Raid Leader Questions: Reset or Extend?

Back in Wrath, right around the era of the Trial of the Crusader patch, Blizzard pushed out a new feature. It was a tool designed for raids who didn’t raid as often or who had trouble investing significant and meaningful hours in progression before the week reset and all their progression and work had been lost.

Yes, the lockout extension feature.

To my knowledge, it was one of those things that not many players really raved about but no one slammed it down either. It was completely optional and not many had the desire to extend it. Two expansions later, raids are getting larger, there’s more trash in the way, and time just seems to be a factor. This isn’t 5 years ago where I was in a raid that insisted on everyone going way past their bed time to get that much needed kill in. I was in guilds that asked much of their players to sacrifice sleep and hours for the sake of progression.

When Conquest was first formed, one of the key decisions was laying down our hours. In order to maximize the potential pool of players, I ensured that our times were west and east coast friendly. But this had the cost where we would not be able to go past our end times even if we had gotten a boss down to 1%. With Siege of Orgrimmar being the deep instance that it is, many of the players lobbied for more time on end bosses and extensions on the week to put in more work. It’s paid off because we secured kills on Nazgrim and Malkorok on the days where we normally would’ve reset.

At the same time, like other raiding guilds, we’ve seen our share of players come and go. This is the part of the expansion where many players are slowly returning back to the game. They’re smart and skilled players, but sometimes there’s nothing they can do to survive through a large explosion even with all their defensive cooldowns used simply because their health is too low. Or we’re not able to meet a DPS check on an earlier boss like Norushen and Sha of Pride.

It’s a tough balancing act between providing our newer players with the gear and experience they need now so they can be in a position to help us later versus ensuring that the raid has adequate time to work on progression bosses in the second half of Siege. Blizzard has announced the end of the Challenge Mode season coming soon to coincide with a new patch deployment. While there’s been no mention of a friends and family alpha, the patch signals that we’re one milestone closer to the next expansion and our time in Siege is growing shorter.

How long does it take to gear a freshly geared 90 and put them in a position where they are no longer a detriment to a heroic raid boss?

My estimate is 3-4 weeks. This includes running the raid finder, flex raids, using crafted pieces, and completely carrying them through any available farm content. On 25 man, that time could be cut to 2-3 weeks largely due to the larger pool of gear that drops from killing bosses (6 items on 25 vs 2 items on 10) and this assumes they’re diligent in farming their Lesser Charms on the island or via pet battles.

Reset please!

My original stance was to continue weekly raid resets. Until we’ve got a core group of 25-30 players who’ve been around long enough where they don’t need gear anymore, we’re going to need to keep that farming going. Every once in a while, we can pull in a player who is already at our level and ready to go to the point where we don’t need to gear them out. If we don’t funnel gear, eventually we’ll reach a point where we run out of players to bring in (because turnover, people leaving/quitting/new jobs/no time, etc). Our depth is amazing. It’s how we can even field raids sometimes. There’s always going to be a bottom end and we have to narrow that gap between top and bottom to help make it easier for us when we reach the harder progression bosses. It makes sense to do this at the beginning of the tier as well to really maximize all that gear coming in.

Now here’s the flip side of the equation.

Extend please!

When we get to a new boss, we need time to learn the nuances. We have to learn the new phases and mechanics that come with it. We have to wipe to it. We have to see it so that we can understand and then execute. This usually happens towards the end of the week because the first part of the week is spent clearing UP to that boss. Our ultimate end objective is to KILL everything in this instance. The fact that it’s the final tier in the expansion means that we have a silent countdown clock hanging except we don’t know what the end time is going to be. I’d rather err on the side of clearing everything early then clearing everything too late. I want to get these guys a heroic Garrosh kill. That’s what we’re all here to do. Just when it seems like we’re all prepared and ready to take down a new boss, we run out of time, and it’s Tuesday. We have to kill all that stuff again. And guess what? There’s days where our consistency and our mindset isn’t there and we don’t even GET to the new boss that we want which cuts in to our progression time, and then boom, reset again.

This is where we are at today. This is why I proposed the compromise of 3 pulls to get it done on farm or else we move on. It helps ensure chances on getting the players that need gear their gear while simultaneously ensuring that we have enough allocated time to work on a new progression boss. Problem is, that isn’t good enough anymore.

We’re still lacking on time. In the end, we’ve opted to switch to an extended week schedule. Week 1 is spent getting as far as we can, week 2 is spent extending to work on whichever boss we just cleared to. Any new recruits are typically brought in during week 1 to learn and get suitably equipped.  Our veterans and heavy hitters are brought in for the progression stuff.

I really miss winged instances.

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6 thoughts on “Raid Leader Questions: Reset or Extend?”

  1. Apotheosis is doing the same. We’ve been spending two weeks on each reset lately. We’re generally through our farm content midway through raid 2, then we spend 3 raids on progression bosses. It’s difficult to get the harder bosses near the end of the instance down without having the time to put in a lot of attempts.

    We used to sit new recruits for progression work, but since 70% of our time is spent on new bosses, they get brought in for that too. It makes sense to get everyone experience on the fights, especially when they’re going to take 100 attempts to get. We don’t recruit people who are hugely behind us on gear though.

  2. We have much the same happening in our guild even on 10mN. Bringing new recruits and returning vets (which are suddenly about in abundance) on raid reset night means the team doesn’t power through to the content to the progression, requiring a week2 lockout to advance, where the fresh meat gets benched or eased in one or two at a time for a look see at content. 

    Hummm last time we had the same issue we were on heroic content and able to roster a 10mN alt run raid evening. This time we have flexi raids but the flexi’s themselves were operating like progression in w4 and thus had gear and tank/hps/dps requirements that needed to be met. 

    Finding the time to provide inclusive content for all our raiders was manageable at the start of SoO, but now that things are more advanced and the gap between newcomers and experienced (read coordinated and familiar with each other) raid team is more extreme… I dunno. We are having to bench more and having longer breaks between being able to roll out the all-inclusive content… then if the raid is overstacked with the fresh blood its a rough night even on something thats been on farm for months. 

    Then there is getting warm bodies for all this content, and the officers to run it – take me for example I only have time to participate in or run three evenings … call me causal if you will although I like to approach my game play with some amount of professionalism.

  3. I like how you’re handling it… your criteria are good and the conclusion you came to seems appropriate.  
    I’d only consider adding two minor tweaks… if your farm boss is one that you can’t kill with the people you’re bringing due to gear (either throughput-wise or not enough health to survive mechanics), locking out has less value, so there may be times it makes sense to reset even in a lockout week.  Beyond that, if the schedule allows (and in many cases it won’t), you could consider doing a quick normal run before your heroic lockout continuation, either an earlier day (if you don’t raid on reset day) or in the hour or two before the raid.  Far as I know in terms of how the raid IDs currently work (I’ve had some runs lock out recently but I haven’t been the guy handling it), that should be okay… someone would just maintain the lockout ID but otherwise you can reset and get as many normal bosses down as possible, then flip over to the lockout ID and continue.

    I will say, though, as the guy who’s been the noob in a heroic raid lately, that’s a tough role to be in, especially at lower gear levels… being at least part of the cause of farm bosses becoming challenging isn’t a comfortable position to be in and when you actually have things like dps requirements to hit, you can’t always just do the typical pug “your only priority is to stay alive!” thing and be carried to victory.  When others have to be even better than usual to compensate, it can result in them making mistakes they normally don’t, which starts a cascade… so you actually have to try to stay alive while performing on bosses you probably don’t know very well going in to keep that cascade from happening in the first place.  I don’t have an answer for that… guess I’m just acknowledging that the problem exists and sucks on both sides and the sooner the noobs can get geared and comfy, the better for everyone.  🙂


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