And so it begins.

Prior to leaving my dear Apotheosis, I wondered if I could do the cog-in-the-machine/minion thing. After being GM for over a year and being one of the primary raid leaders for the entire time Apotheosis was a guild (and then before that, in Fated Heroes), I had to reasonably ask myself the following question.

Can I really be just another pawn in a raid leader’s arsenal?

I thought the answer was yes. I know for a fact that I do not want to lead raids. I know for a fact that, given raid leaders who know what they’re doing and raiders who do what they’re told, I would be quite happy.

The problems arise in two situations.

1) Raiders don’t do as they’re told. I’ve mentioned this before, but our interrupters are terrible. Horrible! I don’t even understand how someone can fail so much, so often, much less a WHOLE GROUP OF THEM. So when people are obviously failing, I get cranky and I try to figure out where the issue is. I’m okay with this. I write detailed explanations of our areas of weakness and point them out to the officers and, honestly, I like it. It makes me feel like I’m doing something to help the guild.

2) The raid leader isn’t succeeding in his or her role. This is what I have a problem with. If I’m being led “properly”, that’s cool. I’m more than happy to sit back, relax and chill out, doing what I’m told to do. If I’m not being led “properly” or efficiently or whatever, that’s when MY inner raid leader starts twitching.

I’m willing to give anyone who’s leading me a fair amount of free reign. If someone is in the position of raid leader, I usually assume they’re there for a reason. I assume that they know their shit, that they have control over the raid group and that the raid group has at least a modicum of respect for the leader.

The relationship between a raid leader and a raid group is a very interesting one, in my not-remotely-humble opinion.

On the one hand, the raid leader has to trust that his or her group will be doing what is asked of them. So, as a raid leader, you want a group of people who will follow your instructions, even if they don’t quite understand what it’s for. But you also want people who will think a little bit independently, who will decurse without being told to, who will interrupt various casts without instructions to do so.

For a raid group, though, you want Superman to be your raid leader. No joke, no kidding. If your raid leader is a solo raid leader who doesn’t rely extensively on his or her support group of officers/role leaders, you want Superman. The best raid leader is one who SEEMS to be on top of everything on every aspect of the fight. I honestly don’t know if that’s possible.

I know that when I was a raid leader, there were certain fights where I micro-managed EVERYTHING. Every single aspect of the fight. Like Vashj. I knew everything about that encounter and assigned people to their tasks and by golly, I KNEW exactly how and where and why people would fuck up and I would retool the strategy if it was consistent. But I disgress. That kind of encounter, where ALL of it was on my shoulders, was rare.

Take Kael, for example.

I knew the fight very well. But I didn’t micro-manage it. Instead, I let my DPS officers figure out a good order for the weapons. I chimed in that the mace and staff needed to go down quickly, but it wasn’t me who decided that just the hunters would work on the bow or that the shield would be tanked over there or any of that. It wasn’t me who decided which tank was on which add or weapon. We had our fury warrior (also an officer — really, this was a great fight for him to lead) DPS-tanking the mace to get it down quicker.

Sure, I’m the one who then assigned healing, and I helped our warlock tank out in tanking Capernian — and I healed the living crap out of her, too — but the distribution of weapons wasn’t up to me.

But to the raid, it seemed like we were a well-oiled machine. If someone asked a question, the person who was in charge of organizing that would answer. If someone was unsure about healing, I jumped in. It was a really great team effort.

And because of that, that’s basically how we did things from then on. We’d actually started doing that in Hyjal, to be honest, because I was NOT good at sitting down and figuring out how to deal with each wave. Our fury warrior officer was amazing and quick on his feet, and he knew exactly how to deal with each wave as it happened. So he handled that. Our prot pally officer dealt with tank/raid positioning most of the time. I handled Archimonde positioning, but really, I was very hands-off for Hyjal, except for healing. Same thing for BT, with the exception of Naj’entus. I always organized groups so people would have a frost aura/totem and a healer in the groups and we were all spread out.

I’m rambling and nostalgic, but my point here is that I didn’t even pretend to do it all on my own for most of our raids after, you know, Magtheridon. I was usually the person who had the long-winded explanations, but honestly, it was a team effort.

All of this is being written because I’m seriously questioning my current raid leader’s wisdom in various decisions. All’s well and good when we’re progressing, but the Hyjal thing had me lose confidence in him. We have a “mega-raid” scheduled for tonight, from 6-12:30 and I’m dreading it, but I’ll show up, because I’m a dedicated member of the guild. Honestly not sure if the raid will even happen, because our healers are mostly unavailable. But I imagine we’ll give it a shot even if they’re missing.