Addressing Growing Pains Before You Need a Splint

With all the progress our casual guild has made over the past few months, it was inevitable we would have some growing pains. If you’ve ever been a part of a guild that was slowly but surely progressing into uncharted territory raiding-wise you’ve probably been through something similar:

  • Raid team has first half of raid on farm; previously disinterested guildies start signing up for farm night
  • A surge of new guild applicants all wanting to raid
  • As you near the final raid boss, the core raiding team members whom made the progress possible finds themselves losing rolls on major upgrades — or on raid spots for that matter — to folks who have attended one raid in three months
  • Forums drama ensues

A guild that lacks strong leadership or vision often crumbles in the midst of these sort of growing pains. Luckily for us, our thoughtful and inclusive officer team talked out these frustrations, and allowed us all as a guild to transform our vision of the guild’s approach to end game raiding.

The officers, after taking in guild discussion, came back to the forums with proposals — not mandates– that they received additional feedback on. A primary issue they addressed was we were leaning heavily upon three guildies for all our raid leading and strategy. In addition to burning them ut, it gave some less frequent raiders a sense they could show up, go through the motions, loot, and profit. We needed more raiding team involvement in making the raids happen and to thus lead to better engagement (and ultimately, have a strong end game raid team ready for Icecrown Citadel, and to be fielding a strong 25 man raid of some sort in house.)

Not All Raiders Are Created Equal

The first major task that was undertaken was to evaluate the raiding performance of all our frequent raiders over the past few months. From that evaluation, we came up with 2 separate lists of raiders — those ready for hard modes and the top tier of raiding instances, and those better suited for Ulduar and our “farm” raiding. These two lists also came with updated performance standards, which I am sharing here as I realize how much time it took to get a good SWAG going for them (and in some cases, we are still trying to nail down the numbers).

  • Trial of the Crusader/25

    Tanks: Uncrittable, Armor TBD, Health TBD

    Heals: 2400 Bonus Healing (unbuffed), 400 Mana Regen (while casting).

    DPS: 3000 dps

  • Trial of the Crusader/10

    Tanks: Uncrittable, Armor 24k, Health 31k (unbuffed)

    Heals: 2300 Bonus Healing (unbuffed), 400 Mana Regen (while casting).

    DPS: 2500 dps

  •  Ulduar

    Tanks: Uncrittable, Armor 23k, Health 28k (unbuffed)

    Heals: 2000 Bonus Healing (unbuffed), 250 Mana Regen (while casting).

    DPS: Day1: 2200 dps. Day 2: 2400 dps.

These numbers seem pretty readily attainable for anyone willing to put in the time. My newly faction-transferred elemental/resto shaman, who sat in some Naxx gear, unplayed, since January, is Ulduar ready after a few weeks of badges and ToC 5-man drops. And with her totems down she meets the ToC 10 healing minimums, which means that is within reach soon as well, were she to have been my raiding toon.

Get a Job

The second major component of our raiding revamp was to actively solicit more raid member involvement in planning and running the raids. Our initial list of proposed roles for the two tiers of raiding included:

  • Raid Scheduler
  • Raid Strategist
  • Raid Reporting
  • Raid Role Captain (i.e. Heal Lead, Tank Lead, DPS Lead)
  • Raid Recruiter
  • Loot Master
  • Raid Leaders

The final component of our changes is the introduction in the end game raids of EPGP points accrual and loot bidding. Taking into account compensating those heading into uncharted territory for a night of wiping, and making it less frequently possible that an occasional raider would attend a raid and scoop up the one item for which a core raider had been waiting.

Our approach isn’t a cure-all for these issues, and won’t work in a guild with officers whose sense of self-worth is tied to wielding their power over the raids. But for our passionate, engaged raiders, it’s going to be a welcome change. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.

6 thoughts on “Addressing Growing Pains Before You Need a Splint”

  1. I really like where the guild is going raidwise. I definitely knew I wasn’t ready for end-game. After moving holi to Bronzeneard, I geared up Holi fairly quickly but I also know where I need to be I try to stay on top of my class, occasionally I’ll make tiny adjustments from the cookie cutter approach if I see it’s effective. The majority of the Northrend raids are new for Holi since she’s been on hiatus for a while so I’m really looking forward to seeing all of Ulduar. Holi needs more +healing power which will come once she gets upgrades. I rarely has mana issues, she’s a little over 23k unbuffed. I saw an interesting post about stacking intell by Poptisse (Ensidia) and a few over at EJ so I’ve been stacking intell for about a month. I do recall the last time I was in TOC 25 there was one time when it was challenging, but we were down two healers, and quite a few were taking lots of aoe damage so I used DH, POH, COH, POM, rinse repeat until the damage stopped.
    I definitely have the desire to raid however finding the time might be an issue. I just landed another client which I’m very pleased about, but it also means that I most likely won’t have a lot of time to raid in the evenings since I’ll be spending a good chunk of time after my daughter is sleeping to work on that new project. I enjoy working for myself, but at times it can be a pain (most people can relate job pulling you away from ‘me time’ I’m sure) just as it was when I worked in the corporate world and traveled all time, heh.

  2. Drama ain’t over yet! That said, I love what’s already been laid flat and am looking forward to both the details and seeing the faithful step into sanctified rolls.

  3. The raiding will still be here when you are done with the project. Having worked as a freelancer for a while, I know all too well how it always seems you get a slew of projects at one time.

  4. I am so glad that I found your blog. I’m the GM of a guild going through similar growing pains. We’re currently in the midst of trialing EPGP as well, and that has caused some angst for a few of our members who haven’t bothered to look at the details of the loot system. The one key thing that I have learned over the past 2 years is that you simply cannot make every single person in the guild happy…no matter what, someone will always be unhappy with something that leadership is doing.
    I look forward to seeing the adjustments your guild is going through.

  5. I’ve found reading other blogs, and writing here and in my previous blog, has helped me come up with a number of solutions to vexing guild issues.
    And I agree 100% that the first thing any officer of GM has to accept is someone somewhere is always going to be unhappy with any change in guild policies or with any decisions you make.

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