Leading an operation group may seem like a daunting task. Scheduling 8 to 16 people in the right group composition is difficult enough, but that’s only the beginning. Boss fight strategies, loot rules and various other factors contribute to making this a tough role to fill. Some people were born with the natural ability to lead, but fret not because this is a talent that can be learned! Even if you don’t plan on leading an operation, you may glean some insight as to why your lead is always so cranky!
We’ve all heard of the pissed off, cussing raid leader (<-PG13 link) screaming at his group for making a mistake and wiping the group. Don’t be that person. Wiping in an operation can be frustrating, but people are looking to you to have the cool head. No one wants to follow a leader who is always angry and calls out people’s mistakes to embarrass them in the middle of the fight. At the same time, you can’t be the person who casually sits back and lets everyone do their own thing. You are a leader and as a leader there are some ground rules you have to set and communicate to your ops before you even get started. Structure is important in having a well organized and efficient operation run.
After you schedule your ops, the first thing you should emphasize to your group is for them to be on time. I understand this is a game but when someone is late you waste a lot of time trying to find replacements. Operations are a time commitment and if your ops members are late (or can’t stay for the scheduled duration) then you should find replacements for them. They are inconveniencing 7 to 15 other players when they practice this behavior. Not only is it inconvenient, it is just straight up rude and inconsiderate to others. It is understandable to be late if they have a real-life interruption, but ask them to at least try to contact someone to pass the word along. Guild forums are an excellent way to convey messages to one another.
As operations leader, it is your job to know the boss fight mechanics and to explain it to others. You can find an abundant amount of strategies on the web that will make this part easy. Ideally the other members in your group should have done their own research, but you can’t always count on that. If there isn’t sufficient information on a boss, then you have to have a good understanding how boss mechanics usually work and watch carefully on what buffs and debuffs are being applied. The trash mobs leading up to the boss can sometimes give a clue on what mechanics you’ll be dealing with. Be open to suggestions, BUT the decision is yours on how to ultimately handle the fight.
Loot rules should always be clear before the start, especially if you end up in a PUG. Normal mode columi gear makes it easy since the loot is predestined, but make sure you have a plan for the crafting materials, schematics and other pieces which are rolled for. I’ll go over loot systems at another time, but I want to emphasize how important it is to make sure everyone knows how loot is to be handled. Poorly handled loot is a good way to break up an operation prematurely.
Another important tip is to try and learn all you can about the other classes and specs. For example, mercenaries/commandos have the ability to crowd control, but powertechs/vanguards do not, even though they are both the same class. Some classes don’t have interrupts, some cannot purge debuffs, some can’t even heal (unless you count medpacks). At least learn the basics of the advanced classes so you know all the tools at your disposal.
Be sure to set some basic rules on how you expect your team members to behave during an operation. Here are a few that I employ to make sure we have a smooth ops night:
- Keep vent clear during a boss fight, except for the designated people calling out mechanics
- No leaving afk before a boss fight. There will be set breaks where bio/drinks can be had. If you must afk during a trash pull ask for permission.
- No leaving to exchange tier pieces, unless it’s during a designated break. Make sure you are back on time if you do go.
- No ‘calling out’ other ops members for mistakes. Report it to the ops lead in private and let them handle the issue.
- Repair before coming to the operation!
These rules may seem a bit stringent, especially since this is a game. However, without them you can end up wasting a lot of time with 1 or 2 players running back and forth for various things at different times. It is in the best interest of the entire group to keep things going quickly.
There may be a bit of disagreement on what class makes the best ops lead. Some say tanks are best since they usually face the rest of ops group while tanking. The only problem is that they also have a big boss in their face which can sometimes impede their vision. Healers can also make good leads because they are constantly looking at the health of the group and can see if they are taking an unnecessary amount of damage. Their disadvantage is that the healing role is so intense that they may not be able to keep track of everything. Personally, I prefer a dps class to lead, especially if it is something with an easy rotation. Their main role is to stand there and push their buttons until the boss is dead. This gives them more opportunity to look around to see what the rest of the ops team is doing. Whatever role you are just make sure you can do your job while keeping track of everything else around you.
Leading an operation is not always a fun job, but it is an essential part of having a successful run. The more you do, it the easier it will become, so practice as much as you can. You’ll make mistakes along the way, but as long as you learn from them the more you will improve. Don’t be afraid to try your hand. Who knows? Maybe you’ll be better than it than you thought! Now go kill some bosses!
Ready check done?
Pulling in 3… 2… 1…