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Drama Mamas: Returning to hard-mode raiding after a break

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.

Bench-warming is no fun when you're anxious to play, but how do you get off the bench if you aren't able to practice? For people returning to raiding after a long absence or just trying raiding for the first time, WoW Rookie has your back. But what if you know the strats and the stats, but just want to avoid any spats caused by fighting for raid spots?
My problem isn't much like the normal, in that not drama has really occurred it more of I would like advice in how to not cause any drama.

First off, I'll start with what I feel is the core of my problem. I am the type of player who, while I can research and understand a fight and its mechanics, I need to experience it a few times before I comfortably do max DPS and survivability. Once I do get it, I get decent DPS and rarely die -- probably not the best numbers for my class, but I definitely can pull my weight.
Recently I took about a 1-2 month break due to some real life situations, however now that I've come back, there's a pretty large bench for my guild. Don't get me wrong; I do not mind sitting out as long its not excessive, raiding is why I play. In any case, there are already two established members of my class that get in every raid. Due to rankings, I'd be seated last, which again I feel is okay. But the thing is, I'm concerned with even after I earn back my rank, which does take about a month of good attendance, I'm concerned I'll still never get a spot due to my lack of experience in the hard modes -- when I do get in I perform sub par due to being unused to the encounters.

What I'd really like to know is, am I being unfounded in my concerns? Is there a good way to bring this up without causing defensiveness? A month is a long time to sit on bench if just in the end I wont get in. I love my guild and would prefer not to leave but in the end I want to raid. Should I leave or stick this out? I love hard modes and feel I can do them as long as I get some practice. Should I perhaps look for a guild less progressed?

Confused
Drama Mama Robin: Hey Confused, I'd like you to put yourself in the shoes of the established members of your class that you are hoping to replace. I'm sure that taking the break from WoW was the right thing for you to do. Absolutely. But these two raiders have been there while you weren't, know the encounters, and are obviously performing well -- else you wouldn't be worried that your time on the bench won't ever end.

Why should the entire raid slow down progression to accommodate you? And why should either of these members of your class have to sit out if they show up on time, prepared and having earned their place? All teams, whether WoW raiding teams or physical world sports teams, have starters and benches for a reason. But most teams have a second string so that players on the bench can get practice.

I don't think that bringing up your concerns about replacing the starting team is the way to go here. I do think, however, that there is a glaring hole in your guild if there isn't a second string of raiders practicing so that there are effective substitutions when necessary. Most raiding guilds have raiding sessions that include the alts of the first string as well as members of the bench. If yours doesn't, then this is definitely something to bring up to the officers as a suggestion -- perhaps even to organize yourself. You need practice. Others need practice. It's for the good of the whole team, as well as for yourself, and that is how you should approach it.

Now, if your guild doesn't have enough people or interest to start up a second string raid group, then yes, I think your concerns are well-founded. If they did work you into the rotation, you will probably end up not performing as well as the regulars and might get blamed for things if they don't go as well. Your not getting practice is setting you up to fail.

If they can't or won't help you and your fellow benchers learn the encounters and get up to speed, then I think it's best if you find another guild. But I wouldn't go for one that is less progressed. Apply to one that is at least as progressed but has a second string. And get recommendations from your current guild to help you. After all, you wouldn't be leaving because of any drama or because they don't like you. You would be leaving because they don't have room for you. Your officers should be happy to help you find a good home if they can't properly accommodate you in theirs.

What it boils down to is that you love to raid, so you should raid. But you don't need to raid on the first string, if that option is not available to you at this time. So get yourself a hard-mode raiding spot on the second string of either your current guild or a new one. Good luck!

Drama Mama Lisa: Those are great ideas for doing the right thing by the rest of the team. I want to be certain, Confused, that you're also doing the right thing by you! You seem to have a firm grasp of your learning style -- and in my experience, people who try to play against the grain of their own personalities end up having not much fun in the end. You sound as if you prefer a slightly slower pace, that you'll enjoy yourself more if you can align yourself with a group that's ramping up at the same speed you are.

You need an opportunity to play at the level you are right here and now. Obviously, you'll need the chance to knock the rust off and polish up. But even after that, playing within the range of your own personal progression curve lets you actually participate in a meaningful way, rather than being carried along on the backs of guildmates who are further ahead on the learning and gearing curve.

I love the idea of sparking off a new team of alts and slower players in your current guild. It sounds like the perfect solution. If that doesn't work out, though, I think you'd be doing yourself a disservice (considering how much you say you enjoy raiding) by not pursuing a good fit that lets you attack these raids where you currently stand. Have at it, and happy progressing!

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 robin@wowinsider.com.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Guilds, Raiding, Drama Mamas

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