Raid Flexibility: A Healthy Obsession


“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.”
Antoine De Saint-Exupery

The show must go on. It’s a common rallying cry among drama and theatre productions. It means that no matter what, the audience expects a show and the performers have to deliver. I have the same mentality when it comes to my blog. I do my best to ensure that there is something daily here for you readers to consume!

Keep that drama catchphrase in the back of your mind for a moment. We’ll revisit it.

A story

First, a story. Team Conquest finished off Naxx, Malygos, and Obsidian Sanctum. We had a reduced raiding roster. As were slowly working our way throughout OS, I received an urgent message. It’s not very often that I miss raids. It becomes even rarer when an unexpected event comes up where I have to sit myself out during the middle of a pull.

The usual trash clearing chatter was going on. I explained to the raid that something came up which required my immediate attention. One of our Resto Druids were on standby. I quickly explained to him my situation and he agreed to come in. I immediately passed off raid lead and master looter to one of my officers and said “He’s in charge.”

I returned home 40 minutes later. A quick glance on vent showed players were slowly disconnecting and breaking off into their own channels.

This meant either the mission was accomplished or that the raid had been called prematurely due to lack of resources.

I popped in.

“Is it done?”



I was relieved. I think I felt a slight twinge of pride in there somewhere. On second thought, it might have been that sore throat of mine acting up.

The Parts

Raid leader. No, not Red Leader. We’re not talking about Star Wars here. How many players are capable (and willing) to lead your raid? I have four players who are able to sit in the captain’s chair and direct everything. If your answer is one, then you may wish to re-examine your options. Not everyone is able to fulfill this role. Make sure your candidate has the will to do so and the undying respect of the guild or else it won’t work. You can’t make people respect leaders. They have to do so on their own.

Tanks. Brio does an excellent job flipping and rotating tanks around. It helps to keep the tanks fresh and interested in what they’re doing. I have about six players who have the ability and the gear to switch into tanking roles if it is necessary. We haven’t had that happen yet. But it’s comforting to know that the option is available.

Healing leads. Currently Syd directs the healers. I do step in if she needs a day off every so often or if she’s not as familiar with an encounter. That makes two who are capable of handling assignments. Handy in case one of them manages to inadvertently stab themselves in the eye. That hasn’t happened yet, thankfully.

Healers. This should go without saying. Either recruit extra healers or have players willing to switch from their main role to a healing role if the fight requires it. There are 7 of us on the starting lineup with another 3 on reserve.

Replenishments. Ret Paladins, Survival Hunters, and Shadow Priests. I believe this is getting further expanded in 3.1. Have alternative sources for Replenishment. The mana regen is going to be a must going into the next raiding tier. I’ve got a Shadow Priest, a Ret Paladin, and several Hunters who can supply it if necessary.

Heroism/Bloodlust. I refer to this as the raid leader’s personal shotgun. While not always a requirement in an encounter, it helps to have the extra damage available to push through a certain phase as quickly as possible.


We are all expendable. This stems from a core philosophy of this guild. We are all united in our desire to raid and clear content. I have a duty to minimize whatever obstacles or obstructions that could get in the way of that mandate. Not having players or not having the experienced is not an acceptable reason for me. The expendability thought is that no one person should be so important or required that the entire raid has to stop its operations in case a certain player is absent.

When Conquest was first conceived, I knew I wanted the flexibility there. I knew that I could not be there all the time. I knew Brio would not be there all the time. I knew certain key players would not be available. I recruited players into the guild who I felt had the potential to take over certain functions should the need arise.

Whatever happens, the raid must go on.

10 mans

This is where it gets tricky. I don’t know if that same philosophy above would apply here as the individual efforts of players becomes even more amplified. Several of roles above wouldn’t even apply here. You don’t necessarily need a healing lead among 3 healers. It wouldn’t be that difficult to divvy up the responsibilities.

I’m not as experienced when it comes to pure 10 man guilds.

6 thoughts on “Raid Flexibility: A Healthy Obsession”

  1. Great post as always Matt. Your right though, too many people don’t think about the flexibility within their raid and guild.

    This is probably one of the main reasons for guild leadership and membership burnout.

    Thanks again!

    Brigwyns last blog post..This Week In WoW

  2. I’m the GL of a new 10 man guild. For a while I was the only main specced (main class) healer we had. Luckily we had people willing to switch to healing roles if necessary or friends who could come in and help for a raid or so. It’s a small guild but it’s still a hard balance. I have a regular RL who is mute so we get power struggles on vent at times with people trying to jump on her; she uses TTS in chat sometimes but thats not as expressive or forceful as a voice. I tend to be the healing lead/stability inducer I guess. very fortunately we recently had a lovely resto druid join us.

    Anyhow this was meant to say whether healing leads in 10 mans are so necessary — I’d say yes particularly if you have a stll unstable healing corps, or one thats just not used to one another their spec, or just the fight.

    Most raids i have been in have had someone in this position, sometimes more officially than in others but guilds tend to have healers (and tanks, players and dps) — and it is helpful otherwise you get people who think they’re meant to be healing their best friend or love or the person they healed last fight: and that’s not always the case.

    Most of the time if things are going well and all it does become a cas eof heal where the hurting is, but some fights need clear roles defined.

    In 10man grob if you don’t know who is healing the mt, the tank on the adds and the raid in general I’ve seen a few instances where the MT has looked fine (shielded, mitigating damge, avoidances working etc) but then spike down fast and the healers have been so busy keeping the raid or add tank up that they’ve gone out of range of the MT… then in the same raid when people knew who was healing whom it goes a hundred times smoother.

    Healing lead also gives a guild someone they can, hopefully go to and say: “Help me find a way to improve this” I know it encourages me to read up and shammies, druids, pallies and priests. — and tanks… and dps and what they can do… endless variety and obsession I guess.

    Anyhow this got all rambly!


  3. I can’t believe im adding to that BUT

    Most raids i have been in have had someone in this position, sometimes more officially than in others but guilds tend to have healers (and tanks, players and dps) —

    Was meant to have: that other players turn to for advice.

  4. I think flexibility is very important. I’m lucky in my 10 man because I run them mostly for people who are already in our 25 man raids but love raiding so much they want to do an extra day. So they’re already self selecting from people who are keen.

    I very much wanted to run a raid where people were encouraged to think about the encounters for themselves and make suggestions. This has been key to the way the raids run, the key to why they have been so successful, and (I think) the key to why people find them fun. Because in a more regimented 25 man raids, it’s easy to sit back and do what you are told and never worry about other aspects of the fight.

    I run them together with a friend and her husband. Any of the three of us can lead the raids, I usually do it but when I’m away I bug one of them. We’ve also had at least two other people lead the raids (because they wanted to), and because people are keen and Naxx has been quite easy, its been very straightforwards. And I try to get out of people’s faces if they want to run 10 mans on other nights (I haven’t pushed for sarth+3 frex because I only want to raid 1 night a week on 10 mans and I thought it was more useful to gear up alts and off-specs).

    Healers sort out their own assignments. If people are unsure or want a hand then I do it, but I try to talk it through with them briefly first. I want all my healers to be willing and able to help with assignments. There’s no healing lead.

    I also want people to feel confident to come in with alts or off-specs, so it’s useful for dps to listen to healers doing assignments. This is because in 10 man, you often need people to respec – it’s harder to keep class balance if they don’t.


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