Growing Pains

I do love my guild, and I really love my raid team. I don’t think I ever want to do 25s, because what I enjoy most about progression raiding is not only the people, but having a small enough environment so that knowing and managing each person’s strengths, weaknesses, and quirks are as important to progression as gear is. It’s widely been observed that in 25s, you can afford to carry a few people who are undgeared, underskilled, undermotivated, or any combination; in a strict 10 man environment where you don’t have a flow of gear overtuned to the content from 25s, everybody must be on their game or success doesn’t happen. Leading the raid is therefore then less a matter of efficiently herding cats than it is effective coaching and intelligent assessment of the abilities and gear you’ve got to work with. (I’m not actually the leader for any raid so much as I am Ossifer Bear or Stingray’s squeaky assistant, but effectively speaking the entirety of the /o channel is handling half of it whenever there’s a raid going.)

At this point, in the category of people I know and can rely on, we have some fantastic melee DPS, awesome hunters who can do all the utility huntery things that seem to be so necessary whenever you’ve got one around, a pleasing selection of tank healers, raid healers, and at least one healer who can bring any of that plus DPS when asked, and overall all the ingredients needed to make some progression while keeping it fun rather than work. On top of that I like working with all of them and am pleased to see their names on signups and online at raid times.

Problem is, there are now more than nine of them. A not-insignificant number more, especially if and when we get our Death Nut back from the health-related leave of absence he’s on. Worse than that, we have several people who rarely seem to get the chance to go at all who aren’t so much bad as they are unlucky or diffident about signups when they see a full list of people, that fully deserve the chance to prove themselves that people who got in earlier and cemented themselves as regular did- them, AND a few people who are finishing their level/gearup process that want to raid when they finish this process, too.

Don’t get me wrong, I would have slashed throats to have this problem six months ago when we were in the process of falling apart or completely fallen apart and couldn’t *buy* puggers to fill out the growing number of holes in our roster. Right now we have all the elements we need for success, and are succeeding every week, we just have human resource complexities and sometimes decisions to make that we don’t want to and that aren’t as easy as we like.

The ultimate best solution, and our next tangible goal, is having two ten-man teams. We have the tanks for it and I *think* we have the healers for it though there are a few question marks there, and we have maybe half the DPS we need depending on how certain things work out, like getting our Death Nut back or not and whether we can find a way to schedule it so that two of our DPS with awkward, punishing work schedules can attend. So technically speaking, the solution is obvious: recruit a few more people, bang out the schedule, and move on to “everyone gets to raid and progression happens” nirvana.

It’s just that thanks to the question marks- like “are these people that I’m counting among those who would be in this team actually able to be”, “who’s going to raid lead this mother”, “when on earth can everybody go”, “how do we mess with our currently very successful tank and healer composition if we have to in order to make this second team viable and give it a good raid leader”, “how do we do this without breaking up committed couples that play together in order to raid together”- that leaves me with a really weaksauce recruiting message, which boils down to “Come join us and you might get to raid every week once we ever figure this shit out, and we have no idea when that’ll be. We promise our benches are made of very soft pine.”

Right now on the realm forums there are two DPS and a healer looking for a home, including a mage, which we currently lack and would very much like to have. We’ve had some good luck in the past recruiting in this fashion- Raid Array, Suicide Dotter, and Thing One and Thing Two are all very solid raiders who we picked up in this fashion. (And there was one disaster that ended in frayed tempers and a /gkick, but overall the ratio is good.) If the attitudes are sound, if the healer is happy raid healing rather than tank healing, they could actually fill out this hypothetical team quite nicely. If, if, if!

My life is SO FULL OF HARDSHIP, I know. QQ for me.

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7 Responses to Growing Pains

  1. Eseell says:

    The hardest part of running two ten-man teams is finding a balance of people who love to play together and people who can make great progress together. In my experience, having just the first part is not always enough to counteract the envy and guild drama that arises from one team rapidly out-progressing the other team.

  2. LabRat says:

    Yeah, trying to sprinkle our ace players evenly will be an issue as well. Given that our policy is not to split couples up, and we have five that raid regularly… I don’t know how well this can be done.

  3. crankyhealer says:

    We do 2 10’s right now. Our biggest problem is that people with punishing schedules often have to cancel at the last minute, and that creates a juggling problem that isn’t present in 1 ID.

    Let’s say that you have the ID’s start on different days. You lock your toons for Tuesday for ID 1… and then Wednesday rolls around and so-and-so can’t be there unexpectedly. He probably could have been there Tuesday, but now he can’t be there Wednesday. Etc etc, you wind up with holes in your roster. You’re beginning to wish that you hadn’t tasked one of your tanks as DPS for Tuesday, because now the Wednesday tank has dropped, and you’re all out of tanks.

    2 ID’s have logistical problems because the potential subs are locked, and once you lock one team, there’s no backsies, no reshuffling.

    What my guild does is we do both ID’s on the same night. You end up excluding people who can’t make it on that particular night, but you end up making decisions for both groups at the same time. You know exactly who your pool is, and you can split them up accordingly and fairly (rather than making 1 team and then hoping the team for the later date works out).

    Any follow-up nights are also a challenge. If someone drops, half your potential subs are already locked to a second ID, and you will have to pull a guildie who hasn’t gone at all, or take a pug.

    Good luck with this and let us know how it goes.

  4. Kristopher says:

    Another possibility is to find another competent guild, and do a 25 together. Serendipity ( my guild ) and Coalition Victory are doing that on the Ally side … twice a week, then swap leader position to the other guild.

    Since there are two guilds involved, only people who need something roll … followed by off spec. If it’s a recipe, it has to be learned on the spot, and linked in raid chat.

    Primal Saronites are split to alternate guilds.

    Since it’s all 25 man stuff, no one’s 10 man slots are messed up, and nights are set ( weds and sun ) … miss a night, and it’s tough tuna.

    One other note … 25 mans are not easier than 10 mans … we have cleared Festergut in 10 man, but not 25. 25 man means there are 2.5 times as many chances to screw something up good …

  5. Justin says:

    In my experience, 10 mans are more challenging, but less frustrating. In a 10 man every single player has to pull their own weight. Yes, in a 25 man there are more people to keep from screwing up, but you can lose a few peoplel to the dance on a lot of fights and still pull through.

    Also, the beauty of a 10 man group is that I can find 9 people I enjoy spending time with…I have never found 24 people in enjoy spending time with.

  6. Eric Hammer says:

    We had a similar issue within our old guild Brotherhood of the Blade on Argent Dawn. There were almost two distinct guilds within the guild: the hardcore gamers who were first on the server to do pretty much anything Horde side, and the rest of us who merely played 15-30 hours a week. We had a small 6-10 man group running that would hit Karazahn and the other BC smaller instances, and teamed up with another guild to fill out the roster. In practice, about half of our regular kill team was comprised of the other guilders (whose name escapes me… I just punched monsters in the cock, what do I know) who were friends of some of our crew and their friends. It actually worked really well, as we ended up having ~60 people to pull from theoretically there were all reasonably vetted by someone in the groups core.

    Anyway, all that was to say you might want to look into an Allied Guild sort of arrangement with another group, perhaps made from the alts and more casual gamers from a larger guild.

    Love the blog, by the way. It actually makes me want to drop some subscription fees and log back on with the wife and start bumping uglies again. Or is the term different these days?

  7. LabRat says:

    It’s not that I think 25s are easier, it’s that the challenge is different in nature and one that I think I’d probably enjoy less. That, and Reprisal used to have just such an alliance with Steadfast that ended rather badly; all the individuals that really caused the bad blood are gone now, but it still left a bad taste in a lot of people’s mouths when it comes to guild alliances.

    Eric- well, I’ve never used that term, at least not in that context…

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