Raid Leading 101: What’s your motivation?

Welcome to Raid Leading 101! I’m Thespius, and I’ll be writing weekly about the in’s and out’s of what we see (or what you can expect to see) stepping into this coveted leadership role. I plan on covering a variety of individual topics: Tips, Lessons, Conflict, Loot Systems, Recruitment Systems, Scheduling, Add-ons, and whatever you feel needs to be covered. I am a new Raid Leader myself, so I look at this entire experience as a discovery. I’m certainly not perfect, but then again, no one really is.  If you have a topic you’d like covered on “Raid Leading 101″, email it to elder.thespius@gmail.com.

On your mark, get set, GO!

I don’t believe any of us woke up one morning thinking, “Wow, I think I’m gonna be in charge of 9/24+ people!” For the most part, our desire to lead has come from experience. You may have started raiding for the first time, and saw the command that the raid leader had. He/She knew the encounters inside and out and what everyone’s job needed to be. People listened to that “General” and obeyed orders.

OR, you had a horrible Raid Leader. Maybe you felt he/she didn’t have a good hold on the situation, using out-dated or unrealistic strategies. You just felt that the job wasn’t being done correctly, and you started to see all the things NOT to do. Therefore, you take it upon yourself to be a better and wiser Raid Leader.

In either scenario, you most likely learned from what you saw. Something in your past experience guided you to this position. You’re taking the lessons you learned and the stories you lived through, and you’re putting it towards your own system. You have a great trust in what you think is helpful and what is not. The question you have to ask yourself is, “Why?”

Meaning of Life My Leadership

I got my raiding feet wet in Karazhan, and I wanted more. My original guild <Sword Through the Horde> didn’t have the roster to do Serpentshrine Cavern or beyond. I joined <Rise of the Phoenix>. Drama on a low-population server tore it apart. I joined up with the newly-minted <Team Sport>, but the raiding was just too casual. I got cozy with <Concedo Nulli>, but drama crumbled that fun to the ground. I aligned myself with Lodur’s <Unpossible> and found a great home, but it was missing something.

I was missing the friends that I “grew up with” in the game. You’ll probably hear about them throughout this “column”. They’re near and dear to me, which is why I decided to go back to <Team Sport>. However, I knew (as they did) that we needed to implement a more solid structure. They all loved hearing the stories of our boss downings in <Unpossible>, and I would even invite my friend Jayme over to watch our Lich King kills. They were slightly jealous and wanted similar. It was at this point I started to tip-toe into the leadership position.

I’ve discovered that the most important thing to me is to progress through raid content with my friends that share the same mindset. There are 6-7 of us that share the similar belief of a light schedule but with solid progression. Hence, I’ve tasked myself with creating a Raid Team based around that. My closest in-game friends and I taking on 10-mans with force.

Your turn, Grasshopper

So you have to take an inward glance. If you’ve ever thought about taking the “Reins of the Raid”, you have to ask yourself, “Why?” It’s not an easy job, so you need to be passionate. Know what it is you want to accomplish, and stay true to what got you here in the first place. Maybe it’s friendship, maybe it’s hunger, maybe it’s adrenaline. Whatever it is, take some time to identify it. It’s going to be the backbone of your leadership.

What drives you to be the Raid Leader? What is it that convinced you to take on the role?

Raiding Horror Stories and the Opportunity it Brings

Cracking a 25 man raid roster is not the easiest thing to do in the world, especially when it’s been set in stone for a while. Every now and then, a slot or two will open up which could allow any other player in the guild to fill it. They just have to be given the opportunity to step into it. Benching a raider is a strong message to deliver and it should only be used sparingly if that player’s performance is not up to par. On the other hand, it allows another person the chance to replace them. But when do you determine who gets to sit and who gets to go? Surely the following will help you shape your opinion.

Stories

Every Guild has their AFK stories. Every Guild has their horror wipe stories. These are all true stories, I guarantee you. They’ve been collected from friends and colleagues of mine as well as my personal experience.

We clearing to Kael and as we enter the room, one of our mages appeared to be quite fidgety. So he starts strafing left and right because the raid leaders is going over trash or something. Before you know it, the mage goes from the raid group to the middle of a kael trash group and promptly dies. Turns out his blink key was bound to his “f” key. I can say with absolute confidence that he no longer has blink bound to a key.

We’re doing Al’ar and it’s phase 1. It’s right after a flame quill and one of our tanks goes rushing up the platform to pick up Al’ar. He grabs him and oversteps the platform and falls off the edge. Goodbye Charlie.

FPS problems are a plague for some players because it drastically affects their ability to perform. During the Pre TBC era, there was a boss called Baron. He’s essentially like Solarian. Every now and then, a person gets a debuff and he explodes taking out people around him within a certain radius. There was this player who raided with about 3 FPS. Now at the time, it’s a 1 in 40 chance of who gets the debuff. Sure enough, he gets chosen. His bomb warning is processed too slow which leads to a slow reaction time which leads to him literally taking out half the raid. Does anyone believe in lightning striking twice? Yup, minutes later he gets debuffed again and blows up another half of the raid. The policy now was that this 1 player gets his OWN position without anyone around him. You can’t make this stuff. You just can’t.

There’s this Gruul’s run. The Guild’s in the ready position. Out of no where, this Paladin darts straight ahead right into Gruul. Over vent you hear cries of “WTF” and “OMG”! And then there was silence. The Paladin sheepishly says “Sorry guys, that was my kid on my lap and he was just smashing the keyboard!”

Players who alt tab back in the game when they hear “Shatter” over vent during Gruul.

There was this Gruul’s run. While the main tank was on High King, one of the Paladins DI’d the main tank! Naturally you can kind of guess what happened.

Opportunity

For the GM’s

There’s going to be players in Guild’s that display similar behavior or rationality like the ones I mentioned above. This is a GREAT time for you to try out that new guy in your Guild. You know, the one that joined a few days ago. He’s shown up on time and ready to go. He expects to get shot down but he waits outside the instance logged off in the event hes needed.

Give them that opportunity.

For the new guy

This is your chance to show of your ability and skills. Don’t squander it. If you’re ever unsure of anything, ask. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Work hard and you’ll get your shot soon enough. Turn over in Guilds can be low but they are by no means non-existent. There’s always a player that has to leave at some point and there are always going to be players to take their spot.

Here’s a brilliant example right here. Ryan Shannon is hockey player with the Canucks. He hasn’t fully transitioned to the big club. He’s usually on the farm team (minor leagues). Whenever there’s an injury on the Canucks or if there’s a hole in the lineup for some reason, players are called up from the farm team to help fill their positions. Sometimes, you just never know what they’re going to do. You just have to pray that they’re going to do their job and do it well.

In this case, Shannon not only does the job well, he looks good doing it. Remember, minor leaguer called up to play in the big leagues.

By the way, I know I can’t be the only raider with some stories to share. I’d love to hear your funniest wipes (or most stupidest). So how about it GMW, Karthis, Phaelia, or Galadria?