Ask the World of Warcraft Guild/Raid Leader

Greetings Dopers,

I am the guild leader and raid leader for a moderately successful raiding guild. We are #3119 in the world, #1187 in the US, #7 on our server, and #3 on our faction (horde).

I formed the guild at the start of Burning Crusade and we have cleared all content up through heroic Twins in HToC. We are focused on being a stable, mature (21+) oriented guild. Our guildbank has 110k gold and we have some players who have played together for over 10 years to go alongside players who have only recently joined. We have a relatively light raiding schedule (3 days a week) and we keep our vent clean and mature (many of us have kids who listen).

I run the guild and also run the raids. I’ve played wow since vanilla beta, I’ve been raid leading for over three years, and running my own guild for around two. After reading the WoW thread in this forum it struck me how many dopers seem ‘new’ to the game, or have the viewpoint of raiders mystified by some of the decisions that guild leadership makes.

I’m offering up this thread to let you pick my brain on anything regarding WoW and/or running a successful raiding guild. If there is no interest, the thread will fall off the front page into anonymity, but if there is interest I will attempt to post and answer questions 5+ times a day (usually from work, between 9am-4pm EST).

-Truculent Gentleman

I don’t play anymore, but when I did I always wondered…

  1. How’d you keep track of DKP (if they still use that)? How’d you settle DKP disputes? Most interestingly to me, how much time does that consume?

  2. Are main tanks really as whiny as I think they are?

  3. Do you ever feel like you have to deal with a sense of entitlement? (“Well I’M a healer and I’m doing you a FAVOR by being here!”)

  4. How’d you get off the ground? Start from scratch, splinter from another guild?

  5. Do you have an attendance policy? Application process?

I’m always a little mystified when people want to be guild leaders. I enjoy being in a guild, and I’ve been in one or the other since just a few days after WoW began, but I never want to lead a guild. It just seems like a lot of work. A second job, maybe.

You’ve got my admiration if you’ve been ale to do it for that long!

You sound like a good GM, not like the 19yo smacktard running our guild.

Just in case anyone missed this:

Onyxia Wipe animation (NSFW dialogue).

Joe

  1. We use a system called EPGP. http://www.epgpweb.com/help/system I chose it because it A) has a mod that enables you to track everything in game and B) tracks EP (based on attendance) and GP (gear awarded) as separate values, so you can monitor both.

  2. Depends on your main tanks. We have 2, and simply the MT is the most important role in a raid. Their gear, attendance, and focus can make make a huge difference to the success of a guild. While for some this ‘importance’ may go to their head, I’ve found a pair who are solid, dependable, and intelligent - and not whiny!

  3. No - I think the entitlement you describe comes from people who play healers for the sole purpose of getting raid spots - ie they would prefer to play something else but don’t want to compete for those spots. I really try to get people in roles they want to be in. My healers are healers through choice - so I personally don’t have to deal with that sense of entitlement. I have seen it in other guilds, in pugs, etc.

  4. I started in Molten Core in vanilla as a raider, then an officer, then the raid leader for that guild. Eventually the guild leader and I had a disagreement, so I left the guild. I started my current guild as a small group with the original goal to field 10 for Karazhan - but we grew naturally, in the process absorbing a number of other, smaller guilds.

  5. Our policy is that we ask our raiders to maintain 80% attendance. We are not hyper-vigilant about it because we find people make every effort to be there, mostly to keep their raid spot - if they step away and someone else fills their spot, c’est la vie. Our application process is pretty mellow - we do ask that people apply on our website, give us some basic information. Once accepted into the guild, they are on a 2 week ‘trial’ period before becoming full members of the guild. The trial period enables us to weed out disruptive influences - we are mostly trying to avoid extremely immature or drama-prone players.

Honestly, I would be content to be a great raider for a good guild. However, in my WoW experience, if I want to have the kind of guild atmosphere and direction I’m looking for I have to create it.

The stresses and time demands of leading a guild are mitigated by a solid officer core. I have 6 officers, outside myself, and each one has roles and responsibilities they have complete control over. This spreads out the burden of leadership to a manageable level and makes the guild more resilient overall.

Age is the most significant criteria for new apps to our guild. We have a 21+ policy and I would prefer people 25+.

I find adults with careers make the best raiders - they tend to be calmer, have a more stable life/routine which is conducive to committing to a schedule, and are less drama prone.

Obviously there are extremely good and capable players below the age of 21, I’ve just found it’s an effective way to filter the general WoW population.

A classic - I posted that in our forums and said I was turning the guild over to that guy!

On a serious note, any raid leader that needs to use profanity, personal threats, or raises their voice probably shouldn’t be a raid leader. Or at least that’s a raid leader I would never tolerate personally!

I have a few questions.

  1. How much time do you spend on WoW and the guild per week? How is that roughly divided between raiding, non-raid WoW, and guild administration in and out of the game?

  2. This may be a bit vague, but how do you prioritize raid attendance versus real life commitments? I ask because I have “lost” several friends to WoW, in the sense that they largely stopped showing up to social gatherings for the sake of maintaining raid attendance, and I want to better understand that mindset. I’m curious both regarding how you personally manage it and what you expect of your guild members. Suppose one of your guild members didn’t make it to a raid because he decided to go out drinking with friends, would you hold that against them?

  3. Is the game challenging for you? I’ve played WoW a fair amount in the past, though I “only” got one character to max level, and I never really considered it much more than basic pattern recognition and repetition. Does raiding provide you with a greater challenge than the rest of the game, and if so in what way?

  4. Which raid have you done the most? How many times do you think you’ve repeated it? How many times can you repeat a raid and still find it interesting?

  5. If you simply vanished, what do you think would happen to your guild? Do you have a strong chain of command or do you think it’s mostly you holding everything together? Be honest! What exactly are the roles of those six officers you mentioned?

  6. You sound like you’re one of the more “hardcore” guilds (which is astonishing to me if there are still 3118 more highly ranked guilds out there), in that you demand a lot of commitment from your members. Do your new members tend to come from other more casual raiding guilds looking to “upgrade” to a more hardcore experience, or do they tend to have fairly minimal raiding guild experience and want to just jump right in? When you lose members, assuming you pay attention at all to where they go afterward, do they tend to go to a more casual raiding guild, quit guild raiding all together, or quit WoW entirely?

Thanks for shedding a little light on the guild experience to an outsider!


Some good questions.

  1. I would say I spend about 15-20 hours on WoW per week. 3 raid nights at 4 hours per night, plus another 3-8 hours a week doing random things. Guild administration outside of the game takes minimal time - it’s mostly just checking our guild website a couple times a day and posting as needed.

  2. My basic philosophy is real life commitments always take precendence. That said, for us to progress through content, we ask for some commitment as well. I’ve scheduled our raid nights on Mon/Tue/Wed, which are the days I would expect people to have the least conflict with their outside social life. If someone feels like they can’t commit to those times, I’m never upset and often think they are making the right decision for them. However, it also means I’ll probably look elsewhere to fill that raid spot with someone who is willing to commit. There are many more casual guilds for people who want a more flexible schedule, I am simply looking for people with a similar level of desire to play as I have. There are also many many more ‘hardcore’ guilds out there that raid 4,5,6 days a week.

  1. Is mastering your particular class’ rotation difficult? No. Are the basics of the game complex? Not really. Is getting 25 people moving in the same direction, getting each one to be aware of all the elements of a difficult encounter, and making on-the-fly adjustments based on deaths/changing situations difficult? It can be, and the reward is ‘defeating a boss’ with a group of people who all have to work together near flawlessly to do so. Hard mode content is incredibly difficult. If you have only levelled a character, done 5 man heroics, etc, there is no comparison. In my opinion, the game really only starts with 25 man raiding - everything up to that point is exposure and teaching players how the basics of their class work.

  2. I would say Molten Core way back in Vanilla WoW (3+ years ago). I’ve done that raid dozens of time. Part of the dynamic of raiding is the first few clears are very hard and demand attention - as time goes on and it goes on ‘farm’ mode, the time you need to raid decreases and the atmosphere becomes more relaxed. Repeatability in a raid is really a function of how well it’s designed. I could do Black Temple still and find it enjoyable, but ask me to step foot in Hyjal and I’ll give an emphatic no.

  3. I can answer this one with clarity - because it happened once. I moved accross the country for 14 months and was unable to raid/lead the guild because of time zone issues. The guild survived, but the overall quality of the guild slowly deteroriated. By the time I returned and took over leadership again, it had gone from a top 3 guild on the server to a lower tier guild. I’m still in the process of rebuilding our raid team.

The roles I give out to my officers are:

  • Guild Bank Management - sell extra raid materials on the AH, make sure bank is stocked with flasks and gold. Our guild bank pays for all repairs and provides all enchanting materials for our raiders.

  • Recruitment Officer - Handle the recruitment process

  • DPS Officer / Healing Officer - Responsible for watching relevent meters, tracking member’s performance and letting me know who isn’t pulling their weight or who is doing exceptionally well

  • Backup Raid Leader - Someone who can take over and lead the raid if I can’t make it or feel I need a break for a night.

  • Issues/Concerns Officer - Someone designated that any guild member can communicate any issues they have to the officers while still remaining anonymous. I feel I get better and more feedback when people feel they can give it anonymously.

  1. Our newer members usually come from smaller, 10 man ‘family’ guilds who are looking to raid more but don’t want a ‘hardcore’ schedule (usually defined in WoW as 4+ nights a week). When we lose members it is usually to real life issues and the player can no longer commit to raiding at all. Occassionally people leave because they want to raid more, but I can say with confidence that my guild’s atmosphere is a great one and most who join tend to stay.

I’m in a similarly progressed guild, had been a guild officer and raid leader for another guild and you seem to do a fair number of things differently, so I’m interested in your perspective.

  1. What class/role do you play? How do you feel that your job as a raid leader affects your ability to perform and enjoy your role? Do you think you would enjoy raiding more or less if you turned over raid leading to someone else?

I play a Holy/Disc Priest and found it very difficult to lead raids while healing because, beyond watching my own positioning, CDs, timers and all that like everyone else, I spend a lot of time “staring at little green bars” which made if very difficult to keep an eye on what other raid members are doing, how they’re positioned, etc. When I changed guilds following a bunch of obnoxious drama, I found I enjoy raiding a lot more not leading raids and instead providing whatever input I have to the raid leader and focusing more on playing.
2. More specifically on raid leading, what’s your style? Do you ever yell at people when they screw up in dumb ways? Do you ever swap people out who are underperforming on a certain night?
3. How strictly do you hold your age recruitment restriction? Do you ever make exceptions?

I ask because some of the best players I’ve seen have been 16-17. Yes, they’re more likely to be whiny or immature than someone older, but somtimes there’s some solid and mature players around that age. Similarly, many of the worst players I’ve met have been older (40+ range), mostly suffering from slower reactions and learning, and not liking being led in a raid by someone much younger than them.
4. Your Mon/Tues/Wed schedule seems a little odd. Don’t you get burned out raiding 12 hours over 3 days?
5. What kind of drama do you see come up and how do you handle it?

Definitely going to be keeping an eye on this. In my very casual guild, I’m the Officer-Who-Knows-Technical-Things, and this thread has a bunch of good information.

How do you feel about WoW ruining the RPG as we know it?

Do you use a DKP system? How does it work?

I was a hardcore raider from about June 2005 - December 2006. I was an officer in a large guild that at that time was farming MC/BWL/AQ, with maybe 1/3 of Naxx completed.

Attendance/Attrition/DKP imbalance led me to quit raiding altogether. Pity. At the time I had the most DKP in the guild, enough to completely “buy” two full sets of tier 2.5 (though I had long ago fully completed Tier 1/2/2.5, with a bit of Naxx gear as well.)

I have tremendous respect for WoW raid leaders. I raided for about 3 years from release through Sunwell. I was only really in one guild the whole time, but had maybe half a dozen guild leaders and a dozen or so raid leaders. In the end I have a lot of gratitude for all of them, even the less talented and sometimes rude ones. Trying to get 25-40 people to coordinate at the level some of the raids require is … well … srs bsns. And not just the performance of the fights, but the administration of a large group of people. Some of my WoW guild/raid leaders worked harder than RL managers I’ve worked for. Anyhow, thanks for what you do. WoW needs good leadership to be properly enjoyed.

Are you a manager of some kind IRL?

Do you allow off-specs in raids? How much min/maxing is required? I always felt people took it too far, and limited some of the fun.

How many classes have you played through 60-80 yourself? I barely mastered one, but some of our leaders could tell you ridiculous details about every spell of every class, quest, boss, etc etc. I guess they didn’t have jobs.

I’ll second “Tell us some stupid raid drama!”.

And what should I do when the dragon breathes at me?

That’s just because the original purpose of that thread (I’m the one who started the “prequel” to the current monster thread) was to answer noob questions. Of course, I’m still pretty new; the upcoming Winter Veil holiday will mark one year for me in the game. I also have a lot of alts that I switch between, of different races and classes, so I never seem to run out of questions. There’s always something new!

I don’t think that it has…what do you mean?

I do have a sense that the single-player game is a thing of the past, but that’s something I don’t mind. It feels like a progression to me. I’m just not satisfied with my game-experience unless I get to show my accomplishments to others in some fashion. That would make an interesting thread, but I’m busy watching the Bama game, so I’ll make that another time. :smiley:

Ok, back from the three day weekend.

  1. I play melee DPS with a tank offspec. I don’t like to MT and raid lead at the same time, but I like to be ready to MT should one of our tanks miss a raid - that way I’m guaranteed a backup MT who really understands the fight. I’ve done the same thing throughout WoW - in vanilla I was a Warrior, in BC I was a Ret/Prot Paladin, and in WotLK I’m playing a blood/blood DK.

  2. I would say my style of raid leading is ‘quietly efficient’ with a fair amount of discipline. I never raise my voice, I try to always remain positive, but I won’t refrain from naming someone who is constantly ‘dying to the fire’. I keep Ventrilo clear during boss fights and it’s not unusual for vent to be silent except for me reminding people of key elements - “3 seconds to Cosmic Smash, be ready”. Alot of raid leading is reminding people again and again the timing of boss abilities as they are happening.

  3. We are as stringent as we can be without being crazy. If an app says 16, we simply reject it. There is no question there are excellent 16-17 year old players, but we prefer to game and spend out time with people of similar backgrounds and who are at similar spots in their lives. I’ve also found older players (25+) can be some of the most reliable players around. They may not play 6 nights a week like some younger kids, but when they commit to 3 nights a week they really commit.

  4. Our raid schedule is designed to give us a solid raiding schedule while still leaving players with the ‘important’ social days free - Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday are typically go out / family days (at least moreso than mon/tue/wed). I don’t think we burnout, if anything people are sharper and more focused.

  5. There is all the kinds of drama one might expect from any gathering of 20+ people. Typically I ignore most minor drama - I try to remain ‘removed’ and not take sides in it. I have my ‘issues/concerns’ officer who usually gets involved enough to understand the dynamics. He’s much better at that than I am.

The drama I get involved in usually concerns raiders. I’m in the process of removing a raider from our raid group and that is never pleasant, but it needs to be done.

I think I understand the question - are single player RPGs suffering because of WoW? I would say I have no idea - but personally, I can’t get into single player games anymore. I was excited by Dragon Age, but after 30 mins I quit. I used to play those games, but without the social factor it simply felt to empty for me to put time into. I believe the future of almost ALL gaming is multiplayer, in some manner. But that’s a different thread topic!

We use EPGP. [http://www.epgpweb.com/](Link here.) It’s the best system I’ve found.

I’m not a manager IRL - I’m in finance and work basically for myself. So managing people is new and not worn thin by having to do it at work, too.

I do not allow silly specs in raid. It’s not to be a hardass, but part of getting 25 people on the same page is making sure we all have the same goal - and that goal is to make progression. Someone substantially ‘underperforming’ in their given role reduces every else’s enjoyment and impacts their ability to meet our goals. I’ve never had a problem with this - most people by nature want to be at the top of their relevant meters!

I have 2 level 80s and every class to at least 60-70. I understand the dynamics of every class and that is key to being a raid leader - you have to understand the capabilities of your players (including what their class is built to do).

As far as raid drama - I can honestly say I simply don’t put up with it. You want to cause drama, go elsewhere - I’ve been liberal with the /gkick command on this score. I’m not a tyrant, I’m impartial with very clear, stated goals - a low-drama, fun enviroment where people ‘trust each other’s intentions’. Some people are more drama prone than others, and the ones that are drama prone don’t survive very long in my guild.

This may be a touchy issue - certain instances from Lord of the Rings Online have exploits, such as exploiting the pathfinding, terrain and etc. to win certain boss fights. Are there such exploits in WoW? Does your raiders pressure you to use exploits if there are? What do you think of using those to make your life easier? Did you even catch flake for “dude, there’s an easier way” if you don’t take advantage of the exploits?