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Reader Comments (21)

Posted: Apr 15th 2008 11:37AM (Unverified) said

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Dammit! Noscript might save you from trojans/keyloggers but it sure is a pita when it deletes your reply post :S I'll try my best to replicate my original comment.

"You might catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, but you use vinegar to slay dragons." Especially against those baking soda dragons! Take that Arm-bane & Hammer-spite!

Great article yet again Cam, you're really spot on with this one. Raid leading is a razor sharp edge to walk - if you verbally reprimand someone enough, they'll improve and the group is brought that much closer to their goal (downing the boss) but if the raid leader pushes it too hard, everyone just lost a guildy and now the 25th spot needs to be filled. It is like the raid leader is the 4 star General and is in command of this 25 man army - how many nice-guy Generals you think the army has? (Well besides Dispatch's General - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ki-RtgYHXI8&feature=related )

So not only do raid leaders need to organize everyone in the raid, know every trash pull (Grad body pulling how many trash groups? FTW! ha!), and of course know every boss fight inside and out. That stuff is obvious, but underneath it all they also need to practically be social scientists - assessing on-the-fly exactly how much strong language and spaz outs are necessary to motivate and reinvigorate the group but at the same time not cross that line of "Why the hell am I in here taking this shit? AND I'm paying 15 bucks/month for it? Screw this guy, screw this raid, screw this game, I'm out!" I appreciate anyone willing to fill this all-important role, but I sure don't envy them


Bolgrom
Sum durids is bored during tuesday maintenance

Posted: Apr 15th 2008 11:44AM (Unverified) said

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In Planetside, our outfit/platoon leader was a real cock. He was a smartass and sometimes a bigot. But he knew everybody by name and voice (over Vent), and he even knew where particular people excelled or needed to be in battle. He never hesistated to give you an invite and get you into the thick of battle. He was even at times a friend.

But once a special ops mission or capture-and-hold went down, he turned into a fireball of vitriol and profanity. He shouted and barked orders, he would verbally assault those who fell out of line and couldn't take an order. He would grab the whole platoon by the nape of the neck and stick our faces into the fire. This even caused the outfit to splinter, but the core followers stayed with him, even through his acidic leadership.

And when we turned out to be one of the most effective outfits on the server, he received nothing but praise. Because he knew when to turn the fire on, and when to turn it off. There were times I hated the guy, but I generally always respected him, because he knew what buttons to push to get the job done. And he made us heroes.

Sure it's just a game. Sure some people just log on to casually play. But they don't walk home with the gold medal, and they don't serve to function in a team that wants a tight, cohesive and effective operation. And really, some of these games are all about that feeling. I'll play TFC if I just want to shoot a guy, but I'll play PlanetSide with a 30-man crew if I want to conquer the continent.

Posted: Apr 15th 2008 12:00PM (Unverified) said

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Sorry but verbally chastising a player in an abusive fashion should never be allowed. If you can't control yourself to talk civilly to the other people you are "leading" then you aren't really a leader.

Do people get caught up in the moment and shout things out in vent? Yes, and I would expect that person to apologize for being a jackass afterward.

There are way to motivate and train people that don't leave them feeling like they are a social pariah.

Posted: Apr 15th 2008 1:11PM (Unverified) said

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My site rarely tracks back, so here's my response.

Posted: Apr 15th 2008 1:23PM (Unverified) said

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Posted: Apr 15th 2008 4:02PM (Unverified) said

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Great post!
In general I do not mind when a leader becomes a bit of a jerk, it generally does help the group to get in line and perform better. As long as people do not take things to personally it works out great.

Posted: Apr 15th 2008 4:01PM (Unverified) said

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The best guilds I've been in had a Raid Leader who was different than the Guild Leader. It was made clear that, during a raid, the Raid Leader was the boss. This way, the Raid Leader could be a real hardass if needed to "get things done" while the Guild Leader could be everyone's friend. Sometimes people got frustrated and decided to not raid anymore but stayed in the guild because many of their friends were there. This was especially important for the players who supported the guild by crafting and not by raiding. In true raiding guilds there is (usually) no role for non-dedicated raiders so this strategy may not work for them.

Posted: Apr 15th 2008 4:48PM (Unverified) said

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As a raid leader, you need to be quick, sharp, and get the point across. You don't have time to hold everybodys hand in a raid. Being blunt isn't a choice, it's a necessity.

Posted: Apr 15th 2008 5:49PM (Unverified) said

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I remember reading about a Yahoo! exec getting hired because it came across during the interview that he was a raid leader and the interviewer knew about WoW and how intense it was to manage and guild and raid! It totally gave him extra points!

Posted: Apr 15th 2008 7:09PM (Unverified) said

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In general I think that being an asshole is a bad idea. If someone is consistently fucking up, sure, you tell them what they're doing wrong and let them know that you're going to get someone else to do it if they can't get it right. You tell them this in public so that everybody knows where the problem is.

But when a raid leader goes all-out psycho (as we have so many examples of) I'll give him maybe 2 more chances to prove that he can get the job done and then _I'm_ out of there. Victory is the only justification for abuse, and even then it's a thin one.

Yelling at people doesn't actually get the job done. Identifying the problem and making correct command decisions to fix it is more important.

If your people are motivated by yelling, then I suggest you have incompetent people and you need to get people who can focus on the job without a boot in their ass.

If screaming obscenities is the only way you have of getting through tough content, then you're going to do a lot of screaming in WoW... and life, too.

Posted: Apr 15th 2008 11:04PM (Unverified) said

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I find that belittling people is counter productive. Yelling at people is out of the question for our guild. That of course doesn't mean that people don't get corrected when they blow it. But still, there is a huge difference between "Hey you #^@(# IDIOT! I TOLD you to not stand in the FIRE!" and saying something like "Well it looks like (Player Name) likes it hot. Dude, you gotta get out of the fire asap. You do way too much DPS for us to afford you being dead. Wake up or I will have to post those pics of you in a bikini."

Nearly everyone *wants* to do well. It is up to the raid leader to create an environment where they are able to do that. For our guild, a mature and respectable one is what works. We don't want people that need to be yelled at in order to do their job in a raid. Ironicaly, I have not yet found a person like that!

Posted: Apr 15th 2008 11:04PM toychristopher said

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It should probably be noted that Machiavelli composed The Prince with the intention of describing only how a Prince should rule a country, which is a from of 'government' that is probably fairly different then most raid groups.

Most guild member will only tolerate abuse as long as progress is being made, so ultimately it might be wiser to be more tactful as a guild leader.

While it is important to let people know when they are doing something that is hindering the raid its probably best to use a direct statement rather then abusive language or insults.

Posted: Apr 15th 2008 11:05PM themann1086 said

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My (ex-) raid leader and GM, after three wipes on Gruul (on by the way my first time there), decided to /gkick me. I didn't even bother asking to get back in. Jackasses like that aren't worth my time.

Posted: Apr 15th 2008 11:05PM (Unverified) said

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A heck of a lot of people forget that the position is called "Leader".

That means that one of the things you need to be good at in that position is leading people.

This requires you to know the people that you're dealing with. I like to use the analogy of the high school football coach. There are some kids on the team that won't run sprints unless you yell at them. Some of them work a lot harder if you single them out in practice and point out their flaws.

Then you get the star quarterback who really, really needs you to be careful in what you say and how you say it so that you don't wreck his confidence. You've also got your star linebacker who when you point out his flaws will get so consumed with what you just told him that he loses track of where he's supposed to be for a few plays.

You've got to treat each and every person in your raid differently. You need to get to know them and find out how comfortable with this stuff they are. The *only* way to do that is to talk to them and run lots of stuff with them outside of a raid environment. Heck, some of them will even be uncomfortable with you yelling at someone *else*.

If you've discussed things with them in advance, and you've gotten a handle on their personal attitudes, you can then lead each and every person on your team to success. If you don't do that, then you'll lose people that don't like your style. When that happens, then you'll eventually end up with people who all like the same style of leadership.

Here's the pickle though, eventually you end up with all people who either...

a) Love raiding, want to do tons of it, respond well to criticism, and work their butts off to progress.
or
b) Like raiding, don't mind being yelled at, but need that yelling to motivate them and don't work unless you berate them nightly.

Now, fast forward a bit in your progression. If you *ever* stall even for a slight bit, those people in category A will not hesitate to move on to a guild that's farther progressed. Their motivation is that progression, and they're not afraid to work hard to get it. This means that after a stall, you're left with a higher percentage of type B people each time. Eventually, as a raid leader you end up with only people you *require* you to yell at them to get them to work.

That's the trap. When you manage your raiders right, you end up with a greater diversity of raiders, and sometimes that can allow you to keep a core together even through a slow spot.

I've personally seen this happen to three guilds already... First all the "nice" people leave but everyone keeps on going because progression just got "easier". Then a block comes up and you stall for a minimal time. During the stall, all the A people leave and the raid leaders go nuts because all of those Bs just make raiding a pain in the butt.

Anyway, if you're a raid leader who wants to keep your guild together and forge ahead, you've got two options.

1) Be at the front of the pack. If there isn't anyone beating you to new content, then all of the As are yours by default.

2) Be a better leader for *all* of your people so that you can hold together a good raid group. Then people will hold fast to your guild out of loyalty. If someone leaves because they want more and faster progress, let them go. They eventually would have left at a later point anyway.

Posted: Apr 16th 2008 8:09AM (Unverified) said

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I raid lead a guild in Arathor EU. I found this article very interesting since I am always in the look out to help motivate my guild members to perform even better.

Unfortunately I too am one of the people that will scream and shout colorful comments to failing raiders. Its never my intention to do so at start, but eventually the stress becomes too much and that stress comes in many elements of the position. In the end RLs are only human as well. The problem starts that the RL is accountable for everything in the raid. If a member keeps wiping the raid its the RLs fault he isnt replaced.

First is the stress and accountability to fit 30-33 people in 25 slots. Who to leave out, who slacks occasionally what is the best set up for the boss. Then comes the part to monitoring their performance while raiding, watch out for the afkers, the DCers etc. And lastly the stress of getting the boss down with the minimal wipes. Each wipe needs to indicate what went wrong and why.

And I find that is the most difficult decision a RL has to make, determining the cause of the wipe. Was the wipe caused of members of the raid because they under performed ? or is it because of the RLs choice of the set up and/or the members responsibility for that fight. For me that is the hardest part of raid leading and the most stressful. The danger of accusing raid members for your failure.

I trully believe I feel everyone in my guild as a close friend, especially after all those hours we spend together. I will hapilly help anyone of them them out of raid hours.
But when the times comes to lead the raid, you need to be objective and sometimes cruel to get the job done.

Lastly I would like to say that I would step down of RL in a heartbeat if there was someone that would be willing to do it and do it better than me. Sometimes it just too much and it ruins your own fun.

My 2 cents,

Kesai

Posted: Apr 16th 2008 8:09AM (Unverified) said

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The key is to be the first to chastise however, also be the first to praise.

Posted: Apr 16th 2008 8:57AM (Unverified) said

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Our raiding guild has been around for quite a long time with a few members having been in the guild for 6 or 7 years. We started out in Everquest and while we have a small group in EQ2 and other games we are mostly in WoW at the moment. In WoW we have progressed nicely through the content and are currently raiding BT having entered it prior the removal of the attunement quests.

Our RL is reasonably effective and probably yells and screams like a sailor at all of us. We just don't know it. Why? Because we don't use or require voice comms for raiding. We have raided all the content solely using the game UI and chat windows.

Does this make things harder at times? Possibly but the interesting thing is that it tends to make things more intense as you get into the mood and atmosphere of the game.

So possibly he is screaming at us for our 5th or 6th stupid wipe in a row but having to type things out means that there is a lot less grief and needless hard feelings. And, we do eventually get the boss down and move on to the next one.

Voice comms - just say no.

Posted: Apr 16th 2008 11:24AM (Unverified) said

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@rwmiller: I think it's great that some people still raid without voice chat, but I don't think that I personally could ever go back-- especially with how many things you already have to look at in WoW during a tough fight. It's so much easier to call out phase changes and incoming nasty surprises in ventrilo than it is to take the time to type it (messing up my damage rotation) and hoping everyone sees it.

@Kesai: "Lastly I would like to say that I would step down of RL in a heartbeat if there was someone that would be willing to do it and do it better than me. Sometimes it just too much and it ruins your own fun." I agree with that statement 100%. The times I have acted as raid leader, it's a huge PITA. Having to pick which people get benched, having to be the "bad guy," and being responsible to get things moving is a big responsibility. Those of you that do it well, without alienating your guild in the process, deserve a big /salute.

Posted: Apr 17th 2008 12:51PM (Unverified) said

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This is one of the reason so many peopel i know won't do groups with stragers. I don't have thinskin. but the first time some Raid Leader insults me in a public way in a group I'm going to give what I get. And if that means droppingout of the raid while it's happening so be it.

I don't pay $15 a month for some 14 year old to call me names.

This is a game, people. We're not in Iraq trying to take over Sadr City.

If a Raid Leader NEED to act like assholes, they probably aren't mature enuf to raid in the first place, let alone be a "leader". Not in a game, folks, not in a game.

Posted: Apr 18th 2008 4:51PM (Unverified) said

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Its pretty simple and it goes to the heart of a very common misconception about honesty and diplomacy.

First you have person (A). Person (A) believes that there are two states of information: one that is honest and blunt/rude and one that is dishonest/inaccurate and girly but polite. For him out and out rudeness is labeled as blunt and he sees nothing wrong with it as long as its his honest opinion or the facts. Of course he wouldn't dream about being dishonest and to him he sees the whole world of diplomacy as shady and two-faced. People are selfish and/or stupid and most likely have their own agendas. He sees other most other players as inferior to him and likely believes that they are too stupid or arrogant to see their own faults. They need to be pointed out and railed on for not being as clever as him for noticing them. He probably thinks people are not worthy of respect unless they come close to or exceed his personal standards.

Next is person (B). Person (B) believes that there are at least four states of information: honest and polite, honest and rude, dishonest/inaccurate and polite, and dishonest and rude (neutral could well be added). He believes there are two ways to say anything and that there is no excuse for being rude. Chances are he has respect for people he meets regardless of the fact they exist in another country or online.

On a final note. The from the responses so far it seems that the posters tend to agree with the latter. Good leaders don't ever need to use fear to lead. They use inspiriation, encouragement and justice. Justice involves doing what needs to be done like correcting or even punishing a follower but that is always doable with respect for them as a person. Remember just because the face you see is made out of pixels doesn't mean that there isn't a real person with their self-esteem and emotions behind that face.

A video i saw of the show 'The people's court' summed it up well.
Cocky 'judge': "Where I come from you gotta earn respect!"
Calm Defendant: "Where I come from maam, you're born with it."
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