Sunday, October 3, 2010

Lag spike

As this expansion wanes down, I'm finding myself more and more in the position of raid leader.  This is not something I've got much experience doing, nor am I particularly comfortable doing so.  That being said, however, I've been curious about how to approach performance related topics during raids.  And even more importantly, when should a raid leader overlook a mistake?

Now, if I remember back to previous guilds I have been a raider in, I've got a wide variety of leadership at both ends of the spectrum.  I've had a former Marine who's now a highway patrolman, and a female college student who just wanted to have fun in game.

The former Marine, as you can imagine, was a gigantic, complete, and utter dick at times.  Ok, well most of the time.  He was hard-core.  He was a former raider in everquest, and we all know from the glory stories every everquest player has how much this entitles him as a badass.  His approach to when a member of the raid messed up was to halt the raid, and wait for the guilty to fess up and apologize - sometimes 15 minutes would pass.  He'd be nerd raging into vent, and once somebody spoke up, he shifted back to being a less-vocal dickhead.

He could give this guy a run for his money...
(Warning - offensive language and mildly offensive crudely done animations)

I think most rational people would not put up with that leadership style for very long, however.

This one the other hand seems much more friendly.  The raid leaders pick a cartoon voice to imitate, and this video features Mickey, Goofy, and one of the South Park kids.  It gets the job done and guild members get a good laugh out of it.
(Warning - also contains some offensive language)

So I'm trying to find a balance between the two, and figure out what, when, and how to approach things like members standing in a fire or hitting killing spree right before a mechanic that requires you to move and subsequently kills you.

This type of problem wouldn't exist, however, if players took more responsibility on themselves to learn fights and positioning.  If a mistake was made, call yourself out on it, apologize, learn from it and move on.  What ever you do, don't blame lag or some odd non-existent bug that got you killed when your character is clearly not lagging - you just messed up.  And it's OK to admit it - faking reasons why the situation was beyond your control to avoid the clearly avoidable encounter mechanic just makes your fellow guild members lose respect for you.

That being said, I'd like to hear a few grand stories of how you've wiped an entire raid.  Here's one of mine:

I'm on my way on my vanilla raiding character (rogue) to my second ever time in ZG, and I get to see new bosses I've never seen before.  I was so excited.  I zoned in, asked where the group was and they had just killed the tiger boss and were handing out loot.  I had no clue where the tiger boss was.  I just mounted up and followed the path of destruction and eventually found them right as they were coming down the ramp out of the tiger area.  I realized as rode up, however, I somehow got aggro on a pack the group must not have killed, because I had a nice little train of mobs following me... So I vanished to hopefully lose aggro.  Nope- they went straight for Mr. former Marine.  As you can imagine this set him off with the quickness - it was rather funny though.  "Who the F was that!? I know it was a rogue!  I SAW YOU VANISH!"


  1. And here I thought you were going to talk about another sort of lag spike which I experienced last week. ;-)

    I can't say I've wiped a raid or a 5-man on manual goof-ups --although the time we were in Z'F and we wiped on the scarabs because I was watching my own health and not yours might count-- but I have managed to get myself killed in spectacular fashion. It ranges from the /facepalm-esque of standing in the green goo to the sublime of falling off the edge of a platform in The Oculus. (Hey, at least I didn't fall off a ledge in PoS like a tank in one of my pugs did.)

  2. I think your style is more Kermit the Frog than Cartman, but that's just a guess.

  3. That second video is hilarious...

    Having truly come into my own at raid leading quite recently myself, I can only second your paragraph about taking more responsibility for one's actions. Some of my raiders have this habit of immediately blaming any wipes on "bad luck", which drives me batty. Yes, sometimes luck plays a role, but more often than not wipes happen because someone made a mistake. Acknowledging those mistakes and trying not to repeat them is the way to get better, not something to be ashamed of or feel insulted by!

    I always check Recount and the like after a wipe to figure out what went wrong and will tell everyone in a neutral to positive tone - this includes my own mistakes! Yet still some people get extremely defensive the moment you mention them in any way. It's tiring.

  4. A tip that I would give a new raid leader is to address performance issues during combat (if you can). I learned this way back in ZulAman when my guild well and truly struggled to kill the last two bosses. We had a very experienced Hunter join our group (his alt was in the guild or something) and he joked around non stop during trash clears, but the moment we got into combat he was all business.

    Anyway, the our weakest member of the raid was our Holy Priest. He had recently rerolled (because his first char was a Warrior and in those days Warriors = tanks and he just... couldn't react quickly enough) a Priest and he was always the last to learn something new.

    But you couldn't do the last two bosses of ZA without a Holy Priest so we were happy to have him there.

    There is a moment, a phase transition, during that encounter that requires the entire raid to be dispelled. You would get the tank first (else the boss would quickly finish him off while he couldn't mitigate anything) and then the rest of your group. Mass Dispel was critical.

    First attempt, and the moment we reached the transition the Hunter didn't yell at our HPriest to dispel, but he did chime in with "too slow" when it didn't happen as fast as it needed to.

    Over the next attempts he got much, much better.

    I like this method of improving performance. No names are called, but it's not passive agressive either "well if someone had dispelled faster...!" and sometimes addressing performance - esp 1 players - during wipe recovery can turn it into something bigger.

    The other tip I would give is to try and stay positive. People can hear the smile in your voice.