Quick Tips for Efficient Raiding

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.

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16 Responses to Quick Tips for Efficient Raiding

  1. Shathus says:

    2 other things I’ve picked up, which may not apply to a guild like Edge, but for others:

    1) Have set break times (usually when flasks are going to expire) so that people know to wait a few minutes, and get all your AFKs over at once, instead of getting staggered over 30 minutes.

    2) Keep vent/mumble clear during a pull. Obviously there are differences between farm night night and progression attempts, but I’ve definitely had to tell a couple people to shut up when they start talking about either random stuff, or why they died, etc. You don’t want someone talking when you’re trying to call out CDs or battle rezzes, and your raiders can’t hear because of 1 or more people chatting. There’s plenty of time after a wipe/kill to sort out those details.

  2. Esoth says:

    1) I think you can use ready checks efficiently if you start throwing them out earlier than the time you should actually be pulling. Everyone is running up from the last trash pack, someone just threw down a feast – a ready check goes up. The RL doesn’t actually expect everyone to be ready yet (most people still need a few seconds on their food buff) but it’s a message to everyone that we are expecting to pull within seconds and you better get your ass in gear if you’re not just about ready. Then after everyone quickly gets ready, or asks for whatever buff/strat info they need to be ready, the tank immediately starts a count down and pulls – everyone has just explicitly said they were ready so they really have no defense if they are missing something. Again, I think the key to use ready checks efficiently is to start using them early instead of when you expect everyone to be ready.

    We also have an addon that checks if anyone is missing food buffs when the ready check goes up. Yeah, they should have it covered anyway. But it doesn’t hurt to double check.

    5) I like this.

    • Meloree says:

      I agree – I think you CAN use Ready Checks efficiently, but you’re basically creating a system very similar to not using them at all by doing so. Rather than signalling that you’re expected to be ready, instead you simply have the expectation that everyone is ready. I think that by using a Ready Check in that manner you’ve essentially created the same preparedness environment, with one key difference: opt-in versus opt-out systems. I almost always prefer, as a raid leader, to use opt-out systems – because I’m busy enough.

      I expect people to be ready, and inform me if there is an issue. I prefer that the onus is on the raider to be prepared for pull, rather than on me to ensure that they are. In exactly the same way that I expect everyone to be at raid, and inform me if they won’t be, I expect everyone in raid to be prepared to pull, and inform me if they aren’t.

      • Moshne says:

        I’d like to move away from using readychecks as much as I do, but I’m not sure I’m ready to do what is required to do it. I have to actually be willing to replace the people who are AFK before pulls when they pull and aren’t ready yet.

        Granted, I don’t think our guild is inefficient (quite the opposite), but I’m always looking for more ways to speed things up, as expose our weak links.

      • Meloree says:

        When I inherited Edge, and made that switch, it was painful for about 3 pulls, and then everyone seemed to jump on board. I largely just had to be vocal that there was a pull coming in 20 seconds, ready or not.

        Either way, it’s a fairly minor thing, like every other point on the list. You can be efficient doing none of the items, and be very inefficient doing all of them. I only meant to come up with a few ideas that might help people looking for an idea or two, rather than imply that every suggestion should be taken by every guild.

  3. Zinn says:

    These were some great tips, and I will lobby our guild to give them some consideration. I especially agree with you on the ready checks. Although they have their place, like you say, if people missed to eat or whatnot, they can just say so before a pull rather than doing 5 ready checks.

  4. Gaia says:

    A couple of things:

    Pick a loot system that facilitates spending as little time as possible passing out loot.

    TL;DR of the system we use (10m Hardmode Progression focused guild)
    Boss Dies –> I link *all loot at once* and ask for rolls –> The following 3 things happen at the same time:

    1) Anyone interested in the loot rolls /roll for main spec, /roll 200 for offspec, /roll 300 for off-off-spec, /roll 400 for “I might use that in a raid one day”, /roll 9000 for RP items, etc… (I use my massive powers of deduction to determine which items which person is rolling on and ask for clarification on the rare occasion it isn’t blatantly obvious)

    2) I loot the items to myself. Whoever wins the rolls for them can grab them from me needs to find an opportunity to open trade at some point in the future over the course of the next two hours (usually at the begining of our bio break or immediately after the raid)

    3) We start pulling and killing the next trash pack ASAP

    Whatever loot system you use, make it as efficient as possible. If you spend 5 minutes passing out loot, that is an hour a week if you are clearing 12/12 bosses.

    My next recommendation is to start monitoring how efficiently your raids are being run. Assuming that you are logging all of your raids in world of logs, the dashboard displays how much time your raid actually spent in combat. It only takes me a couple of minutes after each raid to toss these numbers into a spreadsheet. So far this tier, despite being almost overly obsessive about maximizing our raid time, our overall average is 50.02% of our raid time has been spent in combat (155:54:06 of Raid Time and 77:58:43 spent in combat) Farm nights, that percentage gets up near ~60-65% but progressions nights with a long run back (V&T) it can drop down to ~46%. Clearly we spend a lot more time wiping on progression than we do killing stuff we have already killed before. Last night, after switching it back to normal, we managed to kill V&T, Council, and Cho’Gal in ~26min with 80% of our time spent in combat (that includes council and cho’gall trash) http://www.worldoflogs.com/reports/o0xxp3qeg617xa7y/?s=9675&e=11260

    Here is what I posted a few months ago on the subject:

    • Meloree says:

      Absolutely, you should never, ever be standing around deciding on loot. We keep pulling while one master-looter hands all the items to himself, and starts taking tells. The officers discuss loot while clearing trash. We sometimes fall a bit behind on contentious items, and it never impacts the raid, we just keep pulling. We can catch up at break. It’s normally not much of a problem, it’s largely trinkets/tier/weapons the first couple of times they drop.

      Either way, after the boss dies, the raid is moving to prep for trash, zero delay.

      Active time is interesting, I should probably look at it more. From glances at a couple of logs, it seems to be around 50% in most logs, but it includes ~30 minutes of pre-raid standing around in the instance, as well as the mid-raid break. I’ll make a point of checking it after tonights farm-night.

  5. Tomaj says:

    I think it depends on your guild/raid group. It’s an in-joke for our guild about our disconnect problems, so we ready check before every boss pull and before certain trash pulls to ensure that everyone’s not only there, but also online. And, of course, after breaks.*

    I do think that we need to get in the habit of doing a countdown to the pull though, it might make some things a little bit easier.

    Our loot system, however, for 10-man allows for fast movement between bosses, since we go on a need/greed basis. Generally, even on progression nights, we average around 50% activity (higher on BWD farm nights, but overall generally about 50%).

    Regarding cooldowns, the only ones that we have a set rotation on them is Chimaeron, but again, we’re just doing normal modes, and we generally don’t have anything where those cooldowns matter quite as much, sans tank cooldowns, in which case I expect all of our healers to be using GridStatusTankCooldowns or similar.

    *Trash pulls include the initial trash pull in BoT, Council trash, Magmaw trash, Maloriak trash and Atramedes trash, but that’s it, and sometimes not even the Maloriak stuff.

    • Meloree says:

      I suppose that’s a legit use of the ready-check. I tend to watch for people dropping channels or running in place, myself – but on farm stuff, I generally don’t really care – they can participate when they log back in.

      • Tomaj says:

        Eh, we have a tendency to kill Omnotron with 9 people anyway (still can’t seem to get people to GTFO poison bombs on some nights), but I’m not entirely sure I consider Atramedes on farm *just* yet, heh. Council, absolutely not (we’ve only one kill under our belt). … I guess it comes down to which encounter it is, too. I certainly wouldn’t want to pull Halfus with Breath/Fireballs/Nova up with someone AFK or offline. At least, not in 10-man, since being one person down has a much larger impact than one person being down in 25-man.

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