Its almost demoralizing in a way to read this forum at times and hear about guilds that have the same level of gearing as my own that are able to clear AQ in 3.5 hours and do nearly all of Naxx in 1-2 nights. I'm always evaluating my guild's raid performance and seeking ways to improve it (even if those in charge don't actually implement anything I bring forward). So I'd like to get some information from some of the best and brightest out there on what they do to make a raid *succesful*.
I'm not really looking for outside analysis of my raids in particular, just looking for statements on what your guild does that make your raids *work well*.
To keep it organized I'd like to examine a raid in 3 stages:
1 - Before the raid - prep done outside the actual raid, farming, organization of leadership, dissemination of strats, how you hold people accountable, etc
2 - From raid formation to pull - getting together, buffing, vent procedures, getting into the right mindset, keeping up a fast pace, etc
3 - Figuring out "what went wrong" - dealing with wipes, how you figure out what was wrong and dealing with it, improving on mistakes and building on success, etc
Edit - since it was asked, we're a guild about a year old since the server opened up, everyone is in T2 and 2.5, only guild on the server killing c'thun, furthest in Naxx (maexxna, raz, noth are our furthest kills, working on patch) , most classes have a few people with 1-2 T3 items, tanks are sitting around 2-3 T3. We've got quite a few new people in the guild after we had a period of pretty heavy turnover and inactivity.
Why be demoralized by "the other guys?"
You ultimately have to build into your own.
You need to tell us where your current progress is...
the state of your guild...
How long your guild has lasted.
I started my guild the 2nd week the game came out with me and a friend who quit a week later, and built it into the juggernaut it is today. It comes down heavily on you to completely absolve all drama and glaring weak points.
Once you get into a groove though, you will feel like all that old work of administration is gone - cause it is... a guild can almost lead itself once its been setup.
You're really only as good as your members, and your members should be hand chosen by the leader... everything has to match and both are exceedingly important.
To answer your points:
1: This is people... You don't farm for Loatheb on your own... you have people dedicated to the game to farm for your guild. The more hardcore you get, the easier this becomes as people become more goal oriented.
1b: You cannot do this on your own from a managerial standpoint. I highly recommend putting someone in charge of half of the potions, and someone else in charge of the other half. Have two officers run your guild bank aside from yourself as the raid leader. The sheer scope of consumables you'll be facing as you near the final bosses in Naxxramas is staggering. Get help - and hire the right help (officers) because this is critical to the guild.
2: Its hard to form a raid... it depends on guess what... the people. Sometimes you're blessed with players who are high activity and extremely reliable.
We've recruited 1 hunter in the last 2 years... 1. The reason? They're all over 80% activity. We've seen others go and whatnot, but how you invite and deal with those who do not get in is entirely based on the people involved.
You should always go for an ideal raid makeup - don't gimp yourself to be fair. Don't recruit so far that you have to not be fair in order to not gimp yourself.
And finally, try to rotate people in as fairly as possible into raid slots. For our guild, everyone gets an equal shot regardless of the raid - assuming A. we can hit the classes we need, and B. its not patchwerk.
I bias patchwerk to gear, and probably Loatheb now too... you can call me a nazi, but thats how I do it.
Have people send tells for invites within 1-3 minutes of your start time and just start figuring it out in your head who to swap around.
Attitude is key here - but if you killed the drama makers, and are attuned to your player's feelings about being kicked you'll know when you're overly bumping 1-2 people and can adjust. There are clear exceptions to who gets in (like the dkp guy, or the mod/strat helper officer, or maybe the main tank).
3: What went wrong is a tough one. I recommend making a healer an officer as it is far far easier as a healer to see what is happening to the raid and evaluate where it "Fell apart." This officer should be one who is a good player, high awareness, uses voice communications very well - and can be a total hardass if someone messes up so he doesn't have to relay stuff through you just to get a "wake up Soandso, mob behind you" yell going.
I played a shaman for 100 days, and now a warrior for 70... most of that is raiding. As a warrior theres generally a big crab in front of me blocking my view of whats going on, and frankly, it takes way more concentration than my old shaman. Have another healer/officer help you in this regard.
This also comes down to the people. You need people who are willing to admit to mistakes and simply fess up. It is a strong character sign when someone can say they were phased out - or something bad happened, etc instead of making an excuse.
Excuses are infuriating, and you will deal with them in the best of guilds (OMG LAG)... its partly your responsibility to deal with it.
I don't act like a pussy and beat around the bush either when it comes time to point fingers... but I don't yell at people and I'm not a blatant asshole at the same time. Shit has to get dealt with - and confronting it there and now is better than wiping again hoping Mr. Tardsickle will figure it out without you mentioning where he went wrong.
Often times random elements are the leading cause of a wipe... so don't be too eager to point blame.
Anyway, thats not well editted, just stream of conscious... take it for what it is.
Caveat before I go further: our guild was formed on June 29 or so, composed of plenty of Tier1 geared folks. We then killed Vael for the first time on July 28. Now we're on Nef. So we're not very "advanced" but we've moved quickly at our level of progression.
1. Guild bank is centrally managed and inventory is updated online every day (typically 2x a day).
2. We buy materials for flasks from guildies, at 80% of current AH prices. Doing this we've pumped out 6-7 FoTs, 5+ FoDW and 3 FoSP every week. Flasks def. make learning encounters much easier. We create tons of consumables, and will sell them to guildies who forget to bring their own (for example, a GFPP at Rags will cost you 2g if you were silly enough to forget your own). We hand out consumables for free on learning encounters (fairly limited quantities).
3. Link good strats, good vids, and good EJ forum postings in our guild forums.
4. Encourage talent build discussions. Use feedback in raids like SW Stats.
5. Guild is pretty much run by "Class Officers". They invite for their class and are responsible for their classes' performance. Guild Officers (3 of us) handle things like kicking people from the guild, managing guild bank, etc.
1. Inviting the right raid based on the instance is crucial. Is it a farm or a learning raid?
2. We take our time buffing, getting everyone there, etc...although invites ALWAYS go out on time. This makes people get to the zone on time, but then they can relax for 10-15 as we move groups around, buff, pass out consumables, trade, etc.
3. Once we go, we go. In MC, we've cut our time down to 3 hours by simply running people the "smartest/fastest" way possible. We use 2 hunter pullers and everything is timed by the raid leader. Downtime (bio breaks, etc) are announced well in advance and you are not expected to go afk outside those times. If you have an emergency, you have to tell your class officer. If you don't, you're booted.
4. On learning encounters, it's all about taking the time to set up positioning, groups and class tasks. Be clear, be redundant, and be patient. Make sure you give plenty of time for questions and make sure everyone understands. I'll do multiple dry runs on positioning, watching for laggards and correcting mistakes.
1. It's all about positive reinforcement. Focus on what went right. Praise people who lead DPS...it makes others want to be up there so they get praised.
2. Don't be afraid to call out someone who grossly screws up. If you've got the proof, hang them with it. The key is HOW you do this. It's one thing to publically yell at a poor individual in Vent; quite another to have a private conversation with them.
3. Focus on the three big things: positioning, raid make-up (do you have the right classes and right amount per class?) and class tasks. Everything else will just increase your margin of error.
Good tips from the above posters.
1. Praise in public, criticize in private.
2. Delegate as much as possible. Have different people lead the 20mans, people who have experience leading are better followers because of it.
3. Try your best to get people with as high attendence as possible. Put attendence as an integral part of loot elligibility in whichever system you use.
4. Encourage people to be on time, buffed, prepared etc.
5. Listen to guild mate's ideas on how to do things.
One thing to keep in mind, is that within your guild there are a lot of potential leaders that, if given the opportunity and the support, can do very well leading things. Not just raid leaders, but organizational(AH Guild Bank Manipulation, guild bank management, modification making, recruitment etc) leading as well. After doing this so many years you see people in guilds(even your own) that people don't really know, are quiet, aren't outstanding but not terrible etc, then a year later they're the guild leader of an end-game guild. It's your job as a GM to find potential and use it.
I tend to agree with pretty much everything said above. One of the big motivating factors is to keep people positive - if someone does a great job on a pickup, praise them in public. If someone screws up, just send them a tell and let them know that you noticed they screwed up and let them know you're willing to help them correct it if they can't do so alone.
Delegation is very important as well - I tend to "run" the raids, but I let someone else handle DKP/Master Loot - and then whenever we do 20mans on the offnights, I'll gladly let other people run the raids and just sit in the back on my mage alt and follow along. It's a nice change of pace to let other people take the lead from time to time. It also helps them understand that running a raid isn't quite as easy as they might think.
Without attendance and preparation, you're really not going to get very far. Set some rules on loot - you need to have 50%, 75%, or whatever number works best for you in order to bid. This will frustrate some of the less stable players (the ones who can only show up a few nights a week), but those who consistently raid will get geared up faster and help progression.
If people are repeatedly showing up to raids unprepared, dock them DKP or else find a replacement. Let them know in as polite a fashion as possible that they have a responsiblity to the other 39 people in the raid to be on time, have potions, reagents, etc., and be ready to commit a few hours of their life to the raid. If they have a problem with that, it's almost not worth the time to correct them - far easier to find someone willing to dedicate that energy.
Originally when I was running raids, I'd have "the one true strategy" but over time I've learned that sometimes the most unlikely people can come up with strategies that work - so it's always important to keep an ear open for feedback.
Probably the biggest thing is just to reiterate: keep things positive. Even in the face of repeated wipes, tell people to go relax for 5 minutes, use the restroom, get another beer, stretch their legs, and come back more focused. Don't let people start blaming each other, don't let them get angry about dying, just laugh it off, get everyone back up, and give it another shot. Nothing kills raids faster than negativity and having people leave in a huff.
My opinion is along with everyone else. Positive moral is the key to success. The more upset and not having fun the raid is as a whole the less progress you will make. If something goes wrong, a positive attitude will motive the next attempt rather then the negative approach.
Don't let other people's forum comments get you down. It's more important to enjoy raiding with your guild than to farm instances efficiently. I can tell you we have definitely never done speed clears and yet nobody seems to mind.
Ready checks hurt morale. If you are constantly waiting on someone, then you will have people becoming exhausted.
Always ask for help if you don't know what happened. Ask people to whisper you if they have an idea what went wrong. 3 people will whisper you, merge all three of their ideas into one, and throw out the stuff that is negative or just plain wrong.
Do NOT make the guild seem like a buddy system. If you spend 90% of your time online in a password protected vent channel PvPing with the other officers while the rest of your guild chats in the lobby, expect to have people discouraged. I dont care if you have known each other in real life since 1901...or were guilded together on the old server, make people feel like they are equal to your officers. Give them tasks, or dont discourage them from leading an MC or ZG run on occasion. Itll lessen the burden on you, and maybe itll make them into a leader when one of your officers bails for college or a new job.
No matter what, every guild has people that are "ZOMG BIG NUMBERS" or "LIGHTNING BOLT PEWPEW" spec. Let them have their fun and after every boss post meters. Eventually people will learn what the best spec is when they feel inferior on metrics. Just make sure metrics dont become the reason to raid. That can do just as much harm. SWstats in % mode are best. That way people dont know what numbers they have to hit to catch up.
As others have mentioned, positive reinforcement is key. But it also helps if it seems like the GM is taking note of people and knows their strengths/weaknesses. Our GM is crazy enough that he was able to audit the guild as a whole and give each person detailed feedback on their performance in raids over the last few months, for some people they hadn't even noticed these things and in turn have improved because of it. Being very careful about drama elements is another important factor.
Remember, your guild isn't just what happens in your raid. You need to make sure the guild as a whole respects and gets along with each other or it won't matter how good your raid leader is.
It's my experience that keeping pulls coming fast is best way to keep people focused. Especially during trash you will also want to minimize the number of healers that are actually in healing role... not so much because the added DPS speeds up the run, but more because if there's not enough to heal then the quality of your healing goes down. Less healers means more for everyone to do, which generally ends up being more fun.
Second thing is to make sure the raid leaders are focusing enough on the raid and not too much on their character. Make sure that main tank starts marking targets for next trash pull as soon as his own mob from previous pull is dead (instead of taking up a twohander and going to whack the next mob). Try to split the organizational duties during raid in logical components (many of these can be handled by same people but that's not always preferable):
One guy in charge of making trash the pulls happen as soon as possible, usually a warrior but sometimes a hunter.
One guy in charge of setting things up for boss pulls, starting well before the way to the boss is fully clear. This guy needs to be able to set up groups so he is probably the one with leader tag. He explains strategies and gives role assignments on the trash before the boss.
One guy in charge of keeping your raid replacements in correct place - this guy needs to know who is leaving the raid at what time and always preparing the next guy(s) to be ready to enter the second the previous guy leaves.
One guy in charge of looting all random stuff from trash mobs as well as collecting frozen runes.
It helps if you have a standard way of setting up groups - most guilds do but it's a good idea to sit down all the raid leaders and have them figure out how they want to do stuff (or have someone figure it out and tell the rest). For example:
MT1 is in group 1.
MT2 is in group 1 or 2.
Melee is in forward groups 1-4 (with their shamans)
Odd groups go left, even groups go right
Groups 1-4 go behind boss
Groups 5-8 stay in front
Hunters are in group 8 (when not scattered around for NR aura)
Ultimately it just comes down to experience and motivation: when your runs are going smooth and fast, everyone stays focused. When there's trust that the run goes smooth, people will occasionally pop potions just to top damage meters etc. further making the run go better.
Our guild is very similar to yours in terms of progression, level of raiding, and history.
We've just very recently run into a problem of inconsistency in raiding. Basically, tons of time lost to wipes. So this is has spawned a particular examination of how to create accountability for raid behavior. Before I get into that, though--
As raid leader:
Before the start time, invite the officers to the raid and start looking over attendance. Bother people to head to zone and be prepared to start (repairs, consumables, Vent, addons). Do invites as soon the time hits. I find it makes a big difference to the sharpness of the beginning of the raid whether the officers set up early and start gearing thing up to go.
When everyone's collected in the zone, we buff and ready check. The most veteran tank in the raid puts up MT target windows and assigns lucky charms. All I have to ask before pulls is, "are tanks targetted?" Similarly, healers are run by our two Priest officers. The extent of my involvement, as far as logistics, is asking them whether they're ready (which is not to say that I'm not involved as far as strategy).
Long story short, tons of other logistical things--syncing damagemeters or making sure somebody else is, keeping track of who needs to sub out, making sure somebody's taking attendance, doing loot. Stop before bosses, ready check, give reminders, go.
I think what you're wondering about more, though, is managing the mental game for your raid. You have to keep things positive, but motivated. Did your raid wipe because they're half asleep? Be sharp on Vent, snap them out of it, threaten to substitute if you need to get it done. Because they're worn out? Be positive, get them thinking about the actual fight again (the first pull of a boss is often best as far as this is concerned, so you can be working uphill). Are you disappointed or angry when someone dies to Dark Glare? Which is more reassuring to people, to blame a wipe on bad performance or bad attendance? It's part of our job to actively weigh this stuff.
It happens beforehand as well--do you say you'll kill the boss tonight, or set an intermediate goal? After the raid--how do you assess things on the forums?
Really, the mood of the raid is the single biggest determiner of success. It's almost a puzzle sometimes how to make it work out. You can decide actively to be somber or jocular and see tangible effects. I'd say that trying your best to see the patterns and control how you want things to go is your unique job--it's the one you can't delegate out, and the one that makes your extended experience with your own particular guild actually gain value.
I always recommend to get people in BG's at least once in a while. PvP really raises your awareness of your surroundings and keeps you sharp. Having all-guild PvP teams also raises a sense of camaraderie and helps people learn to work together. You can also put potential raid leaders in the leadership positions (calling out flag paths, cap targets, defenders, etc) to give them a bit of experience. I just hate that you can't get a group into AV because I think that would really benefit a lot of people. I think it's also a decent way of evaluating your players, especially healers. It's not only good practice in general but it will help them learn how to watch out for themselves so that in case a mob does get loose from a warrior they'll be better prepared to try and keep themselves alive.
A couple tips from my experience, being about half-way through Naxx currently:
1. I've found that raid performance is relative to the mood and enthusiasm of the leader. We have a few people able to lead raids in our guild, though it often comes down to me. Generally, if I'm not in a mood to lead a raid (had a really bad day), I'll ask someone else to do it. Don't let your personal problems affect the raid.
2. Talk a lot. I've got a perculiar background for raid leading as I used to work in a kindergarden as a temp to make some money for studies, which I think has actually helped me a lot. You'll feel like a total idiot when you for the 9th time say "remember to remove poisons when these charge", and you'll think to yourself "should I really have to say this?", but in the end, if you're talking a lot (in a positive tone of voice), people tend to not doze off as much, especially during trash.
3. Be careful with blaming stuff/people. When I lead raids, I've made a somewhat silly rule that I don't want to hear people talk about lag. We play on a horrible server and have often wiped entirely because of it. However, whenever we do wipe, there's pretty much always something else going wrong too. Focus on that instead. Why? Because no matter how much you talk about the lag, it won't fix it. Instead, it'll make people think "this boss is impossible on this server/tonight/at the moment", which is exactly what you want to avoid. When people screw up, as said above, try to be disappointed rather than angry. Dark Glare is my personal pet peeve, and while learning C'thun, anyone who'd died three times to Dark Glares during the attempts would be swapped out.
It's also why I'm not suited to raid leading personally, I have a ridiculous memory for random little facts like mob abilities and how to deal with it, and an unfortunate tendency to assume everyone else has to. But that's definitely not the case, not everyone can just recite exactly what a mob does and how to deal with it based on names.
|All times are GMT -4. The time now is 6:45 AM.|
Forum Infrastructure by vBulletin 3.6.12 ©2000-2007, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.