As a note, this is all opinionated.  Obviously none of this is substantiated at any kind of scholarly level, but it’s all based on my own educational and raid leading experiences.

Setting goals is very difficult in an educational setting.  You want an entire class to hit a certain mark that means you have succeeded at a basic level.  Then there are students who go beyond, they excel because they want to or they have passion about that topic.  Mentally, they don’t see a boundary at all: they just want to know it all and be the best at what they do.

Arguably this is the same in a raiding guild.  You have two sets of boundaries that you need to break through: the Raid goals and the Personal goals.  You can set, educate, and enforce Raid goals.  But you can only encourage and emphasize the need for Personal goals.

A Raid goal, for instance, would be…

  • “You must do x amount of raid-wide DPS in y amount of time in order to down this boss.”
  • “You cannot stand in a and you must move around b.”

Raid goals are very cut and dry, they mostly cannot be argued against and it is almost a “requirement” of sorts when there is a Raid goal set.  There are powerful consequences behind why you have to do this and why you can’t do that: most of them end with a wipe.

Wipes should be seen in a negative light all the time, but from those we can draw two primary conclusions about the raid:

  • Raid-wide conclusions (e.g. “Our DPS aren’t moving out of void zones”, “The raid eats too many lava waves”, “Our raiders are reacting slowly”, “People are not targeting correct targets.”)
  • Individual conclusions (e.g. “Rogue x is always hitting the target too fast and dying before tank has aggro”, “I can’t agree with how Healer y is doing certain spells at certain times.”)

There are other conclusions we can draw (server lag, bugs in game), but I think we should focus on those two over the rest.  We also cannot forget that there are always going to be improvements (whether it be the raid succeeds at a task or a boss is dropped) so even if there is an evening of wipes, we do learn something.  Learning is the most important part about the raid.  We learn about the raid and ourselves!

This brings us to Personal goals.  As a raid leader, we should not tell an individual they have to do “this” better because it imposes a possible negative in the form of “if you don’t do this, you can’t go to that“.  And we can’t do that because obviously, it makes you look like a something.

Personal goals can only be set when a person realizes they want to do more than the required and know this will make them better as a whole.  There are some students/raiders who will see they have hit the mark and therefore they don’t need to do more.  They are comfortable with their DPS and hopefully that’ll make the raid leaders comfortable too.

Oh, I wish it was that simple.

As an educator and raid leader, I wish for one thing when I go back to the school/raid: that there are improvements in everybody in almost every aspect of playing.  I wish people would leave the raid internalizing “hey, I could have done this better”.  That is what starts Personal goal setting: when you set good Personal goals, you only get better at knowing yourself within them.  We want people to set these, so we must encourage the growth of Personal goals by placing a hint of some sort at an individual basis in discussion.

Some examples of personal goals could be…

  • “Okay, I did 2300 sustained DPS last Naxx 25.  Let’s go for 2500.  I’ll check this website to see what I can do for min-maxing.”
  • “I didn’t sit in one void zone or fire wall, but I moved a lot and that kept me from always DPSing.  I’ll cut down on that tomorrow.”

As you can see, it’s two things: the extension of a Raid goal and a higher level thought process of going beyond that primary.  There is something of a drive that leads to the creation of them internally.  But it is an only internal process.

It also goes without saying, if one cannot reach the Raid goal, Personal goals probably won’t bloom (or rather, the wrong ones might be).

My personal goal tonight will be to sustain healing on my favorite bear tank at a higher level than I did last night!  How about you?