Officers Quarters
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kiljaeden

Officers’ Quarters: Waiting for Kil’jaeden

The Tomb of Sargeras looms over the Broken Shore. It has stood there throughout the Legion expansion, taunting us, and soon we’ll be able to discover its secrets. But we can’t assault it yet. For raid teams, this is a delicate time. Some teams are pushing to clear the Nighthold on their difficulty of choice. Others are having attendance problems as players who are sick of Nighthold make excuses not to show up.

This week, I’ll answer two questions about raiding at the end of a tier.

@Nyx404 asked
Tomb of Sargeras is coming June 20 and we’re trying to knock out the last few bosses in Nighthold, but attendance is an issue. Not the kind where people just don’t show up or several people have said they’re taking a break until the next tier, but the kind where an unusually large number of people just happen to not be able to make it any given raid night, but it happens every raid night. The kind of issue where six people are unavailable to raid when the number is usually less than three. The kind of issue that vanishes as suddenly as it appeared, conveniently when the next raid is available. Suddenly those with recent internet issues have found their latency back to double digits. Anyone who had a quick flare of “personal issues” sees them resolved a few days before the shiny new raid comes out. But as sure as you are some raiders are playing hooky, you’re sure some of those excuses are legitimate. And no feasible way to tell who is dodging their commitment and who really is dealing with RL crap.

What can an officer group do to prevent/curtail this kind of delinquency, when you can’t even prove it’s happening at all? The majority of the team is being deprived a chance at progression by a minority, and we’re not even sure exactly what minority!

It happens every tier for most guilds. You wish that people would just be honest and say, “I need a break.” Part of that is our fault as officers — we push attendance so hard that people feel ashamed or guilty to skip a raid without a concrete reason like Internet trouble or Great Uncle Eli’s funeral.

So raiders make up excuses. It’s not easy to tell the legit ones from the fake ones, nor should we pry into people’s social media or personal lives to find out. If you’re really concerned about a player’s attendance, the best thing is to ask them straight up if they’re still enjoying raiding and plan to continue. Often an honest question like that, spoken in private, will get the honest truth.

There may still be bosses you want to see dead before Tomb of Sargeras opens, but you can’t force people to participate. There’s no way to “curtail” this end-of-tier behavior.

If you can still make the raids happen with the personnel who show up, there’s no reason not to keep trying. But if you end up having to cancel raids over and over again, then you’re just wasting everyone’s time who actually bothers to show up.

Become a Watcher

In this scenario, it’s better to announce an official break. That way, your raiders who didn’t want to raid can have some guilt-free nights off. Your raiders who did want to raid will be annoyed. That can’t be avoided here. But they will be less annoyed than if they set aside every raid night only to wait around for a half hour and then log off without getting anything done. That’s far worse for morale than just giving the raid team a short break in between tiers.

For the dedicated few, you can also consider doing some volunteer-only raids in different content as an alternative to official raids. This gives those who need a break the break they want while offering something fun for those who are happy to show up for it. For example, you could tackle Mythic Warlords of Draenor raids that you may not have cleared before for transmog gear and mounts.

Hopefully everyone will come back for Tomb refreshed and ready to tackle the next challenge.

sisters of the moon

Zel asked
What’s your favorite go-to for keeping the troops spirits high in a long raid night?

It depends on the content! For farming, it’s great if you can start a fun discussion that’s self-sustaining. Good topics include music, movies and TV shows, other Blizzard games, etc. This relieves the monotony of clearing content while encouraging team members to interact and get to know each other better.

Encourage people who don’t talk on voice chat often to get involved. Ask players who haven’t spoken up in a while what their opinion of the topic is.

Just make sure people will listen to the raid leader when the raid leader calls for quiet on a particularly challenging part of an encounter or a boss where the raid leader needs to issue frequent verbal commands.

Another good one is trivia/quizzo night. You can either use cards from an existing game or go to a trivia website. Don’t do this nonstop, as it gets tedious and exhausting that way. Just ask one question every ten minutes or so. To make it more interesting, you can offer small prizes to the player who gets the most right. To make it fair, have people whisper you their answers. That way, it’s clear who got the answer correct first.

You can also make it more personal by asking trivia questions about you or one of the other officers that your team members aren’t likely to know. Have them guess on voice chat or raid chat. Then say who came closest to the right answer. Or you can do them in the form of multiple choice questions or true/false. Allow the team to debate the answer before telling them the correct choice.

For progression nights, you don’t want to do anything that’s too distracting. Focus is really important, as is identifying/correcting mistakes between pulls, adjusting strategy, etc. Progression nights can be tense and mentally draining, though, and it’s helpful to break the tension occasionally.

I had a player in my former guild who was great at this. Whenever our team was really down after a particularly poor pull, he would broadcast a snippet of a song or a movie quote over Vent. It made us laugh and forget that last pull. But it wasn’t a distraction that took people out of the game completely or ruined anyone’s focus.

These last few raids before Tomb opens are likely to be long raid nights. I hope one of these ideas can help your team, Zel!

As always, if you have a question for Officers’ Quarters, ask it below, on Twitter, or on the new Blizzard Watch Discord channel.

/salute

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