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Mists Normal Mode Raiding FAQ
Hi everyone,

I've gotten a lot of questions about our normal-mode progression guild raid -- the roster, how we run things, and so forth -- so I am going to answer some of those questions here. Let me know if you have further questions!


I. What is our progression raid?
II. How do we run the raid?

a. The roster
b. Loot
c. Out of guild raiders
d. Legendaries
e. Other specs
f. Alts

III. What do we expect of our raid members?

a. Gameplay
b. Gear
c. Attendance
d. Outside the raid
e. Mods
f. Alternates / Substitutes

IV. Are you interested?

I. What is our progression raid?

This FAQ is about our "progression" raid, which is our regularly scheduled attempt to defeat content at the very edge of our ability.

We run a progression raid to satisfy the desire for challenge, progression, and team play for those members who want to attempt the harder content and can commit to regular attendance at a weekly raid. Our goal is to finish the raid content on normal difficulty while it is still end-game, pursue achievements, and try heroic modes if we can. Our goal is to create an enjoyable, challenging, and regular experience for players who want to play this level of raid difficulty.

There is no obligation to join this raid (or any of our other scheduled activities Smile ). This raid is for the players who want something harder and can commit to the regular attendance necessary for the group to succeed.

II. How do we run the raid?

a. The roster: We have a set roster of 10 (or 25) regulars and a short list of alternates. A regular is a player who has committed to attending the majority of the raids. Regulars get invited first to a raid. Alternates are players who have agreed to be contacted to fill in when a regular cannot attend a raid.

The regulars are invited first, through the calendar system, usually one week in advance. If a regular invite is accepted, that spot is guaranteed.

If a regular declines a spot for that week, I extend an invitation to one alternate who can best satisfy raid balance. If that alternate cannot make it, I extend an invitation to another one, and so forth. Invites to alternates go out as early in the week as possible so they can plan their schedules accordingly. Regulars are strongly encouraged to decline as soon as possible if they cannot come to let others plan their week.

b. Loot: On-spec gear is always distributed to a player's "main spec" for the night. For the first drop of the night that interests you, roll 1-100 for an on-spec item, and 1-1 for off-spec. In this way the on-spec rollers will have priority over off-spec. For the second and later drops that interest you, roll 2-2 for an on-spec item and 1-1 for an off-spec item. In this way, the 1-100 rolls from those who have not won anything yet will win over those who have already won something, and, if all who are interested in the item have already won something, then a 2-2 on-spec roll will win over a 1-1 off-spec. In the case of ties, we do an additional roll-off.

In a nutshell: roll 1-100 for your first on-spec roll of the night, 2-2 for your subsequent on-spec rolls, and 1-1 for all off-spec rolls.

* Regulars and Alternates roll on loot in the same way.

* Epic crafting drops: These will be collected by the raid leader for distribution to raid members as needed.

* Patterns: Patterns will be given preferentially to regulars who have the necessary skill level to craft it, over alternates or regulars who do not have the skill to make it yet. Regulars who meet this criterion will roll 1-100; this roll will not affect their loot roll for the night.

c. Out of guild raiders: Out of guild players are treated exactly the same as in-guild players.

d. Legendaries: Let's wait and see how the Mists Legendary system shapes up.

e. Other specs: We will build a raid out of the classes and specs that our members want to play as much as we can. But if you are comfortable and geared for playing more than one spec, we may occasionally ask you to do so in order to satisfy raid balance. Being able to swap specs is not a requirement, but it is a nice bit of flexibility that helps us balance the raid.

f. Alts: We discourage bringing alts to the raid unless we request them for raid balance or to attempt a particular strategy. This is mainly to avoid having alts take gear that is still needed by other players' mains, and also keep the raid from failing to progress (or backsliding) due to having what may be a weaker character in the raid. When all our attendees have maxed out their gear, we have a strong preference to push on to heroic-mode fights rather than gear up alts.

However, if we need another class to satisfy raid balance, and one of our members has a raid-ready alt that can fill that role, we may ask that alt to attend instead (or even to swap in for just one fight) if that member is comfortable doing so. This alt will roll on gear in the same way as everyone else. Again, this is not a requirement, but we are very grateful for this flexibility.

III. What do we expect of our raid members?

a. Gameplay

* Know how to play your class. Learn the new talent trees and ability rotations. Know your "oh crap" abilities. Read up outside the game on how best to play your class: ability rotations, talents, spec, glyphs, reforging. Noxxic.com has good class guides, for example. MaxDPS is a good resource too, and there are many others. Bonus if you can play more than one spec of your class to help with occasional raid balance, but it is not a requirement.

* Bring your best game. Come to the raid alert, ready to learn, ready to follow orders promptly, ready to try new things. Come prepared to kick ass.

* Come prepared to wipe. A lot. If we are attempting new content -- a new boss, a heroic boss, an achievement -- chances are we will wipe many times as we work out the strategy. Wiping is a necessary part of learning. For some of us, it's one of the most fun parts of raiding: experiencing the learning curve, improving individual and group performance, and finally the rush that comes from overcoming a challenge after a lot of hard work. But wiping can also be frustrating. A patient, cheerful, and can-do attitude during this learning curve makes the experience much more enjoyable for everyone.

* Know how to measure your performance. This might mean running a Recount meter, or using a gear spreadsheet, or learning to analyze combat logs on WorldOfLogs. Progression raiding is a numbers game, especially at the early, toughest levels when our gear is weakest, the fights are unfamiliar to us, and the raid dungeon is pitched at its highest difficulty. That means you need to know your numbers.

* Be willing to improve your performance. Keep learning, always. Be open to respectful suggestions from your fellow players. Feedback is the breakfast of champions. BUT see the next item:

* Respect and support your raid-mates. We will not tolerate shaming, teasing, or boasting. We discourage DPS meter spamming: it is unhelpful and sometimes downright harmful - maybe you had a great AoE pull, but what we actually need is sustained, high-focus play that handles novel mechanics and gets the bosses down. If you have constructive advice for a team-mate, that's great: provide that feedback, respectfully, outside of the very short two hours we have together.

* We are open to suggestions about strategy before the fights. We often discuss the best way to attempt a particular fight, or how to customize a strategy to our particular raid, and we try different suggestions as needed. We expect contributions to be respectful, constructive, and considerate of others. The raid leader has the final say on strategy to avoid confusion.

* This is a PG-13 raid. Please keep Vent and chat communication clean enough for your 13 year old niece to listen to.

b. Gear

* Come with PvE gear of sufficient iLevel to join the raid. We will follow the game's suggested item level cutoffs especially when we are pushing through new content. Do not come in PvP gear; it doesn't have the right distribution of stats for PvE play. We cannot carry under-geared people, especially when we are tackling new content.

* Know your gear. Know what stats are important to your class and spec so you can roll on appropriate items and enhance them appropriately. Use external websites to help figure out what gear is best for you and where you can get it -- sites like MaxDPS.com and AskMrRobot.com, or sites specific to your class.

* Gear up outside the raid. Run 5-mans and pursue faction and crafted items. We will be delighted to help you with this, but you'll need to take the initiative so we can help you achieve your goals. Be vocal in asking for help!

* Enhance your gear. Enchant and gem your gear with good gems and enchants before the raid. Come to the raid with gear as powerful as you can reasonably make it. Talk to the guild jewelcrafters and enchanters to get the best enhancements you can. We will be glad to help you with this, but you must know what you need and ask for help.

c. Attendance

* Attend about 80% of the raids. The forging of a group of players into a coordinated, successful team depends on having the same people show up every week. We expect regular raid members to attend the large majority of the raids.

I understand that real life happens. The occasional absence is not a problem, especially if you let me know ahead of time. I will call in an alternate to fill in for the absent member. That's why we have alternates. However, if a player cannot commit to come on a regular basis, that player would be best placed on the alternate list.

* Be on time. Be online and ready to play at the start of raid time. Invites go out at about 7:25 p.m. server time and we start right at 7:30.

* Respond to the calendar invitation as soon as possible -- preferably several days in advance. This will give me enough time to contact alternates and hear back from them about filling empty slots that week. It will also give alternates advance notice that they will be raiding so they can plan their week accordingly.

I understand that an uncertain RL schedule may prevent an early response for some people, and that's fine, but do let me know if that is your situation so I can work with it. I have several members in this situation -- they cannot commit for sure until the afternoon of the raid, but are almost always able to come anyway. That is fine. I am also in touch with some members by text/SMS, for example, as that has a faster turnaround than the calendar system. Constructing the lineup every week for a quick start is one of the MOST stressful parts of running the raid, so please respect my time and effort, and the schedules of our alternates, by letting me know your plans as soon as you can.

* Respond with "accept" or "decline" on the calendar. These two replies tell me whether to contact an alternate or not. If you must respond with "tentative," please let me know what to expect (is it "tentative" because you'll be a few minutes late, in which case I should hold your spot for you while we clear trash? or is it "tentative" because you are flying in from a vacation in Inner Mongolia and will have 12 hours of jet lag on top of 17 visiting in-laws, in which case you probably aren't coming? etc.).

"Tentatives" and "non replies" that I cannot get a hold of in advance will be considered "declines" on the night before the raid unless prior arrangements have been made. I will place them on "standby" and will start trying to fill their slots. Alternates that are slotted in their place have priority over such regulars even if the regulars do log on at raid time after all.

* No-shows: If you are absent for two weeks in a row without warning, and I cannot get a hold of you to figure out what's up, then I will most likely move you to the alternates list and fill the slot with someone else. The same goes for an intermittent pattern of absences without warning. Again, I totally understand that sometimes you may have to be absent at the last moment and can't get to a computer to tell me. That's fine -- it happens to everyone sometimes. What I'm talking about is a repeated pattern of no-shows which cause me to scramble week after week to find a replacement at the last minute.

* Leaving the raid: Please let me know if you plan to leave the raid. Real life happens, schedules change, life changes, and that's totally fine -- RL comes first, always. No hard feelings whatsoever! But please do let me know when you leave. Don't just... not show up. If your absence is short -- say, three weeks or less -- I can make an arrangement to place an alternate in your slot on a temporary basis. If, however, you are going to be gone for longer, say, a month or more, I will offer the slot to someone else, who will become a regular in your place.

* Returning to the raid: If you return to the raid / game after an absence we will be delighted to see you, but I cannot automatically give you your old spot back, because my goal is to keep the raid full of regular, reliable, committed players. But I will gladly place you on our alternates list! If you are interested in a regular position again, I will happily consider you for one of the next spots that opens up. But I cannot guarantee getting you back in quickly as a regular because when slots open up is not under my control.

Please understand that my goal is to provide reliable, weekly gameplay to our current raid members, whomever they may be. I have an obligation to them. They must be able to count on having their spot every week if they want it. This trust won't happen if I bump someone who has been a loyal raid member in favor of someone who left months before. Be persistent, be positive, be patient, show up, wish us well if you don't get in, keep in contact with me, understand that I'm doing the best I can at a difficult job, and I will work you in if I can.

* Canceling a raid. If I cannot fill the raid in advance, such that it looks like we will be coming in to raid time with multiple empty slots & no available alternates despite my best efforts to find some, I will cancel the raid. I do not want the raid to spend an hour looking for PuGs and failing, which is a waste of time for everyone, nor do I want to fill multiple slots with untried PuGs who need to be trained, which usually causes the raid to struggle on content it has already mastered for the benefit of people who may never return. If I cancel the raid I will contact every raid member in advance, through as many channels as I can, to let them know so they can make other plans. My goal is to respect everyone's time by either organizing a high quality game experience or releasing people to make their own entertainment plans.

d. Outside the raid

* Research how to play your class on external websites. Keep abreast of changes to your class in each patch as that may affect your gameplay.

* Read up on the encounters ahead of time. It really helps if you know what is coming and have an idea of your role in the fight, and the possible pitfalls etc. We will provide run-downs of our strategy in Vent, but advance reading speeds up the raid's learning curve and leads to fewer wipes.

* Help supply the raid. The raid consumes multiple feasts and cauldrons every week. Help supply these by making them yourself, or by providing materials to those who can make them, through fishing, herbing etc. Make sure to thank the people who DO supply them.

* Help our raid crafters -- our jewelcrafters, enchanters etc. -- by supplying them with raw materials and other items they may need. Our crafters level up their profession skills and collect materials to help others enhance their items; do your part by giving them what they need to keep us all supplied.

e. Mods

* Have Vent installed and ready to go. We communicate strategy over Vent. You don't need to speak, but you do need the ability to listen. Vent info is located in the guild information tab.

* Install a boss mod like DeadlyBossMods or BigWigs.

* Install a threat meter or use the built-in one.

f. Alternates / Substitutes

* The same gameplay and gear rules apply to alternates as to regulars: know how to play your class, bring your best game, come prepared to wipe, know how to measure your performance, be willing to improve your performance, and respect and support your raid-mates.

* If you are an alternate and you get an invitation, you have a guaranteed slot for that evening's raid if you accept it, even if the regular shows up after all. Once I slot an alternate for the night, the alternate has priority over the regular who declined.

* Please let me know how best to contact you. I am in touch with various alternates through in-game messaging, /tells, private messages through the forums, and (for those who are comfortable with this) via text/SMS. If the character you want to place on our alternate list is not your main, please tell me how I should let you know an invitation is pending. There will sometimes be only 24 hours' notice (or less) and a calendar invitation can be easy to miss, especially if you do not log on to this character as much as your main.

* Please RSVP as soon as you can so I have time to contact another alternate if you cannot make it. If you have a change of plans and can't come after all, please let me know ahead of time so I can find someone else. If you accept the invitation, I expect you to attend the raid.

* How often can you expect to be able to sub in? This is quite variable, because it depends on whether a regular is absent, what role that regular plays within the raid, and how much spec flexibility we have among the remaining regulars. I cannot predict vacancies. Sometimes we call on one or more alternates every week for weeks at a time. At other times we go for a few weeks without calling on any alternates.

IV. Are you interested?

If this sounds like a fun challenge that you want to commit to, then please contact me. I keep a list of interested people who would like to join the Mists of Pandaria raid.

If you would like to raid in the normal-mode raid occasionally, but cannot make the commitment to raid with us regularly, and are okay with making raiding plans spontaneously a few days or hours in advance, please let me know and I would be glad to put you on our alternates list.

/bumped for relevance

This FAQ outlines our expectations for normal-mode Raiding. We are starting a 10-man Siege of Orgrimmar raid along these lines on Thursdays, starting on April 10, 2014.

A few pieces of this FAQ are out-of-date -- we'll be running a 10-man, not a 25-man; we won't need to allocate legendary drops; gearing up should be done in Flex and on the Timeless Isle instead of in 5-mans; and we now use Mumble instead of Vent -- but the overall expectations about attendance, invites, RSVPs, absences, gearing, and gameplay etc. still hold.


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