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Officers QuartersJul 6, 2016 1:00 pm CT

Officers’ Quarters: Ranked raider perks

In this week’s question, an officer wants suggestions about incentives to offer his highest-ranked raiders. I’ll offer some suggestions for ranked raider perks, but I also want to discuss the idea of separating raiders by rank according to skill.

I’m curious about your thoughts on ways to provide incentives for raiders using guild ranks and associated perks. We currently have a two ranks for our raiders: essentially what boils down to a “Raid-Ready” rank and a “Raid-Elite” rank (not the actual rank names). Each has it’s associated perks like bank access, repair costs, etc. The main difference between them is that the “Raid-Elite” is guaranteed a raid spot (and thus harder to earn).

Are there other incentives/perks that you could suggest for guilds looking to do something outside of the norm of bank access and repair gold?

First I want to examine whether it’s a good idea to have these kinds of ranks at all. I’m not convinced that it is, but it partly depends on what kind of guild you’re in.

For a progression guild, everyone on your roster that you plan to take into a raid needs to be “raid elite.” If someone isn’t at that level, then the guild needs to work together to get them there in terms of gear, skill, knowledge, and raid awareness as soon as possible. You can have a tryout rank for people who are new to the guild that doesn’t offer the same rewards as the rank of a full member (and protects your guild bank). Beyond that, dividing up your roster in terms of skill is only bound to create hardships and drama.

My biggest problem with this is that you’re putting people into labeled baskets instead of putting the emphasis on the raid team as a whole. Not only that, but you’re implicitly stating that one basket is better and therefore more important than another. You’re drawing lines across your community. This is just begging for cliques to form, which can alienate members of your team.

Players who aren’t as good as other players already know they’re not as good. It’s staring them in the face every time they check their meters or every time they die and the other tank has to bail out the raid. Putting them in an entirely separate rank just rubs it in their face. Now hopefully they are actively trying to improve, but I’d say this constant reminder that they’re inferior is not always a great motivator for many players.

star auger etraeus

Where’s the advantage?

In exchange for those drawbacks, you’ve got a system that gives your best raiders some nice perks and guarantees them a raid slot. The issue of raid slots doesn’t matter nearly as much as it used to, however, unless you’ve got three dozen raiders showing up every night. With only Mythic difficulty realistically capped, getting a guaranteed slot isn’t all that relevant anymore. It’s also not necessarily enforceable in all cases. Sometimes you just have to bring in a different tanking or healing spec because it trivializes a mechanic and that can mean asking one of your “guaranteed slot” raiders to sit out. Sometimes you just really need a Death Grip.

As for the perks, if you’re giving them to the elite rank raiders, would it really break the guild bank to extend those benefits to all of your raiders? Auctioning Hellfire BOEs that no one needs can easily cover repairs for all unless you’re raiding for 20 hours per week. (And if you have been, why are you still wiping? Haha.)

Giving those incentives to everyone fosters an overall sense of community and teamwork, that you’re all in this together. It convinces everyone that the guild cares about them and makes it less likely that people will hop to another raiding guild.

I know that it’s a common perception that progression raiders raid because they want rewards that others aren’t skilled enough to earn, and that’s partly true, but creating that dynamic within your own guild seems unhealthy. Raiders like those rewards because the rewards show other players their skill at a glance. But you don’t need to show off to your own guildmates. They know what you’ve accomplished — and what you’ve failed miserably at, too.

Emerald Nightmare loading screen

Social status

For a social raiding guild, on the other hand, I think ranks like this can serve as a motivator for people to take raiding more seriously. However, I don’t think that small advantage is worth all the potential finger-pointing, scapegoating, and shaming that could result from dividing up your raiders by labeling some of them “elite” (or equivalent).

The one area it might make sense for a social raiding guild (and one that I’ve used successfully in the past) is to use the ranks as a raid readiness check. To be an “approved” raider, you had to make the minimal effort of enchanting and gemming all of your gear, replacing quest greens with dungeon drops, reforging where appropriate, and having a build that makes sense. We weren’t asking for 100% optimization — just a quick inspection to show that you cared enough about the success of the team to put in the moderate amount of effort that it took to reach that point. It’s another aspect of the game that has become less important over time as the game has asked us to jump through fewer and fewer of those hoops.

Taking that idea another step and putting some of those raiders in a separate and elevated rank is, in my mind, against the spirit of social raiding.

Incentive ideas

Now that I’ve trashed your guild’s rank setup for 900 words, I’d like to help you with it, but again, I encourage you to extend these incentives to all of your raiders. These days, hanging on to every willing raider that you can is the best way to survive and succeed.

  • Create a rotation of raiders allowing one or two players per run to bring an alt of their choice for farm content.
  • Raffle off mounts, pets, and other cosmetic items. Give people one raffle entry per raid attended over a period of several weeks or months. If someone in your guild is able to spend real money, Battle.net gift cards make great prizes too.
  • Randomly select one player per month to rename the guild’s voice chat channels or all the hunters’ pets.
  • For the next month or so at least (and Legion might have similar items), Champion’s Honor and Medallion of the Legion are highly sought items that officers will occasionally obtain for free from garrison missions but can also be purchased on the Auction House. Medallions can also be farmed (ineffectively) in Tanaan Jungle.

I encourage readers to post more ideas below. Ultimately, those who stick with it will do so because they love WoW and they love raiding in WoW. All the prizes and incentives in Azeroth won’t keep someone invested when they’re burned out. But they are definitely a factor that can set your guild apart from others and keep players coming back expansion after expansion. I wish you guys luck in Legion!

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