Monday, September 21, 2009

Attendance and Recruiting

Tatia posted about some attendance issues we're having in EoF. Rather than assault her blog with a wall of text comment, I decided that I'd simply post my thoughts here. I'm certain we're not the only guild having this problem.

We're not a terribly large guild, but those of us who are usually online are pretty serious about doing our best when we have a goal to accomplish. When we pull enough people to raid, we bring our A-game and get the job done. We have enough people with the skill and gear to clear the bulk of the 10-man content out there.

There are two things, in my opinion, that stand in our way. One is going to be a permanent problem given our guild's makeup. The other, I believe, will pass.

The first issue we have is that the vast majority of us are adults with jobs, children, and other adult responsibilities. We're always going to have to deal with conflicting schedules and there will never be a day of the week when every raid-ready person in the guild will be available.

That's a minor problem. Multiple raids a week will give people several opportunities to jump in and see some content. If we can't have a consistent schedule, we'll deal. We're adults, right? We just need the personnel to make it feasible.

The second issue, while temporary, is what I believe to be our brick wall for the time being. I can sum it up in one word: Cataclysm.

Ever since the announcement, people have been "preparing" for Cataclysm. I've heard guildies talk about how they want this character or that leveled to 80 before Cataclysm comes out, or how they want to grind a given profession. They're shelving their mains and not bothering to run the content that they don't "need anything from" (which is exceptionally frustrating to me considering our primary issue is need to "give up a slot" if nobody's going to fill it).

It's a natural response. When Wrath was announced, everybody got excited and started thinking ahead to Northrend. Here's the thing, though: we won't be seeing Cataclysm anytime soon. There's still a good chunk of Wrath content we haven't seen yet (Icecrown, anyone?). There's plenty of time to accomplish your pre-xpac goals and still see the content that is currently available.

I think that the post-announcement buzz will die down and people will start putting more effort into the present. It's a temporary blip.

Another point Tatia raised is recruiting. I believe I know the person she was talking about, and, while I also consider him a friend, I respectfully disagree with him now the same way I respectfully disagreed with him when he raised the issue in CoF.

Recruiting is not bad. We need bodies online, and we should recruit to fill the gaps that we have. However, "recruiting heavily" is not exactly what EoF needs to be doing. What will inevitably happen is that we'll end up with charged-up members who want to raid every night of the week, but will get frustrated when we're not moving along as fast as they'd like. I've seen it happen, I've seen the hateful forum posts, I've seen the angry /gquits, and I've seen the backlash that leaves a nasty taste in everyone's mouth.

A guild in our position needs to recruit, but needs to do so patiently and practically. We can't invite people who will clash with the overall culture of our guild, but I'll go so far as to say right here in my public forum that if you're a skilled player who wants to be a part of a casual raiding guild feel free to stop by Bloodhoof and give me a holler. We need the help and we'll be glad to have you, but please be aware that we are by no means a hardcore raiding guild.

Bottom line: both sides of the recruiting process need full disclosure when it comes to expectations. Failure to provide the necessary level of communication up front reaps very, very bad results in the end.

In closing, I believe that EoF as a guild will succeed in WotLK endgame content and beyond. We won't be at the bleeding edge, but we will do well and have fun in the process. We'll have hurdles and setbacks, but we can go as far as we want to if we continue to give our best go at it.

Thanks for the spark, Tatia.


koalabear said...

I actually wrote that on Friday while bitching to Eck about no one signing up for the Ulduar raid, which never even got off the ground, but hey the OS run went off like cake. >.>

Glad I inspired you with a blog post.

I actually picked us up an enhancement shammy, and have 3 more possible peeps. A rogue, a holy pally and a dps warrior.

I need to get Willy's job ;-)

Ruhtra said...

Let me offer you some encouragement. Just like you, our guild is similar in the situations you are dealing with.

One thing that has helped our raiding efforts is by having one consistant day that we raid. We realize that some folks cannot make it, but we never do a full clear in one night since we all work days and need our sleep. As people come online then through the remainder of the week, we try to reform at different times to allow those that could not go the opportunity to get to raid.

We have had nights where there were only five of us on, but we went for the raid anyway. It is not as much fun, but we made an effort and it has paid off. People now try their best to be available on raid nights. There have even been some improptu raids scheduled.

You are also correct in your thoughts on growing as a guild. We had a massive boon in people within the guild early in the year. That blew up as you said. People wanted to run raid content and did not want to wait on the guild to progress. We saw the hard choices people made, but it helped us out in the long run. We look for recruits but never spam and if we grow too quickly we close down the open admission to the guild and invite based upon speaking with the officers and someone sponsoring them in (saying that this player is a good player). It has worked and we have a solid raiding team and are now working on getting the next group geared and ready.

It is just a process and a time thing. I would tell you to hang in there but you seem to be doing pretty good with it. I hope it all works out and you update your blog with how things are going.

Sorry for the wall o'text.

Misneach said...

@Ruhtra: No need to apologize, and thank you for the encouragement. I think all small to mid-sized guilds go through this...especially when they fall somewhere between casual and hardcore.

Glad to hear your team is having some success :)

Jederus said...

Agree that all small-mid sized guilds experience this. Also agree that it is a problem, while not exclusive to, more painful to casual types of guilds. That said, there will always be a 'Cataclysm' type of issue. Some form of destraction that people say is eating up their play time:

"I'm just so busy w/ school starting" Or
"It's summer." Or
"It's winter." Or
"I'm bored of WoW right now, need new content." Or
"I have to level my umpteenth alt because..." Or
"I have to level my first alt because..." Or get the point.

The solution is almost always recruiting but, as you probably know, this presents its own issues.

Anyway, best of luck to you guys!

Misneach said...

@Jederus: We've lost a couple of our younger members to school for the time being and we've had to deal with changing work schedules as well. That's always an issue around this time of year.

We did have a lot of people online last night for the Brewfest stuff...if we can field that for Ulduar we'll be in good shape.