In the wake of Blizzard's announcement that Mythic raiding would only support 20-player raids, 10-player Heroic guilds have been left wondering how they will adjust. This week, one guild member wants to know how to manage a successful alliance with another 10-player raiding guild.
I'm a member of a small 10-man heroic raiding guild. We have been worried about the changes to raiding that are coming in Warlords of Draenor, since we are a very close-knit guild of friends. Most of us have been raiding together since early Wrath. We haven't been looking forward to recruiting 10+ more people, so we were thinking of resigning ourselves to running the new Heroic (current Normal) content and hoping not to get bored or lose too many members to other guilds.
We recently received the offer of a guild alliance from another 10-man heroic guild on our server.
My guild is in a similar situation. We've been raiding as a 10-player Heroic guild for a few years now and the thought of doubling up for Warlords is daunting. It sounds like you have a good option here, but you are right to be cautious and examine the possible pitfalls.
At this early stage it seems like we might be a very good fit for each other: we have the same progression, similar raid times, similar loot rules and it seems like our guild cultures may be similar too. Neither guild wants to merge into the other guild at this stage, but we are hopeful that an alliance for raid purposes will be successful.
I know that these kinds of guild alliances were quite popular back in the time of 40-man Vanilla raiding, but none of us have any experience with such a thing. Do you have any advice for us? What guidelines should we have in place before raiding together? Are there any potential pitfalls we should be aware of? Do you have any suggestions for policies that worked in the past?
Thank you for your time!
Guild alliances can do wonders for both communities in terms of morale and recruiting. They can also lead to the opposite: bickering, resentment, and lost members.
The most important issue is one that you've already addressed: the raiders in both guilds must have a similar attitude about raiding. The criticism culture of each guild -- the manner, frequency, and intensity of criticism -- should match. Alliances tend to crumble when raiders who are not used to facing severe scrutiny are suddenly confronted with it from members of the other guild.
If the two guilds are on the same page, then you've already cleared that hurdle.
Two too many
The one glaring problem of combining two 10-player guilds into a 20 is the number of tanks. You will need to ask two tanks to switch to another main spec, while ideally keeping a tank spec as an offspec. So you need to figure out which tanks will step down from main spec tanking.
This sounds simple in theory. After all, tanking is generally the least popular role and some players may be happy to switch. But what if they don't want to? You may risk losing good players. And what if the only tanks who want to step down are both from the same guild? Would that guild be content to let the other guild handle the tanking duties?
A split of tanking roles is the best scenario. If the alliance falls through, the guild without main spec tanks will find itself well short on tanking gear and tanking experience. That could be a major setback in addition to the fallen alliance -- perhaps one that ultimately dooms the guild's ability to raid.
It's not clear yet how many healers will be required for Mythic raiding. However, it is a good bet that four will be the most common number, which allows all four of the guilds' main spec healers to keep their role if they want it.
Filling slots is a common source of drama in guild alliances. A perfect 10-10 split is not always possible for a myriad of reasons: attendance, performance, specs/classes that are better for specific encounters, and so on.
To avoid arguments, you should try to hammer out as many "what if's" as you can ahead of time. For example, what if your guild is short a player, and the other guild fills 11 slots. Then someone from your guild logs in late. Does the other guild have to bench one of their players for your late raider or not?
What if the raid is wiping to berserk timers, and one guild's benched DPS player is superior to the other's in the raid? Do you swap out the lowest overall DPS no matter which guild they belong to, or maintain the even split even in the face of wipes?
There are no right or wrong answers to such questions -- you just need to make sure there are answers. Otherwise, you wind up wasting raid time by hashing these things out mid-run. You also risk setting up false expectations on both sides if you don't discuss these matters beforehand.
The first major decision to be made is whether loot will be split by guild 100% of the time. Splitting it by guild allows each guild to use their own system, which is sometimes preferable. On the other hand, that often means that loot isn't given out according to its maximum benefit -- for example, when someone in one guild gets an offspec piece rather than the person in the other guild receiving that same item for their main spec.
You can also run into problems when one guild consistently brings fewer players than the other. If you split loot by guild, the guild with fewer players will gear up quicker overall at the expense of the other guild gearing up slower.
If you combine loot into one overall system, you can also run into complaints and drama if the system (intentionally or unintentionally) favors one guild over the other. Random-number based systems can cause some ugly, lopsided runs, causing raiders to grumble. I recommend either a Suicide Kings system or a points-based system if you decide to combine loot.
The slot issue also ties in here, since sitting means you're not getting drops. You can reduce some of the impact of being benched with a points system that rewards all players who attend the raid, regardless of their actual time in the instance.
Perhaps the most critical question is this: who will assume overall leadership of the raid? The two raid leaders could lead in tandem, but this arrangement doesn't often work out in practice. You can try to divide the leadership duties by week or even by boss, but I haven't seen this system succeed very often. Consistency is such a huge boost to succeeding at the highest levels of raiding. Mixing up the raid leader so frequently can hamper progress.
It's better to choose someone to be the overall leader. You should pick the player that both guilds are most comfortable with. A raid leader who rubs raiders the wrong way can sink the alliance. Another important criterion is attendance, for that same reason of consistency.
Leading a 20-player raid is very different than a 10. It may turn out that one leader is better at it than the other. If you can't decide early on, give all your potential leaders a chance and see who shines.
The other raid leaders and officers can assist with other tasks, such as organizing healing and DPS assignments or managing loot.
Solid communication is vital to maintaining a healthy alliance. Create a common, private chat channel for the officers of both guilds, and another one for all the members of both guilds. It helps to form bonds if players from both guilds participate in content together besides the main raids. A common chat channel can facilitate that.
A common website or social media page can also help to improve interguild communication and allow the two communities to get to know each other better outside the game.
Share your voice chat server info and encourage the other guild to make use of it.
Here are a few other notable issues:
- What will you name the alliance?
- Who will provide feasts and other necessities?
- How will you deal with rare drops such as pets and mounts?
- Will the priority each week be progression or farming all the bosses you've learned to maximize loot?
Officers' Quarters keeps your guild leadership on track to cope with sticky situations such as members turned poachers or the return of an ex-guild leader and looking forward to what guilds need in Mists of Pandaria. Send your own guild-related questions and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.