Hello everyone. I had some spare time over so I wrote this guide to help raid leaders and helpful players train their friends (or just guild mates) to perform more, perhaps you will find some helpful tricks for yourself here too, and if you do, I'm happy!
A guide for Raid & Guild Leaders
What this guide will cover:
This guide will cover ideas and techniques you as a leader of your guild can utilize to help your raid group perform better during raid and by so have more fun killing bosses and collecting loot. I will talk about things that have worked for me personally as well as the guilds I have been leading before and the guild I'm currently in. It will aim to be helpful in a friendly manner so that utilizing this guide doesn't get your more enemies than friends. After all, helping your raiders to feel comfortable is vital to your success!
As you might understand now this guide aims towards a longtime goal of a friendly raid group with good ability to progress, not towards short solutions of replacing at the next bus stop.
What this guide will NOT cover
This guide will stay clear of insulting and degrading mumbo-jumbo a lot of young, inexperienced leaders will suggest works "for them" or just claim to work good in general. At times I'm elitist, but I try to only apply that to myself, if you hope to lead and inspire other people you shouldn't intimidate them. As they say, teach a man to fish not scare a man to go fish... sort of.
Guild goals and expectations
Before you start crashing down on your raiders, we need to go back to the roots of why you lead a guild (or why you are in this guild). What is the goals your guild hope to accomplish? If you leading a guild with casual or very casual approach, don't expect your raiders to take it over the top seriously. You attract different people with different recruitment tactics.Only recruit people that aim towards the same goals as you hope to achiev or keep some on a casual rank and seperate the raiders in a different rank!
Be clear with your raiding schedule and what you expect to achiev in every raid, if you aim to progress your raiders need to be aware of the different approach that is to casual raiding or farming easy bosses. When recruiting, remember to tell them what is expected of them so you do not get raiders who think they fit in, but fail to keep the level you want to have, this will only caus stress on your regular raiders and give the new recruits a hard time to fit in. No one likes the addition of a raider who doesn't perform like the rest of the group.
This goes for all raiding guilds, casual to hardcore. Don't recruit very serious raiders if you are a casual guild under false pretences, they will more often than not leave or feel very uncomfortable in your raidgroup. Same goes the other way around too, don't recruit casual gamers to a more progressive guild, if they don't have the mindset to push their character to some extent you won't find satisfaction in your new recruit.
How is the feeling in your raidgroup? is there excessive use of foul language to make your raiders perform better?
The best way to make sure progress will happen is if everyone is having fun. Forcing people to raid never works when you want to achiev new levels or progress futher. Make sure everyone feels comfortable in your raidgroup. In my current 10man guild we all know each other very well at this point, it helps us pin-point problems instead of just yelling how everyone sucks (which doesn't fix anything for that matter).
We can have a lot of talk going on in between tries and wipes, we try to keep a friendly spirit in between raiders to keep moral up and everyone focused on the next attempt.
A simple good way to boost moral is often to speak about what went wrong, don't banish people instantly if they do something wrong, it is better for them to be able to speak up and say "hey, my bad" than everyone being silent when confronted with a problem. Point out problem and seek solutions instead of dragging names in the mud, you're a team and there is no fuck you in team. If there is excessive wiping on the same problem take a short break and let everyone just go get an apple, just make sure they stand up for five minutes and catch some breath. Bashing your head against a wall never helps, but a quick breather can help everyone get in focus again.
Good questions to ask are those that helps your raid to talk to each other, healers shouldn't be afraid to say "hey we can't handle this phase all to well, could tanks perhaps use a cooldown around this time?" just like dps shouldn't be afraid to shout out on elegon when they can't handle their orb alone. Be vocal and let everyone have their say. Encourage them to speak up with problems they have and try and solve it as a guild!
Rules of raiding
If your guild impose rules for how you behave and come to raids, make sure you stick to them. We have a three fail rule, first two times we call RNG on it or just simply bad luck, but if the same problem persists we try and figure out what is going wrong. Every raider should understand that they can't be the failer over and over in my eyes, though that might differ I think that as long as you impose rules, they should be followed and if they aren't then there should be consequences. If there are no consequences for breaking your rules no one will follow them. Ever.
A while back, In cataclysm we merged with a very casual guild which lead us to believe they were way more organized and focused. Training these new recruits was very challanging the first two months as we imposed new rules and regulations they weren't used to. Being on time outside of raid so we could start at 20.00 sharp was something that took quite the time for them to get used to. Make sure everyone knows the rules and they agree to them. "I didn't know" shouldn't be a excuse flying around as acceptable in most situations.
For us it is important that we start right on time and we make sure everyone has their flasks, pots and food buffs ready as well are repaired, carrying a stack of glyph/talent change books with them. If someone has to be off-spec or respec make sure they are aware of it before the raid starts so they can have the right gear with them and similar. This doesn't have to apply to every guild out there, but this is how we run the show. We take the rules very seriously in this guild, not that we are very hardcore, but because our rules are there to be followed.
We always get in the raid group a bit earlier than raid starts, we personally use skype (which for us works great, do not recommend it for everyone, we know each other so much by now we all usually on skype even when not raiding) which helps to get everyone in the right mood, joking around a bit and talking about the fights coming up. Last night we had to clear all of Mogushan Vault due to some raiders being gone on previous days, so we got in the mood to be very focused and made sure everyone was going to perform 100%. Being negative over skype/vent will never help the raid group and that is the important lesson here. Be positive, see it as challanges not obstacles!
Okey so now we touched a bit on some of the vague points, let's get down to how to train raiders!
Tools & Information
To gather the information required you will need to have a few tools and ideas set in your mind before going any futher. You might expect already that some are underperforming but it is better to gather "evidence" before going any futher, blantantly accusing raiders will not help them to perform better and you can better pin point problems with some gathered information.
- Damage and Healing Logs
Best way to do this is to upload to World of logs. Visit the site to learn how you upload data to them. What this basically does is giving you a clear and easy to view log of your raids performance. It tells you what spells were being used and who got hit by what. Make sure to upload failed attempts and wipes also, waving your epeen on world of logs is not impressive (frankly, don't think anyone cares about that), it is only a tool for your guild to find where things might be going wrong.
With this you can, together with your raider analyze if they are missing spells or just using the wrong spells at the wrong time. A good example is counting the amount of Mind blast for shadow priests, you can easily see if they are using it on cool down or not by counting the boss encounter length to the cooldown of the spell!
In raid solutions can often be recount or SKADA (I'm sure there are several more, only ones I know of though), you can easily see all the statistic in live version right there with them, though remember they are not 100% accurate and on fights like Gara'jal they do not record information for anyone but yourself because, at times people are phased out.
You as a leaderneed to have a stronger understanding of all classes strength and weaknesses as well as understand limitations of gear and fight specific mechanics. Being able to reference to theorycrafting made by reliable sources is key to invoking respect and credability. Don't grab numbers from the air because it will not help your raiders achiev anything and will often make them feel worse and perform even lower.
Sites like Mmo-champion (hello!) and elitistjerks are starting points but there are several other instances you can use today with a singel google search. If you are referencing to simulation crafts remember that they are under perfect conditions, which rarely represent raiding.
- Video footage or Screenshots
This is taking it a bit to the extreme, but in many cases you can better see other peoples movement by recording it, your memory doesn't always serve your right and sometimes it might look different out of your eyes than others. It is also much easier to pin point problems if you have the source recorded, you can go through problems easier and adress them correctly if you can see exactly what happened.
If you do not have the ability to record or take snapshots without destroying your pc, just pay extra attention to what happening with the raider you think is underperforming, sometimes it can hard to see where it goes wrong, sometimes it is very easy!
Confronting a raider can be a daunting task, often people go very defensive fast if pointed out in the open, do it descretly in whisper or in a group with officers. The best way is to get them on vent or skype where you can have a normal conversation and let them know you are not just there to bash on them but to help them perform better. Very often the ones that are struggling are already aware of it which if bashed only worsen the situation rather than solving it.
Make very sure you are discussing this because you value them and rather solve issues than getting rid of them. This will help them still feel very useful to the guild while their problem is being adressed. Make no mistake though, if the raider/trial is insisting that they are doing everything they can or trying to come up with excuses you have to be brutaly honest. When you have gotten to this point you have to make sure they understand the severity of the situation and the fact it is a continous problem, not a one time occurance. Nine other people are expecting the 10th to live up to the rest, it is time to kill the demons.
DO NOT SUGGEST ADDONS. Addons are often the problem people can't think for themselves, this is guide is about training your raiders to perform good with our without addons, not making programs play the game better for them. If they depend completely on addons like DBM they'll fall over if it glitches out.
Good questions to ask during this conversation are:
- Do you have FPS or MS lag?
If they do, ask how many addons they use, turning of recount can boost performance quite a lot. I'm not very good on computers, but setting everything to lowest and turning everything off in the background can often help, I know I had to do that in Dragon soul.
- Are you up to date on class mechanics?
Follow up questions are important, make sure they know they rotation perfectly and feel comfident about it. Often people know it but don't know it with their backbone so when they have to move, problems arise and dps drops like a stone in water. This requires you to study their class to some extent though, such as reforging, gearing, gems, glyphs, specs etc. This is often the villain by the way!
- Comfortable with raid mechanics?
This is a question that can take many forms, but if you find out they die to a specific mechanic often it is wise to pin point the problem and explain mechanics in depth with them so they better understand it. I know a lot of our melee used to die to the sword dancing on the last boss in MV because they didn't understand how they could see where the next swing would land. Once everything was fully understood we got him them down in no time. If they feel moving is hard, see exercises for some ideas on how to help practice!
Here are some ideas on how to help your raiders learn things outside of raids, some might have better impact than others, in general I think they all can help in some ways!
- Raid dummies
Raid dummies are not there to see specific numbers, it is there to learn your rotation perfectly. If you have a raider that has underwhelmingly low dps, prescribe a dosage of raid dummy training (with our without supervision to help pin point problems) with 8minute intervals. Discuss results and try again. It isn't the funniest thing to do but can work wonders when raiders get their rotations memorized in their backbones. If they can perform their rotation without a thought, it helps movement heavy fights where dps often drops.
If you are supervising it you can add in obstacles such as movement or avoiding the ping pong ball (Aka: You) who moves forth and back as something they need to avoid while doing as good dps as possible or the "move to me" exercise that they should move to you at certain points of time. Be creative!
Probably the worst one for the raider, pretty easy on you. It can be raid tactics, reading guides on classes or similar. Make sure you check up on their knowledge the next day and that they take it seriously. They won't improve unless they actually do memorize what you set out as a homework for them. Set clear goals for when they should have read and learned it and check that they do know it. Don't take 3 out of 10 questions as acceptable, 9 out of 10 or perfect scores is what you should aim for since these are not very complicated.
- Temple of the Jade Serpent
The water boss on the left side is a good way to practice movement fights, make sure no one touches the water and reset the fight before kill, this is expensive way to practice but can be a very strong solution. An hour of movement and damage practice can work wonders for those that have problem with movement, it helps your raiders to understand the need for the raid dummy practice.
- Old Hardmodes or Achievments
Something that can be hard to get a whole raidgroup to agree on, but it does help coordination and communication, it also helps your raid to have fun and just play with each other in a somewhat relaxed pace but still with requirements.
Something that might not work just for the second (due to wonderful balance), but it's a good practice (if they like or are okey with pvp) to send guildies in together to work on communication and getting to know each other. It also helps them to understand movement and their class abilities better. Most importantly, they get to have fun together within the guild and bond together to perform better in raids.
In many cases, people perform better if they have all needed buttons bound, I myself have always been a binder, but if you feel you can perform equally good with clicking go ahead! Sorting out keybinds can sometimes help solve issues with both dps and movement. Always understand that getting to know new keybinds can take a few hours of practicing.
- LFR and Dungeon Challanges
LFR might have very low plateus but you can still learn the gists of fights and how mechanics works better. Practice as if it is the real boss and those limitations are present. It personally do not really like being in there, but for learning healing it has been a very valueable tool (since everyone stands in everything in there). Dungeon challanges might not directly practice raid mechanics but they are very hard and require you to work on your communication and coordination within your team. Down the road it helps a lot.
- Repetition and continous practice
It takes time and repetition to learn everything. Don't give up after 20 minutes, keep at it for a few hours per week! If you or the raider aren't dedicated to seeing this through it is a waste of time to do it half arsed.
Seeing result in a specific raider can take a while, between a week up to a month, don't rush it! Be patient and be ready to revisit a few steps to get them to a comfortable level. As much as you can't wait forever you still have to give them a while to adjust and learn, this is their chance to prove that they can improve, if they can't you will probably be forced to bench them sooner or later, but atleast you gave it a shot, perhaps it was for a friend or a really good guildie, but if it doesn't work it just doesn't.
Raiding isn't for everyone, as much as that is proven to be false, some are just ment to do farm bosses or LFR, that is fine though! Not everyone wants to put alot of effort into a video game and you as a leader should understand that, well themselves should too at some point.
Hope it helped! Will keep it updated with new ideas I come up with too, if someone has something to add just tell me!