In previous articles in the series I went through the basics for each role. In this last part I will share my point of view, tips and advice on putting all of those parts together and creating the RAID TEAM.
Before you can lead the raid you need to have a clearly defined objective for that team. To build on that, you will need to figure out what style of leading that raid will work for you. Will you be a free flowing leader, encouraging jokes and silliness over the downing of content or become the other extreme; demanding silence during encounters so that you can be clearly heard and micro manage even the simplest of cooldowns? Both of these examples are the extremes in my opinion. I find my own style to be somewhere in the middle of this, if a bit leaning towards jokes and silliness (okay..maybe more than a little eh? I can admit that). I can understand the merits of a more and less strict raid environment as well. Let’s take a look at what some common goals can be with a raid team.
- Casual Raiding: A group of friends to get together a couple times a week, throw some beers back and see what they can do through the raid tier, not really worried about how far they will get just trying to have fun with each other
- In this style you can’t really afford to be a hard ass, players in this raid group will probably run the full range of skill levels. Not a bad option for people that don’t have as much time to dedicate to the game or just don’t take it as seriously.
- Draw backs to this style of raiding, while fun, could be not seeing a raid tier to it’s completion, leaving out some aspects of the story arc in the game. It can also keep you from getting some achievements that you may aim for, I consider these two things about the only issue with casual raiding, otherwise it can in fact be quite fun as more serious raiding can turn the game into a bit more than intended if you aren’t careful.
- Semi-Casual Raiding: This is the category I place myself into most of the time. I define semi-casual raiding as follows. You and your team have decided you want to progress through and see ALL of the content, complete the basic quest arc through a raid. My team and I have also established a goal of at least finishing all raid tiers through the Heroic difficulty, hopefully before the next raid is out. We pursue some achievements as we go. The Raid leader’s style in this is much more direct.
- The Raid leader in this knows how to have fun but firms up a bit once a boss encounter has started. Balancing the fun aspect of the game with the importance of each bosses death for progression.
- On the downside this style of raiding will set limits on what can be acceptable from some of the team, and place you in the position of having to enforce those limits to the people that aren’t performing at a level that is satisfactory to ensure progression
- Hard Core Raidng: Raid is love, if you have room for that, Raid is most certainly life. Every week you raid, several times a week. Your eyes are set on mythic bosses (or maybe being a top 100 group?). As the raid leader here you take no mistake lightly. You will push for the most out of every player and Min/Max everything you can to make sure your team gets as far as you want it to.
- This is the highest level of raiding, many aspire to it and end up falling incredibly short. It is a field littered with achievements and other raiders. As the leader you are aware of every mechanic, interrupts, taunts, cooldowns, and what everyone should do. You are elitist by definition.
- This style of raiding while the most rewarding is also the most punishing. It can be volatile at times and takes a very unique and talented individual to bring it to full fruition. Many people that strive for this fall short. If you are one of the few to pull it off I commend you. It is easy at this level for the game to stop being a game, not a problem for all people but certainly a problem for me.
There are more styles and varied degrees of raiding in between these three options, I have just discussed them as a generic base. Looking above, decide which mostly fits what you are going for. What other struggles will you run into in building this team? These are a few you may run into
- Loot Strategy: Is it Master Loot, MS>OS (Main spec over Off spec), is it DKP or Loot council? Do you rush to finish tier gear set bonuses or not? Maybe you are gutsy and leave it as personal loot? All of these methods are effective and can work but each has its drawbacks, Personally my team runs a MS>OS with highest roll wins and after you receive a piece of gear you are tracked at -1 (meaning anyone that is at 0 that rolls against you in the future automatically has priority over you). I have tried loot council and a DKP system and they are good – aimed more at higher levels of raiding and dedication, for what I pursue it wasn’t the right fit but if it works best for you, by all means.
- Recruitment: You have to add like minded people into your group. You should be aware that people don’t always know what they want when they say they want something and you will discover that as you move forward a person may not actually be as well fitted into your design as you’d hoped.
- Ego and Personality clashes: Ego is a big issue at times. It can prevent someone from hearing criticism beneficially and sometimes encourage a person to tear into someone else for not being “good enough” or causing a wipe. To add to that, sometimes when you are dealing with 9-29 people besides yourself you will run into a situation where a pair or more of people just cannot get along together. It will leave you with hard decisions to make, but you have to make them. I personally follow a rule that I will not allow toxicity or blatant disrespect among my team, from myself or anyone.
- Unpreparedness: You will have raiders that will over and over again be unprepared for a fight. It could be that the video they watched on it didn’t make sense, or the guide wasn’t effective at explaining what happens. It could simply be that they have to see an encounter for everything to click. Being unprepared also includes not having food buff, enchants, gems or flasks. Maybe your raid team supplies them but many do not. Even supplied they can sometimes be overlooked. Are you okay with that or do you enforce a standard of readiness?
- DRAMA!: Building on the 2nd point of ego an personality, there will be drama. It may be between you and some members of the team or have nothing to do with you, it could be an event outside of raid carrying over into it. This is probably the hardest part to take care of as the leader (yeah you’d think it would be the boss wouldn’t you?!). It is absolutely vital here that you keep a level head and are fair handed. Not every judgement is a fun one and it doesn’t always leave everyone happy, but if the whole team knows that you are fair and handled it like a professional, they will respect you for it.
- Be willing to be the “ba
d” guy: THE absolute worst part of being a raid leader. The willingness to be the bad guy. The moments when you have to look through logs and meters and tell someone they just don’t make the cut, sometimes it’s just one raid night, sometimes it means every one of them. I am never happy to be the bad guy but I do accept that it is required. This aspect of raid leading almost doesn’t apply for a casual team and maybe you should keep that in mind when you decide to take up the mantle of leader, otherwise you will be shorting yourself and your team of a raid experience that you want. I could go on about this point for days, but it really can be reduced to looking at your raids goals and being willing to do what you need have to to make those goals attainable.
In closing for this article; Raid Leading is taxing and can be tiring. Even with the struggles of it I find myself drawn to it again and again. Leading the raid is satisfying, gratifying and fulfilling for me. To me the rewards of doing it, and doing it well so far outweigh the cons that they are barely a factor to me. I started a raid team years ago. Some of those members still play, some don’t and some of the one’s that still do don’t play with me any longer. To many I am still a friend. To some I have become family. My experience is a little specialized. I am also the leader of our little guild, Not an uncommon thing for raid leaders but it doesn’t always apply. Trust yourself. Learn to take criticism well and give it out constructively and I believe that you will see content beyond your expectations. This is no longer a single player game. Welcome to the world of Massively Multiplayer.
To end this series. World of Warcraft is a game first and foremost. When you log in each day to play, having fun should be number one. I encourage you desperately to find what that fun is to you and DO THAT THING, and I mean really really do it. If you don’t have that fun you will burn out, you will become cynical and you WILL spread that toxin to those around you, fun is Vital to this, we face enough crap in our day to day. This is your hobby do not make it your job. Go out and find a guild family, if you are so inclined find that raid team that fits you. If you are bold enough MAKE that raid team, be patient with it, even established teams have to jump hurdles (something almost no gamer is ever really excited for. and if you smash into that hurdle, get up and keep running well, that counts to me.)
As Always, Please direct any questions you have or interest in topics to @WoWMojotips on twitter.
If you are just coming to this article and would like the read prior issues in the series please check these links below
Up next for the World of Warcraft series – My take on balance changes, why I still feel like legion has the makings of the strongest WoW expansion yet and why I refuse to jump off of this bandwagon!
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