We have a couple of people in our guild alliance who are interested in raid leading. I thought I’d give them a hand by pointing out some useful posts and tips.
As a raid leader, your key task is to provide a strategy for raids. I find that Bosskillers generally provides solid guides. The nicest thing about his site is the links to other guides, including video guides. I’ve found that Pillage has a lot of very detailed guides. What makes Pillage’s guides so useful is that they cover trash mobs as well. When you don’t need a full guide – just something to refresh your memory – WoWWiki is the place to go.
There are a number of addons out there that make life easier for a raid leader. Here are a few that I’ve found particularly useful.
ORA2 provides information about the raid’s status, cooldowns, main tanks, main assists, and so on. A lot of the functionality has been rolled into the default UI, but ORA2 provides a better interface and some enhanced functionality.
RaidBuffStatus gives a complete overview of the Raid’s Buff Status. Does the hunter have an aspect up? Did that freshly resurrected warlock get a new int buff? Is someone ignoring your pleas for full raid buffs before a tough boss? Did people "forget" consumables again? A quick Ctrl-Click and you can whisper the buffer to remind them. If you feel like being less discreet about it, you can let the raid know who’s slacking off. About the only things this doesn’t seem to track are
weapon buffs (oils/blacksmith stones), healthstones, and soulstones.
Deadly Boss Mods and BigWigs provide critical information for boss fights. As raid leader you need to know when a boss is about to use their special abilities and these addons help you keep track of that.
GuildRaidSnapShot in combination with our guild site lets you do two very useful things. First it keeps track of who was at a raid. Second, it tracks the epics that drop. If you install this addon, it will prompt you for a DKP value, just leave the field blank and hit enter. After a raid, you will have to go to our site and upload the snapshot. Once you have uploaded the snapshot, you can click on the "Purge" button the pops up next time you log in.
There are addons to help you with marking targets – I personally find it just as easy to keybind the symbols and use that.
Now we start to get into the really messy stuff. What makes loot systems messy is that we try to make them fair.
Is it fair that the priest who’s been there for every raid, supplied consumables and enchants to everyone, and has played with great skill loses a roll for a cloth belt to a PUGed shaman who happens to be resto for this week’s raid but is going back to enhancement next week?
Is it fair when a new rogue loses a str/agi/attack power dagger to a priest who likes the way it looks but who has been around long enough to have the points needed to bid on it? These are the types of situations that loot systems are intended to regulate.
Thus far, we’ve been using need/greed rolls for loot. It’s the simplest system to implement, but as in the priest example above, it can lead to gross unfairness.
We’re going to stick with rolls for now, but this is something we really need to think about particularly as we move into 25 person raids.
WoW Web Stats
WoW Web Stats is a very useful tool. I don’t place a lot of faith in Damage/Healing meters. (How to top the healing meters ) However, they can provide some feedback. If you’re DPS and you’re not staying ahead of the holy priest, there’s a problem. If you’re a prot warrior and you have 3 times as many shield slams as revenges, there’s a problem (hangs head in shame). Big Red Kitty has a guide to an earlier version of WoW Web Stats – just jump down to step 10 as a lot has changed for the previous 9 steps.
I will post a detailed guide for anyone who needs to upload a WoW Web Stats Report.
Player Gear/Spec Evaluation
We haven’t made a big deal out of spec, all we ask is that raiders be specced for their role. Don’t show up in a resto spec and plan to DPS. Don’t show up looking to tank as a paladin without Holy Shield. Do a search on WoW Wiki for [class] builds to see some of the standard builds. Go to Elitist Jerks to see what are key talents for a given class/spec. If someone wants to fill a role while not having speced for it, they can expect to be greeted with skepticism and will have to work harder to prove themselves. (Off specs can work, I knew a holy paladin who was an amazing tank in the pre-BC days when paladins were only supposed to be cleansebots.)
Some quick evaluations tools are be.imba and WoW Heroes. These are very valuable to raid leaders. These tools will let you know that Raider X is geared up enough to run Black Temple while Raider Y isn’t geared up enough for Karazhan. Note that these tools depend on what is visible in the armory and that they are only estimates. If your prot warrior logs out in his DPS gear, he’s going to have a terrible score. As Warshrike demonstrated last week, a DPS that’s undergeared for Kara can still rock the damage charts in Zul’Aman when played by a skilled player.
There’s more to be said, but this should give you a good start. I have a lot of fun raid leading and I hope you do too!