Our guild has struggled with raiding in Cataclysm. I've mentioned it on here before. So we've been scrambling to find solutions. A lot of us are former officers in large guilds, which means we have a lot of potential ideas with a lot of merit. We're facing problems many of us have faced before.
A little background on my guild for anyone who is a newer reader. We have perhaps twelve active people in our guild. Most of us have been playing since TBC (and before), but we have a few Wrath babies as well. We're close knit. We're friends. Most of us have met in real life.
We also only raid for two hours per week. No more, no less. Two shall be the number of the raiding hours and the number of the raiding hours shall be two. Five is right out.
You see, when we coalesced from the smoldering embers of various other big guilds (which imploded as big guilds are wont to do), we had very specific goals in mind. We shared views of where the game stood in terms of priority. A couple people have bowed out over time, and we've picked up a couple more. For the most part, though, we're all on the same page. No one (that I'm aware of) contemplates quitting guild when we struggle. For us, it just means more to get through it together. It's about the people, not the content.
The problem, then, comes when real life starts being uncooperative. Someone has to work late or travel (hotel internet sucks!). Someone's kid gets sick. Storms knock out power, electricity, and internet. A router decides to throw a hissy fit. You pick. With only twelve possible raiders (many of whom live in the same vicinity or even the same house), it doesn't take a whole lot for us to find ourselves undermanned and out of luck. Such has been the pattern for us so far in Cata. For every day that everyone can make it, we have a day where we're missing a couple of people. It's not usually the same people, either. It's this person today, that person tomorrow. We've all been guilty of it. And we've done a great job with finding subs, but that's always a suboptimal route. You simply raid better with the people you know, and consistency helps with learning.
One of the other things we tried was to move our Monday time to Thursdays, in an effort to hit more people. Mondays were bad for a bit. Last night, we went back to Mondays. Thursdays became bad. It seems like every two months or so we have to re-evaluate the raid day due to seasonally shifting schedules. Perhaps we should just accept that that is how it goes.
(Which we are, and our wonderful organization Queen, Jessabelle, has recently gotten us going on a new tool, Doodle, that has really worked well for us. If you're looking for a simple way to poll your members, it's pretty straightforward. And Free!)
In moving the day back, I noticed something. We all seemed more energetic on Monday. We seemed more relaxed, less stressed. We were even short one person and had to call in a late sub. It didn't seem like as big of a deal. When we finally got around to giving Magmaw some good learning attempts, we struggled, but we stuck with it and got him down before the end of the night. There were frustrating moments, sure, but at least to me, it no longer felt like we were just spinning our wheels.
I'm not sure how much is just me. I'm not sure how much of it is 4.1. But I do find myself wondering how much difference the day of the week makes. For us, it seemed like people tended to be more tired later in the week. Since most of us work full time jobs, perhaps there's something to that. A full week certainly takes a toll on people. It may be harder to drag yourself around to face the stress (and there will always be stress) of raiding later in the week.
Mondays can be sub-par because of the reset schedule, but they seem to be one of the better days from a human standpoint. I think it's easier to look forward to on a Monday. I'm not sure why. Perhaps it's just as simple as the usual wear and tear of a week. Or, since Mondays suck anyways, you're already starting low, so it's easier to put a positive spin on wiping. After all, any success at anything on a Monday makes it a good Monday, right?
I do know that without weekends, most of us would probably go insane. Perhaps there is something to raiding earlier in the week then. I'm curious, for those of you out there with multiple raid nights... do you find earlier in the week better?
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