This post was published long before the Mists of Pandara Expansion.
The tips and techniques explained here may be outdated.

“Carry Me!!!”

carry_meMeet Bob. Bob has a new toon who just turned 80. Bob’s new toon is wearing a smattering of greens and level 74 gear. To Bob it seems silly to enchant/gem his crappy green gear. Bob is in a social casual guild. Bob’s guild is currently raiding ToC and making progress through Ulduar. Bob wants to raid ToC and make progress through Ulduar. Bob’s guild puts its raids on the calendar with open signups. Bob signs up for these raids. Bob knows that he’ll quickly get gear upgrades out of ToC and Ulduar and raiding is really easy. So Bob just kind of coasts along on the runs.

Bob’s fairly disappointed when his guild face-plants on ToC beasts. Bob knows that fight is easy (they did it last week) but for some reason the guild just couldn’t do it this week. Bob didn’t really notice that Jane and Bill (two other new-to-80/new-to-raiding toons) were also in the run. Bob’s sure they’ll do better next week. In the meantime Bob decides he’ll go ahead and get the explorer title.. you know.. while he’s waiting for next week’s raid.

Several weeks later Bob’s guild notices that they’re still stalled in Ulduar and can no longer get all the way through ToC.

Choose one:
A) Keep the guild as it is. It’s a social casual guild and shouldn’t have to change.
B) Setup by-invite-only raids and only invite those people who are -ready- for the content.
C) Enforce gear requirements and setup “try-outs” to make sure people signing up for raids are qualified to be there

If you chose A:
About three weeks go by. Bob continues to go on guild attempts. Those attempts continue to fail. Veteran raiders in the guild are becoming frustrated and see that the guild is not progressing. Finally some of them slip away in the night and join more progressive guilds. Bob, Jane and Bill continue to try raiding and continue to be perplexed why they’re not seeing success. Finally Bob gives up and goes to level his new lowbie alt. Leveling is FUN! Fewer and fewer people show up/sign up for raids. Veteran raiders are becoming very annoyed.

If you chose B:
Bob is perplexed why he’s not seeing raids on the calendar anymore. He’s further confused when he sees groups of guildies -in- raid instances. Bob, Jane and Bill dub it the “super secret elitist pricks” and decide everyone on it is a bastard and we hate them. Bob continues to resent the raiders and slinks away to sulk.

Unfortunately there aren’t always enough of the “raider ready” people available so sometimes they have to pug a few people in to fill out the raid. Bob is LIVID that the guild would bring in outsiders instead of pulling from within the guild. The raids happen.. and have success.. but Bob is unhappy.. and talks to Jane and Bill and they’re all unhappy together.

If you chose C:
Marty, a veteran raider, is LIVID! He’s been in this guild for more than a year and now -he- has to “try out” to get into guild raids!! This will not stand! The INSULT! In the middle of a tryout Marty pulls all of his toons out of the guild and with some suitable snippy words, dresses down the guild leadership and informs the guild that “the guild has changed.. and not in a good way”. There is discontent in the guild.

The try outs continue but the group and the guild leadership are a little bit demoralized. They really liked Marty and feel helpless in the face of his rage and /emoquit.

Unfortunately there’s no correct answer. At least there isn’t one that I know of. If you choose A then the veterans are unhappy and either bleed away to other guilds or resent this guild. If you choose B then the green raiders are unhappy and the veterans feel guilty. If you choose C then some veterans are unhappy.. and some green raiders are unhappy. There’s no easy answer.

I’m in this place. Our guild is currently going through this situation and I don’t know how we’ll get out of it. We did A for a while.. and then we tried B.. and now we’re trying C. I’m really hopeful that if we can get past the initial implementation that C will be the way to happiness.

What I want:
I want to successfully raid 2-3 nights a week with raiders I respect and whose company I enjoy. I want the content to be challenging and interesting. I expect to wipe while learning the fights but eventually I expect us to be able to get through the fights without any problems.
I want to raid with people who want to be there, show up on time, have the skill/gear to succeed, who will give each attempt their all and will learn from their mistakes. When asked “what killed you? how did you die?” I expect them to know! I expect these people to have the best gear/gems/enchants available to them and to cheerfully provide their own buffs and food if necessary.
I want to be able to spend outside-of-raid times hanging out in Vent which is a happy fun place with interesting people.
I want to be able to farm mats, play an alt, or not logon on off-raid nights.
I want raiding to be optional and to have the opportunity to have people in the guild who don’t raid and don’t want to raid.

Is that so much to ask?

***All names in this post are totally made up. Any resemblance to real people is slightly coincidental. Aside from “Marty” I was not thinking of a specific guildie when I wrote up this bit of fiction. And yes, “Marty” is based on one specific person.. and yes, I’m still pissed about it.

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16 comments to “Carry Me!!!”

  • Option D.

    “Bob, you’re not geared well enough. We’ll help run with you and other new 80s on off nights to get badges and Heroic epics until you can contribute to the raid in a meaningful way. You can put yourself on standby for raiding, and if we’re short on bodies we might bring in ONE undergeared guildy. After all, we want to succeed, too.”

    Result: Bob, Jill, and Bill prolly /emoquit over elitist guild officers anyway.

    Yeah, I’ve been there too. I like D because it at least tries to resolve both problems (guild wants to progress, undergeared guildies want gear), but I also know that we have some in my guild that still don’t get the message that they’re still responsible to take some initiative. /c’este la vie/.
    .-= Grimmtooth´s last blog ..Hot Heroics =-.

  • You’ve been spying on my guild for years, haven’t you?

    Fortunately for my sanity, we’re now using choice D. The guild is A) casual and social, full of nice people who may or may not do any raiding at all, but a non-officer guildie formed a cross-guild raiding group which is doing progression raiding. Sometimes, nearly half of our 25man raids are made up of members of my guild, but they’re not guild events per se. The raid group has an application process and tryouts, and jerks and poor performers aren’t invited to become members. We get some of the benefits of a raiding guild without leaving our old friends in our social guilds. On non-progression nights, we schedule guild Naxx10 runs or Uld10 exploratory runs, usually bringing two or three ToC-level toons to help things along.

    It’s dangerously close to C, but so far it seems to be working well.

  • Like those above, there are other options.

    We take a mix of C and D. Those people who have proved themselves in some fashion – either veteran raiders, use of recount or wow web stats or etc, do not need to ‘try out’, provided they maintain the same high quality output that they have in the past.

    New people have to try out. Sorry. I don’t care that you say you’ve raided all this before in your old guild. You still need to try out WITH our guild. :)

    It works well enough, provided you tell people exactly what you’re doing. ‘Well Bob, we need to try you out to see how you fit in with our group of raiders and evaluate your gear/casting rotation/threat generation/spatial awareness. Thanks for understanding and realizing that we’re doing this so that we can all succeed! :)

  • My guild has done all four options. Those highly geared mains all left guild and are in high-end raiding guilds. They still run their alts, in-guild, through heroics and low-end content (Naxx -> Uld10).

    Now if we could only get people to show up again. Last attempt at 10-man content had only 5 people show.
    .-= elkagorasa´s last blog ..Championing Rep – Who’s first? =-.

  • dorgol

    Just be rid of the “Marty” people and go with C. If people are going to be “livid” because they believe they are entitled to something, chances are they will be “livid” later on when they feel entitled to something else (maybe a piece of loot, maybe a position in guild, maybe someone’s time, who knows).

  • Kayllnn

    This is a huge dilemma that I think many small guilds face. Recently my guild had a huge influx of people join, and we had a regular ten man. Now we have the ability to do two ten mans or even a twenty-five man. I think at some point, when progressions slows you have to enforce some sort of gear requirement and ability requirement. Just because people are geared doesn’t mean they can perform as many of us know. But since we have had problems in ToC, because of maybe 1 or 2 under-geared players we are discussing being more strict, and yeah we have done the private invite thing and it doesn’t feel so great.

    I think the best option is to explain to them you are happy to take them into heroics, or even Ulduar to get gear, but ToC is harder and we have to have requirements in order to succeed. Trust me I understand this, as an officer in my guild, it is hard to implement as no one wants to hurt people’s feelings in a casual fun guild. Good Luck, I hope it works out because small guilds are nice so I hope you all pull through this.

  • Grim

    We just went through this.
    We were group B. We had roughly 15 people that knew how to raid and had the gear for it. Of the 15, 8 or 9 were running ToC-10 as a group every week and started pugging 25 man. The rest of the guild got pissed, so 12 or so of us left the guild. We also recruited a lot of our 25m PUGS to join the new guild. That was three weeks ago.

    Our new guild runs 3x TotC-10 groups every week. From first pull to completion takes roughly 35 minutes. We run 1x 25m group and 1x TotGC group (working on Anub, might get him tonight).

    Grim

  • Tristan

    I also would like to be able to have my cake and eat it too.

    It sounds like you’re hardcore mindset isn’t going to jive with a casual raiding mindset. And since each find the other so irritating, there is very few in the middle. Unfortunately you seem to be coming from the perspective of that very middle. Not sure what I can tell you because I’ve seen it attempted so many times.

    1. Most guilds don’t get a lot of applications unless they are already successful
    2. That means most low end starter up projects need to invite anyone they can
    3. No application process will make your rank and file’s gear and skill a lot lower, but you can’t afford to discriminate
    4. Nobody is happy

    Not sure what to tell you I mean, hardcore raiding wasn’t what it used to be. I am in a top 100 US guild and have a 4, often 3 day raid week. Long gone are they days of 7 day raid weeks.

    I would give the hardcore guilds a look, but I know that your being married to affliction will hurt you a lot. Not saying that’s bad but it does limit options. But progression based “hardcore” guilds sounds like what you’re after.

    That’s about all I can say *flies off*
    .-= Tristan´s last blog ..Gender Discrimination in Guilds Revisited =-.

  • Well, you can’t make everyone happy all the time. Guilds change. And you know, maybe that’s what needs to happen. When a chunk of the guild suddenly decides they want to progress, maybe the guild needs to have a meeting and start splitting, like stock.

    This happened with my guild I was in for 2 years. I readily admit that your option A is more my style. When I rolled a Holy Priest, it was back in the day where all I had to do was stand at the back of the raid and spam heals. Suddenly in BC I had to move around and dodge things? What the heck? And they added requirements like having to read up on the fights beforehand? If I spend my time reading up on the fights, I don’t have time to play the game. So I refuse to read up on it. (I would quiz hubby instead…”Ok, what do I do now?”) I’m sure that would drive people nuts. But knowing that, I also chose not to participate in progression raids. I readily informed people A. I don’t know the fight, B. I’m not geared, and C. I don’t have the gems. So take someone else, not me.

    What I would say needs to happen, is either the guild splits, or they organize into tiered types of runs. Those who are geared and know the fight, can do the A runs, and pug places if needed. People who aren’t geared/gemmed/etc, can do the B runs. Assign a person to handle scheduling of each type of run. And then schedule the occasional cross-group run, where the A people don’t expect to progress, they’re merely having fun with the B people.

    I just pulled that out of thin air, so it might not work. But there has to be buy in from as many people as possible. UNhappy people will leave. People who feel they’ve been heard, might now. You can’t make everyone happy, but maybe you can make 80% happy. It’s better than nothing.
    .-= EvilElleon´s last blog ..Ten Thought Tuesday =-.

  • Stupid Mage

    Tell Bob and Co. that they need to gear up a bit more. That in order to contribute and help the guild they should do Heroics and easy raids during non-raid days. Your guildies should help them with this so Bob and Co. learn the right skills.

    If Bob and Co. fail to do this, then remind them that they can’t raid if they don’t. They want to help the guild right? They don’t want to cause wipes right? Collect badgers, gear up, go raid.

  • a frustrated munchkin

    Hmm, spent way too long in the same predicament. We went through the same process: Doing A lost important raiders, doing B got us stamped with the elitist prick title, doing C caused everyone who was previously frustrated to quit trying, and when a couple of the more clueless officers – who we were about to rely on since the main officers were having to go on hiatus – jumped to their old guild to try and run it themselves (it facecritted and broke its nose on some palms) the officers that were going on hiatus decided enough was enough – declared they will not pick up the pieces (again) and quit their accounts. Been a peaceful WOW free existance for 6 months and counting. No regrets, save some of the friends we actually did make being hard to get in touch with. :(

  • We are in the exact same situation, and it drives me crazy. I have tried to run the exact same style of raiding group as you explained, though our group is more a guild alliance than single guild.

    For a period we had a very solid group that was skilled, responsible, and geared well enough. A few people were unhappy with the speed of progression and jumped to other more progressed guilds. This turned into a snowball as our most skilled raiders left, leaving us with underskilled and undergeared raiders.

    At this point, we can barely field a group of ten, much less a group of skilled and solid ten. I am resolved that the only way to address it is to run 5-man pugs to try and find worthy players who aren’t already committed to a raiding group. Something I frankly don’t have the time for.

    Rest assured however, you are not the only one feeling these pains. I wish there was an easy answer.
    .-= Volog´s last blog ..When the Goblin IT Department Gets Bored =-.

  • I feel for you. I was in a similar position awhile back and it drove me almost to point of quitting the game. We would learn a fight, people would milk all the loot they could out of it and then turn up with their undergeared unprepared alts and wonder why we were “holding them back”.

    We tried A. The ones who wanted slightly more progress complained, emoted /sleep whilst waiting for more than 2 seconds between pulls and generally behaved annoyingly.

    We tried B. Those undergeared unprepared types screamed, yelled, whined and broke down in tears on vent. They weren’t interested in how they were letting us down with their unenchanted greens and missing gems, but we were horrible selfish meanies.

    We tried C. This was a combination of A and B but louder and with even more whine.

    In the end, I realised that I didn’t want to log anymore so I gquit. Ended up talking to my old GM from my hardcore days a week later and found myself returning to semi hardcore raiding. My current guild might not be totally awesome all of the time, but at least there is considerably less drama and I haven’t been called a “selfish bitch” for expecting our tanks to like actually enchant their gear, not yet anyway.
    .-= Erinys´s last blog ..The Virtual Menagerie =-.

  • Bob should hook up with some guild crafters and make himself some appropriate iLvl gear. Expecting your guildies to carry you, regardless of how social or casual it tries to be, is an unrealistic/selfish expectation imho.
    .-= candy´s last blog ..I Joined the Kel’Thuzad Fan Club =-.

  • Lengyl

    Well i’ve seen this happen mysself. I joined a raiding guild when Naxx was still the place to go so to speak. But before that I worked my butt of to get the gear from heroics/crafting that i needed to be hitcapped and what not. Also i studied the fights so that i would know what i was doing.

    Few weeks/months later we were doing 25 mans with people who
    A: didnt know what they were doing (class knowlegde/knowlegde of the fights)
    B: werent geared for the encounters.

    Now i dont want to sounds elitist but it is really annoying for the veterans to haveto wait everytime for fights to be explained, or getting the blame for when fights dont go to well (Thaddius polarity for example)

  • Heres what I would do. Its mostly a C/D mix with a bit of clever phrasing.

    Don’t put long term guild members on trial. Instead create a new rank. Call it Raider/Elite/Something nice sounding. Say that this rank is for people who want to progress raid. Raid invites will come from this rank first.

    Then write something on the guild forums outlining what people need to get to this rank. It should probably be something like all epic gear of at least ilevel 213 plus (excluding trinkets), gemmed, enchanted, a PvE spec, have read the tactics and brings consumables. Then add something disclaimer like about raid balance and discretion of the officers. Have people ‘sign up’ to this ‘Raiding Charter’.

    Now Bob doesn’t meet the requirements, so he can’t. However Marty does. So if you think hes good enough he can go straight in there. No need for a Trial if hes already been in the guild and you already know he can do the job.

    Bob won’t be very happy. But thats where the guild can step in and arrange something to support non-raiders. Schedule a Naxx run once a week. Organise a heroics night. Do something to show the guild is supporting Bob. Then when Bob complains you can point at that and say ‘look we are supporting you, but you have to try too’.

    The difference here is in the approach. Bob wants to raid – you’ve told him what he needs to do to raid and set up events to support him getting there. The emphasis is now firmly on him. If Bob is unhappy, thats his problem now, not the guilds. The guild has tried to be fair to everyone and its time for some personal responsibility.

    You might guess I don’t like people who expect to be carried. I managed to get all epic gear with only 2 items left at ilevel 200 before I even tried ToC 10 on my druid. Its not that hard.
    .-= Morrighan´s last blog ..How to wipe in Trial of the Grand Crusader =-.