Have you ever heard of the perfect storm of raiding?
Not a single cloud in the sky. Calm and steady waves. You have enough players present even though 1 or 2 players have signed out for the day. But you can’t quite shake that feeling it’s just too good to be true.
For us, it started out much the same. But then, a series of unfortunate events occurred. Lodur had a computer shortage. I had to race through the streets to pick up mom. Some people were going to be a little late due to overtime at work. We were ultimately left standing with 22 people. What could we do until everyone had returned to their battle stations?
On the perfect day, none of these things would have happened. But every so often, you get that day where the universe just likes to screw with you and cause havoc for players. As the GM, I admit that feel uneasy and anxious when not raiding. All that time is being wasted just by sitting there.
What do you do if you don’t have a full crew to work with? Are there options when someone needs to step out briefly for a few minutes?
If there’s trash still up, go do what your parents yelled at you to do when you were younger and take out the trash! By the time you clear it, the player should be back in business and ready to go.
1. Switch another player in
Easiest solution. Is there any other players online that you can pull in? Most raiding teams have a bench or maybe you have a recruit who is willing to step in. Activate the members you have around who you can grab.
2. Make some attempts in, even if it’s short handed
Just because there’s a player out doesn’t mean you can’t at least get warmed up and give exposure to your players. Have them get a handle for the opening phases. Start practicing some of the mechanics. Get them thinking about how they’re going to react to the different phases. By the time your other raider gets back, they’re the one that has to play catch up.
3. Downshift and clear (Heroic)
This is generally not a first option. I’d only consider this under a few circumstances. First, it’s clear that the players gone aren’t going to be back anytime soon. We’re talking an internet outage or a computer exploding or some other case where it’ll take longer than the rest of raid to resolve. Second, the raid group is nearing the end of the raid week. Maybe the raid is on a day 2 or a day 3 and it’s clear that there won’t be enough time left. Lastly, if there is still valuable loot to be had in the rest of the instance. Certain trinkets, weapons, or 4-piece drops that players are missing will warrant an instance clear.
4. Alternate content
Within instances like Naxx or the first tier of raids in Cataclysm, you had options on where to go and what bosses to do. Throne of Thunder is completely linear. In previous instances, your raid could have switched to a different wing and gotten down a different boss (preferably one on farm) while you waited for the lone player to return.
5. Wait and call an early break
Easiest solution on the planet. Give people a breather. It’s not uncommon for players to switch screens or alt tab and browse other sites (like this one) and catch up on other things going on. If you’re on a progression boss, the wait can allow players to catch up on additional information. Or be like me and sneak off to grab a quick bite from the fridge. It’s free time to spend!
6. Flex it up
Don’t despair like me at the thought of an underwhelmingly numbered raid. There’s always something that can be done until your group is back to full strength. However, if you find yourself consistently at less than capacity, then you’re going to want to start addressing that.