Balancing raiding in a social guild

Guild first kill of "Fluffy"

Over the last month or so we have tried again to get Otaku’s casual raid team off the ground and into Blackwing Descent. Unlike the first time we attempted it we have actually managed to get 10 people together and get into the instance.

We expected a rough ride because with the exception of a couple of players, none of us had really raided since november (BH doesn’t count :P), and some had never really raided at all before.

Sure enough it has been troublesome from the start and we wiped a couple of times on the trash leading to Magmaw. However, once everyone grasped the mechanics of the fight we cleared and faced the firey centipede for the first time. Unfortunately this is where the real trouble started. The adds just were not dying quick enough whether due to dps not targetting them fast enough or not having enough AoE to burn them down. As a result we tried 5-6 times the first evening and 3 times the second and never got him below 80%. Now we can go in and 9/10 times we will kill him with no issue, despite the group being different each week depending on who is available.

This brings me onto the main point of this post; the fact that trying to strike a balance with raiding in a casual/social guild is quite tough. In a raiding guild you can simply look at someone’s gear/ability/dps and say “ok, you are better than XXXX so you are our hunter” or similar. People know and expect that they are not guaranteed a place, they really have to work for it very hard.

However, in a casual, social based guild it is that much harder – often because you don’t have the luxury of multiple people to choose from and also if you have a few people who all play the same class and are roughly equal who do you take?

This can cause issues as if you simply cycle the people each week who can attend you end up with a certain number of your group learning the fight for the first time. This isn’t too bad once or twice but after 6 weeks of wiping on the same boss because it is always someone’s first time it gets a little stressy!

Alternatively you stick with a fixed group and tell others to pug it. Again though, this can cause issues as many people look to a casual guild because they don’t want hardcore gaming and progression, but equally they don’t want to be stuck with pugs.

Then again you have the eager player, very friendly, who tries their hardest but just can’t ever seem to get it right, whether “it” is their rotation, environmental awareness (read: not standing in shit) or whatever. They try, they never quite truly fail but there is something often lacking with them and you regularly see them not add switching fast enough, moving from things etc and it causes a wipe or makes everyone else work twice as hard to compensate.

Where do you draw the line with this stuff? How many chances/try outs do you give someone before you have to say “I am sorry, but this isn’t working”. In a guild where you are friendly with everyone, chat on vent, call each other by name (RL not character) and generally would consider the guildies to be friends what do you do with a weak link? It would be plain unfair to tell them to bugger off, especially if they are trying hard, but then it is also unfair on the rest of the raid to keep them there.

Thankfully with us we seem to have sidestepped these problems so far as usually there are just enough people around to make a roughly balanced group so we don’t have the problem of 15 dps signing and showing every week for a 10 man raid.

So, if any of you reading this are trying to run prog raids in a casual/social guild how do you balance it?


Posted on April 26, 2011, in Guild Stuff, Instances, Raiding. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. We made two 10-man groups going. One for progress and one for gearing up/learning fights. It has been very good for us as a guild to change from 25-man runs, to two separate groups. We are still a casual and very social guild, and we swap ppl between the groups aswell, so the raiders in the “2nd group” have the chance to progress a bit further too. (Ranked in guild as raider/core raiders=easier to keep track on which group they are going with=never arguments).

    To have one “progress group” felt like quite important, so the “elite” in the guild didn´t feel that they were “running around in circles” all the time with only a small progression.

    If you don´t have 2 groups, well, then a sign-up-system / queue could work. We did before. All that signed was put on a list. That list worked on fairness and raidsetup. Prio 1=Setup/balance. Prio 2=fairness(the mage, for ex, that joined last time, has to pass for the other, and vice verce). If a certain boss require really good dps…well, then you pick the best dps you have for that encounter. In Cata we have changed the setup during the night aswell. IF ppl think that´s ok, there is no need to say no to that. More chance for the player to get the right loot and to get the tactic in order. After that it´s easier to have “whoever” in raid…

    You can´t be too nice with ppl if they are not improving themselves. It´s a game, sure, but ppl have to be able to take critisism about that they have to learn how to move, or learn how to play their class. It´s not the same as beeing mean. It´s just the fact…otherwise the game can´t be played pleasantly. BUT tell them nicely ofc! 🙂

    But the task you ask for is not easy. Not at all. There is always ppl that complains and are not satisfied with whatever happens.
    * If they cant join the raid (darn RL who never picks me!)
    * If they get picked, but wipes all night (darn setup, or wrong tactic – bad RL).
    * If they dies (darn healer, or tank that doesnt keep aggro, or why didnt the RL tell in vent that the add was about to come there….).
    There is a lot of different players out there..and you simply cant make them all happy.
    A fair system is never a fully fair system if you decide to make a quite good progression. THEN you have to make a progress-team with reliable ppl that always are ready to raid on official raids and who have done their “homeworks-tactics”.

    Ohps, sorry for my long reply…and i have surely not even answered your question 🙂

    • Well, as I asked how you balance stuff, you did answer it 🙂

      We use to have two groups – the FRG (Focused raid group) and CRG (Casual raid group) but due to people leaving the game the FRG basically collapsed and merged with the CRG. If we had the tanks/healers for another group we could possibly get a second one up and running again but it probably makes little sense until everyone has a fair idea of boss fights so that you don’t have two groups getting frustrated all the time

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