Mages, ten-man raiding, and other things that are awesome.

Our latest stint of recruitment unfortunately coincided with me being away for family concerns, so recruiting feels like it’s taking a little longer than usual. I’ve written about recruiting being hard this expansion before (harder than I’ve ever seen) but I’ve been thinking about this a great deal and I’ve started to isolate some specific factors. It’s pretty interesting, actually. In a strange way, we’ve contributed to making things difficult for ourselves.

Special Snowflakes

Back when we were a “strict” ten hardmode guild, there weren’t that many out there. Kae over at Dreambound was my ‘strict ten’ buddy in the blogosphere, and perhaps there were others but I didn’t know about them. Some people expressed confusion about the strict ten ethos – why deliberately avoid acquiring gear that would make your encounters easier? For us, strict ten was a specific challenge. Hardmode tens encounters were often overtuned or designed in such a way that they were afterthoughts to the 25-man version, or ham-handed adaptations. Doing the heroic Lich King encounter while wearing tens gear meant something. It took ages for anyone in the world to even do it, and then it took longer for more groups to follow. (In the interests of full disclosure, we defeated H LK following patch 4.0, so it was easier than it was for people who did it prior, definitely. But it was still an achievement).

Strict tens guilds faced challenges in many ways. Recruiting was difficult because you were seeking players that wanted to do hardmodes and had the ability and will for them, but many such players gravitated towards 25s and considered tens the more ‘casual’ raid size. That was a hurdle we managed to overcome by appealing to that niche player – burnt out 25s raiders who wanted a smaller format, or people who were just a bit offbeat but still didn’t want to waste their time. A “serious” tens raiding guild seemed like a contradiction in terms to many, but we managed to bring in players despite that. Some of them were those seeking 25s that I managed to convince, others were those who wanted a tens environment on their own, and we built something we could all be proud of.

Having secured a roster, we faced other challenges – the perception in the community still being that tens wasn’t “real” raiding. 25s would farm our instances for gear (things like the trinket from H Gunship 10) all the while laughing at how easy tens were. But naturally, they had a significant gear advantage as they did this. This all changed with the adjustment to raid lockouts, something that I know a lot of 25s players weren’t happy about. Rather than doing “this AND this,” suddenly it became an either or choice. You were either raiding tens, or you were raiding 25s.

But ICC was hard on people, and many players in our guild teetered on the edge of burnout as Cataclysm loomed. Overall, we were ecstatic with the announced changes – shared raid lockouts meant that tens were a viable progression track and not just a place where 25s players went for an alt run or to let their hair down on the weekend. The announced changes to gear distribution in Cataclysm were amazing. We’d no longer be at a gear disadvantage, which meant that there would be less reason for people to turn up their noses at tens! Balance would be less of an issue (they could balance around existing gear because it’d be the only gear there was). It was like a tens raider’s wildest dream! I remember being giddy and feeling like our efforts as a strict ten had finally paid off. We’d stubbornly insisted on treating tens as the viable progression path we felt they were, and finally Blizzard was acknowledging it, too.

Be Careful What You Wish For

In a twist that strikes me as truly ironic, though, what was our wildest dream has also turned out to be a bit of a nightmare. I feel like I am Hipster Guild Leader. “Hipster GL knew about ten-person raids before, but you probably haven’t heard of them.” In Cataclysm, everyone knew that tens would be getting the same loot. They’d even be eligible to make legendaries (something that hadn’t been true ever before). They already shared a singular lockout with 25s, and a raiding populace burnt out after six months of ICC flocked to ten mans in droves. I remember hearing about 25s guilds splintering into several groups, or forming up an “elite” team and leaving their other members in the dust. Ten man hard mode guilds sprung up like weeds, and suddenly our pretty small pond of tens raiding guilds was flooded. Ten person raiding went mainstream.

What did this mean for a hardmode tens guild that had been raiding tens since April 2009? It meant that suddenly there was a whole lot of competition. We went from being this odd little guild of people with the funny notion about tens to being one in a crowd of tens guilds – a single fish in a vast school of swimmers. Our server now has only tens progression guilds. All of the 25s guilds either folded, splintered, or downsized. The raiding world saw tens and saw that they were good. If tens raiding was our little indie band, suddenly we were hearing it on the radio twenty times a day. We were a pop hit.

We no longer had our elite strict ten ranking to use as a recruitment tool. At the height of our achievements, we were ranked tenth in the US (among strict ten guilds) during ICC. This was an awesome way to attract the kinds of players that we wanted. That method of recruitment was gone. I removed the ranking from our recruitment ad, because it’s not impressive anymore. We’re not in the top ten, or even the top hundred. There are thousands of guilds doing just what we do. The strict ten ranking was an odd thing that has engendered more than one debate over the past few years. The strict ten designation was very restrictive; it operated by counting the number of people in your guild who’d achieved a particular kill (25M Marrowgar, for ICC). Then it set an arbitrary limit, e.g. you could have seven people in your entire guild who’d downed 25M Marrowgar, but any more would disqualify you from being a strict ten guild. This meant that some people’s alts couldn’t join the guild. We maintained this level of monitoring for a long while, because it WAS one of our strongest recruitment tools. We had a big discussion in the guild about keeping it or letting it go, and we decided to ultimately drop the ranking (although we didn’t actually obtain any additional gear for our H LK kill so I still consider it pretty strict. Maybe strict-ish).

Comparisons are Odious

The problem for me all along, I’m realizing, was a shift in how and why we considered our rankings. Were they a tool we maintained for recruitment? Or perhaps did we fall a little bit in love with that number, and that spot? I can’t use our ranking as a recruitment tool anymore. So why was I checking it all the time? Also, what is our strongest selling point in a market that is 1) shrinking all the time, and 2) has an abundance of choices to buy what we’re ‘selling’?

It’s no secret to my friends and guildies that I am pretty hard on myself a lot of the time. Each time we slipped down a rank or failed to achieve a kill, it felt like a personal failure of mine. Why was I unable to keep those guildies from losing interest in the game? Why couldn’t I retain these members who’d been with us since ICC? Why didn’t we get that kill? Why didn’t we achieve this within a “reasonable time frame” (as measured by other guilds’ accomplishments?)

The big problem for me personally is a saturation of information. Twitter and blogs allow us to be connected to fellow players more than ever before. Heck, I have Twitter on all day long and when I’m not home I have it on my phone. Thus I’m in a position to see messages come rolling in like, “Just killed x boss,” or “Finished the entire raid!” and anything less than that feels like a personal failure. I actually think the raiding community is a lot smaller than we think it is. Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of “coincidences” in the form of raiders joining our guild who used to raid together, or people leaving to join another guild that someone else is in who I am personally acquainted with. I think it’s more than just coincidence, it’s the fact that our pond is actually a lot smaller than we think it is. Which is part of the “too much information” syndrome.

For me, it’s a strange process. I have to consciously examine the facts of the guild at another point in time: We had very little turnover for a year. Our roster was stable. We had much less competition. We also used to raid four nights. A stable roster meant no readjustment period with new people coming in. It meant most people had experience with the same fights. We knew we were at a gear disadvantage, and perhaps that had a psychological impact as well. When we needed to recruit, we could point to our GuildOx ranking as a way of saying, “Look, we have credibility.” We were doing hard mode progression raiding with an adult roster of friends and dedicated raiders.

Then I have to consider the facts of the guild as it stands: We’ve had a ridiculous amount of turnover (in my mind) since Cataclysm started. We lost almost all of our healers, several tanks, and have had a veritable revolving door of DPS. But we only lost them to general disinterest in WoW, not to our guild personally. We downsized to three raid nights at the end of Wrath, so we have one less night and three fewer hours than we used to. Our roster raids less overall, and thus doesn’t master fights as quickly as they once did. Our old biggest selling point (GuildOx ranking) is no longer applicable. I think one of the biggest things we have to recommend us is that we are a stable guild (despite roster turnover) and have been so for going on three years. We still are doing hard mode progression raiding with an adult roster of friends and dedicated raiders.

Just Socks

At the end of the day, I have to recognize that Business Time – like any group of people – has changed over the years, and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. We’ve all gotten a bit older, and/or recruited people who are older. We have jobs, girlfriends, wives, family obligations, children. We adjusted our raid nights to reflect that, and it’s impossible to pretend that wouldn’t have an impact. I should note, this isn’t an invitation to tell me all about how YOUR guild does xyz in x number of hours. I’m happy for you, but I’m talking about my guild, and the expectations or achievements of one guild can’t be applied to another. There are no rankings for things like dedication, maturity, longevity, and the ability to tease Voss. For the record, as far as I’m concerned we rank pretty high in these intangibles (especially teasing Voss). We are still dedicated to progression within the time allotted to us, and I think it’s important that we focus on what we’re doing, instead of constantly having one eye on server rankings or Twitter. And yes, I’m mostly directing that statement at myself. I took GuildOx off my quickbar bookmarks. Not because I don’t care if my guild does well (I do) but because I want to focus on what we’re doing. I think I’ve let myself be distracted by things that are of lesser importance, and that I need to focus on one boss at a time instead of always bemoaning what we didn’t do. We earned those purple birds last tier, we have a blast raiding three nights a week together. I am damn proud of what my guild does, that it’s managed to stay together and reasonably stable for all of this time – that even though we have to search really hard sometimes, we can always find the right people that want to be part of BT with us. This is your Business Time. There are many like it, but this one’s yours. (It’s not a Booterang, although that would make kind of an awesome guild name).

Finally, an entirely shameless plug, we ARE still recruiting and the link above will take you to our post. We’d like a shadowpriest or moonkin, ideally, with a working resto off-spec. We did find a paladin tank so we’re halfway to our recruitment goal!

Last but not least, tell me about your experiences this expansion. Has your recruitment gotten harder? Did you change raid sizes? Are you happy with the change?

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Comments on: "Doesn’t Go To Eleven: One Guild’s Tens Experience Post-Cataclysm" (35)

  1. I’m curious whether you (or anyone who does any guild recruiting at all) has considered the possibility that your “We’re awesome. Here’s proof we’re awesome. Come join us!” recruiting strategy may prove more fruitful if it were flipped backwards. Essentially what you’re telling people is that you’re the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab of raiding, you’re extremely successful, and they’d better have a Ph.D. in theoretical physics before they apply, and I have to wonder if that’s scaring off otherwise-qualified people…

    …food for thought. But I could be wrong. I usually am.

    • Well, actually I feel like our recruitment is pretty reasonable in terms of expectations. Attitude and willingness to learn are a bigger deal than existing gear or achievements, as far as I’m concerned, although of course there is a sweet spot. I don’t tend to seek out people with Dragonwrath or who state that they want server firsts or 7/7 H guilds. If someone has worked hard at normals and raided before then I’d be willing to take in and trial the right person, if someone is only just starting out raiding it probably isn’t the best guild for them.

      I’d be curious about how you envision the alternative? I mean, I get what you’re saying, but how do you think an alternative recruitment post would go? (“We’re pretty okay but not super awesome and you should be at least somewhat okay if you’d like to join us”?) I couldn’t resist! I’m honestly interested, though. =)

      • Sorry, I’m at work and commenting on the sly, so my comment wasn’t as fleshed-out or clear as I intended. Although I can appreciate that you’d want to recruit people with the same serious progression-oriented raid goals, I have to wonder if you’re unintentionally excluding potentially great raiders who may not have the best gear, the most experience or the 7/7 H Firelands achievement.

        …this is the selfish part of this comment, although anytime we write about something, it’s always from our own personal worldview: I read your comments about your recruiting strategy and as someone who a) has lots of Wrath raiding experience and next to no Cata raiding experience due to various factors, b) has decent-but-not-mindblowing gear, and c) has at least some clue about how to play my class and how to raid, I would be so intimidated by this recruiting approach that I wouldn’t even think about it. I have to wonder if there aren’t plenty of in the same position–people who have the Bachelor’s in raiding but not the Ph.D., so to speak–and if you’re not immediately (though inadvertently) turning those folks away.

    • What’s the alternative, though? If we downplay our level of seriousness we run the risk of having players on the other end of the spectrum than the ones you’re talking about pass over us. It makes more sense, to me, for us to be honest about the type of player we want in our guild and if that scares some potentially good players off, well, what can you do? The thing is, we want people who share our goals and style of raiding and if reading our recruitment post (which does a pretty dang good job of spelling it all out) scares someone away, then maybe they wouldn’t be a good fit anyway.

  2. I liked the post. I’ve always been a 25m raider, so I can’t speak about the 10m side of things you speak of, but there is one thing you bring up that I’d like to touch on.

    You can really only measure your guild against yourself.

    When we were in Dragon Soul earlier this week, I got pissed off at some of our raiders. Like, REALLY pissed. We went 7/8 on our first night of raiding, and got in a few shots on Madness of Deathwing. We were trying some purposely different methods of doing the final fight, to see how the mechanics worked, and to prepare for potential hardmode mechanics.

    We came back in on Thursday, and continued with what we had been doing. Things were coming together, with fewer deaths, longer attempts, and more success in general. And we had people complaining the entire time. “My friends said to do it this way.” “I don’t understand why we don’t just do it this other way.” “This is a complete waste of time.”

    I was thinking “seriously guys? It’s our 2nd day in a brand new instance, we’re on the last boss, and you’re so worried about arbitrary rankings on content we’ll have on farm before the first reset that you can’t handle a few wipes before we clean it up and get HALF THE WEEK OFF?”

    Our guild leadership basically ignored the whiners, and when we did eventually switch to the standard strategy, it was so that we could go back to Firelands and make a legendary staff for one of our warlocks. However, the people complaining about a dozen wipes on brand new content left me hopelessly confused and a bad taste in my mouth.

    People need to stop worrying about everyone else and focus on their own group. Figure out what your goals are, and as long as they’re being met, continue showing up with a smile on your face. If you wanted to see Ragnaros Legs, and couldn’t even figure out Baleroc on normal, maybe you’re not in the right place. But if you took a little longer than you had planned to get to your goal, it’s really no big deal.

    Any guild ranking can essentially be argued away by the differing factors that got you there. No two guilds are operating under the same circumstances. Be it time, raid comp, quality of raider, gear, your goals, or literally hundreds of small details that can change the end result, you cannot accurately be compared to *any other raid*.

    • I think that’s a very important statement that it’s easy to forget. No two raids are alike, etc. I really feel like I’m just “over” the big race. I mean, we weren’t ever a server-first type guild and if we wanted to be one we’d have to shake things up significantly and add an extra raid night which most of our members aren’t prepared or interested in doing. I don’t think it’s even a pronouncement on ability, just available time and commitment.

      This is a topic for another blog post, but I do think that normal progression in Dragon Soul generally seems ridiculously fast. I mean, is it usual for your guild (a 25 Firelord guild, IIRC) to clear normal content in a night – two nights, after it comes out? Were you guys raiding at all on the PTR? It’s just funny because there’s this expectation that people should be going 8/8 already, and I really don’t feel like previous tiers this was the case at all, end bosses in particular on normal taking a significant time investment and at least a few weeks of raiding them to master. Or am I remembering incorrectly? I thought normals would be a bit tougher because of the creation of LFR.

      • Just to confirm, yes, we were 7/7H in T12 (first kill mid October).

        I think Normal Dragon Soul was noticably easier than normal Firelands. We did have some people on the PTR, but even there, it was the same thing. We had normal Ragnaros down the first week as well, but it took some effort to figure out. We could have had 8/8 DS first night without much trouble, which greatly surprised me.

        My analysis for Dragon Soul, at least based on my personal experience for normal modes, is that the learning curve is not as steep as it was in Firelands. You basically just have to do 1 thing to not fail. There’s very little demand on individual performance, and within a few tries, it should be pretty easy for everyone to know what to do (even if it takes longer to carry it out with perfection). But really, on each fight, there’s essentially “don’t be here, be here instead.” and if everyone does that, you win. I realize that I’ve spent most of my time recently on Heroic Ragnaros, so my view may be somewhat skewed, but it’s really just not what I expected.

        Guilds stuck in their heroic progression, or who didn’t even bother with heroics, were able to clear Dragon Soul first week. That’s surprising. While I’m sure it took a considerable amount of time, effort, and preparation, it seems like they really made everything too easy, or too simple. I have high hopes for the heroic modes, because it seems like each fight is really just missing a mechanic or two to keep things interesting, but Normal was a flop to me. The fights were interesting, but not challenging enough.

        Yes, I realize that we are in a mix of 391/397 gear, but gear does not change how easy the concepts of the fights are. They just make them slightly more forgiving.

        I’d say that Madness of Deathwing was pretty well done, though we spent most of our time doing it on “hardmode”, and I flew off Deathwing’s back too many times to not acknowledge the Spine as an okay fight too, but I really think Normal DS was a flop.

        Like you, I expected Normals to be harder because of LFR’s creation. I really don’t see how this can possibly work out well, because now you’ve got super hardcore progression guilds in heroic DS along with your regular guilds who didn’t finish content last tier, and there’s going to be a huge mismatch in terms of difficulty.

        Even after my last post, about taking things at your own pace and not comparing, assuming the last few fights are hard enough to challenge top end guilds, I see many guilds who have already cleared normal instances not being able to finish the heroics, in the 5-8 months we have until MoP. That sounds ridiculous.

      • We did half the meta on our very first night in the zone, in addition to 8/8, without knowing the fights.

        I realize it’s normals week, but normals week for t12 at least took us a day and a half, and that was without doing achievements. I too expected a harder normal mode because LFR now exists, but uh nope.

        Tier 11 normals took most guilds 2-3 months, for reference. Even if you discount the whole first month for gearing up, that’s still a lot more than 1 day.

    • Honestly, after reading Pliers’ response, I’m not sure that I have anything else to offer that wouldn’t just be looking like I ripped off his thoughts! I wholeheartedly agree with him.

      And for what it’s worth, Vid, I’ve always felt that “guild rankings” and “guild progress” sites have bene a hinderence to a lot of fun in the game. I’ve done several posts on the topic. I truly miss when people were mostly just concerned with their little corner of Azeroth and no one was making a huge deal out of who was ranked where. I think ranking sites have done a huge disservice to the game. And I often have to remind myself not to pay them any heed, outside of curiously looking at where we fall…and then immediately being baffled by the arbitray-ness of it all and the disconnect between the two prominent resources that do this currently.

      • I take that as a HUGE compliment, so thanks :) I’m sure I’ve done the same thing multiple times reading your posts on other blogs, including your own.

  3. Ever since I found Vox Immortalis and their guides I was enamored with the thought of 10 man strict during ICC. Back then we were a very casual 10 man guild that merged with a 25/10 man progression oriented guild. We tried to do 25s, but ended up only doing 10 man seriously and having 25s being the alt environment. Sounds weird doesn’t it. When the changes to the raid lockouts were announced I thought we had it made. We could finally do our 25s during prime time and then split to do 10s for different progression levels. I was still applying ICC rules in my head… but I was very wrong.

    Before Cata hit, the “elite” players switched server to form a progression 10. That left a big gap for me to fill because instead of being able to field potentially 3 10 mans, we were down to one and half. We pushed forward and did ok on T11, but our second 10 man was eventually a revolving door for people that were not really all that committed to raiding.

    Eventually it got to be too much because everyone wanted to be part of the main 10 man, and I could not realistically run two raiding groups. Eventually my wife any I decided we were done with the whole PvP server world and moved on.

    While most of our issues were just normal raiding maladies, I do think that the raid sizes and how the lockouts ended up working had a hand at making thing more difficult when trying to fill teams. I still raid, but only with friends and in a more relaxed environment. I don’t think pushing progression will be something we do. It is a lot of fun, but it takes a lot of work and the cooperation of other people. Most people will never understand what it takes to do progression raiding. I am glad that even though I am not part of it, I think I understand it.

    Good luck with your recruitment :)

    • Thank you for your comment. I’m sorry to hear how the lockout changes impacted your group. I saw a lot of that “we’re going to go make an awesome tens guild” around that time, people breaking off from 25s guilds etc. Also, I love Vox! Their video guides were some of our mainstays; I particularly remember their H Sindragosa video helping us a lot to get that fight down. It involved a simple shift in terms of raid placement that helped tremendously. Plus I felt a strong “strict ten” kinship with them. ;)

  4. I can report that my own guild’s recruiting pitch, which is pretty much “WE OWN. EVERYTHING OWNS. EVERYTHING IS DEAD BUT WE’RE CASUAL ANYWAY.”, actually convinced a guy who wasn’t even looking for a guild at all at the time to change servers and join us. Confidence in your pitch can be a good thing.

    One thing I think you overlooked that contributes to general burnout, Millya, is that these raids are a lot harder than heroic Icecrown was. Going from being used to heroic t10 to starting heroic t11 (the hardest tier ever) was serious violence. That doesn’t really apply so much anymore, since heroic t12 was a fair bit easier and tier 13 appears to be significantly even easier than that, but early on in Cataclysm a lot of people who couldn’t hack it got right out of the raid game. My guild was fortunate we only lost one person.

    10-man heroic Icecrown was actually intended to be an easier format, whereas heroic 10s now are often some of the hardest content in the game.

    • I don’t really like the use of “casual” or “hardcore” for precisely this reason. I don’t even know how many hours you guys raid per week (is it nine? more?) but obviously it means something different to you than to me. I don’t consider MY guild casual and as I’m sure you’re aware our progression has been significantly behind yours. I mean, call it like you see it, I suppose, and if it matters to your group to consider yourselves ‘casual’ then it’s nobody’s business but yours; but to me casual is a group of friends that get together at specific times to just kind of see what content is like, it’s not wiping for weeks on H Rag until you down him. It feels a bit like you use the term as a bludgeon to make yourself seem even more AWESOME because you did this AND you’re ‘casual,’ whatever that really means. ;p

      As to the previous statement – yes, heroic T11 was definitely a step up from the majority of heroic T10. I find it difficult to compare because my team changed so much between the two, and also having my team change at all was damaging, but H 10 LK with gear from H ICC 10 was not an ‘easier format,’ consequently why it took so long for tens guilds to begin downing it. In fact, I’d like to put forth that if anyone raided H ICC 10 wearing H ICC 25 gear, they don’t have a fair assessment of how difficult it was or wasn’t (and I don’t know if you did or didn’t, it’s more of a general ‘anybody’ remark). Difficulty for the majority of heroic fights on T11 was ramped up, no argument from me there, but equivalent heroics in equivalent gear back in Wrath were still some of the hardest content available at that time.

      • Marshmallows raids 12 hours. Though we haven’t actually raided a full 12-hour week in about 3 months now, kind of looking forward to having bosses take a while again. This is substantially down from the 30-50 hours each week some of our members (like me) raided for years pre-wow. MM’s schedule is so light that I applied my druid alt to Business Time a few months ago to try to help you guys out and so I would have stuff to do during the week.

        I absolutely do use the term ‘casual’ as a bludgeon though, because it infuriates turbo-nerd 25man powergamers who see 10man raiders as peasants.

        To put a little more perspective on the difference between Icecrown and Cataclysm raids, Moonrunner’s first normal-10 LK kill ever had Pirlo’s druid alt wearing full greens. Moonrunner’s last heroic-10 LK kill before the 3.0 patch had two undergeared alts (undergeared as in not really even close to full 264 geared), including R2′s disc priest. Guilds don’t get away with that sort of thing in Cataclysm before the major nerfs hit, they often don’t get away with it even after them. Heroic Rag has been nerfed four times now, but bringing a healer in 372 gear to it is still a bad idea.

      • Sure, but just because H LK may be easier than H Rag (and obviously it is) doesn’t mean it was easy. It wasn’t. I think it still isn’t, actually, as I’ve hilariously seen pugs who want to go get the Bane title crash and burn when they try to navigate H LK’s mechanics and go in thinking it should be a cakewalk.

        I suppose 12 hrs down from 30 makes you casual relative to whatever you consider hardcore, that’s precisely why I don’t like the terms though – there really is no set definition for them, so they mean something to you that they don’t to me. The flip side of that coin is that it sounds more like “look how casual we are yet are still so much better than you and you and you.” ;)

      • That’s an incredibly flawed argument. Every fight in ICC was nerfed at least 7 times, on top of any individual fight nerfs.

      • There’s a difference between 5-30% more everything (what they did to LK) and removing Defile from the game (what they effectively did to Rag, in addition to 30% more everything the nerf before).

        I’m not going to call H LK easy, of course, but there’s a difference. Getting back to Millya’s post, that sort of difference has contributed to burnout quite a bit. Many people aren’t going to stick around for the 150-500 pulls a fight like heroic Rag took in its prime. Or the 30-100 pulls each for most of the other Firelands bosses prior to it (in Icecrown this number was often single-digit).

      • Having 35% more health, healing and damage would make P4 Rag more of a joke than changing how you cleared your debuff. Prior to that change, P4 Rag had been unchanged, other than the change to P3 making it realistic to only have 1 meteor in P4.

        Also, the change happened after the tier was outdated content. If you want to argue about a Rag comparison, it’d be doing H Rag after 4.0.

        There’s no fair comparison between the fights.

      • Sorry, that should read “H LK after 4.0.”

      • Having hit 3% on H-Rag post-nerf (ie before “defile was removed” / geysers), and done it post-nerf, I think now the hardest part of H-Rag is GETTING to p4 without loosing someone to lag, DC, or “oops.” Personally, I found HLK to be a harder fight and far more rewarding a challenge… because it didn’t feel like Blizzard decided to make him a plushie, like they did HRag. HRag is not easy, still, but the nerf still hurt my pride as a raider… like Blizz was telling me, “You only got to 3% of phase 4, but it’s okay, you’re just not good enough. Here, we’ll sand off all the sharp corners so you don’t hurt yourself.” :(

  5. A random thought brought up by Arazu’s post. Cataclysm raiding seems to be getting easier, in general, more in line with difficulty in WotLK now. This is entirely an outsider’s perspective, since I’m not able to raid due to real life commitments and frankly, guild searching burn out. I think that’s a good thing for the game – T11 and then the boring Firelands slog killed a lot of guilds, and pushed a lot of people over the edge into quitting. (Even if most of them quit for a variety of non-wow related reasons.) I think it’s great that T13 is aiming to be a little simpler, and LFR is there for people who are out of the raiding loop or in guilds that struggle to field a roster on a regular basis. I hope T13 hardmodes are still plenty hard for the hardcore raiders, of course, especially since who knows when we’ll see Mists.

    Anyway. This is a huge digression to get around to saying that recruiting for T13 is very very difficult, even though the gear/skill demands aren’t as high as T11, because no one wants to take on a raider who’s been out for a substantial chunk of an entire expansion. I know we wondered at anyone who missed more than a single tier back in LK. People who might well have the time and skill to hack it in T13, but not in T11, are at a huge experience (and potentially gear) gap. I know I’ve felt that “I wouldn’t want to raid with any guild that would have me!” when I look objectively at how I’ve spent the last 12 months in game.

    • As a counterpoint, Firelands only became a boring slog when its heroic mode was gutted. Firelands was a really good zone, but I personally didn’t enjoy it when heroic mode was turned into normal mode. For those keeping score at home, each heroic boss was nerfed at least twice, Rhyolith eight separate times, Ragnaros four times.

      • I know people who definitely considered their 400 pulls of Ragnaros, at all nerf levels, to be “a boring slog”, or people who had 6/7H or 7/7H on farm pre-nerfs who thought it was still tedious and annoying. Your milage may of course vary, I have no personal experience since I haven’t raided this expac :)

  6. Before the raid changes happened, I also led a 10 man ICC group and raided in my 25man. Recruiting was also hard for me, but I managed to do it by recruiting from other guilds who I was also friends with. It worked out well for me because in return, I’d help them out if they needed to find a replacement for a sick raider or step in temporarily until they could find a permanent raider. It became “You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” throughout ICC when I tried to keep my group going.

    When the changes happened, I had to be realistic whether people really would want to stick with my 10 man group, or stay with the 25 man we all were in. The night before it happened, I called a meeting and explained the changes, that we had to decide if we were going to keep going or disband the 10 man. I was on my last straw after my recruiting troubles, it seemed to be now impossible to recruit more people if people decided to stay with the 25 man group. Indeed, we decided it would be best to hang up our hats and went 100% 25man for the rest of Wrath.

    As irony would have it, our 25 man ended up disbanding into two 10 man groups when Cata hit because of attendance problems. I was okay with all of this because I wasn’t ‘hardcore’ then and people were happy I put effort in leading another raid group when nobody else wanted to. It worked out well overall, but I have heard guilds completely falling apart because of these changes. I consider myself also one of the fortunate ones who didn’t have to deal with that. Great post Vid :)

  7. Me, I’m just enjoying the post and the comments. Sometimes it helps to pop in and just say that I’m enjoying the show, even though I don’t really have anything to comment on.

    (Then again, you probably knew that, Vid!)

  8. Vidy,
    I truly feel your pain. I left what was an ideal raid environment due to interpersonal problems unrelated to me, and I’ve looked back longingly to that Wrath era of raiding, which I’ve been unable to replicate in the past 3 patches (and 4 guilds). In some cases, the guilds just weren’t the right personality for me. in others, their schedule was off (or it turned out to be non-existent). In others, everything was fine except the raiders themselves were too weak.

    So while you haven’t transitioned guilds like I have, at some level, you sort of have. Like the old fortune cookie saying, you can’t cross the same river twice. Like the Argos, time’s passed, changes have come, and while it’s still Business Time, it’s a new BT. I feel for you.

    I also know exactly what you mean by feeling like a failure when you see others succeed. When I read (on several blogs) about the wild success and massive easiness of the new raid, I simultaneous felt a strong sense of joy for my fellow bloggers but also an incredible sense of anger at my own guild’s inability to even down the first boss. To be honest, seeing people downing all of normal mode in a single week really sort of broke my spirit. My wife already pointed out when we were discussing signing up for this week’s raid that I seemed to have lost some of my interest. I have. I’m looking more and more forward to Star Wars with each raid. I don’t want to guild hop again – I can’t, anyway, since I have RL friends happy in the guild – and I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings because everyone in this guild is so nice. So, you see, Star Wars provides a polite exit.

    Good luck, Vidy, in filling those spots.

  9. Reading the replies to this post are as enjoyable as the post itself! We have just gone through a round of recruitment and picked it up some people from a collapsing guild, some of whom are real gems. Hopefully it works out.

    We have gone from alternating 25 and 10s to 3 10 mans. A big change for us. In my opinion, a hard change. The idea was to try 2 groups who attempt the harder stuff and a more casual group who just is happy to cruise along. But it’s only the first week and there is friction already. How do you decide who is in a good group or the “bad” group? And what happens when people get disgruntled being in the “bad” group? I am scared of what will happen – my guild has been around since Vanilla and we never took our raiding to strict extremes – were social raiders to start and only now are working towards something a little harder. But is it right for us? Will our guild splinter from our indecision to deciding if we are a casual raiding guild or a more heavy one? I don’t call ourselves hardcore, but others say we are only because we raid 4 nights a week. But like Vid said, it’s a bunch of friends getting together to play – now our guild is having even MORE friends, it’s not wiping on heroic stuff… YET. I am not sure what will happen if we get there and do that kind of thing. I love raiding but I don’t want to kill my love of the game trying to achieve something I’m not sure we can. But only time will tell :)

  10. Vortex. For those not aware, we were world-2nd on HLK ten-strict. As Cataclysm loomed, we were feeling comfortable and happy, and looking forward to being able to bring our alts and friends into the guild who had been previously barred because they had 25-man pug achievements under their belt.

    We had no illusions we’d still be in the top world ranks, however, with this expansion. Shortly before the expansion hit, some other players made a comment on our realm forums that my guild would be major competition for all the other guilds now: the kind that would be taking all the realm firsts. And I replied, waving it off: we only raid 3 nights a week. 12 hours.

    So much of progression is based not only on skill, but also how much time you put into the instance each week. In addition, we have seen that guilds with multiple 10-man teams are generally able to progress faster because when they reach the hardest boss, they are able to cherry-pick their best geared players (RNG favoring drops, or bringing multiple legendaries in) to defeat the content. Not every guild will do that, but when you’re talking realm firsts on a server that has a lot of great guilds (which I think Turalyon does), it does come up.

    World firsts? Not our goal. It’s a fond memory from another era, nostalgia now, when we were in our tiny pond.

    We are happy, though. Recruitment has not been a big problem, though we’ve had to replace raiders to life conflicts, jobs, deployment, college, and such. In a large part, I think it’s because we have a great raid leader and recruitment officer; it also helps that the server has a (generally) skilled player base and our realm rankings aren’t terrible. We didn’t get the HRag kill until we’d cleared DS this week and had time to go push him over due to the geyser nerf, and that bugs me, but on the whole, we’ve adapted to the changes of no longer being “those weirdos who don’t care about higher iLevel gear.”

    It’s the content we still care about. It’s the time we spend together that we still care about. It’s those achievement points, seeing a buddy turn into a dragon, another flap about on our ONE purple phoenix drop, and another on our red phoenix. To pick on Ramzler, and Alyae’s baby carrots, and giving gold to the healers to let someone die. It’s about raiding as a guild.

  11. My guild ended WotLK in the Top 50 of 10-man strict, which was all right. We only raid two days a week for three hours though, so while I’ve been happy with our progress for time spent, I knew we weren’t going to be able to keep up once Cataclysm came out. There are other guilds on our server who raid three or four nights a week and what can you do when they spend twice the time?

    We had a lot of ugly turnover in mid-T11 content, which at one point got me so beat trying to replace people I was thinking of throwing in the guild master towel, but we restabilized and recruiting has been minimal since.

    It hasn’t necessarily been harder for us to recruit in Cata than WotLK (it’s nice not having to screen for 25-man experience anymore) except that the quality of our recruits hasn’t been as good. We had multiple people who, while otherwise nice folks, weren’t what we were looking for, and we didn’t have as many of the died-in-the-fire folks when we recruited in WotLK.

  12. What a great Post!

    Ever since I heard about you guys on a Double O podcast (my first podcast by the way), I’ve been feeling like our Guild isn’t so unusual. I was particularly interested in the 10′s vs 25′s style of Guilds out there, Since we are a strict 10 raiding G who dabbles in a few of the Heroic modes. I am also the GM of our little Guild (I don’t seem to see many other Guilds who have a female at the helm like yours and mine, although I could be wrong) as well as my RH man who is the co-leader/RL as well.

    We are a fairly newish Guild though on the server so recruitment has been HARD to say the least… esp when people don’t know know you are as a player or Guild. I see a blog post coming up in the near future as the state of things has been on my mind for a long while =/

  13. Hm, I think we weren’t strict 10man. We were 10 people, we raided only 10s. But half of the raid had 1-2 odd 25man pieces. But only 264s, so the same iLvl as 10man Hc.

    We’ve never downed H LK pre-nerf, although we had our fair share of <20% wipes (or was it <10%?).

    I don't really care about the past, mentally I was a pure 10man raider even if we maybe had a few wrong items, we also never looked at any list besides our realm rank :)

    As of now, we managed to get to to 4/7 Hc, now we just finished with a 1% wipe on Madness. We take the nerfs and clear the content, not hardcore enough to manage everything, but so far it worked out ok.

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