Hilarious title, when you consider that I’m the author of this post, right? One of the longer-winded bloggers, whose posts can often exceed 3000 words, is advising people on how to keep quiet? INCONCEIVABLE!
But seriously, folks, there is a very interesting issue that can arise in a raiding guild, particularly when you feel you understand a fight better than those who are organizing it.
One thing that I have noticed, as a raid leader for Apotheosis (both now and back in BC) is that I loathe people telling me what to do when I’m the raid leader. Note that this is very different from entertaining suggestions or people offering advice. I loathe when people say “Kurn, you’re doing it wrong, we have to do it this way”. It drives me crazy. In part, it’s because many times, the individuals who say these things to me are wrong (in that they’re forgetting a key part of the fight or encounter or whatever), but it’s also like, “hey, now, buddy. Show a little respect for the pecking order.”
In Apotheosis, I’m in charge. I oversee the raids, I am the guild master. I don’t run the guild like a dictatorship and I don’t have vetos or anything and I largely view my role as one of a mediator/administrator/communicator, rather than one of SUPREME DICTATORSHIP. (Although I have fantasies about being able to do anything I want, from time to time. What guild master doesn’t?) But really, I don’t have to “answer” to anyone, technically, when it comes to raids. (Apart from showing progress for my raid group, lest they lose faith in me.)
Having said that, we do have review threads up for every single raid and everyone is welcome to chime in about what they thought worked/didn’t work and how to better improve something. 25 pairs of eyes is better than one, after all. I’m more than happy to hear what the guildies saw and what they think and I may (or may not) incorporate their suggestions/observations into further refinements of strategy.
I will even sometimes ask during the raids if anyone has an idea for something or if people have any suggestions, although most of our discussions take place on our forums.
And I also constantly consult with the officers to see what the impressions/problems are from a DPS/healing standpoint as well.
So it’s not that I don’t like taking advice and it’s not that I don’t like hearing what others think. I just feel strongly that there’s a time and a place for it and, in our guild, more often than not, it’s in the raid review forum.
Now flip that around.
Two nights a week, I raid with Choice — as a holy pally (on the “baby pally”, as I call her). The fights are the same as what I’ve seen in Apotheosis, since we’re both raiding Dragon Soul and attempting heroic bosses, both on 25-man. My own role is almost easy, because all I have to do is heal my assignment, as opposed to heal as well as oversee everything. It’s FUN to raid without any additional responsibility.
All of a sudden, however, I am keenly aware that I know the fights very well (given my other role as a raid leader with Apotheosis) and possibly know them better than some of the people in that guild.
The question here, when the raid group is struggling on an encounter, is “do I say something or do I keep my mouth shut?”
Since I absolutely loathe being told what to do in my own raids, I try to approach being a raider the way I want my raiders to act towards me. I will likely, privately, point out some issues to an officer and if the officer encourages me to do so, I’ll whisper the RL themselves. Or, even more likely, I’ll send a PM to an officer at the end of the raid, or occasionally post something in the raid forum after the raid with some of my identification of issues.
Throughout the raid itself, I will usually not say a lot with regards to strategy. That’s not my role. It’s not my raid group. And since I only raid twice a week with them, the officers are a lot more familiar with their group than I am. While most strats for most bosses share a similar basic strategy, it’s the nitty gritty parts that can, and do, change from raid group to raid group. I have to trust that the leaders in Choice are doing what’s best for their group.
Even if they’re struggling.
It’s occasionally frustrating to see the raid group not doing as well as they could be. The question isn’t actually saying something versus not saying something: it’s “do everything I can to make sure the raid succeeds versus letting them figure it out themselves”.
While I have no doubt that Choice will eventually get to the point where they want to be for kills and progression (they’re just one boss back of Apotheosis), it’s still sometimes hard to see them hit the exact same struggles we saw, because I KNOW how we solved that. Hell, I probably HELPED to solve that problem. And since they’re so close to us in progression, it’s really fresh in my mind as to how we solved those issues.
But at the same time, I know that I would quickly lose patience with some know-it-all who showed up in MY raid and proceeded to tell me how to do MY job as a raid leader.
So I largely keep my mouth shut with regards to strategy in a raid setting, unless I’m asked about something in particular.
But I do touch base with some of the officers to let them know of my concerns or issues or suggestions, usually after the raid. Choice has a raid forum for discussions, but they don’t do the level of raid review that Apotheosis does, so on the rare occasions I’ll post something public in the forums, it’s often just a lone post from me saying “well, this is why the tank died, this is who blew up the raid with deep corruption” and the like.
That’s also kind of frustrating, because I know the people there are interested in bettering their performances and preventing mistakes, but since it’s usually me posting these things, I feel like the mean ol’ person calling people out. In Apotheosis, that’s fine! I’m the raid leader! I can do that! In Choice, it’s somewhat more difficult to get my points across without seeming as though I’m an authority figure, or trying to BE an authority figure.
So for me, the best way to deal with this is to whisper or private message an officer with my concerns and post where appropriate on the guild forums.
My advice to those who are watching their raid group struggling, who think they have a better idea — unless asked for your advice during a raid, hold off until afterwards. Chime in on a review thread, or start your own, or chat with your role officer/friendly officer about your thoughts and ideas.
So it’s not exactly shutting your mouth. It’s more like holding your tongue until you have an appropriate time and place to discuss those things. And something else you need to be aware of: your advice may not always be taken or listened to. Unless you’re in charge of the raids, you always have to expect that your advice may be dismissed by the leaders. And that’s okay — you’re a team and your leaders may choose to go in another direction. The best thing you can do, as a member of that team, is support your team and team leaders and throw in your two cents’ worth at appropriate times in appropriate places.
(Seriously. Warlocks. Apply now. Please.)