This thread is a set of posts I made in response to a specific question in another thread. By way of introduction . . .
There are lots of guilds out there who are primarily focused on being a strong social guild for casual players, but which also harbor hopes of being able to raid together someday, maybe. It turns out that there are a few things you can do while you are building the social guild to position yourselves for the transition to low-pressure raiding later on.
And it turns out that there are some things you ought to do during that transition.
The next three posts provide some guidance as to how to approach the Casual/Social Guild That Wants To Raid Together, Someday, Maybe.
Update: If you are interested in what to do when the time comes to stat raiding, here's my guide on that topic: We're Ready To Start Raiding! Guide.
THE CASUAL/SOCIAL GUILD THAT HOPES TO RAID SOMEDAY, MAYBE Edit
You have several issues that you need to continually deal with in this sort of guild. First and foremost, work on building the guild to be as strong as possible now.
- Accept that people who want to raid hardcore aren't going to stay in the guild. Accept that people who think they don't want to raid hardcore sometimes reach the level cap and change their minds.
- Focus on building personal connections between people in the guild. This will make people less likely to go "try raiding" on a whim (but see below for my advice on how to deal with those who leave to try raiding and then want to come back).
- You can build these connections in /guild, by encouraging people to quest and instance together, and by sponsoring really fun guild events. Recognize that at first, the guild events may be small and poorly attended. If they are enough fun, and people talk about them afterwards, the next one will be larger and more fun, and before you know it, events will be part of what makes your guild special.
- Have a coherent alt policy, like "once you are out of your initiate period, you can have your alts in the guild, but all alts must be played". This allows people to jump around and form up same-level groups more easily without losing access to /guild when they do so.
- Make sure people who join the guild know that raiding is "someday, if ever". Select for personality, fit with everyone else, and being fun to play with. However, spend time when the guild is social/casual and not raiding to help people learn to work together in instances. The transition from soloing and duoing to working in a group is not an obvious one, and making it part of your guild ethos that "we work well together in teams of all sizes" goes a long way to meeting a bunch of goals. (For example, having fun in lower instances together. And preparing for that far off day when you transition to being a social/casual guild that raids sometimes.)
- Recognize that as time goes on, even your most committed high level members, the ones who value the guild over their personal progression, are going to start running out of things to do, and the desire will build to move raiding from "someday, if ever" to "let's find a way to do this without losing our soul".
To weather this stage successfully, you need two things, one of which is the strong connections within the guild (which you have been working on anyway, because that's how to build a really good social/casual guild). The other is a plan for introducing raiding without losing what everyone loves about the guild. You need to make your plan and start implementing it when the committed high level players are first starting to feel this way. It's easy (as a GM or as one of these people) to think that you have a lot of time and patience, but this process takes awhile, and you will lose more people if you delay once people start feeling more than a vague "gee I'd like to raid someday" itch.
HOW TO GET TO BE ABLE TO RAID IN A CASUAL/SOCIAL GUILD THAT ISN'T THERE YET Edit
We started raiding well after our first-to-60 characters were leveled and geared, because we wanted to do it together. Here's my advice from having been there, done that with two different guilds on two diferent servers:
- Set some goals and criteria for meeting them and moving to the next goal. For example:
- When we have 12 people over level 54, we will schedule two runs a week in the BRD/BRD/DM/Scholo/Strat family of instances. We currently have 5 people like this. Need 7 more.
- When we have 10 people over level 58, we will add one Outland instance run a week, staritng with Ramparts, and then Blood Furnace. We currently have 2 people like this, need 8 more.
- When we have 10 people at level 70, we wiil start sponsoring Karazhan keying events. We currently have 0 people like this. Need 10 more.
- When we have 10 people keyed for Karazhan in the following role balance (2 tanks, 3 healers, 1 dps/healing hybrid, 4 dps), we will go into Karazhan once a week. No one is keyed yet.
- This lets people see that you have a plan for getitng to the raids, and gauge for themselves how much progress is being made. Update this "roadmap to raiding" thread weekly, so people can see progress being made.
- Talk to people all the time about your plans for balancing casual raiding with other kinds of play. Assure those who worry about it (and there will be some) that two things are true: you won't require people to raid but you will raid seriously (if not in a hardcore way).
- We make a distinction between "hardcore" raiding (several nights a week required attendance, specc control, the only focus of the riaders) and "serious" raiding (allows people to have a life, accepts slower progression in return for being able to do it with friends). We tell people that they don't have to raid, but once they commit to a specific event, they need to treat that seriously and show up on time and prepared.d
- Figure out what your likely raiding times will be and start scheduling events at those times. This gets people used to there being regular (fun!) events at the times when you will want them to raid, and gives people the experience of doing things together and having a lot of fun with it.
- Expect to lose good people while you work on this project. Some people will reach the level cap and find that they want to raid now, that for THEM, waiting to do it with friends is not a reasonable way to spend their game time/'money. Ask people to talk to you about it before they leave for this reason. Some of them will be happy where they go. Some will not and will want to come back for the congenial atmostphere and the lower pressure on the raiding team.
- Make it a rule that such a person can come back ONCE, and only if they left in a transparent friendly manner. (We've found that some people discover they prefer our atmosphere to that of a more serious guild, and they had to leave to find that out. People who do the same thing twice will do it over and over until they find a raiding guild that will take and keep them. Don't let them burn you.)
- Start forums now and work on getting people to use them. We had forums that about half our members used, and this really bit us when we started raiding. We used the forums to communicate important information about raiding. and the half that did not use them never knew what was going on and felt left out.
- When you reach the stage where you are making visible progress raiding, you will start to be appealing to people who want to raid. At this point, be very very very VERY careful about recruiting. It's very easy to think "Well, we really need a couple more mages, since the ones we have both have conflicts with the raid, so it would be nice to have one or two more to rotate in" and not think about "is this person a good fit socially for this guild?" or "how will we manage it on the nights when we need 2 mages and all 4 show up?"
- Be utterly transparent about your raiding policies. In a casual guild that has not raided before, people will need help understanding RaidID lockouts, looting systems, the need to sign up in advance and keep those commitments, the need to show up unflagged and repaired, the need for certain skills or speccs. People who have been playing casually may also not understand the direct relationship between gear and raiding success (not so much the phat purplz, but the way to build a coherent set of gear that supports a raiding playstyle) -- expect to spend some time helping people figure this out, and support them through the gearing up process prior to raiding.
- If you are casual, you will likely want to let people who are offspecc raid, and that's great (hey, my raiding main is a moonkin druid). You will also need to help people realize that choosing a particular specc may have consequences. For instance, if you are short tanks and heavy on healers, druids who specc and gear Bear will likely get to raid more often than those who specc Tree, since the latter will be rotating with the other Trees as well as holy priests and holy pallis.
- It's very helpful to get some raiding experience for your leaders. Have some of your higher level characters take on the task while you are working on leveling a plausible raiding group. They can join server PUGs or network with their friends and find "fun runs to MC" to join in on. Put together groups for LBRS in both 5 and 10 man configurations and give your raid leaders a chance to understand how the logistics of these groups differ.
And good luck! We saw ZG, AQ20, MC, and BWL, plus a little tiny bit of AQ40 this way, and it rocked.
- Written by Rhaina of Revelance - Hyjal Server
Original Post: Guild Relations Forum