Thursday, June 13, 2013

Setting up for Raiding in 5.4

My effort to creating a decent 25 man raiding team on a small server that has none and very few options to recruit from is still undergoing as my 25 man has finally started to show some progress.  They have still not passed horridon but at least they are now getting to him.  I think next week we will put the final nail in the dino's coffin. 

We are still light 5 damage dealers and a tank.  I picked up three more damage dealers this week when another guild folded.  As anyone knows, being it is not just my server, guilds are dropping like flies.  I am just playing the part of the opportunist and picking out the pieces I want to use and adding them to my efforts of making a 25 man.

I am currently still tanking which is fine with me.  I've learned to accept that is who I am most of the time like it or not.  Would I prefer if my hunter had a tank spec and I did not need to switch characters?  Yes.  But that will never happen so you work with what you have.

But this is not about what will not happen, this is about what is happening.  And with 5.4 comes a bunch of changes that actually will help my fledgling 25 man raiding team actually become a real one.  Two changes come to mind as the highlight for what could be the cure to my issues moving into 25 man raiding.

Flexible Raiding:

This will allow me to see more people in action, to train more people, to gear up people up a little faster.  Even if I was where I am right now, with 18-20 solid people for a 25 man, flex raiding could be the cure for all my problems.  Even with the lesser players and fills in at least we can still one shot the first boss.

Perhaps the difficulty of horridon is not such a bad thing in a way.  It really tests the people that say they want to raid and separates them from the people that actually want to raid.  There is a big reason why those extra spots are filled with different people each week and it is not because I told them they were not doing enough and they could not come.  It is because as much as they say they want to raid, they are not raiders and can not stand wiping.  Good.  Horridon is a trash disposal.  It gets rid of the garbage players that have no heart for raiding.

If anyone is willing to stick it out even if they are bad then I know they have potential to become a raider with perhaps a little more experience and a little more gear.  This is where flexible raiding comes in.  Now I can get them some of both.  Gear and experience in a situation that their inexperience and lesser skill level will not hinder the group as much as it would in the real raid.

It will not only give us a venue to allow them to experience a real raid environment and get them the experience and gear they need it will give us time to bond as a group.  One of the biggest things I preach to all my raiders is that we need to have the same people here each and every week.  The more we raid together the better we get to know each other and we learn how we all react to things and move during times of movement.  Never underestimate the power of a group that thinks as one.

You will never develop that in the LFR and it is a lot harder and takes a lot longer to develop that in the real raid.  Flexible raiding allows us that free extra lock out to work with.  A slightly easier path to successes.  And most importantly.  Another day we get to work together and in a less stress filled environment to boot.

To get a solid 25 man going you need at least 30 people.  We will still be running 2 10s, so we can offer the ones that sit from the 25 that week an outlet to raid still, if they are actually ready and if they aren't, we have the flex raid that we can run any night as a fill in with any number of characters between 10 and 25.  Yeah, that is a good thing.

Lets not even forget about recruitment.  I pugged 2 people last night to try and fill some spots.  One of those 2 ended up joining the guild afterwards.  I kind of knew he would and just wanted to see what we were like while raiding but his guild just died and he needed a home.  Works out that I really need damage dealers that can do more than 50K and he can do over 100K and get out of the bad, so he was a good fit even before he stepped in.  I was sure he would be joining and he did.

Flexible raiding will allow us the opportunity to try new people out and for them to try us out.  Something we have not been able to do since wrath.  It was always great to be able to pug.  Pugging was the ultimate recruitment tool in the game and if I could draw one connection to the fall of raiding and capable raiders, as we see it, that line would go directly from the lack of pugged content.

When you could make a second run with your mains and you did so you always were recruiting people.  Even when you were not trying to recruit people.  After the run someone was bound to come to me or one of the other guild members and ask to join the guild if they had liked us.

No pugs meant no seeing new people, seeing new guilds, testing out the waters.  It was luck or word of mouth that got you a raiding gig.  So flexible raiding means more opportunities for recruitment.

Our 25 will be well under way by the time 5.4 comes out if we keep up at this pace.  It is brutal to build on a server that does not have many to choose from, but we are working with what we have.  But just because we will be well under way with it does not mean we don't want to keep recruiting.  People come and go and to make sure we never get caught shorthanded I need more people to work with.  Good thing we will have more tools to get those people and test them out, like flexible raiding will be useful for in the future.

Virtual Realm:

But that is not the only good news for our 25 man.  The virtual realms really puts us in a power position at the moment when it comes to 25 man raiding on our server.  As the only 25 man guild on the server, even if our 25 team is only 1/12, we are sadly still the #1 25 man on the server.  Kind of hard not to be #1 when you are the only one.

The virtual realms will give us a larger pool to choose from.  More people to recruit. Maybe even better people than the ones we have on our server as it is.  When that time comes, even if there are better guilds out there and we are #8 over all on the server, 10 man of course, we will be the only guild that will be stepping into the new raid with a 25 man team.

Now that is a recruitment magnet.  Want to raid 25 man?  We have the only one going on our server.  While the other guilds can start building to a 25 and will surely eclipse us if they can duplicate their 10 man success, we do have our foot out the door before they do and a head start can't hurt us at all.  Not like we need a lot of help to catch up.  The top 10 man guild on our server is only 2/13.

With the roughly three months we have before the new patch, which in wow time is really not a long time, we can really develop as a team.  If we can at least keep 20 of the 25 if we are not able to fill those last spots with decent people, the virtual reams will assure us that those last 5 spots will be filled by quality players the second 5.4 comes out.

25 man raiding is an attraction.  It is why I get roughly 50 whispers a week asking if they can come with me this week.  This is on a server that probably only has 50 or so decent players on it.  People want to do 25s.  People like 25s.  I just tell them, guild first, and if I have some space I will keep them in mind.

In the past four weeks I have invited a total of 4 people that were not in guild to join us.  One of those 4 had an alt in the guild to begin with and two of the other 3 have since joined us.  That third will follow, I am sure of that.

When I have those few spots open I use them wisely to invite the people I have seen raid or know can raid and hopefully I can interest them in joining us.

It is amazing what a decent group of people can do.  We had someone that was 11/12 leave their guild to join us even after we never got past the second door on horridon because, as she said, you guys are not jerks about wiping like my old guild was, you try to get better and help each other.  I'd rather be here with less progression and be 1/12 25 instead of 11/12 10 any day.  And wow, she was a great pick up too, an amazing healer that has not one but two geared healers and a long history or raiding.  Something very rare to find on my server.  I am sure with virtual realms we can grab a few more like her in time and that is why it could very well be a great addition for us.

But one thing I worry about is that it could be a double edged sword.  I could lose the entire group I have been trying to build just as easily.  What if a guild on one of those servers wants to build on their 25 and is doing heroics?  I just have to keep working and building and hope I can keep what I have.  It is a risk I am willing to take but not like I have a choice.  Virtual realms are coming and they could be good or bad.  I think they will be good for a group like us.

Anyone reading here will know the hell I have had working on making this group and finding people that will show each week.  You will also notice that we have been moving slow.  Really slow.  But we have finally made it to wiping on horridon and not on the doors and that is progress.  Now if only I could fill those last 5 spots with people that knew how to get out of the stupid and do some decent damage we would have downed it last night.

Another week and more shuffling around.  Perhaps next week I can dig up a few more people to fill out the roster.  It is times like that I wish I had more to choose from than what my server has.  In 5.4, I will.

So setting up for 5.4, here is my todo list.

Keep recruiting to fill out that main 25 man.  Get the second 10 man up group caught up to the first which is 3 bosses ahead of it.  Keep recruiting for the possibility of fill ins.  Get to the point where we can run 2 25 man flex raids at some point so I always have a selection of player to choose from to fill in and can continuously view new players in a controlled environment.

Then when 5.4 comes out, take advantage of flex raiding and the virtual realms to boost an already set up and ready to roll 25 man raiding guild.

I can't tell you how good it felt that first time downing a boss as a full guild group on 25 man.  It has to have been about 3 years or more since I can say we have done that.  It was a nice feeling.  I just hope it all turns out as well as I envision it could.  But I will not hold my breath, blizzard does have a way of screwing things up.

I am looking to start a raid patch as a 25 man guild.  I honestly can not recall ever doing that before.  Ever.  Not once did a patch come out and I knew who all 25 players would be.  I think I have a chance for that happening now.  I real chance, and I like it.

The 25 man started really late but we have three months left before the next patch.  My goal is to be at least 10/12 25 man normal by the time 5.4 comes out.  It seems a realistic goal now.  Just one short month ago with half the people struggling to do 40K it did not seem like a possibility.  But a few weeks passed, a few new people were added, and now it looks like we will be moving ahead again. 

It took a lot longer than I would have wanted it to but it does look like it could be a reality now.  Moving into 5.4 with a fully functional 25 man raid team.  Some people might look at that and think 10/12 is nothing to be impressed with and while I might agree most of the time I have to point out that we are the only guild on the server that has even managed 1/12 25 man.  So yes, 10/12 on my server would be a huge success with the changing coming only meaning it could get better.

We are surely setting ourselves up to be in a good position when 5.4 comes out because we will already be doing 25 man runs.  How odd is that?  We were doing it because we wanted to and now it seems that it will end up helping us get better thanks to flex raids and virtual realms.  Makes you think I knew those two things were coming and that is why I started to do this a month ago, doesn't it.? ;)

There is always a method to my madness.  Or is that a madness to my method?


  1. I assume you meant the top 10m guild on your server is H 2/13?

    Not much to comment on otherwise, all makes sense although I'm reserving my opinion on virtual servers until I hear more detail on how it will actually be implemented.

    1. The 13 implies heroic as there are only 12 in normal. So yes.

      I too am looking forward to more information on the virtual servers. If it is how I think it will be it is basically merging a few servers together to work as one without actually merging them. If that is indeed the case, it could be a huge addition to servers like mine which have very few players to recruit from.

    2. It's funny, the idea that I think would be BEST is also I think the one that I would WANT least.

      Just match up the biggest servers with the smallest servers. 1 with 250, 2 with 249, etc, right down to 124 with 125 (forgive the math, you'd have to fudge the plan with an even number). You'd end up with, more or less, 125 equally-sized but independent servers.

      You'd completely lose the whole big server vs small server thing but I think that'll probably be lost no matter what implementation they decide to use.

      For instance, my primary server feels pretty dead... I rarely see a Nalak group forming even on a Tue night. I rarely see raids pugging spots in trade chat.

      Yet, my server is about 1/3 on the list population-wise (about 80th), according to, and has about half the population of the largest servers. It's a much smaller difference than I'd expected. I haven't figured out a way for that site to rank them to get an exact number but just eyeballing the scroll bar, it's around there. My second server, which I'd say is even quieter (especially AH-wise, the AH there is about 1/4 the size of my main server AH), is at about the 1/2 point.

      If they only merge the smallest servers then servers like mine won't be touched. I tend to prefer the quieter vibe vs a top 10 server but it does have issues when you actually want to DO group activities.

      So, yeah, I'm curious to see how they decide to implement it.

    3. That would probably be best and I too would dislike it. They would also need to look into faction balance when doing it as well. Throw that in there too and it really gets harder to match things up.

      I wonder if they are taking that into consideration.

      I am guessing two of three small servers will be thrown in with yours. That is probably how they will work it. Adding a few smalls to yours would make yours bigger and leave the already large ones alone.

      Lets say your server is heavy horde, then throw three small servers that are heavy alliance in with yours. Balance server size and factions at the same time, or at least attempt to.

      All guess work there of course. But I think that would be the best way to go about it.

  2. Good post, you seem to harbour much of the same hopes about what 5.4 might do, as I do.

    You say people like 25's, I say some do and some don't. I personally dislike 25's. I'll never willingly raid 25 man. Maybe now I'm tanking it'd be better as there are the same number of tanks in 25 or 10 so the job is the same. Otherwise it feels very much like being part of a mob, just mowing things down with numbers. I like the personal responsibility of 10 man. Especially with how tight everything is tuned, if someone goes down in 10 man it's often a wipe, if someone goes down in 25 I feel like it doesn't make much of a difference. Anyway, I hope 25's work out for you.

    We had to cancel the raid again tonight due to lack of people. We asked those on our friends list and none of them could come, or would come. I'm not pure pugging Throne. You say pugging is a good way to recruit and I don't disagree. However, with how tight Throne is tuned, if you have one personal performing sub-par then it's going to be slow going, or a wipefest. What's worse for morale? Wiping all night on something you usually one shot due to the pug, or cancelling the raid?

    I'm hoping with virtual realms in 5.4 we'll have a larger pool of recruits to draw from. There will also be flex raiding. Due to how many people have transferred off our realm most of the friends list is off server. So should we have a night like tonight with 8 signups, one of whom I refuse to take into a normal raid again (it's a healer and yes they are that bad), then we could fill out with off server friends, plus take people not so good, and still get a raid in. Cancelling raids is bad as it does make people think that the guild is struggling, which is true, so with flex we'll have an alternative. It's too bad that you can't scale flex down. I do wonder though if flex might stop at 10, but if you can enter with less, and if it's not tuned as tightly, whether less people who are good could clear it. Would be interesting to find out.

    Anyway best of luck with your 25 man. I hope that 5.4 is everything we both hope that it is.

    1. I think people like 25 mans because of human nature. Human nature is to take the path of least resistance and that is 25 man.

      I too prefer 10 man raiding. You get to know your team better, people are more responsible because they are less likely to get lost in the crowd, or feel as if they are lost in the crowd. They also have the added benefit of being easier to assemble and I've noticed my in game friendships are usually closer with people on my 10 man team than they are with a 25 man team.

      I was referring to pugging coming back with flex raiding. Hopefully it will ICC 30% or DS 30% type of raid which will make it very puggable. I know it will be easier, it all depends on how much easier. Like horridon could be nerfed 30% and I bet you still would not be able to pug it on most servers. So not only do I hope they are 30% difficulty I hope some of the mechanics are also toned down some. But I do hope all the mechanics do remain in there otherwise it would lose part of its value as a training tool.

      You and I seem to have reverse luck. When I was doing well raiding early on you could not get anything running. When I hit a wall and was having problems no moving anywhere you started downing new stuff each week. Now things are picking up for me again and slowing down for you. We raid opposite each other. lol

      Wonder if they will ever allow US and UK to group up. It is only a matter of time.

    2. I think the regions will stay separate or you'll run into forced lag issues. Right now I believe you CAN play toons that you start in another region but that's a voluntary choice that you make by doing that so the lag is just a cost of making that choice. Can you imagine LFR as it is now PLUS large lag for half the players depending on which region the shared server ends up on?

    3. One of my servers is mostly Spanish even if it is not labeled as such. When I do randoms I get put in groups where everyone speaks Spanish. The server was not labeled as such and I would have never guessed it would be. So even choosing one that is in your area, like being in the US and choosing a NY one, how more US can you get, you can still end up on a spanish server in a LFD group that will put you with all spanish speaking players. Yes, that is 100% true because that happened to me on one of my alts.

      I do know what you mean about choice however, even if what I mentioned shows it goes against choice sometimes. But I do not think I would, being in the US, capable of making the choice to be in a UK server.

    4. @Taitrina I find 25m a lot more stressful with our healers, because they don't understand 25m healing (i.e. also using tank cooldowns) and, unlike 10m, I can't be self-sufficient for the full duration of the fight. 'Time to live' is shorter on 25m.

    5. I usually assign three healers to tanks. One to each as their priority healing target and the third as the secondary on healing as primary when they are the active tank.

      Seems to work well on most fights. Not all. Sometimes it is just better to heal by community. Usually our 10 mans can work that way when you have 2/3 healers that have been working together for a long time. For 25s it takes a much longer time for a healing crew to mesh like that.

      One thing I have going for me is that the 6 healers are all sure things. So we will not have to worry about a new crew each week which might help.

  3. I hope this virtual realm idea fixes my server. There was a huge exodus of guilds that transferred last week due to the special Blizz had. I wonder if they regret leaving now with this news. I haven't seen this big of a guild exodus on my medium sized realm (it's really a low pop) since mid Wrath. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

    On a side note, speaking of progression, any luck on your server with more guilds downing Horridon? We're up to 14 now, woot lol

    1. I think 12 have killed it now, at least last I checked it was 12 out of about 40. So still a low kill rate.

      Sad part is 3 of those 12 are now disbanded. Guilds are dying at an alarming rate. I almost feel bad being the one guild this is benefiting from their deaths.

      The server transfers actually helped the horde on my server. It is alive for the first time this expansion. I wonder why so many horde came to my server, a dead server, where they are the minority.

      Hopefully we can go back to the good old days when my server was basically 50/50 all the time.

  4. I really hope this works for you like you want it to. 25m requires a lot of effort from a raid leader as you well know, but is also extremely satisfying. Good luck!

    1. It is a lot of work but it can also be very rewarding if it works out well. I am sure I can get the 25 to at least 3/12 next week if I get the same people to show up and can pick up a few more capable damage dealers and a solid tank.

      The biggest problem with 25 man raiding is the assembling of it. I've been there before but it had to be four years since. The last time I ran a 25 was in wrath. So I am out of practice myself. I guess it is new for everyone.

      I've found my biggest challenge so far with recruiting new raiders is removing the taint that the LFR has caused. I am getting people with 510-515 item levels that want to raid, consider themselves raiders, but when I send them an invite to test them out and tell them to get on vent and make sure they have an updated DBMs they say, what is vent and what is DBMs. Sometimes I think the LFR does more damage than it does good. Offered a fill in spot to someone new last night for our 10. Lost someone on tortos and needed a fill in. Asked him to get on vent and his head exploded.

  5. Anon, Grumpy's former Guild Leader:

    I have been reviewing our guild charter for a bit now, since the last Officer Council meeting requested a re-write of some parts to accommodate the new members discomfort with the loot rules and supposedly other parts of the charter. One of the things noted clearly more than once is the need for the ability to use Vent. Another was the use of add-ons to make sure all the players were on the same page for raiding.

    Honestly, I can't see a need to change a word on those requirements. Voice communication in a raid or even in PvP is far superior to any other way of doing things. Anyone who feels otherwise is not someone I want to play with and I can't see it not being mandatory to long term group play in the guild. The benefits are to immense as opposed to whatever drawbacks that might be mentioned as reasons to not use it.

    Being technically challenged is no excuse either, as there are many guild members who can help set up the thing through clear written instructions. The same for the use of add-ons can be said. There is no excuse to not have DBM installed. There are plenty of guild members who can and would be happy to help set up such.

    As a side note, the loot rules do need updating I believe to reflect the new realities of LFR and the soon to exist Flex raiding (FR). As I am not currently all that active, you need to get that done and submit it to the Officers' Council for approval.

    Other than the update on Loot rules, the rest of the charter should stand as it is. For those who can't consent to live with the charter, the lowest guild rank is all they deserve. It serves as a filter to keep out people who are not going to stay permanently and frankly, if they aren't in the guild for the long term, the guild is better off with them gone sooner rather than later.

    I choose this post to put this up in because it does and should be considered in view of our doing 25 man raids. Hope you don't mind the minor hi-jacking of the post for this guild business but it needed to be bought to your attention.

    1. I've been having a lot of vent and DBMs issues with the new players. Not ones from the other guild that joined, just flat out new players. It is like they all want to raid and no one want to do the work.

      This new generation of the players shows that there is little t no future for this game.

  6. Anon, Grumpy's former Guild Leader:

    Yea, I read your Monday thoughts today...and that is why I will stand by my thought on the matter. Vent and DBM are the bare minimum requirements for raiding with us.

    I know it is troublesome to get to the 1 minute to pull and then notice that not everyone is logged into vent. That always pissed me off greatly, though I tried very hard to maintain my calm facade and deal with it.

    The only real solution is to take the new players by the hand as soon as they enter the guild and make sure they understand that Vent is REQUIRED, and that DBM is also REQUIRED. No exceptions, not a one; "you" want to run with us, get them installed now before the first signup. I hate to say it but yes, that too is part of the teaching process.

    It should not be so of course, but should and is are two entirely different things. Yes, I know how much it is annoying, but as the teacher/instructor/raid lead, it does fall to you to see that this is accomplished. I would suggest however that a better way to do it is have one of the other officers take the time to make sure that this is done. We have several folks that can be effective doing so, so let them take some of the pressure on this off your shoulders.

    1. I know it is part of the learning process but what has changed really since years ago and now. Years ago when looking up raiding you knew what to do before you stepped in and now no one does.

      The LFR is doing a great disservice to the game in aspects like this. It gives new people the idea they are raiders when they are about as far from being raiders as my pet turtle is.

  7. Anon, Grumpy's former Guild Leader:

    LOL, your turtle has raided... and likely was a much better raider than some I have seen, unless of course you mean you pet combat system turtle. (And even then, I suspect the pet combat turtle is better than some.)