Any long-time readers of this blog have watched as my play has progressed from clueless leveler, to clueless n00b 70, to clueless Heroic 70, to clueless 10-person raider, and now, to clueless 25-person raider/raid leader.
I call this "Organic Progression".
That is, when I was leveling, my guild was totally made up of other levelers, nobody was 70 in the guild, or an alt of a 70. When I was first dinging 70, I was in a guild made up of other dingers. Progressing into Heroics, I was surrounded by other folks in their very first Heroic dungeons also. That was a glorious time, 4 hour wipefests in Heroic Slave Pens, with MAYBE killing one boss. But damn, did we have fun.
When we hit Kara, everyone on the team was a brand new raider, with only one or two previous exploratory visits to Kara by a few individuals. Likewise, hitting the 25's, we're all in the same boat. Nobody is a burned out T6 raider who's slumming with us.
I really am curious to find other folks who joined WoW after Burning Crusade, and have gone through this same Organic Progression, never jumping ahead to join an already established group, because I'd find it really interesting to compare notes and experiences.
For the record, here's where I think we're at right now....
With our Gruul kill, we've risen to the 18th most progressed Alliance guild on our server, according to WoW Jutsu. 18th might not seem to be that good, but we're very happy with it, given our extremely late start to raiding. I'm not overly concerned with rankings, but it does feel nice to be on the short list, and it definitely gives the Guild a sense of pride.
One team farming Kara in a single night, considering ending our visits to Kara. That same team is 2/6 in ZA, with likely progress to 4/6 in the next week or two, including the first two timed events.
A second team, farming early Kara in one night, killing up through and including Prince on a second night, nearly considering the place farm status.
Collectively, we combine forces for a single night of 25-person raiding, two weeks in, we've killed Gruul. No where near farm status, but reasonable to expect we will kill him weekly, reducing wipes and increasing speed each week.
The officers are debating moving the guild to 1 night of 10- and 2 nights of 25-person raiding, dependent largely upon how Team 2 feels about having only 1 night available for KZ.
We are roughly 40 members in size. Generally drama free, with a decent atmosphere. People can pretty much get groups for Heroics when they want. A little bit clique'ie, due in large part to the 2 Kara team divide, but since we've started Gruul's, that's changing a little.
We do not use a DKP system, and instead use a random roll. This has only led to drama situations a few times in the last 6 months of raiding. We've considered going to what I think is called Suicide Kings (everybody is randomly put in order. top person on list who is present when loot drops gets first pick. if you take loot, you drop to bottom of list, if you pass on loot, you stay at top), but have not really felt the need to implement it.
Our recruiting has been somewhat unstructured until the past 2 months. We're still recovering from a way way earlier GM who did unrestricted recruiting in an effort to hit 400 members. We are left with the solid people and players from the hugely unfiltered masses we used to have, but our class balance is out of whack (double the number of hunters than any other class, etc). Since embarking on 25-person raiding, we've narrowed our recruiting to a few very specific needs.
Upon starting Gruul's, we've also had a little bit of turnover. 3 members left the guild, one to jump to T6 raiding guild, one because the late nights impact work life too much, and one because we have 3 times as many Hunters as we have Hunter Raid Spots. While I'm sad at losing the people, because they've been a solid part of building the character of the guild, I'm not really surprised by any of the departures.
We have two main issues right now, and both are related to eachother. One is that we are missing 4 specific things on our 25-person raid. One healer (any class suitable), one tank (Druid or Warrior), an additional Warlock, and one more non-Hunter-Rogue DPS, preferably Shaman.
The second issue is our start time for 25's. I blame this largely on the fact that we have to fill in 4 or so slots from outside the guild each night, and that takes too much time. By and large, the 20 or so Guildies who sign up, reliably show up on time, so I'm hoping that if we fill our recruiting needs, then we'll have a big improvement on start time.
Looking forward, I see one potential issue on the horizon. Once the novelty wears off, and we settle into a rhythm of two and ultimately three 25'ers weekly, we will likely settle into a core group of 20 or so regulars, and will require a pool of substitutes. I'm a little worried about how to maintain sufficient numbers and diversity such that we're not hurting for attendance on any given night, and at the same time, keeping those folks who we cannot invite to each and every raid happy.
Any ideas on how to maintain a happy pool of raiders without requiring attendance, knowing full well that you need to have more members than available raid slots, would be welcome.
So there you have it, my personal WoW progression in a nutshell. When I think it over, the organic path is challenging, and is driven by a pioneer spirit every step of the way.