Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Progression Blues

Everywhere I look these days it seems I see the same thing: raiders complaining about a lack of participation on progression night. It seems that folks show up for farm night but, when new bosses are encountered, a lot of people suddenly discover they have far more compelling things to do. Raids end up getting canceled, people get ticked off, and who knows where it leads to, maybe even guild break ups. While some would argue that it’s really a sign of ‘pre-Expansion Blues’, this has clearly been a problem for some guilds for some time going back to vanilla.

When people don’t show up for ‘progression night’ it makes me wonder: Why do they raid? I did a bit of digging around the blogosphere; my unscientific study of the question reveals three main reasons (in no particular order):

There are others, of course. ‘Experience more content’; ‘Nothing else to do’; ‘The guild/girlfriend/boyfriend want me to’ – but I think the three listed are probably the most frequently-cited. Some people will try to slip in ‘Character progression’ but in my view, that’s a euphemism for ‘loot’. You tell people you’re in it for ‘Character Progression’ because, if you tell them you’re in it for the loot, you’ll look like a greedy bastard. Who wants that?

At any rate, if you’re in it for any of these three reasons, then skipping progression night seems pretty counterproductive overall. If you raid for Loot, it’s in your interest to suck it up and go on progression night, because that’s where your upgrades are likely to be. After all, unless you’re extremely unlucky with drops or rolls, loot from farm bosses has pretty much been exhausted at this point, and most of it is getting DE’d or vendored for gold. Farm content isn’t challenging at all, unless you’re going for a difficult achievement or playing around with ‘let’s see how much dps the healers can do’. Maybe the real ‘challenge’ in farm content is in seeing how long you can maintain the group’s interest in running content that is ridiculously easy.

That leaves camaraderie. Camaraderie really seems to be the only frequently-cited reason for raiding that can suffer on progression night, particularly when the group struggles. Repeated failure makes it much easier for the group to break down, for fingers to get pointed, and for people to get sulky (although we all know that happens with loot, too). If you raid for Camaraderie you may well find your lovey-dovey feelings put to the test when you get firmly stuck; then you get a new challenge – keeping your group together when the going gets tough, maintaining the proper ‘group mind’ and morale to find a way to overcome the challenge. It’s certainly not easy, but when you do finally break through there’s a tremendous feeling – relief and accomplishment mixed together – that is greater for the effort the entire group put in than you get from completing a difficult solo task.

For me and I think for most members of my guild, the camaraderie and challenge are the top reasons why we raid. As such, I have a hard time understanding why people don’t show up for progression nights. My raid group would actually like to ‘farm out’ the farm content to new raiders or alts and let them get the gear and experience. We could then go in and work on the progression bosses. One of the problems that we have had is we often get to the new bosses late in our raiding night when everyone is tired and we don’t get as much time to work on them as we’d like (and our ‘continuation night’ is running into conflicts with changes to real-life schedules). I think most of us would be quite willing to sacrifice a few Emblems of Frost and the odd BoE epic in order to make some real headway on bosses we’ve barely gotten any attempts on.

Of course, there’s no guarantee that the newer folks wouldn’t want to just keep going, and then we’d have to run the farm content ourselves anyway. That might actually set up a new challenge: a race to the next progression boss. A little competition within the guild might not be such a bad thing, as long as it doesn’t get out of hand.

What about you – do you show up for progression night? If not, why? I’d like to know.


  1. I show up for every progression night. I cannot stand it when suddenly everyone has "stuff" to do on monday and we can't put a raid together because we've only got 18 people online. However, when Tuesday raid time rolls around, lo' and behold those 22 people that had things to do magically find time to set aside their commitments and show up.
    The raid leaders took some steps to start clearing up this problem this monday-- first they gave everyone who logged on for raid time some extra DKP, even though we didn't run. Second, they extened the lockout so we're working on Heroic Putricide again this week. It made a huge difference--when we had the people to pull from to make the raid work we finally got him to p3, and had our cleanest night of raiding before the internet boss reared his head and cursed us all with server lag. Of course it was a sacrifice for those of us who needed badges and gear, but when I show up every monday and I'm continually disappointed by lack of raid members you bet I'll take the hit to get the people trying to avoid working on progression to suck it up and miss their "DKP tuesdays."
    What's the point of raiding if you're just going to do the same seven bosses again and again, and not make any progress? It boogles my mind!

  2. My guild went from a strong 10 man group with part of a 2nd 10man and the idea to field a 25m group down to struggling to keep a single 10 man alive. People just won't show up. And then when they do, they talk about how we should be killing the LK instead of farming the first 2 wings and working on Sindragosa AGAIN (those are also the people who can't seem to DPS frost tombs or move when needed).

    So, seriously, why even be in a raiding guild if you have no interest in trying to do the furthest content you and your group can do? Join pugs if you want to do old content over and over!

  3. I meant the first 3 wings, hope that was clear :)

  4. Thanks for the comments. Six, the sad thing in your case is that you get a downward spiral -- a few people leave or stop raiding and it sets the group back. The people who are good and *want* to progress (and know that progressing means working on Sindy in order to get to Arthas, or that you need to take a step back to get a few more people up to speed) end up getting frustrated and leave, and you end up further and further away. I hope this does not happen to you.

    On a semi-related note, last night we got up to Putricide (due to changes in raid comp, I hadn't seen him in 3 weeks, but that's another story). We had two very quick wipes as some of us readjusted to the fight; on our third attempt we got him to 36% and wiped. AFter that wipe, one of the players commented 'EZ loot in Blood wing'. Thankfully the Raid Leader didn't take the bait. We need the practice.