This week, a former officer gets sucked back into a leadership role in a new guild. After a bad experience with her previous raid team, she's debating whether or not to bring casual raiding to her new home.
Good morning Scott:
Early this year, I wrote to you about a problem I was having with a fellow healer in my casual raid group.
Since writing to you, and receiving your awesomely helpful answer, I tried to work with the guild. I worked with the troubled healer to get their overhealing numbers down, educated and trained the raid leader, trained replacements, and finally stepped down - both from healing and from being an officer. I just couldn't find happiness there.
But I was happy with my decision.
In late 5.3, ready to progress towards something new, I found a new server and faction changed my characters. At a friends request, I parked myself in a new guild to help level it up.
Said friend accidentally mentioned my previous officer and raid experience and the guild leader promptly bumped me to an officer position... and has been asking me to start and lead their (very casual) raid team.
I've declined a few times - mostly because I've heard it can be a massive pain to heal and run a raid. But this guild leader is persistent (even offering me to go DPS, even though my eDPS is poor when I'm not concentrating on calling abilities)... and I think I'm starting to break down a little. I might even accept!
But the nightmare of my last raid team keeps haunting me.
If I decide to take on the raid leader position, how should I manage things to make sure I don't have the same problems as before? Do you have some tips for starting a roster from complete scratch without just inviting everyone and their mother and hoping everyone plays nice?
Thank you again for all of your help!
Casually Going Crazy (although maybe slower this time)
Hi, CGC. I'm glad you made a decision that you're happy with, and that you found my previous advice helpful enough to ask me another question. So here we go.
Is this the right guild?
First of all, I don't approve of this policy of spontaneous involuntary promotion. Just because you were an officer in a previous guild doesn't mean you are a good fit as an officer in this one. And it certainly doesn't mean that you want to be an officer again. For many former officers, it is just the opposite.
You didn't research this guild before you joined it. Now is a great time to do that and make sure this is the kind of guild you want to be active in.
I would also urge you to really think about what you want to do for the rest of this expansion. You'll be letting a lot of people down if you start to put the team together but then decide after a few weeks or months that you don't want to do it. This could be catastrophic for the guild. Imagine what could happen if people get a taste for raiding and want to continue doing it, but then you quit and the guild stops raiding. You should feel committed to this idea before you say yes.
Fortunately, timing is on your side. Flex raiding is here and with it comes a much more accessible difficulty level for casual raiding.
In your previous situation, you didn't have the ultimate say about what went on in your raids. You weren't the raid leader, so you couldn't take direct action to fix problems. This time, you will be in charge.
You need to make it clear to the guild leader that you need 100% control over how the raids are put together and conducted within the policies of the guild.
Speaking of, if any of the guild's existing policies conflict with the way you want to run the raids, that is an issue that needs to be addressed before this plan is even mentioned to other members. You need to reach a compromise on them, and modify them as needed, so that you feel comfortable leading the raids within the boundaries of those policies.
Raid team, assemble
One of the tradeoffs of flex raiding is that you can always bring everyone you want to, but that you may have to bring people you don't.
My suggestion is to create some minimal requirements for participation. You want to keep them light, since this is a casual team. However, given that this is a group endeavor, making sure that people actually want to help the team and don't just want to show up and collect easy loot is paramount.
You can tailor them to your own feeling of what's too much to ask, but here are some suggestions for minimum requirements:
- All gear fully gemmed and enchanted. No it's not a DPS dealbreaker to have some missing gems, but plugging up those sockets shows commitment to the team.
- Bronze or silver in the Proving Ground of their main spec. Say what you will about the Proving Grounds, but they do offer an opportunity to see if someone has a basic knowledge of how to play their role in a group environment, regardless of gear.
- Minimum ilevel. Flex does not impose its own, so you need to figure out what minimum is acceptable for Siege of Orgrimmar, which drops 540 ilevel gear.
In addition, you should ask people to sign up on your guild's site or social media page just to show that they've read and understand the rules.
So what should the rules be? The best rule that I can give you for leading a casual raid team is this: if what one person is doing means other people on the team aren't having fun, then that person needs to make adjustments or resign.
Your previous situation is a great example of this. You had a healer who wasn't being a team player, and as a consequence you and your tank weren't enjoying the raids anymore. Sure, you can just sit back and say, "We're casual. Let's not sweat it." But the moment that someone's fun ruins someone else's, they have gone too far. In raiding, fun can't be a zero-sum game.
Granted, on a team like this people can't get too upset about the little things. But repeated and easily avoidable tank deaths are a much bigger problem than low DPS. (If low DPS bothers someone that much, they probably shouldn't be in a casual raid in the first place.) So you need to adjust your level of intervention according to how the problem affects the fun factor.
The team comes first
Even a casual raid can never be "anything goes." It's still a team, and what's best for the team has to be paramount over any individual's needs. My golden rule of raiding, or GRR for short, is "Don't waste other people's time." By that I mean, it's OK if you need some extra help, but do your best, whatever skill level you're at, and don't make people wait for you by taking random cigarette breaks, answering the phone when it's not urgent, etc.
Other rules you put in place are up to you. But you'll need rules about loot (including offspec loot), attendance, consumables (flasks, food, potions), the "criticism culture" of the raid, etc. Even if those rules are as open as "attendance is entirely optional," it's good to write them down and make them official. Otherwise, assumptions will breed and cause drama down the road.
If you decide to move forward, I wish you success!
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.