Monday, November 1, 2010

Raid Leading For Dummies

Thinking about starting up a raid, but don't know what raid leading entails? Perhaps you're in a guild in need of a raid leader, or guildless and are simply looking to get a pug raid going, and just need to know what it takes to make your raid run smoothly. Here's a quick guide how to run your very own raid!

- Know your class
- Be familiar with other classes and their roles
- Know the raid and how to explain fights
- Know where to look for players
- Know how to check gear
- Be familiar with the Master Looter interface
- Know which stats/gear go to which specs.
- Be a motivator
- Know when to call it quits.

1) Before even considering running a raid by yourself, first know your class. If you cannot be responsible for your own performance, you should not take up the responsibility of running a raid which may require you to monitor the performance of 9 or 24 other people.

2) Be at least generally aware of the different abilities certain classes bring to a raid. Telling a Discipline Priest to raid heal is generally not a great idea. Making a Feral Druid crowd control when you could have a Balance Druid or Mage do it may end up being a DPS disadvantage (not to mention frustrating for the Feral) for the raid. Having a Restoration Shaman doing interrupts instead of a Rogue during high heal situations also would not be a wise call. While Paladins often work buffs out on their own, in the rare instance that they don't, know which spec to ask which buff from. Although all three specs can give out all the buffs (save for Sanctuary, which is a Protection Paladin buff only), certain specs have the option to have one of their buffs improved. Knowing the abilities of each class/spec is a great advantage to you, the raid leader, and can help things run much more smoothly.

3) Be familiar with the raid you want to run. Raid leading isn't just filling up spots and handing out loot, it's about knowing the fights (raid leaders often have to explain fights to those who haven't been through the fights yet), knowing what kind of group set up is required (Do you need 3 tanks or 2? Does this fight require 5 healers or 7? Should you be ranged heavy, or does the DPS balance not matter?), and knowing how hand out specific tasks to the proper people (Is that Hunter capable of range tanking that add? Or would the Mage be a better choice? Should Paladin #1 or Paladin #2 be responsible for the health of your main tank?).

4) Know how and where to look for players. Perhaps you're part of a raiding guild, or maybe you're a master pugger. Either way, if you're going to lead a raid on your own, at one point or another you're going to have to look for people to fill in your raid. Be aware of how to use the LookingForMore function, the LookingForGroup channel that's active in all major cities, and of course having friends and friends of friends is always a huge plus.

5) Know how to check the gear of a potential pug prior to inviting them into your group. There are a few online sites that can help you with this, and my personal favorite is This site gives you a general over view on what this person should be raiding based on their gear score, plus shows you that person's gear, what they have gemmed and enchanted (or in many cases, what they DON'T have gemmed or enchanted), shows you which achievements they have earned, and even gives statistics on how many times they've downed certain bosses. When looking at a potential pugger, I don't want you to simply look at a person's gear score, but to take a look at all the stats provided. Someone may have a GS (gear score) of 9001, but have all Stamina gems as a Mage and not a single piece of their gear contains an enchant. Do you need to take 20 minutes per person, analyzing their gear? Certainly not, but you should at least take a brief overview of that person's character before hitting that invite button. It should save you a few headaches in the long run.

6) Be familiar with the Master Looter interface. This interface isn't very difficult, but can be confusing the first couple of times you use it. Here's a quick overview on how to turn it on.

- Right click your portrait.
- Go to Loot Type, a little side box should drop down, and click on Master Looter.
- Right click your portrait again.
- Go to Loot Threshold, a little side box should drop down, and click Epic (any threshold below this and you'll be having to hand out blues and greens too).

You're all set up now! That was pretty easy, wasn't it? Now, handing out loot. This too can be easy, so long as you set out your loot rules at the start of the raid (make macros containing the rules, then put these in a raid warning once you have a full raid and before the first trash pull is made) and you have the proper tools. If you're having people use /roll (which unless you're running a GDKP run, or a guild run who uses DKP, EPGP, or Loot Council, you will be) it's very handy to have an addon that tracks rolls. I suggest LootHog which will keep track of everyone who rolls, and who has the highest roll or if there's a tie roll. Once you have determined who wins the loot, simply right click on the item, find the winner's group, and click on the person's name. You should get a confirmation to make sure you've chosen the correct person before the loot is transferred.

7) Know which stats go to which types of classes. You should know by now that cloth items go to clothies and not Paladins, and that the goofy Hunter who rolled on that +Defense sword shouldn't receive that item. Stating loot rules helps negate some of these issues, but you may have to simply state how the loot goes out to prevent the Holy Paladin from trying to take mail pants from the Restoration Shaman or a Balance Druid trying to grab the cloth boots for their occasional offset when every Mage, Lock, and Priest are dying to get their BiS piece. While the new Mastery system should help prevent most of the potential drama that gear can bring, you still may get a trouble maker or two that will try to take anything and everything that you give them.

8) Raid leading can be very frustrating, but try to stay positive. Generally if the raid leader gets crabby and starts talking down to people when things get rough, the overall performance of the group will not improve, but quickly become even worse. If you remain encouraging, even when it gets late and people are starting to flag, you may end up leaving the raid on a good note with that kill you all were working on so hard for the past hour.

9) Along with being a positive motivator, know when it's time to call it quits for the night. Most raids should never exceed 4 hours, unless the group is really on a role and you don't have people falling asleep at their keyboards. If you try to flog your raid for too long, many people will just give up and everyone will end up with needless repair bills. Sometimes simply saying "Okay guys, this is our last try for the night. Make it good!" will get even the most sleepy of raiders to give the last try their all, resulting in ending the night on a very positive note (definitely something any person should strive for, whether its a simple pug or a full on guild run) if you have raids that are fun end positively, people will want to run with you again!

Raid leading is certainly not for everyone, but I'm a firm believer that everyone should try it at least once just so they are aware of how much of a headache it really is. There is no shame in asking for help when running a raid, especially when you're new at it or if you're running a 25 man. Simply having someone look up characters while you're setting up the group can be a major help, as can someone explaining fights if for some reason you're not completely sure of all of the mechanics. Having people help you out will certainly help bring down the stress level of the ordeal, and will keep you from being burnt out in the long run.

I've personally been a raid leader many times, and I've also been a simple raid member under both good raid leaders and bad alike. Those who raid lead often and do it well, I have a great respect for. Hopefully after reading this guide you'll have the confidence to go on to raid lead, and I certainly hope you do well with it.

Good luck on your first raid leading experience!

World of Saz 2011

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