Advice on Guild Management Needed

Greetings DoD forum! This is my first time posting here, so I think I should introduce myself first. I also apologize for the probable wall of text that’s about to ensue.

My name is Alex Jones. I run a two night a week raid guild on the US-Draka server called . I have been playing wow since Dec. 2006, and raiding since Jan. 2008.

I started raid leading in the fall of 2011, in the months before Dragon Soul released. I ran the second raid team in a guild for the remainder of cata, and even managed to have my team surpass my guilds main team in progression by killing Heroic Madness a couple weeks before the main one. Halfway through t14 in mop, the main team was struggling, and began attempting to snipe some of my teams raiders. At that point we left and founded our own guild.

I have now been running my own guild since Jan. 2013, and we have had some steady progress I think. We just edged our nose into heroics in t14 and t15 (2/16 H in t14 and 3/13 H in t15) and have been able to dive fairly deep into the progression due to the extended time of this tier (10/14 H atm). When I mention this progression, I am talking about a 10man environment. Well, mostly.

My server is rather small, and top guilds have the tendency to leave the server once they reach 1st place. When we formed our own guild, sudden popularity spiked on the server in my guild, as we were a new face that didn’t totally suck as raiding. And me being a nice guy (sometimes too nice), I opened the floodgates for the masses to enter. I wanted to give everyone who wanted a chance to raid the opportunity to do so.

It quickly got to the point where we needed a 2nd team in the guild, and quickly after that enough for a 25man. I had soooo many people in guild requesting for the “big, epic 25mans.” So i gave the people what they wanted. That whole deal lasted ~4 months before I couldn’t take the current atmosphere of the 25man anymore (too many conflicting personalities between the two 10mans that we merged for the 25man, plus our reliable amount of raiders at the time wasn’t large enough to warrant a stable 25man group). So, I once again sundered the guild into its 2 10mans until a future time would come when it would be wiser to attempt a merge once again.

Fast forward 5 months, and two - thirds of my 10man team was sitting together on the couch watching the blizzcon virtual stream (a lot of us go to college together or live in approximately the same area) and stunned by the fact that the hardest raids would now be 20man only. I could only sit in the corner are think to myself “now this should be fun…”

Fast forward again to today, and the 2 10mans are still pounding away at t16. We have a lot more stable raiders than we had before, which is putting us in a potentially good spot for WoD. I REALLY want us to do well in warlords. So I’ve set two simple goals for my guild come that point.

  1. Push my guild to the next level of raiding by being able to clear all mythic mode encounters before the following tier releases.
  2. Keep a two night a week raid schedule.

With every set of goals there of course lie obstacles and issues on the path to success. Given some of the current circumstances and realizations I’ve had recently about the guild. I’ve been able to pinpoint some important questions that need tackled before wod releases.

  1. When do we tackle mythic? Seeing as blizzard has removed the requirement to clear heroic to enter mythic, this gives us the potential opportunity to head into mythics much much earlier.

  2. How do we set up raid team(s) in wod and how do we handle backups? This is one of the bigger issues with my guild right now. Backups are a big problem for us. Right now they don’t get a lot of chances to raid, so they often get bored and leave. So we are trying to figure out how to handle treating backups in the future to prevent this from happening.

  3. How should we go about loot? We just use open rolls right now, but that probably won’t work in a 20man environment.

  4. How much is too much? Everybody has a breaking point, and I would like to avoid reaching this breaking point with anyone.

The thing i come here for is advice on solving some of the issues I listed above. So if you any insight on any of it, I’D greatly appreciate it. Once again sorry for the wall of text. I messaged Hanzo on google+ and he told me to post here. So I am! I also apologize for any misspellings or format errors, as I’m posting all this from my phone.

On two nights a week, I thought our pace worked quite well. You should be able to see similar results, provided:

  • You tackle Mythic when you hit your baseline for necessary gear. The difference between how we had it and how WoD will deliver it is that you’ll most likely find your way to the baseline gear through Flex. If I were starting over, that’s how I’d do it: Flex my way to the baseline (set something reasonable, like ~65% of the raid is in the highest ilvl Flex provides for that tier), and each week, you shoot for 20 folks in Flex (but bring more if they are available. Just be sure to make crystal clear the requirements for the 20-Man Mythic. Allowing Raiders/Elites also worked well, just make sure you close all your loopholes (more on this near the end of Part III).

  • Core raid team and backups work very much like most. Build your core (see #1) and set explicit guidelines on invite time, when people don’t show, move to pick up replacements quickly – you’ll find the core fleshes out quite quickly when you set deadlines and hold people to them. We had backups online during invite time, but they were free to log-off once the raid started. Meanwhile, others come and go – and can fill in emergencies. Make use of the officer notes, keep them private to the admins, but use them to keep player phone #s to contact them in an emergency if you need fillers. Worst case scenario, you cannot get the 20th person, no matter what you do…drop to 19-Man Flex for the weekend…and recruit harder.

  • If you’re growing into a 20-Man Mythic guild and have more and more strange faces showing up, I’d strongly advice a DKP system. Loot Council advocates (some here on the boards) will contend LC is loads easier to administrate…and they are right, provided you have a real-life mechanism to hold people accountable. Like it said in the blog post:

How wonderfully simple World of Warcraft guild leadership would be if people could be held accountable for their actions.

Be very aware of how easily Loot Council can be mishandled. It only takes one bad day for you to, in the heat of being pissed off at someone for something stupid, assign loot to the wrong person for the wrong reasons. And that will be the beginning of the end of your loot council…and your guild.

  • As guild leader, it’s part of your job to survey the troops. Check in with them. Engage in some conversation, in the off-raiding hours, esp. over Ventrilo/Teamspeak. Are they still having fun? When the majority of them are stressed-out (and not having fun), give them breaks. Ease it up.

Yeah, you can push and push until you’re server 1st…but at what cost? Keep tabs on the morale of the guild. Read them and adjust the schedule as necessary.

I REALLY liked the way DoD handled replacements. Having a core group of people (we typically had between 15-20 that showed up EVERY week) and rotating fillers in gives people the ability to take a day or week off. Not having any pressure that they HAVE to show up for every raid or their spot is in jeopardy takes a lot of the pressure off. This also made it so we would typically have a fairly decent pool of raiders on the bench who either didn’t want to commit every week to raids, or trying to move their way up the ranks into a core slot.

Not sure how many dudes you’re planning on having around raiding, but having a weekly alt flex run on off raiding nights would be a great way to try out new people and get them geared out and ready. Not sure if flex and the 20 mans will share lockouts (I haven’t read much up on the WoD changes, and haven’t raided since cata), but if they do try and make them after your weekly raid runs, that way anybody left out from the main raid will still get a guild run to try and gear up or just hang out raiding.

Also, if you ever get an application from a guy named “@Cheeseus” or any other form of name with cheese in it, be leary. That guy is a real douchebag! Oh, and @Dalans. Definitely be on the lookout for him, he’s a dick. Oh, and I strongly encourage you to find the most perverted raider you can to fill up raid chat with sexual inuendo, and poor spelling.

edit GOD DAMNIT! Hanzo is editing my posts to add in @peoples!!! MOD ABUSE! MOD ABUSE!

1 Like

Thanks for the terrific feedback so far guys. I really appreciate It.

As far as the organization of my raid group(s) go in warlords, I have two potential ideas to go about it in mind:

  1. Have one raid team focus on going from heroic to mythic. That one team would consist of x number of starting positions and y number of rotational slots. This would be similar to your situation in your guild where the elites were guaranteed spots, while everyone was rotated in the remaining slots.

So let’s say I would for example have 15 starting spots and 5 rotational slots. I could rotate in a group of 10 rotational people every week. 5 would get to raid one week, the other 5 the next. This could potentially work, but there are upsides and downsides to it.

-this would ensure everyone gets to see raid time.
-evenly distributes loot among the rotational guys so it doesn’t feel like we are bringing in “dead weight” on any raid night.

-over time, some of the rotationals might want more than just to raid every other week. And might want a guaranteed spot. Then u of course run into the situation of if I give them a guaranteed spot, I might run out of rotational spots Which puts me back into the situation I’m at now where the remaining rotationals/backups would get bored and leave.
-the rotationals wouldn’t gear up as fast as starters would, and might slow down progression. This is something we might just have to deal with, though.

On top of this, we would have an optional raid nite on sunday evenings to test out trials, experiment with exotic boss strats (something we like to do), get some more gear, and just have some fun. And it would be done on the difficulty that was one lower than our current team was on during the tues/thurs raid week (so if tues/thurs was mythic, sunday is heroic, or if tues/thurs is heroic, sunday is normal).

I have one large issue with the optional raid night with my guild however. A good amount of my guild (~2/3-~3/4) has almost no interest in raiding a 3rd night. So they would NEVER sign up to do the optional 3rd raid night. This has been proven in this tier when we have tried to do an optional flex run for people on sunday evenings, and only a couple times did I have enough guildies to run it. Otherwise I have like 4 people show up and go “oh we don’t have enough? Alright later,” and then log off. So this leads me to my potential second solution.

  1. Have TWO raid teams within the guild. Have one that’s labeled as the A team and the other as the B team. The A team would be focused from going from heroic->mythic, and the B team would be focused from going from normal-> heroic. Have the teams raid on different raid nights, so if those few people from the A team would like to raid more than two nights a week, then can swoop in and assist the B team if need be. Crap, I forgot to mention since you didn’t know klocker, all difficulties are on separate lockouts now. Think of it as t9 all over again.

Due to mythic being a fixed number of players, and heroic being a range from 10-30 (yes, 30), the A team would have a fixed set of 20 players that are labeled as “starters.” If the starting mythic team has someone drop out whether temporarily or permanately, they can snipe players from the B team to use in the 20man. But, seeing as the raid teams raid on separate nights, things are on separate lockouts, and the teams are at different difficulties, the players from the B team being sniped for the A team can still raid with the B team if they wish to do so, but they would have to raid more. The end goal would be to have people “graduate” from the B team and move to the A team when permanate spots open when their gear and skill level is ready.

-Designating a fixed 20 players as starters has a potential to give a raid team good consistency. You don’t have the situation where you wish “x player was rotated in tonite because of y fight mechanic.” You would always have the same team unless something comes up.
-having the B team Means everyone who is prepared gets a chance to raid due to flex tech. This by far has to be one of the best things blizzard has ever done for the game.
-you can use the B team to evaluate trials and newer players, and give raiders an opportunity to shoot for becoming part of the A team by proving themselves in the B team.

-this structure would require more people to operate, and also another capable raid leader who is willing to hold things together and push a team forward.
-some people on the B team might feel as if they are second rate players for the simple fact they are on the lower difficulty team. Which lowers morale and might make them unhappy.
-having more people just means more work for the officer core, which could lead to top level burnout, which can be catastrophic for guild structure.

So those are my two options for raid group structure, now onto everyone’s favorite controversial topic; Loot!

I have taken a very interesting twist on loot in the past. Right now we just use open rolls, Because honestly if you need any more than that in a 10man setting, your guild needs help. But when we ran 25mans in tot for 4 months or so, I invented a rather interesting loot system which I’d potentially like to revise and update for warlords.

There is one thing I have always been in unhappy about all loot systems in wow, each one only seems to focus on one thing. Dkp seems to focus on the people who are there the most, loot wheel focuses on gearing up the WHOLE team evenly, loot council seems to focus on pinpointing specific raiders for loot in order to maximize the raids potential, etc. Now I understand these systems work for a lot of guilds, that’s fine. But I’m an engineer, so anytime I see something that has obvious flaws, I want to figure out how to try and optimize it. It’s in my nature. So that’s what I’ve done with my take on loot.

So let’s start by asking, “what do raiders like in a loot system?” One word, CONTROL. They want CONTROL over how loot comes their way. The more effort they put in, the more they want out, right? That’s exactly what dkp does. But in my opinion dkp isn’t perfect, as it can really put a dampener on the newer raiders that come in, and prevent them from getting loot for awhile (at least from my past experience with it, that’s how I remember it. This was like 4 years ago so if I’m wrong anywhere please correct me.).

Ah, but loot wheel! That gives everyone an even chance to get loot! But the one HUGE problem with loot wheel is it in now way rewards loyalty and attendence. And can be a very slow way to gear up a raid. I had a guild use loot wheel in BC, and it costed us the only dragonspine trophy we ever saw drop because it went to some noob hunter who had been in guild for 2 days and left the guild a week later, when it shouldve went to either myself (hunter) or the other two rogues we had who had all been there a lot longer and were stable raiders.

Well, then loot council surely is the way to go! You can give loot to the people who need it most and maximize raid potential quickly! But alas, with power, comes corruption. Peoples biases get in the way of loot distribution and it might not go to the perfect person that way. And the worst of all, is when a piece of loot doesn’t go one persons way, in loot council, that person AUTOMATICALLY has a direction to point the finger of blame on their troubles, the council. And when people have someone whom they can point the finger of blame at that isn’t themselves, They will become angry. Which is never good.

So, how? HOW can a loot system be perfect? Well, nothing is ever perfect. But, I think I can design a better one than any of these.

The secret to all this? Math and numbers. You can use them to both distribute loot evenly, and reward those who put in the work.

So here is the system i have devised. I will Describe the system as it was in tot, then talk about the changes I have considered for warlords in the next post.

D.A.W.N. Loot System (Don’t Argue With Numbers)

This system is structured around a priority list of people in your raid team on who gets loot. The higher up the list you are, the higher your priority for loot. Each players priority Is determined by an equation that takes into account each raiders current guild rank, attendance, ilvl, a gear audit score, and raid nights since last upgrade. Each component of the equation is weighted to determine it’s importance (this is obviously the part I as a designer of the system have the most trouble determining. And I don’t precisely remember what the weights were at the time. So I will leave them out of the following equation for simplicity).

Priority score = (rank + gear audit score + attendance + nights since last upgrade)/ilvl

Let’s break down the components of the equation:

Rank: this is a base value that simply increases as your rank increases in the guild. Officers and myself have the same score as the highest normal guildies can achieve to remove any bias from the equation.

Gear audit score: this was something I implemented to force some of the more inexoerienced raiders at the time to keep their gear in tip top shape. There is four categories for gear audit (3 for healers), you got a point for each category you completed.

-dps/tank gear audit points:
1 pt for having gear for the proper spec on
1 pt for using a full set of proper glyphs
1 pt for being hit/expertise capped.
1 pt for being fully gemmed and enchanted

-healer gear audit points:
1 pt for having gear for the proper spec on
1 pt for using a full set of proper glyphs
2 pts for being fully gemmed and enchanted

Is it sad I had to implement such a thing into the system? Possibly, but it did it’s job well. People very quickly realized they had to stay on top of their gear if they wanted more of it.

Now I counted attendance slightly different in my system. The equation was as follows:

Attendance = (raids attended + (excused absences * 0.5))/ total raids possible to attend

The reason I put in the excused absences being worth half a raid is because I didn’t want people feeling punished as much as a no show if they had something like exams, vacation, etc they had to leave for. It worked rather well and people seemed to like it.

Raid nights since last upgrade:
Here is the magic that makes the whole system move. This is simply a value that every raider who has attended the raid that evening will get incremented at at the start of the raid. When you take a piece of loot, your raids since last upgrade value is reset to 0. If you don’t get loot for multiple nights in a row, this value of course keeps getting incremented by 1 each night, until you have moved far enough up the list to get a piece of loot, then you move back down.

Why is the whole equation divided by the persons ilvl? Here is my reasoning. People who typically need loot more are the lower ilvl guys. Dividing the equation by ilvl gives them a slightly increased chance go get loot while they don’t have any. This part of the equation didn’t seem to have a HUGE impact on people’s overall priority, but it still did provide a minor boost to people’s score at lower ilvls.

This whole system was kept track of using at Google doc the whole guild had access to view. I had to do the gear audits and ilvl data entry manaully, which took a good 30min of work before each raid nite. In the future if I wish to ccontinue to use this system, I would like to automate this process with macro script buttons in Google docs.

Let me know what you guys think of this system. Yes, I know there were some flaws with it and I plan to address them in wod if I continue to use the system. I’ll talk about those in my next post. Once again, sorry for the wall of text.

Each system will have flaws, no matter how good you think it is, or how easy it seems to be implemented.

I could go on a rant about how Shawn is being too negative on Loot council type systems, but it all comes down to past experiences and how your current team is.

When I raided in Cata, I had a 10 man team. The aim of the team was to have only 10 people, and the same 10 people show up every raid. Loot rules were even simpler: Don’t be a dick. I had this elaborate system where if it was an up for you say so. If more than one person, you roll. Winner gets the loot, and next time they come up against a person, they pass.

It would have been perfect for us had we always had 10 members. Unfortunately we had some subs. One night we killed I don’t remember the bosses name, and a druid / hunter stat stick dropped. We had a regular hunter, Larada, and a pug Mashkana [sic?]. They rolled, and the alt won. Larada was disappointed, but he understood that he had equal chances and we wouldn’t have gotten the kill without Mash there, so it is what it is, and we moved on. Next Agi item that dropped in the instance, we asked Mash to not roll, and he didn’t. Life moved on.

Another week we actually had Shawn tank with us. First boss in another raid instance and a tanking trinket drops. I knew from previous discussions that Shawn was having trouble getting trinket drops, and our regular tank present got a different tanking drop last week on the last boss. I asked if he could pass, which he did, and Shawn got the trinket. Again, without both of them, we wouldn’t have been able to kill the boss. Since our typical tank got a drop previously, and Shawn hadn’t (even though he wasn’t a regular part of our team), we helped Shawn out. Later on, another tank piece dropped. I asked Shawn if he minded if I gave it to the other tank uncontested, and there was no resistance.

I’m not going to say this system will work out for you. Shawn will say you need to know the people in real life, so that there is an aspect of social ramification for your actions. I disagree and say it takes like minded people who understand that the loot is an means to the end, which is killing the bosses.

Pick whichever system you like best. I’ve seen DKP, SuicideKing [I think it’s called], open rolls, fixed price DKP with a monthly depreciation based off of a % of the total pool, etc. They can all work.

What you need is:

1 - A system that is easy for you to implement and explain

  • If you cannot track it effectively or explain it to new people where they are left wondering if they will ever get loot, it will fail

2 - Consistency

-Nothing is going to piss off people more than if you are inconsistent about how you view things. If in one instance two people have the same DKP and you make them roll for tie break, and another time you say “person x has been here longer, they win by default”, you will have a riot. The second one is valid, as long as people know up front. I left a Rift guild because we were doing a guild raid, and someone won the open roll for a weapon. The raid leader changed their mind and gave it to someone else because the person was on his alt. That kind of mentality change as soon as loot drops is utter bullshit.

3 - Transparency

Be open in your rules, why you have them, etc. The other 24/19/whatever characters are all people, and they will treat you a lot better if you’re open about decisions. Take their input and apply it if it makes sense, too. That’s how you build a better team, by having people invest mentally into it.

Hope this helps, even though it doesn’t give you any definitive answers.

Thanks for the reply Cheeseus.

I agree on your main standpoints you take. New members MUST be able to understand the loot system. If they cant, they will just get confused and most likely more mad at the system when they don’t win pieces simply because they don’t understand it.

I’ve also been a long believer of no double standards. They’re quite dick moves when they happen in the moment. I’ve never been fortunate when it comes to trinket drops (hell there’s a trinket off a boss in siege of orgrimmar I’m still hunting for since September and still haven’t gotten it.). I raided with a 10man team in firelands (was the main team of the last guild I was in). We killed rag for the 2nd time. Matrix re stabilizer dropped. Other hunter gets it. Ok no big deal I’ll get the next one as I was the only other agi dps on the grp. 2 months later a 2nd one drops, and the raid leader, who was currently resto and hadn’t played bear in 6+ months goes “OH I NEED THAT FOR MY SECOND MAIN SPEC,” and takes it without even offering me the option to roll. I…was…LIVID. people ask me why didn’t I leave the guild over that. Well I tend not to react on kneejerk emotions like that, despite how much of a dick move it was. But yeah, after that, I will never pull double standards on a raider over loot.

Transparency I also agree is crucial. July 1st I’m having a general guild meeting to discuss all this stuff and the direction the guild wants to take in warlords. I want to get everyone opinion on the matters at hand. I came here though because you guys over the years have seen some shit, and I’d like to avoid the process of reinventing the wheel and instead try and get good advice I can take to my guild and share with them at the meeting.

One of the hardest things to do as a guild leader, imho. It’s far easier to set standards than it is to live up to them. This is one of those things you have to work on every day.

Tell me about it. One thing I have to be careful about is well…my girlfriend. Yes, my girlfriend plays/raids with my team and I’m the guildmaster. Immediately to the common person that’d SCREAM favoritism. I keep myself as unbiased as i possibly can be. She has never gotten loot favoritism from me, as that would be an atrocious abuse of power. She is a guild officer (guild bank manager), but she does her job well. Our guild bank is by far the most organized and cleanest guild bank I’ve ever seen. And she does a good job of ensuring that people keep it stocked. Has she gotten angry at me in the past because I didn’t take her side on a guild issue because I know what’s better for the guild than she does (She’s a lot newer to the game and hasn’t seen near as much shit in the game as I have.)? Of course, and I just take the hits from that and move on. It doesn’t really happen too much anymore, which is good. I’m just hoping it stays that way. Outside of the game, our relationship is very healthy. We try and keep IRL and the game as separate as possible.

Now, I’m not going to tell you how to run your life, but I’m just going to leave this here and walk away.

Oh god. I ran into a pair of orcs in one of the farmhouses in durotar doing the same thing when I was around lvl 12 when I first started playing. Quite hilarious indeed lol.

…all the evidence you need to never use Loot Council.