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Drama Mamas: When casual raiding is neither casual nor raiding

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.

There is a common misconception that "casual" is synonymous with being inconsiderate or incompetent. Perhaps this is because many raiding guilds that take long breaks, don't show up on time, and don't read strategies before new encounters call themselves casual. What category does the letter writer's guild fall into?
Hey dear drama mama's

I'll try not to make any mistakes in my language since English isn't my native tongue.

I've read your colum/posts for a long time now and I always praise myself lucky that I've been spared of that drama.

Unfortunatly I'm in a conundrum.
I started WoW last year. The dream i always had of doing in WoW was raiding.
Unfortunatly, as my main was a mage, it was impossible to get in a raiding guild (the whole need experience to raid circle). Now right as 4.3 hit my priest hitted 85. I quickly geared up and by chance found a raiding guild. It's a fun atmosphere and i love healing both as disc and holy but there is just one problem. when at a new boss in the raid I quickly grasp the tactics (thanks to LFR and WoW Insider Raid Rx).

Yet time and time again many of my guildies die to the simplest of tactics like the ultraxion hour of twilight or the hagara ice walls. Last week i read this article and many of the tings that frustate me came in it. Every week new people seem to join and others seem to dissapear.

Some people even only show on wednesday (farm) night and never on progression. I would like to do achievments and clear normal mode and heroic but the guild only seems interrested in moving at a ever so slow pace through normal mode.

Time is my biggest annoyance. The raid should start at 8:45 but most of the time the summon happens at 9:30, if i'm lucky. If the first boss isn't morchok, it could take to 10:30 before we finally kill morchok or yor'sahj, even after all these weeks. Extended pauzes are taken. Last week I could even boil water, set tea with it, wait till it's cool enough to drink and slowly drink it up in 1 pauze (it was 30~45 min).

Thanks to our slow progression we hitted 6/8 normal finally last week while many guilds cleared it and even are doing heroics. When we finally hit a new boss after being stuck for weeks, the raid leader even has to look up on the tactis yet. I often picture him like this in my head.

I now I'm ranting a bit and it seems that i should just look another guild, but it's just such a good atmosphere. Since I'm rather good at healing (thx vuhdo), I get a lot of appreciation of the rest of the guild. They never complain when RL gets in the way of WoW. When I make mistakes (everybody makes them), I always appoligize and say what did wrong (wich the rest never does). They are never angry about it (this is both positive and negative).

I'm worried that if I leave I won't find another raiding guild. And if i leave what's the best time to do it? Now in the pre-expansion lul, right after mists hit or a bit after it?

I hope you can make me feel less indecisive.

sincerly

indecisive Priest
Image Drama Mama LisaDrama Mama Lisa: Indecisive, you joined this guild to finally experience the raid content you were never able to find a group for with your mage. Let's be clear: There's nothing to be indecisive about, because you have not achieved that goal. You're in a guild, yes, but you haven't cleared the content on normal mode yet. You've met good friends and had some good times, yes, but you're nowhere close to biting into raid encounters the way you've always dreamed of.

I know there's a strong temptation to jump in and solve this guild's problems. But if you volunteer for the mantle of knight in shining armor, you'd be biting off considerably more than you'd planned to chew. After all, you really just wanted to raid, didn't you? Unless you truly relish being sucked into the maelstrom of a massive organizational and interpersonal challenge, steer clear of any temptation to patch this guild up.

Even if you feel up to the task, foisting a tighter structure onto this group runs the risk of destroying the very atmosphere that keeps it together. True, a tune-up could change things for the better; it could also stress people out and generate a massive wall of resentment and anger. Warning: Not every guild wants to be efficient. Especially if this guild has been together for some time now, this could be the way these folks prefer to operate.

It's time for you to start looking for a more organized raiding guild. Despite the current pre-expansion lull, as soon as Blizzard announces an imminent release for Mists, guilds will be scrambling to plug holes and strengthen their teams for heading into the new content. Use this time to identify groups with firm raid times that fit your schedule and a solid record of timely progression, as well as a good variety of the socializing and other activities you've come to enjoy with your current guild. If the thought of leaving this group really hurts, start up a new, unguilded character for raiding and join a more organized, progressive guild when you've reached endgame. Or perhaps you could shift to playing your mage with your current guild, then quietly move the priest out of the guild to find a new home in the expansion.

Robin, of course, may have different ideas ...

Image Drama Mama RobinDrama Mama Robin: Well, actually, Indecisive, I think Lisa's advice is spot on. But let's say you really want to make this guild the raiding guild of your dreams -- there are some things you can do. However, you have to be an officer. And you have to get full cooperation from the leadership for what you want to do. And your fellow guildies must really want to change to be an actual raiding guild.

If you don't have all of these things, you will not be successful. Scroll back up to Lisa's advice and move forward with your raiding life.

If you do have full cooperation from everyone, then Scott's guide is an excellent one. Number 5 particularly applies to your issues: efficiency. A raiding guild (or any guild that groups together for anything) must make efficient use of its time. Here are some tips:
  • Give a 15-minute grace period for raid start times. Anyone who doesn't show up on time doesn't get to participate.
  • Have a backup plan. If you're a 25-man raiding guild, have a backup plan of one or two 10-mans. A scheduled 10-man raid should have a heroic lined up just in case.
  • Start the raid or backup plan on time or within 15 minutes. If you don't have enough people, cancel the raid.
  • Schedule appropriate 10-minute breaks. Of course, stuff happens and people will have to AFK unexpectedly, but having scheduled breaks will minimize this.
  • Post some tips for things that should be completed before raid time, including the arrival of ordered dinner, arrangement for care for small children, an agreement with a spouse for uninterrupted time, and whatever in-game needs that need to be taken care of. (There's no such thing as spousal/parent aggro. It is actually lack-of-communication aggro. Please refer to our column on the subject.)
  • Be flexible about raid times and days. Once people realize these rules will be adhered to, they may say that the schedule just won't work for them. Arrange it so that most of the interested raiders who actually show up can attend.
  • Bait and switch on farm nights when necessary. If a raid gets canceled due to lack of attendance, then run it when people show up for the farm night. But really, you don't have to be sneaky about it. Just say that progression raids have the highest priority and the activity for the night will be adjusted accordingly. Of course, I'm not suggesting that farm nights should be removed from the schedule, but a group of people who agree that they want to progress should be willing to do what's necessary.
  • Post links on your forums for what videos or posts that the guildies should be familiar with before new fights. Preparation prevents wipes and wipes take time. But we all know that.
You will get a couple of common complaints when trying to enforce these rules:
  • I don't want to work when I play a game. Read: I am unwilling to put in any effort but am perfectly willing to be carried and spoon-fed.
  • It's just a game. Real life is always more important. Read: My real life is more important than everyone else's real life.
Those who make the first complaint shouldn't raid or even do heroics. The people who make the second complaint shouldn't group at all.

For those of you who think I'm being harsh, let me put it in perspective. You hold up the game when you get called to dinner by your mom, or decide you need to shave, or go ... uh ... spend time with with your significant other (nudge, nudge, wink, wink), or need to read your kid a book at bedtime, etc. At the same time, Bob might have a show he wants to watch at a certain time and for some reason doesn't have a DVR. Sue may need to get up early the next morning for work. Johnny and his mom may have a cut-off time for video games on school nights (yay responsible parents!). You get the idea. When you're AFK or unprepared, you affect the real lives of the real people participating with you.

It really comes down to being considerate of the real people you play with. Take appropriate steps so that the others in your group are not inconvenienced by your life. We wrote much more on this topic previously.

Anyway, Indecisive, if you have too many of the above complaints, your guild is not actually ready to make the changes necessary to be the raiding guild you want it to be. Don't be angry or hurt. Just scroll back up to Lisa's advice and enjoy progression raiding elsewhere.
Dodge the drama and become that player everyone wants in their group with a little help and insight from the Drama Mamas. Play nice ... and when in doubt, ask the Drama Mamas at robin@wowinsider.com. Read Robin's section of this post on how to get your letter answered and please remember that we cannot answer privately.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Drama Mamas

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