I Don’t Want to Write Something Useful, so I’m Going to Talk About 10 Man Raid Leading

GM: How’s your 10 man looking this week?
Me: It’s looking good. But it’s not really my 10 man.
GM: It’s your 10 man.
Me: It’s not mine!
GM: You took it over, therefore it’s your 10 man, no ifs, ands or buts.

So I ended up with a 10 man raid. Apparently it’s “mine”. I’m too new age-ish for that. It’s mine and 9 other people’s. It’s ours.

Actually, raid leading is one of those things where I can’t decide if I really like it or really hate it. I enjoy the planning, the list making, all the logistics that go into getting a 10 man together. And when it all works out, it’s extremely rewarding. However, as shocking as it may sound (yeah, I know it’s hard to believe, ha!), I have a terribly anxious personality. I need everything planned and sorted ahead of time and any last minute changes are the end of the world. Not to mention that I’m one of those slow, deep thinkers that take forever to make up their minds. Which is great in certain circumstances. For example, I never make impulsive purchases. In a raid context, however, my lack of spontaneity can be problematic.

*DPS dies*
Druid: Should I battle rez?
Me: Um…

Me: Um…

Me: Um…Yes. Err, no, wait, the boss is already dead.

I had two 10 man teams going in my old guild, although I usually only actually led one of the two (I can’t two box). The experience was bittersweet. We did get some cool guild firsts under my lead. But I also have memories of getting in fights with the backseat raid leader who kept arguing with me (I’ve actually said “Who’s leading this raid, you or me?” before). And the very last raid I led with them ended with wipe after wipe after wipe on Faction Champs, normal mode. In my discouragement, I was crying so hard I couldn’t even speak enough to call the raid. (Apparently, no one noticed which is good!)

So about a few months ago, this happened:

Guild leadership:
We don’t have enough time for progression so we’re taking 10 mans out of our regular raid nights, you’ll have to do them on offnights.
Regular raid leader: I’m starting something on Wednesdays.
Someone else: I’m starting something on Sundays.
Me: I’m free whenever.
Guild: You’re going Sunday.

Then, after a week, the guy who ran Sunday’s group left the guild. In a rare moment of impulsiveness (I guess there’s hope for me yet), I started a new thread, got everyone from the original group to check in and built a new team. Before I knew it, it somehow became known as “my” raid, even though I swear I didn’t do it on purpose.

I was pretty nervous. I’m not an aggressive leader at all. Even in my old guild where everyone was older and laid back, I had no authority whatsoever. I’m the kind of person who says please before telling you to move out of the fire. With a shaky voice.

Luckily, things have been working out so far, the group is fairly disciplined so I don’t really need to be authoritative. I raised my voice once. Immediately, I got 4 whispers:

Four people: Lol, you got mad!

The harshness in my voice was really just me trying to control my giggles. I’m not very good at getting mad.

Oh and I’m obsessed with having my group confirmed as early as possible in the week, as well as with starting the raid on time. The raid is scheduled for 6, we must pull at 6, regardless if only the mage and I are inside the instance. Attendance and punctuality are pretty much the only things I’m inflexible on. And by inflexible on, I mean overly anxious about:

Me: You’re coming on Sunday right.
Raider: Yep.
Me: You’re sure?
Raider: Of course.
Me: Really sure?
Raider: Yeah.
Me: Are yo-
Raider: OMG YES.
*night of the raid*
Raider: Um, I had something come up.
Me: *nervous breakdown*.

And of course there’s always some smartass overhearing me sob on vent.

Smartass: You don’t handle stress very well, do you?
Me:

We’ve had our hurdles. To name them: Superbowl, Valentine’s Day, Spring Break, Gold Medal Olympic Hockey Game, Sindragosa. I don’t think we’ve ever had two consecutive weeks with the same 10 people. There’s always one person who has to work unexpectedly, who has computer issues or needs a night off. Then there’s the stress every week of “3 people want badges, 3 people won’t go if we have to clear downstairs, 2 people don’t know what they want, 1 person doesn’t understand the in-game calender system and 1 person hasn’t discovered we have guild forums yet.”

But amazingly enough, week after week things work out. Except Sindragosa, 1% wipes omfg. Unless there’s been a planned delay, we’ve started our raids on times. In about two months, we’ve only had two signed-up-but-didn’t-shows, and one of those was actually a /gquit I hadn’t been aware of.

We’ve become used to playing together. And by that, I mean that our druid doesn’t even have to pay attention to vent or look at her raidframes to know who needs a battlerez and when. We got to know each other and our teammates’ IRL eating/flasking/buffing habits pretty well. During downtime and trash, we joke around on vent and share TMI (unlike the other 10 man team…I sat in their channel once and it put me to SLEEP). They even sorta forgive me for stuff like bopping the tank. My teammates are also great about communicating what they want so the rare times where we can’t resort to a vote, decisions are easy to make.

I get tons of help from the guild leadership, which is a first for me. In the past, I had always been met with “your raids, your problem, we want no part in this”. But now I get a regular supply of answers to my questions and pats on the back when requested. When the other 10 man moved their raid on top of ours, the little conflicts and frustrations that inevitably came up were short lived, despite that we still give each other crap over them.

In the end, even my fears of being a crappy “leader” were resolved when I discovered that one our priests (I’M GOING TO LET YOU ALL GUESS WHO) was probably a sport commenter in a past life. Not only does he seem to know when I’m wishy-washy about a certain fight and need someone else to jump in, but also narrates entire fights in a very entertaining and engaging manner. I can just sit back and hit buttons. (Unless I’m tanking…I haven’t learned my new keybindings yet, so when I tank, I sit back and pound my fist on the keyboard in hopes that my character does something.)

So now I don’t have to say that I lead a 10 man raid, I can say I coordinate a 10 man raid, which sounds much nicer to my ears.

Oh and I’ve become quite attached to the task of getting the group together every week.

Me: OMG we’re going to fail, no ones going to show up, we’re not even going to get Saurfang down. Why the hell did I volunteer for this?
Fellow Raider: I can take over if you want.
Me: NO. MY RAID PAWS OFF. MINE MINE MINE.

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26 Comments on “I Don’t Want to Write Something Useful, so I’m Going to Talk About 10 Man Raid Leading”


  1. This is why I enjoy reading your blog and tweets so much. We’re like, the same person, I swear. This is EXACTLY my attitude and feeling about raiding and raid leading!

    I don’t really consider myself a strong leader, but I *love* organizing crap, and I’m a control freak, and I want everyone to confirm they will be there a week in advance, and I like back up plans and plan Bs and contingences… Yeah, you get the idea.

    • Ophelie Says:

      That’s *exactly* it!

      I think the main reason I usually end up being the one planning stuff is because I know it’ll be done the way I like. And I HATE uncertainties!

  2. puggingpally Says:

    Sobs? Oh Ophelie. People call ME a masochist but you wrote a blog entry about how much you enjoy doing something that sees you sobbing! It makes me worry about you, I’d be the one going in whispers, “Are you OK?!”

    That relaxed, close atmosphere is why I love ten mans above all else, forever. What’s going on with Sindra at 1%? P3 gets so stupidly hectic, but is there one thing in particular that’s wiping you guys?

    Also, sports commentator, that is fabulous. “AAAND they’re out past the circle, frost orb on Ophelie, look at that hustle, folks! She’s at the first spot, L33t Awesome Druid moves to break her out AND WHAT A SAVE PEOPLE. Incredible!”

    • Ophelie Says:

      I should probably put up a disclaimer saying that when I tell a story, I tend to caricaturize ;D

      I do cry pretty easily, but when it’s due to momentary frustration, I get over it fast, so no worries! Rest assured that in the incident that inspired the part about sobbing, the two other women on the team were quick to ask me if I was alright. (It seems like guys don’t pick up on voice tones over vent as well as women do, which actually comes in handy a lot in my gaming life.)

      I really love the closeness of 10 mans too. 25s are fun and challenging, but tend to be very impersonal. I enjoy having a smaller team where everyone can have their say.

      On Sindy, it’s like Matt said, people screw up a lot. I personally will invariably die to Backlash towards the end of phase 3. Damn my tendency to play hero :(

  3. Matticus Says:

    We wipe at 1% because PEOPLE DIE TO STUPID SHIT ! IOSJHDFIOJSDFIONSDFIJNHI

    *curls up and cries*

    • puggingpally Says:

      Aw. /comfort

      Everyone’s all sobbing today, at least Ophelie gets over it in a sec, though! I won’t worry about you, then, since you were engaging in some effective hyperbole. :D

      We had a series of heartbreaking 1% Sindragosa wipes too. For us, it was either aforementioned people dying to stupid shit (why are you all standing where the frost tomb people go? WHY?) but the thing that really tipped it over, honest to goodness, was having our tanks pick up a few pieces of frost resist gear. Yes, the crappy 213-why-would-you-ever-use-that-in-ICC gear. The major source of all our 1% wipes was that healers were getting frost tombed or needing to drop their buffet stacks and the tanks were just going kersplat. But the damage she’s putting out at that point is primarily frost-based, and them having that… gave us the time we needed to get through. Of course the 5 (now 10%) boosts didn’t hurt, but we downed her before that was in effect.

      Barring that, me saying on Vent last week when people were too close to others getting frost tombed, “OK guys, this is just sloppy,” apparently did the trick. Yes, that’s the extent of how ‘stern’ I get on Vent, and actually everyone went all quiet, Ophelie, like your equivalent of “LOL you got mad!” whispers. “THERE WAS A NOTE OF ANNOYANCE HOLY CRAP VID IS TICKED.”

      • Ophelie Says:

        Our tanks use the frost resist gear too, and it helps. The problem we’re getting on 10 man is that we don’t have the dps to use more than one tank, and eventually her stacks build up enough that she gets one-shotted. WTB dps that doesn’t die early.

        On being stern on vent, I find that people who are usually soft spoken do have more pull than someone who yells at lot. I was discussing leading styles with a guildy once who was saying that a guild leader has to be aggressive. I don’t find that too be true. People learn to tune out someone who’s very aggressive all the time and eventually stop listening. Someone who’s more gentle just has to put a little sterness in their voice to make everyone go “OMG!”

  4. Shubb-Niggurath Says:

    “*DPS dies*
    Druid: Should I battle rez?
    Me: Um…

    Me: Um…

    Me: Um…Yes. Err, no, wait, the boss is already dead. ”

    reminds me of my – technically our – first attempt on Kel’Thuzad, almost one year ago, I was leading back then … :D

    Anyway, I love reading your blog :) so entertaining and so true !^^
    Good luck on Sindragosa :) my raid being stuck on rotface/putricide, I just have to be jealous of you :D

    • Ophelie Says:

      Thank you!

      Putricide was our bane for several raids too. It’s one of those annoying fights that are so hard until you get it right a few times. Then you wonder why you ever struggled in the first place.

  5. Will Says:

    Back when I was Raiding, I was never tasked with putting together or running the Raids. But having access to both Guild and Officer chat in my old Guild, and exchanging tells with my then-GM (who also typically was our Raid Leader) gave me enough of a picture to never, ever want to do it.

    A tip of the hat to you, Ophelie. For not only taking on the task, but for seeming to ENJOY it. I’m sure that a good Raid Leader isn’t exactly easy to find. :)

  6. Gameldar Says:

    Interesting post Ophelie – comes on the back of me organising a fail PuG for the raid weekly for Marrowgar. I’d only done a ICC rep run before the weekly and grabbed a couple of guildies to try and get the weekly done. So the issue I had having organised the whole thing was that I only knew the fight from a tankspot video perspective. I wasn’t too keen to speak up and take charge of the fight – but perhaps I should have in hind site because I did understand the mechanics well enough.

    One of the tanks did take some control (although he was pointing out things that weren’t true as well). But he still didn’t manage to get the DPS to actually notice and do anything about the bone spikes as was obvious when the one that I knew was doing something about the bone spikes was the first to be hit by the bone spikes on one attempt… and he never got cleared before we wiped 2 bone spikes later.

    I’m still new to any sort of raid leading – quite happy to do it though – although I find myself relatively tunnel visioned when it comes to trying to watch what others are doing during the fight.

  7. Matticus Says:

    We have an interesting relationship. Uh, in a guild leader/raid leader way, I mean. You see, I don’t like putting together raids. I don’t like doing scheduling and stuff. The last time I used my day planner was in grade 4 and is probably one of the big reasons I’m so damned disorganized in my life. So this bossydin here corrals the group together and does all the fun stuff like loot mastering and calling the plays. I’m content with just sitting back and letting her do it.

    Of course, new raid leaders do need a little guidance from time to time. One can’t instill decisiveness into people. Heh, here’s an example of what went through my head during one of our 10 man raids:

    *Healer dies*
    Druid: Want me to use a battle rez?
    *silence*

    *Me thinking “say yes” because we just lost 50% of our heals. We’re going to wipe in about 45 seconds because that’s the rate at which I’m burning through mana*

    *More silence*

    *Boss dies*

    *I facepalm*

    Bossydin needs to be moar bossy!

    I’m waiting for the day when I can really sit back in silence and just let you run the whole play from start to finish. But it helps to have a safety net.

    Just get me some valium.

    • Ophelie Says:

      I like Ativan much better than Valium… erm…I’m probably not supposed to be talking about these things in public.

      I’m getting better with fights I know well! Especially when I’m healing. I get frustrated with not being able to read newer fights and OMG trying to talk while concentrating on what I’m doing. It’s not something that comes naturally to me. (I mean, I have trouble stringing words into coherent sentences at the best of times! Talking is just so much work.) I’ve raid led completely on my own in the past, actually having someone jump in when I need it is quite the nice luxury, but it wasn’t pretty!

      So it might be awhile before you can sit back in silence. Just warning you ;)

  8. Tarinae Says:

    Situations similar to this is why my guild put raiding on hold for the moment. For a while we had a solid 10m team, then everyone decided life was tooooooo important and needed to take breaks from wow.

    My boyfriend (raid heals) needed a break, my MT nephew needed one, my OT Heals needed one, another tank was healing from surgery, my 2 leading ranged had pc problems…

    Diaster. I was having 3 people or so confirm for the run and I was like OMGPULLMYHAIROUT!!!AH!!

    I have been trying to get my mage in on a 10m schedule but it is Tues/Weds 7-10 and I realize that I just don’t know if I can do mid-week. I’m off on weekends and my boyfriend is off mid-week, its really the only chance we have to spend time together…so in the end…I need a *small inconsquential* break too.

    • Ophelie Says:

      Breaks are important *nods*

      We do 3 nights of 25 and one of 10 and I feel like I’m on the verge of burning out. Not with raiding, but with life in general. I’m just so exhausted and cranky all the time. I keep telling myself I need a break from the 25s, but I WANNA KILL SINDRAGOSA AND LK DAMMIT!

      • Tarinae Says:

        It seems -at the moment at least- a lot of people are struggling somewhere near that burnout edge…

        It is a little disappointing to see it all happening at once but if a break is needed to avoid the burn out…then it should be taken.

  9. HP Says:

    You remind me of my boyfriend but he really doesn’t enjoy raid leading at all! He always passes to whoever offers to take over the responsibility at the first opportunity!

    Glad you found your stride and made your method of RL work for you, I hope my bf can too =P

  10. Ryan G Says:

    In appreciation of your love of organization, I will present my feedback in tidy, list form.

    1.) Thanks for leading.
    2.) You’re much better to listen to for 3 hours than Arch was.
    3.) If I was bopping tanks, I’d never hear the end of it. You must have serious dirt on Matt/Kimbo to buy their silence.
    4.) I totally agree, organizing the raid was one of my favorite parts of Raid/Guild leadership. Then again, I got to do it at work (nothing like sitting in a meeting and really organizing your DPS depth chart on your iPhone).
    5.) Sindy in 10-man is actually pretty fun to me. Then again, I didn’t die, so….

    • Ophelie Says:

      I love your tidy lists forms!

      1) Np
      2) That’s always good to know ;D. I can’t beat Matt’s epic and passionate fight descriptions though.
      3) They’re not silent about it. Just because things aren’t said out loud doesn’t mean they’re not said. And I get yelled at in raids the same as everyone else, I just don’t visibly react to it, so it goes unnoticed.
      4) I do prefer doing the pre-raid prep-work at school. Much more fun. The problem with raiding Sundays is that I usually end up doing it over the weekend, which is less fun.
      5) I secretly really enjoy Sindy on 10 man. I’m very patient with that sort of thing and don’t mind wiping and running back a million times. Wouldn’t be sad to get her on farm sometime though. I bet Lich King is even better.

  11. Nediah Says:

    Ry! You didn’t even mention the inevitable having to fill your ranks with other people’s alts and or socials who don’t know the fights when people fail to show up.

    I’m disappointed in my priest not being repped!

    Goddammit I’m going to do something incredibly incompetent besides my former habit of “talking a lot” to get some blog notice.

    • Ophelie Says:

      I’m sorry!

      I really should give credit to those of you who pitch in whenever we need some extra deeps/tankage/healage! <3

  12. Kaomie Says:

    And still BoPing our tanks as of Tuesday this week. Just saying >:-)


  13. [...] The Bossy Pally shares her fears and experiences with Raid Leading. [...]

  14. Saniel Says:

    I read the whole post, but from the first paragraph, the only thing going through my mind was the whole “my raid” thing. Or, more specifically, how quick I sometimes am to tell other officers that it’s “their raid.”

    I just went through a long stretch (6 weeks or so) where I was the only one of our three raid leads available. It wore me a little thin. So whenever I could pass the buck, I would.

    Fellow Officer: “Let’s get invites going.”
    Me: “Hey, you put the raid on the calendar. It’s yours. Invite away.”

    Fellow Officer: “Do we wanna do Sarth3 tonight?” Me: “Sure, go ‘head and put that together. Lemme know if you need me.”

    Random Guildie: “What spec do I need to come in tonight.”
    Me: “Dunno. Ask Fellow Officer. It’s his raid.”

    I’m sure this isn’t the best way to handle any of those situations. Especially the third. But sometimes it’s all that can be mustered.

    • Ophelie Says:

      Yeah, I don’t know how some people manage to put several raids together a week, every week. I like my little 10 man, but that’s the extend of my involvement!

      When I was an officer in a guild, though, we shared tasks as much as possible. Our raid leader did most of the work, but a few other of us often pitched in with making the thread on the forums and putting signups on the calender. Having sign ups ahead of time made life a lot easier though.


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