Kitten Herding 101

So it’s raid night and the raid leader’s work computer has blown up and she can’t make the raid.

She logs in and informs the officers that someone needs to step up and put together a raid.

Responses vary in officer chat from basically, “I only want to do ICC” to “*chirp**chirp*.”

15 people accepted, but not enough from either of the 10 man groups from Tuesday to salvage either ICC run.

It’s really too bad you can’t somehow mix and match raid IDs, you know, just don’t let anybody do the same boss more than once.

Out of 15 people, I’m sure you can manage to find 10 that are not saved to the same thing.

I don’t care who does it, but someone needs to put together a raid.

/logout

Before we dive into the how of putting together the emergency raid, let’s look at the WHY.

We are a raiding guild. Sometimes we even pass ourselves off as a progression raiding guild. And then the princes wipe that smirk off our faces.

But what do you call a raiding guild that can’t host a raid?

A failure.

It’s 15 people sitting in Dal wondering why they even bothered to log in that night.

It’s fewer people logged in next raid night because they go, “meh, they probably won’t be able to get a raid off the ground anyway.”

And then it’s fewer and fewer people showing up or even staying in the guild – which is the exact OPPOSITE of what we are trying to accomplish.

Just because I and the other officers and half the guild have run ToCr to death does not mean that there are not others in the guild that can benefit – either from the experience or the gear.

Hell, after our embarrassment in ICC this week, sometimes it’s good to take on something better-known and get that confidence back up.

The moral is: the guild needs to raid something. If we can’t keep to our original plan of 25s on Tuesday and dual 10s on Thursday, something still needs to be run.

So how to herd the kittens in an emergency raid?

(The emergency here being lack of normal raid leadership and not being able to continue planned raids.)

First – someone needs to fucking step up and take charge.

Leading a raid is not a wishy-washy “I don’t know, what do you want to do?” sort of proposition.

It really doesn’t take a whole lot of skill (hence why I’m able to do it) but what it does take is someone being the figurehead.

The raid needs a voice to rally to, someone to send out the invites, someone to call the initial shots.

This doesn’t even have to be one person in reality. With the wonder of officer chat and whispers it can be made to SEEM like only one person is in charge when it’s really 3-4 people chipping in.

The important thing is to provide the illusion of leadership.

One voice to pay attention to, one focus point.

Kittens don’t focus well on committees.

Second – that figurehead has to at least act like they care about the well-being of the raid.

There is a very good chance that old content will be run. Grit your teeth and fucking smile.

Being a raid leader is often a thankless task. (Although I did receive a lovely thank you letter in the mail from one of my raiders. I took a screen shot and kept a copy of the letter.)

The best raid leaders do it because they want to see the other 9 or 24 people accomplish something.

If you’re looking for a pat on the head or a cookie for every raid you lead, just walk away.

In the case of an emergency evening of kitten herding, know that you will probably not get any recognition from the raiders that you led.

It does not mean that they didn’t appreciate it. It just means that they don’t think to say it. You also have the gratitude of the raid leader that was MIA for the evening. Although I might not want to express that if it felt like pulling teeth to get a volunteer to take care of shit for one fucking evening.

So we have a person that is reasonably willing to put together a raid and herd the kittens into the same location.

Now comes the third part – determine who you have to work with.

Look at the calendar to see who you are expecting to log in (you are doing this more than 2 minutes before the raid starts, right?) and see who you actually have online already.

Pull out pen and paper (or do it in your head if you’re Rainman) and jot down who you have.

Note who can tank, who can heal, ranged and melee DPS. Keep in mind alts and dual specs as well.

Figure out which ones are your gung-ho players. These are the guys that will raid anything, anytime, just put the kitten in the box and tell him what to pewpew/tanktank/healheal.

Look for people that need more raiding experience than the others. This will be due to either being new to the raiding scene or new to the guild. Place special emphasis on new members getting a spot whenever possible. No one wants to join a guild and get benched right away. They’ll understand it if it’s new content, but you’re not always going to run new content on emergency nights.

Think about what raids these people are already saved to. Yes, this means you might actually have to whisper people to get some answers.

Keeping all that in mind, pick 2 tanks, 2 and a half healers (dual spec FTW), and a balanced assortment of DPS (as best you can).

Tentative raid group formed, time for the fourth step – picking a destination.

Chances are people are already saved to current content.

The trick is to find the highest level of content available that the group can do.

If half your raid is barely geared out of Naxx you might not want to trot off to ToGCr.

If you don’t know what your raid can do, you can always start with something quick and (hopefully) easy, like OS, and move up. It’s much harder to admit defeat and move down.

Depending on the starting raid, you might need to adjust your selected raid composition.

Place and people picked, send out the invites.

If anyone has a problem with the raid being run, tuck that tidbit of information away for future reference.

When people sign up to raid on a certain night, they have to expect that in a growing guild, they will not get to run their choice of content every raid. If they aren’t willing to suck it up for an evening to help other guild mates improve their skill and gear then I can’t be bothered to make sure they are guaranteed a spot in the raids of their choice.

As I’ve said before, attitude is just as important as skill, if even more so. I don’t want to raid with a bunch of whiners. Guess what? We aren’t going to get a kill every attempt. You aren’t going to get the purple you want every kill. Just because there is nothing in it for you does not mean that it’s worthless for everyone else. I don’t care if you’ve “paid your dues” or otherwise think you’re exempt from helping others. You’re not. I certainly didn’t *want* to lead all the 25-man ToCrs I led, but I did. Because as an officer, and now GM, it’s my responsibility to keep the progression of every guild member in mind.

If the composition and skill is solid, nights like these are a perfect opportunity to chase down some achievements that people might be missing.

You may not be able to pull off a 3D zerg, but maybe a 2-drake kill is within reach.

Dressing it up with a little bit of challenge helps keep the experienced raiders happy and really gives the newer raiders a sense of accomplishment. These raids are going to have less pressure than a progression raid, take advantage of that and try to have fun with it.

Lastly, you can delegate.

If you’re not comfortable handing out loot, ask someone else to help you with it.

Don’t know the fights as well as you like? Whisper someone and ask if they’ll explain the fight. Hell, you can have people take turns explaining the fights.

Don’t know heal or tank assignments? Have the more experienced tank or healers help out.

The most important thing the raid leader does is get 10 kittens into the same goddamn box.

You do not need to know all the fights or the intricacies of disc priests versus holy pallies for tank heals. You don’t need to know that a warlock picking up MP5 is probably going to be frowned upon by the warlock community. You can get help on all those aspects. Especially since it’s an unusual raid night, people are much more likely to cut the new guy some slack than if I fuck up.

So what does it all boil down to?

Life isn’t perfect. Quit yer bitching and man up.

Lead a fucking raid.

If my sorry ass can do it, so can any of you.

And who knows, maybe you’ll tear up ToGCr while I’m fighting with a database.

15 comments on “Kitten Herding 101

  1. Arvash says:

    “And who knows, maybe you’ll tear up ToGCr while I’m fighting with a database.”

    ToGCr……almost, so close (damn you, Anub). We should be able able to get him down next time (wish we could’ve done the door strat on him as well, lol).

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  2. Tiræl says:

    Haha. Well, we took some lower gear alts and mains into ToC 10 and roflstomped the place. Confidence was high and a lot of us (I think Doz and I spearheaded this) suggested ToGC 10. So, we got in some main’s and took it on.

    Beasts….lololololol

    Jaraxxus…lololololol

    FC – Ok. Not many people are use to seeing this in Grand Crusader, so there was a little bit of a learning curve. Had 1 wipe I think on it. I then explained on vent that in Grand Crusader, this is a PvP encounter. Defensive CDs/Defensive playstyle is required or FC will Rick Roll your ass. Second attempt off without a hitch.

    Twins – Another fight that got some of our raid. I think some of it was that people had a hard time catching too many balls…(HAHAHAHAHAHA, Sorak). So, I took us into EZ Mode Twins and used the door strat. Zambra got to watch from the floor.

    Anub – STEEP learning curve here. Made it to him with 45 attempts. A lot of movement based elements coupled with stand there and pewpew. We had a lot of trouble with getting the scarabs down during the borrow phase. I think after a couple of attempts people had the kiting down, but scarabs were still an issue. I think people were just trying very hard, and the fact that a lot of people are new to raiding (Read: Situational awareness can be worked on, but people did really damned well in my eyes) hindered us a little bit on Anub.

    Either way, we live to fight another day. Zam finally got rid of his craptastic 232s and got two 245 H weapons. Slice got the pre-3.3 BiS staff for disc. Wica came out with a nice 245 H caster weapon and some nice bracers. All in all, it was a great night and we got some people 4/5 ToGC 10.

    To touch on raid leading, I think I get what the frame of mind was. Doz/Tel had already lead raids that week and were in the mood to relax. Some of the others are timid in nature and are better followers than leaders. A few are just new to raiding in general and have yet to find their style/confidence when raid leading.

    I think we all did pretty well considering it was an emergency raid. Anyone else that was there care to share anything in the “koombya” circle this morning?

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  3. telanarra says:

    “Haha. Well, we took some lower gear alts and mains into ToC 10 and roflstomped the place.”

    You forgot about our glorious attempt to Have Liyhe solo heal beasts.

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  4. Tiræl says:

    Oh yeah…that was awesome. Lihye solo healed beast up to Icehowl coming out when everyone realized Sorak was dpsing….lmao.

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  5. Raven says:

    Wow…princes? ToGCr? I feel…humbled. I think raiding, for me, has come down to getting to Festergut (or Rotface in 10man) just to hear our raid leader yell about how we haven’t studied the fight or don’t know how to fucking move. I’m starting to dislike it :(. /sigh

    Grats guys!!!!!

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  6. koalabear21 says:

    I am so happy for everyone who got awesome gear! I think that if it was earlier in the evening you guys would have definately gotten Anub down.

    Orange told me about the solo healing. Who says Disc priests can’t raid heal & tank heal?

    Great job guys! :D

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  7. [...] ICC I decided to text my friend back and see if he still wanted to do something. I stepped out of herding kittens because I wanted to do something else. You could try and paint it as “stepping out to let in [...]

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  8. crankyhealer says:

    Making lemonade from lemons. So true, you gotta be firm, and just say “this is what we’re doing.” But honestly, the people who say “I signed up for X and I don’t WANNA do Y” are people who are going directly onto my shit list. Bad kittens.

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  9. rustbeard says:

    Having just lived through a guild meltdown/breakup, I can say that the major reason was poaching members of one 10 man raid for another, and then having them saved and unable to run with their regular group. The result was a leader without a raid to run. The result, 10 kittens, no box.

    Running some older content for achievements may not get gear progression, but will allow the raid leader the time to analyize what players are doing, and perhaps find a clue to some of the problems in your current level of progression. It’s surprising how people make the same mistakes in Naxx that they do in ICC – the only difference is that the higher gear level allows you to bypass the problem in Naxx, where ICC leaves you dead. Besidess, how many of us have never completed the Undying achievement in Naxx? How many still can’t dance? Fights like these reinforce who pays attention, and who doesn’t – critical knowledge whan pushing the content envelope.

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    • Tiræl says:

      It gets to the point of handholding. Don’t get me wrong, I will help anyone in any way that I can. However, there are certain fights where I should be paying attention to the taboo..my ACTUAL dps. Fights like Festergut 25 are where the dps HAVE to do their rotation near perfect. Of course, more gear can make this fight trivial, but at this point for a good portion of us, Festergut is the big rotting carcass in our way. It is fights like these where everyone needs to know what is going on, because raid leaders cannot be on vent shouting things while tanks are trying to switch. Too many people talking = dead tank.

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  10. [...] Now, let’s not go into this whole “BUTBUTBUT Tir, ya nub, everyone contributes to the raid success/failure.”  Well..DUH!  I know this.  However, the raid leader is usually the person who knows the most about the raid you are doing, provides direction for the raid, and handles all disputes in the raid (with any accompaning officers, if it is a guild raid).  They are the ones telling you to “GTFO, Fire!”, “MOAR DOTS!”, “MANY WHELPS..HANDLE IT!”, and generally getting all the kittehs in the box.  [...]

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  11. [...] Kitten Herding 101 at Clearcasting is an excellent snapshot into what happens when a raid falls apart, and the remaining officers etc are left to pick up the pieces, because the guild expects a raid.  This is what goes into it.  It’s hard. [...]

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  12. [...] Kitten Herding 101 at Clearcasting is an excellent snapshot into what happens when a raid falls apart, and the remaining officers etc are left to pick up the pieces, because the guild expects a raid.   This is what goes into it.   It’s hard. [...]

    Like this

  13. [...] plea to officers to step the fuck up because a raiding guild should, ya know, raid and [...]

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