Raid Flavors I. Sampling the Ice Cream Citadel.

“It’s not just the scheme we use. It’s the players.”-Dick LeBeau

Strategy. Practice. Execution.

These are the three steps when approaching any raid boss.  The strategy is given out, you wipe (sometimes a lot), and then you win (strategy executed).  For every guild out there, there are an equal variation of structures and guild makeups.  Picking out the features of a particular guild is like making choices at the Cold Stone Creamery.

So you’re using Loot Council, have 4 officers, 2 raiding ranks, and only one raid leader.  Would you like chocolate with jimmies and some marshmallow fluff in a chocolate-dipped waffle cone? (mmm chocolate).

When you back up to the 50,000 ft level, however, you’ll see that raids themselves are generally run under a very small set of specific patterns (or flavors, if you will).

Gym Class You’ve chosen a PUG, please sign this liability waiver.

To make sure we’re on the same level, we’re talking about real pickup-groups here.  The ToC25 raid you make with your buddies from fellow raiding guilds does not count as a pickup-group. We’re talking about trade-chat generated, get your friends of friends of friends of dogs of friends in here, random pickup groups.

Running a PUG of this sort is like being a 9th grade gym teacher. Everyone shows up kind of when they want to be there. They may or may not have brought their gym clothes with them so they’re, for all intents and purposes, sitting over on the bench or dribbling a basketball in the corner.  You’ve got another set of folks who came ready to play.  They’re wearing their basketball team warmup gear, school-colored sweat bands are on, and they are ready to seriously rock some socks.  Everyone else is just kinda there to get credit, maybe have some fun, maybe not, they don’t really care.

A PUG is the same way.  You have people there that aren’t the right spec with empty sockets (or using common quality gems).  There are a few folks in there from the few preeminent faction leading guilds out to get that elusive trinket because their raids stopped doing that instance 4 months ago.  And then there’s everyone else that’s there to maybe roll right and score a new epic and get some badges.

Then at the front of the class is the gym teacher raid leader.  He’s trying to explain the next fight, but only about 5 people are actually paying attention.  The raiders are in their own guild’s vent making fun of the slackers that don’t have gems and are keyboard turning into walls while they wait.  Maybe there’s a foam sword battle going. Maybe people are trying to see who can win a /emote fight.  Either way, this guy is standing up there telling people what to do and no one really cares (and neither does he).

The fight starts, people run around aimlessly for 30 minutes to an hour, then everyone quits and goes off after experiencing something they’ll forget about the moment they leave the instance (or scar them for life).

Hollywood Film Everyone knows their role, but only one man knows the story

Putting your raid group into this category may sound like a compliment at first, but only a little bit.  You’re organized, you’ve got everyone cast and in place.  The location is chosen, everyone is there…or are they?  You have your shoot schedule, but sometimes your leading man might not show up, or a few extras need to be replaced the day of because of a scheduling conflict.

All of the actors have their script and have read their lines, but they don’t really know them.  They know they are playing the angsty teenager or the former marine Dad, but don’t really have any clue how this all fits together into a coherent story.

That’s the Director’s job.  How good your director is in this kind of raid setup goes a long way in determining how well it all goes down.  The director knows the story, he knows how and where to put the cameras and how he wants his actors to work so that the picture comes out flawlessly.

The more lines that are missed, the more takes, the more money spent.

The more you fail at a raid strategy, the more wipes you have, the more repair money and time is spent not moving forward in progression.

It is nice to have a great director who really knows every possible detail of the story and how every role should work.  He’s the go to guy for how you should be placing your piece of the puzzle.  However, the more knowledge the actors (or raiders, in this case) have of their partner’s roles, the more quickly the whole thing comes together.

There isn’t a lot of ad-libbing, improv, or input from the actors here. Everyone shows up, executes their role, and after a lot of takes and a lot of practice you wrap on your blockbuster smash hit. Party time. Excellent.

Raiding guilds work very well under this model, but generally take longer to get a fight down than guilds of the next type.

(Stay tuned for part 2)

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