The first week of a new raid instance tends to be tough. Players aren’t as familiar with the encounters. You can’t rely on gear as much to carry you or overpower the challenges. Raid leaders have to be on the ball when they’re issuing commands while the encounter is live. This weekend, I joined my fair share of pugs: Both to see if there were other tricks to help ease encounter difficulty and to gear up my alts in case they would be needed in my main raid.

You know what surprised me the most?

It was the inability for raid leaders to communicate. These were players that were organizing runs. Have you been in your fair share of pickup raids? Have you noticed that raids which were the most successful were the ones where the people in charge managed to get their point through quickly and clearly. Their instructions were crisp and to the point which minimized any confusion. The raids which failed were often due to misunderstanding or the raid leader took too long to say something and it ended up in a wipe.

For all of you budding raid leaders out there, switch to shorter terms. Instead of saying “Stack up on Bobrovsky, the square” say “Stack on square”. You are the director. Boss pulls are your canvas for you to script accordingly.

One might argue that with all these boss mods and visual indicators, there’s no need for real audio indicators. Like it or not though, while a player might know when they’re supposed to do something, they’ll feel much more reassured that they’re doing the right thing when you repeat it until they get the hang of it. No one wants to be the guy that screwed up an attempt.

Movement

Stack – Alternatively, I like to repeat myself saying In (example, IN IN IN IN! until everyone is together). For specific players, it’s not uncommon to place a mark and say to stack on that mark.

Spread – Conveys that you want the raid to split up and space themselves out from each other. If you have to specify a specific distance, you can mention the rough yardage. Expert players should have a fair idea on the difference between 40 yards and 10 yards.

Tanks, move, your left – Conveying tank movement can be tricky as it depends on their environment, the direction their facing, and other factors. If you need a tank to adjust their position, make life easy for them and use their frame of reference. There might be a boss or other visual obstructions in the way which prevents them from seeing where the rest of the raid is.

Face boss away/towards raid – This relates to the direction of the boss for certain abilities that might either be lethal or beneficial.

Move to mark – You’re telling your players to move to a set position.

Combat

Stop DPS – Means everyone should hit escape and take a step or two to ensure there’s no additional damage going out.

Slow DPS – Means stop using hard hitting abilities and to lower your DPS (light attacks or white damage).

Resume DPS – Means players can resort back to their full arsenal of abilities.

Switch to skull – Target switching might be involved. Repeat this command if you still notice attacks hitting the incorrect target.

Phase indication – Something acceptable would be saying “Phase 2 in 5%” or “Phase 3 in 10 seconds”.

Time warnings – For encounters where timing events is critical, I find it best to provide a 20 second warning, a 10 second warning, and then a 5 second warning. A great example of this is on the Operator Thogar encounter with the split trains that occur at 2:00 and 6:10. Advise your teams to start cheating towards their side to minimize anyone getting caught off guard.

Ability name – If there’s a dangerous ability or event that players need to react to, call this out. If I bark out Firestorm 1 or Firestorm 2, different players know that it’s their job to use their assigned cooldown at that point.

Healers prep – Means to get to a clear and safe area where you can cast your assigned spells and cooldowns unimpeded (It would suck for Tranqulity to be interrupted).

Soak – Advises designated players to stand in specific areas to absorb a unique attack (Such as Ko’ragh).

Ad on raid – Advises the tank that there’s a loose ad. Hunters and Rogues can pick up on this and attempt to misdirect the ad.

Cooldown usage

Death Knight’s Anti-Magic Zone – AMZ (If you’re Canadian, it’s AMZed).

Druid’s Stampeding Roar – Roar. Signifies a druid to use their Stampeding Roar. Use an individual druid’s name if you have more than one.

Hunter’s Aspect of the Fox – Fox.

Mage’s Amplify Magic – Amp.

Paladin’s Devotion Aura – Devo.

Paladin’s Hand of Sacrifice – Sac.

Priest’s Divine Hymn – Hymn.

Priest’s Guardian Spirit – Apparently, people say GS. Except, when I say it quickly, it sounds like “jizz”. I’m going to switch to saying Guard instead.

Priest’s Power Word: Barrier – Just say Barrier.

Priest’s Vampiric Embrace: VE or Vamp (but it might sound too close to Tranq).

Rogue’s Smoke Bomb – Smoke.

Shaman’s Spirit Link – Spirit Link.

Shaman’s Ancestral Guidance – AG (Or egg).

Shaman Windwalk Totem – Windwalk.

Shaman Healing Tide Totem – Tide.

Warrior’s Rallying Cry – Rally.

Any in-combat resurrection ability (Such as Rebirth) – B Res.

Ability out – For example, “Pain Supp out” or “Barrier out”. Train your raid to say these.

No ability – If the ability was mistakenly used or if it’s still on cooldown, say “No Smoke” or “No Rally”. It lets the raid leader know to proceed down the list to the next ability.

Lastly, don’t forget to repeat instructions on critical commands. Maybe you didn’t hit your push to talk. Maybe you spoke at the same time as another player. If you need everyone to stack or burn down a different target, emphasize it.
I’ll often use Angry Assignments on display while listing a player and their cooldowns in numerical order for that extra coordination. As long as players have it open and off to the side, they can reference it easily for information on when their abilities need to be used.
aa
Don’t be afraid to script out exactly when you want cooldowns or what to do when a major fight mechanic happens. If a raid ability fails to go off at the designated time and you wipe, you know who to hold accountable. Victory loves preparation!