How to Prepare a Raiding Guild for Mists of Pandaria: Steps 5 & 6

I know, I’ve been slack with these posts, for which I truly apologize. Hopefully we’re not too late with this final post. Please do read Steps 1 & 2 and Steps 3 & 4 before you move on. :)

STEP 5: Roster Confirmation

My last post shared this spreadsheet with you. Here’s an updated version.

As you can see, we’ve lost a couple of other people from the current roster. Cinder, Majik and myself, but also Innerbite (which is a whole other story on its own) and Miurne, along with confirmation from Hitoku that he will not be raiding in Mists. We never did hear from Delandruss (and we hope he’s okay!). Walks decided to go monk, while Dayden elected to remain an enhancement shaman, not wanting to add to the glut of tanks. Kripptic went from being a hunter to being a DPS warrior in our raids and that’s what he’ll be playing in Mists.

We also added:

Ghostlore, Ilumi, Mabriam, Reax, Smmoke and Sturm (of which, Mabs and Sturm had previously raided with us)

We also went recruiting specifically for Mists! So we have the following who will be starting (mostly) their trials in MoP:

Grumdy and Zazii (zomg warlocks!), Leenewton (moonkin), Jacii (holy paladin), Poz (will be a windwalker monk) and Stariian (rogue who had maybe two raids with us before we stopped raiding for the expansion).

Current count:

23 DPS (10 melee, 13 ranged)
3 tanks (brewmaster, guardian, prot pally)
8 healers (2 resto druids, 2 mistweaver monks, 2 healing priests, 1 resto shaman, 1 holy paladin)

Honestly, I’m pretty happy with that. 34 people confirmed, although one must always prepare for the unexpected. The officers anticipate somewhere in the realm of 20% attrition, but some of that has already happened, so we were at 37 people before Inner bailed and Miurne and Hitoku wouldn’t be continuing. and 20% of 37 is 7.4. That means I estimate another 4 people will either bail, won’t be ready for raiding on October 9th or won’t pass their trials.

So Apotheosis is pretty set moving into Mists, although we could still use a shadow priest to keep Srsbusiness company, would consider another elemental shaman, another hunter and even another moonkin.

At this point in time, your roster should be more or less set. You should have confirmed everyone’s role with everyone and given them a bit of time to change their minds or even make up their minds. You should have a good idea of what you need to recruit and you should be exploring those options.

What’s left?

STEP 6: Paperwork & Policies

If you follow me on Twitter, you have doubtlessly seen tweets of mine wherein I complain about “paperwork”. Welcome to running a guild. Even if it’s virtual paperwork, you still have a crapton of it to do if you want to be organized about stuff.

Apotheosis is a guild where 100% of our information that is important to the running of the guild is found on our guild forums. There are two major reasons for this.

1) To share the information with our players. As a raider in Apotheosis, you are expected to check the forums regularly. All policies, strategies and announcements are posted on the forums, all feedback is done back and forth on the forums via private message and all guild bank requests are done on the forums. It means there is a central place for information and if the officers have posted the appropriate information, the onus is then on the players to make sure they’ve done their reading. This is also important for the sake of transparency. If it’s on the forums, we stick to it. There are no surprises.

2) So we don’t have to remember it all. Human memory is a funny thing in that sometimes, we don’t remember things. Or we remember them wrong. Having it all written down in a centralized location means not only that I don’t need to remember that, for example, normal-version shoulders cost 750 GP, but the person in charge of loot isn’t completely irreplaceable in case of emergency. Having all our EPGP values posted on the forums means that any officer can do loot (in theory). It means that anyone can read or re-read our various policies or strats. I know I referred to our H DS strats even going into our last couple of raids. It’s just not viable to expect everyone to remember everything with perfect clarity. Writing it down saves you the trouble.

Of course, the downside here is that we need to keep these various posts and documents updated.

Jasyla, who is the incoming GM of Apotheosis, spent several hours updating and re-writing and re-organizing several of our policy posts, many of which hadn’t been updated since, oh, the start of Cataclysm… Oops. ;) With feedback from the officers, Jasyla meticulously updated these posts and started posting them to our new guild forums. We elected to move to a new set of forums to have a fresh start without thousands of posts already. We took the opportunity to change how permissions worked on the new forums so it’s a lot easier to keep track of who can see what on the forums, plus it’s easier to know which permissions to give to which members. We also asked people to register for the forums using their new names, so Kaleri (our disc priest who’s going to be a guardian druid for us) changed her name to Kalbeari, which is her druid’s name. This makes things a million times easier for people to know who is who and avoid the dreaded “user not found” error when you try to write to someone only to remember, belatedly, that their toon name is not their forum name.

Essentially, assuming your roster is set, you’ll want to update your policies and expectations, start getting raid strats out there and then you’ll want to tackle something else that can be pretty overwhelming: the guild bank.

Tikari, in addition to being our melee lead again, will be handling the guild bank stuff. By “stuff”, I mean, he’s basically in charge of cleaning out the bank of stuff that won’t be useful and managing our 678,000 gold. This is not the time to be a packrat. This is the time to get rid of 90% of the crap in your guild bank and save your gold.

Right now, Apotheosis has 8 bank tabs and we require anyone who is a Raider or above to have an authenticator on their account. Here’s how we used the tabs in Cata and I expect they’ll be used similarly going forward.

1) Guild Trade: Anyone can deposit/withdraw junk here. We get a lot of AQ idols and scarabs, a lot of DMF quest items and other junk.

2) Glyphs/Enchants: Anyone can deposit/withdraw some glyphs here (as well as some enchants on scrolls).

3) Enchanting/Tailoring/LW/Vol: This was a tab for all our enchanting mats as well as cloth, raid drops (Essences of Destruction), leatherworking stuff and volatile storage. Anyone could deposit, only officers could withdraw.

4) Gems/Ore: This was where, not surprisingly, we kept all our gems and ore during the expansion. Anyone could deposit, only officers could withdraw.

5) Food: This was where we stored fish for the fish feasts. Anyone could deposit, only officers could withdraw.

6) Flasks: Also unsurprisingly, this was where we stored all our flasks that we used for raids. Anyone could deposit, only officers could withdraw.

7) Herbs: We had a small store of herbs once we moved to a system where people would donate flasks for cauldrons, but kept using it for various potions and elixirs and the like. Anyone could deposit, only officers could withdraw.

8) Secured: Patterns and BOEs made their way here. No one but officers could deposit and only the bank admin or GM could withdraw.

So what you need to do is clean out your bank and organize your tabs for efficient use.

Yet another thing to check out is guild ranks.

Apotheosis currently makes use of all 10 guild ranks.

Guild Leader is the rank for the GM, obviously. Bank Officer is the rank for the main character of the bank administrator as well as our “Apothbank” toon. Officer is for the other officers, Officer Alt is for the alts of officers, so they don’t have to swap over to throw out invites to the guild and such. Veteran is a new rank we brought in as a test (which has worked very nicely) that currently is for any non-officer who joined us before Cata dropped without pausing in their raiding with us. Going forward, this will be anyone who has raided with us for a full year without a break. Officers and Veterans are considered “Raiders” for loot purposes, but get slightly more repair ability and can invite people to the guild. Raiders are those who raid with the guild and have passed their trials. We’ll come back to Member in a minute, but Initiates are for our trialists, which typically lasts 3 weeks (9 full raids), or if content’s on farm and we’re doing 1 night a week clears, 4 weeks is the duration. Friends are friends of raiding-ranked people (or Members) and Alt is for everyone’s alt, except the officers.

Members are a little strange — they’re basically retired raiders from any point in time in Apotheosis’ history and, yes, I’ll be there soon enough. But a lot of our members who raided with us in BC are in this spot. You only ever get DEMOTED to Member after you’ve stopped raiding. They are important people to us who made it possible for us to get to where we are today and we like to recognize that by giving them their own rank and privileges that are more than what Initiates get but not quite what Raiders get. We are, after all, a raiding guild.

Speaking of being a raiding guild, one other thing our officers have hammered out is a good feedback system. Time and again, the biggest complaint we had as an officer group was a lack of feedback for the raiders, but to be honest, we didn’t have a group that had the time to give a lot of feedback. Our unofficial policy was “no news is good news”. We worked to change that in the last few months of Dragon Soul and the officers will be doing much more extensive feedback going forward. That was a major problem area for us and we worked to fix it, so raiders (and initiates) in Apotheosis will have a better idea of various expectations and will have more communication with their officers. We’ve added that to their roles as officers and, due to the fact that there are four people doing my jobs (GM, RL, recruitment, guild bank), we’ve had to specify what each role is responsible for.

Finally, THE LEGENDARY. Or legendaries.

Chances are, the moment you kill a boss in a raid instance in T14, something associated with the various legendaries out there will drop. What you need to do WELL before you walk into a raid instance is figure out who’s getting a legendary and in which order. Apotheosis is not prepared for this (yet), but I’m sure the officers will get that organized soon enough. (That said, I am selfishly REALLY GLAD I don’t have to make decisions about this.) Still, this is something any raiding guild will need to deal with and so you need to be clear about it before you start raiding.

CONCLUSION

Obviously, the most challenging thing is making sure your roster is settled, but once that’s done, it’s time to deal with the administrative side of things.

- policy updating/rewriting
- website/forum cleanup
- guild bank cleanup
- ranks/roster cleanup
- role duties for officers
- legendary

Once you’ve taken care of that stuff, you are pretty much good to go and ready to embark upon a new adventure in Pandaria! Don’t forget to keep your policies and such updated; review your policies every couple of months and make sure you’re still adhering to them or that they’re still reflective of what you’re actually doing.

Best of luck to you all in Pandaria! And feel free to let me know what other things you’ve done to help prepare your guild!

4 comments

  1. Avryel says:

    Hello. I’d be highly interested in the feedback system you all established. We too have operated under a “no news is good news” mentality and it hasn’t worked well for us. Anything you can share would be great!

  2. Kurn says:

    Avryel – Heh, that’s amusing to me, as one of your members was once one of our members, who was particularly vocal about their dislike of our “no news is good news” philosophy. ;) Anyhow, let’s see if I can shed some light on this for you. :)

    What we’ve done in the officer forums is set up a forum with a sub-forum for each role (tanking, melee, ranged, healers). The role leaders will be sending PMs to the raiders on a regular (I think they decided once a month) basis and will post a copy of their PMs (and any responses) to the sub-forums. This allows the officers to remain up to date on how both Initiates (trials) and Raiders alike are doing.

    For Initiates, they’ll be proceeding roughly the way we’ve been doing so over the last couple of months — each reset, whoever is responsible for that individual (caster lead, for instance) will touch base about each of the encounters they saw that week and give a bit of feedback. Raider feedback will be less frequent, but Initiate feedback will be quite current and this will allow Initiates to make changes in what they’re doing during their trial so that they have a chance to correct their errors in subsequent resets.

    The Initiate stuff has been standard operating procedure for at least the last four months, although I was doing the majority of feedback (and, as such, it was LONG). Over the last 2 months, it’s been much better spread out as we brought the new officers on board with the expectation that they would HAVE to give feedback. If they weren’t willing to do that, they weren’t the right person for the job going forward.

    Feedback itself can be concise, like this entirely made up example:

    Morchok – did well, make sure you’re soaking every stomp
    Yor’sahj – good work, but put more dots on the mana void next time, please
    Zon’ozz – you soaked appropriately, did well in terms of damage
    Hagara – stood where you were supposed to, didn’t die to ice waves, could use more damage on the ice tombs
    Ultraxion – you died to Fading Light and that needs to be fixed. If in doubt, hit the button rather than let your cast finish.
    Blackhorn – ouch, you took three Shockwaves! Please make sure you’re stacked on me (blue square icon) for P2. Also, watch out for fire and blade rush.
    Spine – excellent job on Burning Tendon damage, great use of your VP trinket.
    Madness – good work, although you missed out on one of the Corrupting Parasites entirely. Please make sure you turn to kill it every time it spawns. Great work on Congealing Bloods.

    Or it can be exceedingly long and detailed and I won’t post an example here. ;)

    Of course, for Raiders, this feedback will be more general about abilities or general weaknesses, I would imagine. “Kurn,” I would tell myself, “why do you really hate Guardian of Ancient Kings so much? It’s a great cooldown! Use it more!” That sort of thing.

    And since it’s all going to be copied to the officer forums, everyone will be up to date on everyone else and there will be a consistent record, so we can say “Two weeks ago, we said to kill the ice tombs. Last week, we reminded you to kill the ice tombs. You still haven’t touched ice tombs on Hagara even though you’re not being tombed. Dude. Fix it.”

    Also, in case there are several applicants of the same role (3 or more), other officers will volunteer to help out.

    Hopefully that helps to explain things. It’s really just a matter of officers having the time to do the job and taking the time to do it. We’ve just set up some standards for ourselves (1 month for raiders, for instance) that will be the goal. :)

  3. Miurne says:

    Oh jeez, I hadn’t even thought about how the legendary is going to be dealt with, being as nonspecific as it is. What a pain! Also, even though I’m not raiding with Apotheosis, you can bet I’m still watching and cheering you on. Well, not you, since you’re leaving too- but Jasyla for sure!

  4. Avryel says:

    Thanks so much for that information…. and yes, that raider is part of the driving force here too from time to time :)

    A follow-up re: legendaries – you mentioned that they didn’t have a plan, and we don’t either but are starting to discuss. Would love to hear more about how your guild goes about deciding and prioritizing. Thanks!

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