View Full Version : Want to lead a raid?

08-30-2007, 07:18 AM
This is a guide on how to attempt to lead a raid. The key word here being attempt, this may not work for everyone and you may disagree with some of the context, however in the past 8 years of playing mmo's and raiding I found this to be true for almost any raid.

As a Raid Leader it is your job to be knowledgeable. What I mean by knowledgeable is this:

1. Know your encounter.
2. Know your raid.
3. Come prepared with proper consumables.
4. Be prepared to wipe and change your approach to an encounter completely.

I want to touch down a little on what each of those things means, it may seem obvious to some but to others it may make no sense.

1. Knowing your encounter, when I say this I mean you need understand the fight. This doesn't mean go online and watch another guilds video and try to recreate the fight. This means know the simple mechanics of a fight, the phases, the abilities, and the required raid make up for the fight. No two guilds will kill an encounter the same way. This is why I suggest that if you are starting out on a fight the best thing to do is learn the fights phases/abilities, and then attempt it. Don't waste your time trying to recreate a kill because it won't neccessarily work and you may get frustrated because of it. Everyone will feel much more comfortable with an encounter after a few attempts even if they were wipes, provided they are competent players.

2. Knowing your raid is extremely important, you need to know your limitations. No one wants to waste large amounts of time wiping to a boss because you simply do not have the raid comp to do it. You need to be prepared to change your raid or adjust what you are raiding accordingly so that you can still progress. If you do not know the limitations of the raid as a whole and the members in your raid you will surely have issues when it comes to assigning tasks during an encounter.

3. Being prepared for raids with consumables is a huge task. When I say this I don't expect you alone to pot out your raid. However it is your responsibility to make sure they are prepared as well. If they are not and you allow them come unprepared you are hurting the raid. If you spent any time in Naxxaramas on a fight like loatheb or a fight like gruul pre-nerf you know what I mean.

4. If you choose to try and recreate someone elses kill that is fine, but you need to be ready to change your approach drastically. If your strategy is not working it is probably not because you suck or are doing something wrong but because no two guilds kill the same boss in exactly the same way. In a raid you are going to have your AMAZING players, your average players, and your below average. You need to understand that because a guild does something a certain way doesn't mean you can. Their core group could be carried by amazing tanks or amazing healers, whereas your group is ok tanks ok healers and amazing dps. These factors will change your raid and you need to compensate for that.

That pretty much sums up what you need for a good approach to a boss fight however there is more to raiding than bosses. What I mean by this is you also have to know the Trash. Trash is not always something to be taken lightly, there are times when trash will be more difficult than the boss you are about to attempt. Being able to break down your trash split it up and kill it is not always an easy task so be prepared to change your approach to trash sometimes.

Can you recognize a wipe?
I think if you want to progress at a decent speed you need to know when to call it a wipe and start over. Dragging out an attempt that will not result in a victory is a waste of time. When you are fighting respawns or a set raid schedule every minute of every attempt is important. Being able to recognize a wipe and call it out is almost neccessary for smooth progression.

Morale is a tricky concept, raiding can sometimes be like a slippery slope. If you start doing bad you need to be able to push your raid out of the ditch. If you do not they keep just getting worse and worse as morale falls. Keep in mind here that when I say, "bad" I am not referring to you wiping for progression. Everyone in your raid should be ready to wipe for the sake of progression. What I am talking about is wiping on stuff that you have killed before flawless in the past but are wiping to now because of foolish mistakes. This is the kind of bad I am referring to and it needs to be handled. You can choose to do this any way you want, you can give a pep talk, offer a reward for people playing well, or anything you see fit. You really just need to know your raid and how they will react to this situation before you can attempt to fix it.

Negative Nancy
There is always someone like this in a raid. Some who is all emo and things you are not good enough to do something. Do not tolerate his actions, replace him if he doesn't get in line. Do not let him bring your raids momentum down by saying you suck or that you do not have the ability to kill something. This is just something you need to watch it can hurt your raid, dont let it.

Finally unless you are on expert on all classes, use assistants. Find people you can trust that will back you up when needed, and know how to play their class. Trying to handle every aspect of a raid is to much work and too time consuming, use assistants to make your raid as smooth and effective as possible.

These are just a few of the things you should know going into leading a raid, if there are any questions or something you want me to add let me know. Im sure I missed something, I just don't realize it yet.

08-30-2007, 07:22 AM
A lot of good information in there. Recognizing a wipe is so often overlooked.

As with the other Raid Leading posts cropping up, all of which are very good, this is going to be good for a sub-project on the website over the next few weeks. I've registered a domain and am roughly outlining a website specifically for new raid and guild leaders.

08-30-2007, 07:29 AM
I know there is alot I missed but im at work every time I answer my damn phone I forget something ><... Im planning on doing a Want to lead a Guild post, but that is going to be much longer and more time consuming.

08-30-2007, 09:31 AM
Nice post.

You could address people's motivation for raiding. When people share the same motivation, the raid leader is less likely to need to micro-manage. Each person is eager to achieve the same goals as you. They will show up on time, bring consumables, not go afk and research the encounters on their own. They will spend time in heroics to better their gear. They will farm money and not have trouble with repairs.

The ideal motivation for raiding is in defeating bosses and progressing through new content. When looking at progression, the gear is there to help you defeat new and harder encounters. This can be encouraged with kill screen shots on the website front page listing the players that participated.

This is contrasted with getting new gear as a goal. If someone is looking at farming purples, then they will want to minimize their efforts for the maximum gain. They will avoid new content, skip consumables when they can, and try to get as many items as possible. They will also quickly become discouraged and lose moral if the raid is wiping on farmed content. Finally, once they get that last piece, they will probably stop showing up to that instance. All of this makes sense given their individual motivation.

There is also the PvP player who is attending the raid in order to gain better gear so they can do better in PvP. With the season two gear being so good and taking so little time each week, they are unlikely to put that much effort into progression.

Don't forget the player who doesn't like the idea of spending four hours locked in a tower but will come with you to help. They expect some sort of direct reward for their help.

Every guild is a mix of people with different reasons for being there. The raid leader needs to understand each person's goal and try to balance the activities around a mixture of farming and progression.

A sure warning sign is when there are regular conflicts over loot distribution. You can only tweak any dkp system so much. Have a chat with the player involved and discuss their motivation.

08-30-2007, 09:49 AM
great stuff! thanks =)

08-30-2007, 10:04 AM
Yes I believe I have posted before on how this would work in a utopian society the problem is this, to many people that raid whether its for the right reason or the wrong reason don't like to think on their own. More often than not they need to be told what to do. I have been in a guild before where it was the druids job to decide who and when to battle rez, he used his mind to pick when he wanted to do it, and didn't need to be told. In the perfect raid everyone plays like that... and they also play for the satisfaction of killing a raid boss. The purples are just a extra bonus.

Also even if people research every raid encounter on their own, they still need someone to get them on the same page and that is what really takes the coordination. Unfortunatly not everyone can invest time in researching boss encounters and strategies for them. I myself work full time, go to school full, and raid full time. I don't have a lot of down time to research and when I do I usually fall behind in work or school.

Currently though in this post im focusing on what the raid leader needs to do in a raid, I know good members pick up some of the slack and bad members make it harder. This is more of a "Need to know essenstials" for leading a raid.

As far as my guild is concerned we have a stand point and that is this... We are a PvE guild, your spec and goals need to be catered towards PvE. If you are seriously looking to lead a progressing raid through high end content you don't invite the people who want to PvP, you dont invite Drama Queens, and you dont invite the casual raider.

One final note I am a firm believer in a non corrupt Loot Council it makes progression better and the people who dont get to raid every night but are there for a majority of the nights are still able to get loot. It also values who would benifit greater from an item ultimately helping the guild progress.

08-30-2007, 10:19 AM
lol, i was so spineless last night when I created and semi-lead my first karazhan raid

i knew the fights, but once it came time to pull or tank, i let the officer OT do the calls. I dunno i guess i was just worried I'd mess up, but I DEFINITELY know the pulls up to moroes now lol having accidently pulled the entire elite group prior thinking it was an AOE and surviving =P

08-30-2007, 11:48 AM
lol, i was so spineless last night when I created and semi-lead my first karazhan raid

i knew the fights, but once it came time to pull or tank, i let the officer OT do the calls. I dunno i guess i was just worried I'd mess up, but I DEFINITELY know the pulls up to moroes now lol having accidently pulled the entire elite group prior thinking it was an AOE and surviving =P

thats what i did the first few times i was the MT for kara. it can be a mess if you dont know how to pull.

08-30-2007, 11:59 AM
who do you feel should be the raid leader? i know recently i have been put in as the raid leader and i dont think that the tank is the person who should be in charge of more than tanking, setting the pace and marking mobs. i personally dont want to deal with loot distribution, other than there are a few people who i feel have the wrong attitude towards who should get what and at least i have some say in that if i am RL. i am of the socialist / utopian mindset - an upgrade for the least geared person is more important than the most geared person getting that one last drop they want. but i digress.

imo - someone who is farther back in the group is in a better position to see who is on follow and using autoshot versus who is actively engaged in the fights and using their abilities to maximum potential. i know its really hard for me to see whats going on when all i can see on my screen are the knees of three story robot. i am usually watching cooldowns and castbars and i cant focus on how great it was that the druid saw he needed to move to the far side to avoid something.

08-30-2007, 12:40 PM
Well I think a little differently I don't think any one person should be incharge of the entire raid. It is too much to watch and still do your job effectivly for any class. I do however think that the Main Tank of a guild is more often than not the best leader, he is someone the entire raid depends on day in and day out, people look up to him, and when some crap happens in the raid people look to the warrior to fix it(most of the time). I'm not saying it must be the warrior, I know alot of raid leaders that are not warriors. I just think warriors make the best raid leaders though, they have what I like to call a Commanding Presence.

I think marking and pulling mobs is the hunters job they have a farther range and unless its a single mob there is a chance they all hit you and you die, which is not good. Not to mention misdirect is amazing for pulling.

As far as people with auto follow on or just auto shooting, meters say it all.

08-30-2007, 01:31 PM
Oh man this is pretty good. I was GM of my previous guild and co-raid leader. We had a negative nancy as you put it. He was....terrible. Trouble was, only the officers and I, and the people that raided with him really knew about it. In general he was just a coarse person. He was constantly trying to make perfectly fine raiders completely change their ways, many times for the worse. Eventually causing many talks to turn into arguments -- and heated ones -- the officers and I voted to gkick him. Terror ensued. He had pretty much swayed half the guild - non raiding members mind you (at least as of yet, we had one team running kara at the time) to his side over the course of months, and when he went, many went with him. Then some of our raiders took off as well. So, officers and I and pretty much any others that wanted something better picked up our things and moved over to our current guild, which we had had brief, loose discussions about a merger in the past.

I digress. I totally agree with morale being a GIGANTIC part of progression. If you can't keep your members' chins up when stuff hits the fan, it may be time to step down because you may just not get any further than you are.

To conquest!

08-31-2007, 07:09 AM
Overall good stuff, but I disagree on calling a wipe once the fight is not winnable anymore. As long as you can hold a fight in a semistable status(assuming its progress fight, not a farming run), your raiders might learn quite a lot from practising. Only call a wipe, if your raiders are either familiar with this phase of the fight or if the fight gets really unstable which indeed can lead to loosing a lot of time while the mobs play catch me with your folks.

I might also add that raid leading while maintanking is not something recommendable, at least not in a 25 man dungeon. We all are familiar with the typical perspectiv you have as a MT - most often you stare at the feet of an enormous creature blocking your whole screen. Even if you play with your camera (I tend to choose a 90 degrees sweep on certain fights) you still won't see what is going on in your raid.

If you lead a raid, its important to set goal. When I entered Kara for the first time on my warrior, having rerolled from a rogue 2 months after the release of BC, I had a bunch of good players and some unknowns since we also changed our guild. It was obvious that we weren't able to clear the instance on our first reset - but we really said, lets kill at least the Curator. When we succeeded doing this, the mood got lighter and lighter. We actually killed everything save Illhoof, the prince and Nightbane. 3 IDs later we had Kara on farm. Though we were pretty relaxed in our way to raid, it was absolutely clear that once I called the shots, it was done (or at least we attempted to do it :P).
Why am I telling you this? Because authority only comes to those who are prepared, sharp and motivated. I strongly believe in leading by example. Which is why many MTs are authorities in their raids: they are always prepared, always ready, always motivated and knowledgeble. This is, where maintanking and raidleading have many parallels.

08-31-2007, 03:41 PM
Did you do gruul prenerf?.... going into any phase of any fight under manned because you lost people early will not give you an accurate idea of how to do the fight. For example Kael'Thas, when you learn that fight you learn it one phase at a time, if you go into a phase severely hurt you are just wasting time. Also when you are racing respawns to get actually valid attempts in it is important to make sure you are perfect and fix the mistakes you had initially that caused you to wipe before you try to teach the raid something new when they still dont understand what you are doing.

09-01-2007, 01:57 PM
Thanks for the guide. Alot of good points in it. I can really understand that moral is very important. Leaders who only scream at their friends don't belong in the front row.

09-03-2007, 04:11 AM
@ Paradox: I haven't done Gruul prenerf but doing Kael as long as the fight is pretty stable is a good example because P1 takes really a lot of time. It really depends on the situation. Sometimes you have to call a wipe, yes, in order to safe time. But sometimes giving your raid some time to practice is more usefull than aborting at once. Sometimes its good for the motivation to enter a new phase sometimes its just usefull to get a first glimpse at the abilities in the next phase.

09-04-2007, 06:14 AM
Realistically if you need to go into the next phase you were no prepaired for the raid. Unless its a World first kill and there are no strats and videos you have no excuse to not know the mobs abilities and have seen a video for a rough idea how to do the fight. Im not here to sugar coat anything, if you lose people in phase 1 of kael you already have issues you need to address before even going into phase 2. There is no point on trying to teach phase 2 if you raid doesnt understand phase 1, you just confuse people.

09-04-2007, 08:14 AM
@ Paradox: I haven't done Gruul prenerf but doing Kael as long as the fight is pretty stable is a good example because P1 takes really a lot of time. It really depends on the situation. Sometimes you have to call a wipe, yes, in order to safe time. But sometimes giving your raid some time to practice is more usefull than aborting at once. Sometimes its good for the motivation to enter a new phase sometimes its just usefull to get a first glimpse at the abilities in the next phase.

Mesh, I agree with you. There definitely is a good time to call a wipe, but there definitely are a lot of times where pushing through and learning more in a new encounter is a good thing. :)

09-05-2007, 03:46 AM
Having a rough idea and seeing how the abilities work are two pretty different things. I prepare myself pretty good for new encounters yet some of the stuff I have to see myself in order to assess whether it works how I thought. Additionally quite a lot of stuff you see on videos cannot be transfered to your own strategy. For example how do you kill the weapons in P2? Some folks just bomb them, some do single target DPS, some even kited some of the adds for a while (see FtH video, filmed by Smasher (dps warrior) who kited one of the weapons while the others were killed.

And yes, I know, people dieing in P1 is just dumb, yet it happens all the time - not because people don't know what to do but because of stupidity. This week we wanted to attune more folks for Hyal and wiped for 2 days on him after having killed him twice, just because of individual und collective mistakes. Yesterday we killed him faster than ever before...

09-05-2007, 07:06 AM
Yes but your putting kael into a category I don't think he should be in. For instance there are some fights where it is good to make sure that you drag it out and get as many people experience possible. The first thing that comes into my mind is heigan. That was a fight where you drag it out till the last person falls, alot of that fight is based on personal as well as team efforts. However in alot of fights its more of a execution thing. My point is this, and this does not apply to you because you have already killed him. When you are learning an encounter like kael, you will not get a good perception of phase 3 if you go into it with 4 weapons up, you won't get a good idea of how phase 4 should work if you are still dealing with thaladred from phase 3. Realistically for people to learn how stuff should actually be done they need to see attempts that are relativly close to how it should play out.

09-05-2007, 07:36 AM
I don't think we differ that much actually in our opinion. I agree that if you have once seen P3, you can call it a wipe if there are still 4 weapons active (3 might be ok, if two of them are very low - finishing them off is quite possible).

There are fights where you almost instantly can call a wipe once something goes wrong (Karathress comes in mind, Tidewalker is also once you loose too much of your DPS or if your MT is gibbed). It is nonsensical to continue fighting if you fail on a transistion on Hydross which leads to a double add spawns.

Then there are fights where you know that the boss will enrage but certain features have to be trained and healing mana/healing assingment requirements have to be tested whether they are viable for a full length fight (see Thaddius where it was at the beginning only possible to kill him if almost everybody survived).

A good raidleader has to call the shots on this, whether to continue for learning purposes or whether everybody should seek a quick death. I'd never tell a RL that you "always" have to end a try quickly but rather what the parameters are on which you have to base your decision.

09-06-2007, 03:04 PM
I need some advice. I'm currently on a look for a Kara group/guild. I've never raided in Outland before, nor lead a raid before. Should I first join an existing group/guild to get experience or should I make my own group/guild and get experience while leading it?

Seems kinda hard to come into a guild/group and just take a tanking position. Most of them seems to have a standard tank and OT.

Not sure if this is the right place to ask, but since it's a guide for leading raids I thought I could give it a shot since I'll be leading raids if I make my own group :).

09-07-2007, 07:33 AM
Well that all depends, its hard to lead a group of people that have experience when you have none. I would say this learn all the fights, watch videos, read encounter guides, then try to tag along with a group. Its not hard to find a group looking for an OT at least on my server... Once you feel you know the encounters you can start leading the raids. However anything short of starting a new guild with people that have never done kara its going to be hard to lead a group with no knowledge or experience with the zone. Its just an ego thing, someone who knows the fight and has done it before isnt going to want to listen to some who doesnt know the encounter yet and wants to learn it.