Latest in Gaming

Image credit:

Officers' Quarters: A scheduling headache

Scott Andrews

Every Monday Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership.

One of the big annoyances of raiding is finding the right schedule. This time of year is particularly bad for many guilds, as last week's Officers' Quarters column proved. Students of all ages have finals. Working adults are traveling more often or spending more time away from the PC. When you have a small crew, the loss of even one person for a few weeks can mean all your raids are put on hold. This week, one officer wants to know how to figure out a raiding schedule despite some uncooperative individuals.

Dear Scott,

I am the co-leader of a casual 10-man raiding guild on Lightning Hoof. Despite only raiding once a week, we've managed to down ten of the bosses in Ulduar and we're proud of that accomplishment. Lately though, it has been almost impossible to get everyone together on the same night to work on progression. Quite a few of our raiders have school or work requirements, and it is very difficult to time every one's lives around raiding. We try our hardest, and for a good while it was working out perfectly. Lately though, I feel that our raiders are beginning to demand the raid schedule be built around them, rather than trying to make time in their own week to come. Since we are such a small guild, it happens quite often that when one person can't/doesn't show, we are not able to raid. This then wastes the entire night, and it becomes almost impossible to re-schedule.

It seems that while our members want to raid, many of them are making it difficult to do so. A few guildies have stepped up with ideas of how we could fix it, but many are ideas that benefit/make things easier for them personally rather than the entire guild and therefore do not work. I understand the logical thing to do right now would be to recruit more people, which is an idea that both myself and my co-leader have thought about. However, since most of our members are good friends rather than just raiders, it is a difficult decision for us to make. We don't want to threaten raid spots, since when people do show up, they do their job. It's just becoming exhaustive to deal with all the whining and we're not sure if we have any other choice.

We fully understand that real life comes first and we don't penalize people when something comes up they can't help. We try hard to make it fair for everyone, but it feels like we're the only ones. Granted, I admit we're not perfect either. But I'm tired of being treated like we owe them Ulduar on a silver platter when they often refuse to make the time themselves to show up because they "don't want to," not because they can't.

Is there any way to remind everyone that raiding is a team effort? Or are we doomed as long as people think that since their raid spot isn't challenged, that they have the right to dictate when we go or not?


Has a headache . . .

You said it yourself, HAH: "Raiding is a team effort." Rather than having individuals pose self-serving solutions, you need to figure out the schedule with input from everyone.

Allow me to suggest a statistical solution. Ask everyone who wants to raid to post on your Web site. Have them rank each day of the week from 1-10 in terms of their availability. 10 would be a day they can always make barring a personal emergency. 9 would be a day they can almost always make, and so on. 1 would be a day they could never make no matter what.

Set a deadline for this post so you don't waste a whole week gathering the data. You want to get your raiding back on track ASAP. Set your request to be the message of the day. Talk to people about it when you see them online. Make sure they know how important it is. It's in their best interest, after all. If they aren't accounted for, the result will be far less favorable to their personal schedule.

Once everyone has posted, it's a matter of some simple math. First, eliminate all the days that were rated with a 1, 2, 3, or 4 by anyone. You'll consider those last, and only if necessary. Hopefully there won't be more than a couple of days that people rated so low. If various people rated all 7 days of the week that low, then you'll have to eliminate only the days that were rated 1 or 2.

Next, take the total rating for each day and divide it by the number of respondents. For example, say the ratings from 10 raiders for Monday were 10, 10, 10, 10, 9, 8, 8, 7, 5, 5. The total is 82. Divided by 10 people, that's a rating of 8.2.

Say you threw out Friday and Sunday, and the remaining days were
  • Monday, 8.2
  • Tuesday, 9.5
  • Wednesday, 6.1
  • Thursday, 5.8
  • Saturday, 9.1
Tuesday and Saturday are now your raid days, with Monday as the alternative day if a reschedule is necessary. Statistically speaking, they are the best days for everyone in the group. You eliminated days that were impossible (or nearly so) for any individual to make. In theory everyone should be able to go on that day during most weeks if they "want to."

If they don't want to, that's another story. What else can you do at that point but recruit someone to replace them? Just because you're all good friends doesn't give any one person the right to veto a raid night based on nothing but laziness or selfishness -- in fact, I'd say they have even less right to do so.

Some will of course try to argue for other days. Point to the numbers and say there's nothing you can do about it. You have to raid on the days that are the best for the most.

By using a statistical method, you're removing the subjectivity from scheduling. No one's needs are more (or less) favored than anyone else. It's not an ideal solution. (The ideal solution would be to get everyone to agree to a schedule and show up without having to go to this length.) But it's a solution that works when people are being uncooperative.

Some people's schedules will change once school is over or some other life event occurs. You can always go back and reevaluate the ratings for each day if someone has to change a day to a 1-4 rating. However, keep the original numbers and ask people to provide a reason for a change when they make a drastic one. Otherwise, you may not have stability.

It's important to choose days and then stick to them. When family and friends know in advance that the guild raids on certain days, they can do their part to leave those days free of other commitments when possible.

I know some people will scoff at the idea of a wife or husband planning their life around their spouse's guild's raiding schedule. But it's no different than asking them to plan around a weekly poker night or softball game. It won't always be possible for them to leave those days free. Family obviously has to come first. But families can try to accommodate someone's needs when it's something they enjoy doing. (If a parent is raiding five nights a week instead of spending time with the family, that's a whole other story.)

So that's my suggestion, Has a Headache. I'm curious how other guilds figure out their raiding schedules. Tell us about it below!


Send Scott your guild-related questions, conundrums, ideas, and suggestions at You may find your question the subject of next week's Officers' Quarters! For more WoW Insider gameplay columns, click here.

From around the web

ear iconeye icontext filevr