The First 120 Days of Conquest

This is a quick look back at the first three months in the life of the guild. The first 120 days are usually indicative of how the guild is going to be down the road. There were a few milestone moments. Let’s see how our Loot Council is doing using Kel’Thuzad as a benchmark since he drops some of the most powerful stuff in the game presently. Specifically, we’re going to look at weapons.

We picked up:

  • 2 x Torch of Holy Fire
  • 4 x Last Laugh
  • 3 x Calamity’s Grasp
  • 5 x Journey’s End
  • 4 x Wall of Terror
  • 1 x Betrayer of Humanity
  • 3 x Envoy of Mortality
  • 3 x The Turning Tide

Pretty good on Druid staves and our tanks are well equipped. Hunter’s look like they’re in good shape. So do the casters. Our plate DPS is hurting some with only one Betrayer. Anyway, these are all the high level weapons we picked up from Kel’Thuzad.

Now of those, how many do you think this guild has lost?

Turnover is something to be expected especially in a guild as young as this one. I called it the 30% rule:

30% of loot obtained in raids will be lost.

It doesn’t really matter why it’s lost. It could happen for a multitude of reasons. Items could get disenchanted because no one in the raid wants it or is eligible for it. I’ve lost players to other guilds and real life. In such a competitive server, it’s to be expected. Let’s break down the losses, shall we?

Items lost:

  • 1 x Torch of Holy Fire
  • 2 x Turning Tide
  • 1 x Last Laugh
  • 1 x Wall of Terror

The guild has lost 5 items to players that have decided to leave the game or leave the server. I know what you’re thinking. How on earth could you have let this happen? How could you have looted items to players that were going to quit the game or the guild?

Simply put, it’s not always easy. We don’t know that players are going to leave. Even the players don’t know they’re going to leave. These decisions were made with the thought that players would stick around and commit. But I had a player declare himself inactive as he had just moved out of his house and got piled on with extra work shifts a couple of weeks after he picked up a Torch. I had another player lose interest in the game and wanted to focus more on life after we gave him a Turning Tide during the week of New Year’s. Another caster left the guild because he felt that the guild’s goals and his goals didn’t coincide taking another Turning Tide with him (he wanted more than I was prepared to offer). We lost a Last Laugh and a Wall of Terror on a tank who got hacked one day whom we never heard from again.

Is it disappointing? Yeah, I’m not going to lie. It does hurt seeing players walk out. But it’s something to be expected. If I had to do it all over again with the same information, I’m certain the council would have ruled the same way.

It could be worse. All the players who earned those could have been lost.

Attendance and demotions

In hindsight, I should’ve worked a little harder in getting an attendance tracker up and running. It took me around a month and a half before I was finally satisfied with what I had. Up to that point, most of the attendance was tracked mentally and on an excel spreadsheet. I had a pretty good idea of who was present on progression nights, who wasn’t present, and who failed to relay the fact that they were gone.

A lot of players message the GM weeks or days in advance telling them they won’t be around. But as a GM, I have so much on my mind that I often forget. This can lead to misunderstandings. I often preach to my players that if they’re going to be late or if they’re going to miss a raid, leave it on the forums. This way, there’s clear evidence that they made an attempt to sign out (we don’t use a sign in system).

A raider is a rank of privilege. If you’re a raider, you’re expected to show up to every raid. It’s assumed that you will be there on the nights and times that we raid. Obviously there are going to be things that happen in life that causes you to miss a night or two. That’s understandable. But this is the expectation. My E-Office is always open. I’m probably one of the most accessible guildmasters out there as there’s a multitude of ways to reach me. I’ve had long distance calls on my cellphone and text messages from raiders who tell me traffic’s come up or work’s keeping them busy at the last minute. If a player doesn’t login for 20 days without notice, I’m not going to fish them out and try to coax them back in. I leave it to them to come to me and explain what’s up. I’m perfectly capable of understanding and trying to work with people. But if I’m left in the dark, I don’t have a problem demoting and looking for replacements like Resto Shamans.

I’ve got another player who picked up a job recently. The job schedule varies from a week to week basis. Sometimes they might not make a raid night, sometimes they can hit all three nights no problem. But as a GM, I cannot plan raids around that sort of unpredictability. It’s situations like that which cause a loss of rank. It’s not fair to me and it’s not fair to the guild. And that’s something I need to put a little more thought into going forward. But I do appreciate the fact that I was informed about the change because I can think ahead and figure out what our guild needs are.

It’s not an easy feeling. I’m friends with many players. And it’s not fun for me to demote them or tell them that they’re sitting out. Ideally, I’d have a guild with 24 other players that were capable of committing every night. But it’s virtually impossible.

I had a reader message me the other night. He was in a tough spot. He had a small 10 man guild going that all consist of friends and family. What should he do if one person can’t make it but really wants to come along? Does he try to accommodate to the chagrin of the other 9? Or does he roll without him and tell him “try again next week”?

And these kinds of decisions suck. If you decide to go, you piss off one person. If you decide to hold and end up not raiding because everyone’s schedule doesn’t work out, you piss off everybody.

I told him that it’s a tough situation to be in. I told him you can either be a good GM or a good friend. Often times, it’s difficult to be both.

I deliberately wrote this into my charter. Above all else, Conquest is a progression minded raiding guild, not a friends and family guild. When players protest about being benched, I remind them that it’s what they signed up for and it was a question on the application if they were okay with being benched from time to time.

By the way, kudos to the players that were able to find the Conquest website. I don’t exactly openly advertise the website on the blog. I can tell the really determined players because they’re able to navigate through the blog and find the places where I did link. Heck, it’s not even on the realm forums guild directory.

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About Matticus

Matticus is the founder of World of Matticus and Plus Heal. Read more of his columns at WoW Insider. League of Legends player. Caffeine enthusiast.

Comments

  1. As a wise man… er, Vulcan… once said, “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few… or one.” My own guild is smaller than most, but big enough to do ten-mans, and they schedule 90% of their raids on days when I’m working. Because that’s when the time is best for everyone else except me.

    Does it suck for me? Yeah. But in the end I could go find a better-fitting guild if I really wanted to. I choose not to because the people in the guild are my friends before they are mere raiders. That is my own personal take on it.

    So I PuG. =P

    Pikes last blog post..If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em

  2. Giving gear to people who end up washing out is not the end of the world. Even in a purely /roll system with no loot council or dkp, the rate of loss is about the same as the rate of roster turnover. And if you have a solid guild, turnover will be light.

  3. I was once in a guild that had unbelievable turn over. Basically our guild had become the raider farm for the handful of guilds above us. It created a huge image problem because many players saw us as the stepping stones into the top alliance guilds on the server. We would ask each one if they planned on leaving us for a more progressed guild, most just lied. All told we ended up losing ~60+% of our T6 drops and maybe ~45% of our Illidan loot. It was very hard on all of us that tried to stick it out. I have a lot of respect for that GM. He worked hard to try and keep us all together despite being overtly used. Eventually the guild fell apart (we had made it to Brutallus) and most of us went our separate ways. That GM managed to rebuild and do quite well in WotLK.

    Turnover is a sticky issue. Honestly the only way to protect against poaching is to be the server first. Then you lose people to cross server stuff and burn out. I guess the only rule is that guilds are fluid. Ulduar is making that point in my guild right now.

  4. cringer says:

    I think we’ve lost probably 4 or 5 holy torches, which upsets me most because I really really want that drop.

    We even had a player get the torch and straight up say “screw you guys, I’m going to …” in raid chat, and he was with the guild for a few months before he did that.

    We run DKP, but we let you go negative DKP if the loot is not going to be used. Kinda like DKP on credit assuming your going to be using the loot to progress anyway. It’s better than just sharding it. We’ve had several trial members come in and run one or two weeks worth the raids and then immediately gquit after going -200dkp or so.

    I would say that if you count useless drops as “lost” gear then as your raid starts farming the content more that percentage is going to increase, obviously. I would say that probably 70% or more of the drops are sharded now that we’ve been farming for awhile.

    I heard something today that Blizzard is not adding gear for the Emblems of Valor but instead moving to a new token system so that you won’t need to farm Naxx in addition to Ulduar once 3.1 hits. Is that true?

    If it is, that is great in my opinion. I don’t have to spend extra days running content that is stale and outdated and we can just run Ulduar and be done for the week. I better start selling my Emblems for BOE items soon.

  5. @cringer: On the badge system, you’re right. They’re adding another new layer of badge gear that’s ilevel 226. Uses the new Emblems of Conquest.

  6. I started a comment, but it grew into a wall of text, so follow the comment luv link below if you’re interested.

    I’ll summarize in case you don’t want to jump ship from the conversation here:

    1) Conquest lives up to its charter very well.

    2) Issues come up in any group activity. Conquest has proven adaptable and true to the mission stated in the charter through a variety of issues.

    3) The leadership does an outstanding job overall, and in the areas they need to improve they actively listen to the members for ideas.

    I’m happy I made the server transfer.

    Amavas last blog post..10 Reflections About 120 Days

  7. I started Omni in november. At the beginning, expectations were high to be a really competitive raiding guild. We recruited and recruited to fill up guild only 10 man runs while we plunged into Naxx10. Everyone we had back then had become our core players, we often ran with them while waiting for the others to finish leveling to 80, and kept recruiting and recruiting to make up what we are today.

    Sadly, a few guilds needed to die to fill up our raider list now, but the saddest thing of all is that almost all of my core raiders have quit. I can’t really tell why, I mean we’ve treated them fairly and things were going well. Now I’m hanging out with a guild of players where I only know maybe 1/5 of them, maybe a little less. We succesfully clear most 25 man content, except 3 drake Sarth, but I’m finding the game no longer fun because of the absence of these players.

    So now I’m considering running a 10 man only (progression/casual) guild, so I can try and experience this again. Is this a good idea, or am I setting both guilds up for failure? I’ve already stepped down from guildmaster and let a good player take over, I’d probably be taking a few raiders from Omni, but not enough to break them.

    What do you think, Matt & Co.?

  8. @Totemlol: I think that’s a pretty tall order to fill. If it’s something you’re prepared to do and (more importantly) what you want to do, try it out. See how it works. I’d love to hear about your results!

  9. Totally agree with Matticus here. If you truly feel its something you want to do, go for it. You never know unless you try.

  10. Not to be nitpicky – but it was clearly stated by that player that they understood the situation and recommended switching to sub status. You rather make it sound like said player demanded to keep full time raider status despite the schedule. 🙂

  11. Matticus, Ner’zhul is a very progressed server. We had a prot palidan come into our guild and get geared then leave for another guild. We’ve had several tanks come and go (one of them we didn’t care) But we have been very lucky on the healing part. Locktar and me have only had 1 palidan leave.

    You guys are doing the right thing by loot council because sometimes you just have a feeling (players always complaining about loot) that as soon as they get KT loot they may leave.

    We have quit a few players on standby so if you ever need any help please hit me up in game. 🙂

  12. Hello Matticus,
    I’m a Big fan of your Blog and would like to thank you for all of you insihgt into running a guild. I enherated a guild when the Oridginal GM left, leaving me and about 19 people. It almost flickered out, but a compelte reorganization of the Leadership, Polices, Rank Structure, We’ve gone form not having enough to complete a raid, to killing 3D on 10 and 25 Man. And a DC away form Glory of the Raider. And I’ve used allot allot of your information.

    Now to my question 😛
    Can I ask what you use for Loot and Attendance tracking?

    I used EQDKP and CT Raidtracker, but with the built in DKP tracking, it becomes very clunky. I’d love a website Module that use XML exporting from a add on like [url=http://wow.curse.com/downloads/wow-addons/details/head-count.aspx]Headcount[/url] and lets me sort by Attendance, Last Loot, and Times Looted in last month, etc.

    Loot / Attendance Tracking would be a great Blog subject, imo :p
    Anyone have any suggestions?

    Dankzs last blog post..Sarth + 3 Drakes

  13. I can’t agree with your attendance policy at all. Makes me very glad I’m not in a guild like yours, to be honest. I work hard. There are weeks when I’m at work past midnight and can’t make it online at all. Then there are weeks when I’m online every night for 4 or 5 hours, ready to offer my time to guildies for heroic heals or raids or whatever. Demoting someone who cannot make raids every week just plains sucks to me. I’m in that boat, and would be majorly upset if you treated me the way you are treating your guildies. I suppose I should read up on your guild mission statement, if you are a hardcore guild, I suppose that’s clearly not for me.

    But if a player can tell you in advance when they will be there and is a stellar contributor, should you cut them from your guild because they cannot always be there? Sounds like your answer is yes.

    Taras last blog post..Watchmen movie, not a fan

  14. @Tara: Yeah and I understand that. The players that sign up are fully aware of what they’re getting themselves into. They’ve read the charter. The guild is all about progression and moving ahead. In past guilds I’ve been in, I grew frustrated because there were players that were great and skilled. But they showed up whenever they wanted because of work or scheduling issues. I’d rather have attendance stability. I want to play with the same group that are willing to and are able to commit.

    If a player tells me in advance that they have to miss out a week or two because they’re overseas (true story), that’s no problem. Life happens, it’s understandable. If a player tells me in advance when they’ll be there and is a stellar contributor, I’m not going to kick them outright. I wouldn’t cut a player from the guild because of that. I still have players who have been MIA for three months that are still tagged even though I have the justification to remove them.

    Like for your job. If you had the choice between two candidates and one position open. Both of them are excellent people and have the same qualifications. Either one of them are suited for the job. One guy can only work Thursday and Friday. The other guy can work all week days. Who would you pick? From a managerial perspective, I’d go for the guy that can work weekdays because of the added flexibility. Otherwise I’d have to hire a second guy to complement the Thursday/Friday only worker. Transitioning back to WoW, I’d have to pick up two Mages instead of one if one could only come on one night a week. That means twice the gearing.

    Not every person is going to be ideal for every kind of guild. I would be unhappy in a more laidback raiding environment because I’m ambitious. You yourself, like you said, wouldn’t be happy in an organization like Conquest. This is why I make our policies known to everyone who expresses interest so they can save themselves from any heartache down the road.

  15. That makes sense. I personally wouldn’t call raiding ‘work’, but then I think that’s the reason we have a difference of opinion here. I play to enjoy time with my friends. I want to see new content, I want to get upgrades. Like everyone and their cousin, I’ve seen all the content in the game right now, so that’s not hard. But I have a great job that requires I work hard for set periods, and that’s always going to come first. I would never, ever call WoW work. WoW is play. Work is something else entirely, and if WoW every becomes work it’s time to quit. 🙂

    Taras last blog post..Watchmen movie, not a fan

  16. Thanks Matt, yes i also used EQDKP plus, maybe there’s nothing better out there. Can I ask what you do with the DKP entries? If its main spec I count it as 1 DKP and offSpec/ 2nd Spec is 0. I thought this would give me an easy way to compare 2 peoples loot history. But it’s not really accurate since a a core raider will have 20 or so “Loot Points” while a new member will have a big goose egg.

  17. @Dankz: I just kinda eyeballed it.

    “He’s Holy, and he picked up Last Laugh?”

    Honestly though, I haven’t thought of a solution myself other than having two browser windows and doing direct side by side comparisons.

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