wrath – take on the challenge of working with new raiders in Cataclysm?


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7 Responses to “The Power of Experience”

  1. Fantastic post. It’s really resonating within me, though I can’t quite find words yet to describe it.

    i hope we take on the new raiders with patience and generosity.

  2. Couldn’t agree more on this one. I was a hunter class raid leader back in the MC/ZG days and have had to deal with both the “new guy” and the “I’m so leet I know it all”. Which did I prefer? The new guy… at least they are willing to listen to REAL advice. Leet guy all to often only manages to shut down a new raider completely to the point of making them afraid to ask for a bathroom break.

    We were all noobs back when we installed this game, doesn’t matter if that was 5 years ago or 5 months ago. I’ve always made it clear to my guildies that I’m open to answer questions or willing to take some time out for a few show-and-tell lessons. I’m still known as the guild’s to go person for pet info even after we dropped guildranks completely.

    But I’ve had to learn a few things myself. Don’t jump on a person asking if they need a few pointers if they “seem” to be doing it wrong, especially if you don’t fully know their class mechanics yet. My bad was with the DK pet ghoul: pet control is the main skill of a good BM… so imagine my surprise when I found out the DK ghoul starts out as a fire & forget & pray missile. ><

    Damage meters don't get me rifled up much anymore. Those who post them either really want to compliment someone on a job well done, or they need their own epeen stroked. The latter usually ends up on the mental Ignore list long before that table was posted. But I have learned very quickly to pull those guys back by their ears if they start bossing others around… especially if new guy is the target. I learned that in my MC days when I shared the class lead duties with 2 others (I was pet and BM, one was MM and pulling, the other strat-wizz). One guy was making 39 others insane with his "I'm so leet" comments and trash talk to the newer raiders. When three hunter class leaders unanimously decide someone needs to learn a little lesson in the middle of MC and we get wipe-permission from the Raid Leader… you are L5 pet-food… or more precisely a repeated dark smear on the floor. Add to that a no-heal debuff, and tea-bagging target for all (first to die and last to be raised), and he quickly got the message.

    My advice: Be friendly and open to the new guys, firm to the idiots who think they know it all, and most importantly know your own limits. Even the developers don't know everything about WoW so neither do us "greybeards".

    By Tsani on Jun 29, 2010 | Reply
  3. As usual, Anna, you really nailed it. When someone first gets into raiding–or changes to a new raid group or new server or even a new raid instance–how the other raiders, especially the leadership, treat them will have a huge impact on how successful they will be…and, I submit, how successful the raid will be as well.

    That doesn’t mean you tolerate people slacking and not giving their best. It means that instead of bringing down the whip at the slightest imagined failure, officers and other raiders need to find out what’s going on first, offer help, offer advice, and be supportive. It works. I’m proof. I wouldn’t be raiding now if folks in The Anvil hadn’t seen where I was making mistakes, worked with me, given me advice, occasionally given me an ass-kicking when I needed it (<3 Pill!), and in general treated me like a valued member of the raid instead of something to be discarded because I wasn't up to their standards.

  4. It is galling how many folks don’t think DBAD is a worthwhile rule to enforce. Or that folks who do have a baseline expectation of civil and collegial behavior from guildies and raid mates are asking too much of others. Arrrgh!

    Personally, as demonstrated I try by my in game activities, and in what I write about for myself in my blog, to walk the talk. I think DBAD and civility is something that each person needs to own in a guild. It’s fine to have a crappy day or to slip up and be rude now and then, as long as you try to be self aware and apologize. Take ownership of your behavior, etc. Otherwise, the raft of new players coming in to the game and into our runs and our guilds won’t think there are any baseline expectations.

  5. My Hunter is just out of retirement (after 2 years AFK) so I’m a little rusty and barely managing 1K DPS at 74 on a good day, and I’m rather self-conscious about being this. I still try to do my best but when I check Recount I’m not surprised to find myself #3 and sometimes #4 on the Meter.

    A few days ago I was doing an LFD Random and while fighting one group we aggroed a wandering 3-Mob Pat which overwhelmed us causing a wipe.

    “WTF just happened?” someone asked.

    The Rogue replied, “Huntards Pet pulled the Pat”


    Excuse me???

    The…Huntard’s Pet…pulled the Pat???

    I got a little upset, at both being called a Huntard, and being accused (in a roundabout manner) of having caused a Wipe that I knew not only was NOT my fault but IMO (in this particular case) was actually caused by a lack of situational awareness by The Tank, who hadn’t pulled the group back to a safer area.

    When it was pointed out that I was accusing the Tank of causing the Wipe I agreed that that was what I was saying.

    The Group laughed it off, including the Tank, and on we went.

    Later the Rogue threw up a Damage Meter, but I’d noticed the Header actually said “Total Damage Taken”, not “Total Damage Dealt”. Being a Hunter and thus Ranged DPS I’d naturally taken barely 5% damage, just a shade more than the Healer.

    Of course the Rogue piped up, “WTF? Hunter doing little more DPS than the Healer?”

    “More like Hunter taking little more damage than the Healer,” I replied.

    For some reason my Recount wasn’t working. It wasn’t even showing just my own DPS, so I was unable to confirm how I really was performing.

    But then the Tank spoke up, stating that I was apparently beating out the Rogue.
    The other DPS confirmed this and now it was the Rogue’s turn to get defensive, claiming he’d been AFK for 10 seconds on one of the recent fights, and throwing up various other excuses for why his DPS was lower than mine.
    Finally. Vindication. Proof I’m a Noob, but not necessarily a Nub 🙂

  6. It’s funny how B***** was such an ass that you, me, and several other people STILL conjure this guy on a routine basis whenever someone is critical towards us, or does the meter-swagger, or any of a set of elitist behaviors.

    You want to know something? Luna STILL doesn’t have her Rhok because of how bad this guy made me feel about it. I still get kind of a sick feeling in my stomach whenever I think about going after it, or see the grayed-out quests still sitting in her log. And I know he only did it because I got the leaf first even though I didn’t “deserve” it as much as him in his mind.

    All this is aside from all the OTHER headaches he caused me as a result of our relative positions within the raid hierarchy.

    I’m not sure I ever told you this, but you may like it. He was an occasional player in FE’s Kara raid in BC, when we needed a ranged DPS. The tanks HATED the ever-loving heck out of the guy. Why? “Because he can’t watch his threat, can’t put a mob in a trap to save his life, and acts like we should be honored that he consents to associate with us mere mortals.”

    What goes around…

    By Lilivati on Jul 3, 2010 | Reply
  7. We had a Holy Priest with us when we started raiding with Kara. I was the other Holy Priest around and there was good natured competition between the healers. This one person always topped the heal meters, always. We carried on raiding and it got to the point when we were getting aware that she was drinking after every fight, while myself and our other healer would be sitting on a good pile of mana still. Looking at the healing charts we noticed that she was overhealing by 60% and yet she insisted she was the best thing to healing since sliced bread. She was shown that she was overhealing and would not accept it and eventually left. She was unwilling to learn, no-one called her stupid, she was convinced of her superiority and that was it.

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