Maintaining the weekly raid roster is a bloody hard thing to do; just ask any recruitment or guild officer. With the holidays, life, and general grumpiness of raiders these days, there is little to do except be constantly supporting the ego and feelings of the current team, and potentially recruiting for replacements at the same time. WoW Insider has a post up that talks about the concept of rebuilding years, akin to a sports team that has an off year while they train up younger players.
The sports team analogy does not mix with WoW though, due to the expectation and flexibility that raiders have vs the sports teams. In fact I think the sports team example actually makes it worse for the players who are left behind because it might make them think the social mechanics are different to what they really are. Why?
- Raiders are not in financial contracts, and nobody is being paid.
- Raiders cannot be forced to login.
- An off-season for a raid team is enough for many to leave, or slow further.
- There is no glamor or praise for the bench & support roles.
So cut it with the sports analogies. Also the job/work comparisons are moot too for exactly the same reasons. You think I go to work for fun every day? I can see that the amateur sports team comparison as closer to the raiding structure, but it still misses the range of social & community aspects that MMOs teams often have.
Ok then, what would be a good comparison? Dinner parties.
- You probably want to attend because its meant to be fun. The invite list is finite, but sometimes a bit of stretch can be accommodated.
- If you’re invited regularly it means you’re probably in a core group of some sort who often catch-up.
- You’d like to believe that the people are friends, or at least will be civil to each other. You also might not like your old friends new partner, but hey – its their mistake.
- Real life or other events will get in the way and make you late or not attend. The importance of the person in your life will probably dictate if you go. If the devotion is akin to family you’ll probably go regardless and apologise, and might even ring ahead.
- You’re meant to bring something to the party as a gift, but its ok if you don’t. The gifts are just like Pots, Food, and Flasks. Some people never bring anything, and everyone knows who they are, but its unlikely they’ll be abused for it.
- Sometimes you’re a ring in that hardly knows anyone, and that is a double edged sword. You might end up standing in the corner (or dead on the floor) half the night.
- God help you if its a date too – as you’ll be scrutinised the entire night by strangers.
- Some parties suck and are a total waste of time. Other parties are good even if you don’t do a lot, as you just hang out with your friends.
- There is a chance of meeting some new people, or knowing them better.
- And if you’re desperate for people to attend the party you can just invite almost anyone and see what type of person you get. Generally that does not work very well though.
So what does that mean for raid composition? Well that is where you need to remember that just like the birthday party the participants are looking to have their expectations met, and the people running the party have a huge amount of work to do while its going on. They carry the balance of all these aspects with them.
They stress about it all through the process, and they plan all that they can before hand. Sometimes all the plans go to hell 5 minutes before the party should start, other times the party goes badly mid way through (anyone got a bad uncle or mom who drops in?). During the party they are the hosts who try to keep everything flowing. And afterward they are the idiots who have to clean up, and deal with any issues.
What can you do as a good Dinner Party attendee / Raider?
- Don’t be an ass if you don’t get an invite. Sometimes there is just not room.
- Bring a positive attitude, and bring a gift or two.
- Respect everyone, and know when to keep your mouth shut.
- Don’t expect that you can just turn up with two extras, even if they’re hot.
- If you really miss out, get off your ass and organise your own party. Do that for 5 weeks and then talk to the normal leads – your attitude might have changed a bit.
As an aside, these comparisons come to mind too while I wrote this, and while they’re a tad odd they are still very demonstrative:
- When the Fury Warrior throws up in the garden and needs to sit quietly inside for 5 minutes, its the raid leaders who arrange that break.
- When the Princess can’t be happy until everything is just her way, everyone groans quietly but keeps on anyway.
- When that loud annoying nerd won’t shut the hell up about Dr Who, its the team leads who must assign somebody to “handle” him.
In closing – respect the raid leaders and organisers, and try to have fun. They have far more to stress about that just one person. I hope all your parties are fun and you get a heap of gifts.