When raids go wrong

We’ve all had those nights where content you should have down cold is kicking your butt. When it happens on consecutive raids, or on successive weeks, or both well guilds have broken up over less. Dealing with raids going wrong without blowing a gasket is a skill and one I’m certainly not going to claim I have mastered. However, there are a few points that I want to make.

Playing the blame game
It’s human nature to blame people when something goes wrong. The first person I usually blame is myself and I actually prefer it when it is my fault. No-one likes feeling powerless, it’s a feeling I probably hate more than any other, and when it’s not your fault there’s very little you can do to change the outcome. You can’t stop your mind from accessing what the problem is and neither can anyone else. The person who is responsible, if they’re the type of person that’s good to play with, is probably well aware of it and probably feels terrible. I certainly do when it’s my screw ups that are causing the group to wipe. Don’t say it out loud though. Shout in your house and swear and whatever else makes you feel better but resist that urge to press the push to talk button. Also, control your hands and what they type, type it if you have too but don’t press enter to send.

Moving on
When things haven’t gone well don’t dwell on it. Laughing about a terrible run and making it worse and worse with every retelling is one thing. Try not to breed resentment and I’m speaking to myself here as much as anyone else. To be honest I only know one person who reads these ramblings and yeah it’s true I break these rules all the time. It’s just I’ve seen good groups break up over a few bad raids and when people start taking things to heart, when it gets too serious, that’s a real danger. Yes take raiding seriously, do your best to not let the other people down, but try not to let it get under your skin. I do sometimes and I get mad as hell and I type “taking 5” and storm off away from my PC and well it’s not healthy for your blood pressure to go that high. It is after all, at the end of the day, whether we like to think of it as it or not, it is just a game.

Adjust your expectations
When you have a regular group this is less of an issue as you know what you’re all capable of. However, when roles or players change then you’re not going to operate like a well oiled machine. The progress that you’re chasing isn’t going to be caught in a group like that, not unless you have an exceptional player in the irregular spot. You can’t expect people to perform miracles though and if they aren’t used to a role, if they’ve not played with you before, then you have to lower your expectations. Take the week off from progression, or from heroics and just view raiding as what it should be – a social activity. Yes, I am an achievement nut and I want those achievements, I want to progress as much as the next person. That isn’t why I raid, though sometimes I get confused and think it is. No, raid for the fun of raiding, raid for hanging out with 9/24 other people who share your hobby. Don’t just raid for the shiny purples or the steadily increasing fraction of progress. Otherwise you’re going to get burned out real quick.

We all have off nights
Above all else forgive others and forgive yourself. Sometimes things just don’t go well, people think that they are doing their best and they’re actually not. This is a game at the end of the day and as seriously as people should take it, you also need to have fun. If things aren’t going well try not to let it get to you. I fail at this – a lot. Just try and chill about it and if you’re raiding for the right reasons then it’ll be a lot easier. Everybody makes mistakes, everyone has off days. You know that you can do it, that your group can do it, and you will be able to do it. If a night doesn’t go well don’t let it spill over into other nights, draw a line and move on. Accept what you cannot change and all that.

The end
I don’t really know what the point of this was. Maybe to just get this off my chest. I love raiding and sometimes it drives me mad and other times when everything goes perfectly it’s the best feeling in the world. Well, alright not the best feeling but it feels pretty damn good. As hard as it is everyone needs to learn to have fun even when things don’t go right. Again I fail at this as much as anyone but it’s something I think we should strive for. There are going to be days, weeks, months where things go wrong. I knew a guild once that for the whole of T11 wiped on Magmaw, they didn’t kill a single boss until T12 came out. Predictably that guild didn’t survive those months of wiping, I don’t think any guild would, and well that’s the worst case scenario isn’t it. If your guild usually kills, or clears a raid, whether or normal or not that’s still better than that poor guild. Matter of perspective I guess. Look at what you have achieved rather than how far you still have to go.

Enough rambling for me, I’ve even lost the point of this, if there was one to begin with. Keep the faith guys, it’ll happen eventually.

4 thoughts on “When raids go wrong

  1. Hehe, well, a bit of rambling, a bit of therapeutic writing to get it of your chest.. Was nice to read anyway 😉 On this I’m definitely behind you 100%, I’m not the one to point fingers, and not liking getting any fingers pointed towards me, but when I do mess up, (which happened at least 3 times which I link directly to the wipes that followed =P) I do get pretty upset with myself and have to remind myself it’s just a game ^^ Deep breath, mental note to self not to screw it up next time, and “gogogo!” usually works pretty fine for me..

    I can also see guilds (or at least raid groups) break up if something like this persists, especially if one or more people in the group is the kind of person to point fingers a lot.. =P I mean, sure, a RL that wants to point something out to a team member of course has all right to do so (and they should imho to help the person become aware of their mistakes), but maybe do it by whispering to the person. Making it a 1-on-1 thing might make it easier for some at least to take it as constructive criticism instead of “You did bad, get it right stupid..!” which I can feel sometimes, especially if several people join in on the “bashing”.. -.-

    Hand in hand with this I feel that if another member other than RL feel the need to point something out, maybe they can take it to the RL and let the RL talk to the person that’s screwed up? I for one feel I can take criticism far better from someone I trust and not just random people…well, not that we have that many “random people” in our raid team, but some I just trust more than others =P Might be that I haven’t gotten to know all that well, or it’s just the way I see them behave while raiding..

    Moving on is one of those things I myself struggle with sometimes, but many times it helps just to change my mood by changing what music I listen too ^^ And besides, a bit of “I’m mad at myself, I need to stop pissing about and just play on top of my game” can help with focus 😉 But of course, too much of that would be tiring, take the fun out of raiding and ultimately make me take a long brake from it I suppose.. =/

    Oh, a bit beside the point (if I was making any at all, much like yourself ^^), but it took me three times of reading the text to get the “raid for hanging out with 9/24 other people who share your hobby” part, I read “9/24” as “9 out of 24” and got a bit confused at first.. XD Oh well, everybody makes mistakes, not only in WoW.. 😉

    • a long time that he would, so that’s fine. We have one person gone on vtcoaian but haven’t heard from them in 3 weeks, so we’ve given up and started recruitment. Another said he’d be gone for November due to work, but isn’t back since *lol* (I hear he’s playing SW:ToR now anyway so I don’t expect him back either).That’s the thing, isn’t it? People will always quit games and move on to other things and as long as they’re up front about it there’s really no hard feelings. It’s when you’re sitting there and not knowing that you run into issues (and resentment may build). As a guild leader you have to make sure that your guild keeps running smoothly, and it’s people’s responsibility as guild members to help with that (in my opinion). I think a lot of people forget that they’re playing with other people at times, and while they might thing it won’t kill me to miss a raid now and then , they forget that unless they tell those other 9 or 24 people, they’ll be sitting there online waiting for you..

  2. I agree that the raid leader must check their auitttde at the door every night in order for the raid to be successful. But the members of the raid need to always remember how much is being asked of the raid leader. Hiding a bad mood in raid is a LOT easier if you don’t have to do any of the talking, or field 15 whispers in the first 3 minutes of logging on. We ask our leaders to be perfect, and as a result, we need to give them greater-than-average slack on the days they can’t pull it off. When people would complain about being yelled at by our old raid leader, our guild leader would always gently point out that the RL is doing a job that no one else wants. Also, the presence of any comment like or I’ll quit is a huge warning sign of burnout. Presuming that person is usually even-tempered and not dramariffic, comments like that should not be overlooked — it indicates that their patience in the role is wearing thin, not just their patience that day. Try to offer your raid leader a night off, or start a rotation of RLs now, even if the trainees aren’t very good at first. Or find if there are aspects of their job that can be outsourced (sending invites, handing out consumables, doing healing assignments, whatever). I’ve seen so many people go from running a guild to straight-up quitting the game — take steps now to ensure that doesn’t happen to you!

    • Oh, being a raid leader is delniitefy an unthankful job and I’m glad it’s something I seldom have to do myself. This night was a much worse mood than normal, and it was just grating for everyone. I think it would be bad for a raid if anyone is in a horrible mood and letting it be known, it’s just more noticable if you’re the raid leader (since as you say, they have to keep talking and are leading everyone else). In general I just find it interesting how dependant we all are on each other in a raid setting as a group one person’s mood can set the mood for the entire group.

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