The Dark Art of the Raid Invite

confused_bush Tonight is yet another Duranub raid night… something that I both look forward to and dread at the same time.  There is one aspect of being a raid leader that I will never get used to; the raid invite.  In lean times I hate trying to magically pull a workable raid group out of my ass, and in good times I hate trying to decide who is going to make the cut and who is going to have to twiddle their thumbs that evening.  No matter what decisions myself and the other officers make, it is always at great personal cost to my digestive tract.

Lately it’s come to my attention that many of the players who are late to the party simply think that I in some way do not like them, and that is the reason why they are not receiving regular invites.  While this came out in part on the empyreal forums this morning, I thought I would take some time to type up a post on my blog about it.  Maybe as a way to explain the thought process that goes into invites and some of the things that our players do that drive me up a wall.

The first concept players have to get into their heads is a confusing one.  Raid Leader Belghast, Guild Leader Belghast, and Friend Belghast are three completely different entities.  It’s like the triumvirate… and even less understandable.  When I am wearing my Raid Leader hat, my only concern is about the success of the raid and dealing with any issues that are in the way of us going in and clearing content quickly and efficiently.  We try our damnedest to leave our feelings out of it.  This doesn’t always work, but in general is a benchmark we try and work from.


7 Habits of Annoying Players (well just 2)

Please sir can I have some more?

domoPumpkin On any given raid night during the course of the evening I will have received a tell from 20 or so players each wanting some form of special “care and handling”.  There are two behaviors that just drive me up a wall.  The first one is the players, and this is a LARGE group who start messaging me the moment I log on during a raid night, and in some cases days before trying to “reserve” their space for the next raid.  Unfortunately the Duranub invite system is not a car rental company. 

The most common question myself and the other officers receive is…  “Is there room tonight for me?”.  In 99% of all cases the answer will always be “I won’t really know until we do invites.”.  Which is the gods honest truth.  Unless I know up front that one of our regular “core class” players is missing, then I do not know ahead of time whether or not there will be “Room in the Inn”.  Pressing the point only serves to make me either annoyed or feel like complete shit that I can’t give you a straight answer.

We Built this City… err Raid…

The next trait that just drives me up a freaking wall is…  the player that EXPECTS a raid invite.  It does not matter who you are, or how long you have been with a raid…  we are all expendable for the good of the raid.  This includes myself and any of the other raid officers.  The good of the group is our driving focus, and every night we try and assemble out of what we are given the group with the highest likelihood of success.  From time to time this means that one of the “regular” members is going to get asked to ride the bench.  When this happens please take it gracefully and understand that there were more factors in play than you will realize.


How The Invites Work

m12troop There is in fact a dark science as the topic states to all our invites.  Essentially starting somewhere between 8:30 pm -9:00 pm the Duranub officers begin evaluating who is available in the Duranub channel.  If you are NOT in the channel, then that is the first critical mistake you can make.  Being in the channel is part of your responsibility.  This is not a House Stalwart raid, and as a result we do ALL our invites from those who are sitting in the Duranub channel at invite time.  We take this as your signal that you are available and ready to raid that night.  Please do not expect us to track you down from guild, our friends list, other social channels… we have a million things going on every raid night and the surest way to get left behind is to not be where you are supposed to be on time.

We officially start invites at 9:00 server or shortly thereafter.  Please be available for an invite at this time.  This time has been announced publically for going on 2 years now, so you should expect to start receiving invites at this time.  It is disrespectful to the members and officers to be unavailable at this time.  There are many annoying behaviors that end up digging under my skin.

  • Not taking raid invite because you are furiously working on daily quests
  • Being in another group at the time invites start going out
  • Pushing your luck and trying to finish and instance run prior to the raid
  • Being afk – There are mods that auto accept group invites from people on your friends list.  If you have to habitually go afk FIND one and use it. (example)
  • Spamming officers as to if invites have gone out yet, or as to why you haven’t gotten one yet

We approach invites in multiple phases.  Basically we weigh a number of factors when we attempt to do a raid invite.  This is not an exact science but basically this is the theory that is applied.

  • Core Classes/Class Balance – We invite players first who play a unique role that is vital to the success of the raid.  This is not limited to but includes tanks, healers, players with uniquely needed specs
  • High Performers – we invite the players next who have habitually shown the ability to always perform above and beyond the curve of the raid.  These are the players who carry the raid on their backs every single night and without whom we would have a harder time succeeding.
  • Players Who Got Left Out – This filter is to catch players from that would have normally gotten an invite but for some reason got left out for the good of the raid the previous week.
  • Senority/Dedication – We invite the players who have always been there for the raid, have always done whatever was asked of them, be it change classes, be it change specs, be it take a particularly annoying but needed role. 

Throughout this entire process as many officers as are available are sifting through all of these decisions verbally.  If there are still openings to fill we begin to look towards new applicants and other folks that are currently available and willing to go.  We take into account melee vs caster dps balance, healer diversity, buff diversity, and all other manner of subtle issues that can’t be directly quantified.  The basic point that needs to be taken away, is that if for some reason you get skipped over for an invite there were dozens of other points that went into making that decision.


The Money Shot

explosion Now we get down to the crux of this point.  Running a raid is hard work.  The officers and raid elders spend countless hours each week doing various things we would probably rather not be doing.  All of this to bring everyone the relaxed but successful environment that I hope we all enjoy.  We do in 2.5 hours 2 nights a week what other raids do in 4 hours per night 3-5 nights a week.  We start at a huge disadvantage already, so in order to be successful we have to pull out all the breaks we can and remain focused. 

When you disagree with a decision that has been made or for some reason feel wronged please let your first reaction be to take a step back and evaluate the situation.  We are making decisions every night for the good of the raid, not for your benefit and not for the benefit of ourselves.  Nothing kills the morale of the officers than receiving nothing but complaints, but it is human nature for players to ONLY speak up when something is wrong.  We are going to do our best to handle things in a manner that makes everyone happy, but at the end of the day please be gentle.


That in a nutshell is the Dark Science of Raid Invites.

2 thoughts on “The Dark Art of the Raid Invite

  1. Good post, Bel.

    I remember the days when I was running raid (preBC) how stressful it was to do invites and how you pinpointed all of the problems from players that I would receive.

    Duranub has a good mix and balance with decent and good players. It’s hard to realize sometimes that you as a player (generalization) are expendable, but it’s true. Even me. Making things smooth for the people running the show is critical. Too many leaders leave and quit because of the stress and demands people put on them.

    Also another critical thing you said (that I feel needs to be reiterated) is that Raid Leader, Guild Leader, Friends are 3 separate people. Just like for me Friend, Guild officer, Healer are 3 separate people.


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