As a caveat, the format used for Vortex isn't for everyone: it's just what we have found to work for us. To better understand what it's like to be a 10-man guild, I will point back to my April post about what 10-strict is like, and how the raiding changes in Cataclysm will impact 10 man guilds.
Vortex formed shortly before WotLK's release by a group of gaming buddies who'd raided with each other before. Most of the founding raiders had had their hand at raid leading and, in many cases, officership and guild leadership before, stretching back into 40 man raids and across other games. Our decision for 10-strict was based dominantly on the smaller number of raiders we would have to manage, as we were rather burnt out from leading larger guilds.
We compiled what we liked and didn't like about our past guilds and looked to guilds we respected to see what we could take away from them for our own charter. Very little of our guild policy has altered since its inception two years ago, and we've steadily kept raiding from Naxx to Ulduar to ToC to ICC, until we ran out of content with our kill of hardmode Lich King, a rare kill for a purely ten-man guild. Our raiders are now preparing for Cataclysm, eager to see Vortex enter a new expansion.
The guild leader and two officers form a system of checks and balances with each other. We three have equal footing and yell and scream at each other when necessary. If we're torn on an issue, we use a majority two-on-one vote to deal with major decisions, including whether one of us was out of line on something (and to get after each other). These three leaders handle the bulk of running the guild, and together discuss any major changes to guild policies or personnel conflicts that need mediation. They also keep a finger on the pulse of the guild, both current and looking to the near future as raiders may have conflicts of interest that may require eventual recruitment and roster changes. And, so far, we've survived each other for 2 years :)
Officer duties include website/ventrilo administration, scheduling, raid leading, PR (news, forums, videos, blogs... *cough*), recruitment organization, bank maintenance, conflict mitigation (including both head-knocking and more delicate intervention), strategy research and discussion prompts, log hosting and review, policy review, attendance tracking, and more that I can't think of right now.
Once major policy topics have been discussed by the officers, they are tossed out to the rest of the guild (if necessary) for further discussion and ideas. We prefer having a transparent leadership and make efforts to hear out everyone's perspective on something, and explain our decisions and reasoning.
Vortex Code of Conduct:
We'd seen enough drama eat away at other guilds and our own sanity; drama drove our leadership to all quit the game at the end of BC before we formed Vortex. The very first thing we wrote up, beyond our raid roster outline, was a code of conduct we would expect every member of the guild to adhere themselves to while wearing our tag. It has resulted in a very good public image for our guild, though we have had to part ways with a few former members due to their odd wish to troll trade chat.
The gist of our code of conduct is such:
- If you have our tag, you are representing our guild. Please act as a representative when in pugs, public chat, forums, etc. This means no trolling trade chat or general ass-hattery that would reflect back on the rest of the guild.
- You are required to attend raids with the best possible enchants, gems, potions, and food that you can. This is expected of offspec, as well; alts and casuals get some leniency when they fill in, but we do push towards proper gear maintenance.
- You are expected to help other guild members in farming mats for resist gear and contribute to the guild bank when possible. With a small guild, everyone needs to pitch in. In return, we are able to offer guild repairs on progression fights, as well as stockpile consumables and materials for the whole guild to use (including alts and casuals).
- You are expected to treat guild members with respect. Even those that you do not particularly like. I hate that Scythe guy ;) On a real note, though, this is an important part of surviving a small guild community. We have had guild members who did not get along (or have simply butted heads over something) and it is so easy to read against the grain in text. Maintaining civility is a huge help in solving conflicts.
- You are required to adhere to the guilds "no drama" policy. See below.
|Few people will argue that drama kills guilds, so we have instituted a no-drama policy. Anyone found to be causing drama that creates rifts within the guild or damages our reputation will be warned and potentially removed from the guild at the discretion of the officers. This does not mean you cannot disagree with each other nor does everyone need to get along all the time. What this means is that you must be conscious of your actions and be responsible for them. This does not mean you cannot discuss heated topics on the forums but there are right ways to go about things. We are adults. Please try to resolve problems with the person you are having a problem with. If that fails or is too uncomfortable, speak to an officer; if that fails then perhaps it would be time to take it to the forums. Think with your brain, not with your anger.|
This is our take-a-chill-pill policy. Also, we consider our under-18's to be adults: it's a matter of maturity, not age :) This policy has given us a good outline for handling conflicts in the guild.
Now we're getting into the more functional aspects of 10man raiding. Vortex has run with a 13-14 person roster, fluctuating based on class needs and current raiders' available attendance, as well as the presence of exceptional applicants we just couldn't turn away.
- 2 main tanks. 2 offspec tanks.
- 3-4 main healers. 2+ offspec healers.
- 8 DPS, with a gamut of offspecs.
For the most part, each of our raiders fills a main, unique spec, with some overlap of dualspecs. This gives our raids a necessary flexibility to adapt to fights, and we have certainly made use of it: as recent examples, our first Sindragosa kill had the usually-resto druid as an offtank in cat spec, and our holy priest was shadow for our HLK kill. Whenever we received an application for a class/spec we already had, it took some intense discussion to determine if we could feasibly accept the player in their chosen class/role. Of course, our roster space also meant we did not have every class present: rogues in particular are something we've run without, as well as enhancement shaman and DPS warriors, in spite of past attempts to recruit them.
Rotations are used to allow everyone a chance to play. Rotation applies to everyone, though our two tanks are rotated relatively infrequently. Rotation is based on fight need (best group composition to get a new kill), gear/achievement need, showing up on time, and, when on a farm run and all else is equal, just rotating between wings/bosses to give everyone a chance to play.
In such a small guild, recruitment is weighed in on by all of the raiders. All of our raiders will read through applications and put their 2 cents in (or more) in a private guild forum, and based on the discussion and general yay/nay will an applicant be able to continue on to interviews and possible test runs. We have some very well-read guild members who will write essays on an applicant; we also have a very blunt interrogation squad who will question gear choices and talents and guild history. We take our recruitment very seriously, because once you're in, you're in, and we're relying on you to then uphold our guild tag and coordinate with the rest of us in our raids.
You can check out our application here. It is long, and we expect good answers from our applicants. It covers everything from gear maintenance, spec, interface care, personality, where you're coming from, goals, hopes, dreams, and general fit into the guild's community. As a note: we do not recruit for "the bench," nor do we accept applications for casual ranks. All of our casuals are of the "friends and family" variety and follow no formal recruitment process; they are simply reliant upon officer approval.
During all parts of the process, every raider has an opportunity to speak their opinion. Final votes on applications are done among all the raiders; they don't always choose to exercise that right, but they have it if they wish to use it. All applications are archived in a hidden underground bunker so no one has to see the trauma their application went through before being accepted. ;)
We choose to raid 3 nights per week, with a 66% attendance requirement (2 out of 3 raids). Most of our raiders are available all 3 nights, though we all enjoy or need a break every now and again, and some have class or work; we also allow exceptions for short vacations.
We expect all raiders to show up to every raid, unless they inform us otherwise. This is contrary to "sign up sheets" used by other guilds, where you don't have to show up unless you say you'll be there, which often caused problems when the "slackers" didn't want to go on a progression wipe-night or they finished getting all the gear they wanted. Instead, our raiders post if they CAN'T make it, as it's assumed they will be present otherwise. This has its obvious difficulties if a member looses power or internet, but that's no different than the sign-up method, and many of our raiders have exchanged phone numbers to combat this.
Those who dip below this attendance requirement for an extended period of time are called into question. We have had to ask others to either step it up, or step back from being a raider.
We officially use a loot council as our loot system. We have NEVER used it, though: there has never been a time when we've had to put together a tribunal of some sort to decide which raider should get a piece of loot. This is due to a couple things:
- Small raid size. There are fewer people to compete with for drops.
- Lack of greed. "It will drop again." In general, our raiders view loot as a means to an end, rather than the goal: they wouldn't've chosen 10-strict in WotLK otherwise, where the best loot they can get is iLevel 264 (compared to the 277 in 25mans).
The majority of our loot disagreements take the form of "You take it." "No, you take it." "It's better for you, you should have it." "Nah, it's not that big an upgrade, you can have it."
Rankings are not something we actively strive to achieve. We are proud of our accomplishments, but getting there first is not our driving goal. Just getting there, downing the content and overcoming the challenge it presents us (without beating our heads against the wall blindly): that is our goal.
For most of the expansion, we bounced around world ranks 30-15, but caught up in the last year of the expansion as other guilds began to fall apart and give up on HLK and his understudies, H-Sindy and H-Put. We won our spot more through persistence and strategical flexibility than speed. We also chose to play to the ideal of 10-strict: we disallowed all members from raiding any 25 mans once they joined us, even if they already had the achievements from their previous guilds. This did mean that our members' alts were often forced into side guilds for pugging, but it kept us on the strict charts.
We never expected to end up in the top 2 in the world for progression. I think it would be folly for us to think we can hold onto it in Cataclysm without making some severe changes to our raiding schedule, however: we just don't raid often enough. We have our pride and we push ourselves to be our best, but we aren't insane :)
This is the first expansion change we'll be riding as Vortex, but I'm not overly concerned about it. We've been discussing what each member is interested in doing, as some have been considering character swaps, and laying on the expectation that everyone put effort into leveling and playing together as a guild until we are raiding again at 85. It is, however, the first time many of us have run out of content in an expansion, so we've been trying to find things to do to keep us occupied without stretching our sanity.
I look forward to seeing the 10-man raiding scene adapt to the changes Cataclysm is bringing. To everyone that is working now to build their own 10-man guild, I wish you luck, and I hope that our policies, experiences, and ideas may be of benefit to you as you build your own guild.