During the days of Icecrown Citadel, Tier 11, and half of Firelands I was a co-lead for a 10 man raiding group on Lightbringer-US. I was usually the wingman, letting our paladin, Filletofish, handle most of the vent chat.
As is typical with raiding, members come and members go. Our raid comp from Icecrown Citadel changed so drastically that by the time we were halfway into Firelands, only 3 of the original raiders were still active. Real life happens, and Filletofish couldn’t be around as often anymore. For the second half of Firelands and the first half of Dragon Soul I was doing my best to keep things together.
We didn’t do half bad. We weren’t cutting edge, but we were happy with our progression for the most part. All Firelands normal mode bosses were downed prior to the nerf except for Ragnaros. We went 3/7 Heroic in Firelands before Dragon Soul went live.
We cleared normal Dragon Soul with relative ease, scoring our first normal Madness kill just prior to the 5% debuff. That’s when it happened.
Our progression hit a brick wall. Heroic Morchok went down without too much difficulty, but pushing further just didn’t seem to happen. Our raid comp changed from week to week because random people would be unavailable. Interest in the encounters in general just sank.
It also didn’t help that I had finally burnt out. I ran out of gas, and eventually I handed the reins to the GM of our Lightbringer guild, who did a fine job in keeping us together until we finally decided to go on hiatus several weeks ago. Although I moved my warlock since then to a new guild and realm altogether, I’ll still be raiding with The Golden Elm with either a Resto Shaman or a Mistweaver Monk in MoP.
Even in a smaller group, leading a raid can be a time-consuming and thankless task. People lead raids for different reasons. Some do it for the challenge. Others for recognition, maybe a better shot at scoring those legendaries. Some do it because no one else really wants to. Other players will lead a raid because while they may not be the very best in their role, they feel they can make up for that by contributing to the performance of the raid in other ways.
For me, it was honestly a bit of all of the above. I’ve never been an amazing powerhouse of a warlock. I know the basics of the specs and the rotations. I do alright, but Vodka or Method won’t be looking for me anytime soon. I chose to lead because I wanted to pull my weight and earn my spot in the raid however I could.
Mists of Pandaria is quickly approaching, and I find myself wondering if I want to follow, or lead… or possibly both.
With Rho, I feel that now is as good a time as any to become a better player. With warlocks going through so many changes, the playing field is relatively levelled as we start our way into Tier 14. If I can step up my game to being in the top 33% of average warlock dps for raid encounters, I’ll consider that mission accomplished. I don’t care if I’m #2 or #5 on my team’s Recount. I’ll be satisfied if I’m showing myself to be productive as a warlock raider.
That said, I don’t feel I could dedicate myself to performing better while leading a raid at the same time. My performance faltered some in Firelands and Dragon Soul because as a raid leader I was paying attention to so many things that did not have to do with what I was doing directly in an encounter. My attention was diverted, and my mental bandwidth could only handle doing so many things at a time at a certain level of quality. That’s not a terrible thing necessarily, but this isn’t what I want for Rho in Mists.
At the same time, I discovered that I loved healing in Cataclysm. I had never played a healer until I went that direction with Magmafist, whom originally was supposed to be my first stab at melee dps with Enhancement. Healing was fun, different, and surprisingly enough not as stressful as dps to me. I’ll definitely be raiding as a healer in Mists, and I think I could raid lead as a healer without losing too much efficiency.
When it comes down to deciding to lead a raid, there are questions to ask yourself. Can you handle the responsibility? Will you find it enjoyable, even knowing the many obstacles and potential for drama that could exist? Do you want to lead, or are you just having difficulty finding a group that you’re a good fit in?
I’m looking forward to raiding in Mists of Pandaria. I haven’t quite yet found a raid team to call home on Earthen Ring, but that should hopefully be resolved in not too long. As for my Lightbringer toons, it’s never too early to start planning…