Several posts have been made about what makes a good raid leader good. Matticus recently wrote about Aura of Command, commented to be a further working on Mirror Shields “Raid Leader Auras”. They both highlight the raid leaders need to band people together and get them to work towards a common goal, and that can happen through different strategies. There is more then one way to lead a raid to victory.
Leading raids can be challenging at best of days. Matticus highlights this with the many choices that needs to be made, and that they need to be made fast and competent. Too rarely we look at what makes a good raider. Not to say raiders aren’t discussed, but more often stories about raiders are about their fail: how they are standing in the fire and how they dont know whats going on. Raiders deserve an equally reflected and appreciative reflection as the raid leaders, and how they become good raiders from a pure RL perspective. Its within this context I will talk about the raider who is “Cruising in the Aura of Command”.
Whatever raid leader you have, and regardless of it being a knowledgeable and talented person, there are steps to take as a raider to help that person herd you in the right direction. After all the worst thing that can happen is that no one listens to the RL and everyone becomes their own raid, a lonely raid where no progress is made except on the QQ front. Perhaps that raid leader you didn’t like too much, is more then qualified – you just got on on the wrong foot? If you are wiping, is it really cause of bad leading – or is it due to bad following? (1)
If you want to cruise along to awesome, you need to get behind your captain. Here is a few tips on how to make the RL job easier from a raiders point of view.
Be a teamplayer: Sounds simple, but in reality it can be hard. Raiding is involved, and can get passionate. Not passionate as in “getting down, hot and dirty” – but simply that you are investing time and emotions into the game and you want it to go well. But, since its a group effort it means you gotta suck it up go at 100% even if you dont like the direction. This means following strategies you think are inferior, beeing handed assignments you dont like. No whine, but job well done, will make you a valuable player from a RL perspective.
Take initiative: Waiting while the raid leader assigns roles can be mind blowingly dull, and I can tell its not any more fun from the RL side of things. So, suggest yourself. You take charge! If f.ex someone is pointing out that we need a rotation for healer cool-downs, just set it up. Don’t QQ when the raid leader missed that comment and then needs a while to sort it out. Take initiative and bam! 3 minutes saved cause the RL can then focus on other things when setting up the fight. Multiply that over a whole night of raiding, and see that you can speed it up. Its the little things that will help smooth the raid and make farmruns faster, most of those are not about the raidleader doing things different.
Be patient: There will always be lots of things going on in a raid that the average raider don’t see. Officer Chat is usually active, people are asking things (“Who was I targeting?”), giving important info (“Gotta leave, my GFs car broke down”), coming with suggestions (“I saw a video on Tankspot where they were standing in the northwest corner”), chatting on VT (“Schpooopel!”) etc. Your raid leader will mostly be in the middle of all that, with lots of people wanting attention. If the raid gets held up, presume that its cause someone needed the raid leaders time – not that he/she is deliberately wasting yours. Again, someone urging people to buff and clear more trash rather then sit around and mope, is beeing proactive and is likely appreciated by the RL.
Know when to whine: This is a difficult one, but as a general rule – its never in the raid itself. If you have issues with a strategy, ask nicely. Criticizing existing strategies left right and centre will only get your RL annoyed and stressed out. Use humour, make sure to be polite. Then perhaps the info you had and the ideas you had can get across. Comments like “Why the hell are we doing it like that? Its much better if [insert strategy here]” will only push the RL on the defensive. After all, your raidleader doesnt have any superpowers (if so they would all employ anti-emo-shields), and can get stressed and insulted just the same.
Don’t take it personal: When assessing a situation, the RL will have limited information. Of Course some are better then others when it comes to utilizing addons, logs etc, but when raiding the RL wont have the chance to look through these in peace and quiet. Its about getting an impression, and making decisions based on it. Some of these impressions might not agree with what you experienced. F.ex the RL can say something like “The tanks needs to pick up those adds faster, slack playing” or “Rogues wake up! We need those interrupts!”. If you were a tank picking up adds, or one of the rogues actually interrupting – don’t bother pointing it out. Just cause you did your job, are you sure that all the other players did theirs? Best thing you can do is look closely at that aspect during next attempt, and if the RL was wrong you can give accurate info. A “but I was interrupting all the time!” wont help anyone. Observing that part of the fight and saying with certainty what happened, is always valuable.
(1) I am of course presuming here that the raid leader is not an absolute, drooling retard, but is prepared, more charismatic then a cabbage and wishes the best for the raid.