5 Mistaken Beliefs of Raiding Guilds


The comments from Wednesday’s post drew a consensus where everyone called for a Gkick. As some readers observed, it’s not exactly going to win the Emmy for Best Drama of the year.

On the other hand, the fact that a Paladin on break is the best I can offer in terms of drama should say something about myself and the organization.

Please understand that I wrote that post to inform and let readers know that no guild is impervious. I did this to inform. I didn’t mean for it to come out as a rant (because there’s far worse things in life then a Paladin leaving).

I’m not going to remove him. I’ll let him stick around in the guild. On the flip side, it doesn’t mean he’s going to get the start when the 2 raiding instances come out. He’ll have to earn his stripes.

Belief 1: Your GM Owns You

Wrong. I don’t own my players. They recognize that they’re all technically free agents. They didn’t sign a multi-year contract to raid. I’ll elaborate on this in the next point. But there is nothing to prevent people from walking away.

All I can say is this. If you don’t want to clear out Heroic Naxx, OS with 2 Drakes, Malygos, and Vault of Archavon within 6 hours, then you don’t want to be in this guild.

It’s all about incentives.

And if a player doesn’t want to do that, I’m damn sure I can find someone who’s willing. When a player’s goal differs from a guild’s goal, no amount of incentives will win them back.

Belief 2: It’s a One Way Street

The relationship between a guild and a member is a symbiotic relationship. It works both ways. The guild serves the individual by providing them with a home, discounted prices on materials, and a supply of other likeminded people to do 5 mans or heroics.

On the other hand, the individual serves the guild by being present for raids, investing their time and money into raids, and just being there.

Belief 3: Your Excuses Mean Something

Whether a player wants to leave because of burnout or they have exams or their wife is pregnant is irrelevant. I realize this sounds quite harsh. But the reality is, no matter what the reason, I’m still going to have an empty hole in my roster for a period of time that has to be filled. I can’t be expected to wait around for 4 months for a player to come back. I’m not going to raid short handed with 24.

Whether a hockey goalie injures his groin, breaks a leg, or has to deal with family issues is important. But the team’s general manager still has to go out and make a trade for a goalie or promote one from the minors because the team needs one.

No matter how you slice it, it all leads to the same result. In this case, it is a net loss of one player for a few months.

Belief 4: Your Spot is Guaranteed

Sorry, that’s not the case here. If a player doesn’t perform, they get replaced. If a player isn’t here to perform, they have to be replaced anyway.

The difference between a Paladin who leaves and one who stays with the rest of us?

It proves to me that they’re willing to stick around and dedicate themselves. Those are the type of troopers I want.

Readers, understand that we’re all expendable to an extent. It’s going to be easier to replace a healer because there are 4 different healer classes to choose from.

But it will be much more difficult to replace the guy who tirelessly draws out maps, sets up strategy and organizes the kill method on a weekly basis.

The hint here is to be be valuable as much as possible. In the end, the Paladin I lost is just one Paladin. They’re a dime a dozen.

My guild is in a good bargaining position right now since we’re ahead of the raiding curve (also coming soon). Finding people isn’t the problem especially when I’m not terribly concerned with a player’s gear level. When I started Conquest, I didn’t have a reputation. I’ll elaborate more on this later.

Belief 5: Gear Makes You Important

I can see this being true to an extent. But in my years of raiding, I’ve learned something. I’m going to refer to this concept as the 30% rule.

30% of loot will be wasted

This factors in upgrades, players leaving, and off spec items. Inversely, this means that 70% of loot awarded will actually be used for raiding and be effective for guild progression. It’s just the way of guilds.

While I may invest a large proportion of gear into players, I know that gear alone isn’t going to win me any favours. But progression will.

We say stuff all the time about guilds rewarding players or just gearing them up for whatever reason. But the reality is that every instance has a “minimum standard of gear” before it can be completed successfully. What the standard is will deviate from guild to guild.

I wrote my recommended requirements for Naxx last week. Note how the comments vary. Some agreeing and some disagreeing. Your guild’s “sweet spot” will differ from mine.

Another example would be Brutallus. A raid DPS of 20420 (post nerf) is required to kill him within enraged timers (another post entirely). Once you reach that threshold, you’re gold.


If a player is going to burn out after only 6 hours of raiding a week, then this guild is not for them. What’s going to happen when the second tier of raiding instances are released? How will they handle the wear and tear of progression raiding where we commit ourselves to 12 hours a week?

To me, these early farm raids are a dress rehearsal. If we compare raiding to a season of sports, then Naxx, OS, and Malygos is just pre-season for me.

Remember that when I formed this guild, I had nothing to go on but my name, my reputation, and my promise. I could’ve lied and said that I was a proven guild leader. But I didn’t. I managed to convince around 25 players to buy into my vision and my goals. This was a combination of people that I had raided with for a long time, readers via my blog, people on twitter, and players in trade chat. I had no way of knowing whether or not it would work. I didn’t know whether they would gel together. There was so much uncertainty when I started out.

I’d by lying to you if I said I didn’t spend every waking moment second guessing myself.

A new guild does not have it’s fair share of pickings. There’s no reason for star players of other guilds to come play under your banner. I had to build from the bottom up with all sorts of people without knowing what their motives were.

Use these “easy” raids to learn more about your guild. Find out about their strengths and weaknesses. Figure out habits and tendencies. What makes them laugh and what makes them cry.

Oh, one more thing. I want to extend a thank you to all the Paladins and healers who emailed me and sent in applications. I believe that position’s been settled for now (unless they turn out be pure crap, in which case I’ll put the call out again).

Image courtesy of barunpatro

14 thoughts on “5 Mistaken Beliefs of Raiding Guilds”

  1. Belief 3: Your Excuses Mean Something

    “In the end, the Paladin I lost is just one Paladin. They’re a dime a dozen. ”

    Ahh, the heartwarming bonds of friendship. If anyone is reading this who’s undecided about whether to join a raid group I’d like to make the point that it’s (imho) a minority of raid leaders who view people like this.

    I’d suggest that for a better class of raid group the text might read as follows:

    In a good raid group your excuses *do* mean something. We might need to replace you but a friend leaving is always a shame and we care about why, and will wish you the best for the future.

  2. @Raffers: It’s both a curse and a blessing to be able to move on. I’ve been burned so often by “friends” and being taken for granted.

    There’s a difference between a group of friends who raid and a raid guild comprised of friends.

    Even then, a friend lets their GM know they’re thinking about leaving. A friend lets their GM know they’re getting tired and burning out. A friend actually talks to their GM.

    Sadly, he’s just a player.

  3. Honestly, from the time Matt first put out the idea for his new guild, it was pretty clear that raiding and progression were his 2 main focuses. His position that what he has is simply an empty paladin slot seems pretty consistent with everything I’ve seen about this guild.

    Plus, Matt does make a valid point, whatever the reason, he as a guild leader does need to replace a holy paladin. Given this particular paladin’s level of dedication, it does seem kind of hard to work up much loss over his departure. A willingness to go the extra mile to help the guild would probably elicit a different comment on his departure.

    Someone who just raided with a guild isn’t really missed. Someone who went out of their way to help raids and did extra things for the guild on a regular basis leaves a much bigger hole when they leave.

  4. I like the irony of this post…

    but I disagree with belief 1.

    You should be able to rely on your raiders.
    They should follow certain standards and rules that are set by the guild. If they don’t then it should be time to consider where their place is in the guild.
    If the guild doesn’t have standards set, then that is a different issue all together.

    When you join a raiding guild, there are certain unsaid standards that should be known by raiders.

    Simple things like flasking on progression nights, which not all raiders do. Especially in a LC system that should be taken into account and attendance is another huge one. Sure no guild wants conflict with their members, but sometimes it’s necessary to enforce things like, “dress rehearsals.” Where there is no possibility of loot during that time, but will help the guild have a better chance at progressing.

    Yeah losing players sucks and “wasting” all that gear on them sucks, but in the long run it’s those who show dedication that matter more. And I believe that needs to be reflected in a LC system, because otherwise there’s no reason to stay in a LC guild. Once you get your needed gear you just pick up and bail. The one advantage that dkp might have is that the dkp you save up will grant you the priority on the gear in new instances like Uluduar.

    Don’t give up on your vision. You started from scratch and got this far. The only thing to do is make it better. Trim the possibilities of drama such as the noted incident and learn from the mistakes made. Guilds that have been around forever have made these mistakes already and make rules to make sure these things don’t happen again.

    Even though I might seem highly critical, I believe this has the potential to be an amazing guild. Keep it up Matt.

  5. gkick his ass.

    he’ll just come back, want a spot. and when he doesn’t get loot because he is a jagoff, he’ll start trouble.

  6. Don’t want to put words in his mouth, but regarding #3, I don’t think Matt is saying he doesn’t CARE, he’s just saying that whatever the particular reason/excuse is will not affect the way he treats the “absence.”

  7. The best organization I’ve seen is a flexible one. I’m lucky enough to be in a guild where we all work and have kids. This has led (by necessity) to a culture of flexibility that has us confirm more people than we need for a raid night and have a long list of people from outside the guild who like to PUG with us.

    This means that on any given night when I sign in for a raid, I might be asked to roll for a raid spot, but it also means that on any given night that I can’t make it, I won’t have to stress out and try to find a replacement. It’s easier this way, and helps relieve burnout.

    A side effect of a guild like this is that all of the people I play with are more interested in the guild moving forward than their character’s personal gear progression. When I started in Naxx, one of my competitors for a piece of gear bowed out because of how large an upgrade the drop was for me. I never forgot that, and have done the same for others.

  8. While one raider’s absence still means the same work for the guild leader/raid leader, his or her excuse does matter as far as the future of that raider is concerned, especially in a loot council. The way the loot council views this person will most certainly have an effect on raid participation and loot decisions when and if he comes back. If he had lied and given a “good excuse”, the guild is far more likely to welcome him back with no loss of status.

    Even on a raid by raid basis, this will likely lead to some lying by raid members. Like it or not, there are times when a person just doesn’t feel like raiding but there’s no way they can just tell the raid leader that. If they did, it might be held against them. But if the person has a “work thing” or a “family thing”, then people aren’t likely to hold it against them (even though they’re lying). Honestly, you’ll get that in every guild but maybe even moreso in a loot council.

    As to the “dime a dozen” comment, I think you know that it’s not true. It’s hard to find someone with skill, gear, consistent time for raiding, and an amenable attitude. If you could always find a great replacement for a raider who leaves, there would be far, far fewer guilds disbanding.

  9. I wonder how this will play out for the pally. He has built up a decent bit of Raid Capital he can spend in other guilds. Being able to say that your geared and have experience in all the current raids can get you into some pretty serious guilds (because us raiders are a bit inbred…). I’m not sure how this could turn out favorable for him:

    If he stays in Conquest he is in an environment laden with burned bridges. Even if he comes back, he will have lost his spot and the respect of his guild mates. Not a good situation.

    If he moves on he could either join a new raiding guild or stop raiding. It sounds like he wants to raid in the future, so joining a non-raiding guild would likely leave him unfulfilled. Honestly, this might be his best chance at WoW happiness. Unfulfilled yes, but hopefully surrounded by friendly players.

    If he joins another progression guild it sounds like a bit of a rude awakening. From the writing here, Conquest sounds like a relatively respectful and courteous guild. They don’t raid 5-6 nights a week, so the time investment is less than many. If he joins a fully progressed guild now, he will be slaughtered when Ulduar is released and his new guild demands 6 nights of progression wiping and his soul.

    Where does he plan to go? Matt’s misconceptions show his opinions, but many of them hold water until the gas hits the flames. Gear does mean something, till new content comes out. Then the misconceptions get revealed for what they are.

    So where do you go from there? Quit WoW?

  10. A GM leads people, not toons.

    The tone of this article describes a very toon-centric style of leadership.

    I feel this distinction is important to point out because day-to-day Conquest life is very people-oriented and less toon-oriented, but most of the readers here are not Conquest members and may get a skewed view from the position presented in this blog post.

    While Holy Paladins may be a dime a dozen, people are not. Relying upon bargaining positions and viewing people as expendable is shaky ground for a leader when taken over the long-term.

    Conquest is currently very successful. Success will always increase recruitment options as every Tom, Dick, and Harry will be attracted to a well-progressed guild. Very important for a leadership team to remain grounded and not use flexibility or options as a reason to forget that their energy is best spent first trying to nurture existing players, and only when necessary to seek replacements.

    Turnover is inevitable. Most raiders in WoW have contributed to turnover at one time or another, unless you are still a member of your first and only raid guild. Knowing that turnover is inevitable and that the need to recruit replacements will always exist should not lead us to be so jaded that we forget the people behind the toons.

    It is fantastic for Conquest to be building up a solid reputation. If I had to pick between the challenge of choosing a few high quality players out of a mass of applicants, versus the challenge of actually getting people to even apply, I’d gladly choose the former.

    A robust organization will adapt to a player leaving through the strength and character of the remaining people.

    It has been a short time since WotLK raiding began. Long-term retention of quality players will only be achieved via leading people instead of toons and developing a strong core that can react to dynamic situations.

    People are not easily replaced, even if a toon of their class/spec can be located quickly.

    Amavas last blog post..Phoot >>> Bang

  11. It saddens me to think that any raiding guild would have such misconceptions. Or that the players within a raiding guild would have them.

    I think a raiding guild, perhaps more so than any other guild is about being a team. A successful team relies on mutual respect. The team needs a strong leadership structure to aid cohesion and progress toward common goals but the leadership also need their team because without them there is no achievement of those goals. Mutual respect requires recognising that people are involved and they are fallible – all of them.

    Jezraels last blog post..Pew pew….. Zzzzzzz…

  12. The aspect of team and managing players rather then toon, actually kind of bugs me. In raiding guilds I tend to be very consistent and as DPS always top 3. I’m not a very social players, I’m not on all day farming or having BS sessions. I work and I play WoW to raid. I bring my own supplies, don’t expect anything from the guild bank, I just want good raiders that make my hours of raiding fun.

    However because of the buddy system, or managing ‘people’ rather then toons, I end up giving up raid spots for ‘friends’ or to try people out or something of that nature. I’m “just DPS” for the most part. I’m just ‘that guy’. I would much rather find a guild that respects the roll I play in the raid, rather then if I spend half the day on vent being friendly and all that. I don’t have time in my day for that. I basically only play WoW to do one thing, and to do that the best I can, if not better then everyone else, however, it sucks getting stuck on the short end of the stick because of the lack of the social aspect. It’d be like tossing one of your best running backs because he didn’t want to go out for a beer after the game right? See I don’t see anything wrong with being ‘just a player’ or just ‘dps’ as long as you do that good, you shouldn’t carry any more or less weight then that guy that’s on vent all days making everyone his friend. My guess is during the raid he’s going to be the reason we’re taking to long or making jokes when he shouldn’t be


Leave a Comment