Friday, April 9, 2010

Speeding up your raids

Time. It is by far, the commodity most prized and coveted, yet the single thing that we cannot gain more of. Talk to anyone for a few minutes and you run a good chance of hearing the phrases “There’s not enough time”, “I don’t have enough time”, “Where did the time go”, etc.

Even in WoW, we face time limit constraints. There are only twenty-four hours in a day, and most players are juggling jobs, education, family, and other activities. Very few of us have the luxury of playing any time we want, and as often as we want, especially if we’re looking to share that time with our WoW companions who may not have that flexibility.

What we can do however, is make the most of the time we have by changing a few very simple things in a raid. While there will always be down time for things like explaining boss mechanics to new members, or the requisite snack-time break, we still have some control over our environment. Here are a few things I’ve picked up/used in my five years of raid leading that will help us maximize our time – just like Kanai’s tips will help us maximize our DPS and raid survivability.

If you want some real eye opening numbers, look at a WoL. Taking the one from Tuesday the 6th as an example, the raid log duration was 3:26, with an active time of 1:44 – just 50% active time. While some of that time includes running back from wipes or going over Sindragosa strats – some of that time is just plain wasted.

You can’t save time if you don’t start on time

This is by far the most basic principle of time saving. Everyone knows what time invites go out, what time the raid is supposed to start, and (for the most part) what the raid location is. If you know that you’re going to be logging in moments before invites go out, take the extra minute to log out in front of the instance. While summoning one person doesn’t take more than 20 seconds, summoning 15 people at 20 seconds each, plus the 2nd summon for those that “didn’t get it” – and now you’re talking about real time. Buffs, mage tables, and group setup cannot be completed until everyone is there.

Use the teleporters

Back in the days of MC, where the graveyard run alone was two minutes, waiting to be resurrected made sense. If one or two folks died to trash, it was usually faster to rez them than it was for them to find their way back, then navigate the instance, hopefully without picking up another Core Hound in the process.

Those days are long gone though. It takes approximately 15 seconds to fly from the GY to the entrance to ICC. From there it’s a quick run down the hall, pop the teleporter, and (if you died early on the trash) you’re probably going to make it back to the group before the next pull. This allows the tanks to keep moving forward, without having to pause long enough to scrape up one or two folks from the floor.

Be proactive on switching out

Personally I’m not a big fan of swapping out players for this boss or that boss, but if it’s going to happen – be responsible and understand that this is something being done for your benefit. Keep tabs on the raid’s progress, and get to the raid zone before the boss you’re coming in on. Sure, you lose some farming time, but you’re not stopping the big raid train.

If at all possible, coordinate who you’re swapping with before hand, this way they can hearth out as soon as one boss dies, and you can run in and use the teleporter (see above). Even if they’re only stepping out for one boss, there’s more than enough time to get back to ICC (unless their hearth isn’t in Northrend – then use your head and arrange a port early).

Be prepared

With the wealth of information available to raiders today, there is precisely zero excuse for not knowing exactly how any boss fight should work. Yes, seeing it yourself is different than reading about it, but a fifteen second search on YouTube for “Tankspot X-Boss Y-Player” will pull up a tutorial video that we could only dream about having back in Vanilla. This will, at the very least, show you the basic positioning and abilities in the fight.

Being prepared also includes simple things, like having your gear repaired and enchanted. Making sure you have the consumables you need, before the raid is supposed to start. Ensuring that you’re not in the middle of a Heroic run, or some VoA PUG.

Use your raid frames

This one is primarily for the tanks and healers. There are few, if any, trash packs that require a full raid complement. Look at your raid frames, and as long as you’re not missing a significant portion of your DPS, and your healers have a decent percentage of mana – keep on pulling. Don’t run off and leave your support behind though, make use of the range checker included in most raid frames. And if you’re not using raid frames, don’t tell me. I prefer to live in ignorance.


Let your raid know if you’re going left or right around a pack, or up some stairs. A quick “pulling” will give the heads up needed to keep you alive, and it keeps the momentum moving. Since a raid can’t be 100% srs bsns all the time, use the trash to get the jokes out and laughter going. In between bosses is a great time to reduce the stress from the last encounter, and prep you for the next one.

Between bosses is also a great time to coordinate things that you know will need to be setup in advance. Healing assignments, burn orders, etc – don’t add this coordination to the Raid Leader’s plate, they have enough to do already. Once you’ve covered it successfully a few times, the issue won’t even be raised, because everyone will know that is in place already.


First, no five minute break (probably in the history of 5 minute breaks) has ever lasted five minutes. Someone is always late getting back, or alt-tabbed out and misses the ready check, turning your five minute break into a seven or eight minute one. Add in the multiple ready checks (this one just to see if you’re back, this one to let you know we’re going, ok one more for real now), and you’re now at ten minutes.

You can however, do a few things to help minimize this downtime. Scheduling breaks (if you know your raiders will need one) can really help. If someone knows that after every wing boss, or after a certain time, they will get the three minutes they need to smoke or bio – they are more likely to hold out for that break.

Breaking before trash, and then pulling as soon as you have ‘most’ of your raid back, can also help speed things along. Impatient tanks, who have a good relationship with their healers, can really save time in this aspect. If you instead break before a big boss pull, you’re stuck waiting for Johnny McSlowperson to mosey back from chatting with the neighbor.


Watch your own actions, and do everything you can to reduce the load on the raid leader, and maximize your raid time. When you figure that the average ICC boss fight lasts about five minutes, just shaving a few moments off in some places can give you enough time for one more shot on a difficult boss. Plus as we all know, there’s no feeling like that of a well oiled and smooth running raid. The smoother the ride, the more fun it will be for everyone.

1 comment:

  1. Nicely written! Now if we can just get people to live by it things would happen at a much better pace and getting rid of those "I have wasted too much time with this group" and the dreaded raid calapse.

    One of the worst things I see is someone saying "brb grabbing a drink" and then when that one comes back another will say "brb bio" wtf? Did you not see that you could have done that 3 minute ago? I like your thoughts on "no breaks" unless one is actually needed.

    Not being in a constructive guild leads me to have many encounters with PUGS and the worst thing even with descent players is the time wasted. Again I couldn't agree more with your comments under "Be Prepared".


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