“Just 9 Hours Per Week!”Posted: May 23, 2011
There’s a prevailing mindset out there that spending less time raiding makes you a better raider. It’s true to an extent. The less time you spend, the fewer attempts you’re able to squeeze in each night. The fewer the attempts, the steeper the learning curve needs to be. If you’re able to progress at a pace that matches other guilds that’re spending more times in raids each night, either you’re better players or your strats are more solid (or both).
People see these guilds advertising “Raiding just X hours per week!” and look at their own guilds. They compare the 12, 15, 18, 21 hours per week they’re slamming their faces up against bosses to these scant 9 hours. If progression is anywhere close to comparable, it makes them feel like they’re on the slow bus to 13/13H. Then their patience declines and their confidence wanes until they’re applying at these more “efficient” guilds.
The (Barely Visible) Fine Print
But the 9 hours of raiding is a very deceiving veil. Much like SlimFast suggests you can lose weight simply by drinking their shakes or the kid in class who seemingly spent 20 minutes studying all year but still managed a 4.0, the true details are concealed behind closed doors.
Being in one of these 9-hours-a-week guilds, I can release a little secret about our guild that flies in the face of our advertisement: None of our raiders only raid 9 hours per week.
“What?! Then how can you advertise 9 hours?!” Well, it’s simple. We raid as a guild in Officer-organized raids for 9 hours per week tackling progression targets. But believe me, the work does not stop at the 9-hour mark each week.
After each raid our raiders and Officers sit down for a good hour going over compositions, buffs, player placement, and strategies to get a better idea of the fight while it’s still fresh in their minds. There’s log parsing, forum reading, consulting with those in your role to hash out kinks, and a whole lot of disagreement about what’s wrong and how to fix it. On average, you’ll see raiders on 1 hour after raid time and Officers on 2 or more after each night. That turns 3 hours of raiding per night into 4+.
On top of that, sometimes we’re pushing progression at the expense of leaving other bosses up. That means we’re taking in raiders on off-nights to gain experience, gear, and maybe even push 10-man progression on offnights to maintain our lead. That’s another 3 hours per week, not to mention the strategy research for these slightly-different 10-man fights.
Some of our more extreme raiders are even raiding in other guilds on nights our guild isn’t raiding. We only raid W/Th/Su, and M is our “clean-up 10-mans” day, so that leaves Tu/F/Sa to pursue other raiding. That’s another 3-9 hours per week people can pour into the game.
Many of our raiders are also avid PvPers. You’d be wrong if you thought PvP didn’t impact your PvE game, since a lot of the skills, principles, and logic translate very well. Being a twitchy, always-aware, muscle memory machine that can balance output with survivability and communication gives you a significant leg up over someone who isn’t exercising their abilities. Between Rated Battlegrounds and Arena matches, that’s another 3 to 6 hours per week!
Finally, a lot of our raiders play alts to gain a better understanding of other classes’ needs, wants, and playstyles. It helps a lot in formulating strategies and keeping people accountable when you know what everyone can do and whether they should be doing it. Leveling alts doesn’t really count, but playing max-level 85 alts in Heroics and Baradin Hold raids gives players the necessary experience and judgment. That’s another 3 to 10 hours per week.
So yes, we’re only raiding 9 official hours per week. But the work goes far past that. At the very least (assuming you’re only researching the encounters and doing nothing else), you’re putting in 12 hours per week. 15 if you want a chance at extra experience and DKP-free gear. If you’re on the bleedingest edge of hardcore, you’re putting 40 hours into the game.
There’s No Such Thing as a Free Lunch… Or Epics
Much like the diet commercials promising fast and effortless results, or the child prodigy who just seems to show up and ace everything he (or she) sets out to do, you’re missing a massive part of the picture. Those commercials are covering up the 4-5 days a week of grueling workouts and salad-only dieting that got those results. That student is keeping secret the fact they spend every waking moment cramming material into his head behind closed doors.
So next time you see a guild saying “kill Sinestra by raiding just 9 hours per week!”, make sure you understand the implied meaning. That progress doesn’t come easily nor naturally, and there’s a good chance putting in the minimum effort will yield neither boss kills nor a promotion to “Raider”. But if you see this ad for what it is and are really excited about making your raiding as efficient as possible, I wish you luck on your application.