Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Under the Hood Part 1: There can be only One

Raid leadership takes time. Its not learned over night. It won't be right the first time and you'll screw up almost every time you do it. At least in some way shape or form. Little mistakes get glossed over, but little things can grow over time. Under the Hood is a series I'm going to be working on discussing the challenges a raid leader might face while dealing with their career.

This first segment really spawned out an interesting problem we ran into last night. As part of my ongoing duties, I am trying to prep our guild for WotLK. When the expansion lands, we will have the option of doing 10 man content for all the way to Arthas. There are some very excited people over this change. I know personally I won't be able to dedicate 4 days a week to raiding, but I want to set the stage for those who want to or can. We've been training up and providing opportunities to new raid leaders. So last night we ran into a very good highlight of a problem that many leaders face.

There Can Be Only ONE

Whether your popular or not, as a raid leader, there is only one raid leader. This is not to say there aren't supporting roles for that raid leader. This is not as necessary in a 10 man scenario, but in 25 man raids, the complexity increases substantially. Its more likely you'll have supporting roles such as a healing lead, caller (for calling out boss abilities), Warlock/Hunter/Mage/etc leads, and the list goes on. However for all of these supporting people, there is only ONE raid leader. If you can work out a co leading scenario more power to you, but from an order and coordination perspective, the overall direction, lead and pace need to be determined by ONE voice, ONE person with ONE vision.

Now this doesn't mean that nobody can talk but that one person, but frequently we need to be queueing off of that person. If your a raid leader attending another person's raid, its key that you learn to shut up, sit down and do what your told just like everyone else is expected to do. I had a very good raider who worked with me. I know him personally so he was always good at telling me when I had stepped over the line. One day I was attending another person's raid and quite naturally I started barking out orders. By about mid way through the raid I'd taken over the raid and was driving it. After that raid my friend sat me down and told me what I'd done. Its hard to take that back seat when you are used to leading, but so many times we need to just watch, follow and listen.

Does this mean advice can't be offered? No. Quite the contrary actually. When I'm leading I encourage people offer up cool tricks and ideas. However there's a time and a place. Rewriting boss strategies shouldn't be done mid stream. Ideas should be in the form of a question rather than, "You should do it this way." If you really feel you need to share something with the raid leader and don't want to voice it publicly, then send a tell. However there are key points:

1. During the raid, its the raid leaders way or the highway.
2. Each raid leader has their own style and method of doing things. Just sit down and learn something.
3. Don't take it personally if the raid leader calls on you or fails to call on you for special duties. Their job is to fill roles... their call, their way.

Does this give raid leaders the right to just roll over anyone they like? No, but occassionally you'll have to remind people that its your voice thats driving this. You don't have to rip their heads off and beat them with it, but occassionally you have to step up and remind people who's leading and why you're there.