I’ve been reading a lot of depressing posts lately. Peoples’ raids not raiding, having problems, or dying entirely. There’s an air of malaise and oddly it doesn’t even feel like 4.2 is going to pull us out of it. On my server, several of the more elite raid guilds have just stopped raiding. When Crits hits 12/12, we’re going to be in the top twenty on our server.
One guildie who wanted a Fri/Sat raid for an alt took that alt out and shopped hard for a 25 man raid, before finally joining a ten man raid because there just aren’t 25 mans any more.
Repgrind‘s horde guild has attendance issues – though I wish that we could match their dedication when they do get in! They beat us to Cho’gall and it sounds likely they’ll have Nef down before we do, seeing as we haven’t even started work on him yet.
My own raid suffers attendance issues. We have people on vacation, people with weddings coming up, people with business trips – basically, normal life stuff that gets in the way of WoW. Fortunately we have not yet had to miss a weekend of raiding. I think there’s a couple reasons for this:
Most importantly I have a crew of people who love raiding together and have rearranged their schedules to be able to raid. They work hard and have fun and we wouldn’t be 10/12 without everyone pulling his own weight.
Second, I have a firm policy that we raid at 7 pm Friday and Saturday night, if we have to 9 man things, get pugs from Trade chat, or green-geared alts from guild. I don’t care. We raid. Yes, some weeks we’ve had three priests and two mages; what matters is that we raided. Yes, sometimes we’ve wiped on Magmaw because we’re breaking in a new healer. I don’t care. We don’t bench our whole raid.
Third and I think this is key – Crits and Giggles has three raids right now, two nights a week each. I think we have at least 7 people who raid in two or more of those raids, and sometimes as many as 4 in all three raids. But that also means there’s a lot of folks who have one raid. And those folks tend to have alts that can come and help out when one of the raids needs a warm body. The guild has a critical mass of people who know the fights, who know how to raid, and who are ready and eager.
All three raids have different atmospheres. I think our raid is a little chattier in vent. We also run longer hours. Sun/Mon feels more businesslike. The Tues/Thurs raid is still getting its footing. Rev and I started running with them last week and the raid’s at…. 4/6 in BWD and the first boss in each of the other raids, with Twin Dragons scheduled to die this week. That raid has some veteran raiders, in roles they don’t usually play, and some new raiders learning the game, and it’s really coalescing nicely.
It’s not a strategy that will work for every guild, but I wish more of the 25 man guilds that broke into two 10 man runs had tried an approach like that. If you’ve got 25 raiders, at least a few of them are the types to have multiple raid geared alts. Carefully schedule raids on non-competing nights and let people pick which works best for them. There will always be people who can’t raid Tuesdays, or Fridays, or Sundays, but who would love to raid anyway. Keep them in your guild rather than letting them go elsewhere!
I do recommend if anyone attempts this in their own guild – do not let any current raid leader add another raid. First, they’ll burn out. Second, there will always be one raid that they favor over the other and that will hurt the second raid. Third it becomes too much the “SuperproraiderX guild” and not the “Our Team” guild.
What if it’s too late? What if you really are trying desperately to raid every week and calling it every time? At that point you’ve got two options. Recruit, or die. It sounds brutal but it’s true. If you can pull in new bodies, you’ve got a shot to regenerate. If you can’t, it’s probably better to recognize that sooner rather than later. It may be possible to negotiate a merge with another guild rather than losing people piecemeal. I know with the advent of guild perks that guild changing and merging is less popular. Perhaps the upcoming “Guild rename” service will help.
Finally, keep communication with your raid strong. If week after week you’re not raiding, or only raiding one night, let them know what your plan for the situation is. Tell them when and what they may go pug. Don’t paint it as the end of the world, but don’t act like nothing is wrong. Your raiders are smarter than that and they deserve honesty.
Firelands is coming. I’m excited about it because I’ve got a strong raid and a plan to keep it strong. Look at it as the opportunity to rebuild, or to strengthen your existing raid. But don’t expect things to just magically improve. If you want to keep raiding, there’s work to be done.