Tanking for Dummies

How to Raid Casually
February 23, 2009, 12:01 am
Filed under: Raiding, Stupid Tanking | Tags: , , ,

…or how to succeed at raiding without pissing off the people who matter.

My first raiding experience, for the better part of two years, was a casual one.  For better, or worse, I feel like I have a pretty good grip on what constitutes effective casual raiding and what causes casual raid groups to implode.

Most attempts to address this conflict, between playing “casually” and being a “raider” have focused on the leadership side of things.  But the bricks and mortar of a raid group are not the leadership, but the individual raid members.  So this is a bit of advice to the guild or group that is thinking of taking the leap.

The rule of raiding, which should have been etched on the Core Fragment that let us attune to Molten Core is “I shall always strive to perform better than I did last attempt.” Raiding is about trying ourselves against the best challenges that the minds at Blizzard can devise.  Triumphing over that adversity can be done in many ways, but despite some rumors to the contrary one cannot simply put two tanks, two healers, and six DPS together and have Sapphiron cough up the “chubby mandolins.”  It requires a promise on part of the raider, no matter what the role, to pursue greatness for themselves and the whole of their raid group.  There are two reasons to go about things this way:  The first is that there will always be higher challenges to attempt, so this way you will always be ready to meet those challenges.  The second is that the road of friendship runs both ways; if your friends are going to always strive for greatness, then you will too.  Every raid has someone who is pushing it to the limit, even casual raids.  You don’t want to be the guy that isn’t playing along.

I would propose other rules of raiding, but all of them I think are subject to a debate.  This is the only one I can think of that if you can’t bring yourself to agree to, you might as well not raid.

By contrast the rule of staying “casual,” and the only rule I might add, is “I shall spend no more than two nights a week raiding.” Arbitrary time limit aside, I posit that the only thing which makes a casual raid is the amount of time that you allot to raiding and preparing for raid.  Fundamentally, “casual” in this context does not mean “I play when and how I want to” because that can and only does apply when you are playing by yourself.  Raiding, by contrast, requires you make an obligation to others.  Like in the real world, if you demand that your friends make allowances for your schedule and tastes, and don’t make similar compromises, that doesn’t make you “casual” – it makes you a dick.

Also, a correllary to the above: You can’t be “casual” and break that time limit in any meaningful way.  If after the dust is settled and your “casual” run is finished you still feel the itch, you’re not “casual,” at least by the definition of who you’re running with.  You’re “hardcore” and you either need to dial it back, or find a different group of people to run with.  It took me two years to realize that, and though initially painful I was happier once I had decided to act on it.


7 Comments so far
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I don’t know that I’d agree with that characterization; on the one hand, other than when learning brand new content, most of the hardest-of-the-hardcore raiding guilds run 2-night raid schedules, while on the other, I’m pretty ur-casual these days and yet went on 4 raids this week (3 evenings, 1 afternoon, but basically 4 raid days).

I would say that the divide is more about prioritization and investment; the line is based more on what you’d be willing to give up/put off/reschedule in favor of a raid and how “important” that raiding is to you. The casual raider won’t raid on mondays because of rp night/football on tv/a card game/etc. The hardcore raider plans ahead and does work in advance to ensure that she has nothing scheduled that interferes with her raids. The casual raider enjoys raid nights and may even push harder because of the fact of limited time, but the hardcore raider gets more “reward” out of clearing content because that means more to her.

Basically it’s the difference between “raiding is a fun activity I engage in when the opportunity arises” and “I am a raider.”

Comment by Yuki

@ Yuki – That is certainly a valid perspective, but I think that the core of my point is still holds: if you are substantively more “casual” or “hardcore” than other members of your raid, you’re running the risk that someone (yourself, someone else in the raid) is going to think someone else in the raid is not pulling their own weight. That’s not a good place to be and is what ends up plaguing casual raid guilds/alliances over and over again.

Comment by Tarsus

Oh, definitely. If you’re substantially more invested in raiding than the rest of your group, you’re probably not going to be happy in the long run; same if you’re less, except maybe if you’re a sub and are thus not expected to be dressed and ready every night, so to speak.

Some amount of variance is normal and expected, as in any group of disparate people, but when those differences get outside your tolerance range, things can get ugly.

Comment by Yuki

That’s my kind of raiding. I push myself hard and expect people to do their best. But not only that, I expect that they WANT to do their best.

And yet, I do not have the time to raid more than I do, I am too casual for that. I did try the four nights a week raiding approach when I had the itch, it was too much for me.

Comment by kadomi

@ kadomi – It’s my approach too. I’ve been raiding less recently with Axiom because of scheduling conflicts (I’m down to one night a week for the most part) but I still try to give my all (and I do my part outside of raids to gather materials, keep my enchantments and gems up to date, etc, so that I am prepared).

I guess that is why I think the time commitment is the crucial distinction between “hardcore” and “casual.” Everything outside of that is really about finding a group of people that have similar raiding “values” to you.

Comment by Tarsus

Thanks for this post and your blog. I mean that on several counts, but this post is specifically significant for me at this time as I struggle to enter the casual raiding scene. You put words to some of my thoughts. It’ll be interesting to see how things unfold with my guildies, and where each of us fall in the casual to hardcore spectrum.

I worry that my desire is more along the hardcore, but my ability to commit my time at that level is hampered by having a wife and 5 kids under the age of 7.

Anyway, thanks again. You gave me the bump I needed to start posting again on my blog!

Comment by BillyWallace

@ Billy – It’s all about setting time limits… and then doing your absolute best within that limit. In the meantime… blog!

Comment by Tarsus

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