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druideena

Being a better raid leader

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Hi all, I would like some input on how to be a more effective raid leader. I have asked my raiders to post in here to become better at playing their classes, and I think its only fair to get better at leading them.

my raid is a 10 man raid, we raid 3 times a week for aprox 3 hours each day, I do not want to push realm firsts, but defeating and clearing normal raids woudl be nice, with an additional few heroics before the next content releases.

Currently I do not use any addons other then DBM that are raid tools.. any suggestions?

When do you usually try new strats on bosses(when do you give up on the strat you are working on)?

How can I help out underperformers? Is there a point where you cut someone and recruit to fill?

what is the best way to recruit for your raid?

I currently use open raid to post my raids, so that if i do not have enough online for ToT i can then turn the raid into a 5.1 heroic or normal run and grab Open Raiders to fill, do you guys see any drawbacks to this?

Any other tips and tricks? or basics even?

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I love tellmewhen for CD's, trink procs, and tracking ICD's but it works for just about everything and its SO easy to use.

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Here are the addons I use for raid leading:

-BigBrother: Lets you see everyone's food/flask/raid buffs and mostly, lets you know everytime someone taunts, interrupts something or breaks a cc. Very useful imo.

-AutoLog: I always forget to start recording combat logs for WoL, this addons does it for me.

-LuckyCharms for easy marking of targets.

I tried a few more to keep track of loot/attendance and so on, but for me, keeping a notebook next to my computer to take note of possible strats, things I saw that went wrong, and so on, was the best.

For strategy changes, our rule of thumb is: We'll figure out a strategy and stick to it until either of those 2 things happen: Either we stop progressing, always wiping at the same point or even start regressing, then we'll figure out changes or even a new strategy. As long as there is progress we'll stick to our original strategy. 2nd thing is, if someone gets a "crazy idea that just might work", we try it immediately on the next pull. If it gets us a kill or is better than our old start we keep to it. If it doesn't work we go back to the old one.

For underperformers, since I lead a 10 man I can afford to micro-manage them. I try and go over logs/rotations with them, do LFRs and dungeons so we can figure out how to improve. I only replace a player when the player does not want to improve or doesn't put the necessary efforts to keep up with the rest of the team. And probably, if you keep pushing them to improve and they don't, they'll end up getting tired of having you on their backs and leave on their own.

2 small stories to illustrate this:

I used to run with a resto shammy. She simply didn't care about being good. She stood in bad stuff 1/2 the time, and was regularly out-healed by our shadowpriest and blood dk. I tried to give her tricks to improve, ran stuff with her, and so on. After about 3 weeks, her numbers were still the same. I told her that she had to do better if she wanted to stay in the team, to which she replied that if she couldn't play the way she want she'd leave. Which she did.

More recently, I had a disc priest in my raid. Her heals were very often sub-par. I took the time to go over her rotations, helped her make a few macros, and we talked for a bit about healing strategies. Being that she wanted to improve, she ran stuff on her own until she got better. Today, she's #1 heals 90% of the time, and whenever she's not she only blames herself.

Long story short: Keep motivated players who can keep up with the team. Help them if you have to. You'll have a stronger team if you keep the "core" as stable as possible.

For my recruiting, I always try and get people that me or my raiders know first. If your raiders know how you raid and if they respect you, they won't recommend people that won't do a good job. My 2nd stop is trade chat/official realm forums. However when I go there I usually make a long and very descriptive post. You'll get less hits, but there's a better chance that the people you find will be the right ones. If you want an example, here's my recruitment thread from pre-5.2 http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/7979509668.

Also, you can try the Icy-Veins guild recruitment forums, you could find some nice people in our small community :)

The good thing I see about openRaid is that you will always raid even if people don't show up. The worst you can do is cancel a night and don't do anything. However, I think it could be better still to raid current content. Find a pug in trade chat, and go kill some bosses in ToT. You'll get more gear to make the next night easier when your usual people get back. And if they're mad they missed some boss kills in ToT, it was on them to be there for the raid night at first.

I do ask for a 95% attendance rate (except for extreme/unavoidable situations) and my raiders know that if they miss a night, they'll miss gear and boss kills.

Hope this helps, if anything was unclear or if you have more questions feel free to ask,

-Rage

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Get the addon ORA 3. It is a wonderful raid leading tool. It allows you to do simple things you will eventually take for granted such as having your raid members whisper you 'invite' for an auto-invite and accept. It also allows you to designate a master looter as soon as a raid group is made, automatically switching loot to Master Loot, just so you don't forget.

Get the addon Fatality. This addon will link the first 5 deaths, what they died to, and how much it did to them as well as overkill. For those few raiders who are reluctant to say what they died to, they won't have a chance to refute what the add-on links.

Ensidiafails is another good addon. This addon will report live when someone makes a mistake such as standing in fire, hitting something they're not supposed to, or not having the right buff. This can get spammy, so learn how to read it.

Recording logs is VERY important as a raid leader, and understanding how to read them is absolutely key to finding out who isn't performing well, who isn't switching to adds, who is standing in bad shit too long or too much, and who isn't pulling off interrupts.

Recruiting sucks. Establishing a level of trust, consistency, and finding the balance between risk and reward is what makes a guild stay together. If you continuously stumble on content, your best raiders are going to become frustrated and want to leave. It comes down to what you want to do as a guild and raid group. If you want to push normals and a few heroics, establish those as goals. If someone is holding you back, replace them or sit them and let them know that they're not helping you achieve the goals you've already established. This looks much better than "I'm replacing you because your DPS sucks." This will keep your raid group in the upper-tier of skill and motivation.

No favoritism, ever. If your best friend makes a mistake and you don't call him out and then the new guy makes a mistake and you ride his ass all the way back for the next pull, new guy is going to feel that the guild is very 'cliquey' and he won't hang around a lot. You have to treat raid leading like you do a manager's position at a job, even if you're managing friends. You have to remember that you're there to do something, and if you can do it while having fun, great. If not, time to get serious and put more focus into getting back to your goals.

Own up to your mistakes. Pointing fingers, assigning blame, and disregarding personal performance won't sit well and it will cause a level of distrust within your team. As the raid leader, your raiders are there to be pointed in a direction by you. Be knowledgeable, be attentive, and most of all, be responsible. There were times that I knew someone made a mistake on the way back. Rather than addressing that person via whispers or raid chat or Mumble, I would explain what caused the wipe, that someone had done it, and that it's important that it's not done again. There were times that I knew someone else caused a problem, but I couldn't find who it was immediately. I often accepted the blame for whatever happened, explained how I would do it better, and things got better.

Raid leading is the most difficult thing to do in this game. Never settle with your current abilities. Always strive to get better in your personal performance, people management, and leadership skills. Best of luck.

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Get the addon ORA 3. It is a wonderful raid leading tool. It allows you to do simple things you will eventually take for granted such as having your raid members whisper you 'invite' for an auto-invite and accept. It also allows you to designate a master looter as soon as a raid group is made, automatically switching loot to Master Loot, just so you don't forget.

Beat me to it Zagam.

But Phoenix style is also a good addon instead of Ensidiafails. I think it shows the information better too IMO

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Currently I do not use any addons other then DBM that are raid tools.. any suggestions?

  • DeathNote - Must have for me. Displays death logs much cleaner and easier to use than any addon I've seen.
  • BigBrother - I use this along with a custom chat channel it will post messages of "Player X interrupted Mob Y with Kick" type messages. Useful for analyzing "who got that interrupt" and "who missed their interrupt" ... along with other things like taunts etc...
  • RaidSlackCheck - Very quick at a glance of what you have available with your current group: interrupts, crowd control, specific types of buffs. This addon has more comprehensive information than any other I've come across.
  • ORA3 - Useful for built in CD tracker, auto raid invites, auto assist promotions.
  • BLRaidCooldowns or ElvRaidCooldowns - I use ElvUI and BL raid cooldowns / elv raid cooldowns are the same addon. I like the compact nature of this addon so I use it to track available CDs and remaining CDs. ORA3 has similar functionality but I prefer these.
  • WeakAuras - I sometimes track specific players using specific abilities with this addon. For instance on Heroic Protectors I would creak a weak aura to display when our warlock used curse of exhaustion so I could track exactly when to expect the small adds to be slowed next.
  • Marking Macros -> SetRaidTargetIcon . ... google how to use it --- keybind
  • Focus target MAcro -> /clearfocus ..... /focus .... use this to keep track of boss casts and other important abilities ... I've used it to watch a suspect healer trial and see why they were going OOM ... turns out spamming Prayer of Healing makes you OOM
  • MacroBank - Allows you to save and hold all kinds of extra macros .... useful if you have CD orders on multiple bosses

When do you usually try new strats on bosses(when do you give up on the strat you are working on)?

When we hit a brick wall and it isn't due to personal failure. A good example is our progression on Heroic Megaera we were hitting a brick wall consistently dying at the same spot. We changed our strat and it should work better.

How can I help out underperformers? Is there a point where you cut someone and recruit to fill?

You first have to be good yourself. I have a Level 90 of every class. If I ask someone a question of another class and I know more than they do ... that's a bad sign. Generally constantly researching world of logs mistakes (become VERY VERY good at going through logs). Constantly keep a notepad of when people fuck up and why ... use all the addons above to monitor stuff (you can monitor pre-potting and using pots during fights too). You have to be incredibly vigilant and really know what you're talking about. I spend countless hours EVERY DAY going through logs, researching classes, doing boss strategy, recruitment, etc... I programmed my own tool which searches the wow forum for specific keywords based on class/spec we need to recruit. I use google docs to keep track of who I've talked to and who I've posted on the forums. I'm relentless in recruitment. If I really want someone, i spend a lot of time talking to them in chat / mumble / e-mail / whatever. Just ask Zagam .. I got him to join my guild =P.

what is the best way to recruit for your raid?

As mentioned, you have to be relentless. People will only respect you / want to join your guild if you have something to offer. You need to have a solid group of officers and people to help you with decision making. You must be fair. Never contradict yourself or let your emotions control your decision making. Raid leading is a 2nd job essentially. You have to be willing to put in the time for your group to succeed. Keep people happy. Raid leading is not for everyone, it's a lot of work.

I currently use open raid to post my raids, so that if i do not have enough online for ToT i can then turn the raid into a 5.1 heroic or normal run and grab Open Raiders to fill, do you guys see any drawbacks to this?

Never leave your roster in a position where you can't raid. I've only ever canceled 1 raid in 2 years for attendance. And that was when we literally had 4 people FLUKE missing in 1 night. We currently run 13 full time members with 2-3 that COULD fill in if ever needed. It takes a long time to build a solid roster, but you need to find people who are GOOD and YOUR FRIENDS. These people will be loyal to you regardless of what happens with the guild. People who will stick it out till the end. People look to you for stability. Once you build a few people it will steamroll as you eventually find more good players. Loyalty is key. People won't be loyal if they don't like you.

Any other tips and tricks? or basics even?

It takes a ton of work to build a successful guild. Most of what Zagam said above me is solid advice. You never quit trying. Always always always put in 200% effort. Never settle for less than the best from yourself and eventually (could take ~2 years) you'll build a team around you of people who are both your FRIENDS and AMAZING players.
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DBM will help you definetly, especially if your're having trouble moving out of stuff on the ground and it also lists the boss's enrage timers.

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I read IV forums a lot, and I really think this is one of the best threads I've seen. Thanks for all the advice you've given, and thanks druideena for asking these questions. Though I'm not a raid leader, it has given me some solid ideas on how to help raids that I am in. Yes some of it is common sense, but sometimes people need to hear that too (like me!).

Also, I think if done correctly, a thread like this could deserve to be stickied.

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Hi all. Just giving my two cents on this topic.

Currently I do not use any addons other then DBM that are raid tools.. any suggestions?

In regards to addons, you need to think about what you really need to see in a fight. You don’t want your UI to be crowded in a way that it would affect your performance, but you also don’t want to miss out on important raid leading information.

Boss mods are essential. Having them will give you important warnings for personal performance, but also provide you with timers for abilities that you may need to use raid CDs on.

While a DBM user for a long time (since Vanilla), I switched this tier to Big Wigs (and so did most of my guild – Inner Sanctum) simply because it was stronger this time around in terms of information provided.

Other than that, Krazyito has a post here - http://www.icy-veins...rsraid-leaders/ - which suggests Hermes (another addon). It’s an extremely good addon, which allows you to see the important CDs of your raid. You should not only use it, but also motivate your raid in using it. E.g: Tanks can track which CDs have been used and what is available, in case they need a life cocoon, pain suppression, …

Finally, Ora3 is an useful addon but not really necessary in-fight, which in the end of the day is what really counts. The auto-invite and auto-settings for loot are nice, but not important for the actual fight raid leading.

When do you usually try new strats on bosses(when do you give up on the strat you are working on)?

Switching tactics is something you should do depending on the players you have at your disposal. You need to have a real understanding of the level of the players you are playing with and know their strengths and weaknesses. You also need to understand the fight and how does your setup fit into it.

In order to evaluate a tactic you need to make sure that everyone is clear about the fight, about what they are doing, what they are DPSing first, what raid CDs are going to be used, etc.

Once that is done, check why you are still wiping. Do you lack DPS? If so, is there any chance you can drop a healer for a dps (or for off-spec)? If you can’t afford losing a healer, can’t you have some healers DPSing extra on certain phases? Do you lack healing? Can you affording using an extra healer? Etc.

Above all, adjusting a tactic is usually easier than making a full switch. Don’t change what’s working and work around what’s missing. Depending on the fights, there’s usually tweaking that can be done.

How can I help out underperformers? Is there a point where you cut someone and recruit to fill?

Checking logs and comparing with top ranked players goes a long way. While DPS / Healing won’t match the numbers of those better geared players, a damage breakdown will allow you to understand if your players are using the right spells or not. With that done, the easiest way is to drag them for a chat on your voice communication server and show them the logs you have been looking at, showing him the comparisons you have been doing.

Making sure they are maxed out and optimized in terms of gemming, enchants and reforging is a given.

Just like any job, brainstorm sessions can sometimes figure out things that a solo person cannot, so a chat at times can help your player figure out what he is doing wrong and help him improve.

In regards to “cutting someone”, I believe that the 1st step is not actually getting them in your raid team in the 1st place. During a trial period, you should have a clear understanding of the type of player you got into your team and only maintain him if he really meets the standards you expect. Getting someone that will lower your raid quality is never good, unless you see potential in them to improve fast, given the right mentorship.

If you already got a player in the guild, made him member and after a while he is showing constantly to not be up to the level of players you want to have, talk to him. Given him the benefit of doubt but be honest to him saying that he is in a “probation period” in which he really has to show a serious improvement if he wishes to remain in the guild and/or as a member. If he does not improve after 1-2 resets, tell him that you are in need of someone that plays at a higher level than he does.

It’s never an easy task to do anything like this. As a Raid Leader and GM for years, I have had to fail trials, demote and kick players several times for not performing at the level required, even if they were great guys and girls. Be as straight and honest as possible is usually the best way to handle it. Most of the times, the person will understand it (but not always), given that you are right in your judgement.

What is the best way to recruit for your raid?

This depends on what sort of guild you are and what level of recruitment you aiming for. But as a general rule, maximize your link building and create an audience (even if small) can be some good tips.

Assuming that your guild has a website for recruitment, make sure you announce the recruitment (keeping it updated and bumped as often as possible/permitted) on the most variety of community based websites/forums as possible. Icy Veins, MMO-Champion, Wowprogress, Realm Forums, Looking for Guild Official Forums are the basics.

Posting in General/Trade chat is usually done by lower progression guilds as it will often only be read in consideration by players without knowledge of websites such as Wowprogress and most likely those won’t be the type of players you want.

Then if you can you can try and develop an audience, building social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, …). Even if it has low views, it will already spread to friends of guildies and eventually reach players that you wouldn’t reach otherwise.

If you have someone capable of it in your raid, making movies out of your kills can also be a way to generate views and therefor, eventual applicants.

Then, Word of Mouth marketing. Your guildies often know other players of enough skill level to join. Check with them if they know someone.

To sum it up, getting as many sources of views as possible will allow you to get a bigger amount of applicants. They won’t all be good enough, but then it’s a filter job!

I currently use open raid to post my raids, so that if i do not have enough online for ToT i can then turn the raid into a 5.1 heroic or normal run and grab Open Raiders to fill, do you guys see any drawbacks to this?

You should never, ever, have to resource to outside guild players. If you are raiding three days a week, you need to make sure you have players capable of doing those days. Sometimes 1 won’t be able to, it happens. That’s why you should have a bigger roster which allows you to manage that. If you are 10 man, having about 13-14 is usually the way to go.

Just have a forum space for raid absences and get people to post if they will be away with a valid reason. If they are often missing raids, you are better off without them, no matter how good players they are.

Any other tips and tricks? or basics even?

If you guild doesn’t have a anti-spoil policy, study the fight. If you aren’t fighting for world 10, there are usually movies out for every single fight you are progression on. Associating that with Icy Veins guides and looking through Dungeon Journal will allow you to have a better understanding and knowledge of the fights.

If you go into a fight knowing exactly what you want players to do and how, it will be much easier for you to explain stuff.

While at times you need to see parts of the fight live, the big majority of abilities can be studied and prepared in advance by reading guides/looking at movies.

Plan the raid, think about the setup you want to use, the targets you need to assign, the priorities you need to set, the raid cooldown order you want to use, etc.

Keep it simple when explaining. Often raid leaders talk too much and the members are most likely afk or not listening anymore. Make simple and clear assignments and make sure everyone is clear about what they are doing once the fight starts and in the different stages of the fight.

Sorry for the wall of text but hope it helps in some way!

Edited by Rmtree
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...

You are awesome.

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The best way to motivate people is fear, money, and food.

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So much really good information here I took a couple notes myself.

I lead a very relaxed 10 man team thats growing to the point we are soon converting to 25man content. Our best recruiting tool in the past has been our very chill raiding environment. We have a good time and joke around about stuff, but are serious enough to get stuff done. Through the process of pugging here and there or inviting current players friends to fill vacancies, our ranks have grown based on our productivity as well as the relaxed atmosphere we provide. Of course some people prefer to play in a more hard core setting, and there is nothing wrong with that... the important thing is to find players who fit in with the rest of the group if your main goal is to enjoy the game from your point of priority.

One of the things I do to maintain the environment is to not allow finger pointing, for myself or other raiders. When we see problems I address them to the group as "here's something we can do to help the situation" and not single people out. However, having addons to track individual "fail" moments is pretty important also, many have already been mentioned. It makes it much easier to approach those stubborn difficult players when you can provide documentation of what they are doing wrong instead of coming off like you have a personal problem with them... numbers don't lie.

Deciding when to change strategies for us is very situational. When things are gooing good, then we have a sudden wipe at a particular point, its pretty obvious we need to change something thats going on with a particular mechanic... usually I look for 3 in a row. If your failing to enrage timers then mechancis are pretty clean, and then need to look for ways to increase boss damage is looked at more closely. But I try to show up prepared. I study the fight from every point of view, then come up with a strategy that fits our raid makeup from not only a class perspective, but also playing towards individuals strong and weak points. I do get "helpful" input from players who watched a video from a top raid team, with a different makeup and player base, and I then have to relate sometimes exactly why we are doing things a certain way. For example, we have a very skilled Rogue in our group who I assign a lot of interrupts to. But it never fails that someone will point out that in the video they watched a DK did the interupts.... Awesome! Welcome to raid leading Posted Image

Sometimes I get complaints from top dps about the bottom dps not pulling their weight, and I have to sometimes remind them of some of the stuff they stood in to get their numbers... it's never black and white. In the end I try to look at our total dps, and if it's getting the job done, I don't ruffle feathers.

However, the most difficult part for me, because we are pretty friendly with our team, there comes that time when you've gone as far as you can with the numbers your putting up. You've checked the logs and other addons and it's obvious who the problem player is. You've chatted with this person and tried your level best to work them into something that's acceptable. Eventually, as sad as it it, you owe it to the rest of the team not to let one person hold you back and you have to start looking to fill that spot. Yes it sucks, but part of raid leading is ensuring that you progress. No matter where a team starts, or how strong your loyalty is, if a team isn't allowed to evolve and grow, whether in size or skill, it will stagnate and eventually your more skilled players will go somewhere else. Then you will find your self in a never ending cycle of finding and losing good players... don't be that guy.

And as I find myself ranting... I also realize how rewarding and fun raid leading is. Every compliment and boss kill makes it worth while.

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Recording logs is VERY important as a raid leader, and understanding how to read them is absolutely key to finding out who isn't performing well, who isn't switching to adds, who is standing in bad shit too long or too much, and who isn't pulling off interrupts.

I've started reading logs, but haven't figured out how to tell when/if people are switching to adds. How do I figure that out?

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There is a "damage by actor" tab or something similar, you can check how much damage people do to adds. You can also set the log to a specific part (right click set page to selection) and you can see the people's damage during that time period.

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