Thursday, May 21, 2009

Exit Strategy

When LOKI was raiding T4, T5 was around. And when we progressed through T5, T6 was around. What kept our guild healthy and moving, was having a clear exit strategy for the current dungeon.

Now, I know from blogs and trade chat and realm forums - that there are still guilds running (and progressing) though Naxx/EoE. I want to highlight the very real risk that these same people will be running the same content months from now, when the next expansion comes out - just as people raided Kara right up till Wrath release (and not for lack of talented or able players)

If your someone in a guild not raiding top tier content - what is your exit plan for your current tier? What are the conditions that have to be met before you move on, and what will your transition look like?

If you set a goal like "when we're ready", you'll never move on. Progression is hard, and wiping will make people not dedicated claim that they aren't ready - as if more iLevel will help them avoid standing in things. Waiting for everyone to have all the gear they want will lead to ruin - some pieces will never drop, and the people that got what they wanted will eventually get sick of repeating content for other people's drops, and move on - creating a cycle of people joining, getting geared, and leaving (while the guild's dedicated members are stuck).

LOKI has made it our policy to kill an instances final boss three times, and move on. After Vashj died three times, we left SSC, never to return. Same for Kael/TK. Same for Archimonde/Hyjal. Mostly the Same in T7 for KT/Malygos/OS3.

Now, this may seem a little harsh to you. Very few people got the sweet lootz they wanted. Three may not be the number you have/choose. What is important, was that we had a set number, and stuck to it. No one wondered when we'd get on to fresh content, and we never lost someone who got tired of "the same" content during those three weeks. It also went to support our ideal that you don't need loot to progress - just better play. We look at loot as a bonus that comes with progressing - NOT progressing as a means to loot.

When developing an exit strategy - there are tons of decisions to make, and no single right way. Some of the many factors in ours...

- We only require our raiders to be unsaved/available to our current progression instance (Ulduar-25)
- We spent official raid time on only our progression tier.
- We may alternate weeks of skipping skipable bosses in with weeks of going straight to progression bosses/achievements, at my digression (the default being to skip bosses).
- All other content (T7-10/25man, T8-10man) is not officially guild run, and can be done on off nights informally, with PuGs, ect.

So I'll ask again. What is your guild's exit strategy? If you don't have a clear one - where do you think that will lead? I would suggest that your guild form one ASAP, lest you be forced into developing a personal exit strategy of your own...


Logtar said...

Thank you for writing this... I think this has been the issue with our guild for quite some time, we attached the word casual rather than saying we will do X, X numbers of times and move on...

Excellent post.

Kadomi said...

Excellent post as this is an issue I have pondered quite a while. My guild has now cleared Naxxramas four times. Might be five. Now Ulduar is here, and it might be time to move on.

We used to raid every second weekend. Now we raid every weekend. We are doing our first preliminary expedition of Ulduar this Saturday, to see how we fare in there. I am ready to declare one week a farm raid, or for up and coming raiders, but am ready to have progression raid the following weekend. That's my strategy atm.

I do not know how to fit Malygos into the transition. I think we'll completely skip Sarth with drakes. Should we kill Malygos before seriously progressing into Ulduar? I do want to kill him, not only to get people their Champion titles.

Mookey said...

Hi Yakra.

First time posting here, long time lurker. I'm leader of so called "Casual Hardcore Guild" on Xavius realm called RISE. We are casual in matter that we raid 25 progress only 3 raids per week, while everything else is either FFA or semi guild runs. We are hardcore in part of defeating content - when we raid there are no excuses for slacking.

In my opinion guild need exit strategy (in current content) only if it's underperforming.

When I finally got Last Laugh (it was really last) I checked statistics - I killed KT25 13 times in total. Let's look @ the numbers and bit of theorycrafting.

Nax25 boss = 4x loot pieces

With lucky RNG you need every raider to kill every boss 6 times then you can safely advance after Nax. E.g. I had all BiS Nax gear after 7-8 runs and was waiting for belt from Maexna and weapon from KT for 3 and 5 last kills.

That will be much harder with Ulduar, since bosses drops only 3 items + possibile BoE

This means that every kill has to be done 8 times to gear up whole raid.

Then you have "casual multiply" add on top of above number of kills amount of people you have in your raiding pool as backup and you will see inevitable need that you kill all bosses at least around 10 times in order to make everyone happy.

Ulduar changed one thing too: Only few bosses are mandatory, no matter how fast you were clearing "winged" Nax you had to clear ALL bosses to get to best loot in game of that time.

In Ulduar you have to beat 4 bosses to get to the keepers. This have 2 benefits - fast clean up, faster move trough, and also leaving options behind when you see that your raiders are burned on your current progress wipes so you can tell them - "ok you deserve break and some loot reward, let's go and do Razor/Ignis/Council".

Falling behind to be "gear me up" guild is worst thing it can happen to the guild. All serious guilds that are not competing for ZOMG 1st on server/region/world should have some milestone to strive.

For current progress I think it's Antechamber achievement + 1 or 2 keepers (Freya and Hodir for example)

I understand that you don't want to look back, and I didn't too, until last week I went with half of the raiders, and rest filled with trials I wanted to evaluate plus some good geared alts...

We steamrolled Nax25, in 3 hours we cleared all - and got 60 items (ok some disenchanted) but that's 20 epix per hour which is completely crazy and really best possibile time investment atm. Let me just make clear myself here.

We didn't went back to Nax when Ulduar came out for like 2-3 weeks, we wiped and wiped and were working on progress, we did guild nax25 on 3rd or 4th week of Ulduar raiding when we cleared most of the Keepers. So we made 4th (optional) day for raiding "old" wotlk content which is Friday now, almost noone works on Sat so we have more then enough time to clear everything we want. Also raiders switch arround this day so we have 50% of raider pool there to make it run smooth.

Wall of text? sorry, just inspired.

Bent said...


I think you are looking at it the wrong way. Your guild was doing Nax week after week because there was nothing else TOO DO.

Look at if this way. If someone started a guild from sractch today, how many clears should they do before they move on?

If the new guild's string one raid group clears Naxx on the guilds first attempt, how any more runs should they do before moving on?

There were many many guilds in BC they NEVER raided past Kara. They could clear Kara, and earn badges to get top tier loots. But they never moved on. It is the whole, raiding kara and wiping once or twice in a clear, than moving to gruuls and wiping 5times in a row. Surely it is a gear problem right? Not likely... But why strugged in tier 4.5 when you can rule in tier 4? wotlk is a little different since you can't use tier 7 badges to buy better than tier 7 gear.

Kevin W. Thornton said...

I agree overall, and this is something I need to formalize for my guild/alliance, I think.

However, I want to point out one thing about the Karazhan/WotLK discussion (and this affected us).

We could field 1 10-man group. We ran 2 groups, but one was mostly alts. None of the content "above" Karazhan was 10-man instances, and we were not looking to grow, so we ended up farming Karazhan right up to about 2 weeks before WotLK came up, just because there wasn't anything else for us to do.

Now, we are venturing in to Ulduar, working on Eye of Eternity, and almost able to spend only 1 day clearing Naxxramas (would have cleared it all in 1 day this week, but Razuvious kept bugging on us).

I think our "move on" point will be when we can clear Naxxramas in one night 2-3 times in a row. Then I think it will be a good point to turn Naxxramas into an off-night casual/alt/PuG run if someone wants to organize it.