Wednesday, January 30, 2008

As the Dust Settles

I'm going to go out on a limb and assume I'm describing a situation that is pretty normal for a guild that's just starting its first Karazhan raiding.

The aftermath of the first run.

With roughly 25 players attuned for kara, including 10 hunters, 5 tanks, 3 healers, and a bunch of other DPS, you're clearly not going to make everyone happy with an invite to join the team. Difficult decisions need to be made that should be centered around some people issues (who are the individuals who will personally fit in well, and who are the people who have done lots to help out the guild) and some performance issues (who's got the gear, skills, ability to use consumables, and just plain old performance in their role on the WWS report).

Long story short, I guess the GM got a ton of players coming to him after that first run saying that they don't agree with the selections, they feel they were shorted, they're threatening to /gquit, etc etc etc. Then come wednesday evening, you've got a handfull of guildies spamming on LFG/LFM or Shatt's general channel, or even Trade (gahhhhh) that they're "LFM kara, only need 8 more".

And the scary part is, I totally understand. I'd have been royally pissed and probably just stealth quit if I wasn't on the team. But then again, I'm a sore loser and a prima dona, so that's consistent with my overall presence :-) But I do my homework and bust my @ss to make sure I've got my position solid, to make the leaders' decisions easier.

So GM approaches me and the other officers with the problem of how to keep everybody happy.

Solution 1: Recruit more healers. We've got some tanks to spare, and lordy knows, DPS players (in title, if not in actual capability, lol) out the kazoo. This is the best solution, but would require a longer timeframe, and therefore might not meet the needs of the current crisis.

Solution 2: Split the team up and form 4 teams, each headed by an officer (all 4 of whom are currently in Team 1). This has the benefit of spreading out the recruiting burden a bit more, as each officer would need to take responsibility for filling out his own team. This has the drawback of encouraging internal competition and poaching of players by the officers. It also suffers from the problem of putting any guild progress to a halt right now, unless you were willing to put the 3 existing healers into one of the teams in which case you put the remaining 3 officers into that jaded pool of potential /gquitters. This would require heavy investment in Solution 1 as well.

Solution 3: Keep Team 1 intact, and forget about overall morale decrease. This has the benefit of continuing guild progress as this core team learns the fights and gets the drops from the bosses we can take down. This has the drawback of strengthening the divide between Team 1 and the other guildies. This would need to be complemented with Solution 1.

Solution 4: Core Team 1, with some rotations. Benefit here is that you hopefully continue progress as there will be a core group of players who is getting geared and learning the fights, and also you get a variety of players in the door, which might quench their thirst for a while. There are a few drawbacks. Firstly, how do you pick the core group and who is rotating out? Plus, how do you choose who is rotating in? How many players? Currently, the 3 healers aren't really an option as there's nobody to rotate in, and at least one of the tanks needs to be in the core group, but probably both, because new tanks learning the fights every week will be pretty rough on the team. Solution 1 should be done in parallel.

So there you have it. Solution 1, clearly is the winner long term. When Solution 2 was presented, I wanted to barf as I just don't do recruiting. I was clear about that when I joined the guild, and I remain clear on it. My niche is in gaining expertise in my role, helping out other hunters learn the role as well, and also in delivering MQoSRDPS, CC, and any of the other lovely goodies I can bring. So I said if we go with #2, I resign my position and I'll run with one of the other officer teams.

Solution 3 is probably too much of a slap in the face to the guild, so I don't really support that one either.

Solution 4 is the right one, but the difficult part is in choosing the members who stay and who goes, and who fills in for them. As I've already said, the healers are not really options for rotation. I would like to view the tanks as non-options also, because there's just too much coordination needed as you learn the fights and learn to work together, but in the sake of fairness to the other tanks, maybe have the off tank position rotate until we have another team running.

Then you've got the 5 DPS slots to play with. This makes sense, as that's where we have the biggest pool of attuned players. I suppose the best way to make this decision is via objective performance analysis via WWS reports, along with more subjective topics like how well somebody performs CC, or other non-damage duties. Naturally, I'm a bit biased towards this as I'm typically top 1 or 2 in the damage department, plus I feel I do a solid job with my other jobs. Looking at the WWS report from our Attumen take down, there's 2 or 3 DPS'ers who, from a purely damage dealing perspective, are pretty replaceable. But from a political and human perspective, it gets much more complex. I do think that we'd need to give any under-performers a grace period within which they have the opportunity to improve their output, but at first, maybe a very cut and dry damage output measure would work for us. Then over time, as Solution 1 plays out, or as the rotations are complete and original people are subbing back in, we can review their numbers again and see if they took control of their fate and improved their DPS.

The decision we came to was basically a non-decision. For thursday's run, keep Team 1 intact. Then we'll meet before tuesday and figure out what to do. There was some political/officer resistance to a performance based rotation policy. There's a part of me that says that we need to keep the higest damage deliverers in there to aid guild progression. But I suppose for the vocal folks who output pretty low DPS, the only real way to show them that their performance is a huge part of why we couldn't handle Morose would be for the top two DPS'ers to sit out for a week, and watch as the team can't even get to Attumen, let alone drop him.

That feels a bit ruthless or manipulative, but might be necessary to show the huddled masses that simply possessing the Master's Key does not mean you are ready.


Beledona said...

Our guild leadership was in total agreement with your statement "simply possessing the Master's Key does not mean you are ready". The "class leader" proposed minimum ratings for each of their specs. For hunters, they were

Hits 6000
+hit 5%
+crit 15%
+ap 1400
DPS 400

Hits 6000
+hit 5%
+crit 18%
+ap 1550 +trueshot

Hits 6000
+hit 5%
+crit 22%
+ap 1650
Agi 500

If you didn't have the numbers, no Kara invite. If you wanted to do Aran or later, there was a higher set of numbers.

Instead, you were told to go do the Outlands quests and 5-man instances that would get you the gear to get up to that level. And some of the class leaders produced lists of what quests and what bosses to go do.

I would also agree that you need more healers. This is a natural problem going from 5-manning to 10-manning. A 5-man instance is almost always
1 healer / 1 tank / 3dps

But for Kara, you usually need
3 healer / 2 tank / 5 dps

Oops. Not enough healers, too many dpsers...

Durgan said...

I'm gonna take that saying to heart. I haven't hit 70 yet, but I'm sure lots of your guildies who did rushed to get the master key and are now chomping on the bit to get into kara with out gearing themselves towards it or even doing any research towards their role when they get in there. One thing I've learned is the amount of people who do the research and put the time in like you do is a lot less then those who just think they can run and gun.

"simply possessing the Master's Key does not mean you are ready"

elainemarley said...

If you still don't know the instance very well I don't recomend that you split into 2 groups because it will divide your efforts. First of all you need to get to know the instance and learn the bosses with a more or less stable group. 25 people is not too much for a kara group. Some bosses may require some more lacks or hunters or less melees and so on, so rotation will be something esential. For example: you need palas on moroes and maiden.

And you can't bring people with the key and full of greens. It doesn't matter how much they will beg, complain or threaten with /gquit. It's the GM and the officers work to guide the guild to success, not wipe. People must be patient enough to wait for their slot in the raid. And the ones who don't have the gear requirements have plenty of ways to achieve them and so they should, it's also part of their job.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

"But for Kara, you usually need
3 healer / 2 tank / 5 dps"

There's no good reason to "need" three healers for Karazhan. Two is entirely sufficient for every boss in the instance provided the healers are willing to work as hard as the tanks and DPS do.

Nemian said...

When we started we had the same problem (though our DPS was spread out more - you have far to many hunters, your guild recruitment is not balanced).

We had the Core 3 healers and 2 tanks and then numberd the attuned players.

1. Hunter A
2. Hunter B
3. Hunter c
4. Rogue A
5. Hunter D

We invited the first 5 players, then when reset we took the players 2-6, next reset 3-7, 4-8 ect

Everyone knew when they would get their run and that they would have 5 runs so there were always people who new what to do.

We also promised that during this we would actively recruit more healers and tanks to start a second group.

As long as people know whats happening, and that they will get a crack of the whip they tend to be willing to play along.

Anonymous said...

"There's no good reason to "need" three healers for Karazhan. Two is entirely sufficient for every boss in the instance provided the healers are willing to work as hard as the tanks and DPS do."

You must be joking. I don't know a single guild that does this regularly, and you have just insulted every healer in 90% of the guilds running kara. Frankly, I don't care how good you are, nobody in instance blues has the mana pool, mana/5, or +heal to handle kara with 2 healers. And comparing the role of dps to healing (even in TBC) is a joke. Mindlessly plunking out your highest dps spell/shot rotation is not working hard. Staring the monitor without blinking for 3 hours while you watch to keep the tank alive and save dpsers who can't manage to watch their aggro as they press 2,2,2,3,2,2,2,3,2,2,2,3 and move from time to time.

Anonymous said...

My suggestion would be to have sign-ups for each run. This is what my guild has been doing so far, and yes some people have had issues with it, but for the most part we've had little-to-no complaints about people purposely being left out. If a person gets left out of a run, their frustration generally lies in the fact they were too late to sign up. Overall, what we found is that a core group will develop from this system (there will be a group of people that will run Kara every oppurtunity they can get, and will always make sure to sign up asap), and the other half or so of the group will probably rotate from run to run.

Anonymous said...

Having been through something similar, allow me to relate our method.

We're a guild of only about 5. We've got lots of friends on server, so decided to form a joint run. Had about 18 willing to be there at our designated raid time. We set up separate rotations for healers/dps/tanks (by the way, only ever used 2 healers. Tried three one day, actually made it harder, due to lost dps). The raid leader did not rotate out.

The people who didn't come any given week ran a heroic instance for gearing purposes.

We told everyone our start time, and said that scheduled invites go out 15 minutes beforehand. 5 minutes beforehand, the raid leader picks who to fill the remaining spots with. This got people on-time, which, as you know, really helps get things moving.

As for undergeared people, we told them such as honestly as possible, and did not put them in the rotation until they were capable. They would still be alt-invited if spaces were not filled. We made a point to help them gear up on non-raid nights. This helps keep them excited, as well as giving them a goal that is attainable. Also helps maintain some loyalty to the group.

Worked for us. Kara is now a super easy clear, pretty much everyone epicced out, bringing in alts. The group built up as word spread among our friends' guilds, so now we're starting 25 mans, the same way. Also running ZA.

Best of luck to you all.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, you have a very selfish attitude. We ran into the same problem and had way more dps then we had spots for. We were short on healers and tanks. We solved this buy recruiting and gave priority to Tanks and Healers on loot. Some of our own DPS players switched to healing and tanking as a result and we now have 6 kara teams 4 of which clear it every week completely. Your attitude of me first, me is all thats important is very discouraging. As an officer your goal should be to please as many as possible not just yourself.
Sure you can not please them all but you can try.

Anonymous said...

I'll just throw this out there for ya.

If you *do* decide to go with "who can do the most/best DPS" as a gauge for who gets to go on further Kara runs, you'll end up hurting yourself in the long run.

The reason is that you'll be teaching your DPS classes that *all* they do is DPS. This in turn devalues those of them who have a secondary role. As an example, the Enhancement Shaman who drops totems that best benefit the rest of the raid, or who drops his DPS to help heal, she'll be the one who suffers.

Instead of being noticed for that willingness to give up some of her own DPS for the benefit of the group, suddenly she'll be on the bench while the rogue who doesn't stun, or even use appropriate poisons to lengthen cast times (etc.) will be rewarded for her pushing DPS instead of doing secondary class roles.

The big test will come when you hit Curator. *Someone* will always try to pad their DPS stats by ignoring Flares in favor of punching out big crits on Curator during an Evocate. It always happens with guilds that pressure DPS into big numbers.

When you push that button, it always results in your DPS classes abandoning doing anything but maximizing their DPS. Their next step will be to start dropping some of their Sta gear in favor of more DPS stats which will make them harder to keep alive for your healers. The downward slope spirals when the healers get pissed because the DPS can't stay alive, and they start walking.

Be warned, it's not always a clear cut division and as an earlier poster mentioned, it's often a lot better to look at hard and fast numbers in terms of HP/Crit/Etc. rather than in performance.

missjess said...

I've done parts of Kara with two dedicated healers but that was with a moonkins pitching in on boss fights.

I think the best solution is to establish certain class benchmark stats that every player has to meet before they can raid Kara.

I also think you should try and keep switching groups around so people get used to working with each other, if you want to work towards Gruul you need to be used to playing well with everyone, not just your 9 favorite players.

Squishy said...


"There's no good reason to -need- three healers for Karazhan. Two is entirely sufficient for every boss in the instance provided the healers are willing to work as hard as the tanks and DPS do."

Obviously you've never rolled a healer in Karazhan. Ranged DPSing is no where near as taxing as is healing. Who says so? I do, as a person who runs Kara multiple times a week with my lock, mage, and holy priest.

I'm not saying three healers are needed. I do it as one of only two. But ranged DPSing takes little thought. Assist the MA and dps while watching Omen.

Anonymous said...

As the former raid leader of the most successful Kara group in my old guild I have to give a big QFT to "Simply possessing the Master's Key does not mean you are ready."

Having said that, a guild can fold if it mishandles Kz (if that is their stage in progression). The bad blood that developed from competition between the raid groups eventually drove me to bail out and join a pure raiding guild with no drama.

In my old guild, mostly-static raid groups formed around raid leaders soon after we all hit 70. Not coincidentally, the members of the raid groups were often those players who had levelled with the RLs and had all attuned together in groups. So far, so cliquey. Pretty soon, RLs were attempting to poach players from other groups to fill vacancies that appeared. The tension from this nearly broke the guild. There were gquits, raid breaks and the raiding force in the guild downsized until there was only one Kz group and no competition between RLs.

A friend of mine was, until recently, in a guild where the two static raid groups were caused less guild tension but limited their ability to break into 25 man content. All the good/geared players were in Kara RG1, the rest were in RG2. There was no rotation between the two. RG1 was eventually speed-clearing the place and sharding all drops. RG2 rarely cleared by reset. Officers blocked all rotation for fear that some of the good players in RG1 would gquit if their speed-clears were slowed down by RG2 players. The plan was to wait for RG2 to gear up and then all hit 25 mans together. It never happened. In the long term, RG1 players eventually got bored and joined raid guilds. RG2 never really geared up (some of their players just plain sucked and held back the rest). My buddy was RG2RL and is now a trial in a BT guild.

The guild I defected to had two KZ raid groups but was careful to rotate members between the two. There were certain considerations, like putting undergeared tanks (me) with better geared tanks to reduce loot competition. The rotation ensured that everyone got to work together and geared up at a similar rate.

Anonymous said...

I'd definitely stick to three healers while learning Kara. Two is fine once you're bored and farming the place on your alts.

However, when you say you take two tanks to Karazahn I hope you don't mean two prot warriors. The OT should be a feral or dps warrior to keep raid dps up when there's nothing to tank. I've seen prot warrior and paladin MTs but not druid MTs. I'm sure the druids are fine though. Fastest clears were with a good paladin.

Anonymous said...

l2p kara is easy and if your guild is having this much trouble now dont even think abot 25 mans

Michael said...

As far as the 2 vs. 3 healer setup goes, here's how I run it:

If your tanks are in lvl 70 blue gear (as they should be as a minimum for kara tanking) you need around 3000 +heal total in your raid. That means either 2 healers with +1500 each, or 3 with +1000 each.

As your tanks get geared-up with Kara tanking gear, you can run with less and less. I.e. +2500 or so total when the tanks are about half purple.

Anonymous said...

My guild is in much the same situation right now and it is an enormous pain trying to do what is best for guild progress as well as individual players. Our core group is clearing KZ almost in a single 5-hour sitting (almost, not quite!) and moving on to ZA, having downed Nalorakk last week. We work well together and it's a reall y great team.

However we're trying to get a second group off the gorund for KZ and there are problems. They're progressing well but still hitting trouble about halfway through (Curator/Aran). They want to mix thr groups up but I reckon this is a bad idea for 2 reasons.

First is that you will be sacrificing guild progression - the core group should be leaving KZ behind altogether and doing ZA exclusivel as soon as possible. This will help the second group when they finally hit that stage.

Secondly it may lead to the second group becoming relliant on better players to more or less boost them through KZ. They need to learn to stand on their own two feet and that, more than any mixing, will pave the way for good 25-man work in Gruul's (we have downed Maulgar but not Gruul - yet...).

We have about 4 tanks, 5 healers and 6 DPS for our core group and have a rotation to accomodate this. I think we're going to try slotting some rotation players into the second group, then the onus will still mostly be on the newer players but they have a bit of experience in there to help out. It should keep both groups happy and end up with faster progress for the guild.

"I also think you should try and keep switching groups around so people get used to working with each other, if you want to work towards Gruul you need to be used to playing well with everyone, not just your 9 favorite players."

See above - I thinnk the 25-man dynamic is so different from 10-man that it has nothing to do with knowing the strengths and weaknesses of other players. It's far more complex than that and relies on each person knowing how they best work with other classes and situations. As such there's nothing much to be gained from mixing groups if Gruul is your aim.

We're in the