Ah, Summertime! A time for sunny days and guild members who couldn't be bothered to sign up for anything in the last 3 months to come out of the woodwork clamoring for Ulduar slots.
It's especially vexing to raiders who toughed it out when the absentee raiders return. Does the guildie who didn't bother to show up for the last 2 raids she signed up for really think she deserves a spot in Ulduar over anyone else? Does the tank who ninja AFKs and leaves a raid full of people standing around twiddling their thumbs for 20 minutes really think he is the best choice for leading a progression raid?
You would be surprised out how out of touch some folks can be with reality.
Identifying the Bad Apples
An excellent example of this is a raider in my most recent 25-man Ulduar. We will call this person "Failpally", or Fail for short. Due to our regular healers having gone POOF!, we took Fail with us on a progression night despite having never run with her. Desperate times call for desperate measures. It quickly became clear that despite Fail having some pretty solid gear, she had clearly been carried through content. How could we tell? It was pretty easy:
- Doesn't do their class job. We had two pallies in the raid. The primary pally kept up devotion aura and applied Kings to the raid. We did not have a second aura or pally buff until and unless the raid leader and other members asked Fail repeatedly in vent and in raid chat to have this addressed. If no one reminded Fail, we got nada.
- Doesn't complete requested raid tasks. Even when Fail did toss out some buffs, she couldn't be bothered to buff the priests with wisdom. After one wipe, she had to be asked verbally by the raid leader twice to do so. In addition to being asked by the priests and other raid members to do so as her buff was all we were waiting for to pull.
- Does not display common courtesy and respect to other players. Fail never ran back after a wipe. Not when told to do so directly, or when the entire raid was told to run back and get situated. When asked directly why she was not running back when everyone else was, she replied "Because then I can't get snacks."
- Resistant to changing behavior in the face of constructive criticism. These were not isolated incidents. This rinsed and repeated throughout the raid. It's OK to not know what is expected of you once. But if you do not show any ability to learn, or even to carry out raid instructions, why would you expect to be kept in a group or ever invited back again?
Thanks in part to Fail pally, who additionally eeked out a mere 900HPS, the raid was scrapped that night after a few mostly unsuccessful hours.
It is hard to know if Fail was an absentee raider, returned after long absence and not back into the groove, or if Fail was a guild princess used to being brought along and coasting through raids. Regardless, neither type is one you want in your raids.
Absentee players may show up for a couple nights of raids, and scoop up loot they want, but that loot is not going to be put to good use in your raids. These hit-and-run raiders inevitable tire of raiding at about the point you hit a progression block and are not seen or heard from again until the next new content is patched in.
Your loyal steady raiders, if they have been around the block a few times, may refuse to heal absentee players in the hopes that their repeated dying in a fire will hasten them back to their not logged in for 2 months status. Yes, it's passive aggressive, but they are fighting fire with fire. It's best, however, if things don't come to this.
How to Weed Out the Bad Apples Before They Ruin Your Raid
- If you have the luxury of more players than raid spots, consider implementing an activity-based priority for raid spots. Those players who have X% raid attendance have priority for raid slots.
- Use WoW Heroes or BeIMBA as a starting point. Be aware, however, how much of their gear was earned through raid sweat versus how much was bought from the AH/crafted by their more progressed buddies.
- Consider implementing a raider designation of some sort. After a month of inactivity, move players out of this rank.
- Be sure any DKP or Suicide Kings loot system involves decay from inactivity. You may not think this is necessary, but the first time you have a 6-month absentee raider scoop up your first tier chest their first (and only) night back after weeks of your hard work, then you will see why this is necessary.
- When you need to PUG a tank or healer raid spot, be sure the person suggesting the PUG-ee has actually raided with the person before. Their gchat buddy may be a hoot, but that doesn't mean they know their class or play nice with others.