Things that're key to our success:
- Team Cohesion - We are definitely getting better as a 10-person unit. Lots of heroic runs and also the nights in Kara are helping here. Plus a variety of conversations, such as me and the tanks discussing what makes them tick and what we do that they like and what they dislike.
- Preparation - Fewer people are showing up without buff foods. More people are drinking elixirs and other consumables. Not quite perfect yet, but I think my continuous promotion of the benefits of my relentless @ss is paying off.
- Tanking - Our two tanks are doing a great job generating threat. Both of them are the type of person who independently determines his gear needs and takes personal responsibility to see that it happens. If I really try, I can pull aggro, but I have to really try hard. I've heard stories of guilds ensuring that the MT gets all the good loot because the raid is somewhat dependent upon the MT's gear. That does not appear to be the case, as the tank's survivability and threat generation is rarely the cause of our wipes.
- Research & Knowledge - More members are reading about boss fights prior to the night. Before we end each night, we make sure everybody knows who the next two bosses we plan to hit are, which helps people know where to focus. Additionally, as we are seeing the early bosses over and over, we're gaining familiarity which makes the fight more smooth.
- Speed of Trash Pulls - While not ready for NASCAR or anything, we have been moving faster and that is allowing us to see more bosses and have more attempts before trash respawns.
- Hit Rating - Over the past 2 weeks, many of the folks have learned about hit and spell hit. Some of them have altered their gear and gems accordingly. Team DPS has improved.
- Analysis - I publish the WWS report after each raid. There is a growing buzz surrounding the data, conclusions, and actual action plans from a wide number of players on the team.
Things that we'll need to address if we want to continue our success:
- Schedule - we basically put up 6 or 7 nights of raiding. If at least 7 members of the team show up, we try to fill in with subs and make a run. This is a huge time thief as you never really know when you're going to run, so you always feel a burden to be prepared.
- Start Times - we consistently start late, with first pulls often 30 or more minutes later than our scheduled start time.
- Third Tank - we run with two protection warriors. Some of the encounters we've seen (Moroes, The Crone) really benefit from having a third tank-capable player who can also do good DPS against the one- or two-target bosses (Attumen, Maiden, Curator). We have had success using our Holy Paladin as a tank in these situations and its worked perfectly, but that gives us a very big single-player attendance risk.
- Paladin Availablity - we currently have one paladin in the team, and I don't think we even have many others in the guild. At our level of progression, a Paladin is basically required for Maiden. If he is unable to attend the raid, we've got a problem.
- Distribution of DPS - the distribution of DPS output is too unequal, with a disproportionately high % of output coming from 2 members. If one of those members is unavailable, there are problems taking bosses down.
What to do about it:
- Schedule - On monday night, after the Chess Event was down, we discussed our raid schedule. We've decided upon a three day raid schedule, with Wednesday, a weekend night, and Monday being raid nights that nearly everyone is available for on a normal basis. On wednesday's raid each week, we'll arrange for what weekend night is best for everyone, as weekends are much more subject to variable availability.
- Sign Up Sheet - If we ever hope to see 25-man content, we need to build good habits now. We use Guild Calendar addon for our scheduling. Players need to sign up or decline so we can plan for subs as far in advance as possible. Quite frustrating to know that there are a few perfectly capable subs who could fill in, only that they thought there'd be no invites so they didn't log in to see. After establishing the schedule, we instructed peeps to sign up and there was an immediate response. Need to see that consistently.
- Faster - Continue pushing the speed of the raid. The main tank, who generally sets the pace, is very in tune with this. The faster we get through trash, the more we can get done in less time. Duh, sounds obvious, but its easy to forget when you're overly cautious on what is becoming very familiar trash (think attumen's stable). Keep pushing this envelope.
- Recruiting - We need to have a stable pool of 2 or 3 substitutes, most notably another Paladin and a hybrid DPS player who can tank in a pinch. Additionally, we'll need to find a way to keep morale up, as I doubt many players want to be a permanent sub. I know I wouldn't like that. We really don't have a solid action plan for getting this one done, so I need to talk to the RL and GM on how to solve this aspect.
- Team DPS Improvement - We need to improve the DPS across the board, but most specifically at the lower end. We started with getting hit ratings up. WWS shows that missed attacks and resisted spells are going way down. This is good. DPS has gone up a little, but we've got to have more output. Players at the lower end of the spectrum need to be directed to online resources to find out how they can improve their output, either via spec, attack/spell choice, or gear. I know lots about Hunter's, but I know very little about casting or melee DPS.
- Boss Progression - We're in the fortunate position of having blown through the early part of Kara. First thing we need to do is to improve our performance on Moroes and Maiden, as those two should be considered pretty close to farm status. Opera is still new, having only seen and beaten two of the events so far. Curator is still a single kill so far. We need to prove that wasn't a fluke. We killed him with 2 healers. Our core team has one extra healer and one less DPS. I think this will make Curator hard until we improve our baseline DPS. As I write this I'm debating talking to the team and asking one of the Priests to go Shadow. This still provides us two shackles, some splash party healing, and Holy Fire dispelling, with the addition of more DPS and mana regeneration for endurance fights. I wonder? Either way, the title of this bullet point was "boss progression" so back on topic...beyond Curator, we were unsure where to go for bosses. Well, chess was obvious, but not sure what's next. Need to solve that and get educated on the fight(s).
So there you have it. Keys to success thus far, issues that unless addressed will impact our ability to continue that success, and remediating actions, some of which are in progress, some of which are just figments of my imagination popping up as I write this.