I should mention that everything you’re about to read is something I’ve been thinking about. I haven’t committed to any course of action yet. But it’s all been weighing deeply on my mind.
There’s a couple of things I’m mulling over right now with regards to the direction that my guild should be going come Warlords. I’ve been wrestling with the guild’s identity for weeks now going back and forth over what I want. By many standards, the guild could be considered solid, stable, and successful. Other than that short hiccup during Throne of Thunder and the past few months with regards to attendance, I’d consider it a job well done.
But I’m at the stage now where my ambition is slowly starting to take over. I had a conversation with my raid leader about our expectations. He believes we can clear out first tier Heroic level content within the first few weeks and challenge for Mythic within the same month. I had to admit, I’m a little more reserved in that judgment. I’m not sure if the current culture or schedule would allow that. Some of our players actually want to make a run at server first. A quick glance at our realm progress shows that we have a guild that’s at least US top 70 or something.
I could be content with where we’re at. We’ve floated around Top 500-600 for the past two expansions. During Wrath when 25 man guilds reigned supreme, we were hanging out at the Top 1000 mark. I earnestly think that with some of the players here, if sufficiently pushed and “encouraged”, we could maybe move up to the top 200 or 300 mark. Top 100’s a little out of our reach. Another goal would be to at least to contest faction firsts.
So I asked myself the following question:
“In order to challenge for faction first or Top 200 US rankings, what must be true?”
- More hours spent
- More efficient use of time
- Stronger caliber players
- Raid composition flexibility
Rearranging the Schedule
What was it Allen Iverson once said? Something about practice? I’d love to be able to get to the point where we completely clear out content within a day or two. It’s odd that in order to spend less time raiding later, it’s common to invest more hours raiding and frontload the learning near the start of a tier. The fact is, we need to spend more time practicing pulls and trying new strategies. Granted, we could be more efficient in how we spend our time to begin with. I’m always looking for ways to cut corners. I’m looking to add anywhere from 1.5 hours to an additional 3 hours a week. That would mean an extra 30 minutes per day to an hour per day.
Seeing as we raid from 6-9 Pacific, I can add an hour in front or add an hour later. If I add the extra hour in front, it means many of our west coast players won’t be able to make it due to the time. An extra hour later would wreck the schedules of our east coast players because they’d be settling down and attempting to sleep at 1 AM Eastern. No matter which direction I go, I’m going to lose a segment of our players either due to scheduling or a difference in focus and personal objectives.
But if parting ways needs to happen to further guild goals, I’m prepared to do it.
Secondly, I’d want to go hard during the start of the week. Instead of raiding Tuesday, Thursday, and Monday, I’d drop the Monday and move it to Wednesday. That gives 3 consecutive days of raiding allowing raid strategies and repetition sink in. Practice makes perfect, after all!
Revisiting the Alt Policy
During certain progression nights, we were hampered because we were missing certain class compositions. As a result, we ended up shifting back to normal mode and clearing out the rest of the night. I don’t for a second believe that having 3 extra Paladins during Thok all those months ago would have resulted in us killing him then. But I do think it would have allowed us to get more practice and grow comfortable quicker.
For the longest time, we’ve had a strict no-alt policy unless it was under exceptional circumstances. I’ve started reconsidering this. A good player is a good player no matter what class they’re on as long as they put in the effort to learn it and gear it. Many players spend their off times pugging raids on their alts.
It would be too much to ask to make having raid worthy alts a requirement. But I’d definitely encourage those interested to do it.
There would be strict conditions to this, however.
- Profiency: The alt must be able to perform at a level that’s satisfactory performance to other raiders who main the class.
- Gear: No blues or greens. They need to be raid geared and ready to go. It’s up to the player to find ways to do it. Between crafted gear, raid finder, and other drops, it should be easy to pull it off.
One player brought up a good question.
“Would I be punished for not having an alt? What’s in it for me?”
I had to think about that one for a second. I suppose the gain would be a more flexible raid allowing the group to work it’s way around various obstacles. There’s always some flavor of the month or certain classes that are better than others before nerfs or new content drops. Another tangential benefit? I have a suspicion players wouldn’t be bored as much raiding on the same character doing the same content. I believe raid content becomes a lot more interesting on a variety of characters just due to being in a different role or perspective. Raid burnout often kicks in if players have been working on the same thing for months on end with seemingly zero to little signs of progress. Do it fast enough, and it won’t be a problem.
Warlords has given us an excellent opportunity to manage all of this. Mythic and heroic will no longer share lockouts. Early tier will be spent working hard through heroic content. An optional raid night on the weekend focused on normal (or flex) can provide a boost to the players who want to do it. The fact that it’ll be cross-realmable means I can pickup other players on other servers to help serve the needs of the group composition for that night. It won’t be a requirement, but there’s players like myself who actually want to raid more. When it gets to the point that normal raids no longer serve our purpose, we can shift normal clears to that night instead. Hopefully, by that time, we’ll be well into the mythic rotation.
This is all new to me. I’ve stayed the same course during my tenure as GM. Never really changed my values or my goals. I’ve never made a venture down a road like this before. Definite about-face for sure.
Remember that scene from the original Matrix?
The one where Neo’s in the car and Trinity and Morpheus are with him and speeding down the road? Morpheus offers Neo the red pill or the blue pill. He can get out and Trinity reminds him that it’s the same street with the same buildings and the same people. He’s been down that path before. He knows what’s waiting at the end. That’s kind of what going through my mind at the moment. Either this works and I manage to find that fulfillment I’m looking for, or it’ll ruin me. It’ll be a gamble.
Let’s ante up!
I haven’t written to “you” readers in a long time. Not really sure what I’m looking for.
I just had to get my thoughts out somewhere on print so I can review it. If things get written down, it becomes a little more real. Everything in my head tends to just stay that way – An idea. My raid leader’s going to be in for a surprise when he’s back.