Friday, February 18, 2011

Raid Building 101: To Trox or not to Trox

Best trinket eva
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.

Motivation is one of the main things most people who write columns for raiding touch on at one point or another. Motivated raiders show up prepared, afk less, and want to kill bosses as fast as they can. Motivated raiders also deal with wipe nights much better and don’t care as long as progress is shown. The issue is what motivates people? As the name of the column says there are many ways to motivate, you can yell and scream like Troxed or calmly explain everything and call things out like I do. What type of motivation is for you and your raid?

Let me start with a story about motivated raiders. There was a discussion between the Guild Officers of our guild; Is two or three days of raiding enough to get progression? Most people thought 3 days minimum to actually get any progression. Enter a focused group of raiders this last week. We had a lull in healer sign ups and had to collapse groups into one group. Starting an hour late on Tuesday until 30 minutes until the end of raid time on Wednesday we downed five bosses. That’s five bosses in four and a half hours of raiding. One more boss than we had ever gotten down, thus progression. The next raid day everyone was online and ready go to 15min before raid start time. Three of the ten raiders had fished and Herbed to make sure we had extra cauldrons and feasts for the night. Everyone had watched the movies and read the strats for the new boss we were about to try. That is what motivated raiders do.

There are a few ways to motivate raiders: Loot, speech, and recognition.

Loot
Loot is easy. Kill bosses = get loot.
Wipe all night = repair bill and no loot.

ur standin' in fire
Speech
Speech is very important: How you lead with your voice says a lot to your raiders. They won’t follow directions of someone who sounds like they have no idea. I can walk into a fight I looked up absolutely nothing on (bad Raid Leader bad!), have one person explain it and say ok let’s pull and figure it out and they know I’ll have it down in one pull. Some people can explain a fight for 10 minutes and then when they pull the boss have no idea which abilities to call out or what to worry about. Those people are annoying. If you are a leader act like it, call things loudly and clearly or make someone else do it for you. There are a few main types of speech for motivating:

Troxing It
This is basically leading by yelling and screaming.

Pros:
  • Screaming at everyone to do their job tends to make them listen.
  • Yelling at anyone who does something wrong makes people not want to do anything wrong.
  • No one can talk over you because you are the loudest voice in their ears.
  • Everyone knows if they made a mistake because it’s painfully obvious to the raid.
  • No one questions if you are actually leading the raid or not.
  • No one accidentally does something you don’t want because it’s clear what you want.
Cons:
  • Some people don’t want to be yelled at for playing a game.
  • Some people won’t listen to a raid leader’s constant yelling.
  • No one can give input during the fight because the raid leader is too loud.
  • There is a high chance of alienating any non-hardcore players.

Non-Troxing It
Explaining and calling things out with a normal or slightly dominate voice.

Pros:
  • The raid tends to remain calm if the raid leader is calm.
  • If things come up with healers or other tanks those people can call out any changes that happened.
  • When you DO get loud people know it really means something is happening.
  • New people to the raid won’t feel as intimidated by this type of raid leading.
Cons:
  • Any loud raider can talk over the raid leader.
  • Too many people can talk at the same time and raiders don’t always listen to just the raid leader.
  • People can get lazy or chatty if they are not being yelled at to shut up.
  • People sometimes think you aren’t actually leading if you aren’t speaking up and yelling at people to do things.
Now there are a couple of things I want to address with speech, regardless of the style you use.  
  • You CAN yell at a lower volume, you don’t have to scream like Trox.
  • Make sure the raid knows who is supposed to talk. Designated raid leader(s) should be the only ones calling things out during an encounter.
  • Make sure you have a second voice for addressing issues. Calm to Loud, Loud to yelling.
    • Calm and collected for normal raid operations.
    • Loud for nearing enrage timers or calling out wipe mechanics people may not notice.
  • Address people who talk over you in the raid immediately after a fight unless you need to shut them down in the middle of the raid.
  • Know the names of your raiders.
    • Saying DRUID RUN AWAY! Is not helpful to you or the druid.
  • Know at least what each ability the boss does!
    • Telling the healers to get ready for strong AoE damage is much better than saying, Searing Flames coming up. Do they know what Searing Flames is yet?
  • Talk with the other officers in officer chat during downtimes to make sure nothing needs to be changed with the way things are being called out.

Rocognition
Motivating by recognition can be used to reward those groups who wipe a ton rep'ing, creating or fine tuning a strategy. In our guild the first raid team to down a boss get a killshot on the main page and is the first thing people see when visiting our site. For most people this is an exciting reward for spending a bunch of time, energy and resources to down a new boss. They can always look back and say, I was there for the first guild kill of Cho’gall or Lich King. I can still scroll back to Wrath and see my nameplate on some first kills, that makes me proud.

Asking someone to handle raid-wiping mechanics is also recognition. Raiders should know that if they are given the duty to bang the gong and run away from the flames, or kite all the adds, or call out certain things for the raid that they are being recognized for their raiding. Being asked to do these things means the raid leader has confidence in the person they ask to do the job that they won’t wipe the raid. If the raid leader never asks you to do anything you may want to ask if there is anything you can improve on. 

Any type of recognition is a reward to a player.  Just saying, “Awesome job on that fight healers.” is much better than just a plain old, “Good job people.” Use your Recount / Skada addon to pick out something worth mentioning and give people(s) a pat on the back. Titleist used to give 50G to the person with the most interrupts on an interrupt required fight and verbally complimented that person as well. Motivation via recognition can increase performance and create strong bonds with your raid team.

Now, inversely any type of non-recognition can also be punishment. Make sure you thank everyone in some way for showing up and raiding. For people who apologize for things I simply say, “Every bit helped" or something to acknowledge where an improvement would have made a difference

Closing Thoughts
Words are powerful in a game where you don’t see a persons face. All you have to go on is how they talk and what they type. If you are being serious with people, sound serious. If you are just joking, make sure they know it. Above all else, make sure they know that your voice is the voice of the raid leader and it should be listened to above all else. 

If yelling and screaming is your cup of tea make sure your raiders know you aren’t angry at them it’s just how you raid lead. Make sure people know what to expect from you as a raid leader. Maybe you always sound down and worn out, maybe you are way hyper and excited, either way they should expect the same attitude every time you raid no matter your mood. If your mood is affecting your leading sometimes it is best to have someone else do the raid leading while you just worry about performing your role in the raid.

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Gordrin is the current Raid Leader of Guild Malice - Early Raid. Back in '92 he won 100,000 dollars playing nickle slots in Vegas, but blew it all on bubble tea and pogs. His parents were devastated. Gordrin can be reached at Gordrin@ferociousinspiration.net

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