Raiding is fun. The social aspect of it is probably what Blizzard has struck gold with this game. Even a very impersonal guild where only stats matter has social interaction. There is a lot of trust, a lot of commitment, a lot of cammaradery, sometimes even friendships.
I play with mostly adults and we have seen plenty of kids come, level up and walk out the door the second we say no to going to Naxx the first week they hit 80. It has nothing to do with elitism and all to do with slow progression. We just recently became proficient enouth in the Spider wing to say we can now farm it. We still have yet to even truly set foot in other wings. Sure we have players that have cleared the whole thing with other guilds and pugs, but as a group we are barely getting there.
Then the label casual rears its ugly head. Most of us play to escape from reality for a couple hours a night… and well a raid takes more like 3. I was playing almost every single night for over 3 hours every night for a month. I have since slowed down a bit, but now all the casual raiders are calling foul on their main tank because last week I jumped in, did a couple of raids with a sister guild and burned my saves for the week. I had a couple of reasons for doing it. I kept my Naxx save (which is what I thought we were going to do) intact, and well I figured that this weekend we were going to be lacking players because of the holiday weekend. One of our top DPS was taking a break, our multifaceted druid was also chilling for the weekend and my main healer probably had family over. Most of us are adult with IRL responsabilities that always take presedence to raiding.
So what happens now? How can we turn this around? How can we call ourselves casual?
There are 3 things that we need to concentrate on, Naxx, OS and VoA. A Naxx full clear is probably out of the question at the moment, but that is at least 2 nights to clear a couple of wings. OS and VoA can probably be done on the same night with the same group if we are organized and there are not 200 angry horde waiting in Wintergrasp. So that is 3 nights a week that we need to devote to raiding. I have Wednesdays and Thursdays both devoted to other activities and I would have to start late. So that leaves Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
I have tried scheduling things in the past, but we are always short something… again we are a casual guild. I can feel the frustration mounting when we have 9 guildies ready to go and we cannot fill that last spot with someone from the guild. When it comes time to make a commitment it just does not happen. Sure we can grow the guild, but then what happens is that we do fill up the raid but then people feel left out.
Last night we were able to run 25 man VoA by pugging it. Emalon did not go down, but a bunch of people got to at least see the fight which is step one towards being able to do it. That run did give me an idea of what to do if one of our raid night is not full… turn it into a 25 and go kill dragons. Our casual raiders want to progress, but without full commitment to raid nights we cannot make it very far. So I ask you guys, how do you deal with a guild being casual, yet not so casual?