Much is made of gear and spec, and these are indeed very important factors for a raider. If you just don’t have the gear or your spec lacks core talents (or you’re using your PvP spec to raid with, which is a no-no as a rule), you’re not going to be able to perform effectively. But when it comes to actually sitting down with nine or 24 other people and getting the raid done, the raid leaders want more than just the very best-geared player; we actually have to work with you, and in that sense intangibles start to matter a lot. When it comes to picking who gets to go to the first crack at the progression content, the best-geared player isn’t even the most desirable choice compared to these factors. Everyone knows attendance and coming fully stocked with consumables and fully repaired are important and appreciated, but there are other things.
Be the guy who helps the raid leaders understand why a wipe happened. I don’t really hold it against you if you got healer tunnel vision and stood in the fire; I just want to know why we all died and where it started to fall apart so we can work on that in the next go. If you tell me what killed you even if it was your own fault, I appreciate it a lot.
Don’t be the guy who is functionally mute except when asked a direct question. This is technically not a huge raid sin, but it’s not helping us out either (including helping lower the tension and frustration levels after wipes), and it’s the above guy that’s going to get noticed and get mentally slotted into a particular spot in a raid role in the raid leader’s head.
Be the guy that is thinking about the way the way the fight works and ways that certain problematic mechanics could be dealt with. When brainstorming is going on after a wipe, even if you are undergeared, having ideas and volunteering to do other things than sit there and spam your rotation will get you noticed and appreciated.
Don’t be the guy who tries to take over the raid leader’s job. Offered ideas are good, but reacting to wipes by trying to completely redo the strategy, or take over fight explanations, is not. Trust me, even if the RL WAS completely clueless, this will irritate even if all your ideas are adopted- worst of all, it confuses the hell out of the rest of the raid, who now no longer have any real idea whose directions they need to follow. This applies to Vent, too- keep the channel clear when the fight is in progress.
Be the guy who’s making a visible effort to polish up the character they raid with. So much good gear can now be obtained on a player’s non-raid time that this kind of thing will really stand out; if you hate PUGing, make an effort to initiate heroic runs or a special effort to be available for guild random runs at peak playtimes.
Don’t be the guy who gears up the character and spec they raid with exclusively through raid drops. Regardless of how casual the guild is, believe me, this will be noticed- and even if we write the officers out of the picture, the rest of the raid probably has most of the same tools they do, and they will resent being forced to work harder in raid to make up for what they see as your disproportionate lack of effort. It’s also a really bad idea to be committed to powerlevelling your significant other (or similarly engrossed in something that will in no way benefit your performance) during raids or heroic runs specifically aimed at helping undergeared members. Doing all these things is fine in a casual guild- as long as you’re not expecting a consistent raid spot at the same time.
Be the guy who treats disagreements, grudges, worries, and other potential sources of drama as though his guildmates were co-workers rather than as if they were drinking buddies. Joking and teasing and friendship are all things we hope to get out of the guild experience- but anything that could potentially cause ugliness is best conducted in private channels, and preferably to the officers you trust most before it emerges in /gchat, /ra, Vent, or whispers to others.
Don’t be the guy who vents his frustrations on his teammates when wipes occur, or that uses addons like Failboat to call people out in public on things like standing in the fire, or that calls everything and everyone he doesn’t like “gay”, or the guy that hits on or makes otherwise persistent sexual comments to his female guildies. Don’t be the girl who tries to use the presumed exoticness of being a gamer girl to try and manipulate other guildies (and especially the officers), or throw tantrums and expect them to be any more tolerated than they would be from a male player. Trust me, ladies: we’re not that rare, and chances are everyone is entirely over your possessing boobs.
In short: make the impression you make on your teammates be of the guy that makes everyone’s life a little easier from time to time, and doesn’t carelessly make it harder, and you will go far just about wherever you go.