There’s an age old argument in guilds about what progress is acceptable in raids and how the requisite progress is achieved. The options for raiding are no longer binary, even if many people suggest it is. Raiding hasn’t been only hardcore since Wrath launched with its two raid sizes and difficultly levels. Since Wrath the less serious, less raid focused guilds have been able to include a raiding element in their calendar. The question is not whether this is a social (non-raiding) guild or (hardcore) raiding guild, but what sort of social, raiding guild you want to be in. Social raiding guilds inhabit a spectrum. At one end (let’s call it zero) we have social/levelling/community guilds that don’t do any raiding. (From say 1 up) we have all hues of social guilds who do some raiding, and become increasingly less inclusive and more raid focused (up to say 9). At 10 you have full on hardcore raiding guilds that are only focused on raiding progress, doing everything that promotes that and chasing realm firsts and ranking. Turn it up to 11 and you have Method et al, in the World First Race.

Now I do not subscribe to the view that hardcore raiders are elitist and rude and all social guilds are scrubs and n00bs. I make no judgement about these guilds or the people in them. There is simply a vast array of different guilds and a variety of people in them. A guild out there somewhere will cater for you and the way you want to play the game. A guild at one end of the spectrum is no ‘better’ than one at the other, only it’s appropriateness for you and your play-style. If you’re forming, or part of, a social, raiding guild existing somewhere in the middle or spectrum (say 3 to 7), in practical terms, the question you have to ask yourself is what important to me and to my guild. This basically boils down to where you place your emphasis: on social inclusion or raiding progress. That is far from saying that inclusion is incompatible with progress, just that one of these factors will be more important to your raid team and be pursued (even to the detriment of the other factor).

My basic premise is that social guilds are more inclusive, raiding guilds more focused on progress. all guilds fall in the spectrum between these two positions. It’s a choice between being inclusive: allowing any guild member to raid whenever they are available and trying to maximise raid progress by excluding some of your guild members. Let’s not discuss why you would exclude people, it’s usually a very simple, bad reason: ilvl or DPS/TPS/HPS minimums. Let’s just accept that some people are better raiders (for whatever reason: experience; gear; effort) than other people. If you select the ‘better’ players in preference or instead of the ‘poorer’ players then you are putting raid progress above including guildies in your list of priorities. If you’ll take everyone and anyone who wants to raid regardless of gear, skill or metre ranking then inclusion is your priority. The biggest misconception of the use of the word social in this context is that progress focussed, raid guilds can still be very friendly prioritise having a laugh and fun in raids (provided the raid is progressing and you are not holding anyone back). Equally social guilds can (and bloody do) roar through content and make light of complex mechanics. Just because I’d like to bring (OK, carry) the poorest players in the guild, have fun and not get annoyed after wiping all night on a single boss, doesn’t mean I’m not a good raider and couldn’t cope in an 8, 9 or even level 1o raiding guild – I just don’t want to (now).

It’s entirely up to you and your guild how you organise yourself and your raids. One way isn’t intrinsically better than an other, it’s all about your objective. If you want to be in or run a very friendly, social guild then inclusion is going to be your watchword. If you value raid progress and completing all current content on heroic and mythic difficulty levels then you will have to sacrifice inclusion and accepting all comers in your raids. It’s a question of adjusting the knob to the correct level for your guild: i.e don’t take a social guild and turn your attitude to raiding up to 11. Equally if the majority of your guildies want to make significant progress (a boss a week say, with two raid nights) then dialling it down to 1 is going to make for some very unhappy raiders. It’s all about striking the correct balance for your team.