Raiding: Some Thoughts For Leaders Of Guilds Who Are Just Getting There

Once upon a time, I wrote a guide for Casual/Social Guilds Who Want To Raid Someday, Maybe. You can find it here: Casual/Social Guild Raiding (someday, maybe) Guide

Well, that guide begs some obvious questions that I have been thinking about lately. So I decided to write a sequel. This guide is for guilds that are just getting ready to raid. You may be a Casual/Social Guild whose "someday" has suddenly become "today". You may be a new guild that is intending to raid.

The purpose of this guide is to provide a framework for thinking about raiding as a guild. Every guild that raids has to fill out this framework, and every guild that raids does that differently. I'm not here to answer any questions, but to survey the landscape of questions. In this guide, I refer to "raiding guilds"; by this, I mean any guild that has official activities around raiding, no matter how casual or infrequent those activities may be. An RP guild that goes to MC once a year to suicide on the corehounds counts in this definition.

My background: guild leader of a successful non-raiding guild that transitioned to a raiding guild in vanilla WoW. Now guild leader of a small, focused raiding guild built from scratch starting in late August and now in T5 content.

Most of the examples here are from Kara, partly because arithmetic is easier on groups of 10, partly because more people have been to Kara so the examples are more likely to make sense, and partly because if a guild is starting to raid in BC, that's the first place they are going. And this is a guide for beginning guilds.

Overview: why is there no typology of raiding guilds? Edit

Of course, people *think* there is a typology. There are the world-first guilds, the server-first guilds, the progression-minded guilds, the casual guilds that raid, the casual raiding guilds, the casual guilds where some people raid, and the "oops, how did we become a raiding guild?" guilds.

The problem is that you cannot define these types of guilds. Partly, this is because no two people define "hardcore" and "casual" the same way. Another part of the problem is that there is no linear scale with "hardcore" (whatever it means) at one end and "casual" (likewise) at the other.

Let us say you wish to compare two raiding guilds to decide which is more hardcore. By way of example, I will use two guilds I have been privileged to be an officer in. Okay, here goes....

In Omnia Paratus: had silent bidding DKP, imposed penalties for no-showing or being late, and did not impose any gear or specc requirements at all (if you signed up every week, you got rotated in as often as other people in your role who signed up every week).

Relevance: has a loose roll-based loot system, imposes no formal penalties for being late or no-showing (unless it becomes a pattern), and permits people to raid only if they specc and gear for the role they were recruited to fill.

Which is more hardcore?Edit

DKP is generally considered to be more hardcore than roll-based loot (although not everyone thinks so). Attendance policies with penalties for lateness are often considered more hardcore than not. But then gear/specc expectations that are enforced is a lot more hardcore than loosey goosey "if you sign up, you can raid". Still IOP would be considered by most people to be more hardcore on 2/3 of the three things I just mentioned.

Did I mention that IOP was a guild of over 200 accounts at its peak, which was primarily a friends and family guild, where most members never raided or raided in MC once or twice after it was on farm? Whereas Relevance is a 40-account guild that has no members who are not raiders, which is focused on progression (as we define it in our master plan), and which is explicitly not a friends and family guild. (If our GM's wife stops raiding, she will leave the guild.)

If the question is "as a guild, which one takes raiding more seriously?" the answer has to be "Relevance". The guild's mission is to be a certain type of raiding guild. IOP's mission was to offer a friendly environment for whatever kind of play members enjoyed.

Once you look under the covers of guilds that schedule raids, you find that they are all different. So there's no handy scale for you to look at and point at and say, "There's where I want to be, 34% casual and 66% hardcore", let alone a set of instructions for how to achieve that mythical statistical objective.

Instead, what you find is that there are a whole bunch of things that guilds which raid have to consider and make decisions about. Once those decisions are made and implemented, you have a well-formed raiding guild. It may not look a lot like anyone else's well-formed raiding guild, but it is a guild that raids.

One thing that happens when you start to build a new raiding guild (or start to raid in your formerly non-raiding guild) is that every single one of those mysterious things I mentioned in the last paragraph has to be addressed. Now, you don't have to address them all directly, or even necessarily think about them. But anything you don't decide about will be decided by default, and you will still have a decision in that location.

For instance, when we started raiding in IOP, we knew we needed a loot system, so we made one. We didn't know it would be advantageous to have even recommended gear standards for raiders, so we didn't make any. By the time we realized what a horrifying mistake this was, it was too late.

The mere mention that there is such a thing as gear-readiness for MC, for instance, got a terrible reaction within the guild, the accusation of "growing too hardcore!" -- in other words, it was no longer politically feasible to introduce any notion that waltzing into MC in level 49 greens might be the least bit counter-productive or unfair to the people who would be carrying you. (At least in MC, it was possible to recover from this oversight in our planning by making sure we -- usually -- had 25 solid, well-geared raiders along for the ride.) This in a guild that had an extremely detailed and legalistic DKP system.

Anyway, it's not simple and clear cut. Instead of pretending it is, or telling you how to navigate the n-dimensional space that holds the definitions of "guilds that raid", this guide is going to try to pick out a few of the decisions you must make (or be willing to live with whatever you get if you choose not to choose). I'm not going to tell you how to decide on what policies your guild should have about loot, gear, attendance, raid composition, etc. I'm just going to try to convince you that these things matter enough that you should ideally figure them out ahead of time, at least in principle.

The balancing actEdit

Every raiding guild is balancing at least two things: progression and making sure people are having enough fun that they want to keep playing the game with you in your guild.

Some guilds are also balancing other things, as well.

accessibility: the desire to make raiding available to the most people possible (basically, the extreme form of this is "everyone who wants to raid, gets to raid, regardless")

spontaneity: some guilds like being able to be footloose and fancy free, and prefer to just "go raid whenever there are enough people online who want to go"

predictability: other guilds like to have a schedule that doesn't change much so people know when to be online and ready to go in order to raid

fairness: most guilds want to be fair, even if only for pragmatic reasons -- but "fair" is different in a guild which is after server firsts than it is in a guild where the goal is to get everyone to raid as often as they want to

progression: what are you willing to sacrifice to get speedy progression? what are you NOT willing to sacrifice?

fun: different people have different ideas of what is fun -- what kind of fun does your guild offer, and how do you make sure you keep offering it?

other stuff: raiding IC, raiding old world content, raiding only two nights a week, accommodating both US and Aussie raiders, making sure that your 12-year-old MT gets to bed on time, etc.

Make your list of your priorities, and think ahead of time, "What will we do when this one and that one conflict?"

How does raiding fit into your guild?Edit

Do you have a mission statement for your guild? If not, sit down and write a single sentence that describes your highest aspirations for your guild. This sentence (or mission statement) will tell you the bare outlines of how raiding fits into your guild.

Quite obviously, "We are a friends and family guild with several hundred players as members, and our goal is to provide a wide variety of guild-sponsored activities to support all playstyles." is a very different guild than "We are 35 people who are going to kick the butt of all the content in this release of the game before the next expansion."

Here's the thing though, even with a very active raiding schedule, your members will be playing when they are not raiding. Minimally, they will be farming to get the cash they need for repairs and to make consumables. If you raid only twice a week, it's possible that your members could spend as much as 90% of their playtime not raiding.

So think about how people are likely to spend that non-raiding time. Will the guild need to be involved in helping organize that time?

The advantage to sorting this out is that it helps you understand how to organize yourselves. Do you need officers only to handle raid-related stuff, or will you need an events officer, a leveling officer, a guild mom, and other officers who are not directly involved with raiding? (Or simply enough officers to do the work for both raiding and non-raiding things that the guild provides.) Conversely, if you are primarily a non-raiding guild that wants to add a raiding component, how should you structure the leadership so that the raiders have the support they need, and everything else gets done, too?

Once you know how you want raiding to fit into your grand guild scheme and plan, you need to find a way to communicate that, both to your current members (if you have any) and to potential recruits.

What's special about you when it comes to raiding?Edit

This is a key issue when recruiting, obviously. If you are in Kara, say, then you are likely to be one of a huge number of guilds on your server that offer Kara raids. Why should someone come to your guild instead of that guild over there? What makes you special?

For instance, what was special about IOP was that we sought out families who played together, and we worked hard to make the end game available to everyone in the guild, including those aunts and uncles and moms and dads who played with their kids. I was once on an MC raid where something like 35 people in the raid were married to or related by blood to at least one other person in the raid.

There are guilds where what's special is that they strive for and achieve server firsts. There are guilds where what's special is that they raid on an RP server in an IC mode. There are guilds where what's special is that they throw the best parties of any guild anywhere, and oh, yeh, they take a group into Kara every week and clear the place.

What are your raiding goals?Edit

Server firsts? Ten-man content? As close to the top of Mt. Hyjal as you can get? Illidan? Have a good time and progress steadily, getting wherever you end up when WotLK ships? Make Kara available to as many of your members as want to go?

Once you lay out the general goals, you may find that some of your goals require actual plans with milestones. ("If we are going to down Illidan by March 1, we have to be in Mt Hyjal by November 15, which means we gotta finish SSC and TK and get them on farm in the next three weeks.")

Or you may find that your goals require you to set up processes. ("Okay, if we are going to cycle 150 people through Karazhan before the end of the year, how many raid groups do we need every week? How do we set them up and staff them? How do people get into them?")

Figure out your goals and then determine what plans and/or processes you need to invent in order to achieve them.

Who gets to raid?Edit

Raid Readiness Edit

Are you going to create standards for gear, skill, specc before someone is eligible for a raid spot?

To be honest, this is one of the two biggest mistakes that casual/social guilds make when they start to raid. Note that you do not have to have raid readiness standards. In the Burning Crusade, this will mean that every week, as new raiders get keyed, people will expect to come to Kara in whatever they were wearing when they finished the BM run for the key. And on any week where some of those people are in greens that don't really fit their specc (or raid role), you can expect that the gear checks in Lower Kara will respond appropriately.

The fact of the matter is that if your healers can only last 6 minutes without going OOM, then your DPS better be significantly better geared than the healers, or Curator will not die before your healing is gone. If your tanks are crushable, or your DPS players don't know how to use their skills to build rotations that squeeze the maximum damage out of their gear, then you have a problem. Or do you?

If you don't care about progression, ever, then you don't have a problem. What you have instead is a guild of people who will go into Kara every week and sometimes kill a few bosses and sometimes not. Slowly, the average gear in the raid will increase, and perhaps a few of the later bosses will start to fall to you. But you'll always be vulnerable to the "three new guys in green" week of wipes on Attumen. And if that's okay, then go for it.

I am here to tell from experience that choosing not to deal with this upfront can really backfire. Later on, when it is clear that no more progression will occur unless you improve the overall gear level of your raid, you may find that it has become politically untenable to require (or even recommend) gear standards.

So with regard to gear, what are your choices?

I'm pretty sure that there are three main variations on what people do.

  1. Set standards and enforce them. There are lists floating around the WoW forums and other places that list minimum stats requirements for starting Kara. Find one, talk to people you trust who know, adjust it to fit your needs and then tell people that unless and until they meet those standards, they will not be invited to Kara raids.
  2. Set standards and encourage people to meet them. Again, get your hands on a set of standards you like, and publish them. Tell people that these are recommended, that people who do not meet them are forcing other people to do more than their fair share, and that everyone should be proactively working towards these numbers. Talk to individuals and make sure everyone has a plan for themselves. You can go so far as to give preference to people who have met the standards, at least on progression nights. But unlike option #1, you don't bench people who haven't made it.
  3. Don't bother. Do nothing. One of two things will happen. Either someone else in your guild will start providing people with information about what it really takes to down bosses you haven't seen yet, or no one will. If there is such a person, it's even remotely possible that the bulk of the guild will take him seriously. But it's also possible that many raiders will view this guy as a hardcore trouble-maker. The other possibility, where no one steps into this vacuum means that your progression will be very slow, very sporadic, and riddled with backsliding. This can be fine, really. If all you ever want to do is play around in Kara, have at it. But with or without the publication of raid readiness information, some of your players will meet those standards, and they will recognize that other people not doing it is hindering progression. And they may leave for a more progressed guild. Or not.

Only you can decide what to do about gear standards, but whatever you do, it will affect your progression, and quite possibly your viability for the kind of raiding guild you want to offer.

Gear is interesting because it's (at least potentially) an entrance bar. You can't raid if you don't meet these standards. Consumables are like that, too, and UI mods. You can check to see what people have brought with them, and bench people who can't go wet for serious tries. Likewise with whatever UI mods you decide are desirable or required.

What about skill? What if you have two mages in the same gear, with the same assignment on every fight, and one mage pumps out 300 DPS while the other is rocking 550 DPS? Now what? Gear and consumables help people get the stats they need to perform, but skill is where they actually turn those stats into damage, or damage mitigation, or CC, or healing, or some combination of these.

How do you figure out when skill is an issue and what to do about it? Well, first you have to know how people perform. Whatever value you may find in damage meters while the fight goes on, get good data for later review, too. Simply, go to Wow Web Stats and get hooked up with their incredible combat log parser. It lets you look at not just the aggregate numbers but the actual spell rotations people were using, the potions they drank, the trinkets they popped, when they died and to what, and on and on and on.

Ideally you can teach people to use the WWS parse themselves to sort out their play issues. Does VE seem to fall off regularly? The shadow priest can adjust his spell rotation until that stops happening. You may find that you have to engage people regularly to work on this information. If that is the case, this may be a good reason for having class officers.

You need to communicate clearly to people, too. "For Curator, you need your mana to last 10 minutes without an innervate. Look at the WWS and see where it's going and what you can do about it."

Later on: "Gruul requires us to do 7500 DPS to kill him before he gets so big and hits so hard that all our healers can't keep the tanks up anymore. We take 15 DPS characters to our Gruul's raid. That means that the average DPS through the whole fight has to be 500. And that's not your standing-still DPS. That's your moving around DPS. Oh, and shadow priests are allowed to have lower DPS, and the boomkin will be shifting to healing in the second half of the fight, so he'll be in hybrid damage/healing gear, so will also have lower DPS. Therefore everyone else must achieve 550 DPS in this fight." or whatever.

For the most part, standards are imposed by the fights, not just made up arbitrarily. That's to your advantage as you can frame your standards in terms of what is needed for the fights in question. But it means you don't have the pre-BC luxury of saying "well, those two mages sort of aren't very good, but we can cover for them." Not anymore you can't.

Refer back to your priorities from the Balancing section and decide what to do about gear, consumables and skill.

Whatever you choose to do about raid-readiness, you need to communicate it clearly. This is true even if your choice is "no standards, let's just go play around". If some of your raiders are expecting progression, they need to know that you are prioritizing other things over progression. It's okay to do that, but it does work better if everyone knows that was a conscious choice and what the consequences of the choice will be.

On any given night...Edit

You may think it's odd that I didn't talk about specc above, because it does affect who gets to raid. But this section is about setting up the raid and deciding who among the people who can go tonight will go.

There are two ways to look at the problem of selecting raiders for any given run. One is about what it takes to conquer the content you want to take tonight. Let's suppose you are planning to kill two farm bosses and work on one progression boss. Let's further suppose that for the first farm boss your guild uses a strategy that requires a paladin tank. Okay, you need someone who can do that. (Yes, there are undoubtedly other ways to kill this boss, but if you try a different way, it won't be a farm kill anymore, so there's a tradeoff if you want to take a warrior MT and a bear OT and no other tanks.)

Think about roles that need to be filled, the type of CC you will require, utility that you would like to have in the raid (paladin blessings, totems, the improved spirit buff, fear ward, bezerker rage, etc.). Sketch out what you need, what would be nice, what you are trying to avoid.

Now think about the other way of looking at this: who signed up and who gets to go. In most guilds, you will generally have more people signing up than can be accommodated. People will have to take turns not raiding. And it's not going to be entirely "equal". If your guild has four healers who normally sign up for three slots, each healer will usually sit out 25% of the time. If you have 10 DPS for 6 slots, you are sitting out 4 DPS every time, then DPS sits out 40% of the time, all else being equal. Only it's not equal because you only have two people with enough AR to be the HB soaker, so those people get to run a bit more often than other casters . . . and on and on.

You will know in great detail why people get rotated the way they do. Most raiders will not. You must be transparent about what you are doing -- keep records, possibly public records of who signed up, who went, who didn't show. And make sure that guild leaders take their fair turn sitting out. In IOP, I made a point of being the person in the guild who was stood down the most. Everyone knew I loved to raid, but when I visibly didn't raid in order to let someone else go, that was a strong statement that we are doing this as a team.

And this is where specc comes in. If healing is light tonight (say you have one new healer who is an unknown quantity and one who has good skill but poor gear, you are going to want a third healer who is both skilled and geared, and who is raid specced. So taking a PI/smite priest or a ret/holy paladin for that third spot is probably not a great idea.

Related to the issue of specc is role for which someone was recruited. Unless you are a let-anyone-raid guild, you are looking for fairly specific people to add to your raiding team. So what do you do if you recruit a druid as a healer and after six weeks of raiding as a skilled tree, he shows up for a raid specced feral and expecting to have a spot?

If you are recruiting people to fill specific raid spots, then you owe it to them to tell them that. And to tell them that they will lose their raid spot and have to compete for a new one if they change specc so dramatically that it changes their raid role. And that is a minimum. Some guilds bench people who respecc. Others simply tell them to specc back or /gquit. Like everything else, it depends on your priorities how you respond, but ask yourself (and the respeccer who expects to retain his raid spot), "OK, you are a tank now. I have to fill your old spot with a new healer. Now, which tank who has earned his spot would you like me to bench so you can have a tanking spot?"

Any raider who says "I don't care. I had a spot and it's not fair for you to take it away" is bad news.

People need to understand that in a progression situation, raids depend partially on class/specc/role makeup, and changing specc to a new role means you have abandoned the spot you earned. This is not to say that you won't ever raid again. But if holy priests sit out 10% of the time and shadow priests sit out 40% of the time, you just upped your stand-down rate. Assuming that the raid leadership is willing to take you as a main raider and not as a sub.

But this should not be a surprise to your raiders. Make sure people know that raid spots are assigned based on the job they do in the raid, not because you adore them.

Special for largish guilds where not everyone has an equal interest in raidingEdit

How do you organize your guild if some people want to raid seriously, and some want to play around, and some would like to raid seriously but can only do so intermittently? One possibility is to have a core raid within the guild that acts more like a progression raid, and a casual raid within the guild that doesn't.

The best introductory write-up of this is here: Who Gets To Raid? [1]

Other possibilities include running a casual raid within the guild and joining a server raiding alliance for the benefit of your more progression-focused members (provided you server has such a thing -- lots do).

But my main is geared and I want to play my alt!Edit

You need to decide up front what your policy on raiding mains is going to be. There are very great benefits to having dedicated mains who have priority for raid slots and loot. Among these benefits are:

  • concentrates gear upgrades on a set of core raiders
  • gives people a chance to really master a fight and its mechanics on a single role (Nightbane is a very different fight for ranged DPS than it is for a tank)
  • doesn't bias loot towards players who have alts
  • eliminates the situation where someone gets very lucky on early drops and gears up ahead of the curve then refuses to put those drops to use for the benefit of the raid in helping gear up the people who helped him gear up

There are some benefits to gearing up alts, such as:

  • what if your one raiding main boomkin can't come to a HKM fight? the only other guild boomer is an alt in green gear
  • if you are cutting it close for two Kara groups, alts who are raid ready give you more flexibility dealing with the week long lockouts
  • keeps people in high stress roles (like healing and tanking_ from burning out so fast

So you can go either way on this. But it will cause heartburn if you have to decide later, when it's an actual issue for one or more people, so decide now. I do recommend that your alt policy (whatever it is) include the words "at the raid leader's discretion".

Who leads raids?Edit

Speaking of raid leaders . . .

You need people to lead raids. Now, you can have one person per raid group, or you can split up the work. It's a good idea for every officer to know how to lead at least a farming raid in case of emergency.

There are lots of things that have to happen in the raid that are "leader" things:

  • decide what bosses in what order
  • put people in groups
  • keep the raid moving fast enough but not too fast
  • mark targets
  • do pulls
  • loot
  • make assignments for CC, healing, tanking, etc.
  • explain fights and pulls
  • record loot (if your system requires this)
  • monitor preparedness (consumables, UI mods, etc.)

It is not necessary for one person to do all these things, but they all need to be done. As the raid gets more experienced, there is less work to do. Less explaining, less monitoring of preparedness, for example.

So split the work up. Or don't. Get enough RLs to make sure you are covered when the usual guy goes on vacation. Or wait and deal with it when that happens.

You should decide whether you need to organize RLs. Should the main RL be an officer? Does the RL decide who goes each week, or do the officers do that?

One mistake newish raiding guilds often make is not having any backup for the regular RL. Don't do this -- RL's take vacations, leave the game, and have emergencies, too. It's best to have someone who can step up and lead the raid when this happens.

Who gets loot?Edit

You need a loot system. It can be random roll. It can be loot council. It can be DKP. It can be some arcane and complex system you invented to meet your guild's needs, but you need one. And you need to publicize it.

You do NOT have to use the same loot system in every instance. Some guilds use random roll in Kara and DKP in 25-mans. Some use SK in tier 4 instances and Ni Karma in Tier 5 instance. Some use loot council everywhere. Some use different systems for their core raiding group raids and their casual raiding group raids.

In defining your loot system, there are a bunch of things you want to take into account. Here are some of them:

  • do you want the system to have a memory (to favor people who raid a lot over those who come rarely)?
  • how do you want to balance benefit to the raid as a whole against benefit to individual raiders?
  • do you want the system to favor new raiders?
  • how to you want to treat PUGs?
  • do you want to encourage people to wait for upgrades they really want, or is it okay to take minor upgrades?
  • are you willing to shard what would be minor upgrades if doing so protects the integrity of your loot system?
  • what will you do with recipes?
  • how will you handle world drops?
  • do you care if the "cost" of loot drops over time as you see the same drops over and over again?

Think about how you want to answer these questions and then go look here: Guild Loot Distribution Systems [2]

Like everything else in raiding, being transparent about loot will help keep things running smoothly.

When do you raid?Edit

Some guilds want a fixed schedule so people can plan ahead. Some guilds want a semi-fixed schedule (fixed for one week at a time, with weekly schedules being different). Some guilds want to raid anytime there are enough people on-line who want to go.

How long do you raid? How often do you raid? How many time zones do you need to accommodate? How much time do you spend on farming content and how much on learning content?

It should be obvious to anyone who looks are guild recruiting threads that successful guilds answer these questions differently, so you are clearly free to do it however you want.

All these things make raiding less predictable, and therefore more complex to manage:

  • people in various timezones (this is true even for guilds with a strictly US playerbase)
  • people with wonky work or school schedules
  • people whose parents make them go to bed early sometimes
  • guilds who want to accommodate all their members who say they want to raid

Decide what your schedule approach will be and then publish it. Make sure that people who you recruit know what it is.

While you're at it, decide about attendance. Do you want rules about raid attendance (like "must attend 75% of progression raids and 50% of farming raids")? Or guidelines (like "if you aren't coming about 60% of the time, you will most likely fall behind in gear and be expected to compensate for this somehow")? Or don't you care?

Wait! Who controls this raid?Edit

Some guilds exist to organize raids. In those guilds, the official raids "belong" to the guild. Rules about raids are the same no matter who is leading the raid or who got rostered.

Other guilds exist for whatever reasons that include providing raids. Raiding is an official guild activity, like the Saturday night raves in the IF fountain, or the attacks on Tarren Mill. In guilds like this, the raids belong to the guild, too.

Other guilds provide support for members who wish to organize raids. In these guilds, members can use guild infrastructure (calendars, forums, perhaps the ability to host PhP apps) to support their raiding activities, but the raids belong to the people who organize them. This has the obvious benefit that different groups can organize differently, so it's easy to have a closed raid for progression minded folks and a sight-seeing raid for those who aren't as serious. It has the less obvious disadvantage that the use of guild resources gives the appearance that the raids are guild-sponsored, and this can create a horrific amount of backlash for the guild leadership.

Finally, some guilds make up other ways to structure the relationship (or lack thereof) between the raid and the guild. Expect that whatever you decide to do about this, the worst will happen, and have a plan for dealing with that worst outcome. The GR forums suggest that an enromous amount of drama in guilds that raid comes down to this kind of issue and its fallout.

Your relationship with other guilds that raidEdit

Other guilds are your best source of support and ideas. Maybe you are a Kara guild and you hook up with another Kara guild to explore Gruul's Lair. Or maybe you find a guild that doesn't raid and offer to use their members as first-line subs if you need them. Or possibly you just make a point of getting to know the other GMs and swapping information about particular applicants or about how things are going.

If you need an alliance to raid successfully, there's a great guide about this: Guide to Forming Alliances & Mergers [3]

Think hard about alliances - you trade some control over your raiding for the potential to see more content sooner. Which you may or may not think is a good trade-off.

Specific getting-started issues for the Burning CrusadeEdit

Wytch has a very good case study of her guild's entry into BC raiding: TBC Transitioning . A Case Study [4] TBC Transitioning. A Case Study, part II [5]

As you start to think about going into Karazhan, you should be looking ahead. What were your raiding goals again?

Are you aiming for 25-man content? If so, you will eventually need at least a couple days a week when everyone can come along. That suggests that there may be value in setting those days now and when you get to two Kara raids, running them simultaneously (oh! you'll need an extra set of raid leadership when the second group gets going -- and will you swap people around or what?)

If your ultimate goal is 10-man content, you can be more flexible with your Kara groups, running them at different times or on different days. This can provide a lot more flexibility to a raiding schedule, but usually means that the teams more or less solidify around the schedules, and may make it hard to come together in a 25-man team if you decide to do that later.

Miscellaneous things to think aboutEdit

How do you feel about raiders going with other raids? Never okay? Okay if it's an instance you don't do yet (or anymore)? Okay on alts but not mains? Okay if they get officer permission first? Who cares -- it's their $15, let them raid wherever they want?

What's your approach to published strategies? Do you want to avoid them and figure fights out for yourselves? And if so, can you really find a whole guild worth of people who will honestly never go look at a strategy or video? Do you expect the RL to do the research and package it up for the raiders? Or do you expect each raider to do the research, too? Or maybe something in between, where your RL researches and picks a strategy and then tells the raid which pages to read and which videos to watch?

What about swapping players in for specific fights? People do this for three reasons, largely. One is to give the most people some chance to raid this week. Another is to tune the group makeup to individual fights. Paladins for Maiden. Locks for Ilihoof. Interrupts for Aran. And the third reason is to give people a chance to come to the fights where the last thing they want drops while making the bulk of that raid slot available to a newer raider. And people have strong feelings about it. Some guilds find this to be a powerful tool. Others don't like the extra layer of complexity or the potential for people to see unfairness in the swaps.

There are guilds that raid without using voice chat. They are few and far between, but they do exist. You need to decide what your approach will be:

  • use Blizzard's built-in system or use something like Vent or TS?
  • do people have to have mics?
  • what are your rules for who can/should talk, and when?
  • what will you do if someone has a really scary voice?

The Bottom LineEdit

No one can tell you how to structure your raiding guild (or new raiding activities) because only you know what your goals, constraints, members, and guild are like. But if you work your way through the issues in this guide, chances are good that you will end up building something that works for you and can survive to take you wherever it is you want to end up.

Contributors Edit

  • Written by Rhaina of Relevance - Hyjal Server

Original Post: Guild Relations Forum