My guild looks like it will be ending its Tier 11 raids with the progression of 6/13 Heroic, which isn't too shabby at all. We've had our ups and downs, and chewed through a frightful number of healers at one point, but stabilized over the past month or two and downed multiple heroic bosses for the first time.
One thing I've liked is that people are serious about showing up. People post ahead of time whether or not they're going to be absent. We run a team of 12 and only very, very rarely have we had to cancel a raid even under the worst of circumstances.
I was not always in a guild like this.
Back in TBC, when I was in my first raiding guild, they were very lax with their team setup. People knew the raid times, but on the rare occasion they would actually raid earlier than scheduled (I was admittedly quite upset to have rushed home to raid only to discover they're started without me) and then they wanted to be fair about giving everyone an opportunity to raid. The problem was, they had trouble stopping recruiting and when you have two tanks, three healers, and twenty dps for Kara... well... you don't get to go very often.
It also meant that if a healer was absent we probably wouldn't go, and if a tank was absent we definitely did not go. There was no penalty for being absent. There was no reward to being present (other than you might get to go). There were no attendance rules at all really, so the dedicated raider would often be sat for someone who rarely showed up in the interests of giving everyone a chance to raid.
Those who are dedicated raiders can see the problem in this.
But for a casual raid guild, maybe it's not that bad a thing to trade off progression and a regular raid spot for the freedom of just showing up once in a while and still getting to go (maybe), but it's something I knew going forward that I've wanted to avoid.
And I've done a decent job. My second TBC guild valued me highly and I never sat, whether it was 10-man or 25. My first WotLK guild never benched me either, though occasionally I volunteered to sit. Both of those guilds were good about making raids happen until eventually their leaders couldn't take it anymore and quit.
My second WotLK guild and current Cata guild are the same, and it is my guild. I run it, and I do all I can to avoid the burnout of my predecessors while accomodating the schedule and raid style I want. We raid just two nights a week (then unprecedented on our server and quite rare in general when we started in ToC), just 10-mans, and with an eye on heroics.
I've seen more content in my little guild than in any of my previous ones, and I know it's due to the skill and dedication of my raiders.
This feeling of pride isn't something triggered by the upcoming patch 4.2, as one might think. Rather, something else happened recently.
In these final days of Tier 11 I volunteered to fill in for a casual raid guild's healing team on my paladin. I don't know this guild well, but their members have always been nice folks, so I was sure that running with them would be more pleasant than pugging. I was warned by their GM that they didn't have as many of their regular raiders anymore, and things might be kind of rough, but I said I was fine with that. I'm not someone who's going to nerd-rage because we wiped.
The guild ended up taking three non-guildies, including me, to fill the holes in their roster. We killed three bosses in two hours and called it a night. For a casual guild deprived of a full in-guild raid team it was acceptable, especially considering that they had to explain the fights from scratch for a couple people.
Knowing they were short-handed (and wanting to raid a bit more on my alt), I offered to fill in for them again, and their guild master extended invites to me via the in-game calendar for the next three raids.
I accepted, and now two of those three dates have passed. They didn't raid on either of them because not enough people have showed up.
If I was one of their guildies and that was my only opportunity to raid, I would be quite annoyed, but since I'm just filling in for fun on my alt, hearing that the raid has been canceled 20 minutes after start time didn't bother me, especially since I would have been online anyway.
Now, attendance is not mandatory in their guild, and it's one of their selling points in their recruitement ads, so it's not surprising that when content is stale not enough people show up. Personally, I could not live with that on my main. But I know people at my day job who play WoW and think it's ridiculous to set aside a set time every week to raid. They don't mind raiding itself, they don't mind going once in a while, but they don't like the commitment. For them, that kind of guild isn't a bad idea. Go if there are enough on, don't if there aren't.
The biggest thing to be thankful for in a guild is being with people who share the same commitment to raiding, leveling, PvP, whatever that focus might be. It doesn't matter if it's a high amount or a low amount as long as the commitment is the same. My guild is ranked #2 for 10-man progression on our server, but #72 on guild levels since we're still level 20. We might not be achievement hunters or fishers or crafters or activity maniacs, but we know what we like and we do it.
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