[GUEST POST] “What is my motivation?” – Getting everyone on the same page

It seems like there are a lot of guilds and groups that are starting to feel comfortable in the 5man heroics and are starting to turn their attention to some organized raiding.

For people who are organizing such a group, I would like to share something that I wish I had known when I started putting raiding groups together.

The majority of questions and requests for help that I see around the web from guild masters and raid leaders are all related to one essential factor.

What motivates your raid members?

I recommend that the first thing anyone should do when starting to put any group together to raid is to have an honest and candid conversation with your group about what everyone is expecting from their raiding experience. Make sure that even if everyone’s interests aren’t perfectly compatible, at the very least everyone needs to define, clarify, and understand what the group’s focus and expectations will be. I would say that this applies to everything from a trade chat pug, a new progression raiding guild, or just a decision to start putting some raids on your “friends and family” guild calendar.

Typical questions I see from guild masters and raid leaders

  • How do I motivate my raiders to show up on time?
  • How do I keep people from getting discouraged during progression?
  • One of my raiders says that they don’t want to raid any more (or want to switch toons/roles) because they have all the gear they want from this tier, what do I do?
  • My raiders have lost interest in XXXXX instance now that we have finally cleared it. How can I keep them interested in raiding?
  • My raid team doesn’t want to try hard modes because normal modes are an easier way to get more gear quickly, how to I get them to try hard modes?

All of these issues can be proactively addressed with an open and honest discussion with your raid team ahead of time. As cheesy as it may sound, coming up with a basic statement of purpose, a set of goals, or a mission statement is a great way to focus everyone’s attention and can be a lifesaver later on when disagreements arise. Identify what it is that motivates everyone in the group to want to raid together, ensure that everyone’s motivations are at least compatible, and make sure that the goals you have set will satisfy everyone’s desires. If everyone understands and believes that the group is going to help them meet their own personal goals in the game, then the chances of your group weathering the rough patches together will increase significantly. Groups of people who all have their own agendas, that don’t necessarily compliment the rest of the group are the root cause of most of the issues that we all see floating around the internet.

On the flipside to this argument; when you, the individual, are out and about looking for a raiding group to join, the first priority on your list should be whether or not the group’s goals and motivation for raiding are compatible with your own. Whether you are looking for a group of people who you will be spending 8-16 hours a week with for the next several months/years with or looking for an individual to join your already established group, taking the time to get to know a bit about each other first should be one of the first things on your list of topics to discuss. Blindly inviting or joining strangers to raid with is about as likely result in a successful match as hitting up the LFD tool for Cataclysm heroics or proposing marriage to random drunk people in your local drinking establishment.

Suggested motivational topics to consider and discuss

Loot: Everyone likes new shiny stuff, being honest with each other about how much it influences your decision to show up for the raid is a healthy thing for everyone, especially when it comes time to decide which loot distribution system is best for your group.

Extending your Raid ID: What is standing in the way between you and a new boss kill? Better gear or more time spent ironing the mistakes out of your raid?

Raid spots: Plan for rotating people and what is the role of mains/alts offspecs. How much does it matter to you that you get to see the progression on your “main” and while performing your “primary role?” How do people about being benched for a fight “for the good of the team?”

Competition with other guilds: <Keeping up with the Paragons> How important is this for people? How comfortable is everyone with the idea of “we will progress at our own pace?” What if your own pace turns out to be slower than someone else’s?

Professional development: How will raider’s performance be evaluated? What role will performance criticism and feedback play in your group? How will feedback be delivered to people? Finally, how will your group deal with the people who will inevitable fall below the average skill level of the group? How much “credit” will you award for “effort” compared to actual results, and under what circumstances will the group start replacing people?

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  1. The biggest challenge we have faced is simply the amount of time needed to invest in being “raidable” and the daily effort to support progression level raiding.

    Our guild is “semi-hardcore” and is a mix of progression raiders and non-progression raiders (I purposefully steer clear of terminology such as “hardcore” and “casual”).

    Some of our members just don’t have the time (due to real life) or (frankly) the inclination for progression raiding. Others are showing up with bells on (and, of course, the appropriate gear).

    The first few weeks of raiding was tough, because we had people prepared, and unprepared and some unwilling to do what we clearly defined needed to be done to be *functional* (ie: gemming and enchanting even ilvl 333 gear).

    I was at a point where we were either going to have to pull out the old benchmark chestnut and sit out the more casual-minded OR lose our front-line raiders.

    The solution was actually rather simple. In a series of posts, I explained what MUST happen for raids to be successful. I explained that this wasn’t personal, arbitrary numbers (like 7.9K DPS gets benched), but that our expectation was that people would have their food, their flasks, their enchants and their gems. They will have read the strats and will work on their dailies and farm heroics to get their appropriate reps up to snuff. I laid out the weekly costs. I explained that progression-level raiding means wiping many, many times and nights of no loot or compensation.

    I then gave the raiders the option to “opt in” to this style of raiding, or trust that once the “ice breaker” team gets the boss down, we’ll be bringing in others so no one gets left behind.

    Many of our more casual-minded raiders chose to wait. The end result is we finally got our first real Cata boss kill (BH doesn’t count).

    The problem I see with most scenarios similar to this is that there is somehow a need to position progression raiders as “better” than the rest of the guild and to come off with the attitude that people need to “earn” the right to be part of the “in crowd” to be able to raid. While I understand that individuals need the ego stroke, as a GM, I cannot afford that kind of caste system in my guild. I am EXTREMELY fortunate that my front-line raiders are mature, and derive their sense of self-worth from knowing they have the skills to take down the bosses in progression. I thank my lucky stars that I have an RO who has managed this kind of split mentality for years (he raided when MC still had that factory-fresh scent) and an RL who is an awesome strategist, theorycrafter and VERY good at positive feedback.

    All my non-progression raiders wanted was the assurance that they would not be kicked to the curb like so many raiding guilds do. Some of them are quite happy to wait and do heroics until we get a few bosses on farm. Others know that they are not going to be penalized for having to choose the salary that pays the mortgage (and the monthly subscription) over the game.

    We’re never going to be a top-5 guild (or even top 10), but then if we’re raiding with good people, being successful and having fun, then that’s the best reward, IMHO.


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