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Some Outside Advice
#1
Reading Dispaya's post really got me thinking about Ironsong and the state of things. Obviously, my perspective is an outside one, but sometimes that kind of perspective is good to have. There are a lot of good points in Dispaya's post, particularly in analysing the state of "flow" that everyone wants to be in. The diagram gets a lot more complicated when you have a group of 30 active players, instead of one, and there are a few approaches to handling this.

The raiding guild strives to maintain flow by recruiting based on skill and commitment. This is the easiest way, in my opinion, because so long as your players share these things in common, they will be challenged, frustrated, or bored at the same time. They will spend similar amounts of time working to achieve common goals, and while there will always be people who work harder or play better than others, the spread is narrow.

Ironsong, obviously, is not a raiding guild and does not consider a player's skill or commitment to the game to be important factors during recruitment, compared to personality and roleplaying characteristics. Among the people who match these characteristics, there will be people who are bad at the game, okay at the game, and fantastic at the game. There will be people who play WoW a few times a month, and people who play every day. Maintaining flow for this diverse group is a far more challenging task, but not impossible.

Dispaya already mentioned that WoW is a game. It is a game that is played in a large virtual space, which can also be used for socialization. But the game is the part where you are challenged by the mechanics, and where you can succeed or fail based on your performance. Roleplaying is entertaining, but it is not a game. You can't win or lose roleplaying. You can win or lose a boss battle in a raid. The same with tabletop RPGs, you can spend a lot of time roleplaying, but ultimately there is a problem to be solved using the abilities of the characters at your disposal.

Gear spread was mentioned as a primary source of the disparity between flow, but gear spread is a symptom, not a cause. A raid is a team of players that depends on everyone to do their part, and gear access has very little to do with that. What I do observe, in IST raids, is a small group of players doing everything they can to make the raid succeed, while a larger group of players do very little, by comparison. This is not meant to be insulting, or judgmental, it is an observation. A few examples of this observation:

DPS in SSC
If your class is a damage dealing class, your job in a raid is to deal damage. You should be prepared to deal as much damage as possible with the tools at your disposal and with the skill you have, as a player. Often, that will mean you won't be the best damage dealer in the raid (someone's going to better than you, or better geared than you), but so long as you did your best, you did your job. In a raiding guild, your best might not have been good enough, and you STILL might get kicked out of the raid, or waitlisted, because you didn't do enough. This is analogous to most professional sports teams, where absolute performance is the only measure worth anything. In IST, of course, that isn't the case.

That doesn't mean that not doing your best should be acceptable, anywhere. Even in little leagues, not trying will get you kicked off the team. In SSC, for anyone who pays attention to the damage output of various players, the top ten looks something like:
  1. 15.2% Player in T6 gear
  2. 14.5% Player in T4 gear
  3. 14.3% Player in T4/5 gear
  4. 14.1% Player in T5 gear
  5. 12.8% Player in T4/5 gear
  6. 7.2% Player in T4 gear
  7. 7.2% Player in T5 gear
  8. 5.8% Player in T4/5 gear
  9. 5.4% Player in greens
  10. 5.4% Player in T4 gear

Right. So the player in T6 gear dominates the meter, no surprise. Look at player #2 in T4 gear, however, and the spread between the next 3 players. Their gear is barely out of Karazhan, yet they're nipping at the heels of this T6 player who has cleared BT. Is it because the T6 player is bad? Maybe. But more likely, its because the differences between T4 and T6, while significant, are not orders of magnitude. Gear does not dominate your raid performance.

The next group, players 6+, are lagging. Maybe they had an off night, or maybe they haven't quite figured out how to best play their class. Regardless, these players should be thinking to themselves, "what could I do, to be better?" They could be doing more for their team. They should be asking the players who perform better than them, what they're doing differently.

For some, like player 9, its just a question of being unprepared. They aren't wearing the basic gear that is necessary for the instance, so they can't hope to compete. They are often killed by a stray boss ability due to lack of stamina, their abilities are resisted or missed due to lack of hit. The question a raid leader should ask, however, is why there are properly equipped players who are performing as poorly as the unprepared member.

You're never going to have everyone be part of the top group. Every raid has a few people who just don't get it, despite their best efforts, and just can't seem to squeeze out the same damage as the top group. That's fine, but that group should be the minority. Certainly, the top 10 damage dealers in a 25-man raid should all be within a few percent of one another. The majority of a raid needs to be working, properly, or figuring out what they're not doing.

Healing in SSC
If your class is a healing class, your job is to keep people alive. You should be healing the targets you are assigned, as best you are able. Healing meters aren't as informative, in that healers will often segregate into percentage groups based on their assigned roles, rather than their gear or actual performance, but large disparities in healing meters are telling. Take a representative SSC log:
  1. 18.3% Circle of Healing Priest #1, in T6 gear
  2. 18.1% Circle of Healing Priest #2, in T4 gear
  3. 17.3% Tree of Life druid, in T6 gear
  4. 16.2% Restoration shaman, in T5 gear
  5. 8.3% Holy Paladin, in T5 gear
  6. 7.5% Restoration shaman, in T4 gear
  7. 7.2% Discipline priest, in T4 gear
  8. 6.0% Shadow priest, in badge reward gear

An immediate observation that holds true here, just like with DPS classes, is that gear does not dominate your raid performance. There's a priest with barely T4 gear who can keep up with a priest decked out in BT/Hyjal gear. That priest is just good at what they do, and it has nothing to do with their gear.

Just like with the DPS meters, there are players who are underperforming, as well. Players who might not know how to play their class, correctly, or who might not be paying attention. These players should be seeking out advice on how to do better. A shadow priest should not be within the spread of a main healer, ever, even with T6 gear. If you're a healer in the lower half, sure, maybe you can't hope to be 18% of the raid's healing, but you should definitely expect more of yourself than doing less than half of another healer.


The predominating view I've encountered in IST raids, from the folks in the lower half of these meters, is "I'm doing my part, I don't need to do better! The boss died, didn't he? Its just raiding elitism to say I'm not doing my part." Well, every time the raid wipes on Leotheras because of an enrage timer, or every time a main tank dies because he didn't get enough healing, those same people should be asking themselves "what if I actually WAS doing my fair share?" These mechanics aren't going away in Wrath, but the access to a bunch of players who are wearing gear a whole tier above the instance is. So what happens then?


The bottom line is something that Dispaya mentioned, though perhaps she hadn't intended it, in this context. If you're a player in those lower halves, and you don't feel compelled to do better, to improve yourself, to figure out how to contribute your fair share, then please do not use your tribe mates. They're doing their damndest to do their job as part of the team, and you shouldn't try to drag them down by taking a position you aren't willing to fill properly. Everyone is able to fill these roles, its just a question of caring enough to learn how to play the game. Especially with a tribe like IST that has the skilled players practically begging to teach.
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#2
Elyana Wrote:
  1. 18.3% Circle of Healing Priest #1, in T6 gear
  2. 18.1% Circle of Healing Priest #2, in T4 gear

Can you say OP? Wink

I might add a couple of points:
1. Spec is part of the equation, like it or not.
2. Once you decide on a spec, getting the right rotation and situational responses are important. What sequence of spells should I use to maximize DPS? What heal is appropriate in what situation? I believe this is mostly experience, because you can be told what is best (this helps), but you have to practice it for it to become second nature. Part of the challenge of the Friday SSC raids is that we have not been able to iterate enough on the different boss fights for the less experienced in that instance to optimize their performance. As far as I am concerned that is water under the bridge, but repetition is something to consider for raiding in Wrath. There is a learning curve that for the Friday night raids we have always been a little behind.
3. Gear is an important factor (though maybe not the most important, as Ely points out). Enchants, gems, spellthread, all of these contribute.
4. Addons. This is another controversial topic in the tribe. To me, they are just a tool, and any tool that gives me an advantage, I will use. For healing, my opinion is that they can be particularly beneficial.
5. Meters aren't everything. They tell us something and can be fun and useful for optimizing performance. They can also distract a raid from its main goal and be a source of discontent. Doing things in a raid just for the sake of the meters is counterproductive, imo. Again, they are just a tool.

If you have questions, just ask. If you have issues, just point them out to an officer. We will try to respond or at least, point you to someone who knows.

There is a universal truth here. Preparation is key to any successful endeavor. This includes raiding in WoW. The more prepared that you are, the more successful you will be. I think that was what Ely was saying. Correct me if I am wrong.

Finally, as we move into Wrath, I can summarize the Friday night raid a bit. Maybe I will do a more complete post-mortem later. In general, I have been pleased. We have downed the bosses, for the most part, that we have encountered. I hope people have enjoyed them, as I know that I have. We have had broad participation, and our T6 friends have helped us out a lot. We have seen new content, and I hope to see more before we quit.

Now the deficiencies. We have struggled for attendance at times. The good thing is that the tribe and our friends have responded after these situations.

Our lineup has been highly variable. I have had to put raids together ad hoc, which means less than optimal. It would be nice if in Wrath we could figure out a system of substitution so that raids would have a more uniform composition.

Mainly, because of the above two factors, our repetitions on individual bosses (except The Lurker) has been low. This means we have struggled at times, especially on fights like Leo and Hydross, which require some practice and coordination.

The officers have been discussing a lot of this for months. If we really want to see Arthas dead, then, I do believe that we will have to make some changes in how IST does raiding. These will include a rotation system for raids to achieve a more uniform composition and to let people know when they are expected to attend, consequences for missing raids without prior notification, and more frequent raids. Also, we plan to lead 5-mans and early raids to help with coordination, gear, and just plain practice for class optimization.

In summary, I think we can be proud of what we have accomplished in the last few months of raiding, but we want to do more, much more. I think this raid has helped the tribe come back together as a group, and maybe this was it most important contribution. The raid the last few weeks has been predominantly IST, including many different tribe members, and to me, this is an accomplishment.

Lastly, we should thank the folks from Bloodbound for standing by us and helping us out with this. We could not have done it without them. I really hope we can maintain a good relationship with our friends in the future. After all, a bunch of them spent a good deal of time with us as tribemates.

-Jaba
Have Mana Tide, Will Travel
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#3
jabadue Wrote:There is a universal truth here. Preparation is key to any successful endeavor. This includes raiding in WoW. The more prepared that you are, the more successful you will be. I think that was what Ely was saying. Correct me if I am wrong.

Never say in one line what you could say in an essay! Wink

I just wanted to warn against complacency, mostly. I feel that when people point to gear differences, they imply that it is the major source of "preparation" that players have. Whether its simply practice, or knowledge, or some combination, there's a lot more preparation that people need to do.

Polishing off your gear is the most basic part of that preparation. Very important, but far from sufficient, if that makes sense. Having good gear will give you more room for error, but it won't replace being the right spec and knowing how to play it, and that is still the majority of this game.
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#4
jabadue Wrote:5. Meters aren't everything. They tell us something and can be fun and useful for optimizing performance. They can also distract a raid from its main goal and be a source of discontent. Doing things in a raid just for the sake of the meters is counterproductive, imo. Again, they are just a tool.


While I agree with you that Meters aren't everything, They can be alot more useful than you seem to be crediting them. In the later days of my old guild Blood Cult we were running Khara and we could barely get past Moroes at the time (Granted this was still the time when alot of guilds were still in Khara). And one of our raid leaders encouraged all raiding members of the guild to get a certain meter mod (which for the life of me I can't remember the name of) which synced all players with the same mod together. With the information it gathered put together on a website a step-by-step meters system which you could choose which wipe and which boss or which trash mobs you were on to see how you did at that particular point. For me personally this was a great help in figureing out which spec I worked best with (granted I did alot of fidleing with my spec in this time period) and what I should do in certain situations on my rogue and know when my DPS was lacking in comparison to the rest of the raid.

Just my 2 cents on how meters can be very useful.


PS. Sorry for the semi-hyjack of the thread but I figured this post kinda went along with the purpose of this thread.

PPS. Sorry if I misjuged Jaba on his thoughts of meter usefulness, I just said it cause I thought it was a generally good thing to know about.
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#5
I like the post.

Thing is, I'm nearly at full PvP epic gear. I know that for raids, this isn't the best. But it is far better than what I was dealing with before. I'm not sure of where else to get really good PvE gear other than to raid. I've been wondering how I've been doing when it comes to outputting damage. I seem to crit a lot, but that could be nothing compared to another.

I wasn't invited to Kara tonight either. Hmm.
[Image: AWOeJWn.png]
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#6
There are class/spec guides written by tribe members found here
<!-- l --><a class="postlink-local" href="http://www.ironsongtribe.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=38">viewforum.php?f=38</a><!-- l -->

I also agree with Elyana. Take it from someone who has been in a raiding guild.

Also if you have any questions just ask! I can cover dps warriors (fury and arms) and I know raiding warlocks pretty well.
We all have room for improvement (for instance, I don't know much about priests, even though I've raided with one some; and I haven't really played mine much since the spirit/int/regen change).

Elyana Wrote:In a raiding guild, your best might not have been good enough, and you STILL might get kicked out of the raid, or waitlisted, because you didn't do enough.

While this is true, attendance and preparation are stressed even more so. If you did not flask when the raid flasked, you were kicked. If you did not have a food buff up and weapon oil (if applicable) ready for every boss fight that wasn't on farm for some time, /kick. If you couldn't meet the 80% attendance requirement, you were waitlisted a lot.

Obviously, Ironsong won't do that. But the reasoning behind it is fairly obvious: if one has to, everyone has to.

Dispaya Wrote:So what this means as a tribe is that we all have to work together as a TEAM in order to keep our tribemates in the "zone."

This this this. In fact, ALL of Dispaya's post.
"Passion and shame torment him, and rage is mingled with his grief."

~Virgil~
[Image: playerfeed_1902018_bigsig.gif]
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#7
Melikar Wrote:I wasn't invited to Kara tonight either. Hmm.

For reference, we have quite a lot of people who want to go to Kara every week. It's really rough trying to balance new people with enough experienced people to make sure we can still succeed and, at least in my opinion, it usually shows. This is entirely my fault when I put the group together since I tend to try and take people who are enthusiastic and need gear over people who are more powerful. Not everyone always gets to go and, in this case, I wasn't even aware you had wanted to come with us. I'm sorry you didn't get to come along but you aren't alone in that and it wasn't a decision based on anything that's being discussed here.
Righteous are those who look up and sway with the wind,
Who look down and dance with the shifting of the soil,
Who swim with the movement of the tides!
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#8
Bloodbound Wrote:While I agree with you that Meters aren't everything, They can be alot more useful than you seem to be crediting them.

....

PPS. Sorry if I misjuged Jaba on his thoughts of meter usefulness, I just said it cause I thought it was a generally good thing to know about.
You didn't really misjudge, but Jaba also wasn't trying to make the point that meters aren't useful. They're actually insanely useful, especially as tools to motivate people by showing them where they stack up against other raid members. It's very easy to think that you're doing awesome damage, or that you're a great healer until you attend raids where you're not even half-way up the meters and have to force yourself to consider what you're doing wrong and what you can do differently.

Jaba's main point (I believe) is that meters - while useful - can also serve as a distraction. Someone who's so dead-set on getting up higher in the DPS meters might start attacking before the calls, might take chances that put the raid in jeopardy (staying in to DPS that extra second longer rather than clearing out of the area when told, getting themselves killed in the process), might pull aggro or screw up pulls, etc.

Meters are wonderful tools when used properly, but can also invite a lot of noob-moments if people tunnel vision on their own bar.


And while I obviously agree with everything said here, I just wanted to add - because it can never be stressed enough in a raid environment - that you should never be so full of yourself and so arrogant about your abilities or your knowledge that you shut yourself out from advise when it's offered by people who just want to help you make yourself better. Too often that's been a symptom of some of the headaches the IST raid has been encountering, and while one specific instance of it (usually) isn't what makes the difference between wipe or a kill, having several instances of them all stack up will cause major problems. It's one thing to be confident about your abilities and wanting the trial-and-error of learning a fight or learning your class on your own (no one wants a raider that constantly pulls the, "Well, I / my last guild / my other raid group do it this way..."), but when you die over and over, your DPS or healing is sub-par compared to everyone else, or the raid keeps wiping on a boss because of something you're (not) doing, it's worth it to consider advise that's given to you.
[Image: 85443.png][Image: 85444.png]
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#9
*stays far the heck away from this discussion*
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#10
Are those "samples" from actual IST raids? If so I find it insanely funny on a sick level if I am that shadow priest who did that healing. That is my only comment here. Like Cora I will not touch this with a ten foot pole.
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#11
Zuipol Wrote:Jaba's main point (I believe) is that meters - while useful - can also serve as a distraction. Someone who's so dead-set on getting up higher in the DPS meters might start attacking before the calls, might take chances that put the raid in jeopardy (staying in to DPS that extra second longer rather than clearing out of the area when told, getting themselves killed in the process), might pull aggro or screw up pulls, etc.

Meters are wonderful tools when used properly, but can also invite a lot of noob-moments if people tunnel vision on their own bar.

Exactly that. They are useful, but just don't tell the complete story. For example, how often does a healer effectively use their "oh crap" ability to rescue a tank, how involved in CC is a DPS class and how effective they are at it, and whether a person has respec'd to a healer class to help out their raid.

-Jaba
Have Mana Tide, Will Travel
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#12
Look guys, don't get alarmed over this discussion or upset about it. It is advice for those who want to raid, and it's simply saying that if you want to raid, be the best you can be at your role. It's also pointing out that gear alone does not complete the equation. When it's about DPS you will find that the people who did the most research and practiced it are the ones on top.

Again, that's if you want to raid. Carrying your own weight is important.
Kosath Whitehorn
"The Tribe is my weapon.  I am their shield."
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#13
I tend to think of meters like the dashboard on a car. If you drive around staring at the dashboard all the time you are eventually going to crash into something. You can also drive your car without ever looking at the dashboard, sure you may go too fast or too slow, and you might not make it because you run out of gas, but you can still drive the car just fine. However if you glance at it on occasion just to make sure everything is running properly you are going to find you perform better, won't run out of gas, and avoid unpleasant crashes. Smile

I did want to clarify a point that Ely made which I think confuses a lot of folks. Ironsong is not a Raid Guild, in that our primary focus is raiding and progression. However Ironsong is a raiding guild, in that we do try and get together and make our way through content and progression in addition to our RP focus. We are not going to force anyone to do something they are not interested in doing, we are not going to tell anyone how they have to play their characters, and we are not going to exclude anyone just because they don't meet some requirement that someone else set. If you, as an example, want to be an Affliction Warlock named Dergash, we want you to be the very best Affliction Warlock named Dergash you can be! Sure for raiding it might not be optimal in terms of DPS or whatever, but it is a lot of fun and it is how you want to and enjoy playing your character. Which really is the point of playing a game, enjoying it and the folks you choose to play it with. What we do want to do however is allow us all to experience a little more of the content progression that the game provides, and have an ultimate goal for raiding that we have not had before. We will continue to do it at our own pace, and in our own way, but we do, eventually, intend to get there. Big Grin
.
Etsuko - Monk
Razzlixx Blingwell - Warlock
Cloudjumper Wildmane - Druid (Inactive)
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#14
I agree with most aspects of this post. All of it is important in it own regards. The underlying nature of it all that I feel is that you need to make the effort to learn your class so that you can play effectivly and efficiently, obtain reasonable (not the best) gear through regualr instances or crafting it, be on time for the raid which I find drags everyone down if your consistantly late because it doesnt show you are interested (yes I am guilty of it too), and be patient!.

Not everyone is going to get in the raid, the raid leaders have gone to great lengths to learn about these places and what the set up should be like. You need X number of Tanks, X number of Healers, and X number of various DPS including some CC, this is difficult when your given too many of class A and not enough of class B. Your chances of getting in a raid are a bit better if you are consistent with your raiding character and you let them know ahead of time OR you ask them to include you the following week. This is a benefit of being in Ironsong. ASK! No one is going to chew your head off.

As for the whole meters thing...and this is entirely my opinion all together. The only meter that should be used is a Threat meter. Any kind of DPS/Healing meters are a distraction and overkill. There is no better teacher than experience. A wipe could be because there was not enough healing (or healing wasnt paying attention *coughs*), or the enrage timer ran out and you obviously dont have enough DPS.

Just a bit of personal advice and comments. I have a habit of attracting people that disagree when I talk about raiding. But I hope at least some of it is helpful.
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#15
Eruadan Wrote:Just a bit of personal advice and comments. I have a habit of attracting people that disagree when I talk about raiding. But I hope at least some of it is helpful.


Any advice can be helpful as long as it gets people thinking even if they don't totally agree with you.

And also yes Threat Meters are very important and have saved my demonic spell throwing behind many times.
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