Thursday, March 4, 2010

Cataclysm and Your Raiding Roster

I doubt my guild is the only one with this thread on their forums: "What do you want to do when Cataclysm rolls out?"

We saw it with TBC, we saw it with WotLK, and we'll assuredly see it again with Cataclysm. Players opt to try out the newly released race/class, and some simply just want a change. While there will be the eventual opportunity for players to race-change their mains to one of the new races (goblin/worgen), some will simply wish to reroll and level afresh, be it for story, role play, or just "clearing the slate."

Guilds need to be looking ahead to this, because it means a changeup of their rosters. An unprepared guild could find itself flailing for raiders to fit specific roles, and could easily disband over time as the players seek out new, stabler homes. Is your guild ready for this?
  • Start up a discussion. Even if you're just opening the door for some "alt nights" to play out the new races, you need to start somewhere. Many raiders may not say anything about their plans unless asked.
  • Talk out roles. Is your tank suddenly becoming a healer? Your healer going dps, etc? What will that do to your roster? Is there someone else interested in switching to that empty slot, or do you need to keep an eye out for recruits? Is the new role one that they have played before and have some experience with, or is it just a wild guess that they want to try out and may not fit with them, leading you to a longer wait at 85 as they figure out what they want to do?
  • Talk out races. Is the player that wants to switch to the new race able to wait and perform a race-change on their main, or will they need time to re-level and, possibly, learn a new class or spec?
  • Talk out classes. Is someone disillusioned with the class that they play? Do they have an alt that they enjoy more? This is a chance for them to change it up and get out of the rut with their current class, which will in turn keep them interested and enjoying the game.
  • Talk out mechanics. Not everyone follows blogs or news sites, and the surprise of the changes may be waiting for them as late as them logging into the live update: surprises like that, particularly if they're rolled out before the expansion is released, can put a dent in your ICC raid nights while the uninformed player tries to quickly make heads and tails of it all.
  • Talk out professions. Notably for Cataclysm, every player should be made aware of reforging (altering gear stats slightly with tailor/leather/blacksmithing) and the Archeology secondary profession. This can also include individuals' profession changes, such as the slew of jewel-crafters that emerged in TBC, and inscriptionists that came out with WotLK; if your favorite enchanter is planning to level a new profession, you may have a problem. Motivating the guild to stock up ahead of time on materials for leveling professions into the expansion is also a very good idea.
  • Talk out schedules. I'm talking long-term vision here: is someone starting up college? Graduating college and starting a new job? Picking up a summer job, or taking evening classes? Not allowed to raid during the fall? Picking up a sport or martial arts? Having a baby? Moving to Antarctica (or just a couple timezones)? What do those players wish to do about raiding, then?
Of course, on top of this, inevitably every class will see some playstyle and/or spec changes. Just among druids, TBC's release saw making feral a viable raiding spec and tree form, breaking away from Healing-Touch spam and into the world of pure lifebloom. Towards the middle of TBC, moonkin started fighting their way onto the real raiding scene. Then, with WotLK (and Sunwell), bear tanks were suddenly no longer relegated to OT duties, moonkin raiders were accepted and even wanted, and tree druids had to ditch lifebloom in favor of Rejuv and Wild Growth while incorporating nourish into the arsenal.

For a non-druid example, Mutilate rogues became viable raiding specs from the laughable fail-specs that they were, and for a time they enjoyed a WotLK single-target dps spotlight of overpoweredness. What TBC rogue would've expected that?

Be ready for class changes, and be ready for your guild to change things up on you. Don't let your guild get blind-sided with Cataclysm :)


Soph said...

This is a fantastic article and something I'm definitely going to try and start working on with Flames.

Thanks, Kae


Anonymous said...

We do a post like this usually about a month or two before the expansion is about to hit stores :)

We always give people the opportunity to switch mains (provided that there is room on the roster with those mains that want to keep their current main), or make changes. It's generally worked out pretty well!

Now, Kae, we should be asking the *really* important questions! *ahem* To Troll, or not to Troll ;-)

Kae said...


I think it will depend on the artwork for the forms. If the troll trees look much cooler than the tauren trees, I may have to consider a change ;) Of course, right now, they're all the same ugly grumpy wilted old geezer-trees.

Alyae said...

They should all look like the WTF TREE!

Brickflank said...

This is a useful post for guild leaders and officers. Unfortunately, ones who've been trying to bootstrap guilds for the last nine months are probably the ones in for the hardest time. I ran a casual PvP/RP guild on The Venture Co during the ramp-up to LK, and when LK came out, the pressure to raid just sucked out all of my best people. We entered a death spiral and I disbanded just before 3.1 came out. Hopefully strong raiding guilds, or even newer ones working on 10-toon progression can hold it together by having something to offer. For my part, I am enjoying being a free agent. No guild, no 'sponsibilities, no worries. Thanks for the thoughtful entry!