Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Kids and Raiding: Balancing Life with Raid Bosses

Casual raids tend to develop with different rules than other raids. As I’ve said in the past typically there are no attendance requirements. What I mean by that is you don’t HAVE to raid. We don’t require you to raid one or two or five or seven days a week. What I do expect is that if you are signed up to go, you will be there or let me know if you can’t make it.

Does that mean that I’m not understanding if someone can’t make it because of work/family etc? No. Far from it, I’m a strong believer in the idea that Life is greater than WoW. Blasphemy!!! I hear you cry??? No I’m a father of three kids, and I’m forced to live in a world of what I call time sliced. So it is important for me to keep focus on things as we move forward.

Impact of Kids

For your raiders with kids, everyone is going to have different schedules and rules. It’s a fact of life. So you have to be ready to adapt to the situations. Some of the impacts that could occur:

  • Little kids listening to TS/Vent/In Game Chat.
  • Raiders needing to leave briefly to tuck their kids in.
  • Raiders suddenly going AFK because their kid did something.
  • Kids reading the Chat
  • Kids screaming in the background during the raid.

Now don’t get me wrong I don’t want to scare you here. There are things that COULD happen not things that WILL happen. Being a father/mother is a 24x7 job which never goes away. So its not like you can expect raiders to be able to always show up without any kids to deal with.

In my own situation I typically have three kids to deal with at least one day a week that I raid on. So on those nights I’m trying to balance getting people invited to the raid, getting my kids ready for bed, starting the raid, tucking some of the kids in etc… all while leading a raid. My wife is extremely helpful, but some nights she can’t be home or is tied up on other things. In other words, Life happens.

Kids and Vent/TS

As a whole, if you know you have kids who may be listening on Vent or TS, just try to be mindful of what you say. You may find it completely acceptable to swear like a sailor in front of your own kids/relatives/friends, but not everyone does. So it’s advisable to avoid just hauling off with a long slur of bad words if kids might be around.

If you have children it’s advisable to use a head set if possible. I found that a head set was extremely effective for making sure my kids didn’t have to worry about any dirty jokes, off color comments, etc, but it caused a problem that I couldn’t readily hear my wife when she needed to get my attention. So I wasn’t able to use a headset all of the time. The second thing you can do if you have kids is make sure you use “Push to Talk” instead of an open mic. PTT ensures that the rest of the raid isn’t listening to the constant drum of kids in the background.

Raiders and their AFKs

As a raid leader your goal should be to figure out which raiders might have kids in your raid. The reason for this is so that you know if that person might have to run AFK suddenly. Does that mean they should be denied a spot in your raid? No. You just need to be aware that their needs may be different than your average raider. Not all kids are created equal either. Some kids are extremely quiet and well behaved. Some kids will pitch a royal fit every time they go to bed.

As a raider, just try to make sure the raid leader knows if you have a certain schedule. If you always tuck your son/daughter in at 8:00 in the middle of the raid, just let them know your expected schedule so they can plan ahead. If you think you will be gone for an extended period, let the raid leader know so they can replace you if need be. Also if something comes up suddenly, be as honest as you can… more than one of my raids has been reduced to a fit of laughing because someone’s child decided to run up and get mommy’s or daddy’s attention in a spectacular way.

The most important thing to remember is that for raiders with kids they’ve got high priority things to deal with beyond just your raids. Their contributions can be great to your raids, but of course they have life to deal with too. Every parent has their own set of rules in their own house and raids shouldn’t become Parenting 101 courses where you try to educate them on what they’ve done wrong or your personal opinion on what they’ve done.