Thursday, August 14, 2008

A piece of advice to the creator of a new old fashioned raiding guild

For the first time I’ve got a letter from a reader asking me for advice! Wohoo! Ask Larísa, isn’t that just a wonderful label to put on a post? Who knows, maybe there will be more to come in the future.

To tell truth it’s not a total stranger who’s heard about my arcane superior intellectual abilities and now come to consult me. It’s a game friend, Woulfie, a from my former server Kul Tiras, who once upon a time gave me some great advice and decent enchants when I was new to the game and very confused.

Now he in his turn asked me for a piece of advice. Why he turned to me I can’t really tell, but I guess I’ve been a little more into raiding and a bit of guild management during the last year, so maybe he thought I could help him.Or he just needed a second opinion to help to sort out his own thoughts. Anyway it’s very flattering and I’ll give it a shot, most of all in the hope that some of my readers will assist me and fill in what I’ve missed.

The issue
So what’s it all about? Well it turned out that he and his son has formed a new guild, “Old School Sixties”, with a very special purpose:

We are going to start advertising for new members this week. The idea is that from 1st September we will start raiding the old level 60 instances. No boosts and preferably no imba outlands gear. Level sixty only starting off. It would be better if the drops meant something to the players getting them.

The danger is that we will outlevel the instances rapidly, but lets see.

We will have to do some research, but it should be a good time to do it, with many players waiting about for the expansion.

Our mage Kinch is poised at level 60 ready to go, and we are levelling up our priest Molly Bloom in preparation. She will most likely respec holy for the instances.

I am looking forward to trying this out. It is the first time I have attempted leading anything in the game. In fact I could never figure out why guildleaders gave themselves the hardship of taking a position of authority. If you have any advice for me I would be glad to receive it.

Larísa’s answer:

I think it sounds like a great idea and I’m sure there are people who would think that was a fun thing to do - a last serious shot at the old raid instances before the expansion comes.

However, since you want to do this without boosting and über gear, it will be a challenge, it’s almost like starting any other raiding guild, except for that you will level and gear up faster, even if you’re not striving for it, thus making progress a bit easier.

So here are a few points that I come to think of:

Work out your guild concept

You seem to have a fair idea about the purpose of your guild. But it wouldn’t hurt to give it a deeper thought. Is this guild temporary? Will it cease to exist when you agree that you’re done with the old-fashioned raiding or when the expansion hits? Or could it be possible that you went on and raided also the level 70 raid instances in the same way after WotLK has arrived – non-overpowered, just a bit later than others?

What kind of guild do you see in front of you? To generalize terribly there are different kinds of guilds – social oriented or progression oriented. Where on that scale will you be? How does your landscape look? Have a look at this awesome post from Breana and you’ll see what I mean.

Choose your level of raiding
Raiding at level 60 can be a lot of different things. I’m a TBC player and I’ve only seen UBRS, Onyxia, Zul Gurub, AQ20, and AQ40 from that point of view, entering in a full epic level 70 gear party. That’s just a big laugh. You don’t have to care about tactics much, you’re so overpowered that you just nuke it out. But you’re doing this in a serious way and then you have to figure out your goals and the dimension of the raiding you’re about to do.

What are you aiming at really? Are you planning to run UBRS? AQ20 or even AQ40? Onyxia? Naxx?

Set up a goal from the beginning, which is interesting enough to be a challenge, but still is within the frame of what’s realistic and doable. It will direct you how much effort you should put into recruiting and how you’re going to present this idea to the world.

You also have to make sure that people share your vision to raid with the “right” gear level, whatever that is. I figure it will be a constant balance. On one hand you don’t want people to be over geared. On the other hand – raiding the old instances took a lot of job and dedication – where you were supposed to improve your gear out of the raids as well, by enchanting, getting blues from five man instances and so on. You have to be pretty serious about this if you’ll stick to the idea to stay away from Outland gear.

Organize yourself
Every guild needs some kind of infrastructure. Even if I guess you and you’re son will pull a heavy load you’ll need help with other officers. You need people who’re willing to lead the raids – I suggest you try find at least two who’re wiling to do it, so there’s a cover up available.

You need to sort out roles and you need to work out a scheme for your raids. I suggest at least two raids a week, else it will be hard for you to learn the encounters and make any progress..
To have fixed days for raiding is pretty necessary, since there are so many people involved in raiding. Coordination will be hopeless else. Bigger raiding guilds use out-of game systems for signups, for you I think a simple addon like GEM or Group Calendar will do.

You also need to set up some simple policies for how the guild should work, such as loot distribution (here’s an overview of the different systems), required addons and behaviour in the raid.

Sort out your communications
I can’t emphasise this enough. I think the single point that kills most guilds is bad communications. I could go on very long about this subject – I may be back on a special post about this one day. I’ll just mention a few important things:
  • A channel for out of game communications within the guild. Probably a guild website will do it (you could use other means like an e-mail list, but in a larger scale I’d prefer a website). You don’t have to overdo it, you can keep it as simple as a forum or even a blog if you want it, but there must be some means to reach out to the guild members with information about upcoming raids and some way they can give feedback and communicate to other guild members. It’s better to start out simple but do frequent updates than to build a mega-good-looking website with huge ambitions that inevitably fail. The hunters mark had a really good post about how to make a good guild website a little while ago
  • PR/marketing. Use the traditional recruiting channels – the official realm forum – and the inoffical one, I know there used to be one for Kul Tiras/EU. Inform in the guild recruitment channel in game. Spread the word. Make yourself noticed.
    This isn’t something you just do when you’re starting. You’ll have to do it continuously since you’ll always face a small leakage of players.
  • Voice communication. Raiding is very much facilitated if you can talk to each other, using TeamSpeak or Ventrilo. I’m not sure if the in game voice chat is a possible alternative; I haven’t tried it out myself. You wouldn’t need it if you raided with over geared lvl 70s, but since you’re doing it for real I figure you would benefit a lot from this.

A few last words
Finally: good luck on this project! Write me a letter and tell us all how it went. Was it a success or an epic failure? I’m sure the readers of The Pink Pigtail Inn would like to hear the end of the story.

And to the readers - feel free to send in new questions and I'll make this "Ask Larísa" a habit. You can ask about anything that comes into your mind.

How many toes has Larísa, now that we know that she's only got four fingers? What dishes do we really serve at the inn (peanut butter and jelly out of the question)? What's the meaning of raiding?

It isn't necessary to ask the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything. We all know the answer to that one. But except for that anything goes!


Nic Williamson said...

That sounds like a great idea for those who also don't want to upgrade to TBC just yet. They won't get XP or levels, and so could keep doing that for a while if you manage to make it work.

I remember getting to 60 and kind of liking not having the expansion because all of the quests gave me mad money! And in a sense I had 'Completed' leveling.

But alas, I took the plunge and kept pushing forwards...

Dechion said...

not related to this post (but related to mages, particularly fire mages) I saw a cartoon and thought to send a link.

Go ahead and delete this after you get it if you like, I just could not think of a better way to get in touch =)

Larísa said...

@Nic actually I think they don't target those players. Do they even exist? The challange will be not to level to quickly I guess and to not be tempted to bring Outlands gear. It's sort of a twinking project. I have no idea how much xp you'll get from running the raids, how quickly they'll grow up and get overpowered.

@Dechion: haha, thanks! I like cartoons a lot. And it's no problem to use the comment channel as much as you like. You can always email me as well if you look at my "about Larisa" page.

Darraxus said...

IMO having a guild that does old school content is awesome. On the other hand, saying that you want level 60s is a bit hopefull. Unless you are doing Naxx, most of the gear will not last you until 70. You can replace the lower end epics (ie ZG with Outlands greens and blues within a week). Alot of people want to level their characters to 70 so they can raid or pvp. With the expansion fast approaching, recruiting is going to be ridiculously difficult and most likely a deal breaker if you dont include 70s.

I have 4 level 70s and would love to see the old school content. Although I played long before BC came out, I didnt get into raiding, I ran Scholo and Strat countless times and ran UBRS once. In BC i have been in every instance except for Sunwell and would love to go back and check out AQ 40, Naxx, BWL, Molten Core, Onyxia etc. I want to go for the content and not the gear (though if I went on my Warrior I would LOVE to get the Dreadnaught armor.

Anonymous said...

Just a thought; raid content at level 60 is tuned for 20 or 40 raiders. If the organizer does indeed plan to stick to the plan of only having level 60 or so players (with appropriate gear), the organizational challenge will be, shall we say, significant.

Larísa said...

@darraxus: I think it's part of the concept that they'll refrain from the Outland gear even if it's available. But maybe it is as the next comment says: a bit too difficult.

It's possible they'll have to accept lvl 70s as well in the end. I don't know really, since I haven't done those instances "the real way" myself and don't know quite how hard they are.

Entropy said...

Not really sure where I should ask a question on your Blog. I am overseas right now and it took forever to get the Leave Your Comment page to come up in English. I might have accidently flagged your site in the process seeing how I cannot read Arabic. Sorry, about that. Starting to ramble already. I have a toon that just hit 69. To be honest I kind of have that feeling of "what is next" I have been working on an Alt that is a healer and to be honest that should have been my main. I love to heal instances and groups. I like my Hunter and all but I just get tired of playing it from time to time. My gear on my main is mainly in Greens. The question I have for you is...Do you know of a good site that shows how to progress on gear? I do not see myself raiding because of family time restraints. So that pretty much leaves Instances, Battle Grounds and some questing that I have not done yet. Am I missing anything? Do you know of a site that would be able to outline this? I know that I can go to the Armory and click on my gear to see what is better...It would just be nice if there was a site that has already shown the gear progression for a non raider. Yes, I know this kind of sounds lazy but I would rather play than research in my free time.

BTW I just found your site the other day and found it a little bit different (In a good way) from some of the other sites that I have seen. Keep up the good work. I liked it enough to have your feed on My Yahoo to see what you have to say. Thank you for your time in this.

Larísa said...

@Entropy: wow, my first "Ask Larísa"-question from an unknown. That's cool! I don't know much about healing to be honest but I'll look into this and see if I can come up with anything useful!

And thank you for the kind words!