I mentioned on a WoW Insider podcast, not the most recent one but an older one, that Legatum Ignavis has been having difficulties getting the personnel to raid the 25 man instances. And that has suddenly changed.
Although, if you have been wondering, we are recruiting new members. As a guild, we are looking for more level 68+ folks that want to raid, are excited to raid. If you just want to say hi, chat with me, or whatever, you can do so without joining the guild. Feel free to chat me up at any time. Look for Windshadow, Windstar or Windburn on the Kael’thas (US)server.
I said it on the podcast, and it is something most everyone is aware of; on most servers, there are tons of Karazhan raiding guilds, with solid 12-15 player membership. And each and every one of them wants to raid 25 mans, and recruits for it.
Gee. Hundreds of guild with 12 to 15 people, and each needs to increase attendance to 25+ to raid.
In reality, what this means is each guild is recruiting in competition with the others, and the only players to recruit are the ones that have been kicked out of another guild, or prefer to be guildless, or don’t have time to raid or live in non-server standard time zones.
You get guild hoppers from Hell, people that can proudly boast of touring every guild on the server, and being booted from same. They are the most common player floating around looking for a new guild, because those that have shown skill and talent in 5 man PUGs have already been asked to join guilds, as early as the 40s.
And there will always be someone eager to recruit the bad players, because the belief that maybe this time, we lucked into a diamond instead of a glass ring, seems to be universal. I guess the biggest trait a recruiter needs to keep him going is Hope.
There are so many ways small guilds try to deal with the issue of low membership. Guild alliances, mergers, and of course ‘poaching’ the skilled and geared players from other guilds to increase raid numbers.
Guild Alliances sound like a great idea on paper. We have 12 to 15, you’ve got 12 to 15, if we join forces we can be 25-30 strong! Let’s take em on!
There are two drawbacks to the Guild Alliance system; Communication and Leadership.
First and most important, communicating who is going to be there for what, what the plan is, coordinating events, discussing strats, managing sign-ups, and working together is far more difficult in a multiple-guild alliance. There are ways to facilitate one, you can create a private chat channel that would require each and every member of each raiding team to sign into and use it instead of private guild or officer chat, an unwieldy system but it IS available. A shared Ventrilo or TS server might be another.
The leadership aspect is usually the biggest stumbling block. If people are not simply merging guilds, than that probably means that there are strong reasons each guild’s leadership wishes to retain their guild identity. And this means you’ve got two different groups of people that have their own ideas about loot distribution systems, raid scheduling, and progression goals, and the increased communication traffic required to make and agree to a scheduled event takes more effort and time to arrange.
That can all be worked through, yes indeed. And if you are in a successful Guild Alliance that raids regularly, I’d either love to hear from your experiences in the comments, or I’d love to read about it on your blog (hint, hint).
The key point here, though, is it IS work to make it happen… and that can lead to the first bright interest in a Guild Alliance dying away into disuse as leaders are distracted like ferrets with new things… “Ooh, shiny!”
So then we get to the next one, a Guild Merger.
Mergers are probably one of the most successful ways two small guilds can get ready for 25 man raids. One guild has more people, or have simply been better organised into getting into regularly scheduled raids. Another guild wishes to raid, and instead of the guild fragmenting as each player takes off on their own, the guild as a whole decides to retain their friendships and move as a solid mass to another guild.
For both guilds, this can be a very rough time. Each group already has people that like to play together. You add in a group from another guild, people that are used to a different way of doing things, and now you have two established cliques that are going to take time to learn to mix with each other and work together. Expect most players on both sides of the merge to spend the next few weeks running exclusively with thier old friends, because they are feeling uncertain in the new arrangement, and the feeling of the familiar will be reassuring.
Your best bet to make integration run smoother? Immediately organize and run shared events that will create shared experiences and MAKE everyone get to know one another.
Whether you run an SSC event, a 40 man old school Molton Core or AQ, or a full guild participation gnaked gnome level 1 alt raid on Hogger, shared experiences brings folks together. The more you do together, the faster you will restore a single guild identity and foster group interaction.
If you have a merge, and then you have no activity for a while, people will be more lilkely to think of moving on. With the emotional stress of leaving one guild already faced and dealt with, and having no personal attachment to the new guild except old friends, people will be much more likely to say “Screw it, this ain’t going anywhere, and I’m bored, I wonder if Wintermute is recruiting”.
The last most common way of gaining people is the most irritating to most.
You sit there, you’re in a guild that has never raided seriously before. You’ve finally gotten 10+ people that are Karazhan attuned and relatively okay geared. You enter Karazhan for the first time, and you begin to take down bosses. You face Attumen the Huntsman in battle for the first time, and you triumph. You move on to more difficult fights such as Moroes and the Maiden. You are rightly proud of your achievements. Everyone started raiding somewhere, no matter how long ago it was, and you are justly right to be proud of getting in and getting it done. You’re a raider, damnit!
And as your members get loot each week from those bosses, each fight gets a little easier. As you work together, your coordination and individual skills improve. Addons and mods are found and installed. You learn and you grow.
And then, you’ve got Prince on farm, your group of friends are now geared well enough to kick ass in Heroics of all types, getting even more upgrades and badge rewards, and that kicks opens the door to even better progression. Suddenly your small guild explodes into success, and fights get easier across the board.
And then your mage announces in guild chat “Hey guys, going to leave the guild to join a guild of my real life friends, it’s been great, take care!” and poof! he’s gone. Instantly.
And people say “Oh, wow, well that’s cool. But damn, now we’re gonna need to find someone to fill that spot. I wish we had some warning his real life friends were playing WoW. Maybe they could have joined our guild.”
And someone else says, “I just did a /who, and he’s already in (insert the name of a very high progression guild on your server here)”.
“That bastard! Why couldn’t he jsut say so?”
That’s right. Maybe the player went off looking to move on up to the big time on his own. Maybe the player ran some PUGs with some guys from the higher-progression guild and got told “Hey, you’re pretty good, come give us a call if you ever want an invite to raid with the big boys. We could use a guy like you.”
Either way, whether you call it poaching or guild hopping, it’s pretty hard on a guild, and I think it’s lame. You got started in a guild, you learned to raid in that guild, you got geared up in that guild, and then you bailed on the guild to go raid new stuff.
From the person that left’s point of view, the rationale seems to be “You losers aren’t going anywhere, you’re doing the same old crap, so I’m moving on because I deserve better. And it’s your fault for not progressing more, recruiting more, or living up to my standards, so don’t blame me, it’s all your fault.”
Now, from my personal point of view, I believe that if you started with a guild together, and you progressed together, and you would not be nicely geared out and attuned and attractive to that upper progression giuild without the efforts of your mates in the current guild, then if you want to do more than your guild currently does, then there are more mature, unselfish ways to handle it.
You can always decide to take no personal responsiblity and just go with the flow. It’s a game, and you play for fun, and you’re willing to go along with the rest of the guild cause it’s easier and takes little effort or time. And that is 100% fine. Very few people either can or should be an officer. It is a thankless job and people that do it are treated, quite often, like shit by those that aren’t getting their needs met. Not in my guild so much, but I have seen it often enough in the past in other guilds. It’s like people forget that officers are players too, and start to look at them as paid employees of Blizzard there to make sure the player has fun and is kept entertained.
If you ever look at me, and you start to think I look like your personal entertainment director, that is when you can go take a flying f&^k at a rolling doughnut. kthxbye.
Back to the topic, if you want to raid more, then instead of whining about it all the time, you need to get off your ass and go do something about it.
Whether you are an officer or not, if there is nothing scheduled, if the future calender is empty, then take the initiative and start trying to organize a run yourself. Discuss a possible Raid in guild chat, find out how many other players, whether in Guild chat or in guild website forums, are actively interested in raiding something new. Get some enthusiasm and some participation from others.
If you are blocked by a lack of people, then talk to outside friends about the guilds’ goals and maybe joining together to raid. If you are an officer, explore the idea of alliances or mergers with other guilds around your level of progression. Do the work to try to make it happen. Run PUGs looking for good people, and let people that are responsible and mature, people that are in very small guilds know that your guild is looking for more permanent players to raid, and that if the guild is small maybe even the entire guild would be welcome to join.
If you work on making it happen, if you honestly try and try and you cannot get anyone else in the guild to work together to raid, and you really are commited to raiding more than the guild is willing to do, THEN it should come as no surprise to anyone if you tell people, openly and honestly, that you want to raid more or group more or whatever your goals are, and that those personal goals just aren’t happening in your current guild.
Openly and honestly are the keywords. It doesn’t have to be a drama llama if you want to do things the majority of the guild are uninterested in.
It’s when folks sniff around looking for a better life on the other side of the tracks, sneaking around behind everyones back, making no effort to build a life within the current guild, just getting your upgrades and then looking to move onwards and upwards across the backs of the guildies without ever once looking back that gets people pissed as hell.
Big Blow Up
There is one last way a guild can get new people. And that is if another guild on your server self-destructs, and the players abandon ship in droves.
Sometimes, this happens because a group of players are tired of trying to recruit on a low population server, and a bunch decide to all server transfer together to a place they figure will have more people for raiding. The rest are left going “wtf?” and have to either limp along and try to compete with everyone else to rebuild (most usual scenario), or instead decide to split up and move along.
Sometimes guilds fracture because the leadership has massive drama. And we all get to hear about it eventually.
I’d love to see a post from one of the heavy thinkers about the various ways guilds stress to the point that they actually have a big messy blow up rather than just a few folks leaving in dribs and drabs.
But you get my point. You’re looking for 6 to 8 more players, and suddenly famous guild X has exploded, and good players that are reliable and knowledgeable are loose on the hoof. And they WILL NOT be out there guildless for long. Count on it.
Tying it all together
This is what happened to Legatum Ignavis last week. We were in Kara, farting around, and suddenly one of the best guilds on the server, one of the few guilds with a completely unblemished and sterling reputation for fairness, knowledge, skill, and solid friendly considerate mature players just exploded. And no, I don’t know why. I never asked.
Rynadur, who had been a former officer in that guild way back in the old days, and who has remained a friend to many of the players there, immediately acted on it to offer some of those players a home.
And a whole ton of people, each of whom has been nice, friendly and knowledgeable so far, came on over.
I expect that, in time, some of them will move on to other guilds as they get settled in and have time to decide what they intend to do next. But I’m sure that many of them will form friendships here, and choose to stay.
But we have suddenly gone from a guild that was doing Karazhan and Zul’Aman every week, and trying desperately to scrape together enough players to get a single Gruul’s Lair run organized with a weeks worth of preparation, announcements and organizing, into a guild that has more than 25 level 70 players on almost every single night, without anything regularly scheduled at all.
So things have changed. Suddenly. Starkly. And we need to change with it.
Well, that means one thing to me. If we have that many people now that are used to running strong and regular, then if we sit on our ass, they will get bored and wander off because they have no emotional involvement with the guild yet. And there are plenty of other guilds out there that might get them where they want to be.
Right now, our new schedule is to run a short Gruul’s Lair every Wednesday night, since that is a fairly straight up trash-free encounter, and a serious SSC run every Saturday. Two 25 man raids every week, which seems fairly reasonable. Maybe we can change it up to a Tempest Keep Loot Reaver run on Wednesday if we need to change it up.
But at least two runs every week that the guild can get accustomed to seeing on the calender.
No more seeing people log in and immediately ask “Are we doing anything tonight?”
Because they’ll KNOW. Damnit, they’ll know.
My dirty secret
On a personal level, I am not that interested in progression. I’m just not. I do not really want to raid in 25 man teams. At all.
I like playing with other people, very much. But I don’t really give a shit about loot, except as a tool to help the group better. What I raid for, and run for, is to help make friends happy.
That is why I do not run a Heroic every day, grinding Badges of Justice to get gear upgrades. I could. Certainly. But I’m not in it for loot, except as it makes my performance for the team that much better. Once I hit the level where my performance is more than satisfactory for our current level of progression, my thrill at gearing up dropped WAY off.
My ideal is running with a group made up 100% of people I like, good friends. In five man runs, that is pretty easy to arrange. Just off the top of my head, in seconds I can call out Gerolan, Kellas, Rynadur, Occulus, Whirlish, Irviding, Joppers, Jalard, Elystia, and Caladorn. There are more, so very many more, but you get the idea. And I always get nervous mentioning real peoples’ character names, since they may not want any publicity.
In a ten man run, it gets harder to guarantee that you’re hanging with people that are capable of handling the vast power that is TS with a captive audience. Our guild has a lot of very nice people in it, so I’ve been damn lucky, with only one or two notable exceptions.
But the larger a raid gets, the greater the chance there will be people in the run that I don’t care for. People that are there because we need a certain number of people, and a certain mix of classes, to accomplish the mission, and whether you are enjoying playing with someone or not does not seem to be a consideration for most people when it comes to raiding.
I know that it still amazes me, some of the assholes I used to see in 40 man raids, but they were there anyway, becasue you need the warm bodies to get the boss down. And it’s an aspect of the game I hate. I just have no problem whatsoever in saying to myself, “I have a choice between raiding and dealing with that asshole on the run, and having to listen to him on TS, dealing with his total lack of give a shit for others, or I can not raid tonight at all. I think I’ll pass.”
But then I remind myself I’m not there for me, I’m there because the rest of these people are my friends, and it DOES matter to them, so I guess I’ll just suck it up and do my job and keep my mouth, almost, shut.
But yeah, am I the only one like this? Am I the only one that doesn’t dream of freaking Black Temple or some other shit? Am I really the only one that is just happy to be here hanging with friends?
Somehow, I don’t think so, but it seems like all I ever hear about on the web is raid, raid, progression, end game, progress, progress, move on, move up, who you downed? What boss you on? You only at Kara? You only at ZA? You only at SSC? You only at TK? You loser, nothing you have to say is worth hearing, nothing you have done matters, if you aint’ at the same level I am you just don’t know how to play the game, you worthless noob. Yadda yadda yadda.
And I look around, and I do a Black Morass run with friends and have fun, and I wonder, “How is this not fun enough? Good friends, good times. Right?”
But so long as my friends do want to take the next steps, do the raids, and attempt the progression, I’ll be there to help make it happen, and to lend a helping paw.