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Officers' Quarters: Extinction event

Direhorns in patch 5.2
Every Monday, Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership. He is the author of The Guild Leader's Handbook.

For some raiding guilds, the last couple of weeks before a new patch is an opportunity to get those last normal or heroic encounters down, earn achievements, or farm for the last few items the raid team needs for the next tier. For others, they are a reminder of how little the guild has progressed. This reminder prompts raiders to weigh leaving the guild. This week's email comes from a raid leader facing this tough situation.

Hi Scott.

I've become Raid Leader of my old guild. Which, is driving me crazy.

This raid team has been through thick and thin, through multiple Gm's and having lost multiple strong raiders I came back to the guild to help them and to join the team as Raid Leader. I've been having a really tough time though. Progression is non-existent. We're stuck on Blade Lord due to a lack of strong dps players and the new people who show promise need to do Mogu'shan Vaults to get gear for Heart of Fear. The raiders who've been on the team since the start of this tier are bored and have had enough of no progression and Mogu'shan Vaults. They're mainly all thinking of leaving the guild and if so, it'll mean the end of this guild, which I love.

Finding quality raiders is also a problem as I'm on a low population server where mainly all the raiders have guilds.

With patch 5.2 around the corner and I fear, the end of my guild as well. I'm really stuck on how I can improve morale and prepare what's left of my team for Throne of the Thunder King. I would really love some advice!

Thanks a lot,
In need of a miracle

Hi, INOAM. I don't blame your raiders for feeling frustrated. No one wants to farm the same seven bosses for five months, especially when Blizzard has given us such a rich and varied raiding tier.

Hope is not lost, however, and you don't need a miracle to stave off extinction. As with many crises, hard work is an effective substitute for divine intervention. I have four suggestions for you.

1. Organize optional guild LFR runs. If you're only clearing 7 out of 16 bosses, all of your players probably have some gaps in their gear. Your newer players obviously do. Running LFR is unpleasant, but if you run it with your guildmates, it's a little less painful. Plus, you'll feel like you're succeeding together, which is desperately needed at the moment.

The extra gear will help your new players. Your bored players can skip it if they don't need the gear without holding the new raiders back.

2. Offer constructive criticism. If this isn't part of your guild's "criticism culture," now -- with the guild facing the abyss -- may be the time to change that. Start looking at your players' armories and recording raid combat logs. Discover ways your players can improve. Olivia posted a great guide for improving your DPS last week. Ask your raiders to check it out.

Don't restrict yourself to critiquing the new additions, either. Evaluate all of your players. It could be that your veteran raiders are also underachieving. If you find areas where they too are lacking, you may sway them to stick around by planting a seed of doubt that they can succeed in other, more progressed guilds. This strategy sounds insidious, but it's a common trend for raiders to blame new additions for the raid's lack of progress and blind themselves to their own shortcomings. Don't let them get away with it. Such thinking hurts the guild in the long run.

If you feel comfortable, post your criticism where all of your raiders can see it. It's important that everyone knows you are taking drastic steps to help progression. Your veteran raiders will be more likely to stick around if they see you taking charge.

Your goal should not be to point out every single problem, but to identify some areas where the players can improve and motivate them to do research on their own.

This is a tough decision to make. By taking these steps, you may save the guild, but in doing so you may fundamentally change the nature of it. Is it better to let the guild die than to go this far? That's your call.

I happen to think that getting tough on people now and then is part of raiding at any level. Playing sports can be fun and rewarding even if you lose every game. Raiding, on the other hand, is not fun or rewarding when you die to the same boss for months on end. At some point, the raid leader has to help people to improve their play, so everyone can get back to having fun again.

3. Dedicate a week to progression. Once you've seen some improvement via step 2, spend every raiding hour in Heart of Fear. Skip Vaults to give your veterans a break from it. Besides, gear can only do so much. Skill is more important. If you can help your players to improve their skill, then gear won't hold you back nearly as often.

You need to get Blade Lord down. Hitting a brick wall on a boss is a terrible feeling. Week after week, you feel the pressure coiling around you. If you can kill him, it will ease that pressure and greatly improve morale.

4. Talk about patch 5.2. Get your players excited for it. Link strat videos for the new bosses and talk about what you might need to get them down.

Remind players that it will be easier to gear up after the patch. Better items will be available for Valor and the old ones will be half price. Give them hope that the next tier will be better.

If you can focus your raiders on future fun rather than the dismal present, you may be able to convince them to stick with you for one more patch and see what happens.

/salute

Officers' Quarters keeps your guild leadership on track to cope with sticky situations such as members turned poachers or the return of an ex-guild leader and looking forward to what guilds need in Mists of Pandaria. Send your own guild-related questions and suggestions to scott@wowinsider.com.

Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

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