Building a better Raid Leader
I’ve been thinking about how I want to write this post for quite a while. I have a somewhat hardcore raiding mentality…yet I am the raid leader for a casual raiding guild. I’ve been doing the job for years and from what I am told, quite well. To be honest, Raid leading and I have a love/hate relationship and it can really be a strain sometimes I love being the “Go too” guy. I love picking apart boss fights, developing strats, identifying problems and solving them in creative ways based on the pool of raiders I have to work with. I take almost as much pride in raid leading as I do as a main tank. But don’t be fooled, it’s not all rainbows and sunshine. Raid leading tends to lead to an overwhelming number of misunderstandings and conflicts. For any RL to be successful he requires the support his or her raid group. He must earn their respect and therefore they will “follow him into battle.”
Some months ago I was very burned out with the job, maybe it had something to do with the game in general but all I knew was that it was time to take a break. In that time we made some progress…but it just wasn’t the same. I found that part of what makes this game so much fun for me is doing that job. I was discouraged because I felt as though the guild wasn’t behind me and so it felt like I was herding cats. More specifically I found that quite literally almost every call I made was questioned. Normally if its 1 or 2 times a night, no big deal but when it’s so frequent that I spend more time defending my logic than actually raiding….= Burnout.
So I took my break, recharged my batteries, and here I am right back at it! Getting the guild back into 25s is likely what prompted my return and despite whatever conflicts have arisen I haven’t faltered. The frustration of being challenged midraid is gone! It seems that I’ve once again earned the respect and trust of my raiders so look out Arthas; we’ll be knockin’ down your door in no time!
Now to the actual point of my post: What makes a good raid leader?? I’m sure just about everyone has their own answer to this question. Some like a raid ruled by the hand of a wrathful god! Others like a silly yet intelligent leader. Some expect 3 hours of progression standup comedy …and then there are those who expect me to speak as a pirate while we mop the floor with boss after boss just for the lulz.
So what’s the best way to Raid Lead?
I think it depends on the group you have to work with. Brotherhood of Oblivion is full of all sorts of people and it’s hard to please everyone at the same time…try as I may I can’t always leave everyone with a feeling of satisfaction at the end of a raid night. My style is unique…or so I’m told. I try to keep things casual and fun and silly but make sure we make the most out of the few hours of progression raiding we have to work with each week. There are a few basic qualities that every good raid leader should posses:
First: RAID LEADERS ARE NOT INFALLIBLE! We make mistakes! We can and often are wrong! Any good RL knows when to admit that he/she has made a mistake or a bad call and most importantly doesn’t feel bad about doing so!
Second: Because all raid leading is like herding cats to some degree…Posses a firm hand and a sharp tongue BUT only whip those out when absolutely necessary. These weapons in my arsenal are not meant to upset anyone! They are used to give me a desired effect and keep the raid on track. No one should ever take anything I say personally in a raid.
Third: A good raid leader must always see the bigger picture and place the needs of 25 people ahead of any 1 person. Now this doesn’t mean screw anyone over and over and over…. This means that because it’s basically impossible to keep everyone happy at all times, occasionally you are going to have to do things such as ask someone to sit for a week, or change specs, or participate in a strat that they are not fond of. In the big picture the needs of one are outweighed by the needs of many.
And lastly: PATIENCE!! Take your time! Go slowly! Give the raid enough time to digest the instructions you’ve given or the boss fight you just picked apart and explained for 15 minutes. Not everyone can pick up a fight with the snap of a finger.
So I want to open this up. I want to hear what other qualities a RL should have. Do I basically have it down? Am I flat out wrong? What can be improved upon?