and BTW, I can't seem to get this to print with proper paragraphs for some reason. I did put them there, but it changes whenever I try and post.
I'll apologize in advance for the wall of text.
Here's my story. I am in a guild that I really like. It's a smaller guild, and the majority of the members are older, mature people. Most are in there 30's and 40's. I truly enjoy the friends that I have made, and we all like playing together. But we have some problems that we can't seem to overcome.
Most of us would like to be more progressive with our raiding. We have cleared Naxx, and downed some of Ulduar (all in 10 man). But for whatever reason, we can not seem to progress further. We have failed at Malygos, Onyxia, and haven't gotten past the Keepers in Uld. This is despite the fact that a lot of our members are "overgeared" for some of these encounters. It seems that often, we have people dying in fires, or not standing where they should be. Or DPS not focusing on the proper targets etc. If it's a mistake that can wipe the raid, we seem to find it. Even after detailed explanations from those of us who are familiar with the fights.
We have also been suffering a desperate tank shortage for a while. Our GM was one, I switched from Ret spec, and became the second, replacing a warrior tank who's comp died and has been away for a while. If that is not bad enough. Our GM (and other tank) passed away suddenly and unexpectedly this past week. Leaving our entire guild shocked and deeply saddened. Being one of the guild officers, I would really like to be able to save the guild, and keep the group together if at all possible. So I'm coming to you all for help.
Here are our biggest problems as I see it. First and foremost, we need to recruit, and retain more members. We have a pretty solid core of 7-8 individuals and probably 7-8 who are pretty reliable. We have tried some recruiting via trade and our website. But we keep running into the same troubles. If we get someone good, they either get frustrated with our lack of progress, or they turn out to be jerks. Either way they often don't stick around. If we get newer/less experienced players, they either get frustrated waiting for their turn on raid night, or they can't learn to stay out of the fire. Again, they don't stick around. We've tried to get enough geared people to establish 2 ten-man teams, and maybe even try 25's, but it doesn't seem that we can reach that critical mass.
The other problem is trying to balance out friendship with the need to progress. How do you tell someone that they are really great to play with, but they are not good enough to raid? Can you teach people not to stand in the fire? Our GM and I often discussed these issues in Vent in the wee hours of the morning, without really coming up with good solutions. Now that he is gone, I feel it may fall to me to figure this out.
Basically, how do I manage to progress enough in this casual group of friends to keep those who want to raid interested (including myself), while not alienating others by excluding them from raids? And how can we go about recruiting and retaining good players with good attitudes?
Last edited by Destrier; 12-18-2009 at 06:27 PM. Reason: can't get to print in paragraph form. I did put spaces in. REALLY.
and BTW, I can't seem to get this to print with proper paragraphs for some reason. I did put them there, but it changes whenever I try and post.
Imo, start little. Don't focus on 2 10 mans, focus on doing 1 10 man first, getting all the content down, and learing how to raid, from there try to branch out to a focus on 25 mans, once you have an established 10 man progress track, it is a lot easier to make that jump to 25 mans.
Also, I'm sorry for y'alls loss, that must really suck.
Post your realm, perhaps there are people on tankspot that can help out. The chances of a tank coming to read tankspot are very good.
We're on the Exodar server.
I wouldn't try and do anything too dramatic this soon, give everyone time to mourn and adjust to the changed line-up a couple more weeks before initiating any new plans or activities.
Clearly, your way of dealing with the issues at hand is to do something, and do it now. This isn't a bad thing as long as you keep in mind others may not be moving at the same speed or through things in the same order you are. That's okay too.
Coming here and researching and formulating plans is good, it keeps you busy as well as planning for your guilds future.
At the top of this section is a link to the Chamber of Guilds, lots of guides and some very knowledgeable people there. One of them is in the process of building a WoW Guild Wiki.
The pen is mightier than the sword.
My Etsy Shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/penlowe
Thanks for the support guys. And yeah, I'm a person who deals with things by becoming active. I don't really think we have to be doing something right away. But I do want to be able to let people know that there is a plan in place for continuing. If that plan doesn't go into action for weeks.....well, that's ok. I just don't want people to start leaving because they think that nothing will get better, or we won't progress.
I don't think our main core is in any danger of leaving, but some of the newer people or those not as firmly entrenched in the guild could be at risk. I mean look at the mindset of the average WoW player. How many times have you seen people bail on Oculus with the new dungeon finder, or leave a pug after one wipe? People want everything to be easy. And I don't think the transition we are in for will necessarily be easy or painless.
I have talked to the other officers, and we seem to be on the same page.
I do appreciate you all letting me bounce things off you, and letting me get some of this off my chest.
What I would do (and am doing, as some of my guild members need a spanking to get moving) is to focus on having 2-3 days a week that you raid.
The people that want to raid should have certain requirements to meet, for example voice communication, deadly boss mods and omen as a minimum to raid. When you have a few members that is interested in that, if youre short some, recruit them. When you have 1 steady 10-man team get naxx10 cleared on a regular basis to get gear if anyone need it, then get into ulduar.
Ulduar IS a good step up from naxx10, but razor, xt and flame leviathan should pretty much be a walkover once you clear naxx10 with relative ease, but also a teaser to get people "hooked" on the raiding and theill soon realize they do need to take their gear somewhat seriously to get more progress..
All the above suggestions are good ones. I would also add do not recruit in trade channel. You tend to find a lot of jerks that way.
Sorry for your loss, the best of luck to you all.
There is something so appealing about backhanding someone across the face with a shield.
As all those that have come before me have said, I also am sorry for your
Make sure that you, as well as folks in your guild take a bit of time to grieve.
While it may only be a game, folks form attachments and having
a guil fixture "suddenly not there" can be jarring.
To help with your raiding situation, take a few small, basic steps:
1) make sure EVERYONE in the raid has either deadly boss mods or bigwigs
2) make sure all dps have OMEN installed as well
3) the raid leader needs to be familiar, or at least have seen the fights.
(the tankspot videos are great for this)
4) understand that it is OK to wipe... as long as your raid group learns
something from the experience.
4a) In progression bosses for your guild, you may want to "designate"
a wipe attempt. The goal of which is for the various groups to see
and understand their roles in a particularl encounter (ie heals look
at incoming damage, tanks look at positioning and how to mitigate said
damage, dps look for "fire" and determine where to position)
5) Have someone keep a combat log and post it to "world of logs" so that
your raiding core can analyze what happened on an encounter.
Sorry for your loss. That must suck and hurt your guild.
My suggestion is like Penlowe but kinda different. You should take a break. Get everyone done mourning etc. Then focus on the easier keepers. Don't try and do Mimiron first or Thorim ( I think there the hardest of the 4. ) I'd go for Hodir first. He's the basic one where you learn lots of raid mechanics. Which makes it easier on Freya then its your choosing for Thorim or Mimiron. Hopes this helps.
You have some real challenges ahead, Destrier. I do not apologize for the following wall of text.
First, I am sorry to hear about your friend. Please extend my (our) condolences to your guild. It is one of the proof positives that this game is substantive, this way we connect with one other, sharing joy and loss.
I recall when I lost a family member suddenly, not long ago. Someone in my guild was able to track down who I was, who had died, where the funeral was being held, and sent flowers. I was floored, to be quite honest. But, I am not so surprised by it anymore; the friendships in game are as real as the people who make them.
Second, you have already tapped what many have found to be the best value in guild leadership and raid management available; this forum and site, and the content contained within. Be thorough in exploiting it.
Lastly, before getting to your questions, you should be aware that the statement “Help me save our guild” is structured to put the lion’s share of the effort and time on your shoulders. I am not saying that is a bad thing, or impossible, but that you should be aware of the time commitment and effort that cause will generate.
So, let’s get to the content of your questions. I see three issues you can combine your questions into: Who’s the GM? What’s the guild focus? And, what methods will you use?
Who’s the GM? I know, this is a raw issue, considering your loss. For now, be friends, of course. Play the game, hang out, listen to each other. When it does come time to brainstorm solutions to the issues you brought up in your post, a precursor to making decisions will be deciding how they will be made and by whom.
Once a decision making process is in place, a collective guild focus is a good place to start. Guilds that lack a clear focus find themselves struggling with the issues you describe, in perpetuity. The best way I, and others, have found to articulate a clear focus is by means of a charter or mission statement. Additionally, a good charter defines what methods you will employ to maintain the focus. Those three – Leadership, Focus, and Methods – paint the broad brushstrokes. Now let’s look at some details.
You say “most of us would like to be more progressive with our raiding.” If that is the case, then it would not be wise to hold back raiding progression in an effort to not exclude anyone from raids. This is simple math – go with the majority. If a minority is holding back the majority from accomplishing their clearly articulated goals, the minority must sit. Easier to do with a mature group, like you mentioned, but still, not simple.
Who is to sit? This is where raid leadership shines, or farts, and determines whether a raiding guild can sustain or not. Your raid leader must be aware of exactly where success and failure are occurring. This takes thorough knowledge of all fight mechanics, strategies, and boss abilities (and the more class abilities you know, the better), but even more: download the World of Logs client (PC only – boo) or Wow Web Stats, or at the very least Recount. These combat logs record and illustrate hard data that everyone can learn from by identifying who simply is or is not accomplishing what they must for group success.
Teaching and Recruiting were your final issues. Your statement “Can you teach people not to stand in the fire?” is problematic because it depends on an individual’s learning curve. A better way to phrase the question is “Should you teach people not to stand in the fire?” This is for your leadership to decide. Pro: perhaps they’ll learn and be quality raiders. Con: you will spend X amount of time per person stalling progression until they learn, risking alienation of already quality raiders. Up to you.
Lastly, Recruitment is an on-going issue with every guild. From the tiniest startup “paying 5g per signature plox” to hardcore cutting edge guilds advertising on this site, they all spend periods of time looking for more. Accept it, plan for it. There are good posts on this site that outline strategies for recruitment. And, this is a good point to end on: you ask, “how can we go about recruiting and retaining good players with good attitudes?” Get the broad brush strokes in place – Leadership, Focus, and Methods – iron out the details, and, in time, the gaming enjoyment dividends earned will nearly solve the issue of recruiting and retaining.
Good luck my friend. You’ll need it. Seriously, wishing you the best!
Bastion | US | Medivh
Thanks to all for the kind words, and the advice.
I feel a little like I need to clarify. I'm definitely not bucking for the GM spot. In fact, our late GM's wife also plays, and I think that honor falls to her. Understandably, she has not been on much the past few days, but I did get a chance to talk to her this morning and she seems to be coping as well as can be expected.
But, like has already been stated, I deal with things via some sort of action. I would desperately like to see this group stay together. We have some quality people. And I have made some dear friends through the game. We have already had an in-game memorial to our fallen comrade. We sent flowers to the funeral. One of our members even created a video tribute which is just awesome to see.
I know that in stating my question that way, I'm painting the bullseye on me. Maybe this is my way of coping. But, I also seem to be the one in the guild who is starting the discussions about where we go from here. My role, as I see it right now is in support. I want to get things done. I'm willing to put in the work, and I'm also willing to be the heavy if that role needs filling. But I also realize that I don't have the temperament to be the leader of this group. I'm too easily frustrated, and I don't forget easily those that wrong other members. I'm not nearly diplomatic enough for it either. I was our off-tank, and really, that's the role I enjoy for the guild as well. I don't need the glory, or the recognition of leadership, but I'm fairly good at helping get things done that need doing.
Many have said to avoid trade as a route for new recruits. I tend to agree with this. However, what are the alternatives? Tell me how you guys manage to find good, quality members, that not only contribute to raids, but are also good people in the end.
Oh, and as a funny side-note. When I decided to become a tank, and needed good sources of info, it was our GM who pointed me to this site. I only recently joined, but I have spent countless hours here reading, and it has made me a better tank. So thank you all again.
Last edited by Destrier; 12-20-2009 at 10:32 PM.
You need to say this to your guild/ collected officers.
You are definitely officer material.I know that in stating my question that way, I'm painting the bullseye on me. Maybe this is my way of coping. But, I also seem to be the one in the guild who is starting the discussions about where we go from here. My role, as I see it right now is in support. I want to get things done. I'm willing to put in the work, and I'm also willing to be the heavy if that role needs filling. But I also realize that I don't have the temperament to be the leader of this group. I'm too easily frustrated, and I don't forget easily those that wrong other members. I'm not nearly diplomatic enough for it either. I was our off-tank, and really, that's the role I enjoy for the guild as well. I don't need the glory, or the recognition of leadership, but I'm fairly good at helping get things done that need doing.
The fact that she's just lost her husband alone is good enough reason to NOT saddle her with GM power unless it's in title only. At the same time it would probably be nice to offer it or even make an arrangement letting her know that you'd like her to be GM but understand she's probably not up for it right now and pick someone to hold the spot in proxy.
As to the last bit about recruiting, it's an ongoing process for all guilds. Post to your realm forums, post to the WoW forums, have links to your guild, get someone in guild to donate & post here. For a long time one of the best way to recruit was to PUG, form a group of 3 or 4 guildies and PUG that last slot or two, chat, be friendly, use your vent & invite the pugger in*, say "thank you" after a good run, let them know you are recruiting in a casual manner "hey we always could use a good tank, if you know anybody looking for a new home look us up" (you can even macro that ). Those who like what they experience will remember you, if they are looking for a new home they will seek you out.
* best to have one public channel to share with the pugs or change the password frequently.
The pen is mightier than the sword.
My Etsy Shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/penlowe
Everyone's expressed their sorrow for your loss so i'll just focus on answering your questions.
Slow/stupid players (lets call it as it is - they are lovely people but not thinking in raid)
I had the same problem. A few lovely guildies who were keen to progress and would turn up on time but not quite connecting with the raid. I started sending themto watch the Tankspot videos for 3 ulduar bosses. if they hadnt watched them, i'd send them their before we continued the raid. I'd also think of one or two key tactics the video shows to see if they had watched it. If they couldnt answer it...back there again. It got people used to thinking instead of listening to the RL explaining everything in minute detail. They DO get better this way and once they click they become awesome
Its just plain hard but dont bother spamming over trade channel. its a waste of time and rarely do you get a good guildie from it. Start some pug raids with a few of your better guildies. Within the raid you can see if some people are good or have the personality vibe you're looking for in your guild. Send them a /w afterwards and say 'Great raiding with you. if you ever trying out our guild let me know' or 'Great tanking/dps/healing mate. Want us to shout you if we ever get an available slot in our next raid group?'. That way you can build up a rapport with them and maybe get a fresh recruit. We've done this a few times with my guild and had built up a list of 'Friends of the Guild' who we would /w if low on numbers. Most of these guys end up joining the guild as they make friendships within it over time.
Now, most important you..
You seem dedicated to sorting things out but i noted you can get frustrated easily. Keep an eye on this as this can lead out to a weird burnout i've seen a few times on wow which i call Raid Rage. One thing leads to another and before you know it your blood is boiling and you say 'F*&$ it, i'm not doing this anymore' and either leave the guild, turn of the pc or fling it across the room'
Make sure you are not shouldering the whole burden of attempting this. If someone is willing to do most of the work then people generally are happy to let them carry on.
Be clear regarding who is doing what. For example, I hate it when guilds have a 'recruitment officer'. All officers should actively try and recruit.
Just remember that forming and running a raiding guild is hard work and there is a big mountain to climb. Keep a clear head, be patient, know its 2 steps forward and 1 step back (sometimes 1 forward and 2 back) and a calm voice always wins the day.
Keep in mind that being GM can be an incredibly stressful job. As the figurehead of the guild, people tend to barrage you with questions the second you log in, and you have to put a lot of effort into maintenance of things within guild. Most of the time in our guild, we've had GMs that start off strong, then get burned out quickly from the stress, and eventually stop playing normally at all. Eventually they pass the mantle onwards. Right now is possibly the first time in the last 3 years or so we've had a GM that plays regularly and shows to every raid.
That said, being GM might just be too much extra stress for the old GM's wife on top of losing her husband. That's of course up to your guild and her, but don't try to insist that she take it, because it's not a job everyone wants. In fact, few people do seem to want it. I've turned down officer several times in my guild because I've done the officer thing before, and it's just more work than I want to put into my primary source of recreation. I help out however I can, and I am a raid leader. I contribute to group buffs, fish feasts, flasks, materials for the gbank and everything, but having that title, whether officer or GM, makes you a target for all the discontented in the guild.
One thing that didnt come to mind when I posted the first answer..
Structure. You should have a solid sturcture of officers that can take GM responsibility while the GM is unavailable for whatever reason.
This goes for everything from mundane tasks to the crappy job of removing someone from the guild if need be.
A couple of words that stand out as red flags to me as a GM of a raiding guild are "casual" and "friends", which I will address respectively.
It seems almost inescapable to continue to address the “casual vs. hard-core” discussion when it comes to these matters. Suffice it to say that I am convinced that “casual” and “raiding” are mutually exclusive terms.
Put crassly, it’s akin to saying you want to be a “smart but unintelligent” person. Moreover, what you are experiencing in the context of raids is directly related to a casual approach to raiding and is directly related to your concept of having “friends” in the guild.
Now, does this mean that relationships won’t be tight, deep, and personal in your community, your guild? Absolutely not! One of the values of our guild is indeed “Community”. We’re more than “friends” on a lot of levels.
Perhaps it is because I have a lot of military personnel that we operate on a relational level a lot like a military platoon would feel toward one another. Put simply, the reason we push others to know their class, know the fights, come to raids absolutely prepared, and each night play their A game, is out of a profound respect for the other brothers and sisters of the community (which incidentally is another value of our guild – “respect”).
If I refuse to learn to cope with an encounter mechanic (like staying out of fires), then, in essence, what I’m saying to my fellow guidies is “I don’t care about you and I don’t respect you, your effort, or your time”. This is something we absolutely do not tolerate in our guild. Period. How can someone claim to be your friend and treat you so egregiously?
Everyone in our community plays WoW for fun, believe it or not! However, our idea of fun is downing bosses, getting sexy loot, and progressing – not wiping due to being ill prepared or silly and repetitive mistakes. Does that mean we berate people when they screw up? No. We simply point it out, ask them to improve, and move on. If they are unwilling or unable to improve for some reason, they simply aren’t good for our community.
As a leader and potential GM of your guild it is your responsibility to cultivate this kind of culture among your community. It’s a brutal and often thankless job, but it’s one I personally love, find challenging, and rewarding.
You have a tough road ahead of you my friend if you want to sustain this guild because it appears that you’re going to have to transform the culture that has existed in the community for some time.
This is not an impossible task. However, in light of your GM’s untimely death, I might make one suggestion if you are really interested in leading and/or forming a raiding guild. I encourage you to reform the guild. If you want to honor the GM somehow in the reform (say name the guild after him, etc.), I think that would be an outstanding idea. Take the people who really want to be in a raid guild, start anew, and go from there.
I wish you great fortune in whatever path you choose.