How much raid time should be dedicated to farming for gear from bosses you’ve already killed and how much should be dedicated to learning and defeating new encounters?
I’m sure that’s a question that has plagued many raid and guild leaders. I’m also sure the answer depends on the type of guild. Blood Legion’s not going to clear through an instance multiple times on normal when they could be working on a new kill. Likewise, a more ‘casual’ guild is going to want, and maybe even need, that extra gear before they progress further in a lot of cases.
My guild falls somewhere in the middle of those two examples. We finished Tier 14 at 8/16H.
In Tier 14 we cleared all normal modes before doing any heroic modes. We did kill Heroic Stone Guard only a couple days after defeating Sha of Fear, but we never took a detour from normal mode content in HoF, for example, to work on MSV heroics. When I asked our raiders for feedback at the end of the tier, one of the most common responses I got was that we had spent too much time farming for gear and not enough time pushing progression. Noted.
In Tier 15 we’re currently sitting at 1/13H. This tier is a bit different than last. While Tier 14 consisted of 3 smaller raids, Tier 15 is one big raid. In Tier 14 if we wanted more time to work on a new hard mode in Heart of Fear we could skip one of the other raids for the week. We can’t do that in Throne of Thunder. With only 9 hours of raiding each week, we need to make some harder decisions about how we’ll be spending our raid time. At this point, it would take us about 1.5 raid nights (raids are 3 hours each) to fully clear on normal. I think we will get more efficient at that, but that’s where we’re at right now. Plus, repeating heroic kills will generally take a bit longer, so we want to give a bit of a time buffer so we can be sure to get all the way through Lei Shen.That only leaves us 3 hours (we can maybe push this to 4) to work on new things. That’s really not a lot of time.
Since so many people had said they wanted to spend more time on progression this tier, the officers tried to make good on that. The week after our first Lei Shen kill we spent half a raid on Heroic Jin’rokh, then went through the rest of the raid on normal to ensure we got a repeat kill of Lei Shen. My idea of just working on H. Jin’rokh until he was dead, even if that meant not full clearing that week, was outvoted. In hindsight, probably a good thing. The next reset we decided that we would keep our raid lockout for 2 weeks so we could spend a good 3-4 raids on progression fights, before wrapping up normal modes at the end of the following week. I thought this was the best idea. Everyone in the raid had a Lei Shen kill and everyone in the raid wanted to progress through this tier faster (I thought).
Apparently not. It seems, to some people, that farming for gear is more important than progress at this point. The officers got a number of complaints about how we were ‘wasting’ our raid lockout.
I think I have a pretty good idea about the capabilities of our raid. Yes, gear always helps, but having the best possible gear is not a requirement for getting down heroic bosses, especially the early ones. If we were failing dps checks, then definitely, we need more gear. But that’s almost never been our problem. More gear doesn’t make people not stand in Rockfall or hit their Crystal Shield at the right time. Practice does. (Also, if I’m going to upgrade my gear, I’d rather upgrade it to heroic gear).
You can’t please all the people all the time. But I try to. At this point I don’t know if anyone, besides the officers, liked the idea of extending the lockout. Because really, no one sends feedback when they’re happy about something, only when they have something to complain about.
So that brings us back to the original question. How do you split your raid time so your raiders get gear, but you can still make progress at a good pace? Where’s that magic point where doing farm content every week is no longer necessary? Do you wait for everyone to have their 4-set before you start extending lockouts or skipping normal mode kills? Until everyone has weapons? Until Lei Shen gives me that trinket I want?