An Ex-Gnome Tank's World

Attitudinal Adjustment: How to Be a good Raid Leader

July 26th, 2008 Posted in Class Discussion, General

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too…

- If, by Rudyard Kipling

I’ve been a raidleader in my time (though I don’t currently lead anything other than the odd Zul’Aman) and after hearing from various friends about how their raid leaders operate, I’d like to think I have a handle on what makes a good or bad raidleader. We should bear in mind, though, that the best raidleader in the world will have an off day.

Who should raidlead?

Anyone can raidlead, but some classes’ players are going to be better disposed toward leading than others. In particular the “big picture” is important here. Knowing exactly when to call a wipe is important, so as many attempts at a boss can be made in as short a time as possible. Also it helps to be at range so that you can see what is going on in a physical sense – who’s failing to run out of the fire, who’s beig slower to pick up than you’d like, and so on.

For this reason, I think the best raidleaders are healers. They already have the information at their fingertips and they’re far away from the action that they can keep an eye on other things that might be happening. That’s not to say other classes can’t raid-lead – part of the reason for my information-junkie UI is so that I have a good idea of what is going on – but by having your raidleader heal, they’re paying attention to all the information they would be paying attention to anyway.

The Start of Good Raid Leadership

Good leadership starts well before you’ve set foot in the instance. It involves picking a group that you think will do well against the bosses that you’ll be facing, but also not min/maxing too much. If you down a boss much more quickly than you expect, you may well find the next boss is impossible if you’ve tailored the group too tightly to a single encounter. More than that, ensure that you’re giving a fair exposure to each of your raiders to the content. If you stick with the same team for too long, the members you pick will get complacent about their position and those on the outside will start to resent their own situation.

Also, make sure that everyone knows the tactics for the fight. Drop a link to somewhere like BossKillers or MMO Champion on your guild forums, and start a discussion based on it. Usually there are a few different options you can try, and by getting everyone involved in discussing what they think is going to be the best way, you’re that much more likely to have your raiders actually read up on the encounters.

Stay Cool

In the face of insurmountable incompetence this is sometimes hard, but it’s absolutely necessary. Nobody enjoys being shouted at. Different people have different strategies for managing this. The first, and most prime of these is to have an area you can vent into – whether that be your guild’s officer channel, a private chat channel containing your closest friends, or whatever. Just make sure the people in that channel know that you’re merely venting and don’t mean anything by it.

Don’t raise your voice over TeamSpeak / Ventrilo / Voice Chat. It doesn’t help, and especially don’t swear. There are exceptions to this latter rule. If you’re like some people I know who curse every third word then so long as it’s in your normal tone of voice it’s not going to cause too many problems. Other than that, try not to be confrontational – if someone’s having problems with something then approach them in private, or better yet get a member of their own class (perhaps an officer) to have a few words. Giving criticism and approaching people in private with concerns in a positive way speaks volumes for how much you view them as a raider, even if deep down you’re cursing their very existence.

Different leaders have different ways of dealing with frustration. I tend to use an air of enforced relaxation to assist with this. After the tenth attempt on a boss with frustration building throughout the raid, everyone will be annoyed with progress. Even if you as the leader are too, don’t let it show. Put on a relaxed, calm and confident voice, discuss what’s going wrong with your raiders and keep at it. If you sound confident, your raid will assume you are confident, and that confidence will spread to them. On the other hand, don’t overdo it and sound cocky – that will get you and the raid nowhere fast.

Have Fun

Finally, and most importanly, if you’re not enjoying yourself, the rest of your raid won’t either. Let your enjoyment be infectious!

  1. 3 Responses to “Attitudinal Adjustment: How to Be a good Raid Leader”

  2. By Softi on Jul 26, 2008

    Awesome guide :) If I ever get to raidleading I\’ll be making sure I come back here for reference.

  3. By Tankette on Jul 28, 2008

    We’ve had a problem with raid leaders that think a wipe is the end of the world. Wipes happen, even on stuff that should be easy. Remember it is about having fun as well ass dropping bosses. There should never be a raid where everyone walks away thinking \

  4. By Tankette on Jul 28, 2008

    Not sure why that cutoff.
    There should never be a raid where everyone walks away thinking “we sucked”.

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