Raid Group: Know the Fight

April 28, 2010 at 7:30 pm (Guild Relationships, Raiding)

This is the first part of a short series I’m planning to lay out my thoughts on the role of raiders and raid leaders alike.  Your thoughts and opinions are welcome – I’d like a serious discussion with input from all parties involved.  While these might be often discussed topics, I am finding that the parameters of the discussion need to change, as we are seeing more people with different skill sets raiding.  And, since it’s unlikely I’ll ever have the time/money/desire to be one of the elite, realm first raiders, I think it is incumbent of me (and others) to find ways to integrate and deal with the new raiders, as well as refine our own skills and knowledge base.

As those of us of a certain age remember, Schoolhouse Rock told us “It’s great to learn, ‘cause knowledge is power.”  In Warcraft, at no time is knowledge more powerful than in a raid.  Lack of it spells certain doom, for a given player and the entire party.  The question is, what is reasonable for the individual raid members to know, and what should the raid/role leaders know.  (Note: The position of role leader to me is the tank/healing/dps leader that one may find in well organized 25-man raids.)

IMHO, the individual raid member needs to understand three things: the general fight/phases, the abilities of the boss, and the general strategy and his role within it.  The first two are linked heavily, each member of the raid needs to understand the abilities of the boss, and when he will use them.  The raider should also be able to recognize when the phases change, either through visual/verbal cues or an add-on such as Deadly Boss Mods.  The general strategy, of course, is the raid’s method of dealing with the boss/adds, and their abilities.  While knowledge of the general strategy is important, without knowing what specific instructions a person should take to insure the success of the raid.

In 25-man raids, there might be the position of a role leader, in charge of the healing and dps normally, but occasionally there will be one running the tanks as well.  The role leader needs a much more expanded knowledge set, with an in-depth knowledge of the strategy being implemented on a particular boss, the abilities of each class/spec combination in his raid, and the ability to determine how each particular person in the raid will fit most effectively.  The raid leader must also who amongst the raiders is most effective at dealing with different boss abilities and adds – it should be the role leaders who discuss and set up an interrupt rotation when necessary.

The raid leader and assistant raid leader (I often refer to them as the CO and XO respectively) have the largest burden of knowledge in the group.  In 25-man raids, they may not know the players and their abilities as closely as the role leaders.  However, in a 10-man raid, these two should know everything expected of a role leader, for all three roles.  The raid leader is also responsible for the planning of the strategies used, and therefore is required to have a detailed knowledge of the boss abilities, and the event timers/triggers.  The raid leader must be flexible enough to change some of their strategies (particularly in 10 main raids) when particular class/spec combinations are not available.

The sources for learning the boss abilities, and generally accepted strategies are wide.  Tankspot is one of the leaders in this field – offering videos describing the encounter, and the strategy used to defeat the boss (while this is focused on the tank, the information is general in nature, allowing anyone the ability to get the basics of the fight).  However, the burden should fall on the raid leaders/role leaders to determine the proper tactics to ensure that the strategy works.  Considering the number of boss fights in a given raid dungeon, the task is large and complex, but important enough that a poor raid leader who is unable to plan or adapt will almost certainly doom a raid.

What do the rest of you think?  Should we expect more of the “casual” raider in the knowledge department?  The future holds some thoughts of mine regarding roles of raiders and leaders during the raid, and I’ll start with the officers in the next installment.

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