Drama Mamas Lisa Poisso and Robin Torres are experienced gamers and real-life mamas -- and just as we don't want our precious babies to be the ones kicking and wailing on the floor of the checkout lane next to the candy, neither do we want you to become known as That Guy on your realm.
Many people really enjoy the competition and grading of endgame progression raiding, but that's not the only raiding going on. Anyone can raid. To be clear, anyone who thinks raiding is fun can and should raid. You just need to find the right group of people with whom to have raiding fun. Even if you have obstacles like young children, an odd schedule or, as is the case this week, learning difficulties, there is a group of people who will enjoy raiding with you. Well, unless you're That Guy. Nobody wants to raid with him.
Dear Drama Mamas,
I want to start playing WoW. I think I'll be mostly fine running around on my own, doing quests and just general things. I'd eventually like to get into raiding. Here's where the problem starts. I have learning difficulties that make it a very, very slow process for me to learn things and then retain that information. I need to be shown over and over again before the information really sticks. Because of this, I'm very unsure about joining a guild, and the only other option available to me would be PUGs, but I'm not sure how that would go.
I can explain that I'm not very good at whatever it is I'm supposed to do (I haven't decided what I'll play as yet). But the people there would have been waiting for ages and probably won't appreciate me making them wipe or want to wait around for an enthusiastic but useless player. I worry that saying as soon as I join a group, "I have learning difficulties and I'm having a hard time learning how to raid," will sound like I'm trying for attention and/or sympathy, when I'm really not.
On the other hand, if I join a guild, the people in that guild will need to spend a long time helping me learn what to do if I'm going to at all useful in the raids.
I'm not confident enough to keep on and on saying "I don't understand" when people are spending a lot of time helping me. I guess I have a guilt complex. I'm not really sure what I'm asking anymore, but I'll send this anyway since I've typed it out.
Thanks for reading,
Shy, Worried and Confused
Drama Mama Robin: DON'T PUG! Sorry. I needed to get that out before I went any farther. If you read or agree with nothing else here, please please please please please do not PUG. Leave a comment or send me an email promising me, or else I will worry.
Shy, even if you didn't have challenges but just wanted to be a casual raider with a casual time commitment, you would have the same issues. Not everyone has the time and inclination to spend studying theorycrafting spreadsheets and collecting best-in-slot gear. Whether you have trouble learning or just don't have the time in your busy life to memorize recommended rotations and instance strategies, you are going to be treated the same in PUGs and called the same names. Though rudeness is not acceptable, there is an understandable and correct expectation for a minimum skill level at which you join a random dungeon or a PUG raid. Other players are not there to teach you how to play your class, nor are they there to repeatedly explain instance strategies until you get it and then remind you during the battle. (Good PUG leaders will give brief explanations before each encounter, but that's getting more rare.) Your fellow PUG members are there to have fun, just like you are. So it is good and right to play only with players who are agreeing to help you and the best place to find that is in a guild.
There is actually a whole lot of fun to the game that doesn't involve being in a group. So you may easily be able to enjoy yourself for quite a long time (or forever) without ever setting foot in a dungeon. However, since you do like the idea of grouping in the future, I highly recommend finding a friendly, understanding guild before you get too invested in a character and/or realm. Here are some tips for finding a guild for your situation:
- Do you have friends who play WoW? Even if they are in raiding guilds, they may be able to get you in on a non-progression-raider status. It is likely that a busy raiding guild will have time to help you when they are bored during non-raid times. They may even be willing to "carry" you in 25-man non-progression raids, so you could experience layouts and fights without being expected to participate.
- You could join us on Zangarmarsh (US-PvE-H) in <It came from the Blog>. Our guild is full of helpful, friendly, understanding people who are willing to help people and answer questions -- as long as the helpees are considerate and are willing to help themselves as well.
- Check out the comments below. My guess is that there are guilds who will offer to have you join them for casual leveling as well as casual dungeoning.
- Research casual guilds recruiting on the realm forums. You will likely find a few that sound like a good fit. Apply with them, making sure to be completely honest about your situation.
Drama Mama Lisa: Shy ... worried ... confused ... Heck, even seasoned raiders can feel all those emotions under the microscope of the raiding environment! Today's "gogogo" atmosphere is enough to fray the last nerve you're hanging onto like a frazzled thread. The good news is that you don't have to resign yourself to this kind of madness simply in order to raid.
I second the notion that the best thing you can do for yourself is find a group of friendly, supportive folks to chillax with. Take your time searching for a guild, and don't settle for the first tolerable possibility; you're looking for people you can actually enjoy. They're out there! Poke around for friendly-sounding posts on the official realm forums, and look through older posts here in The Classifieds. Don't limit yourself to your own realm; the price of a transfer is well worth the cost of connecting with a compatible group. When you find a promising group, create a level 1 character so you can contact guild officers in game for more information or even a trial guild membership for your new alt. Believe it or not, you can afford to be frank about your needs; there are plenty of casual guilds out there who would be thrilled to add another mature, relaxed member who's interested in raiding at a slower pace. Don't compromise. What you seek does exist!
My other suggestion is that you bolster your knowledge and confidence by assiduously preparing for every raid and every encounter.
- Make sure you know the basics of playing your class at the high end of the game. Cover the basics with our Class 101 series (scroll down just a bit more after you click, to see the entire series list). Polish up by digging through our class columns (look under Class in the horizontal menu at the top of our site), which break down specific endgame strategies.
- Read up on raiding itself. Our WoW Rookie article on Preparing for your first raid and our Ready Check column for raiders can bring you up to speed on general raiding practices. If you're a healer, you may also want to read Raid Rx.
- Study raid guides. Take a moment to run a search here at WoW.com, because many of our class columns have run specific guides from your class' point of view. Be sure to review our guides to Icecrown Citadel and Ruby Sanctum.
- Study more raid guides. Your motto: "Too much is never enough." Look up specific bosses and encounters at WoWWiki and watch the videos linked at the bottom of each article. Then hop over to YouTube and look for more videos shot from your own role's perspective (tank, healer, DPS). Follow along with your own printed notes, if it helps; when things start looking familiar and what the raid leader's saying starts making sense, you'll know things are starting to click.
Drama buster of the week
Not all unsolicited advice is bad, rude or cruelly meant. In fact, most people offer you advice on your character with the intentions of helping you -- they just aren't necessarily good at delivering their wisdom. Even if Mr. Condescending is boorish and rude, try to cut through the outer layer of ickiness and see if you can benefit from it. Don't get angry or defensive, just accept the advice and make changes accordingly. Then feel free to thank the clod for his helpfulness and educate him on his advice-giving techniques in turn. Keep it light and friendly, though.
/party Oops! You're right! I was using the wrong rank of that spell. FYI, I recommend not using the macro that combines Give Advice with Condescending Rudeness. You'll get better results, just like I will now. :)
Never mind. Just say that in your head. A simple thank-you is probably best.
Dodge the drama and become that player everyone wants in their group with a little help and insight from the Drama Mamas. Remember, your mama wouldn't want to see your name on any drama. Play nice ... and when in doubt, ask the Drama Mamas at DramaMamas@wow.com.