Monday, March 24, 2008

Our first foray into SSC and how the guild got there

Over the past month or so the Drunken Badgers have been preparing to start raiding T5 content. This has meant a few changes in our generally casual style of play. I've written before about the fairly lassez faire approach to raiding we've had in the past. Attempting and failing on Magtheridon was ultimately the writing on the wall for us. It was not so much a gear check as it was a teamwork/experience check and as a result we instituted some changes that I guess make us more your 'serious raiders'. The changes included:

Instituting a loot system
After much discussion in the forums we chose to go with Suicide Kings as from our research it appeared to meet our needs the best, be simple enough to use and be mod supported. Our raid is composed of both guild members, out of guild regulars and the odd subs. We needed a system that would reward regulars without disadvantaging subs too much but which also wouldn't result in the chasm between the two which is a problem of the DKP style systems. We trialled Suicide Kings in the last few Gruul runs and have found it works well.

Firmer leadership structure and tougher raiding requirements
Getting more serious means more work. It also means being tougher on performance and the gear required to join the raid. Therefore a raid performance monitor role was assigned to observe the work of the raid and identify weak points. Any issues identified are then referred back to a more senior member of the raid who is the same class as the person who needs some guidance. The requirements for raiding were also tightened up - gear, enchants and consumables all became more important considerations.

Stepping up recruitment
We also decided to get more serious about recruiting regulars and therefore a recruitment officer was assigned and posts were made in appropriate places about joining the raid.

Formalising raid sign ups
To date we had been using the forums and in game chat to line up people to come to the raid. Subs generally had to be online 15 minutes before go time in case a spot became available. This was tough on the subs and also often delayed raid start times if we had trouble finding the final few people required if we were down on numbers. We have now started using the mod Guild Event Manager and require players to subscribe to a particular raid event no later than the Tuesday prior. This makes it much easier to organise subs if needed.

It's funny really, I think some people thought that introducing all these changes would put people off of raiding with us. I would argue the opposite. It's been my experience both in other games and in real life teamwork/management situations that putting some structure and rules in place means that people feel more comfortable - they know you are serious about what you are doing and they feel more comfortable knowing the structures in place. Humans are funny like that. Since we've made the changes we have a firmer group of regulars with more people applying to join the raid all the time.

And this weekend we stepped into Serpentshrine Cavern as a raid for the first time. We were all prepared with flasks and elixirs and pots and food and bandages and ready for massive amounts of repeated painful death.
First cab off rank was Hydross. Most people entering SSC for the first time apparently skip Hydross and go straight for Lurker. That's not the badger way. He was there so let's give him a shot. So we did. And downed him on the second try. Yup. The. Second. Try. We were justifiably proud of ourselves. First time visit and we nailed the sonofagoat. This is in no small part to the work the tanks and off tanks did in getting their frost and nature resist gear together.

Full of high spirits we boogied on over to Lurker. Finally yes finally my 372 fishing skill came in handy hehe. It turned out that Lurker was the more difficult of the fights for us as everyone got used to jumping in and out of the water for spout. We got him in the end but it was on the 7th attempt. Still and all 2/6 SSC on our first visit? Stoked!

And to add to the awesomeness of that experience yours truly picked up a nice new chest piece. WOOT!!!

Next week we are hitting up Tempest Keep as we plan to alternate between SSC and TK week to week. Will be interesting to see if we fare as well in TK as we did in SSC and whether we can keep up the roll in SSC. Leo we're coming for you!

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