What do you do when your casual guild is too big?

Glass half full, glass half empty?


Glass is too damn full!

Okay, joking aside, here is a serious question.

What DO you do when your guild has more active, friendly people eager to do stuff than you have raid or event space for?

Yeah, yeah, I know. Boo hoo. Yuck it up, sunshine.

The fact is, there are two sweet spots for a guild.

One is when you have just the right number of people to field a strong ten person team, plus a few extra folks.

That lets you consistently have enough folks to go on ten person runs, without having to have the same people present every single time for it to work, which leads directly to burnout. If you have two or three more people that want to and are able to raid than you have spots for, generally you’ll have at least some folks that would like to not go on any given night, and they get to do their own thing in the real world without canceling the raid.

The second sweet spot is when you have enough active, eager folks to fill out one 25 person team, or two ten person teams, plus a few more folks again so not everyone has to show up every single time to ensure the run kicks off.

Great. So 13 to 14 eager people, or 28 to 30 eager people.

What do you do when you’ve consistently got 16 to 18?

It seems to me there are several ways a guild could go, and some of them would lead to massive burnout, and others would probably lead to boredom.

First, of course, is simply leaving the folks not on a run to go wild with independant action, trusting that personal initiative will bring them together if they want to do something. Clearly, if they all signed up for a run, they all wanted to do something… and presumably it wasn’t just for raid loot.

Yeah, right.

Anyway, they can go do whatever 5 person instance they want, get their alt on, what have you.

Same as any other night. It’s fine, but theres no special ‘zing’ to it.

Next, of course, is the simple “One 10 person raid team, one multiple person retro team” method.

Once you’ve got your ten person run filled out, if you’ve got that many folks online not going, they could form up together and do something that can take more than five people, but doesn’t require a strongly balanced ten person team.

Something like Zul’Aman, or Kara, or even Molten Core. They wouldn’t be getting the big time raid loot, but they’d still be taking part in something larger than normal, and getting Achievements if they had not done those raids before, seeing something that you don’t normally see on a regular old night. Heck, there might even be the potential for profession recipe drops or mounts.

Third is trying to get a second full ten person run up, pugging in friends to fill out the group.

I’ve said before how our guild doesn’t do that, but if you’ve got enough people that really want to get their raid on, and have enough friends or are willing to risk pugged people, filling out the last spots and giving it a try can be very rewarding… and of course if you are really lucky, might earn you some new friends to run with consistently.

Sure, you could meet new people, find new friends, grow your guild… and come closer to your full 25 person raid if that’s your goal.

But to have a second 10 person run, you also need a second raid leader to get it going and keep the focus, run DKP if you use it, all that kind of thing.

Fourth, is to have two ten person runs scheduled… but not overlapping. A lot of people have multiple characters they could play in a ten person run. It is possible to have two distinct 10 person runs in a week, with no two characters in both teams, but the same player behind some of them.

God, what a prescription for massive burnout that would be!

And finally, fifth seems to me to be the most likely thing folks probably do… take everyone that signs up, form what you can of a 25 person raid, and then pug the rest or pull from friends lists, in the hopes of evaluating these pugged people, recruiting from them more people to join and build your guild to eventually do 25 person raids without any pugged people. Getting your planned 25 peson raid going, accepting long delays in start time once you know how many openings you will end up with and how many people you will need to recruit in from LFG.

I have seen guilds do that, been one of the people pugged in sometimes before, and can tell you firsthand that this is a good way to build frustration, since sometimes you get folks undergeared, unskilled, there are multiple time delays, people bail when they feel things aren’t going they way they like… and your guildies are the ones that have to accept this as the price of getting the raid on.

And if you think that some of your guildies aren’t nursing resentments over it, you’re crazy.

It works, and certainly gains you experience in the fights, 25 person raid loot for gearing up, the whole thing… but if you spend too long doing this without growing your guild to do it in house and have more control over time and skill and the personalities involved, it’s a prescription for guild stress and drama down the road.

I know that for the Sidhe Devils, as our numbers grow and we consistently have more signups than positions, I am growing concerned that we need a solution to this before it becomes a problem.

After all, we’re not going to be doing 25 person runs.

We could see if there was interest in maybe having two nights for a Naxx team, and then one night for Obsidian Sanctum and Vault of Archavon, with the intention being to have folks that can’t go on one getting assured a spot in the other team. That would have the virtue of bringing level appropriate loot into the mix.

In fact, skipping Vault of Archavon and having the Obsidian Sanctum run be intentionally focused on clearing with one drake up might make the challenge exciting enough to be equivalent to Naxx in fun, if not duration.

It’s an interesting situation, though.

The purpose of scheduling events, I think, is to stay fun and vital and be a place where you have the opportunity to do things that you could never do alone, and do those things with friends. But also to provide enough activities thqat everyone has a chance to take part and nobody ends up feeling left out.

Charlie Brown is a sweet kid, but nobody should feel like the outsider that got a rock in his halloween loot sack.

To chase that purpose, things need to be mixed up sometimes, new stuff, different stuff, swirl it all around and have a gumbo.

But there shouldn’t be SO much stuff going on that people either get burnt out doing it all and having no personal time, or you have such a busy schedule that everybody is signing up for something, but no one thing has enough signups to get it done, leading to disappointment.

I’ve said what my thoughts are. I’m leaning personally to having a second raid in the week where people who aren’t on one team can be on the other.

I know that a lot of guilds are in this fix. What are your solutions? How do you keep folks having fun, without leaving people out?

How do you make sure no player is left behind?


18 thoughts on “What do you do when your casual guild is too big?

  1. While I’m no longer part of this guild, my old guild had this issue. We had 30-40 mostly available raiders, but scheduling was a nightmare (I can do TTHF after 9pm, but no Sun after 4pm, etc.). Plus we had a very strict no PuG (inside or outside guild) rule as well as a no-alts rule. We typically ran 1-3 10-man raids for 3 weeks, and then 25-man for a week. And once every couple months we had a week off. The RL would track everyone’s “boss attempts” (each boss was tracked separately) and put them in a chart on the guild’s forum. He’d use that to determine who got to go and who didn’t. Each run had 2-3 subs (it always seemed like at least one sub went).

    We had too many healers, just enough tanks, and very few ranged dps. So, some groups got the shaft more than others, but that was pre-dual spec. So, I’m sure it is far easier now to work out these issues than before.


  2. Our guild has been having the SAME exact issue right now. We recently picked up a member from a guild on our server before it went down, and then when it finally did, it seemed as if our guild was the refuge for skilled members of fallen guilds that still wanted to raid. Our only issue was that we have too many people for 10man and not enough really dedicated players for two 10mans. We already run 25mans via a guild alliance and wouldn’t like to break those ties, so we’ve been in a similar bind…

    Thanks for the possible solution methods 🙂


  3. Just out of curiosity BBB, why are 25man raids automatically off the table? I will agree that co-ordinating a 25man raid is probably 3 times more work than a 10man (not 2.5 times as you would reasonably expect :-)), but given the level of maturity you are rightly proud of in your guild, I think it could be possible for you to run 25man naxx on the casual basis you want from the game.

    My guild was in this position towards the end of TBC, and we tried a variety of methods to solve the problem. The right choice for us was growing the guild to 25man, but I will accept that the additional people in the guild did change the atmosphere. I personally enjoy it, and feel that the extra challenges and fun from running with 25 people is worth the extra effort to organise it, but it is a subjective thing. Whatever you personally decide, blog about it please. For me it will be an interesting read, and I expect it will be outright helpful to others.



  4. I’m a raid leader for our guild, Veritas, on the Moon Guard RP server. We are focused on maintaining our role play while at the same time being progressive in raiding. We’re pretty much at that not-so-sweet spot of 16-18 people who want to raid. When we were in Naxx-10, we ran two teams a week, and filled in the second team with alts of people on the first team. This worked out pretty well, as some of our members really like to raid and don’t mind doing it all weekend. Now we’ve got one team in Ulduar, but we’re having trouble getting the numbers or interest to move our second team into Ulduar. One of the big issues is that if any one person who plays a main and an alt is gone for a weekend, at least one and maybe both teams could suffer.

    My hope is that we can find a few more people, either friends of the guild, or new applicants to fill out 2 ten person raids. So 23-25 people. With Dual specs now, it makes moving people around to different roles based on who is available a little easier, though we always seem short healers. While we have some people interested in 25s, or guilds focus currently is on 10 person raids. Until we can do that though, we just rotate people on a bi weekly basis to make sure anyone who wants to be involved in Ulduar can be. It slows down our progression, but it makes people feel more apart of the guild as a whole.


  5. We have recently gone from mostly being able to field a team of 10 with 1, sometimes 2 extras to being just about able to do 2×10 if almost everyone is available. However, some of our members who have pugged 25-mans in the past before joining the guild are very keen on us doing 25s rather than 2×10. We’ve tried 25 Naxx twice now with friends of guildies filling in the final 6-8 spots and as much as it was a faff to organise (start time delayed by at least 20 mins to find that last person etc), I was surprised to find myself enjoying it – I was expecting it to be stressful and really hard work. (What do you mean I have to tell the other healers what to do? 😉 )

    I am really torn as to what is the best thing to do for the guild as a whole though. We have some people that prefer 25, some that prefer 10 and some that don’t mind either way. We just want to raid for the enjoyment of it, but different people like different things. Sometimes I do get tempted to go join another guild and be just a member and not have to do all this thinking… 🙂

    I look forward to hear how things go for your guild BBB, am also hoping to pick up some good ideas from the comments. 🙂


  6. Really enjoying this series on guild leadership; we are in the same boat as far as a casual guild goes. So casual that our raiding is seriously going downhill, we’ve only did a few hours of naxx in the past month, and each boss is now a struggle as people relearn how to do the fights.

    For us we have retro raids once in a while, and people enjoy those more than naxx. It’s much less serious b/c we all know the loot is 99% worthless. The challenge for these are to get enough 80s to actually play it. And the bosses are still hard. MC is a total joke now, but T5 and T6 is tough with ten people in heroic gear. Its not really the dps that is the issue, its the fact that we are not serious raiders. However i’m really proud of our team that they actually want to learn the strats and do the bosses, and not just faceroll everything.

    Oh, for the record.

    MC – joke
    AQ40 – joke until twin emps, then neigh impossible.
    AQ20 didnt do
    Ony – complete joke
    BWL – didn’t do
    ZG didn’t do
    Kara – joke
    Gruul – joke
    Mag – surprisingly hard, still need the cube clickers.
    ZA – surprisingly hard to get past the door boss! Really need 8,9, or 10 people. (10 is best). However there is alot of gold to make here for teh ZA quests, dont forget the 20 slot bag.
    T5 – Lurker easy peasy
    Vashj – not easy!
    Hydross – should be easy once we get the strat down
    T6 – BT first boss very easy
    Surpremos also very easy

    That’s all we have done so far. A naxx10 group should have no problem on these fights except probably mag.


  7. Heh, to have such problems 🙂

    Have you considered rotations? There might be one or two anchor roles that you can’t swap out, but perhaps the DPSers would consider taking turns, or something like that. In our guild’s heyday we’d do that fairly successfully. It requires everyone to be understanding and agreeable, of course – if people end up resenting it then it can go bad REALLY fast.


  8. We have one officer whose job is to keep track of what player goes to what raids. Then, when we have a zillion and ten people signing up for the same 10 spots, she looks at her lists and says, “Players A, B and C went last week. Player D hasn’t gone in two weeks. Player E and F didn’t go last week. So… player D, E and F go this week. ABC are on the short-list for next week’s run.”

    It works okay, though it is a small headache for the officer in question. And some spots, like tanks and healers… you know how it goes. Either it’s the same tank and healers everytime because no other tank/healers sign up, or it’s a constant juggle between the four healers in the guild. 🙂


  9. The simple answer to you question, is that given the current game constraints, there is nothing you can do that you have not already listed.

    The real answer is a more dynamic grouping structure added to the game. Either in the form of Guild Alliances or new Raid Mechanics.

    Guild Alliances formalized in game with predefined chat channels would come with it’s own management issues.

    The other option I would prefer to see would be removal of the RAID ID as it is currently implemented.

    A Raid Charter would have a Read Master eq. of a Guild Master, Raid Leaders can be appointed and listed on the charter.

    Each Charter has a separate Raid ID.

    When you form a Raid there is an option to assign a Charter to the Raid. It then applies that Raid ID to the current Raid. This number would be stored with the charter and not the player.

    This then frees up any player to participate in any raid if they have the time to go. No more worries about lock outs.

    There are of course issues with then having many people raid the same boss for a week just to get as much loot as possible before moving on. That is where gold comes in.

    Heroic Charter = 100g to purchase.
    10 Man Charter = 2000g to purchase.
    25 Man Charter = 5000g to purchase.

    Each Raid instance would have a different charter requirement, to zone in a charter of the correct type needs to have been applied. For the VoA and Heroics a generic charter applicable to all should be used. There are flaws but it is a reasonable start.


  10. My guild is lately suffering from a member shortage as we have a lot of people facing RL troubles, but there was a time when we were in your boat, and there was even some QQ raised along the lines of “I never get to raid, wah wah”.

    You have a few options.

    The first is to schedule a second Naxx run, on different nights, and see how many guild members and alts sign up for that one instead. Then fill out the numbers of both groups with friends of the guild, pugs if you’re willing to risk it, and so on. This ensures that everyone gets to raid, but it dilutes the experience a bit and the issue of cross-group poaching (or careless members of Raid Group X getting saved with Raid Group Y) can spark amazing drama.

    The second, which you’ve discussed, is to schedule heroic 5-mans or retro raids in parallel to your Naxx raids. Running a string of heroics in rapid fire is actually great fun. With a gutsy tank, strong DPS, and a talented healer, you can blitz through nearly any heroic in half an hour or less. That’s 24 Emblems of Heroism in four hours (assuming three per instance, which is low), more than you’d get from a full Naxx clear. People can use those Emblems to buy epic gear for their mains or Heirloom items for their alts. I know I’m enjoying leveling my Elemental Shaman much more now that he has the Heirloom staff, shoulders, and two trinkets 🙂

    The third, which we ended up settling down with, was to simply rotate people in and out of raid spots, from run to run or even from night to night. Your guild sounds like a group of mature and levelheaded adults who are willing to make some personal sacrifices for the greater good. Make sure that nobody has to sit out for longer than they need to, and make sure that nobody gets preferential treatment – you don’t NEED your guild’s best-geared tank/healer/DPS for Naxx, you just need tanks/healers/DPS with respectable gear and knowledge of their roles 😉

    I wish you the best of luck and hope the Sidhe Devils find the balance they’re looking for!


  11. As far as 25 man content is concerned, if we actually had a situation where we had 25 eager, active players interested in doing it, I would not be opposed to it… because we would all be the same people, and the fights in Naxx at least are a bit easier than in ten man, and the loot overall would be a bit better.

    BUT. Most anyone I talk to in the guild is quite happy NOT doing 25 man runs, because while the loot IS better, the chaos does not lend itself quite as well to casual craziness. It suddenly feels more stressful, because while these ARE all still your friends, somehow having that many more people feels more like business, like no wasted movement or silliness or non-killing activities should be allowed to waste people’s time.

    If you’d like to go there, a 10 man run still feels intimate, while a 25 man would be more of an orgy.

    Just too much going on and too easy to feel like you might miss something you really should be paying attention to, when all you really wanted was some light fun.


  12. Re: Why to do 10- instead of 25-man raids:

    I prefer 10-man runs. I followed my GM into a different guild because she was planning on biulding a solid semi-casual 10-man raiding guild. Instead, she inherited an established 25-man raid guild and quickly fell into old habits (she was one of the 2 main leaders of the #1 Alliance raid guild during TBC).

    I’m still enjoying myself, and can’t complain about the gear (it’s amazing how easy it is to gear up when you are the ONLY Holy Paladin). But I rarely feel like I’m adding to the team in a 25-man the way I do in a 10-man.


  13. Another reason that makes 10-mans more fun for me is purely technological — my computer is fine and works just fine. Any time I run heroic Vault, though, I start getting more lag than while in Dalaran. I can turn down settings and it’s still a challenge (plus, you run the risk of turning things down so much you can’t see things like Grobbulus’ poison clouds, etc). It can be stressful enough just taking down a boss to say nothing of worrying about a laggy computer at the same time.


  14. An annoying problem with kael’thas server is that everyone and their grandmother are recruiting raiders. And a ton of good raiders are going guildless and pugging raids every week- and hardly anyone is running ulduar it seems. I know Essence of Grandeur is trying to bolster our ranks of dedicated raiders and finding people who are committed and want to run seems very difficult.


  15. Well, what we did was generally start up a quick OS run before a Naxx run if we had tons signed up, got people who weren’t really ready for Naxx some gear, or some people whom didn’t really need naxx at all a chance to do SOMETHING that day, then moved on to Naxx itself for a few wings. It worked out relatively well, as we were able to at least get everyone to participate that day. But we’re weekend focused instead of weeknight, so time is a bit more plentiful.

    My guild was pretty much in the same position, actually for probably 2 months we were consistently filling out 2-10man naxx runs, But then Real Life and burnout started hitting us hard. Even though nearly everyone wanted to try out 25 man so no one would get left out and get to consistently play together– went up in smoke. Now we’re pretty much at that point of 12-13 signing up again, which is alright, but kinda painful in that it’s all for Uld, very few people need Naxx anymore and hate the zone, but we need the people who do Uld to do Naxx to get the newer folks up to do Uld… vicious circle. Amazingly though no one has actually LEFT the guild… so they’re where they want to be, which makes me happy, so we must be doing something right.

    Pugging 1-2 if you do gear-checks first and tell them how you plan to handle the zone and ask if that’s alright (ie two-days, 3 hours, whatever) will probably net you a good person. I’ve found it can lead to recruits actually. But I’d encourage it to be a DPS role that you pug– mostly because that’s where the least amount of damage is if someone’s kinda mediocre.



  16. Our guild on Fenris sometimes has this problem. We have all been there Im sure where pugs have been horrible experiences however there are some good pugs too.

    The work around that we use has been to establish a alliance of similar values, goals, outlooks etc. You don’t know this about a guild till you start getting to know different people. Good people tend to be with more like minded folk. I take note of the guild names and I go and do some research on the guild, then if all seems OK (and with the approval of other officers), I open up conversation with Guild Leader/s. I make it clear to them I am not into stealing their players and assure them that we are not going to do this, however we have this issue on our hands, and I lay it on the line about our issue and if they are interested in alliance etc, I give them our website so they can look over things. If all is OK, I arm myself with a set of rules/charter that I feel are fair from my guild and negotiate the rules with the other guild/s (with all officers present). Some of the things you need to discuss for example; If the other guilds player steals loot while on a run with your guild, how/what will the other guild do about this? Cos you want to know whats gonna be done if someone is being a dork. Is the other guild going to help with running a raid? etc. Its important to establish ground rules and expectations from each guild. Each guild should feel that they are all on equal footing with each other and your also building good faith as well.

    For looting in our raids we use Suicide Kings ( this addon has killed off alot of potentially nasty situations). The other guild uses need before greed and this has caused them problems so they are looking at switching to Suicide Kings.

    Now some folk may look at Alliances with distaste however it really depends on how you work it. They have helped our guild members obtain gear for themselves, helped establish some very good friendships and they have helped our players build skills etc. At the end of the day if your a officer of a guild, you gotta do whats best for the guild and try and help them achieve their goals because whats best for them will be good for you too.


  17. We rotate… We have an active 25 man group, but when it comes to the ten mans, only about 15 or so log in each week…. so we rotate. I keep track of who went last week, and I take those that didn’t go this week. Those left out can either hold off and see if there is a spot on a continued day, or they are free to pug for that week. Your guild is casual so it shouldn’t be an issue. Most of my guys are happy to have a break now and again. Good luck figuring it out.


Comments are closed.