Thursday, October 23, 2008

Time Spent Raiding

My Tuesday post regarding progression sparked a great conversation on how much time people spend raiding / preparing for raids, and perceptions about "casual" / "hardcore" raiders. A quick recap on some profiles:

Brandon: 3 Hours / Night, 2-5 Nights a Week (Total of 6-15 Hours)
Talldar: Once a Week (? Hours)
Herc: 4 Hours /Night, 4-5 Days a Week (Total of ~18 Hours)
Namthe: Max 12 Hours a Week

I think that casual / hardcore refers more to the intent of the time spent, rather then the quantity - and for that reason, LOKI is "hardcore". Some guilds spend lots of time in instances each week, but follow a relaxed schedule. Others spend little time, and try to squeeze as much performance and effect from that time as possible. I'll give you an idea of how my guild runs raids.

LOKI raids three nights a week, for three hours at a time. With less then nine hours a week, we did every boss from Gruul to Illidan, between February and September. What I would say makes us "hardcore" - is that those three hours are the most focused effort possible.

The raid itself is from 6-9 ST. Between 5:30 and 5:45, invites for the "on-time" raid go out. Everyone at the entrance to the instance gets into this raid, and is awarded DKP for being ontime and prepared. At 5:45 that raid disbands, and Role Officers start a new raid, to which they invite the people they want for the night. As people are invited, they go inside and start buffing. Any specific strategies for bosses that night are discussed. Role Officers talk about who will be in for what bosses that night. The first pull is then at 6 ST, faithfully.

We chat on vent and so forth during trash, and following boss kills when loot is being distributed / people are being swapped - but during anything requiring focus or concentration, vent clears up on its own. There are no lengthy boss discussions, and any assignments (healing, interrupts, ect) are hashed out in role specific chat channels during trash (for this reason, one or two officers may lag behind the group, but those reasons are understood). If we wipe, we figure out why, and how to correct it - while rezzing and rebuffing. If there is a raid member that is woefully underprepared for the fight (hasn't read the strat, doesn't have some required item or gear) - they are replaced instantly.

Mid-raid breaks are usually not given - rather we encourage people to rotate taking breaks during trash between bosses - or rotate not running back and getting rezzed if we're working a boss. People are kept from abusing this system and frequently afking, by knowing that someone else is waiting for them to get back so they too can afk/bio/whatever. If it becomes apparent that we're hitting some sort of wall (the same sloppy mistakes are being made, consistently), I'll call for a 3-Min stretch break - and its amazing the effect that can have.

Besides awarding DKP for boss kills for the people in the raid, we give DKP every hour to all members that are at their computer. This includes members not in the raid, as long as their main is parked outside the instance. They can play an alt, study, read - as long as they can hear vent, acknowledge that they are online and available each hour, and are willing to log in on a moments notice. This whole process has been amazingly key to our ability to keep a raid full and moving, as people DCing / needing to leave for emergencies can be replaced instantly. I think it also helps to know that people aren't letting the raid down if they get pulled away from their computer.

For farmed content, full consumables are not required, but are often used. Marks of the Illidari are provided for progression content, but we'll only use one in a three hour raid (the first hour is usually just getting use to abilities anyway - poping them an hour in lets us get the max effect). I personally flask/ward/sharpening-stone for everything. Repairs from the Guild Bank are enabled for bosses we have not yet killed.

While this may sound rigid, I think that our schedule is pretty perfect - or at least perfect for our raiders. For one, I can't imagine sitting and raiding for more then three hours at a time - at least effectively. As another point, three nights a week (Tue, Wed, Sun) gives our members tons of time to either tend to RL, or run fun raids / do dailies / play alts the rest of the week.

Our members tend to want to get the most out of their play-time, and LOKI delivers that. That's why I think we are "hardcore".

As an aside - I'd love to see others address this topic. What do you think defines "casual/hardcore", and what makes your guild either casual or hardcore?

5 comments:

Talldar said...

Great followup on the discussion! To complete the list: We're doing an exact 4 hour raid, those 4 hours including invite, preparation, getting there. It's "my way" of motivating people to be ready, because everyone coming in late will essentially rip off raid time).

We're really casual there, most of the time having to fill up 1-3 spots with randoms (or friends, however non-guildies). We set ourselves targets in terms of what we want to get done. If we get there early it's a majority vote to go on or to call early.

No consumables are required, people aren't even encouraged to use them. In my opinion it's only adding to the pain to "push it". Better to do lower content and equip everyone first. We don't use any kind of DKP-System either. Everyone in the raid is allowed to roll on whatever he thinks to need, and as of now I'm proud to say that no one ever took something that someone else could've used more. Actually, the only discussions we had were "mh, you take it, I don't need it that urgent" - "nope, you keep it, it's fine".

Likewise, there are no spec-requirements, nor is anyone forced to raid with his main char if he rather feels like taking his alt in.

We aren't strict about raiding, but really strict about our members. We'll not take anyone who's "into collecting purplz" or such, what leaves us with a great community instead. You wouldn't know how much fun wiping on Aran can be with the right people :)

Some low-level role playing usually is going on and I think also makes for a great atmosphere.

Having said all that, we just started our "raiding career" a month ago, so only have done Kara as of now. Zul Aman we'll attempt on sunday and as nerfed as it is I'm confident we'll clear the place within our 4-hour-window.

With WotLK coming up I'm pretty sure we'll end up with a second raid evening and there are also plans for RP-raids of 60 / 70 content. With our slim raid plan everyone who wants more is free to join PuGs, other guild's runs or whatever.

No, we don't progress fast, but we do. And as of now our way attracted a lot of great people and I enjoy the game more than ever.

I wouldn't label ourselves a "raid guild", and I don't ever want to. We are a guild for the sake of company, and raiding is just a fun side effect. I'm curious how far we'll come in WotLK.

Isisxotic said...

I'm... jealous.

Really, truly jealous.

We raid 3 nights a week for 3-3.5 hours a night. Raid invites theoretically start at 6:45 server, but often don't start until about 7 server, which is when we're supposed to be doing our first pull.

Boss explanations have taken FOREVER, even on farm bosses. I know we're not as far into BT/Sunwell as you are, but I really don't need to hear instructions for Naj'entus that include "Group 1, here. No, mage #2, move two steps to your left." Seriously people, how hard is it to spread out? It's occasionally a problem of the raid leaders, but more often a problem of people not paying attention.

We tried Archimonde for the first time last night. People just didn't take him seriously, and we never got him past 75%. Post nerf, everyone was in the mood to just roflstomp through content without actually playing smart.

/sheepish grin

Sorry for the venting; I think I'm a bit more wistful for great raiding than I realized!

On the hardcore/casual issue, I think you're spot on. There was a Blog Azeroth shared topic on it recently, as well.

Chad S. said...

Talldar,

Sounds like a fun setup for people who aren't interested in a big commitment. You seem to have found a good niche.

Isisxotic,

Don't sweat the small details (or encourage your raid leaders to not). You may wipe a little more while learning if you don't give exact placements for fights, but your going to grow raiders that can figure out where to stand themselves.

I can also relate to people not taking content seriously. The first two bosses in Sunwell are really easy since the patch, but Felmyst takes coordination - and I get the feeling there are some people who have just tuned out during/after Brutallus.

Hopefully you'll find a great raiding experience in Wrath!

Brandon said...

I came from a very hardcore, rush for server first kind of guild to the more relaxed vibe one now. The 3 hours a night is kind of different from what Im use to but Ive found out its not the hours you raid. More how you use that time.

Explanation of boss fights are kept short, really short. Mainly because people are expected to know whats going on. If you dont read up on the posted strats or have any idea whats going on you will be sitting outside. That cuts off a huge chunk of time having to nitpick everything in the raid. From the pass two guilds Ive been in a lot of our players are theorycrafters as well. Something that I never found when I was in more casual guilds.

I dont know. I think its mainly the players. When people mean buisness and come with their a-game every night its a lot easier on everyone. You may be wiping on progression content. But you know people are putting 110% in.

Herc said...

With my current guild lately weve been raiding 4 days a week with 4 hours each night. We don't want casual or hardcore players ... we want good players who has the time to raid with us.

One reason why I consider my guild "hardcore" well at least in my own eyes ...

We use "Gear Score System" where you start out with 10 points.*

a.) If you don't have the best item in a slot which can be obtained from Kara, Badge gear, craftable items, or any heroics thats -.5 from your 10

b.)If you gemmed wrong and arent using the epics ones thats -.25. Also goes for enchants -.25

c.) If you are messing up repeated ly, officers will decide when to deduct .25 from you they will give u warnings at first. After the first one and you do it again you get -.50 next time you do it thats -1.0. This is the kicker here =).

d.) You need at least an 8.0 GS score to raid and loot items.

e.) You can get GS back by doing well in the raid or by officer vote.

My thoughts. GS system is a filter but it's only the start. It doesn't say that if you can't get a 9.5 or 10 means your a bad player. It's just a way of picking players who has the same mentality and who can take time to min/max his gear, casual or hardcore players we take them. casual doesnt mean bad players. We want GOOD Players.

We have some "casuals" who has perfect GS and know their shit they show up 2-3 nights a week but we don't hesistate to raid with them =). At the same time we have "hardcore" players who are maxed out and online 24/7 but have some problems GETTING OUT OF THE FIRE I'm sure u guys have run into these people. hardcore player doesnt mean good =/.

*I realize this raiding style is not for everybody(and even I at some point will have to tone it down) Guild's goal right now is to nab some server first when wrath comes and it will be easier to get that goal with like minded players.