Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Vacations and Raids

As a head's up, I have a large out-of-game project and a vacation coming up in the next month, so my posting may become a bit more sporadic than it has been otherwise :)
  • First up is a weeklong vacation, visiting a friend out of state, one that oddly enough my husband and I met through this wonderfully social game, though said friend no longer has time to play anymore. My husband and I haven't been on a vacation since early January, and it will be some much-needed time out of town. Kit's especially looking forward to doing some martial arts training at our friend's dojo, and even I have agreed to participate.

  • Second is a camp I'm co-directing. Yep, I am a volunteer camp counselor, and really looking forward to this nearly week-long resident camp. As things are really coming together in recent weeks, I've been kept busy with making sure the finer details of some of the program and available equipment are sorted out, and making sure all the other staff (and myself) are ready for this! Not to mention a lot of support and idea-bouncing with the camp's main program developer as we work out final details. I'm really looking forward to the camp!

The obvious downside (gamewise) to this upcoming travel is that I will be missing 5 total raids, when I've had 100% attendance the past few months and am one of only two fulltime healers in the guild. In a 10-man raiding guild, this is a big blow to the raiding roster, and we've been scrambling to find another healer who can fill in for me, which is interesting to say the least when it comes to Ulduar hardmodes. At the same time, we have other raiders who are experiencing similar vacations, seasonal jobs, etc (we are currently recruiting, fyi, if you're interested in pure ten-man raiding).

Raids and Seasonal Changes

The change of the season is always a bump for guilds; some take it smoother than others, and how smoothly one guild takes it will vary from season to season, and year to year. Nearly every player has lifestyle changes or vacations, and the busiest times of change occur in:
  • Spring -> Summer (schools let out, summer jobs, family vacations, moving to college, summer sports, etc)
  • Summer -> Fall (school starts, summer jobs often push into weekends/evenings instead, general personal schedule changes for sports)
  • New Year (winter vacations, new games released over holidays, temporary winter jobs, change of college class schedules and even winter graduations)
Since it is a game, guild officers and leadership can't really fault their players for these changes. Some players have less control over their lives (gradeschool), and almost all players will have job changes or family changes, or have to travel between college and their hometown or internships. Many players have activities dependent on the season, such as sports, or other activities that must be rescheduled each season for room reservations or instructor availability. Sometimes a player may feel during these seasonal changes that it's even time for them to cut back on their WoW play so that they can focus more on other aspects of their life; other times a player who was but a "casual" member of the guild may suddenly have far more freetime available to commit to raiding than before.

The players themselves must understand that if their own schedule changes lead to them falling below an attendance or reliability level their guild needs, they may no longer find themselves on the raiding roster. Guilds all have different policies for this. As a kindness to your raid leaders, let them know in advance if you're going to have a major schedule change, and if it is temporary or "permanent" (as permanent as anything in a schedule is!). If you weren't previously raiding with the guild but now have the time to commit to it, bring it up with your guild's leaders/officers! They aren't psychic :)

Such changes in the roster can also cause a stir of drama, at times. Some guilds can collapse under the weight, or struggle through and find themselves wholly changed; others ride it out with a few roster changes and think little of it. How your guild handles such change depends on the core raiders and how well they understand that such seasonal changes are a natural part of raiding guilds, how successful applications for any new spots may go, and how dramatic any losses may've been. I've seen some pretty dramatic stuff, too!

If you love your guild and want to help it ride out the seasonal changes, do your best to keep the raid adaptable and positive. Assist with recruitment for the needed spots; offer suggestions of friends or "good pugs" who can help fill holes on a raid night. Run PuGs on your main (rather than an undergeared alt) to find such good players who you can refer to apply, or at least try out during your guild raids when you need a spot filled. Most importantly, stay positive, but realistic, and always realize that change is natural and vacations are a necessary thing!


Unknown said...

Hope you have a great Vacation and more importantly hope those kids don't give you too much of the lip. -hugs-

Kae said...

Heh, I'm the one leading their night hike, they better not be giving this druid any lip! ;)

Anonymous said...

Have fun on your vacation!!!

And you are 100% right about finding great potential raid members during pick up raids! I ran a Saturday alt Naxx for a month or so, and you really can find some diamonds in the rough if you are observant, patient and open-minded enough!