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Raid leading tips

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I've recently been promoted within my guild to track stats and weekly progress of our core raiders, while many of our members are strong players, what are the key points of interested I should be closely observing. Also, at what point should I consider seeking replacements for members that aren't up to par. We're looking to hit the raids in Warlords of Dreanor fast and hard as soon as they become available, with 3 mandatory days of attendance 4 hours long and an additional day that varies depending on schedule availability for our 25 members.


Currently, I'm using recount to gather output of our members and using a spreadsheet to track progress for each days attempts. 



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Logging is an aboslute must. Most of us love Warcraft logs, but even if you use World of Logs still, it's better than nothing. I'd also advise turning on advanced combat logging so you have more information such as time stamps for CD's and player positional data, which Warcraft logs can use to sort of play back the fight.


Next if you really want to dig deep you're going to want to set up Twitch or Fraps, not for streaming so much as just for recording your fights so you can watch them later to find mistakes, or find ways to do things better.


Once you have all that in place you'll be set up to dissect your raid team like an opposing football coach searching for flaws in the defense.


I'm not a big fan of critiquing people on DPS. your best dps may not be your best player, and your worst dps may not be whats holding you back from the boss kill. Sometimes people are so far out of whack that you have to do something about their dps, like for example if you're doing mythic right now and you have a 588 warrior doing 10k dps then they probably aren't even pushing buttons half the time. Those sorts of extreme problems need to be addressed. But if most of your raid right now is doing 15k dps it doesn't matter if 1-2 guys are doing 20k, and 1-2 guys are only doing 13k.


What does matter is mechanics. If you have 20 guys that can do average or slightly better than average dps/heals while being absolutely flawless about mechanics then you're going to be a top 3 raid team on any server. I'd replace a top dps in a heart beat if they don't target switch, or they pad numbers when they shouldn't be, or keep dying, not clicking stuff, any of the common mechanics. 20 selfish "allstars" that only care about their own numbers leads to a group that does progression by attempting the boss 200 times until somehow everything magically works one time. You don't want that. You want 20 guys that can figure out how the fight works, take direction, do their job, and get the kill in 50 attempts. you don't need 99th percentile dps for that, you need players that can put the raids needs first without their dps numbers completely tanking.


Just my 2 cents though. Use logs, use video, and find the people that aren't doing their job, Look for healers that don't dispell, dps or tanks standing in the wrong place, adds not switched to, and things not clicked. don't concern yourself with the dps unless the dps is an issue. and even when the dps is an issue people still need to do their job first before they pump out the big numbers.

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Totally agree with Storm, but I'd like to add that you should always be recruiting and taking serious, deep looks into apps. You can trial people even if you already have others of their class and spec. Competition is very healthy for a guild and it helps to keep you out of the situation where you're desperate for people and cannot bench or get rid of people who are underperforming and holding you back.


And important tip is to keep records. Who whines when you ask them to do mechanics? Who refuses? Who says they'll do something and then doesn't for one reason or another? On the other end, who do you rely on to do mechanics that others either can't or won't? Keep note of relatively how much avoidable damage people are taking and if you notice someone taking a lot of damage from a particular mechanic, don't be afraid to chat with them about it in private. Either there's a legitimate reason (soaking something - like Immerseus' pool on Mythic) or the talk will help them wake up. Communication is a good thing and helps you know if people are trying and improving or if they're complacent.


It's great that you're using Recount and spreadsheets, but I'd go with Warcraft Logs. Also, keep those spreadsheets for months at least. The advanced combat logging for some fights is essential to knowing how well people are doing. It's essential for some classes to tell how well they're performing. Don't be afraid to ask for help in assessing how your raiders are doing on a class basis. My specialty is prot warrior, so if you throw me some logs from a prot warrior (if you have them), I'll be happy to tell you how well they are doing at their class abilities as well as how they are performing in a fight environment with as much depth as I can gather from logs.

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Gonna throw my couple cents in, now that BlizzCon is over and I have a 4-hour layover on the way back.


Here's where I'm coming from: I've raided at almost every level except front-line, bleeding-edge progression racing. I was an LFR hero when I started playing again last march after ToT's launch, and made the transition into being a casual fill-in for the guild I was hanging out with until I joined their casual second group. I've done mediocre easy-mode guilds in WotLK to starting and running my own semi-serious normal mode guild trying to push into being a heroic guild. I abandoned that in SoO tand went to decidedly mediocre heroic guilds to joining my current (in my opinion) pretty stellar heroic guild. I've been an GM, Raid Leader, and Officer at most of those levels.


You need to decide what level your guild is first. I'm going to assume your goal is to finish clearing all of Tier 17 Mythic before the launch of Tier 18. If you have a more stringent goal, then take everything I say more seriously.


You HAVE to get good at logs to evaluate people. You have to look at the whole picture with many parts. I primarily look at three things with raiders:

  • Can they put up good numbers?
  • Can they execute mechanics?
  • Can they keep themselves alive without straining healers?

The first three should be mandatory, and the last is a bonus.


DPS: If you can't DPS while doing the other stuff, you're going to make life harder on your guild. There are few hard DPS checks anymore, but many fights still have phases that can be made much easier to handle by having the DPS to push through them quickly. When fights and phases go longer, healer mana gets strained and you risk wiping if they can't keep up or last long enough. You can't compare your DPS to everyone else in your guild. Class balance, what? To evaluate their DPS (if you don't know how to analyze their spec), look up logs of generally-respected players of that class, or players doing high DPS in a similar strat and compare things like damage breakdowns, buff uptimes, spell casts, etc.


HPS: If a healer isn't putting out enough, you'll know.  The boss does stuff, and then people die. Again, you can't just compare their HPS to your other healers. On a fight with very little ongoing damage (the first part of Galakras or Sha of Pride), disc priests and paladins are going to outshine the other healers by virtue of building absorbs. On a fight with constant raid damage where the raid is rarely topped off (Norushen), resto druids are going to put people to shame, or resto shamans if there's sufficient stacking. The two most common indicators a healer is riding the struggle bus: having nearly full mana when your other healers are nearly OoM (and being significantly lower on the meters) or going OoM when the rest of your healers are at nearly full mana (this is either trying too hard or poor spell choice). Again, compare their breakdowns, uptimes, number of casts, etc. to other good logs.


Mechanics: If someone can't handle mechanics, they're a stain on the floor a lot of the time. It's fairly easy to calculate the DPS of a corpse. This can often lead to wipes when you don't have enough players alive for a certain mechanic or you just don't kill things fast enough. More often than not, people who can't do mechanics cause bad things to happen that kill several people throughout the raid. Look back through logs at the end of the night and see what people died to. Don't count it when you call a wipe and people start intentionally dying. Look at the first ones to die. Was it something they could have avoided? If it's unavoidable, was the amount of damage they took from it unreasonable? Example: Magaera's big poison bomb in Throne of Thunder was proximity-based damage. Everyone gets hit, but the people who are closer get hit harder. Compare how much they were hit for to how much others were hit for in that fight. Sometimes it's a healing issue when you die, but 90% of the time it's a you issue when you die.


Survivability: If someone can't keep themselves alive, the same stuff happens as above. They die, and make everyone else's job easier. Even if they don't die, they can lead to general problems if they're sucking too much healer attention from the raid group as a whole. During progression, there were fights where I was using my Ironbark on a particular DPS more than I was using it on the tanks, because they weren't good at keeping themselves alive. It wasn't a huge problem until I had to start making choices between them and our other DPS or worse when the tanks called for external cooldowns and I didn't have one because that particular DPS was really bad at pushing their defensive cooldowns. Look up what defensive abilities each spec has. When there is heavy raid damage going out, are they being used? When they died, did they have any defensive ability up? If not, look at the last time they used their abilities to see if they were on cooldown. Did they use their healthstone? did they use any self-heal? A GCD sacrificed to heal yourself is less of a DPS loss than dying like a scrub.


Beyond that, you want raiders that:

  • Can be assigned special tasks and be relied upon to do them.
  • Look through their own logs to improve without being told to.
  • Have a "guild first" mentality and don't obsess over their own gear/numbers/parses.


Like Estarriol said, you need to have some sort of longitudinal data system to track these things. Journals are good, but spreadsheets are the best. Have a row for each raider and a column for everything that can be their fault (missed interrupt, avoidable mechanics, wrong targets, lowest DPS on adds by large margins, etc.). Don't just fill the cells with the number of times these happen, but also put in dates. If someone makes a couple mistakes the first two two times seeing a fight but never gets it again, they learned slower than everyone else. If someone makes the same number of mistakes continually spread throughout farm, they don't learn at all.


Lastly, make sure you look back at yourself. Don't just analyze your own logs, but ask yourself whether the strategies you're following are necessarily the best for your guild. If your raiders have trouble with a particular optional mechanic, what are the alternatives? We changed our strat at least 3 times during progression on Siegecrafter, and we ended up with the weirdest strat I've ever seen used for the fight. Why? We didn't do well with the other strat we'd seen used to baby your raid along if you had people in there being carried. We have a very chaotic strat, because we just worked better when we basically cut the whole raid loose to handle things on their own.


Beyond raid strats, are you being the kind of raid leader you'd want to raid with? How do your raiders respond to your attempts to motivate them? How do they respond to the disciplinary measures you take? If they're responding the way you want, then keep going. If not, think outside the box. Sometimes you need to call your team a bunch of mashed potatoes or threaten an animal shelter with a hand grenade before your raiders listen and execute mechanics correctly.


Oh, and my last, biggest advice:

Don't keep anyone who can't pull their weight for any reason. Decide how much is appropriate and stick to it. Don't keep them because they're dating someone in the guild. Don't keep them because you've known them for a while and they're a nice guy. They're there to raid. If they can't do that, they don't need to be there. You don't have to ask everyone to perform at a US top 20 level unless you're aiming for being a US top 20 guild. Demand a level of quality from your guild and commit yourself to it. Make sure your team knows their spots are up for grabs if they aren't on their A game. It's a "put out or get out" type of world.

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