New Year – New Beginning

The guild came back together after the Christmas break and got two new bosses down in our first raid week after the holidays. The week after we got another one down, bringing us to 9/13 in Heroic Hellfire Citadel.

While we’re not exactly quick, I’m glad to see that people are pulling together and we’re finally progressing again. There was too long of a break during our progression due to various factors, and I’m hoping that we’re now back on track and can clear Heroic HFC soon.

We’re not a big guild, so there’s no way we’d move into Mythics once we clear Heroic, but I’ll be happy if we do clear Heroic and make sure that everyone gets the gear they want and need. Once that’s done we could take a break before the expansion hits, leveling alts, doing fun guild events and similar things.

I’m already trying to schedule a few more things for us to do together on non-raid nights. I know I prefer to do things with guildies rather than randoms, and hopefully others feel the same way. We’re planning evenings where we run through Mythic dungeons together, PvP nights and achievement runs. Maybe some other fun things, we’ll see what we can come up with as a guild.

All in all, I’m just happy to see us back on track – killing bosses.

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to everyone.

This is a little postcard I made for my guild, featuring the main raiders of our group. Unfortunately I was having some issues with WoW Modelviewer, and none of the emotes worked – as well as any sit/sleep etc. So I was quite limited in the things I could make the characters do. Still, it didn’t turn out too horrible. (If one looks closely you can see lots of little problem areas though, since I’m no photoshop wiz… But at least I had fun!)

xmas

Guild Woes

If I read back through my blog I always come across several posts regarding issues with my guild and attendance and/or recruitment.

There are so many guilds out there these days, and I swear I see a message in Trade chat nearly every day about a “newly started raiding guild”. I can’t help but wonder where they find the people? Or do they all have the same issues that we do? If there are a lot of small guilds struggling out there, wouldn’t it make more sense to have fewer – bigger – guilds instead?

What is it that makes people decide to start their own guild instead of joining one of the ones already existing. Is it the need to be your own leader? Do none of the other guilds fit what you’re looking for?

As you may have gathered by now, I’m having problems filling the raiding roster in my guild (again!). Finding recruits is difficult at any time, but at this point in the expansion, possibly even harder. It doesn’t help that we’re not a high progression guild, but quite casual. Our progress is even worse than it have been in the past. Partly, I think, due to me and the GM having been around a bit less this expansion.

I spent the first eight months of WoD unable to raid, since I had no proper internet connection. And our GM was working like crazy having little time to be online outside of raids.

We can’t fix that though. We’re both on more now, but the progress doesn’t magically fix itself. To progress we need people to be online, willing and ready to raid. And that’s where we’re currently falling short.

Since October, we’ve barely raided. My GM was moving houses, and I was moving countries – so we had about three weeks when neither of us were online – and no raids happened during that time, apparently. Since then, we’ve barely been able to get enough people to get a raid going. Which means we have had zero progress for months now.

We’re only about halfway through Heroic HFC, and I just don’t think a lot of people are looking for a guild with that kind of progress. But I’m also not willing to give up. So I will continue trying to recruit, trying to get our current members to come online… And maybe… Maybe we can get this ball rolling again.

So, as a side note – if you’re in the EU and want to join a guild that’s halfway through Heroic HFC, you know where to find me!

Summer Break

My guild is currently on it’s (usually) annual summer break, which is nice for someone like me who’s rather tired of raiding. They’re still running raids for those interested, but people are allowed to bring alts, and it’s all just for fun, no progression. I’ve even joined myself a few times on the Warlock, since I’ve been missing her. I love tanking, but my Warlock will always have a special place in my heart.

The raiding did help her finish up her legendary cloak as well, so she can finally say that she’s done this expansion.

Better late than never, as they say.

Better late than never, as they say.

In the downtime I’ve been trying to get back into PvP a bit. Something that can be incredibly frustrating as Alliance. Maybe I’m biased, but it feels like there are some BGs that the Alliance hardly ever win. Yes, I’m looking at you Silvershard Mines! In return, to be fair, we often seem to win Alterac Valley and Isle of Conquest. I just rarely get into those.

Also, I think my Hunter is haunted by bad luck in PvP. I did a few battlegrounds on her. Lost every single one. Frustrated, I logged onto my Priest… Won every single one. Be ashamed, Hunter! Be very ashamed!

Ha! As if your arrows do more than tickle anyway!

Ha! As if your arrows do more than tickle anyway!

Guild Poaching

We recently had one of our raiders leave us for another guild. Nothing new there, it happens to every guild now and then – especially one that’s not at the upper ends of the raiding scale. You’ll find yourself as the stepping stone for someone gearing up to get into the guilds further ahead. I can deal with that, it’s just how things work. (And to be fair, we’ve had very little of it the past couple of years.)

This time it was a bit different though. This raider didn’t go out and look for another guild, but another guild looked them up. Told them how they were much further ahead than us (not a lie), and what they could offer that we could not. While all of this is true, I will admit that I find the practice of approaching members of other guilds a bit icky. It’s one thing if they come to you, but to actually chat them up; poaching them… It’s not something I think a respectable guild should do.

Obviously, a raider has to allow themselves to be poached in the first place. So I’m not saying that someone who’s poached wouldn’t have left you eventually anyway. There’s just something about actually approaching another guild’s members that doesn’t sit right with me. I’d never do it myself, even if I desperately needed new members. At most we’ve approached other low-attendance guilds with questions about teaming up to get raids going.

I don’t think this particular guild have problems with attendance though, they seem to be doing fairly well on their progress. And even if they were having attendance problems, I still don’t think it’s a fair thing to approach players already in guilds (unless they contact them first). There are so many ways to find recruits; forums, general chat, recruitment sites…

What’s your experience with poaching? Does your guild do it? Are you against it? I’m interested to hear what other people think about the subject.

Falling Behind

Lately we’ve been having some problems with attendance in the guild, and for reasons beyond his control we’re missing one of our tanks. We don’t have a back-up tank (we barely manage to fill our raid team as it is), and so in the past I’ve jumped in on one of my tank characters on the odd occasion when we were missing one. However, one of our tanks has now been gone for a few weeks, and I’m finding myself having to raid on my Brewmaster Monk every raid.

This leaves my Warlock sitting alone and watching from the side lines. She’s been in to Throne of Thunder for the first kill on Jin’rokh, but that’s it. Every time since then, the Monk has had to step in since we’ve been short a tank. The latest bosses we’ve downed, my Warlock wasn’t there for.

I don’t mind jumping in on my tank now and then to help the guild out. If it’s between me tanking or us not raiding at all, naturally I’ll tank. That said, it’s getting a little bit much now that my Monk is actually getting more raid time than my Warlock. This leaves my Warlock behind on gear and progression, which isn’t nice for when she eventually can start raiding again. Because I could never take a piece of gear on an alt over a main character, my Monk isn’t really getting any gear either – and so I have two characters who are falling behind the rest of the raiding team.

Then there’s the question of dailies and Valor capping. Something I honestly don’t have the energy to do on two characters. The pressure I’ve felt (albeit only from myself since no one else expects me to), about this has more or less caused me to panic and in the end not capping on either character instead. Not the best solution!

Sadly there’s not much that can be done about it at this point. We’re not having any luck in recruitment at the moment, and I can’t simply say that I will play my Warlock and only my Warlock. If I do that, then until our second tank returns, there would be no raids. Which simply isn’t acceptable.

And so, at least for now, I am stuck on my Monk tanking. While my Warlock watches from afar.

stolenspot

The Missing Ingredient

Being a mid-range guild progression wise we’ve always found recruitment to be a difficult task, but Cataclysm has possibly been the worst one. Our server doesn’t have a huge population, and so most raiders will join the higher end guilds, rather than ours or one of the others at our progression level. There tend to be too many guilds and too few active raiders.

Reading other blogs and forums, I see that other guilds struggle as well, and I’m curious about what most guilds struggle with role wise. For us, in Cataclysm we’ve mainly been lacking reliable tanks. We’ve had the same three healers throughout the entire expansion (with a fourth spot for rotation that’s had some turn-over), but we’ve switched tanks… I don’t even know how many times. Dps wise we’ve also had the same people, with a few extra on rotation that’s had some turn-over. But we’ve had at least five dps that have been reliable raiding members.

We now finally have a reliable tank who’s been with us for several months and is looking to stay with us in Mists. That said, we’re still missing an off-tank and I’ve been filling the role on my Death Knight and lately on my Paladin just to keep us raiding. When the expansion hits we may have to start looking for a new off-tank, since a lot of fights do require two tanks (especially early on).

In comparison, my friend’s horde guild had the same tanks almost the entire expansion. Healers were also fairly reliable, with just times when some couldn’t make it and so having a fourth on rotation was helpful. My brother’s guild (which is in the high-end raiding) had no problems with tanks either, but instead lacked healers.

This is a small pool to judge from, but it does seem to me that few guilds are lacking dps players, and are more likely to miss healers or tanks. I do wonder what the reason is. Are tanks and healers less fun to play? Or is it the stress of the role that get to people?

I personally enjoy both tanking and healing, but I will admit that I find them a lot more stressful than being dps. You still have a lot to do as a dps, but you making a mistake is less likely to wipe the raid. Most likely you’ll get yourself killed or your damage output will suffer, but the rest of the raid will still live. If you make a mistake as a tank people most often die. Same as a healer.

Has your guild lacked a certain role this expansion? And what do you think is the reason for the low amount of tanks and healers?

Making the difficult decision

Throughout most of Cataclysm I’ve been not only raiding on my Warlock, but also once a week with my friend’s guild on my Paladin. It’s been a lot of fun, but also a lot of work because she’s on a different server which means I haven’t had the support of my other characters in terms of gems, enchants and gold. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it though, getting to see the fights from a different perspective than a pure dps. When you heal a fight it’s almost like it’s a different one compared to when you dps.

It’s also been tiring though. Due to illnesses I’m not someone with lots of energy, and raiding the extra day (sometimes two) a week and doing the extra work to keep another character geared on another server has taken it’s toll. For that reason I’ve now decided that I won’t continue to raid with my friend’s guild. It’s sad, but necessary. They won’t miss me for the time being since their raiding is more or less stopped until the expansion it seems, and when it comes around I’d expect them to get new recruits.

My friend, whose guild I’ve been raiding with, isn’t going to continue playing in Mists. While I have grown fond of all the people in my horde guild, she was the main incentive for doing the extra work. With her gone, I simply don’t have it in me. There are several people out there among the bloggers that I know manage to raid with more than one guild, and I commend them. It’s a lot of extra work (at least for me), and can be quite tiresome.

It’s definitely been an interesting and rewarding experience though. The two guilds have been fairly close to one another when it comes to progression. This means that sometimes I have been able to down a boss in one guild and then come with suggestions to the other on how we did it. For most of Cataclysm my main guild was ahead, but we lost ground to the horde guild in Dragon Soul and they cleared it a week before us. We’ve since caught up again though and my main guild ended raiding with one more heroic boss down than the horde guild.

To be fair I’m quite tired in general at the moment, and I’m quite happy to take a part-time break from raiding. With no more raiding on the horde side, and raiding cut down to one day a week on alliance side I’m hoping to get some energy back. I want to have plenty of energy once Mists comes out, since there seems to be a lot to do!

I wish my horde guild all the best, and I’d have happily merged the two guilds together if I could. (Transfer costs aren’t really helping, not to mention I know several people who don’t want to be alliance, or who don’t want to be horde.)

Now I’m in the process of getting the money together to transfer my Paladin back to the alliance server. I’ve put too much work into her to want to leave her on a server where I don’t think I’ll be playing her. Bringing her “home” means that she can still join alt raids, or do heroic runs with guild mates.

Which brings me to my next decision… Should she be a draenei or a human? Draenei Paladin is something we need for the guild achievement, but I generally prefer humans. Then again, maybe I’d get used to the draenei. It’s a difficult decision. I don’t know about others, but how my character looks and feels means a great deal to me. So much that I deleted my 85 worgen Druid because I couldn’t stand her healing animations and re-leveled her as a night elf.

I’ve had two Paladins, and they’ve gone through a fair number of changes. Bringing this one back will mean I have to delete the other Paladin (which is fine cause I already had and was re-leveling her.. so she has nothing important on her person at the moment), and I’ll be back to having one Paladin. Now to decide which of her old incarnations will be her new one…

Struggling

Disclaimer: This is a rambling post which is just me writing down my current feelings. It’s not necessarily going to make a whole lot of sense, but sometimes writing about things make me feel better. 

You may have noticed that my content update is even worse than usual lately. The reason for this is that I’m struggling with finding things that I can write about. I still enjoy WoW and I’m logged in probably every day (even if some days it’s just for five minutes to check on the guild and read mail, scan the AH). I’m struggling though.

We’re having a hard time in my guild, and while it’s worse now than it’s been for quite some time I can’t shake the feeling that we’ve been fighting an up-hill battle for quite some time. Part of me wonders if I can deal with this for yet another expansion.

When coming back from the regular break around Christmas and New Year’s, we were less people than before. One of our tanks still hasn’t returned, and I suspect he won’t. Our other tank told us the other day that he is going to discontinue his subscription after this week. We lost another couple of members the past few weeks for various reasons as well.

This leaves me with a severely crippled raid team.

I keep recruiting people, but recruitment is slow and the people we’ve gotten hold of either has gone AWOL, aren’t active enough or have left again. Attendance is poor. I fully understand that people work night shifts, have families and what not – but sadly that doesn’t help our raid team progress.

I’m sitting here, looking at our sign-ups for the next raid. Six people accepted, a couple of tentatives. It’s just not doable. As much as I’d like to, I can’t suddenly drum up 2-4 new raid members. And it makes me tired. So very tired.

I also have this feeling, which I’m sure is a very unfair feeling, but I feel alone. I feel like I’m alone in this struggle. I’m sure the other Officers are working as hard as I am, worrying about it as much as I am.. But because we’re not talking about it, I feel like I’m the only one, even if I’m not.

Every time someone leaves the guild a small part of my desire to raid dies. Especially if it’s someone I’ve poured a lot of effort into talking to and trying to get things better. There are issues in my guild which need addressing, but it’s not things that will change overnight. People leaving due to those things I can understand, but it’s still a shame since we’ve not had the time to try to fix them.

Every time we have to cancel a raid because too few people signed up part of my desire to raid dies. I do my best to be there for every raid. We’ve cut our days down from three to two recently since for some reason Thursday just wasn’t working. Even with fewer days, we don’t seem to have the people available to get two raid nights going.

In the end, I’m just tired of the constant struggle. I pour so much into keeping things smooth and running, and yet it fails. Sometimes I wonder if I’d be happier not being an Officer, just one of the team. Let someone else worry about if we’ll raid or not.

What do you do to keep yourself going?

The Honesty Clause

Christmas and New Year’s, like summer, is a time when WoW slows down and your raiding will most likely be suspended for a couple of weeks, I know ours were. The key to a successful holiday period is planning and communication – from both the officers and guild members.

Both of the guilds that I’m a part of are starting to come to life again after the holidays, but are finding themselves staggering a bit as they’re trying to get back to full speed. Some members are noticeably absent even two weeks into the new year. A fair few are admittedly playing SW:ToR, some are claiming “family emergencies”, some are saying nothing at all.

What I would like to ask of anyone who plays a game together with other people who depend on them for completing tasks such as raiding is this; be honest. If you’re going to be playing another game, just say so. If you just want a break, say so. If you’re quitting, say so.

There will be no hard feelings, I just want to know so that I can know whether to start recruitment to replace you – or if you’ll be back next week. Not knowing what is going on puts your guild and guild mates in a bit of a bad situation. No one wants to over-recruit and then suddenly have an influx of people returning, and having to bench half a raid each night.

I discussed this with a fellow guild leader (from another guild) the other day, and they said that they had a fair number of people who claimed “family emergency” since SW:ToR came out. Usually of course you can’t know, and it may be completely honest, but in at least one case they knew for a fact it wasn’t true. The reason a lot of people will use the “family emergency”-excuse is because they don’t want to lose their raid spot in case they decide they didn’t like that other game and come back. No one will ever fault you for leaving due to “family emergency”.

(Obviously I’m not saying that no one has a legitimate “family emergency”, just that in this particular case there was a very large number happening at the same time SW:ToR was released.)

All I ask is for a bit of honesty. If not for me, then for the other 9 or 24 people that you play with. It’s completely all right for you to want to check out another game, but don’t keep everyone else on hold and possibly having to cancel raids while they’re waiting for you to make up your mind. They have to be allowed to move on, get a replacement, and keep raiding.

Have anyone else noticed a loss of people since SW:ToR or people just not coming back after the holiday season? How do you deal with it?