How to motivate your guild when progress stalls
If you’ve done any kind of progression raiding, you know this point. You’ve thrown yourself against a boss repeatedly and aren’t making any headway. Consistently dying wears on people. It can destroy morale and take a silent — and often not-so-silent — toll on your raiding group. Dissatisfaction with progress in a raid can lead to discontent with the guild. This can result in your raiders looking for greener pastures — or at least a group that can down this boss (and more). Before you lose raiders to said greener pastures, here are some things to try to motivate your group.
Logs are your best friend
First of all, are you running logs? Even a casual guild that wants to down bosses in current raids should be running logs — I personally recommend Warcraft logs. You may never require people to read these logs, but having them helps you and your raid team determine what could be wrong. If all the strategies say DPS must hit 7k average to down this boss and your raid’s average DPS is 6k, there’s a 1k gap you have to figure out how to overcome. You won’t be downing this boss until that gap is surpassed. Raiding logs give you this information.
Next, armed with this data, you need to sit down with your officer corps and discuss the problem. Even if they haven’t said anything, your officers are probably acutely aware you’re stuck. Maybe they have given the problem some thought and have suggestions. Lay out the issue, open up the floor to discussion, and listen to everyone.
Take notes. Have your logs open. Really dig into the data. Once you have discussed what you see, ask your officers what they think can be done to get you through this. Propose anything. Seriously! Toss out any and all ideas — even something totally silly. Brainstorming sessions are for all ideas. Come up with sensible things guild members can do which will down that boss.
Honesty is a great motivator
Now comes the hard part. Be honest with your guild. Explain the problem and propose the solution. “Guys, the strats say we need 7k DPS, and we’re averaging 6k. We have to bridge this gap. After discussion with the officers, this is what we’re going to do. We recommend everyone who wants to come to the raid start doing these things.” Note: Make sure guild members who are interested have access to your raid logs so they can see what you see. (Another shameless plug for having a guild web site.)
Recommend add-ons. I generally don’t like telling people, “You must run X.” It’s their computer and their playstyle and who am I to dictate how they play? However, that goes out the window when you hit a progression wall. “Guys, it’s not me. It’s the encounter. If you don’t do x, we don’t win.” Be ready to help someone once they install the add-on(s) you recommend.
Officers need to be available to work with any player who expresses an interest in doing what’s necessary to down a boss. You may need to really dig into their playstyle. Maybe their UI isn’t configured optimally. Maybe you need to tell them not to game on their laptop in the living room where the family is watching TV. Regardless of family closeness, if you’re going to raid, I need your attention here and not partially with the family. (Yes, I have had that discussion with several raiders.)
Whatever you and your officer corps have decided to do, you need to explain the process clearly to all guild members. Some will decide it’s not worth it. Some will do half of the work and some will jump in with both feet. Respect everyone’s decision. I also recommend officers routinely talk about how doing x upped their x quotient and how they’d love to show others how they did it in preparation for the next time you hit boss Z. Yeah, it sounds exactly like an infomercial, but officers and the guild leader need to lead by example. So even if you’re pulling way above the healing/tanking/DPS numbers, tell people you work on your character because it’s how you down bosses.
Do other things
There are other things you can do. It could be people are burned out. What if you took a break? Seriously. Unless you’re going for a world or server first, if you’re stuck, take a break. Breathe. Let everyone clear their heads. I recommend a minimum of two weeks. During this time, loudly make yourself available to answer questions and help people.
What if you scheduled a different raid — say, Antorus, the Burning Throne — instead of current content? Call it a “fun run” and go for transmog or a guild-fastest clear time. Raid so people keep that mindset, but not make it the content you’re struggling with.
What if you did something totally off-the-wall? My favorite is find a tall peak — give everyone a Goblin Glider — and see how far you can get. You’d be amazed at how doing something silly breaks the tension, clears the head, and gets everyone back in a good raiding mindset.
Getting stuck on a boss can severely hurt raiding morale. You want to break that defeatist feeling before people start looking elsewhere. If there is a boss you can’t get, analyze your logs, and take a small break. Clear analysis coupled with officers eager to help anyone and jumping off Dalaran with gliders to see if you can get to Wyrmrest Temple can help break that invisible mental raiding wall. Good luck.
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