Let’s have a nice, fun discussion about teamwork, shall we?

And no, this is not a QQfest about a recent pug. Just some thoughts to share, and opinions to solicit, on small unit teamwork and roles in WoW.

We’ve discussed mostly tanking related things when we’ve talked about the game here. But we’ve had discussions on DPS and healing as well. In my time in the game, I’ve done instances and raided doing all three.

A 5 person group is the most common situation, based simply on the fact that whether you’ve raided or not, everyone at some point, if they wanted the gear upgrades bad enough, has tested themselves in a group run. And the vast majority of group content in WoW is tuned for 5 players.

A tank. A healer. Three DPS.

The holy quintet of instance runs.

We’ve talked before about how tanks, being the ones to in most cases mark targets, set kill orders, and decide who to pull first, generally have become the ones expected to lead the group.

Is it necessary for whoever plays the tank to lead? No, of course not. Over the years, it has just become part of “How it is done.”

It’s about expectations. Over time, the expectation has become to expect the tank to be the leader.

I know plenty of great players that have avoided playing a tank, not because they feel they couldn’t grasp the intricacies of the role in a group (hint; it ain’t rocket science) but because of the greater requirements they feel exist FOR tanks in groups to perform as leaders. 

If you’ve never led a run before, the pressure of what you anticipate a groups’ expectations would be can feel enormous.

But there are more expectations that are learned over time by playing in instances than just “the tank is expected to lead.” 

One of those things is that, if you get too close to the mobs, bad things happen.

Over time, even without study, the DPS and healers tend to learn that bad guys sometimes blow up. Or drop rings of fire. Or whirlwind. Or whirlwind. Or whirlwind.

The bad guys can also sometimes whirlwind.

The ranged DPS and healers, if they have any choice at all, tend to move themselves as far away from the tank, and those annoying mobs that can hurt you, as they can.

Melee DPS, give yourselves a pat on the back for braving the dangers of the mob to get in there and get it stuck in, all up close and personal. Not the life of the long range sniper for you, no, you like to see the ring around his collar as you stick the knife in. 

If you study the mechanics of threat, it only reinforces this tendency. The closer you are to the mob, the more threat your attacks and heals generate. It’s not a sliding scale, I don’t mean to imply that. I just mean that if you’re in melee range of a mob, your attacks and heals cause more threat than if you performed the same actions (where possible) at long range. So, what do I do if I’m ranged? I back the heck up.

So what happens? In a pug, without vent or other voice communication, unless someone provides specific guidance, if nobody is used to working as a team together, there are certain things you can expect.

The tank will pull the mobs.

The healer will be at max range waiting for the tank to establish aggro, and will be expecting to only heal the tank for the first little bit so as not to pull anyone the tank hasn’t hit yet.

The DPS, if ranged, will be at their extreme range, and spread out a little so each is not in the way of someone else’s line of sight for graphics on what’s happening.

The melee will rush in, either in stealth before or just after the tank, and get behind whoever the tank is beating up to start stabbity stabbing.

Tank tries to establish aggro on all mobs, the DPS kicks into gear, the healer starts healing whoever takes damage.

Mobs die. Next!

It’s what is expected. It’s cruise control instance running. These are static tactics that provide a ‘brain not required’ technique of playing.

Even more fun, the better the gear of the tank and the healer, the less likely anyone ever needs to engage the brain housing group during instance play.

If the tank is really well geared, his tactical consideration is probably along the lines of wondering, “How best can I pull all of the mobs in this room at once? Can I drag them to the next room too?”

In my opinion, the danger of this, besides it not being much fun to drift on cruise control, is that folks that are coming up and learning to play in groups for the first time can see this ‘accepted wisdom’, and stop thinking critically about what they can do besides wait for the tank to pull. 

Standing in the fire, while mentioned in the title jokingly, really sets the tone for what I mean.

There are people that play their characters in groups that don’t think to look for the fire under their feet, and if they do see it… don’t let it change what they do. They continue to pew pew, while standing in the fire.

Or, for melee, even when the raid calls out, “Flame Wreath, don’t move”, run to get behind the boss.

It’s action without thought. 

Perhaps the person isn’t paying attention to the environment around them, because they are more concerned with things that affect their status in the group (or what they think affect their status).

Things like standing still and maintaining their ‘perfect’ DPS rotation, because to take the time to move out of the fire will cause their DPS on the meters to drop.

If someone stands in the fire and dies, was it the sole responsibility of the healer to have kept him alive?

No.

Why? 

You all know the answer. Because yes, the healer tries to keep the entire group alive, but it’s your job to help the healer out by moving your ass, when your ass doth be on fire. 

Now, that’s an example that gets seen a lot. You may be patting yourself on the back right this very moment, congratulating yourself on not being the guy that stands in the fire.

But are you also thinking during the rest of the fight?

There is more at play in many instances than attacks that cause AoE effects to be wary of.

Some fights include situations where the adds are not present at the beginning of the fight. After the fight begins, after (usually) a boss is aggroed, adds spawn or path to the area to engage the group.

These new additional mobs can be scattered all around when they appear. There may be quite a few.

When this happens, how many folks take the time to think, “If the tank’s best methods of establishing aggro are based on being within melee range of the tank… maybe I should, just for a few seconds, run forward into melee range of the tank, so any adds I attract will naturally come to the tank from the beginning.”

Do you think about each fight, and think about how you can deal with the situation to help the group?

I can’t tell you how many times I, as tank, DPS or healer, have seen fights like the second phase of Black Knight, where the army of ghouls spawns… and all of the ranged players are spread out at max range from the tank, AND spread out in a semi-circle so that it’s a wonder the healer can reach them all.

Yes, we learn that corpse explosion and the green circle of smoking death hurt bad… but they don’t happen in the first 5 seconds of the fight.

How have I seen most groups handle it these days?

By outgearing the fight so badly that they can continue to perform as normal, tank and melee standing still and eating the explosions and green circle of smoking death while everyone DPSes the entire group around the tank so fast they all blow up at once.

Except… adds run loose everywhere during the fight. They spawn and instantly run to the healer, to the ranged, run everywhere but to the tank. And the rest of the group outgears the instance so bad that they just kill the adds themselves.

This… this is an example of something, but it ain’t tactical thought.

Rarer is when I see groups where the healer or ranged DPS will huddle in close at the start, so that any adds that spawn will congregate in the middle… and give the tank time to gather them all up before backing up and unleashing hell on them.

When do I tend to see that? When the group has marginal gear for the encounter. In order to win, the players look for ways to help out the tank and healer. When they think they don’t have to… they don’t. 

What are your thoughts on this?

Do you try and figure out ways to help the tank and healer out, no matter what your gear is?

Do you prefer it when you outgear the content so much that you don’t have to do any thinking?

Honestly, I’m curious.

One of the ‘rewards’ of being extremely well geared is that content that would be challenging as designed becomes EZ-mode.

Is it that point that you look forward to? The point where you can solo Deadmines while yawning?

If the way the instances were set up changed, if instead of being static enemy levels and fights they scaled in intensity with the iLevels of your gear and levels of your characters… if Deadmines scaled at max level to be level 81 trash and 83 bosses… if you could not outgear content anymore, that what you played would always be a challenge regardless of gear or level, would it still be fun for you?

I’m thinking, for myself, that it wouldn’t be. A part of how I run my role playing campaigns is that I like the players to feel the increase in power of their characters. I like them to feel that, as their characters get more powerful, there are still people that used to kick their ass, that they could now go and beat up. To feel that awareness that yes, they are much more powerful than they used to be. I’ve personally played in games before where, if you were level 15, everyone else you encountered was level 15 or higher. You never got to a point where you actually met anything weaker than you. It’s kind of silly.

I think for myself I’d still like to seek out challenges… but it’s nice knowing that I have the option of going and feeling OP in Deadmines if I want to.

That’s mostly what I do now. More often than not, what I do in game is seek a group for Heroic ToC… not because I really want anything there for my Druid anymore, but because I feel there are still things I have to learn about the fight mechanics. It’s still a big challenge. The times I do other, easier content is just to get a drop or two for an alt.

There are actually drops in normal ToC I could use… but I never run that. It’s not as much of a challenge.

What do you folks think?

22 Responses to “There’s no “Get out of the fire!” in TEAM”
  1. Grimmtooth says:

    I believe in playing the fight right, regardless of gear level, for the simple reason that good habits need to be reinforced on a constant basis. Additionally, if you’re used to doing it right, fresh faces won’t be such a cause for concern. Teach them right, and they pass good habits on.

    When one gets to the point of just over-gearing and brute forcing it, parts of the brain start to turn off. The only way to keep it tight is to drill, and drill, and drill some more. Ex-military can appreciate how one’s hands can probably still perform certain tasks without thinking about it. All that drilling.

    I forget in what context I saw this, but it was some sort of interview, in which the fellow being interviewed said “Don’t be silly, we can’t forsee everything. So we’re keeping on our toes.” Words to live by. :)
    .-= Grimmtooth´s last blog ..She’s still got it =-.

  2. Manxome says:

    Ha. I’m always thinking of the overall fight. Maybe not accurately and perhaps incorrectly – but thinking about it. I blame the tanking mindset (and your blog, as it helped tremendously in the formation of said midset.) I have a healing alt, and I “heal like a tank,” so much so that I will sometimes lose focus in order to reposition or take in the whole of the fight.

    I’ve found most groups operate as you suggest. I try to sum up a group: are they here to be mindlessly carried or to actually play? I’ve also found that many (MANY) players will respond by doing their best if given simple instructions. Yes, they’ve come to rely on the tank (or someone) to step up…its those groups where no one (including myself) steps up that the strategy, such as it is, reverts to Standard Operating Procedures. It is surprisingly infrequent that I get someone who doesn’t want to work with my strategy…and usually that person isn’t someone worth bothering with anyway!

    As far as the scaling idea, I like this idea so much I had previously suggested it on a Blizz forum as a neat way to have 80’s actually help – and teach – game play to lower alts or new players. I’d LOVE to see an old world dungeon “heroic” that was scaling all spells, abilities and gear to the lowest level of the instance in exchange for some marginal heirloom currency. But Cataclysm seems to have sunk that idea. Even so, I’d love to go back to BC and even wrath with my Ulduar geared tank and relive some of the satisfaction of having beat the instance on its terms, instead of mine. (Alts don’t do the trick – have you ever tried to get a group *at level* with an alt? Man is that rough!)

    WoW is amazing in that it caters to such a broad spectrum of players. That’s a good thing. But I’d love to see some way to easily select people with similar mindsets (is this a farming run, or a practice and learn run?) and perhaps that will come with time…

  3. Careyg says:

    I like both sides of the equation. That is, I like sometimes to go into a 5 man and loaf my way through to get emblems. My average gear level now is 232 and I can pretty much coast through all of the 5 mans and some of the 10 man raid stuff. I worked really hard getting to this level and am still working so I can get better for the 10 and 25 heroics. BUT, it’s also fun to run with lesser geared players and play like the game was designed, where it was a “team” effort to down all the bosses. Sadly, the way some groups are now, the lesser geared players expect to be carried by the better geared players so they can get the XP and gear drops. I had a fellow guildee ask me to run him through Blood Furnace and I did, as a combo bear tank and kitty dps. He went afk in the middle with no notice, came back and sat there while I killed all the mobs and seemed to ignore when I asked him to participate. Needless to say, after completing, I will never contribute to his leveling again. On the other hand, I have pugged groups where the lesser geared played hard and we wiped and I cheerfully spent my gold for repairs, rezzed everyone when I didnt die and generally had a good time and we finished the run successfully. Its much more fun when everyone plays together. But, sometimes when you have a geared guild group, you can just chat on vent, kill everything and move on. That’s fun also.

  4. Kirk says:

    I’ve always had mixed feelings about scaling for much the reasons you stated. I have seen a couple of suggestions on lists that might work, however, so I thought I’d pass them on.

    One suggestion was region-capped scaling. So in a region that is supposed to be for, say, levels 11-20, the toughest mobs of any instances were cued for those 20s. A 30 still could walk in and do well, while a level 80 would clean the joint. Go to the 45-70 zone, however, and the instances could scale up to 70. A 75 was still more powerful, but there are limits.

    Another suggestion I’ve seen is scaling on the curve or ranked scaling. Basically, there is a sweet spot (say for example, levels 35-45) where the mobs scale 1:1. That is, if you are 40 most mobs are 40 and your +3 boss is 43. Outside that range, however, the change is no longer 1:1 but, oh, let’s say 1:2. So if you’re level 25 the instance is scaled at level 30 — and if you’re 55 it’s scaled at level 50.

    The other problem I have with the whole issue is when the level 60 takes a barely-qualified team into an instance, usually to farm some twink gear. The lower levels really get into the bad habit you’ve mentioned, and worse they don’t even learn their basic skills. They can’t go wrong because SuperBear is there. It’s the bad side of your “OP Deadmines” bit. Both the scalings prevent that somewhat while still allowing high level players to overpower instances if they really, truly wish to do so.

  5. Kayeri says:

    Gear level shouldn’t matter, you should always be smart on fights. Now, I am guilty of what you are talking about, and I’ve even been encouraged in it. The last boss of H-UK, we used to go hide behind the pillar while he’s rezzed. Now we’re geared enough it doesn’t hurt bad, so I’ve been encouraged NOT to do it. But why take un-needed damage? Just because it doesnt hurt bad doesnt mean it’s not damage.

    The 2nd phase of the Black Knight, I always run to the tank, stay a few seconds, then bail before the explosions start. Adds can and do still run around, but not as much when the healer and the dps do this. But, yes, fights should be done smartly, imo…

    but it is nice to be able to be lazy once in a while…

  6. Sim says:

    RE: Helping the tank out?

    Right at the moment I have two toons that I consider mains, or very close to it. A tanking feral and an Elemental/Resto shaman. I say this because as a tank and a healer, I understand most of the encounters I’ve done. I know where damage is coming from, I know how the fights going to go, and I know how to deal with those things. Now, when my shaman gets a chance to DPS something like Phase 2 Black Knight, I do indeed run for the tank, but more importantly, I protect my healer by dpsing mobs attacking him/her, or Earthbind Totem/Thunderstorm (when possible in the direction of the tank). I like to think that the only way a player can actually *do* things like that is if they understand how an encounter is structured so they can respond to it. If they don’t understand what is going on, then its really easy, especially with a fight like that, to just blame the tank for terrible aggro and continue swearing at her/him as the healer or themselves continue to die.

    RE: Challenging content

    Most of the time, I do prefer a challenge. I like to encounter new bosses and see how a team can mesh their strategy to take them down. I suppose this is largely not true in five mans anymore, but on our very rare guild progression runs, I love the new content, both for its freshness and for its challenge. That said, I wouldn’t want it that way all of the time. I played my way through Elder Scrolls: Oblivion some time back, a game that has an open world philosophy. You could go anywhere, at any time, and expect to not get one shot by any of the baddies. The other side of this was that the monsters all scaled. If you were level 2, they were scaled to be a challenge at level 2; if you were level 29, they were still a challenge. When my epic toon who has completed the game and has artifact quality gear (or whatever), who is practicly a deity, has to wonder if engaging another *rat* is going to kill him, the game loses something for me. Sometimes you just want to mindlessly knock some heads.

  7. dorgol says:

    I enjoy going into heroics and just mindlessly blowing them up. Did so last night on my Paladin (as much to test out my new tanking spec as anything else) where we did 9 heroics in 3.5 hours. That said, I’m thinking the next time I have 3.5 hours of play available I’m going to try and tank a raid (probably 10 man Naxx) – because that’s the only thing in WoW I have never done.

    Is 10 man Naxx a challenge? Not really.
    Is 10 man Naxx better for gear advancement? Nope. I got 36 Conquest, 2 Triumph, and 140 Stonekeeper shards last night. A full clear of Naxx 10 will get me 16 Conquest.

    But tanking a raid will be a new challenge.

  8. jmilster says:

    Personally, I hate the idea of scaling. I work hard to get the gear that I have and I want to feel powerful in it. The instances that used to be difficult should now be easy mode with my main raider. If I want a challenge in an instance then I will get on one of my other characters.

    I tend to prefer playing healers and if I see someone standing in the fire/poison/whatever I have absolutely no problem sitting there and waiting for them to move before I heal them. If they don’t move they die. And then I laugh at them…. Not really. I will tell the tank to move if he is standing in the fire, but if he is ignoring me then I really don’t mind the repair bill if needed. When I’m on my shaman healing HToC I love letting ret paladins die to the hammer throw from the second boss so that I can explain to them that they can cleanse themselves and take little to no damage from the throw and that I cannot. At which point I also inform them that they should have been cleansing it off of everyone in the group as well. I usually have to recommend a few addons for them to use to help them with this after that too.

    Call me an …… if you want, but these same players tend to play significantly better after their first death.

  9. Lupius says:

    There are many boss encounters in the game where doing the fight “properly” after outgearing it would prove ineffecient. A few examples I can think of right now are Faerlina, Noth, Ignis, Auriaya, along with several heroic 5 man bosses. Once we’re decked out in t10, we can even add freya and lord jaraxxus to that list.

    Having all dps focus on the boss and ignoring the fight mechanic reduces the length of the encounter drastically, which means half as many boring add phases or half as many devastating aoe’s that the healers have to recover the raid from. It also allows you more flexibility in your raid comp since, by outgearing the encounter, you can bring one less tank or healer, and stock up with dps to burn the place down in record time.

    Case in point: in my last naxx10 (over a month ago), I solo healed all 4 wings on my druid alt, and had the pally OT swith to holy to help out on Sapph and KT. The MT solo tanked KT and all the adds. Can you bring 7 dps to a 10 man raid and do all the fights “properly”? That would be impossible.

  10. Wavemancali says:

    I play an elemental Shaman. I play it because I love the utility of the class. To me we are the most versatile team players in the game. I can supply 4 different buffs at the same time that can be varied toward both class composition and fight dynamics.

    In clutch situations I can take over for the healer and for a very short term the tank. The new leather working drums have added 2 more buff weapons to my arsenal.

    With hex added recently we get even more bang for our buck. I am always looking for methods to help the tank healer or other DPS out.
    .-= Wavemancali´s last blog ..New Toy =-.

  11. Dave says:

    Your attacks don’t cause MORE threat in melee range, however you are more likely to pull threat if you get too high.

    5 yards away or 30 yards away your moonfire is still causing the same threat. The difference is that at ranged you need 130% of the tank’s threat to pull aggro, while in melee you only need 110%.
    .-= Dave´s last blog ..Show #345: Finish The Fight (You Can Win). =-.

  12. Copey says:

    In guild the other night we finished our raiding early, and said “now what?”. Some folks wanted to head out, which was fine, but we posted in g chat a request for more people do an quick O.S. run. We got a brand new shiny warrior, who enthusiastically joined us to tank. I gave him my spot and switched to boomkin for a bit of pew pew. He then informs us that it’s his first ever experience in a raid, never done one before. Ever. We think this is awesome. We work through the trash, and, *ahem*, a boomkin may have pulled a wondering trash mob…on purpose to just see if he was paying attention and staying alert. He was! We downed the 2nd drake, and then the thought of “how about we leave one up” was mentioned and we thought what the heck.

    We did O.S. with the hardest Drake up and crushed it. Cake walk. I was both happy for the new warrior, and kind of sad. I remember several months ago the first time the guild downed O.S. 1D. It was hard, but it felt so good to finally accomplish it after trying so long. And I kind of felt we stole that from the new warrior, but of course, this late in the expansion he would be hard pressed to find that kind of accomplishment from that specific raid.

    I myself really enjoy the feeling of making your toon more powerful. And to go in and just power run heroics with guildies is a fun way to relax. But it is kind of a bummer for people that are behind the curve, that’s how I came into Burning Crusade. Everything was hard, and if I got help from anybody we just crushed the instance because of their gear. Heck, people refer to specific fights in BC instances, and I don’t know them because I could never find a group for several of the heroics, and then I got into raiding. I think Blizz realized that and came out with the emblem changes in order to help people get caught up faster, so you could do challenging stuff with a bunch of like geared people.

  13. Byrnison says:

    Story before opinion.

    Last night I ran Heroic Shadow Labyrinth with a level 80 raiding hunter, for achievements. The Blackheart trash was giving us grief, so I suggested that she trap one of them. She had no idea what I meant.

    I taught her the rudiments of trapping (awkward as I’ve never played a hunter and kept talking about Frost Trap rather than Freezing Trap; I’m a bear and a priest at heart). It took three tries before she was able to pull the mob, and two more before she could chain-trap even once. But she was delighted. Ecstatic. Started trapping on every pull with more than one mob, just because now she could. I’m going to help her look up macros for focus and canceling auto-attack.

    So yes, I like to run instances that challenge me. I like to bring people on challenging instances. I don’t have time to raid progressively, so I three-man Kara, two-man heroic BC instances, run people through the warlock mount quest at level–because those are the circumstances where people shine.

    My favorite raid is probably still Kara, because it’s where my priest learned to CC.

  14. Thaumaturgos says:

    Thankis for this BBB. I have been levelling a pally for a while, and last night he (at the grand level of 73) did his first intance where he healed. Oh, he had done one other, but it was Ramps with a level 78 boomkin ‘tanking': my heals were for moral support, not for anything useful.

    What I discovered was that when people dont know a boss fight, or what to do if a pat arrives unexpectedly, they move to ‘headless chicken’ mode. We had 2 mages, one of whom racked up so many deaths that much of his gear was red by the end. I had warned them that this was my first healing experience, and I pleaded with people to let the tank get aggro before unleashing their arcane missiles of doom: all to no avail. Now at least one of his deaths was my fault: I am still learning how to use some of the intersting healing options available to pallies. But to see the boss charge straight at him past the tank because the mage was spamming magic missiles was extremely distressing.

    I think one problem that comes when so many people have a well geared 80 and are levelling alts is that they get too many run throughs form their other well geared friends. So they never actuall play their toon, till they have learned so many bad habits it is a real challenge to break them.

    PS: Im glad you and your best friend/ wife play the game together: at least that is one reason that wont arise for you suddenly ceasing the blog. Boredom is one thing: marriage fatality is another. Gratz on that, and way to go you two.

  15. Bellwether says:

    I outgear heroics by a wide margin, even Bellbell does. Yet, except on a few occasions in which I know little can go wrong, I am paying attention, and I am performing. And I’m letting those doofuses who think it’s my job to heal them standing in the poop die. I’m running in when the black knight spawns so many because damn, I don’t want to be dealing with them, and as Bellbell I can stun them. I’m positioning myself to give out Tranquility so it reaches everyone, even the spread out range. It’s important to me to not just AFK through fights, but to perform them correctly.

    But man, sometimes I wish I could “sleep through, wake up to collect gear, repeat” :P

  16. nitromoose says:

    I’m kinda torn on the question BBB. When I leveled my first toon up to 80 and started running heroics I remember thinking how much harder the fights were, how much longer they took, and so on. I remember my first trip into Naxx on that warlock when we (I mean the chain pulling monster tank) got a little wild and pulled too many of the crack head bats, along with slimes, and who knows what else (I swear I saw patchwork in that trash pull somewhere), thinking the whole time “this is cool….we’re all gonna die, but it’s cool”. I came late to the game so I missed all the Heroic and raiding fun in BC and it was all new to me. There was a real wow factor in heroics that were….you know….hard.

    My shaman was a different story. I started him during the lul from Naxx to Ulduar and he was going to be a healer. Running heroics with him was something completly different just before the badge change. Let me just say that I’m glad I teamed up with some well geared tanks at first. Now that the shaman is raiding, and gearing up through the new badge changes he can live with newer tanks, for a healer a poorly geared tank can make the instance as challenging as it can be sometimes, no need to change the scaling there. I wouldn’t want to think about how bad it would be with both the healer and tank being in quest greens/blues trying to tackle heroics when they first opened up. Or how bad it could be if the instance scaled to the avg ilevel and either your tank or healer were the lesser geared folks in the group. It would be more interesting, and lesser geared folks may find it harder to be carried (both good things) but I think some people would be less willing to run those kinds of heroics just because they can’t turn the cruze control on and space out while they farm badges.

  17. Ahyao says:

    It is distressing to see that these days “Overgearing” has become a common requirement. Quite often I see on general chat things like “LFM Naxx, must have 3.5k DPS” and previously had been refused to join a Naxx-10 group “because of crap gear”. Although the person was polite about it but what he basically said was that I do not have enough T7s and purples on me to join their naxx for dps… I am pretty sure the first time he entered naxx his gear would be about the same as mine. At that time, apart from the hand and chest T7 from emblems, all my gear was best you could get in heroics/reps. And I prove my point when I joined a raid from a friendly guild and we cruise through the 4 wings easily (left KT and sapph cos it was getting to the closing time of the internet cafe some of them played) and my dps was right up there in the top 3 (neither were people outrageously out geared in this either)

    The other thing that concerns me is the lack of patience these days. You start seeing people leaving raids like VoA after a first wipe, while some sugar coat it with excuses like “guild called” or “have to go to work/out/sleep” but quite often I see people just leave and even saying they dont wanna waste their time with the group. These usually are the best geared person. However the irony is that, if the raid do not collapse, it is usually replaced with lesser geared people and most of the time we manage to clear VoA, maybe an occasionaly wipe or two because of untimely lags or mistakes by one or two individuals. These people that leaves expect others to be just as overgeared as them and loses the patience if there is any hic ups.

    On a brighter note I am seeing a few PUG raid LFMs that emphasises on “No Terribles” rather than demanding huge dps/outgear. Although I naively things the “terribles” and “Bad players” refer to skill (ie stay outa fire, not to nuke on spell reflects) rather than “terrible gear”, “bad player because of bad gear”

  18. jeffo says:

    “One of the ‘rewards’ of being extremely well geared is that content that would be challenging as designed becomes EZ-mode.

    Is it that point that you look forward to?”

    While it’s kind of cool to let the entire population of Deadmines kill itself on Retribution aura, it gets old in a hurry. I do remember the shock (and satisfaction) that occurred in going back to Shadow Labs after we’d been in Kara a bit and one-shotting bosses that had given us fits, but I’d frankly find it boring to go back in with the purpose of trying to get Murmur down in 30 seconds or less — I’d rather do something more ‘threatening’. Right now I’m at the ‘sweet spot’ with Black Knight where I’m confident that we’ll take him down every time, yet there’s still that rush that comes with a fight where things can go horribly wrong. Overgearing is ‘fun’ and handy when you’re killing time, but if you’re just killing time, maybe that’s a signal to step out and do something useful.

    Hmm, if instances could be scaled, I wonder what type of jiggering people would do with their gear to maximize ease and minimize time? It would bring a while new meaning to min/maxing!
    .-= jeffo´s last blog ..Can Recycling Save the World…of Warcraft? =-.

  19. Akiosama says:

    BBB,

    Interesting write up – and I agree with just about all of it.

    The problem, as I see it, is that the new system of emblems which came in with 3.2 has severely impacted people’s perceptions of a) what “decently geared” means, b) what Heroic dungeons are, and c) the bar of expectations for performance within a group.

    A) With the new Conquest emblem system introduced in 3.2, there is an expectation that people be better geared than they were before because better gear is more readily available. I think that the perception is that if a person is not geared in Conquest emblem gear that either they’re a ‘new 80′, and therefore a liability, or they’re a ‘bad 80′, and therefore a liability, or they’re an ‘uncommitted 80′ and possibly a liability. Therefore, what used to be ‘acceptable’ levels of gear are no longer acceptable, because there is a lot more over-200 gear out there than there was prior to 3.2.

    B) Heroic dungeons used to be challenging, or at least not so quick to down and blow through for farming. People used to not do all the heroic dungeons in a single day, as the amount of effort vs. reward was much lower, and the dungeons themselves were not quite so quick to fall, as gear was not nearly as strong as it is now. These days it’s not uncommon to see players blowing through the majority of the Heroic dungeons in a single day, and still have time to do other things. And given this, it’s not hard to see that people are going to look to the most efficient way to finish an encounter/dungeon as they can so that they can keep moving, given that the Heroic dungeons are now farming areas for Emblems of Conquest, and because gear is much higher than the challenge of the Heroics – see point A.

    C) With all this upgraded gear around, it’s not surprising that players’ expectations of what is decent performance have changed. What used to be acceptable (i.e. 1500 DPS on a Heroic run was considered sufficient), is now considered to be low. And with that expectation, attitudes have changed as well – why have a moderately painless run in a Heroic when asking for 1500-1700 DPS players, when you could have a truly easy time by asking for people with 2200-2500 DPS instead, despite the fact that 2200 DPS on a Heroic is pretty overkill on those instances?

    And all this has led to yet other problems, as it is now harder to gauge the ability of players with so much good gear readily available (did this person get their gear through grinding Heroics or have they actually had raiding experience?), and hard to get people together to do many of the raid events (why run Naxx when you can farm Heroics and get more Emblems for better gear?). In the guilds that I run with, Naxx has gone from an instance that one would have to gear up for (as evidenced by all the Pre-Naxx gear lists out there on the Web), to something that they take their ‘Newer 80s’ with just a couple pieces of Conquest gear into for raiding experience, since the majority of the other players are so overgeared.

    It’s a bit sad – it leads to ‘burn down fights’ (like the aforementioned Loken – I don’t think I’ve ever had to run the original strategy on it), sloppier play (as people don’t need to bring their A-game all the time to win), and playersof questionable skill caliber being included on fights that used to take good play and excellence to win. Raiding is far more frustrating than it used to be – so many players have ‘been there, done that’ than before, that players’ attitudes have become slack and sloppy, even from the experienced players.

    And yet, while our group scoffs at the stuff they’ve seen, we still can’t complete Uld25… and yet, they still scoff at the encounters, don’t listen to strat explanations, and expect to win each time and get frustrated and point fingers when we don’t, and I blame the gear for that in a lot of cases – the gear in Uld is not significantly better than what most of the players I run with have, so they don’t seem to keep in mind the fact that the encounters aren’t easy for us, I think.

    But yeah, the sheer increase in power level HAS lead to sloppier play, and for that, I think I’m a tad sad and frustrated by what the game has become. (However, without the gear increases, I wouldn’t have seen as much of Uld and ToC as I have, so, it’s a bit of a Catch-22.) It will be interesting to see what happens when the next instance goes Live.

    My 2 yen,

    Akiosama
    .-= Akiosama´s last blog ..Resistance is Futile – You will be Assimilated =-.

  20. Rob says:

    Pretty interesting post and comments, and I think this is really the game killer. Wraith has been out for a while, and all of us serious players have many 80s (I have 5). All are at least naxx10 geared, and pretty much all I do for group content is heroics with maybe a raid every week if I am lucky. Now, what I mean to say is that I’ve done alot of group content, and its safe to say ‘why bother’. Why bother, because most of my toons will not see TOC or any hard raid. Why bother, because our guild doesn’t really do TOC. Why bother, when I can only raid one night a week for specific content. And I’m not alone. Many in the guild have no interest in raids. Why bother doing heroics getting useless tokens when they can clear the heroic just fine with their dps (say its 1500 to 2000). THe point of the game at level cap is to provide enough challenges so that you are continually looking for the next tier of gear. But if you are not raiding, and dont do arena, really why would you bother with this whole progression? The whole end-game falls flat, and you have two choices. Reroll, or quit.

    And I totally agree that the gear increase does two things. It encourages sloppy play and allows someone to be fodder for others amusement. ‘dear god that guy is doing X with gear score Y’. I would actually like it if Blizz said, you know what, we are going to impliment gear score requirements for raids. You need to have full naxx10 or beyond (average iLvl 200) for Uluduar 10. And so forth. So I could stop hear the pissing and moaning about how person X sucks and and their gear sucks and they must the be spawn of satan and can’t do anything good because they are noobs with shitty gear and jesus why are you even playing the game speced like that. You know, you hear this crap all the time. And I’m so tired. Its not the person’s fault really, I put the blame on the RL. If they let people in knowing that they are dropping the average dps by 500 points, and thus wiping the raid because of enrage timers…its a problem. But so often, so so often, is that people do have skill and do have what it takes, but nobody will take them, or people will bitch ‘it would be so much easier if you were in gear a full tier better’. And yeah it would, but that’s not what we have.

    Our guild has alot of talented, skilled people, who don’t make gear their live’s crusade. And we do hTOC all the freaking time with people who would just be laughed out of PUGs, you know the guys with 1500-1800 dps. Totally adequate, if barely, assuming the tank is good and the healer is good, and everyone knows how to play. And we do, and the bosses go down. But that gets to the main point, which is, what do we do when the most challenging level of content is a quick jousting/3 boss pull that everyone has run a zillion times, and thats it. Now I hear that in 3.3 we are getting new dungeons and I bet they will be of an even higher iLvl than hTOC, and that’s cool.

    But the really problem is that its just not good enough to run 10 and 25 man raid content; no, by and large, the shit that is run every single fraking day a million times, is heroics. We need more dungeons for each tier of content, and the dungeon should be a tier up. For example I expect to see Uld 25 drops in heroic modes of the new dungeon, and stuff dropping in Icecrown to be tier 10, so that there is a upgrade path for guilds that can’t get more than a handful of well-geared people together, so we can actually do some other things besides 10% of us doing ulduar every week. That’s what I really want.

  21. Malphailuron says:

    This is a bit of a problem for me. Marking kill orders, dropping CC, LOSing, aggro tricks … these aren’t necessary any more. They were when I learned to tank, and I feel like they’re a big part of a tank’s skill. Anyone can drop Consecrate and hold aggro; anyone can equip a shield and take a few hits; but smart, efficient tanks stood out from the crowd in BC, and now in Wrath the only real difference is how many mobs you can survive at once while the DPS AoE’s everything down. No skill in that—just gear.

    My instinct is to break every fight down, give it thought, figure out where trouble might be, ask my groupmates for ideas or advice if necessary. But the attitude now doesn’t allow for it. Why bother?

    For DPS, it’s all about numbers. That mage with the clutch Polymorph or Frost Nova in BC? He can’t find groups, ’cause he’s frost. The hunter who perfected his trapping skills? Sits at range dropping the same rotation ad infinitum until the boss falls over. The Warlock with the badass Fear yo-yo? The Warrior who Intercepts a critter to avoid AoE? The Priest who knew just which mobs to MC? The Paladin who smoothly switches to a spellpower weapon, HoP’s the Priest, and starts healing when something goes terribly wrong? None of those guys stand out any longer. It’s all about what Recount says.

    There’s no finesse in it anymore. It’s just beating things down with as big a stick as you can buy, gem, and enchant.

    The most fun I’ve had in the game is when I’ve attempted something while very undergeared, or with an undergeared group. The old tricks and analyses come out of hiding, and with them, the real sense of accomplishment with success.

  22. Holly says:

    I have to admit I skimmed through a lot of the longer comments here. I think there are some serious issues with scaling, one would be is just one toon higher than the others? I think back to a recent group I had where our nexus run had to pull in a 77 healler, if the dungeon scaled to the strongest player, would it be possible for 4 70’s and a 77 healler to beat it? probably not, if it scales to the weakest player, say the level 68 rogue we brought in, it becomes easier than it should have been, and if it levels to ‘average’ what’s the average between a 13 and and 80? still easily crushable by the 80. I think scaling should be an option, maybe another mode? (normal, heroic, stair-step) and scaling to the highest level character, that way you could do sunwell ‘at level’ that way underbog could be fun again for the achievement run. But it’d still have to be fairly mindless unless they added in some really heavy mechanics to check item levels, gear, stats, etc. . . and if they add that, what stops a player from going in in rp gear, then switching to higher level gear once they’re in? scaling would be a truly difficult thing to implement correctly, and in the end, I think it’s a fun idea, but a poor one and one I’d rarely use.

    I also personally don’t have a problem with brute forcing, but only with a.) the consent of the tank and the healler, asked -before- each boss fight with the things I plan ‘hey I’m going to eat the whirlwind in HoL, alright?’ (gasp, talking in a dungeon, or more accuratley, a PUG?) I also feel there’s nothing wrong with playing smart when the answer is ‘I’d rather you didn’t’ or ‘not if you want heals’ I try to deathgrip things that run away from the tank back into where the tank can hit it, I have a button to switch to frost presence, pop all my cooldowns, lifeblood, potion, and swap to my tanky weapon with the ‘i need to tank!’ macro button and one that pops all cooldowns, lifeblood called the ‘I take owie!’ macro to help the heallers.

    I do also push for people to use real strategies when someone is new to the dungeon, or if it’s completely veto’d by all, explain it to them in whispers.

    When I’m tanking however I only really run with heallers I trust, so I tend to tell people to just brute force most things. And on my healler, I often time fade pull onto the tank due to boredom n_n

    Also for second phase the black knight? Pop an army of the dead to combat an army of the dead! (it does work surprisingly well)

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