How Dragons Train Your Raiders #7:
When to Wipe
Welcome to another addition of HDTYR where I dive deep into aspects of guild management and leadership. Recently, I have had questions regarding when it is time to throw in the towel on the boss and move on or when you should keep pushing for the kill. As always the right answer will vary but here are some solid guidelines for making an educated decision.
Each guild allocates different amounts of time to do their raiding content. Ideally you will want to clear all of your farm bosses each week that the gear will benefit your raid. This will make your average item level higher and naturally nerf the encounters over time, making it easier to progress. As a general rule I think a guild should allow the minimum amount of time to clear the content and spend the rest on progression. This can wear on players though if you spend hours and hours wiping especially if the other conditions are not being met. For a more casual approach about 50-66% of the raid time should be spent on new content, unless of course you are struggling with bosses you previously killed. Remember also that the human attention span for learning is around 1 hour. In raids I generally notice that even seasoned raiders will start to decline after 3 hours of working on a boss. If you have this in the works break it up with a break or two and ensure that you are making progress before you ask everyone to keep continuing.
This one is not quite as black and white or as restrictive as the time or roster depth. A raid leader needs to be able to understand when progress is being made. A characteristic property of a good raid leader is the ability to spot faults and adapt the strategy to fit the needs of your group and still deal with boss mechanics. Raiders will not enjoy mindless wiping over and over, especially when little progress is being made. Even HC guilds don’t do this. They adapt a strategy and keep pushing forward making changes as needed. If you are consistently dying to certain mechanics or not getting the boss past certain phases it may be time to move on. There isn’t a set progress amount but sometimes, generally after at least 10 attempts, you will have a good idea (and plenty of logs) if you might make it through or not. Sometimes you need to hang up your raiding snuggie, analyze logs, discuss assignments, and live to raid another day.
When the wiping is consistently coming from one player that is an indication that a replacement is needed. This is where your level of raiding will dictate how “merciful” you are to players, however, if they are holding you back bring in someone who is on the bench. This serves a few purposes. First it sends the message to the player that they are not prepared properly for the encounter and need to work on strategy and/or gear. Second it will send the message to the rest of the raiders that they need to tighten up their performance. Third it gives the replacement player a similar mentaility and hopefully they are prepared for the challenge. This is one of the top reasons why all HC guilds have a deep roster. It is extremely important to be able to swap people in and out, especially when someone is having a hard time with an encounter or perhaps their class is just underperforming.
For most guilds you do not want to push your raiders to their limits with wiping repetitively on something without making progress. As humans we get tired and bored easily when perform mundane tasks. When we cease to see progress we slip into believing it can’t be done. This causes your raiders to lose hope and slip into autopilot mode, which is not optimum for output or raid awareness. As people make more mistakes it causes the effect to snowball and before long your raid is falling apart. As a leader keep optimistic and project confidence in the raid, however, it is important to know when to stop. Hopefully some of these points help you to make that decision.