A Primer on breaking into an existing raid
It is yet another Wednesday, and as is often the case with the morning after a raid I begin thinking about the various issues of the night before. Last night was one of those rare concordance of the planets that served to get us an unusual drought of players. It is something that happens in every raid, and this is the time that players who have been standing on the outskirts of the core are given a rare and special opportunity. The opportunity to take a step up and get noticed, saving the day for the raid and as such improving their personal capital.
Too often however players prefer to wait for a “sure thing” before committing to showing up on a regular basis. Being a raid leader I assure you, we notice the players who wait in the wings patiently for their turn at bat. We also however notice the players who ask for special treatment, but are not there when the raid needs the additional support. This is my attempt to put down on paper a good approach at how to carve out a niche for yourself in a well established raid.
One of the negatives of running a raid is the fact that you need a much larger pool of available players than you have spots on any given night. As a result when a player is brought into the pool of available players it does not mean they are necessarily filling a permanent vacancy. Each leader and raid has a different way of managing this, but as I stated in an earlier post our system basically has newer members vying for spots that we are not able to fill through more seasoned players. This means until a player gains a foothold, and proves their abilities against existing members they will be relegated to the role of “fill ins”.
One of the best traits you can have is being patient with the raid. Asking for repeated updates as to whether or not there will be room for you that evening only serves to frustrate and annoy raid leadership. If it is a raid worth joining, then you have assume that the leaders will take into account all available resources and choose the team that best suits each evening. As a junior member of the raid, you should expect that there are going to be many nights where you will not make the cut. However with time, openings appear and if you have a proven track record you will be able to slide into one of them more easily.
I think it’s human nature to try and work whatever advantages you have available to you in order to achieve your own goals. When it comes to getting into a raid this is a slipper slope. If you truly want to become a lasting fixture in the raid structure, it is important for you to get in on your own merits. Having another player acting as your arbitrator shows the leadership that you either lack the self confidence to stand on your own, or that you don’t respect the process. When a player consistently tries to “pull the strings” it gets noticed quickly.
When you do finally get into a raid regularly its important for you to remember this as well. The players who flit from officer to officer until they get the answer they were looking for are also noticed. Players who consistently try and work the system earn a special disdain. If you are honest and straightforward in all your dealings it gets noticed and you will develop a good reputation as a result. It is important not to abuse your friendships, if you want them to last.
It is important for you the prospective raider to be online, in the appropriate channels and ready for invites at the specified time. Nothing frustrates a raid leader more than trying to chase down players when there is a shortage. The players who show up every week regardless if they are “guaranteed” an invite stand out, and are the players who get into the raid. Some raids have formal rules about being on “standby”, but even if the prospective raid does not, it is important to make every effort you can to be available.
Not being available when the invites for that night go out, is the surest way to get yourself skipped over. It is a sign of disrespect for the member of the raid as a whole. It is understandable that from time to time players will not be available, but when it is the rule not the exception you lower your value to the group effort. Having a spotty attendance record before you have entered the raid fully, tends to almost guarantee that you will never be looked at as anything but a last minute fill-in.
When entering a raid, it is important that you leave your ego at the door. Each raid has its own rules, strategies and procedures. It does not matter how many times you have done an encounter before, when you are applying for a raid the burden lies on you to prove yourself. Be willing to adapt to new methods and accept the way things are being done currently. The last thing a leader wants to do is bring in someone who will upset the existing balance.
Players with an overdeveloped sense of bravado tend to have an underlying tapestry of insecurities. The players who are humble and prove their worth through actions instead of words are the ones who stand out in the long run. Accept advice and criticism graciously even when you feel it is unwarranted. It is often the player who can meld the most seamlessly into a group that gets invited back the most often. The players however who constantly subvert the natural progression of the raid, get left out.
The number one thing you can do to impress a raid leader is to be fully prepared for all encounters. The backbone of any raid is the player that shows up knowing the fights, geared properly, with all necessary consumables for the situation at hand. These are the players who not only get invited back every week, but are the players who become the core of the raid. If you integrate into the existing strategy, know your role, and execute it flawlessly it is almost guaranteed that you will get invited back often.
However if you show up to the event unprepared, unable to understand the basics of the fights at hand and do a half hearted job executing your duties there is no reason why a sane and rational leader would offer you a second chance. There are simple cardinal rules of raiding, like don’t stand in shit unless otherwise told to, that when ignored immediately flags a player as not being “up to snuff”. The “doing stupid stuff” quotient, already occurs amongst the active raiding population, but the surest way to pull yourself from contention for a regular invite is to be the guy that is always in the wrong place at the wrong time. A few hours of your own time spent can often mean the difference between looking like a seasoned veteran, and looking like a complete failure
Every raid leader is looking for players that they can count on. Everyone has their on days and off days, but it is important that each player provides consistent performance. You need to make yourself the kind of player that the rest of the raid can depend on. Often times this means showing up and doing each of the above topics, every chance you are presented. You are the player applying to this raid, and no matter how you found yourself filling out that application, it is up to you to prove yourself to the entire group.
A player who gives an unreliable performance will find themselves passed over or even replaced by players who show up and give the same stable effort each week. Accept the fact that you are the “low man on the totem pole”, and even embrace it. Use it as a chance to prove yourself every single outing. Excelling at the jobs that no one else in the raid wants, shows a willingness to work and adapt and before long you will find yourself one of those raid cornerstones.
In life, sometimes things just don’t work out quite the way you want them to. Sometimes you do everything right and simply not get into the group. When this happens, try not to take it personally. Often times there are issues at work behind the scenes that you are not necessarily privy to. If you consistently follow the theory of this post, and not starting to get invites then it may very well be time for you to move on. Every raid has its own structure, tenants and style. Not everyone is a fit for every environment, and when this happens be gracious and move to your next opportunity.
Following this approach will in most cases pull you from being an outsider to being a valued member in no time. When you do finally get that coveted “Perm Spot”, realize all of the reasons that lead you to it. It is important that you continue to strive to
- Be Patient: Not everything is going to go your way
- Be Ethical: Don’t abuse your relationship
- Be Available: Report on time ready to perform
- Be Prepared: Know your encounters and how your class fits in them
- Be Reliable: Deliver consistent performance
- Be Resilient: Be Gracious when things don’t go as expected