Friends and Raiders: How Far is Too Far?


I’m back after my vacation and feeling very recharged, with that said I bring you today’s post!

This is a question every raid leader has to ask themselves at one point or another. How far can you push your raid before it’s too far? If you push your raiders too far, they drop like flies. Burn out increases at exponential rates and you find yourself actually losing ground. The problem is how does one gauge it? How does a raid leader find the line before they cross it? It’s not easy I can tell you that much. Most people I’ve talked to about this on twitter as well as just passing conversation all have different ideas on how you can find the line.

The topic came up a little over three weeks ago. Our main tank and guild leader (Death Knight) was in the middle of a horrible storm and was making sure his roof was still in tact, needless to say he wasn’t there for Vezax (and understandably so). This left us with our Second highest tank (Prot Paladin). In addition to this we were down a couple raiders due to vacations or family events. If you’ve read up on Vezax you’ll know he has an ability called Surge of Darkness. A Death Knight is able to blow cooldowns every time it’s being cast (part of the reason it’s DK tanking is getting a slight nerf) and makes the ability moot. The other tanks don’t have the luxury of having a cooldown available for every surge. One strategy is to kite him around for the 10 seconds the ability is active, but we like to reduce movement on boss fights as much as we possibly can. After a couple wipes we developed an idea for a cooldown rotation involving the Pally’s CDs, two Guardian Spirits and Pain Supression. The night was filled with all sorts of Murphy’s law. Everything that could go wrong did. After every attempt though I kept trying to push the raid forward. This is an easy fight all things considered, we’ve killed him before multiple times and 90% of what was going wrong was outside of control. No reason to quit right? After 12 attempts we finally kill him again.

After the raid I was talking to one of our warlocks, he commented that the number of attempts we made almost broke him. So I asked him if he though I was pushing the raid too far. He replied with “one more and probably”. The week after we had a similar issue with Thorim. Murphy came out and smacked us around just a little bit with random DC’s and bugged mobs, and after several attempts we were all feeling worn down and called it a night after we toppled him.

As a raid leader there is nothing more frustrating then wiping on farm content, be it through player error or laws of the universe conspiring against you. Those of you who follow me on Twitter probably remember many of my in between wipe comments like “I think I need to kick a puppy”. Being in charge, even just in part of a raid can be very frustrating. When the event fails it’s hard not to take it upon yourself and feel like you failed, or let the guild down. The burden of responsibility comes with a certain amount of guilt and most raid leaders will tell you as much. Sometimes we walk away in defeat and try again later, other times we push harder to meet the goal. Raid leaders have to know though, when it’s time to lick your wounds and come back later.

If they don’t learn when it’s time to call it they run the risk of increasing raider burn out and doing more harm then good to the raid overall. So what do we look for?


Watching your raids performance is one of the ways a raid leader can tell if they are pushing the raid too far. Are your top DPS getting lower on the charts? Is the raid missing easy interrupts? Are people who normally don’t fail at void zones failing at void zones? Is there an overall increase in the frequency of easily prevented deaths?

When you see your raid’s performance start to dip you have to stop and ask yourself, why. Is it because of bugs or lag? Bad luck with connections and addons? Is it just too late in the evening? If you find raid performance dipping with no good reason or outside cause, it might be time to call it a last attempt and then sleep it off.

Morale and Attitude

Another good indicator is the general mood of the raid. Is everyone still having a good time? Is everyone talkative on vent? Is everyone moping about or seemingly disinterested in the raid? People seem like they are ready to go to bed? If your morale in the raid is slipping, you bet performance is going down hill. Also when morale slips, tension between raiders can rise as well. Sometimes this can lead to confrontation if you’re not careful.

I have a raider who I adore, she’s one of my favorite people in the world. Every now and then I’ll get a tell from her with a statement something like “this isn’t going well is it?” , “grrrrrrr what are we doing different tonight?!?”, “I think I need to lay down =(“. It’s usually at this point I know it’s time to call it a night, or getting there very quickly. She’s usually very chipper and gives it her all. But when I get one of those tells I know we’re going to be winding down soon as morale is starting to take a turn south.

Raider input

This is a big one for me at least. I listen to my raiders. If a raider comes to me and says that it’s just too much, I listen. I expect my raiders to be vocal.  If there is a problem or concern I expect that they will tell me. I know my guild leader expects the same as well. As a raider you should be able to go to the raid officers and let them know when you feel yourself slipping for whatever reason. Your raid leaders aren’t psychic (even if we are using Big Brother) and sometimes the only way we know what’s going on is when you tell us. We are after all only human so help us out when you can.

That’s it for today.

Until next time, Happy Healing.


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17 thoughts on “Friends and Raiders: How Far is Too Far?”

  1. 12 attempts, even if the last one was successful is WAY too many IMHO, specially if is something that you have already conquered in the past. I think my pain threshold is about 5 unless it is something that I am still learning.
    .-= logtar´s last blog ..1337 Raiding =-.

  2. Morale has always seemed to be one of the biggest hurdles I’ve noticed in raiding. I’ve always been fine with making a ridiculous amount of attempts on a boss, but whenever the raid leader feels it’s time for people to stop joking and lightening the mood, I think there’s a problem. If I’m not having fun, it facilitates burnout. I like to think there’s a correlation between morale and success as well as finding that sweet spot between that and raiding being serious business.
    .-= Beej´s last blog ..Choosing Sides in the Geek Wars =-.

  3. I agree with Beej. We all game to have fun. Laughing and joking in vent = fun.

    But I also think it can be taken too far. I’ve had raiders in the middle of a hard fight start asking over Vent where a good place to eat in Philly is? Are you kidding me? Everyone is trying to consentrate and you’re asking stupid questions better saved for pulling trash or AFTER we down the boss.

    I’m also a firm believer in if you’re pushing your raiders to keep going wipe after wipe after wipe, Guild Bank should cover repair costs. I have no problem trying 100 times to down a boss, but my wallet does.

  4. As a raider once you get pushed too far it just doesn’t seem worth it anymore. With morale down you aren’t as aware of things in game. What’s worse is if your raid leader offers to kill an easier boss after you’ve been beaten down. It’s like a kick in the jaw.

    When I was a RL I would open it up to the raid, not just the officers. I openly asked “What’s the problem here guys?’ ‘Is there something you’re noticing that I’m not?” I’d normally get a few whispers, but it has shaken some raid members into waking up. I’ve even threatened to just call off the whole raid if no one wants to do it. Kind of a “Don’t think I won’t turn this car around!” lol. But if the raids going on long and we just can’t get into gear I just call it off and say we’ll give it a go next time.

    Ending a raid early tho was a rare occurrence as 90% of our raiders always gave it their all while having fun.
    .-= Kirei´s last blog ..Living in Both Worlds ~ Horde and Alliance =-.

  5. One of the main officers in my guild is really bad about wipes, I’ve been in a raid where he tries to set a number of wipes before stopping- which makes sense if it wasn’t Murphy killing us. Pretty hard to keep a raid going with such defeatism. And when I mean a set number I mean maybe 3- which doesnt work when you have new members trying to get the ropes down:(

  6. But I think it takes an atmospehere of trust to be willing to say I can’t go on, this is too much, let me off the ride. I know I feel it in my raids as we grind week after week hour after hour. My head can be beat into a wall only so much before I don’t care. I’m a healer not caring is bad for me.

    I just can’t decide is it some of the people I raid with that drive me nuts, is it the endless hours of same content going no where, or more likely both.

    Other than the joy of getting a boss down you have beat your head on for weeks I can’t say the last time I enjoyed raiding. *
    .-= Lenelie´s last blog ..How would you handle a meters chaser? =-.

  7. Given the speed in which some wipes can occur – 12 certainly isn’t too many (especially if you’re working hard modes). I think our second week of killing Yogg our Over/Under was 13 wipes. Like I said about the speed though – I’ve seen an IC or Vezack pull wipe in the first 10 seconds (oh yeah and Algalon…DW bosses FTL).

    I like to call breaks if we’re having some learning curve issues. Takes five, stretch, clear your head, etc. Sometimes just stepping away for a minute can really make the difference. It’s worse though when FailBot is screaming at you that your new warlock just ate Thorim’s lightning…..again.

  8. For every person who would rather just quit and go to bed early if things aren’t working, there is another who will get very upset if you give up before the raid is officially supposed to end. The right thing to do depends very much on what kind of guild you’re running and it will be up to every guild/raidleader to decide what to do.

    Everything I personally learned during my 2+ years of raid and guildleading in serious raiding guilds considered, I’d have to say that pushing until your official raid end time is the best option most of the time. Your more easy going people might get frustrated and some might even end up loggomg, but you should have replacements ready to go anyway. If you go the other way, your best people will feel like quitters and if you aren’t careful a defeatism attitude can turn into something dark really quickly.

    In the end it will all come down to how well you can spin stuff as a leader, but quitting early has never really worked out for me.

  9. It’s hard sometimes. You know that there are those in the group who want to keep going, and those that want to stop. Either way wiping is always hard on motivation.

    And after 12 times it’s even not certain if people are even satisfied of getting him down in the end. You’re sort of left with this ‘we should’ve done better’ feeling.

    But I think we’ve all been there at one point or the other. Hope the holiday was a good one at least 🙂
    .-= Shyraia´s last blog ..Heirloom Cold Weather Flying, OMG! =-.

  10. It depends. On progression nights it’s usual to have 20-25 tries on bosses and nobody seems to mind, unless people fail do stupid things of course

    Last week we had horrible problems with raiding. Half the people slacked with flasks, people barely did decent DPS, healers/tanks failed with cooldowns etc. We kept wiping on trash and easier bosses. We decided to call it an hour before correct time. After that awful night our RL wrote a post on forums that can be summariezed as “you people all sucked horribly, get your act together or get replaced”. It seemed to help quite a bit as yesterday we downed FL +4 (guild #3 kill with many new people), XT hardmode (#2) and Hodir hardmode (#3). Kologarn and cat lady were done without deaths. It was like a day and night difference even though the players were the same.

    We didn’t kill Hodir before scheduled raid end but RL just did a readycheck, yes = one more try, no = leave. All were for that last try and we did kill him on hardmode, though a bit after we usually finish raids 🙂

    So basically I’d say main thing is to have clearly defined raid times. If end time has come either quit or ask members if they want to continue but never force someone to do so. Even if 1-2 don’t want to continue and can’t be replaced call it. Don’t offer any benefits to the ones who stay (exept a possible kill) or people might feel forced to stay. If things are going terrible try to see what’s the problem and if it doesn’t get better don’t push too hard. There are several nights every week, sometimes an early-off might help a bit.

  11. I’m with Hoho about clearly defined raid schedule.

    I’m not a raid leader nor GM, just a guildie. In my guild, they never count the number of wipe. Officer plan raids on a weekly schedule. We raid 25-mans from 9pm to midnight. At the beginning of every raid the RL give us the programm of the night : “Tonight, Thorim hard mode until 23:15 then Freya normal for loot ! Woot ! Lets go !” or “Tonight Iron Council hard mode and if he’s not down at 23:30 we kill him normal and go Razorscale quickly.”

    When people know that usually the torture will end at 11pm or so, they are more willing to wipe again. In our raid, we know that at midnight, there won’t be another try. Sometimes, when many people feel like “this time we’ll down him, one last try please !” The RL ask people who need to go, if there are people availiable to take their place we try one last time, if not : “/rw End of raid”. Final point. No hard feeling on people leaving, never.

    For 10-mans, things are different. The schedule is midnight until people need matchsticks to keep their eyes open. It’s the hard mode raid, the one that try Algalon10. But the atmosphere is this raid is very different. People know that there will be wipes, a lot and they are here for that. Everyone is there to give the best they can, not just for loot. These raid are for the crazy ones… I love those raids… I want my drake and my Mande-étoile title…

    And thanks for commenting on my blog Lodur. 🙂
    .-= Nefernet´s last blog ..Qualities of a good raider =-.

  12. About raider feedback, you say you expect it (and rightfully so), but are you sure you encourage it? if it’s not encouraged I can very well see people just getting pissed off, and eventually having a burnout, without you ever knowing what happened.

    it’s a very common mistake to assume that every raider trusts you 100% and is comfortable telling you whenever something is wrong. in reality, most people in guilds are being treated like strangers on the internet. I tell my friends when something’s up. my raid leader? I just make sure he knows I wont be available.

  13. @Taremva Yes I do encourage it. I have for the last several years of raiding. My raiders know they can trust me, and I do everything I can to ensure they know it. We are a team of friends, I stress team and friends. I’m friends with them not just an officer. My guild leader is the same way with the guild. I talk with them outside of game and I hope my raiders that do read here will feel free to chime in. Even our newest recruits have been very vocal with ideas and comming to me with issues.

  14. We also have a set raid schedule. Tonight it will be 8pm-9:30 burn to thorim, get in 2nd kill on Thorim. If time permits Ignis/Razor. Thursday raid would be Mimiron until 9:30, then freya, hodir, IC. sunday all Mimi, all the time.


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