Getting your guild ready for Cataclysm

Mandatory post image

So this topic is probably a bit behind the power curve since most of this stuff should be well on its way to being finalized at this point for most established guilds.

Putting the final touches on everything has been taking most of Roksi’s and my time and administrative energy lately though.  We have been systematically going back through all of our policies and practices and making sure that they are all up to date and consistent with our current goals and objectives.

For the most part, we are changing very little, but it is really important to review this stuff on a fairly regular basis so that any changes you need to make can be minor and evolve organically over time with your group rather than having to tear stuff down and rebuild from scratch when everything falls apart.

Here is the list of topics that we started with and some brief comments of mine on them.  I will probably post a copy of our upgraded policies with some more discussion once we finalize everything and I find time between getting my druid leveled and ready for raids.

Bank:
As I discussed previously, this is one of the topics we opened up for our membership to provide feedback on.  The feedback we received reinforced our initial assumptions that what we were doing as a guild for most of the last expansion was working well, and highlighted the couple of areas that we knew we needed to work on.  Specifically we need to work on trying to update our prices more regularly (we are going to shoot for ~once or twice a tier cycle this time around) to make sure that they stay competitive and discounted.  I am personally excited to see how much income will be generated from the new “Cash Flow” guild perk and how much we will be able to use this to subsidize raid consumables for our raiders.  We also determined that we need to make our lesser used, higher ticket items more accessible to our members without compromising the security of our guild bank.

Loot:
Also discussed previously, we have a pretty minimalist loot system in production company. I think we will be making a couple of minor tweaks to help formalize the process or “system” that we are already using and hopefully streamline some of the “no, you take it!” discussions we occasionally see during raids. I’ll share the actual text here when we get it finalized.

Special Raid Drops (Orbs/Recipes/BoE’s):

Without a whole lot of discussion, we decided to continue our policy of trying to sell as much as possible that drops in our raids.  this was by far the greatest source of funds for the guild and will continue to be the default process for dealing with anything that isn’t BoP.  That being said, we will probably still make exceptions in the interest of the guild now and then like we did with the first few Primordial Saronites we were able to offer to our raiders to encourage everyone to get things crafted ASAP.

Legendaries:
Well over a year ago when we realized that it would be a likely eventuality for Blizzard to start dropping legendaries in 10mans Roksi and I started this discussion.  Now that they have confirmed that Legendaries will be dropping in 10man raids, I am glad that we have most of the details ironed out.  As cavalier as I describe our loot system to be and the general attitude of our raiders when it comes to prioritizing loot as an incentive over any of the other goals that we have as a team together, nothing can derail those ideals faster than a piece of orange colored loot that will take your whole guild a couple months to earn together and yet will ultimately end up with one person.

There are a lot of considerations that 10man guilds need to be talking about when it comes to dealing with legendaries within your own guild and now is the time to start if you haven’t already. We have quite a bit of text on the subject that we will probably put into a post of its own once we get more details about what the first Cata legendary will look like.  For the most part though we will end up distributing it like we would any other piece of loot, with a simple /roll.  (the major challenges lie with deciding who gets to participate in that roll, and how do you deal with the delay between the time the person “wins” the item and the 2-3 months it might take for them to actually receive the item in their inventory)

Ranks:
We revisited our rank structure and made sure that it makes sense, that it is consistent with our guild’s goals, and that we have clear guidelines and written expectations for remaining and moving between ranks. We are still hammering out the actual text, I will also share this at a later date.  We *are* going to add in a special rank to work with our new “high value item tab” in the guild bank though which necessitated a little bit of restructuring.

Goals for Cataclysm:
You don’t have to go very far into the literature on building and maintaining any kind of organization before you run into the idea of setting goals for your group.  In one form or another, having some sort of statement of purpose and clear articulation of what direction your group is headed in can be one of the most helpful and important decisions you make as a leader.  There are a wealth of comics and jokes about committees formed in corporate america with the task of creating or reviewing a mission statement filled with corporate double speak and meaningless buzzwords, but when done correctly, a clearly articulated statement of purpose can help keep you on track even through the darkest of times as an organization.

I’d like to share an excerpt from the post Roksi posted to our guild forum on the eve of the WotLK expansion.  In the post, she laid out a short recap of the guild’s history through TBC and everything we had accomplished together, and then she posted a reminder of what she expected from all of us in the upcoming expansion. I am just posting the closing remarks because most of the details of the other stuff she discussed seems a bit dated at this point, two years later, but her closing remarks have really stuck with me over the course of this last expansion.  I’m looking forward to reading what she’s been putting together for us for this next expansion.

I will end on this note:

I want you to imagine it is the very last boss of Wrath and we are standing in front of him. I want you to look at each guildy standing beside you in this little imaginary skit.

In them you see someone who has helped you become a better raider. In them you see someone who has put in the effort to be the best they could outside of raid. Because they enchanted all of their gear and gemmed it with the best gems – they were able to survive that huge crit from the boss you just looted. Had they not put in that bit of effort, that raider would not have survived that hit, and the boss would not have died and you wouldn’t be standing in front of this end boss. Because they did their heroics, they got all their badge gear quickly, and because of that they were able to heal through a bad pull on the very first Wrath boss we ever downed, which ensured our victory and allowed us to get to the next boss that much faster. Had they not done that, we would have spent 3 raid days trying to get through just that 1 boss, instead of downing the next 2 bosses that week which put us even further through progression. Because that raider took 10 minutes to do a little review of their spec, they were able to increase their damage output by a good amount which enabled you to get that brand new weapon you’re wielding because they got the killing blow when only 5 raiders were left standing when the boss was at 1%.

When they turn and look at you – will they see the same in you? What will they see when they look at you? Someone who didn’t bother upgrading their gear when the upgrades outside raid were plentiful? Would they see someone who didn’t bother investing in proper enchants and gems to make themselves do that much better? Would they see someone who put their toon on follow because they had no idea where to stand for that boss fight because they didn’t do 2 minutes of reading? Our hope is that no, when each raider looks at the person next to them – they see exactly in that raider what they want to see in themselves.

So with that message, I say:

WATCH OUT ARTHAS, PROCO IS ON ITS WAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It also feels a little odd to quote myself, but I suppose that is sort of what a blog is for isn’t it? Here is something I posted a couple of years ago on our forums while trying to explain to someone what the difference was between traditionally “hardcore” guilds and our own:

Most end game, “hard-core”, progression-oriented guilds operate on a single principle: if someone isn’t doing what they’re supposed to be doing, you replace them with someone who will. Loyalty and camraderie are possible, but they are not often guiding principles. ProCo is different.

Attendance:
I think that we are most likely going to switch to an opt-out system for attendance rather than an opt-in. Which means that our raiders will no longer need to go sign up for each raid every week and will still simply be held responsible for alerting us to their absences in advance.  We have also been discussing some clarifications to our written guidelines about attendance expectations and we have redone/heavily tweaked the attendance spreadsheet that we were using for most of last year.

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