Advice for Raid Leaders

“Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life.”

AMY POEHLER

Hello! I’m back, and I’m here to give you my advice for dealing with large groups of people working together in a video game, otherwise called a raid. I have been raid leading trials in Elder Scrolls Online for nearly two-and-a-half years now, and those raids consist of twelve people. I’ve not only learned a lot about myself as a player, a person, and an educator through raid leading but I’ve also created lasting friendships through raid leading, too.

This advice can also work in large groups in the workplace too!

  • Choose a voice platform to work with. There are raids in any game the require people to be in voice chat so mechanics and call outs can be made. I personally use discord. It is a great platform where you can build a server for a specific purpose, and make it your home.
  • Find day(s) and time(s) that work for you and your teammates! There are lots of ways to do this but I made a post on discord and had people react through emojis for the days that worked for them best. After that, I made another post about times and repeated the process. I could have done a voice chat too in order to determine the days and times that worked.
  • Be consistent! If certain days and times have been chosen, stick with them! Only deviate if a) everyone agrees and b) you are changing for a specific reason. I know that after the raid team was formed, multiple people also had job changes, so that meant that we had to start a little earlier and end a little earlier so that people could attend.
  • Get to know your team members. If you are in a position to get to know your team members, do it! You’ll never know what you have in common with them if you don’t ask. My raid team that I’ve led since August 2018 is a unique one because we all socialise outside of our regularly scheduled time slot for our team. Sometimes we help each other in other aspects of the game, or we just hang out in voice chat not even playing the game. This has been one of the best parts of being part of a raid team in the game, and has contributed to how well we work together.
  • REAL LIFE COMES FIRST! I know, I know, that seems obvious. It is obvious, but I can’t tell you how many times people have been grateful that I wasn’t angry that someone had to do something IRL. It boggles my mind! Why should I be angry that you have a test tomorrow that you have to study for? Or it’s your wedding anniversary? Yes, being in a raid is a commitment, but it really only goes so far.
  • Realize when you are too invested in something, and take a step back. I’m not saying to stop being invested. Being invested in something and caring about it is great! What I’m saying here is not everyone will be as invested in the same achievement or goal as your are. Everyone is part of a raid for different reasons, and having that mutual respect is important. Knowing when to step back is crucial so huge disagreements or rifts in the group do not become detrimental.
  • Apologise when necessary. There have been times where I’ve said the wrong thing, gotten angry (from being too invested), or was just rude. We all have bad days, and there are times when we are wrong. If an apology is needed, own up to it and apologise! Your team is a living, breathing thing and so everyone needs to be happy in order for the team to work well.
  • Have set rules/expectations/goals of the raid team. People need guidance on how they are expected to handle certain situations in large groups. For raids, having set rules for things like gear expectations, damage numbers, achievements, and sharing gear will help to find like-minded people. Having set goals will also help your team to be more of a unit because then everyone will be going for the same thing.
  • Know when it is time to let someone go. If someone isn’t working out for any reason, know when it is time to let them go. Sometimes personalities clash, sometimes it could be they are not practicing their role enough, or sometimes they are making the same mistake time and time again while following a mechanic. Letting a team member go is something that is usually a “last resort” option for me. Gaming is supposed to be fun, and having this kind of conversation definitely isn’t fun. When it has to be done though, I usually have some criteria for this:
    • I have received complaints about this player from other members of the team.
    • The member is not doing anything to improve their attitude towards others/skill in the game (or whatever the “problem” area is).
    • I have already had to give them a warning of some kind regarding the issue.
  • Plan for fun. I mostly lead progression groups, which means we run harder content that takes a lot of coordination and a longer time to complete. We could spend weeks on one fight or mechanic. To avoid people getting upset or exhausted with the content, I also plan events during our regularly scheduled time slot for our team to let off steam or to just do easier content together. Breaks are good!
  • Know when to delegate and/or ask for help. Some people are better at things than others. If your team is a healthy one, members will want to help and contribute. I have some members in my raid team make specific call outs for certain mechanics, for example. There are also people on my team that are more knowledgeable of certain roles/classes, so if I am looking for something specific I will ask them for help. Sometimes, if I am running late, I will designate someone to create the group in the game so that by the time I arrive the group will be formed and no time will have been lost.
  • Celebrate the victories! When you are successful, or a team member did something really well, acknowledge it! I have a running count of how long a progression has taken my core raid team that I’ve led since August 2018. I also have added screenshots of our characters when we have completed a trial for the first time as a kind of “group photo”. The victories are just as – if not more – important as the work that went into it!

Do you have any other tips/advice? Comment below!

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