(Related post: Max level does not mean Skilled.)
There’s a class of player who feels that their status in the raiding game means that they’re Right. They label other people noobs, and the silly thing is that people believe them. “I have this awesome item, you don’t, therefore I know what I’m talking about and you don’t.” This frustrates me a great deal.
My guild recently brought in a new recruit. Her main is a holy priest, just like me! I’ll call her Mary. She was very personable, online a lot. She had raided a lot in the original WoW, all the way through AQ40, which I’ve never seen. She had taken over a year off from the game, and in her return was looking for a more relaxed playtime requirement while still playing at a high level. A perfect fit!
One of our top dps’ers had levelled a priest to maximum level and was looking for a rundown of how to heal as a holy priest. (He wanted to be able to fill out a heroic instance or raid in the case that we were short healing) He posted in our guild forums, asking how to manage mana, which spells were good where, the differences between instancing and raiding, and so on. The other primary holy priest in the guild and I posted a decent overview of general strategy and how to use the various tools in the priest’s toolbox.
Mary, still in her first week, posted a lengthy and emotional rebuttal to what we wrote. Her entire priest healing strategy is: Flash Heal. As far as she’s concerned, it is the only spell anyone needs as a holy priest. Her defenses were long, full of passionate and anecdotal evidence, and even had bad math to back her up. (I love bad math of all kinds) She was fully entrenched, she downright took offense to the thought of using other spells, and basically framed her argument such that to disagree with her was to start a fight. (I’m not going to go into details about why she’s wrong, just take my word for it.)
Needless to say, she didn’t stay long.
We chuckled about it, but I didn’t understand how she was going to find what she wanted. How was she going to even pass the application to a mid-tier raiding guild?
The answer: Mary could succeed in raiding, because her other healers could heal around her. I remember this in painful detail from the 40-man days. But there’s no reason that it couldn’t continue in 25-man or even 10-man raids. So Mary moved right up to a SSC mid-tier guild, where she’s no doubt the 25th person in some raid. They’re probably progressing, too. She’ll get overgeared and then be back to her elite flash healing self, and looking down at everyone who isn’t geared like she is.
The funniest part of this is that Mary could only ever find success in large raids. Not smaller group play, not ever small raids. And yet, raiding is supposedly a prestige environment. Raiders are serious business. They’re seen as elite players. I mean, these people have zomgepics that are simply inaccessible to most. They have to know the game, right?
Now don’t get me wrong–there is a tier of players who by definition of where they are must know what they’re doing. They’re the ones pushing new content as it’s released, who write the wowwiki articles, and write and tune the spreadsheets. The rest of us are, for lack of a better term, scrubs who execute well-defined strategies. I’m not saying that raiders don’t know what they’re doing, I’m just saying that their position in raiding guilds doesn’t mean that they do. They’re hit and miss, like everyone else.
(The title of this article really should have been “Mid-tier raiding and below does not necessarily mean Skilled”, but it wasn’t catchy.)