As a raid leader, part of my job is to choose who comes on a raid and who sits in Dalaran waiting in the random heroic PuG queue.
At first glance, this sounds like a glamorous job that everyone should aspire to in the game of WoW. I almost always get to go on the raid. I can choose who comes and who stays. I have control. What’s not to like?
Certainly, there were times in my pre-raid-leader life that these thoughts occurred to me.
“I’m an awesome DPS hunter – no doubt they’ll bring me along.”
…sometimes followed by…
“Left out..? WHY?!? STELLLLAAAAA!!!”
…and perhaps even followed by a pst to the raid leader asking (politely) why I was excluded.
Composing a raid, leading a raid and dealing with loot issues is not a fun job. I did not aspire to it and did not ask for it. I was offered the role by a Council Member of my guild after I took over the explanation duties on a run in which his microphone had died. It has been a steep learning curve, but there are a few things I have learned about leading a raid which I hope to share with you today.
The purpose? To explain the eternal question of why your raid leaders sometimes “raaaaaggggeeeee!” (we love you, Turbofail!), to explain why you are sometimes left out, and to otherwise seek to find reason in the bizarre behavior of raid leaders.
Issue 1 – Personality:
Raid leaders are human beings. As a result, we are fallible and subject to stupid prejudices sometimes. I happen to like certain people more than others – GASP!
I personally try to not allow these things to influence my choice of raider, but chances are this is not always the case – and not all raid leaders are so careful.
Are you always making snide comments on vent about the other DPS classes? Do you publicly or vocally take issue over not getting any heals? Are you constantly defensive (“no way, I DIDN’T STAND IN THE FIRE!”)? Do you criticize strategies without offering any constructive options (preferably by way of pst rather than in raid chat or over vent)?
Personally, I find certain behavior a “turn-off” for developing a personal bond. The items listed above are a sample. People who crowd vent with useless chat during a boss encounter are also annoying, as are people who constantly spout about how good they are at (insert your favored WoW or real-life activity here). Seriously, I don’t really care what your arena rating is if we keep wiping on Festergut because you are not running to get a spore.
Conclusion? Try not to piss your raid leaders off. Be a nice person. If you have an issue, deal with it privately with the raid leader, and if it can wait until after the raid, then even better!
Issue 2 – Composing a winning raid:
Strangely enough, and in spite of Blizzard’s stated Player > Class mentality, most endgame encounters require a mixture of DPS classes (as well as healing and sometimes tanking classes – though our focus here is naturally DPS).
Some current examples include Lady Deathwhisper, which requires a mixture of physical/magical damage classes for the reanimated adds, and Saurfang, which requires some minimum number of ranged DPS to deal with the Blood Beasts.
As such, it is not generally possible to bring for instance, 5 hunters along in a 10 man raid. Take Icecrown Citadel 10 man as an example. Given the Deathwhisper encounter and its need for a mix of physical/magical damage dealing, and assuming you have 3 heals and 2 tanks, it is unreasonable to expect more than 1-2 hunters (a primarily physical damage class) in any ICC 10 man raid. You will usually need a minimum of 2 magical damage dealing classes for the reanimated Fanatics on Deathwhisper. Furthermore, assuming you have 1-2 melee DPS (which most raids will have), where does a second hunter go? It becomes a fine balancing act.
Buffs are also an issue (though with Drums of Kings/Wild and Fort scrolls, not as much as they used to be). Hunters bring some useful buffs in the form of raid-wide mana regeneration (Survival) and Trueshot Aura (Marks). However, two Marks hunters (for example) are not adding anything further to the raid, as TSA does not stack with other similar buffs, including another hunter’s TSA. Also, with Ret Paladins and Shadow Priests bringing mana regeneration to a raid, a raid leader may consider leaving out a Survival hunter in favor of something like an Arcane Mage, a Frost DK or a Feral Kitty if the balance would benefit from this.
Sorry for neglecting you rare breed of BM raiders out there – you are special too, but I personally have not raided with a BM spec hunter any time in recent living memory 😉
Issue 3 – Gear and ability:
Assuming DPS is needed, AND there is a place in the raid for a hunter of your spec, AND the raid leader is not somehow personally prejudiced against you, then it should come down to gear and ability. Most experienced players will agree that skill > class > gear, though the recent emergence of Gearscore as a religious faction in the World of Warcraft seeks to skew this somewhat.
Assuming you have a minimum level of gear for a given raid, then generally the raid leader will draw from experience as to your ability. Do you routinely stand in the fire? Is your DPS on par with your gear and other players with similar gear? Are you familiar enough with your class to use all the tools at your disposal properly?
Raid leaders are experienced players. They will usually see your successes or failures and get to know you pretty quickly. You will get a couple of chances, but if you continue to fail, you will begin to find yourself excluded from raids. Don’t get defensive – get out there and look around – learn to play. This blog is great, as are the eternally useful sources on Elitist Jerks, MMO Champion, etc.. Look into spec, gear choices, enchants, gems, glyphs, rotations, macro options, addons, and everything else. Then get on the dummy and practice. Practice DPS standing still. Practice DPS moving around. Practice DPS switching targets and returning to the main target. Practice recalling your pet and then sending him back in. Practice switching in and out of Viper. In short, practice all of those things it takes to be a hunter.
There are some other issues that can result in omission from a raid. The most important is someone who is an ass when it comes to loot.
Arguing over loot, especially in public (over vent, guild chat or raid chat), is a surefire way to get you on a raid leader’s blacklist. It can even get you kicked from a guild in some cases. The solution? Learn your guild’s loot rules. If you have an issue, raise it privately and respectfully with the raid leader. If your raid leader is being an ass or is ninja’ing loot, perhaps you should rethink your choice of guild. However, this is actually pretty rare and ninja guilds don’t tend to exist long in my experience.
If you are left out of a raid, then pst the raid leader that you understand and that you wish them luck. Also ask that you be considered for the next raid if there is space – usually, if you have been left out simply to compose a more balanced raid, the raid leader will be decent enough to note this and ensure you are included next time.