Raid Leading Starter Guide

90 Draenei Shaman
-Raiding is not about downing bosses, it’s about wiping a lot and occasionally downing bosses.
-Leading is not as glorious as we like to think it is. It requires more self motivation, effort, and responsibility. The difference between real world leading and raid leading is you don’t get a fatter paycheck for being a good raid leader. It’s a thankless job.

My story in brief:
I was given a guild when I was very new at the game – not even max level. I grew the guild into a fun social and leveling guild. A while after I had hit max level I grew bored and decided I wanted to raid. I quickly came to the realization that my options were to leave my own guild, or lead my own raid. I took it upon myself to build up my own group.

When setting out to put together a raid group, there are a number of things you should have in mind. Below I will talk about each subject and in italic talk about how I did it.

Establishing your concept
What type of raid group do you want? Casual? Hardcore? There’s no textbook definition of what a “casual” or “hardcore” guild is really. It’s a sliding scale. And of course, there’s no way to know what speed of progression your group will accomplish because you have no crystal ball. But what you need to think about is the feel of your group. It’s very important that you establish this in your mind before you start with anything else. Going forward, everything you do, you should keep this in mind.

I’ve always been of the thinking that this is a game, it’s what we do in our free time and so we should be having fun. Our group is “semi-hardcore”. Our calendar is strict but our progression is not. We have a good time and we get some bosses down. Vent is an enjoyable place to be. Criticism is kind (and usually through whispers).

Working with your starting members
What does your starter group consist of? In all likelihood it’s not just you interested in a raid group. You probably already have a few other guild mates or friends that want to join in this adventure. You need to be clear with them what type of raiding environment you will have and make sure they will comfortably fit in.

In my opinion, recruiting is by far the most difficult aspect of putting together a raid. Start up raids are not usually the most attractive option to a prospective raider. Keep in mind, if you’re starting a group with a bunch of people with little to no experience, you’re probably not going to be able to recruit high end raiders. When talking to possible candidates, don’t lie about what you’re doing to get them to join. They will be quick to leave if you have lured them in under false pretenses. Don’t be afraid to ask people to get in vent for an interview. You can get a much better feel for a person in vent than you can in text chat.

Who should you recruit? You should make the decision (based on how serious a group you’re making) on how many people you will be recruiting. Some 10 man guilds have exactly 10 people. Others use two or three bench spots. Benching requires a certain amount of organization. Exact rosters require very strict attendance as well as the need for pugging from time to time.

What you will need at a minimum:
Main tank
Off tank (with DPS spec as well)
3 healers – one with a DPS offspec, and one tank healer (Disc priest or Holy Pally)
5 dps – split between ranged and melee.

This expansion is definitely friendlier for ranged dps, so for that reason I’d do 2 melee and 3 ranged. There are many other things to be concerned about other than just what I listed above. You also need to be careful about gear balance and token balance. The last thing you want is to have 6 members of your raid vying for the same token group or 4 people after leather agility gear. Each class has strengths and weaknesses. Avoid two of the same class of tanks or really any two of the same spec. And it’s important to make sure you have buffs covered. The following site has an excellent tool to help with missing buffs.

If you are choosing to run with bench spots try to go for more flexible classes that may be able to jump into multiple rolls.

Initially recruiting felt almost impossible. Trade chat yielded no results. Initially we teamed up with other starter groups and pugged. Pugging served as my best recruitment method. I also took to the recruitment forums. To successfully recruit off the forums, it takes endless amounts of time, but I’ve found a number of great people this way. This is still my preferred method.

We run with 10 core and one backup dps. We do have to pug from time to time, which proves to be one of the most annoying aspects of running this group for me.
Edited by Saryah on 12/7/2012 1:37 PM PST
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90 Draenei Shaman
Set clear rules for attendance

For a start up raid group, I cannot stress how important this is. You must establish early on that attendance is necessary. Most likely you’re going to be pugging spots when you start anyway because you won’t have a full roster. The last thing you need is to pug the spots that are already filled by someone because they no-showed. Make a policy and stick to it.

I ask my raiders to give me notice if they are not going to be able to come to a raid. We are not hardcore; real life comes first. But by the same token, it’s not very cool to be stood up.

All your loots belong to me
If you are pugging, you really have no choice but to use /roll ms, os. Beyond that, I would simply caution to set it and stick to it. But user beware of master looter systems. This is a very easy way to blow up your raid. Someone will claim you’re playing favorites.

We are currently just running /roll but I have used Suicide Kings in the past. Suicide Kings is a turn based loot system.

Deal with problems head on
You will come across weaknesses in individual raiders that hinders the progress of the group. There are a variety of ways to deal with performance issues. Keep in mind that publicly discussing an issue might be embarrassing for the player. That may or may not be your style based on how serious a group you are running. You might choose to pull them aside after a raid. Or whisper them during a raid. It’s your choice, but the important thing is don’t let issues just go on. In all likelihood, the player does not know they have a problem, so you aren’t doing them a favor by not bringing it up.

However you choose to do it, keep in mind you’re dealing with people not robots. Unless you want someone to leave, be careful how you deal with them. Form good relationships with your raiders and keep them around.

I typically whisper people for small issues and pull them aside in vent if it’s a large issue. I don't ever call someone out in a raid as I don't think that goes along with the way I run all other aspects of the group

Best of luck on your future endeavor!
Edited by Saryah on 12/7/2012 1:36 PM PST
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90 Tauren Warrior
Fantastic advice. As someone who has also built a raid group up from the ground floor, it feels like you really understand the issues involved in trying to navigate less 'serious' players and raiding at the same time.

In particular, I'm really glad to see you mention the difficulties of recruiting in that position, I've seen several people state it's 'impossible', which is not true. It just requires some creativity and patience. I my self used to run an open invite weekly older content run so I could get to know the general populace of our server, and they could get to know us. It worked wonders for us, and there's no way that's the even the best idea. Get creative, but above all, be patient.
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