Warming the Bench…Mid-Raid

Cho'gall will have your heads!...all of you!

A close cousin to the raid leaders who get thte twitchy strategy changing finger every attempt, the raid leader who can’t just make up his mind as to whom to bring to the raid each night poses similar challenges to the morale of the raid team.

Put yourself in this position:

You’re in the middle of doing a 5-man, or your dailies, or whatever it was that you had planned to do with your WoW time tonight. Then out of the blue, your raid leader asks you to please come and help on Boss X. You agree, and are summoned in so fast you don’t even have time to read a refresher strat. Which is fine since after one go at it, you’ve got a new role to play (i.e. you are now the OT or a healer — whatever your OS is.) An attempt later, you hear over Vent “Sorry Bud, we are going to bring in X instead” and find yourself removed from the raid.

Do you…

A. Log out of the game in full nerd rage.

B. Sit in Org for an hour pondering what you did wrong

C. Stick pins in your raid leader voodoo doll

D. /gquit

I’ve seen all of the above (well except for the voodoo doll — people tend to keep that quiet) happen in this totally avoidable situation. As a raid leader, you need to be well versed in the strategy you are using for a boss, and know, in advance, whom you need to make that happen. If you think you are going to want someone to come in with an offspec to facilitate that, you need to tell them in advance, give them a couple of minutes to prepare by watching a video or reading a strat from that perspective, and give them a couple of attempts to learn that new role.

It’s incredibly insensitive to ask someone to drop what they are doing to come help you then not give them the respect of the ability to give it a good shot by not allowing them time to prep. Chances are your weary raid team could use a bio or make-an-adult-beverage break anyway.

When raid leaders make a habit of this behavior, they may find those last-minute calls to help out will go unheeded. Which makes sense. No one wants to help out someone who treats them as a disposable cog in the raid machine, versus as a person.

It’s a fine line to tread between being responsive to changing raid dynamics and asking folks to fill a variety of roles and being a jerk. How has your guild managed to achieve that balance?

Can Progression Raiding and Alts Productively Coexist?

Don't mind me Atramedes, I'm just sightseeing, said the shadow priest as she crept closer...

We’re at a point in this tier of content wherein serious raiding guilds are well on their way into defeating the heroic modes, but many more casual raiding guilds are finding themselves stuck at 9/12 or 10/12 on regular mode. So you know what that means — folks are starting to want to bring their alts. Worse yet, the people who want to bring their alts are typically the folks who’ve geared themselves out thanks to having attended all or most of the runs (yes, I’m looking at you MT/Raid Leader/Core Raid team members.)

A guild leader’s first impulse is probably to say “OK…” when their raid leader comes to them and says “I don’t want to bring my geared out toon to raids any more; I really want to play Character X.” But there are a number of reasons you should think twice before sealing that deal:

  1. Often this is not the first– or the last– time this player has pulled the old switcheroo. Are you prepared for them gearing up this character then cycling in their next alt?
  2. You’ve just set a precedent. Now that you’ve let them swap out to their alt, why can’t player X do the same?
  3. So, player Z who has stayed on their main and lost a lot of loot to the swapping player, and is now losing more gear to their alt is starting to hate them.
  4. A raid team wants to feel like a team, not a loot delivery system for the raid leader. It can be hard to respect a leader who is continually fine tuning a situation to their advantage– raid synergy be damned.
  5. Typically, no matter how much we love our alts, they will not perform nearly as well, or have the same utility as our mains on whom we’ve spent months raiding.

In my raiding history, once the alts started coming in, progression ground to a stand-still. Tempers flared. And frequently, good players left my raid teams.In many of the cases, this behavior was tolerated because it was done by the raid leader– and everyone was afraid of losing the raid leader to the extent that no one spoke up about it. But there was a lot of discussion going on in the background amongst the raiders it affected. And none of it sunshine and kittens related.

To be clear, I’m not saying a raid leader shouldn’t grab someone’s healer alt if a raid won’t go without that happening. But allowing players, at their request, to swap characters at this stage in the game, after gearing themselves up? That has a real possibility of derailing your progression momentum.

So, What Can You Do to Avoid a Blowout?

If this issue comes up in your guild, you can’t just ignore it. It won’t go away. But there are a few ways you can diffuse the situation.

  • Start up an alt raid.
    You probably have enough experienced raiders with moderately geared up alts who want to raid on them. Put them all together, and let them start re-clearing the raids. Bonus points for this approach making folks work for it, versus coasting off mains’ hard work.
  • Put it to a vote.
    If someone is truly adamant about wanting to make a switch, put up an anonymous vote on your forums and let the raid team decide. And do the same for if EP/DKP is allowed to roll over or if there will be a penalty spend or freeze for a specific timeframe to discourage the loot and run syndrome.

How has your guild dealt with these situations?

When is the Right Time to Change up Your Raid Strat?

If the shadow priest's gear is broken, it's probably time to change the strat.

This weekend, on twitter, @slowpoker said something that resonated with many of us:

STOP CHANGING THE MOTHERFUCKING STRAT. CAN’T PRACTICE WHEN YOU CHANGE IT EVERY FIVE ATTEMPTS

Amen.

When someone posts on twitter in all caps, and curses, you know it’s serious business. So raid leaders, please stop and reflect for a moment, before the the next time you utter the phrase “Let’s try a new strat…” and answer these questions honestly:

  1. Did you succinctly explain the strat?
    No, I am not asking if you droned on for 5 minutes about all of the boss abilities. I don’t care about the boss abilities. I want to know what I am supposed to do, when I am supposed to do it, and where I should be. If you want an example of some well-written strategy descriptions, go check out Jaded Alt’s blog.
  2. Did all of your raid members know their personal special role to be fulfilled, if any?
    “OK, someone needs to kite the adds, and I need two of you to click the chains” does not fulfill the above. Why? Because it doesn’t assign a specific person to a specific task. Thus, no personal accountability. “Someone else will do it….” all your raiders think quietly to themselves. And then, no one actually does it.
  3. Did your raid team actually execute the strat?
    Now this is where things can get heated. But answer this honestly: did folks actually play out their roles as requested? Or did they do something sorta similar, but not quite the same? If the latter, then the strat hasn’t actually been tried out and deemed unworkable for your team. I saw a lot of this in ICC. FOlks claiming we needed a new strat for Rotface and Festergut when in fact, multiple folks were not even coming close to executing the decided upon and communicated strat.
  4. Have you spent some time using the strat, and not gotten close?
    OK you’re executing the strat perfectly, but you’re not getting closer than 35% on the boss, ever. That’s when it’s time to take 5 and evaluate what your issue is. Are your healers overtaxed? Is someone standing in the fire? Is there a sub-10k DPSer in the raid? Is someone talking on the phone while raiding? Try to isolate the failure points. And NOW, you’re ready to change up the strat. If you’re getting down to less than 10% each time, however, you need to work on your close, not change up the strat.

In my five+ years of playing this game, and coming up on my five-year anniversary of the first time I set foot in Molten Core, I’ve found that the most important factor in raiding success has been practice. Having the same folks playing the same role, over time, is what makes raids go more smoothly and efficiently. The more practiced we become in our roles, the better we get at them. What once felt like a chaotic fight eventually feels like a well-orchestrated ballet, with every raid member playing her part.

So the next time you get the itch to change up the strat for a fight your team is just learning, please just pause for a moment and determine if that’s really necessary, or if you are just unnecessarily stressing out your raiding team.

Resources

For my Alliance guild, I compiled a list of Jaded Alt’s posts on Cataclysm Raid strats, because they really are that good. Here it is for your reference:

BoT

BWD

Throne of the Four Winds

If DPS is “So Easy” Why Are Folks Still Struggling?

Shadow priest basking in warmth from two-headed beast Chimaeron, recently slain

DPS is so easy. I know this because people tell me this, often.

Healing is so hard. And Tanking is so much more difficult. But DPS? DPS is so easy.

Bollocks I say!

If DPS were so easy, then everyone I know would be 12/12. I would never be in a fail 5-man PUG that couldn’t get past Baron Ashbury in SFK. And this game would be so incredibly boring as I stood in one place and used a macro for my rotation.

The truth is, I am still in heroics with people who are doing 6k DPS. I’ve recently been in a 25-man with someone in my same spec, with better gear than me, with my same assignment, who did 50% of my damage. And on any given raid night, I see wide fluctuations in my own DPS, depending upon my assigned job in the raid.

That’s right– we DPS don’t just stand around in one place and look pretty as we hurl shadowy death at mobs. We also stare at the middle of our screen waiting for the DBM warning to come up about the nastiness we need to offensively dispel off a boss, while also staying at range from everyone else, or stacking up, or running out of the group so as not to explode you.

DPS kite adds while folks focus on the boss. They click on vehicles to engage random mechanics at very specific times in your raids. DPS endure all means of crackpot schemes dreamt up by frustrated (or perhaps even just plain crazy) raid leaders. And most of all, DPS take being told, day after day, raid after raid, you are replaceable, interchangeable with any other DPS.

A good raid leader, however, knows the value of their best DPS. They understand that a raid is a team effort. The weight of the raid is not all on the shoulders of the healer, or the tank. It’s on *everyone’s shoulders*.

Success hinges upon the team working together seamlessly, one action flowing into another. Healers anticipating damage, as DPS damage the boss and execute their assigned tasks, and tanks maintain threat. A successful boss kill is a thing of beauty and it takes all of us, playing our best, to make it happen.

So the next time someone says “DPS has it so easy…” please consider telling them to knock it off. We’re all in this together, folks.

Disappointed, But Not Surprised

these are the moments I raid for

This time last month, I wrote about waiting it out to see how our raiding schedule played out for my shadow priest horde-side. Here’s how it shook out:

  • Second early start time raid night added, for a total of 4 EP earning nights per week*
  • No additional Pacific Time weeknight progression/EP earning raid night added (Note: Pacific Time was the raid time for all the Wrath raids, which was a key factor in my joining the guild circa Ulduar)
  • An incredible # of DPS signing up for every raid night, with half those signed up, on average, being sat
  • Early start time raiders also signing up for and being seated in Pacific Time raids
  • After I got sat from my only raid signup one week, the raid scheduler tweaked the signup spreadsheet in a way that will probably usually (but not always) mean that I will be seated for the 1 weeknight I can sign up for.

Over the course of the past month, I’ve gotten to attend 3 EP earning raids. That was my typical weekly raid count for BC and Wrath. And in Wrath, the other raid officer and I were neck and neck the entire time after EP was implemented for the most EP. i.e. if there was a raid, I was there. If there was a first kill screenshot to stand in, I was in it.

Now, I’m “a casual.” And not at all by choice.What does this change for me? It means I go to raids and am killing content that other folks have already been working on for a few nights, or have killed. I have to play catch up– learning how the raid is approaching the fight, and getting into the groove with a boss fight, well behind the learning curve. I like to lead the charge. To figure things out. To be ahead of the curve. And that’s simply not what’s possible for me with this schedule.

Yes, I could raid on Saturday night if the seating chart gods aligned. However, Saturday is the 1 weekend day my SO and I both have off, and we often *gasp* — do things offline on Saturday date night. So I don’t want to commit to spending my Saturday nights in a raid group. And more to the point, I don’t want to not know until 24 hours beforehand if I am going to spend my Saturday night in a raid group. 24 hours notice is not enough advance time to make a dinner reservation, or buy advance movie tickets, or make plans to grab a City Carshare in this busy city of mine. It just doesn’t work that way.

If it was Sunday night instead, I’d be there. And I’d totally be there for the raid nights that are early starts now — but I have this thing called work that I do that pays the Internet and WoW subscription fees, and makes it impossible for me to be able to raid at the time I typically leave work each night.

And thus, I find myself without much of a reason to log in to my beloved shadow priest.

Because it’s the raiding I love. The raiding that gets my adrenaline flowing. The raiding that I spent so much time planning for and prepping for and writing about. And now it’s out of my grasp. And I am disappointed. So very disappointed.

 

*the significance here is if you receive points (EP) for time spent in raid and for killing bosses. Thus, if you are not able to attend raids, you are not earning points. If you are not earning points you will have no points to spend to buy any gear in raids. If you do not gear up in this tier of raids, you will be woefully unprepared for the next tier of raids. And so on.

Providing Constructive Criticism Without Being a Jerk

shadow priest versus the world

So you’ve decided you need to provide someone in your raid team with some constructive criticism. My first word of advice: put that thought on simmer on the back-burner for a while before doing so. Seriously. No matter how well-intentioned, “constructive feedback” given in the heat of the moment is rarely effective. Instead, take some time to think through what you have to say to the person, and how you’re going to say it. Here are some thoughts to guide you through that process.

First, Evaluate if You are the Right Person to Give the Feedback, and If It is Warranted

Once upon a time, I was filling in on a ToC25, healing on my shaman. An elemental shaman in our guild, mid-Jaraxus fight, started telling me everything I should be doing differently. On my alt. In the middle of a boss fight I was healing. This person was just another teammate. Not the raid leader. And I wasn’t failing either mind you– my shaman was 3 out of 5 healers, which I was pretty proud of given her limited play time that expansion and her crappy gear. This unsolicited criticism was ill timed, came from someone who had no business telling me what to do, and was directed at an alt that was actually doing just fine. This was a great example of how NOT to give constructive criticism.

In general, if someone is playing an alt to fill in for a role your raid needs, you should consider carefully how you give feedback. The player is less comfortable with that role generally, and is doing it as a favor to the raid. If you did want to help them boost their future performance, it would be appropriate, after the raid, to say “hey if you think you are going to be healing on your shaman a lot moving forward, I read a great blog post on healing you might be interested in.”

Make Sure You’re Providing an Expert Opinion, Not Just Your Opinion

Yup, that’s right. Holding the title of raid leader or guild leader does not, in fact, make you an expert in every class and spec. If you have a hunter who is struggling, have your guild’s best hunter talk to them. No one wants to hear someone who doesn’t play their class regurgitate a well-meaning blog post they read somewhere, and being told to “just do that.” Likewise, no one wants to be told how to improve by someone who uses another class/spec as their example for what to do. Each class and spec is different, and takes different finessing. If you don’t have an expert in your guild on that class, do some online homework: start with Elitist Jerks and from there fan out to class and spec-specific resources. If you’re not sure where to start, WoW Insider has a nice big list of WoW resources, including bloggers by class.

Praise Publicly, Coach Privately

This one should be obvious, but I have many times heard a raid leader berate a player and give them detailed instructions on how to improve in the middle of a raid, over vent. this is fail. How would you like it if your boss came up to you, in front of all your coworkers, to tell you you were doing a sucky job and should change X, Y and Z immediately? Yes, WoW is not a job, but the scenario still applies. No one wants to be taken to task in front of their peers. By doing that, it is unlikely that even good, well-intentioned advice will be heard by that player. Instead, they’ll remember how they got chewed out by that jerk (YOU) in front of their raid team.

Make Your Feedback Specific and Actionable

Bad Feedback: Your DPS sucks, improve or we kick you from the raid team.

Good Feedback: Elitist Jerks is modeling a player with your spec and gear level at about 2k DPS higher than we’re seeing you perform. I think we can do some fine tuning to your spec/gems/enchants/rotation to get you to where you need to be.

See what I did there? I gave specific feedback on what needs to be improved, and by how much, and laid out a possible check list to start with, and offered up a partnership with the person to help them improve.

Be Sure to Praise the Improvement

Once you give the feedback and support, and the person improves, you have one last constructive feedback task ahead of you: Praising the person for their improvement. This reinforces the change and shows the player that you are paying attention, and are aware of the efforts they made, and their progress. If you don’t say anything, the player can feel as though they wasted their time and efforts trying to meet your standards. It’s a small thing to do and doesn’t take much time, so make sure to acknoledge your teammate’s progress.

Friday Five: Five Reasons I Raid

oh hey Maloriak, your momma dresses you funny

Last night I went in and killed this guy, a guild first. I had that awesome heart-pounding adrenaline rush, and thought it would be fun to share the 5 primary reasons I raid.

  1. I love the adrenaline rush of a new boss kill. First you make steady progress. Then you get the wipe at 17%. Then you get the attempt where everyone is in the flow. No one has died. You are in phase 2. Everything’s smooth. The raid leader says “BURN HIM!” and you do. You push your character, micromanaging every GCD, You find that volcanic potion you forgot you’d stashed in your bag. Push, push push…and he’s dead!
  2. I love the teamwork. The world is full of plenty of ways to be an individual contributor. Raiding on the other hand is very much about the entire team doing the dance, ebbing and flowing together. And I love being part of a team accomplishing a goal together. I also love all the silly inside jokes you have after a year or more of raiding with the same folks. See also why I never let my horde guild’s paladin tank Dreb off the hook without making at least 1 funny voice for me.
  3. I love seeing new places. And taking many many screenshots.
  4. I like to push myself to be a better player. And raids have endless room for fine tuning and experimentation. You can raid on the same character for an entire expansion and still have room to fiddle with things you do in the raids to keep it interesting. And of course raiding has the potential, RNG willing, of your getting new gear with which to improve your character, which feeds back into this reason.
  5. I like to have the opportunity to shadow priest tank. What, your raid doesn’t have any shadow priest tanking? My raids *always* have some shadow priest tanking. Like when both tanks die at 3%, and someone needs to keep the boss engaged long enough to finish him off. Or when a nasty dragon trash mob kills the entire raid and I get to DoT and kite him down a long hallway until he keels over. Those are incredible moments of fun and joyfulness for me.

So why do you raid?

It’s Too Soon for ICC to be a “Retro Raid” for me

wasn't this shadow priest just in this place?

Last night, the scheduled 10s ended up morphing into 25-man ICC. “Retro Raid!” was the call to battle. “No thank you!” was my atypical but firm reply.

There is just not enough distance between me and ICC for it to live in that rosy pink nostalgia haze in my brain where the other retro raids like kara and BWL live. I don’t get the warm fuzzies at the idea of going in there.

I knocked my head against the ICC wall, in 10 and 25, for 9+ months, finally taking a break from it only a month or so prior to the Cataclysm. Anexxia alone had 30+ kills of Marrowgar in 25. I’m tired of the icy winds of Northwind consuming my soul. It’s going to take ma at least a solid year — if not two– before a big smile will come across my face when someone suggests heading in there.

Right now, I want to do new content. See new instances, kill new bosses. ICC will still be there in the morning. And I need to give it some serious space for its absence to make my heart grow fonder.

Waiting it Out

shadow priest hiding in plain sight

Right now, I’m playing the waiting game on my undead shadow priest Anexxia. Specifically, I am waiting to see how our raiding schedule shakes out. And this is why I have had a sad as of late.

You see, I love raiding. I’ve been raiding ever since my first character hit 58 in vanilla WoW days and was goaded into coming along to a guild alliance’s MC run. I’ve been hooked on it ever since. Fast Forward to WotLK. I finally found a good server and home for my shadow priest, in a guild for whom I am currently serving as an officer. I managed to complete all of the WotLK raid content, including getting my Starcaller title. Some pretty amazing and rewarding accomplishments.

I’m still wearing my Starcaller title but I don’t feel much like a raider at the moment. My work schedule has been erratic and unpredictable, and we’ve done some changing up in our schedule.

One of the things that I really liked about our guild’s raiding schedule was it offered up 4 or even 5 possible raiding nights per week, all of which started at 6:15 Pacific. Even if I got waylaid a bit at work, I could get home in time for the raid. But even before the expansion hit, we had some East Coasters lobby for an earlier start time. And thus, we now have a 5 Pacific start time raid night, soon to be 2 raid nights.

So, depending upon how things shake out, that leaves us with either 1 or 2 Pacific time raid nights during the week. And Saturday which starts at 6 Pacific. There aren’t too many folks who work on the weekends, and for those who do, 6 Pacific on Saturday is no better or no worse than any other time on Saturday. Although I used to count Saturday as one of my raid nights, RL schedule changes on my SO’s part mean I would be choosing raiding over the one weekend night we both have to go do something, so that’s out.

This leaves me at 1 or 2 nights per week I could possibly raid. Which is usually about how much I want to raid. but here’s the wrench: we’re going back to our old seating system that seats you based upon how many times you sign up and seated versus other folks. So, back when I could sign up for 4 raids per week, I’d get seated once or even twice depending upon signups. Now, I could sign up for our 1 or 2 nights, and be sat half the time or more often depending on how the math works out. That could put me at raiding 4 times per month on Anexxia. unless of course, like my schedule for the next 2 weeks, I have work-related events that either spill over past 5 or mean I will be stuck working late to make up the time after 5 on those few possible raid nights.

That’s just not going to work for me. I don’t see that I can improve my character, learn the fights, and be a rel part of the team if i am seated in 4 raids per month. I get that could work for other folks but for me, it’s like being a visitor, not being an active member of the team.

So for now, I wait and see what happens. I am signing up for raids when I know for sure I can attend, and I am crossing my fingers it will work out. I’ve spent the entire weekend stressing and bummed about this. And there’s absolutely nothing I can do to influence the outcome one way or another.

Wish me luck.

What Does it Take to be a Great Raid Leader?

the fact that this shadow priest is sitting in the big chair doesn't mean she's the raid leader

Leading raids is not my favorite task. I like to focus on playing and having a good time, while when in the role of raid leader I have to focus on what everyone else is doing. But somebody has to lead the raids to keep us all marching in the right direction. Which got me to thinking about what it takes to be a great raid leader.

It’s easiest to start with a list of the qualities that do not make for a great leader:

  • Unwilling to listen to feedback from others
  • Unable to objectively evaluate if the issue at hand is the strategy or the execution of the strategy
  • Not a team player in groups where they are not a leader
  • Desire to be raid leader driven by wanting to be in charge
  • Use of bullying and shouting down others to banish opposing view points
  • Prone to yelling over Vent/TeamSpeak/Mumble
  • Impatient; unclear that learning new fights takes time
  • Uncomfortable with giving constructive criticism or assigning necessary but not glamorous tasks to friends/relatives/significant others

 7 Habits of Bad Raid Leaders

  1. Yell “WIPE IT” whenever a strategy is not absolutely perfectly executed.
  2. Kick out raiders for making even tiny mistakes.
  3. Kick out the lowest DPS every half hour if you are not making progress.
  4. Force the entire raid to compensate for any areas of weakness your BFF or significant other has.
  5. Come to raids without knowing the strategy backwards and forwards (or without having it printed out and in hand to read to the team.)
  6. Change loot rules after seeing what loot has dropped or who has won it.
  7. Arbitrarily add new raid nights and change what content people are raiding and when, based upon what you feel like doing.

Raid Leaders Need to be Someone the Team Wants to Follow

The success of any team, be it in World of Warcraft or in real life, hinges upon the leader of that team earning the respect of the team, and being someone the team chooses to follow. People do not choose to follow people who rule the raid with an iron fist, belittling others and shouting down anyone who dares question — even privately– their proposed strategies or decisions. Those people are called tyrants or dictators, not chosen leaders.

So what does it take to be the kind of raid leader whose members will happily follow them to the ends of Azeroth? For starters, a good leader will:

  • Communicate clearly with the team. This includes coming to raids prepared, and with a strategy in mind. Ideally you will have shared that strategy with the team for input a few days prior to the raid. This allows folks to read it, and to ask questions or make suggestions based upon their experience and your group’s makeup. Be sure to assign specific people to specific tasks that need to be done, and ensure they are clear on what they are being asked to do.
  • Be ready to adjust strategies if they are not working as expected. That Tank Spot video you cribbed your strategy from probably doesn’t have the same class make-up or skill sets as your actual raid team; be ready to adapt as needed. This can include having to ask your friends or SO to step out if they are not fulfilling their role. This is a delicate area, for sure, but your team expects you to apply the same standards across the board.
  • Listen to team members and try to understand their POV. The fact that it is sometimes not your POV does not make it wrong. Try to understand where others are coming from. And if you don’t understand, ask questions that show you have been listening that will also help you better understand that person’s perspective.
  • Be approachable. Your team needs to feel it is OK to come to you with an issue or concern or an idea, without fear of retribution or receiving a dressing down.
  • Understand it’s not all about them. Raiding is a team effort. Yes, the raid leader herded those cats, but the glory is not all upon the raid leader’s shoulders — and likewise, neither are the disappointing defeats. Also, don’t take requests or comments personally. It’s not all about you. As an example, if someone asks you to please give them an equal dose of progression raids and farm nights, respect their request. Not everyone wants to go full tilt at progression targets every night of the week after coming home from a demanding job. This doesn’t make them a slacker. It is not a slap in your face. It is just someone else’s POV.
  • Discuss raid related issues and concerns, or strategy changes, in a professional, mature manner. On the Internet, all too often people take offense to — and wage war against– any opinion that is not in line with theirs. All I can say here is: GROW UP! In the course of your life, you are likely to meet many people who have different perspectives and opinions. They are entitled to them as you are entitled to yours. If you are incapable of being civil in discussions when you disagree with others, you are not cut out to be a leader.

I expect a lot from my raiding time. I expect to make progress against the goal of killing the boss upon whom we are working. I expect to have a good time, in a positive social atmosphere. I expect to have a sense of accomplishment and excitement when we kill a boss for the first time. I expect to feel like a valued and important member of a team. And if I don’t feel this way, I eventually lose interest in raiding with that team. The raid leader sets the tone of the raid and the standard of behavior for the team. Having a positive raid leader, who strives to be the kind of leader others want to follow is key to making these expectations come true. You know how it’s said that people don’t quit their job, they quit their boss? That’s frequently the case with raids too.

Food for thought. And this gives me a homework assignment: think through what a volunteer job description would be for an ideal raid leader.