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Officers' Quarters: Expansion team

Council of Elders
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.

Here at the OQ we've heard from a lot of guilds who are being massacred by normal mode Throne of Thunder. This week it's refreshing to hear from a guild that has found unexpected success in Tier 15. They're now weighing a second raid team, but the raid leader has doubts about this expansion.

Hello Scott,

I'm the raid leader of a casual, family centered guild. We have always been on the lower end of the raiding curve, clearing raids only after they have become old content. However most recently we have been progressing remarkably well during Mists.

For the first time our guild has attempted the raid while still current. While only going 3/12 in Throne of Thunder is nothing to the guilds who are now farming heroic Ra-Den, it has greatly lifted the spirits of our guild and it's members; so much so that there is now talk of forming a second raid team.

It has been a struggle maintaining one raid team, having only seven or eight returning players and the other spots filled with whoever is online at the time. Even then those core members seem to revolve as to who is able to make the scheduled raids.

The second team will be raiding on different nights of the week at a later time in an attempt to appeal to others who could not make the schedule I have made. We have agreed that neither team should pull members away from the other group. The problem is I just don't see it being feasible to keep two raid teams going without harming the progress of our current team.

Best regards,
Leader Of Split Teams


Hi, LOST (intentional?). First of all, congratulations on your success so far this tier! When your guild realizes that you can overcome tougher challenges, working together as a team, it's a fantastic feeling. It feels like all the hard work is paying off, and morale is high. It's exciting. You should all be proud of your effort.

There is a danger here, however, and I would urge caution.

Don't get cocky

Han Solo had it right. In a situation where success has come unexpectedly, it's easy to get ahead of yourself. The tendency is to become overconfident and bite off more than you can chew. For a raid team or a guild, that can lead to equally unexpected failure and loss of morale that hurts your progress. (Cough, Hoth, cough.)

Another mistake that I've seen guilds make when they have good progression is to undervalue the steps that got them there. Studying strategy, farming for feasts, hard hours spent recruiting and evaluating applications, overcoming setbacks -- a lot has to go right for a raid team to achieve its goals.

My question is this: is anyone on your roster willing to take up responsibility for this second team and all that such an enterprise entails? Or are they expecting you to lead both teams? If so, do you have the time or desire to do so? These are critical questions to answer before you take this process any farther.

You also have to consider the other side of the coin -- the raiders themselves. Everyone is excited about raiding in your guild right now because your first team has been successful. But do all those players who now want to raid know what it took your first team to beat those encounters? Are they willing to put in the same effort?

Search your feelings

You can already sense the danger here. It's right in your email. You've got a good thing going right now, and you're reluctant to mess with that. You're right to be extremely cautious. Trust that intuition.

If you had a team overflowing with way more raiders than you could reasonably include, then it might make sense to create a second team under the right circumstances (willing raid leader, dedicated raiders, etc.).

You're not overflowing. You have inconsistent attendance, and it seems like it's been partly luck that fills up your raid slots each night. A second raid team might mean the end of that luck. If you fragment your raiders, you may find your first raid frequently short-handed all of a sudden.

Your focus right now, beyond anything else I'm going to suggest below, should be on shoring up attendance for the original team.

The creation of multiple teams also tends to invoke the A team/B team problem. That one can cause a lot of drama and even shatter your roster if you let it get out of hand.

Alternatives

WoW has given us a number of raiding options and more are on the way. I think you can leverage these options to work in your favor.

One experiment you could try is to schedule a new raiding night that runs the previous tier's raids. Let your primary team focus on progression in the current tier, but create a voluntary night for whomever is interested in the older content. This could help not only your other raiders, but your primary team, too. The drops there could plug in some lingering gear gaps. You could also evaluate the raiders who haven't been able to run with the main team due to a scheduling conflict. If you wind up in a bad way later on, you could consider changing the schedule for these players if they seem worth the risk.

After patch 5.4 introduces flexible raiding, you could schedule a new voluntary raiding night to run the current tier on this difficulty. Normal and flex raiding versions don't share a lockout, so it wouldn't prevent anyone from attending your primary runs. Like the plan above, this plan would also benefit both your original team and your other raiders. Once all the wings have been unlocked, your core raiders will be able to see (in theory) encounters they haven't progressed to yet in normal mode. When you get to the same bosses later on with your primary team, you'll have a better idea how to defeat them.

The key to both of these plans is that they provide supplemental raiding nights rather than replacement raiding nights. In fact, if you really wanted to make it interesting, you could allow everyone who shows up to vote on what they want to do that night. Nothing would be off limits except the normal mode of the current tier. And if all else fails and you don't have 10 players, you can also run raid finder with guildmates, which always make it a more tolerable experience.

These are safer and probably more effective solutions in your situation compared to a completely separate raid team.

Whatever you decide to do, I wish your guild continued success!

/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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