Guildleader chores - filling your raid from your casual pool

There will always be times when your raid team is that little bit short and you need someone to fill a raid. I personally prefer to pull someone from my own guild, even a casual raider who is undergeared, than pug someone I don't know from trade, no matter what their item level.

For the casual raider, that can be quite daunting.  Suddenly, you're standing there with all the big kids in the playground, and thinking perhaps you should have upgraded your chants yesterday.

"But Daddy, I'm not ready to be the goalie...."
The raid leader should also be realistic - what can you expect from this player?  Are they going to be doing some token healing or token DPS, because realistically, you can't expect them to perform to the level of a full time raider.  Also, do they know this fight?  Having done the fight on LFR at least makes you familiar with the fight but doesn't make you know how it works on normal or even flex.

Take Garrosh on the weekend, for example.  Poor Tacky, he would probably hate being used as the focus of conversation, but what we did to him was exactly what I am trying to talking about.

Garrosh on flex is still not super easy unless you outgear it and know the fight well.  Since our raid team knows the fight well, it's quite easy to make it work when everyone knows what they're doing.  Tanks are familiar with the fight, and so were the healers and DPS.  We were one short and we needed a 10th to make our flex work (though in theory you could do it with 9 but having one extra person doesn't hurt since the health of the boss is the same).  So we had 9 strong players with at least 13/14 experience and Tacky filled our 10th spot. He had never done Garrosh on LFR, Flex or normal, never watched the fight.

Now, maybe he wasn't, but Tacky seemed nervous.  He hadn't done Garrosh before.  And this was the important bit.  For someone who does not know a fight, it's not enough to say "Don't stand in the bad" or "Move away from people during the final phase" or go into a complicated detailed explanation of the fight where you have stack points for the desecrated weapon and then running into the middle for the MCs and then dream phases where you have to avoid standing in Garrosh's purple Annihilate which is a cone damage in the front.  And then the last phase... well, that's even more complicated.

I'm a simple person, and having done lots of teaching to juniors, I know that absorbing something new is not easy in a quick half hour lecture.  If I want them to learn something, I only have 3 take home messages.  I know that I never get anything from a huge amount of information overload about things I know very little about.

So I told Tacky that the fight is a bit complex, and the only thing I wanted him to focus on was keeping himself alive, and heal himself and everyone else when he didn't have to concentrate on moving.  Asys and I would do all the major raid healing work, but he needed to do a few things.  There were 2 phases - the Orgrimmar bit and the dream bit.  In the Orgrimmar bit, I wanted him to follow me at all times and stand with the group, and listen to what Kyxyn said (our raid leader).  In the dream bit, he was to run to Garrosh, and watch the ground to make sure that he did not stand in anything purple in front of Garrosh.

I told Kyxyn to call out all the things we used to do when we were learning - like "stack middle for MCs", "spread out", "run fast up/down the stairs and don't heal anything until we get to the top/bottom", "personal cooldowns now!". And he did.

Tacky did the whole Garrosh kill and did not die.  He didn't stand in any bad.  He followed me all the way for all stack points. He probably didn't know what was happening towards the end but it didn't matter - that is a DPS thing and healers don't have to do anything except heal or DPS the boss if DPS is a bit short (which was not likely to occur with our group).  And he ended up with a Garrosh kill.  His healing was negligible compared to ours, but it didn't matter - he could have been an extra LoH for a dying tank, or some extra heals for someone whilst me and Asys were MC'd... without him we might not have had a raid.

I think that is the key feature of bringing a casual player to a raid, one who isn't familiar for a fight.  You can't really expect much of them, not in terms of DPS or healing.  You certainly wouldn't bring a casual player to tank - well I wouldn't.  The best thing to do is to assign them a task - something that is not too stressful but at least gives them something to focus on so they don't feel useless in a raid.  Maybe that thing could be to bring a particular raid buff that the raid was missing, and to help keep heals up on the tank.

But from the casual person's point of view, if they are serious about being subbed in for a normal raid, they have to BE ready.  Your gear should be fully enchanted and gemmed and you should be reforged appropriately.  If you think you're ready for the adult's table, they you need to behave like you're an adult.  If you don't know the fight, ask, don't expect to be fed like a baby.  And not just ask "What do I do?" but say "I don't know this fight what are the important points, what things are important for me to DPS down/heal." As a raid leader, you can't expect a new player to be able to watch all the bad things on the ground or mechanics and then be a stellar DPS/healer as well because they're concentrating.  If they don't die the first time - great!  They'll be happy they got that right and then they can focus on getting their DPS better on the next attempt!  But until they get one bit right, they're never going to be great, and berating them on their poor performance won't improve them, it will only dishearten them and then you will never get people to substitute into a raid.  Encourage, and people will want to try to please you so they can come again and hopefully get better and it will be FUN.

I thought it was a bit similar to what I do at work.  Most of the time I sit down on my computer in front of my patient monitors and am quite relaxed whilst looking after a sleeping patient - it sounds quite easy.  But if I ask a more junior anaesthetist to watch my patient while I take a quick break (I do have to use the bathroom or go and get a drink every now and then you know)... sometimes you come back and that patient is suddenly coughing, blood pressure is up, oxygen saturations are low, there is bleeding... "What happened??" and they tell me that they noticed that the blood pressure was a little bit low so they gave some drugs to get it up and turned down some of the anaesthetic, but then the blood pressure went up too much and the patient started bleeding, some blood got into the patient's throat and they started coughing because now they weren't getting enough anaesthetic and because they're coughing they're not getting enough oxygen and now they're going blue, and the surgeon is getting upset because patient is moving... which is why I say that though something LOOKS easy from our point of view because we do it all the time, doesn't mean it IS easy.  Experience comes with practice, and what I SHOULD have done was say "if the blood pressure is low DO NOT turn down the anaesthetic, give drugs to support the blood pressure" instead of assuming someone would know, since they are learning to give anaesthetics anyway, right?  Anyway, huge digress...

So I treat everyone like a first timer, and if they feel like I'm treating them like an idiot, you misunderstand, I'm not.  I don't do it in a nasty way, it's just simple clear instructions, and once you show me that I can trust you with the simple stuff, then I'll trust you to be able to do the harder stuff, and assume you know what you're doing.  But until then, I'll make sure it's easy so you can master it one step at a time, because NEXT time I want to trust you.  But the big mistake to avoid is to assume someone knows something when they don't because it will only make EVERYONE feel bad when it all goes to poop.  Ok, I think I've said enough it's time for....

This post has gone on for long enough!


  1. A very good read, and unfortunatly, there aren't enough raid leaders / organisers with that mindset.

    I play on an RP server, with a focus on gathering mounts and pets ever since the early days, but this means as well at times I need to 'get off my bench' when raid groups (especially pre flexible) came up short. I know the game mechanics after 8 some years, but I never focussed on gearing up or spending my gold on enchantments (the gold could buy me one... more... horse...) so usually came undergeared to the fight.

    With a guild group, this was all fine, most just wanted to see the content even if it took ages, but when 'a person you know' gets in a raid group (for real raiding) that came up one short and he contacted 'someone he knew' this has tend to cause frictions. As some take it all way to seriously it seems, especially when playing with a raid filled half of PuGgers and far connections.

    I guess that's why one of the reasons I usually join 'exploration raids' of older content for newer people or who just haven't got there during the current expansion, so they revisit it in later ones, way less stress level for both the leader as the inexperienced followers, while learning the mechanics of operating in a team

    1. Old raids is so much more relaxed, which makes them fun. Thank you for the comment Tomsche and for visiting, much appreciated!

  2. Now, after all this, I have to ask one question: are you available to present this in a Raiding 101 seminar? I can think of at least a half dozen times when I'd heard guildies complain about raid leaders' unrealistic expectations.

    1. Redbeard, you know as well as I that nobody will listen to me. I might as well tell people to stop smoking! Though the only advice I can offer is feedback to the raid leader - and be realistic about your own limitations as well and accept them, and your raid leader SHOULD also be the same.

  3. Wish i could come back and kick everybodys ass on the dps chats, but at this stage in my life its just not viable :(
    maybe some time next xpac the great Roshii will return. I miss you guys so much.


    1. We miss you Roshii!! Someone needs to put these locks in their place!

    2. Rooooooooooooshiiiiiiiii!

      You are missing my leet tanking, an motivational speeches!

      Hope to see you in game sometime in the future.


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  5. I was just scanning the posts and was taken with the header image. I had to go and check you About Me to see where you were from.
    Don't know if you know much about the pic - he's Rory Best, the starting hooker for Ireland and Ulster rugby teams. (I support Ireland and Munster :))

    Is this the first time you had a hooker as a pic? :)

    Good read BTW

    1. Australians love their rugby, but I myself am NOT a rugby fan. I was however, looking for pics of sports stars with a child in tow and this was what popped up. I'm glad you can recognise Rory Best from his... backside :D Thanks for reading! And yes, first time I had a hooker as a pic :P


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