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On raiding. April 10, 2009

Posted by castillion in EQ2.
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There has been some discussion on our guild site recently about our raid focus, direction, and what raiding really means exactly. I found it interesting so I thought I’d touch on it a bit here.

I guess the first question is, why do we raid?

There are many answers to that question. Everyone has their own reasons to raid, but I’ll state mine here. First, I like the challenge. I like to try to overcome difficult encounters with my guildmates. Second, for the camaraderie. Typically we spend our nights with 6 of our closest friends or in pick up groups, or out and about in Norrath. Raid nights are nights we can get together and connect as a guild. This is probably one of the most important things for me personally, and why I try to find a guild with people that I enjoy instead of a guild that is killing mobs I would like to kill. Lastly, I raid for the loot. I want to improve and advance my character. It’s one of my motivations in the game. I want my coercer to be as good as I can make him, and gear is definitely a huge factor in that.

I know I know, you can be a great character without having the best gears. I agree with that. You can be an awesome Coercer, or an awesome Assassin, or an Awesome Templar, but you will be limited by your gear. An awesome Coercer in treasured gear is not going to be as awesome as he could be in fabled gear. I want to be as awesome as I can be.

Next, what do we raid?

Crimson Dragons, my guild, defines itself as a casual guild. I think they are full of Bologna. We raid 4 times a week and are progressing in TSO. We are not a ‘casual’ guild. We are a somewhat casual raiding guild that focuses lightly on progression without trying to be ‘bleeding edge’. I wouldn’t define any guild that raids 4 times a week and is working on progression at our pace, a casual guild. A casual guild, in my view, would raid a couple of times a week, on a sporadic schedule, and would worry more about the “let’s all get together and have fun” factor more than “let’s progress and kill this mobs before the Joneses do” factor.

The fact that we are not a bleeding edge guild sometimes makes planning a little more difficult than other guilds may have. We have a contingent in the guild that want to progress and raid and be successful and move forward and we have a contingent of people who want to raid in a more relaxed, show-up-when-you-can-with-what-you’re-wearing type of attitude. There’s nothing wrong with either raiding focus, but it can be hard to get them both to jive in one guild. You can’t progress as a guild with 50% of the guild carrying the other 50% through harder zones and you can’t survive as a guild when you are trying to force 50% of your guildmates into more hardcore roles they are not comfortable in or do not want to be in.

I think we are reaching a point as a guild where finding that balance is starting to be difficult. The more advancement minded among us want to tear up TSO and move forward and kill harder mobs. However, you can’t do that with a raid made up of mixed-raiders where 30% – 40% of the raid are in a more relaxed, “come as you are” state of mind. The only real solution to this is for group A to raid zones that drop gear upgrades for group B, until group B is appropriately geared to advance into an expansion. The reason is, group A will do what is neccessary to gear themselves as well as they can on their own and through raids because it gives them a sense of accomplishment to see their names at the top of the parse, or to perform at the top end of whatever measure their class is being measured against. Competition against themselves or the game drive Group A. Group B, who is taking a more relaxed and somewhat slower, pace through the game will not be at the same gear level as Group A and will, therefore, not be in a position to advance into harder content. Group A has to take an active role in gearing/flagging/helping Group B to advance if Group A wants to advance.

In our case, and solely in my opinion, this means that the guild needs to work some more Veeshan’s Peak into the raiding schedule before we can raid much farther into TSO. We need to gear our undergeared folk. Currently we can get 3 drops of the TSO fabled and that is just not going to go far helping our undergeared get raid ready. Yes, TSO T2 shard armor would be great for progressing into TSO content, but not everyone in our raids has T2 or the shards to get T2. They also, for many various and important reasons will not be getting the T2 armor in the near future. This can be from family obligations, actual time to play the game, or just because they enjoy crafting more than adventuring. All of which valid and understandable reasons. It is in the best interest of our raiders to help with gear so that we can advance as a guild.

Yes, that means blackflagging and spending more time in zones that our raiders may not desire being in more than necessary. In this case, VP. We can get whole suits of gear from VP raids.

Now, we’ve talked some about the advancement raider’s responsibility to the more casual raiders, lets talk about the more casual raiders responsibilities. There is more to raiding than showing up somewhere close to the start time, hanging around for a couple of hours, and getting loot.

1. Bring consumables to the raid. Food, Drink, Poisons, a stack of 100 cure potions of each flavor are a must. Do not come to a raid without them. Clarity potions, Crit Scrolls, things that make you perform better are also nice to bring if you can afford them.

2. Spell Levels. Your spells need to be Adept 3 or better to raid progression raids. That’s a must. There’s no reason not to have Adept 3 spells, if you can’t afford them spend time harvesting until you get enough rares to have someone craft them. I understand that it takes a while to harvest that many rares, but if you are unwilling to put the time in, don’t force your decision upon 23 other people.

3. Gear. Gear as well as you can and gear smartly. Showing up at a raid in gear that is 15 levels below you (with certain exceptions for items such as the Bloodthirsty Choker) is not really acceptable. At the very least, have the best of what you can buy off the broker. At this point, no one should be showing up to raids in less than TSO T1 gear as it only takes about 50 shards to get a full set and this is something that should be able to be accomplished by even the most casual among us. It’s not fair to the rest of the raid to sign up and shrug your shoulders saying “take me as I am”. Make as much effort as you can to prepare yourself at a gear level that is appropriate for your class and level. You should also have a full compliment of resist gear to get any resist to at least an 8k level. I know raid leaders will argue with me (and rightfully so), but 8k is absolute bare bones minimum and you shouldn’t show up to a raid without being able to reach that in any resist. You may say “but I don’t mind dying” but each member of a raid in EQ2 is valuable and your death can be the difference between success and failure, especially when you consider that most raid mobs in EQ2 heal for each death.

4. AA Spec and toon knowledge. Know your toon. Know the best AA spec for raiding and know how and when to use your abilities. I know I know, everyone wants to have full control over their character and spec as they choose. However, for every class there’s a generally accepted raid spec, sometimes more than one depending on the situation, that you should be bringing to raids. Learn what they are and spec into them. I know you may prefer to have 5 AAs spent in harvesting because you enjoy harvesting, or 10 AAs spent to extend your food and drink as you are cheap, or maybe you want to spec for full out DPS on your templar because you enjoy dueling but don’t bring those specs to a raid. Prepare to spec for a raid’s needs and what is most effective/efficient for your role in a raid. That is what AA mirrors are for. Ask a raid leader or another raider of your class if you are unsure of your aa spec.

5. Zone knowledge. It’s not the sole responsibility of the raid leaders to know strats. It’s not the sole responsibility of the raid leader to know zone progression. Take some time to at least for a general understanding of what’s going to be required in any particular zone, and try to get at least a rudimentary idea of progression for whatever point in progression your guild might be at.

I’ve saved the most important consideration for last, ability and devotion.

Come to a raid prepared to pay full attention for the duration of the raid. In other words, if you know that your favorite show is on TV and you’re only going to watch what is going on on your computer screen during the commercials, don’t sign up that night. Listen to the raid leader and focus focus focus. Yes, a lot of raiding is boring trash clears. Use this time to cyber. When it’s time to pull a named, be quiet, put both hands on the keyboard and focus for the next 15 minutes until the named is dead. You can then go back to your cyber or whatever else people do to entertain themselves during trash clears. I listen to music while I play, try to beat my previous parse, or just drink ;)

Finally, something for everyone on a raid to remember…there are 23 other people on the raid. Each and every decision you make on that raid will affect those other 23 people. Try to come prepared to enjoy yourself and have a good time, but also to focus and try to play to the best of your ability. We all want to be successful so come prepared to contribute to the success of the guild and your fellow guildmates, be that getting gear updates, backflagging, or trying to kill a new and exciting mob.

Anyway, this long rambling post is just my own view on things. My place to spout my own nonsense. Sometimes it’s nice to type your thoughts and and see them in print to decide if they make any sense at all.

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Comments»

1. Blavek - April 10, 2009

Excellent cast. Only disagreement I have is… Please for the love of all that is holy don’t screw off on trash pulls… there is nothing more annoying than a trash wipe or trash taking longer than it should. In my opinion trash is where you need to be trying to parse your ass off. The faster you clear the trash the faster you get to the next mob/loot/death fest where you learn something. The difference between taking 3 – 4 ouhours to clear VP verses 8 to 10 is 100% dependant on how fast and effectively you deal with trash.

2. castillion - April 10, 2009

I can’t say I disagree with that Blavek, but 3 – 4 hours is a long time for some people to pay attention to one thing :p

3. Aeyanna - April 11, 2009

I like it Cast you have summed it all up in my opinion. And yeah paying attention for that long is hard but very worth it. Saves from having to pay attention for that much longer. ; p

4. Grump - April 11, 2009

You’ve touched on a lot of great points.

A few suggestions, opinions and rambles, more rambles than anything because I don’t want to focus on proper sentence structure.

My opinion if you want to raid, dump the extremely casual, or slacking players or force them to play ball. The casuals and slackers can go to the two day raid guilds.

Set a specific raid time, beginning, end and break times.

Drop /ran 1000, people will start attending if they know that they can earn the gear and not have a chance at the priest hating RNG.
Offer a time spent, a dkp system or another system. Even through those rewards seem imaginary, like DKP, It keeps people focused on a goal. Get X-dkp earn Y-Gear, be better than Z-player.

Give people bonuses for speeding through trash, no deaths or first pulls.

VP = waste of time. There is nothing more annoying and unrewarding than VP. Get Myticals and get out! We stopped back flagging in this time of last Year.. At this point as VP is done by pick up raids on our server and folks can usually buy a specific spot for some plat.

Spend that time on TSO zones and working the encounters you can not beat. As an Inquisitor I have replaced all of my VP gear (except my mythical) with in the first month with just the first few Palace, Ykesha’s and Tomb gear.

5. castillion - April 11, 2009

Grump, you are talking about remaking our guild .

That’s not something we are interested in at all and, if I were looking for that, I would look elsewhere.

I do understand what you are saying though, but that is more raid oriented that we are looking to be, although it is the best path to move through TSO.

6. Grump - April 12, 2009

I was just giving suggestions and rambles, I didn’t intend to offend.
I was a bit hung over too. :)

I have always been in a guild that focuses on raiding more than anything else in EQ2. We’re not big on storyline, instances or pretty armor, but if a mob is up it needs to die, but we’re not the die-hard jerks either. A lot of us are RL friends, couples or family (believe it or not, three of our Clerics live in the same house.) and we’re probably one of the most causal-hardcore raiding guilds in the game. We don’t play the drama game, we do focus on friends and family cause that’s what our guild is.

Your post is good, I would give it to any raider, new or old it does have strong focus on preparation, and preparation is half the battle sometimes. There are times when a mob is won or lost by a cure or a status item.

I know I was kicking my own butt the other night when I forgot to bring both redemption of failure to a raid that pretty much required them, if I did, we could have first pulled the mob instead of wiping. Then I had to call back to the guild hall wasting time to buy them coming back and trying again.

I guess what bugged me is that when I read your post the first time seemed like there are folks in your guild who show up and don’t care if the raid is a success, I have a hard time leaving a zone if the mobs don’t drop a chest or we have a strat to kill it the nest time.

Final thought, if they are able, let your healers DPS! :P

Grump, Battle Cleric of Dracos Argent!

7. castillion - April 12, 2009

Oh you didn’t offend at all :) I like discussion and it’s always interesting to see different viewpoints.

I don’t think that it’s that they don’t care that the raid is a success or not, I think that sometimes we just don’t realize how important each member of a raid’s contributions are, and, like you mentioned, the importance of being prepared.

I guess we are kind of an in-between guild. We are more than casual but less than hardcore. That means there’s some training and guidance that’s needed from some members, to bring other members to a level that we can progress a little at a time. In the end, it helps us all get to where we want to be.

Raids in EQ2 focus a lot on the indivdual and each member of a raid usually has to contribute in order for the entire raid to be successful. There are times when stronger members can make up for weaker members, but a couple of people that are not focusing greatly increasing the difficulty ;)

Thanks for the replies Grump!

8. Sinn - April 13, 2009

Fear My UBAH Templar Deeepeees!!! /rawr /flex

Love and Miss yas!

9. Chus - April 15, 2009

I don’t know how many times I’ve seen this past in the 3 years in CD. I think I’ve even written it once. (looked in archives and yes I have). It would not be the news to say that we have had people leave for just these reasons or wanting to progress and/or change loot options. Wash, rinse, repeat, take over the world.

10. Shmooove - April 17, 2009

I agree Chus – I have seen this cycle in _many_ other guilds as well during my MMO playing years. People purge out of guilds they feel do not work for them any more. New folks come in and re-energize everyone else. One step back, two steps forward. Just look at this past winter for proof.

11. lunaticjuggalo - April 30, 2009

this is malicouseve/malkavian i usually get off work around 730 central time and anytime after that i am available


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