Tuesday, January 13, 2009

It's Okay To "Just Say No" Sometimes

As I was reviewing my normal daily digest of blogs, I noticed a theme taking shape today. It seems numerous individuals are using today (or recently) to write about guild raid formation issues. There are a smattering of GM's and officers bemoaning choices that need to be made for raiding and leveling and gearing.

The main point I take from all this blog buzz about guilds is that, right now, there are a lot of guilds struggling to get the raid train going. Whether it be gearing, lack of a class, or just old fashioned drama, people are re-evaluating their approach to raids. This is a healthy, natural part of an evolving game, but buzz worthy nonetheless. While the hardcore raid train has long since left the station, us casual raiders are still just warming up.

As such, I wanted to throw in my two copper on the subject. For reference, I am speaking from the perspective of a casual guild Officer, sometime Raid Leader, and often de facto organizer.

In my time with WoW I have experienced several casual guild pitfalls and have struggled to learn the lessons taught by the mistakes. One of my approaches to life is to learn what you can from your mistakes in an effort not to repeat them. It has served me well in the past, but is not always as simple as it sounds. With that in mind, I've noticed two pitfalls that I believe are avoidable if identified for what they are.

One main pitfall of casual guilds that raid seems to stem from the recruitment process. Often, the desire to raid is so strong that we recruit the wrong people. The emphasis stops being on the person and starts being on the class or player. This, to me, is where the problem begins. Casual guilds have personalities of their own, and they're not for everyone. If you recruit a great player of a class you need solely for that reason, and they don't fit in, drama ensues. Drama which can tear a guild apart.

Instead, we must strive to be patient and look for the type of person that will fit in, that will be happy with your guild, regardless of the class. This may put your short on healers or whatever, but IMO it's far better to PuG that one class than to force a guild down someone's throat. Everyone will be happier in the end.

The reason I feel this is of utmost importance is because this part happens before all the other crap. Before you can decide on loot rules, chat rules, raid times, attendance, all the other things things where problems can crop up... you have to have people. It is the people that make the guild. I would bet you'll have a lot more success with all that other crap if you have good people in the first place. Keep that in mind as you try and prepare your guild for raiding.

Another common pitfall stems from officer/GM burnout. Sometimes, an officer or leader of some type will push so hard that they neglect their own game. They're trying to get everyone organized and ready and geared... to the detriment of their own fun. As officers we need to make sure to share the load of casual raiding. Sure, you may have one actual raid leader, but everyone should try to help out as much as they can. Be it as simple as offering to run some heroics with people to give the RL a night off and help gear the others, or as complex as offering to actually organize the event so all the RL has to do is show up and talk on vent. Whatever you can do helps. Maybe even take the approach of an RL by committee. I know there are nights when I like to lead, and nights when I just wanna concentrate on my messy DoT rotation.

When officers get burned out, they get pissy. This is bad for everyone. We all play this game first and foremost because we enjoy it. If that stops being your reason, you need to think about making a change. Everyone, even officers and GMs, deserve some "me" time. I don't care if you're the Explorer-Loremaster-Battlemaster-Super-WoW-expert-I-have-tons-of-a-cash-and-have-done-it-all, everyone needs a night off now and then to just farm boars or something for no apparent reason.

These two issues seem to be in line with themes I've read about recently and, like I said, I wanted to offer my advice on them. Its not my best writing, but its hard to condense the complicated issues that revolve around casual guild management into a simple post. I think the easiest way to sum it all up is one word: Balance.

There has to be balance in your gaming life. Just like "all work and no play" makes us cranky and dull IRL, we need to strive for a balanced gaming life. Yes, some of it is going to be "work". Whenever you're dealing with other people, their schedules, and their lives, a certain amount of effort needs to be expended simply to not be an asshat. On the flip side, don't be an emotional vampire and drain those around you of energy and enthusiasm for the game. Share the load! Be aware of the effort that officers and GMs put in. Sometimes a simple "thank you" can go a long way to making someone's day.


  1. It is indeed important to have balance within the game and take nights off. Avoiding burnout as an officer is certainly one of the reasons why I'm not 80 yet and have been alt hopping a bit more than usual.

    Our guild is casual and more recently has the numbers, classes, and interest to start supporting the entry into 10mans. However, our struggle right now is helping people get into a different mindset about how those work and what their level of preparation needs to be. (I have been meaning to blog on it particularly after the attempt this weekend.. I'll get to it!) :)

  2. I'll look forward to the post. It is certainly difficult to learn how to work as a team and come prepared.

  3. Thanks for the advice, as you know that I've been going through this exact issue lol.

  4. Yeah, while yours was perhaps the main inspiration, I was browsing the MassiveBlips thing I've been playing with and saw that a lot of similar stories had been "voted up" indicating that there are a lot of people having the same problems right now.