Encouraging Raiders to Sign Up and Why

For a list of suggested add-ons or web scripts regarding raid signups, scroll down.

This is a problem that’s plagued many Guilds. Many members are simply too lazy to sign for raids. I’ve found it very frustrating as a former Officer. I know other Guilds who are suffering from the same problem. It makes my life easier if I know who is going to show for sure and who isn’t.

Let’s take a step back for a moment. Why is it necessary for people to sign up to raid?

Answer: Having Raid signups allows the leadership to determine who will show up for sure and who will not be. I would like to know what kind of assets I have available going into a Raid. I guarantee that all of us have been in a situation where our raid comes to a halt (or doesn’t even get underway) because we’re missing a certain class. Then we spend the next hour trying to find a pickup player. Then we wipe twice on a boss. Then we call it a night. It would be nice to know before hand what players will be there and what needs to be there. With information like that, arrangements can be made in advance to look for other players to fill that void.

On the other hand, I’ve heard of various reasons as to why people don’t sign up. It goes something like this:

“I can’t figure out how to use it.”

“It’s broken. I get some kind of an error.”

“I don’t want to download that add-on.”

I think that just about summarizes almost all of the excuses I have heard in the past. As leadership people, the onus is on us to show them how to operate the tools that they need. The methods you have chosen for signups will be narrowed to one of two methods: Either it’s an in-game addon or some webpage based script. I guess forums can be used, but that’s amazingly tedious.

Enforcing Signups

Now you’ve determined the method which your Guild will use to sign up. The only obstacle in the way is people’s willpower and the laziness factor. Three years and $10000 on tuition has told me that people will take the easiest route to perform an action. Why? Because everyone is inherently lazy. We’re not going to do anymore work then is required. But if we have to work for it, there damn well better be an incentive.

Let’s take a page from Skinner and look at the concept of reinforcement. There’s several ways we can influence people to sign up.

Positive reinforcement: If your Guild utilizes DKP, you can consider giving 0.5 DKP or some other arbitrary number to those who sign up and show up early. But do that only if both conditions are met. This may require additional work on the part of your number cruncher. Not the best idea but not the worse since it involves additional work. Let’s take everyone into account here and don’t forget about the guy who does the DKP who has a degree in science, mathematics, or engineering (or accounting). On a side note, power to YOU DKP guy! You deserve a raise or a beer for having to handle that kind of stress and responsibility. I salute you!

Negative punishment: Players who signup have first priority over loot (okay, so it punishes the guys who don’t sign up). The guys that don’t signup, even if they have more DKP, are forced to wait in line. Carnage utilizes this system well. I recall this precedent being set and followed twice while I’ve been with them so far.

Don’t ask about the psych terms. I learn better if I can apply these principles in real life (or virtual in this case). =)

Next question: What if I’m not sure if I can make the raid? Should I sign up anyway? I know I’ll be late, too!

Yes, sign up anyway. Leave a note explaining your circumstances. Maybe you might need to work overtime. But there is always an off chance that you can make it home in time for a raid. Maybe you live in LA and for some reason the freeway isn’t tied up with traffic or something (Hey, it’s possible!)

Addons and Scripts for Signups

Check out the following links. They just might provide the solution you need if you’re wondering what kind of sign up interface to use. I’ve used most of these at some point during my career. Personally, I favor web based signups because of convenience.

Web Based

phpRaider: This is Carnage’s interface of choice. Actually, we use a slightly dated version. But it still works.

Features (direct from the site)

  • Support for any number of classes, races, and class/race combinations.
  • Support for any MMORPG game.
  • Support for any number of attributes assigned to character profiles such as resistances, damage abilities, talents, and more!
  • Raids are arranged in an easy to view calendar format showing only pertinent information. When clicked, a detailed list of class signups and raid information become available.
  • Post announcements for your members to see.
  • Create any number of characters for each user profile.
  • Extensive permission settings allow you to customize who has access to what features of phpRaider.
  • Ability to signup for multiple raids and create recurring raids.
  • Completely free to use!
  • Much, much more…

Requirements

phpRaider requires a web server (IIS, Apache, etc), a MySQL database (4.0 or higher), PHP (4.0 or higher), and a minimal knowledge of software installation.

RaidNinja: This is an alternative to the above. I remember installing this months ago and I scrapped it for a certain reason. I can’t remember what exactly, but I do believe it was technical. It’s last update was on August 9th and is sitting on version 2.0. I think I might have to install this later on my server and see how well it is. Here’s a sample of what it looks like.

Addons

Guild Event Manager: Looks good in theory. It’s an in-game addon which allows players to signup without the hassles of having to make an account online and such. Events are made in game via a private channel with a password so only your members will have access to the schedules and such. The Guild Leader doesn’t need to be online for this to work. Don’t ask me how or why it works, but that’s the theory behind it.

I’ve never used this addon extensively. I tested it with other people to see if it could fit with our needs (HI JOSH). But, the trials didn’t last very long (partly because our Guild didn’t last very long). At the time, it was easy to use and had lots of features. Now I’ve read mixed reviews about it (mostly on the WoW forums) but the latest version came out on the 30th (2.27).

Group Calendar: Here is another promising addon which I have not had the opportunity to try out. Some of the latest updates include:

- Support for guild addon data channel
– Simplified setup and security
- New event types for doctor, dentist and vacation (doctor and dentist are not shared with the network)
– Notification for new events (minimap button and dates flash when they have new events)
– New tooltip for each date shows a summary of events for that day
- New tooltip for each event shows an attendance summary
– Events can now be created as ‘closed’ which won’t allow signups and players can only be added manually (or the event can be opened later)
- Reminders for events are given at 60, 30, 15, 5, and 1 minute before start time as well as at start time
– Calendar can be set to start the week on a Monday (use ‘/calendar mon’ command)
– Events can now be restricted to members of the your own guild in multi-guild alliances

- Players can now be manually added as ‘not attending’
– Minimap icon changes to an upcoming event one hour before the event starts
– Compatible with The Burning Crusade expansion

I really like that Doctor/Dentist feature. I don’t know why, it just stood out at me. Has anyone used this before? Your thoughts?

Anyway, the last alternative you have if none of these work out for you is to use your Guild Forums and get people to make posts saying they’ll be attending or not. It’s going to be tedious. If theres any other raid management solutions I’ve missed, please do let me know. I’m going to lay down the groundwork for a “Guild Website” series in the next upcoming days. It’s aimed at Guilds who want to establish an online presence but are unsure of as to how to do it.