Friday Five: Five Considerations for Cataclysm Raiding

Despite recurring lack of interest across servers in WotLK raiding, I’m starting to see folks in guild forums and elsewhere starting to get ants in their Cataclysm pants about making decisions now about raiding teams in Cataclysm. If you’re tempted to start drafting up your raiding policies now, you may want to stop drop and roll, and think about these key considerations prior to making sweeping changes:

  1. Mains today are not going to be mains in Cata.
    Don’t assume your raid team is going to pick itself up and go into the expansion as status quo. There are going to be a whole slew of main changes. If you started playing in Wrath, or didn’t raid prior to Wrath, you haven’t lived through watching people who adored their class have nerd rage meltdowns regarding changed class proficiencies and game mechanics, and cycle through their alts until they land on one that feels right. So you’ll just have to trust me — THIS WILL HAPPEN A LOT. Until you have your first 10 folks ready and willing to raid, you can’t start parsing out the groups. Will you have too many tanks? Not enough healers? All druids? It’s really way too early to know. Or to start fighting about who gets what person on their team.
  2. Your star raiders may not be your star levelers.
    The first folks to make it to 85 are not necessarily going to be your best raiders. Or even be people with interest in raiding. Yes, hardcore guilds often give short timelines for leveling a character to get their raiding going as quickly as possible. But in a casual raiding situation, you may have folks level several toons to 85 prior to deciding whom they want to raid with, or even being ready to give up that alt leveling time in exchange for raiding. I know at least 1 person who has said outright that he intends to spend months leveling his alts prior to being ready to step into a raid.
  3. Heroics will be your first step as a fresh 85, not raids.
    That’s right– it’s not intended for a fresh 85 to immediately ding then head into the raid instance. When these expansions unfurl, there is an expectation that folks will farm their way through regular instances and heroics to gear up and get ready (and to learn how to play their class at level cap in a team.) I’ve heard a number of incredulous newer players complaining about how the heroics are being implemented in Cata as a “C*** block. Newsflash: you just got spoiled by the Wrath heroics on a whole being easy. BC heroics were REALLY DARN HARD at the turn of the expansion.
  4. Guild churn is not over.
    As guilds that focused on 25-mans pare down to 10s, and as folks who have a small core group of friends they play with realize that 10-man raids are a viable pursuit as a focus in Cataclysm, there will continue to be guild churn. You’ll also have some of the players who haven’t played in over a year who come back, swear they live for raiding, come to a couple then drop out. This is all perfectly normal. Take all such declarations with a grain of salt, and see how things look at the end of December when the dust settles.
  5. Ideal raid makeups are still an unknown.
    Blizzard is still making significant tweaks to the classes. Until they lock and load, and we can see true group synergy in raids, with proper glyphs and itemized gear, it’s a crapshoot. We know what has worked in the past, but what’s worked for ideal group composition has changed over time, through each expansion, and with some raid instances. See also why my BC druid main never finished ZA, yet my mage alt went through there countless numbers of times (see also: cc makes a Cataclysm comeback.)

This list spurred from having gone through all the prior expansion’s raiding “ZOMG we need to change everything up nao” bubbles, plus a great chat AF had a few weeks back to set raiders’ expectations. If your guild is starting to have these discussions, it may behoove you to get out in front of it and have a chat about guild expectations in regards to expansion raiding.

Safe travels and Happy Friday!

14 thoughts on “Friday Five: Five Considerations for Cataclysm Raiding”

  1. We actually just posted our “I’d like to change my main” thread up in our forums for discusion. So far – nothing too unexpected, but I’m waiting for the bombs to drop 🙂
    I definitely agree with all of your points here!

  2. Why do I get the feeling I’m the star of #2? 😉
    I’ll be on the sidelines cheering everyone on as they raid some place that I’ll only know as an acronym for about a year, never even laying eyes on it. Much like with Wrath, I’m sure by the time I get to a finishing point in my leveling goals that whatever raids are getting hammered soon after launch will be things of the long forgotten past and I’ll not see them until the year that the next expansion is released.
    And I won’t mind a bit.

  3. I like that our GM decided it’s time to hang up his tanking shield and become a healer.
    Most of our healers are going to stay healers, just of different classes. But similarly, most of our healers have multiple DPS classes at max level as well, so I’m sure we’ll see some healers that just go a full out switch to DPS focus.
    I’m not sure yet who’s going to step it up and shoot for the tanking spots. I guess we’ll have to wait and see how it goes.

  4. Good points all Nexi. I still remember that one ex-GM of ours who forced his entire guild to keep raiding vanilla content well through BC to try and keep the raid together or some such… Oy! Its okay for people to do different things for a bit 😉

  5. I think it’s a great idea to get those conversations started now — and out in the open. And I think most guilds, at this point in the WoW lifecycle, are a lot more open to main changes at the expansion than they were initially.

  6. Yup, you found me out.
    🙂
    It rocks that you’ve shared your POV on raiding with the guild. So no one will get cranky or confused about your intentions.
    And I would be totally happy to tank as a boomkin, but somehow I don’t think that Blizz has that in mind… 😉

  7. “…If you do not come to our AQ40 raids, which we will have every week through the start of the expansion, you will lose your raiding spot…”
    That made it a lot easier to leave though.
    😉
    And I personally like doing all the heroics while they are hard, with a core group of nice people.

  8. Great points! We had a lot of main turnovers at the start of Wrath, though not nearly as many DKs as we expected. My husband is still trying to decide which toon to roll into Cataclysm with. I’m interested to see how the “raid churn” is going to change the larger guilds on our server, and which guilds are going to come out of left field and dominate 10s.
    P.S. I endorse all-druid raids!

  9. I had a feeling you’d be OK with being a part of team druid raid night…
    😉
    ALthough each expansion had its differences, the similarities were many as far as how the raiding stuff shook out. I suspect this will be more churn than the last one given the halving of raid size. The move from 40s to 25s definitely saw a bunch of it.

  10. Though I don’t think I’ll come back to WOW in Cata, my thoughts on the matter are as follows.
    1. Mains today are not going to be mains in Cata.
    I like to feel special, so it would be tank or heals for me, either stick with the awesome heal priest or take my prot / holy paladin. Tanking is fun, but nothing comes close to the challenge healing presents
    2. Your star raiders may not be your star levelers.
    And even if they were, they might choose to level a bunch of toons before thinking of raiding. I think I would level the mage then the priest and finally the paladin.
    3. Heroics will be your first step as a fresh 85, not raids.
    People should stop and think what the term heroic means. Back in BC not only were they hard, you had to farm rep to get a key to enter. I miss the good old days of Heroic Magister Terrace, even at the end of the expansion most players would avoid doing that instance.
    Actually heroics had little room for mistakes and fooling around: a bad pull, a butt pull was a sure wipe, you had to use CC and carry your weight.
    You can think of BC heroics (the harder ones) akin to a 5 man raid. Actually I would love to see that explored… something like regular 5 mans -> heroic 5 mans -> legendary 5 mans 😛
    4. Guild churn is not over.
    For those of us that have been Guild Masters and officers, if the difficulty of managing a 10 man raiding guild is rated at 10, a 25 man raiding guild would not be rated as 25, but 100. A 10 man guild feels more familiar, less drama and less frustrating and requires a lot less managing time, I would like to see 25 man raids, but would focus on 10 mans.
    5. Ideal raid makeups are still an unknown.
    Yay for mage Blood-lust, that’s all that matters right now.

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