Friday, March 18, 2011

Raid Building 101: A Family Affair

ah family, how embarrassing
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.
I’ve talked a lot about in game things having to do with raid leading.  There are also a lot of external influences on a raid leader and on the raiders themselves.  Friends and peer pressure can play a role in how you raid lead or if your raiders sign up, show up, and perform during the raid.  External factors can be hurricanes, power outages, and computers going up in smoke.  The most influencing factor to me and a lot of my raiders is family.

How do families affect you and your raiders?

Before I had my first kid I had no patience, I played WoW five hours a day and sometimes over eight hours a day on weekends.  When I would raid lead I wouldn’t have the patience for things going wrong or the insight to deal with raiders who had some real life issues to attend to.  In fact I think WoW had too much influence over my mood and my life.  My family changed all of that.  I have almost unlimited patience when dealing with wipe nights, I can empathize with most issues that come up for my raiders, and my language generally improved.  I can’t say for sure all of this can be accounted to my family, but they started the change in me.  Balancing family against progression is a very delicate thing to do, but if you can involve the family you will get more out of it.

she's better than him
Dealing with Raiding Families
Sometimes you may end up surprised to know that the shaman in your core group of raiders is actually married to that rogue that is pretty good.  What benefits or pitfalls can a couple or a family of raiders bring to your raid?

  • Couples or Families that raid together show up together
  • Almost always you will get a notice if one can’t make it from another
  • You can ask one of them to work with the other on certain things they may need to improve on
  • If one signs up you can ask if the other is showing up (sometimes they make great spot fillers if you are short a person)
  • More unity between raiders.
  • They can communicate outside of vent during encounters.
  • Depending on the connection both raiders in one raid can lag them.
  • One raider could be a hardcore player and the other casual which can cause one to get upset with the other and cause drama during the raid.
  • If their relationship gets rocky it can spill over into the raid.
  • Having to Alt one of them may cause the other to not want to raid as well.
  • A power outage or any disaster can cause you to lose two raiders instead of just one.
  • They can get their lovey dovey talk all over your vent.
  • Raiders can think there is favoritism involved with the couple.

Things to remember
Treat them as individual raiders.  No matter how much they love raiding and playing together, they are their own person with their own abilities.  Don’t suffer through a poor player just because he’s married to your best healer.  Don’t stop trying to work with a raider on their DPS just because they are married to one of your Tanks.  In the end they should both be their own individual who loves to raid and when they get to raid together it just makes it better for both of them.

Dealing with Raiding Roommates
This is pretty much the same as above for benefits and pitfalls, but roommates tend to not keep track of each other or force each other to be on time nearly as much as a married couple.  They may have a more competitive relationship as well.

i r gut haelz?
Dealing with Kids/Teenagers in your raid
If there is one thing that scares me the most it’s subjecting kids to my raids.  No seriously, there are quite a few crazies I raid with who on any night can be swearing up a storm or talking about something that a ten year old may not have heard yet.  I’m sure by thirteen they’ve heard everything.  The issue with kids is they are not always as reliable simply because they are still at a selfish age. 

  • Teenagers often have a lot of time to raid.
  • They understand computers and the mechanics of games.
  • They are usually pretty open to suggestions about improving their character.
  • Think it’s awesome when they get to raid.
  • Some of them have crazy fast play styles.
  • No seriously, how can they heal that fast?
  • They don’t always think about the raid when they decide to stay over at a friend’s to play another game of Black Ops. 
  • They can have bedtimes even as teenagers where their computer HAS to be off at a certain time.
  • They can overreact to getting alted or removed from a raid.
  • They can be very judgmental of other raiders if they are not as good.
  • They can randomly decide to gquit because they didn’t get that one piece of loot they came to the raid for.
  • They don’t often realize when they are teasing another player or saying things that are offensive.

Things to Remember
Kids/Teenagers can be looking for positive reinforcement and an escape from the real world when they come into your raid.  This is why they may freak out on you if they are reprimanded, alted, or lose on every roll for loot.  Just remember that they will get over it.  Let them huff and puff and when they are done ask if they still want to raid.  I usually try to stay out of the lives of my younger raiders as I don’t want them thinking I’m some creep, but older and married raiders I talk to about kids and stuff all the time.

fuck, she caught me on vent
Balancing YOUR Family and WoW
You knew this section was coming.  I talked about it at the beginning.  I’m not going to lecture anyone about the need to make sure your family gets time as well, you should know that already.  What I am going to say is if you can get your family involved in the game it may make things easier.  People have written a ton on how to get your wife to play, mine won’t go near it but who knows, maybe yours will.  I try to get a few simple points across to my wife when I play.

Things your partner should talk about
There are schedules for raids, what schedule works best for your family?
  • Hopefully your guild has a signup that works for your timeframe.
  • Remember that once you agree to it and sign up that is now set in stone outside of an emergency.
  • Playing outside of the timeframe is something you should be thankful for.
  • Work out times of night, perhaps after the kids or partner go to bed that you can get some normal WoW playing time outside of raiding.
  • WoW is a hobby, and a pretty cheap hobby at that.  You could be drinking out in a bar or out of the house doing who knows what.
There are other grown-ups with kids who play, not just kids.
  • I tell my wife about certain people and I use their real names.
  • We talk often about situations other families are in and how they are doing.
  • This helps her realize there are other people who play that are normal as well.
  • Also this makes her more comfortable not worrying you may have some cyber stalker.
Raid Leading is a lot like a job.
  • People depend on you to show up so when you agreed on a schedule it is like a promise to 9 or 24 other people that you will be there.
  • There is after hours work where you have to be looking up strategies or talking on vent with raiders or officers about the raid.
  • It can affect your mood if you are having a bad night on bosses, just make sure to warn them when it’s happening.
  • Raid Leading is a lot like being a manager or a project manager. 
  • Types, Skill levels, Personality, these are all aspects of workers as well as raiders.
  • WoW requires strategy, communication, effort, and commitment.  These are all good traits to work on while outside of work.
  • There are schedules, rosters, and sometimes follow-up posts that have to be made for each raid.  The paperwork can get overwhelming.

pwnin' nubs, no seriously
Sharing Playtime with your Kids
When my daughter was around one year old she loved to ask me summon my mount and just hit space bar to hear the horse neigh.   I’d collect a ton of pets just to show her what they looked like in the game.  I’d travel through starting areas to show her pigs, cows, squirrels, rabbits, etc.  (Very helpful during the winter months.)  It even helped her recognize M as her second letter.  She would say “M is for Map!” and hit M on my keyboard while we played.  (Side note: F was the first letter she recognized because she loved Fox in Sox by Dr. Seuss.) The best thing about cataclysm for my daughter?  Vash’jr.  She loves to see sharks and whales, drive the sea horse around and when I take her over to where all the jellyfish are she just loves staring at the screen.

My son who is now nine months old has taken the spot on my lap now and bangs the keyboard the entire time I run around and do daily quests.  He thinks it’s amazing that he can make something on the screen move by hitting this one long button in front of him.  Oh, and my wife can’t complain too much because the kids love getting time to play with WoW and she agrees that Vash’jr is all kinds of awesome looking.

I would be lying if I didn’t say there were some issues with sharing WoW with your kids.  I have taught my daughter that if my headphones are on it means I’m raiding, which means she can’t come smack the keyboard and hit “M for Map!” in the middle of me raiding.  You have to try and make it clear when you are available to be pulled away from the game or they can push you out of the chair to play too and when you can’t be interrupted unless they need something.  Family is more important than a wipe.

i see so many nubs
Final Thoughts
I summed it up pretty good above and this should go for any raid leader.  Family is more important than a wipe.  Remember that.  Real life is more important than WoW.  Sometimes people get so caught up in progression and raiding they forget that people sometimes have things come up that cause them to miss raids or have to leave in the middle of them.  I just expect a reason later whenever the person is online again.  I’ve had someone disappear without logging off and we thought he fell asleep.  A week later he came online saying his dad had a stroke and they had to rush him to the hospital.  Glad I didn’t overreact to that one right? Always remember when dealing with real life relationships in WoW there are always benefits and pitfalls that can affect your raid.  Your job as a raid leader is to smooth these out as much as possible so everyone gets to enjoy the experience.

Gordrin is the current Raid Leader of Guild Malice - Early Raid. The man is a "Bieliber" but we don't hold that against him. If you get him drunk enough he'll also be hung over for a week. Go big or go home! Gordrin can be reached at

1 comment:

Goreblades said...

Awesome post, Gordrin, as usual. I know when I first started playing my girlfriend couldn't understand how I could play this game for so much time a day, but eventually I got her to try it out for herself. Now she plays more than I do, has more raid ready toons then I do, and schedules her whole day around her raids :). It has actually brought us closer together because we discuss the game and talk about what we can each do to better prepare for upcoming fights.