Ah, meter padding. It's an age-old tradition dating back to Molten Core. Vanilla raiders will remember the Core Hound packs between Lucifron and Magmadar. You had to kill them all within a certain amount of time or they would begin to rez each other. That meant the hounds that were "dead" could still take damage. Rather than finishing off the last few, some DPSers would simply spam AoE on the pile of dead bodies -- meter padding at its finest!
This week, a raid leader asks how he can get his DPSers to stop causing wipes by padding the meters in Dragon Soul.
I was recently promoted to raid leader in my guild and while I consider my guild to be fairly good, we do have one fairly serious problem. The good old meter padding. We initially managed to kill madness and spine at the 5% nerf, but since then blizzard has increased the nerf to 30% and when we have to ask our dps to simply stand around and not attack, they simply choose not to listen which sometimes leads to a wipe.
If there was a huge number of skilled players just floating around looking for a guild then I wouldn't have a problem simply removing the meter padders for others who care about the success of the raid instead of their own DPS. However I think we both know this is simply not the case. It is hard enough these days to fill a roster, let alone a roster full of quality players. I have tried making our World of logs private so that our DPS cant rank (at least from our official parse) but it did not take them long to figure out they could record logs themselves. I am really worried that come MoP some of our DPS will still play like they are now which will seriously hold up progression.
I have a feeling there's a lot of this happening in Dragon Soul right now. For some guilds, it's actually been a problem for a long time, and it just keeps getting worse and worse every time they nerf the raid.
Raiders are competitive too
Just because some raiders never step into an Arena match, it doesn't mean they're not competitive. With the advent of logs and world rankings, some DPSers are pushing themselves so hard to rank that a successful boss kill becomes secondary.
This is actually both a good and bad thing. The good side of it is that it gives your raiders a reason to constantly improve their own skills, study encounters, and innovate techniques. It can also keep your DPS players more interested once the content becomes boring, like it has at this point for many guilds in Cataclysm. The downside, obviously, is when the Amalgamation dies too soon or you hit one of Deathwing's percent thresholds too early, and the raid wipes.
The main problem with this behavior is that it's contagious. If one person starts doing it, people see that player on top of the meters. They don't want to get shown up just because that other guy is padding, so they start padding, too. Pretty soon, the whole raid is doing it.
Once it gets out of control like that, then it becomes tough to stop. The way I see it, you have two options at this point.
1. Be a hardass. You as the raid leader have the right to yell at people for this. Call people out both during the padding and after the fight, win or lose. If you do wipe as a result of the padding, point that out every single time it happens. Name the people who were responsible. Pretty soon, people will get sick of it, and you won't be the only one getting grumpy about it. When the tanks and healers start getting on the DPSer's case, maybe they'll get the message then.
As you point out, you can't replace everyone. However, you can tell them you're keeping a list of how many wipes each person causes, and the player with the biggest total by Mists won't be raiding with your team in the expansion.
2. Take turns. One way to take control back is to allow meter padding, but only when you say so. In the cases where it won't cause a wipe and particularly on farm content, you can designate one person who can go all out per attempt in order to rank. Make it fun and worthwhile to earn this honor -- give that person all the individual DPS bonuses you can, such as Tricks of the Trade. If anyone pads the meters when it's not their turn, don't give them a turn that week.
In either case, the important thing is that you reestablish the discipline of the raid.
DPS will always pad the meters to some degree when they can get away with it, and that's OK. A little meter padding can be fun. When it holds back the entire raid, however, then it's gone too far. They're breaking my Golden Rule of Raiding (GRR), which is don't waste other people's time.
Overall, you should certainly communicate with your DPSers and make it clear that you don't like it and it's hurting the guild. Then, when you do have an option to replace someone who has consistently put their own rank ahead of the guild, you should do so. Make sure you tell everyone why they were replaced. They'll certainly get the message then!
Officers' Quarters keeps your guild leadership on track to cope with sticky situations such as members turned poachers or the return of an ex-guild leader and looking forward to what guilds need in Mists of Pandaria. Send your own guild-related questions and suggestions to email@example.com.