Showing posts with label Raid Admin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Raid Admin. Show all posts

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Raidleading Phrases during a fight

Ok, so I had closed my edit page on my blog and started reading and came across this guest post on World of Matticus.  I started writing a reply, then decided to write my own post instead! (Edit: I looked at the guest poster's blog and found the original post.  I feel this is a much better description than the summary on World of Matticus.  I recommend reading it)

As a raid leader, the way you give instructions to your team during a fight is very important.  You need to be concise, timely and sounding like you are in control.  It is assumed everyone is gathered on some kind of voice service for the purposes of this discussion.

What to say
Something I learned in childcare many moons ago was this: Tell a child what they can do, not what they can't do.  For example "Don't stand in the sprinkler" leaves a child confused as to whether that order applied to them, and if it did what they should be doing instead.  Compare this to "Childsname, go to sit on the step",  which has the trigger word of the name, so the child knows to pay attention to the next phrase, and has something they can do which happens to have the flow of effect of removing small child from the sprinkler and thus you not having to deal with a cold, wet, soggy child when you are out and about. It also has the added benefit of being a positive instruction, not a negative one.  Which means the child will feel good about completing the instruction as opposed to bad for being told they are doing something wrong.

In WoW terms: "Don't stand in the bad" vs "Brang, run to the star"

Use absolute terms when instructing directions, never relative terms.  A great example of relative terms is saying "Move to the right" when you are the tank, facing the raid.  So, which right?  "NO, NO! MY RIGHT NOT YOUR RIGHT!!"  Even using compass points are not fixed enough, how many fights are in round, enclosed rooms?  How many times have you been turned around and not realised it?

Absolutes are things which are fixed no matter which way you are facing.  Things like doors, patterns on the floor, stairs, engineering smoke flares even raid markings are absolute.  You will note I have pointed out all things that are visible on the screen, that you can do a quick spin around and easily see.  Someone with a raidmarker on their head might move around, but the marker itself is unique and very visible - which makes it an absolute direction when called. For example "Stack on star", "Run to the stairs".

Instruction Construction
Promoting a guild jargon will also help.  For example, before the fight, set up trigger words which mean something in each fight.  "Brang, DS!" when called by the tank to me means use my Divine Sacrifice cooldown now. I also like to your catchy phrases (as you may have noticed in my strat pages).  No one cares that the name of the debuff on the tank is Curse of Torpor, they only care about this "MageB, Decurse!"  Prior to the fight, you will have allocated MageA the job of decursing the tank, but they ate floor dust so quick reprioritization needs to occur.  The actual process has already been assigned, the call is just that - a trigger to cause an action.  The shorter the trigger, the faster the reaction.

A really good example of this is in BQL, organising bites is a nightmare, but a quick call like this "Biting Brang" makes it clear to all that someone (it doesn't matter who) has decided to give the Essence of the Blood Queen to me and no one else should try to do the same thing due to mechanics.  But saying all that is a mouthful when all you need is 2 words!  It's a vampire, vampires bite people and suck their blood!  So, of course you are going to use the term "bite".

Using pithy descriptions of things on screen helps too.  Trying to find one syllable descriptive terms will help shorten your calls on vent and make them punchier. For example "ADDS!" or "WHELPS!" or "BALLS!" or "WORMS" or "FIRE" or "RUN!"  or "STACK" They are all trigger words for a more complex action defined by circumstance, and you will have told everyone what that complex action is before the raid.  Your call is just to make sure it happens when you expect it to.  The classic line everyone quotes, but is actually a very good example of this is "Many whelps, left side, handle it"  While I don't like the use of the term "left" the rest is short punchy and tells the raid what needs to be done.  The task had been allocated prior to the raid, people knew who were supposed to be handling whelps.  The call went out, they did their job.  It was short, and to the point and used pre-set key words to trigger a more complex action.

Instruction vs Warning
Now that you have some idea on how to generate your calls, we need to look at differentiating the two major types of calls used in raids Instructions and Warnings.

Clearly, instructions are imperatives "Do this" "Run there".  Imperatives are usually used to either make changes or adapt to mistakes with the strategy.

Warnings are phrases you use to get people in the right frame of mind to action something in the future.  "Ability in 10s", "Get ready", "Incoming", "Pulling"

Some phrases you use as a raid leader are combinations of the two. "aaaaaaAAAAAAAND GO!" The first word is a warning, in combination with a imperative "go".  A warning combo strike like this is used generally to ensure that no one else is talking on vent at the time, and everyone needs to pay attention - that the action indicated by "go" is the single most important thing that needs to be done at that time.

Most raid leaders will use a warning phrase in combination with an instruction phrase at the time the action needs to occur.  "Ability in 10s" ... "ready to run" ... "RUN!"

Vocal Tone
You can have all the theory in the world, but if you yell instructions like a drill sergeant, or are soft and timid like a mouse on vent, don't expect people to always follow your lead.  Your voice is your whip, chain and carrot.  With your voice you can cajole, order, beg and prepare people just with inflection.

The one thing you want to be as a raid leader is Calm.  You need to appear in control even when everything has turned to shit.  Never "yell".  Talk loudly and firmly.  If you keep instructing people and using imperatives, people will continue to do what you say.  Don't ask questions, don't have discussions.  Have a wide vocal range - use every inch of your range.  Don't be a monotone.  Be reasonable, listen to feedback, but stick to your decisions.  Once you make a call, stick to it, right or wrong and be confident.  All you have is your voice and you have a lot to convey in it.

Smile.  No really, smile.  You will sound different when you talk with a smile on your face to talking with a frown and the human ear is well attuned to hear this difference.  Different muscles are activated and the shape of your throat and mouth is different as well as a whole bunch of brain chemistry that happens.  Try it!  Your mood will affect your team.  So, force a smile onto your face while raid leading even if you want to reach your hand through the screen and murder each and every one of your guildmates.

Vent has a record and playback facility.  If you want to experiment, I recommend recording yourself and playing it back.  Play around with saying the same phrase in multiple ways and see how you feel.

Well, that should be plenty for you to be going on with.  Always always always ask for feedback from your minions guildmates about what you can improve.  What they like as well as what they dislike about the way you control your raids.  Actively work on improving your style as this will be directly linked to your success as a guild progressing through content.

Thursday, April 29, 2010


There are a few hardmode I have under my belt and deserve a delta writeup.
I just have not had the time to do it!  Work has me under the pump at the moment, and I need to get that under control before I write too much more.

That said, there is not a lot of change between normal mode and hard modes.  The general idea is "hard modes hit harder" and that's about it really!

I wont even BOTHER with heroic loot boat because., honestly, if you can do normal loot boat, heroic is just a bit slower.

I think my favourite hard modes thus far are marrowgar (which actually requires skill) and Valithria (which is just plain fun as a healer).  The other hard modes are pretty much business as usual with 264 loot.  They feel a lot like normal modes did when we walked into ICC the first time.

Which leads me to a quick commentry on how this all works. 

Hardmodes are not new content. I don't get the excited feeling walking up to a hardmode boss, because I have done it before, you know? I have killed these pixels already!  Let me walk up to hard mode cold - give me uldar hardmodes!  I still believe ulduar was how it should be done.  Dont force me to run normal before I am allowed to make things hard, let me be the judge of that.  If I think I can turn up the pressure and not boil, then I should be able to do that.  Forced gating/attunements are a silly idea in this capacity when we only have "current content" to be done.

When there is more raid content available than we are able to achieve, sure, put on a simple attunemet (ie in order to get to Tier N+1 you need to have defeated the end boss of Tier N) but note I say tier content.  Hard modes are not new tier content, they are increase difficulty on CURRENT tier content - don't gate them.

But I am coming down with a cold and my brain is wafting around on the winds.  Looking at the ideas with cataclysm, I am not convinced that it will work the way we all hope. 

I have 2 happiness quotients out of it though: 1 ID per instance no matter the size, 2 emblem levels, this content and that content.  I hope this will sort out much of the problems of burnout and gear gaps for newer players.  The ID should force people to make a decision about what content they enjoy doing.  This I can only see as a positive thing.

Anyway, ramble over.  Expect new strats in the coming week for hardmodes.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

How to make a raiding alliance work

I have done this a couple of times now, and raiding alliances are something that can save your guild if you are suffering hard times.

Generally people are in your guild for an overriding reason: levelling, PvP, social, and/or raiding.  Take away the ability to raid and I really hope that the other aspects of your guild culture can carry you through.  For most raiding guilds and guild leaders, this isn't the case and people start leaving often leaving the guild leaders devastated and struggling to cope.  There are 2 ways to deal with this situation - gdisband or... a raiding alliance.

So, what is a raiding alliance?
A raiding alliance is when 2 guilds in a similar situation and similar progression come together and share a RaidID in order for them both to continue raiding.  This is good when both guilds are at about 2/3 strength.  It allows both guilds breathing room to recruit and regroup while keeping the people in their guild active and happy (and hopefully progressing) and more importantly, staying in each respective guild for the longer haul.

How do you start a raiding alliance?
First and foremost you need to identify quickly that you are in a dying situation.  Exams, Pre-Patch boredom, Faction Transfers, RL... all these things can contribute to a guild going from a roster of 35 people quickly to a roster of 20.  You should watch your realm forums and trade, see which guilds are recruiting and how much and of what, try to identfy a guild that you think you can plug the gaps for and check them out on one of the progression websites to see if you think they are about equal to your achievements.  Also, ensure that their raiding times are compatible with yours.  Stick with one guild at a time.

Next, approach the person doing the advertising (usually an officer if not the GL themselves) and ask for a chat.  Broach the idea of a raiding alliance initially, perhaps warm up with some conversation about raiding and their recruitment status.  Give them time to think about it.  Generally you will have some idea of their reaction very quickly.

Assuming you have a positive reaction to your approach, get all your officers together on VoIP for a chat and planning session and set the first date.

Things to make planning and organising easier:

  • Create and advertise in guild some joint channels for cross guild talk
  • Create a joint officers channel for ease of communication
  • talk on VoIP to each other
  • give each other access to restricted sections of each others' guild forums
  • promote the idea within guild
  • encourage pugging from within the guilds
OK, I have an alliance, how to I run the raids?
First of all make sure you have an even balance from both sides.  12/13 people it has to be an even split.  If one of their team drops out, they replace them from their StandBys, if one of yours drops, you replace from your own.  It is really important to keep the numbers as even as possible.

Sort out your loot rules with the officers early.  I recommend /roll but whatever you decide, keep the rules clear and consistent.

Ensure your officers communicate often and early about each raids team so you have the best possible chance to progress.

Have an RL/strategist from both sides talking and settling strat early.  Make sure there is one RL per raid, and it is a good idea to rotate this person raid to raid.  The RLs must be on the same page, running the same strat.

If someone needs talking to for buggering things up repeatedly, have the RL from that guild talk to the person, not the RL from the opposing guild.  Make sure that this communication about nub ups is communicated in the officer channel and that the right officer deals with the situation and reports back.  Do not step on the other guild's toes when it comes to discipline.

Praise liberally, and thank the other guild for the run after each and every raid.  Be grateful for their help, because without them, you currently wouldn't be raiding - even if they are in the same situation.

Try and build up a parallel heroic 10 man at the same time as your alliance raid.  At some point you will have enough people to do this, and then you will have enough people for the alliance, a 10man and some on SB.  That is the end goal, to get everyone raiding at the specified raid time!  Rotate officers into this 10man to run it and support guildies and make sure they understand how important the 10man is to the overall goal of getting back to guild only 25s.

What shouldn't you do?
Never complain about the other guild to your guildmates, and stomp out any negative thoughts in public.

Do not force anyone to attend a raid they dont want to.  Not everyone in your guild is going to be comfortable running with another guild. Get your officers (or you) to approach everyone and see if they are happy with the runs.  If at any stage someone says they are not happy, let them know that is ok and they dont have to attend. Keep communication up about the entire process.

Never ever under any circumstance poach from the guild you are allying with.  I don't think I can emphasis this enough.

We have enough people to run our own raids now
When you hit critical mass, make sure you test the waters first.  You will probably have a bunch of new people that have not run in a 25 with you yet.  Go back to the previous tier's heroic/hardmode content and test out their raid awareness.  When you are happy with the team, it is time to talk to the other guild and propose that the alliance ends.  Give them at least a weeks warning, and let them know that if they are still struggling the alliance can return for a short period of time on a negotiation basis.

But, we really like running together, we don't want to stop!
This is also a great outcome.  If you really enjoy each others company, you could consider merging your guilds together.  But that is a whole other post (and yes, I will put one up about it in the near future, having done it successfully).

  • Suss out the other guild properly - do your homework
  • Don't force people to do anything they dont want to
  • Get the Loot Rules straight early, and be fair
  • Keep attendance to the alliance raids even as possible
  • Make joint chat channels
  • Give ample warning of the cessation of the alliance/merger

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tweaking strat is made of win

Also, awesome strat is awesome.  The Heroic Twins strat below is absolutely rock solid!  I can say that with impunity now, given we used it last night and missed the first kick and still defeated them before the enrage timer.  I need to send out huge awesomeness to our badger-elite Hairy who RLed and tweaked and problem solved like a champion.

"What? There were 6 balls to the face of the raid?  Where from?  Ok soaker, you go here, other soaker move to here"

The soakers then did exactly as they were told and BAM twins down.

There is much to be said for changing things on the fly, looking at points of failure and figuring out why people died.  This isn't a finger pointing exercise (ok, sometimes it is, but that's generally when people don't learn from mistakes and improve) but a quick precis of what went wrong, who made a mistake and why.  This can mean a very subtle adjustment to a strat and all of a sudden you are progressing again.   Last night, it was a subtle tweak to the soaker region to protect the raid from Balls from the Walls and suddenly the healing was easier, people died less, the soakers were alive and the raid was stacking and moving better.

Also saying things like "Do what Hairy says, when he says it.  Even if he's wrong, it doesn't matter, because if ONE of you is in the wrong foot aura you WILL wipe the raid" seemed to work on raid behaviour.

Also, I found that we should trust ourselves to not need certain classes.  We had no mage for faction champions, and most officers were fairly convinced that we needed one.  I was pretty gung ho that we didn't for varying reasons that included guild politics.  Eventually, we got the numbers and we headed in.

Now, given that we had a "non standard" raid makeup, and I was ret (yowser) we found that we were much more careful about strat, and who was doing what.  I ended up being dispel bitch again *sigh* but that worked really well, freeing up healers to ... heal.  So, my DPS was horrible, but I kept light up on the current DPS target (doing more actual healing than the disc priest, not counting bubbles), and SoJ was a nice proc to randomly stun the target.  The odd flash on someone nearly dead, and using my stun on every CD made the current target go down reasonably fast and safe.

The people controlling the other adds and healers were very careful and were excellent at keeping the group spread out - very important in this fight were aggro is based on proximity and your current health percentage.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Personalising your strategy

Something that is important as a guild is figuring out how to force the square strat into the slightly oblong shape of your guild.

There are a few ways of doing this and this is generally how I and my raid team put together a strat.

Pre Raid
1. Research. First of all we research the boss. Abilities, videos, strats from anywhere and everywhere we can get our hands on. We collate them all on our website in a thread about that boss. I yell and scream at guildies to go read it and contribute. I am lucky if it gets read.

2. We use the strat which we think would suit our raiders. Our officer team have been running together for some time, and have a fair idea what our strengths and weaknesses are at any given time. We pick the strat that plays our strengths and bolsters weaknesses.

3. Yell at everyone to read the forums. Your guild forums are the most important place for strat creation, as it can be done offline during work hours (often people have access to the web from work). Make sure everyone is familiar with what they are about to head into and what their particular issues will be with their class.

During the Raid
1. Get the Raid leaders to run over the abilities and strat before the first attempt. Guaranteed there will be mushrooms in your raid who don't even remember where the strategy forums ARE on your website ("website? there is a website??" *sigh*). Don't take TOO much time over strat at this point.

2. Get in there and have a go. There is nothing like seeing it for yourself for all the research and video watching in the world (and no one ever does holy pally based videos). Raid leaders pay particular attention to what goes wrong, who wasn't paying attention and anything that wasn't realised (there is plenty of stuff that simply doesn't read well and doesn't make sense or isn't even mentioned until you get in there and see it for yourself)

3. Restate strat now that people "get it". This second time around, get into the detail of the strat. (Re)Allocate people jobs, explain the importance of not standing in the fire, now that everyone knows what the fire looks like. People know when to do their jobs now.

3a. Identify where this strat is failing, and shore it up. There are various methods for doing this. We tell people and name them when they stuff up something they were specifically asked not to. We also ask why people die. Now, this is partly to shame people into performing better, but it is also to genuinely find out what went wrong so we can fix it. Now, to do this you need to have a culture of not taking criticism personally and admitting when you screw up (everyone screws up from time to time). This isn't for everyone's guild. Since I don't know any other way that is as effective as this one, this is the model my guild has shifted to. But the long and the short of it is, however you do this (bribery, threats of gkicking, yelling, praising whatever) you need to identify failure points and fix them.

4. Have a few more goes and fix the failings. Perhaps try a new strat. There is more than one way to skin a cat.

5. Take the bits that work for you and write down your new guild strat. Then practise it until the boss dies.

Post Raid
1. Write up the good and bad bits on the forums so you remember for next time.

2. After a few iterations of this, you will have created your own version of a strat that works for your guild. Write it up for future reference.

And raid leaders, this is a sometimes controversial method. Changing a strat mid raid is not what everyone agrees is a good idea. However, I believe that you should not force a strat on a group that is just not working. The morale decline is not worth it. Confusion from strat changing is often seen as a positive step as opposed to beating your head against a brick wall. Also, I have found that sometimes the strat itself is the confusion factor and using a different one hits the right buttons in raiders brains and they "get it". There has to be many judgement calls on the morale of the raid by the officer team before you make big changes.

There have been many raids where we have been bashing our heads against a strat that just didn't work, to have someone in the raid pipe up with a "why dont we try this strat". Everyone goes to read it/strat is explained, the RLs set it up and BAM! boss goes down shortly afterward.

Never be afraid to try something new and never assume that your raiders are incapable of changing their jobs mid raid. They will surprise you. This adaptive method of strat creation outlined above is the best method I have seen to get a boss down in the most collaborative, positive and quickest manner. Raid leaders will always have the final say, but everyone is heard.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

SOO, I hate low signup nights

In Australia, we have a football thing called State of Origin. It's 5 matches of rugby spaced over 5 Wednesdays. I think it is possibly my most hated sport ever. Every SOO we invariably dont get enough singups to run on our main push/farm night with a clean ID (as maintenance for oceanic is Tuesday night at about 8pm server time).

So what can you do about that?
Well, the best thing to do is not run the main raid. Trying to run with a crippled group is not going to be good for morale. Split off into 10man runs, give people a night off to chillax. Try a previous tier content achievement run (there are rumours spreading in the guild at the moment that a 20 man undying naxx run could be on the cards, and I like this idea as we never won the Random DC game when it mattered, and I still want the title!).

But, what if this is a regular thing, like, we are short on numbers a lot?
Well, that means you need to recruit, but in this climate that can be hard.

I am finding that we are beginning to pick up new recruits by pugging 25s. Pugging ulduar 10 to some extent but more to the point pugging naxx25. On a night where your numbers are too low, form up the raid (perhaps take in some alts for fun) and pug the last spots. You could try for Naxx or the first couple of ulduar bosses.

This has 2 benefits:
1 you are finding people who can raid at your times
2 you are trialling people before you even get to the application stage.

We have been doing this (with friday night naxx 25s and random alt ulduar 25 pugs, which were surprisingly successful) and we have had a couple of good applications from this process. Generally they are people newer to WoW, people who never raided in vanilla and did very little in TBC, so they need a little loving and training but are dead set keen to get into it!

Downside is if you are using DKP you might have to come up with some rules to include PUGs. But generally, if you let the PUGs know in advance what the loot rules are, they can decide whether or not they are interested in running that way. Don't get upset if people turn you down depending on how you run loot distribution.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Loot Distribution

OK, this is a curly one, massively, hugely curly and is often the demise of many guilds. My guild is currently in the middle of this discussion and the results are very interesting. I will not be focusing on the details of each system, you can look that up yourself. I will be looking at how Item distribution can affect your guild culture and vice versa.

Master Looter: This assigns one person to be in charge of allocating all the boss drops out to "worthy" members of the group. And this is where things get interesting.

Once you get into the realms of 10man+ (which, let's face it, most of the WoW community is now doing) you start having the questions of how to hand out this loot in a fair and equitable way. Often this means "with the least QQing" but sometimes it isn't.

DKP Systems
There are plenty of differing systems out there. Anything from "EQDKP" or "MLDKP" to "Ni Karma" or "Zero Sum" and Rolling systems. I am not going to go into them all here, as google is your friend. Just throw the above keywords into google and read up on the differing types of DKP. I am going to focus on the strengths and weaknesses on a high level of each major system.

DKP - Pros
DKP creates a currency that you can reward for guild members for effort. Basically, you can use this currency as an incentive for people to turn up, punish them for noobish behaviour ("50 DKP MINUS!") or reward a hard nights raiding or a one shot. This encourages people to put on their game face, if that it what motivates them. DKP great for casual guilds pushing progression content as it creates a clear list of who is doing what and what is fair. It encourages people to come to wipefests in the name of having a chance at getting gear, because there are tangible rewards to turning up to a wipe night. I have found that DKP is good for newer guilds, or guild building a solid team of regular raiders. It is great for guilds with still a reasonably high turnover of members, as it is "known" to be "fair". The other thing that makes it great for newer guilds is that it removes personal intervention (on the whole) from the decision making process. Officers do not need to make too many decisions or overrides on item distribution. This can, when used properly, create a great feeling of trust as when you DO override a DKP decision it can be for all the right reasons, thus starting to generate a guild feeling of trust and maturity.

DKP is good for guilds with younger members, for whom it is all about the shinies. They can plan and scheme to their hearts content and still help the guild progress.

DKP hoarding is a pro if you have high turnover, as it keeps gear within the guild.

DKP - Cons DKP has a massive overhead for out of game maintenance. It requires all gear be costed, all items minutely tracked, time minutely tracked (to award DKP) attempts on bosses "costed", and allocations for DKP for people on standby. Getting all this to balance in a sensible way that does not over inflate the system is NOT EASY and very difficult to get right. It requires people to watch their DKP, watch offspec gear handouts, and micromanage their own gear progression.

It encourages the saving/hoarding of DKP for that best in slot item. The saving for gear gimps the guild not the person. The more gear that goes out to people, the more chance they have to experiment with gear try new things, rotations etc that they wouldn't normally have to do - because they are too busy trying to save for that item that drops off the last boss, and stop person b from having more DKP than them and and and... yeah

Basically, DKP is a stateful system which requires a lot of micromanagement.

Often, newer members find it very hard to break into an established DKP system with massive inflation. You end up with people either not caring and spending on everything or saving for that one item.

DKP overhead is probably unmanageable for 10man guilds - the advantages of the system are outweighed by the overhead of running it. Also, 10man guilds tend to be tighter and fall much more under the considerations below for rolling.

Rolling - Pro
Recently, my guild has tried a simple rolling system for gear distribution in Naxx. Basically it goes like this: attendance is tracked using ctrt (for LC decisions), /roll 101 for loot council intervention (often for best in slot items or something someone really wants), /roll for a standard upgrade and /roll 99 for "meh" upgrades or sidegrades or offspec.
We have found this to be faster and simpler to run than DKP (many less mods required and calculations and scheming by people) and the ML is much relieved by the lack of stress. This system also encourages people to look at other guild members and see what they have and see if the gear improves the raid as they are not counting their pennies on offspecs and saving for gear. We have had much less DEing, and more people trying new things. For example, our boomkin would never had been able to put together a haste set as well as a crit set with DKP.

Rolling is very good for 10 man guilds where it is pretty unlikely that more than 2 people will be vying for an item at the same time on the whole.

Rolling - Cons
This system may be too simplistic a model for a lot of people. It requires a lot more ownership by guild members and a lot more trust within your guild. This is probably only good for a guild who has been raiding for some time together and trust the officers decisions, and trust their fellow guildmate to not get snippy about gear. Loot council has it's own issues, simply by the fact that it is not an automated system making the decisions (like in DKP) but this is a strength and a weakness. This can be riddled by bad luck on rolling, and people can get upset. Officers CAN intervene, and it DOES rely on people saying, hey I got 3 pieces tonight, I will pass so someone else can have some shinies.
Basically, it's horses for courses. Both types of loot distribution have their own systems of management and pros and cons. What you need to really identify is what kind of guild are you or, even, what kind of guild do you want to be. Setting a precedent by using a item distribution system can encourage and discourage certain types of people to your guild. You can use this to your advantage. It is your guild, set the tone early and set it firmly and don't be afraid to say - sorry, you just don't fit with us.

Generally these are my tips for what I am looking for in a system
a) fast
b) easy to run and maintain
c) gets gear where it should go
d) doesn't focus on "loot" as a reward

Yes, this post is confusing and long but this is a MASSIVE topic, and this is just a very high level view of 2 major systems used.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Picking raiding times

Starting a regular raiding schedule
Picking raiding days is hard. They need to be set in stone and regular so people can organise themselves around it and you can advertise them during recruiting times.

If you are at the point of starting to pick some set raiding times, you are NOT going to be able to please everyone, so don't bother trying. In short, you need to set the raiding schedule based on when the most people can show and also when your Raid Leader and MTs can turn up. Everyone also needs to understand that in this case by sheer practicality it is GOING to be majority rules. If 10 people can turn up on a Thursday, but only 6 can turn up on Monday... and you can make Monday but not Thursday I can tell you RIGHT NOW that 10 man raid will run on Thursday and it is not your fault and it is not the officers fault.

Raids will run when people can make it - that is not the officers fault, so be nice to them.

Rotating rosters are fail and confusing. Don't even consider a rotating roster. Keep your weekly raids regular and people will make them because they know what to expect.

Not everyone will be happy with the outcome, but hopefully most people will.

Use a calendar, either in game or php raid calendar or something similar on your website to advertise the raiding roster and get people to sign up based on that.

Adding but not subtracting
Once you have a raiding schedule it is trivial to add in extra runs. What is not so trivial is moving or removing raids. As soon as you move something you will start Guild Dramaz, and this is something you really dont need. If moving a raid night becomes a necessity, it needs to be advertised in advance and good solid reasons given as to why (because people that cannot make the new night will feel that they are being singled out and persecuted, even if that is not the case).

The importance of communication
Getting solid consistent raiding running is based on communication. Officers need to communicate raid plans and schedules as far in advance of their raid as they possibly can and the guildies NEED to communicate when they can and cant make it and when things change at the last minute. There is NOTHING more annoying than having 8 people turn up to a raid and 11 people said they would be there and then the raid wont run. Often people rearrange Real Life to raid. So be courteous and help work out a regular raiding schedule that works for the guild.

Officers should have as many ways of contacting raiders as they can OUT of game. This often includes SMS, guild websites (inc raid calendars and PMs), emails, phone, chat clients (like MSN) and vent/teamspeak servers. Guild members should have out of game contacts for their section leaders and raid leaders so that if something comes up at the last minute (OH NOES THE CAT ATE MY CAT5 CABLE!) they can let the officers know that they wont be there and the officers can find a replacement.

It all comes down to respect. Respect your guildies enough to keep them informed and respect your officers enough to let them know when your circumstances change.

WoW is a team sport, don't let your team down but not communicating effectively.

Monday, February 2, 2009

On the back of DPS tips

I spied today one of the best quotes I can think of for the use of WWS and Recount as DPS tools (and what I mean by comparing stats as not a pissing contest)

Players place too much emphasis on this. It’s a tool. Balancing around recount stats is like using a thermometer to predict the weather.

DPS stats are exactly that - merely a tool to see relatively what you were doing during that fight. I cannot express my opinion more strongly than that. Never use them for anything more than measuring your own DPS and gauging rotations and where you might benefit from a bit more crit or a bit more haste or whatever to tweak your gear.

There are many things that affect your or others DPS in a fight. These include the sheer mechanics of a fight. Wondering why your mages have low DPS? see how much decursing or CCing they were doing. Perhaps your ret pallies DPS dropped mid fight - see what mana return they got for the fight. There are many mechanical reasons why DPS or damage can be low for a fight. Perhaps the fight required a lot of movement (GET OUT OF THE FIRE!!!) or the boss had a specific mitigation mechanic that needs to have something special dont to neutralise it. Perhaps the boss is resistant to a certain school of machic (nature or frost for example)

All these things play a part in the stats and you need to really understand all this before you go making judgements on your guildmates.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

DPS in 25s

So, you have a bunch of DPS. But what and who to take?
Clearly, as a guild leader or Person In Charge you cant know everything about everything. That is why you have officers however. But it is a good idea to have a few rules of thumb to run with if your Subject Matter Expert is unavailable and it falls to you to cover them for a night.

Ranged (7-8)
Hunters (max 4)
At the moment, Beast Master spec is the biggest hitter bar none. This will change very soon as they get liberally splattered with the nerf bat.

Mages (min 1)
Ensure you have your mages in the "right spec" for the fights you are picking that night. Having a frost mage if you plan on hitting bosses with frost resistance is probably not the wisest move. So plan ahead and ask your mages to respec if necessary.

Warlocks (min 1)
Locks can bring different things according to their spec. Demonology is a viable raiding spec again with felhunters having useful buffs. If you are taking more than one lock, try to ensure they have complimentary specs. The best option is to get them to sort it out amongst themselves.

Ele Shamans (max 1)
These guys are pretty gimped at the moment. Until they are fixed, I dont recommend taking one if you are struggling with your DPS output from the raid as a whole. I will update this with the patches and fixes later on.

Melee (6-7)
Rogues (max 2)
Rogues do decent DPS and there are fights where their poisons are very useful.

Ret Pally (min 1)
Good DPS, solid buffs and good boss debuffs, make sure that the ret pally, prot pally and holy pally have complimentary specs and blessings.

DPS Warr (min 1)
In combo with the prot warrior this will take some pressure off the prot warrior to do utility raid shouts and debuffs and really focus on tanking. Get the DPS warr doing all that stuff. Respec if necessary.

DPS Death Knight (min 1)
These guys seem to be having some solid DPS and some REALLY great abilities (like deathgrip for malygos and blood aura in general) Try getting one of each main spec in there if you can.

But as you can see, its very generic and getting one of everything is a good idea for a raid. But again, we are now in the position that I would take a good PLAYER over a certain class as long as the 7-8 ranged and 6-7 melee is met. And even then, I have run very successfully with more melee than ranged and vice versa.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Ok, so you got you some people to play WoW with. So let's look at healers as an overall section.

Pallies (Take 2)
These guys are your staple MHs. They are the best bar none at MT healing. They now have a bunch of "OH SHIT" buttons to deal with spike damage and quite a few more insta casts to deal with it. They can bubble themselves out of trouble when everything goes to poo and chain cast massive heals in a VERY fast time when they are specced correctly and judging correctly.

Droods (Take 0-2)
These guys used to be MH as well, being the HOT component of MT healing. Nowadays they have been buffed disgustingly and can roll hots on a tank as well as AoE heal. Trees are, however, probably the first class I would drop as all their abilities can now be easily covered off by the 3 other classes. A good druid is still a great asset to any healing team.

Priests (Take 2-3)
These guys really are starting to some into their own. They are the swiss army knives of healing and I would NEVER go into a raid without a Holy priest. My next choice would be a full disc priest. They have 2 very seperate roles.
Holy priests are OHers. They spam the CRAP out of CoH and double the next non holy priest on the healing meters and if they aren't then something is wrong (except on specific fights when MHers shine). This will be getting a nerf soon, but I dont see that it will stop holy priests being top of the healing meters, just that other healers will have to do some actual healing work.
Disc Priests are very difficult to measure their performance. They are MHs and compliment a holy pally BEAUTIFULLY in their design. Because Disc priests MITIGATE damage with thier bubbles, there is no way to measure that as yet. They will be on the bottom of meters, but that is not a very accurate measure of their performance. Be careful with a disc priest, as they can potentially start to starve MTs of rage/manabyhealing if they are over geared for the content they are doing. A good Disc priest will know this and compensate.

Shammies (take 1-2)
TOTEMS FTW! These guys bring totems and chain heals. They are more utility healers than anything else and seem to be middling in terms of raw healing output. But the bonuses they bring to the other healers are not to be sniffed at. Also, every boss drops resto shammie shit. Bring one as the garbage collector. Will invariably be the best geared toon in the entire guild!

So there's a high level summary. You should be aiming for 7 healers, but this can +/- 1 depending on content and your ability of your healers.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Officers need jobs.

Too often officers are just the mates of the dude who happened to start the charter for the guild, or the original people who signed it for no really good reason. This is so BAD it is ridiculous. If you are serious about a guild, dont pick your mates to run it with.

There are some pretty obvious admin jobs that need doing in a successful guild, here are a few of them:

Raid leaders - these are the people (usually 2) who run the raids. They organise the strat, explain it to your nub raiders then cry as they watch their beautifully planned strat butchered by people who stand in fires. You need these people to have the power to dump people from raids, and from the guild if need be. They need power with responsibility, and they need a support network.

Raid Assists - these guys are your section leaders (what used to be called Class Leaders back in 40man days). there are 3-4 sections; Tanks/melee, healers, ranged. Each section needs at least 2 leaders. One to whip them into shape and get them organised and actually IN the raid (who is available, do we need to recruit, do invites on the night to the raid, set up any mads that need setting etc) and one for technical questions about class mechanics. The latter should be a complete nerd theorycrafter who lives in EJ.

Loot Masters - these guys have the unenviable job of distributing loot with whatever system you chose (post on that later). Often they are in charge of making the guild bank money as well.

Guild leaders - this is you and perhaps a couple of the above people as well. You guys make decisions about the ultimate goals of the guild, keep your reputation in check, and generally make sure you have a happy guild. This is a thankless job. Keep this group to 2 or 3 people. Too many cooks spoils the guild.

Webmaster - you need one of these. A good guild is an organised guild and a webpage is essential. Use a premade one or if you have someone that can run a custom one, make sure they are included in officers. Often people will wonder why they are there, but they have full website access, they know everything that is going on. Make them an officer and they will be much more inclined to be awesome as you are showing respect.

Where to start?

I am going to assume that your guild is established. You have done the hard yards, you have a member base, a reputation and you can almost fill a 25man raid currently (or you are running 1 to 2 10man IDs a week). That is the easy part. No really. Getting to this point is easy. You spammed trade chat and got members. They are probably not GREAT but they are learning to work together.

Your next task is to identify what you need in a raid. Generally, raid makeup is something along these lines:
3 tanks
7 healers
15 DPS (5-7 melee, rest ranged)
3-4 bench (RL happens!)

New wisdom on DPS is that you can bring more melee along. TBC it used to be very strictly 5 melee 10 ranged. Since the group thing has been relaxed and a lot of abilites are now raid wide, this has allowed for more melee to step up to the plate (which is good, because on the whole I find melee to be more attentive players, but more on stereotypes later).

So figure out who your "reliable" players are. Reliable means a few things and I will put up a different post on that topic. Figure out where your short fallings are in your raid and RECRUIT HARD. NOW is the time to do it. Spam LFG, Trade and the realm forum on get your name out there and what you want to do.

The most important thing right now is for you get get a routine in. Get 25 people together in your guild and get into Naxx and start. Then do it again tomorrow. Set up a raiding routine so people can plan around it. If you dont have a website, try guildomatic for starters, use the in game calendar, but above all else, get that routine set in stone.

Once in the door a lot else will happen. But for now, get in the door and keep that door open.