Blending "casual" with progression...

Posted by Weezzii in ,

Another topic over at World of Matticus caught my attention.
In this reader submitted topic, Sydera (a writer on WoM) responds to Adam, an individual having problems with his "casual raiding guild."
Adam wrote:

"So, as a mixed minority I hate generalizing… but I seem to be having a problem in my guild concerning ::duhn duhn duhn:: DPS classes. Tank/Healers tend to enjoy their positions and willingly choose to do them. They read strategies, the seek out gear upgrades in their free time, they put effort into the game. As of late the DPS classes have been showing up expecting amazing loot without wanting to work for it...

...Our guild is sizable enough to be running 25 mans every week, but the DPS classes aren’t pulling their weight. None of them will run Heroics to get their own gear, they expect as many drops as the people who have put effort in… none of them read boss strats so I’m forced to review every boss fight beforehand and we still wipe.

I KNOW things can be better because when our “best” do 10mans (just for the hell of it now, no one needs the gear) we can clear everything in one shot with 2 healers (myself and a Resto Druid). Hell, I’ve seen PUGs do better in 25mans than some of my guildmates.

The problem, then, is two-fold:

a) If I don’t let the sub-par DPS into the raids we won’t have enough for Naxx25. No matter how good the rest are you can’t clear it with 15 people. And in a lot of cases the bad DPSers actually hinder our performance (ie putting Grobbulus clouds in awful places, failing to make the jump on Thaddius and then rushing into the fray with an opposite charge, etc).

b) There are a lot of 2 or 3 friend groups within my guild. One is a good player, but he wanted his friends to come along too. They suck, and I can’t say no to them without the good player being hurt, etc. And when I say suck, I’m talking people in 50% Naxx10 or better epics doing 1,000 DPS. I’m not kidding. I did that at level 70 with my Priest in shadow and we currently have a few mages and warlocks consistently performing under the 1,500 mark with full raid buffs.

Recruiting isn’t helping much. I don’t get many people expressing interest in joining and the ones who do message me aren’t exactly cream of the crop. Am I screwed? Should I take my ten best players and start from scratch? Should those ten and I try to merge into another guild? I’ve led guilds since level 60 and I usually have a good idea how to proceed. Right now I’m at an absolute loss."

My post below this point is in partial response to Sydera's article about this -- which if you're at all interested in this topic, you should read because it's very good. It can be found here: - link -

The essence of this problem and answer really only hits home to a small percentage of folks out there. It's a great question... along with it a great answer from Sydera.
There's a couple of small things I'd like to offer a slightly different perspective on, being that this is one of those "there is no black and white - only gray" type of situations.

I'm a GM of what I would consider a "casual raiding guild." In most cases I would agree that the principles behind such guilds are exactly as stated in this article... and I would also agree that in most cases they are mutually exclusive.
BUT, they certainly do not have to be.
One thing to think about in creating/leading a casual raiding guild is that "casual" does not have to mean "sloppy," though normally it does.
As a matter of definition, I think a casual raiding guild is a guild that does not raid as frequently as a "hardcore" raiding guild. It's a light schedule... 2 nights a week for our guild. Simply because we raid less does not mean that we don't take our raids seriously in the sense that we ARE in raids to kill bosses and not waste what little time we spend in a raid setting.

Being a GM of a casual raiding guild isn't terribly different than being the GM of a hardcore raiding guild. Forming a competent raid group capable of killing {insert next boss} is where your "large scale" focus remains. However, that isn't to say that small scale things wait at every turn for you.
Adam's position is very difficult... and I think the methods to rectifying it are aptly stated by Sydera. Those are the 3 easiest, clearly defined options available.
While you think about this Adam, or anyone in a similar position, you *really* need to hash out an objective for your guild. That goes for an existing guild or for a guild-soon-to-be-made. Having clear objectives removes many would-be issues from a guild situation.

Being a casual raiding guild does not mean that the approach to guild leadership should be casual. Some sort of structure/guidance needs to be in place to ensure the objective is being properly worked towards.
If you're going to go the route of taking 10 friends and making a new guild, you need to be applying this thought-process WHILE you make the guild.

Ask yourself some questions before hand...
(these are all just off-the-cuff type responses)

Is this a raiding guild? Yes.

Does that mean that we raid the same thing over and over again... or have a mindset for progression? Progression.

How many times per week will we raid? 2.

What nights will we raid? Wednesday... and either Friday or Saturday.

[this is not a question] EXPECT attendance. Being casual is cool, but not meeting the objective is not. It's not a science... but simply expect people to be there around 90% of the time.

What are your expectations of a raider? Reading up on the class.... "x" amount of dps for some... the best gems/enchants available... being focused on the boss and not making animal noises on vent or something else distracting.

What sort of loot system will be in place? Loot Council.. 3 officers, 3 members... and the GM will be the tie-breaker if needed.

Sort these questions out BEFORE you begin inviting people to your guild. This is bare-bones basic stuff here.
I mention it in this format because people fail at guild creation before the guild has even taking one step forward.
While recruiting/inviting talk to EACH person... tell them the answers to all of the above questions. They need to know that attendance is expected on those days. It is simply not practical for you to invite people to your guild that will only ever make it to 1 of your 2 raids per week. If something comes up with a guild member down the road that changes their situation to only being able to raid once per week, that's fine. Cross that bridge when you come to it.

In this initial talk with each person prior to their invite will give way to the dreaded "friend question."
You have a good player that wants his friend/spouse/girlfriend to join too. Your knee-jerk reaction SHOULD BE "no," but you're response does not have to be.
Explain to them that this is a raiding guild. THIS PERSON is being recruited to raid, their friend is not. You have no problem with friends/spouses joining the guild, but they are not joining the guild under the context that they will EVER be invited to a raid. If they can't accept that, then your guild isn't for them.
Does it suck to potentially lose people due to this? Absolutely.
Will it happen often? In my experience, no. (perhaps once or twice in a couple years)

Friends will join and accept the guild's rule or they will choose not to join at all, and the two friends will find ways to run small stuff together happily without being in the same guild.
You really need to hammer home the idea that these "friends" will not be filling raid spots -- there can be no question in their minds at all.

When you start to build up your player-base, you will have a group of individuals that knows what their expected role in the guild is -- be it raider, or simple friend.
Having friends in the guild is a good thing because in many cases it does in fact make people a little happier about the situation (particularly in a "casual" guild). Secondly, on those nights where a couple of your raiders can't make it, you have a few people to pull from the guild (who aren't expecting it) without hitting up the LFG channel.

As far as tackling this issue with an existing guild... that's different - BUT, still doable.
First things first: have a meeting with your Officers, if you have any.
Lay out the problem. -- (example) We have a lot of people in the guild, some are terrible at raiding and don't intend on improving, this is supposed to be a casual raiding guild... not a casual wiping guild.
Re-define to them what YOUR ideal guild is. Why? Because you're the GM. You may be a "people's guild"... but ultimately it does have a figurehead, and you're it. As long as that doesn't go to your head, then decisions you make will be fine.
When the Officers are in-line with your thinking and understand the guild is not what you had planned on it being, accept the fact that you are part of the reason the guild got to this point... and you're going to be a part of fixing it.
Go back through the questions listed above with your Officers. Officers will either fall into your criteria or not, just like every other player.
After that... bring the information to the guild. "Changes are on the horizon.. etc etc"

If you have a guild website/forum, that's the best place to do this... if you don't, use the "info" tabs in each tab of the guild bank. You can put some information in each tab to make the information available to everyone. Then, change the guild message of the day to tell people to read those tabs.... and have the gmotd spammed occasionally throughout any given day.
Talk to the individuals in the guild that you want on your raid roster. Use one of the guild bank tabs for this so it's highly visible who is on a priority for raid slots.
Still short on people? Don't raid for a week if still need to recruit.
Don't re-organize the entire guild and then just turn around and invite 10 "friends" to fill raid slots in your first week... that'd be like shooting yourself in the foot. Take the time to get that raid team how you need it to be to meet YOUR objectives... then press on.

Are people going to call you tyrannical? Probably a small handful will.. but that's only because your vision for the guild does not fit into their grand plans. And guess what?.. That is 100% O.K.
There is no reason every guild should be for every person. Make your guild have an objective and a purpose... people that can share your objectives and purpose will WANT to be there - which is exactly who YOU WANT to be there.

Being a GM doesn't mean that you need to be flexible or inflexible to every issue that comes down the river. It does mean that you need to pick a side of the fence to be on most of the time, though. Being truthful to people (even if it could potentially hurt their feelings) doesn't necessarily make you an ass. Use some tact and get your point across, it'll be better for you and for them.

Anyway... that's my take on it.
You have the ability to change your own situation.
Good luck!


You have no problem with friends/spouses joining the guild, but they are not joining the guild under the context that they will EVER be invited to a raid.

While I don't think being someone's friend is reason enough to invite - I think the above absolute statement is a little too harsh. What if that friend does work to get themselves ready to apply for an invite or raid slot? Just because they are a friend that gets the guild invite should not mean they will NEVER be allowed to raid. Really what should be included in that list is about expectations to meet to get that initial raid slot/invite.

I see your point. But the angle on this is, that I think it's important for people to know right up front that you are not expecting them to fill a raid slot, and therefore they should not expect to get one.

If someone is truly interested in earning their way onto a raid team, then you are likely to notice if you're really paying attention to the guild as a whole. And if they're working hard and you notice, then they might get a shot. But, I think it's misleading to these friends if you say, "if you show improvement or meet x,y requirements, then you'll get a raid spot." Most likely you will have already set up your raid roster.

And as "absolute" my above statement is about never getting into raids, there is actually some flexibility to it. I mentioned later on, "on those nights where a couple of your raiders can't make it, you have a few people to pull from the guild (who aren't expecting it) without hitting up the LFG channel." Those people may in fact still get opportunities to show themselves as being great contributing members of the raid team. But giving them false hope when you would ideally already have a full raid roster is a lot more likely to cause the issue where people feel frustrated at their non-raiding status -- and inturn leave the guild. (and this, in my opinion, is one of the worst things to have)

People going in and out the door of a guild is (many times) either true instability or a false sense of instability viewed by others.. and it's best to avoid happening at all, of course.

And I definintely agree with you. Expectations of a raider is certainly of extreme importance. I left that off of the list simply because I assumed it is somewhat implied, because you are creating this guild with the intention of having some raid success. But that's a sound point to make, either way.

Thanks for dropping a response! (our first out of guild commenter!)

From my personal stand point (being new to a raiding guild) I have to agree with your comment Weezzii.

I came into Vanquish with Kara/Badge Gear with LITTLE raid experience. I knew my role/class pretty well and could put up some decent dps (5th on DPS my first BT run which I just filled an empty spot "Thanks Smalltoaster!")

I didn't expect to fill a full time "raid slot" when I joined Vanquish. I came in fully knowing that I would have to show/earn a slot.

When WotLK dropped, I worked hard running 5-mans with guildies, getting into any 10-man I could so that I would have decent gear going into our 25 man content. I had 3 piece T7 going into our 25s. 2 of which came from badge turn-ins.

Now, I find myself with a full time raid slot (even though I am a terribad rogue) and I didn't expect to be in this position at all.

My point being that it doesn't matter if you are a "casual raiding" guild or not. It doesn't take that much time to research your class, run a few heroics to get some gear and put up better numbers. I don't play every night, I have RL issues that can't justify that. I help where I can within the guild *cough* 'Gotta Go', and am thankful for the spot I have earned/fell into. Cause WoW is a nice hobby/entertainment and I don't think I would be that interested in it anymore if I wasn't raiding.


I believe the best way to sum up vanquish is pretty simple;

Casual time with a hardcore mentality.

I won't elaborate on this as weezzii (your name looks so wierd when I type it :P) has covered everything I would have said on the topic.

Vanquish embodies everything one could do right in creating a casual raiding guild, and following the steps set out in this post here will go a long way in making the whole experience more enjoyable for everyone involved.


it's important for people to know right up front

Aye, I whole-heartedly agree that no matter what the vision of the guild is, it is important to be up front with recruits and/or potential recruits. :)

Expectations of a raider is certainly of extreme importance. I left that off of the list simply because I assumed it is somewhat implied, because you are creating this guild with the intention of having some raid success.

But you know what they say about assuming things... But one of the reasons I brought that point up as a suggested item for your list is for someone who may be reading your list as their starting point. Someone how is using it as a "how-to" reference. And although someone's intent is to have success, maybe they don't know that expectations/guidelines are a component to success. You have a great list, so just wanted to suggest a bit of fleshing out is all!

You make a good point.
I've updated the list accordingly.

I did make a post some time ago about "how to be a good raider" (It's one of my guides, if anyone is interested and not to be a huge link whore or anything!) But I think that I like to describe Imposs as "hardcore results with a softcore environment".

We're amazingly 'softcore'in that we will *give* folks enchants and raid consumeables if their lives don't leave them as much time to farm as they'd like. But we're very hardcore in that we expect people to perform to a certain standard in raids, and if they don't - or won't - they get bumped down to a much lower raid priority and possibly rank.

And to delineate this range of cored-ness that Imposs has, we have different ranks for each level. And as each rank gets certain perks, they also have certain standards. This allows us to exclude a very casual player from a raid in favour of a more dedicated player when we need to, and with understanding on all sides as to why that choice was made.

It still makes the lazy "gimmah loots, kthbai" type pissed off, but to be honest I don't care. If you're not going to mee this guild halfway, then I'm not going to gear you.

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