Think you've got a hawt PuG raiding group on your server? You ain't seen nothin' until you've seen what's going on with the Leftovers of US Silver Hand-A -- and they're not a guild but rather a collection of pickup raiders! Check out these phat stats:
- The Leftovers run some 70 to 80 raids per week.
- Ninety percent of players who sign up get into raids.
- Over the past 3 weeks, 661 players (on 1,094 characters) have attended a Leftovers raid.
- More than 1,700 players have attended or signed up with Leftovers raids since the Burning Crusade launched.
- The Leftovers marked their three-year anniversary in May of this year with eight Magtheridon/Gruul runs, including seven kills, plus four Molten Core fun runs.
Bleucheese, Level 70 Night Elf Priest
Dulin, Level 70 Night Elf Hunter
Elkheart, Level 70 Night Elf Warrior
Felada, Level 70 Night Elf Priest
Paksennarion, Level 70 Human Paladin
Quinnaria, Level 70 Night Elf Hunter
Senzoo, Level 70 Human Warrior
Toragan, Level 70 Human Paladin
15 Minutes of Fame: Ok, so let's talk basic numbers: who's raiding with the Leftovers right now?
Bleucheese: 700 players active right now, 29 charters -- 17 charters running 25-mans and 12 charters running 10-mans exclusively.
A charter being a dedicated raiding unit?
Quinnaria: Exactly, a set group of "leaders" that are in charge of organizing and running that particular raid.
Dulin: The raiders can float between and sign up for any chartered raid they like.
About how many active players do you have, would you say? Because surely you have more signed up than actively run regular raids ...
Bleucheese: Yeah, 657 raiders, and 1057 separate characters in the past three weeks.
Quinnaria: Separate raiders -- not 'toons, mind you. Many of those people have alts.
So different charters move at different rates?
Bleucheese: Yeah, our player base runs the gamut.
Quinnaria: Because we are so open -- and don't have a "you must be vouched for in a particular guild" (policy) -- it makes us have an huge base to draw from.
Toragan: Actually, a good chunk of the raiding guilds on our server have alts and even mains that run with us from time to time, as well. We are more or less just a community that will accept any individual, as long as they are good people. =)
Felada: Yeah, I bounce around when I can to help heal different runs.
Quinnaria: I don't even have a leadership in a charter. I freely move among them and just raid casually.
Paksennarion: Well, more like an active LFG tool, trade channel and general chat without the garbage.
Quinnaria: But the site itself mostly serves as the LFG. Any group can request a charter. Signing up makes LFG unnecessary.
So let me get this straight -- no app process, really? No gear requirements or guild membership or ....?
Quinnaria: No way. None.
Elkheart: Up to each charter, but no -- definitely no app process. The idea is to take the people with no guild and no raiding org
Bleucheese: None whatsoever. Sign up and we will try to get you to raid.
Felada: Nope. Sign up and don't be an asshat.
Toragan: Well, each charter will likely armory folks who sign up for their raids. If you don't have the gear for the level of raiding you're signing up for, you may not get slotted. But beyond that, all you gotta do is make an account, register your 'toons and sign up.
What about the jerks and the clueless n00bs?
Elkheart: The "leftovers." ; )
Felada: We flog them. :p
No, really ... How do you handle the idiot factor?
Quinnaria: Well, we have idiots, which we try to train, and people who refuse to learn, who weed themselves out. If you prove to be a "problem," what raid would slot you to start?
Paksennarion: If you're going to act in an unfriendly fashion, we're just not going to slot you again. That's up to each charter, but the charters share information on raiders, both good and bad. But like Quinnaria said, we're not going to do that if you just don't understand. There's got to be a bit of malice behind it.
Elkheart: And it's honestly a problem far less than you might expect.
Dulin: Also, most "idiots" really just don't know any better, and if given the chance, *want* to learn to do it right. The ones who have trouble learning can find places in more casual charters. The Leftovers are all about helping those folks.
Quinnaria: Elk speaks true there. Usually people desire to raid enough that they behave rather well.
Bleucheese: There are a lot fewer asshats than you'd think.
Toragan: Every charter can slot how they wish. Folks who act or perform poorly will likely find their prospects drying up. Our charters do expect a degree of dedication if someone chooses to sign up. Show up ready with you're A-game and what-not. =)
So what about the crew behind the scenes? What does it take to keep a charter moving, as far as staff or officers?
Felada: The overall leads (us) try to let the charters run their own stuff.
Quinnaria: Right now, we have a solid group of overall leads, which isn't a large group, and leads emeritus folks that kinda retired but still help.
It sounds like everything is pretty structured and the workload is spread around.
Bleucheese: Yeah, leadership is all distributed. Charter leads do all of the day-to-day stuff, scheduling, slotting, running raids, and we stay the hell out of their way. It's their show.
Quinnaria: Every charter lead also has a say in the basics. They have their own forum to bring up any problems with raiders, conflicts in time,etc. We kinda mediate that.
Toragan: Yeah the torch has passed a lot over the years but there's always someone around who is willing and able to step up. =)
Bleucheese: The leadership at the top is mainly there to make sure we are all knitted together as a unit. BTW, our current structure is much different than it used to be. We learned a lot of lessons as a group. Our system is the application of a lot of lessons learned. We learned that the rules had to be simple as s***. We learned that we had to trust our raiders and each other (more than rules). We learned that leadership had to be distributed. A lot of our charters were raiding guilds on the edge of failure before they joined. When they came in, they strengthened us and we strengthened them. We have a pretty good track record of stability compared to raiding guilds :)
Are you concentrating on BC instances exclusively, or do you mix in retro raiding too?
Bleucheese: We mix in the occasional retro. Pretty much if someone wants to do something, it happens.
Dulin: We do the occasional "Hey, let's go have fun" raid on places like BWL and MC. This year's anniversary event was Gruul, Magtheridon and then Molten Core for anyone who wanted to go.
Quinnaria: A lot of our newer raiders haven't even seen old instances. Many of them have a blast going to see what for them is new content.
Felada: We just did Naxx this weekend.
Dulin: Oh, definitely. Just before patch ... uhm ... 2.1? 2.2? The one where they changed Mend Pet ... we took 26 hunters in to kill Ony. I'm sure when we hit 80, we'll be holding "Onyxia Solo Time Trials." ;)
Quinnaria: I still have a screenshot of Ony with 26 Stings on her. :D
From your perspective on the inside, does being in a charter feel like a guild, or is there enough looseness to it that it retains a more "pickup-y" feeling?
Bleucheese: Can I say neither? :)( Or both. We think we've struck a good balance between the two that incorporates the best of both worlds.
Felada: We have some charters that have a tight-knit crew, while others change all the time.
Toragan: Some charters are pretty static, whereas some have a roster that changes a bit from week to week.
Quinnaria: But some charters are much more close-knit. None are "closed" by any sense.
Paksennarion: It's a bit of both. Reality is, if you've got too many pickups on the high-end raids, you're not going anywhere, but there's such a large pool of geared folk available that there's plenty of flex.
Bleucheese: Basically what tends to happen is charters form "cores" of people, but ALL of them have an "edge" of pickups -- even the best. They all realize that they need to keep a stream of newcomers to survive. This is actually a design intent of the current system.
Felada: Yeah, if we don't have new peeps come in then we don't go anywhere when peeps move on.
Quinnaria: And many charters love bringing in new folks. They really do desire to teach folks how to raid.
Bleucheese: Fully open, centrally planned "public" groups have scale issues and tend not to progress as much. We were one, so we speak from experience. Closed raiding guilds have serious continuity issues but can progress better.
Toragan: At any time, the charter leads can bring along new folks. It's entirely up to them to run their raids. As long as they respect the other charters, try to work with them and follow the simple loot system that keeps our raids and raiders universal, we pretty much leave them alone.
Do most also belong to other guilds that also raid? Or are they in non-raiding guilds or are not guilded at all, and this is their way into raiding?
Paksennarion: Bit of a mix. There's a lot of members that are doing guild raids to the 10-mans but can't field the 25s.
Quinnaria: I think guilds and Leftovers really don't bleed into one another that much. My entire guild raids here, but we also do Karazhan raids separate of Leftovers.
Be sure to catch Part II of our exclusive interview with the Leftovers next week, when we chat about the advantages and disadvantages of "open" vs. "closed" raiding groups and the custom tools that make such an immense raiding community practically run itself. In the meantime, learn more about the Leftovers at their web site.