Posted by: Kro | April 29, 2010

HHM: Lord Moralegar Revisited– Concrete Examples to Prop Up Your Raid Leader

Borsk outlines some very interesting concepts detailing the hows and whys that govern raiding momentum and morale and how they thrive and/or, are disrupted. This post is meant to augment his Lord Moralegar Hidden Hard Mode

Fundamentals such as a death prevention attitude, micro managing your raiders thought process through step by step analysis, reigning in those players trying to do too much and coaxing better performance out of those lagging behind the pack are all touched upon in HHM: LM. Drilling through these broad concepts there remains a menagerie of smaller things you can do as an officer or raider to help your raid leader defeat this hidden hard mode that transcend all encounters and strategies.

Morale is deeply affected by player skill, team effort, and encounter mechanic mastery. These all increase morale through proximity, but to maximize your benefit you need to massage the morale itself.

Let’s pretend your raid is the Yogg Saron encounter in Ulduar. We’ll call phase 1 with Sarah “player skill”, phase 2 tentacle dps “team effort”, and p3 “mechanic mastery”. You need to complete all of these phases/player aspects to defeat the boss. However it’s not possible without the p2 brain team “morale”.

Morale is that brain room. You can have all those other pieces clicking and the brain room can shut you down over and over if you don’t know how to stroke your morale.

5 Concrete Examples for Stroking Raid Morale Directly

I’d like to give 5 concrete example of how you can prop up your raid leader by pushing or pulling at raid morale to try to sharpen your raids focus or bring them back from spiraling out of control.

1) Personal Accountability – Inevitably someone will have an off night.  Either they are an essential player/class who had to be late. They cause a wipe more than once to the same mechanic or they have a bad attitude and snap at anyone criticizing them. Toxic statements can boil up when these shortfalls are discussed over vent or in raid chat in a time of poor morale. As a raider you need to start out understanding the consequences of what you say to others. If someone else is instigating it’s also on you to steer the conversation away from personal attacks. Snide comments are not acceptable in a team environment. If someone lets out a seething remark call them on it in a whisper and say it’s not helping, spin the overt conversation to something more acceptable such as how it’s going to be fixed in the next attempt, or how things will work better under the new circumstance, and talk with the person who messed up in whisper. Good things to say are; Don’t let it get ya down/we all have bad nights no worries man just pick yourself up and lets give it another go/do you need help with your assignment? Any support from someone who still believes you capable of fulfilling your job when you are having a poor night can stroke your confidence enough to set you back on track.

2) Mood Quirks – There are plenty of times you’ll be on the cusp of a new kill and nothing seems to push you over the edge. At these times you need to be weary of frustration overtaking the fundamentals you’ve worked on. My personal quirk is the “Win Bell”. The Win Bell is just a hand bell I received at a buddy of mines wedding that sits on my desk. When we are getting close to a kill I’ll ring the bell over vent and everyone knows what that means; it is time to put this boss away. I’ll try to be clever now and then pretending I know when it feels right to use the Win Bell saying “not this time” or “oops I was a little off we weren’t quite ready for the bell last attempt”. In reality I try and use the bell only when it seems frustration is taking hold and impedes further progress or when we are at the point we know we can kill the boss but we are trapped in a cycle of senseless wipes that is ruining confidence. Another example of a mood altering quirk is the “Hard Mode Hat”. I don’t take credit for this tactic but it is something used in our raids. When it’s time to buckle down and push through the last check mark or a progression boss someone will call for Hard Mode Hats where you must go find a hat to wear in your house. Many of us have funky or weird hats, or just baseball caps rally style or anything that you can fit on your head. If things continue to go awry we’ll jest that someone doesn’t really have their hat on and it keeps things light.

3) Sowing Your Team – Often times you’ll have relatively new members or players returning from long absences. It’s great no matter what your rank in the guild to make a point to reach out to them. A whisper telling them you saw them save that other person caught behind a flame wall, or you saw the dps warrior taunt off the mage to save the day in a hectic add phase, or if they do particularly well on the meter in comparison to previous performance. It means a lot to me when I’m told my efforts go noticed and I love to pay it forward.

4) Sewing Your Team – There are times where non raid related topics come up. Be it during trash or between boss pulls it’s healthy to have a constant dialogue. There are however plenty of times that you need to patch up detrimental topics or inappropriate non raid discussion. In Blood Red Moon we have a few topic ending phrases. Guild/Raid chat topic ender is “Trains”. It is essentially our “how about them (insert professional sports team)”. Knowing when to use “I like trains” is very important for keeping out any gaps in your raiding fiber. Politics, extreme sexual opinions, and overzealous sports team enthusiasm, can paint your fellow guildmates on the opposing team. How do you expect a radical tea bagger and a looney lib to trust each other on the playing field? How can you expect an avid Yankees fan from the Bronx to trust a red-blooded Sox fan from the heart of boston? It’s fine to talk about these positions in moderation but they can easily spiral out of control and promote animosity between people who should be on the same team. In officer chat we use a similar principled phrase. The Monkey Clause is a phrase to shelf a topic in O chat. We have a lot of heated debates in O chat and during    raids it’s not always appropriate to continue the discussion when you have 17 other folks wondering why we aren’t pulling. Invoking the Monkey Clause basically means bring it to the forums or forget it for now there’s other work to be done. A final example of sewing your raid together is to sew the intervals of time together. If you just had a near flawless attempt and an emergency comes up where one of your players cannot avoid going AFK for 5 minutes you are in for    trouble. All that momentum Borsk talks about is at risk of going out the window. In these times, rather than wait in silence or let conversation about mermaids and bathtubs come up, I try my damnedest to ask questions and talk about strategy even when the raid is already comfortable with all mechanics. Keeping folks thinking about the encounter for those 5 minutes will help reel them in when it’s time to pull again.

5) Know the Player not the Class – You all know what your class and role has assigned to you. You know what to do with your spells, threat, positioning based on your abilities. For corralling morale you need to know the person because everyone responds differently. Some players are comfortable or more responsive to being yelled at while this garners resentment in others..

For me personally my focus goes way up when I’m talked down to for a legitimate reason. My previous guild lead had come down on me hard twice. Once during The Illidari Council and again during Kil’Jaeden. The first time, a recently recruited shaman (I was Shaman lead at the time) spoke this line when asked who would heal the rogue poisoned targets from one of the council bosses. “I’ll volunteer Kro” said he. This was taken by me as “I’ll volunteer (to do it), Kro” Fine I thought that’s covered. Well the next thing to happen is the first 2 targets of the rogue die miserably. As the wipe follows, I less than pleasantly call out this shaman over vent. I had made a mistake; apparently the shaman was saying “I’ll volunteer Kro (to do it)”. Blaming the shaman even though I hadn’t realized my error yet was the wrong thing to do. As the one doing healing assignments I should have been more thorough and double checked. I was reamed out deservedly and told more was expected of me. I got real defensive and argued it was a fair mistake and crushed that I was so disproportionately admonished compared to others who made similar or worse mistakes. In the end I was told he came down so hard on me because I was someone he counted on to not make mistakes, someone he didn’t have to worry about generally handling whatever was needed.

With this realization in hand I moved on respecting the treatment I’d been given. I think a part of the effect comes from the difference in my own model for coaxing performance. I’m never hard on folks, I pride myself on being the calm teddy bear anyone can relate to or get constructive criticism without fear of anger.

I have several tells per raid asking me to clarify an assignment they got in vent or in raid chat and I casually spin it off as my own clarifying question to Borsk over vent. If someone isn’t comfortable asking Borsk because it may look like they aren’t paying attention, or it’s a rudimentary question and they don’t want to look bad for not knowing, they can come to me to bear that load.

It takes knowledge of each person in your raid to know how to personally deal with them. Harsh treatment or calm speculation, overt admonishment to light a fire, or covert understanding whispers to put one out, you don’t have to be the torch for each style as all are needed however being one  (preferably the opposite of your guild lead/raid lead/ or guild officers) can help keep the morale in your raid from ebbing away.

Thanks for spilling the beans Kro, I’m sure these will still work. </sarcasm>

Perhaps it isn’t wise to reveal all my true intentions. I’m potentially lessening the effect my tactics will have on people who read this article and know where I’m going. I feel I can continue my practices safely because the final key is to be genuine. You can fake your way along and possibly get some of these to work on people to boost attitudes but eventually you’ll be caught and you’ll lose any credibility using them in future. Most times when I send a tell to someone to try to cheer them up after they have caused a wipe, I’m genuinely concerned for them. Yes I want their morale bar to fill up for the good of the raid but that’s secondary to my wanting them to improve for themselves. My peers can know when I ask a rudimentary question that someone in the raid was too afraid to ask but they’ll never be sure as I ask clarifying questions for the good of repeating information often anyways. They can also know that I don’t solely use the Win Bell for the reason that’s suggested because either way it’s just a fun quirk and the “magic” is in the humor.

I’m not suggesting you got out and lie to promote morale in your raids, I’m simply offering small things you can do to (I’d recommend genuinely) prop up your raid leader and work behind the scenes to augment their plans and tactics involving raid morale.

GL with this hidden hard mode and hopefully this entry helps you keep Lord Moralegar on farm status regardless of your official level of responsibility in your guild.

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Responses

  1. I love your take on Borsk’s series 🙂 I think the part about knowing your players is especially true – to take the old football/soccer analogy, a Raid Leader is often Team Captain, Coach and Manager all rolled up into one bundle (especially if they are also the guild master as it is in our case.)

    Learning when to apply pressure, when to needle, when to praise, when to joke is such a key part of raid leading, but the supporting staff need to know how to do something similar for the raid leader himself. Or herself.

    I really want a hardmode hat. I raid with my SO, we’d get extra giggles in our house 😀

  2. I agree, and I’m not sure I even thought so much about how to needle/praise/joke the guild lead, but I suppose that goes along with the whole idea.

    I think what I mean by propping up the raid leader entails taking the load off the raid leader so they can put more attention into their other responsibilities, rather than using these tactics directly on that person. Though there’s nothing wrong with that.

    And as far as Hard Mode Hats go… I used to have this horrible straw hat that I would use but I’ve passed it around at our BRM gatherings to often and it always ended up somewhere new in the country.


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