My Important Lesson as a Raid Leader

November 18, 2009 at 9:52 pm (Raiding) (, )

Emotions in a raid leader lead to stupid things, no matter what the emotion. Save them for after the raid, when you’ve logged off. Upon reflection, I made several mistakes this weekend due to the highs and lows of raiding. It not only affected the raid’s performance, but my own as well. While the potential pitfalls are legion in number, here are a few examples of why you need to maintain a stone-cold presence (with perhaps one exception):

Vent. To those who are outwardly emotional, vent will prove to be your downfall. The emotional outburst after a 1% wipe, with the resulting blame (fair or not) will drive your guild-mates away. We’ve all seen the Onyxia wipe movie; and while it’s funny, place yourself in the place of one of those raiders. Not only is the tone condescending at the beginning, to have made a mistake and be lambasted, in that manner, for the act in front of the guild – I would have /gquit on the spot. There’s a difference between constructive criticism and emotional outbursts, and objectivity takes a back seat to emotion. How many guilds do we know about that have broken up over just such issues?

Silent emotional outbursts make you forget/miss things. During our Naxx run this weekend, I had an internal outburst following the first safety dance when I died suddenly. I had picked up the Heigan debuff as he passed by, and concentrating on seeing who was left and what state they were in, I missed if the Shammy put down a cleansing totem, or if I just missed going to it. While my lapse of attention to my own well being was certainly bad enough, when I gave a silent swear and hit the blasted mouse button at the same time. Unfortunately, it was over the “Release” button. Crap – no credit for this boss, no achievement. Yes, I’ve run the instance before, but always a failure when pugging (although, I’ve never died due to the acid.)

Emotional highs take you off focus. Getting ready for the next boss takes your full concentration, internal smugness about downing the previous boss will doom you to failure. One day at golf (yes, I do play golf), I holed out a 50 yard wedge shot, and the next hole was a par-3 where I left the ball literally 1 inch short of a hole-in-one. I was elated, I was superior, golf was easy! My next drive was so far to the right, a dedicated search & rescue team couldn’t have found it. Down the boss, call a bio break, disconnect your mic – then pump your arms, let out a primal shout, then get back to business.

So, is there a place for emotions? Sure there is – your raid XO. He (or she) is the person that makes the “woot woot” noises when you were successful, and lets out the “damn it all to heck” when you fail miserably. The XO is the person that the raid feels comfortable going to, no matter what the issue. Joy comes from the XO, business from the Raid Leader. Your XO should be someone you share strategies, notes on personnel, and generally understands your mindset in a raid. Then, if by chance you get hit by a bus (or have a wedding to attend on a raid night), your guild’s not totally lost in the woods.



  1. Torval said,

    I think one of the biggest things in this regard goes back to guild cohesiveness. It helps out a ton to have a group of like minded people. Also, cohesiveness comes from time and experience too. It lets people know others strengths and weaknesses. When you run with a bunch of strangers, it’s easy to point fingers. I think you can fix a lot of things with time. For a first time, we still did well.

    • rustbeard said,

      I don’t disagree that we did very well, given that some had never even stepped foot in Naxx before. We definatley have that “New Car Smell” yet, so it’s going to take some getting uesd to and miles on the odometer before we’re at full tilt.

      However, I wanted more to examine my own performance, what I did wrong, and hope that someone else in my position might not make the same mistakes – not to mention get some feedback from other, more experienced, raid leaders.

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