casuals – not for hire

This post started as a sidetrack to a forum posted question from a guild-mate about the types of players our guild should be looking for to participate in 25 mans for progression, and what loot system is best for the guild.

We were talking about changing the loot system so that it was better for the regulars, but still usable for casuals and PuG players, who are currently needed for 25-man content. Its a bit random but you’ll get the gist.

The post got me thinking, and seriously considering two points, (a) what can casual players reasonable expect from end-game progression?, and (b) is the 25 man raid really a long term goal for me? But first the back-story…

Me: lastly why would a casual or a player who can only rarely raid be bothered in this system? The rewards are very highly skewed [edit: while talking about dkp vs other loot systems].

Guildie: Do you wish to have these players in a 25 man raid guild that is progressing strongly?

My answer was yes.

I’m casual and exactly the type of player my guild-mate is talking about. This means I would usually be at best an alternate choice for a 25 man run; be that because my casualness means lower gear (on Diamon who can’t help in ZA, but Arkham might be ok), or because I can’t commit to the regular raids. There are times however when I get invites, and I really appreciate the offer. I like supporting the guild, and especially like playing games with others. But a casual can also be a disadvantage to a run, and placing them as preferred when the won’t attend.

Do I hope that I can attend every now and then? Yes, but I don’t expect to get priority.
Do I also expect that I can get some rewards for participation eventually? Yes. However dkp means that would be few and far between.

What that also means for the guild is that they me as a players in reserve who is happy to be in reserve, as long as I can stay casual. If the guild is good, lucky, organised enough to get a full set of 25+ characters who can raid regularly, then my reserve status is moot, and the guild progresses without me. That might be seen as me holding the guildies back, or it might also be seen to be a waste of time adding me to a run. After all a very casual player is little better than a PuG player; and may actually be worse that another player who is regularly available as a PuGer.

Its this reason that during the Kara run a week ago I passed on the Tier set helm from Prince so that another guildmate could get it He plays more, and the guild will get more benefit it he has it than me. But next time that happens I’ll roll like everyone else, as I figure a little charity is good spirited, but too much charity is cutting my own throat.

The folks I enjoy playing with usually have a light hearted attitude toward entertainment and fun; but take the time they spend online seriously. That means that they get intense about doing it “right”, and don’t spend ages just fanarking in Ironforge or Shattrath. Those type of players also seem to be progression focused, and many of my RL friends are exactly this type. They play often, and they play hard. What this means is that my friends are more focused on playing that I am, but I really want to hang around with them, do runs, and generally maintain contact. A bit of a stretch at times for them I suspect.

So am I the type of player that should be in an end-game Guild at all, or a more just is there as window dressing? Dunno. I suppose I need to know what the expectation is from the leadership as the guild gets closer and closer to a full 25 man guild run. It will also be interesting to see how this evolves as the expansion gets closer and closer. Anyone who was playing WoW in the pre-BC days knew that players were dropping (changing, whinging, wiping) off the radar, and most returned in some manner when the expansion was released.

If 25 man is not the go, then maybe even 10 man regularly is asking too much. Deeper levels of play need players to concentrate on what they are doing, but also come prepared for the strategies and items they need. Most casuals I chat to are not of this mindset. They play to enjoy the environment, and are not yet focused on the last 10-15% of effort that makes all the difference when you are pushing the limits of their characters capabilities. I’ve seen casuals who are happy to grind but think that potions, elixirs, enchants, and armour patches are for “hardcore” players only. Its a reasonable attitude if you play less than 5 hours a week, but is odd if you are playing over 15-20.

As another aside – I also hate this type of questioning in guild setup because I don’t think it has to be a binary choice; and has ramifications that can ripple to affect others. If you are the member of a guild then you have an obligation to allow and facilitate its development. I don’t consider it a job, but it is certainly a community of people who wish to gain, learn, teach, give and receive help from one another. Often the feel of a discussion about progression can hurt feelings, or call out those with strongly held beliefs. Not my goal at all, and with most blog posts – this is all about me. So please ignore this rant if it strikes a discord with you (or even comment below).

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3 thoughts on “casuals – not for hire

  1. Changing the way our guild distributed loot was badly thought out by the leadership.
    The current system (Suicide Kings) is probably the worst I’ve ever used and is particularly vulnerable to abuse – which has been occuring since it was implemented.

    Re: Raiding and the Casual player
    As raid sizes get smaller it actually becomes harder for the casual player to be accomodated.
    The fewer people in a group the great the impact each individuals performance has on the results.

    At this stage in TBC it’s moot. The gear available to the casual player outside of raiding (via PvP, Badges, Rep, and Heroic Instances) is on par with all but the most hardcore of raiders – the only exception being tanks.
    The only thing that stands in the way of a casual player is their ability to play their class as long as they can keep ther gear level at or above the level of the content the guild is progressing through.
    Does being casual mean someone is not a good player. Heck no. Some casuals are great players and as such are an asset to a group any time they are available. Some regular players are a constant liability as they simply have no idea and don’t seem to be able (perhaps don’t want to) to grasp even the most simple of concepts in order to improve the way they play.
    IMO if the guild is happy to have a player as a member then it’s happy to have them along when you’re available and there’s room. If this isn’t the case then they should politely ask those players they don’t particular want to leave.
    What this means is that a casual reduces their chance at gear just by the fact that they are casual and don’t attend often.

    Give me a good casual over a crap regular any day of the week. Only a true hardcore raiding guild can’t really support casual raiders.

    Re: Guilds
    The only guilds (IMO) that operate as intended are the guilds of the Hardcore raiders – the guilds where all the players are focused on the same thing and that is progress through content. Everyone farms consumables, everyone tries rediculously hard to attend, everyone contributes to the guild bank and everyone gives 100% in raids. These are the SK’s Death and Taxes, etc of the wow population.

    The next tier of guilds down try to be like this, but don’t quite have the same level of commitment to purpose, but generally the majority of the guild members contribute and give their best.

    Below those guilds are the majority of guilds where the individual is more important than (or as important as) the group. You generally have a core of people that prop up all the efforts of the guild and when these people burn out or move on the guild collapses. I firmly place our guild in the middle of this last group. We just don’t have the people who really care enough to learn the strats in order to roll over the content. When you consider that most of our guildies have out geared SSC and yet we struggle on the early bosses it really speaks volumes about the average level of player commitment/ability.

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