Ah Raiding, the past time of champions. The creator and breaker of guilds everywhere. Like the One Ring, it will bring people together and bind them. Wait...scratch that. It's not quite as evil as the One Ring. In fact with the right guild, it's actually fun. Even wiping can be a less frustrating experience if you are surrounded by good people. Personally raiding for my guild is going pretty well as we are 5/12 which is not zomg uber world first but it's good enough for us at the moment.
How do we keep going as a raiding guild you may wonder? If you didn't wonder that well I am going to pretend that you did wonder it for the purposes of this post. Well we have been raiding as a guild since vanilla when epics were really epic and required a lot of time and effort to get just one epic. While some people have come and gone, we have kept the same officer core together which adds institutional memory to guild raids and activities. When explaining fights we'll reference past boss encounters which have similar mechanics and this helps people visualize the fight better.
The most important thing that we do as a guild that has kept us together is that we have fun. How do we have fun you are probably wondering. (And I am just going to say that you are wondering that so I can continue with my post.) Well...we have fun! Raiding is an activity that often leads to burnout if done in excess so you have to find things to ease the mood and make people relax and enjoy themselves.
We do get serious when we need to but we still manage to have a great time because we all remember that it's only a game. If we don't down the current internet dragon today, we'll get it the next raid. I don't think I have ever singled someone out and tore them a new one because we wiped on a boss due to something they did. I have raided with several other guilds over the years and while I have never had that happen to me, I have seen it happen to other people in the raid. To me that is just dumb and accomplishes nothing except making that one person feel like crap and reducing the raids morale. Happy raiders will stay in the raid until the boss dies, unhappy raiders want to leave after a wipe or two.
How do you keep your raiders happy? That is the million dollar question. Each raider is different, some will be happy only when bosses are downed, some are happy just being social in raids, some are happy just listening to everyone else talking. As a raid and even a guild leader, you have to figure out what makes your people tick. If all else fails...give away gold. Who doesn't like to receive free gold after all?
What do we do to keep the raid light and fun? We laugh throughout our raid, play /roll casino while buffing, tease whoever dies on trash, make jokes about having a designated person to die first in most encounters. The last one is a very serious thing we do as we have a person who just can't seem to stay alive on trash or on some bosses. Not because they are a complete fail but because they seem to be the person who gets targeted by mobs for bad debuffs, fire gets spawned under them, when tanks get cc'ed the adds turn as one and target that person. It's almost like Blizzard is trying to tell that person that he is not liked. We start our raids with guesses on how many deaths he will have by the end of the raid and the winner gets some gold. Why do we encourage sacrificing one person for the good of the raid? Because it's a joke and it helps lighten the mood. People go into boss fights in good spirits and ready to put forth their best.
Am I enjoying raiding? Yes. Do I enjoy the people I raid with? Yes. Is my guild recruiting? Yes. Was that a shameless plug? Yes. And so I end this ramble with the following piece of advice: Be excellent to each other.