It seems that being in a top guild these days requires almost insane amounts of time spent on raiding during progression, so much so that it's increasingly difficult for players who want to compete at the highest levels to stay in the race. Most of the top guilds spend 12+ hours a day (sometimes up to 14-15) during progress pushing that roster to claim the top spots, and it's certainly worth it, but is there another way? Back in Vanilla, TBC and WotLK (to a lesser extent) standard raiding times were, well, normal. So when we heard that apparently there's at least one 25 man Top guild today that still sticks to that, shall we say more "human-friendly" pace, we just had to see who these people were! Raiding from 19:30 to around 1 AM and sometimes even skipping full days during progress, they are:
First off, let's get a short introduction about the guys that worked on this article:
Halby: I have been here in a management position ever since the guild was founded back in 2009. I have been through all the responsibilities throughout the years. I have always focused on the healing aspect of the guild though, due to the fact that I play a restoration shaman along with a variety of healer alts. I have a reputation for not being very serious and once in a while, drunk or extremely hungover.
Grondath: I’m one of the two ranged officers here in ScrubBusters (along with Wrecker) and I’m playing a mage! I joined the guild during Firelands farm after having been in a raid leader/GM position in previous guilds and feeling the need to step it up a notch. At 28 years old, I’m seen as the grandad of the guild, though I’m not the oldest by a long shot!
Wreckér: Hey, I'm Wrecker. I've been raiding here now since early Firelands progression and have loved it ever since. I may have been responsible for some of the crazier things that we've tried on certain bosses. I'm not an overly serious person or player, even when it comes to progression raiding.
Most of the answers are the general opinion of the guild as a whole, with input from the whole roster, unless there's a specific name attached to them.
Was it a conscious decision to only raid normal hours or was it the only way your players could raid at all?
A little bit of both. We got to a point where we knew we would be able to reach top world ranks and we did think of putting in the extra hours to hop up a few extra places, but the price just wasn’t worth it. A lot of our players really enjoy having the free time during the day to do other things and it’s something that we just all agreed on.
Did you ever consider getting players that could pull the crazy amounts of time during progress and change the guild somewhat?
Not to any notable extent. Our goals as a guild have been set in stone for a very long time now and daytime raiding just isn’t going to happen. We prefer to be able to recruit and play with the players we feel will play to the best of their ability rather than with players who just have a lot of time on their hands.
You finished tier 14 up at the 25 man No. 10 spot, but you have steadily been improving since MoP began, with an 11th place finish in Mogu'shan Vaults, 10th in Heart of Fear and finally 10th in Terrace. You're consistently getting better and better, any secret to that?
The guild atmosphere and team-play mainly. But we have been fortunate to acquire many talented and enthusiastic players from officer/raid leader spots in other guilds over the years. This means that we have a roster that can think for themselves and give great insight to what’s going wrong/what can be improved at any given stage on a boss’s progression.
Are the players still as driven to get a high placement, within the normal raiding hours you guys do, or is it just playing for fun and then you get these high kills along the way?
It's a bit of both worlds. It's important the raiding environment stands out, making it a place where people really enjoy playing. This contributes to having a team that is ready to do whatever it takes. There has always been a desire to keep improving; each tier we have set ourselves a goal of being slightly better than in the previous one. Our goal this tier was to be within the top 20 in the world to slightly better our rank from Dragon Soul.
Let's talk a little about the guild's history, tell us how you got here, when it all started etc.
Halby: Considering I was having the guild charter signed with the guys back then in 2009, I guess it’s story telling time.
Wrath of the Lich King
Jul 21, 2009: ScrubBusters was formed from two previous guilds on The Maelstrom, hosting many Vanilla and Burning Crusade raiders. After a few days of discussion, it was decided to take to best and most active raiders and bring them under 1 name: ScrubBusters.
Being really new, the guild wasn't even capable of getting into the top 100 world ranks. Instead, during this time we were more focused on the intense server competition with Insignificant(H), which lasted a few tiers. By the time we reached Anub'arak in Trial of the Grand Crusader, we had a few problems in the guild that nearly led to a disband. As a result, the guild was re-organised for Icecrown Citadel and we were more motivated than ever to improve. While progress was decent, it's safe to say you could refer back to Wrath of the lich king as the expansion we got extremely bottlenecked by tanks (The bunch of clowns). For example, both our tanks managed to get hit by a shadow trap on our first Lich King 25 heroic kill. Lucky for us they hit the pillar on the side and we still managed to down the boss.
For Cataclysm we decided to aim higher as a guild: we wanted to rank in the top 100. We put a lot of effort into the guild to make this happen, particularly in terms of recruitment. A lot of people were contacted about being part of the team, and while many were skeptical, we managed to get a good roster together to hit Cataclysm hard. Tier 11 proved to be particularly testing for the guild, as the progression period was extremely long. We finished it with a respectable world rank of 58, despite the fact we killed Nefarian and Ascendent Council heroic rather than going straight for Sinestra (this cost us heavily in WowProgess points). This drastic improvement meant that we attracted the attention of even better players, resulting in an even stronger roster to face the next tier. During Firelands we threw ourselves enthusiastically at each boss, which resulted in a rank 34 kill of Ragnaros Heroic 25 as one of the last guilds who killed it before the nerf. As with the rest of the expansion, we continued to improve in Dragon Soul, achieving a world #21 kill and missing out on page 1 of WowProgress by only 20 minutes. Sadly, not everyone enjoyed Tier 13 and several of our core players called it a day at this point. However, we were not demotivated. Cataclysm had opened a new chapter for our guild, and we now set our sights on page 1 for Mists of Pandaria.
How involved do you get in the whole "race" aspect of progress, do you check up on how the other guilds are progressing and does that affect you?
We do closely follow the race, but as we only raid during the evening it all but rules us out of the competition for world first. Our main aim is to be competitive and have the highest quality raids as possible within our limited time. Therefore, planning ahead and self-preparation are both essential parts of raiding before we even enter the instance. We have everyone contributing to discussions, idea's and other plans both on our guild forums and more casually through teamspeak.
Is it a mostly international guild or is there a predominant group in there?
Grondath: This question actually got me quite interested in exactly what our roster would look like if we broke it down into country, so I went ahead and did just that:
As you can see, we have a large majority of english people in the guild, with a smattering across the rest of europe (majority western). This means we have a lot English slang and phrases going on in the guild, which Halby likes to get wrong, coming up with things such as “If you have something on your liver just bring it to the table”...figure that one out!
How's the alt situation, considering the more normal approach to raiding you have, do you also have a more normal amount of alts or is that something you've kept up along with the other top guilds?
When we found out about the initial week long delay, we decided it would be reasonable to have every raider level one alt in time for the first normal mode raids. Both the main and alt were required to be min-maxed properly when it comes to professions, crafting gear, consumables, Darkmoon trinkets etc. With gearing being so important, we felt it was necessary to be able to do multiple normal mode clears to gear up the main roster. We managed to pre-plan our first 3 normal mode clears of Mogu’shan Vaults around our players real lives, in order to give everyone enough time to get prepared. However, when it came to Heart of Fear and Terrace of the Endless Springs, we scaled it down to only two raids during the first normal mode week. During 'farm' this tier, our plan is to have 2 raids, each with a mix of both alts and mains in order to get as much gear as possible for progression in the future. Many people enjoy raiding on their alts to a high standard, so it's fairly easy to make it happen.
What's your opinion on this raiding tier?
The general consensus among the guild is that this tier was really refreshing, particularly after a raid like Dragon Soul which many people didn't enjoy. Out of the 16 bosses, the majority were really fun to progress on. However, there were a few bosses (Spirit Kings/Imperial Vizier Zor'lok) that had randomly ordered phases, making it very frustrating when you don't get the optimal order. We thought the end bosses were fine, and of those Grand Empress Shekzeer proved to be a clear favourite among our raiders.
Do you test the bosses on the PTR/beta as heavily as the other top guilds?
We raided the bosses which were available during our usual raid times. Any bosses being tested outside of our usual 5-day a week schedule were just optional for those of us who had a bit of extra time. A few members were involved in the late night raids, which generally saw several guilds in the same situation merging in order to have enough players.
How was the difficulty in this raiding tier from your perspective?
Wreckér: This tier had a unique start. With the delays to the start of raiding everyone had enough time to really put the most into gearing up and preparing. With the previous entry level raids it has been incredibly fast-paced and you end up hopping into the raids in blue/green gear and hoping for the best. This was also helped by the increased quality of the pvp items and world BoE’s. Almost all of our raiders were kitted out in half-epic items before even stepping foot into normal mode Mogu’shan Vaults. The guild bank blew close to 10.000.000 gold on getting the roster in shape along with peoples personal wallet. We even went shopping on a few other realms transferring a guild bank there. Anyway with no real gear gap, enrage timers were relatively easy to beat the entire way through the tier. This was only exacerbated by the additional pauses between each instance as well. The more time we have to prepare, the more prepared we will be. In terms of the tactical difficulties during this tier, there were only a few bosses which needed a spark of genius to be able to kill.
Gaz: Entrance bosses were tuned to the right level apart from Zorlok that was tuned slightly to the left and the gradual step up in difficulty was about right for each boss. Sha of fear is still not a push-over though, given only ~40 guilds have killed it so far. Unless bosses are bugged or like protectors elite, they will fall generally in a few hours and most end bosses will be killed with in the week of the tier opening. World first competing guilds now raid pretty much from the moment they wake to the moment they go to bed so this is a given.
What's your opinion on the whole "25 man raiding is dying" discussion?
Everything is going really well for us. The supply of raiders that want to join ScrubBusters is far larger than our demand so we aren't complaining. Our recruitment field is nice though, as there are a lot of people who take raiding seriously but can't commit to raiding extreme hours. However, we haven't always had this luxury. When we were a lower ranked guild, we certainly struggled to recruit the right kind of players, especially over guilds who have already proven themselves. In the end, we invested a lot of time speaking to prospective members and it proved to be worth it.
That is probably a major factor in why 25 man guilds are struggling to maintain a good enough core to raid 25 man. Down-scaling with your best players to raid 10 man instead is generally an easier option. The only advice we can give is: try to stand out and convince people of your goals as a guild. Blizzard recently announced that they are considering making 25 man raiding more attractive again. Our thoughts on this are that introducing some unique, cosmetic-only items is probably a good way to go.
Weirdest moment during progress.
Troidz: Asking this to a member of ScrubBusters is like asking a mother to pick a favourite between her 100 children (a lot of weird stuff goes on in our raids, I can assure you).
Halby: During Spirit Kings progression one of our rogues disconnected and texted me saying his internet was down. Considering it took quite a bit people were getting a bit impatient so I told the raid he had a snake in his room. By the time he logged in people decided to get their "snake" out.
Tortie: Our mages on Will of the Emperor had their mouses unplugged to keep them from moving their cursor. It was so hilarious when a titan spark was going their way and they were shouting on TS for help, because they couldn't do anything.
Hennyox: (Guild chat)
Grondath: [Tiger Deck] YES INT TRINKET FOR ME
Valkyrian: tiger is agi/strength
Wreckér: F**KING LOL
Jackwar: We had no pipes to start the heroic Will of the Emperor encouter the first night we went there. We also had eleven tries in a row with Vizier going to the left platform causing half of the raid to burst in uncontrollable laughter while the other half started crying. Here’s our Imperial Vizer kill video to show everyone exactly what we mean.
Màrk: Whenever we had the right combo on Spirit Kings, I would be shouting “it’s the kill combo” throughout the entire attempt.
Hypería: I had Hennyox whispering me his girlfriend was asking if I was 15 while streaming progress (I’m 24)
Most rage inducing moment during progress.
Halby: During Spirit Kings progression we never reset the encounter to get the easier combinations so the raid was getting frustrated by the boss really wiping us hard. When a few people questioned going on till the usual raid end that evening I didn't hold back reminding them (screaming) of our expectations. The raid however ended in some good attempts and the boss fell over the next day. Generally Luun does most of the raging these days as he’s raidleading.
Hypería: Amber-reshaper of your UI'sok, the amount of wipes due to keybind issues + UI displacements of boss CD's. Was frustrating every attempt.
Ganaza: We lost over an hour or so progress on Will of Emperor due to some retarded bug involving the pipes not being there. Actually fuck that, wasting 70% of our pulls on Zor'lok because the bug flew to the wrong platform really pissed us off. However, we did what we do best and turned the situation into a ScrubBusters comedy show.
Troidz: Generally, there’s not that much rage going around on TS. We did have some heated discussion between two officers about dispelling on Protectors however.
Luun: On the protectors of the endless encounter I had an argument with our mages where they thought using Shield Slam for dispelling was more reliable than using Spell Steal. I won.
What are some of the craziest things you've tried on bosses in this tier?
Besides the generally known ring of frost tactic on Will of the Emperor, stacking vengeance on a tank on Spirit Kings etc. there hasn’t been anything really Einstein worthy.
In our desperation to kill Zorlok, for example, we tried standing in the same spot during the attenuation and using raid cooldowns to ‘brute force’ through the damage. This would have meant only avoiding the green balls but it seemed far too risky to pull off.
Another strange tactic actually almost scored us a very early kill on Gara’jal. The idea was to wait until the tank got sent down to the spirit realm and send 4 warlocks and a shadow-priest with him just to AoE all of the spirit adds which had accumulated. We wiped at 2% while using this tactic on one of our earliest pulls, but the healing required between the AoE phases was just too intense.
If you could change something about how raiding works in general, what would it be?
The entire 10 versus 25 man bulls**t going on in the community is really tiresome, so acknowledging them as separate might be the way to go. Apart from that, providing some extra raiding cosmetics (e.g. mounts from heroic end bosses) for people who put in a lot of effort would be nice as it gives people an extra initiative to play even during farm. It’s quite sad that this tier didn’t have one apart from another serpent re-colour from the guild vendor after completing the tier on heroic. When it comes to being able to cap valor points, obtaining Elder Charms of Good Fortune and gaining reputation with factions, there should be more options available to make it more alt friendly.
What's your general opinion of MoP so far and what would you say were its best/worst features?
Halby: Best: More things to do asides AFK’ing the major city.
Worst: After launch doing every single daily to gain exalted reputation was basically a must along with running LFR. Also I’m personally not a fan of the entire CRZ system as it doesn’t contribute to communities or servers in any way.
Best: Mists of Pandaria has been a really solid expansion so far, not only has T14 been fantastic, but players have been given a substantial amount of content outside of raiding such as challenge modes and brawler's guild (both of which the guild has had an enormous amount of fun with).
Worst: What I don't like is the time investment required for general things such as dailies and capping valor points, having to upgrade all of my items. Also Halby forcing me to play my hunter.
Best: Raids are fun again!
Worst: No 300 stat feasts and no guild cauldrons.
Worst: Playing my monk.
Best: When I rerolled back to my Priest.
And, finally, a word from the guild:
A big thanks to everyone that ever contributed to making ScrubBusters what it is today as a community and to the raiders, whose hard work has brought in some great results over the numerous tiers. It’s also nice that Manaflask gave us the opportunity to present ourselves to the world. With the upcoming holidays we would like to end this article by wishing you a merry Christmas and a happy new year. Oh the joy those hangovers will bring to our raids!