Tuesday, August 12, 2008

They made me leader of the raid

Believe it or not but I’ve taken another step in my personal WoW progression.

I’ve been a Raid Leader! Not for a whole raid and nothing more fancy than a Karazhan pug. But still. For a little while it was I who spoke in red letters in the raid chat and the others who spoke in orange. It was I who initiated the ready check. It was I who looked for replacements and I who made us move forward, who signalled “go” when it was time for boss fight.

I still can’t believe it really happened.

It all took place last Friday night. I was in a pug which looked promising with decently geared people who had done the instance too many times. Our only problem was that it had taken a couple of hours to form the raid, so it was honestly way too late in the night – or rather in the morning. People were starting to fall asleep by their computers.

So came the point where the raid leader had to leave because of some real life issues after Curator. And without asking, he turned over the leadership to me.

No escape
My spontaneous reaction was to try to get out of it, to hand it over to someone who knew how to lead raids. I’ve done Kara enough many times to pick up most of the badge gear there is (that will say WAY too many). But leading a raid is something different and until now I hadn’t even led a five man instance run. So I asked who wanted to lead. No one wanted.

What do you do in that situation? Normally I think I’d turn it over to the main tank anyway, in spite of his refusal. It’s sort of expected from them that they should be able to lead. But this time I thought a second time: hey, do I really have to turn it over? For some reason I had the feeling that the guy who gave me the leadership actually thought I’d be able to handle it.

If he trusted on me, why couldn’t I do it? And after all… what was there to loose? It wasn’t a progression night of a guild, it was a pleasure run of a pug, you know that quite easygoing sort of runs you get at the late hours Friday night. So I kept it.

Of course there were some things I didn’t know or hadn’t given much thought before since I’ve never been in command. Like how to set the loot in a raid (a few more choices than in a normal group). Or how to make a ready check. I’m so accustomed to do the box clicking, but I never knew how they were initiated. But luckily I’ve never been afraid to ask stupid question; I don’t care about the humiliation of showing my lack of knowledge, so I just asked and then they told me how to do it.

Marking and yelling
The marking has always been what has kept me off raid leading. I’ve been so focused on my own tasks in the raid that I haven’t really paid attention to how every single mob should be dealt with. Now that wasn’t any problem since the tank was assisting and could mark when needed, which he also did, without me having to tell him anything.

Some other stuff that Raid leaders do came automatically. I was fascinating to see those warning yells and orders in the raid chat coming from Larísa – it was my addons that for the first time ever could show what they were capable of. It wasn’t me who was doing anything, still I couldn’t help thinking it looked a little bit impressive when Larísa shouted to people what to do and what not to do. It gave an impression that I knew what I was doing.

So this was really raid leading in easy mode, just anything a RL newbie could wish for. I didn’t have to do much. Still I clearly felt the difference – the responsibility which gave the raid a very different flavour. You have to deal with the wholeness of the raid, while you can’t let go of your own responsibilities in your particular role. You have to perform as a raid leader and a raider at the same time. Keeping a double focus is, if not overwhelming, at least quite demanding.

Surprised myself
I wish I could say that we cleared the rest of the instance in no time at all thanks to my excellent leadership. But we didn’t. I don’t think it was my fault as a raid leader, it simply was way too late and people needed to sleep and weren’t that keen on completing it anyway (just there for the badges) so we broke up before finishing it.

We even did wipe on Aran because a guy moved during Flame wrath, something I’ve never ever seen before. How is it even possible to do that, with all the addon warnings around? But honestly I can’t say that was my fault as a raid leader. You do expect people to know not to move during flame wrath, don’t you? After that wipe I surprised myself and even got a bit harsh in my chat voice, telling the raid that this wasn’t acceptable, that it was late at night, but that they really needed to shape up.

Me – the cute little pink pigtailed gnome who never says a hard word in a raid, had suddenly become a bit strict. I sounded like an echo of a raid leader I used to have earlier and liked a lot because he didn’t hesitate to be a bit harsh when needed, even if it pissed some people off.
What had happened to me? The only explanation I can give is that it sort of came with the role.

What it gave me
What did this special raid night in Karazhan give me?

Well the biggest reward I got this night wasn’t the badges (I’ve got some 130 of them on the bank and nothing to do with them, except to buy some epic gems if I get a gear upgrade in the future). And it wasn’t even The Lightning Capacitor, which finally dropped for me, my last piece of interesting Kara loot. (But when I checked Rawr afterwards it adviced me against replacing Icon of the Silver Crescent and Sorcerer's Alchemist stone with it, I guess I got it a bit too late in my gear career).

No. The biggest reward was the whispers I got from a couple of the participants in the raid when we called it night. They thanked me in a very nice way for what I had done. One guy said you could tell I was new to this, but that I anyway had done it 100 times better then he would have. The other one told me it was a “valiant” effort I’d done trying to help us forward through the instance in spite of drop offs.

I can assure you Larísa grew at least 1 centimetre thanks to those whispers. Of course I still know my limits. I wouldn’t volunteer for leading a 25 man instance. And probably not even a 10 man if there were any alternatives available.

But to all of you out there who’re a bit scared of taking the lead I’d like to say: don’t underestimate yourself. It’s doable, especially if you have decent people around you who know to do their share of the job and can accept that you’re new in the role. It IS a bit scary – but it’s also fun and rewarding.

From now on I’ll also try to remember to give the people who volunteer as raid leaders a little more of feedback, love and appreciation. I've done it before, but I definitly could increase my efforts. The support means more than you can imagine and they certainly deserve it.
This was my first shot as a Raid Leader. Do you remember yours?


krizzlybear said...

congrats lar! i know i'd never be able to lead a raid. at the very least, the RL must be able to stay for the whole night, hopefully without lagouts.

Anonymous said...

Hey Great One!

/bow ohh super intelligent but barely arrogant one!

I had a GL, that would randomly dish out party leader status... he normally did it because he was the tank, but he would dish it out cause we had to obey the GL, and it was good for our experience.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations! And the Lightning Capacitator is still great if you use Arcane Missiles or Scorch when not spamming AB!

I lead some Kara Pugs and even tried to organize a Gruul Pug (Epic Fail).

Maybe you could try to organize and lead a Kara from the very start next week.

Chris said...

Gratz Lar, hardest part about raid leading is having the guts to do it, people will follow you but you need to be willing to lead.

Typically though I disagree with anyone but a tank being RL until the fight starts because typically we are required to set the pace and suchlike, so it feels very odd not raid leading when you are doing most of it anyway. The job gets easier though, and in a boss fight its much better to have a DPS doing the yelling because the tanks and healers are busy, so its good experience for you since you will likely get the job thrown at you in a 25 man sometime :P and thats a whole lot scarier when you know you just wiped 24 other people rather than 4 or 9.

:P hope to see many more misadventures though.

Anonymous said...

Never thought Larisa would one day become a dominatrix.

Raid leader, sorry.

Anonymous said...

Oh thanks everybody for the congratulations. I guess I've passed some kind of graduation, haven't I? Would deserv a slot in the upcoming achievements window according to me.

Gostboci and 2ndnin, let's not jump into conclusions now... Being a stand in for a couple of bosses was OK or even fun. But it will definitly take som more of persuation and preparation before I take the next step.

@Grimpagans - yeah when we played together I was more dead than alive, in spite of your frequent jumper cable tries. But maybe that's a good thing for a raid leader - if you're dead you can concentrate on leading :)