Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Scheduling

WoW is very quiet lately. Everything appears to be in a holding pattern, waiting for the next patch and the Burning Crusade.

My guild is still trying to move forwards, but we're running into scheduling problems. We have a small number of raiders, which is great because you can always get into a raid, but now that we are working on Vael we need a full raid to show up. We usually do MC Tuesdays, and sometimes Wednesday, and reserve the rest of the week for Blackwing Lair.

Unfortunately, Saturday is the day we've always had the lowest attendance, and that's making Vael attempts hard. (People aren't avoiding Vael, we get good attendance on the other nights, but Saturdays we just have lower attendance.)

I think we're going to try and juggle the schedule a bit, and do MC on Saturday, and BWL on the weeknights. Hopefully that will lead to more progress.

It's amusing, but in many ways a good chunk of a raid guild leadership's time is taken up with logistics.

In a lot of ways Blizzard makes the process harder than it should be. Take the reset times of Onyxia and the 20-man raids. Onyxia resets on a 5-day timer, and ZG and AQ20 are on three day timers. This means that they change from week to week, causing havoc with schedules.

For example, there was a post from a small guild on the Raid Forums, asking if there was any way to set up a consistent weekly raiding schedule for ZG such that they could clear all the priests on Raid Day 1, and do Hakkar and Jindo on Raid Day 2.

You can't do this with only 2 raiding days, but you can with 3:

Day 1 - Raid
Day 2 - Raid
Day 3 - skip
Day 4 - Raid

This schedule guarantees that at least 2 of the three raids will be in the same lockout period. Probably be a different two each week, but still. The 3rd raid will also be in a different lockout period, so you can get the maximum number of bosses possible per week.

Onyxia also causes juggling, but it is mitigated by the fact that Onyxia is fairly quick to do.

All of this is just petty annoyances for a guild. I like the idea of lockouts, because they allow a guild to work on an instance over several nights, and also allows Blizzard to slow down the influx of high-end loot into the world.

But lockouts should be based on the natural schedules of people, rather than arbitrary numbers. And the natural schedule for most people is the week. My preference would be for ZG and AQ20 to have a 3-day lockout followed by a 4-day lockout. And Onyxia could go to 7 days or the new ZG schedule. All instances reset at the same time each week.

Being able to make simple, predictable schedules would be a great boon to raiding guilds, or guilds looking into raiding. Hopefully lockouts in the Burning Crusade are based around the week, making for natural scheduling.

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