About 3 weeks ago my 25 man guild finally made the decision to downgrade to 10 man raids. It hurt. This guild *just* went from 10 man to 25 in ICC. For most of Cataclysm we have managed to keep ahead of the raiders leaving and replacing them. Unfortunately, OLN suffers from the fact that we are casual.
We don’t require attendance. We don’t require specs. We don’t have DPS thresholds. We are here to have fun with all our friends, not to chase server firsts. The problem is, only about 2/3rds of our raiders are the kind of people who go and learn every bit of info on their class, min-max, and know every boss video before we ever walk in. the other 1/3rd are very nice people, but aren’t pushing the envelope, can’t be bothered to show up, and our realm sadly does not have a good pool to pull raiders from.
As all raiders are pretty aware, the days of really only needing 8 of 10 or 20 of 25 of the raiders on point are long gone. Even the smallest mistake can lead to a wipe. One person not notice and keep nuking Magmatron? Kiss the raid goodbye. Miss the jump, die in the water, and you were the interrupter on your Nef platform? Game over. Firelands is just as bad. Didn’t see that trap? Too bad, the tank is already dead. Accidentally attacked the wrong foot? Even one person can lead it astray. Regardless of how you feel about this design (I hate it, just fyi), it has had an effect. Finding 10 competent and focused raiders is much easier than finding 25.
So we took our good, consistent, and still present raiders and put their names in a list. 16 raiders. Uh oh. There are only 10 spots. Lucky for our raiders our GM and Officers had no intention of just booting 6 people. However we don’t have enough to form 2 10 mans. So the GM decided we would be rotating people around.
This first week of this was TERRIBLE. We had several people raid 5 days that week, and several people only raid 1 day. The natives were restless. I spoke in a message to my GM and was like “dude, you need a system.” His response: “I KNOW! I just don’t know HOW…” So I decided to apply my game designer brain to this problem.
Our raiders broke down to 3 tanks, 4 healers, and 9 dps. First thing I did was cut “normal” raid nights to Tuesday through Thursday. Previously these were our 25 man nights. So now they are our standard nights. Sunday and Monday, our “cleanup in 10s” nights, became “wipe learning” nights. Sunday and Monday teams are formed based on who is on, and which boss we are trying (so stacking the proper dps for those fights).
Generally the tank situation just worked out. And if all 3 did manage to show up on the same night, they would just discuss it between themselves and sit out. They handled themselves essentially, but we decided to set it up to “rotate” them around. So Tank A tanks Tuesday and Wednesday. Tank B tanks Wednesday and Thursday. Tank C tanks Thursday and Tuesday. But they can switch up as they want or need.
With healers, we were really lucky in that handle fairly well on their own as well. One of our heals even has a super tank offset, so he fills both roles. So that just worked out.
But 9 dps… That makes life tough. They were the hard part.
Split the DPS into 2 teams.
Team 1: Warlock, Warrior, Kitteh, Boomy, and a recruit. (Most times it is a great shadow priest, but this spot can be filled with any ranged clothie or mail wearer.)
Team 2: Warlock, Pally, Rogue, Mage, and Hunter.
Then, have the teams switch off nights.
So Week 1: Tuesday is Team 1. Wednesday and Thursday are Team 2.
So Week 2: Tuesday is Team 2. Wednesday and Thursday are Team 1.
Seems a bit complex, but here are the reasons:
1. It stacks the dps to be most efficient in gear drops. With the exception of clothies, each ac is only represented once.
2. It stacks melee vs. ranged and aoe vs. single target. I also stacked the weaker dps with the stronger dps, and the more likely to die with the more likely to survive, so neither dps team is “better” in a sense. They are quite well balanced and hit the same numbers. The aoe vs single target damage makes gimmicks like Rageface still do-able. It balances classes with high burst with classes with slow ramp up.
3. People who run earlier in the week have a good chance of getting several easy bosses and loot. People who run later get 1 or 2 bosses, but have to wipe on progression, however this means they might get to be in the kill group.
4. Even if the week goes badly, raiders know it will only be 1 week before they see another loot drop.
5. Each dps is part of a paired set. So if one warlock is going to miss her night, the RL can just contact the other warlock and ask them to show up. Regardless, most of us are connected on RealID so any holes can be filled quickly.
6. The warlocks are the two toons working on the legendary. Since they are in different groups there is no poaching embers.
7. If you are on the team not running that night, just can just log on at raid time, and check to see if the team running needs any holes filled. If they form up, you can go do dailies, randoms, or even level alts.
It just worked for us. Now, 3 weeks in, we have downed 2 new bosses, in two weeks, and are making great strides on Aly. Everyone is learning all the fights. The dps teams are becoming teams and learning to work well with each other. We have even started making red team vs blue team jokes. Because there has still been a ton of overlap on tanks and heals, including alt runs on off nights, with both teams making up the alt run, we are still a community as opposed to cliques. None of the raiders have left, and most seem to like it as well. By taking Sunday and Monday off the schedule, we don’t have to worry about people showing up those nights either, but generally we have 10-11 people on for those nights, then usually someone just offers to step out. 10 man’s are a bit easier to do this with.
Now this doesn’t perfectly fit with every guild. The team balancing just fell into place for us, but with a bit of thought, and even possibly scheduling which bosses are being done on Tuesday and then on Wed/Thurs to balance the number of bosses downed. It’s a slightly odd way of doing it, that might work.