Seri sez: Raid Slotting 101

May 28, 2009

Mmmm... therapy.

I’ve recently taking over raid slotting duties for my guild while the GM is away. No one ever promised me a rose garden, but I was honestly a little unprepared for how overwhelmingly lost I felt that first week. I remember turning to a fellow officer when it was done and saying, “I am never. Doing. That. Again.” over the pint of Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream required to lift my spirits. I was convinced I’d publish that first roster and everyone that wasn’t on it would hate me. More, that is.

Well, as it turns out… I hate raid leading more than I hate raid slotting, so building rosters has settled in my lap along with the bevy of other administrative tasks required to keep an officer team running smoothly. (Really, I don’t know what they’d do without my spreadsheets.) I thought I’d use this week’s column to give you a little insight into what goes into a raid roster. Whether your officers make their rosters on the fly based on who’s logged in at raid time or ahead of time based on sign-ups, the same general principles (should) apply.

Tanks and healers are the foundation of the raid, so slot them first. A mix of classes/specs is a good idea, because every class/spec brings unique tools to the table. You want a good balance between tank healing and raid healing abilities, slightly weighted toward raid healing in most cases.

Once you’ve got tanks and healers sorted out, fill out the DPS. Try to maintain a good balance between melee and ranged. Make sure you have enough AOE if the fights you’ll be doing require it. Some guilds will stack more or less melee/ranged on a per-boss basis, but thankfully I don’t really have to worry about that for our group.

Sounds pretty easy doesn’t it? Well, it’s not quite that simple. While you’re filling in the DPS you have to keep raid composition in mind. When I say “raid composition” I don’t just mean “melee vs ranged” I mean “make sure every buff/debuff you can cover is covered.” This got a lot easier in Wrath, as many class buffs/debuffs are duplicated between the classes (whether or not this is a good thing or not is a whole other post). MMO Champion has a pretty nice Raid Composition Tool that you can use to help with this.

Yeah, that was the part where I started to get a little wide-eyed. Then I started to consider the human factor… more people than slots, and you don’t want to sit any one person too often during the week (or too many weeks in a row) or they’ll piss in your Cheerios™. What’s more… you want to slot your strongest raiders for the “hard stuff” later in the week but they won’t necessarily be keen on sitting out for the “easy stuff” that comes before it. Nonetheless, everyone has to sit sometimes and I’ve found that by and large folks are pretty understanding about it. Or maybe they’re just afraid of me. One can hope.

Got any tips/tools for raid slotting/stacking to share?


  1. Load list of sign ups, smash head into keyboard arrows, tada.

  2. I totally feel your pain. Choosing who gets to go and who does not is one of the aspects of guild leadership I had not really considered. I feel like the big bad wolf everytime I post a list for the raid invites.

    My guild currently has about 17 raiders, but only 2 or 3 ranged DPS, so we only have enough for one group per raid per week. I hate disappointing 7 people each week and am seriously considering delegating this job to someone I do not like!

    LF ranged DPS to give us enough for two full groups!

  3. Ranged DPS is a dying breed! We had a harder time recruiting Ranged DPS than we did healers. Ok lets change that to caster DPS. I think I could have had a whole raid of hunters had I really wanted it!

    This is what I love. In my recruitement bit I specifically said we were recruiting caster DPS and yet DKs kept whispering me. Got to the point I wanted to bite them all!

    OK done ranting…..I’ll go back to my corner now.

    Ooooh one more thing….can someone give me a pet shadow priest pretty please? 🙂

  4. We usually run a very tight roster (we don’t like waitlisting people) but we recently found ourselves with an over-abundance of new recruits.

    The one thing that’s helped me fill the raid is looking back at our guild policies. Raiders (barflies) fill the roster first, followed by non-raiders (couch warmers)

    Usually then we’ve got a few slots open and I try to fit the most dependable and highest-dps individuals in unless it’s a case of a person only being able to raid for one night that week.

    I also have someone help me with the rosters. It helps a LOT to not be the only one doing it.

  5. @ Salome & Ayslin: I’ll trade you caster DPS for Holy Priests/Resto Druids on a 1-for-1 basis…

    @ Tigerfeet: Yeah, we don’t really like to run with a roster as big as we do, but we have a few folks on the raid team who aren’t available every night. Also, for some reason that pesky “RL” thing keeps making people cancel so if we *don’t* have alts we tend to be in a bad spot. :/

  6. With Wrath, I decided to focus on 10man raiding with a group of friends. We also decided that, given we have RL schedules and obligations, we would have 12 people considered main, to fill the 10 slots. Though I’m not the leader, I’m often the one taking care of the admin of the raid – invites being a case in point. So today, for the second time since Wrath started, we had 11 people sign up and (most amazingly) they all turned up at start time.

    To my utmost surprise, when I explained the situation, I got 4 people volunteering to sit out. Not that they didn’t want to raid (I had just had a conversation with two of them about how psyched up they were about the raid), but everyone realised what the situation was.

    I guess the morale is that, like Seri, I was very surprised at the level of understanding people showed…

  7. […] I wasn’t.  But Seri […]

  8. For me, the most important part is that it’s fair. I don’t mind being sat a lot, but only if I’m given a clear explanation why.

    I’m raiding at the moment, and part of what contributed to my burnout shortly after 3.1 came out was the favoritism and silence of the officers. On our first week of 25-man Ulduar, people would be randomly sat out and other raiders rotated in halfway through the night. We didn’t get any explanation why, only that we had to log or hearth immediately. It caused me a lot of grief wondering to myself if I’d done something wrong. Above all I value fairness and a close officer-member relationship… and my guild nowhere near fit the bill.

    • My typos are amazing when I’m tired.

      I’m /NOT/ raiding at the moment**

      • Yeah, communication is VITAL, and the lack of it can turn something totally innocuous (we need more healers for X fight, so a DPS needs to swap, for example) into something really really huge.

  9. Aside from all the critical points you mentioned, Seri, it can also come down to people being understanding and willing to share.

    In past guilds I’ve either led or was an officer or CL for, each archetype team was generally really awesome about rotating folks on their own. For example, if we had too many healers sign up for week, I never had to think twice about who I’d have to sit out–my team would always volunteer. “I’ll sit out for so-and-so tonight since I got to go last night, or last week.” It wasn’t unusual for me, as the priest lead or healer lead, to sit myself so someone else on my team could get a shot at the gear they needed. In the end, it made our teams stronger, and kept everyone happy.

    Fostering that kind of inter-guild community, and praising it, can go a long way to alleviate not only member angst, but officer stress, and overall guild health. On the flip-side, you do have to be careful that the swap volunteering doesn’t hurt raid comp. Having a mature group of folks (which I think we do) who understand raid comp needs as well as their own archetype needs, and are willing to practice a little give and take can make such a huge difference. 😀

  10. I’m a planner. Our guild master is not. But I’ve got to say it: he is the glue, he gets shit done, and I have the utmost respect for him.

    Nevertheless, though I used to slot and lead raids all the time, I simply won’t do it anymore. If I’m the only one available to lead – I tell people to PUG.

  11. ooooo – I hate it when someone volunteers to sit out to let someone else come in.

    1) Because if you’re in the raid, it’s because we needed you (not the other guy).

    2) Because people tend to do this when someone gets ticked off and starts bitching in guild chat. And if they’re bitching in gchat during a raid, I’m not taking them. period.

    3) And because, invariably, when one person volunteers to sit out for someone, 4 more will immediately offer the same thing, making the situation more difficult to handle.

  12. Please pass some of the understanding this way please kkthx. Raid slotting is up there with ‘most thankless job.’

    Do I have any tips? Not really, unless you count a big old glass of red wine. >.>

  13. Do not ever apologize for your scheduling or the way you filled out the raid. Other aspects of Guild management can be democratic, but when it comes to raiding, for results sometimes you have to be the dictator to make sure the team functions together.

  14. Seri does good raid slotting. I volunteered to handle the week where we had 27 sign-ups for each day. 1 was a requesting being alted, and another’s computer had blown up and he wasn’t sure he could raid on the laptop.

    Raid slotting was *easy* that week. Actual raiding was a little bit tetchier.

    @ptitza- I gotta agree with you on that. There was a situation awhile back where we were trying for Immortal in Naxx and intentional sat someone who consistently died *sometime* in the raid, every week. He was whispering every single DPS in the raid trying to get them to switch with him, and the officers were just like, “NOOOOOO!”

    Its different if we ask for a volunteer to swap with someone, but just making it work on your own… /headache.

  15. Fortunately for us, we have a small roster with high attendance, so few core members, if ever, have to sit out. But on the rare occasions where we do have a few sitting and we have to make such decisions, feelings are always hurt. It’s definitely the least favorite part about the whole raid leading deal.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: