Saturday, February 26, 2011

Raid Building 101: Number Two, Make It So

Raid Building 101 is a weekly article detailing the finer (and sometimes the not so finer) points of building and leading a successful raid group. Be it a world first or super casual, Raid Building 101 has something for you.

I was once told that you can judge a manager by how little or how much things change when they are gone on vacation.  The smaller the change the better I was told.  I thought that if everything went smoothly wouldn’t they just fire the manager then?  That’s when I realized a good manager makes sure everything gets done by making sure the next in command is capable of doing everything he does so when he leaves there is no break in the productivity of the employees.  As a Raid Leader eventually you will need a break, maybe just a week once and a while or perhaps a summer off.  It’s hard to let go of your baby, but if you have done your work and you have other officers/Raid Leaders that agree with the way you do things then there shouldn’t be much of a break in raiding.  How do you get those other raid leaders trained up?

A friend of mine told me, “Stick your foot in a bucket of water and then remove it, the hole you leave is how much you will be missed.”  He was talking about being a grunt in a call center, but this is kind of the point.  How do you make it so you will be missed, but the raid goes off without a hitch?  Well that’s simple.  If you made your raid unique either by the way you run things or how you do things no one will copy it exactly, so people will always “miss” you for those little things, but they can keep the pace, mood, setting, of your raid going.

Training Up More Leaders
If your raid is growing chances are someone else is already helping lead another group or two.  Great, you are way ahead of the curve, if not, time to train up more leaders.

  • On bosses you’ve already downed either designate or ask if someone wants to explain and run the boss fight.
    • Afterwards give feedback such as pace, style, mood, etc that they could improve on.
    • Never laugh at someone new to raid leading, it’s quite different from being a raider.
  • On places you have on farm either designate or ask if someone would like to lead the entire raid night.
    • Do not force someone to do this, as any failing to down a boss would immediately discourage them.
    • Make sure to stick up for them, do not let other long time raiders badger them.
  • Make sure this person is on your page and agrees with the way you do things.
    • If they want their own raid and want to lead it a totally different way then they may turn off raiders who are used to you.
    • If the culture is the same and people generally do the same stuff it keeps the raid looser and keeps people from taking a vacation with you from the raid.
  • Make sure someone is watching the raid while you are gone.
    • If there is another raid make sure they keep tabs on what is happening to make sure everything is running smoothly.
    • Maybe a good friend or a long time raider that doesn’t lead can report back to the GO or other officers if someone is completely changing the raid for the worse.
  • Make sure your raiders know you are taking a vacation and to take it easy on the new RL.
  • Pace will probably be different so they should know it and deal with it.
  • Have them let you know how things went when you get back.

Coming Back
When you get back make sure to get with your core raiders and ask the officers how things went.  Address anything that came up during the time you were gone as soon as you can when you get back.  Make sure you ask the Raid leaders about how things went as well and compare the notes.  Maybe the raid leaders thought things went bad, but the raiders thought everything went good.  Maybe the raiders thought it stunk on ice, but the raid leader thought he did a really awesome job.  Either way you are going to need to let the raid leader know how it went over with the raid.  Don’t lecture them on anything, just let them know it went well or didn’t and thank them for their time and effort, they didn’t have to raid lead while you were gone.

The Learning Experience
The good thing about letting other people lead once and awhile is the feedback you can get about your own raid leading style.
  • Were there things done that raiders liked that you could put in as well?
  • More or less breaks? Did people react well to them?
  • Different way of doing certain bosses?
  • More or less talking?
  • More or less feedback from raiders during encounters?

The Final Farewell
If you are leaving WoW for good, make sure everyone knows who the new head of the raid will be.  Don’t leave it up to 3 Raid Leaders to hash it out, one should be considered the main raid leader and the others just raid leaders.  Usually rank takes care of that, or the senior officers discretion can be part of it too.  Just remember even when you leave and don’t care about WoW you should take care of your raiders on that last day so if you ever come back no bridges have been burned.

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Gordrin is the current Raid Leader of Guild Malice - Early Raid. He currently knows 582 ways to kill a man with a spoon, 681 if you include soup spoons. He's also quoted as saying "I could eat peaches for hours". Gordrin can be reached at

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