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Posts with tag raid-leading

Officers' Quarters: How to earn respect as a teen officer

Teen prince Anduin Wrynn in Stormwind
Every Monday, Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership. He is the author of The Guild Leader's Handbook, available from No Starch Press.

Teenagers as a whole have a terrible reputation in online games. In WoW, they are blamed for everything that's wrong with the community. People say they have no patience, they don't know how to play the game, they ruin chat channels with mindless chatter, and they're selfish, whiny, lazy, disrespectful, and entitled. Certainly some of the people who fit these accusations are teenagers.

However, not every teenager acts this way, and a good portion of the people who do are actually adults. On the internet, unfortunately, perceptions tend to win out over reality. This week, a teenaged officer asks how she can earn the respect of her peers.

Hello there Scott-

Our guild currently is going through some major issues at the moment when it comes to who shall be running what when it comes to what is occuring in the guild. ... About a month or two ago, our guild leader ... decided to call it quits for the time being, our guild was going downhill at that time, and people starting to abandon us. We reasonably thought that sooner or later this guild was gonna expire sometime in the future, and that nothing could stop it.

However, it came to the point where some of our officers and such managed to pull back the guild together through emails and messages spread across multiple medias. Our guild, in my mind, finally has settled back into what it was before, however without the guild leader to guide us. All of us (the officers) decided to take the role of leader. ... Things were going pretty smoothly.

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Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

Officers' Quarters: 6 qualities of a successful raiding guild

a guild poses after defeating deathwing
Every Monday, Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership. He is the author of The Guild Leader's Handbook, available from No Starch Press.

Recently a reader asked me, "What do raiders typically look for in a guild?" My initial reaction was to balk at the question. All raiders have their own preferences and pet peeves. What possible common factors could there be?

However, I realized I was approaching the question from the wrong angle. Players might not agree on the details, but there are essential qualities that every raiding guild should strive toward in order to attract and retain members. Below, I have outlined six.

1. Stability A stable roster led by stable leadership is the ideal situation for a raiding guild. It's also incredibly difficult to maintain. Life, drama, and boredom can poke holes in your roster and your officer corps at any time -- and there's often little you can do to anticipate or prevent it. The best way to establish stability is by gathering like-minded players who find value in accomplishing goals as a team. Commitment is much easier to earn when your members are on the same page and enjoy raiding together.

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Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

Officers' Quarters: Trouble with a demoted raid leader

Majordomo Executus with his cronies in Molten Core
Every Monday, Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership. He is the author of The Guild Leader's Handbook, available now from No Starch Press.

The only thing worse than being asked by your guild to lead raids is being asked to lead raids in which the previous raid leader still participates. This week, that's exactly what one unfortunate player is facing.

Hi Scott,

I've been reading your blog for a little while because I'm a Cata baby and I want to make sure I'm able to navigate the sticky culture of guilds. I've gone through several guilds on my hunter main, trying to find a consistent raid group with real progression. After leaving a couple of guilds because progression just wasn't happening, I was recruited as a DPS for my current guild's Group Two.

The first few weeks of raiding were rocky, because the raid leader is not very articulate and is bad at explaining fights. He also takes criticism very personally and for the first couple weeks his DPS was (no other way to put it) terribad. One of the group's healers basically overrode him in voice chat and effectively took over management of the raid group, although the original raid lead was still party leader and loot master. However, several of the group members had a problem with the way the healer ran the group and the way he spoke to other party members. Despite the fact that Group 2 was now getting real progression and players were earning great gear, tension still mounted.

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Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

Officers' Quarters: Mailbox roundup 4 -- raid leaders

Every Monday, Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership. He is the author of The Guild Leader's Handbook, available now from No Starch Press.

Here at Officers' Quarters, I receive a number of emails every week that don't get featured in the column for various reasons (which I explained the first time I did a roundup). Today it's time to examine two of these shorter -- but no less interesting! -- topics. This roundup's theme is raid leaders.

Bad player = bad raid leader

I really don't know if I'm writing just to get this off my chest or to ask for advice ...

We had the same raid leader through several expansions who was very authoritative, decisive, and effective. Then he had to step back due to irl stuff and we were left with a leadership gap. No one really wanted to step up and be raid leader but eventually one of our officers decided to take it over. I'll call him John.

John had a very different leadership style. I'm not sure if it was your column or elsewhere that I once read about the personality differences between a raid leader and guild leader but John has much more of guild leader style. Very much focused on having everyone get along, trying to get everyone to agree with everything, trying to get everyone to like each other ...

When John makes mistakes that contribute to something bad happening, he likes to take whole blame for it. He won't look beyond his own contribution to the fail to find that the tanks failed a switch, a dps pulled aggro, or someone failed to move out of the fire, which is what put them in extreme danger in the first place. When I try to point out that I need him to be more critical than just taking all the blame, two things happen. First, he backtracks and tries to say he's not taking on all the blame, even if he's typed out explicitly that something was "all my fault." Second, he becomes completely demotivated and sullen in Vent, which effects the mood of the raid.

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Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

Officers' Quarters: Raid leading is stressful

boss strategy diagram
Every Monday, Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership. He is the author of The Guild Leader's Handbook, available now from No Starch Press.

The title of this post goes without saying, but let's say it anyway. It's something that the other nine or 24 players in your raid need to be reminded of from time to time. If anyone reading this has never had the dubious honor of leading a raid before, I strongly urge you to peruse the following email. I'll warn you, though, it's a long one! As for you dedicated raid leaders out there, this column is for you.
Dear Scott,

This is a raid leadership question rather than a guild leadership question -- I hope that's all right! I'm not much of a leader by nature, and I could really use some advice on how to deal with the position in which I've gotten myself.

I'm not a guild leader (thank god), but I run a one-night-a-week raid group for friends who don't have the opportunity to raid more often, and for alts of members of the main raid group.

Progression-wise, we're doing fine; H 3/7, with each new fight being picked up pretty quickly. I have no complaints at all about progression, which I thought would be the main source of stress.

Instead, I've been stressing out over the drama between players -- mostly loot drama, as three members of the raid are on the same token and use similar gear -- and decision-making. I hate drama, and I hate having to make decisions that affect 9 other people and could very well be WRONG decisions (going after Beth'tilac instead of Shannox our first week in FL, for instance), and having to worry about both of these things just makes the raid a source of pressure and something I wish I could avoid.

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Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

Cataclysm beta: New raid markers

I decided to hop in and do some more raiding on the beta. When setting up some marks for pulls, I discovered that they're not flares anymore! I know the current raid markers appear like clouds of smoke. They were originally flares created by engineers. Some people deemed them Lucky Charms. Well, I daresay these are Lucky-er Charms! The icons will bounce up and down and they glow!

This will make positioning a little more obvious since they're so bright and hard to miss. Currently, there are only five markers available. No idea if additional symbols will be added in the future. Think five will be enough? What do you think about the new raid markers?

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm will destroy Azeroth as we know it; nothing will be the same! In WoW Insider's Guide to Cataclysm, you can find out everything you need to know about WoW's third expansion (available Dec. 7, 2010), from brand new races to revamped quests and zones. Visit our Cataclysm news category for the most recent posts having to do with the Cataclysm expansion.

Filed under: Raiding

Officers' Quarters: Emotionally invested

Every Monday, Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership. He is the author of The Guild Leader's Handbook, available this spring from No Starch Press.

When you're frustrated with your guild, it's tempting to jump ship. But sometimes it's also difficult to let go. This week, one officer asks, can you be an officer in one guild and a regular member in another?

Dear Scott,

I am Raid Officer in a casual raiding guild. I attend the most raids and am one of the highest output players on each raid on all my characters. I am one of the most active, hardest working Officers in the guild.

We have always been lenient with who is allowed to raid -- we have some healers who do less than 50% output of other healers who are similarly geared, we have DPS that do less than half of what they should be doing (with "casual" expectations, I don't expect everyone to do 10k DPS but 4-5k is low for a well geared player in ICC with the buff). Even members of our A-team have been slacking a bit. Many players don't pay attention to the leaders in Vent, don't react well to constructive criticism of their gear, spec etc. PUGs are further progressed than our guild is.

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Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

Ready Check: Communication for raid leaders

Ready Check is a column focusing on successful raiding for the serious raider. Hardcore or casual, Vault of Archavon or Ulduar, everyone can get in on the action and down some bosses.

One of the most difficult tasks any raid leader is going to face will be one of communication. Communication is a complex, ugly issue. It can be one of your strongest assets, but it can equally be your biggest downfall. This is because communication operates on two levels.

First, there's the obvious data-based communication. Things like "The next boss is named Anub'arak" are data-based. It's fact, unassailable, and fairly meaningful. Almost everyone's going to agree with quantifiable information. You're not going to round the corner of the instance, and find something that's not Anub'arak.

Second, however, is "shadow" communication. This is a level of communication that can be a great deal more complicated. In the absence of quantifiable information, the recipient will "read into" your words a whole series of meanings and concepts that you may not have intended. For example, "This next boss is Anub'arak, so you should get ready" can be interpreted as "Get ready because we're going right now" or "get ready by reading up on the boss strategies." Now, that's a fairly hyperbolized example, but it's a true one none-the-less. We've all had experience with "I didn't mean it like that" in our lives.

One of the oldest business cliches is that "Workers don't leave companies, they leave supervisors." While a raid leader isn't a supervisor in the same way as a business manager, some of the viable tips from the corporate world can still apply to raiding life. Let's take a look after the jump at some simple tips to enhance communication.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Ready Check (Raiding)

Officers' Quarters: From the mail bag

Every Monday Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership.

Hello, fellow officers! This week I'm going to try something a little bit different than usual. I tend to focus on one topic that requires a detailed analysis. However, I do receive many more questions that I never feature in the column because they have a more straightforward solution (or, at least, because I believe they have a straightforward solution). So I would write a private reply to the e-mail but never showcase the question here.

I've decided to try an experiment this week and feature several of these e-mails with shorter answers. Even though they may not be the most complex situations, I think the answers will be helpful to other officers. Let me know what you think! Here's the first question.

Too Many Cooks

I was wondering if you could do an article on having too many cooks in the kitchen during raids.

My guild is brand new, 3-4 weeks old, and we run Ulduar 10 and ToC 10 as well as Naxx 25 and Naxx 10 for the new 80s. As of right now, I am my guild's GM as well as raid leader. I have plans in the future to add an official "Raid Leader" to create events and lead some raids although I plan on still leading a few because I really enjoy it.

Right now though, I have a few natural born leaders that attend my raids and it causes some problems.

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Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

We Have a Tabard: Ring the bell, school's back in

Looking for a guild? Well, you can join ours! We have a tabard and everything! Check back for Amanda Dean talking about guilds and guild leadership in We Have a Tabard.

Drama is not the only issue to cause hardship among raiding guilds. We've seen guilds crumble and fall over new raid content. It seems we've come across another time-sensitive factor: the beginning of the school year. Guilds that have been blissfully progressing throughout the summer may be seeing their attendance plummet.

Remember folks, some things are more important than WoW. Education tops the list. It would be poor form to badger your scholastic members into raiding when they've got homework to do. Students also need a good night's sleep in order to perform successfully. This goes for college students as well as high schoolers, but they may have more flexibility in scheduling. In the end, WoW is just a video game and school affects the present and the future.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Guilds, Features, Raiding, (Guild Leadership) We Have a Tabard

We Have a Tabard: Don't go away mad, just go away

Looking for a guild? Well, you can join ours! We have a tabard and everything! Check back every Friday for Amanda Dean talking about guilds and guild leadership in We Have a Tabard.

The above video by Propostris and Gigi, while awesome, is not safe for work.

As I've mentioned before, building a guild can be very challenging. Recruiting and retention efforts are critical. Sometimes you find members, however, that may seem to fit in, but in the end they do not. You must strike a balance between having enough guilides to get things done and a team that works well together. Your guild rules and personal interactions help determine which members are valuable members of the team and who needs a /gkick.

I have found that having a lot of guild members is generally not better than having quality guild members. There are many ways in which guild members can not fit. Sometimes folks activity times do not mesh with the guild. It doesn't really do any good to have folks tagged up but stuck PUGging raids because they can't be there for raid times. This person may not need to be removed, but don't be surprised if he or she leaves to find a guild with raid times more suited to their play times.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Guilds, Features, Raiding, Buffs, (Guild Leadership) We Have a Tabard

Officers' Quarters: The raid leader retirement plan

Every Monday Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership.

Every raid leader has this moment. You're trying to get the raid ready for a boss attempt, but you just can't get people to focus. Someone's taking a quick bio. Two people are still arguing over the loot from three bosses ago. Another person is whispering you ill-conceived advice for changing your strategy. People seem to be more interested in listening to your healing lead talk in Vent about a movie she just saw than they are in buffing or putting on resist gear. Then someone that you can't replace DC's for the eighth time that night and you just snap.

You wonder if it's worth it. You wonder what it would be like to be a grunt rather than a general. Someone who just follows orders and doesn't have to worry about anyone but themselves. Sprinkle in some real-life stress in your life and retiring from raid leading suddenly seems very appealing. This week, one officer wonders how to give up his general's stripes without causing too much fuss.

'Lo there,

I've been a huge fan of your column for quite some time, and it's one of the few that I read immediately rather than saving for downtime during the game. I first got hooked during the 4-part casual raiding columns, which came at the time my guild was first venturing into Kara.

Anyway, I'm the executive officer in charge of raiding (supreme raid leader) for a successful casual/social guild on a server infamous for its lack of progression. It's a position that I've held since we started into Kara in Feb of '08, and since we first started raiding I've gained a couple of assistants that do an excellent job helping coordinate things.

The issue, in part, is that RL has started rearing its ugly head, and my work hours have been slowly increasing. [. . .]

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Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

Officers' Quarters: Managing your lockouts

Every Monday Scott Andrews contributes
Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership.

Last week, our very own Michael Sacco broke the news that raid lockouts will be extendable after Patch 3.2. Reading through forum comments about this exciting new feature, I found the varied reactions quite amusing.

Hardcore raiders seem to think that Blizzard is catering to casuals with this change. They think you should have to earn your kills by reclearing bosses if you can't make it all the way through a raid zone in one week. On the other hand, casual players seem to think that Blizzard is catering to the hardcore, since it's so much easier now to work on hard modes and other achievements without the threat of a looming reset. Casuals need as much loot as possible, they say, so why would they ever want to extend a lockout?

Despite the hardcore/casual debate reaching a new all-time low, the good news is that, in a sense, they're both right. Blizzard is catering to all of us. Regardless of playstyle or progression, all guilds will benefit from having this option.

However, there are decisions and tradeoffs to be made. Let's examine this new feature in more detail.

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Filed under: Guilds, Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

Officers' Quarters: Normal raiders are people, too

Every Monday Scott Andrews contributes
Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership.

"Normal" mode sounds so dull, doesn't it? Who would want to be "Normal" when you can be "Heroic" -- particularly when being Heroic garners better loot and, for healers specifically, a chance at the ultimate healing mace, Val'anyr. Most guilds on my server prefer the larger raids, and who can blame them? Normal mode is often seen as a fun distraction. Something for raiders to pass the time with, or gear up their alts in, when their guild isn't tackling the "real" version of the instance.

Sometimes Normal mode is easier. There's no question that fights like Vezax are much less complicated when you're only dealing with 10 players. It's certainly nice not having to worry about switching tanks on Kologarn or interrupting Auriaya's Sentinel Blast. But sometimes Normal is not easier. The margin of error is a lot thinner when one death means you've lost half your tanks, a half or a third of your healers, or 15-20% of your DPS. And it could be that your raid doesn't have a single battle rez, let alone three or four. Maybe that's why players prefer Heroic raids: Unless you're going after the more difficult hard-mode encounters, it's not the end of the world when you screw up and die.

This week, one guild leader asks, when most serious raiders only want to run Heroic raids, how can someone recruit for a Normal raiding guild?

Hi Scott,

I'm the GM of a reasonably-successful 10-man raiding guild (we're ranked in the top 90 US guilds according to GuildOx's "Strict 10-man" filter). Like many other guilds, we're seeing a decline in attendance lately (as per your most recent column, "Surviving summer"), and it's become obvious that we need to recruit 4-5 more people of various classes/specs so we can reliably run our scheduled raids without depending on 100% perfect attendance from anyone.

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Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

Addon Spotlight: Essential addons for raid leaders

Addon Spotlight takes a look at the little bits of Lua and XML that make our interfaces special. From bar mods to unit frames and beyond, if it goes in your Addons folder, we'll cover it here.

A reader wrote in a few days ago with the question "What add ons would you consider helpful/essential for a new raid leader?", and as a raid leader myself, I thought it was such a good question that I'm devoting this Addon Spotlight to it.

Deadly Boss Mods

Boss mods are very helpful for all raiders, of course, but particularly crucial for raid leaders, who need to call out when raiders need to do things. If you're not familiar with boss mods, they basically aim to tell you any information about boss abilities that you might need to know during a fight. For instance, on XT-002, boss mods will tell you if anyone has a bomb debuff, when XT is about to throw a Tantrum, how long the heart has left, and so on.

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Filed under: Add-Ons, Raiding, AddOn Spotlight

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