"He who wishes to be obeyed must know how to command. " - Niccolo Machiavelli
Gray clouds blanket the sky, blocking the carnage of war from the eyes of the gods. Snow falls on grim faces. Gloved hands clutch the hardened wooden handles of spears and swords. Cold eyes, alive now but perhaps soon dead, stare over the dunes of white snow. A rumble grows in the distance. It gets closer, followed by the rings of armored plates crashing together. The first giant appears over the horizon. Another appears beside it. Then another and another. They are huge. They roar the name of Rallos Zek and raise their own swords, ten feet long and sharp as razors. One adventurer holds his sword high into the air and returns the roar. A battle explodes in sweat and steel and blood.
At one time or another in our paths as adventurers on Norrath we might find ourselves at the lead of one such battle. Few of us are born into leadership as the warlords of Felwithe are. Sometimes we find ourselves leading three dozen people without an ounce of experience under our belt. Sometimes a guide like this is all we have.
This guide outlines a crash course in leading a raid. Rather than specific tactics against various beasts, this guide outlines the strategies and basic tips for leading a successful raid. For many powerful warlords, this guide will help little. The following guidelines are written to last the ages, whether you target Emperor Crush or Fennin Ro. Let us begin.
Before any successful raid can begin, one must seek all knowledge of this raid. Read message boards, post questions, seek answers from the great oracles of Google. Most have fought your battle before, learn from their triumphs and their mistakes. There is little worse than a raid leader who does not understand his or her own raid. Do not fear asking for help from those who have battled what you soon face. Add an advisor to your command group. Ask for help from them, and them alone, through tells or in a group chat. Do not ask an entire raid for advise or you make your ignorance clear to all and that leads quickly to failure.
Decide Swiftly and Stay with that Decision.
Be decisive in all of your actions. Choose a path and stick to it. Know exactly what it is you seek and exactly how you plan to get there. Do not lead by bureaucracy, only you command. Do not allow any other to speak for you except for a single delegated second-in-comand. If voices rise up in protest, crush them down or let them leave to their own path. You lead raids against Norrath's mightiest beasts, do not let someone's loud voice quiet your own.
Start On Time
Choose a time for your raid and start within 30 minutes of the start time. If you do not have the forces to start within 30 minutes of your start time, do not waste your time or the time of everyone who showed up on time by waiting for stragglers. Choose another time and cancel the raid. Remember that every person at your event spends their time on top of your own. A single hour raid with 30 people takes up 30 hours of people's time. Do not waste 15 people-hours waiting for people to log in. Do not insult the promptness of those who showed up on time by bowing down to those who do not. Be prepared to cancel your raid if you cannot start on time.
End On Time
"The way of the warrior is resolute acceptance of death." - Miyamoto Musashi
Have an end goal and an estimated time. Tell people how long a raid should take and end it on time. Do not drag those who would fight with you through hours of unscheduled events. Do not change the focus of a raid half way in and end up turning a two hour raid into a six hour one. Generally, plan all raids for under two hours. People won't want to battle much longer than that.
There are many jobs on a raid and no one person should do them all. Delegate out the portions not requiring your personal attention. Use people you trust to assist you with individual tasks. Assign a second-in-command to lead the raid should you die or go linkdead. Make sure he or she understands what the raid needs to accomplish at all times and is prepared to step into leadership at a moment's notice. Assign a scout, a puller, a main tank, a loot distributer, and group leaders. Choose people you trust. Make sure raiders use the chain of command starting with their group leader first, the second-in-command next, and finally you.
"Fixed fortifications are monuments to the stupidity of man." - George S. Patton.
Always keep a raid in constant motion. Always have beasts in the camp to fight. Stay still for as little time as necessary. Do not waste too much time buffing or planning. You should already be prepared and ready to do what you need to. Keep a raid constantly moving and attacking. The more you wait, the less people will be ready when you do. Avoid people going afk by keeping them constantly in battle or constantly running. A raid should be a whirlwind of motion from the minute it starts until the minute it ends.
Define Goals and Rewards
Before a raid is called, know the goal of the raid. Keep this goal in mind at all times and stick to it. Do not change a raid's goal. If treasure is involved, make sure it is clear to all raiders how treasure will be distributed. Make sure your treasure distributer, the person you delegated treasure handling to, understands clearly how loot will be distributed. Should loot be distributed randomly, roll on it as soon as you can, do not wait.
Compose Balanced Groups
Know how classes should be distributed within each group and use the "raid lock" feature to rearrange groups to the way you want them. Build a command group, a group with your delegates, scouts, advisers, and primary armored bladeswinger. Most groups should have a healer to keep an eye on a group's health but the rest of the group may change depending on the situations. Know beforehand how groups should be balanced.
"Know your enemy and know yourself and you will be successful in 100 battles" - Sun Tzu, the Art of War
Know Your Tools
There are many in-game tools to lead raids and we gain new ones often. Understand how these tools work. Spend some time learning about them from other successful raid leaders. Read up on new features. Experiment with them before you lead a raid. Use the raid window, the "raid lock" feature, and the new raid voice macros to assist you with your battles.
When planning a raid, plan raids that others have not done before. You will not get people to come on an event that may be many years old. Our world constantly shifts and changes and it is important that we change with it. Find new fun events that few have done before and always keep your eye forward to new events. You will watch your ranks swell if you continually fight forward.
Don't Let Perfect Be the Enemy of Good
"The Marines don't want robots, they want killers." - Full Metal Jacket
Keep control of your raid but not too much control. You don't want to waste time on pointless exercises in discipline. Keep your raid hungry and make sure they stay focused but remember that they are each individuals. As long as the raid is fun and successful, little else matters. If you continually move your raid, your raiders will have little choice but to follow through with you. If you stay still, they are more likely to run off on their own or sit where they are when you need them to move.
These are just a few guidelines for leading a successful raid. The best way to learn how to raid is to raid. As you join other raids, watch how people lead them. Whether good or bad, you will learn much watching the leadership of others. Raids come in many varieties. No one set of rules will work for all possible circumstances. Use the rules above and your chances for success increase. Ignore them and the folly is yours.
4 November 2004