I’ve been raiding for a very long time now. Across my experiences I’ve encountered many different kinds of people. Some good, some bad, some just… kind of weird. Today I want to talk about find or setting up a raid group and how to deal with being in one with all of these individuals.
1) Be Confident, Humble, and Observant
If you want to consider raiding I can’t stress these three enough just as a good starting point. Confidence doesn’t come from having the best gear–gear is always changing in a vertical progression game. It comes from constantly pushing your limits and trying and learning new things. From bashing training dummies for countless hours to keeping that idiot tank alive in Duty Roulette: Expert while outDPSing the Monk. Confidence means you’re experienced. It means you’ve risen to the challenge and given it your all, even if you failed. It means you’ve learned from victory as well as defeat.
Humility isn’t about putting yourself down nor about not properly respecting your worth. I’m sure you’re an amazing player, and let me tell you–raiding is only going to sharpen you further if you find good people to blossom alongside. In this case it means knowing you’ve always got room to improve. You can objectively state facts about your performance, but you’re not going to sit there and brag about them. That takes time away from continuing to improve for both yourself and your team. Yes, you’ve earned bragging rights by clearing the final raid–no matter when you cleared it. Always remember the seven (or more!) other people who were there at your side. Remember that not everyone has that, and those who don’t might very well be way better than you. Never settle for just being #1 on FFlogs–go beyond.
Finally, you need good observation skills. Analyzing mechanics, how they’re handled, and what you can do to help your team in them is critical. Knowing why you died to something is critical. Being able to move forward in progression involves parts of analysis from everyone on the team. You won’t improve individually nor in group coordination if you never try to figure out why things are the way they are. You might really suck at this at first–but over time and experience you’ll pick it up!
2) Making Yourself Known and Finding a Team
You might be the best [job] in your Free Company and everyone there knows it. And that’s great! But y’know, not everyone on your server nor data center knows your Free Company even exists. An entire server can be a very big place and a whole data center bigger still! Go out and make a name for yourself. Join party finder groups or make them. Be kind, amicable, and eager to learn and improve. If you’re genuinely a good person and are putting in the effort, people will see and remember that. Bonus points if you make the run easier with some good humor–or bad puns. Everyone likes a well-timed pun–groaning at them is just part of the experience.
My raid leader and Free Company leader found our group’s Monk through him joining them regularly in Party Finder. He built up a good rapport with them and meshed extremely well. Elyon (said Monk) is confident in his skills and rarely brags, and he’s good at knowing what exactly killed him. He’s currently not so great at determining left sword from right sword but he’ll get there soon! Elyon hasn’t known those in the group as long as some of us have, but he’s good at what he does and is opening up more bit by bit.
It can be very difficult for people with anxiety to reach out into party finder like this. I’m such a person! I don’t want to make a fool out of myself in front of strangers by not knowing the fight. I know how the community can be to people who still have bonus on current fights or don’t know their “correct” strategy. Building up a good reputation is handy, but just like finding a job–knowing people off the bat is usually the best way to go.
3) Raiding with Friends: On the Same Page
Raiding with friends or people you know can be incredibly rewarding! They’re probably already used to you and vice-versa. You’re all more free to open up and be yourselves, to joke around and have that enjoyable raid banter. Unfortunately it can also be a source of very rapid, unexpected, and painful drama. Some friend groups are able to call out each other’s bullshit, but many are built on niceties and protecting feelings and only having good times. This means people don’t want to rock the boat and risk their friendships over raid–which is understandable. Yet in that situation, I’m going to just strongly suggest that you don’t raid together if that’s the case.
Raiding can be tough and stressful, and it can lead to frustrations and exhaustion. It’s important for everyone to be on the same page when it comes to what you all want out of the raid. What schedule do you prefer–what days and times work best for you? What sort of pacing do you want? Is it okay to call it early if the group is ramming into a wall? What do you consider relevant progress? How do you measure what is acceptable performance for the role or job? How prepared should each member be for raid events? Are you going in blind or do you expect a video to be watched? Is your group okay with people clearing raids in advance after the weekly scheduled dates are done?
Respect yourself and respect your friends. If you’re not on the same page when it comes to raiding or can’t get there without unacceptable sacrifice–it’s best to find a team elsewhere.
4) Raiding with Friends: Having Fun
There are many different factors to be considered for a healthy raid group. Even if your group is super casual and silly and whatever it’s important to be serious about these. You don’t want your friends to be sacrificing their needs and desires unnecessarily. It’s okay to NOT play with your friends! It’s perfectly fine for them to find another raid group that matches what they want better. Sure it’s great when you can all work out compromise to build the group and reach a goal, and you’ll always need at least a lot of compromise–but some friends just don’t work well together that closely. Rather than fuss privately about others in the raid instead of addressing the issues or conveniently sleeping through raid nights over and over, why not be honest and do what you’ll actually enjoy?
I find one critical aspect to raiding with friends is, and this is going to be a shocker: having fun! You need to be able to enjoy the pacing and most other aspects of the raid. In all of the groups I’ve ever been a part of, the most fun I have comes from the raid banter. The light jokes on each other, the situation, the bosses, our jobs, etc. Sure I’m at the brunt of a lot of these in being a Dragoon who manages to die a ton (seriously what the hell is with my Jump timing…) but you don’t play Dragoon without accepting that inevitably to begin with. Sometimes we have to be serious and it can get quiet, but those are so few and far between that it works out alright.
5) Raiding with Friends: You’re a Team
Most groups I’m in tend to be really energetic and fun throughout. Despite me being an introvert, I find I’m a critical component to this! I’m really in my element around the group size that FFXIV raids bring to the table and can just let loose with bad puns and silly jokes. When I’m frustrated by the raid or too tired to deal with a mechanic or whatever, it really shows. I’ve had plenty of raid leaders, even Aud recently, step aside with me for a bit to ask if I’m okay because I’m being too quiet. I don’t really think of myself as being energy for the raid but I guess we’re more like a strand of Christmas lights. When one bulb is out we all feel it and don’t light up ourselves.
That’s why you find so many groups who want you to leave your stresses at the door–at least for the raid duration. Feel free to talk about it appropriately later on, but try to relax and enjoy the game meanwhile! If you can’t have fun with raiding, then let me tell you: it’s also okay to take a break from it. If you’re raiding with friends, I assure you they’ll understand. ❤️
6) Other Important Skills
Raiding doesn’t have to be scary nor a factor to your anxiety. You don’t have to be the greatest player in the world–although like with anything the more you can check on your resume the better. The biggest components are: being a good person, being friendly, and having a good sense of humor. Be able and willing to learn quickly, as you might get asked to do many things you aren’t used to mechanically. Finally, be resilient and understanding. You are going to wipe a lot. You will make many mistakes, as will others. Some groups just won’t work out–many, even! I’m literally only raiding with one other person from my first raid team now–and she’s only come back to raiding with me somewhat recently.
We all play this game to have fun… so go out there and have some happy adventures. Good luck raiding!