When I first starting playing Lord of the Rings Online, I was struck by one really consistent element among the playerbase: there were a lot of people out there who (proudly) stated that they’d never played another MMO before LotRO.
And that’s awesome. Don’t think for a moment that I would have it any other way. However, that strong element within the player population also means that when you get into a fellowship (be it a three-man, six-man, or a full raid), you’re more likely to run into players who have never grouped before.
It also means that if you are someone who has never done much in a fellowship until now, you are not alone. That’s good!
But it doesn’t mean you get to be totally stupid about it, or fail to exercise good manners.
If you’re new to fellowships and raiding, it might be a surprise that there’s such a thing as good raid etiquette. Let me assure you, there is. Every kinship and even every fellowship is going to handle things differently — some more casually, some more hardcore — but I think I can say this fairly safely: if you observe these general guidelines, you’ll do okay regardless of which kind of group you’re playing with.
0. Be Prepared
I already talked about this, but before you do anything else, make sure you’re prepared to raid. Do you have enough Radiance? High enough Virtues? Completed Class Traits?
Stop. You have other stuff to do before you take this ‘raiding’ thing any further.
Do you have all the necessary supplies purchased and ready (in your bags or in the bank)? Is your gear repaired? The time to get your gear fixed and your supply bag filled up is BEFORE the scheduled start time for a raid or instance run. Doing repairs, AH runs for Hope Tokens, or running to the bank… all that stuff takes time.
Multiply every minute you spend running round by the number of people in the group. That’s how much time you just wasted.
Optional tip: the Raid Chest
On another game I used to play, I could actually pull a bag out of the bank and swap it into one of my bag slots in place of a bag I already had equipped (usually my “crafting bag”). You can’t do that in LotRO, but I have messed around with keeping a ‘raid chest’ in the bank that has all my raid supplies; I just grab everything out of there before it’s time to start, then put anything I don’t use back in that chest at the end of the run — it’s not perfect, and it may not be for everyone, but it’s not bad.
1. Sign Up
Every group has different sign-up requirements for raids and six-man fellowship runs (in my experience three-man runs are rarely organized so formally). Most kinships have some way to sign up for scheduled events. It may be a kinship forum (fancy!), a my.lotro calendar of events, or maybe just announcements in the Kin’s Message of the Day telling people when to log on to participate. Find out what the standard practice is and follow it.
2. Do the Homework
I recommend always reading instance walkthroughs and boss strategies and watching videos before raids until you are reasonably familiar with the fights yourself. In this, Google (plus some smart search queries) is your friend, but you can almost always find some good advice at lorebook.lotro.com. Sure, someone in the raid will probably explain the fight, but having it explained is nothing like seeing a video of how the fight works out.
3. Start time is START Time
So the raid starts at 7pm. Don’t begin a “quick Sword Halls run” at 6:45. Hell, don’t start a quick Grand Stairs run at 6pm. Yeah, you can probably get done in time, if nothing goes wrong and there are no delays.
Don’t plan based on any kind of ‘if’, except for this one: “IF you can’t get done with whatever other thing you’re considering at LEAST fifteen minutes before invites start going out, don’t start it.”
4. Get to the
Choppa Summoning Horn
You know who my favorite person in the raid is? The person who’s down at the summoning horn, ready to bring people down to the instance as soon as they join the group.
Be that person.
It will impress people that you’re already ready, and YOU help get the party started even faster.
5. Can You Hear Me Now? Goooood.
I’ve heard people say that since they can play through the Grand Stairs in a pick-up group without using voice chat, they don’t need to use it for Raids.
Here’s the deal: your raiding group is using some kind of voice chat. Period. If they aren’t, they won’t be getting a hell of a lot done in any given night. Find out what your group uses and set it up ahead of time. (In-game chat in LotRO is quite servicable, but Ventrillo also quite common — it’s a free download, easily customized, and dead simple to set up.)
Do you need a microphone? No. You don’t have to talk, but you do have to be able to listen.
6. Now that we can talk to each other, Zip It.
Nothing bugs a raid leader more than someone who isn’t paying attention when they’re organizing groups or explaining the fight. Maybe you’ve done this fight fifty times — that’s fine: you don’t need to hear my explanation (except to make sure we’re doing it the way you expect), but don’t run around in circles, /fishslapping the people who DO need to hear what’s going on.
When the raid leader talks, listen (or at least shut up so everyone else can hear). Ears open. Mouth shut. Don’t be the person that has to have everything explained twice — once beforehand, and once after the group wipes.
Now, if you didn’t understand the explanation then by all means ASK QUESTIONS — that’s totally fine. That’s GOOD.
However, outside of that, understand that there is a time and a place for screwing around and/or socializing, and this probably isn’t it. Some kins are very lax about who’s talking during the raid, some aren’t — the easiest way to find out how your group works is to shut the heck up and observe them in action.
Understand that this isn’t some kind of ego thing with the raid leaders — most of them (myself included) get sick to death of explaining the same fight for the fiftieth time and calling out every transition while still trying to actually perform our class role — but we know people need to hear those instructions, and having other people chatting away while we’re trying to keep the group from wiping is an exercise in frustration and futility, and if you think the raid leader isn’t going to share that frustration with the rest of the group, think again.
7. Limit AFKs
AFK. The raid killer. There are many good times to have extended AFKs — in my opinion, none of those times fall during raid time.
Sure, if a raid is scheduled for a long stretch of time, the raid leaders will plan for breaks (the smart ones will communicate when they’re coming well in advance). Don’t go AFK for normal things (another drink, snacks, checking email) unless a group AFK has been called.
Sure, there are absolutely times when you will have to go AFK. Absolutely. However, even in those cases, be respectful.
- Announce yourself – don’t just vanish.
- Give a reason. We don’t need to hear your life story, but say something. If you’re going to be a long while (“my kid just set the dog on fire”) say so.
- Say when you’ll be back. “One sec” is inaccurate and unlikely. Be realistic and estimate high.
- Don’t you DARE get upset if you go afk for ten minutes and come back to find that you’ve been replaced. 10 minutes multiplied by the eleven other people in the raid is almost 2 wasted hours of collective time — of COURSE they found someone else and kept going. It’s not personal, so don’t make it personal.
Do Unto Others As Though They Were You
Stop for two seconds and consider your actions within the group — if someone else in the fellowship was doing what you’re doing right now (long AFKs, lack of prep, showing up late), would it annoy you?
Then knock it off.
Be a good teammate. Everything after that is bonus.