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This article was written by the player Lexie, and was posted on Oct 30, 2008.

A Field Guide to Leading Groups in Alter Aeon

A lot of people on the game claim they don't know where to lead, how to lead, or what makes a good leader. The first problem is solved through exploration, but the second can only be learned through experience. Though it seems simple, being a good leader is hard work. Anyone can throw together a group, but keeping it under control and together when the unexpected happens takes skill. This article will hopefully give you things to look for and things to try to improve your ability to lead groups.

The thing that most good leaders on the mud share is that they readily take suggestions, but make firm decisions. Groups with an indecisive leader either die or degenerate into spamfests. That doesn't mean that a leader can't take advice, especially from more experienced players. But it's important to appear confident and knowledgeable. Explain where you want to run, what to expect, and assign duties to various group members. This makes it clear what everyone should be doing at any given time.

One of the hardest parts of leading is assigning jobs. There are generally five major classes of duties: healer, blaster, hitter, tank, and stabber. The best leaders have tried their hands at all five jobs and know what the pitfalls and advantages of each are. (If your main character can't do all five things, you may want to try making multis to experiment with other jobs.) It is also a good idea to assign group jobs whenever you start a run, whenever a new person joins the group or when someone leaves the group.

A corollary to assigning jobs is being sure to have the right personnel for the run. It's all well and good to say you're going to run Lux the Great Red Dragon, but if you have no healer the run will probably be short and end badly. Three items to consider are these:

  • Does the tank have enough experience, armor, dodge, parry, etc., for the run? It should go without saying, but you should trust your tank to be fast on rescues, have the tanking skill if possible, and not get absorbed with channel chatter or other distractions.

  • Do the healers regenerate fast enough to handle the number of tanks and hitters you have? A secondary item is do you have enough healers to cover your tanks and hitters? A good rule of thumb, especially for beginning healers is to assign no more than two hitters to a healer and to give the tank to a single healer.

  • Is the group too large or too small for a particular run. A group that is too large will get no experience. A group that is too small will spend a lot of time in regen, or worse, get killed.

Once you have put your group together, assigned jobs, and started your run it's the group leader's responsibility to watch for problem areas. The three most common problems in most groups are these:

  • Friction between group members. A simple solution is to ask them to take it outside the group or if they will not let an issue drop, ask one or both members to leave until they can resolve their differences.

  • Excessive spam. Except during regen, there should not be a lot of chatter in a group (the subgroup channel works fine for this as it can be switched off). Chatter spams up the screen and often causes people to miss commands etc. Finally, it's very easy to get so absorbed in a conversation or your own wit that you miss group related information (the tank just died, everyone enter portal, etc.)

  • Idlers. Sometimes people either lose connection, step away from their keyboard for a moment and are gone for hours, or something similar happens. If you can afford to drag the person along that's one solution. However, the safest thing for all concerned tends to be to ditch the idler, send him or her a mudmail explaining what happened, and summon the person back when he returns. It's nicest to ditch said idlers in a recall or safe room.

This is a work in progress. Any rebuttals, expansions, alternative solutions, etc are welcome. Other leaders might have differences of opinion with me and I welcome reading them.


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