Guilds seem to be hitting hard times when it comes to recruiting and attendance. The actual topic of top level progression guilds shutting down will be explored at a later time.

For now, we look at different buttons we can press to encourage players to show up and raid. Aren’t you tired of raiders coming in for a few nights and then vanishing completely?

In this episode we discuss…

  • Creating player incentives for attendance
  • Attendance tracking via addons and a website
  • Holding giveaways for battle pets and mounts
  • Troubleshooting player burnout
  • Raid positions as competition

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You can tweet us anytime: @matticus and @GitErRaid.

We encourage you to share with us the points you took away. You can do that by leaving a comment below.

The Show Notes

  • Mizus RaidTracker – An addon for tracking loot and player attendance.
  • Enjin Hosting – An easy to use guild hosting platform. Free and premium plans are available.
  • Tracking Guild Attendance – An article with a variety of methods in tracking player attendance including old fashioned spreadsheets and the latest third-party services.

The Transcript

The transcript has been edited for clarity and grammar. 

Matt: Welcome to the Guildmasters Podcast, the companion show to the Guildmasters blog for both players new to leadership and veterans who want to brush up on their skills. My name is Matt Low, but everyone knows me as Matticus. You may have run into my work at World of Matticus, or WoW Insider, or the Warcraft magazine, and our other show, on the Edge. Like the guildmasters blog, there aren’t as many resources out there for guild the leaders, raid leaders, or officers. When I started out years ago, being my own GM, I didn’t have anyone to really turn to or websites that went into detail about leading in game. After that, some time in the last year or two, the official Warcraft forums completely gutted their raid and guild leadership section. So, here’s the premise. Every week, we tackle one problem or one challenge related to in-game leadership. We’ll offer you points of consideration and possible solutions. Now before we get started, I’d like to take a moment to thank you all for listening and subscribing to our awesome podcast!

Matt: So, don’t worry, I’m not alone. My partner has had over 5 years of raid leading experience. He’s been in his current guild for about 8 months and took on a leadership role for 5 of them. He is the current raid leader, co-gm, and hunter extraordinaire. Today we’re going to welcome my friend and fellow co-host of The Edge, Mr. Will.i.am.

No, it’s not actually the artist Will.i.am. I wish.

Will: I totally wish I had his paycheck, that is for sure.  Hey all, I’m happy to be here  tackling the problems of the unsung heroes of WoW raids.

Those guildmasters and leaders and officers may not be perfect but they’ve taken on those mostly thankless jobs that help keep things running smoothly… or at least that’s the theory.  It doesn’t always work out perfectly, but Matt and I are here to help and to share our own experiences for those leaders of your guild out there in the Worlds of Warcraft.  So without further ado, what do we have this week Matt?

Matt: Will, I’ve got a great one we can start off with. Check this out:

Hello Masters,

I have a somewhat healthy raid roster that fluctuates between 16 to 24 players. Unfortunately, we can’t start our mythic progression due to the constant shift in personnel. I’m looking for a way to create an incentive and to encourage attendance. Ideally, one that does not involve messing around with loot. What can I do?

From,
Lost in Lordaeron

Matt: Well, let’s see here. Any first year psychology student will tell you that there’s two points to motivation: there is intrinsic motivation (in our case, the desire to kill bosses and see content) or extrinsic (things like loot, titles, mounts awarded from the raid group). So, the first thing I’m going to assume is the loot system being used is not a points system like DKP or EPGP. Otherwise, incentive would not be an issue to begin with, simply because players would not accumulate points if they weren’t there to begin with. That means Lost here is probably utilizing something like Loot Council or a roll system or suicide kings.

Will: The poor guy is lost in Lordaeron. And I know the question said let’s not focus on a system that affects loot but I would challenge that a little bit at the very least.  If you have people showing up unreliably, then the loot should go to people who are going to help your raid the most.  If you have someone flaking and they are the top ilvl person in your raid group, that’s a lot of wasted loot and can hinder you in achieving some of your goals. But like I said, the question stated, “Let’s not use loot as a tool”. But we need to give some consideration for that.

My first tip, diving into this, is going to be to definitely track attendance if you aren’t already.  Get yourself some much needed info in order to be able to analyze the problem.

Matt: Will, Is there anything specific you use to track attendance.

Will: Well, we actually have, in DNA, a retired officer who just likes to sit around and program addons and websites all the time, so he’s actually making an addon to track attendance. But I do know that there are some loot addons that have that functionality, or something like that.  At the very least, if you have some sort of forum thread or some sort of way that people tell you that they’re not going to be there for raid, you should go off of those posts and look at the history.  My own guild is kind of casual about not being there, about wanting 80% raid attendance. Thats missing 2 out of every 12 raids a month.  It’s not too much of a commitment, but certainly you can see who is there and who hasn’t been there.

Matt: Oh and speaking of tracking attendance as a shameless plug, there’s a post on the Guildmasters that details different ways to track attendance. For example there’s an addon, that I use, called Mizus Raid Tracker which can export raid data onto Enjin. You can see how I have it laid out where it displays 30 day, 60 day, 90 day, and lifetime attendance as a percentage.

Will: Does that take it out of who was in the raid that night, that kind of thing?

Matt: Absolutely, yeah. So, if a player entered the raid and you do your, what’s it called, you can save it. Not just a ready check, but there’s a button you can use to take attendance, and it snapshots the raid composition and everyone within it. If you really want it, you can use it to track who got what loot as well, so there’s a nice bonus feature.

Will: That’s pretty sweet that it exports to Enjin, because a lot of guilds use that for their own website so definitely, definitely handy. Good shameless plug. But back to more tips on tackling this attendance issue. We probably need to start with some sort of understanding of the situation and the solution might depend on your overall atmosphere to raiding and the guild. If we’re talking  top 1%, top 5%, or just hanging with friends and family, or whatever, guilds run the gamut. There are all sorts of guilds out there.  I guess I’d put myself at the sort of middle to high end type of approach. Maybe top 5-10%. Where do you think you are, Matt?

Matt: See, I hate when I get asked these kinds of questions. I hate comparing myself to other guilds because A) I don’t know how big the raiding field is and B) I always underestimate myself. So, I am pretty sure I am definitely not the 1%, and I’m definitely higher than the 50%. So I would put myself somewhere in the top 20, top 15 percent or so. Something along those lines. Maybe 25, give or take. I think of my guild more of a sports club or a rec league, as opposed to a professional business or a professional sports thing. It’s more of a recreational kind of thing.

Will: It’s hard to categorize guilds in general. We could do a whole show about that.

Matt: Yeah, I’ll write that one down.

Will: For sure. You could talk about “is that top 5% of raiding progression, or how many hours a week are you raiding?” There are so many different factors.

Matt: Different metrics.

Will: It’s really hard to categorize all of those, but I think people can understand our general hardcore/casual type labels we put on this. If you’re talking about the top 1-5%, I think the approach to solving this attendance issue is to definitely to start recruiting and make people nervous about their spots. If you’ve got some people who are not showing up and just think they have their spot locked up (Matt: Entitlement), if they realize there’s another resto shammy showing up, they’re going to be a little nervous, they’re going to be there, and they’re going to want to outperform. I think those types of raiders at the top end are motivated enough to get in there and kill some bosses. Intrinsically, like Matt said, the whole internal approach. I don’t think that’s really an issue. Usually you have people burning out.

Matt: I’m surprised I haven’t burned out, actually. Eight years, haven’t taken a break at all.

Will:  Not even a month or two?

Matt: Nope, not even a month. Maybe the occasional week where I’m off to Vegas or whatever, but I’ve never stepped down for a long time.

Will: Wow, that is admirable.

Will: If we swing to the other end of the spectrum, if we’re talking about a pretty casual, friends and family type approach, or just hanging out with whoever, I think there’s a lot of solutions there. Even giveaways work wonders. Pet giveaways, mounts, and all that kind of stuff.

Matt: Yes, actually. If you have the resources for it, be it in game gold or extra cash on the side, holding monthly or periodic giveaways is a great way to entice people to keep on coming. I know that I’ve purchased and given away my share of battle pets and mounts. You can even do transmog pieces here and there. Don’t think of it as bribing or buying players. Think of it as another way to reward their continued commitment to you and your raid organization. If you wanted to, you can run it similar to a lottery system where whenever a player shows up for the whole duration of a raid, they get a numbered ticket. At the end of the week or a month, you can do a random roll and then award a pet based on whose number it landed on, to the winner.

Will: It might not even be…I mean I’m certainly not going to be spending my hard-earned cash on something, but even the rare battle pet or something the officers can come up with, a rare pet like Hatespark or something that an officer doesn’t care about having. You could say “Does anyone have anything to give away?” Once a month, do something. Not a big effort or a big lay out of resources and just lay it down there and let people show up and compete for it. Giveaways are great for that type of environment.

Will:  When you get to the middle of the road like my guild or Matt’s guild, a mix of things might work.  Giveaways are certainly interesting, and if people are responding to that, go for it. Recruiting and pressure for raid spots can work as well. My own guild tracks the attendance and when there is a mount to give away, related to the raid, or special pet drop like Kovok back in Siege of Orgrimmar, (Matt: There was also Invincible during Wrath), if you aren’t at the top of the attendance, you’re not even eligible to roll for it. We should have done the mounts for Garrosh that way, but we didn’t.

Will: I feel like, back to recruiting pressure, this question was targeted at a heroic guild going into mythic. That sort of pressure to keep your spot might drive people, if you let them know that it’s a factor in the decision on their raid spot, it might get people to show up because, “Hey I might not make the mythic team if I’m not showing up every week.” At least I hope they would feel that way.

Matt: Yeah, or alternatively it would discourage the ones that were on the fence to begin with, and it will make them commit to just not showing up to begin with. Either you know someone is going to step up and come to raid, or maybe they didn’t have their heart set on mythic raiding to begin with and just wanted to be a heroic or normal raider.

Matt: Also, to Lost, have you considered asking players why they’re not showing up as consistently? Could it be burnout? Maybe there’s a regular schedule event in their life you don’t know about. It could be exam season. Or a work project. I have a story here. A few years ago, I had a strong player who gradually stopped showing up. I pulled him aside one day and asked, “Hey mega mage, what’s the deal? We miss you in raid. Is everything okay?”

And he responded saying, “Yeah, I’m just a little tired. I’m a little disappointed because there’s a few people in raid here who don’t seem to be pulling their weight as much when it comes to DPS and mechanics. And when I see others not trying as hard as I am, it’s a little discouraging for me to come back reliably and play.” It was demoralizing.

I already knew what he was referring to, and Will you can probably attest to this: as GMs and raid leaders, we’re not always in a position to immediately eject people. I explained this, and I also said I would make stronger attempts at resolving this. I told him I would keep trying to recruit to replace (as Wil said above, the possibility of replacement is enough to keep people honest), and also talk to them in private, or acknowledge their misplays in public. I felt that, anyone who was slacking at that point, the players I recruited were mentally tough enough to handle that kind of criticism, maybe a shot across their bow. It wasn’t a tongue lashing, but more like a “Hey, you died to that fire.” or a “What killed you?” even though in private, I think all the officers already knew what killed the player.

Will: Just saying something like “Hey, how are you going to resolve that for next time?” You know, get it on them to say “Oh yeah, I died to that thing and I’m gonna do this other thing.” It totally works. The total overall point of asking your people who are not showing up is a great point. You never know, there are those work projects, those schedules and exams, etc. etc. If you don’t know that that’s happening, that’s information you’re lacking. You need to find that out. It’s hard for….if it’s a consistent person or a couple people who are not showing up, then the targeted approach like Matt just had is a great one. You can see what’s going on, you know what’s doing there, and you can work to resolve it. But, if it feels like it’s a more random “Hey, we are missing these three people tonight, and tomorrow we’re gonna be missing these other four people.” That’s really tough and a really tough nut to crack because you need to use these other tools that we’re talking about and track if it’s consistently that so-and-so or these four people who aren’t showing up on Thursday. Great, we need to figure out something for those four people. It’s even especially worse if those four are some of your key roles in the raid, like you don’t have your main tank on Thursday, or you don’t have two of your healers on this other day. Then you have to look at all these tips, like we said, and see what you can come up with to entice people to come, or end up replacing them.

Summary

Okay, let’s summarize the different points.

  1. Check your loot system anyway.
  2. Track your raid’s attendance. Information helps so you can see any trends.
  3. Periodic giveaways like in-game transmog, pets, or mounts.
  4. Put some pressure on people potentially losing their raid spots. Mention that you’re recruiting.
  5. ASK the player why they’re not showing up. Maybe the answer’s simple.

CONCLUSION

Matt: That’s a wrap for the first episode of the Guildmasters podcast. Thank you for putting up with us and we sincerely hope you’ve picked up a thing or two. It’s what Wil and I enjoy doing — We like helping people troubleshoot … people. You can find my twitter @matticus and follow Wil through @GitErRaid. If you’re interested in the show notes for the episode or want to drop a comment, head on the Guildmasters website at guildmasters.org. You can also find the video there as well.

If you want to contact us and leave us your feedback or have a question that you’d like us to help answer, email us at hi@guildmasters.org. Thanks for listening!