Observations on raiding

I think I have mentioned before that I raid with two guilds on my server, different alts for each. I will call them Guild One and Guild Two. Both describe their raid teams as “casual”, both raid only twice a week for a couple of hours each session, both have a core team of about ten raiders, both are focused on having fun. But there is a world of difference between them, in their abilities to down current content as well as in the overall tone of each raiding session.

I have been in Guild One the longest — several years — and it is where I have my main hunter as well as my MW monk, a lock, and a mage. I used to also have my druid and another hunter there, but these two alts are now in Guild Two. Guild One has a policy that to be a member, you must bring all your alts on the server to the guild. That is a condition of membership. Unfortunately, Guild One’s raid team rarely if ever offers the opportunity to do alt runs, since it spends most of every expansion struggling with normal mode current content. It really never gets to the point of farming content in any sort of timely fashion, which would allow alts to gear up a bit.

So about a year ago I found Guild Two and wanted to transfer my second hunter and druid to it, mainly to give them a chance to raid with a standing guild team. Suffice it to say that I had to lobby Guild One management for weeks in order to be granted exceptional permission to do so. And even after permission was given, I had to promise not to advertise the action to any other guild members, and also promise to bring the alts back “when” Guild One’s raid team was at a point that they could offer alt runs regularly. (Yes, I could have just left and gone entirely to the other guild, but I was born with an unfortunate over-abundance of loyalty. I just couldn’t do it.)

Guild Two, by the way, has no such “all or nothing” policy. They are happy to have active, cooperative,  productive members pretty much any way they can get them.

As it now stands, Guild One is 4/7 on Normal mode — just got Twins last night. Kargath and Butcher are farmable, Tectus and Twins are quite a bit iffier. Guild Two is also 4/7, all 4 are on farm with Kargath farmed at Heroic level. Neither team has downed Brackenspore.

So, both teams are fairly close in their raiding progress. Both teams have similar rules for raiding, but how they implement them is very different. And the result is that the raiding atmosphere is very different.

  • Both teams will only run guild runs. But Guild One refuses to run with any non-guild members, whereas Guild Two almost always pugs a few spots to fill in for a missing healer or tank or to increase the team size to about 15 or so.
  • There is an established start time for raiding. Guild One rarely starts on time, Guild Two always does. This is possibly a fallout of the previous point — since Guild One usually has exactly 10 who show up, there is no possibility of running if one is late. So we wait. Guild Two is perfectly willing to pug, so if we are one or two short of the normal 10-15 who show up, we can still start on time.
  • There are announced gear levels to be eligible to join the raid. The raid leader has the discretion to make exceptions if he thinks the player can do the job, even if not quite meeting the gear level. Guild One routinely runs with players week after week who do not meet the gear level, and whose gear level does not improve unless it is gear they get in the run. Guild Two keeps increasing the required gear level as the bosses get harder. Guild Two also will run with a slightly undergeared player, but the player will not be invited back if they are not making an effort to gear up on their own between raids. Again, this may be due to the fact that Guild One only runs with the bare minimum number of guild members, so if one or two refuse to gear up on their own it is a question of letting them run or not running at all that night.
  • Raid leaders give instructions during each encounter. Guild One RL is prone to yelling a bit, Guild Two RL is the epitome of calm. For example, as things get close, Guild One RL will yell “Pour it on!! Every cooldown you got! GO GO GO !!!” Guild Two RL will quietly say “Burn cooldowns,” in the same tone of voice one might say “Nice day today.” I don’t really prefer one style over the other, but it makes for a completely different raid atmosphere.

I would say that raiding with Guild Two is more enjoyable for me. It seems like a better run team, it downs bosses with a minimum number of wipes, there is camaraderie and very little drama, and it is fun. Raiding with Guild One seems more like a chore, especially as the expansion progresses and the team seems not to noticeably improve. And remaining with it means there is very little chance that my lock or mage or healer will be able to run anything but LFR or raid finder pugs. Still, my loyalty gene won’t let me abandon it. Damn.