So you’re the class leader, huh? [repost]

[Something odd happened when I tried to post this the first time – it came, then went. So… reposting. If you see it twice, my apologies.]

Uh, no, I’m not a class leader. Not these days, not in this guild. But I’ve been there and done it and thought I’d share a few thoughts of what I EXPECT of the class leader (expected of myself), and some of the frustrations that leader has to deal with on a far-too-frequent basis. It’s going to be a bit of a ramble today – sorry.

Let’s start by pointing out that not all guilds have class leaders. In fact, most don’t. They tend to show up in some form, however, in larger guilds and in progression guilds – the ones that are pushing for higher levels but bringing several players along. So it’s important to note that I’m not saying you NEED a class leader. Just … if you have one, here are my thoughts.

Remember when I said the GM is a pain? Class leader is moreso. At the core, the duties of the class leader are ensuring the guildmembers of that class know how to play, and that the OTHER classes don’t misuse them. Oh, not just things like expecting shadowpriests to tank, but making sure the other classes know about mindvision for marking, and that sort of thing. Remember that a guild is a voluntary organization, so you can’t threaten (with much), you have to persuade and cajole and, well, you have to be a people person. That said…

The class leader needs to teach other players how to do better. This means the class leader needs to be KNOWLEDGEABLE. Or, in a pinch, have swift access to players who are knowledgeable, but who may not have the time or social skills to teach without affront. Which is the other have to – the class leader needs to have social skills. If after 30 minutes of what is supposed to be play the guild’s trying to put the class leader on the ignore list, you have a problem.

Now knowledge can be developed easily, but social skills are a bit trickier. And… I’m going to cop out. I’ll suggest that if you want to develop these skills there are lots of guides out there to help. But in general learning how to interact with people means practicing interacting, but paying attention to what works and doesn’t work in that interaction. I’ve met magnificent leaders who were rude and obnoxious, but they had a touch — and knew when to stop. And I’ve met terrible leaders who never really got on anyone’s nerves, just… nobody wanted to listen to them. For the record, this pedantic one tends toward the latter. shrug.

That’s the core requirements. But… how do you help your priests? I mean, you’re knowledgeable, and you’ve got the communication skills, but how do you figure out what’s needed?

You watch them play. My, that sounds so easy, doesn’t it? But how are you going to do this in a 5-man when that means two healers?

Oh – two healers. I said priest, remember? Shadow needs loving too (grin). Which brings us to one somewhat expensive technique – swap specs regularly. Have a cookie cutter profile for your other spec, plus some gear, and swap and join. Me, I like to swap, and 60G is fairly easy to get in Outland. But that’s not the only way… You could have an alt. Or,

Another way is to require a log be turned in. Personally, I did both swap AND log. Actually two logs – I also kept a side-note of “wtf” events or odd things that might not look right out of context. The warrior DCing may be the reason things went bad, but it won’t show up in the log. If you’re not in the instance you might be able to get a member to make a chatlog for you to review as well. And then you, well, you run it through a stats analysis just as though you were trying to improve your OWN character, only keeping in mind the other players’ preferences for techniques and talents and gear and…

That’s a particular pain point for a lot of players. Far too often you’ll hear of guilds that require THIS SPECIFIC specification. It works for them. But, well, for me this is a game. If you want a robot, buy another account. shrug. I’m oriented on results – are you doing my floor of dps? whether you are or not, where can you get better? Are players dying? Is it you or is it their stupidity? How can you compensate better for their stupidity? But… you’re paying to play, you get to play. If you don’t meet the floors I’ll just recommend you as last choice for filling slots, but I won’t MAKE you change.

You should also make these logs of the top performers. In this case you’re not evaluating, you’re learning. What does Ubrhealz do that he’s never, ever lost a party in Heroic Slabs? How the heck is SHDFTW doing THAT MUCH damage forever and ever?

heh – and then you take what you learned from them and see if you understand well enough to raise your own performance, so you can then teach the ones below… it’s an unending circle.

But that’s the teaching your priests side. You also have to intervene when other classes start, well, “It’s the priest’s fault.” It might be. Or it might be the warlock who is trying to be Number One on the Damagemeter. Or the hunter who has his pet on aggressive. Or the… well, you get the idea. Hopefully your other class leaders are doing the same thing, but you need to talk to them when you find a problem. Not the other class member, the other class leader. Trust me on this one, ok? Don’t care how knowledgeable that hunter is, if he tells me I need to improve my hit rating I’m not going to give it the same weight as when my priest leader tells me the same thing. And sometimes…

You’ve got a bunch of people. People have problems with each other, sometimes for no reason anyone can see. (They sound like that idiot that… shrug) Part of your job is soothing the trouble.

sigh – I’ve really rambled today. Not least because this is a somewhat hard to grasp subject. So let’s bring this to something of a close by looking at useful tools – not addons, tools.

I mentioned logs. Logs, logs, and more logs. If your guild has a website, get permission to have players upload so you can download them and use them. If you do nothing else, using the logs – with stat analyzers – will tell you enough to get by.

Learn to give immediate after-action feedback. Not after the battle, after the instance. WITHOUT the feedback of the other players — odds are there will be something not up to par, and you should never do negative evaluations in front of other people.

Make a set of “objective task lists”. Things players should know and use (spells and items). Floors for various stats. Minimum damage for shadow. Time a healer should be able to keep just a tank alive on a two-player team pull of instance X. That sort of thing… Recognize they can’t be set in stone – play style and skill and changing rules from Blizzard will kill that – but they should help you see more clearly where people are over- and under-performing.

Make a set of ’standard heal plans’ for raids – at LEAST for the bosses if not for trash. And make sure the raid-team leaders know so they assign groups appropriately. And be prepared to ask the guild leader or the appropriate class leader to teach whatever person was leading the raid (hey – one more training opportunity) to USE THE PLANS.

I said, when speaking of guild leader, that if that’s on a resume submitted to me and I can verify you did a good job for over a year, it was an excellent experience point. The same goes for class leader. It’s sometimes a bit harder to get the verification, but the simple reality is that you’re doing a difficult, fairly thankless job with people who can jump ship with a quick entry on the keyboard – with no repercussions. If you’ve done it, and do it, and people want you to continue doing it, then you’re doing something very very right. Stand proud. You have my sympathy and admiration.

And don’t forget to tell me what I’ve left out. grin.

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~ by Kirk on September 21, 2007.

5 Responses to “So you’re the class leader, huh? [repost]”

  1. Great post. We have been debating weather to include Class Leaders in our guild. We’re just about split down the middle at this point. We’re so small at this point if we had a class leader for every class, 2/3 of us would have a title… too many chiefs and not enough indians. Another point is that class leaders will sort themselves with out officers having to appoint them. Most people will know who the best is/are. And with how things change in the game and new things are discovered in the theory craft side, the best players may change. How do you deal with that? I would really hate to have to demote some one because a better guy (wether he be more knowledgeable about the class or just have better people skills) came along. Like I said… we’re debating this issue with no resolution yet :-) Thanks for the info, it solidified some ideas I had in my head about the role that I wasn’t able to express clearly.

  2. Actually, the class leader doesn’t have to be the best player of that class. Good, solid, always among the first choice, sure. But best in the guild? no.

    Able to teach and lead without driving everyone out? That’s the first requirement. Able to do the job competently? Yep. Able to stand up to the others on behalf of his class, still without causing a flurry of /gquits? Definitely.

    Or so goes my opinion.

  3. Galadria, I’d say don’t appoint anyone to such positions yet. With time, your leaders will emerge on their own and then you’ll know for certain. Carnage doesn’t run class leaders. We just have a good core of leaders.

    But perhaps the one thing that is most important is consistency. As long as they show up to your events no matter what happens, you’ll know you have a keeper.

  4. I completely agree with what you have said here. Teaching is imperative. I am a GM of a guild on Skywall and have had some come and go, but didn’t have a benchmark until earlier this year when one of my class leads bumped the bar up a notch. He implemented meetings on vent where all of his priests got together and actually sat down and talked about…priest stuff. It went over so well that many of the other class leaders have done the same thing. You can’t teach leadership…but if you keep your eyes open…it sometimes pops up right in front of you.

    As for logs, I was wondering what logs you were refering to? Are you running a specific mod to record these logs or just something straight out of the game.

  5. Petsareus, see my previous posts combatlog
    and
    For the Theorycrafter. Then if you have more questions, by all means ask.

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