Archive for April 29, 2010

Raiders vs. Raids: One response

Posted in Blogging on April 29, 2010 by zarigar

I had another post almost ready to go for today but then Del over at The Den of Delerius had an interesting post that brought up a lot of questions and challenged for blog responses. (But it’s not a meme!) His alternate title for that post was “Do you help the raid or does the raid help you? Do you help the guild or does the guild help you?”.

Of course these are not mutually exclusive but the 2 questions have a lot of common answers, so I’ll try to form a somewhat coherent response to both. I hope I am understanding what Del is asking; if not, I’m sure he’ll tell me. And, just to make things a bit more confusing, I’m going to answer his questions in reverse order of how he asked them:

Why do you play?

Honestly, the answer here should always be “for fun”. If there is no aspect of the game that is fun to you, then it makes no sense for you to play. Whether you love leveling, hustling the auction house, end game raiding, PVP–whatever–there has to be some enjoyment you get out of playing the game. Whatever it is that draws you back to the game, the common factor should be that it is fun to you.

I work with computers all day. No way would I spend my free time being on the computer some more if I wasn’t having fun. If you’re not having fun, Cata will fix it!

Remember fun–it’s going to be a recurring theme here.

Why do you guild?

This question is a little more tricky; there is no true or correct answer here. Everyone’s response to this question will probably be a bit different. It would be nice if everyone said they were in a guild for fun, but it’s not as easy as that.

Shadow Rising is primarily a raiding guild. Yes, there are socials who are there for fun and the occasional raid, but most of the people are there for the raiding opportunities. A good chunk of SR itself is made up of the guild formerly known as House Vol. HV was originally a guild of people who knew each other in various ways outside of the game and formed together in game as one unit.

Many people in HV wanted to raid, but the numbers weren’t there for consistent raiding. Some people wanted to be more hardcore raiders than others. The idea of merging HV with SR was put out in the open with people having the option to share their thoughts and opinions before it happened. In the end, some people chose not to merge with SR. Some chose to switch over but not as a raider.

/end history lesson

Raiding wasn’t an obsession of mine, but it was fun and I enjoyed what little of it I had done at that point. But the biggest thing that convinced me to merge was that my friends were also joining SR. In the time since, I’ve seen that SR isn’t just about raiding, it’s about the people there.

I don’t have a lot of experiences with other guilds, so I don’t know what’s considered normal for them. My draenei priest on another server is technically in a guild, but aside from Zambra’s cheesy alts, there isn’t a lot of activity going on over there. It was lonely there without other people to interact with, even if just to fill up guild chat with stupid dirty jokes.

I would not trade drunken evenings or hourlong drive-thru’s or “nudity belongs in the bathroom only” chats because they are what make up SR. A night where no raids are scheduled can often be as much fun as the nights that are.

Why do you raid?

So that brings up to what I think is the main point of Del’s original post. Why do you raid? What does raiding bring to you? And what do you bring to it?

Why raid? Because you’re in a raiding guild? No, no. Because it’s fun! FUN!

Yes, it’s fun to get loot, but if your sole purpose in raiding is the hope that you are going to get loot, then you are going to be disappointed a lot. Titles and achievements and hard modes are fun, but again, are maybe not specific reasons that you raid.

All of them together? Yes. And the people involved? Yes. The entire raid experience would be so much different if I didn’t like the people in my guild.

It’s the whole experience of the raid that is fun.

Is it fun when I die? Or do something stupid? No. Do I take the lessons of fail and apply them to the next raid? I try to. Failing isn’t fun at the time, but it hopefully teaches me something to apply to the next time, thereby increasing my future fun.

As to how and why other people raid, it’s an individual choice. For me, people should play what they are comfortable with and which gives them the most fun. Here is where I am going to deviate from Del’s thoughts a bit. Del does not ever specifically say this, but it is kind of a pet peeve of mine so I am throwing it in:

Healers and tanks are not any more important to a raid than DPS.

You obviously need tanks. Your raid is dead in the water without healers. But DPS is not this generic term for all the leftover spots in a raid. You need good DPS just as much as you need tanks & healers to make a raid successful.

The dime a dozen mentality re: DPS is not one I’m fond of. Tanks and healers are specialized roles, yes, and you can argue that excellent players in those classes can carry some terrible DPS. DPS can also have specialized roles within encounters, and one can’t always use Recount as a measure of who is good and who is bad. The somewhat elitist superiority of that thinking takes away from the team aspect of a raid group.

Is there more flexibility with choosing DPS? Absolutely. There are so many more options as a raid leader to mix and match all the available DPS into the best possible raid composition. For most high level raids–as in, not VoA–it’s not necessarily a good idea to just grab whatever “warm bodies” are available to fill out spots.

So, in reading all of Del’s examples in people who bring differing levels of commitment to a raid/guild, it’s hard to form an easy answer that will accommodate all of the scenarios. There are so many potential factors that could influence whether one is being “selfish” or not:

  • Mr. T is obviously a rock star. Having all those geared and ready alts means he will have an assured place in virtually any raid. Plus having knowledge of all the roles means he has expertise in all the functions and can contribute more of a “bird’s eye view” to the raid encounters.
  • Why would anyone consider Ms. L to be selfish if she was DPSing and not healing? I don’t see how DPSing is considered contributing “less” to a raid; unless her DPS was vastly inferior to her healing capabilities.
  • Mr. Z with only a DPS toon is also not selfish based on what we know of him. I’m not sure how having a healer/tank alt on standby helps necessarily make him a better raider. In this scenario, I suppose the assumption is that hopefully there is some kind of back-up if the regular tanks & heals are not available? Do all of the other DPS’ers in Mr. Z’s raid have a healer/tank alt? Again, the importance of DPS seems to be getting minimized here, in the assumption that having a pure DPS character is somehow hampering the raid/guild.
  • Mr. S has various 80’s spread out amongst other guilds and are apparently hidden. This is the most fleshed-out example and the one where I can most see people having an issue with. Obviously, he is not under obligation to have all his raiding toons in one guild or even have them all be publicly known, but I can see people from one guild being upset that he has a secret tank somewhere that he doesn’t occasionally utilize for the guild. But, again, that will depend on circumstance. Maybe the guild where he DPS’s has tanks coming out the ears and he will actually get more raiding time as DPS. Maybe the guild he tanks with only does 10-mans, which is easier on his not-so-great computer.

I guess what I’m trying to say with these scenarios is that it’s not always cut-and-dry why some people do what they do. If people are playing the characters they want to play and are having fun with them, that is all I care about. I hope that people who take on the specialized roles like healing and tanking do so because it is fun to them and they enjoy that playing style.

No, it’s not always perfect. Sometimes someone might need to heal if they don’t really want to. It just depends if the trade-off is worth it to them. They sacrifice a little fun of playing their preferred character for the fun of the raiding experience. (And of course, if they outright refuse to heal and the raid falls apart, then you have another issue there.)

If someone wants to exclusively DPS, they should be able to. They just need to be aware that it could potentially limit their spot on a raid team if there is more interest than spots available. Ret pally #6 might end up on the bench while the raid leader looks for the desired holy pally.

LOL, the second half of this seems like justification of the existence of DPS–nobody puts DPS in a corner!–but really what I want to say was that I think people should keep the game (and all of the elements within) fun. I don’t really know if I answered any of Del’s questions, but thanks again for the interesting topic!

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