Friday, April 20, 2012

Guild Leadership...Training the Troops

It takes a lot to run a solid crew of instance runners and raiders. It takes basic knowledge of game mechanics and what each class can do or not do. Leaders have a daunting task ahead of them. A Guild Leader who wants to promote skilled players will find it difficult with new recruits and those just coming into their own at level 80. This is an unfortunate by product of every MMO where end game content is the only priority. It hurts worse when the game population is smaller than some of the big name MMOs such as WoW or GW series. So what do you do if you've worked so hard to form a guild of instance runners and raiders? TRAIN THEM!!!! But you can't do it alone. Here are some things each new Guild Leader that has started to get his band together should keep in mind. By no means is this the Bible, but it is taken from basic tenants of Leadership skills.

First and foremost, if you plan on leading those rough instances or raids, you have to think a little different than the average player. This means taking an active interest in what each class of the game can do on the basic level. It requires a fair bit of research and reading. Some of the information is outdated so you need to compare old information to what's current and what changes in each patch mean to your teams. Guild websites are handy to post experiences, but more so to post relevant information that can easily be accessed by each class. It doesn't matter who posted the information, just give credit to them for their work (mandatory in any postings on my guild site). Make sure your guildees know this information and READ IT. On top of class skills, tried and tested strategies should be posted and required for members to read if they intend to partake into a raid or hard instance. Research is every one's friend. Remember that many players solo level without every really grouping. Unless they are experienced with other MMO's you will find folks who have no idea on how to work as a team and within the holy trinity of tank, heal, dps. You should post some basic guides on this as well. Did I mention that being a Leader is actually work? You as the Leader are not there for others to cater to you. In fact, a good guild leader is there to serve as a facilitator to his or her membership base. You are the mitigator the listener and the mentor to all of them, even the experienced ones.

Train your troops. Get them working on easier end game instances, for AoC I recommend you take new 80s into Atzels Fortress. The fights there are pretty easy if you do careful pulling and line of sight pulls. Communicate with them and observe their behaviors as you run with them. Watch to see the combo animations, and have a fair knowledge of what they are, especially for melee dps. Keep your combat logs running to see effects. Cross communication as a leader is a must. I usually recommend that the leader of a team is some sort of DPS class, it's easier to track everyone else while working the fights as you can move in and out as needed. Tanks on the other hand have a tougher job as leads, healers are a toss up depending on how comfortable you are in healing and cross talking during your fights. New 80s often don't know just what is in their arsenal to work effectively as a team. Sounds stupid? Not when you solo play really doesn't stretch your abilities. A few combos at best, nothing really is experimented with. an example of this is Conq's. They are one of the easiest solo play classes. But often players wont use banners or wont experiment with formation effects to see how they react. What works easy on solo doesn't work so well in raids. I see it all the time. Walked into a raid where there were 3 conqs and NOT ONE frigging banner to help the team efficiently down their targets. Not very effective for a conq. This is but one example.

Can't figure out why your off tank cant grab and hold aggro? Take them to your guild city, have them run through their rotations on a target dummy and see what it is they are working. Watch the combat logs and see what they are doing. Mentor them on different means to grab and hold aggro. Also mentor them on how to allow their counterpart to grab it back. This makes your healer's life a lot easier.

Have training sessions for each major end job of the holy trinity. Nothing will piss your tanks off than a dps that goes into overdrive and destroys the aggro tables especially when swapping aggro. It becomes a rats nest of catch up rather than efficient burn down of your targets. Train your dps to hold off their combos when an aggro swap takes place.

Healers, train them on what their healing cool downs mean and how spamming a heal can be more counterproductive than placing the heal at the right time for fast burst heals that actually keep your tanks alive.

Positioning your healers for best effect. This is hard to do when some of the fighting gets moving around. Alot of the healing in AoC is CONE effect. Some is of course group, but if you aren't in that cone of healing, your screwed when it counts the most. Teach the tanks to be mindful of the position where their healers are shooting out heal spells. Teach the healers to compliment eachother in position so there are overlapping cones if the fight becomes a moving circle of madness.

Above all, keep your cool as a leader. Don't get hot headed or angry. I can't stress this enough. It breaks the team apart and shows you to be an ass. Remember, we all started out as dumb asses that did stupid noob moves. Keep your teams motivated and willing to keep trying. If you hit a hard point where nothing budges. Step back, revisit it on another day. This game will be around for a bit so don't rush. Also keep in mind that when you didn't lead you may have been number one on holding aggro or dps or heals. That isn't your job anymore. You may be last on all of those lists, but if the team wins, YOU win. Your job is to coordinate attacks, explain strats, make sure team make up is best for the job at hand, get the right team together and keep them trained. Your job is NOT to be the very best during the fight. Train the others to do that so you can make timely and accurate decisions which allows the teams to succeed.

These are basic ideas and I'll expound upon more of them later. Sorry no pics on the post yet, Ill drop a couple later when I got a few minutes. Hope this was useful. If you have additional ideas as leaders, by all means comment, I enjoy gaining and passing knowledge. Till next time, may your belts be lined with gold and may you crush your enemies as they are driven before you!


  1. We used to do training in epic kesh. That's a good place where you can get to some mobs quickly and easily that will stand up to a beating. Have your tanks practice pulling off each other. Show people how if you body pull with a heal on you, it will go after the healer etc.

  2. That's actually good information there. I honestly hadn't thought about it and definitely worth going after. I forgot about body pull+ heal = healer smoosh. Thanks for the input!

  3. Yes, many healers from other games are used to "pre heals" on the tank. In this game all it does is kill the healer.