“It’s a reliable source of information. 50,000 unstoppable watts”–Clutch
Hidden Hard Modes (HHM) is a series dedicated to those bosses you see outside of the game. The bosses you need to kill just to make it into an instance and before you even kill one boss. This feature will be archived in it’s own page for easy access after it runs it’s course.
It’s 7:55 PM.
You left work in a frenzy, frantically closing windows and sending out the last two emails of the day. Your computer just wouldn’t log off and…ah damn it! security patch, this will be another 5 minutes. Every single light on the way home turned red just as you got there as old ladies get in front of you for a near flawless execution of stalling glory.
The front tires of your car hit the driveway and you’re already unbuckling your seat belt. The paper is still sitting on the front porch, the mail still in the box with the flag up. Your dog is barking it’s head off because you left him in his crate by mistake
There’s no time to spare, invites are in 5 minutes. We’re going after the Lich King tonight!
Everything is in order. The dog is fed and let out, you have your drink, your dinner, you’re ready to kick some ass and take names. You’ve probably never entered your authenticator code this fast in a long time. The character select screen pops up with your Night Elf staring back at you with the look of “where the hell have you been? Let’s go kick some undead ass!” But wait, there’s probably a new version of DBM out, so you go and grab that real quick so you have no reason to log out unexpectedly and miss your invite.
Finally, you get back into the game and pick your toon, anxiously watching the loading bar fill up. That last twinge of adrenaline shoots through you as you hear the sound of your character logging in.
But there are only 19 people logged in.
“Where is everyone? This is a really important progression boss.” After that 4% wipe on Thursday, you could nearly taste the bittersweet deliciousness of hard mode ICC25. You were already picturing that Kingslayer title over your head.
Immediately you start looking at who is online, and more importantly to you, who isn’t. The start of the week is never an issue. There’s enough for a raid plus 6 or 7 people sitting outside waiting for a shot to come in. Now you’re working on something new, and almost certainly, something difficult. There are no free epics, they are paid for in blood, sweat, repair bills, and the tears of hybrids.
What you may not know is that your guild just wiped to Attendancegut, a hidden hard mode.
This is the boss that I’ve fought more times than any other in my raid leading career. If I had a nickel for every “how do we get people to log on” officer discussion I’ve been in, my subscription would be covered for a few years. I’ve loaded and fired every magic bullet out there:
- Bonus DKP on Progression (Flat or per hour)
- Minimum Attendance/Bidding Restrictions
- Invite preference on farm nights
- Keeping some farm mode content up
- “Mystery Raid” (only works on multiple instance tiers)
- Guild Provided Consumables and Repair Bills
Some of the those are nice perks (BRM uses a couple of these), but that’s all they really are. None of the above is going to motivate people to log on any more than they already would. Raiders log on and battle bosses for the following reasons:
Most people don’t want to let their team down. They want people to know that they’re ready to fight and contribute. This sort of collaboration can only be achieved in an environment that fosters a strong community. You have to feel like you’re part of the group. Without teamwork, a guild is a shell. You might kill bosses, but you’re just one ego trip from it collapsing and dispersing your raiders off to other servers. The stronger your raiders feel about playing with each other, the more excited they’ll be about tackling new and exciting content together
Let’s be real, everyone raids for loot. If you say you don’t you’re a liar or a little too self-righteous for your own good. You can get the “story” of the content by reading online and following other guilds on YouTube. In the end, the core of all RPG’s is battling through dungeons, killing monsters, and collecting as much treasure as you can along the way. Make peace with the fact that all of your raiders are looking to progress their characters. And that means acquiring loot.
WoW > All < Real Life
Raiders are people (except the melee dps, they don’t have souls). They will have real life events occur and you need to be ready for them. How do you handle unexpected real life occurrences? Especially when it’s, ya know, unexpected?
All of these get thrown into a pot and simmer over high heat. What it boils down to in the end is one thing: either someone wants to log on or they don’t. It seems simple and naive, but it really isn’t more complicated than that. The perks above ease the small amount of pain incurred when wiping for awhile, but it won’t trick anyone into to wanting to raid on a progression night.
Screen Your Calls
So how do you deal with a night like this? Seemingly everyone is skipping on wipe nights, but it doesn’t always apply to progression raiding. These nights can happen at any time. Breakdown why people aren’t on.
How often are you calling a raid? Once a month? Once a week? Raider availability will change throughout a given a year. A good number of WoW Raiders are college students, and this means their raiding will depend greatly on their college schedule. Sometimes when recruitment is tough you need to bend your raiding schedule to the availability of your raiders. As long as you are clear why the change is occurring and make it known, everyone will be more than happy to move a raid day than not have one at all. This goes right to…
The only way to really get to the core of the issue is to gather information about people’s availability. Actively encourage players to give you a head’s up when they will be out. When you’re leading a guild with a relatively tight roster, a confluence of unavailability can mean that you are cancelling a raid.
Before freaking out and blaming everyone for wanting to skip out on hard content, evaluate the absentee raiders. Some will feed you bullshit, but you know which raiders have been there for awhile and don’t skip any raids. It’s worth your time as a raid leader to go back and look to see what nights the person has missed. The Mage who has 98% attendance over the last 6 months and took a night off for dinner with the family isn’t the person whose spot might need coverage. The ones whose attendance is a little more inconsistent need to be dealt with directly. Are they missing because of a tough work schedule or do they disappear at random intervals?
Compromise, the art of making everyone equally unhappy
However, even if the circumstances are unavoidable and a raider is going to miss half of your raids, you need to stick to your guild’s policies. You’ve set up times to raid for a reason. While it may be a good idea to bend your start times occasionally, it is by no means a good idea to satisfy the needs of one person. They could be out saving puppies from being hit by trucks, but they aren’t raiding. Prioritizing them for a raid spot and benching a raider that is there every night doesn’t make a lot of sense.
Berserk In One Minute
All that being said, calling a raid because you’re missing too many people due to real life circumstances doesn’t buy you sympathy ranking on wowprogress. You don’t get 1/10 achievement points for showing up. Something has to be done to avoid these nights in the future. Never look at your roster from the point of view of a well attended raid. See what you’re missing when you have to cancel a raid, and don’t write it off as an aberration. Use the above tools and see: Is it the same roles? Same people? Same bosses?
Unless you have an application forum filled with folks eagerly waiting to get in and show your their raiding chops, you are going to occasionally have a night where 23 people go away unhappy after waiting for a few folks to log on. Based on the amount of recruitment posts I see out there on the WoW Forums (read: every single guild), my guess is you don’t have that many people ready to step in.
Maybe you’ve tackled Attendancegut, but his partner in the same wing is still standing in front of you preventing your raid from moving forward: Recruitmentface.