Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Tactics: What happens when Strategy Goes out the Window

I've been accused in my guild of being one of the best strategists we have. Ok that's kind of a cool compliment, but I don't think of myself as a strategist. Sure I guess from one perspective I'm the raid organizer for my guild. I develop the overall Strategies.... such as clearing Kara, getting people through ZA etc. I'm good at reading strategies and identifying ones that might work. What I feel is one of my strengths is being a very good Tactician. Strategists rarely if ever see the road they send their people down.

I have a knack for spotting what I'd deem holes in programming and code. Basically my history is one in gaming where I tend to love playing RTS (real time strategy). There's that misuse of the word Strategy again, but RTT just isn't as sexy sounding. When I used to play RTS games, I would basically approach a mission from the perspective of finding the flaw in the AI that I could exploit. Every AI in every game I've ever played has a weak point. Once you find it, it becomes almost stupidly easy to win every time. You exploit the hole in the system for the easy win. The same becomes necessary in raiding all of the time. Do I exploit holes in coding for easy wins such as wall hoping, or other bizarre tactics? NO. But I don't mind figuring out ways to simplify a boss fight.

Strategy Vs. Tactics

Strategy is what you plan to do. Tactics is what you end up actually doing to achieve a specific goal. Tactics support strategies, but overall they are dramatically different. Tactics tend to change over time as well. What I find is that initially most raids tend to try to leverage what are know as "well established" tactics. These are the ones you get off the Wiki's or other sites. However at some point, most raid leaders will find that what's written and what you face are totally different. The general gist is the same, but where the rubber meets the road is a very large skid mark where your raid used to be.

Adapt or Die
"Who is the larger fool? The fool or the fool who follows him?" - Obi Wan Kenobi

General law of the jungle and evolution. Those who adapt... live... those who don't... will die off or have their numbers reduced. I've stressed this in a post about raid composition, but this is a core skill for a raid leader developing in the world. We've all made this mistake at one point in our life. We throw ourselves into a task and repeatedly fail. Then someone walks into the room asks a simple question which makes us stop and review our position on what we are doing.


It was a very hot summer. Jacob very much wanted to allow the
wind to pass through his house. However the person who had lived in it
before him had made the mistake of painting the windows shut. Inside his
house it sweltered and Jacob toiled to open the windows. On the fourth
day, his brother came over to help him.

"What are you doing brother? Why do you toil?" asked the

"I wish the wind to pass through my house and cool it down. However
the person who lived here before me painted the windows shut. I've spent
three days attempting to open the windows with no luck," Jacob responded.

The brother looked up and asked, "Did you think of opening the door to let
the wind in?"

So many times the simple things are what we must look at to solve our problems. Read the strategies and tactics. Learn as much as you can before you show up, but in the end, as a raid leader you must remember that your people must perform the task. Your people will be the ones to clear the raid bosses and trash. You must be ready to adapt your tactics week to week based on raid composition, skill levels and overall power of your group. Some techniques can't be used for lower power, lower geared characters. Some tactics will require lots of practice and specific group compositions. Some things you'll just have to fake. Either way, your raid relies on you to get them through... for right or wrong... they consider success and failure to rest on your shoulders.