Aura of Command


Some players have it. Some players don’t. The aura of command allows you to take charge. Having the aura causes you to feel zero discomfort when you impose your views and opinions upon others.

Is it the confrontation aspect?

No. Confrontation does not scare you. It is a means to an end. That end is resolution. Others turn a blind eye or choose to ignore ugly side of things. Possessing the aura of command allows you to present the facts and the truth despite how good or bad the situation may be. It’s a challenge to keep other people honest. The person with the aura of command comes across as opinionated and intimidating. But they’re often willing to differ to them. It’s difficult to explain, but such people attract players. They have this presence around them that enables instructions to be followed.

I’m getting used to the command chair myself. It’s not a small feat to take over the raid leading position when it’s been executed well over the past year. My lieutenants have aided me wonderfully. I don’t show it but I constantly second guess my decisions. I am not the decisive leader that I want to be. Sometimes it feels like I’m a step or two behind.

When you’re in command, there’s two things that have to be balanced.

A correct decision

The right decision. What is the right decision? No one ever knows. Sometimes the path is quite obvious. Other times it’s hidden. Hell, the rest of the time you have to blaze through and make your own path. Command is all about taking the information and resources you have available and then coming to a seemingly logical conclusion. If it’s not a logical one, then it has to be the best case one.

When it comes to raids, there’s all sorts of choices that go through my head. There’s all these conditions that has to be met.

For Yogg, the brain room team needs a Heroism. No Enhancement Shaman available. I do have an Elemental Shaman. But the outside group needs an Elemental Shaman. They also need more DPS. I had to ask Syd to switch to Space Turkey form and do her best. There are all sorts of command decisions, influences and situations. It’s not always easy. Everything is much simpler to digest when you look back at it all.

A swift decision

In addition to choosing the correct path, it has to be done in a timely fashion. I have 24 other players depending on me to not only make the right call, but to make the right call now so that we can get the ball rolling.

I never forget that indecision itself is a decision.

At times I can be slow. I wish I can process information as quickly as others but it takes a few seconds extra for me to digest. I’m embarrassed to say that others are able to come to a conclusion faster than I can. But I chalk that up to inexperience on my part. Certainly I’m eager to learn and apply. There’s no manual or readme for this type of stuff. It comes with practice and exposure.

When it comes down to it, a choice has to be made. Command does not equal clairvoyance. You can’t see in the future. An option is picked, a quick prayer is whispered, and the best is wished for.

But it’s damned great to have a support system and network in place to help you through it. It really is lonely at the top.

Image courtesy of ZoofyTheJi.

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About Matticus

Matticus is the founder of World of Matticus and Plus Heal. Read more of his columns at WoW Insider. League of Legends player. Caffeine enthusiast.


  1. The problem with advice like this is that it invites people who have the aura of loud and the aura of stupid to think that they’re actually adding up to the aura of command. Command is a talent that takes the respect of its targets to work, and respect is hard to earn.

  2. For the love of god I will pay you 100 dollars to stop saying “Space Turkey”

  3. Don’t listen! I’ll match his offer to get you to keep saying it!

  4. Euripides, I did not interpret what he said about the “aura of command” as someone who “have the aura of loud and the aura of stupid” to think that they are good commanders. People like that never recognize that they are “loud” and “stupid”.

    This article, in my opinion, are for people who are put in a role of responsibility, have some doubt about their decisions but focus on MAKING a decision for the good of the team.

  5. smeedsc says:

    just listen to that guy who never ever says shit on vent, if he says sumt, its probably correct.

    not being condensending, but instead direct has worked well for me. Being “all ears” without saying it when someone with a head speaks up, roll with it.

    some of our hardest fights have been swung to easy mode, due to the observation of that guy. I’m not that guy. I’d swear that one of my raiders has alts in a top 100 guild… or maybe i’m blessed with the alt of that guy. either way simple shit like back in the day, “make the ret pally decurse steelbreaker” ok… simple but at the time was fight changing.

    small example.

  6. Charmin says:

    You know you can Bloodlust/Heroism 5 seconds before the Portals open up and both your Upper room and Brain room team will have a bloodlust for the first brain and you will again have BL/H up for the last 10ish percent of yogg as well.

    So there are those you have Aura of Command, those who don’t and those who have Aura of Ruminate (which grants you the time to sit back and think outside of the box and come up with a solution that meets the needs of more partys than just one)

  7. Confidence is definitely an important factor in leadership. Whether you feel it or not, you have to show it.

    I think the key to being a great tank is actually a sense of leadership or command. Tanks, after all, set the pace of the group. It’s a different sort of thing to raid leading though because leading a raid is like organising a concert whereas tanking in a group is like driving a tour bus.

    I was never a good raid tank because I lacked confidence and wasn’t sure what I should be doing, when I should be doing it. I was too self aware. Group tanking was a completely different ball game though and I think I was good at it because of the confidence factor.
    .-= We Fly Spitfires – MMORPG Blog´s last blog ..Making Online Friends Through MMORPGs =-.

  8. At risk of being really annoying, your strat is wrong. You can have the ele shaman still up there and blood lust on top of Yogg as they hit the brain room and they’ll get it. With blusted brain damage and up top, you can almost down Yogg in 1 phase with supreme dps.

  9. Chase Christian says:

    I am not a leader, I am a dictator. You do exactly what I say, even if it’s the wrong choice. If it turns out to be wrong, we can talk about it after the fight. If I call for a swap or a taunt, you do it now and without questioning. I’ve had to quick quite a few raiders because they can’t follow this philosophy, but I can’t handle being second guessed in the middle of a boss encounter.

    Example: I am crunching the numbers while fighting Lord Ahune this week, and I do the math: On normal mode, he’s got 150k or so HP. Factor in that he takes 75% less damage, and hes got 600k effective HP. I do the math for my 5 man’s DPS, and figure out that we’d kill him quicker by zerging him with the shield than by killing adds and waiting for the shield to go down.

    I call out the swap, and all of my raiders (save one PUG) instantly swap to Ahune. All I have to say is “all DPS on Ahune” and they make the swap. They know that I’m making the call, and that it’s my responsibility if the fight goes south. We end up killing him about 1 second after his shield went down. It would’ve been quicker if the PUG had swapped with us, but what can you expect from a hunter? 🙂

    I instill trust for the leadership in my raiders by taking full responsibility if one of my plans doesn’t come to fruition. It’s my job to make all the calls, and so they don’t have to worry about messing up because it’s a direct-from-the-top order.

  10. Yakra actually commented on a similar topic to this one a few weeks ago and took it a bit further. Definitely worth a read:
    .-= Veneretio´s last blog ..Is Resilience back? =-.

  11. Alarric says:

    I have a very simple RL philosophy which I share with new recruits and is actually part of our guild philosophy:

    “It is always better to have 25 people doing the same wrong thing then 25 people all doing their own thing”

    I have found that the value in leading is not always doing the right thing, but getting people bought into the direction, even if Warrior DeathByMaces saw a video on an obscure site where they kited “x” mob from room seven to room two.

  12. Interesting article. I think anyone who have ever been put in the position of RL (even if its just to do a VoA pug) realize how many things thats happening “behind the scenes” and how many small decisions that actually needs making to have a raid going.
    There is just so many things that needs an answer, and I dont think anyone who havent been in the “RL Chair” can really appreciate how different it is to play when you are in that chair.

    One thing is strategic things such as “dps switch targets now”, the problem is that when you are trying to look at that – someone is calling for a combatres, a dude just DCd, another is telling you he has to go due to RL emergency – and then its your own job of not standing in the fire. Its a rewardning job if its done right, but goddamn it can be tiring.

    Also agree with alarric that “It is always better to have 25 people doing the same wrong thing then 25 people all doing their own thing”. In most cases thats more then enough 🙂

  13. Got inspired by your post and wrote a follow up on my blog: Ask in game on writing from a raiders point of view. One thing is leading raids, but how can you be good at following?
    .-= Kristine´s last blog ..WoW Rants: Cruising in the Aura of Command =-.

  14. Some of the best raid leaders I’ve ever worked with are those who fully admit that their way might not be the best way, but ask that we give it a shot and if there are glaring holes, we can then take suggestions. It works a lot better than having a dictator who gets mad over small things and won’t admit he/she is wrong.
    .-= Beej´s last blog ..Stargate SG-1 – Initial Impressions =-.

  15. General Patton said:
    “A bad plan executed violently now is better than a perfect plan next week.”
    .-= MomentEye´s last blog ..Prognostications =-.

  16. Raid leading is certainly a lot more stressful than a regular raider can even imagine. Most important than knowing the boss fight, his abilities, the different strats, it’s all about knowing your raiders, so you can make the necessary adjustments when things dont seem to be working.
    That’s why I think pugs can be a nice challenge, because you only have a bit of information on each player and have to build your knowledge over the raid. You gotta learn how this tank likes to pull, how this other builds threat slower or faster, that this healer is great at single target but sucks at raid healing – and adjust assignments as you go.
    On guild runs, you hopefully know your raiders really well, so you have more room for improvisation, for trying different things, even asking for a respec to better suit your needs for that fight.
    .-= Wangari´s last blog ..Is that cheating? =-.

  17. Lychordia says:

    Chulk it up to a learning curve. Your right. It will come more naturaly as you become used to the new shoes you are wearing.

  18. Remember if you a raid leader, do not yell at your raiders for something you yourelf do. Nothing errodes your authority faster and costs you respect.

    I agree as RL you have to make swift choices right or wrong. But a good leader looks at their choices after the fact to see if they were right or wrong and doesn’t assume simply because it is the choice they made it was right.
    .-= Lenelie´s last blog ..Illisan makes a new friend! =-.


  1. says:

    Aura of Command | World of Matticus…

    What some players have and others don’t. …

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