Thursday, July 24, 2008

Anatomy of a Raid Organizer

As I indicated in my initial introduction, I'm the Raid Organizer for the ISCA Alliance. What does that mean? Well... from one perspective, I'm an officer in the guild. So I'm supposed to do what I can to help create policy and process for the guild members. As the Raid Organizer its my job to see that we keep going forward on the 10 man content, organize the occasional fun run, work with raiders to determine when they are ready to move on to further content with our Raid alliance, and train up new raid leaders.

Raid Organizers in casual environments are rather fortunate at this point in time in WoW. Well at least this raid organizer is. We are a mid sized guild. We are just big enough that we can easily get 16-20+ people online on a given night, but not big enough to really run a 25 man raid in house. So our progression in house is capped. We know the limits. We know exactly how far we can go. So from a coordination point, its a very easy schedule to juggle. Two to three kara runs per week and one ZA or fun run. Most Kara runs will clear most if not all bosses. Further runs might just involve running back in to clean up the two or three remaining bosses. Our speed runs typically clear all bosses in just over 3 hours. Its not a bad spot to be sitting in. We can farm badges at a pretty good clip. Further raids come via our raid alliance with other guilds.

The flip side of being a raid organizer is that very frequently people expect you to have an answer for every question. Why is so and so allowed to raid? What the hell is up with X person's spec? Did you see Z? They didn't even bring a flask/pot/elixir/dancing flame today. What's the TS info again? The real key in these situations is to keep it low key and be as honest as you can. Being the heavy comes with the job. It doesn't mean you have to beat the person senseless. Most times the conversations start with things like, "Hey, I looked at your healing last night on the stats. You are one of our top tier healers and your stats looked really off. Is there something going on? Did you change something in your healing? " or "Hey you had a lot of deaths there last night. Your DPS was great when you could DPS, but when you look at how many deaths you had, its hard to DPS when dead. You need to work on a) watching Omen and b) getting more HP." Some times you can fix the problem right away. Other times its a long road of coaching.

I am very strict with myself most weeks. I KNOW I could easily raid 5-6 days a week. However, I understand my nature. If I did that it would consume me. Plus its extremely unfair to my family. So I can't expect them to deal with the fact that I HAVE to be on the computer 5 days a week to do X raid. 1) I have no desire to invest that much of myself into it. 2) I don't want to get a divorce and I actually like seeing my family. So for me, its about balancing, finding the right people to lead raids. So many raid organizers make the mistake of assuming they have to do it all and alone. Having a good team is what really makes your life easy. After a while they just kind of gel and it makes your life a million times easier.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Our guild is a casual guild. We tend to joke a lot. We rag on each other relentlessly. If people have to bail its not big deal, but as time has progressed, even casual guilds learn that raiding is big business. You can do it in a casual way, but to really make it work, rules and regs have to come with the picture. As the organizer its my job to assemble those rules in conjunction with our other officers and post them. Some times its the simple things... YOU MUST HAVE OMEN. Sorry, nobody wants to die because you were too lazy to download a threat mod. Other times its the hard conversations explaining why someone MUST have TeamSpeak. Some people are very resistant to mods. Other people don't like alternate apps like Teamspeak. Raiding is about adventuring for the good of all. Its about downing bosses, working on content, and the best way to succeed is to really pitch in as a team. Most times that may mean sacrificing your personal needs occasionally or your own personal hang ups and really just laying it on the line for the Raid.