Thank you all for your very smart and wise comments on keeping perspective and balance in the game, the guild, and remembering to have fun.

Stress over the pressures from guildies to raid lots is nothing new. I have been in this situation once before, when BC originally came out, and I quit that guild because of the pressures I was feeling to always raid. I’m not planning on doing that now, for one thing the people in this guild are a lot like a second family to me, and there are better ways to handle things than quitting, taking my ball and going home.

But the fact remains, this is a game, and stress from a game is stupid.

In this case, the main reason I feel obligated is because I accepted the responsibility of being an officer in the guild.

It’s absolutely right for anyone in a guild that has real life commitments to not sign up for, or go to, last minute raids or even every single raid.

But, and there has to be a butt, I have that feeling that I should be there, every time, because I am not just another member, I am one of the officers, and I feel that if I do not show strong support for our attempts to progress, then I’m letting the guild down.

It wouldn’t be so bad if I wasn’t one of the best geared tanks in the guild right now. I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling this stressed, either, since our healers and other tanks are in the same boat. The very best geared and best players, people like Whirlish, Gerolan, Kellas, Shadewynn, and Rynadur… these are people that, if there is a raid scheduled, are counted on to be available for us to have a strong chance.

How many times am I on, and it’s 7 PM for a scheduled raid, and we’re short one or two people, and we have 4 or 5 guildies that are moderately to maybe acceptibly geared available, and the following is heard on Teamspeak; “Well, Kellas isn’t on yet, but we really need her there. We’ll give her another 15 minutes, and if she can’t make it, we’ll pick someone else.” “Did Kellas sign up?” “No, but she’s usually on by now.”

The things I’ve personally been trying to do so far, are to take responsibility for putting up regularly recurring guild raids on the website calender, and then use a macro to advertise them constanatly whenever I am on, to make sure people are aware of them, are encouraged to sign up in advance, and get the word out that we are doing progression events. I do this in the hopes that the big raids will be scheduled and well attended, and leave the rest of the time for people to schedule Karazhan runs or do 5 mans or have fun.

It just hasn’t been working well so far because we have folks not show up for a run.

I don’t know what I am going to do, so far. I know that if I am online, and the guild is piecing together a 25 man run, that if they are short or need a tank, it’s highly unlikely I am going to get all pissy and say “Well if it’s not on the calender, I’m not going, nyah nyah.” These people aren’t the manager from Office Space, no matter how much it feels that way sometimes. They probably just figure if I am tired I won’t go.

I guess the first thing I am going to have to do, is be more assertive when it comes to saying “I’m sorry guys, but I am too damn tired for an all night run tonight. I want to do dailies, sit back and chill with my shadow priest while shooting the shit and listening to Irish music. I’ll see ya on Saturday though.”

 But please, by all means, keep the advice coming, every one of you helps me to get my head straight about it.

As an aside… if anyone reading this has a software program that lets them take an mp3 and strip the vocals off to make a backing track, please let me know ASAP. I might have a… new song in the works, but I can’t find a backing track anywhere. kthxbye!

20 Responses to “Continuing our talk on raiding stress…”
  1. Fathul says:

    I’m not a raid leader, in fact I’m just barely a raider period (just got into Kara for the first time 2 nights ago), so take my advice with a grain of salt. I know your guild is more on the casual side, but I think you need to set up some specific raiding times.

    You said that it isn’t working because people aren’t showing up for a run. Does this mean that you used a scheduling mod and people signed up but didn’t show? Or does it mean that you all just agree “We’ll try to get on at 7 and see if we have enough people to raid”? If it’s the first then I think you need to hold people accountable for not showing up when they said they would. I think you could still stay casual doing this, as it’s not really forcing people to raid X number of times, but if a person signs up and says “Yes, I’ll come” and they don’t, then they need to be dealt with somehow.

    If the problem is that you all just verbally agree to raid at a certain time and date then I think you need to get more structure to your raiding schedule. Get the Group Calendar addon so that people know exactly when and what you’re raiding, so that they can schedule accordingly.

  2. Kal says:

    Yeah, you absolutely have to be more assertive about what you do and don’t want. What’s happening is that by being available at a whim, you are subsidizing the guild’s bad habits. If they don’t show up to a progression raid with food, flasks, whatever? If they’re pvp flagged? Showing up late or not at all to one they dedicated to?

    You’re hurting your guild’s progression by being this lax on them, not helping it. Sure, you’ll maybe get more raids in, but it’s not a raiding culture as you put it.

    If there are 5 or 6 people that you are basically dependent on in order for raids to work, schedule around those people. Ask them specifically what the best dates are and stick to those dates. If they can’t make it, don’t sweat it. Just move on.

    You may have an obligation to try your best to let the guild progress, but that only applies if everyone else is similarly obliged. If they’re not and you are, you’re the gimp.

    Don’t be the gimp.

    On a side note, have you noticed how awesome our threat gen is now? It’s crazy what the lacerate buff has done for us.

  3. notcoding says:

    Game stress is, of course, stupid.

    However – simply acknowledging that fact does little to get rid of it. As the Main Tank and (accidental) Raid Leader for my guild I know that I have ended up doing a lot more Karazhan raids, or “quick attument runs” than I’d otherwise prefer. In the moment – even though I “know” that I’d rather be doing something else – I’d also rather not feel the guilt of not being there. That loyalty to the guild is what makes a good officer – however, it is also what leads to epic threads in guild message boards when the loyal officer in question goes out-of-his-mind-crazy (god help the poor, mostly innocent fool that asks for the BM run that finally sets the tank off.)

    Rational behavior? Nope. Still very real though.

    My main struggle with this game is balancing the actual gameplay with the meta-game obligations.

    My wife has reminded me several times over the last few weeks that the 2nd Kara group doesn’t *require* me to be running with them on my alt – and that even though things might go better while I’m there, they are all big-boys and girls. So, I’m cutting down on those runs. I’m told it makes me less “cranky”.

    This week we finally have enough folks signed up for our 25-man run, allowing me to use:
    “/w Sorry! *gasp* I didn’t know you wanted to come on the run!? Did you sign up?”
    It has been my experience that – for some folks at least – until they can’t simply “show up” and presume they have a spot, they are less likely to sign up. Has been a long time coming, but I’m optimistic that this will motivate some small behavior change.

    I’m also working to be conscious of what is essentially *my* problem – setting boundaries, letting folks know that sometime I just don’t feel like doing a run, *or*, if all else fails, going to play on an unguilded alt.

  4. This is TOTALLY off topic, but Vixy has just met a new friend! (meaning- new alt) He’s a lvl 68 Tauren that she inherited from a RL friend and has NO idea how to play. She wants to take him Feral and tank stuff (she’s DPS and her sis is a healer so this completes the tr-fecta) but….. how does one tank? how does one play a druid? Can you point us to a good druid how-to? or give us some druidic gems of your own for a new tank? Thanks!

  5. Mitch says:

    That’s definitely the worst part of being the best geared tank in a guild. If I’m not around, typically a Kara run doesn’t happen :(

    @Kael: I’m not sure if it’s just the lacerate change or that all of Kara bleeds or a combo, but I did notice an increase in damage for sure. I used to be around 9-10% of the raid’s damage. The other night I was around 11% with our top DPSers there =D

  6. Kal says:

    Mitch, one of the things that happened in the last week was our guild’s first Mag kill and our second gruul kill. I typically stay in bear form on bosses for a bit if I’m not tanking just to make sure that if anything goes wrong I’ll pick it up.

    On Gruul, I had to hold back quite a bit to not take over from the MT. I skipped lacerating on cooldown, didn’t maul, and only did mangle. Even then I passed him here and there and had to go to only white attacks.

    On mags, I did even worse; I grabbed aggro with a mangle/2x lacerate combo, occasionally missing mangle because I was rage-starved a lot of the time. Still pulled aggro from the MT, and he couldn’t get it back. After that, I was told not to be in bear form any more. :p

    Can’t wait to try VR with this setup – between the robots bleeding and the lacerate changes we should be able to hold aggro for a long, long time.

  7. Macciatto says:

    BBB…. have you been reading our guilds forum? I just posted this morning, something very similar to what I think you’re getting it. We went from being very casually (whoever’s on at the time of a loosely scheduled run and shows interest can go), down to no one wanting to go and complaining they missed the run, to scheduling them on the forum then expanding on that to requiring sign ups in advance. That worked well for a while- attendence was up….and then it was down again.

    Why sign up then pull a no show? We then made pre-set teams, with sign ups for subs if needed. LOTS of subs signed up but didn’t get to go because the team participants were… participating! Aaaaand, then they stopped so subs could be subbed in… Oh Loook! The subs are logged on and ready to go! Aaaaand then subs and team players stopped showing up on time or at all.

    Has the barometer dropped? Pull of the moon’s tide? Seems this “pandemic” is cross realm!

    We’ve got the same ppl running this ad-freakin’-nauseum since October to get other ppl geared. Not fair to the RLs and GL who are there every stinking week because 8 other ppl are *cough* depending on them but then some are no-shows.

    What gives….

  8. Amanna says:

    BBB – I’d agree that pitching in “over and above” is part of the territory that comes with being a leader. But one of the other parts, and I would propose this is even more important, is as a leader of any organization, helping that organization grow, improve and “move to the next level”.

    All leaders at some point confront areas of stress within their organization. There is a tactical response and a strategic response.

    It seems to me your tactical response is to “suck it up, pitch in for the good of the team and attend the raid”. No argument there.

    But as you have pointed out that just leads to more stress on your side, which other commentors have aptly pointed out will just lead to burnout and ultimately does not help anyone, it hurts them.

    Strategically, what I haven’t heard you talking too much about is how to correct the behaviour. This is where being a leader allows you to shine. It’s where being a parent, being a CEO and yes, being a guild officer are kind of the same thing. Instead of continuing to put up with the behaviour, how about thinking how to stop it? Maybe those that show up when they are supposed to are rewarded somehow. Maybe those that don’t are dinged. Maybe raids are cancelled if everyone doesn’t pull their own weight and community peer pressure helps motivate all.

    Not sure any of this applies to you or your guild, but something to chew on.

  9. Messyah says:

    The stress is native to the fact that in order to get your character/t00n the best gear available for him, you have to rely on 24 other people each time you want to take a chance at getting something good. That’s 24 other personalities to contend with, 24 individual schedules to comply with, 24 responsibilities that are required to be fulfilled in order for you to advance your own t00n into progression. Yes, Blizzard has you relying on 24 other people that you don’t know from adam. Yes, you make “friends” so-to-speak, but it all happens in a digital, imaginary world. Amazing, huh? So, THAT is why the game gets stressful.

    Look BBB, I used to worry about leaving my team behind. I used to stay up late, forsake work and raid til we downed the target boss(es). It was stressful, and worse, it began to affect my real life. I had to take a step back and come to the realization that these people I played the game with were only in my life when I was on the game and the minute I left the game, so too did they leave my life (with the exception of a few real friends I play with.) The sooner you accept that, the sooner WoW will go back to being a game and not a deterrant from real life. ;-)

    As far as raiding, utilize all of the tools that are out there and available. Group calendar, SKG or DKP, Raidbuilder, heck even your guild website (if you have one.) Be tough, be stern and if people commit and then do not comply to the set schedule and rules, /gkick _________, capice? You can always find other players looking to raid.

    Also, when you have no-shows, call the raid. Don’t PUG! I mean, if you have others in the guild that can fill the spots, by all means take them and continue the run. But if you have an incompete raid group, call the raid and be sure to let everyone know why and who was to blame. You can always down-size into two ZA groups, or 21-22 man Gruul’s (we’ve actually 19-manned Gruul’s successfully), hell only take one group to ZA and try and reward the more-reliable people with the run. And if your no-shows become notorious for not showing, boot them from raider status and recruit someone in their place.

    Learn to be a dictator without being a dick. ;-)

  10. Hey BBB,

    I understand your frustrations. Fact is, even though this is only a game, real people are on the other end. Hope you work it all out.

    As for your vocal removal questions, there are some problems there. You can find more details at http://www.sonicspot.com/guide/vocalremoval.html — a quick Google search for “freeware vocal remover” should net you what you need. I’ve used one that worked okay, but I can’t remember what it is.

    Good luck!

  11. Ahmen says:

    My guild pushes the sign up thing. We use rapid raid and people sign up. If we know we’re gonna need extra people the RL asks a guild we’re friendly with and people step in. We adhere to that sign up though. So the people who sign up get priority over someone who may just happen to be on.

    I do get why you’re frustrated though. Don’t be afraid to tell them you need time to do other stuff. Shadow Priests are very fun.

  12. Daric says:

    I check out your blog once or twice a week. I normally just lurk, learn a bit, chuckle at some of your observations, and move on. But I just had to respond to this post and share my experience. Lengthy post, but I think it’s an interesting story.

    I’m in a pretty informal raiding guild on Vek’Nilash (Kara and Gruul’s on farm). Our GM became really focused on moving us forward as a group and wanted to help some of the new people get more experience and gear so we could continue our progression. Before we knew it, there was a raid scheduled for almost every night of the week–two Kara groups going two different nights a week; Gruul’s once a week; a foray into ZA here and there.

    Then it happened. Our GM came a couple of weeks ago and said he had to cancel his account. He was playing WOW so much (going on almost all of those runs I listed above with his two level 70s) that his marriage was falling apart. He needed to stop playing to get his personal life in order. He passed the GM title to me since I was the only senior officer on at the time. I felt like Ultra Magnus in the original Transformers movie when Prime has him take over as leader–I didn’t really want the GM-ship, but didn’t really have a choice.

    My initial plan was to get all of the officers together and figure out who should take the GM title permenantly. We decided to suspend all of the guild raids for a week so the officers would be completely available to answer any questions that people might have about what happened (my biggest fear was that there would be a mass exodus after the GM left)….and a bunch of guildies told me how glad they were that we cut back our raid schedule! It turns out almost everyone was burned out by all of the raiding, but no one wanted to say anything. So, it looks like we’re going back to just one Kara run and one Gruul’s run a week as the only “official events”.

    I guess my point is that there are times where you have to take a break. Out of all the officers in my guild, I’m the one constantly reminding everyone that this is a GAME, and when it starts to be more than that (and it has at times), I take a break for a few days.

  13. Arais says:

    BBB, I have to say, you’re absolutely right about being assertive that you want time off from raiding. Our guild raids 4 nights a week, plus ZA on an off-night and Kara on weekend afternoons. Before we ran ZA on that off-night we did Kara then too. Being an officer and a raid leader I felt I had to be on for every run…

    Now, being a hunter, I wasn’t needed for every run, but I decided to roll a feral druid(helluva fun, but the downsides were to come later) when we were having a hard time with getting tanks online. I got to 70 and started running 5mans to get geared up. Eventually getting to a Kara ready state around August-September, and started running it with the guild.

    Needless to say, running a raid, needing to tank, and not being able to have fun because of responsibility I felt I owed to the guild by being there every raid to tank or dps was starting to hit me heavily.

    At a certain point, I had enough. I still wanted to raid, I love the guild, I love the people, but as you say, the stress of HAVING to be there was too much. So I stopped running 10mans, I started leveling some alts to have fun with friends.

    Today, I’m much happier, I raid on our scheduled nights, and basically tell people “I don’t feel like running anything tonight, thanks though!”.

    Anyway, you’re not alone out there in your situation!

  14. Taueth says:

    Here’s a thought. I’m not sure if this would work in your guild, but in my guild there’s a regular raid schedule and people post when they *won’t* be there. Thus, there’s no ‘maybe if we wait X-very-important-raider will log on’. X has already posted on the forums, saying he won’t be on, because he is one of those regular, key raiders. It is simply assumed that everyone knows the raid schedule, and that they will be online. To be absent is the irregular action.

    My guild has a raiding pool that’s about 35 people or so, which gives them enough wiggle room for 25-man raids and inevitable absences. These are all people who are geared and experienced, and competent for the content. Perhaps you could suggest your guild open raid recruitment, to have a pool of raiders available? If you have a larger raid pool than 35, say 40, you could probably assume that even if people only show for 50% of the time, you’ll have 25 raiders for three days of a week. However, this may simply not work with your guild’s social structure. Unfortunately, a guild can either expand to sustain low-attendance raiding or have a relatively small raiding pool with high-attendance people. Can’t have it both ways. =/

  15. Taueth says:

    Oh, and they way they encourage attendance is through ranks and raid invite priority. Officers make 90-100% of raids, then veterans (people who have been raiding with the guild forever), then regular raiders (high attendance), then irregular raiders (geared and experienced, but can’t make every night). So, regular raiders and higher get invite priority over irregular raiders. It encourages people to attend raids.

  16. Springwater says:

    I first would like to thank you for your blog. It is fun to read and full of very use full information.
    With that said I do understand the way you feel I am the Druid class leader in my guild and one of the 2 main tanks. A couple of weeks ago I had to go out of town for work and I post in the forms that I would not be able to run Kara or Gruul’s that weekend since I would not be back till Sunday late afternoon.
    I got back into town Sunday around 12:00pm server time and called a RL friend that I knew would be in the run which starts at 11am server only to be told that they are still trying to down the High King and that I was needed. I told my friend that it would be one and a half hours before I will get logged on. I got home at 1:30pm sever and logged on to vent while I started the game. I got an invite to the run and a summons right away and off I went. The mood of the raid group did pick up alot after I joined the raid, we had 3 more tries at the High King and did almost downed him (we have killed him before this run). The run was called for the day and in the officer chat I could not go out of town and miss any raids. Now this was said as a joke but after getting the recap of the run in O chat and whispers form alot of others there was some truth to me not missing the raids. The next week we went to Gruul’s and it took us 3 shot at the High King to down him then we took 3 or 4 shots at gruul’s for our first killing of him.
    I feel that I do not have the time to do all the prep work for the weekend runs ie getting the mats for pots and fishing and killing things for the meat for the food buffs and doing the dailys to get money for repairs. I am always asked to tank instances all the time and I feel I have to drop what I am doing and go help. I would like to lvl my mage. Take your time off from the game and enjoy the time away we need to so the game will be fun for us. The guild will have to step up and fill your big paws if they want to advance in the raiding game. Hang in there BBB. And thanks again for your blog.

  17. Steve says:

    Great posts! once again, you hit the nail right on the head in regards to what my wife and I were going through before we switched guilds.

    What is everyone’s take on NOT signing up for a raid but being online. IE wanting to do dailies, or quests, or alts, but not wanting to attend the raid?

    my personal thoughts on this is that, if I or my wife don’t sign up for the raid, but we are online, and are needed, it’s up to us weather we go. Unfortunately my wife being a healer, she felt forced to go to the raids that she didn’t sign up for. and the guild leader wouldn’t give her any slack. the GM said if she is online, she was forced to participate in the raid, whether she signed up or not.

    Thus led to us leavening.

    -steve

  18. CapnTuna says:

    The only way to educate new members is to let them run. The only way to gear them up is to let them run. Allow them the same opportunities to succede or fail as you did getting to where you are gearwise today. Do “less stressful” 5-mans to help subs gear up.
    But even on the nights you don’t run evesdrop in Vent for some tasty blog fodder. Who knows, you could be training the next Leeroy Jenkins.
    As a final word if I sign up on the Guild calendar that I’m not running, I’m not running.

  19. Jezrael says:

    I can empathise BBB. Work was pretty stressful this week and then I logged in Wednesday night for our Kara run to be told once we’d already started that we would be clearing. Usually we do a 2 hour run and come back the following night to finish up. The fact that I wasn’t asked but told irked me too. I stuck it out but only because my sweetie needed the badges towards FR gear for lock tanking Leo next weekend.

    At to solutions – I think it really is a combination of you being assertive about saying no and the guild enforcing specific scheduled times. If people don’t show up for the assigned times it’s THEIR fault not yours and they are the ones holding back progression. You shouldn’t feel guilty at all about having a real life with real responsibilities. Hope everything gets worked out and you can feel more chilled :)

  20. Heilerin says:

    Keep one thing in mind: it sucks for them to not have you tank all the time, but it sucks even more if BBB gets sick and tired of it all and decides to take a break from the game because he does not feel like playing any more.

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