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Officers' Quarters: Downsized

Scott Andrews

Every Monday, Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership. He is the author of The Guild Leader's Handbook, available now from No Starch Press.

Word went around this week that one of my server's long-time 25-man guilds would be switching to the 10-man format. It's a phenomenon that has become more common recently. For many guilds, fielding the number of quality raiders needed for the larger size has grown more difficult over the past few months.

Part of the reason is likely the drop in attendance during summer. Some of it could be the game's declining subscription numbers. We also can't ignore the fact that 10-man versions of Firelands bosses are, in most cases, significantly easier to beat.

This week's email comes from a player whose guild has also made this decision. In the process, he's found himself without a slot.
Hello Scott,

I am a raider in a casual/raiding guild with a bit of a problem . . . I joined this guild after running with a couple of it's members in my first pug once I hit 85. Things were really quite amazing at first, the guild runs were so well run and actually fun, which was something I rarely experienced during ICC. I was usually in the top 3 in damage on most bosses, knew my role, never had any issues with other raiders, always showed up prepared and did what I could to help the guild. Then my problem arose.

One night during a raid, I got a call that a relative was in poor health. When the raid ended, I whispered the raid lead that I may not be on the next week. The relative passed away.

My in-game problem arose when I logged in for a minute that first week and found an in-game mail from an officer admonishing me for not accepting/declining for raid on the calendar and asking "if I didn't want to raid, what the hell was I doing in the guild?"

As you can imagine I was shocked, saddened and more than a bit pissed-off reading it. After taking a minute to make sure I didn't say anything I'd regret, I whispered the officer asking why he sent the message. He said "to get me to raid" (at this point I'd missed 1 raid and had been on for probably 15 straight prior). I told him I'd messaged the raid lead about it and informed him why I hadn't been around to elaborate on when I'd be back. I told him that the in-game mail was out of line and got an apology from him. I then suggested re-thinking the wording in the future.

So now, even though this had been a great guild to run with, my thoughts towards it are somewhat soured. Then to top it off, while I'm gone the guild decides to focus on 10's . . . I now find myself a "standby" raider since they'd formed the new core-10 while I was gone. My question is twofold.

1) Am I wrong to still be perturbed with the guild officers or was their handling of the situation as crappy as I thought it was?

2) Do I stick around and see if things improve and I get back into raids or do I move on? While I was still able to run a BWD pug this week, I don't want to just be able to run T11 content forever.

Interested on your take on this,

Hi, Disappointed. I see two issues here. First, you're still aggravated by the officer's mail. I think you need to let it go. He clearly didn't know the reason why you missed the raid, or he never would have been so harsh.

The mail issue

Was his mail insensitive? Yes. Was it unwarranted, given that you'd only missed one raid? Probably. Consider yourself fortunate, however, that the officers are so proactive about attendance. It makes a big difference in the long run that attendance is expected and absences are noted, particularly toward the end of each tier when so many players are burned out on the content.

To me, it's not worth carrying a grudge over. He did, after all, apologize.

The real problem is the lack of communication among the officers. Clearly the raid leader didn't pass along the message. That is an issue the officers need to address for the future. A simple forum post could have let everyone know what was up with you.

The raiding issue

The second issue is of course the decision to run 10-man raids from this point forward. My recommendation is to speak with the raid leader about this. Ask him if any player rotations are planned or if they are just going to bring the same people each week.

If it's the former, then you should get a fair shot at going to raids at least some of the time. If it's the latter, then that's probably a mistake on their part, because people like you who are left out in the cold are going to quit the guild. Then when one of the core team members drops out or no-shows, they'll be screwed because they won't have anyone to replace that player.

It's not fair to make people sit on standby every week in the event that one of the "full-time" raid members can't make it. There has to be some kind of consideration or rotation in place. Based on how your raid leader plans to deal with this issue, you'll know whether it's worth sticking around or not.

The only other solution would be to ask the officers if you can start up a second raid group. It could even be a partial alt run with players from the other raid. Of course, you or someone else in the guild must be willing to schedule, organize, and lead those raids.

In the end, if you do decide to quit, quit because they aren't offering you the opportunity to raid, not because of an unfortunate misunderstanding.


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

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