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The shape of raids to come: Guild leaders look ahead


Now that we're past the initial shock of Blizzard's revelations about the balance and progression path of 10-man and 25-man raids in Cataclysm, it's time to saddle up and move forward again. We may not know exactly where the guild progression path ultimately leads -- but experienced guild leaders are already moving into position, planning for the journey ahead with insight and a steady hand. We tested the temperature of guild and raid leaders in guilds across Azeroth as they look ahead to the shape of guilds (and raids) to come.

Competition: A good thing

The issue my guild will be facing will be the unified lockout each week. While it makes sense to only kill each boss once per lockout, regardless of raid size, my guild has been running two or three 10-man raids in addition to our 25-man raid group. This allowed a higher flow of gear and emblems and allowed the 25-man raid group to gear up at a considerably faster rate than if we could only run one size of the raid each week.

This will most likely make us require our raiders to "put up or shut up," letting only the top 25 performers into the 25-man lockout for increased valor points and more chances at loot. The remaining raiders will be designated to the 10-man version, where they will most likely have to run more daily heroics in order to gear up at the same rate as the rest of the guild. Each week the rosters will churn a little bit, allowing players to experience both versions of the encounters amd also creating some healthy competition for the "more valuable" 25-man spots. -- Scott Carson

Teams structured for success

The proposed changes to raid lockouts and raid content for Cataclysm, coupled with the expected changes to the in-game guild management and bank tools, are giving my guild a great opportunity to reshape ourselves for success. While the "loss" of a lockout (you can have 10-man or 25-, but not both) is somewhat limiting, there are other opportunities to make the guild more, not less.

We are planning to begin immediately to recruit and train a solid, committed 10-man team with the goal of clearing ICC (with some heroic modes) before Ruby Sanctum hits. We will use that content to fine tune the team and use our success to recruit a second team. Once Cataclysm hits, we will hit the beaches in 3- to 5-man teams to level up, using the 5-man instances to accelerate the process. We will begin to recruit team 3, as well as starting to collect guild patterns, recipes and cuts. We'll use those to more tightly bind ourselves together and be racing for the first raid instance as soon as possible. You'll know who we are by looking for the best Alliance guild on US Suramar. And we can hardly wait. -- Bob James

More focus on being a guild, less on being a raid

I'm Naara, shadow priest from the Ravenholdt server and current officer and raid leader of <August Muse>. Personally, I'm looking forward to expanding and have a more normalized roster . To be honest, forming 25-man raids is a pain in the ass. They are impersonal, it's harder to fix issues if they involve more than one person, and it's a hassle to make sure those same 25 people log on for two to three days.

Often, if people find they are not getting that nice 264 loot, they move on to the larger raiding guild. This only hurts, as it makes it then even harder to form 25s when you've lost talent. In Cataclysm, I can hold onto raiders, as now they can focus on what makes my guild special and not whether they can run 25-mans. Along with the guild achievement system, I think the guilds that are focused on being a guild first and a raiding party second will begin to edge out guilds that primarily focus on the raid. If all loot is relative, people will start to ask, "Why am I here?" and " Do I actually like the person next to me?" -- Matt T.

The connection between loot and morale

An explosion is heard in the distance. Something has happened to change the world, and it wasn't a volcano eruption in the Northern Hemisphere that delayed flights. The cataclysmic change was to the raiding scene on Azeroth. I am the raid leader of a guild on US Bleeding Hollow. We raid 25-man content two nights a week. It has a semi-hardcore, casual feel. We run 10-mans as well. Our philosophy is RL > Warcraft.

I am pretty optimistic about this change -- but as a raid leader, I am cautious about it. We are currently having trouble getting members to show up on progression night. We might have to shift to running 10-mans if this doesn't change when Cataclysm hits. The one issue that sticks out is keeping guild morale up and keeping away from getting too cliquey. We run 25-mans to get everyone in the guild to participate, to get away from the A-team/B-team issue. It feels epic when we down a boss and everyone in the guild was involved. Sadly, loot plays a part in our running 25-mans, as evident in lower numbers on progression night. With that incentive gone, we are most likely going to start running 10-mans, and that epic feeling of guild accomplishment will be gone. It's cool to see one group kill the Lich King -- but if you are not part of that group, you feel left out.

Only time will tell. I know we are going to survive this as a guild; I just hope that we get to keep that epic feeling. -- Brian Gedemer

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