Thursday, 19 November 2009

Class Leading

This month's second article comes from the awesome Dom Sacco from Leet Games Blog and I've done an article for him in return. I hardly touch upon class leading with LAG and fortunately Dom covers the subject really well. It's mainly aimed at World of Warcraft players but there's words of wisdom here for everyone. Over to Dom!

This is my story as a rogue, Bluestreak, who from Day One as a guild class leader strived to manage his rogues into the best damn group of assassins on the server. Was it easy? Not in the slightest. Was it fun? Hell yes. I thought I’d provide my top five tips for ensuring your guild’s character classes are performing to the best of their ability:

1. Divide To Conquer

If your guild doesn’t have class leaders, middle-management, officers or whatever else you want to call them, why not?

You should seriously be considering breaking your guild up into separate segments, in order to unify and strengthen it even more. The most successful guild I was a part of did.

The Northern Terror was a fantastic group of people on the EU Thunderhorn server, who weren’t necessarily the most skilled, but had courage and charisma. It started out as a social guild which eventually wanted to take a dip into the pool of raiding. At first they could barely doggy-paddle. But they soon swam.

And the trick was great leading, good preparation and structure. It was as simple as that.

I strongly advise you assign one person as a class leader for each character class in your guild, or at least for a trial period. Choose wisely – the most skilled shouldn’t necessarily be the leader. Can they organise a raid? Do they have good communication skills? Are they friendly and enthusiastic?

Once you’ve selected someone, ensure they create a private text-based chat channel for the other members in their class, for example “Rogues Channel” – and ask them to read this guide!

2. Keep Your Friends Close…

Being a class leader isn’t easy. As Bluestreak I was required to micro-manage raids, research new techniques and get along with everyone. The latter is the part that people generally find the most difficult.

What I found more frustrating was the fact that I had to co-operate and teach rogues who wouldn’t usually get a second glance from me. But these people had been hand-picked by the guild leader, so I respected their decision and did my best to manage them.

Be lenient. It’s easier said than done, but if you can find a way to connect with those who agitate the hell out of you, do it. It’ll pay off in the long run, reap rewards and impress your guild leader. Really get to know those who you don’t get along with, make amends and turn to your closest in-game friends for advice if things get hairy.

Work closely with the other class-leaders and maintain a decent in-game relationship with them. The Paladin leader grew to get along with my rogues and I very well (and guess who got the majority of bonus heals in raids?).

3. Know Your Enemy

Never enter a raid you don’t know anything about. Ever.

Even if you get a random invite (from your own guild or another) and you have the chance of phat loot in exchange for class-leading, turn it down. As you probably know, reputation online can be easily tarnished and so you’ll want to know what you’re doing first.

Research the bosses, the mobs and the area until you know it like the back of your hand. Find out exactly what your class is supposed to be doing – what strategies, when, where and how. Then you will need to relay this to your team. Find whatever works best for you – as long as it works. This can be pulling them into a private room in Ventrillo, sending an in-game mail, an external e-mail, whispers, or whatever.

Only then can you lead a section of your guild’s raid team into battle. By all means try new tricks once you’ve mastered a raid, but don’t try too many new things on your first few play-throughs. You could let your guild down and give your class a bad name at the same time. Not a good combination, I can tell you that from experience.

You can setup macros for certain boss fights or download mods (make sure they’re legal) to send out important reminders in boss fights. For example, “Vanish now!” appears in Rogues Chat and a loud noise is made when Onyxia lands from the sky.

4. Get Equipped

This is probably the single most important aspect of class-leading you must get right: Letting your team know exactly what they’ll need to bring to a raid.

Of course you’ll need repair money, any essential quest items, minimum-spec gear and their word that they’ll be there for the required time. What can be more important however are consumables and extra items, which can make the difference between a wipe and a stylish boss defeat.

My old band of rogues were required to bring ten maximum health potions, a bag full of thistle tea and any other speed-increasing, armour-increasing and health-increasing items. It’ll be up to your guildies to get these themselves (if you don’t have a shared bank system), and you should reward them or punish them appropriately.

If they forget one health potion, that might be OK. But if they don’t bring any for three raids in a row, that’s a problem. I may sound like I’m being petty but the little things can make a huge difference in raiding.

5. Offer Bonuses

It’s not too corrupt to offer a few gold here and there to your best players, as a reward for downing a new boss or topping the damage metres (within reason, as long as they played fair and didn’t jeopardize the raid group).

If you’re a true guild-player you’ll be happy to progress as a team – and if that means offering prizes – so be it.

I used to give 5 gold to any rogues left standing after downing a boss we’d never fought before. It worked like a charm and got the team competitively working together.

Bonuses don’t just come in the form of items and in-game money however. Take your team into an instance or dungeon and see how far you can get. Try it again in a week’s time and you might get a little further. Only do it after a successful raid, as a reward.

Join multiplayer fights together or sneak into an enemy faction’s city and see what damage you can do. Have fun together – this helps build your team’s rapport and boosts their skills.


Don’t forget to be nice. Remember you’re representing your entire class to the guild, and other external guilds too. Play well and you’ll keep your guild happy, enjoy the game more and impress others too.

I hope you found this guide useful – please leave your comments to let us know what you thought!

Good luck and raid hard.

Dom Sacco is the editor of Leet Games Blog: a website full of the latest videogame stories, reviews, features, tips and funny stuff! It’s also updated daily.

[Images provided by Dom! They all belong to their respective owners, as always.]

Sunday, 1 November 2009


It's always great to be part of something big. There's nothing better than banding together with a bunch of other fellows to accomplish a common goal. Beating down bosses side-by-side with your guildies is certainly an exhilarating experience that's almost without equal. There's a reason why players voluntarily put themselves through blood, sweat and tears every raid night and it doesn't just come down to 'phat loot'. The feeling of comradeship that most successful players gain from running instances is the nearest to true friendship many MMOers will feel during their whole young adult life.

Unfortunately there are some players out there that have never come close to that level of bliss in their entire raiding career. In 99.9% of cases, this is due to them being holed up in guilds that don't have the capacity to raid. This may be down to several things, ranging from peeps not possessing the right gear, to members that are willing to raid simply flaking out. I've iterated many solutions to these issues before, whether it be letting folks acquire equipment independently to growing inner-guild relationships. However, it could take a long time for these factors to come together. Your guild may not be up to raiding standard for months.

Alliances offer a quick work-around and allow you to potentially begin raiding immediately. Even if you're a high-performance organisation already, alliances permit you to get 4-5 of your best players and combine them with the greatest from 2-3 other guilds. This allows all of you to try out content that none of you may have never seen otherwise. Hopefully you can understand the importance of good alliances - no matter where your raid guild falls on the hierarchy. They're ridiculously easy to facilitate and sustain so long as everyone enjoys themselves.

Starting an alliance is not hard. Begin by identifying guilds that are in a similar position to your own. Providing you're not an arsehole, you'll already have a good pool of friends to pick from. Even though that really well-geared dude who you hang around with in Dalaran's sewers isn't a guild leader, there's a good chance he'll introduce you to his friend who is. Don't be afraid to network and ask for introductions. Once you know some powerful people well enough, you can go ahead and send them an in-game letter. This just needs to be a 50-word proposal about the benefits of an alliance and how it would work. Ask if they're interested and then wait. So long as you articulate your argument appropriately and haven't gone after the best guild on the server, you'll find people will take a risk on an alliance. Then you only need to create a separate chat channel and decide on the alliance's terms. If you've run raids before, then most of the concepts will remain the same. There's just an extra element of coordinating your timetable to theirs and starting up a joint TeamSpeak. That's all you really need.

Drama will probably be the most difficult thing you'll have to deal with. Always try to remain emotionally detached from anything that could upset the links between your guilds. Don't be afraid to sit down with a fellow leader and work things out on an executive level. Don't dish out discipline on their troops without talking it through with their superiors first. They might not read LAG and may be very attached to the drama. Keep yourself dissociated and handle disruptions professionally. Alliances can provide guilds with a huge step up onto the raiding ladder. Don't let egotistical individuals get in the way of that. Isolate problem-causing people and deal with them or keep them away from activities involving allies.

To summarise:

  • Starting an alliance takes good networking and not much else.

  • Treat allied raids like you would normal raids. Schedule and run them the same. Getting nervous or apprehensive will result in poor performance.

  • Deal with drama professionally and impersonally.

[Now where I got my madd pixx from! Here, here and here.]