Balancing raiding in a social guild
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?