My Tuesday post regarding progression sparked a great conversation on how much time people spend raiding / preparing for raids, and perceptions about "casual" / "hardcore" raiders. A quick recap on some profiles:
Brandon: 3 Hours / Night, 2-5 Nights a Week (Total of 6-15 Hours)
Talldar: Once a Week (? Hours)
Herc: 4 Hours /Night, 4-5 Days a Week (Total of ~18 Hours)
Namthe: Max 12 Hours a Week
I think that casual / hardcore refers more to the intent of the time spent, rather then the quantity - and for that reason, LOKI is "hardcore". Some guilds spend lots of time in instances each week, but follow a relaxed schedule. Others spend little time, and try to squeeze as much performance and effect from that time as possible. I'll give you an idea of how my guild runs raids.
LOKI raids three nights a week, for three hours at a time. With less then nine hours a week, we did every boss from Gruul to Illidan, between February and September. What I would say makes us "hardcore" - is that those three hours are the most focused effort possible.
The raid itself is from 6-9 ST. Between 5:30 and 5:45, invites for the "on-time" raid go out. Everyone at the entrance to the instance gets into this raid, and is awarded DKP for being ontime and prepared. At 5:45 that raid disbands, and Role Officers start a new raid, to which they invite the people they want for the night. As people are invited, they go inside and start buffing. Any specific strategies for bosses that night are discussed. Role Officers talk about who will be in for what bosses that night. The first pull is then at 6 ST, faithfully.
We chat on vent and so forth during trash, and following boss kills when loot is being distributed / people are being swapped - but during anything requiring focus or concentration, vent clears up on its own. There are no lengthy boss discussions, and any assignments (healing, interrupts, ect) are hashed out in role specific chat channels during trash (for this reason, one or two officers may lag behind the group, but those reasons are understood). If we wipe, we figure out why, and how to correct it - while rezzing and rebuffing. If there is a raid member that is woefully underprepared for the fight (hasn't read the strat, doesn't have some required item or gear) - they are replaced instantly.
Mid-raid breaks are usually not given - rather we encourage people to rotate taking breaks during trash between bosses - or rotate not running back and getting rezzed if we're working a boss. People are kept from abusing this system and frequently afking, by knowing that someone else is waiting for them to get back so they too can afk/bio/whatever. If it becomes apparent that we're hitting some sort of wall (the same sloppy mistakes are being made, consistently), I'll call for a 3-Min stretch break - and its amazing the effect that can have.
Besides awarding DKP for boss kills for the people in the raid, we give DKP every hour to all members that are at their computer. This includes members not in the raid, as long as their main is parked outside the instance. They can play an alt, study, read - as long as they can hear vent, acknowledge that they are online and available each hour, and are willing to log in on a moments notice. This whole process has been amazingly key to our ability to keep a raid full and moving, as people DCing / needing to leave for emergencies can be replaced instantly. I think it also helps to know that people aren't letting the raid down if they get pulled away from their computer.
For farmed content, full consumables are not required, but are often used. Marks of the Illidari are provided for progression content, but we'll only use one in a three hour raid (the first hour is usually just getting use to abilities anyway - poping them an hour in lets us get the max effect). I personally flask/ward/sharpening-stone for everything. Repairs from the Guild Bank are enabled for bosses we have not yet killed.
While this may sound rigid, I think that our schedule is pretty perfect - or at least perfect for our raiders. For one, I can't imagine sitting and raiding for more then three hours at a time - at least effectively. As another point, three nights a week (Tue, Wed, Sun) gives our members tons of time to either tend to RL, or run fun raids / do dailies / play alts the rest of the week.
Our members tend to want to get the most out of their play-time, and LOKI delivers that. That's why I think we are "hardcore".
As an aside - I'd love to see others address this topic. What do you think defines "casual/hardcore", and what makes your guild either casual or hardcore?
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