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Officers QuartersJun 21, 2017 4:00 pm CT

Officers’ Quarters: Legion and raider shaming

In Legion, more than in any other expansion to date, there is pressure on progression raiders to log in during every waking hour. This week, we look at whether raid leaders should call out players who aren’t spending enough time earning Artifact Power and Legendaries.

Nyx asked
There’s a fancy spreadsheet available on the interwebs that players can customize to basically pull in the weekly activity of any player using the armory (I think). You can see how many world quests they’re done, you can see how much artifact power they’re gotten, how many traits they have unlocked. You can see how many pets they have, how many raid bosses they’ve killed, and it will rank everyone you put into it based on whatever category you want. It’s really cool.

It’s also awful. You can see who isn’t doing their emissaries. You can see who isn’t running any Mythic+ dungeons. You can see who is behind on their traits. You can see everything they’re doing and NOT doing every week, and it can be used to seriously call people out. I’ve had raiders do it.

For most raids it’s probably a non-issue, certainly those on the more casual end of the spectrum. But what about progression-oriented guilds? What’s an officer group to do when players can literally call out other raid members on the fact they’re 10 traits behind the rest of the raid? How should officers react to being able to literally see a player is doing none of the power-increasing activities outside of raid that help a group progress? When almost everyone has Concordence what do you do with the raider clearly making no effort to get it, but they’re doing everything asked within raid times?

The real question: What can officers ask of their raiders in terms of their time spent outside of raid times? It will certainly vary somewhat guild to guild, raid to raid, but how does an officer group decide what they can (and what they should) ask of players when it comes to non-raid time?

It’s kind of amazing how much both Legendary items and Artifact Power have completely changed the landscape for progression raiders. It used to be that ilevel was all that mattered, and ilevel was mostly a matter of showing up for raid nights.

Of course, you had to gem and enchant your gear, and the Armory or a quick inspection could show that you hadn’t done that. Raid leaders would call you out if you hadn’t, and rightly so. But overall it was a pretty binary affair — did you augment your gear or not?

Falling behind on ilevel went hand in hand with missing raid nights, so it was obvious to everyone when a player was falling behind.

But in Legion the game asks so much more of its progression raiders.

Legion’s culture shock

Maxing out Artifact Power is basically an infinite task, since Blizzard keeps adding points to our weapons. The faster research hotfix will help. But every raider will still have to go and grind out billions of AP eventually.

Then there’s the randomness of Legendary gear. If you don’t have your two best-in-slot Legendaries, you’re doomed to endure the fickleness of RNGsus. Many raid teams expect you to do everything in your power to acquire these Legendaries, including Mythic+ dungeons, Emissaries, Broken Shore world quests, etc. All of this takes up a ton of non-raiding time in-game to accomplish.

All in all, Legion asks the most of progression raiders since classic WoW. Given that prior expansions didn’t ask for such an investment, it’s been a bit of a culture shock for raiders. Justice/Valor Points in Cataclysm, Mists, and Warlords had weekly caps, so you could only do so much. As long as you were capping those out, you always felt like you were doing enough to keep up outside of a raid.

Legion changed all that. As I’ve written before, this expansion has been terrible for raider morale. It’s why I’m personally no longer progression raiding in this expansion. I can’t keep up. I would be letting the team down right now if I still was. So it was better for me not to participate. I’m bummed about that, but at a certain point you have to be realistic about what you can and can’t get done.

monk artifact knowledge

Raiding your raiders

Now, given this situation, it’s not surprising that officers and raid leaders have developed ways to check up on their raiders. This type of behavior has a long tradition. Early in classic WoW, you would click on players in your raid before a pull to see if they were using all the available buff items or if they were trying to skate by. Eventually there were addons that could tell you. These addons could even show you who didn’t have enough resist gear if a specific encounter required fire, shadow, frost, or nature resist. All of this stuff cost a lot of gold, but progression guilds expected it — and raid teams really needed all of that to progress in most cases.{PB}

Today the requirements aren’t centered around gold but around something far more precious and difficult to acquire for the average player: time. When raid leaders are monitoring their players with the spreadsheets Nyx mentions, what they’re really doing is figuring out how much time a player is investing in their character. In Legion, time translates directly into a character’s power through AP and indirectly into Legendaries.

Realistically, there’s no way to stop raid leaders from using such things, unless Blizzard makes changes to their code and their online tools. Blizzard could give us a way to make our Armory profiles private, but I don’t think that really addresses the issue. Raid leaders will always find a way to figure out whether players are keeping up and doing what they have to, and the combat logs will always show the end results of every raider’s effort in any case.

krosus fires a beam

The power of expectations

What’s more important is for guilds to establish clear expectations about these types of activities. Those expectations go hand in hand with the level of raiding a guild is participating in.

Mythic guilds could establish strict guidelines about the amount of AP a player is expected to farm per week, for example, or the number of points they need to reach by a certain date. I think that’s OK — but these expectations need to be communicated clearly so that everyone is on the same page. When non-officer raiders are calling out other raiders for slacking, that’s usually the result of the leadership not being clear enough about what they need everyone to do.

For less progression-oriented guilds, they might have some loose guidelines asking players to do what they can rather than strict rules that must be enforced. Ultimately, if the guild is having fun and a player isn’t single-handedly holding the raid team back with a lack of AP, then no one should be sweating what other players are up to.

Drawing the line

The tricky part of the whole AP/Legendary scenario is where Heroic and Mythic guilds should draw the line. Every guild’s officers will have their own idea about what’s achievable and what’s necessary for the raid team to succeed. That may not necessarily line up with what a specific player can actually accomplish.

Given the infinite nature of AP, I think a progression guild’s guidelines shouldn’t actually be about pushing players to spend more and more time in the game outside of raids. That is a recipe for burnout. Rather, I think progression guilds should give players a healthy minimum to aim for each week. Then players can feel like they’re doing what they need to do, just like capping out on Valor back in Warlords.

“Get all the AP that you possibly can every single day” makes for a very stressful environment. Setting a specific quota, on the other hand, can make sure everyone is putting in around the same level of effort. No one can shame another raider for not going crazy AP farming as long as they’re meeting that quota. That amount will vary depending on the guild, but it should be a level that’s comfortable for the vast majority of your raiders.

priest artifact weapon

Shaming is never the right answer

When a raider isn’t able to meet that quota consistently from week to week in a progression guild, the first step is to ask them — in private — if it’s possible for them to do more. Maybe they’re having personal issues or hardships that don’t allow them to play as much as others. Publicly shaming a specific person is never productive or healthy.

Keep in mind that there’s a huge difference between a raider who could do more but doesn’t want to and a raider who wants to do more but can’t. Even in the case of the former, that player doesn’t deserve to get called out in front of the whole team. A private conversation about their disappointing performance is a better solution and more likely to motivate them.

In either case, you may have to ask that person to step down from the raid team. But this is a last resort, for a case where their inability to meet the quota affects their performance that much relative to the other raiders that it’s hurting the team.

Legion‘s insane design is an opportunity for officers and raid leaders to show good leadership. If Blizzard won’t impose reasonable limits, then we have to do it ourselves — for the health of our raiders and our communities.

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