I was reading a bit in the Sidhe Devils forums this morning, and I came across something in a thread that made me a little sad.
One of our mighty Sidhe Devils, Dangirl, had been talking about how she started the game late, after her husband and her other guild members were already well established. She got into the game, and leveled up, but it always felt like everyone else was further advanced and had little time to play with someone undergeared or underleveled… until she finally was 70 and fairly well set at the same time as their guild finally got organized enough to tackle Karazhan.
As Dangirl said;
They started to get into kara casually and I thought that this would be my opportunity to play occasionally with my friends who I had been in guild with but never really played with.
But they early on decided if you could only make one night of our two night roster then you were deprioritised for runs (even though most members had multiple toons that could make up the numbers on other nights).
Due to work I couldn’t commit to raid on weeknights and so would only get to go if they were really desperate or someone else didn’t turned up. Other than that it was just hours of looking at empty gchat while all of my guildies concentrated on their raid.
Because I was honest about my play time and ability to commit, the raid leaders were less inclined to invite me.
I didn’t really mind not going to kara but it was pretty disappointing that most core people in the guild weren’t prepared to take a noob like me and chance the possibility of wiping on content that they considered easy.
Anyone else out there been in this position? I know I have before, and I’d bet a lot of folks can relate.
There is a lot of meat on this to chew on, but it all comes down, fundamentally, to what the guild leader, officers or raid leader have as their ‘mind set’ for raids.
You want to succeed. Every raid leader does. When you plan on your team for a raid, you want to make sure that each critical aspect is at least minimally covered.
Tanks? Check. Healers? Check. CC? Check. Okay, let’s stack the DPS and get a move on!
That leaves SO much room for wiggling around, depending on how well geared healers or tanks are.
There are, I think, three different things raid leaders are usually thinking about when they get ready for Karazhan as a guild’s first raid. And it is relevant, because we have solid 10 person raids coming in WotLK. Those guilds that have never thought of raiding because they lacked the numbers for 25 person content before will now have the entire game opened up for them.
- Kara is a large place for lots of gear upgrades and Badges.
- Kara is a stepping stone to prepare for future raiding.
- Kara is an awesome place for fun with guildies.
It is natural for a raid leader to want to maximize the chances of success, in order to make sure people get gear upgrades by downing every boss. The tendency is to pick those folks that are available that have the best gear and most experience first, to ensure that during the run things will go as smooth as possible. No worries, no stress, a fast in and out, loot and Badges and go to bed.
If you’re starting with a fresh guild that has never seen Kara before, you’ll get a feel for who can do what, and the more experience everyone gets, the more you enjoy playing with them, and the more you trust them. And naturally, those are the folks you look for first each week.
I think there is nothing wrong with that in the learning stages. In fact, I think that a team that has run together before, and works at refining their teamwork and coordination and individual play so that everything moves smooth as silk is excellent practise for future raids, and is damn fun as well.
My concern with this approach is that only ten people can go each time, and if you have enough interest in the guild from more than ten people, then someone or even several someones are sitting out and NOT having fun. They feel left out of your reindeer games. They’re not getting experience in the fights. They’re not learning how to work together with the rest of the team. They’re not having shared experiences with everyone else.
And, as your group’s gear level improves, the ones sitting out will quickly feel that they aren’t even well enough geared to start with you anymore.
Hey, if you are a raid leader, and you have been trying to get more guildies into raids and are frustrated as to why you don’t get more sign ups… you might want to look at those players that are either farming mats all the time, or are running a lot of PvP. They might not be signing up because they feel they aren’t well enough geared to be an asset on the run… and they’re trying to get crafted Epics or PvP rewards to make them seem more useful to you. Or, they have just given up ever trying to catch up, so they log in, do their own thing, and never sign up for group activities.
If so, ask around… maybe let folks know, if you do have a minimum gear level to start running in raids, just what that is and to make sure they know they are welcome in your runs.
I hear this a lot…
“Would you be interested in Karazhan?”
“My gear isn’t good enough for that yet.”
“How do you know? You never asked me to check it out… hey, looks fine to me.”
“Really? Okay, sure!”
Having a ton of shards at the end of a run is a terrible thing, when you have other folks in the guild that would like to be having fun too. And if you take the same ten people each time, that’s what you’re going to get.
Sure, there are tons of rare drops in there, and people will want to go over and over in the hopes that, for once, not only will you get Romulus and Julietta in Opera, but you will ALSO get the Poison Vial to drop… AND you will win the roll.
Or, of course, you want to do Illhoof every single time, because you are sure the very first time you skip a run, the Stranglestaff will drop… with no Druids on the run.
Yes, there is an agony to that.
But other players that haven’t been going at all deserve their fun too.
I’ve heard it said sometimes, that some people don’t deserve a place on runs before others, because they weren’t there when the guild was learning the fights, or struggling with a very difficult boss.
Well, while it’s true that only ten people can have been there for the learning experiences, what exactly do you think that experience grants you? You were there at the time, you had the excitement, the challenge, and the fun. You were there when loot dropped.
What more do you want, a special trophy? A saved position at the head of the line?
A wise raid leader wants to take the hard earned lessons of the past and share them with others in the guild, so that all might benefit from the hard work in the future.
And it can be hard to shake things up. Some players will try to hunker down and reserve their own spot. You see it every once in a while, someone that thinks that if they are the only ones that ever do a job, like main tank, or make the decisions, like be the raid leader, then they will have a lock on that position. They will have a secured place in the team for all future activities.
Here is a surprise for those kinds of folks… if you aren’t willing to work with others and give other people an equal shot at playing and having fun with their characters, then many folks won’t want to play with you anyway… and they’ll go find someone or something else.
The goal shouldn’t be to have, out of a guild of 20+ people, 10 who are maxed out on Kara upgrades and experience to the point they are bored, and 10 that are still at pre-Kara gear levels and have never seen Attumen.
I understand that the more you run with friends, the more you enjoy the same team composition. It gets hard to break up a winning team of fun friends to bring a new member into the group. But that is the very urge you need to fight. You need to be open to bringing new people in, and giving everyone a fair chance.
I think that once you have a strong group of reliable, friendly folks that know the fights and have decent gear upgrades, it’s time to open things up and bring in more folks. Spread the fun.
Take a chance on that brand new healer with crafted gear, blues and Auction House BoEs.
Bring in that Retribution Paladin, and when the time comes that tanking gear drops, if your normal Paladin tank already has it, hey! It didn’t get wasted.
Just because you know that, when you started out at first, the stats of a new member wouldn’t have made it, don’t forget that every time you run, someone is getting a little stronger, AND everyone is getting more accustomed and expert at their role in the fights.
You might be shocked at how well you will do when your tanks AND healers AND DPS are all getting stronger all the time. Your limitations are not gear levels, it is knowledge and preparation for the fights.
I know that the fights can make you think you are worse than you really are. You are used to blowing through Prince, and thinking about taking a few new members in on your next run, and then you go take on Netherspite for the very first time, and mass confusion ensues. You have three or four wipes in one night, and suddenly, the raid leader wants to circle the wagons, and bring in only the very best geared players.
It’s not necessary. The problem was that everyone knows the other fights, and what to do and where to go, and now you are right back to having to learn a new, complex role for a new boss. It’s cool. Sure you might need to have decent gear in the party, but don’t let it trick you into thinking you’re not geared well enough. It’s just a new learning experience.
Now, this is all fun as long as we’re talking about guilds that are starting out fresh, and want to have fun playing.
But some raid leaders use Karazhan as the training ground for future raid habits. It’s the place where ground rules are laid down for the first time, DKP systems are tested, sign ups are done and raid leaders get to see who comes to raids prepared, repaired, on time, with consumables, and ready to rock. If the raiding guild has been around the horn at all, then they run Kara to get Badges, and to gear up alts… and to test new players’ abilities to act responsibly in raids and work together as a team player.
As a player, guess what. If you do not sign up in advance, prepare your character, be repaired or on time, or bring consumables, then what yo are doing is telling the raid leader and officers that you are not dependable… and your future participation in raids with those leaders is highly unlikely… unless they are desperate for bodies to throw at the fight. And as soon as they get more responsible players? Your butt gets benched.
That is probably one of the things that the developers had in mind for Karazhan in the first place.
The thing to remember here as the raid leader, is if you are setting up Karazhan runs to prepare your guild for higher raiding, it’s even more important to mix up your teams so everyone gets play time. You don’t want one team to get fixed in a groove, to outgear others, and to get complacent about fights and start to get lazy.
You should want to mix things up all the time, continuously bring in different people, and if you run two teams, mix them up with each other a lot. It will keep gear levels more even, reduce the chance that loot will be sharded from a run, and will keep everyone fresh and paying attention to what everyone is doing.
You want everyone to know who they feel they can and cannot count on in a raid. You don’t want there to be the one main tank that is your only ‘go to’ guy. You don’t want there to be an elitist inner circle within the raid guild, the ones that will get geared first from drops because they’ve been there longer and have been part of the core group longer, and are ‘better healers’ so they should get geared first.
You want a solid team that knows each other, and can play with each other, and trusts each other. NOT two seperate teams that have never run with each other before, meeting for the first time and butting heads in Gruul’s Lair.
Karazhan is, for many guilds, way beneath them now. Sure.
But not for most. And the hardest challenge isn’t to organize and run a Karazhan group in your guild. The hardest challenge is trying to make sure that no one feels left out, excluded from the guild activities, or that they’ll never be welcome in the runs if they are only just now getting to 70.
It can be very demanding to try and change things up so that everyone that wants the opportunity, and is willing to try, gets that chance to have fun, and take full part of your guilds activities.
But isn’t that what it’s all about? Playing together and having fun? Just because you’ve only got 14 people that can go doesn’t mean the same four should get hosed week after week after week.
If you’re the raid leader, try and find ways to encourage more people to sign up, and at least give people the opportunity to go. If time schedules don’t permit people to go all the time, be open to letting them go when they can. If they just don’t have a shared schedule at all… then maybe a guild whose players are more in line with their time zone is a better fit. There is only so much you can do.
Likewise, if you are a player in a guild that WANTS to take part in guild activities, but you feel like you’re not ready with gear or experience, or that raids or groups are closed and you aren’t welcome, but you’ve never said anything about it… take the initiative. Talk to your raid leader or guild leader. Tell them you want to do something or take an active part, and ask them specifically what you need to do to be included. And see if they will work with you.
Dangirl has gone into Karazhan with the Sidhe Devils a couple times now on her Shaman, and I can tell you, her old guild?
Idiots. Bunch of stone idiots. They didn’t know the treasure they had while she was there, and now that she’s gone… all the better for us.
Hey, any other guilds out there that like to exclude your members from having fun?
Thanks in advance!