I was inspired by a post on my reader today, and so you get a double post! The Hunter’s Mark had a great post regarding hard core raid leaders, and I wanted to share it and some of my own insights with you. While it was a refreshing sight to see another perspective on my guilds style of raiding, and I have to agree that most hard core raiders are similar to the likes of what he described, you do not have to be that way.
The Knowledge of Leaders
One of the things that THM outlined as a reason behind the hard core raid leaders attitudes was the multitude of responsibilities which he or she juggles. While I agree that leaders in hard core, or progression centered, guilds have a lot on their plate, it is still the personality which decides how to deal with people who are not of like mind. While I am not the dedicated raid leader for our guild, it is still my responsibility as an officer and a Main Tank to understand all of the same things that THM outlined. I know what specs are best, and better yet, I know why they are best. I understand the mechanics of the fights, the group composition which is required for the best results, and the expectations of each classes performance metrics.
This is something that most end game leaders should know. They may not always know these things, but if they dont, there is someone behind them in /officer or a similar channel who does. I would not ever claim to know healing assignments for any given fight in ICC, as they are handled by our healing officers, however I completely understand what type of healers are needed and why. These understandings lead to better encounter progression and quicker kills.
Distractions and Responsibilities
One thing that most people do not see when it comes to raid leaders and officers is the massive amount of information they must process at any given time. While you are pleasantly plugging away with your rotation, watching out for fire, a leader is maintaining rotations, avoiding fires, and watching raiders and their peroformance, all while getting whispers from people out of the instance, out of the guild, and from complete randoms some times. At the same time, they are dealing with calls in vent, raider suggestions, and the constant stream of feedback from officer chat.
These things happen on a daily basis while raiding in a progression guild. If you are the best geared tank on the server, you have tanks from all over whispering you asking you about gearing, spec, glyphs, why this enchant, why that gem, etc. You also may have to be watching the newer recruits and judging their performance.
While most people watch a few vidoes, or even come completely unprepared to new progression encounters, leaders come with a very deep understanding of encounter mechanics, positioning, group composition and and overall strategy already planned out. These things are researched before hand and discussed in forums and in vent. All of this is going on at all times, and they are still topping the meters, or being the best they can be.
Elitists and Attitude
While many elitists and leaders have a lot on their plates, that does not excuse them from having the manners of a descent human being. There is a right way and a wrong way to manage a group of people. The problem with elitists is that you only remember the very bad and the very rare benevolent ones. Your gear does not make you a better person who is above someone else. The Caste system is not part of this game, and you are not entitled to treat people like they are inferior because of your gear or progression.
Just last night I had a random out of the blue whisper from a tank on our server who I had never talked to before in my life. He asked me about my weapon enchant and why I use mongoose. I took about 5 minutes of my time to talk to him, explain his options, and give him some reading material over at MainTankadin. I also explained to him that I have many different weapons for different purposes. I then tried to understand what he was going to use the weapon for and gave him my opinion. He replied with a thank you and a very nice comment that I was much nicer and more helpful than any other tank he had tried to get advice from.
Its the simple things in life. Be kind, and treat others as you want to be treated. We have plenty of people in my guild who do not understand this concept because they are either too young to learn how to deal with people, or they have too big of an internet ego. If you run into these types of people and they are frustrating you, leave. There are plenty of people out there in the game who are just as geared, just as skilled, and have more patience, or compassion to help someone out.
Herding Cats and Bottom Lines
THM compared leading raids to herding cats (or 5 year olds) and he is quite right. It is a juggling act of managing 24 people, each with their own agenda and motivations. This is something which you should think about before you start passing judgement on a leader. Do your goals and motivations align with theirs? If they do not, why is that and is there common ground that you can focus on? In the end you have to understand where the other person is coming from, and if you are willing to put aside the differences of opinions to play a game.
As for the bottom line, I will say that in my personal experience, that is exactly what this game is about to hard core raiders. We are all about the bottom line. You want to spec Beast mastery? Go ahead, just know that you will find yourself kicked from the raid. You want to be a shadow priest, but we gave you a ton of holy gear, tough cookies, your job is to heal and you will do it or we will find someone else who will. This game is about choices, and to progression guilds, the choice is simple, be the best you can or get out of the raid.
If this attitude carries over to a PUG or a 5 man, then there is an issue. This attitude should only be enforced in guild runs where progression is a factor. So, in a PUG, walk away if someone is too elitist, even if it means you dont get that shiny piece of gear you wanted.