Thinking of Switching to a Ten Man Strict Guild? Read On!
As many who have read my blog will know, I’m an active, raiding member of a ten man strict guild. My role goes a little further than that, as I’m also in charge of handling recruitment for the guild.
Since Wrath launched, all the raid content came in two varities; ten man and twenty five man. With this sudden change, a scattering of smaller guilds focused purely on the ten man raiding appeared. It’s easy to see why, for small groups of friends (be them in game or out of), gathering enough people for the ten man raids is easier and much less daunting than the larger raids. This facilitated many such groups forming their own guild rather than forcing them into applying to larger guilds (with no guarantee that they will all raid together) or having them forgo raiding altogether.
For the more competitive player however, ten man raiding lacked a certain focus and the thrill of racing for those server first or EU first kills. They felt, in some respects, slightly meaningless. To the latter part of last year, one of the raid progress tracking sites, www.guildox.com, announced their intention to track the progress of these guilds that purely focussed on ten man content. This was exciting news for those guilds, as that sense of competition in their raiding would finally be provided as they had a way in which to track their progress against other guilds.
To ensure that this progression ladder genuinely targeted the ten man guilds, guildox set clear guidelines for these guilds. Every time a member participates in a twenty five man kill, they gain a “flag”. To remain on the strict ten man ranking ladder, your guild has a limit on how many such flags they can gain. Flags move with the character who earned them also. This impacts recruitment in the sense that these guilds need to avoid recruiting players with existing twenty five man kills.
Despite these restrictions, the interest in strict ten man guilds seems to be growing. When I first began recruitment for Decimation, there were very few ten man guilds around. Recently, more and more recruitment threads for such guilds are appearing and our own server of Eonar, has two dedicated ten man raiding guilds. I deal with a reasonable number of enquiries about our guild and such is the basis for this article.
Ten Man Strict or Ten Man?
The difference between these two guilds is subtle yet significant. The ten man strict guilds are ranked and they have to meet the criteria of guildox.com to stay ranked. This will require all members to forgo most twenty five man raiding. At present, these restrictions apply to Icecrown Citadel (25) and Trial of the Grand Crusader (25)
A guild that do not care about remaining ranked are free to pug whatever content they like in their free time.
Most people I speak with do not care about this for the most part. Some, however, are less keen when I mention specifically that they can’t pug Vault of Archavon – no more high ilevel tier pieces for little effort!
Consider also that if you are a player keen on collecting achievements, you will be severely limited here also. Raid achievements account for a reasonable percentage of the total achievements available and a portion of these will be unavailable to you.
Finally, think carefully about the fact there will be loot that is simply unavailable to you also. I’ve been surprised in the past by former members discontent at being unable to chase certain items of loot dropping in twenty five man instances. While we can all appreciate that a certain trinket is best in slot or that a specific item would be a huge DPS boost, if you’re joining a ten man strict guild then realise the loot available to you will be reduced.
If you already have a number of twenty five man kills under your belt in Icecrown or Trial of the Grand Crusader, you may find your decision is made for you. Most of the ten man strict guilds will avoid these players due to the flags they carry with them. We recruited one player recently with a little twenty five man experience (in the form of two Icecrown Citadel kills). Luckily, the gamble has paid off on this occasion but I would be loathed to accept a player with a lot of flags as these are too “risky” for us. Should they be unhappy or fail trial, we are further limited as to who we can recruit (be aware, these flags stay with the guild, they don’t leave if the player in question moves on).
Based on the above, if you have absolutely decided that you wish to focus on ten man raiding, I’d encourage you to stop participating in any pugs that will earn you such flags. I’m aware that it is tempting to be able to apply to a guild boasting full tier ten or a best in slot trinket but honestly, a ranked ten man guild will not care if that means you also carry flags. These guilds are already used to tackling content with gear applicable to the encounters and they take pride in not out gearing their raids.
Regardless of the number of flags you carry, it is always worth approaching a guild as you may be lucky. However, be prepared for the fact that they might simply be unable to accommodate you without forfeiting their right to be ranked. If this is the scenario, then consider joining an unranked ten man guild. You may find your home here and be happy without seeing your guild name in a progression list (and after all, this is the basic difference.) If you later decide you wish to reapply to a ranked guild, you will hopefully have been focused on ten man raiding for long enough that you no longer carry the flags these guilds avoid so much. Should you be fortunate enough to be accepted into your choice of ranked guild then always check their specific rules in regards to twenty five man content. Needless to say you will make yourself unpopular fast should you gain the guild a flag by not thoroughly understanding the restrictions placed upon the guild.
Finding a Ten Man Strict Guild
While these guilds are appearing more, you should be prepared to server transfer in search of your new home. There is only one site currently tracking the progression of the ten man strict guilds and that is http://www.guildox.com. You can find their ten man ladders here:-
These ladders will give you the names, servers and where applicable, the website URL’s of your target guilds.
Aside from this ladder, the “looking for Alliance players” and “looking for Horde players” sections on the official forums are great places to scout for guilds (albeit more time consuming due to the sheer quantity of guilds out there that are recruiting. The Horde section has a directory of ten man raiding guilds pinned at the top. While the original poster doesn’t appear to have updated this list in some time, representatives of the guilds have kept posting their details so you may find something there of use (as a note, it was open to both Horde and Alliance ten man guilds):-
A final note here, not all of these guilds will have websites. For a reasonable amount of time, we didn’t. With so few people to organise you may find most discussions take place in game. In these instances, don’t be afraid to log on the server and ask members of the guild for the names of an officer. Most people will be able to tell you whether or not they are recruiting also.
Tips on Applying to a Ten Man Strict Guild
Once you have narrowed down your search and have the URL’s of the guild’s you are interested in, start scanning for those whose raid times match your availability and who are looking for new players. Many of these guilds carry very small rosters so your availability for most of the raids is a huge advantage to them.
Some of these guilds will have application forms and regardless, I’m not going to write an article on how to apply to a raiding guild. I will, however, provide some hints at the kind of information I look for from our own applicants.
Be very specific on the twenty five man kills that you have and any achievements you have earned. It makes it easier for a guild to consider whether they can accommodate you.
If you come from a twenty five man raiding background, explain why you want to focus on ten man raiding. We have trialled people in the past who seemed to hate the restrictions placed upon them and the fact they forfeit the chance at certain loot. Ten man raiding is a choice but be sure to elaborate on why you wish to take that choice.
If you have any useful alts (by useful I mean level 80, reasonably geared and again, without endless twenty five man kills), detail these. As previously mentioned, some of these guilds run with very small rosters and we have, on occasion, used alts to field specific setups.
Why this guild? Ten man guilds by nature are more sociable and the atmosphere is quite different. Due to their smaller size, most people will know each other very well. You may find the core based on real life friends or people who have known each other in game for a few years. Explaining what you are looking for in a guild will help the officers to decide whether or not you will be a good fit with their members.
Advantages and Disadvantages to Ten Man Raiding
As someone who has been a member of both types of guilds, I hope I can accurately summarise the pros and cons of each
Smaller guilds result in the members knowing each other better. This can be a huge boon for those the more shy players who find joining a new twenty five man guild a daunting experience.
Less players means easier management. You will probably find these guilds more forgiving on real life schedules such as members being slightly late to a raid on a given night.
- More Forgiving Schedule
This can be a plus or a con depending on the individual. My last twenty five man guild were raiding six nights a week. If you wanted to participate in ten man raids, they had to be organised outside of this. The result was for a few days a week, we were running our ten man group during the afternoons. This made for a pretty intense schedule.
- More Loot
Loot comes faster in ten man raiding than it does in twenty five man. You’re likely he only representative of your class and spec combination in a raid so the competition for the drops you need is lower. You may also find you have the opportunity to loot more offspec items (and if your new guild juggles setups as we do, you may also have more opportunity to play them if you so wish)
- Limited Loot Options
There are some raids you just can’t do without forfeiting your guild’s right to be ranked. As such, there are some items you just won’t see. These may even be quite common drops and very accessible for a twenty five man raider.
- More Responsibility
Larger guilds normally have an excess number of players to cover all spots if people are not available. Ten man guilds often run with much smaller rosters and one person missing can mean a cancelled raid. This can make you feel more pressured to show up or rearrange real life commitments around your guild.
- Less Raid Time
I mentioned this above also but depending on your real life schedule, this could be a down side. You have less available raid content so most of these guilds will raid fewer days. If you’re a player that thrives on a busy raiding schedule, this might not be for you.
- Fewer Achievements
This can be quite painful for the players who enjoy striving to collect as many achievement points as they can. Twenty five man raiding accounts for a lot of potential achievement points.
- Fewer Vanity Items
This is semi related to the point above but considering what a bone of contention this has been amongst the ten man raiders, I think it earns it’s own point. The coveted Invincible, Arthas’ undead steed is not available to us. Mimiron’s Head, the amazing flying tinkered contraption is not available to us.
In closing, ten man raiding will suit some people and not others however it is nice to have a choice now. Hopefully, Blizzard will continue to support ten man raiding as a viable alternative to twenty five man.