The biggest key in raid success and especially in succeeding as a raid leader is communication. Everything from basic rules and strategy to who needs to go AFK and when needs to be communicated. If nobody knows anything because nothing has been communicated then the raid will inevitably fail and the leader will have failed as a leader.
In the topic of communication we’ll be covering the following subtopics: Quality Voice Software, “Keeping the Air Clean”, “Setting the Table” and Troubleshooting.
Quality Voice Software
In order to communicate as clearly as possible what needs to be done it is important to have a good medium for communication. For this, I strongly recommend using a server-based voice chat application such as Ventrilo if possible. Ventrilo gives the ability to mute certain people both individually and globally, it also gives the ability to adjust each person’s volume individually such that everyone can be clearly heard. Say it clear, say it once, get it done.
Keeping the Air Clean
Now that you’ve got a good medium for communication, it’s time to set some ground rules for effectively using it. The most important part of making good use of your voice chat application is keeping the air clean. Without clean air you’ll die, plant some trees and… never mind, that’s a different clean air topic.
By “keeping the air clean” I mean keeping the voice chat channel clear of unnecessary chatter especially on boss fights where speed and cleanliness of communication can make or break the fight. As raid leader you need to lay down the law in regards to this. Designate certain people to watch for key events (be that buffs on the boss, debuffs on players, etc.) and to call them out. You need to let the raid know that anyone who is not the leader and not designated to call something should remain quiet and focus in on the task at hand.
Setting the Table
As raid leader you’re like the host of a dinner party, you’ve got yourself and 11 guests anxiously awaiting the large and somewhat intimidating meal that has been promised them. You need to put out the several different kinds of forks, spoons, knives, plates, glasses etc. and in lots of cases you may even need to let your guests know which fork is used for which course or maybe even how to crack the outer layer of the main course properly.
Now, to remove the metaphor and more clearly describe what I mean. As raid leader, whether or not you know how to beat the boss, it is important that you have some sort of plan and make sure that everyone knows what that plan is. So long as everyone knows what’s expected of them, where to stand, what to do and when they’ll feel more comfortable and will be able to spot things that weren’t accounted for better. If your raid is going in scrambling because they don’t know what to do, not only are you not going to beat the thing, you’re not likely to learn much.
Do not, as raid leader, feel that you can possibly over-explain things, because you cannot. Going over things 2-3 times and breaking it down a little bit differently each time is NOT a bad thing. Even better is if you can break down the strategy for each class and how it will play out in each of their shoes, the more specific the instruction the more sure of themselves each person will be and with that calm assuredness comes a lot of good side-effects.
So set the table, explain what each utensil is for and how to eat the meal properly and soon enough you’ll have happy guests.
This is the area of leading raids that really defines how effective a raid leader is. You set the table, explained the plan, moved in and got your butt-kicked and don’t know why.
It is extremely likely that throughout the raid there are people that saw things that yourself or others did not see. Every role and/or position in the raid tends to get a different view and will tend to pick up different information or cues from the fight. After a wipe it’s good to carefully organize a conversation through the raid. What I like to do is pick someone and say, “hey so and so, what killed ya there?” get that information and move to the next person, “hey healer A, did you notice anything unusual?”. Get information from folks one at a time or you can even break it into class/roll focus groups to speed it up a tad. Note down the information, piece it together and figure out how you want to go about countering each negative effect and how you can better use any positive effects.
If you don’t stop to troubleshoot after wipes you may as well beat your head against a brick wall* until unconscious because it does you just as much good and gets you just as much loot and without any sort of subscription fee (hospital bills don’t count!).
Stay tuned for part two in this series about rules!
*The author of this guide assumes no responsibility for any damage done to the brick wall or your cranium.