If you are more interested in the players found in hardcore guilds, you might find this article more interesting.

Following on from my article on who plays in hardcore guilds, I’m now going to discuss the kinds of players you will find in a normal, World of Warcraft raiding guild. I’ve discussed tips and tricks for pushing a raiding guild’s progress, and I’ve also touched on what it’s like being a guild leader of a raiding guild, but now I’m going to try and get inside the heads of raiders. Not the hardcore, very-little-going-on-in-real-life raiders — the normal raiders. The raiders with jobs, or lots of school work to do, or even kids to care for.

Normal raiders make up about 40% of WoW’s subscription base, so obviously it’s going to be quite hard to boil down just a few player types — but I’ll try my best. Hopefully you’ll be able to spot yourself, but don’t worry if you can’t — there are always exceptions!

As with my my other article on hardcore raiders, I’ll be utilising Bartle’s player type system to give more abstract classifications of each type. I’ll also be using David Kolb’s research (further studied by Peter Honey and Alfred Mumford) into ‘Learning Style‘ — the way in which certain people learn in different ways — either through theorycrafting, wiping, or a mix of the two! Due to the less specific nature of raiding guilds (almost anyone can be in a raiding guild) some of the classifications might be a little lacking.

Enough preamble — let’s get right into the kinds of players in raiding guilds!

The 4 player types found in raiding guilds

Raiding guilds, being made  up a much larger percentage of the player base, tend to contain a huge variety of gamers. Unlike hardcore guilds, raiding guilds can contain any kind of player. The actual playing of WoW raiding content is very easy — the hard bit is the logistics and continued, 5-raids-a-week effort.  Raiding guilds consist of what’s left after you remove everyone capable of raiding in a hardcore capacity, which means you’re not generally left with very good gamers! Luckily, you don’t need to excel to progress; you just need a loyal bunch of players, and some perseverance!

What are the 4 player types? Let’s start with the most despised:

The Visitor

I thought I would leap right in there with the most hated and reviled of all raiding player types: the player that’s only hanging around for a while. The player that thinks he’s way too good to be in your pokey, up-and-coming raiding guild — you’re merely a stepping stone for the Visitor, he’s on his way to the top baby!

  • Bartle Player Type: Opportunists, with a few Planners thrown in (the more intelligent ones). Maybe one or two Networkers (but they are rare, and would probably already be in a hardcore guild).
  • Kolb Learning Style: Being such a variety of types, it’s hard to pigeon-hole The Visitor into a learning style. In theory, they could be any of the hardcore raiding types, just waiting for their moment to come!

The Visitor is an odd ball. They are likely to be your best gamers, as they are looking to be ‘spotted’ by top guilds; but at the same time, any investment you make into a Visitor is most likely going to be a waste (in the long run!) It’s not uncommon for a Visitor to constantly remind you that he’s only in the guild while he looks for a ‘better guild’ more suited to his awesome abilities. Visitors will sometimes be complete underachievers, knowing that their efforts feel wasted on a normal raiding guild.They are probably of the opinion that they can do more damage than the next player with one hand behind their back.

What To Avoid

Visitors are likely to be prima donnas — they want special treatment for being a cut above the rest of your guild. Sadly, you probably should give them special treatment. It really depends on how keen on progress you are — Visitors could provide a quick boost in progress, but then a drop in progress and morale when they ultimately leave. Visitors are likely to be the best damage dealers in your raid (much like the Killer in a hardcore raid) — but in the vast majority of cases, there’s a reason they’re still not in a hardcore guild. If you treat a Visitor with respect, and make sure they get the loot that’s rightfully theirs, they might just hang around! They might leave and rejoin a few times, but that’s just part of the ‘experience’ in a normal raiding guild.

The Loyal Soldier

These are the raiding guild’s equivalent of the Silent But Deadly hardcore guild member — your stalwart members that have been in the guild since the start, and won’t depart until the guild disbands. If you need someone to boost you through a low-level instance on an alt, the Loyal Soldier is the player most likely to help you;  if you need some kind of old reagent, they most likely have a stockpile on one of their many, many alts.

  • Bartle Player Type: Again, a large split between Scientists, Friends and Networkers — the implicit types. These are generally quiet, reclusive types that you will rarely notice causing a fuss in general chat.
  • Kolb Learning Style: Likely to be Divergers. They might not raid a lot, so they spend more time thinking about their raiding experience. Reading strategies might be very dull to them, though.

We are talking here about players that joined a guild back when they were low-level and running around The Barrens. Perhaps they are real life friends of the guild leader, or they have some other emotional tie to the guild — either way, they are likely only playing the game because of the guild. Raiding is probably a relatively new thing for them — they are likely to be incredibly experienced with ‘old world’ content and dungeoneering.

What To Avoid

While loyal, don’t expect Loyal Soldiers to be the best raiders. They are likely to be ‘slow and steady’, preferring to try things a few times, and then digest what just happened. They don’t want to wipe and wipe for 4 hours — they would rather crack open a beer, have a laugh with their old friends, and try to kill something by the end of the raid.

The only real risk is that their gradual accumlation of gear and experience make these quite prized by hardcore guilds. If a Loyal Soldier suddenly has the plan to join a hardcore guild, there could be trouble. They will very rarely leave, but if they do it could be very bad for guild morale — and the huge loss of experience and gear is obviously detrimental too.

The Troll

First of all, apologies to our blue-and-green skinned friends the trolls (did they have a run-in with nuclear waste or something?) I am talking here about Trolls; internet trolls. These are the equivalent of the hardcore ‘Dramatic’ player type… but unfortunately they don’t have hardcore raiding to focus their attention on. Their excess energy inevitably leaks out as trolling. Forum trolling, general chat trolling, guild chat trolling — you name it, the Troll probably spends more time talking crap than anythinig else.

  • Bartle Player Type: Griefers and Politicians. Their time is probably equally spent between ganking lowbies and holding court in a major city, or gneeral chat.
  • Kolb Learning Style: Raiding is a bit of a joke for a Troll — the learning style is thus a bit hard to pin down.

Sadly (or happily, if you can keep them in check!) every guild has a few of these, with raiding guilds likely to have more than their fare share. Trolling is normally a sure sign of chronic underachieving. Chances are they were once a  failed hardcore raider and had to give up, perhaps due to not having time, or simply not being good enough. Some trolls are ‘home bred’ though — they are just the cocky, social types that treat WoW more as a big, shiny soap box than a video game.

What To Avoid

Raiding guilds don’t tend to have as stringent recruiting policies as hardcore raiding guilds, so inevitably a few Trolls will sneak into your ranks. In some cases though, they are disaffected Visitors or Loyal Soldiers — bored with the game, or upset with Blizzard for some reason. Trolls are likely to be return customers — coming and going, quitting and resubscribing. Trolls aren’t a happy bunch — you probably want to avoid keeping Trolls in your raid group, incase  their sadness spreads. They might be funny for a while, but eventually they’ll get on the nerves of the other members!

The Newbie

Making up the rest of a raiding guild’s ranks are the newbies. Undergeared and inexperienced, the Newbie is a lovely blank slate, tabula rasa, just ready to be scrawled all over by the guild leader, and anyone else in the guild that likes creating an impression.

  • Bartle Player Type: Let’s say their player type is as-yet undefined. They might have some tendencies, but Newbies, nowadays, are probably first-time MMORPG players, still discovering their likes and dislikes.
  • Kolb Learning Style: Could be any of the four… you’ll find out in time!

A Newbie is very much what you make of him or her. WoW is an incredibly easy game, so a Newbie could easily flourish into a beautiful young raider and almost certainly into a Loyal Soldier, given time.

What To Avoid

Newbies need guidance — lots of it! Obviously it’s very much a mixed bag; you might be nuturing a Troll or Visitor, but there’s no real way to tell at this early stage. You want to avoid bringing them into contact with Trolls or Visitors, lest the early seeds of destruction are planted. Encourage the guild to communicate well with Newbies — answer their questions, help them gear up. There’s a chance they will fly the nest when they grow up, but that’s a risk you’ll always have to take in raiding guilds.

The fate of the raiding guild

Unfortunately, as the intermediate step between casual and hardcore guilds, a raiding guild is likely to be treated as a stepping stone. It’s a sad fate for the guild leader and his Loyal Soldiers, but it’s something, as time goes by, that you will come to terms with. A new instance is released; you’ll lose players. Have a large argument with a player? He’ll leave. Other than Loyal Soldiers, raiding guilds do not have great player retention — the grass is always greener on the other side, remember?

So the key, then, to surviving as a raiding guild is to convert your players into Loyal Soldiers. I have seen some raiding guilds survive successfully since WoW’s release by keeping an active core of Loyal Soldiers and steadily subverting Newbies into the loyal and adoring fold.

How best then to go about making the most of your guild and its players?

  • Visitors will make up a sizable portion of your guild and must be looked after. If you are a new guild, there’s a chance your entire guild will be made of Visitors — if that’s the case, it’s the guild leader’s sole responsibility to convert these to Loyal Soldiers. In older guilds you should have a strong enough feeling of comraderie and loyalty that Visitors are either converted automatically, or they ultimately flee. Sadly, they are likely to be your best raiders — so if you wish to progress quickly, you are going to have to gear them up, and pray.
  • Loyal Soldiers might be either rare, or make up almost your entire guild. When the other 3 types have quit, this is what you’re left with — a slow and plodding core of loyal members. Loyal Soldiers don’t make the greatest raiders, but they do make good officers. They are ideal at converting Newbies into future Loyal Soldiers, and as such are perfectly suited to being class leaders, or recruitment officers.
  • Trolls are thankfully quite rare (because you’ve kicked them all, right?!) and merely serve as comic relief. While they’re on your side (and trolling other guilds/players) it can be great to keep 1 or 2 in the guild or raid. They are often quite smart, and won’t be awful at the game (they are quite experienced, don’t forget!) — they just find trolling more interesting than doing lots of damage, or healing properly. The moment they turn inwards and start trolling guild chat or festering discontent and spreading FUD… it’s time to cut your losses and remove them.
  • Ah, Newbies… Fresh like the morning, dewy grass. Unsullied and pure, a blank slate, just waiting for a charismatic leader or Loyal Soldier to come along and teach them some tricks. Newbies are the lifeblood of your raiding guild; they must be recruited regularly! Meet a nice, new player while in a 5-man dungeon? Recruit! As I said earlier, WoW is very easy, and almost anyone with half a brain can raid successfully — they just need to be taught how to raid and what their role is. An easy-going and understanding nature will help nuture these Newbies into loyal, life-long members of your guild. The risk with Newbies is that if you don’t get to them first, someone else might — a Troll, or a rival guild. There needs to be lots of hand-holding, like with a child!

Notes

Raiding guilds have an awful lot of caveats attached to them. Raiding guilds can be groups of real life friends, or they can be formed by a lot of spam in general chat. This wide gamut of roots means that your raiding guild might be made up of completely different types to the ones listed here. What I’ve tried to do is illustrate what a standard raiding guild might contain. A guild that’s levelled together, and started raiding, or perhaps a group of friends that have recruited a few more players to do some raiding content.

Raiding guilds, due to their wildly varying roots and nature, tend to be quite a ‘hands on’ experience to lead. While a hardcore guild is generally self-governed by players that all have the same purpose — to be number one! — a raiding guild isn’t quite so lucky. Raiding guilds will lose players to other raiding guilds, and they will lose a lot of experienced and geared Visitors to hardcore guilds.

The good news is — and really, it’s good news — in a raiding guild it’s the spirit and fun of the game that keeps people playing and not the progress! Your Loyal Soldiers aren’t going to leave you if you fail to kill a boss. Your Newbies won’t be any the wiser. Your Trolls will continue to laugh and bicker, no matter how far you progress.

If you lose a player, that’s generally a good thing. It means they didn’t want to be a part of your guild and community. Do you really want a player like that in your guild? Remember, WoW is easy — in a raiding guild, everyone is replaceable! Go and find someone nicer to replace them with!

If you have any questions about the issues or topics raised here, I’m more than happy to answer them. You can ask them in a comment, or email me using this form.

If you liked reading this, there is more to read about WoW, guilds and raiding in the archive!

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Sebastian

I am a tall, hairy, British writer who blogs about technology, photography, travel, and whatever else catches my eye.

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