In these lean times, guilds need to put up with quite a bit in order to keep a viable raiding roster. Sometimes officers will overlook repeated absences and put aside some of their policies because benching a player means canceling a raid. This situation tends to spiral, as players figure out that they can flaunt the rules without consequence.
Sometimes it even reaches the point that players make demands. I've heard of many such situations, but none as ridiculous as this one.
I raid lead a progression 10 man team, raiding nine hours a week since Cataclysm has been released. So far we are doing quite well for progression, but due to two weeks last month where we had one dps team member quit the game without notice we were left trying to find PuGs.
We got so many whispers and in game mail complaining about PuGing that we recruited two dps, a pair of friends. One has become the guild's best dps. Since one of them had only seen the first few bosses, we asked one of our dps if he could sit out for two weeks as a favor to us to let her get some gear and experience. Where we started having problems was when we asked her to sit, with 24 hour notice, out Heroic Halfus and Cho'gall in the second week so the other player could get a chance at his Tier shoulders and chest upgrade since he was the only one who could use them if they dropped. Her friend was not happy that she was sitting out and argued she could use the loot from those two bosses, too.
Hi, Raid Leader. You are right to be both floored and hurt by these players' behavior. What they are asking you to do is not only completely unfair to the player in question, but also a terrible way to run a raiding guild.
I was floored. Those two recruits were new to our team and we warned them when we invited them that we were going to be subbing out players to keep eleven people active. Now three players, the two friends included, refuse to be subbed out and want to have only ten people on our team. So essentially they are demanding we drop the player we initially subbed out (who is very raid aware and an awesome player in his own right). Several of the officers were hurt by their response.
We even held a group meeting to further clarify why we need more than ten players, but the three continually shot down our suggestions and they said they would rather not raid one week if someone didn't show than be subbed out. Are we in the wrong here? Is it asking too much to have people sit a raid every few months or so? I really am confused on how to proceed as I know either way there will be further objections and perhaps we may lose a few players, but I refuse to drop my player in favor of those three DPS.
The advantages of surplus
Most raiding guilds maintain a surplus of players whenever they can, for some very excellent reasons. With a surplus, you can still raid when one or more players are absent. You can allow people to take breaks to prevent burnout. You can optimize raid comps and loot drops by subbing in and out. And the officers can rest easy knowing that if someone quits the game or the guild, they won't have to scramble to replace that player or, as you did, bring in PUG players to fill the gap.
What these players are demanding runs counter to all of that. It would be one thing if they were asking you not to recruit when you had exactly 10 players. That alone would be bad enough. But the fact that they're asking you to dump someone you believe in is completely over the top.
Stand your ground
Do not give in to these prima donnas. They're trying to hold your guild hostage because they know you'll be in trouble again if all three of them quit. Even so, it's not worth it to appease them.
They may not care if a raid gets canceled, but others in the guild will. If they are so selfish and immature that they can't grasp that -- or all the other advantages I just listed -- then they literally do not belong in a guild, any guild.
There's probably a very good reason these two players were looking for a new guild to join. It's likely that they acted the same way with another guild and eventually left (or were kicked). They aren't going to change their tune. You've done your due diligence to explain the situation to them. Now they can either get on board with it or leave. For me, personally, I'd rather let a guild die than essentially hand it over to players with that kind of attitude.
Plan for the fallout
The two friends and maybe even the third player involved will probably gquit if you give them a flat no. You'll have to deal with that. Hopefully, the remaining members will appreciate your loyalty to the player the others wanted to kick, and they'll stick around while you go back to the drawing board with the recruiting process.
If I were you, I'd actually start recruiting now, because this situation is going to come to a head very soon. And even 11 players isn't really enough in the long term. Plan as if you're going to lose all three troublemakers, and then you'll be prepared when you do.
Whatever happens, you should put an official policy in writing about how many active players the guild should ideally have and how you will sub players in and out. It was a good idea to warn the incoming players ahead of time, even though in this case they didn't seem to heed that warning. However, these sorts of policies tend to have more impact when they are elaborated on a website or a document. Be sure to check out the Officers' Quarters column I wrote two weeks ago about how to manage extra players.
As far as insane demands go, this one pretty much takes the cake for me. Has anyone heard of anything worse than this? If so, tell us about it below!
Recently, Officers' Quarters has examined how strong new leadership can create a guild turnaround, the pitfalls of promising more than you can deliver, and lessons learned from Scott's own guild demise. Send your own guild-related questions and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.