Following the Leader

Getting to Level 80 has a lot of different meanings for a lot of different people. Some could care less about end-game and head straight back to Level 1 while some turn in to hardcore players while others, myself included, like casualness, relaxed playing of end-game content.

My guild is a pretty casual guild. I lead a strong band of friends and we were doing some light raiding where we wanted the attendance but we weren’t going to stone someone for family emergencies or even wiping the raid while we were working on things. We had FUN.

But now, as much of you know, a lot of them are taking their leaves before the expansion comes out so that they can come back full force. That is fine, I am happy for everyone who acknowledges they need the break and are smart enough to take it. Recently, I have gotten back into the swing of WOW; I genuinely want to play and experience the stuff I haven’t yet…I want to kill the Lich King!

Not that I plan on leading a raid through ICC, I am only 4/12 myself, but I have been able to get my raiding shoes on and it is no longer leaving blisters on my heels. I have even taken back up my want to lead…PUGs. I enjoy raid leading, I like being the Chief and putting Indians in their place (literally, that is what a raid leader does). There are some things that you can apply across raid leading in general but here are some tips to help you PUG! I am also providing this as a base for leading 10 man raids, I don’t have the patience for 25 man pugs unless its formed from a base of my guild.

Getting Started

The moment that you invite your first party member, take a moment to get yourself set up. If you’re running a 10-man raid, go to your Raid Tab -> Convert to Raid and ensure that it is set to the appropriate difficulty. This will stop anyone from repeatedly going “Will you change it to __-man plz” over and over. It will also properly register on add-ons like Grid for those that use them.

Sometimes, this step can be considered unnecessary for things like Naxx weeklies, but, this is a great time to set the looting system to Loot Master and you will be promoted to the Loot Master. You can appoint anyone else to be the LM if you want, but that is your choice. Also, when setting loot preferences, change the rarity to a minimum or RARE or EPIC. You don’t need to be bogged down with “Hey! There is a green over here!”

My least favorite thing, and most annoying thing, in a PUG is “Healers press 1” when I am thinking to myself, “I just joined as a healer” or “But I just pressed 1 a minute ago…no one joined…how did you forget?” This is more annoying in a 10 man because their aren’t that many options (and holy paladins are easy to spot imho). I can mildly understand in a 25 but it doesn’t change that it is annoying. Here is the technique that has NEVER failed me. Once they told me they were healing, I have never had to ask them again what their role is:

Raid Member Setup Sheet

I set this sheet up EVERY time I lead a raid in a notebook that is on my desk. It allows for a base of 3 healers, 2 tanks, and 5 DPS in a 10-man group. It is even adjustable! Fights like Malygos only need one tank, I can scratch out a T for a DPS. M/R for those not putting it together is Melee/Ranged. It is important for fights like Torovon that you have ranged DPS and less melee; Kel’Thuzad in Naxxramas is another example where melee should be minimal.

This method allows me to know WHO is in my raid and WHAT they are doing.


Based on what you are doing, recruit accordingly. If you need more ranged for Torovon, LFM Ranged for VOA. If you need a raid healer, LF Raid Heals for _(insert raid name)_. Don’t let your group get away from you and what you need and always let people know what raid you’re doing in your pitches!

Also, as a raid leader, don’t EVER assume anything about anyone else’s capability. I have been pushed into 2 healing with a fresh (and new to the class) restoration Shaman and that failed miserably because she wasn’t ready for that. The raid leader would have known had he asked. I have been insulted to the point where someone said healers suck SO bad, he wanted 6 healers for VOA25. Let the healers speak for themselves. Let the tanks speak up.

After all, we all know what assuming makes us.

Protip: Never give someone random the “Assistant” rank so they can invite their buddy. It gets way out of hand way too quickly. Ask them to have them whisper you or ask for their name. That was you can keep up with what (and who) is here.

Also, if you care about gear score, go for it, ask for it. GS&Skill >Skill > Gear. Even a healer with great skills may not make it in ICC10 wearing blues and green trinkets so-to-say.

Linking achievements is a waste of time. I may have it on my main but I’m on a freshly geared 80 that has no achievements…doesn’t mean I am a stranger to the fight!


It is highly recommended that you KNOW the fights if you want to lead them. Otherwise, there isn’t much of a chief for the Indians to stand behind. If you want to lead Naxxramas for the achievement, make sure you know the fights inside and can EXPLAIN them. The Safety Dance is pretty complicated, if you need help explaining take props like smoke flares. If you want to lead Malygos, even if you haven’t done it, you should know both healing and DPS dragon combos (1-1-2/3-3-4).


This is your show and don’t let them or you believe otherwise!

Tips here include marking the tanks, putting out healing assignments, and verifying that everyone knows what they are supposed to do. Ranged kill blood beast but THIS is where they stand, heals don’t jump to the gunship, etc.

The key to being any kind of good leader is communication. You have to be vocal and you have to be in communication with your raid. Use macros if you need to, use a vent, whatever it takes to make sure they know what you need them to know. If this is something you are working on, it is important to know what you only raid warning (/rw) important things. I once raided with someone who chatted in /rw and it made my ears bleed, my respect for him dwindle, and my thoughts about his leadership go out the window. As in life, there is an appropriate and inappropriate way to approach and handle situations.


The best part, right? Sure it is; it is the reason we do what we do essentially. There is some debate on the best way to do loot in a PUG raid. Rolling is the only way to approach the winning of loot really, but there are rules you can attach to it. I won’t suggest you do one main-spec win, nor will I say that open rolls for every item is fair. The only thing I will say, and stand firmly behind is that off-spec rolls shouldn’t count against anyone, ever. When they are saving an item from being trashed or destroyed with the intent to use it, that is great and a better way to handle it…think of it as being green!


Everyone has their own ideas about how loot is to be done and how to perfect the strategies for certain fights, I can’t change that and I can’t change your mind about how to do them. That isn’t my goal either; I hope that this helps you better organize that run you are thinking of getting started. I hope it gives you the confidence, knowing that you are organized and that once you get the people, you will pwn!

I have lead a lot of PUG heavy raids for different things from weeklies to achievement runs, and I thought it was time to share the best organization tips and tricks I have come across being leader or being follower!



Filed under 5-Man & Raids

3 responses to “Following the Leader

  1. Very well written post, Tar. I, like you, enjoy leading raids and while I’m down for the count while my computer is out of commission, I do miss playing. And maybe, I miss playing teh 1337 WoW with my BFF.

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  3. Great post, some awesome tips! 😀

    Personally, I’d say it’s important to always state the loot rules, i.e. Main spec > offspec, armor priority, BoEs rolled for main spec then Raid rolled using activity list, nothing reserved (mounts included). Obviously that’s interchangeable, probably what I’d go with, but the baseline things that need to be said. When rules are stated, not only is the raid protected, but you as the master looter, so long as you keep to them of course 😉

    I have in the past left a VoA 25 raid because the master looter wouldn’t state the loot rules and was moving about on the trash. That screams “I’m gonna ninja the mount” to me. I will leave if loot rules aren’t stated, and I think slowly people will start to pick up on this as the new rule on ‘ninja looting’ becomes more and more known.

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