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It didn’t take long to get from Thunder Bluff to the Echo Isles – Ankona took advantage of a wyvern so she could think and plan before getting to her destination. She had information to confirm with the spirits – was Gromnor dead? Was he really in the northern part of the Eastern Kingdoms, somewhere […]

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Selfishness and Leading Raids
comment 21 Written by on February 11, 2009 – 1:37 pm

So, every once in awhile, something shows up in Twitter or my feed reader that I can’t help but /boggle at while I’m reading it. Usually that’s either a story of someone being unbelievably asshattish, or someone coming at something from an angle totally unlike the one that I’ve ever experienced in game.

Tankspot recently had an article, posted by Veneretio, on how Role affects Raid Leaders.

I had to read it two or three times to get a handle on what was going on (and turn off my initial reaction to pass him off as asshattish, since I’m pretty sure that wasn’t his intention).

From reading through it, his assumptions are that tank RL’s will give tanks really hard assignments, to challenge themselves (and as such will bring too many healers) and will give DPS less than optimal roles or challenging “non DPS” things to deal with to avoid threat problems; healer RL’s will bring too many healers all the time so their job will be easier and nobody has to work hard, and will assign tanks in ways that minimize damage; and DPS RL’s will be meter slaves, inviting people based on DPS/meter numbers rather than contribution, as well as bringing too few tanks/healers so that there can be more DPS in the group.

Ok, forgive me if I’m wrong here, but there’s one background assumption that’s being made in the article that I think runs in the face of every Raid Leader I’ve ever run with.

Raid leaders, if they are good, are not self serving/selfish.

They don’t lead raids to make it easy on themselves, or to show off how awesome they are. If they wanted it to be easy, they’d join another raid and not have to deal with all the other crap that goes into raid leading.

A good raid leader – regardless of “role” in the raid

  • knows when to bring an extra healer (Malygos) or send them home (Sartharion)
  • when to push the DPS (Thaddius) and when to have them lay off and worry about survival (Kel’Thuzad)
  • when to have a Warrior tank, a Paladin tank, a Deathknight tank, or a Druid tank to both minimize damage and maximize effectiveness in the raid as a whole

In short, a good raid leader is leading the RAID, and makes the raid his or her top priority – not his or her own comfort/discomfort/need to top the meters.

Good DPS can kick frostbolts, avoid polarity charges, stay out of void zones, and still dish out pain. Good tanks know when to say “This’d be better tanked by Peter the Paladin/Wendy the Warrior/Donald the Deathknight/Debbie the Druid, because of XYZ mechanic – I’ll DPS (or heal) this fight”. Good healers know that bringing too many healers means that they’re bored and stuff takes longer to kill.

Good players are good players.

And good raid leaders can NOT afford to be self serving… or they’ll end up falling into the traps listed in the Role of Raid Leaders article. Because I do not think those roles are how things should work, or how they work in great raids.

Those “Raid Leader roles” are the pitfalls of sub-par raid leaders or raid leaders that haven’t gotten a handle on how to manage an entire raid yet.

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21 Responses to “Selfishness and Leading Raids”

  1. Wow……should this one be classed as ranting not raiding? *snicker* Seriously though, you are correct. And the person you were talking about ….well…..I think you covered everything on them.
    Gunsnbutter Excelsior/Uther

    By Gunsnbutter on Feb 11, 2009 | Reply
  2. @Gunsnbutter:

    Sorry if this came off as ranty – I do strongly disagree with a good bit of the article, but not for the fact that I think it’s actually *wrong* – just that I think those examples are of inefficient/selfish/poor raid leaders, not great raid leaders.

    Obviously selfishness has many forms, but when it creeps into raid leading, that’s when you start to see things like those mentioned in the article.

    By Anna on Feb 11, 2009 | Reply
  3. /applaud

    Well said, Anna, and I didn’t sense a rant here at all. Very good counterpoint, I thought, and quite insightful.

    Kestrels last blog post..DPS: How to Earn Your Healer’s Love

  4. One thing about that piece kind of boggles me:

    “It also seems like the environment [under a DPS raid leader] is much more receptive to DPS meters and that raid invites could even go so far as to be influenced by a player’s performance in this area.”

    I, uh…maybe it’s just me, but I sort of assumed that all successful raids look at WWS or similarly reliable tools to judge the performance of their DPS. If you have a quantitative measurement of someone’s contribution, why NOT take advantage of it?

    By Tarquin on Feb 11, 2009 | Reply
  5. /signed to all of the above, Anna!

    I don’t have a leadership bone in my body, but if I did, I can’t say I would stack up extra healers to make things “easier”. If anything, I’d probably be a little overly confident about healer abilities; I sure wouldn’t bring more healers to make things “easier”. (Also, how is “more healing/less DPS” easier when so many things are a DPS race against enrage timers, crappy debuffs, and so on?)


    I’d be startled if a progression raid wasn’t looking at stats and picking invites based on ability, if the raid balance is good. What you’re quoting has a background implication that people are having to choose between “pwning diva DPS who’s a jerk” and “DPS who isn’t very good but is nicer”, which is… totally not my experience. >_>

    Teuthidas last blog post..Dodging a bullet

  6. We all know what an attention-demanding, drama-prone jerk that top DPS fury warrior is.

    By Tarquin on Feb 11, 2009 | Reply
  7. @Tarquin: I totally have that dude muted on Vent.

    Teuthidas last blog post..Dodging a bullet

  8. A good raid leader is also often the worst one when it comes to DPS/Healing/Tanking because they have one eye on the usual things, and one eye on the overall encounter to be able to react and reorganise.

    By Perrin on Feb 11, 2009 | Reply
  9. @Perrin:

    I would argue that a good raid leader manages to do all those things while still performing their original role – though it’s certainly common for people to lag behind a little if the shit hits the fan. It’s part of why being a good raid lead is so hard, because you have to pull your own weight while still doing all those other things.

    By Anna on Feb 11, 2009 | Reply
  10. There’s definitely times where my performance lags a bit – too busy corralling the troops to watch my cycles properly, and such. And I’ll gladly blame an unusually poor showing on the damage meters on that. 😀 However, that’s a pretty rare scenario; if I was consistently underperforming because of raid management tasks, that’d be indicative of a much bigger problem with my leadership skills, my ability to multi-task, and/or the ability of the raiders I’m micro-managing to do their own jobs.

    By Tarquin on Feb 11, 2009 | Reply
  11. From experience, I will say that the raid leader is probably not going to be THE BEST at whatever they are doing, merely because they have multiple focuses.

    They’re not going to be the worst either…

    Unless they’re me and have been working at 4fps in 25 man raids.

    Itanya Blades last blog post..I’d really just like to kill someone

  12. …..OK….Maybe rant was the wrong word. And I DID have fun reading your comments and agreed with them. The other article, well, lets just say the author …… I hope I am never in a raid that they run. As someone who occasionally gets tapped to lead raids…..and as a replenishment survival hunter, I wonder where I am “supposed” to fit! But all in all…..good post. Keep it up!

    By Gunsnbutter on Feb 11, 2009 | Reply
  13. Another assumption in that piece that really gets my hackles up – tanks want to be challenged, whereas healers want an easy ride where they don’t have to work hard.

    With which, obviously, I disagree.

    Sihas last blog post..Loot Progression and Emblem Types

  14. Selfishness & leading raids is an awful combination. By taking the role of a raid leader, you are taking on the responsibility of leading 24 other people’s entertainment for the evening, and to be selfish just doesn’t wash.
    The game is about fun, and if your raid leader is just using the raid as an ego boost, then I know I wouldn’t stick around in that guild for long.
    Luckily as a raid leader myself, I don’t have to put up with bad people being in charge!
    I can only speak from a dps perspective, but I know that I am harder on the other dps if they screw up than I am on the tanks or healers – I think that’s the only way in which the fact I am a dps class differs from if I were a tank or healer.

  15. Good on you Anna, I agree with this. If the group works as a whole then the group wins, if the individual works for his own glory then the group fails and no-one is happy.

    Bos last blog post..Somehow I Doubt it’s Over 9000!

  16. @Bo –
    I think you’ve gotten my whole post down into one sentence, Bo. >.>

    By Anna on Feb 12, 2009 | Reply
  17. Found this late… I think you’ve fairly painted my bias against DPS raid leaders. My comments however are modeled from my experience with DPS RL from some of the best guilds I know.

    That being said, I think you missed the overall point (which admittedly is my fault as the writer) and you definitely seemed to glaze over the 2nd paragraph about Healing Raid Leaders. (to which I must say… I wonder how many who commented here actually read the whole article…)

    “healer RL’s will bring too many healers all the time so their job will be easier and nobody has to work hard, and will assign tanks in ways that minimize damage”

    I said this in my first take on Healing raid leaders. (although you’ve certainly blown what I said out of proportion and I think ultimately this paragraph led to your whole post being wrote) If you read Take #2 though… I said that healing RLs if anything would bring too few. They’d balance this by assigning things in such a way that there would be a greater chance of survival. Essentially, I was saying that a Healing RL would take a smaller, stronger core team of Healers b/c he or she knows his healing team can do it.

    The point of the post is we all have a particular template in how we approach an encounter. We are influenced my our role in how we see other roles. A dps sees dps as the solution to a fight. A tank sees tanking. A healer sees healing. And we all are more likely to screw up everything other than our primary role when it comes to assignments because ultimately, we just don’t live and breath those roles like a person who plays that class does. (and I don’t think it’s a fair assumption to say that RL are notorious for being very well researched and passionate about their role and class)

    In the end though, they all find their way to a strategy that works. They just go about it in a different way. Fights that have very limited options… all of the RL end up with basically the same setup, but fights that allow for a lot of grey area… end up with very different successful strategies and approaches to encounters based on the RL’s role.

    My point was RLs are human. We have tendencies. We have different ideas of what’s important. That doesn’t make us selfish or self-serving. It just makes us real people. The article was a theory about human behaviour and part of trying to prove my point was taking it to the extreme a little bit.

    I can’t help, but be disappointed in those that from this decided that I, myself, am a bad RL or that my raid would be a bad experience. (which I suppose is the same) I’ve had the same group of people for over 2 years now. Our raids are very casual, but also progressive and filled with laughter and joking. The post was just an exercise in… how can I be a better raid leader by considering a different role’s approach to it. I wanted the reader to question how much they let their passion or competitiveness influence their leading decisions.

    Anyway this has gone on long and I realize I’m starting to talk in circles, but I just can’t help shaking my head that not a single commenter understood where I was coming from. A writers job is never done 😉

    Veneretios last blog post..Some things are worth fighting for…

  18. @Veneretio:

    I understand what you’re saying, but I still disagree with even this comment. THings like

    We are influenced my our role in how we see other roles. A dps sees dps as the solution to a fight. A tank sees tanking. A healer sees healing. And we all are more likely to screw up everything other than our primary role when it comes to assignments because ultimately, we just don’t live and breath those roles like a person who plays that class does.

    I find to be both not true of raids I’ve been in, and not true of the best raid leaders, because they are above their role in a fight – maybe I run with the weirdest, least self-focused raid leaders in the history of warcraft, but I still abjectly disagree that this is either how it *is* or how it *should be*. The point of leading a raid is to lead all of it – and while a single RL may not know everything there is to know about all classes, they need a basic understanding – and people that can help – so that they make the best decisions.

    A Healer RL approaching all problems as healing problems is… short sighted, and probably stupid. Sure if you only have a hammer, every problem looks like a nail – but as a RL you don’t just have hammers. You have 25 people, with different classes, strengths, roles, and abilities – and a good RL will take advantage of that, and be bigger than their own class/role bias.

    I also disagree with your bias against DPS as Raid Leaders. But that’s a different set of comments, I think.

    By Anna on Feb 26, 2009 | Reply
  19. I don’t think you have the least-focus raid leaders. I just don’t think you understand when they’re being bias. Don’t get me wrong though, I’m saying this is how it is, but I’m not saying this is how it should be. Basically, I’m saying Raid Leaders are not perfect.

    To illustrate my point, consider the Sartharion3D fight:

    – numerous RL choose a Warrior as their MT b/c they trust them most even when they have a DK tank available. This is incredibly stupid b/c it’s unnecessarily taxing and complex on the healers for that tank and it’s done by some of the best RLs I know.

    – numerous RL don’t get that Warriors are actually the BEST add tanks on this fight by a large margin since add duty is not about threat which warriors lack in the AOE department, but about snap AOE aggro and AOE survivability both of which we excel at compared to all of the other tank classes

    Now, I may have made it sounded like a bigger issue by saying Healers see a healing problem. I’m talking about our train of thought. I’m not saying every problem is a healing problem. I’m saying that a healing RL is much more likely to use a healing solution to a problem that has multiple solutions.

    Consider Gluth:

    – Do you tank the adds and heal the tank or do you kite the adds?
    – Do you stack enough DPS so you only have 1 Devastate or do you play it safe and make the fight last 2 or 3.

    Consider Malygos:

    – You’re hitting the enrage. Do you drop a healer or expect your DPSers to L2P?

    These are all choices and my theory is that role is going to influence these decisions. I think where I really failed in the article is not pointing out that all of these raid leaders succeed. They just do in different ways and on very simple fights, they all end up with identical strategies. But, there’s a lot of choices to be made… all of the above considerations are done all the time with 1 of the 2 choices and they’re done successfully, but they’re also very telling of who is in the driver seat.

    To stray from this… that still doesn’t change that you ignored my 2nd take on a healing RL and instead chose to say my article thought on healing RLs would take lots of healers to make it easier on themselves when that’s not the conclusion I came to at all. (and probable led the most to be getting roasted by your fanbase)

    Veneretios last blog post..Some things are worth fighting for…

  20. When I read the statement that “healer RL’s will bring too many healers all the time so their job will be easier and nobody has to work hard, and will assign tanks in ways that minimize damage” I was struck that the perceived motivation for this seemed to be off.

    Tanks are like the father figures of the group, acting as a human shield protecting people, and healers are the mommies, following behind, making sure your coats are buttoned and all your buffs are in place so you don’t catch a chill from the nasty coldflame, and patching up the booboos received along the way. The DPS are like our kids. sometimes bratty teenagers in the case of some PUGs, but still. We’re used to feeling responsible for the lives of our group, and when you feel responsible for others, you err on the side of caution.

    By Zoena on Mar 11, 2010 | Reply
  21. @Zoena – Quite honestly, I dislike the “family” metaphor for a group, because it suggests that the Tank and Healer should be both responsible for the group and the dictating parties. DPS aren’t like kids – in a group of 5, sure there’s a slightly higher chance of single point failure, and sure you need three DPS and only one tank and one healer, but each person in that group carries weight and is responsible for its success.

    In a raid, tanks and healers are even LESS like parents, because the “parental units” are the raid officers – the people ACTUALLY responsible for putting the raid together. Some of those officers might be tanks and healers, but that’s just the balance, not any kind of particular penchant for leadership on the part of tanks and healers. And really, raid officers are a lot more like managers, or benevolent dictators, than they are like parents.

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