Saturday, March 26, 2011

Raid Building 101: Crime and Punishment

Raid Building 101 is a weekly article detailing the finer (and sometimes the not so finer) points of building and leading a successful raid group. Be it a world first or super casual, Raid Building 101 has something for you.

We’ve talked about bringing up the right kind of Raid Leaders that buy into the type of raiding experience you want to have in your raids.  What about Raiders?  What about those that refuse to conform to your group and are outspoken or even rude to you or other raiders?  Every guild should have its own rules on what kinds of actions during a raid result in what kinds of punishment, but if not you should make some to keep things running smoothly.

What kind of punishments does your guild use?

There was a player in my raid who never understood why he would be alted.  He didn’t think that having six tanks sign up for three spots meant that he would have to sit out once and a while.  When he did get alted he would constantly send tells to the raid leaders while we were trying to raid and was just all around disruptive every time he wasn’t in the raid.  The Raid Leaders and Guild Officers had a chat and we let this player know he wouldn’t be raiding for a month because of his disrespect towards Raid Leaders and the guild.  Now this person is a happy raider, he even comes in on an alt once and a while to help heal.  Rules are there not only to keep the raid running smooth, but to instill confidence in your raid that people will show up and raid at a minimal level.

Crime is a harsh word for what people may do in a raid that is against raid rules or etiquette, but there should be a known punishment for anything done to disrupt the raid.  You have to enforce respect in your raid or people will walk all over you and the other raiders who show up and behave the entire time.

Being constantly late or leaving early
There are some raiders that can’t seem to show up on time and can’t seem to stay the entire raid.  How do you handle this type of person and what kind of punishment should there be?
  • Constantly showing up late
    • Have a policy in place stating that after 10 minutes alts will be brought in.
    • Unless someone let’s you know when they sign up they will be late or has someone else let you know they have to be replaced no matter how much you need that person to raid.
    • I also count this as them having raided for the week when doing rosters for other weeks.
    • This is about respect not only for the raid leader who took time to make the rosters but for their fellow raiders.
    • If it is once and there is a reason I tend to not punish at all, things happen.
  • Constantly leaving early
    • Have a policy that if you have to leave early you have to find your own replacement or let the raid leader know before they start raiding or as soon as they know they will have to leave early.
    • Making someone find their own replacement is a good way to take away the possibility of the raid coming to a halt as soon as the person has to leave.
    • Whenever the replacement is found bring them in early perhaps for an easy boss if it is getting close to the time the raider has to leave.
    • Bringing the replacement raider in for a boss on farm is kind of a reward for the person being brought in with bosses already downed.
    • If they always seem to suddenly need to jump offline it would be best to start scheduling them for half the raid time or just start alting them with a note on the rosters that they keep having to leave early.
    • Make sure you let the person know you want to let them raid, but you have to balance the other nine people who signed up for the entire raid time and how they deserve to not have any interruptions because someone has to leave.

Constantly going AFK or not coming back from breaks on time
Make sure people know that there is a break during the raid or the right time to go AFK (boss explanations to new raiders) to get a drink or use the restroom.
  • If someone seems to always be AFK at every ready check or late back from every break talk to them in tells about it.
    • There could be a good reason for it.
  • If they still don’t improve consider letting them know if it keeps happening they will be removed from the raid or alted for the next raid.
    • With limited time to raid someone afking constantly for ten minutes adds up quickly.
    • Too long of a break can ruin any momentum the current raid has.
  • Consider finding out if the breaks need to be longer by asking the raider how long they need for the break and then giving everyone that amount of time.
    • This way everyone isn’t getting upset waiting for the raider to return.

Always missing the last day of the raid
You can usually recognize the raiders that don’t like trying progression bosses; they magically don’t show up the last day of the raid when all the bosses that are now on farm are down.  There are a few things you can do to avoid this, but punishment may be required.

Things to combat wipe night fears
  • Purposely leave a boss up that will be downed the next day so there is the promise of getting loot for showing up.
  • Make a reward for getting a new boss down like a front page post on the guild page with a screenshot of all those who helped.
  • Share some gold with anyone who can’t afford the repairs, sometimes people just don’t have the cash for a progression night.

Punishments for bailing on a progression night
  • Alt them from the next raid.
  • Have them fill in for someone who can’t raid the entire time so they have to come in near the end of a raid where only progression bosses are left up to make up for them bailing a different week.
  • Have them post an apology on the guild forums.

Abusive to other Raiders and Raid Leaders
This is a big one for me.  Raid Leaders put in a lot of work creating rosters, looking up strategies, leading raids, and discussing things in raid officer meetings.  It is your responsibility to protect these people from harassment during raids.  It is also your responsibility to ensure raiders are safe from harassment while they are raiding.

Abusive to raid leaders or other raiders while participating in the raid;
  • Always warn someone if they are being abusive to a raid leader or raiders during a raid.
    • At this time it is good to talk to a Guild Officer or another officer and have them come listen in on vent during the rest of the raid.
  • If the raider continues to be abusive or refuses to follow the directions of the raid leader and another officer and the guild leader is online have them come into vent and tell the raid to follow the instructions of the raid leader and the GL will talk to anyone who has any questions of problems after the raid is over.
  • If the person still is abusive they need to be removed from the raid.
    • If the GL is unavailable the Officer listening in and the Raid Leader can agree to remove the person without needing the GL.
  • After removal if the abusiveness still continues the GL should have a chat with the raider to find out if they should even be in the guild at that point.
  • Consider alting for multiple weeks and an apology to those involved in the raid that week.
  • Make sure you make a post where all officers and raid leaders can read it and relay what happened and what the punishment was, this way if the raider tries to convince other officers he was wronged there is a consistent message.
    • This also helps if the person starts acting up in another raid they can be removed faster knowing that they have displayed this behavior before.
  • Also make it a point to talk with the raider personally about what happened if you were not in the raid, it could be a misunderstanding or something that you can work out with them to prevent the behavior in the future.

Abusive to raid leaders or other raiders while not in the raid;
  • Any harassing or demanding the attention of raiders or the raid leader from those not in the raid needs to be stopped as soon as it happens.
  • If someone is constantly asking why they are alted and arguing how they should be in instead of another person during the time in which a raid is actively going on have another officer talk to them.
  • If the person stops at this point I wouldn’t make any type of punishment.
  • If they are just arguing with the raid leader the raid leader can choose to just not reply to anything the person says.
  • If the person ignores the other officer and keeps trying to argue with those already in the raid then you may have to have the entire raid put the person on ignore.
    • Make sure you let the person know you do not have time to talk and am putting them on ignore.
    • Also let other officers know so they can watch for them saying anything in guild chat or other group chats trying to get your attention.
  • If the person tries to get around the ignore feature this is now considered harassment even by Blizzard’s own EULA and is a removable offense.
    • If it gets to this chances are the person is very close to quitting the guild themselves or they wouldn’t be going so far to argue with someone.
  • If the person DOES stop harassing the raid after he is ignored then a post should be made somewhere that explains what happens to other officers and raid leaders can note if this is something the raider is doing often.
  • First time offenses may be because of emotions and/or external substances and can be punished by being alted an extra time from the raid.
  • Repeat offenders should be given a month long break from raiding so they can calm down.

Loot issues and constant whining
I lumped these two together because I consider them both whining.  Some days, even some months, you can lose every roll.  It happens, get over it.  Bending the rules for even a single person can quickly turn in a large guild fight that ends up with people leaving.

How to deal with the drama of loot;
  • Always stick to the loot rules, even if you think someone is rolling on something that another person could use more the results of the rolls are set in stone.
  • If someone starts complaining about not getting any loot just remind them everyone eventually gets the loot they want.
  • If someone continues to whine or even wants to change the loot rules make it a point to talk with them after the raid.
  • If they bring their argument out into the guild after the raid is complete and are unhappy with the answers you gave them it might be a good time to take away their right to roll on loot for the next raid they are in.
    • This is assuming you are following the correct looting rules.
  • The next raid remind them of why this is happening and chances are you will find out if they are in the guild for the long haul or just here to get loot.
    • Being forced to raid while not getting even a chance to get gear makes a lot of them leave the guild thinking they were unfairly targeted by the raid leader.
  • Remind the entire raid or guild if need be how the looting rules work in the guild and make sure they read up on them and come to any officer with any questions.

Whining resembles winning only when you write it;
  • If anyone starts whining in your raid about stuff make sure you tell them to talk with someone later about it.
    • Doesn’t matter what the subject is, whining usually annoys other raiders and distracts them causing the raid to lose focus.
  • If people refuse to stop whining ask them if they would feel better not being in the raid at all.
    • Have them find their own replacement.
  • If they don’t want to be there and don’t want to find their own replacement and are not even trying just remove them from the raid and find a replacement.
    • Make a note someplace so if this behavior happens often they can be alted from raids and informed why.
  • If a raid leader is whining make sure raiders and officers know they can call them out on it.
    • My fellow raiders and raid leaders know to tell me to shove it if I start whining about things.
  • If you are having a whiney night consider having another raid leader step in who has more energy and is excited about raiding that night.

Things to remove from raid or guild for
Instead of going through and explaining punishments scenarios for each of these things just remember, if it’s this bad just remove them from the raid.
  • Purposely wiping the raid because they are upset about something.
    • If they knowingly do something to wipe the raid if they admit it or not they should be removed from the raid.
    • This also includes healers or tanks refusing to heal certain people or tank certain mobs.
  • Refusing to take a res because they disagree with something that is known to work and that everyone else is already doing.
    • If it works, has always worked, and is the guild strategy they should conform so you can get on to the progression bosses where strategy discussions may actually benefit the raid.
    • Fighting about strategy for bosses on farm status is nothing more than stalling the raid.  People who are stalling the raid need to be removed.
  • Refusing to do something that is asked of them like being the player to kite the adds around the room.
    • If the player only cares about themselves why should the other nine people suffer for it?
  • Not being enchanted or gemmed when they show up to raid.
    • If the person was asked to come in as a replacement they may not have been prepared.
    • Alts may not be completely prepared because of the costs of enchants/gemming.
    • If the person has raided and is their main character there are no excuses for gear not being gemmed and enchanted for the raid, they should be removed from the raid and a replacement found or trash can be cleared while they fix their gear.
  • Drunk or high to the point they can’t raid.
    • If someone is really drunk or high they can be a huge burden on the raid even if they say they are good to go.
    • If you see any hints of them not being able to perform their duties on the easier bosses remove them right away so their replacement gets a chance at the loot.
    • If they can perform and function correctly just tell them if they screw up too much you have to remove them.

Things to not punish for
Be careful not to punish people for things that come up in RL.  Just don’t let it become a habit, if someone always has to leave for RL stuff during the week perhaps they should only try to raid on the weekend.
  • Family emergencies.
  • Feeling sick.
  • Very tired.
  • Screwing up on a task given to them by the raid leader, but not on purpose.
  • Missing a taunt or cooldown and accidentally causing a wipe.
    • It happens to everyone.
  • A little drunk or high.

Final Thoughts
As you’ve seen from the lists above good communication between all the officer ranks is a requirement for the punishments to work.  If there is no communication that a raider is alted for a month they will just sign up when you aren’t doing the rosters and find a way to raid anyways.  Also you need to track consistent bad behavior and address it.  Using forums to discuss raiders and scenarios is highly recommended for any guild to keep everyone informed.  Also make sure it isn’t just the raid leader taking things too much to heart.  People can discuss if something in a strategy seems off or could use some changes, but those conversations should not turn into some type of yelling match.  Make sure if you follow up on any complaints or raid removals that you talk to other people that were in the raid to get an idea what exactly was going on.  Lastly make sure you apply the law evenly, if an officer is being abusive to a raider talk to them, if they continue ask them to leave the raid and pull in someone else.  Raiders will not respect the rules if they are not evenly applied.

Everyone can have a bad night and may be removed from a raid because of it, but if they really felt bad about it they would take the initiative to talk to someone about it the next day.   Do not take just one instance of someone doing something and label them with that for the rest of their raiding career.  Wait until they do it a couple of times.

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Gordrin is the current Raid Leader of Guild Malice - Early Raid. He has recently set a record for sitting on a level 60 Death Knight longer than anyone on the server. Impressive. Gordrin can be reached at

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