We all talk about being good raiders and working toward a goal of becoming better. But how many of us put that into practice regularly? Could we be doing more (the answer is yes)? What would that look like? I know my journey from complete newb to decent raider began by asking my raid leader (some time ago now) “what should I do to get good.” His advice was “go look stuff up on your class and raiding and stuff.” I took a little time to compile some of what I learned a good raider should do.
A good raider owns mistakes and treats them as lessons. It is always better to fess up when you fuck up. I wiped the raid three times on Thadius back when learning how to raid myself before asking “what am I doing wrong? I know I’m killing people, but this is what I’m doing and it isn’t working.” Rather than quietly wipe the raid all night and blame it on lag, I owned up and people who were doing it right helped me correct the issues.
A good raider comes prepared, in game and in real life. This point is more than just bring food buffs and flasks (although it is that) and is even bigger than “don’t always be the person needing a summon.” Its also having a clear desk, a glass of water, and a pre-raid washroom/smoking break.
A good raider does homework. Theorycrafting can be boring, but it does make a better player. Staying up to date on patch notes and what they mean, talking to other players of your class, and doing what you can to up your game when not raiding will always up your dps/healing skill/tanking ability.
A good raider always reviews her (his) performance. WoWwebstats. World of Logs. Recount. Look yourself up and see where you died/slowed dps/didn’t heal well enough. Some folks I’ve talked to sit down after raid with a few other folks in their roles and compare notes. I’ve listened to tanks who go over their deaths and see if there are spots where they could be using cooldowns differently. If you’re not dissecting how well you did, you’re doing yourself a disservice.
A good raider develops an understanding of other roles/classes in the raid. You don’t have to level a tank to 80 to get a better feeling of how they work. In fact, sometimes that can cause more problems. Learn not how you think something should be tanked, but rather how your tanks think it should be done. The same is true for dps and healing. Learn the style of druid healers, so you can help them by being spread out or closer together at crucial moments. Despite what you might think, it is of value for a caster to know better how a rogue in her raid is playing. The more you know about the play styles of your fellows, the better you’ll work as a team.
A good raider brings the right attitude for the situation. Staying positive is great. Everyone wants to have fun, and folks should do what they can to make that happen. On the other hand, being too encouraging when people are screwing up in areas they should not be creates issues too. While the feeling of a raid overall is largely controlled by its leadership, anyone who makes a comment influences it. The same joke cracked on hard progression vs trash can have a radically different effect. In one case it convinces everyone to goof off and stop paying attention (wasting everyone’s night) and in another situation is lightens a mood and lets everyone enjoy the social experience. Think before speaking, and make sure you’re thinking in the right vein for what’s going on.
A good raider finds a way to develope situational awareness. As simple as it sounds, staying out of the fire isn’t something you do or do not, its a learned skill. Figuring out how best to move for fire bombs or how to spot them comes with time and attention. Make this easy for yourself. For some people, DBM is an aid to this awareness. For other people, any addons make it harder to spot the in game graphics that point this out. Figure out who you are, and adjust. Keybind your rotation if possible to make paying attention to the fight easier. Watch videos and members of classes with similar roles to your to see how they position and move.
A good raider competes for a raid spot. Even in our guild where finishing your trial, becoming a “raider” and signing up and showing up may guarantee you a spot, look at every night as an opportunity to prove why you were chosen. This mentality will force you to bring your A game and help everyone do better. This doesn’t mean hating your fellows, and certainly shouldn’t mean wanting to help them any less. Rather, see every time they get better as setting the bar just a litter higher in your quest for personal development.
A good raider looks for every little buff she (he) can find. This means 10 stats to chest over 8. It means farming a little extra gold for the good weapon enchant. It means epic gems, the right potions, the best food, and using Halloween candy buffs when you’ve got them. Each little upgrade might be worth 1 dps or a similarly small amount, but it all adds up and good raiders know this.
A good raider uses the forums for guild community and communication. This may feel like a senseless plug, but its true. Every major and successful guild I’ve looked at has a very active forum community debating ideas and suggestions for how to do things better. All the previous points are tied into this one. The forums can be a source for theorycraft, logs posted, questions for fellow raiders, and even more. If you’re not active on the forums (reading and contributing), you might be doing a lot to be a good raider, but you are not doing everything you could be.