Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Raiding casually, guild growth and other meanderings

Raiding Background
Raiding is a part of Wow that I really enjoy. Pre-TBC I was in a small guild without the numbers to form its own raid so I found myself a regular pug raid. I started doing Zul Gurub, Molten Core and AQ20 a few months

before TBC came out and really enjoyed the challenge.

Once I made it to Outlands I was very keen to find a group of like minded people to guild and/or raid with. Due to the levelling to 70 thing the people on my friends list that I had regularly grouped with changed a lot as people levelled at different speeds. These days my friends list is made up of a different bunch of people than from the old 60 days.

As soon as we hit 70 Em and I started thinking about how we could get into some regular raiding. We are Aussies playing on a US server (Feathermoon) so this presented a challenge for us in terms of finding groups that would be raiding at times that we could make it. Our little guild composed mainly of Australians had shrunk further due to many of the former regulars going inactive so we started looking for a new home.

Emelin had a good friend who he had done some instancing with who was looking to grow their guild and start raiding. So we both joined up. At the time I think there were maybe 6 active players in the guild, including us!

That was approximately a year ago. Since that time the guild has grown to about 51 accounts of which around 44 are 70s.

We started our first Kara raid in about June last year. Fast forward to today and the guild is running regular Gruuls, Magtheridon, Karazhan and Zul Aman raids. The 25 mans are composed of majority guild members with some non guild regulars.

Guild Structure
The main aim of our guild as I've stated in another post is to keep things simple. There are no requirements to attend a set number of raids, the most hard core we get with loot is using master looter in the 25 mans with a 'loot policy' in terms of rolling which is outlined in our forums. We have a guild master of course but no official 'officers'. Our GM has the final say on any decisions. The guild functions because it is made up of people who want to raid and several of whom are willing to take a leadership role in organising and running them. I'll take a moment here to give those people a big thank you! Forum participation is encouraged but not mandatory. Basically if you participate in the forums you get an opportunity to be part of the decision making process but if you're happy to roll with decisions without imput then that's fine too.

We don't have any official recruitment application or anything like that at the moment. Perhaps we will in the future. If we run an instance or a raid with someone who would be a good fit we let them know that they would be welcome to join our guild if they were interested. That's all.

Casual or not?
I've read a few blog posts recently talking about guild structure, recruiting, guild growth for raiding progression and how casual raiding is defined. It's really interesting reading different views and I recommend checking out the following posts:

Big Bear Butt Blogger:
Guild growing pains
All about the impacts of growing your guild so as to further progression

The Egotistical Priest:
New Kids on the Block - Part 1 of 3 - Shout Out to the Newbies
Part 1 in a great series of posts about what it's like to have or be new people in a guild from all perspectives.

Of Teeth and Claws:
Building a Raiding Guild and

Beroth the Hunter:
Building A Raiding Guild: View from the Cheap Seats
Complimentary posts from 2 members of the same guild talking about the impact of and rationale behind changes to guild make up and requirements in order to aid progression.

World of Matticus: Structuring Your Casual Raiding Guild
Matticus shares the way his guild is structured and how their raids are structured plus his thoughts on what is required for success.

What reading all these views leads me to think is that as a guild we are doing pretty well for ourselves considering how loose we keep things. I'm not sure if we could be called a Casual Raiding Guild. I think we qualify and by Matticus' definition we do but other definitions I've heard say no. I don't think it really matters. The main thing is that we are having fun and progressing.

I'd rather progress slowly and keep having fun than race for a first only to burn out on the game. But everyone's different. Perhaps the amount I raid and/or play could be considered hardcore?

Right now my raiding schedule is looking like

Gruul/Mags: Approx 4 hours Saturday afternoon
ZA: Approx 4 hours Sunday afternoon
Karazhan: approx 2.5 hours x 2 or 3 nights a week

I think the key factor is: I am under no compunction to attend. I raid because I like it not because it feels like a chore. I hope it stays that way.


Typhoonandrew said...

Raid progression for casuals is often seen as a headache, and thats because the people involved in the discussions may not realise they are not casuals.

And perhaps its because we only have two popular types of players: casuals and hardcores.

So the folks who don't accept the casualness of the game, are another breed - they're the "Softcore Players". Not intense enough to be hardcore, but certainly more than a casual would like.

And all of these types have a huge range of dedication and need. Without this understanding is like saying you only have two shades of grey: white and black.

I'm a player, and as such I have complex needs that WoW meets and many more that it does not (food, home, family, work, etc).


If you have to explain why you're not hardcore in more than one sentence; you're talking to a softcore or hardcore.

If it starts an argument or takes 15 minutes, you're talking to a hardcore.

If you grief somebody for non-attendence you are hardcore (and a wanker).

If you have sacraficed a good time out of game for WoW, then you're at least softcore. If you didn't view it as a sacrafice, then you're hardcore.

And if fun is more important than any of these questions; then you're casual. In which case I'd like you to consider finding a great casual (not softcore) guild on your sever, or join ours.

We're out there, and we're totally devoted to skilling a system DKP for a laugh, and love our quality of lifes as much as WoW.

Now get back to raiding...!

Eszti said...

From my background as a hardcore, competative, end-game raider pre-TBC, I'm definitely of the opinion that the Drunken Badgers are casual, if only because they're definitely not hardcore.

In my mind, hardcore has always referred to a very regimented raiding schedule, with mandatory raid attendance (which also dictates that your raiders remaind pretty consistent week to week, with designated alts in the sidelines), structured and clearly defined loot rules, a definite hierarchy, and a strong unwillingness to do things differently. By that, I'm going to offer in contrast a casual raider's willingness to take someone that fills a specific role (a healer is a healer, whether it's a shaman, druid, paladin, or priest) or new group compositions, while a hardcore raiding guild insists that a certain number of people with specific builds be present in order to proceed or else the entire process gets thrown out of whack.

Unfortunately for me, I like elements of both styles of raiding. Hardcore raiding has its own benefits:

* I love the progress with hardcore raiding guilds; there's no feeling like knowing you're doing things that other guilds can only dream of one day doing.
* I love the fact that many of these guilds have somewhat strict raiding requirements. If you want loot, you make a commitment to coming every week; if your schedule means you'll only be here half of the time, don't expect to be a main. This means less hassle in filling slots week to week due to people not showing, which typically results in more boss attempts.
* From experience, due to things like HPS/DPS or performance requirements, these raiders tend to be very knowledgeable about their classes and know what they're doing. In other words, if you can't perform to the level that your class leader thinks you should, you'll lose your slot. While there's always the token girlfriend or neophyte raiding friend of the raid leader, this keeps down the amount of people who don't contribute at all but are there for charity epics.

On the other hand, casual raiding offers its own set of good things:
* In general, they're much more relaxed. Chatter happens, but it's not frowned on as long as you're doing your job and not interfering at a time when it could affect the outcome of a fight.
* These raids tend to be more forgiving if you miss the occasional raid due to real-life issues. I actually lost a slot in a raid with my hunter when I missed a raid because a hurricane went through my town and I lost power for three days. This is despite the fact that I had informed the raid leader by phone so that he could arrange a replacement with a sub.

My priest's current 25-man raid is a blend of both. Unfortunately, we've reached the point in raiding that being so casual has nerfed our progression. We have people in our raid that can't perform their class roles adequately, which prevents us from succeeding in new content; however, we can't lose them because they're friends and they've been with us for a long time. Sporadic attendance results in having to spend time filling important slots week to week, reducing the amount of time we could be spending doing boss attempts. The lack of progression has resulted in many of our more hardcore members (myself included, at least in part) to wonder if it's time to find a raid more appropriate to our raiding preferences.

It's a hard balance to maintain and it'll be interesting to see how Drunken Badgers proceeds and handles it in the future.

As an aside, I think you just had a weird recruitment attempt, miss Jez!

Typhoonandrew said...

@ Eszti - nope, not looking to steal Jez from the badgers; I was talking to the reader as "you" rather than Jez herself.

Jezrael said...

More accurately I'm trying to steal Mr Typhoon for the Badgers!! Server transfer FTW!

Good points there Eszti. I don't think skill is only the province of the hardcore raider though. You are forced to learn quicker when raiding at a hardcore level but I think that us Badgers have pretty high expectations of our raid to play their class well, but we're more forgiving if you are still learning. I'd say because fun > progression.

It will be interesting to see how the DB way stands up to future progression I agree.