Alright, looks like it is Tuesday which means we can take a look at the what is going on with the Raid Project! One thing I would like to go over is a few concerns that were presented to me about doing a very open and public series on organizing a casual PVP guild into a PVE raiding guild. First let me put to rest your concerns. This is planned to be done in a very tactful way that will not make anyone feel negative or bad about theirselves or the guild as a whole. As I have stated in private conversations, I founded MAS with my friends, but I have put a lot of time and work into MAS and I would never do anything to make the guild or any member appear in a negative light. So now that we have addressed that, let us look at what has been accomplished!
Well, for the first week (and because it was really short notice) I set my sights on the Spider wing. We organized and grouped up with a Paladin and Death Knight sharing tanking duties depending on the boss and what skills may be best utilized. Our healers were myself on Ruhtra (Holy Paladin), my wife on her Paladin, and one of our Shaman. The rest of the raid consisted of two Hunters, one retribution Paladin, a Mage, and a Rogue. I would love to say that we one shotted everything, but that would be a lie. What we did was take our time and teach the members of the raid how to work together and how to take each boss down. I am proud to say that we cleared the Spider wing with a little bit of effort. Was there any raid wipes? Yes, we did wipe, but it was expected since quite a few people had never been in Naxx yet. We were feeling pretty good and I had a little bit of time left and our tanks wanted to show the guild the first boss in the Military quarter. It was a bit of surprise that we actually took down Instructor Razuvious (parden the bad spelling) to under 10% on their first attempt. We did call the run after this and unfortunately we were unable to get everyone together later in the week for another shot in Naxx.
So week two came and once more we had our two tanks on and ready to go. My wife had to work this week though, so myself and our Shaman decided to heal it with just the two of us. We had a couple different folks in the raid who had not yet been in Naxx, so we decided to hit the Spider wing again. We did encounter some wipes yet again, but as a lot of folks are still learning about raiding in general, we expected it and it was no big deal. (I just had to hit the dailies and put a little better selection of gear up on the auction house to pay my repairs.) I was very proud as once more we cleared the Spider wing. This time we decided to show them what the Plague Quarter had to offer. I will admit that the DPS stepped it up a notch and we one shotted the first boss and cleared through to Heigen (again please forgive the bad spelling) where we proceeded to wipe. I will give the guild credit as by the end of the Heigen encounter, several of them were beginning to get the dance down. It was getting late and the spirits were beginning to dip, so I decided it was a good point to call the raid for the night. Once more we suffered from lack of attendance for the remainer of the week and did not make it back in.
So, this is the part where I share my thoughts on the runs and where I see the biggest issues that face us (and I am sure others). My biggest concern at this point is that if the guild truly wishes to become a raiding guild, there will need to be a much higher level of commitment in regards to showing up for the raid. I have not harped on this to folks because I realize that they have chosen the casual guild atmosphere over a true raiding guild mentality that is sometimes more like a boot camp drill sergant than a raid leader. So my delimna then becomes, how do we get around this?
Well, the first step I see is finding out who the core members are who show up each week. I would say that for MAS, we are pretty strong because we have around five to seven members who are on and show a strong desire to raid. Now along with these members we also have some members who want to raid but are hampered by their everyday life. (Hampered is a bad choice of words here, but it the only thing that comes to mind....sorry.) Now we cannot plan a schedule around these individuals as they really are unable to commit, the trick is making sure that if they are on, that we try to rotate them into the raid at the first opportunity. I successfuly did this during our week two run, which brings us to another thing that any raid leader needs to be aware of, which is the alts of current raid members, as well as duel specs. In this case we had a tank log on who is a solid player. We were able to have our Death Knight switch his spec to a DPS build and bring in the tank.
Now the other thing I noticed that will be an issue that I can see arise in the near future is that of the newly turned 80's. We have a lot of members who just recently hit level 80 or are very close to hitting it. These individuals have expressed a lot of desire to run the raid content, but are not geared properly for this. The trick here is to not offend them, but to be honest with them about what they need to do and where their character should be at in order to raid. Now it is rough for any one person to know everything about every class, so rely on your officers or raid assistants for this. If possible, try to take one of the undergeared members with you. I know this sounds extremely wrong; however, what we need to remember is that with the right group you can clear Naxx with less than 10 individuals, so having one undergeared person will not sink the raid. However, make sure they understand that their priority level for gear is going to be much less than those who deserve to be there. It has shown, at least for us, that people are happy to go and often times gear will drop that they are able to pick up because no one else needs it.
The second thing this does beside giving a little raid experience and possible gear to someone, is create some excitement for the newly turned 80's that they will get a spot in the raid. This has led to some people working a lot harder on their characters in order to earn their raid spot. Sometimes, this may not be evident to everyone in the guild, but as the guild leader you tend to get a lot of whispers from people who want to tell you about their stats. Now sometimes this is for approval, but more often than not it is a way of saying, "hey, look at how well I am doing!", which is great. As a guild leader (and default raid leader for now), I love seeing members of the guild out there working on gear and trying to improve their own characters and play styles.
It is exciting to me to see people begin to experience the game content that they really want to see. It is even more exciting to be able to do it as a guild. I remember back when the guild made our first attempts at Kara. We did not have enough members on and ended up having to pick up some fill ins. This led to seom really bad experiences with people in the guild and some hurt feelings. Time heals all wounds though and so far we have been able to field full guild runs and that is great. In all reality when our active members hit 80 and so long as our current group of players stay with us, there is no reason that some day we will not be discussing organizing 25 man content. However, that is a dream of mine for the guild, so we will not put pressure on anyone for that. Instead we will just kick back and enjoy spending some time with friends online and downing some bosses that are still somewhat relevant.