Answering your questions about raiding rules as a casual guild

This post is in response to quite a few emails I’ve had lately asking how we balance being a casual guild and still organize successful raids without drama.

I’m sorry for not replying in detail to each e-mail. It’s your fault anyway, if you insist on asking very good, detailed questions, you risk not getting a reply because it’d take two bloody hours to give you a useful answer.

First, right off the bat. You canna change tha laws of physics, laddie. Whoop, sorry, the day, it is affecting me. I mean, you cannot eliminate drama. Please get the thought out of your head. If there are a group of varied folks, there will be different personalities, and I have never seen a roomful of people where everyone gets along without friction.

The very best you can hope for is that everyone present for a raid equally values the friendship they have with the other people in your guild on the run, and actively restrain their own prickly tendencies.

Which brings me to Sidhe Devils Raiding Rule #2; Never, ever, ever bring in a pugged person just to fill out a raid.

If you have good friends, friends of your guild, that might be in other guilds on the server that you want to ask to come along, that’s fine, but don’t pug some stranger in if what you intend to do is have a fun run. Once you bring people in just to fill out the raid, what you’re saying is, “Completing the run is our first priority. We’re looking for a body that has gear and can fill a position – what kind of person you are is secondary”. Armory gear checks, etc.

If that IS your first priority, well, that’s cool. As far as I’m aware, that’s the norm in most guilds; the ability to accomplish the mission (and show up reliably)  is of paramount importance, not whether you can “play nice with others”.

That’s all well and good, but the emails I get ask about Sidhe Devils specifically, so I’m telling you our philosophy. Having fun with friends is our first priority. If we end up one short to fill a raid, and none of us have good, known friends online that can come join us, we won’t go.

We have had folks leave the guild because they wanted the raiding first and foremost, tried to push the progression a little faster than we were going, got frustrated and left. While I always miss folks that leave, I’m glad when someone is able to clearly see what they want for themselves in their play time, and make a decision to go get it, rather than stay and be unhappy.

The important thing as a guild leader or officer is that you maintain the standards and direction that you feel best supports the kind of guild you’re trying to run. Be open to the interests and desires of the majority, and be flexible in changing to best suit the majority of your active players… but don’t go rushing off to change everything just because one person is grumpy. Find out of their concerns are shared by others first.

And that leads us directly into the next part, communicating with the guildies to try and decide how many active nights you want a week, and figuring out when to schedule them.

Don’t try and do this in a vacuum. Sidhe Devils Raiding Rule #3 is, ask the people in your guild what they want to do, when they want to do stuff, and then schedule things for when the majority say they’d be available.  Communication, baby!

When we ran a couple of polls to narrow down recurring raid schedules, we had two polls; one for which weekend evening we wanted to raid and the time, and one for which weeknight we wanted to raid, and the time.

We chose the nights that most people said they’d like to do, and then within that night picked the time that most people said they’d prefer. Hopefully, even if not everyone wanted 8 PM on Thursday, all the people who chose Thursday as their preference are happy, even if the raid starts an hour later than some of them would have preferred.

When it comes time for the raid itself, I’ve heard a lot of different suggestions for how to rush through things so there is more bang bang, less jabber jabber on a raid. I appreciated all the advice, but we don’t follow through on part of it, and likely won’t in the near future.

When we do our loot, we do the Master Looter, and we do talk about it at the time rather than using an impersonal roll and silence.

For Sidhe Devils, the personal interaction with other people isn’t a drain on our time that we resent because it prevents us from killing bosses. The personal interaction is the whole point. Otherwise, might as well pug 25 man raids and go for the better loot. Why bother with the 10 man stuff?

Oh, right, because we’re playing with friends and having fun. We tried the 25 man raid thing, working with other guilds, very good guilds… and the majority opinion was, it was successful, the loot was certainly there to be had… but it wasn’t fun.

We do take the time to chat about what loot dropped, and find out who wants what. It’s a crying shame if something ends up getting disenchanted that could have been used by someone in their off spec.

We also try to get loot distributed around so everyone has a chance, as much as possible, to get some shinies on a run.

As people get geared up, there are fewer things they’re going to want on each run. Some people who are experienced raiders will only be looking for one or two items, if that, while the newer player in the raid may be wearing all epic crafted, rep rewards and Emblem gear, and a single run can turn into a Monty Haul lootfest for them. It happens, no worries.

What we prefer is having as many people as possible walk away from a raid night with shiny pretty purples to wear. 

If a Tier piece drops, that’s some serious shit, and everyone that wants the item can and should roll on it, regardless of whatever else they got… but if anything else on the run has dropped and they rolled and won it, then the next time something drops they should let all others that haven’t won anything yet roll for it first… so that someone else gets a shot at a shiny too.

If nobody else that has gone without a drop wants to roll, then sure, the folks that have won an item already all roll on it. But every time loot drops that ain’t Tier, the first roll should go to folks that haven’t won anything yet on that run.

Let’s look at a single two quarter Naxx night. Say, Plague and Construct wings. You’ve got 3 bosses in Plague, 4 bosses in Construct. Each drops 2 items, minus 2 for Tier. So you’ve got 2 Tier items anyone can roll on… and 12 other items up for grabs. With 10 people in a raid, and the way loot seems to drop so you get 4 plate items drop in a row (all caster plate, of course), chances are very high that no matter what you do, folks are going home at the end of a successful run without any drops.

So we try to spread the love.

One thing Cassie and I have been intending to do as our next step, but haven’t yet, is to basically get a thread started in our guild forums for folks to, for want of a better phrase, “call dibs”.

Our thinking is, for those people that have been running Naxx for a while, there really might be literally only one or two items that person wants, and nothing else, Tier or otherwise. If that is the case, then letting the guild know that the only thing at this point they are hoping to see from Naxx is X loot, it would certainly help us to send the loot their way.

Heck, it might even be a way for us to have the newer player scheduled and going on the run, getting lots of chances at loot all night long… and just swapping with the better geared player for a shot at that one item before swapping back out.

Putting up a list of more than 2 items, in my opinion, wouldn’t work, since there ain’t THAT much stuff in Naxx for multiple people. And some of the stuff, like Rings, a whole bunch of folks would all possibly want. 

But if someone were going on raids for fun, was passing on loot endlessly, and just really hoped to someday see that one piece of elusive loot… well hell, tell us and if and when it drops, we can all be excited for you!

That kind of thing only works in a guild like ours, where we’re playing with friends for fun, and we know there is always next week for another shot.

So Sidhe Devils Raiding Rule #4 is, loot is awesome, but play for fun, and when loot drops, be equally excited if someone else gets something you know they really wanted.

There is one last thing. It’s the hardest part of all, really, but it all keeps coming back to who you are playing with in the first place.

I get asked how you can ensure that the people that sign up for a raid show up, on time, repaired, with consumables and ready to rock. What punishments and incentives do you use?

The answer is, you do that by only playing with folks that are mature and respect each other enough to not want to let other people down by showing up unprepared, or by being late without advance warning.

If you have folks that consistently show up late, are unprepared, or don’t show up at all… they might as well be people you brought in to pug an empty spot.

They may be nice enough, but it really comes down to wondering why they are in the guild, let alone going on your runs. Because the other people in the guild clearly don’t matter enough to them to put forth an effort.

Any amount of punishment or incentive is just going to be your effort to try and force them to care, by appealing to their selfish self interest.

I don’t bother. If someone doesn’t show that level of consideration towards other guildies, then why should they be in the guild in the first place?

So Sidhe Devils Raiding Rule #1 is, if you have mature, considerate people in your guild, then you’ll have mature, considerate people in your raids.

Mature adults don’t need mommy or daddy policing their behavior, they police themselves. Maybe what they say or do might be taken in a way that someone else thinks was rude… but mature people are generally not intending to hurt other people’s feelings on purpose, and if told about the problem, will try and correct it themselves. If they can’t, or if they are really just that over the top… then that’s just the way it is.

When you find yourself trying to figure out how to punish ongoing behavior that you don’t approve of… in my opinion, you’ve gone too far. 

My two cents as a co-Guild Leader – It comes down to expecting mature behavior from others in the guild, and setting your expectations at that level. 

If someone is simply unable to meet those expectations, even after you discuss the situation with them… that’s not your fault. You are not responsible for the behavior of others, all you can be responsible for is how long you allow that behavior to continue to affect other people in the guild.

I tend to let it go on for perhaps longer than I should, personally, in the hopes that it’s just temporary stress causing a friend to be uncharacteristically short or snappish. The last thing someone needs when they’re under a lot of stress is someone telling them they have been kind of rude lately.

But if you have people in the guild who seem to be a disruptive influence, it doesn’t change, and you keep trying to find ways to excuse their behavior, to “bring them around”… make sure you’re doing it because you like them and want to keep playing with them, and not just so you’ve got one more body to fill a raid spot. 

A last, parting thought.

Don’t be overly concerned with growing the size of your guild.

If you just want to raid, and you’re a mature, considerate player that studies your class, plans your gear, works on your rotations and efficiency, shows up on time, repaired and with consumables, and your guild ain’t like that… go find a good raiding guild to join. There are lots of them, and most of them will accept a well written application.

If you want to form a guild that is made of nothing BUT mature, considerate players that study their class, plan their gear, work on their rotations and efficiency, and show up on time, repaired and with consumables… well, then you’ve got to set those standards and be satisfied when all you’ve got are four friends and a dream.

We aren’t at that level, ourselves. That kind of guild is what Matticus has going with his powerful new guild. (I say new, they’ve been around for quite a while at this point, haven’t they.)

The Sidhe Devils is not a raiding guild. We didn’t form up and recruit so that we could raid. We are all about mature folks that are considerate of others and want to have fun doing whatever… and we raid too, sometimes.

Since the guildies are all nice, mature, considerate folks (most of the time), we luckily have fun raids where folks all show up on time ready to go. We don’t have any rules in place to try and force that to happen. It just does.

Not exactly the road map for success I know you folks were looking for. There is no magic bullet I know of on having a successful casual guild that raids.

My suggestions for officers is to read the Officers Quarters posts on WoW Insider each week, and to read World of Matticus, and learn from some of the excellent discussions they generally have about guild issues. They are much more professional about thinking about raiding, and how to get it done.

Still, even though I may be the opposite of helpful, I hope that at the very least I’ve given you some food for thought, or (more likely) something to vigorously object to over lunch.

Take care, and have fun! That’s an order, damnit!


26 thoughts on “Answering your questions about raiding rules as a casual guild

  1. Sounds like you do a “loot council” type of loot distribution. Has that been affected by Main/Secondary Specs, Alts, Alts Main/Secondary Spec? LOL that list could go on and on! Have you had each member declare a main spec etc.?



  2. You know, I thought we were going to have to do something like that… but I came to my senses.

    A character is a character. If a piece of loot drops that somebody can use, irrespective of what spec they are currently running as, then I have no problems with someone rolling on it in the first go.

    I thought we SHOULD early on, simply because we were still used to the ‘locked in’ spec concept.

    The fact is, since dual specs came out, we are more and more treating a characters roll in a raid as being flexible, from situation to situation.

    So far we haven’t gone all the way to swapping on the fly all the time, as we’ve got multiple raid leaders and haven’t sat down and talked about it.

    But already, we have a Paladin that is equally adept at tanking or healing, and had been main tanking for a bit until we got some other tanks up, and now he heals more often than not while two others tank… and of course both of those have other specs, and then Fal can go on his Pally and tank or DPS, and Algenon is an equally awesome boomkin and healer, and on and on.

    Just last night, 4 Horsemen again. Okay, we’ve had a normal assortment, but now we want one of the DPS to switch to tank spec, Fal, so he can self heal Pally style as he tanks one of the back bosses, Algie is now asked to tank one of the back ones and she chooses tree spec to do it, colda gone with boomkin if she wished, we shift to suit the moment. Having the flexibility to throw an extra healer or tank on something with more variables in it makes runs easier.

    So no, we are ignoring specs at this point. Loot is loot, and the question is “who wants it”, not “who wants it for their main spec”.

    I can foresee a time not too far distant when we have one main tank, one person slated for first off tank, one for second off tank, and we have a first healer, second healer, third healer, and we expand or contract our tanks and healers based on the situation. Trash pulls? One tank, two healers, rest DPS. Anub’rakan? Two tanks, 3 healers, 5 DPS. Heigan? One tank, two healers, one DPS with healing capabilities and 6 DPS. And so on, and so forth.

    We’re working our way there.


  3. Thanks for the epic 🙂

    The biggest observations I come away with from reading this are that you are very fortunate that you have coalesced a core of these mature people that was then able to grow big enough to tackle 10 man content, and that 10 man raiding is virtually made for you (and gamers like you). Building a group like yours does take an element of good fortune, to get some of those mature folks together amidst normal turnover. It really comes through that you’re about the journey and the company along the way rather than rabid progression.

    Regarding loot systems, I really like the shroud/standard/save system that Leftovers uses, allows new raider to gear up quickly, allows the ones after one thing to call DIBS! Works quite well for the KISS Principle too. was profiled on Wowinsider a while back, take a look if you’d like. It’s completely immune to main spec/off spec prohibitions, and mainly avoids the arguments of “You take it! No you take it I already have bleh! No you!” which you can sometimes get.

    I’m a very casual raider myself, I can manage 2 nights a week but have geared up quickly even with my time limitations, and now I’m the guy who is only after a few things (or finishing a tree set) so the newer feral on the raid hoovers up all the leather. Hell it was very sobering to me to realize that my gear has probably caught up to yours, and I read your stuff all the time and place great stock in it. Was a little odd to realize.


  4. Hey, I agree we’re very lucky. When we started playing in Sidhe Devils full time we never had any expectations whatsoever about ever having more than 5 people in the guild, total. Never planned for or expected to have so many wonderful people join, and that there are so many nice people in the guild is nothing to do with me. I think it’s much more to do with folks hearing about a place where they think they’d fit right in… and NOT hearing about such places on their own servers.

    I bet there are a lot of guilds out there just like us, but…. they don’t get advertised, or propagandized, as much. That’s all.

    Perhaps, if you have a guild like this that you hope to grow on your server, a better post would be suggestions for ways to appropriately get the word out, to touch those folks that would love to join you… but don’t know you’re looking for more.


  5. our guild went to DKP.. (yuck) it works, but it’s a pain in the butt, they list off the items that drop and the person collecting “bids”, everyone that wants it whispers the respective person holding the loot, and the person with highest dkp for each item wins it for 25points, (zero sum, each item = 25 points) can go negative. can go very negative.

    like i said, it works, but still it takes a good couple minutes per drop.

    Loot is the root of all evil.. (money is easier to come by, and so not worth as much)

    You are right on the point of not enforcing/enticing people to do X.. People will generally do the least amount of work required to acheive their goals. If their goal is to be the guy/gurl that everyone can count on to be at the stone on time, with not only supplies for themselves but a hefty supply of fish feasts, potions, flasks, random reagents, jumping up and down ready to go… then they will be.

    If they instead want to be spoon fed the game, not research anything, just show up and expect shinies.. then they will be..

    (I have experience with both types….)

    Myself, I’ve had to dial back a lot on raiding, my job has me getting home 1.5 hours later than I used to three nights a week. as it happens, just about raid time.. so, I have a choice, farm herbs/ore to make my potions/flasks/ect or my ammo, raid, do my argent tourney stuff, or go do something non-wow related.. last time i popped on, was going to do tourney stuff, got sucked into a forming 25man that needed a healer/dps character..

    Like I said on my blog.. 10 man uldar is not a good place to learn to heal, neither is 25man naxx.. but I did.. (with only the raid frame provided by xpearl to assist me.) we made it through spyder wing, and an aborted attempt at patchwerk before i had to leave. That was the most stressful run i’ve ever been on, watching 25 small frame portraits for health drops and playing whack a mole with my leafy heals. I couldn’t tell you where/what we did, I was focused down on one small section of the screen.


  6. Thanks for the article. My wife just got promoted to officer of our guild. She’s a warrior tank and has been off-tanking and main tanking on our guild raids. (She and the main tank switch based on the fight. She’s not quite as good as the other tank in picking up multiple adds.) Our guild is a large, casual guild (over 500 members) and after some bad experiences with having to pull in non-guildies for 25 man runs, they’ve decided to cut back to Naxx10 raiding. Our loot rules are pretty similar to yours – roll on need for main spec; if no main spec need, roll for off spec; if no off-spec need, then we DE and roll for the shard.

    The one problem I’ve seen is that many of the players showing up for raids are running specs that aren’t suited for raids, have gems and enchants suited for leveling and not raiding, and don’t have a grasp of spell/attack rotations. Now, I’m not the world’s best raiding warlock, but I’ve taken the time to read up on my class and spec (Affliction). I’ve waded into the Elitist Jerks forums and other places to read up on what the raiding guilds do. I used that to gem and enchant my gear to maximize DPS and make sure I’m hit capped. I have some extra gear I slot in if we have a boomkin or priest which reduces the hit I need. I know what my spell rotation should be and have the proper addons to monitor my spells. If the raid is to start at 7 PM server, I’m either in Dalaran ready to go or flying toward the instance at 7 PM. I have a bag full of soul shards, at least 10 flasks, and a couple of stacks of the food I use.

    How should the guidies that don’t prepare, that have bad specs, etc. be approached to encourage them to be better raiders? It’s no fun to wipe on bosses because two of the raid are only doing 200 DPS above a prot warrior……


  7. Bear, I’d argue that you don’t want to get the word out all that much. The dynamic you have built is not something that scales well with increased numbers from advertising or recruiting, because if your guild’s relaxed atmosphere is very publicly known, you will attract people who see it as a potential free ride to loot to take advantage of. Encouraging your guildies to interact outside the guild is about as “advertised” as I’d recommend, like running heroics and having some pug people in. Word of mouth and the good judgement of your guildies is your big asset.

    Katt: The system we use you can only ever go to zero points, and you express interest to the loot master as either shroud, standard, or save. You earn DKP points by attendance. Shroud you really want the item and spend half your accumulated points, highest shroud bid wins. Standard you spend 10 points on the item and all standard bids /roll off for it. Save is a 10 point bid as well but is overbid by standard, it allows “I’ll take it rather than see it get melted, but if someone wants it more than me go for it”. It’s a combination of the Leftovers mindset and the very simple and understood rules that we minimize loot drama, though it never really goes away completely. One of the groups in Leftovers has developed a simple addon that makes all the loot rolls very simple and fast.


  8. /cheer for caster plate!

    Great summary/analysis BBB.

    One of the things that I see consistently that is another contributor to the near absence of loot drama is that we all want to help one another. I’d much rather have that slight upgrade go to a guildie who is really going to benefit from it. A new pair of pants that mean I can move some gems around and gain a few more Stam is better off in the gearset of the new(-er -ish) tank who is struggling to hit the defense cap. And EVERYONE in the guild thinks that way, too the point where we find ourselves yelling “Just take the dang thing already!” in Vent.


  9. Nice Post, Sidhe Devils seem to be progressing rather nicely. I noticed when we tried the whole 25 man group thing it worked- but yeah, it wasn’t as much fun as I had hoped for. It seemed more like we were there just to get the better gear. It’d be nice to get rid of the difference between 10 and 25 man loot, make it all even. That way people who are friendly but want phatter loot don’t feel the NEED to jump ship to a bigger guild who is further along in progression. I know us folks at Essence of Grandeur have been on the verge of jumping to 25 man content and would fall short because a recruit would go on one kara run, get epicced out and than leave to join a guild further along in progression. This is all in a casual atmosphere, not as casual as y’all are, but we aren’t trying to be draconian to people with a dkp system or attendance rules. It becomes an interesting dicotomy when you want to be casual but also into raiding and rewards. I think it is interesting that you look at a character as a whole character, not main/offspec, although I guess it is countered by the 1 non tier loot rule. Interesting idea that I might have to toss around in EoG, because DKP is too draconian and loot council seems too prone to being abused (we currently use Master looter with main spec before offspec, so that the person who hardly ever uses their ret spec (me) doesn’t roll vs the dps always warriors/dk:)) Things to think about, I really should write this down…

    Ech with your problem with unprepared raiders wanting to raid, just say No:). Try and define standered raiding requirements, flasks/elixirs, food. Have pople who want to raid post their specs and why they choose that spec. Talk out your problems, not in a top down manner but an open for all discussion. A lot of times people don’t know what to spec or where to go to find talent information, educate them. This way you know where you stand as a guild in what you want to do regarding raiding.


  10. as co-GL of a very casual guild we have all of these problems. We scrubed naxx this week because of lack of interest. People’s interests come and go, mainstays suddenly disappear, we get new blood all the time that need to be brought up to speed. The first thing we do in recruiting is state that we are not a raiding guild. We will do naxx10 and we have a raiding schedule of 2 nights for 2 hours. That’s not much time. And we are fine with skipping it for a week or two. The thing we really need is a solid core again, we had a solid core that all went off to raiding guilds. That’s the nature of a beast such as ours.

    DPS has been an issue. As forgiving as naxx is, it doesn’t leave much room when the DK is doing 250 dps. (I kid you not). So we say, we’re cool with whatever you do as far as rotations, talents, but you need to have a gear score of X, and be able to do Y in dps or tanking or heals. Otherwise we aren’t going to be able to down the bosses. It kinda hurts to this, but naxx is not just a walk in and faceroll everything raid (if everyone is well geared and has done it a million times, different story).

    To me the raiding attitude is something that waxes and wanes. When 20 80s are on, and the guild doesn’t something cool like get the spider quarter achievement, the rest of the guild thinks ‘i want to do that’. And they can, but they need to work a little to do so. Nowadays we are getting comfortable with solid heroic groups. We did heroic HOL for one of the first times and it was pretty good. Solid heroic groups should delve naturally into a strong naxx10 raid.
    My hope is that we get back into naxx and start thinking full clears, but we adhere to all of BBB raid rules, so its a challenge, esp on our very tight schedule.


  11. I’m an officer in a casual raiding guild (the Noob’s, actually). A lot of what you said here applies to us as well. I think the one big difference is that we do use a loot system. We used WebDKP back in the BC days, but we’ve switched over to EPGP in Wrath and it seems to be working a lot better for us. Yeah, distributing loot after boss kills takes a few minutes and slows us down a little. But, along with a few additional rules, it keeps everything relatively drama free. (Main specs get priority, “proper” armor class gets priority — i.e. a shaman can’t roll on leather gear until all rogues/druids have passed on it, and only one piece of loot per player per boss unless we’d end up sharding something rather than passing it out. And all shards go into the GB. If tier pieces drop, we always hand those out first.)

    @ech, we had a similar problem for a while in our guild. Our guild philosophy is that anyone that wants to raid gets a chance, regardless of gear, enchants, spec, etc. But we hit a point where Thaddius was a roadblock for our guild for over a month. Our DPS just wasn’t there. We ultimately called a guild meeting (so that we wouldn’t have to pick on anyone in particular) and among the various topics we discussed was that, while we don’t enforce specs/enchants/gemming, etc that we, as a guild, had a lot of room for improvement. Everybody wants to down bosses and see content, but if we can’t figure out how to increase our DPS, no one is going to get to that point. A lot of people in the guild run Recount. Our guild leader also regularly posts our raid results to WoW Web Stats. So people in the guild could see how they were performing compared to the rest of the raid, and especially against other players of their class. We encouraged people to ask our officers/veterans what they could do to improve if they were so inclined.

    The next week’s raid saw several people making instant multi-hundred DPS jumps. We blew through Thaddius, got Sapph on our first try, and got KT the next week. That was a little over a month ago. Last week we 21-manned most of Naxx. So to say there’s been improvement… 🙂


  12. I helped form a guild back in February. We started out with just a dozen people or so, and were immediately running Naxx 10. We had to pug people every week, several of which were somewhat unsavory folks. The kind of folks that after the lost the roll for a piece of loot would whisper the person who won it and complain. Not good. We cleared Naxx weekly. And it was not fun. It felt very “mercenary”.

    We slowly built up enough quality people that we could eliminate the pugs. And that’s when we stopped being able to clear naxx. We had solid people with good character, but they didn’t have the gear/skills to do the content. So, we stopped raiding. The raid night came, and the leaders of the guild said “No Naxx tonight. We are splitting up into two groups and running heroics.” And we did that. Some were not happy at first, but some were just happy to have organization. Soon after two weeks of not raiding, heroics were getting run by people every night. Every heroic in the game was worked over, and put on farm status. Then we went back to raiding.

    We made it farther, but still couldn’t clear. We finally had the tanks and healers, but lacked dps. And if one healer didn’t show were S.O.L. Back to heroics again after a couple of failed weeks in Naxx 10. I read that the content is trivial, but I’m convinced it’s only trivial to the type of people that are used to raiding T5 or T6 back in the BC days with established guilds.

    Now, finally, almost 3 months after the guild formed, we have Naxx 10 pretty much on farm status. We downed Sarth with one Drake up last night for the first time. People were going bonkers. We wiped on it so many times. But everybody was happy. We steam roll Naxx, and are just about ready to set up two 10 man groups because we never have enough spots for people that want to go. It’s awesome.

    We also lose a lot of recruits. Just recently, we attempted Malygos. We wiped and wiped and wiped. After 3 or 4 wipes (but making progress, we did get to phase 2), a new healer/dps said in raid chat “Sorry guys, I’d rather not do this” and logged off. Left us high and dry late on a Saturday with nobody to replace him in the guild. He left the guild soon after. I whispered him after he left to ask what the deal was, and he informed me “I’m looking for more then just failing on 10 man content”. I told him that I felt his attitude was poor, given that he wants high end loot, but doesn’t seem to be willing to put in the work to earn it, but good luck finding a guild to suit your needs.

    Now a days, we welcome new people in with open arms, but have no problem seeing them go. As a guildie said, selfish people that are only in it for loot for themselves tend to weed them selves out really fast in our guild, and we are better off with out them.

    From the beginning, I’ve tried to have a guild similar to yours, where we wanted to raid, but the actual people were more important. Thanks for being a shining example of what could be that I never thought would happen.


  13. This was a nice read, BBB. I’ve been reading here for a while, and find I share many opinions… this post among them.

    I started my WoW career by recruiting the core of my former EQ guild (in which I was a founding officer, but not the GL) to this new game. We built a guild on an RP server, because we had strong roots in roleplaying, having formerly been a guild that mixed RP and MMO. I had left EQ, and that guild, long before they had… largely because I prefer a casual style, and at their heart my friends and former guildmates were a bit more hardcore “raiders”. Anyway, they followed me to WoW, and we formed a new guild, based on a primarily casual approach. We enjoyed the heady days of battling in UBRS, before any “true raiding” was really upon us… before we even dreamed of farming MC. However… that didn’t last, and the desire for “bigger and better” proved too strong… and the guild formally became a “casual raiding” guild (is that an oxymoron?) as the content to allow that fleshed out. In time, my wife and I left this guild and WoW for a time.

    When BC came along, we returned… but decided to flip to the horde side on the same server. We formed a guild, with my brother and his family, and declared it would be a “friends and family” guild. We actually have almost no members that aren’t either family or RL friends. However, we’ve found that this has extended to friends of friends of friends, and have morphed into a pseudo-raiding guild, and have picked up both some bad habits (Pug filling) and some friends of friends who have acquired some… mmm… “problematic behavior” over the years. Our size, and drama, have thus increased proportionally. Now, we find ourselves being back in that “casual raiding” space… we have done joint raids with another guild (and had to listen to them screaming about teabagging each other in Vent), we have added puggers (who then ganked our raid the next day to steal the endbosses more easily for themselves), and we’ve had our share of loot whoring (I really struggle when someone is willing to replace a 25-man drop with a marginally better 25-man drop, when someone else in the raid is an equal participant and is wearing a blue in that slot).

    Anyway, very much enjoyed the post… and agree whole heartedly. From someone who has seen far too much of what you outline there over the 15 years I’ve been active in MMOs, I think you hit the nail directly upon the small extended striking surface.

    If we ever decide to play our allies again, we may have to look you guys up 🙂


  14. Thank you very much, this is much much more than I could even imagine to hope for.

    I am not sure can expect such a nice attitude from all my guildies – maybe the maturity is not really there for all of them. They do usually listen to common sense, so there is still hope for us.

    In any case, this have given me lots to think about and start working on.

    Thanks again BBB – and make no mistake, I know what Matticus is doing, yet my cry for help was sent to you intentionally 🙂 I am glad I did, and grateful you took the time to reply.


  15. I went to the armory and noticed that you have over 330 members of your guild. A couple of questions, if you don’t mind. First, about how many of those are alts would you say? Second, with so many players, how many different raids groups do you have? Lastly, are you still looking for players at all?

    I’ve been reading your blog for a long time, and last time you put out a call for recruitment my desktop computer was MIA. But looking through your Armory, you have around 80+ characters that are over level 70, so I can’t see that you would be looking for anyone else. But just figured I would ask.

    Thank you for a great blog, its always been a great read no matter the content.


  16. Wait, Trazer — I thought BBB was replying to my email asking for help?? 😀

    Seriously, with all the focus sites like MMO-Champion puts on who killed what first and how quickly, it’s easy to forget that there are a ton of players out there who have different goals. My guild is small and we’re still trying to find a balance between hanging out and working on fishing while also finding the time to go into Naxx and enjoy everything that grouping up with 10 people has to offer. Add to that challenge the additional challenge of finding 9 other players who are online at the same time, with a good, healthy attitude towards raiding, with the right raid composition and… well, forget clearing Algalon in one hour, that’s a pretty ‘hard core’ encounter, too, for some of us! 😀

    Thank you, BBB, for the additional perspective and thoughtful response. It’s always good to know that my guild isn’t the only one out there with these challenges!


  17. Many of the SD’s have multiple toons.
    We have our times where the no. of SD’s online is sparse.
    What you will find is usually several SD’s online scattered throughout the day. With people in the guild from
    around the world, they all can’t be online at 8pm CST on Thursday for the scheduled XXYY party. Nor does
    everyone have a 9-5pm job. RL issue’s that can include family or school responsibilities pull people away for
    sometimes extended periods of time. We do generally have more people online in the evening’s and weekends.

    I Have done some very satisfying day time runs with guildies, be it quests or instances. We don’t have a
    “You Must attend at least XY raids a week to remain in good standing” kind of rules. It is all about having
    fun. Many of the newer SD’s have high level toons on other servers, but decided to try the SD way.
    3B is picky about who comes here, which is a good thing. You won’t find some mindless 10yr old asking for a
    summons for the instance run, directly from the PVP grounds, still in PVP gear, no pots, no FA, no gold for repair………


  18. I find it odd that you don’t like filling spaces in raids. I would think that as a raid leader, you can EASILY drop pugged players who aren’t working out, especially if you are up front about how you are handling the raid, and if you find you don’t have enough players to fill the content, the most reliable way to determine if someone is suitable is to try them out. The raid times you have probably work for them, they probably have enough gear that they are not going to frustrate your members by holding them back, and ditto you holding them back, and if you find you have holes in your roster, it is not a far stretch from someone having real life issues, another person moving on to another opportunity, and all of a sudden you go from barely having a raid group, to not having a raid group, and not raiding is a TERRIBLE habit for any guild to get into in this mature of a game. Your more desirable raiders will quickly get poached, and who can blame a guild member for not wanting to be in a raiding guild that doesn’t raid?

    A 9/23 man raiding team with no bench is an alarm signal, isn’t it? that’s one major illness and a vacation to hawaii from 7, which is also known as not a raid at all. Benches are hardly the most stable things, so a reasonable flow of people that you can put up with sounds essential to any raid for weathering unavoidable attendance issues from time to time. People might put up with poor progression to be in a fun stable raid that they have a standing spot in, but I would be worried about expecting ANY raider to put up with no raid going on raid night. Maybe that’s just me, but you can’t be on the bench for a raid that doesn’t exist, and if you find you have spots you need to pug for, finding quality people for those is important if you want to still be raiding a couple months from now.


  19. Timmins, I will have a shot at this even though I am but a lowly member of SD and not a raid leader or officer.

    You are right that the reluctance to bring pugs to raids might be frustrating if SD were a raiding guild with a “raid night” and expectations of what we would be doing on a particular night at a given time. But nobody in the guild sees it that way. It is rare these days that a scheduled raid doesn’t go ahead for want of numbers – not least because if it becomes clear that we don’t have numbers, it is no longer a scheduled raid and nobody is sitting outside the door of the raid waiting for people to be pugged. It is almost unthinkable that a confirmed raid wouldn’t go ahead because people don’t turn up – but from time to time people have RL issues come up. In those cases, if a quick guild call doesn’t earth up the required peeps, then the raid heads off to Onyxia or to farm mounts in some instance or other or to race two heroic teams against each other or just otherwise goof around having fun.

    Some people might get frustrated and move on to other opportunities, which is great. Hopefully they find what they are after (ie more consistent raiding and progression) and we maintain our system where everyone can have opportunities to see content together and have fun at all levels of the game. Interestingly enough, those that see eye to eye with us on our guild’s ethos and have reluctantly chosen that it is not for them are often some of those same people Bear refers to on our friends lists who occasionally come along to stuff with us.


  20. Real Life > WoW

    It’s a statement in the SD’s guild charter, on the front blurb of the guild web site, it’s a philosophy that is lived.

    eg: I was offtanking a SD guild Naxx run, my wife was at work, my daughter was on her computer, I had a 4 hour block of time to devote to the raid. Phone rings; the computer system at my wifes work was down with no fix in sight, she needs to be picked up. I quickly explain this in vent, and soz gtg, bbs (20-25 mins). The response was “If you have to go right now, then go man”. I run out of the instance so they could replace me and off I go to get wife rep (she lets me play this game way too much and I do what I can to keep her happy).
    I get back 25 minutes later fully expecting to be out of the run, and wondering if anyone would need a hand in any group quests or something.
    I’m still in the raid group, and there isn’t an 11th.
    What they’d done, I guess, is down the boss we were at with 9 players (dual spec dps stepped into ot I assume), had cleared the next trash and were at Heigan.
    (I suspect they left me in the group and waited at Heigen just to annoy me, as I really don’t like tanking that dance /lol)

    Now what sort of self-respecting raiding guild would do that? (and I’m sure there were more than enough people on to have any number of choices to replace me).


  21. Hello,

    I usually just lurk, but I’ve found these last few posts about managing raids in a casual guild so incredibly useful I thought I’d try to contribute my 2c :).

    My guild is in a somewhat similar situation, we are mostly real life friends who happen to play wow and most of us want to see the raid content. Until very recently we didn’t actually have 10 members with level 80 toons and so we had to pug people to fill in the spots. This brought us both good and bad experiences, but since we always advertise the fact that we won’t be clearing it we usually manage to miss the real asshats.

    recently we had 2 changes in rather quick succession. Basically for about 2 weeks we actually had the people to form up an all guild 10 man, it was great. now we’re down 2 members for the happiest possible reason (they just had a little girl, Yay).

    So, after all that rambling, we’re back down to 8 people that can make it to raids. We talked about it as a guild and decided that rather than go through the hassle of pugging 2 more, we’re just 8 manning the content. it means that some fights, like patch, are basically off limits for us in the meantime. But these runs have been a pile of fun for us.

    Long story short, you may want to consider modifying your Rule #2:

    If we end up one short to fill a raid, and none of us have good, known friends online that can come join us, we won’t go.


    If we end up one short to fill a raid, and none of us have good, known friends online that can come join us, we’ll just go 9 man it.

    All the best and thank you very much for such a fun, informative and well written blog


  22. I’m so glad to have read this article and find a guild that thinks like ours! We have the same philosophy and won’t pug anything (though we are joining up with a guild we know well to do 25man Naxx soon). We have fun, we share loot (still with masterlooter/roll but generally if someone has been lucky, they will pass if others can use a drop), if we wipe we don’t start whining at each other. We had a bad start with the 25 man the other week and the other guild turned out not to be aware of the arrangement, so instead of moping and whining and refusing to do anything, we did 10 man OS.

    We’ve had our ups and downs, people leaving or not being able to raid, but we’re hanging in there. Most of the leavers who had gone for raiding guilds have actually returned, because while they could get more raids, they found those guilds to be ‘cold’ and no fun. So they returned to us.

    Roll on ‘casual’ guilds who raid! There should be more of us, the World of Warcraft would be a much more enjoyable place that way


  23. Ah John, you make me nervous that my guild, Wicked on Malorne, has no hope…we’ve been working toward the flip side–a progression raiding guild that is composed of mature, respectful adults…and it’s hard!!! Finding people to fill that resto shammy/destro lock/shadow priest who knows their class, is committed to raiding, AND is the kind of person most of the guild would enjoy chilling at a pub with is a NIGHTMARE. That said, we just downed the first wing of Ulduar on 25! Ignis DOWN! And, as THE bbb, you’ll appreciate my drood got the sessy tanking trinket. Mmmmm, dodge…


    May you keep having fun killing big things with your friends as well!


  24. BBB, thanks for a wonderful effort here, which I have completely hijacked for my own nefarious purposes. You wrote this just as I was writing up the same type of post for my guildies, so I am now gleefully directing them HERE instead of producing my own work. Nice for a small fish like myself to find a like-minded individual among the blog elite 🙂 Thanks for working hard so I didn’t have to!

    Keep on keepin on!

    – Hawkwind


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