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The Mystery of Raider Availability

June 2, 2011

I’m back! Did you all miss me? Sorry for the lack of posts recently. I was really busy for a while, then just really lazy. I was also focused on leveling my Worgen Hunter – she’s level 82 now and I’d really like to get her to max level. Also, there were raids, real life commitments, books to read, etc. So now I have to get back into the blogging routine.

State of the Raid

Last night was our most successful raid night to date. We were only planning to do BoT and TotFW, but we still had 2 hours of raid time left by the time we were finished. I suppose we could have worked on Al’Akir, but we hate his guts. The random number generated unfairness that is his first phase is just too frustrating. Instead we decided to go to BWD and clear some of the farm bosses so we could have more time on Nefarian tonight. We ended up blasting through that place too, so all 10 of our farm bosses died in one night. This means we’ll have four hours of progress on Nef tonight!

The Mystery of Raider Availability

When we first started raiding in Cataclysm we decided to focus on BWD, and both of our raid nights were dedicated to that one raid.  If we had time we’d also run BH and Halfus from BoT.  Once we had killed every BWD boss but Nefarian, we decided to spend Wednesday on BWD and Thursday on BoT.  At this point a funny thing happened.  On Wednesday we’d have 12-15 people show up ready to raid, but on Thursday we’d usually have exactly 10 people.  We’d had a fair amount of raider turnover by this point, so we assumed that Wednesday was just a better day for people’s schedules.

After a few weeks of good Wednesday attendance and low Thursday attendance, we started to feel bad for those people who were never getting a chance to run BoT and TotFW.  So we decided to alternate which day we ran which raid – one week we’d do BWD on Wednesday, but then the following week we’d run BoT and TotFW on Wednesday instead.  This wouldn’t impact the core group of raiders much, since they were showing up both nights anyway, but it would give other people with less availability a chance to learn the other encounters.

But a funny thing has happened: We still have high attendance on nights we run BWD – regardless of whether that’s a Wednesday or a Thursday –  and low attendance on nights we run BoT/TotFW.

So what on earth is going on?  Either some of our members have really random schedules that happen to coincidentally make them available only on the nights we run BWD, or people prefer to run BWD and have no interest in running any other raid.  If the latter is true, then I wonder why they would prefer one raid so strongly over the other.

Now, when we first started running BoT, this attitude might have made some sense.  BoT was a progression raid, so we’d spend a lot of time wiping and very little time handing out shiny purples.  If someone wanted to come in and down a few farm bosses for easy purples and Valor Points, BWD was the night to raid.  But this makes no sense anymore.  We have 5 farm bosses in BWD and… 5 farm bosses in BoT/TotFW.  Not to mention the fact that Cho’gall drops tier tokens.  If people wanted to maximize their loot gains, they should be preferring BoT night over BWD in order to have access to completely different loot tables and tier tokens.

I’m baffled.  Is BWD just an inherently more interesting/attractive raid?

At Least One Reason That Makes Sense

One of our newest members has only been attending BWD raid nights, but he’s explained his reasoning.  He is brand new to raiding with Cataclysm, so he’s just learning the ropes.  He came to the officers and told us that he wants to focus on BWD so that he can learn those fights well and not be overwhelmed with trying to memorize ten bosses’ worth of fight mechanics.  This makes a lot of sense to me, although I think he might be underestimating his own ability – he’s shown a great amount of raid awareness and skill so far.  This player is also generally online for BoT nights and hangs out in vent with us even if he’s not in the raid group – which worked in his favor last night as we were able to sub him in when we got to BWD.

So it is possible that other people have perfectly good explanations for their attendance histories.  But unless people explain themselves we are just left scratching our heads, wondering what the heck is going on.

And of course, tonight is BWD night… but we’ve already downed everything up to Nefarian.  If anyone does show up looking for a free ride through farm bosses, they are going to be disappointed.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. June 2, 2011 4:52 pm

    This is my theory–the “swing raiders” (the ones who sometimes are available and sometimes are not, as distinguished from the “core ten” or so) are a little bit more casual and are comfortable with the BWD bosses because as a guild you started with those, and BoT is a little bit more recent, so they probably know those BWD bosses better. Coming for a new raid means learning new bosses. Learning potentially 4-5 new fights can be daunting, so they never sign up and therefore never become comfortable, leading to never signing up, etc.

    I don’t actually subscribe to the “free loot train” theory since, as you note, BoT is the superior train since it has a tier token at the final stop. That said, even if I’m right, they’re in for a bit of a shock tonight since all that awaits them is Nefarian, a fight they can’t be comfortable with (since none of us are, yet) and many fiery deaths.

    • June 2, 2011 11:14 pm

      That’s a good point… Though by this point we could probably carry someone through most of the fights, so it’s not like it would be so much effort to learn now.

      If you’re right, how do we convince people that it’s ok to show up and learn the fights again?

      • June 3, 2011 12:02 am

        I suppose one option would be, in the raid invites, to mention that new-comers are welcome and that errors are tolerable so long as the person is willing to learn from mistakes.

        Ultimately, though, the best solution is probably for you or another officer to talk to each individual and encourage them or else discover what is holding them back from trying the raid.

  2. June 2, 2011 5:35 pm

    I think the progression part is probably your answer. Back in ICC days that is what we would find. People were fine coming to farm content but wouldn’t show up for progression fights.

    Our guild was the opposite for a while. We too focused on BWD (not even going to the other boss fights) and people finally stopped signing up because they got tired of it. We started getting attendance back up when we started doing BoT.

    Next week is Nef/Al’Akir so we’ll see who we have.

    • June 2, 2011 11:12 pm

      See, I don’t understand why people wouldn’t want progression. Progression is my favourite part of raiding! I want to be one of the people in the first kill screenshot. I want to fight and die, and fight and die, until finally I stand over the boss’s body and pull my loot from his cold dead corpse. Farm content is fun, but there’s nothing like the feeling of finally downing a boss that you worked hard to kill.

      Maybe I’m just weird though.

  3. Glaornla permalink
    June 3, 2011 11:43 am

    After having just spent 8 hours over 3 raid nights working on Nefarian before we killt him, I can attest that there is such a thing as too MUCH progression. I am only able to raid 2 nights/week and honestly? I much prefer to spend 6 of those 8 hours doing comfortable, achievable, SUCCESsFUL encounters. This was further exacerbated by the fact that after our first Nefarian kill we immediately focused on Al’akir — Drake [Dark Pheonix] Fever!

    If you really wish to test your theory, I suggest not listing which raid you are going to do on which night. In ICC in a 25man guild, I was part of a team that would do that. Some weeks we would do first 4 and then go immediately to Blood Queen or Sindragosa if those were our progression, saving our “farm” wing of Fester/Rot/Professor for the 2nd night.

    Myself, and I know I see a lot more BWD PUGs on my large population horde-server, is that because BWD has a very small amount of trash — no more than 4, and as few as 2 — trash mobs between each boss. Whereas BOT has, what, about 20 trash mobs between each boss, if you consider the Ascendant elementals room as each mob counting xTwo?

    • June 3, 2011 1:02 pm

      That’s another good point about the amount of trash in BoT. For instance, I noticed that in our raid log the night we killed ten bosses that the water elemental trash before Ascendant Council was our third highest source of damage taken, more than any boss but Cho’gall and Chimaeron. Holy crap! That’s some tough trash! Maybe people just don’t want to deal with it.

      I can also understand not wanting to spend all one’s raid time on progression… but that’s not what we’re doing. The four hours we spent on Nef yesterday was by far the largest chunk of progression time we’ve had in months – usually we’ve had maybe an hour or two a week on progression. Maybe people think we’re spending more time on progression than we are.

      It would probably be wise to stop announcing which raid we’re doing first. From now on, we should do raid roulette!

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