Monster Play Raid Leader (Creep)

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Monster Play
Creep Topics: Classes, Traits, Skills, Stats, Titles, Races, Ranks, Raiding, Troll Sessions
Freep Topics: Stats, Titles, Ranks, Raiding, Quests, Armour Sets, Ranger Sessions

This is a VERY long article. It is broken into segments so you can navigate to and from the various areas but leading raids is a complex topic and, as such, the document will try and cover it as completely as possible.

Interested in Leading Raids?

So, you are interested in information on Raid Leaders for the Army of Angmar? Welcome to the world of expectations that can NEVER be meet.

Leading a raid of up to 24 players, communicating with other raids, groups and individuals, knowing how to out smart your opponents at each encounter, directly facing enemies just like everyone else in your raid while knowing that HALF your raid is liable to break and run at the first hint of trouble with you having to convince them to stand and fight or order a withdrawal when it *looks* like your raid is doing really well... Leading a raid is not an easy task.

Yes, you WILL make mistakes. You WILL be wrong at times and you WILL NOT have a plan for every last potential situation that may pop out and bite you where you sit. The Raid Leader gets credit as a good leader for wins -- shared with the raid "we kicked butt!!!" style. The Raid Leader gets "credit" for every foul up and failure the raid runs across -- often as THE individual responsible for the failures "why did you have us split up when it was OBVIOUS that they would do that?!?!?" (usually from a 20-20 hind-sight perspective and only after a discussion to get that "obvious" clear enough for "everyone"/"ANYONE" to see...).

So... If you really want to take on "being the boss" and figuring it all out, read on. If not -- welcome to the mass majority that can't do the job but will criticize those who are willing to at least TRY and do something about leadership for the creeps. It isn't a thankless job but it sure as hell has it's "ouch" factor.

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PvE versus PvMP Raid Leading

Ahh... The joys of getting a mixed bag of folks to "be a team" when even they don't know what each other can or cannot do... Yes, PvMP raid leading is MUCH more difficult than PvE raid leading but the success or failure of a raid still lays heavy upon the shoulders of the raid leader. YOU will be expected to get "the team" through and adjust your tactics based upon your troops strengths.

For PvE raids, you pick the team based upon the classes you will need to take on a particular target -- if you are going to The Rift or Helegrod or any other major raid location, a Raid Leader will make sure certain rolls, tasks and functions are covered within their team. Tactics tend to be based upon the composition of the team and, because you are running against "scripted" opponents, you can predict each fight, schedule breaks and know when/where you will need to do which specific things to "win"

Well, in Monster Play you tend to get a "team" based strictly upon who shows up. You really don't get to pick "4 Warleaders, 4 Defilers, 6 Wargs, 3 Reavers, 5 Blackarrows, 2 Weavers" nor any other such "pre-set" team. You also don't get to pick how "well traited and geared" they are nor can you tell them to "stock up on supplies for the run". That "run" is 24 x 7 while folks are on-line and you get who is willing to come along to "fight the good fight". In most cases, you end up with a mixed bag of folks, at various ranks, with various degrees of "supplies" on hand and few, if any, will hand supplies to those that "forgot to stock up" to see that you "win an encounter" -- if they didn't spend the coin/stones to get those supplies... Sucks to be them 'cause they're gonna die more than those who did stock up. Such attitudes don't float well in PvE land but in PvMP... That *IS* "how the world works".

Thus "tactics", for any given situation, will really depend upon what ranks of what classes with which supplies happened to "show up" to your raid so a lot more flexibility in how you approach a given encounter will be required by you.

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Freep vs Creep Raiding

The Monster Player side tends to be a bit more difficult to determine your raid strengths and composition than the Freep People's forces.

When freeps enter the moors, they come in knowing that they will be at risk to fight. The "safe" areas, for them to stock up on supplies, get coin, etc... is then entire world outside of the Ettenmoors so they have as much, or as little, prep time as they decide to spend preparing for a PvMP session. Yes, there are some that go to the moors to collect resources (it is a resource rich area of the world) but those numbers tend to be smaller (by far) than those who came there to "fight the creeps".

Creeps are always in the moors. There are no "safe spots" to stock up on coin, supplies, etc... Once a creep leaves Gramsfoot, every minute, in every last location, has some degree of risk of them being attacked by 1+ freeps and you cannot get coin (nor DoF stones for barter) to stock up on supplies sitting in Gramsfoot.

When the freeps check on /who for the zone, every last person they see on that list may be free to help them out in a raid. For the creep side, you will usually have several creeps "busy" doing quests, deeds (for maps and/or DP) and hunting to get coin/DoF stones for the supplies that keep them alive through combat. Just because there are a lot of creeps showing in the /who window, doesn't mean all of them are available to help fight. Many are unwilling to go join a raid until after they are done collecting what they need to advance/supply their character.

There isn't a single creep, who's spent time in the moors, that hasn't seen some angry/frustrated messages in the OOC channel about "where are all the creeps?!?!?" when the creeps are having tough fights. Simply put -- SOME are "always" busy doing what they need to do to improve their character and that does not mean being in a creep raid every hour they are on-line. If the delving hasn't been available for a bit, you can expect some (through most) of your creeps to be a bit busy restocking on stones from there. Those stones let them barter for skills, corruptions, triats and, even at the highest ranks -- those potions and supplies that require the stones from DoF to get. If you've ever seen the difference between a rank 5 without supplies versus a rank 5 packing +100 armor, +20% run-speed, +1k healing pots, etc.. You can easily see why some of those creeps are quite willing to invest the time to get those advanced potions and use them.

Most often, you will not be able to convince these folks to stop their PvE style hunting, which is to improve their characters, simply to join "one more raid" when that is where they usually spend their time. Without those traits... Without those "costly" consumables... Their characters pay for it by more defeats and less victories so they will hunt when they can versus when others may feel they should. It won't do you much good to yell at a fresh rank 5 about not being in the raid when they don't have their "first class trait" from the barter vendor nor many lower ranks from "getting DP" to purchase skills. They aren't going to be interested in a raid when they still need their skills and traits fleshed out.

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The Impossible Dream

As a raid leader you will be expected to:

  • Know every classes strengths and weaknesses (both freep and creep)
  • Know the rank abilities/limits of every creep class
  • Know the rank of everyone in your raid.
  • Know where everyone in your raid is at every second.
  • Know where the freeps are at ALL the time.
  • Be the master of tactics on how to deal with every possible encounter.
  • Be able to immediately spot and mark every minstrel in the opposing forces.
  • Have the troll able to work *WITH* the raid and know where they are at all times.
  • Keep in communication with EVERYONE not in your raid and have them cooperate with you.
  • NEVER need to take a break while leading a raid. (yup... no bio breaks, unplug the phone, what have you...)
  • etc...

In other words, you are expected to be the know-it-all "godhood" candidate with infinite patience and a bladder the size of Texas that, no matter what, will engender insults and praise as your raid stomps and gets stomped around the moors. This is the "impossible to be perfect" task -- trying to take a mixed batch of folks into combat and have them work as a team with precision.

  • IF* you can pull it off, in any way shape or form, you're value to the creep forces is beyond compare and you can build one hell of a "We hate you!" rep from the freeps. "Good" Raid Leaders, on any server, can be counted on one hand and those willing to even try... they are far from common. Thus you can see "any raids going?", "any raids I can join?", "someone should start a raid..." and the like type comments on about every last server at every hour of the day. Most players like being in raids but few can stomach actually running them.

So -- have I convinced you that you shouldn't look at trying this stuff?

Yes? Then learn to cut the raid leaders some slack!!!
No??? Good! Let's take a look at how to ease the not-so fun side of running raids. (yes, there is fun to be had in doing it right... we'll get to that but lets first thin out the "it's easy!" mindset folks...



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Confidence, Positive Attitude and controlling it

You don't have to BE confident in your ability to lead the raid to victory but you sure as hell need to SOUND like you are. A leader is someone that generates confidence and sees to a comfortable environment for folks to raid in. If things get ugly with a lot of body counts, you need to keep the raid mood from going sour. Constructive comments. Encouragements to your team. The focus being on keeping things constructive and "what we CAN do" vs "where we didn't succeed" and "our last failure".

Even the most horrid FUBAR imaginable usually has something that worked, so point those out and THEN deal with the things that didn't work from a "constructive" point of LEADERSHIP. If fingers start to point -- squash that fast. You are the leader and if you decide that a tone of conversation isn't going well -- "enough of that... We need to focus on improving -- NOT on that failure." can usually end a brewing tirade by someone who "got waxed 5 times in a row due to that MORON'S stupidity!!!" Step on it a couple times and if necessary -- ask someone "blowing off steam" to cut it short by reminding them that YOU (the Raid Leader) do NOT appreciate the tone...

Look at those you find to be some of the best raid leaders. Are they perfect at the job? I seriously doubt it. They do tend to keep things focused and hold squabbles to a minimum while pushing a forward/progressive attitude. Few are considered "good" that will let a few small failures sour their mood for very long. The ones that can actually crack a joke about it and have folks laugh or at least shrug off a mess are often seen as "top leaders" because even when it does get ugly, they keep the raids mood positive.

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Delegation -- the secret to success

Anyone that's been in management, in even a small sized organization, can tell you delegation will be the key to your success and failure. You cannot do everything yourself so figure out how and who to hand tasks off to versus not having those tasks done. You don't have to ask folks if they WANT to be "Raid Target Assist" -- you can flat out make them an assist. If you need to find those Minstrels, you can tell a warg to go find them and notify you when they have each one targeted. etc...

Figuring out who you can "pawn off" some of the workload to is a bit tricky but you will need to split that load down to chunks you can deal with and each raid leader has their limits on how much they can deal with at any given time. Learning your limits means practicing a bit and that isn't easy. Trust me, if you do this a few times, you WILL get better at running raids. It does take some practice to get a feel for the job.

Your best delegates for tasks really depend upon what those tasks are and how much delegation you wish to assign. Much of this doesn't become apparent until you actually are leading a raid.

  • Your best bets for Raid Target Assists are BA's and Reavers but that is CLASS based decision and not necessarily who might be best at the task. I've seen Wargs and Weavers function far better at this task than these more common choices and yes, I've even seen where a given WL was a superior choice over any other class based upon the tactics.
  • Having at least 1 "Raid Assistant" is handy. Having *EVERYONE* assistant isn't the best solution for ANY environment. That makes everyone able to invite and boot others and if your raid is doing well (as in fills up) you might find some folks "kicking" others just to make room for "their buddy", which can cost you a more valuable member vs a potential "my first day on a creep!" "buddy bump" situation (where you also have one ticked-off person for their being bumped from a good raid...)
  • Outside communications can often be pawned off if your in a full raid. There are often other groups out there that are fighting but trying to chat with a few others, run a raid and fight can stretch you thin. It can be handy to find someone in the raid to pass info back and forth -- preferably someone who doesn't use a mic. Those folks tend to type faster and can keep the info flowing between you and whomever else may be running a group or raid in the area.
This "delegation" is especially handy with Trolls. It keeps where they are and what is happening out of the OOC channel and has your orders to the raid passed on so they know when you wipe, when you fall back or when you move forward. "R" key is very easy to tap then start typing but having a list of folks you are chatting with... Pass that workload over to someone with "more time on their hands..."

etc...

To run your raid efficiently, figure out your limits and then get others to help pick up the duties you can't deal with.

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What you CANNOT have others do

There are some things that only a raid leader can do and these can't be handed off for others to deal with.

  • If your raid is an Open raid: (I'll cover "Open Raid" creation and management later on.)
  • Only the raid leader can open the raid and it will automatically close when it fills up so, if you wish to avoid having to type /invite <creep_with_long_name_from_hell_1,000,000>, then you'll need to pop the /who window open and re-open the raid periodically.
  • Only the raid leader gets the option to accept or decline requests to join the raid.
  • Marking raid targets. Only the current leader can mark raid targets with symbols so folks can more easily find those pesky healers hiding in the middle of the lakes of tar and the like. The Raid Leader has to mark them.
  • Promote someone to "Raid Assistant" -- these are folks that can kick others from your raid and can invite folks to your raid if it's a closed raid, a full raid where someone leaves to "get the troops" or the like, etc.. It's handy to have one or 2 assistants and not good to have too many (we'll get into this later on).

Communications

Communications within your raid and with external groups/entities is crucial to your raids chances of success. There is a variety of ways to deal with communications and a lot depends upon which server you are playing on. Some run most raid information through the OOC channel (not the best method but it does have certain advantages), some run most raid information through voice communications while some use raid chat as their primary means of communications. You even have a few servers where an external Ventrilo server is setup that is used for voice communications.

With the variety of tools, getting information of a type into the correct channel can be hard and chatter in any communications channel will happen. You will need to learn how to deal with "squelching" the channel chatter cleanly as well as managing which channels/methods folks should use to communicate across the zone.

With all the various methods, I will try and provide some general guides to help but, as I stated at the beginning, a lot will depend upon your servers normal use. Retraining an entire creep population to new methods is not an easy task but it *might* be worth the effort.

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Raid Chat Channel

Stubbed for now...

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Voice Channel

Stubbed for now...

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External Voice Servers

Stubbed for now ...

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Spying

No, spies are not a myth. No, every other person is NOT a spy. No, you aren't going to easily pick out who is and who isn't a spy but there are basic precautions that one can take to see that the impact of these individuals is kept to a minimum.

A "Spy" is someone who takes information on where the creeps/freeps are at and what they are planning on doing, to pass that information to the other side. This is often done by someone "2-boxing" (2 computers, 1 logged in on a creep, 1 logged in on a freep), someone logged in to a Vent server or the like.

Very few folks can play chars on multiple machines that aren't together. By this I mean try and see yourself running a freep on that side, keeping up and working with a freep raid, while also running a creep and keeping up on THAT side with both chars expected to fight AGAINST each others forces. This is not easy.

Far more common is either "parking" a char or sharing information across a Ventrilo server with kinship members. A parked character is a creep or freep that usually sits in a safe spot and "monitors" the OOC channel, perhaps asking questions but often just silently reviewing the channel for questions such as "where to?" followed by the "We're hitting ..." and the like. They then pass this information on to their freep friends who then know where to go.

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Spies among us!

I've seen this on a number of servers and purposefully tested it a few times when things seemed... odd on how the freeps were "predicting" where we were going so here is one such incident.

TR and LC were under freep control. The raid decided to hit TR. A question on where "the main raid" was going came across the OOC channel so I put out "freeps at TR so we'll just take back LC real quick..." then brought the fact we'd hit TR up in raid chat. The freeps at TR moved out to LC and the rest of the freeps showed up there. We had NO resistance for most of the TR fight. Now why did the freeps move out from TR to LC within a minute of the statement in OOC, especially when TR is by far a more valuable target (rally circle for holding it)?

That wasn't the only such test but it does illustrate that spies DO exist so keep an eye on your communications and how well the freeps seem to "know" what you are doing.

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OUR Spies

Some folks "like" this, feeling it to be an advantage. I could go into "morality" and "propriety" and "gamesmanship" but that rarely has impact on folks so let's stick with the practical side on why this isn't so smart to rely upon.

Such "helpful" individuals have no moral imperative preventing them from reversing the information flow and start feeding THEM the same information on YOUR actions as they were feeding you information, so your "trust" in them is misplaced and may lead your raid into ambushes. Watch for this!

You are better off either telling them to knock it off or flat out boot such people from your raid -- a lot of the decision for this really depends upon the situation. Sometimes such "slips" are by accident (such as someone logged into their kinships Vent server hearing info) but THINK about it. How easy is it to accidentally mention the fact you sent a team of wargs around the back of the freep forces to nail them? How easy is it for them to mention how you are going to hit LC versus TR because you KNOW the freeps aren't there or vise versa? Especially if they hear their kinship members getting angry. "Sorry guys, we'll be hitting..." over vent and the like to "pay them back" for "spying"... Don't be fooled by their "mood of the moment" providing you with information on the freeps.

If someone is logged into a kin vent server and mentions such intel, a simple "Either go to that side or get out of that server please. We do not need the risks of your reversing the info to them and that can't happen if you aren't chatting with them." Again, how you deal with a "friendly spy" is up to you but you should consider the chances that it may backfire very carefully and deal with it accordingly.

OOC

The Out of Character channel tends to be used as a stock communications channel. Whereas there *IS* a regional channel, few every use it versus using the OOC channel.

As the primary communications channel in the moors, this channel tends to fill up with all sorts of requests for joining groups through "region wide" communications about raid activities. It is the "open to everyone" chat channel so it does have its uses when winning and losing.

As mentioned in the previous Spying area, this channel can and will be monitored at times by those who wish to pass information on "to the other side" so you need to try and keep "intelligence" out of this channel. Keeping "intelligence" out of the channel isn't too difficult to deal with on most servers (pun intended). Once people understand the risks involved in passing tactical information in the channel, they tend to keep the important target information to a minimum.

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Uses of the channel

  • Trolls
When someone is going to roll up a troll, it can be handy to have them say hello in the channel. Some character's names are ... cumbersome to type out accurately so having a name that you can right-click to send a tell to can help.
  • Establishing communications with other groups
This channel is also a good place to establish communications with other raids and groups in the moors. You can announce your raid to the channel and ask other groups and raids to send you a tell to begin working together. This can be especially handy if you have a full raid and other groups are running around the fight. Trying to pass tactical info through the OOC channel isn't smart (see Spying for one reason) and can lead to problems. Once you get contact with the other group(s), you can delegate management of the communications to others. As a raid leader, your best bet is to keep the number of tells to and from yourself to a minimum. 1 external contact point is quite managable. Trying to deal with tells too and from 2 trolls, a warg pack, a tribe group and another raid... Well, you're just setting yourself up for overload. "Pass the buck" and have someone else help see that information is sent to and from the various other teams.
  • Reestablishing communications
If, for any reason, another group loses a contact person, or your raid loses a contact person, you may need to reestablish the communications with them. This can be handled easily the same as the previous paragraph outlined.
  • Reminder on your raids status
It is also good to watch the channel as a "reminder". You may get too busy to notice that you have a few openings in your raid, after your raid already hit full capacity. In such cases, seeing "any raids?" in /ooc can remind you to open up the /who window and re-open your raid. Once your raid is full, it automatically closes so you need to re-open the raid periodically or begin the /invite <name_from_hell_1,000,000> sessions. I, personally, HATE having to type out 20 names and getting 20 different tells from folks asking to join when I'm trying to keep communications going with critical "partners" for the fights. This can be more than a minor distraction from your other duties.



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Tools of a Raid Leader

There are a number of commands that can be used to work with a raid. Most being with the /Raid slash command -- 2 valuable commands do not begin with just /raid.

Raidshout

This command is very valuable to a raid leader due to the fact that it puts a message right in the middle of all raid members screens and puts a message into their chat log.

/Raidshout <text>

This command will put the text message in the middle of the screen of all raid members with an icon. Your raid will get 2 versions of the message: one in the middle of their screen (with an icon): Raidshout.png and one in their chat window (Leader Shouts: xxx )

You, as the Raid Leader, will not see the message. Instead, you simply get: Successfully shouted to your group in your chat window.


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Readycheck

The readycheck command isn't one that I've found that useful without a summary of the resuts such as: "all are ready" or "15 ready | 2 not ready | 3 No respose" or the like but it does have its uses.

  • /Readycheck
There are 3 different icons that can be displayed over the top of each portrait of your raids members:
Readycheck Start.png Readycheck Ready.png and Readycheck Not Ready.png
Readycheck Start.png shows over the portrait when you start a check and if someone doesn't respond (as in they are AFK).
Readycheck Ready.png shows if they replied to the status check: "ready".
Readycheck Not Ready.png shows if they replied to the status check: "not ready".
In other words, you have to look at 23 portraits to see who is or is not ready. In some situations, text actually is better than graphics and this is one such situation. Hopefully, in the future, they might extend the output of this to include a summary in the chat log so a raid leader can then go look at the icons to figure out who is or is not ready only after they know some folks aren't ready instead of the way it works now.



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/Raid Commands

There are a few commands for manipulating your raid. Some of them are a bit "off center" with respect to what they do versus what you may expect them to do but most are easily figured out on their uses. Here is the list and what they actually do versus what you might think they do.

Note: All these commands can be executed in other ways from the UI versus using these commands. I'm outlining them here to help raid leaders who don't wish to bring up the raid window UI (for some of them) or use other methods to execute these functions.

Raid Create (fairly worthless)

/raid create <name>
This does NOT create a raid. What it will do is convert a fellowship/warband into a raid if, and only if, you are the leader of the fellowship at the time it is executed. It has the same as the UI button on the raid window to convert your fellowship to a raid. Nothing more. Nothing less.
The <name> parameter doesn't seem to do anything. It does not transfer leadership, if you use someone else's name, it does not append it as a comment, if you open the raid, it does not prevent the conversion of a fellowship to a raid if you don't use it.

Raid Disband

/raid disband
Just what it looks like. It will disband a raid.

Raid Invite (worthless vs /invite)

/raid invite <name>
There really is no reason to use this command at all. It is a synonym for /invite is all and does nothing beyond what /invite will do -- inviting a person to a raid. If you use /raid invite to invite someone at the start of a group, it will not create the group as a raid but as a fellowship that you will still need to convert to a raid.

Raid Dismiss (booting someone from the raid)

/raid dismiss <name>
This command boots someone out of your raid.

Raid Promote and Demote

/raid promote <name>
Promotes someone to Raid Assistant.
/raid demote <name>
Demotes someone as a Raid Assistant putting them back to normal member status. This does not remove them from your raid.

Raid Swap (move folks around in your raid)

/raid swap <name 1> <name 2>
This will swap the 2 named members of your raid. This can be handy if you want to move a Warleader into a group to resurrect someone in another group mid-fight, though most will bring up the raid UI window to "drag and drop" someone from a group into another group.

Raid Leave (quitting the raid)

/raid leave
Just like it looks, you quit/leave the raid.



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