Friday, March 23, 2012

Leadership in instances and raids PT 1

One thing that draws most MMO players from the PvE side is the instances and raid end game content. There is a feeling of accomplishment and progression on some of the toughest scenarios that game developers can create. But it takes a serious calm attitude to lead anything from 6mans/6man hard mode, to the huge undertaking of Raiding. With the development of so many MMO's out there, it can be daunting to keep end game focus at hand, especially if new content is not forthcoming. But for the new Leaders, I have some thoughts and observations.

Newer guilds that wish to progress to raiding, take heed: build your team gradually, make sure they work together and know eachother's habits. Work towards getting more than one class so if substitutes are necessary, you can find them fairly quickly. Work on easier instances first so you and your team understand each other's rotations and what each class can bring to a fight. Leaders especially need to have at least a general knowledge of each class capabilities and how they effect one another. Once you have established at least 10 players with at least an alt a piece, you can think about hosting raids. Now there are some existing large guilds out there that pull their own full crew raids with the occasional spot for outsiders. Most likely with AoC's very niche population, you will have to resort to outside recruitment. I advise you make some alliance with some of the medium to large guilds to help each other out. This means using tact, diplomacy and good gamesmanship. It means bringing a small force to fill their gaps a couple rounds to see if the prospective alliance is a good fit together. Cross talk is imperative, and keeping an open mind critical. Learn different ways of handling strategies and don't interject your opinion immediately unless solicited.

Ok with those simple ideas in place, let's look at your Leadership. Leading a team is pretty daunting, especially when trying an instance for the first time or leading a raid for the first time. Keeping a cool head and not getting frustrated over failure is the first step to success. Look, even if you have reviewed the best strategies available, you will never account for Murphy dropping by. Someone missed a combo by accident, a lag spike locked one of your players during a critical moment in the fight. A wireless mouse battery finally gave in. Murphy will haunt you constantly. That's ok, keep the team positive and upbeat.

Hard fought gains through perseverance
Perseverance will keep them motivated to keep hammering it down. Make sure you plan in advance for a couple of wipes...possibly more. It is critical you read available strategies when possible. Make sure to explain these strategies before every major engagement. Divy out responsibilities and always be ready to review strats to new players. Have some scripts set up to quickly push out vent information (if you don't have it...GET IT!!!!). Shadowscript is what I use, and I have some quick handy ones at the ready for ventrillo info and loot rules or quick strat guides. That being said, be patient and non critical of your guild members on the fight team. Cross talk but don't talk down to your team. Let them know, it's alright when a wipe happens and the do a quick review of what needs to be done the next try. Keeping things light and fun is key. Now if after several tries you see your team becoming burnt out...take a break. If necessary call the instance/raid with the promise that you as the leader will do a little more research to see what can be done to mitigate the wipes. Also, if your outside recruits (puggers) have some insight, welcome it. They may have the key to succeeding where you are missing the mark. There is nothing wrong with this, and your open mindedness goes a long ways in solidifying your role as a solid Leader.

Scouting ahead
So what if you head out to an instance blind with no information on fight mechanics? Take things very slowly. Be cautious on your trash pulls and survey your way ahead. Get a feel for terrain and look for possible ways you will get hammered. Be very attentive to things that seem to one shot you out of the fight. Remember, the game is for fun so keep your anger at  minimum. Those first forays can be exciting and blood pumping. They can also be disastrous so don't take your initial reconnaissance too seriously. Just take it slow and remember it's all about being mellow. ABOVE ALL, REMEMBER NO BLAME GAMES! If someone owns up to a screw up, let them know its ok and good they identified what went wrong to avoid it in the future.

These are some basic things I have found that keep a team together. In the future I'll discuss prepping you members in pre gearing and being ready to saddle up for thier instances. I'll also be giving leadership discussions on dealing with chronic problem members. Again, this post was primarily focused on the new leaders. Experienced leaders can take this as a refresher or throw it away as you please. Hope you enjoyed this post and I welcome all comments. Till next time, may your blade be wet with blood and your belt be lined with gold! Happy Hunting in Hyboria!!!


  1. Very good points. It is especially important to keep up a positive attitude once you hit T3. Raids literally have to wipe their way from boss to boss, as this content is significantly harder than anything before.

    It's important for a raidleader not to despair if some players get frustrated with slow progress and leave the raid. (There are quite a few impatient people out there and this is bound to happen) I have seen guilds fall apart over T3, no joke. Thot Amon simply is evil itself :)

    Particularly in that raid announcements by the lead are important. No matter how many epics individual players have amassed and what high opinion they have of their own skills, somebody has to have the oversight and call the shots.

  2. Excellent suggestions and spot on. I don't envy any raid leader at all.