How to Lead & Win in Alterac Valley:
A Strategy Guide

Part 1: Taking Charge


So you’ve arrived in Alterac Valley with a rag-tag mob of incompetent noobs decked out in gear as green as they are. How do you turn this doomed assemblage into a coordinated fighting force?

Probably, you have tried yelling at the mob. Your pleas for competence are roundly ignored, or countered by others in the raid. You call for an attack, someone else calls to defend somewhere else. Calls for direct action accomplish nothing. Some jerk is calling you an idiot for voicing up, and raid chat (if you are lucky enough to have a single raid at all) is clogged with bickering and stupidity. Nobody will listen to you, so what can you do?

Getting people to listen to you is part of your job as a leader. There are a variety of strategies that you can use to get people listening to your commands. Some you can try immediately, while some will take time.

Before you can implement any strategic or tactical plans, you must take charge.

Immediate Steps

These are steps you can take in a single game to take charge

That “Raid Leader” Position is Crucial
Status and Power are created more from a group’s structure and organization than from any individual’s personality traits. Put another way, grabbing the “raid leader” spot in a group will confer status and credibility to you. If no raid has formed yet, form it yourself. If there is already a raid going, ask for a promotion to raid leader until you get it. The status conferred by structural features of an organization (i.e. the rank) is more important than any commanding personality can provide. Further, since this is the Internet, the playing field is level for those seeking to take charge. Everything that sets people apart in real life from charisma to appearance to speaking ability doesn’t apply to you in this arena.

Use Highly Visible Communication
Use the /rs or /rw channels to make sure everyone can see your commands. /ignore anyone who complains about using the raid leader channels. Keeping your instructions visible is key. If having a leader is annoying people, then they can leave.

Use an Even, Pleasant and Firm Tone
Never ever get frustrated. This is much easier said than done. If you find yourself getting ready to swear at the raid, take a step back or possibly a short water break. Never yell things like “Why won’t anyone listen”. Getting people to listen is your job. Avoid negativity.

Whisper “Good Job doing XYZ”
People like people who like them. Let people in your group know they are doing a good job. Tie it into something specific however, and it will be even better received. Just taking the time to say “Thanks for the heals there” or “Good job taking out that paladin” will inspire the troops, and get them to listen to you more. Praising others in raid chat will go a long way as well, but should be used with more restraint. Whispers feel so much more personal, because the recipient thinks they are special.

Repetition, Repetition, Repetition
Repeat your commands several times. People are busy fighting, and often do not bother to read the raid window. When they do look at the raid chat, you want them to see what you ordered, and not someone asking where to turn in bone fragments. By repeating your commands in an even, steady way, you ensure that more people will see those commands.

Long Term Steps

Build a Trusted Network of Lieutenants
In one of my favorite books, Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card provides a better description of leadership challenges than he is given credit for. In the book, Ender the military genius doesn’t succeed purely by merit of his tactical or strategic prowess. Part of what makes him a great leader is his ability to build a network of close friends who will follow him into battle. You too must work to build such a network. Start by paying attention to who your best players are. I don’t mean who’s getting the most kills or has the best gear. The best players are the ones who will participate in leadership – they are the ones who first start listening to you before everyone else does. Form relationships with them by complementing their play and thanking them for their help.

By the time you have been through several games with the same people, and cultivated those relationships people will start telling everyone else to listen to you, and that you are a good leader. This is highly desirable, as you will now have more time to devote to commanding, instead of to taking command.

Read Part 2: Basic Principles: Flag-N’-Graveyard Games

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