How to Lead a Group in a Dungeon

By: OldGoat | : 871

We’ve all heard the complaints. Someone used a pick-up group (PUG) for Twilight Arbor, and it was a horrible experience. Someone felt completely lost during a speed run and eventually got booted from the party. The party leader expected someone to know the dungeon and wasn’t very patient when that person acted confused. These kind of dungeon runs are no fun. Why are we playing when it’s not fun?

When I lead a party through a dungeon, I have a few very important rules.

  1. It has to be fun. If my party isn’t having fun, I’m either too serious or haven’t been explaining everyone’s “job” well enough. GW2 dungeons all have times where teamwork is required. If someone doesn’t feel like part of the team, I’m not leading correctly. If someone feels picked on, rushed, or even not valued, it’s probably not a good time for them.
  2. Everything’s better with Voice. Typing takes time and fingers away from the battle. Speaking can be done while still fighting, casting spells, healing, etc. Even if some of the party don’t have microphones, it’s much easier for us all if the leader can talk to us. Plus, it’s more fun. Raidcall is free, and we can help you get set up in just a few minutes.
  3. Whoever is driving should know the dungeon pretty well. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the I as a leader need to have every step memorized, but I should be somewhat familiar with it. It’s okay to use external resources like GW2 Wiki or another dungeon guide to help jog the memory. I would not suggest anyone lead a dungeon without having been through it a few times as a party member.
  4. Give clear instructions. This means just what it says. The leader, or whoever that leader has designated for that boss or activity, should give clear instructions to describe each task. If there are red circles that become spike traps, say so. Don’t just say “watch out for the red circles.” Say “the red circles are spike traps, you can avoid them by timing your run or finding some other way to get by them.” Don’t say, “okay when I start this fight, somebody go after the Golem.” Try instead, “I need a volunteer who wants to kite the golem and keep him away from us while we kill the engineer.”
  5. Ask for suggestions from the party. Yes, I just said that. It’s way more fun for everyone to feel involved in the planning stage of each fight. Asking for suggestions makes it OUR DUNGEON. That will add to the satisfaction factor at the end.
  6. POSITIVE FEEDBACK. I don’t mean the “good job” we say almost automatically, I mean the “wow Goat, you really nailed that troll at the end. Nice!” Or maybe, “Wow you guys really pulled me out of the fire that time. Thanks.” Make it sincere and look for reasons to pass out the compliments.
  7. Stay until it’s over. Nothing is more frustrating than having to wait for someone over and over again. Now, I’m not saying it’s not okay to give short breaks during a dungeon. I’m just saying make sure you don’t leave people hanging around waiting for you to get back.
  8. Plan. Yes, plan. Look at your party. Do you have a guardian? Warrior? Elementalist? Who will be needed for what task? If anyone has to change characters before starting, it should be the leader first. I’m not saying you need put together a perfect group. I prefer to run with what I’ve got and make my plan based on the party makeup. Just be prepared.
  9. Speed runs are like having a job. I don’t really do well in speed runs. They remind me too much of being at work: “Hurry up and get it done.” No time for chit chat, kill it and move on. I’ve had bosses like that. Don’t be that “leader.” Be the one who takes the time to cause rule number 1 to be followed.
  10. Be careful what you say. We don’t really know each other as well online as if we saw each other face to face. In a dungeon, we know each other by voice or in-game chat. It’s important to remember we all come from different places. Stay away from the deadly conversation topics: politics, religion, and anything else that might cause hurt feelings.

And there you have my rules for a successful, fun dungeon experience. Remember, you’re an adventure leader, not a “boss.” Don’t bark orders. Get agreement before the plan is put into action. LISTEN to your group. I’ve learned a lot of my “tricks of the trade” by listening to everyone in the party. A few times, listening to my teammate has saved me from an embarrassing wipe.

Published: March 13th, 2015

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