Monday, June 7, 2010

The "Sudden" Leaders Guide to Raid Leading

Most players at least once in their gaming life will be put into a position of leadership, whether it for a 5man, a raid, a guild or something else entirely. While most who enter these positions do so under their own will, sometimes you can find yourself being dropping into the hot seat either because no one else is up to the task or because someone has pushed you there.
It can be a daunting task to suddenly be in charge of a raid full of people, particularly if you have no previous experience leading. I've been there myself and it's scary to come face to face with all the issues you never even though about while at the same time trying to get people you may or may not know to do as you ask them to. There is a lot of stuff that goes on behind the scenes that you might have been un-aware of, that now you as a leader will have to deal with.

It is not all grim news, even for those new to leading there are a few simple things you can do to help maximise the response you get from the group.

1)Be Prepared.
You have to know your stuff if your going to lead plain and simple. If you have warning and the time before hand you should spend some time learning the encounter from each role's perspective. Sites like tankspot and Stratfu are great for reading and watching about the encounters and depending on the age of the content there will usually be many videos on youtube that show the encounter from everyones view. Even without time to prepare you as a raider should have a reasonable understanding of whats going on in the fight from your point of view, and you can at least use that as a start point then filling the gaps with point 2.

2) Use your Support.
Most of the time there will be someone there with the knowledge you lack even if they aren't willing to lead. It maybe someone who knows how the business end of the loot system works, maybe a healer who knows their part of the fight and how to do assignments or even an officer who has experience dealing with un-co-operative raiders. These people are a great asset and there is no harm asking for their help. Use as many of these people as you can at that start then just watch and listen to what they do and learn from it so you can take on that roll for future runs.

3)Speak Up.
Ive seen it happen many times, someone gets given lead and then you hear nothing from them for the majority of the run. You don't have to talk non-stop for several hours but you must be vocal,let the group know whats going on and show them that you are the one in charge. There is a direct relation between how little the raid leader speaks and how many people start to form their own plans, doing their own thing and often resulting in a wipe.

4)Give Praise
While technically its part of number 3 its a big enough area to warrant its own number.
If your team is doing well, be it a rather clean fight or a perhaps a particular raider is doing very well then don't be afraid to tell them so. Reassurement is a powerful tool to keep up moral and help get you through those tougher bosses. If the raiders feel that you can see the good work they are doing and are being recognised for it they will probably keep doing it.

Finally we have

5)Keep your head
Raid leading can be a stressful job particularly if its your first time doing it. The stress can very quickly get to you particularly if things are not going well, and despite how much it may get you down you need to stay positive and put on a brave face for the rest of the group. Nothing will drop moral faster than hearing that your leader has already given up hope. You attitude will effect the whole group so keeping upbeat and positive will often keep the group going for that little bit of extra time.

Raid leading can be a daunting task to someone new to the roll. Like everything else in the game however once you break it down, take it slow and look over it there are many ways that you can make your job easier. Over time you get used to leading and you will get to know your group and what works best to motivate them to kill the big bad your after that night. Eventually it will become second nature to you and once it does you can't go back, you will find yourself wanting to lead more and be more likely to take over and save an otherwise fail pug when the leader gives in or stops trying.
Learning how to effectively raid lead can be not only beneficial for your guild but also within real life giving you the skills and confidence to lead a real group should the need arise in your workplace or somewhere else.

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