This isn’t a quitting post, nor is it going to be a long post about why my posting levels are much lower than they previously have been. Knowing my yearly energy cycle, you can expect me to be most active from around March until September, as that is when I tend to have the most creative energy to spend on side projects. What I want to talk about today is what phrases like ‘RL comes first’ and ‘fair rotation’ really mean in what amounts to a group setting.
The following has sprung up after various situations in the guild I am part of over the last year and a half. Although they have been prompted by recent events, I’ve tried to leave individual situations out of it.
Real life always comes first
It has become very clear to me that this phrase can refer to different things. Firstly there are absolute needs – emergencies and other unforeseen circumstances that cannot be avoided. This can be anything from bad traffic, to needing to work late, to your kid having an argument with her friend at a sleepover and needing to be picked up at 10pm. Stuff happens, and most guilds will be accepting and understanding of these situations.
The phrase is most often thrown around, in my guild at least, when someone has to study, or a birthday, or wants to hang out with friends instead of raid with online friends. Never in a million years would I expect someone to sign up for a raid they can’t commit to due to school, work or family life. However in a guild where many of us work full time and have kids, pets, and other responsibilities; we all make arrangements and preparations so that the three hours we get to raid in goes as smoothly as possible. That way if the unavoidable does happen, you won’t get caught out by needing to be summoned, or still need to grab consumables.
What others often mean by this is that when their dinner is ready, they go and eat it – no matter that it’s 30 minutes into the raid. Or they have to go to bed early, or whatever they need to do that takes longer than a scheduled raid break. There are guilds where raiders have young children that may need random sudden AFKs, but the guild as a community has normally accepted these situations in advance and made arrangements for them.
If you do have a random, unavoidable thing that may cause you to take a break mid raid, and you know it will happen (e.g. a delivery, a repairman, etc) make sure the raid leader knows. Real life definitely takes priority, but these 3 hours belong to the entire group of 25 people’s real lives. It is your responsibility to make sure that those raid hours are clean of interruptions, within reason.
A word that gets bandied about a lot. It is very easy to be frightened of things like loot systems, raid requirements. When I first started raiding I had a very definite predjudice against becoming what I viewed a ‘hard-core no lifer’. Nowadays I would definitely call myself casual, but I expect a certain level of preparation and dedication from myself and my fellow raiders. I often bump up against those who continue to view attendance requirements, dkp and performance requirements as the work of the debil, and I often wonder how much of the supposed animosity between hardcore raiders, average raiders and casuals is down to misconceptions and fears of these tried-and-tested mechanisms. The mechanisms of loot distribution, raid leading, lineup creation, raid team rotation exist because over the last 5 years many millions of players have learned from each other and figured out the best ways of herding cats. Just because you’re not familiar with them, or have had one bad experience with a particular group of people, it doesn’t mean that they don’t work or are the root of all raiding ills.
A complaint I often see revolves around how raid spots are handed out.
“If I’m already saved, I should have a spot for the whole reset”
“I can only come 2 raids out of 3 or 4, so I should always get a spot on those nights. That way we both get to raid.”
“I’m always available, I perform well, and I’m reliable, I should get the spot.”
“I’ve not finished gearing, but I should still get a spot as those epics are a bigger upgrade and I don’t want to get left behind”
“I’ve been a member here for 3 years, I should always get a spot”
“They only get perma-spots because they’re officers”
I’m not going to make any judgement calls about which of the above I think is fair, but I’ve often noticed a massive gap between the individual view of ‘fairness’, and what is best for the raid as a whole, or even what management view as fair. Then you also get to factor in guild morale and the impact it has on progression raid performance. It’s not easy running raids from a pool of adults of varying availability, skill levels and dedication. Personally I’m rather tired of it, but I’m never going to be able to dedicate myself to 100% signing up for more than 2 weeks in a row. I deliberately unsign from at least one raid per week to stop myself from burning out.
Also I hate raiding 10 mans.
Anyway, to get back to the idea of ‘fairness’, my point is that raiders need to try and think outside their own box of what is fair for them. Is it fair to expect the guild to progress slower, simply because you should always get to raid the one night a week when you’re available? Is it fair to expect other guildies to carry you, simply because your RL hasn’t allowed you time to get the best gear you could before you started signing up? Conversely, how quickly can you judge a raider’s performance, is it fair to bench them after only one raid of mediocre performance, when different raiders learn at different rates?
Not easy questions to answer, for any individual or any raid management team.