The lure of large-group raiding

My casual/raiding guild is start­ing to build up to 25-man con­tent. They’re raid­ing with a bunch of ex-guildies who have drift­ed through a hand­ful of oth­er guilds before run­ning out of options and try­ing to start their own. This splin­ter guild does­n’t have enough peo­ple to raid even Kara, nev­er mind their goal of begin­ning 25-man con­tent, so they pro­posed an alliance to start the 25-man track.

There’s enthu­si­asm in my guild. New con­tent! For many peo­ple in the guild, this will be their first big raid ever. For oth­ers, this would be a way to relive the glo­ry days (cough) of Molten Core/Onyxia. The 25-man track is the big boy raid track! Whee!

There are a few prob­lems, though.

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SPHOs

So let’s say you have a guild. Some of the peo­ple are good friends, you’ve known them for a long time. You know what they do in their lives, you know a lit­tle of their fam­i­ly life. You know about their pets! They raid with you, quest with you, are­na with you.

Then there are oth­er peo­ple who have been in the guild for a long time, but nev­er make the list of peo­ple you think of when you want to explore new stuff. They don’t par­tic­u­lar­ly care about knock­ing over chal­lenges, but are glad to come along to raid or pvp as long as their real-life con­nec­tion is going to be there. These peo­ple are the oth­er half of a “pack­age deal”. They have played enough to get to the max lev­el, and they do like the sight of zomg epics. Who does­n’t? So they vol­un­teer to come with you, whether it’s for your new are­na team, or your raid. Some of these peo­ple evolve into actu­al gamers, peo­ple who get good at their role in a group, who under­stand the game and what they can do in it, and who social­ize with the oth­ers. The oth­ers become SPHOs: sub-per­form­ing hang­ers-on. (Pro­nounced how it looks, rhymes with show.)
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