Although I was unable to post an update of our fun and games here yesterday, I have still been having a barrel of laughs in EQ!!

Monday night saw our regular run through SoH.   The encounter with the sisters could have been smoother, but we recovered well and they were killed on the first pull.  Every other encounter went like clockwork really.    I was so excited when Master P dropped the Hood of Dark Dealings for us, and YAY Danonia won it for his coercer girlie!!!

Last night then saw us hit Pawbuster and Thuuga just to give another raid member the items we need for Venril and Overking.   Once again we absolutely owned both zones.   Once we had disbanded, there was a quick trip through Maidens to help a guildmate with an epic quest update.

 I have been so thrilled with the progress of our raids lately, and it has got me thinking about what it is that has been contributing to the success of our raids?

In the instance of my own guild and our raids, Danonia and Arisha have just been doing a FANTASTIC job at pulling the raid together and getting us organised, and tanking / leading the raid force through these zones.

We have a good strong consistent MT group.  There is understanding and respect, with a meshing of players and characters.  I know it might seem easy for me to say since I am regularly in MT group, but – a raid is SOOOO much more than MT group IMHO.

While the MT group is more visible, and can be considered the “front line”, the MT group is only a part of the whole.  I see our job as one thing and one thing only – Keep the mobs attention so that the rest of the raid can kill it.   Perhaps a little overly simplistic, but I guess that is sort of the starting premise.

I have been talking with a guildmate, expressing some of these thaughts recently.   I guess expressing them in a public arena like this is a good place for balance and perspective.   What follows is a summary on my philosophy.

For success a raid must be able to depend on its MT group to control the mob or mobs.  The MT must be on the ball for agro control and mob placement to protect the rest of the raid.  The MT healers must be on the ball to make sure that they keep their tank healed, and cures are ABSOLUTELY vital.  Stifles Stuns Mezzes and Charms on the MT can be raid killers.

For success a raid must be able to depend on its MA to tank and control whatever mobs and encounters they need to.   The MA healers must be on the ball just as much as the MT healers imho.   No point in MT group keeping the MT up if there is no MA for the DPS to focus on.

For success a raid must also be able to depend on its DPS to do their job.  It must be able to depend on the DPS to control their hate, and to effectively use their classes strengths and abilities.   It is key that the dps healers are on the ball and reactive for the situations when they innevitably pull agro at some point.  Their is no point having the MT and MA doing their bit if there is no DPS alive to kill the mobs.

The final key to the success of a raid imho is raid leadership.   Pulling the raid together is easy – but effective group formation I see as a difficult and sometimes thankless task.   I believe that this is achieved with a great deal of  knowledge and understanding of the classes that you have available to you, and therefore knowing which classes are complementary to group together. Hats off to Danonia for doing such a stellar job twice a week.  

On top of that I see it as no small task to keep 24 people organised and focused on the task at hand, while maintaining a positive and friendly atmosphere. 

So I guess nothing new, insightful or earthshattering – but that is my own philosophy.  All of this said, all that is left is for me to state the usual disclaimer – that this is just my opinion, and I am sure that there are many that will agree and disagree with parts or all of what I have to say.

I am sure that the following weeks and months will bring its share of successes and failures as we head to Veneril Sathir, Leviathan and ultimately VP.  A cliche I know – but it is not whether you win or loose but how you play the game that matters.

Happy hunting and crafting everyone!