Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Can we have it both ways?

You'll have to excuse me for this post. I'm kinda brain dumping a thought I had while driving into work this morning.

One of my concerns over the upcoming raid lockout changes are that it's going to put a guild like mine in a tough spot. We use 10-man raids to give our better players their progression fixes while opening up 25s to everyone. That's no longer going to be a viable option, and it's something that's been in my mind ever since the announcement.

Our guild is in a pretty stable place right now, all things considered. We have, more or less, the same progression 10-man team that we've had all the way through Wrath. It's comprised mostly of our Officers and long-established members. There's wiggle room in some of the positions, but we're a little hamstrung in that we only have two tanks. So if either one is unavailable...

We have a second 10-man progression team that basically consists of players that we absorbed from another guild. They're all co-workers of one of our guild's longest-standing members. They enjoy raiding together, but on non-raid nights there would be 2 or 3 of them at most online. So, looking for a little more of a social environment, they joined our guild with the stipulation that they could still run their own 10man content. I'm cool with that. I enjoy it, even. It feels like competition. It pushes me, personally, to try harder to get the guild first kills on my team.

This past weekend two more members of our guild decided to try and put together a 3rd 10-man team that I think they want to run regularly as well. Power to them. While it effectively eliminates the pool of alternate choices for the other two teams when they're short members, I hope they can keep it going.

Ok, got that? Keep it in mind. I'm going to shift gears now for a moment, but it's all going to come back later.

Our 25-man runs this weekend were pretty successful. On our first night we were able to down Rotface and Festergut (plus, obviously, the Lower Spire). The Ugly Bros. are a week-to-week coin toss as to whether or not we're going to get past them. So when it took a combined 3 attempts to get the 2 kills, we were feeling pretty good.

The next night we went back and started on the Princes. It wasn't the first time we'd tried them on 25-man, but it was the first time in quite a while. There were some learning attempts and some confusion at first, but everything eventually came together and we got a very smooth kill. That was a guild first for us on 25-man.

The Upper Spire is difficult. A huge jump from Lower on that curve. I was looking at the people in the 25 groups those two nights and I realized that only a couple of them had never been that far into ICC. So most of the people in there already knew the fights...it was just a matter of adjusting from 10-man difficulty to 25-man difficulty.

After Princes we went on to Lana'Thel. Once we got up there, the number of people who were familiar with the fight dropped significantly. The number of people who had completed it dropped even more.

BQL is a tough fight. It's very chaotic, even on 10-man. On 25-man, it's absolutely insane. We had a good portion of our raid just trying to learn it that night. As you can imagine, success was limited.

There's always going to be a learning curve going into 25-man content, even if you've already mastered the fight in 10-man. That's just the way it goes. And that's fine with me. Even as a raid lead, I have to adjust how I manage a raid and that takes some time to figure out, too.

Ok, so bringing those two separate stories together...

This morning I started to think that maybe we don't have to choose between being a 10-man guild or a 25-man guild. Maybe there still is a way to do both.

Maybe the idea is to get enough members to field a few different 10-man teams. They can set their own schedules and run their own progression as they see fit. And then, every third week or so, declare it a 25-man week. Schedule the big runs on our usual nights (Fri/Sat) and see what we can all do together.

Maybe if we get to the point in a tier of content where we're pretty much farming it on 10-man, we can shift the schedule to focus more on the 25s until the next tier comes out.

I don't know if something like that would work. From an organizational standpoint, it wouldn't be easy to maintain. But if we can pull it off, it might give us the right mix of everything to keep people happy and still be the kind of guild we want to be.

I haven't floated any of this past my fellow officers yet (though several of them will read this, no doubt). Like I said, this post is sort of a brain dump to get the whole thing out of my head.

I'm wondering if any of my readers run a system similar to this in their own guilds currently and if they have any insight on the idea.


  1. That's an interesting suggestion. It would take a level of organization that we have never had.

    In an ideal world, we'd have one of every three weeks as 25-man week. Then as people start filling up on 10-man gear it becomes once every two weeks and then finally every week.

    A complication that gets thrown in here is that we won't have one single progression raid to do, like we do now. In Cata we should have several raiding options each week all at the same level of progression.

    Still, that's a creative solution to a sticky problem.

  2. There's a couple of pros and cons between switching between 10's and 25s. The big con is that your tank/dps/healer ratios are different. You need less tanks and maybe less heals for 25 man content than you do for equivalent 10-man runs.

    In any case, what will probably end up happening is that we'll schedule for a specific 25-man instance for the weekend, and 10-mans will be for the other instances. Blizzard is now going to focus on more smaller dungeons rather than the epic dungeon that is say ICC or Ulduar.

  3. Brings up a need to discuss what happens in the xpac for sure. But I'd hate to see us lose the aspect of being a guild that gets together at least one night a week. There are some people I'd never get to play with otherwise.

  4. This is a really good point and something that I keep forgetting to consider. I'm still stuck in the one-raid-per-tier mentality.

    Of course, Wrath opened with Naxx, EoE (which you had to kill Sapphiron to access), and OS. After that...one raid at a time with a couple dragon bosses thrown in as filler between tier releases (Ony and RS).

    If Cata maintains the multiple-raids-per-tier mentaliy better, this will work out really well, I think.

    Although, given how hard it's been to get progression teams together, I still wouldn't mind having some Fri/Sat nights dedicated to the 10-man teams. That's purely selfish, though.

  5. That's true, too, and something I need to consider. I have a tendency to get very wrapped up in trying to gauge people's tolerance for lack of success (specifically, downing bosses) and usually err on the side of them being more impatient and frustrated with it than not.

    Why so srs, right?

  6. The primary issue I see cropping up is, with identical loot tables between 10- and 25-man, if people are clearing 10s, we need to have some kind of incentive to have them show up for 25s.

    It also throws EPGP straight out the window since no one would spend points on gear they could just /roll on in their smaller groups.

  7. Okay going to try to give the short version of a long story. After I quit the hardcore progression guild a friend asked me to roll a priest (the one in the guild today) and help them progress in BWL. He wanted someone with a hard core attitude to light a fire under folks so they could get past Vael. Well I got there and I did as I was asked. I toned the raid leader level down so as not to upset them but I did push their casual butted selves to step up and do what needed to be done to move through the raid instance.

    But my pushing brought out the latent hardcore in many of them. They wanted to move on, push forward, kill Nef and hit AQ. These folks grew tired of carrying others and not moving forward. They left the guild for guilds that put more of an emphasis on "get er done"

    We're lucky now in that we can feed our willingness to die 20000 times in a 10 man situation. I think the 25 man feeds our social desires and as long as we go into it knowing there's a really low threshold for pain we'll be okay.