My guild was raiding before I even joined them, and I have been with them for over 3 years already. Which, in MMO terms, is apparently quite a long time for a guild to even exist.
Back in the Molten Core era they were raiding with 40 people. Not always with FP only, they did have an alliance with a different guild I was told, but still, they raided with 40 people.
Like all guilds we started with Kara in BC, boy was that a rough start. I remember wiping on Attumen, and us being scared of not being fast enough so that trash would be respawning. FP started with only one 10man in Kara. Then another 10man went to raid this place, and when we merged with another guild we suddenly had a third, and some weeks we even had enough players for a fourth 10man.
Around this time we started raiding Gruul's and Mag's. I was sad, these raids were organized on times that I just couldn't make, but at the same time I was proud of the guild for being in there, and I cheered for my guildies when they killed Gruul.
Once Kara was mostly on farm, and we managed to reschedule some 10mans, we started doing SSC on weekends. That was so much fun. Like most guilds we skipped Hydros at first, since you needed all the resist gear, and started on Lurker.
We had good evenings and bad evenings, but eventually we mostly cleared SSC and TK, only leaving Vashj and Kael'Thas standing.
The first change came, allowing guilds to raid Black Temple and Mount Hyjal without being keyed, and the guild decided that we should raid these instances. We set up a minimum requirement for stam for Najentus, and while people were getting their gear ready we started clearing the first two bosses in Hyjal.
Before the last major patch in Burning Crusade we were 4/5 on Hyjal and 5/9 Black Temple, and in between the last patch and Lich King we cleared all raid instances but Sunwell.
Thinking back there wasn't an awful lot of choice. If you wanted to progress there was a path to follow and either you decided to follow it as a guild, or you didn't. FP did and even though we weren't the number 1 in anything we did pretty good, and we had great fun.
Then came Lich King. All of a sudden you had 10mans and 25mans simultaneously. And so much simultaneously that there was no case of choosing. If you wanted to progress you raided both. So we propped one 10man into the Friday evening, and stuck our 25man on Saturday. We got faster at both, and even though it took a while, we managed to get both raids done.
At a certain point we were even running two 25mans through Naxx. One week group, and one weekend group. Neither group was doing amazingly well, but both groups were clearing the place, and we were able to keep both groups in existence by bringing alts and some of the less experienced players.
Hardly 5 months later Ulduar was there. Our guild had planned to do Ulduar with at least two 10mans, and hopefully we would soon be good enough to get a proper 25man together.
It took a bit longer then expected.
Our guild currently holds the number 1 position on the realm on strict 10. We had hoped to be able to get a proper 25man together with which we could raid the 25s and actually do pretty well. In fact we had waited purposely to even start the 25s, and geared up our characters through 10s. And looking at that realm rank one position, we are doing pretty darn good at it.
It was decided that it was time to try a 25. So our weekend group sacrificed one of their 10man evenings, and we got a 25 together.
That first evening went great, it went perfect. FP has many talented players, and we had 32 people showing up, so we could bring those who were most experienced, and best geared for our 25. We went up to Auriaya, and with great difficulty we got her down. But hey, it was our first 25, right? We did pretty darn amazing for a first try in 25 Ulduar.
The week after we had barely 25 people show up, and some of these people were not only heavily undergeared, some had never even set foot in the place, even on 10s.
You can probably guess already, but it didn't go too well that evening. We barely managed to get Kologarn down on our 7th try, and we didn't even try Auriaya. We'd had difficulty the week before with our best 25 players, so there was no way we would get her down with this group.
I went on holiday for the two weekends after this, and though they did run a 25, they once again didn't have 25 fully geared, fully ready players.
We too are getting beaten heavily by the summer boss. God, how I hate that dude. On top of this we have a pretty inter time zoned guild, and while normally it's already fairly hard to find suitable time slots, it is currently nigh impossible.
Where to from here?
As always I will follow my gut feeling, I will not stick any 25mans on the calendar for the moment. Another guildie might pick up, but the summer boss is here, and is strong as ever. And though I know this will eventually be beaten, I also know that for the moment our guild can simply not handle progression in 25s.
Sure, we could beat a few bosses in there, get a few upgrades. But the undergeared players would be annoyed because they would be the cause of wiping, and the experienced/geared players would be annoyed because of wiping on bosses we should be able to beat. And that is all if we could even get 25 people together at the same time.
So while we have more than enough capable raiders in the guild, I will have to accept that we cannot get them together online at the same time for a long enough timeslot to raid properly at the moment. And trying, but failing and wiping evening after evening is not going to motivate those that are around.
I don't like these decisions, but hey I knew they came with the job when I signed up. And hey, hopefully Patch 3.2. will come with solutions. We will have an extended raid lockout, and a soft gear reset. Also the summer should be close to coming to an end by then. We'll see, eh...one step at a time..