Thoughts on Guilds and Raiding

“Never overestimate the strength of the torchbearer’s arm,
for even the strongest arms grow weary.

― A.J. Darkholme

Two recent articles have piqued my interest. The first is by a blogger named Misdirections who wrote on Burned Out? The second was from the Officer’s Quarters on Blizzard Watch.

In a nutshell, a lot of guilds are having problems in raids. Some can not keep a group together, some are not progressing fast enough and to some, it simply has become a burden to raid. It threatens the guild on some levels. While I don’t see the mass exodus from one guild to the next that I saw in WotLK; I have seen the interest peak and wane.

Misdirection writes:
When I logged on yesterday, I saw that our RL had canceled raids for the week, and that when we get back to it next week we’ll be finishing up some guild achieves for Throne of Thunder rather than doing BRF progression. Not sure why he is doing this, but I suspect he knows we are all due for a break. We’ve been going at it steadily twice a week for three months.

First of all, Misdirection writes a lot more than the above. I simply cherry-picked a bit as an example. Go read it all, please.

This is true for my guild too even though we won’t be taking a break. Has it been six months of this expansion? I’m not sure but we have been grinding it out twice a week; every week.

The column in Officer’s Quarters is also dealing with the same issues. But he also offers some enlightening perspective which I’ll get to in a bit.

I think that we as a WoW community are dealing with a cultural change. Many of us may not have recognized it for what it was or may not understand what it is. I’m talking about the new Pre-Mades and the /flex style of raiding.

Where once, a guild could hold you hostage to your raiding team. To join another group and be locked out of the guild’s raid was virtual treason. The lock-outs are gone. I can run BRF Normal again if I wish (though only once for boss loot) and again on BRF Heroic and again on BRF Mythic. We need time to adjust to this.

We also have /flex style raiding with a TON of carry-over from our experiences in SoO. The difficulty slider; we have a mind set that to go from 14 to 15 will make it extra hard. We are assured my Blizzard that the scaling works now but I can tell you that it does not — I’ve been in raid that was too hard until two people left and it was suddenly easy sauce.

There are people who do no want to pug in the extra three people from Pre-Made into our raid. They’d rather not raid “with strangers”.

I don’t understand why we shy away from big groups. Big groups are fun. I’d suggest that many are way too insecure to lead for fear of failing. Big groups suggest people will be coming and leaving in droves for each boss; does your core group have the guts to sustain that? I have yet to see it.

At base, I think that social guilds do not set a standard nor expectations for raiding. I think also that it is a shock that we can raid with our guild and then join a pug later in the evening for a boss we want gear from. Finally, I think too many people think that the reason we raid is for the gear.

Officer’s Quarter’s had a nice bit of insight:
Also, social guilds need to think beyond raiding. Offering alternative guild activities is a great way to stand out amid a sea of social raiding guilds. Everybody raids, but guilds can do so much more — pretty much anything that people currently use the Group Finder to do. Dedicate a night once in a while to mount farming, rep farming, garrison invasions, achievements, Ashran, or transmog runs. These activities are more fun with players you know.

He is right. We have had such a long history in this game of using our non-raid time to prepare for raiding (mats, gems, enchants, rep etc) that we are still in this rut. Look at our habit of picking herbs and mining in our garrisons! We are following behaviors established for years as a recipe for success that no longer exists.

The crux is Leadership. I often say in guild chat that we need more leaders and I will read “I could never lead a raid”. Our Guild Master fears that everyone will wait until their log on to so something; our guild master does not want that.

We have players. Shy, insecure followers who will come along on any MSV/DS run but would never put it up on the calendar. I would guess that the typical profile of a WoW player does not contain words like Leader, Extrovert, Out-going or Bold. WoW players are smart, funny, have depth with a wide range of interests; but even the leaders are not playing the game to lead others; it should be fun.

We need leaders. All we want is someone who has an interest in something — say transmog. And invite others to come along.

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