In conversations with friends, I have mentioned some of the very small min/max things we do in raids that never seem like they’ll make a big difference, but that really add up. These aren’t personal tips, but things a raid leader can do to eek out an extra percent or two of raid performance.
1) Never ready-check. Ready checks are an opt-in procedure, it says “I’m free to go AFK, there’ll be a check to make sure I’m back.” Instead, I expect everyone to be ready to pull, and if someone isn’t ready, they opt out. Why waste 15 seconds 40 times a night on ready checking? That’s a huge waste of time, and it’s hugely disengaging for the raid. It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but you’ld be surprised at how much snappier the raid feels, and how much more engaged the raiders are when the onus is placed on the raid to be at their keyboards.
2) Count down every pull (at a predictable pace). It lets your ranged DPS and healers start precasting, it gives everyone an opportunity to prepot and pop pre-pull cooldowns, and it gets everyone in the right frame of mind for pulling. When the countdown starts, it’s business time, and everyone knows it.
3) Make sure your raiders know which of their cooldowns are spoken for. We typically let priests and druids use their long cooldowns on an ad-hoc basis, but there are some fights where they’re spoken for. Make sure the raiders know when they’re free to use them and when they aren’t.
4) It’s never a wipe unless it’s called. I don’t even want to hear “Is this a wipe?” on vent. The reasons are many and obvious: If it’s never a wipe until it’s called, then nobody ever “stops healing assuming it was a wipe” and causes one, or stops DPSing and lets a 1% wipe happen. If nobody gives up when 5 people have died, you may get to push to the next phase in progression and have a look. Longer attempts are always better, there’s more opportunity to learn. If you’re the last man standing and the RL hasn’t called wipe, you do everything in your power to down the boss, no matter what.
5) If threat is a concern, have the OT start the pull. Tanks can’t keep up with pre-potted full-cooldown heroes-on-pull trinket-procced DPS? Someone always dies at 30s when the MDs wear off? Have the OT start the pull and collect all the tricks and MDs, then the MT can taunt after 6 seconds and inherit all that threat… permanently. Unless there’s a reason to save cooldowns, DPS should always be all-out on pull, and it’s the tank and RL’s responsibility to make sure they can. In this environment, it’s fully possible to go full-bore as soon as the tank engages, and so you should. Find the ways to let your DPS unleash.
6) Always Be Moving. After a boss dies, move to the next trash pull and THEN drink. Keeping the raid moving keeps the raid engaged. You’ll get more done in less time. There’s never a reason to stand around after bosses, it only gives people time to lose focus.
7) Get your warlocks in the habit of always putting up a summoning stone and healthstone before every bosspull. If your raiders need to respec between bosses, they should be going during trash – it’s never a good idea to have to wait for a summon, better to have it ready. People use healthstones, never let them go into the boss unprepared.
Does anyone have any other good tips for keeping focus levels and raid performance high that might not be entirely obvious to everyone? Feel free to comment – if nothing else, I’m always looking to improve my own raid.