It's really easy to be that guy who posts a complaint in your guild's forums about how everyone did a crappy job last night in the raid. Or to start pointing fingers via raid chat and vent when things start to go south. But regardless of how thoughtful or valid your criticism may be, if you're not doing everything you personally can to help your raid be successful, your comments are going to fall on deaf ears. Because if you don't demonstrate personal accountability, frankly, no one is going to listen to your point of you.
What is personal accountability?
Personal accountability in a raiding setting can be roughly defined as being aware of how your personal actions and decisions contribute to the overall success or failure of the raid. That's right, YOU. Regardless of what your raid role is. Your choices and actions affected the outcome of that last raid in which you participated. Not just what everybody else did.
When tempted to start diagnosing the causes of a less than spectacular raiding night, you need to start with looking at yourself, and answering these questions:
Did I come to this raid prepared?
- Did I read the strats/watch a video of the fights with which I am less familiar?
- Was I online, gear repaired, with all my reagents/consumables, en route to or already at the raid location at invite time?
- Did I ensure my significant other/parent/dog understood I was going to be unavailable to them for the course of the raid time and was OK with me spending the entire raid time online, not tending to them?
- If I know in advance that I cannot stay through the end of the raid for some unavoidable reason (think called in to work, not buddy called and wants to go grab some beers), did I tell the raid leader beforehand so I could be replaced either for the whole raid or the portion I can not attend, or better yet did I line up my own replacement?
Now that I'm at the raid, am I focused on the task at hand?
- Did I turn off IM, minimize the Farmville, turn off the TV so I can pay attention to the raid?
- Am I listening to Vent/TeamSpeek/Discord at a reasonable volume so I can hear anything my raid leader is trying to tell me?
- Have I turned off any downloads/backups/console Internet connections that might cause me to lag horribly or DC?
Am I correctly performing the role I am assigned?
- Did I switch targets when the raid leader asked me to do so, or did I stay on the boss or AOE instead?
- Did I get in my fair share of interrupts/dispells/cleanses? Or did someone else on the team get stuck doing all that heavy lifting?
- If I was asked, for the good of the raid, to swap into my off spec, did I do so pleasantly, or did I grumble/whine/complain/threaten to log off and hold up the raid for 10 minutes while arguing that someone else should have to swap roles and not me?
- If someone else had the same job assigned, did I perform roughly the same as they did?
- Did I die in a pool of slime, or in a fire, or in some other place I should not have been standing?
- Did I die from pulling aggro off the boss?
- Was I the first to die in every fight, due to some sort of avoidable issue/mechanic?
Am I playing my class to the best of its potential?
- Is all my gear properly enchanted and gemmed?
- Do I roughly understand the stat weightings for my gems and enchants, to evaluate which gem/enchant is better?
- Is my main spec gear appropriate? i.e. I am not trying to heal in hit gear, or tank in DPS gear, or DPSing in PvP gear.
- Do I know what a good solid rotation is that makes the most of my special abilities and cooldowns?
- If there is someone else in the raid with my same spec, am I performing roughly as well as they are? If not, do I know why not? (Hint: If they are doing 2K more DPS than you, blaming their two pieces of better gear is not going to fly as a reason for that disparity)
- If I am in a raid with someone who plays my same class/spec and they are a superstar, do I check recount and raid logs and armory or even PM them to see how I might improve my performance?
This is a big checklist. And from time-to-time, we're going to slip up in one of these areas, such as by not knowing, after a patch, our most effective rotation. Or maybe we forget and put on a piece of gear we got last night and didn't yet gem. These kinds of goofs happen and are forgivable. But if you can't confidently check off most of these items, you are not in the best position to be offering up your unsolicited advice as to what the raid's problems are.
Because you are, in fact, one of those problems.
But the good news is, the checklist doesn't just show you potential issues, most items also include the "how to resolve the issue" portion too. No one expects their raid members to be perfect. But most folks do expect you to give a damn, and to make an effort. Addressing any gaps you have ID'd via this checklist is a great start.