My efforts continue on trying to make a 25 man raiding guild on my server. We are still dealing with not really having enough people and some of the people we have to drag along have item levels as low as the 460s. No, I am not kidding. But we are getting down bosses. Yes, even horridon has met his end and so has the council. Anyone following here will understand what a huge thing that means for my server. A server that has only 8 currently active guilds that have defeated horridon to begin with on 10 man, not to mention none (well 1, us) in 25 man, means it is a pretty big deal for us.
While most would not consider my little endeavor as a success really as many people are over geared and many in the group have done it on 10 man, for my server it is still a big deal. Big enough to at least be able to laugh and say we are the #1 25 man guild on our server. Come on, do we really need to say we are the only one, let us have a moment to feel good will you.
As we are moving forward and I see the group getting closer to downing that over grown teenage mutant ninja turtle that ate too much and got stuck in the doorway soon I don't see us getting much further than that raiding only 2 hours a week. Not to mention, I do not see us getting much further with one person at 463 item level and 6 others between 475-490. Outside of those, the rest of the group is decently geared for the content we are trying, as in 495-510. So much so that I and a few others went on alts we had never raided this tier with in there and we still downed three.
The last time I posted about my attempts to make a 25 man guild and feeling bad having a few people quit guild after another wipe fest on horridon a few people with more experience in 25s where nice enough to give me some advice. I figured I would share my current thought on what I am planning and maybe if anyone wants to chime in on how they might handle things differently, they can feel free to. I am always open to advise from those more knowledgeable than I.
So here are some of the questions that are bouncing around my mind at the moment and how I feel I am going to address them.
1) How should I handle the loot issue?
One of the beautiful things about 10 man raiding is it is easier to assemble a core group and keep it. While I've always ran with a 13 man team for 10s with three swing people loot was never an issue. That happens when you raid with the same people all the time. You get a true what is best for the group society. We all know we will all be there each week so someone else winning loot is not a problem and often people just pass on the loot to the person that needs it most because it helps the group as a whole.
With 25 man groups, even more so new ones like this one, that mentality is not there. Everyone wants loot and there will always be people that others begin to feel don't deserve it that win it. This can, and will, create loot drama. When we were only downing one boss a week it was not so much of an issue but now that we are doing three and soon, hopefully, four and maybe five, more loot is dropping, more people are seeing things they need and more people are losing things to others they had never raided with before.
I know my players. I take great pride in being able to connect with and understand everyone on my team at least a little. Even the new players. It might sound weird but I actually put forward an effort to get to know everyone at least to some degree. This might sound wrong, but I feel it helps me learn how I can work them. Who would be willing to sit to let another get a chance one week. Who I can come at hard when they do something wrong and who needs a softer hand as well as knowing which approach I need to use to get the results I seek.
Anyone that has ever run a raid team knows there is a certain level of manipulation involved to keep egos in check and to keep things running the way you want. As such, we might pick up on little things that others never would because we have learned to notice them.
I usually send whispers one way or another as need be. We had a paladin tank that had always tanked horridon and never tanked adds be put on add duty. They were not exactly what you would call excited about it but I gave them a little advise on how to do it and they did fine. Even after one wipe we had when someone else said, maybe we need a third tank I was quick to chime in, it was not a tank issue, it was a DPS issue. People need to down the right targets and we will be fine. After we downed it on the next attempt I whispered her and said, you did a great job, I knew you could do it. Something as simple as that means a hell of a lot to people.
But that is beside the point however, the point is, I can tell that some people are already starting to get frustrated when someone that is new to the guild wins something or when someone that seemingly does less wins something. So perhaps it is time for me to think of a different loot system. Something that will reward the regulars, or at least make them feel that way.
While no actual words were said during the raid I could feel that a few were upset when a warlock doing only 75K won a thunderforged piece that others would have wanted as well. I could have easily enough explained why if anything he deserved it more than some others.
I could have said he earned it as much as anyone else because he joined the guild three weeks ago and has been here all three weeks raiding with us so he is a regular. I could have went into brutal detail that explained that in his gear his best DPS would be around 88K and for someone that stepped into his first raid ever only three weeks ago, he is making excellent progress. I could have explained that he has made efforts outside of the raid to gear up and I have seen a huge boost not only in his performance in raid but his item level outside of it. He might not be one of the people I would say is assured a spot, but he seems to be doing everything you would ask of a new player to earn and keep that spot by becoming a better player and trying as hard as he can.
But should I have to go through a lengthy explanation every time someone wins something that someone else believes they do not deserve? No, I shouldn't. I am personally of the school that if you helped us down the boss you are just as eligible for loot as the next guy.
But that will not work. The vibes I was feeling from some on some of the wins recently show they were not happy. I guess it will change when we are a full 25 man team but as it is we are an 18 man team that I fill in each week with random 90s that are on and basically train them to become raiders. It is how that warlock started raiding and he has shown he can get better. We might not have had 25 people, but we can create the rest. And that is something I understand, but many others don't.
Letting that lock have this 528 item level piece is just reward for the efforts he has put in the last three weeks moving from doing 45K to 75K and moving from a 460 item level to a 480 item level. I am sure by next week, if he is lucky, he will be floating at or near 500, which it what he should have been at to start. And that is why some people feel they are carrying him while I look at his over all performance and look at it as he has earned his keep.
I could always explain to people. I have earned enough good will that when I say something, usually if they like it or not, people listen and respect that what I said is the way it is. That is a very powerful tool and it should never be over used.
I am currently looking for something that doesn't exist. At least not that I know of. I want something that would reward the players that are there each week while not excluding the players that are new to the team.
What worries me is those last 7 spots that are really still spots I am keeping open until someone claims them by showing not only excellent attendance but excellent performance. If those people we test always feel like they are behind because the people that have been there longer will always win, we could lose them. Or someone like that warlock that is new to raiding but is really trying. He has only been there for three weeks, he is putting in a huge effort, he is getting better and it is noticeable that he is, he has almost in my eyes earned his spot as a full time member of that team. He would have never won that piece because there were people there from the beginning that would have won it.
I admit I have not looked into a lot of different loot systems, but I need to find one that will keep the people that have been with me for two years happy and people that have only been there two months feeling like they have just as much of a chance of getting loot.
So todays task for me is to give a much closer look at all the loot systems out there. I doubt anything would work like I want it too but I do believe that soon I will need to address a situation before it really starts to arise. And I know it will, loot issues are always issues with 25 mans, even more so 25 mans that have a few floating people. It seems no one that has been around a while likes seeing someone that just came in a week or two ago winning something they wanted.
I am open to suggestions I could look at.
In the post raid meeting, with the ones that stayed at least, which oddly enough were the full 10 man team and only two people from the 25, when I asked about it, loot council seemed to be the most accepted. However, being it was my 10 man there and even if we never used a loot council it worked like one, it would make sense they would like that. So I can only take what they said with a grain of salt.
2) When should I push for 2 days or 3 hours?
Raiding once a week for two hours only lets us kill three bosses. Perhaps soon we will be doing four in that time. I say give it a few weeks until we can manage that. Once the majority of lesser geared players start to catch up and the lesser skilled players start to get better, I can even see us getting five down in one night. But we would never push much more than that. I would say even pushing 6 with moving as fast as we can, when we get to that point that is, would be impossible or close to it.
That means that sooner or later we need to consider adding more time to our one night a week or adding more days. There are issues to both of those.
If we add more time it means either starting earlier or lasting later. Knowing myself and many others wake up early for work we raid late enough as it is. So starting earlier would be the best option. At least for me. I am usually on 2 hours before raid time. I could easily raid for four hours that night. A few others are there at that time as well. But this is a 25 and not a 10. Getting 25 people to show up earlier will be a lot harder than getting 10 to. Even if I bumped it up only an hour we would still have a few issues. I know of at least three of the regular players, ones that have been with the guild for years, that would not be able to do it. They only get home from work a half hour before raid time usually. So moving it up an hour is out of the question.
Adding a second day seems to be the best option in my opinion. But what second day becomes a huge question. If I do it one day there is one healer that I know can not make it, another day and there is another healer that can not make it. One tank can do it any day usually and I can always sub for the other tank if need be. So my 2 tanks and 6 healers are my main concern. The one good thing with my crew is that we have a slight over load of healers, even if they are not the best always they are there and dependable to show up. So if I do a second night losing one of the two healers for that night is not as much of an issue as one might think. We have a fill in.
Now to the most important thing. Damage dealers. It is the make and break of the game. The better they are the easier the fights become. We have our tanks and we have our healers. It is the damage dealers we are short on, at least good ones. Of the 7 people that I still have spots open for they are all in the damage dealer department. The lock is earning one of those spots and we have a mage and another lock that have also all but secured a spot. All three of those are just up and coming players however. Not exactly what we are used to in our 10 man. So not only would I need to see if those 3 fill ins could make a second night, but could I find four others as well for that second night. Five others actually because one of the damage dealers will be switching to a healer to fill in for one of the others, no matter which night I choose.
But looking at the idea that of the 18 people I am sure that 14 can make the second day, it is not as horrible as it might sound. 3 of those 4 others I am not sure of, they might be able to make it. Only one healer would be from that 18 that I know won't make it.
So when do I make the push to two days. Do I wait until we are downing the turtle and need more time for the snake? Or wait until we are downing the snake too and working at top speed and just can't move any faster? Do I do it sooner so we can start on the turtle on day two and progress faster on it?
The thing I worry about is running into another wall. Look at what the horridon wall did. Caused people to quit the guild, caused drama with people saying some should not be there because their numbers were too low. As if we had a choice about it. Low numbers are better than no numbers, but they could just not grasp that. It was getting stressful and I posted about it. I felt defeated. A wall like that sucks.
While still looking to solidify those last 7 spots, the damage dealer spots, I do not think we are in what you would call a power position for bosses 4, 5, and 6. Or 10 man team is over powered for them, but there are not enough of them to help over power the 25 man version while we still have some weak links.
If I add a second day and we end up wiping all day to the random number generator that tortos can sometimes be it can feel very defeating to a group that finally feels good about itself because we can move thought a few bosses each week.
The thing is, everything that drops on those early bosses is still going to use. Unlike in our 10 man when we are always disenchanting everything because either no one needs it or we do not have a class that can use it, everything that has been dropping in 25 has been used. We have not disenchanted anything in weeks.
I am thinking that is more my signal to move forward, to push for two days. Once things start to drop no one needs, we need to start moving further into the raid otherwise it will become boring for most. People like having the feeling that there is something they need off a boss. It is the reason myself and a few others bring alts for those early bosses, our mains do not need anything from them.
That is when I have to think about extending hours or adding a day. Perhaps even both. We could get away with adding a half hour maybe. A half hour and a second day would turn a 2 hour a week raid team into a 5 hour a week raid team. And that I think is something we could possibly do. Again, knowing we still need some solid damage dealers. But it can be done.
When, when is the question. I am thinking another two weeks, maybe three, and then press for a second day. But I could see an argument for switching to two nights next week. We can do the first three with nearly no issues. Only had 4 wipes total on the three bosses last time. Guess where they were, I dare you. :P So we might actually be at that point where we need that second night. We surely are at that point where I am seriously considering it, even as early as next week.
It might be looking too far in the future and I don't really think we have the crew for it yet, but I am already pondering three nights of raiding. I would like to see it get there at some point.
3) At what point do I start looking for particular classes or skill levels?
This would be a step in a direction I do not even think we are close to thinking about but as a raid leader I am always thinking about it. It is a come as you are type of thing right now. We take what we can get. It is why we have had people with 460, 470 and 480 item levels in our groups while downing bosses. Because we needed bodies. Because I wanted to see who deserves a shot. Because I wanted to see who would take the extra step forward if I gave them the shot.
Like that warlock has. I gave him a shot and in the three weeks since I invited him to his first ever raid every time I log in he is in some sort of LFR, he is wanting to come along on our older raids like doing last tier heroics, he is looking for people to do heroic scenarios with. He is capping valor ASAP, he comes with his own food and flasks, he has all his addons, he can not talk on vent but makes sure he says in raid that he is there and he can hear and if you address him he responds instantly in raid chat so you know he is listening.
But when do I stop dragging people like him in. When do I start looking for people that are already the better players and should I?
That is a huge question for me because we are a casual guild. We are all about giving people like him a chance, about making people that want to raid into raiders, even if only in the normal mode casual sense. We give him the opportunity to learn and play and have some fun. If I was only looking for people with a 500 item level already he still would not be raiding with us. Like I said, he is not great yet, but I can see his potential and his hard work.
If I move to the looking for people of a certain skill and/or gear level I effectively exclude people like him. It means no finding that diamond in the rough and watching them become a great player. When do I start looking for better people to fill those last spots, or can I get away with playing how we always have and tying to create raiders if we could not find them?
Then there is balance. We have no rogues (unless I am on mine), we have no monks (unless I am on mine) and we do not really have many melee, but that is not a huge issue really. Should I look to fill the blanks? We have all the buffs, we have enough battle resurrections with druids, locks and DKs. We are not even thinking that our future might one day be in heroics, we are content with just trying to get 25 people together and get down even one boss a week. At least for now.
When, if ever, should I think about having the right classes?
Personally I don't think I ever will. I won't recruit by class. Maybe by role. I would like to see a new melee with a tank off spec join, to fill the role should one of the tanks not be able to make it that night. I would like to see another damage dealer with a quality healing off spec as well so instead of people switching characters, which is fine, they could stay on their main and someone that can do both on the same character can do both. If you catch my drift. It would be better for me if I did not have to switch to my druid to tank but if we had a druid that could tank, at least he could still get gear for his main while doing so while I can not because my main happens to be a hunter.
Outside of looking for a few people for those swing roles, I don't think I would ever actively recruit by class. At least not while we are only doing normals. Maybe some day if we ever do try to get some serious progression but that is not going to be any time soon, so it is a non issue in my mind.
I more wonder about those last damage dealer spots. How long can we go with 4, or more, of those revolving door people doing 40K or so. How many bosses will we get down that way? Can we even do the 4th boss with them, I am not so sure.
We would then be putting the pressure on the other damage dealers doing more than their fair share already to cover for them. And that goes to the loot issue. When you do over 200K on the first three bosses and lose two pieces you needed to two people doing under 80K on all three, when two are really like buff fights, it really sucks. That is where my previous loot question comes from.
When do I start looking for those last slots to be filled with people that are already caught up and stop letting new people get a chance. More so, would I be okay with that change in philosophy of promote from within. I have always said I would rather turn a current member into a raider and teach them then just recruit someone that was good already. But at some point that will hold us back and at some point I will need to change. Good thing with 25 man it is not as important. At least when we get to those last 2 damage dealer spots. When still needing 7 I guess I can still take whoever comes.
Well, I babbled enough about nothing. Just an exercise in typing really. I've got a lot to think about but I guess it is better to have something to think about in a growing guild than a dying one, like most seem to be right now. Some problems are good problems. I guess my problems could be classified as such.