Thursday, February 18, 2010

The 1 Hour Lower Spire Challenge

Our guild had a problem. Loot Tuesday - as so many guilds call that first night of a fresh lockout - took us 2 1/2 hours to clear. No matter how much we pushed, no matter how much we pleaded we could not get our guildies to go faster through the first 4 bosses of ICC.

Some blamed it on the vast amounts of trash. Some blamed it on afks and other player issues. Either way, we had a problem and the solution that we had originally came up with was to lock out the instance for a week so we can have more raid time working on new bosses.

Some disagreed.
The goal for our guild is to see as much content as we possibly can before any newer content comes out. That means our current goal is to clear ICC and afterwards work on hard-modes until Cataclysm. (Or, whatever filler instance Blizzard throws in before the new expansion.)

Most of our guildies are on par with each other in terms of gear and we really only have 1 or 2 guildies who are undergeared for the content we are seeing. Nevertheless, being able to see more bosses and get more bosses on farm produces much more gear in the long run than farming the first 4 bosses. For example, we calculated that if a guild merely farms Deathbringer Saurfang from now until each guildie is decked out in 4pc tier sets it would take approximately 2 years before everyone is geared with the Regular T10 tokens.

The above were our arguments for locking out this one week. A full 12 hours on progression bosses would be nice, considering the 2 1/2 hour wing clears we have been having.

We didn't meet much resistance with our decision, albeit we did hear disappointed mumbles from some raiders except one. He didn't complain, he didn't say a word other than make a very clear statement to the officers that he didn't agree - He declined all his invites to that week's raids.

Now normally this would piss off any guild leader/officer and would probably garner some type of disciplinary action like a demotion or a guild kick, (to be honest when I saw it myself, I saw red,) but we promoted him. Why you ask? Keep reading below.

I did message the player as to why he declined all his invites and is not coming this week. I had hoped it was because he was going to be out of town, but alas, he was not happy with what we planned on doing.

"Why are we locking out an instance for 4 bosses we can clear in an hour?" He asked. I reminded him that we haven't ever cleared the wing in an hour and it has taken, due to trash and player specific needs, close to 3 hours on most Tuesdays. "I can get them to clear it in 1." The challenge was set.

I didn't argue much further. I admit I was angry but I was amused with his confidence. "Alright, if you think you can get the guild to clear it in an hour, the raid is yours tomorrow. And, if you succeed, I'll promote you to officer." If he is able to do it, then he deserves the job I thought and, it can't hurt to have a possibly decent raid lead for once.

"I'll accept your offer." The deal was set.

I set the GMOTD to announce the raid would not be locked out on the Tuesday and that it will be lead by our challenger. His mandate was to have the guild clear it in under an hour lead entirely by him. Any questions were to be directed to him and wished him luck. I then logged off for the night.

I heard throughout the next day that there was a buzz; nobody knew exactly what was to be expected that night. I explained the ground rules to the rest of the officers.

1) The raid is to be lead entirely by the person setting forth the challenge.
2) He must set up the groups himself and perform any sub-ins as needed.
3) He is allowed to ask someone to help him with buff management (asking someone with a buff checker add-on if buffs are good to go.)
4) He has 1 hour from 9pm (our normal pull time) to have the raid complete the first 4 bosses or else I am not to hear another complaint about locking out the raid again.

I explained to the raid exactly why the challenge was put forth and the above rules at the beginning of the raid and that if he succeeded he would be promoted to officer. Almost everyone thought that it sounded like a fun idea and I passed the raid reins over.

What the guild witnessed next was a flawless first wing.

The raid, although easy to set up that night due to the makeup of the players that showed up, was ready to go in 5 mins. We started our first pull at 8h55. Upon entering the first room we were instructed to keep to the left wall and do not deviate at all. Rogues were told to disarm all traps and an apology was given to people still farming rep and possibly wanting to kill every mob. We skipped a whole section of trash.

Marrowgar was reached within 10 mins and killed within a few minutes after. The longest part was doing DKP and loot distribution. Lady Deathwhisper was killed about 15 mins later. We killed trash and got on the boat at about 40 mins into raid and had a surprisingly smooth and non laggy "kill".

The guildies seemed to want him to succeed which was great since anything that inspires in my mind is a good thing. While loot was being distributed from the boat's cache, the raid was instructed to go take their positions for Saurfang. Once done, ready checks went out and our first problem occurred - our first ninja afk of the night.

15 mins before the hour mark with no replacements for this guildie we had to wait. This is why things take long. Real life does happen and our guild understands that but we appreciate someone telling us they need to step away for the moment. If anything slows a raid down is a lack of communicating what is impeding you from performing your duties - afks included.

The guildie came back 5 minutes later. 10 mins to down Saurfang. We did it in 4 and 2 marks. 54 minutes to clear the first wing and I had a new raid lead and a new officer.

Why did this work? The guild kept an open mind to new ideas and we made the challenge fun with a significant reward for accomplishing it. I accepted the fact that maybe we were doing something wrong; Officers and Guild Leaders are human too.

Keeping an open mind as a leader in the guild is a must. Knowing that your decisions don't always have to be the be all and end all to all discussions is key to developing a strong team. Listening to your guildies' concerns, understanding the whole picture will in the end make your guild a more productive and better place to be.


  1. Always a good idea to take on new ideas and tactics while raiding and keep a fresh outlook always helps. Nice post by the way :)

  2. Understanding and cooperation help out immensely. I am not a raid lead or gm, but differences between people in the guild, people not wanting to attend for some odd reason, or no shows hurt the progression you try. When things are put in perspective for everyone to handle, it's great. It's social but collective progression for everyone