Raiding is passed on in a tribal fashion—player to player, from veteran to noob. Players can find guilds to mentor them in the art, yet “What sometimes occurs is that they start to believe this is the only way things are done,” said author Adam “Ferrel” Trzonkowski in an e-mail interview.
Trzonkowski hopes to tear down the walls built around raiding with his upcoming book, “The Raider’s Companion,” which is currently on Kickstarter. In doing so, he also hopes to remind players that raiding is about teamwork, and raiding should be fun.
The book will cover raiding from the beginner level to the pro level. It starts with discussions on both the types of raids and the different types of players (hardcore, casual, etc.), and moves forward from there.
“I look at the MMORPG backgrounds of the players you may run across. I break out into the mechanics of it all. What is a main tank, main assist, and off tank? What are their roles? How do you prepare for a raid? What happens during a raid? How do you overcome challenges?” he said.
There are a couple key points to raiding that players tend to miss. “The first is that raiders get bogged down in all of the details,” he said. “Encounters can be complex and sometimes they overwhelm the senses. You might worry about an AoE going off and miss the fact that you’re dying consistently by running into a fire. I try to iron that out and explain how to work through a challenge.”
The second point, Trzonkowski said, is remembering “Your raid group is a team, not a collection of individuals who are there to help you get your gear. The more you treat them with respect and dignity the further you’ll go.”
He said with his guild in particular, the whole group is tight knit—and this isn’t just among the core founders, but with nearly all members. “We succeed because we’re peers and friends first. Everything after that is a bonus.”
The difficult thing with teamwork is it relies on everyone working together and having the role that best suits them, and so a large part of the book will cover the psychology of different types of players—how to determine what they may be best at, and how they may react as things start moving.
“Raiding is based more in psychology than most people imagine,” Trzonkowski said. “It deals with a group of people so it is only natural that it comes into play. In my years of experience I’ve changed how I lead on a few occasions to see how people respond. It is extremely interesting how the tone of my voice alone can dictate how fast or slow a particular trash kill is.”
This also plays into how a leader talks to his team. “I spend a lot of time discussing this sort of thing. How do we speak, what inflection we have, and how others respond to certain cues,” he said. “When we have examples out there like captain ‘Minus 50 DKP’ people assume that is what it takes to win. Heck, even back in our hardcore days I had some nights where I think I sounded like that. It really isn’t an effective way to raid in reality.”
He says reading a book may not make a veteran player better at what they do—what Trzonkowski hopes to do is bring new options to the table. There are many ways to raid, and many ways to play. “It is all about that different perspective!” he said.
Trzonkowski wrote a similar book for guild leaders, rightly called “The Guild Leader’s Companion.” He said he was approached by a reader at DragonCon once, who said they hesitated buying the book as they saw it was admitting they failed as a leader.
“That just struck me hard but when I thought about it it made total sense. As I said, this is all about psychology and there is a lot of pride in raiding and guild leading. Asking for help is not something we always do,” he said.
(Main image by Amanda Martin, courtesy of Adam “Ferrel” Trzonkowski)