A Must-Read for the Cataclysm Player

Needless to say, I’ve been enjoying a nice little break from WoW before Cataclysm. Spent time with family for Turkey Day, beat Mass Effect (never played it before), and I’ve been looking forward to the new expansion for the WoW TCG–not for the loot card but to actually enjoy the game.

I came across a great post on the MMO-Champion forums which let me reminisce about my original post here when I was still a guest. I’ve tried to focus a majority of my blogging on how everyone can help each other. The name of the guild I’m in is Team Sport, and that’s what I believe this game is. Hence, when I read the forum post by Daetur, I felt like a proud father. Not becauseĀ I had any direct impact on him/her but because it goes along with everything that I believe this game should and could be. Instead of making a small link to it in the midst of this text… I’m going to make sure you don’t miss this:


Daetur discusses what each player (Tank, Healer, DPS) can do to ensure the success of any dungeon or raid. He takes the stance that many of us have gotten “complacent” in WotLK with regard to raiding and dungeons. Through my experience, I have to say I agree. We’ve come to expect AoE’ing down 3 packs of mobs, healing through debuffs, and risking death to get a few more casts in. According to Daetur, we’re in for a rude awakening. I’m excited! A few things he mentions:

  • CC is key. We are going to need to CC mobs, and avoid breaking them at all costs.
  • Defensive cooldowns are key all around. Tanks, Healers, and DPS are going to need their cooldowns to help stay alive.
  • Healers need to manage their mana, since it’s now at a premium and no longer infinite.

I can’t help but feel like the whole thing meant to make the job of the healer’s more manageable. Well, it’s true. The goal of any fight is to kill them before they kill you. We may be able to burst to high hell, but if we can’t stay alive doing it, then what’s the point? I’m already bracing myself for the backlash of the “uninformed”: “L2Heal noob.” We no longer live in a world of invincibility. Everyone is reponsible for helping everyone else stay alive and do their job easier.

Remember, I only lightly summarized the forum post by Daetur. I implore you to please read the entire post. You may not disagree, and all of it may not be pertinent to you, but you’ll know what everyone is up against in Cataclysm. Help each other out.

Structuring Your Casual Raiding Guild

King and his Pawns

A couple of days ago, I had the opportunity to read Karthis’ post on Building a Raiding Guild. In it, he posed several excellent points:

  • Progression Results
  • Leadership Restructuring
  • Smart Recruiting
  • Identifying and Assisting Underachievers
  • Accountability of the Raid
  • “Pat on the backs”
  • Separation of Raiders and Non-Raiders

The other day, an ingame friend of mine asked me to help him create the blueprint of a raiding guild from top to bottom identifying positions and the like. I figured my current Guild model would be a good one to use along with an explanation of each role both within the Guild and within the Raid.

Gnometastic posted a request for input about diving into the T5 instances which I will also address at the bottom of today’s (long ass) piece.

The first thing I will stress to any casual raiding guild is the following: Drop the casualness. The moment you decide to step foot in you T5 instances, you are an official raiding Guild.

What IS casual

From my various experiences and chats with other guilds, casual to THEM means:

    Not reading up on strategy before hand
    Not listening to the raid leader
    Not paying attention or having any kind of situational awareness

And they wonder why they have such a hard time in SSC and TK.

This is what casual means to me

    Not spending more than 6 hours a night raiding
    Not spending more than 3 days raiding
    Not being stupid while having fun

1 definition describes a guild that is struggling night after night in T5 instances and wonders what they have problems. The other is having a blast exploring Mount Hyjal and Black Temple.

Guild Positions

Here’s the framework of our Guild:

Guild Leader

We only have 1. There are no ifs, ands, or buts. The ultimate decision rests on him. Any hard calls are his to make. We are not tied down or restricted in any kind of way. Your Guild Leader should be rational, intelligent, and must actually have a pair.

I’ve seen a lot of paper tiger Guild Leaders who were not willing to stand up for themselves and their Guild. Everytime someone made a request, they would immediately bend over backwards to accommodate them. The way I see it, if you’re not willing enough to say no to someone in your Guild, you are not fit to lead. I wrote more about Leadership earlier in the school year. Any aspiring GMs, I encourage you to read it.

Your Guild Leader obviously cannot run the show alone. But he must be willing to listen to opinion of his officers and guildies. The guild in turn must respect the decision he comes to. If they don’t like it, they’re free to hit free agency.

Don’t run a CO-GM kind of deal. In my experience, I’ve found that it rarely works well. When 1 GM puts their foot down, the other may not be as firm. In fact, the 2nd GM might even reverse the first GM’s decision. You cannot that kind of instability in a Guild.


If you read Kestrel’s interview the other day, then you can see his best advice to any GM is one simple fact:

    You can’t do it all.

These are players that people can turn to for help. There isn’t really much for them to do. They could assist in various day to day guild affairs. Honestly, whoever you put in these positions depends primarily on what your Guild Leader lacks.

If he lacks time and organizational skills, he can delegate an officer to help him set raid schedules.

If he’s lacking people skills, delegate a recruiting officer or 2 to help find some raiders and personnel.

What they do isn’t important.

The bottom line is that these are individuals that your Guild leader can trust and depend on. There is no perfect set of criteria that can define who is eligible to be an officer and who isn’t.

Raid Structure

Here’s the real meat and potatoes. I think our raid structure is a pretty damn efficient model.

Raid Leaders

Note the plural. We have 2 raid leaders who feed off of each other because it’s impossible for 1 person to track everything going off simultaneously. It’s nice to have another leader around to call out something the other might miss.

In addition, it helps reduces burnout on 1 person. We have 1 person research and call the play for 1 boss. We have the other raid leader research and call the play for another boss. For example, our GM doubles as a raid leader (let’s call him Bob). He calls the play for Lurker, Fathom Lord, Tidewalker, and Al’ar. The other raid leader (let’s call him Fred) calls the plays for Vashj, Kael, and Leotheras.

During trash pulls, they light up the marks on the various mobs. They call for what it is that they want to happen. They might want a sheep on square, a misdirect on skull, or a trap on circle. They don’t care who does it as long as it’s done.

They have delegated duties down the chain of command.

Mage Leader

The job here for the mage leader is to set up and organize sheeps, plain and simple. If Bob calls for a sheep, the mage leader picks a mage within the raid and tells them to sheep that target. There’s going to be pulls where there could be 6+ mobs involved and keeping track of sheeps can be difficult. It’s the job for the mage to know who sheeps what when. It’s also the job for this mage to be able to “oh shit sheep” a mob incase 1 of the other mages fall.

Set up a mage channel.

Hunter Leader

Typically, our raiding arsenal includes 2 Hunters. They’re usually good about working out misdirects and traps amongst themselves. If you have more then that, it might be valuable to set up a go-to hunter to work out which mob or boss gets misdirected to who by which hunter so that there are no overlaps. Our Hunters usually interact with the mage leader in case they run out of mages to CC with.

Hunters: The Plan B.

Heal Leader

We like to dub ours “Gold Leader”. We even have our own healing channel. His purpose is pretty obvious and straight forward. He assigns the rest of the healers their targets. He’s intelligent enough to reassign or switch people around if it’s necessary.

For the love of god, if you’re a healer, ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR ASSIGNMENT. Echo back to him who you’re healing so that he knows there is no confusion!

Other Things to Know

I’m going to make a comment directed to Gnometastic in particular to all of his main points that he wanted to know more about.

Main Tanks

Carnage runs 1 Main Tank and 1 Off tank. The MT is a Warrior and the OT is a Druid. We also run 2 DPS Warriors who can slap a shield on and help with any extra parts of an encounter. We also have a Holy Paladin who’s willing to go Prot and vice versa as we need depending on the encounter.

Speccing into Raiding

As quoted by gnometastic:

I believe in freedom of choice and as long as you can play it you should be able to (within reason) spec it.

Normally, I’m inclined to agree. But this must be balanced by asking the following question:

    How badly you want to progress?

The 2 DPS warriors I mentioned above? They are willing to respec prot if the encounter requires it or there is simply too much healing required. Both of them respecced prot to allow healers an easier time during Kael.

On the flip side, if I were asked to do something like respec to Shadow, I would not. I’ve never played or levelled as Shadow. I wouldn’t know what to do. I would gimp the raid even further. I have no objections to sitting out a night in favor of another Shadow Priest.

If I were to become benched for the remainder of my time, then nothing stops me from parting company on good terms. I’m sure there are Guilds out there looking for a veteran healer.

Looting System

Hmm, it’s a toughie. It depends primarily on the Guild. Guilds have to start being strategic with their loot at some point. No matter what system is used, always ensure that Officer discretion can come into play at some point.

Carnage had the past policy of awarding MT priority on loot. That is, if it’s a substantial and noticeable upgrade for the tank, he gets first option no matter what his DKP is. If you think the MT might abuse that privilege, then I say to you to go find yourself a new MT.

There was a situation the past where a Defender token dropped. It would have been a marginal upgrade at best for the MT, but the 2 piece set bonus would have been a huge boon for the Priest. It was lobbied quite hard by our healer lead to have the MT policy revised to keep things like this in mind.

PvP vs PvE Gear

I made a quick note about this a while ago as a response to a reader. Before I believe that PvP Gear could not subsitute for raiding. Now I believe that there are different factors to take into account when deciding this.

    Raid Encounter
    Which season of gear

Although I still would not suggest raiding with full on Season 3 gear, I am open to the idea of substituting a a piece of gear or 2 depending on how the fights are. The Vindicator’s bracer would hands down blow away any kind of bracer that Attumen drops.

In any case, the gear choice isn’t that different for DPS classes I don’t think. But as a healer, I would value PvE gear way more then PvP gear.

By the way, be hit capped before worrying too much about spell damage and crit. That’s what my colleagues tell me and if you think about it, it does make sense. After all, what is the point of having insane spell damage if your spells get resists half the time?

Attendance and Raid Breakdown

From my experience with certain DKP systems, I’ve discovered that you can also apply a certain decay rate over DKP via a simple formula. For example, DKP earned x percentage of raids showed up to over the past 60 days.

Raider A has 100 DKP but his attendance has slackened to 30% attendance to real life factors. His effective DKP is now 30.
Raider B is new to the Guild and has 30 DKP so far but has been to 100% of the raids. He doesn’t have a penalty applied since he has showed up to all of them.

Here’s the standard Carnage configuration that we bring:

4 Tanks

  • 3 Warriors (2 of which can be DPS)
  • 1 Feral Druid (OT)

14 DPS

  • 2 Hunters (BM, I think)
  • 4 Mages
  • 3 Warlocks
  • 1 Shadow Priest
  • 1 Enhancement Shaman
  • 2 Rogues
  • We keep an extra Rogue, Shadow Priest, Elemental Shaman, and Hunter on standby depending on what we need more of.

7 Healers

  • 2 Holy Priests (1 with Imp. DS and 1 with CoH)
  • 3 Holy Paladins
  • 1 Resto Druid
  • 1 Resto Shaman
  • We keep an extra Paladin around in case he is needed.

For Voidreaver, Gnome, bring a Resto Shaman or 3. It makes the other healer classes kind of moot. I always wonder what I’m doing there when we do Voidreaver.

In terms of attendance, we do it inversely. If you can’t show up you make a note on the forums in advance. That gives the Raid leaders time to go scramble a replacement instead of having to do it last minute. We build the raid out of whoever is there with the core members. They are the ones that usually show up 9.9 times out of 10. I think I’ve only ever missed 2 official raids ever since I signed with Carnage back in May. The guys that should be raiding are the ones that want to raid and are willing to make the dedication for it.

We also don’t switch our MT/OT combinations. The MT is made the same no matter what. However, there are certain encounters where a Bear tank is better suited then a Warrior tank (Leo).

Class Balance

It honestly depends on the boss and the instance. We like to bring in 7 AoE. It makes killing things that much faster.

In the end, it does come down to how serious and committed you are. I think 20 hours a week is a bit much. Attrition will take it’s toll sooner or later. I know some successful raiding Guilds going at 6 hours a week. We clock in about 12 hours of 25 mans plus an additional 6 hours of optional 10 mans if we want.

This piece is probably one of the longer ones I’ve written. I probably should have broken it up and divided it. At the least, I would have had material for 3 days worth of posts. But you’re always welcome to bookmark and come back to it at a later time. I’m hoping the experiences I’ve had can benefit you in some way.

I’m kind of curious as to the experiences of other raiding readers. How is your guild set up in terms of class balance and leadership? Is there only 1 individual leading the entire raid including direction sheeps, heals, and so forth (Bless him)? Have you had any success with other styles of leadership?