Why raid when you content is on farm?
As summer gets into full swing, we have come upon that time of the year, the time that happens every year, the time of exodus. Now I am not talking about that guild that does a great job at slaying monsters, but the inevitable defeat of a raid via attrition. It is my experience that most of the people that play this game in the upper eschelons of raiding success are younger. They have more time on their hands, less responsibilities, and have grown up in the gaming culture.
This doesnt mean that all hard core raiders are 17-19 year old kids. Our raid is chock full of adults with carreers, families, and lives. However as a generality, most of the hard core raiders are in school and have the time to devote to raiding many days a week for hours on end. Because of this fact, we have a very real issue that crops up around the time school gets out. People go home, they get jobs, they have things to do, or they just enjoy traveling in their free time. Any way you slice it, your raiding corps decreases in size considerablly this time of the year.
As officers, we are forced to deal with this attrition on a yearly basis, and I for one feel that it neve gets any easier. Every year you can prepare a little, hedge your bets a little, or down right recruit too many people so that attrition doesnt hurt you. While there are top end guilds who never have this problem because there is always someone hungry for that raid spot in a guild who has the “Light of Dawn” title, the rest of us are the feeder guilds, the ones who suffer, and the ones who should be planning ahead of time to bolster your rosters to counteract the summer attrition.
How can we fight this phenomenon?
The simplistic answer is ususally the right one, have more people than you need, and when your raiding corps thins out, you can still field raids. Well this is easier said than done, because of the fact that if you maintain a roster which is larger than your raid by a significant ammount, you are going to lose people to lack of play time, feelings of exclusion, and overall dissatisfaction with the guild. The way in which you juggle 30-32 people for 25 spots is an art that few people do well. In order to make everyone feel like they are part of the team, you have to sit people periodically, rotate people in and out, and do a lot more work throughout the day in order to keep people happy.
Wait, you dont do those things? It’s ok, neither do I. If I had to grade myself as a guild manager, I would say that I have earned an A in leadership, an A in communication, a B in decision making, and a D in successorships. Thats right, we at crypt friends are horrible at planning for vacancies. We like things to be normal, consistent, and predictable. What we dont like is rocking the boat, having to make those hard decisions and have those hard conversations which are required to maintain a hard core raid group which will not feel attrition.
What we do is fight fires, we see people leave, and we look for new guildies. What we should do is constantly field new applicants, bring them to the “alt” raid, which should be more of a main raid with some alts in it, and ensure that we never have a night where we sit in the instance and dont have enough people online to play the game we love. Instead, because of the nature of our guild, the casual atmosphere that we promote while providing end game raiding, and the fact that all of our officers dont have every day of the week to dedicate to guild management, raid management, and time online, we have to fight fires.
We recently opened recruiting for all ranged dps, as we lost three hunters, a lock, our boomkin, and a few melee dps. We also lost a tank, but that is another story in and of itself. Because of these losses, and the fact that we were not properly perpared for attrition, we need to fill spots quickly with what we can from the pool of willing players who are looking for a new home.
What can you do to help with the situation?
When you are faced with something like this, a new influx of people if you are lucky enough to have the applicants you are looknig for, you must manage them properly to ensure integration and retention. The biggest problems that you will encounter are one that you can solve and one that you can not. First and foremost, you have to teach them the encounters, what to do, and how you execute fights so that you do not wipe too much. Most of this can be done with mentoring, with class leads so to speak, and a bit of vent communication mid fight. If they are talented and of the caliber which you are looking for to fill your guild, there will be little impact on your clear times, and lack of wipes.
The second and harder thing to do is integrate them into your dkp system. While all dkp systems are flawed in one way or another, some have bigger issues than others. Ours has an inflation issue, Loot councils have issues if the officers are not intelligent, fair, and reasonable, and bidding systems have problems with competition, back handed deals, and artifical inflation. If there was a great system, we would all use it, but there is not.
Gearing up your new recruits is essential to your cause of progression. If you do not gear up your new recruits, then they will not be able to contribute to the raid as much as they should be, and as a result will get carried through an instance. How you do this is the difficult part. In an ideal world, all of your raiders are selfless, not looking for loot as their primary goal, and ensure that the raid as a whole does better. However there is also a loot and scoot worry that one of your new recruits will take three or four pieces of 277 gear and run.
Proper leadership and preparation
All of these issues can not be eliminated, however they can be addressed with the proper preparation, and essential leadership when the time calls. Clear expectations of your new recruits should be set upon entry into your guild. You must tell them what your loot policies, what type of dps you expect them to hold (based off of their current gear), and what type of up front preparation, in game execution, and post game research they should be doing.
If the proper expectations are clear and set at the beginning of their tenure with your guild, they are more likely to perform, or understand when they are not allowed to raid. Set bench marks for your players, and expect them to deliver on said goals. If you can communicate effectively and often with your new players, pretty soon they will be old veterans, and your problems will seem like they were in the distant past….