Thursday, February 10, 2011

If I Was a GM: An Interesting Look At Raid Personalities

I've had a few days off work recently and have consequently found myself getting bored quite a bit. Turns out a day takes a long time when you don't have much to do. I've been looking for new blogs to read and in my searches I came across the World of Matticus. I'm sure I've read this blog before; in fact, I know it's a pretty big, well-known one. After having a quick read of the Tough Call post this week though, I'll definitely be adding this blog to my bookmarks again. I have no idea why I took it off in the first place.

The author, Viktory, has an intriguing take on how to classify raiders into three different types: those with natural ability, those who have to (and do) work hard, and "trained noobs". Follow the link above to have a read of it; and it's worth reading the comments too, for clarification purposes.

The reason I found this post so intriguing is firstly because I have known and raided with at least one person who matches each of those descriptions. In fact, I would bet most people have. If you're going to broadly classify raiders, this seems like a pretty accurate way to do it. Obviously there are plenty of mitigating circumstances that will mean someone doesn't fit into any of these categories. And of course, there are many reasons why stereotyping people is bad. This is the second reason I found this such an interesting topic.

I've met only one Native Speaker in my raiding past. This was a mage whom I raided with when I was also playing my mage, in one of the high-end guilds I've been a part of. This mage always topped damage meters. Every. Single. Fight. Without fail. And without pulling agro. It didn't matter if we had to constantly move during the fight, or if he had to respec to frost for utility, or even if it was his very first attempt at a boss he had never seen before. He always knew how to get the best out of his mage. I was constantly in awe of him, and so grateful that he was a nice guy and happy to help out his fellow mages. If we were pulling sub-par dps on a fight, seeing this guy top the meters as usual encouraged us to do better. This guy was a huge asset to the guild.

I have known many Fluent Professionals over the years, and many Trained Noobs. Back when I was raiding fulltime I would consider myself to be a Fluent Professional. I had some natural talent, but nothing approaching the Native Speaker. I had to work hard and practise to do well. Many of my friends and fellow raiders were the same, and they were always the backbone of the guild. The hard work we all put in kept our guilds running smoothly.

The Trained Noobs, however, were like the dead weights dragging us down. They were the ones that did what you told them to do fine, and pulled okay dps or did okay heals, but as soon as something didn't go according to plan they would collapse under the pressure. They didn't really understand what they were doing, so as soon as they had to go beyond their routine they were lost. I agree with Viktory when he says people like this need to be carefully weeded out of any raiding guild looking to be successful.

However, this is not to say that every "Trained Noob" is an idiot and should be written off; here is where the whole stereotyping-is-bad thing (and the whole elitism thing) comes in. Plenty of people that could be lumped in under this description are also the ones who will be endlessly loyal to your guild and work their arses off for it every day. Sure, you might have to spend an extra 10 min explaining things to them and maybe wipe a couple extra times while they learn the fight, but you would never have been able to provide consumables to the whole raid were it not for their hours of herbing.

It's hard to make a raid. I've only done it a few times in my life, and I've found it difficult to choose who to take along. There are quite a few people who are arseholes but do their jobs really really well, or lovely people who always mess up. It's hard to decide whether you want a successful, but probably less fun, raid, or a really fun, less successful raid.

I actually think if I were a GM making a guild raid it would make it easier than someone trying to get a pug raid (or a casual raid) going. That way, I would be able to choose the people who would provide for the best long-term experience for the guild. Who's to say those Trained Noobs won't turn into Fluent Professionals if you put the time and effort in to helping them?

So in conclusion: this was a great post. Really interesting, and got me thinking. But... I disagree with it. You just can't classify people that easily. And if you do try and set up your guild raids that way, you're almost certainly losing out.

The nostalgia was nice though. :)

<3 Jayd


  1. Personally I always have a hard time with articles that claim there are such levels of players at all in WoW; the game is really n-o-t hard, raiding isn't hard and understanding how to play a class isn't either. WoW is the simplest MMO in all those respects that I have ever played.

    I never understood how someone would need to 'work hard' in order to be a good raider or how he could struggle at the same basic stuff over and over.....I don't think it has to do with 'talent' or skill or anything like it - I think it's just lazyness that makes the difference among most raiders, plain and simple.
    sure, the odd person has (real life) issues that might impact on his performance; but that cannot be the main reason why so many players in WoW perform badly. there's a ton of info out there to improve your performance if you really are clueless, and all encounters are scripted to death...skill is no requirement to be a half-decent player in WoW. time can be a limiting factor to how far you get progress-wise, but you can still have good raids within your own time frame.

    I say people simply don't care to either read up or make extra efforts if needed - and to me that's lazyness and indifference, more than anything else.
    which is okay too, as long as they dont join a bigger group of people or guild with clearly a different lookout, focus and dedication than their own.

  2. Raid Leading, like being a GM or Officer, is not what I'd call fun. Sure, there are some people out there who live for that sort of thing, but for me that's too much like work. If Guildies want my opinion on something I'll tell them, but I've seen the RL job, and I don't want it.

    Raid Leading is a difficult balancing act, and while some people can pigeonhole raiders into certain stereotypical groups, I can't do that. There's a fine line between "fail" and "not-fail" as a raider, and sometimes it comes down to things beyond the control of the raider.

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