Casual raiding

Jennie Lees of WoW Insider recently talked about hardcore raiding. I've been doing endgame raids for a few months now. I first started raiding in a roleplaying guild that was part of a raiding alliance, then moved to a mixed RP/PvP/PvE guild, and then moved into a PvE guild. I'll probably qualify as a casual raider. My current guild raids 5 days a week. 3 days on 40-mans (mostly BWL) and 2 days on 20-mans (Zul'Gurub, Ruins of Ahn'Qiraj and Onyxia).

Looking back at all that, raiding was most stressing in the beginning. Raid encounters have less room for error, and coordinating 20 or 40 people is a challenge in itself. We started in Zul'Gurub and eventually proceeded up to Hakkar. In the beginning, the most difficult thing to understand was cause-and-effect on bosses. Once you saw all their attacks in action and wiped due to them, the tactics started to be obvious. But that took a lot of wiping and a lot of bitter moments acknowledging that a certain boss wouldn't go down that night.

At the same time, I got my introduction in the so-called purple fever and the drama it can cause on guilds. Especially on bosses that you can down only rarely, seeing that once piece of loot you want drop can induce the "me me me"-syndrome in the best of people. If you don't know when you'll get another chance, you'll want to make the most of the chance you have now.

With the second guild, I got a taste of an another frustration in raiding: Not being able to kill a boss solely because of bad class balance or poor attendance. On day 2 in the new guild, half of the members left and founded a new guild. They were killing Majordomo Executus when I joined, and couldn't even get a Zul'Gurub group up at the worst.

So, on to guild number three. Jackpot. A casual guild that was close to killing Ragnaros when I joined. While being able to breeze through those encounters that were a headache before was certainly a bonus, the best thing was the atmosphere. Raids were not all-serious, nor required intense blame games after wipes. They were places to joke around and chat while getting nice loot.

In my opinion, there were two major reasons contributing to the atmosphere. First of all, it was a PvE guild, pure and simple. Everyone knew that PvE was why everyone was there for. Raids were not a distraction or something you did to keep existing members. It was the primary purpose of the guild, so people actually did prepare for raids. People did read tactics and discuss about what they needed to do. People who didn't know some details, were instructed without judging. People prepared their gear and consumables. And when the fight started, everyone was focused. Knowing that people next to you were doing their best was very reassuring.

The second major contributing factor was the loot system. Unlike the DKP system we used on the other guilds, this one uses a loot council. Because the councilors do reward sportsmanship, good attitude and generousity in addition to the usual metrics, boss kills ceased to be bloody fights about loot. Allowing someone else to get loot meant that you had better chances of getting loot later.

Sure, we wipe. Sure, sometimes tempers do flare afterwards. But day-to-day raiding is mostly hassle-free. We go in, have fun and kill bosses and get nice loot while doing it. We do focus just enough to take farmable bosses down. We're the kind of people who run to Garr's adds to get a free flight across the room. We have healers that moonfire Mandokir down. Our rogues tank Vaelastraz if the tanks are down. Our warlocks tank Onyxia. But we do have full focus on progress raids. We might not be the fastest guild progressing in endgame, but we do have loads of fun on the way.

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