Raiding with friends is great. Sitting down with 10 of my pals and trying to take out 'Count Monsterton, the Evilest of the Bridge Trolls,' is part of why this game still holds any appeal to me at all. Unfortunately, schedules don't reconcile with one another just because people are friends, not unless everybody thinks it's important enough to plan their lives around. I've spent the last 18 months, off and on, trying to schedule raids with tanks who quit the game or have to spend every other weekend obliging their family, DPS whose work schedules fluctuate so much that it's impossible to raid with them unless you're willing to change the time of the raid every week, and healers who have to get up at 7 in the morning to make it to our 3pm raids, due to time differences. It doesn't work. I've tried every reasonable course of action I can think of, but half the time or more I end up sitting in /2 recruiting DPS who have deluded themselves into thinking that their 900 DPS is actually 4k DPS.
The worst part of it is that these players are not just my friends, they're the best damn tanks, healers, and DPS I know. I wish I could have them there on every run, because when I can actually get them into the same raid with one another, things are amazing. This is a group that full cleared Naxx in two attempts, even with some of our best players missing. But without consistency, it becomes difficult to maintain the level of knowledge I feel Blood Pact deserves.
So I'm faced with a simple question: how do I get the raiding I need? There are really only two answers. The first is most obvious: join a raid group. Or, failing that, start my own raid group. Of course, I could just wait around in trade every week for somebody to starting shouting "LFG DPS," but I don't think I need to waste my weekly wordcount on explaining why that's a bad idea. So, we come to the meat of the article. Join a raid group, or start one?
Join a Raiding Group
1) A lot less work for me than the alternative. Which is good, because I'm a rather busy fellow.
2) Easier to shop around. If I join a raid group, run with them a couple times, and discover they suck, then it's no big deal. I tell them thanks, but it's not for me, and I shop around a bit more.
3) Experienced players. I'm not arrogant enough to think I'm the best. Hardly, there is a lot I could learn about how to raid and how to play. Not every group is going to have much of substance to teach me, but thanks to point #2, I could make such a quality one of my search criteria.
4) A ready-made raid group would be proven. Unless I do a terrible job of selecting who to run with, then I can be relatively sure I'll be able to clear significant amounts of content right off of the bat.
1) Loot distribution isn't up to me. I'm quite used to, what I consider, the perfect loot system. I've never actually run into another guild that used it, though I know at least some other people do. Finding those people might be difficult though.
2) If something is going horribly wrong, then all I can do is make a suggestion. If the raid leader doesn't like it, I have to deal with mounting repair bills while he fumbles to find a solution.
3) Availability. Most good raid groups have spots that open and close as applicants join, and groups that accept anybody anytime are usually absolutely atrocious. This might make Pro-point #2 a bit difficult.
4) I'm a leader. That's not to say that I'm the best leader, but being in charge of a project causes the project to bring me an immeasurably larger amount of pleasure (or pain) than simply being a component part of the project does. That's not to say I can't handle being subordinate, nor that I can't enjoy being a subordinate. It's just not my strong suit.
Start a Raiding Group
1) I like being the guy in charge. And sure, it sucks balls when I fail to do things right, I've demonstrated in the past that I can do things right.
2) Any success is something I can feel much more proud of than I would be able to if I joined a raid group rather than formed my own.
3) Loot distribution will be up to me, so I'll be able to stick with the system I'm most comfortable with.
4) I can continue raiding with those members of my old raiding group who are able to commit to the raiding times I set.
1) Mistakes are my mistakes. Obviously I can't know everything, and sometimes things just...go wrong. But if a group is bad, then it's the raid leader's fault for putting together a bad group.
2) I would need to do somewhere between a shit ton and a fuck ton of work to keep everything running smoothly.
3) It would take a lot of time to actually get a group together.
4) Even if I force everybody in the raid to go through an interview process that includes a few heroics, I can't be sure of how well they'll work together in a larger group.
I've been wrestling with this decision for a week now, and I'm still no closer to a real decision. At first, I was determined to find a raid group I liked, and try to join it. It would be fast, and I would finally be relieved of all the stress that had built up over the last few weeks. But at the same time, I knew I was coming off of a string of failures, and wasn't in the best emotional state to make that decision. It didn't take much time for me to realize how much I would hate dealing with being some other raid leader's subordinate. It's a weakness of mine, but it's not one I can simply wish away.
Over the last week, I've been talking with friends who have known me and raided with me for a long time about what they think I should do. One of my friends told me that I should join another raiding group, at least for awhile. His rationale was that I could learn a lot about how other people manage their groups, and it would help me progress more quickly than starting my own group would. Another friend finds the idea of me playing any part in a raid other than leading--or at least assistant leading--almost laughable. Talking to her, I'm surprised my pals haven't organized an intervention for my power addiction.
Even without input from my friends, I've had a tough time settling on a decision. For the last seven months or so, I've had a lot of ideas I wanted to implement in a new raiding group, and this is a golden opportunity to put those ideas into practice. But the process of finding people interested in joining the group, making sure they're fit to be part of the group, and getting started on clearing content will take time. A lot of time. A problem I wouldn't have if I joined another person's group.
Whatever I choose, it needs to be soon. I haven't killed KT in almost a month, and that's just silly. Haven't even seen Ulduar yet.
Any suggestions would be keen.