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I need some assistance
I want to discuss something that is weighing heavily on my shoulders lately, and I am looking for input. This would be Zul'Gurub, and how we decide who goes when we have too many people.

First big note: Do NOT post here saying "I will give up my spot". That is not what I'm looking for, and it's pretty much the opposite of what I want.

Everyone needs to understand that telling a person they cannot come causes me more stress than anything else during a raid. I would rather the entire raid wipe out than have to tell one person they can't be there. It literally kills me a little bit each time I have to do it.

What I am looking for are ideas for a fair way to decide, that people can agree upon, and that everyone will understand. If we had choices of 20, 25, or 30 man raid zones, this would be easy. We'd go where the numbers could take us. Unfortunately the next jump from 20 is 40, and we're not there yet.

A couple things to keep in mind when suggesting ideas:

1) First come, first serve works right up until we get 8 warriors out of 20 people. And this has a very real possibility of happening. Can we do it with 8? Probably, but it means things are likely to be harder and loot is more likely to be disenchanted.

2) We do need certain classes and numbers for the raid to function properly. 1 priest, 1 druid, and 1 shaman is not enough. Certain bosses will require specific classes as well.

3) We want to make sure everyone gets to go. Maybe not all in the same night. Maybe we even need to go every other saturday. Not sure.

4) It needs to be fair and acceptable to everyone. We can't pick a "top 20", or the newest 60's may never get to go. And I'd like to avoid set numbers of certain classes, or those we have a lot of will be penalized (I'll use warriors as an example again).

The bottom line is, we do this for fun above all else. Not for loot, or for glory... those goals may be there, but they are secondary. And this part of the raid is the least fun for myself and for those who cant go, so I want to find ways to mitigate it.

So please help me out. Things likely won't change for this friday or for mondays, but I want the discussion opened, and I want people to understand the problem. And hopefully, if you're left behind, not make me keep downing antacids by complaining that there isnt room. Wink

Thanks in advance.

Kosath Whitehorn
We all want to have fun but #1 is out of the question. If we have an overabundance of people this is a good thing as we can make a more balanced raid more often than we have in the past. We are already seeing greater success as a result of this (re: new shamans reaching 60th and Mar'li). Your #2 ties into this. Raids of any kind need to be balanced to succeed. You may say that you would rather we wipe than tell someone they can't go, but I doubt many members of the Tribe would feel very good about being responsible for making the raid harder for their friends because of class unbalance. Granted, I'm only talking about extreme class unbalance, as we've done very well with non traditional groups at times.

3) We already go more than one night. As I suggested this Monday, some who don't get to go on Monday can be guaranteed a space on Friday. Currently we are fighting mostly the same bosses both nights due to improved efficiency and speed.

4) We'd never do a "top 20" however one would go about deciding who was in that. However, we have been and are using set numbers for certain classes already, albeit tacitly. 3 shamans are needed to fight Mar'li. Two priests are needed for fighting bosses. Fleethoof has been our only druid so we've always wanted to have her with us plus she is one of two people who have Blood Scythes in Ironsong. Three warriors is ideal though we have taken twice that at times at need. At least one mage is important though we've been without before as well. Edge of Madness would be a nightmare without at least 2 warlocks, three would be nice.

Those who cannot attend Monday nights or who have given up a Monday slot to help us balance the raid and work with the Rottens should get priority along with those specific classes we need to make it through. We have a few folks who have organized this raid who always go but folks should realize that for us it is a responsibility as much as an adventure and a duty to our Tribe as much as a chance at new content.

I think in time we will need to continue on Saturdays on some weekends in order to beat Hakkar, but I would rather not schedule more raiding into the already gradually filling Ironsong week. We go to ZG twice a week already and do Jeklik - Venoxis - Mandokir or Mar'li. While we will be doing the Edge of Madness on Fridays that is not as much of an issue due to the nature of the event. Since the Rottens usually don't bring 10 people on Mondays (never have, actually) we have 25-28 slots a week to use once you subtract the raid organizers and others who are hardest to do without. If people are understanding and patient and work with us this should be sufficient to carry us through.

Finally, it doesn't have to be your responsibility to tell people who can and can't go. You take it on yourself. I've tried to be the one starting up the raid more than once and rather than just let me know who needed an invite you have insisted on doing it yourself. You already research the zones and strategies as well as all that you need to know yourself to main tank anywhere the Tribe goes as a raid group in addition to leading the raid itself, pulling, and deciding on our pace night to night and week to week. I see no reason why you have to be the one burdened with this. The main tank makes a great raid leader but doesn't have to be the organizer as well.

Please do jump in the discussion Tribe and let us know what you think about this issue; 20 man raids are here to stay, with Ruins of Ahn'Qiraj coming as a "next" step after Zul'Gurub and Blizzard talking about making more smaller raids in the future rather than larger ones.

I also want to say, Kosath, that if there were 25 and 30 man zones we wouldn't just be going where the group size takes us; we're in Zul'Gurub because it is the current most appropriate zone in terms of content progression in the game, and we are fortunate that it is 20 man instead of 40 man so that we can work on it. If MC was the next content step after UBRS we would still be stalled or wiping on a hypothetical much harder Zul'Gurub. If Ahn'Qiraj was to come out next Tuesday as a 30 man instance we would not rush into the mouth of it headlong as we are have not completed Zul'Gurub yet. Raids don't get halfway through MC and start pointlessly wiping on Razorgore in Blackwing's after all. ; ) Or if they do somewhere, we hardly want to emulate that. Heh.

(( erg. I had a relatively wordy post all written out, and it is now floating around, lost in cyber space....

Suffice it to say.... at this time, Kosath, I have no ideas that would help...though, I wish dearly that I did...but I think 'Tae has some pretty solid advice there, and I can hear poEdo's wheels clicking (not to mention he keyboard) as he sits there.

Keep heart, Kosath...it is a difficult thing. (I too, HATE telling people 'no')...and let me know if there is anything (besides comming up with a brilliant plan :/ ) that I can do to help. ))
Ok, here's an idea for you. And it's random, but if used right it will be fair.

There are certain fights in there where you need certain classes, and in some cases the more the better it is. Take the bat lady for example, AoE's pretty important. But I digress.

Come up with what would be the ideal raid force to go into the place, in other words how many of what classes you need to be entirely effective for the bosses you're going to attack. Now here's where things get sticky, if you have more than you need of those classes, then perhaps doing a /random 100 would be appropriate. Mark down who rolls high and then get an assured slot, the low rollers stand by on the off chance we need more people to fill it out. If someone gets to go as a filler, then they're marked off. What you'll be left with is the people that didn't go one particular time get priority the next time.

Let's take your hypothetical 8 warriors .... to be capable of taking the bosses it's felt that you need 4 to be safe. If they all ask for spots on the same raid have them all /random 100 and take the 4 high rollers immediately. Don't discard the other 4, ask them to wait until the raid is getting underway so if there's room the 5th highest roller gets in. Now, since warriors 1-5 possibly got to go on that raid, warriors 6-8 have priority for the next one.

Now I know someone's going to say, "But what if I can't be there for my "priority" run?"

It can carry over if someone misses it for some valid reason, and actually has the decency to log on and let people know. Let's say that warrior 7 from the previous example can't make it to the next one, due to work or some such. Warrior 7 lets the guild know that they won't be available for it. That means the raid leader/organizer knows that one of the "priority raiders" won't be there and has a slot to fill. Warrior 7's "priority" carries over to the next raid and they fill one slot.

It's not exactly easy, and it's somewhat labor intensive on the raid leader's part. But, it might work. Now I also realize that this idea has inherant flaws and some lesser played classes (like my own) might be selected to go more frequently.

Just thought I'd toss this one out there.
First off, let me say a great, big "Thank You" to Kosath for his leadership on these adventures. Kosath, you make it very easy for me to do my job. You're explanations of what to do are thorough and extremely helpful.

Unfortunately, there is no easy solution to this problem. In essence, what it comes down to is each Tribe member knowing that there is a chance that even if they show up at the entrance to Zul'Gurub 15 minutes before raid is scheduled, it does not assure them a spot in the raid.

I know that is the most frustrating part for me, but it's something I will try my best to get over.

I completely agree that there are needed numbers of certain classes in order to make the raid successful. But I will make a comment on this a bit later in my post...

So, as far as my class goes, Hunter, it is clear to me that it is likely that Hunter's may be overlooked as a raid is filling up quickly. We have a number of Hunters as it is, and have several up and coming Hunters who will be Zul'Gurub eligible soon. Sure, it's nice to have freeze traps in certain areas, and our ranged damage is certainly effective. But, we don't need to have 4 Hunters on each expedition.

This is just a fact that I deal with. I created Krell because the Hunter character was a combination of 2 of my favorite classes in online gaming. Ranger from EQ, and Creature Handler from SWG. Quite simply, I love to play him. If this means that I will only get to go to 1 Zul'Gurub raid a week with the Tribe...then so be it. If I'm not able to go...that means another Tribe member is in my spot and hopefully improving him/herself. And by improve, I mean gear-wise and just the experience of large scale raiding.

Really, the only idea I can contribute is maybe we will need to institute raid sign ups. The Tribe is growing by leaps and bounds these days, and at least with sign-ups people will know ahead of time if they are going. The one problem this creates is if there are some members who rarely check website, the raid may be filled before they are able to post. Basically, the signups would guarantee a spot in the raid, but if you werent in game by a set time...your spot would be forfeit.

I know this may remind some of you of EverQuest, but my particular experience was it worked fairly well. It's not perfect....but what is?

Now, back to my earlier comment about required classes being essential. I agree that this is the case, but I want to throw out this little nugget. Some of the funnest groups I've ever been in were "non-traditional" groups. Maybe once we are feeling fairly good about our raiding abilities, it might be fun to try a slightly different set-up. Sometimes the most satisfying victories are those attained when everyone expects you to fail. A few weeks ago, Uglawha and Merrina came up with what I thought was a fun idea. Take a group of Hunters into ZG, and see how quickly they die! So, we added a couple people and headed in. I think our numbers were 9 people, 6 of them Hunters, 2 Warlocks, and 1 Shaman. We were able to make it to the first bridge, but didn't try the next pull after that. I must admit, that I had a blast doing this. It made all of us focus on what we could do to help in each battle.

Anyway folks, I seem to be babbling on quite a bit.

To sum up, Kosath is doing a tremendous job leading and main tanking, and Shillatae is also doing a tremendous job a Main Looter/Head Honcho person. I am sure I am leaving out several individuals who make the raid work, so I apologize. I am interested in Ironsong growing stronger, so if that means I need to drop a spot in a raid to allow another member the chance to gear up, then I will accept that. My only real solution is having members sign up in advance for raids. This way, someone isn't left out at the last moment, and they can plan to do something else that evening.

I was the Guild Leader of Syft's Scimitars on Fennin Ro. (many years ago) Unfortunately, being the leader of anything means that you are the one that everyone else looks to to make those tough decisions. To be honest, it was what eventually forced me to disband the Guild. I was sick and tired of solving everyone's problem, and noone else wanted to take over as Leader. I DO NOT want this little problem to anyway effect Kosath's desire to lead these raids. I have a feeling I know what he is going through, and until this post I had no idea this was bothering him. That being said, it is up to each and every one of us to make his job as easy as possible. Please. Look at the big picture. Kosath is not picking on any of us, he's just taking the steps to ensure a successful raid.

Thank you all!

Ironsong Tribe
I don't really have that much experience in raids in Wow, and with Ironsong in particular. However I have a lot of experience in other MMORPGs and with High Level raiding.

It might be that Ironsong has reached that critical mass stage where things need to become a bit more formalized in terms of how large events get organized. Having one or two people run things tends to work very well in a guild of 15 or 20 people that have all leveled up together and know each other well. It becomes a lot tougher in a guild of 60+ people with more added/leaving each week.

Perhaps it is time for those that lead Ironsong, both Officer and Raid Leader to look at putting in place a more formal structure for guild events. I know there are several calendar type tools out there that have the functionality to create groups and raids and specify what numbers of what classes are required, and it manages those people on waiting lists etc.

This may not be a perfect solution but it might be something to start with. If you work on a first come first serve basis now, a calendar is no different, it just puts everything on paper and makes its management easier.

I know many of you reading this are now thinking that calendars lead to raid attendance being tracked, which leads to raid points being earned, which leads to DPKs, which leads to uber raid guildness, which leads to the dark side. But I don't see Ironsong going that way. One of the things I really have enjoyed about Ironsong is that while we have the numbers and levels to really raid, we are not what some consider a "raid guild". And we tend to have a lot of fun!

I have done the "raid guild" thing, there doesn't tend to be a lot of fun, but a heck of a lot of work.

I salute you Kosath, and anyone else that leads raids. It tends to be a tough and many times thankless job. Good luck finding your solution.
Etsuko - Monk
Razzlixx Blingwell - Warlock
Cloudjumper Wildmane - Druid (Inactive)
Thank you everyone so far for your comments, compliments, and useful suggestions.

I will say to you, Krell, that in Zul'Gurub ranged DPS is more important than in many previous dungeons. Don't discount the hunters -- I don't. When we started out one night with no hunters I was concerned. I feel that the raid is well designed in that it really should have at least one of each class.

That said, I do agree that non traditional raids can work -- we have done it. We've never had more than one druid, we've run with 6-7 warriors, no shaman at times in the past...

Sign ups aren't a bad idea in some ways, but it's really the same as the first come first serve at the gates, but done ahead of time. When do we start sign ups? What if someone is always working when the signups start and doesn't get to go?

I'm working on a compromise system that I believe will work that makes sure that the key roles are filled without rigidly adhering to set numbers for each class. Keep on brainstorming and I'll post more in later.
Since we are going on monday and friday it may be time to have another day as well.

Also what we could do is have turns on bosses if we have too many people then after one boss someone heads out to let someone else have a go at next one depending on the classes needed ect and just cycle through as we go along. Like on some bosses the stuff that drops is of no use to some classes so would be more approriate to have someone who could benifit from the drops there.

Saltin (mage 375tailor ,375 enchanter)
Lucrenda (Rogue 375miner ,352 smith)
Asaram (Hunter 375skinner 351 leatherworker)
Pahakan (Warrior 350herbs 375alchemy )
Mantiki (Shaman 355miner 363engineer)
Hoti (Warlock 190Miner 350 jeweler)
Have Alt Will Travel
First off this is a good problem to have. We have active guild participation, and a successful Zul Gurub raid on a weekly basis. Congratulations to all that are involved. And thanks to Kosath and Shillatae for making this a success!

This is my recommendation.

Guild Officers will discuss and layout ideal class composition for Zul Gurub.

This is just an example:
4 Warriors
2 Rogues
2 Hunters
3 Shamans
2 Warlocks
2 Mages
3 Priests
2 Druid

Guild Officers will figure out who your 'regular' attendees are and assign a Class Captain and a Class Asst. Captain for each class.
Each Class captain is responsible for inviting his class.
The Asst. acts as the Captain in the Captain’s absence.
This shares the leadership responsibilities and lessens the admin load on Kosath, or the raid leader.

Each class captain is also tasked with developing a scheme that ensures fair attendance to all that wish to participate in ZG. (Thus all Shaman that wish to attend ZG must communicate w/ the ZG Shaman Captain)

The Ironsong forums should have a separate Zul Gurub section dedicated to this.
And a thread for each Class that wishes to attend ZG.

Rules should be set like:
5:00 pm Orgimarr time Invites Start.
(Each class Capt. Or Asst. Is responsible for his class invites)
5:15 Invites are done (this leaves time to fill any open slots etc)
5:30 Raid starts

Often times a ‘rotation scheme’ is developed.
Which dictates when a player can and can not come to ZG.
This rotation scheme is developed by each Class Capt.

Example 5 Shamans want to attend ZG – 3 slots are available.
The 5 Shamans that want to attend are Akora, Vortok, Zytoff, Kretol, Leeroy
Capt. = Vortok
Asst. Capt. = Leeroy
Backup Shaman (Class) Capt = Kosath (or Raid Leader)

This is a hypothetical listing of what weeks you are ‘rotated out’ – and do not attend.
(I know there are two days of ZG runs a week and this scheme represents you sitting out for both runs – because if you know in advance – you could potentially find a replacement ZG run for that week and can plan instance lock out issues, etc.)
Week #1 Akora
Week #1 Vortok
Week #2 Zytoff
Week #2 Kretol
Week #3 Leeroy
Week #3 Akora
Week #4 Vortok
Week#4 Zytoff
Week#5 Kretol
Week#5 Leeroy

When a scheduled attendee can not attend by 5:15 the two not scheduled Shamans can do a random roll to take the unfilled place, with the highest roll being able to come to ZG. Often times 2 Druids slots are scheduled, but only one Druid can attend – A shaman is an acceptable replacement for a Druid –so the Raid leader or Class Shaman Capt. may invite a 4th Shaman. (Guild Officers and/or The Class Captains should discuss this potential class back ups in advance like Mages & Warlocks are similar substitutes, as are Priests & Druids, etc).

Certain Exceptions are made – Kosath as the Raid MT is usually guaranteed a spot.
The Master Looter can be made a guaranteed spot.

Communication is the key.
The Ironsong forums are the conduit for this to happen.
You must document your intent to attend ZG on the forums and actively read the forums to stay abreast of the latest ZG attendance info for your class.
Accommodations can be made with your class Capt if you can’t attend a week that you are AFK, swapping weeks that you are rotated out w/ others etc.

If we are considering a points systems for loot this would be the time to implement it. I also have ideas on an acceptable points system.
Thanks a lot for all the replies everyone. Please keep them coming.

Just want to nip one thing in the bud right now:

I will always be opposed to a point based loot system. I know that may seem harsh or disagreeable, but please trust in experience when it comes to this.

Anyway, not really the place to discuss that. These are all very good ideas, and I look forward to seeing more.
I like a combo of Akora's and Ednonil's idea. ((I personally go jus to have fun...but I also have just as much fun doing other things besides an instance)) Post on forums a sign up list, a separate ZG section as was mentioned. You know how many of a particular class you need. But combine that sign up with a random roll...if you have more than the required number for each class I mean then take those who are not the MT or MA (or main priest lol) and let them roll to see who gets to go for that particular time. Er..something like that! Thinkin hurts! (Rubs tender spot on back of his head)
Idea for how to do invites on Fridays (mondays will have different needs)

As someone else suggested, we should determine an "ideal class balance",
and then use that as the basis for invites- to begin with.

Hypothetical example:
We decide two rogues are ideal. Raid invites on Friday start at 5:00 (NOT BEFORE). The first two rogues to ask for invites at/after 5:00 are invited to the raid. Any others are asked to wait until 5:30 and may be invited if there are available slots.

At 5:30, the raid leadership will look at what the current raid composition is and decide if there is a general "area" that is specifcally lacking. (ranged dps, healing, tanking, melee, etc.) Invites will be given to those who were turned down because of their class based on 1. How well they fit the needs of the group 2. How early they asked for their invite.

Sometimes there will be, for example, three rogues on a 5:00. In that case, the three should roll off. The two highest rollers will be invited immediately, the third can wait to see of there is room at 5:30. If there is *not* room at 5:30, rogue #3 is guarenteed a spot at the next raid that they attend *on-time*. If they are going to arrive later than 5:00, they need to let raid leadership know and a space can be saved for them.
~This means that you only get a guarenteed spot for a raid if you show up at/before the beginning of the invite time and still end up not being able to go

What this means as far as raid leadership goes is that one person needs to be in charge of issuing invites, tracking what order they were requested when we go over, and who has "guarenteed spots". More work, but much clearer for everyone involved.

This system can be tweaked a bit for Mondays, with Ironsong determining a class balance based on us contributing ten people and following this system (with a 5:30 invite time/6:00 start time). We will almost certainly have open spots because the Rottens don't bring 10 people, but this insures that they *could*.
(( All of these ideas have a great deal of merrit...I'm with Uglawha in that I believe a combination of all of them would be excellent...... I am also STRONGLY in Kosath's corner with the notion of never having a point system... I love the way Ironsong does things (loot wise)...nothing is -ever- wasted or mishandled...those who can use it, have the oportunity to do so. ))
We'll be attempting a rough combination of some of these ideas over the next week or two, with a rolling list of those who haven't gotten to go and a minimum number needed of each class first then wildcards for healing and DPS. I think it should serve our needs during this stage in our growth.

Thank you /very/ much for the vote of confidence in the looting.
"She is a soothsayer. She’s a mystic. She is a witch doctor, able to see into people’s hearts and minds. She’s also touched by the elements." -Naomie Harris

Thanks for doing this. I'm sorry I have nothing useful to contribute to this conversation.... RL has been hard on me lately: thesis-writing is stressful. I hope to see you all tonight and I hope that a good solution has been worked out. Keep the attitudes positive and the needs of your tribe before your own, and we will do fine. Thank you so much.
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