July 6, 2010 – 10:05 am
Time for another edition of Ask Anna! This question is about how to find a new raid group (kinda).
As an aside, I am absolutely intentional aboud avoiding the terms “hardcore” and “casual” in this post, because I think they’re pretty useless.
To someone who logs in one or two nights a week and only plays by themself, a person who logs in most evenings and runs 5 mans and heroics is “hardcore”. To someone who logs in most evenings and runs 5 mans and heroics, a person who raids a few nights a week in a 25 man raid is “hardcore”. To someone who raids a few nights a week in a 25 man raid, a person who raids 5-6 nights a week on bleeding edge progression for many hours at a time is “hardcore”. To someone who has only one character, someone who has 12 alts may seem “hardcore”. It’s pretty arbitrary.
As such, I’m purely going to address people’s varying willingness to endure certain things, and different goals within raiding. Yes, it means this post is a bit wordier, but it avoids a lot of the ambiguous crap that goes along with trying to make predefined stereotypes fit.
I have a quick question for you that is … honestly.. neither really easy nor, in the end, really quick. In short, however: how can I get started in the whole ‘raid’ thing?
I am a dedicated roleplayer, and firm member of a roleplay-centric guild. We have raiders who are a part of this guild, but the guild as a whole is not dedicated to nor interested in the raiding ‘scene’. In fact, some of my guild’s roleplayers ultimately have problems with the basic “don’t stand in the fire.” This is not universally true, but from a raw numbers and ability standpoint, most are not interested in actually learning the skills (or minmaxing to the potential) necessary for raiding. Our guild is about half full of members of this sort – this isn’t bad, and is a perfectly fine playstyle, but our guild isn’t gonna be taking down the Lich King anytime in the next decade or two.
I have no interest in leaving this guild – and I know that already limits my raiding potential. On the other hand, I’d really like to see this endgame content before the next expansion drops. How can I make the leap? How can I get into a raid group where people are asking for experience and gearscore that implies you’ve already cleared the darned thing, when I’m not there yet?
I’m full ilevel232 geared (or better), badged to the point my wazoo is out, sporting best-I-can-get in just about every slot and putting out massive DPS and solid healing. I don’t stand in the fire. I make no pretensions of knowing all the fights, but I also don’t claim to be more than ‘new’.
How do I make the leap? How do I get people to give me a shot? How in the world am I supposed to get from here to there?
Ok, a few things.
First, you’ve correctly addressed that this is not at all about roleplay vs. not roleplay. Your guild, as it is, has two groups of people in it. A a group of people who are interested in raiding to the point that they’re willing to do the out-of-raid legwork to be “good” at it. And a group of people who want to go on a raid, but don’t wish to do a lot of “other stuff” outside of raids. They think raiding is fun – and that’s all they really care to invest.
And, as you also correctly addressed, this is absolutely fine as their choice of playing. Yeah, it probably means they won’t kill Arthas, but for some people, raiding isn’t about killing bosses as much as it is about having a good time. That’s totally fine. (Some of the things we do outside of raids are occasionally un-fun. I really am not that fond of farming, but I do it because I know my raid expects me to show up with flasks, for example.)
The problem shows up when not everyone in a guild or raid group feels the same way. When you have a group of people who are OK with the “un-fun” out-of-raid commitments because they want to beat more difficult content mixed in with people who just want to show up, clear what they can, and not worry about it… you get head butting and discontent.
All that aside, down to the actual meat of your question:
First, you might consider if it’s possible to continue RPing with your friends in your current guild without wearing the guild tag on your one main raiding character. Not every RP group is “guild only” either, and I don’t know enough about your group to say either way.
For now though, you’ve decided not to leave your guild, because you like them (and their RP).
That will, as you’ve mentioned, make finding a raid group more difficult, but not impossible. Not all raid groups are guild exclusive – and some servers are more friendly to this than others. (Feathermoon, the server I play on, has a number of non-guild raiding groups, as well as raids that are run by guilds but that have no “guild exclusive” requirement.)
All you can do is apply.
You can’t “make” people give you a shot.
Put together an application for guilds that interest you and are recruiting – if you’re not sure about guilds, check your server forums and the guild recruitment forum. Keep an eye out in trade chat (I know, I know, but you never can tell!) for groups looking for people of your class/spec and ask if this is a regular raid or a PUG. You say you’re regularly running heroics – if you see other people in a group that are from your server, ask them about your guild. Same goes for PUG ICC raids, especially 10 mans. I found TRI through Feathermoon’s IRC channel, where someone was bemoaning their lack of a healer for a Karazhan run.
Put your best foot forward. Obviously, by your email, you’re quite capable of complete sentences and clear statements – that’s a good start. At this point, the best you can do is be the best applicant you possibly can. Bellwether has a great post on How to Ace your App that’s a good read if you’ve not seen it yet.
Finding a new raid is work, and they don’t often fall into your lap. You’ll probably go on trial runs with groups that make you totally crazy or that can’t even clear what you’re already doing with your guild. You might go on runs with groups unwilling to explain new fights who then tell you you’re not a good fit because you can’t meet XYZ standard.
Obviously, if someone approaches you to say “no, we don’t think you’re a good fit”, you should be gracious about it. Whining, yelling, and being argumentative isn’t going to change their minds – and besides, that’s a good time to ask that person if they know of a guild that might fit better! Burning a bridge isn’t going to help you in the long run, and being gracious might mean they change their mind later (especially in the raiding climate that exists right now).
After all that, you may even decide that you’re not keen on the hassle and would rather stick with the group you’ve got. That’s fine as well – sometimes it takes getting into other groups to realize what you like about the raid you’ve got.
A lot of raids are winding down right now, between the summer lull and the impending expansion pack.
While that might mean it’s hard to find groups that are still active (I know a few that threw in the towel and are on break until Cataclysm already), it also means other raid groups are trying to keep their rosters full enough to raid. It’s a bit of a toss-up, but now can be a good time to find a new group willing to give you a try, especially on already learned (for them) content.
I wish you the best of luck finding a group that matches with what you’re wanting to put into raiding. It can be frustrating, and for a lot of (perfectly valid) reasons, sometimes we all agree to put up with one or two things we don’t like in order to stay with the things and people we DO like.
Also, as usual, I’m sure you all (my readers) have other advice to give Kharasa – please do so in the comments!
Good luck, and may the Loot-Fu (and Raid-Fu!) be with you!
July 1, 2010 – 7:47 am
My first character wasn’t a hunter, but a hunter was my first main. Yesterday, I got that first main – the character I learned how to play WoW on – to level 80. Going back through, I discovered I’d unintentionally managed to take a few screenshots that show her “growing up”.
There have been times over the last five years that I’ve thought about deleting the character, when I couldn’t get her RP to work or the class mechanics made me nuts (or both). But I didn’t, and I’m glad.
It’s been a long, strange, crazy fun trip, and I’m looking forward to whatever else Azeroth has to offer.
Level… 40 something, in Feralas. Back in the days when a hunter’s pet stayed summoned even when mounted, and when you got your very first ground mount at 40.
Level 52, Greens of the Something. This is the first screenshot showing Angie’s predisposition for armor that is red. This preference continues.
Level 60, and enjoying the first midsummer celebrations. This was either before I started raiding or just as our raids were beginning.
Level 60, post raiding. Note that the gloves don’t match in this screenshot. >.>
Level 70, with a new haircut thanks to the barber shop.
Level 80 – June 30, 2010
It’s kind of strange to think that I’ve been associated with this character for over five years, but looking back, I can’t say I really have much to complain about. I’ve had a blast leveling her to 80 (something I can’t really say was true of all my level 80 characters), and I’m really enjoying running heroics and whatever else shows up.
Am I likely to be a hunter again full time? No, not really. I still like healing, and Aely will still be my main in Cataclysm.
But there’s something sentimental about still slipping into that role that is the first one you ever tried out. Even now, when I look back, the image of her that remains in my head is one that still has elements from the original World of Warcraft. Her mental image, though it does update, always retains a little throwback to the Stormpike Tabard and refrigerator shoulders that made up her Tier 1 gear (Angoleth’s level 70 in that picture; I didn’t get my Tier 1 gloves until a legacy raid late in Burning Crusade. Oops!)
What about you? Do you still play the first character you “stuck with”? If you don’t still play them, have you kept them around (as a banker or crafter), or have they met with the Character Delete option? Are you sentimental about any of your characters in particular?
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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June 25, 2010 – 6:30 am
Hooray, it’s Midsummer!
Except… for all extents and purposes, Azeroth is a world without electricity. Which means it’s probably a world without universally available air conditioning. (Of course, gnomes are a likely exception) Fortunately, Azeroth is also a world with “climate controlled zones”… but that doesn’t mean we can’t add a little seasonal flair to our Midsummer celebration.
As such I propose a Friday Five-hundred! If you choose to take the challenge, write a 500 word (or fewer) ficlet that addresses the following prompt in some way:
A record-breaking heat wave hits Azeroth just in time for Midsummer.
When you’re done, post the fic (on a forum, on your blog) and leave a comment so I can go read them!
Questions to get started: How does your character deal with the heat? Do they try to “stick it out” in the city? Take a trip to the beach? Maybe go visit Winterspring or go hang out in the Library in the Storm Peaks? Is your character an engineer, attempting to find a way to cool buildings or rooms or people? How is your character doing health wise, and will this affect them? What about plate armor wearers? Does your elemental shaman cut a deal with Air? Maybe your frost mage keeps himself cool with a small, portable blizzard?
I’ll admit, this was prompted by both my own reality (which has been sauna-like for the last few weeks), and by a wonderful image, suggested by the Panzercow, of Aely sitting in front of a running Gnomish fan with her hair draped over the back of a chair, eating frozen grapes. We’ll see if the fic ends up being publishable 😉