Surviving the expansion transition: Guild woes

Okay, so at this point, we’re deep into the pre-expansion rut. People’s focus has shifted from current raid content to Cataclysm content that isn’t yet available to us.

Guilds who killed Lich King long ago have attendance problems, and guilds who haven’t yet killed the Lich King are still feeling the pinch.

As members get bored, frustrated, tired, or just burnt out on the game, it becomes harder and harder to get together a group of 25 people to run ICC in the months leading up to a new expansion release. I’m not here to offer solutions, because at this point, I don’t have any. At this point, my goal is just to keep my guild (Conspiracy) running at all costs, with a constant battle of recruitment (at this point, anyone interested could still apply… even resto or feral druids).

At this point, Conspiracy got set back a bit in progression, and has always been a more casual guild, so we still haven’t killed the Lich King on 25-man (though we have killed him on 10-man and have been making pretty good progress on our 10-man hard mode runs!).

For Conspiracy, we’re still hanging on, but having battles over things like whether to do hard modes before we have LK dead on 25-man as a gearing tool & morale boost, but we still have some members who feel like buying a LK kill for a member just to unlock hard modes feels like cheating. I’m sure we’ll eventually kill LK 25-man before the next expansion, but being locked out of hard modes completely for now really sucks because full clears are potentially boring and LK is still just outside our grasp.

I really wish that doing Hard Mode Gunship & the easier hard modes didn’t require a LK kill, because it locks a lot of guilds out of having a progression path that allows them to work at their own pace. I really wish Blizzard would reconsider their Hard Mode lockout system for Cataclysm, and instead build a more flexible system that allows all guilds more flexibility & options.

That said – I just wanted to pose some questions out to the community: How is your guild surviving the pre-expansion slump? Has your guild considered buying your way to hard modes if you are stuck on the Lich King? Or, if you are already on hard modes, how are you keeping people interested in the weekly grind?

We’ve been doing off-night runs & achievements to try and fill the time with more fun activities, along with gearing up alts on alt run nights.

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18 comments on “Surviving the expansion transition: Guild woes
  1. Kal says:

    We’ve killed everything that’s available, and that does cause some attendance issues some times. Most notably it makes people want to sit or not show up or whatever – and when certain people do it, they basically hose us of doing anything for that night.

    For those who aren’t taking the attendance seriously, we’ve demoted to social and recruited others who are more inclined to do so. We’re also working on people who want to switch mains on a case-by-case basis, so that’s helping quite a bit in the doldrums. Otherwise it’s just farming mounts and shadowmourne for our fourth person, and working on getting records on WoL.

    One thing that’s helped a lot is that we’re all talking about what we’re doing in Cata. We’re actively trying to figure out who is switching to what toon, organizing that, and not stopping recruiting. Having switches now helps a lot with the testing out phase and whether or not they’re a good fit for that type of play as well as giving them some experience in their new role – but we still have their old toon to deal with harder content that we need work on.

    And honestly, we’re struggling with repeat kills on Halion for some reason. Sigh.

  2. Verdus says:

    Being in a similar position, I feel your pain. Unlocking heroic modes on a per-wing basis would probably have been a better way to go, but there’s not much to be done about it now. :-

    As for your question, our 25-man is surviving mainly through the scent of blood. We’ve never really been this close to killing the last boss of an expansion while it was still relevant content and a lot of us want it bad, myself included. We’re close, too. So far it’s been enough to overcome frustration, but I’m afraid that things may start to slip soon. Only time will tell, but we’re still inching towards that finish line. It’s just a matter of persevering at this point.

  3. Lavata says:

    Actually the lockout system in Cataclysm is slightly different than current. I was going to make a ranting blog post about it until I went back and double checked.

    The current Cata hardmode lockout is going to based on the number of times you have killed a particular boss and not the boss at the end of the instance. It would be nice if they went back and retrofitted it into ICC, but ya don’t see that happening.

    I would expect the number of kills required to be somewhere between 3 and 5.

  4. Valen says:

    We downed HLK25 about a month ago and the key to keeping things going is to keep people looking ahead, but not too far ahead, and reminding them that what happens now does affect Cataclysm (in terms of raid spots, class preference, etc). We’re currently farming mounts for everyone (Invincible and Mimiron’s Head) which has people engaged and interested, while still picking up a few pieces of loot from Heroic Halion, HLK, etc. It can be anything, though, so long as there is a clear path and it involves people thinking about goals they have to work together on. Titles, achievements, ICC meta-achievement mounts, old raid mounts, working on WotLK bucket lists — whatever fits your guild.

    A big part of it is making sure people have fun and see short-term, reachable goals. Show how attendance will affect reaching those goals and how their continued efforts will yield something for them. Don’t get lost in things like what classes people will play in Cata until Cata is closer; the less people think about the expansion, the better, at least when it comes to thinking about current objectives.

    Ultimately it comes down to engaging your members in things they like, showing how their choices will benefit them, and keeping a positive attitude. Take things slowly — don’t discuss every Cata change at once (such as main changes, or new guild goals, etc), instead measure it out and save those discussions and planning for lulls in interest. Much like a blog, give people a reason to think week to week something interesting may be happening or discussed rather than discussing everything early then having months of nothing. Oh, and never, ever, ever stop recruiting! Don’t lower your standards, but always be recruiting, peppering the recruitment forums (both bumping your guild’s post as well as posting in threads of people looking for guilds).

    Good luck!

    • Lissanna says:

      Oh, I never stop recruiting. We’ve gotten in a couple great new members over the last week or so. We grow bigger & bigger every day. I just want new content, lol.

  5. Lee says:

    Oh how I wish the pre-Cataclysm slump didn’t exist. I’m on a 9:1 Horde server playing an Alliance character. On the very day I decided to apply for guilds off server, I managed to get an invite randomly to a strictly 10-man ICC guild. No one has Kingslayer. At best they get 9/12 on a very good night. Between all of my characters I’ve managed to go 10/12 with some really good tries on Sindragosa in a single night. My frustration and growing apathy is killing my desire to play. It’s hard because while I could still get T10 gear from the Frost Emblems, the amount of playing and grinding necessary makes it utterly ridiculous. I am all for helping others, but people aren’t listening to instructions.

    My inability to find an Alliance guild on server kills me. I don’t want to transfer if I don’t have to, but it’s quickly becoming apparent that if I actually want to get a Kingslayer title, I’m going to have to consider transferring elsewhere. I have also been tempted to buy my Kingslayer title from somewhere. I don’t think it’s “unfair” or “wrong” by any means. And if one of you who regularly raids has it and can unlock some of the HMs bosses, then why not?! Especially the bosses that are on lockdown for strat.

    • Tralia says:

      We were in the same position with my guild ( and on a PvP server to boot) so the entire guild server transferred to a more balanced one. Was a little afraid we would lose something moving but things have actually been better.

      Our biggest thing is weve been stuck on 11/12 for months and while we would like to extend the lockout we never have the same people two weeks in a row. We are a casual guild of course and the fact weve even seen the last boss of an expansion is a pretty big accomplishment. We have considered buying someone Kingslayer just so we can do Heroic stuff but were not really in any hurry.

      Luckily for us being a casual guild we don’t have issues with people being on, we are starting to see issues of people not wanting to do ICC. I can’t blame them, I was doing it long before we started it as a guild and frankly I’m even tired of the place.

      Its just a normal process from expansion to expansion but at least its gotten easier. We used to need to rebuild the entire guild before every one, now people just take breaks and then come back so we don’t worry about it.

  6. csilla says:

    I’m guilty of the Pre-expansion slump, I stopped raiding months ago. We’d already killed LK 10man and had consistant attendence issues in 25man as well as drama in the H10 mans becoming more prevelant. So I rolled a new toon on an RP server to just mess around with and escape my guild/server for awhile. I ended up leveling that alt all the way to 80 in about a month, and a little after reaching 80, SC2 came out as well as I got my beta inv, so even my poor little RP toon is collecting dust right now. I hardly even log in to Live servers anymore, I really dont feel a need to, I keep in touch with friends either through Vent or Real ID.

  7. Emsy says:

    I handle the recruitment for my guild, I’ve pretty much put the brakes on adding any new members at the moment, many people have spoken to me about changing mains and I am of the belief that you should always promote in house first to fill certain holes (i.e. we have raided without a holy paladin for months). We’ve been able to clear 9/12 HM in ICC 25 and I admit I am definitely guilty of falling into the pre-expansion slump many people do for various reasons, my current main is resto druid and I know I don’t want to continue with it in cata for either my resto sham or disc priest and unfortunately, my GM is a little thick headed with allowing people to just switch mains at this point. I don’t see the big deal but it did bother me when he flat out told me I had to raid on my druid until Cata (granted we’re down to once a week and we are extending IDs to try and get Putricide down on 25) so I’ve decided to faction change one of my alts to alliance and use it as a vacation.

    I’m pretty frustrated as we’ve never been able to clear the majority of ICC 25 in one night, most other guilds on our server knock out 11/12 HM in one evening, we never have been able to get past 7/12 in one night and now no one is benefiting from any upgrades since we are extending an old lockout. We’ve also had constant attendance issues for whatever reason throughout the entire year and a half I’ve been there, which is also frustrating and no one plays on off nights so there is absolutely zero interest in running content on alts and my server is insane, many gdkps go 12/12 in ICC 25 since other guilds use their alts as carriers for the run.

    I started this game as alliance, then switched to horde in BC and remained horde for three years, I’m feeling the itch to change back to breathe some new life into the game, my bf has little interest in switching alliance so I feel very stuck with this current guild I am in. I wouldn’t mind the slow progression or the fact that I had to do mass recruitment three times just to get a LK kill in 25, but most of the people I really enjoyed playing with left or quit and stuck with some really obnoxious people. *sigh*

  8. Jar says:

    The pre-expansion slump hits everyone fairly hard that’s for sure. I’m fairly glad that our core of raiders has worked hard to stick together and we haven’t really had that many burn out as of yet but I am keeping my fingers crossed. Being on a fairly backwater server does mean that recruiting is fairly difficult and it is not a hospitable server for the super elitist guilds. Some of them have come and gone in a blaze of bright light but never really living for very long before transferring back off of the server. We have had some luck doing GDKP runs on alts, and having a core of alts capable of doing ICC hard modes has kept many of our raiders interests burning. There is something to be said about healers getting a chance to gear up DPS alts that helps alleviate the healer doldrums.

  9. Rarren says:

    We’ve taken a different approach from most people. Even though we’ve been at 11/12HM for many many many months, we have decided to stop there and not proceed further.

    Reason? The risk vs reward of pushing HLK25 is really not that good and a strong healthy (drama free) guild going into Cata is worth more than a few epics off HLK25 to us.

    How do we stay afloat? 1 day full clears of ICC and RS + using free time to farm fun things like Mimiron Heads! Logic? Mimiron Head’s will last forever whereas ilv 284 items will last you into week 1 of cata. A raid full of Mimiron Heads are more appealing than a few Invincibles too.

    Morale of the story? Know the limits of what your guild can and cannot do (and what its WILLING to do) and do not push your guild into a situation where it cannot succeed.

    • Lissanna says:

      That is a very good point. I guess the stage that my guild is at requires us to figure out what we can & can’t do (and what is really worth our time to try and do) between now & Cata – which is realistically only 2 or 3 months away.

      I actually suggested to my guild that we take a 1 day break from banging our heads against the Lich King to go do old raids (try and get mounts, achievements, & fun out of old instances where the reward is no longer gear), as a way to re-focus and come together as a group – and then when we go back to LK attempts the following day, we’d have a potentially renewed sense of the fact this game is supposed to be fun. 🙂

  10. lyrae says:


    I can’t tell if Conspiracy extending the raid lockout. If you aren’t, you could ease the number of hours of raiding needed per week. Scheduling attempts for ‘x’ number of hours per week against Mr. Lich might be helpful unless your guild still needs gear.


    • Lissanna says:

      We’ve been extending some weeks, and not others. We have people with a mix of different needs (some need gear, some don’t – some are happy to just raid LK every week, some aren’t).

  11. Jen says:

    All I can say is thank God for friends. We’ve got a core of about 7 people who make all raids, and 3 come and go (mostly due to work schedules). And when you’re running with a pretty small roster, and summer hits, and people start school/go on holiday… it’s not nice. But we’ve tried to bring friends into our runs, we pugged some 25-mans for some extra gear (we’re not 10 strict) and I really, really, really hope we get those last 2 achievements we need for our wyrms. From my point of view, once I’m on my skeletal dragon the expansion is over. I don’t care about the LK heroic. We’ll probably try him, and go poke Halion on both modes, but those won’t matter for me.

  12. Tulveli says:

    Am I the only one in a 25 man guild who’s no slumping? Out of about 40 raiders, we have perhaps 2-3 that regularly aren’t showing… and that’s due to RL issues (moving house, etc.) Everyone else is keen to get those last few hard mode kills (we’re 9/12 HM 25).
    In fact, I think news of Cata coming soon has made people want to raid more. Yes, they talk about “why can’t Cata come now” almost every night… but attendance is high and we’re progressing. Oh, and news of the 310% training being automatic if you have a mount has done wonders for reviving Ulduar (great news for those of us in the guild keen on getting achievements).

  13. Neyuna says:

    My guild has luckily avoided burnout. We raid 4 nights a week, but not in a row, so there’s a nice 2 day break in between. We’ve only called a few raids due to RL commitments from core raiders, but we have some great new recruits. We’ve had the “if you don’t want to be here, let someone else take your spot” talk, but for the most part everyone has had the same goal, and that has kept us focused and coming back. We knew we could kill him if we just focused and played smart. Our driving force has always been progression. Killing bosses, faster, with as little mistakes as possible. Since we were stuck at 11/12 heroic for so long, people’s motivation were things like ranking on WoL for dps or healing, gearing up an off-spec set, getting shard for the guys on the Shadowmourne quest and so on.

    As for LK himself, we had bad nights, and bad weeks, but as soon as we made it to the Frostmourne room, it was like everyone tasted victory. Everyone wanted him dead. I talked with most people and it was more than the loot. Many said they didn’t care whether there was any loot, or even a title, we just wanted the bastard to die. 😛 We finally got him the week before last. I was worried people would just be satisfied that we did it, but our core raiders number around 35, so we want everyone to have their moment.

    Aside from that, we’re working on heroic Halion now, but are suffering almost 2-3 disconnects per attempt. We also have a group working on finishing various pve and pvp achievements, and getting mounts. I guess it all comes down to your commitment and drive to achieve your goal, no matter what it is, small or large. Then you can view each as a step towards whatever big goal you have, even if it’s just staying together for Cataclysm.

  14. Poras says:

    i hear that, lissanna. my guild is in the exact same situation. 10man has been cleared several times…all our main raiders have the 10man LK kill. 25man, we’re right there, but can’t get the right group makeup / enough people to kill the LK. we’ve gone 9/12 heroic 10man, working on the last 3 currently.

    one thing we did implement, though, was that we have promised the first cata raid spots to those members who are sticking it out with us til the end of WotLK. it was a guild-wide announcement and and open to anybody who wishes for the initial spots come cataclysm. it sparked a little interest, but still not enough to fill 25mans. (we went from about 15 members signing up to about 22-23.)

    best of luck, liss, on finishing it out!

    — Poras


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