Guild Leadership

What Makes A Raider ‘Casual’?

During my amazing six week break, my guild found itself in an incredibly odd position where we had enough tanks and healers for two groups, but the DPS support just was not there. We had tried recruiting before attendance reached critical levels, but with our pathetic progression on a high population server, we got no bites. Raids had to be canceled when not a single DPS would rock up and frustration was mounting. Eventually the raid leaders had no choice but to merge down to just the one group; meaning the excess tanks and healers lost their positions. Fast forward to 2013 and we now have enough people to possibly start up that second team again, and the task of getting it together has landed with me. I have dubbed this second team super casual, but several conversations I have had with those interested show that the age old question of, “What does casual mean?” is still very prevalent, at least in my guild.

Even with a merger, we still only managed 4 bosses before Christmas.

Even with a merger, we only managed to down 4 bosses before Christmas.

Setting the Standard

For as long as I can remember Concur has touted itself as being a semi-casual guild; a rather confusing term that, when I look at it, really makes no sense. What? We’re relaxed for one half of the raid and then during the second half we become frothing elitists who scream down Mumble and kick you from the guild if you make one mistake? No, not at all. When I used that term to define our guild all those years ago, I meant to say that we are casual in a sense of time spent actually raiding.

Our raid times are limited to two three hour sessions a week, and we like to make the most of that time! We expect those interested in raiding to have put a decent amount of effort not only into ensuring that their character is the best it can be, but that they have also taken the time to master their class and study each fight before we pull. -Source

While this is mostly true of our raiding style, every once in a while players get slack, and unfortunately that shows in how lack luster our progression is. Those who are keeping true to our guild philosophy often get frustrated; too often does our raid roster change due to poor attendance or our raid leaders feel they have to bear with average performance because there is no-one else available to step in and take their place. It seems to me that the casual component has outweighed the “bring your best” part of the statement; something I know the raid leaders are very eager to squash.

Casual raid? Hell yes, I finally don't have to worry about "raid readiness". I've got this!

Casual raid? Hell yes! Who needs “raid standards” anyway?

Does Casual Mean Bad, Then?

Reading back on that last paragraph, I realise that I have basically said that ‘casual’ and ‘bring your best’ cannot be mutually exclusive — that casual means “bad”. That was not my intention. Those more casual players in Concur may be bringing their personal best, but it generally is not the best their character can be. I should stress that it is not because they are “bad”, but that it is, once again, a time thing. I did my best to try and complete the dailies each day, but to be the best would have meant not missing a single day of quests — something that I could not achieve. Others do their best by showing up to raids when they can, but to be the best would mean 100% attendance.

By labeling my second team as ‘Super Casual’ I may be confusing people, or even deterring those newer members in Concur from signing up for it altogether. I mean super casual in a sense that the group will only run once a fortnight, at least initially. We haven’t even had our first raid night yet and already people are trying to pressure me into changing the group into a more progression orientated team. I will not cause myself any more stress than necessary, and I certainly won’t be benching people because Mister Leatherwearer wants less loot competition. I made it clear in my post that while it would be more laid back than raid one, there are still basic raid standards in place such as minimum item level, etc. If you can make it, great! If not, that’s okay too. The raid will go on, even if it means we have three rogues.

On a final note, as a raider I always I made sure I rocked up having thoroughly researched the fights beforehand and that my character was optimised to the best of my ability. Not THE best, but the best I can achieve with my play time. I may not have the highest item level or all the raid achievements, but I will get there eventually. I suppose that by identifying as a casual player, and labeling my team as a casual raid, my focus is more on the journey than it is on how quickly we can get to the destination. Group composition may not be perfect, and some nights will be tougher than others, but we will sure as hell have a good time getting there.

What do you consider to be a “casual raider”? Do you feel like the World of Warcraft community has moved away from the idea that casual = bad, or are those players who are identifying as casual keeping the stereotype alive with less than stellar performance? Have your say in the comments below. 

12 thoughts on “What Makes A Raider ‘Casual’?

  1. The discussion of hardcore vs. casual seems to be neverending and is as much alive today as it was back in vanilla (when it effectively split my guild in two). I have to agree with you that it is mostly about time spent. In my experience there are great players who are “casual” due to lack of time.

    It can also be seen in the way raiding is approached. Are there attendance requirements or not, do you need to know the strategy before hand or not (i.e. will raid time be spent eplaining), do you need to have flasks and food buff or not, do you study logs from the raid to look at preformance and improve or not. You can clear a raid instance either way in my experience.

    Unfortunately I still think that there is a mentality amongst quite a lot of ppl that casual = bad. Although I guess this depends on what you see as “good qualities” and “bad qualities” in a raider. For some the word “casual” seems to be a bit of an insult, a means to look down on others or a means to boost yourself by saying you do not belong to this group.

    Personaly I don’t raid these days and have been labeling myself as “über casual” for quite a while. But even so I do take the time I spend playing in a group seriously and always try to do my best even if “it’s just a 5-man”.

  2. Interesting that you should choose to post this, as I just got a letter the other day from our raid leader that was interesting, to say the least. Among other things, she seemed to think I either actively disliked her or would resent her because I am clearly a “casual” and she thought I already had or would interpret her behavior as the hardcore, tight a?? raid leader type.

    While I think we’ve cleared that up between us, sometimes I still wonder if “casual” still has connotations of laziness or being the weakest link, or can incline someone to think that.

    For example, I had not purchased gems or enchants for my gear because these were given to me. I had interpreted this as part of a generous guild resource policy (much like we have a bunch of feasts and potions and stuff for use), but the fact that I did not seek out enchants and gems before being given them must have indicated that I did not care. Maybe my endless jokes about being a huntard and a professional derper contributed, maybe they didn’t.

    We still haven’t cleared the first boss in Mogushan Vaults, and apparently my unorthodox reforging in combination with this past evidence of passively screwing the team over became an issue which overshadowed the things that I HAD done to prepare for raiding that I never would have done otherwise. (I seem to be in the middle of the pack DPS-wise.)

    1. Golden Lotus, Golden Lotus, Golden OMGWTF Lotus
    2. Reforging gear in the first place, however unorthodox my choices were
    3. Running LFR at all
    4. Leveling cooking so I could actually make food for myself use
    6. Consciously attempting to increase my gearscore past what quests would give me
    7. Going out and taming a sporebat though no one specifically asked me to because a warlock wanted the buff during our last attempt and that seemed sensible
    8. Leveling my alchemist so I can start to bring flasks on my own
    9. Downloading and installing addons
    10. Making a conscious effort to bring raid-useful pets instead of running around with my seagull or monkey
    11. As a huntard, making a conscious effort to use a focus-aware rotation

    Our next attempt is coming up this weekend, and I had studied the Ask Mr. Robot reforging thingiemabobber, but had not yet made those changes. This brought on the letter, which definitely had a “dude, how can you not do this, you’re letting everybody down” kinda feel to it. Reforging as requested and having a conversation has smoothed the troubles over for now, but I wonder if this peace will last if we don’t progress anywhere.

    I am also remembering my first guild, where my slower uptake eventually lead to my unstated but clear ouster from the team and also from the guild’s social life. So far that hasn’t happened here – but I feel very much as though I’m easily considered the weakest link. As the weakest link, it can feel like I’m more than doubly culpable for wipes.

    Sometimes I think a casual like myself faces some additional hurdles in terms of raiding – how I come off to the more “serious” matters immensely in proving my intent and worth, while the learning curve seems insanely high sometimes (OMFG MOAR COBALT MINES NEED DETERRENCE TO COOL DOWN FASTER PLZKTHX).

    This is why I’m thrilled when raids finally get the hell nerfed out of them – people relax and actually have some damn fun again, and I don’t have to stress the hell out over rotation, DPS and whether or not I’m reacting fast enough. I like challenges, sure, but so far, “raiding” hasn’t been real kind or rewarding.

    • My goodness, I’m sorry to hear that happened to you! It sounds like your raid leader has singled in on you because your odd enchants and jokes about skill make you an easy target. You’re blowing up Cobalt Mines, you’ve actually bothered to reforge, even if it’s not “right”, and you are sitting mid-range on DPS. Through my experiences with Stone Guard, one mid-range DPS is certainly not enough to wipe the entire raid! Perhaps your raid leader needs to be focusing more on what the team is doing as a whole and less on your lack of psychic ability to pre-purchase gems and enchants for gifts :P

      Is she calling for everyone to pop mines during Cobalt Overload? Are the tanks using the easy taunt strategy, or the harder double taunt one? Are melee moving out a little when Cobalt Mines are being cast so that they don’t accidentally drop it on the tanks? Are people who are chained sticking together? Moving out of purple promptly? No matter what you reforge, it won’t change what other people are doing.

      Whoops, I love how in my own casual post I go into a more “hardcore” critique of a raid leader I don’t even know! I’m about to lead my first ever MV raid tomorrow night so I guess all these things are fresh on my mind.

      I’m glad to hear that at least you and your Raid Leader have mostly smoothed things over. You’re certainly not lazy, and I have definitely heard of worse things for people to be doing in a raid! Hopefully you all got that elusive kill over the weekend :)

      • We got it down much farther than before but alas, still wiped, as a healer went down (again), one was lagging and the third ran out of mana. The current theory in general is that our DPS overall is too low.

        We are getting better at the don’t stand in stuff/avoid Cobalt Mines (or in my case, Deterrence + blow them up) thing. Jasper Chains was not active last weekend, but that’s usually what usually gets me. When I’m petrified pretty damn solid + trying to avoid a mine because Deterrence isn’t up, I seem to always be just a little too long and a little too far away from whomever and I die. >< When I'm not chained, I try to stick to the rug so I can run to whichever side has the most Cobalt Mines. I should probably just give up on that.

        We currently have to pug people to fill holes in our DPS roster, which means that almost invariably, one of these folks goes down in the first 30 seconds. This of course impacts overall DPS, but I feel like I can't waste my Quilen's battle res on a DPS so early in the fight because our healers and tanks are just so damn important – if one goes down and nobody can bring him or her up, it's practically a wipe right then and there. We can keep struggling on if one DPS goes down, it seems.

        I'm not sure what more to do with rotation crap, because I kinda find that when the sheeyit hits the fan, I tend to resort to what I call the huntard basics, which are in essence the Beast Master's rotation in the first place. (Keep Serpent Sting up, use Kill Command/other skills when available, don't use Beastial Wrath AND Focus Fire at the same time, Arcane Shot to dump focus, Cobra Shot when you need focus/refresh Serpent Sting.) I've been debating traps – on the one hand, every little bit helps, but on the other, we move a damn lot and it's not like those things are on an instant cooldown.

        I'm using an upgraded, enchanted heroic bow, so my only hopes there are:

        Klatith, Fangs of the Swarm
        (http://www.wowhead.com/item=87546/klatith-fangs-of-the-swarm)

        With my luck, all I can say is HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Or:

        Fang Kung, Spark of the Titans
        (raid finder version, http://www.wowhead.com/item=86801)

        With my luck and the fact that other huntards are usually present, all I can say in regards to that drop is even more HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

        My bracers are my worst piece of gear and I've still got some pieces from heroics … I just feel like trying to replace those is going to take forever and a freaking day because I only have so much time to play and LFR can be a total a time sink even when things go well, and of course drops are not guaranteed.

        The Casual Raider in me wishes we could just go back to mauling all the crap in the Firelands.

        • Hmm, your healers need to perform almost as well as your tanks in this particular fight. One lagging and one always dead is a disaster waiting to happen, especially when there is a good chance that some damage cannot be avoided.

          As a seasoned Druid on battle rez duty, always use it on a DPS. Too little DPS means you either won’t make the enrage timer or your struggling healers will OOM too fast. If they continue to die, then that is the responsibility of the raid leader to have words with that player. There’s no point in them being there if they’re dead the whole time!

          We had one rogue this week who constantly kept pulling aggro at the start because what tank needs time to build initial threat, amirite? A nice Blessing of Protection soon stopped that — he couldn’t hit anything (Affecting his ZOMGIMSOAMAZINGDEEPS) and it stopped him from dying, thus saving our battle rez for later.

          Honestly, I believe you are not the issue here. Even if you nab a new bow, healers who are lagging won’t be able to move out of bad — let alone get off that crucial heal in time! — thus putting more stress on healing. The other healer who always dies is once again is putting pressure on an already stretched resource. You doing more DPS won’t compensate for the loss of 30k dps MINIMUM when you the PuG dies at the start or if the struggling healers go dry too soon. All you can do is do the best numbers you can while not taking unnecessary damage, and pop those pesky mines during Cobalt Overload or when the tank needs some extra space.

          I think every guild comes up to a wall like this. For us, it was Beth’tilac in Firelands! For you guys, it’s Stone Guardians. My team on Thursday probably had an average ilevel of 465 and we got to 11%. You guys CAN do this, but once again, your raid leader needs to stop using you as a scapegoat and look a little deeper into what is going on. World of Logs is a great analysis tool which can really help her get a better understanding of what is happening.

          Good luck!

  3. For me casual has always reflected the number of days spent raiding not the effort and performance whilst doing so. I used to raid six nights a week in vanilla in a super hardcore guild which took every server first from razorgore onwards and then I switched in Wrath to a more casual guild which raided three to four nights a week (was around the third/fourth guild on a fairly hardcore server) but I put the same effort into my performance and character whilst under both guild tags.

  4. I view raiding as an efficiency matter. To me if you spend 5 days a week and 5 hours an night raiding and only get as far as the guild doing 2 nights a week and 3 hours a night, then something is very wrong with your raid.

    Far too often I find people seem to equate spending time more time in this game as meaning that they are automatically *better* than those who don’t. And ergo they are part of an elite group of people, thus they should be given higher status in the game. Whilst in a general sense longer play times equate to better *skill* in the game. However it is far from the only factor, something we see a lot with high end players.

    This has been where the word “casual” has been used, even spat out in some cases, to address people who are seen to be pseudo gamers. By this I mean that they don’t fit the traditional model of being some geeky, basement dwelling, sock and sandles wearing, girlfriend lacking and socially awkward people.

    The word casual has been used as an insult based around their play time or commitment. Like games and a having a life are meant to be mutually exclusive things. The world of gaming has expanded in the last 10 years and these people who were original or “hipster” gamers are finding it hard to have their efforts distinguished amongst the masses now days. Particularly now that developers have started to make more and more game content available to those who lack the same amount of time to play games as these others. To be honest, however, I do feel the negative stigma around the words “casual gamer” are lifting but it is taking time.

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