This post has been last updated on July 14th 2011. While it was written at the time of Wrath of the Lich King, the information is still relevant. I’ve adjusted the wipe part to better reflect Cataclysm raiding scene.
You’re stuck in raid, again… some burst of fever(H1N1) caused you to accept an invite to a Naxxramas raid of all places. You figured it would easy badges for alt no.381 but instead you got kidnapped by some sort of friend and family guild raid. You could swear it was a raid for the mentally disabled but they insist it’s not the case, they’re all having fun and it’s their first raid! They’re doing a big boy raid and everyone is happy and cheery. You’re starting to think ritual suicide might be the only way out here. Eventually, you make it to Four horsemen and the raid leader start explaining some kind of voodoo ritual involving a monkey, a bowl of rice and your mother… wait… must be the fever speaking again. Anyway! you can’t take it anymore and you speak up, “I know this fight. Done it a ton of times.”. Suddenly the vent grows quiet and everyone is listening to you. The raid leader, relieved ask you to explain the strategy since he doesn’t know it very well. You’ve been had and you know it… if you want your loot you’re going to have to teach this group of first timers how to raid…
Teaching to dance
I’ve talked before about my views on raid leading so this post is a follow-up.I intend to write a few of these posts about raid leading since I seems to have a different style than most styles I’ve read about on blogs and websites.
Not unlike real dancing or martial arts katas the first step you need to teach your monkeys is the actual “dance”. Notice I did not say inspect raid members gear or check Recount to see who’s doing damage, you’re in there and you have to work with whoever it is you got. You actually want to build confidence as relaxed players tend to make fewer mistakes than stressed out ones.
Every single raid fight I have encountered has a “dance” to it. By dance I mean the way the raid needs to move around during the fight to answer different abilities, adds, terrain, etc… Until the raid has mastered the dance then the boss won’t die no matter what happens, in fact a raid that really master this can pull a boss down even if they are way less geared. Gear allows for more room for error but the first order of business remains to teach everyone how the boss works and how they need to move.
One of the best way to do this I find is to insist on a few small key elements. Every fight have a few small important details that if not handled will wipe your raid. It’s those you need to talk about before engaging the boss. In the case of the four horsemen for example it would be explaining the tank switch and how the debuffs affect the player. Keep things simple so you don’t overload anyone. It’s okay at this point to skip over some points since the goal is that everyone gets the big picture.
The first wipe (attempt)
Unless the boss is ridiculously simple, or you have a miracle happening you’re going to wipe on the first try. This is why I say not to spend too much time in explanation before. There will be time after the first wipe and everyone will have a better idea of what to expect.
The important thing on this first wipe for you, the raid leader, is to see if everyone learned the dance properly. Sure you will have Recount and a few others add ons to help you but until the raid gets that part down the boss will not fall. So its your job to check who’s not getting “it”. If the boss switch doesn’t happen fast enough for example then you need to explain that part. Explain the points that need addressing as you get back to the boss and try to make it as fast as possible. You want to keep everyone attention as long as possible and nothing kills raids better than waiting 15 minutes between each attempt.
Early attempts, we’re still learning this!
These attempts should be used to refine the strategy and learn the few missing points. You should still be focusing on the dance and iron out the last details. By the end of the third attempt the raid should be doing most of the steps right. Simple bosses or raids with really good gear and reaction will be able to kill the boss by the third attempt.
Middle attemps, we learned the dance!
This is where most raids will pull down a boss. The “dance” has been learned and these attempts are there to iron out a few details not directly related to the dance. For example a healer might be having trouble landing a critical heal at the right time, a dps is not interrupting the right ability, etc… The funny part is that I have seen a lot of raid leaders jump directly to this step. Don’t fall into this trap and wait until you are sure your raid has learned the basics of the fight, then you go into troubleshooting.
Late attempts… guys?! Why is this thing not dead yet? We know this fight!
If you get this far without the boss dying then your in one of 3 situations.
A: you’re doing hardcore, server first, no one knows this fight anywhere raiding. In wich case this whole post probably doesn’t concern you.
B: your fighting a really complex and/or hard boss. For example expect to spend quite a few nights trying to do Mimiron hard mode(firefighter).
C: something is wrong with the raid.
The most likely situation is that your are in the third scenario and something is just plain not working with the raid. Notice I did not say you are raiding with a bunch of noobs. Maybe you are dealing with only a single noob. Maybe the raid is truly undergeared, maybe it’s the tank, maybe… There’s not easy solution here but to troubleshoot the raid.
Troubleshooting a raid
Putting your finger on the real problem of a raid can be a very hard thing to do. There’s so many things that can go wrong that it can take a while to figure out the real problem. One of the first thing to look for however is if the fight is controlled. If the fight is controlled but you are wiping it is probably a small detail. If the fight is not controlled it is most probably a problem with your raid still not having learned the fight. Here’s a few frequent situations you are likely to encounter and the usual guilty suspects.
Player X is not skilled enough
Almost every single problem/wipe can be attributed to someone not being skilled enough. Since I don’t want to repeat myself I’ll write this first. Lack of skill should be the absolute last thing you consider as the cause of your problem. Why? Because if for example the tank dies it’s easy to say to the healers “L2P” when in fact the problem might me the tank not handling the boss the right way.
The raid just dies when the boss does ability X.
Learn to dance! Anytime your raid simply disappears when the boss does X it means your raid still hasn’t learned to deal with it. Re-explain this part and the solution until you stop dying.
The tank keeps dying.
First, are your healers healing him and can they keep up? If they are not healing him when he needs healing, then scream at the healers. If they are healing him but cannot keep up its most often the tank taking too much damage.Check to see if your tank is reacting well to the various boss abilities, if he is then it might be a gear problem. Tanks are the class wich will be the most affected by the gear they have and a not geared enough tank can put a huge strain on the healers. So to recap, ask your healers what is going on and work from there.
The healers are running out of mana.
Again your first question should be to ask the healers what is going on. A healer lacking mana will be either because the tanks are taking too much damage, the raid is taking too much damage or the fight is lasting too long. A tank taking too much damage will be gear or not having learned the fight. However a raid taking too much damage is often a sign that you still need to work on your “dance”.
The fight is lasting too long.
Often a sign of a fight going too long is the healers and mana users complaining about running out of mana often or hitting the enrage timer. In both cases it’s a clear indicator that the DPS classes need to do more of it. This is the only case where I would recommend pulling out a dps meter like Recount to see who is low on dps relative to his/her gear and work from there. It can also be an indicator of a generally undergeared raid. Beside skills look to gear or better management of the fight to give the dps a better chance to do their job.
That’s it for now! I could go into a lot more detail as there’s an incredible amount of things that can happen but my philosophy boils down to this: learn to dance, fix the tank, then the healers and finally the Dps. Hope you enjoyed and feel free to add to this in the comments below.
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