Friday, December 23, 2011

Building a Casual Raiding Guild

Common Casual Misconceptions:

Casual guilds let anyone raid:
Some might.  Most don't.  They still require people to be able to do the job.  They still want people gemmed, enchanted, reforged, and speced correctly.  The only difference is that we let anyone raid that does those things, even if they are not great players and try to help them get better.

Casual guilds do not have the ability to stick it out:
I am not sure where this idea first came from but wiping is not something only hard core guilds endure.  Casual guilds do as well.  As a matter of fact, being able to deal with wiping is one of the requirements we ask of all our raiders when they first apply.  The difference is a casual guild might wipe for 2 hours and give up whereas a hard core guild wipes for 4 or 6 hours before they give up.  The reason for this is that a casual guild was only going to raid for 2 hours anyway, wipes or not.

Casual guilds can not progress at a good pace:
When new content hits my guild is a top 10 guild on the server.  After a few months we are down to 30 or 40 or further even.  It is not because we are not moving at a good pace.  We down bosses just as fast as everyone else.  It is because we put in less hours per week that makes it look like we are behind.  In many cases if you counted "time spent in raid" instead of real life time, our guild progresses faster then most top 10 guilds. 

Casual players are just not as good:
Another mistake people make.  Casual does not mean bad.  Casual just means that they do not spend as much time on it as someone else might.  Spending less time on something does not mean you are bad at it.

Casual raiders do not care about doing their best:
Tell that to my raiders.  No one shows up ungemmed, unenchanted, unrefored or unprepared. Just because we are casual does not mean we do not try our best.

Casual guilds do not do heroic content:
To some extent this is true. Sometimes they dabble in them, sometimes they do many of them, but most times, they would rather start from the beginning again with some new players so they can also get a chance to experience the raid and get some gear.

What Should a Casual Raid Expect From Raiders:

1) Team players
- Without a doubt this is the single most important part of building a casual team.  You need people willing to rotate, people willing to sit out, people willing to run on a alt to help group make up.
2) Class knowledge
- Casual does not mean bad.  Remember that.
3) Gems, Enchants, Flasks, Food, etc.
- Just because you are casual does not mean you do not need these things when raiding.

What a Casual Raid Accepts That a Hard Core Team Might Not:

1) Connection
- Hard core teams need people to have a solid connection.  Casual raids teams are more forgiving to some extent.  Too many connection problems and you will be sitting out but a blip here and there will not get you kicked from the raid.
2) Someone making a mistake
- A casual raid will most likely tease you about your mistake, they do not expect you to be perfect from the first attempt.
3) Someone slightly undergeared
- Casual guilds often have to use fill in players which means someone that is not exactly ready might be dragged along just to fill the raid, as long as they are good at their class.

How to Succeed at Casual Raiding:

1) Adapt
- Unlike hard core guilds you will often find yourself in odd situations where you do not have a good team make up.  All ranged or all melee, or short a tank or short a healer.  A casual raid teams will make it work.  Like solo tanking a two tank boss with creative use of cool downs.  Two healing a three heal fight by changing how you approach the fight.  You have to be able to use the tools available to you.  Casual raiding really is bring the player and not the class because you have no choice sometimes.
2) Bad Players
- Unlike hard core teams that can spot a bad player a mile away the first time you see them raid even if everything about their gear and spec seemed perfect, bad players can sometimes go unnoticed in a casual guild for a while.  You need to learn to spot the difference between someone that is learning and adapting and someone that just can not do it.
3) Positives
- Even wipes can have positive side effects if you look for them.  You have to not only know how to spot the good within the bad but know how to make that work as a motivator.  I can not tell you how many times this expansion alone after 4 or 5 wipes on one boss we made one more attempt with a "what was positive about the wipes" speech before we made our last attempt for the night only to end up with a boss kill.  Three times this expansion it was a boss that was what is called a progression boss, a first time kill. 

Setting Up The Raid Team:

1) Attendence
- Even casual guilds have people that will have excellent attendance.  If those players are good then build around them, do not "try" to fit them in.  Build around the people you know will always be there and are good at what they do.
2) Performance
- Just because you are assembling a casual raid team does not means you can be loose with the terms on what is needed from your players.  If you run into a boss that needs 24K DPS form everyone it needs 24K DPS from everyone.  No way around that.  Just because you are a casual raiding guild the boss is not going to give you a break.  Do not ever fall back on "we are casual so we can't do it until we over gear it".  A casual guild can do anything a hard core guild can, it just takes us longer because we do not play as much.  Expect hard core performance even if you only raid 2 hours a week.
3) Pride
- Isn't that one of the deadly sins?  Well, who cares, be proud of what you accomplish even if to others it might not seem like anything special.  My guild went into DS the first time and one shot two bosses.  We did not even experience a wipe until the third.  That is a great team motivator.  We are not a heroic guild so the average item level of the team was probably in the 370-375 range and there were 385-390 geared people that wiped on the same bosses we downed in one shot the first time we saw it.  Nothing wrong with letting your team know they did good and should be proud of themselves.

Once Again, Team Players:

1) Alts
- People that can fill any roll and are geared and knowledgeable are a god send.  We have a few non raiders in my guild that have many alts and we often pull them in, sometimes for only one fight, just to get things done.  We also have many people, like myself, that can fill any roll and do whatever is needed.
2) Sitting Out
- People that can accept sitting out are a staple of a good casual guild.  Most casual guilds have more players then they have raid spots and everyone want to get into a raid once in a while.  People that are willing to rotate make it so much easier.  I am the raid leader and I sit out from time to time just to let someone else in when I know the group has 8 or 9 others that know the content really well enough to not even need a leader.
3) Not Greedy
- This tier shows exactly why we have had success as a casual guild.  When tier tokens drop and someone has the LFR version they will pass to someone that does not have even a 384 to help them get their set bonuses.  People that share the loot because they want to instead of because they are asked to makes for a better team.

Just Remember:

1) It's Not Easy
- Building a decent casual raid guild is harder than building a hard core raid team.  Hard core raid teams have people that want to get in and if they lose someone there are 100s of people dying to take that spot while casual raid teams need to sift through everyone else and hope to pick out the ones that make things work and sometimes just can't find anyone that fits the bill.
2) Don't Get Attached
- Casual raiders usually fall into three categories. 
A) Bad players - which you have to decide if they can get better or get out. 
B) Ambitious players - which are only raiding with a casual guild to get experience so they can try to get into a more progressed guild.
C) Time restrained players - that have other real life issues that sometimes mean they come and go. 
- All three types might be around every day for months and then leave at a moments notice.  While you might miss them as people and players, you have to learn that people come and go and do not let it effect you.  You also need to remember that just because someone was a super raider in T11 does not mean he is ready for T13 the moment he comes back.  Do not let your feeling for the person or player effect what is best for the team.
3) Keep it Fun
- You are not pressing for a world first or even a server first.  Is server 40th really that bad of a thing?  Not at all, if anything it is a good thing.  While the server first group has blown through the content so quickly they get bored with it you took your time and had fun with it.  Also, you can continue to have fun with it by bringing new people through it that have never been there.  There is something to be said about experiencing the first time downing a boss a second time and a third time with other people having their first time.  It is a different mind set for raiding and it is not for everyone but if it is for you, then it will remain fun for you and extend the life of the content for you.

End Note:

The Great Plus and Great Minus for LFR for the Casual Guild.

Plus:  A great way to help gear up faster and get some experience with the basic concept.

Minus:  Everyone seem to think they "know" the fight even if they only did it in LFR.


  1. Great article and relevant to almost any MMORPG. I'm currently trying to build my guild on SWTOR and these tips really helped me see the strengths and weaknesses of a casual guild.

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