Balancing personal desires with group needs

There was a great comment by Darth Solo made to yesterday’s post, a comment I thought was very thought provoking.

The comment from Darth Solo that I liked was;

“I would like to respectfully disagree with the premise that rotation doesn’t matter. Of course it matters. Otherwise GearScore would reign supreme. This can be easily checked in RAWR where you can switch around the skills in your rotation. As ret paladin simply using one skill before another can cost 100 DPS. And that’s valid for most classes.

Here’s a story to back this up. While running a heroic I noticed that the lowest person on the DPS chart was a DK who managed to deal about 700 DPS (yes, in a heroic!). Checking his gear revealed that the dude was wearing at least ilvl 264 items. And he was actually attacking mobs and everything. How the hell was that possible? It remains a mystery. I guess he’d probably bought that char off ebay or something.

In closing I remain of firm opinion that rotation does matter and is often more important than gear. Top DPS is also important in groups because otherwise the entire group might suffer due to one player. When playing alone, you can do 1 DPS as far as I’m concerned, and as long as you’re having fun it’s all good. I agree that people generally play games in order to have fun, yet by under-performing badly in a group you’re basically having fun at the expense of others and that’s not very nice.”

Now, I thought the comment didn’t really use the included example very well, the comment was about the importance of rotations, but in the example he didn’t have an exact reason why the DK from the story had only 700 DPS. In the end, it’s not really relevant. Whether it was because of poor rotations, or from having a weapon skill of 300 on a new weapon drop, the point was the DK was in a group providing DPS that did not match in any way his Blizzard-measured gear levels, and at least one person in the group noticed and was annoyed.

The more I thought about his comment, the more I really think that maybe he was right about his interpretation of what I was saying, if you read between the lines of my post. And that’s what made his comment so intelligent and enjoyable to me. It really highlighted the difference in our two approaches to the same issue, and showed me that maybe there was a much bigger issue lying underneath it all to talk about.

The first thing I want to make clear is, I agree with Darth Solo’s point about wanting to put your best effort into your performance during group play. I also agree with him that intentionally joining a group for the purpose of group play without being properly prepared shows disrespect or, perhaps better phrased, a lack of consideration for the other players in the group, and is a bad thing.

Long time readers know that one of my first posts from years ago was ranting and raving about people showing up to raids late, unrepaired, out of ammo and without self-buff foods and items. My opinions on that really haven’t changed very much.

But I think I have a better handle now, and can talk with a little bit more clarity on where your responsibility to your fellow team members should be balanced with your own personal enjoyment of your gameplay experience.

Where I think Darth Solo and I differ in our opinions, is to what lengths a player should go to meet the expectations of other players.

Isn’t that the core of what we’re talking about? You may have your own idea of how to play, and you really enjoy it. But there are also expectations that other players will have when they group with you. If what you like and what others expect aren’t the same, how much of your fun are you willing to sacrifice to meet those expectations?

How much SHOULD you be expected to sacrifice?

It’s in this middle area, I think, where my “casual” point of view deviates from that of a dedicated group player in serious content.

It’s not casual versus hardcore, it’s not even solo versus raider. It’s “I play this game for fun, enjoy playing this class and spec, and don’t want to play something else because you say so” meeting “If you don’t do everything you can to be the best you can be, you’re letting the whole team down.”

When I write posts, the point of view I invariably argue from comes from my own feelings of where that balance point lies.

Here is my personal take on it.

The game is an extension of the real world, in the sense that you interact with other real living people and should act accordingly, with courtesy towards others and consideration for their needs.

In accordance with this consideration and respect, when you choose to group up, whether in an instance or a raid, you should do what you can to be able to “pull your own weight” in the run. 

Having your weapon skill maxed, Defense Skill capped if tanking and your class requires it, your own buff food, flasks or elixirs if the situation calls for them (or mats to have same crafted), equipment repaired, ammunition on hand in sufficient quantity, reagents if necessary to cast your class buffs, and being ready to go when the group is SUPPOSED to be ready to go.

Along with these reasonable preparations, I feel that it is also the responsibility of each player to actually CAST their class buffs, as appropriate, and work together with other members of buffing classes to ensure even distribution. It’s a part of teamwork.

And finally, I feel that during the course of group play, it is the responsibility of each player to act as a member of the team, intentionally working together towards the common goal; killing internet dragons.

That means that if your job is to make the pull, you check your six first to make sure nobody is out of range or drinking to get mana back when at zero. You pay attention to what is going on around you, and try to stay on top of your game; you don’t spend half your time typing in your Erotic RP chat channel. If it’s someone else’s job to make the pull, and they have a reasonable expectation that they will be doing so, you don’t pull for them without clearing it with them first. And you do your best to watch your threat generation as DPS, and have exit strategies planned if you accidentally pull. Yes, running in terror to the tank screaming “get it off, get it off, get it off of me!” at the top of your lungs is a formally recognised exit strategy, known in the trade as “you pull it, you tank it, we rez you”.

All of these things are along the lines of unwritten rules. They are reasonable expectations we could each have of the other players, but there are no actual rules in place to force you to do any of these things. As some random pugs make all too clear.

But rules or no rules, I still try to personally abide by all of them, and hell yes, I do expect the other players to do the same. 

These are all things that, if not done, can hurt other players in the team in measurable ways. Wipes can happen from your pulling when healers or tanks aren’t ready, players time can be wasted significantly by having to wait for you to get food or repairs or ammo, you could cost other players their money by having to provide you with food and flasks you should have gotten yourself.

But what I do not see as falling within the realm of a reasonable expectation is that one person be expected by the rest of the team to choose a class or a Talent spec to play other than the one they prefer.

I strongly feel that each player should have the reasonable expectation that they can damn well play the class and spec they enjoy the most, so long as they do so to the best of their ability. 

Now, suppose we take Mages as an example. As things stand now, Arcane mages are considered by the general population to have the best potential DPS. Frost and Fire Mages, therefore, are considered to be inferior Talent specs.

So f&^%ing what?

I honestly don’t care if the grand biomass has theorycrafted the figures and proven that Arcane is a much more powerful DPS spec than Frost or Fire. If a player finds Frost or Fire to be more FUN, than they should have the reasonable expectation that, so long as they play that Frost or Fire Mage to the best of their ability, nobody else gives them any bloody shit over it.

If you like Arcane Mages so much, YOU bloody well play them, and shut the hell up about it.

Why? Why the difference when we get to Talent spec changes?

Because in this case, the only difference that affects the rest of the team is a theoretical reduction in potential DPS output over the course of the run.

And per my last post… if the Arcane Mage is in crap gear, and the Fire Mage is in great gear… are you REALLY going to be “hurt” more by taking the Fire Mage? Really? No. And what changes over the course of raid progression? Equipped gear strength based on dropped loot and Emblem investment. 

And is potential DPS even the biggest consideration here? Which is truly more beneficial to the team? An Arcane Mage that is focused on living up to DPS expectations, or a Frost Mage that is a master of using all of their utility spells while also cranking out the damage?

My key point here is, all rhetoric about potential DPS aside, in my opinion, if you’re going to argue that players have to follow a stringent set of  prescribed Talent specs and rotations on the basis of “having fun at the expense of others”, you need to show how doing it their way is actually HURTING those others.

As I said. I’m not an idiot, and I know that, for many if not most dedicated raiding groups out there, the expectation IS that in order to be considered a valuable team member, you will do everything you can to play your class to the maximum of it’s potential, and that expectation does include being told by the raid leaders/guild leaders how they expect you to spec your Talent points and what rotations to utilize.

I know. If that’s what you’re looking for, that level of commitment of doing what the team wants as a whole in order to achieve victory, that’s great. Making sacrifices for the sake of furthering the goals of your team of guild mates and friends can feel very rewarding, a true bonding experience. Another sign that you’re all in it together, sink or swim.

But it’s this general belief that random nitwits and nimrods in PUG raids have the right to criticize some other player’s choice of Talent spec based on the theorycrafting spreadsheets of an out of game website that I totally and completely object to. Why the hell should some stranger sacrifice their enjoyment for you in your PUG raid? Who died and made YOU grand archon?

And in conclusion…. I’d like any guild out there, 10’s or 25’s, that has successfully cleared ICC with groups consisting of non-optimal specs to feel free to trumpet your successes in the comments. Brag to your hearts content about how you were able to kick the Lich Kings’ bony ass just fine with a group including BM Hunters, Frost or Fire Mages, Frost DPS Death Knights (especially before the buffs of 3.3.3), Demonology and Destruction Warlocks (depending on which patch), and weird combinations of pure “flavor” rotations and gear.

All Druid clears are, of course, nothing but win, but we’ll take all Paladin clears and cheer you if you’ve got ’em.

28 thoughts on “Balancing personal desires with group needs

  1. I feel mostly the same as you….but when someone is just playing ignorantly I get very upset.

    As an example, I’ve played with a certain holy paladin. He doesn’t take the cookie-cutter style of “gem int, spam Holy Light, win”. Instead, he says he’s “Flash of Light” spec and gems spellpower. Okay, fair enough, right? FoL is a viable spec if your gems, gear and talents support it.

    The only problem is, his don’t. Whenever we’re in a raid with him healing, he puts out an abysmal HPS number… something in the range of 1400 in ICC10. My druid is similarly geared in her resto spec, and whenever I am co-healing with him I know I have a hell of a lot of slack to pick up. It’s not fair to me to expect that I can, or should have to, do this.

    Now to be fair, holy is his offspec, so a lot of people use that as an excuse to me when I complain. I believe, that by taking something as your offspec (when you’re not told to by your GM, which we’re in a casual guild so I know he wasn’t) you are in essence saying that you are willing and able to play that spec to the best of your ability. And I just don’t think he is.

    And when I run into tanks in PUG heroics that are gemming things like hit/def, expertise, and parry… it just makes me cry. Especially because if I’m running with a PUG tank, that means I’m healing them. D:


  2. I play a shaman, being suboptimal is what I am… AKA the bloodlust/heroism button. I seriously hope they don’t still keep Shamans at the bottom of the heap come Cata cause our one trick pony is being spread around. With that said I’m also one of the swing healers and I think I do both competently if not spectacularly. Too bad the paladin swing can do better at both because of the imbalance but that’s all piss and vinegar and I’m not going moan and complain much about that.

    In randoms, heroics, even weekly raids there should be no expectations really, and the call for x gearscore is just silly because of all the nits who’ve gotten the gear but don’t know anything about using them. There’s terribad, there’s casual, there’s good players and there’s hardcores. Nobody is just one of those as we all have our good days and our bad days. Optimal rotations is a fluid thing and it doesn’t always count for everything especially in dynamic fights where you can’t just stand there and push buttons in sequence.


  3. Minmon, the reason that I didn’t bother addressing that part of what Darth Solo said was simply that I felt he’d used a Straw Man logical fallacy to misrepresent the core point I was trying to make, and then made that the basis of his ‘disagreement’ with my post. I just didn’t feel the need to address any points in a rotation discussion. It’s not what the core of my post was about, and I figured other readers who had more clearly understood the overall point of the post would have noticed that rotations in end game groups were a fairly minuscule part of it, and would have noticed that at no point did I advocate running level 85 group content by tapping the “2” button continuously, or other similar “not trying your hardest” techniques.

    So, no, I didn’t get caught up in it… I wrote what I wrote quite intentionally, and with forethought. I thought about his comment, was inspired by the wonderful way his comment pointed out the many underlying reasons why people play their characters in groups and raids, especially by how they can be different AND also be correct at the same time for each person, and wanted to talk more about that. Since this is my blog, and I’m not going to try and talk about how other people feel about why they do what THEY do, I presented my own personal point of view on the core point that I was interested in, and I left it to others to go to their own blogs and present their own personal points of view, there to broaden the debate and insert greater variety and individual insight into a topic that, by it’s very nature, can have nearly endless points of view.

    If you feel that the core point I was writing about should have been more about how everyone should have to follow prescribed rotations for proper performance, if that is the article you’d really rather read, then I wholeheartedly recommend you write such an article, because while it’s not something I personally believe in, I would love to read and learn from the point of view of someone that organizes and leads raids and provides direction to the players in their team on how they should play their characters for proven group success.

    No bullshit, I don’t feel that my voice is in any way the “last word” on any topic. That’s the joy of blogging, you hope that, if a topic is big enough, more than just one voice will be raised, and more than one point of view will be expressed, heard, and shared.


  4. Hello,

    While I do agree, on the whole, that spec doesn’t matter, I think you missed the point of Darth Solo’s original comment. He mentioned rotation was important, NOT spec, and on this point I have to agree. On looking back on your commentary regarding his original post, I think you got so caught up in defending every person’s right to spec however they want that you missed Darth’s point wasn’t about what you spec, but how you play. It’s right there in his example; he absolutely didn’t mention what spec the DK was, probably because he didn’t care what it was. What Darth cared about was that he was doing garbage dps for what his gear should allow, and that, imo, isn’t fair to any group.

    This is my opinion as someone who actually organizes raids. If you’re a mage, I don’t really care if you’re frost, fire, or arcane. What I DO care about is, if you’re spec’cing frost, you don’t just cast fireball every 4 seconds and call that a meaningful contribution to the team.


  5. Yep, I have seen non-conventionally speced players do remarkable things! And I have seen players with the cookie cutter spec and rotation deliver lackluster performance. But what I have seen the most in PuG’s is very poor performance as human beings, particularly in vent!

    25 Man ICC GDKP, Festergut, the comment on vent:”If you can’t pull 5KDPS with the 30% Buff you have no business being here, Raid leader, kick these scrubs!” (I guess he forgot that these “scrubs” are paying for him to be there) Also there are factors like vile gas to take into consideration. And of course the fact that if the raid leader kicked anyone from a GDKP without a formal warning in raids chat then he could face an account ban.

    Random other ICC Vent comments:

    “Hey Boomie,you are stupid, your rotation is easy, just cast starfall every time it is off cooldown and weave your eclipses.”

    “Hey Boomie, you are a complete failure, your starfall just aggroed the whole room!”

    “Hey Tree, druid healing is easy, put a rejuve on everyone and then a regrowth and repeat.”

    “A Boomkin that uses his own innervate; you are a complete failure.”

    “Hey Frost Mage, that the Beastmaster, and go kill each other, you have no business in my raid.”

    The sad thing is that these folks think they are being helpful. I know a ton of folks that play WoW. I don’t know a single one that desires to pull low DPS, or have the tank die because he didn’t heal properly, or lose aggro as the tank. I have yet to see a time when yelling at someone about their performance in any of these areas has caused improvement. Yes raiding is a team effort, and it is very frustrating when the team fails because one or two persons are not performing, but your spouting off in vent will not correct the situation. On any team a very important component is moral. Without moral it is simple a group of individuals, or worse adversaries working at crossed purposes.

    Here is my rule for vent: The raid leader uses vent to give instruction on fights, and the organization of the raid, it is essentially there so that he can communicate to the raid effectively. Other players should use vent to ask the raid leader for specific instruction regarding what they need to do in the fight. During the fight players other than the raid leader should use vent only for communicating important things like telling the other tank to taunt, or telling the raid that you are standing or accepting a battle rez. Vent is not a place to tell other players how to play their toon. It is also not a place for your social chit chat, if you want to BS, drop into another channel or get skype.


  6. We recently killed LK with the following comp:
    Tanks and heals are pretty much standard format. But notice that we only had 1 pure dps class and he was “suboptimally specced” as BM. Nothing ground-breaking, but thought I’d share 🙂
    prot war
    blood dk
    resto sham
    disc priest
    holy pally
    feral druid
    frost dk
    shadow priest
    ele sham
    bm hunter


  7. For the record- fire mage with good enough gear beats out an arcane mage in dps for most fights- so there you get the sweet sweet combo of super fun and super dps 😉


  8. I think that you make a great point – play what YOU like, and people shouldn’t give you shit about it, so long as you’re not in a raiding guild.

    If someone wants to play non-“optimal” specs in my raids, they’re welcome to do so in PvP, Arenas, or pugging other non-current content, but on raid night, their butt needs to be in the chair, properly gemmed, with a good talent spec, raid consumables, and a can-do attitude.

    We’ve had a few non-optimal specs if the player can make a good argument for why we should give them a shot, though.


  9. My main is a frost dk. I have been dw since tri-spec days. I leveled as blood through 75 or so then went dw. When tri-spec died I worked through it. I spent way too much time perfecting rotation and gear and the like. I was laughed at when trying to raid in pugs. The elitist guild on the server publically made fun of me for not being unholy before 3.3.3. Honestly I don’t like the spec so never kept with it as offspec. I kept up. Top ten but never the top.

    3.3.3 came out and all the research paid off. I wiped the floor with the other nay-sayers. Any melée dos running a raid wanted my haste buff.

    All in all, nothing wrong with playing the spec or class you want but at some point people won’t carry you and then you are out on a limb if you don’t keep up, change, or improve.

    That taught me to never base skill off gs. No kingslayer title? You can come and ask if you need help. I am willing to take you and if you don’t work out I will offer tips if I can or links to sites. If I have to ask you to leave, I will give you the reason, and offer to help to a point. BUT, it is not my job to hold your hand and teach you to play.

    Failing to plan is planning to fail. Or so my boss tells the sales reps. =)


  10. As it currently stands, I have yet to experience ICC 25 past fester. I know, pathetic. It has more to do with my available playtime than anything else.
    But the point of the post – I agree.

    In the case of a pug raid – come in expecting no one to do their job. In other words – have your flasks, oh shit potions, buff foods and repaired armour. Relying on strangers is hard. I started WAAAYYY back in the day when MC was a hard raid. Organizing 40 people you don’t know and successfulling downing that last sucker – a miracle. In a raid where you know most of the key players, best bet is still have the basics, but know that your “friends” will be there for you.

    As a “kitty with a bark problem”, I was ridiculed for most of my beginning days as an 80. in Heroics my damage was ok, but not spectacular. More than once i was called out for my spec. Since then, I have managed to move up on the damage meters. Mind you that’s mainly from armour, gems, enchants and buffs.
    Only once was I asked to “leave” a raid, before leaving we faced fester for the third time. At a critical moment, one tank was down and one healer was down. Brez and took over the healers job. The leader was the dead healer. LOL. he asked me to stay after that.

    I don’t make sense


  11. “Yes, running in terror to the tank screaming “get it off, get it off, get it off of me!” at the top of your lungs is a formally recognised exit strategy”
    That’d be my beloved fluffy doomkin wife 🙂 OK, so she only does it when she thinks she can get away with it – and when I’m tanking.

    That being said – I don’t usually care in a 5-man what people do. It gets a bit more interesting in H-HoR and apparently even H-PoS. I don’t know enough about other classes specs to tell them what they “should” do. Personal experience as a DPS has shown me that there are quite a few (DK) tanks out there that seem to have rather unusual specs and gear choices, and more often than not, that appears to be a hindrance in higher level dungeons.
    You know, if the boss dies, DPS was sufficient
    If the tank still stands, heals was good enough
    If the healer still stands, the tank and DPS didn’t screw up too badly.
    Everything else is fluff.

    Once you hit content where things start to matter, I’d still say that performance beats everything. If you have all the buffs you need, if you have the DPS that’s needed before the enrage timer hits, it’s OK. Perhaps someone’s utility in the “weird” spec comes in handy enough to outweigh the DPS “loss”, etc.

    That being said, there are some obviously wrong things that should get pointed out. I don’t tank with daggers, combat-rogues shouldn’t use daggers either, and ret/prot pallies probably don’t really need spellpower anymore 🙂

    In most cases, “people” just need to use their brains a little more, and stuff will still die and drop loot.


  12. I would gladly come and toot my own horn, being you offered us to.

    I healed Dreamwalker on my 4800 gear score Disc Priest. Seriously suboptimal for doing that job and undergeared (but offset by the buff really). Not to mention, it was only my second time ever healing ICC with my new Priest. How is that for knowing “what” to do and “how” to do it being more important then spec. 😉

    It also happens to prove that knowing a rotation that would work best for me there mattered more then anything else. Rotation matters.

    As for heroic PuGs, I have no expectations any more. I would like for people to play their role but I know that is way to much to ask from the morons that play this game. As long as we get it done I do not care. Now-a-days you only need a good tank and one good DPS to do most dungeons a few others you might need a healer for. All of them on heroic can be 3 manned no problem at all. Heck, my hunter can (and has) solo some of them on heroic even. Tank/Healer/DPS, so even of the other 2 DPS are complete asshats with 700 DPS it really does not matter. As long as they do not get in the way I do not care.


  13. I can see both points of this. I’m inclined to side with Darth Solo’s ideas, but not on his choice of situation for the idea.

    For example, run heroics sometimes on my Pally because he still needs frost badge gear. Now, when I first started running heroics I was not the greatest when it comes to knowing which pally buffs go to who. I knew sanc goes on tanks, but then there are choices between wisdom and kings for casters, and I invariably was asked for a different one that I gave out. To the point that it got annoying, and I hated it.

    Now, in Icc 10 and 25, heck yeah, I need to make sure people have the correct buffs because it surly can make a difference. And I work hard on that, or flat out get help setting up my pally power. But in a heroic? Yeah…you can have what ever my addon was set up for on the last raid. If I was sancing everybody because we had 4 pallies, then so be it. The one and only exception is if the healer wants something different because of mana issues. Otherwise, it’s a heroic, and if your dps is 4000 rather than 5000, well whatever. Back in Naxx 1500 dps was kick ass, and 700-900 was getting it done in heroics.

    Sure Mr. DK with 264 gear was…auto attacking or something. Maybe he just got a new weapon, or maybe there was something REALLY good on tv. What ever. I see people complain about dps in heroics, and my standard canned response is that it doesn’t matter. You are not “having fun at the expense of others” if the heroic takes 15 minutes instead of 12. If your time is so limited and valuable that the extra 3 minutes spent because somebody doesn’t know how to play you get upset, then perhaps running the random dungeon finder isn’t for you. That’s fine, put together a group of trusted guildies or friends and go to town.

    Some of my best times in heroics was on my hunter with random tanks that warned us right off the bat that they were new. I told them no probs, switched to my bear pet, and basically sat in back auto shotting and then picking up the inevitable mobs that go for the healer or squishy dps with my pet. This one night I was the tanks new best friend, and he, the healer and I chained heroics together all night. DPSers would come in, and often on the harder instances see a tank with such a low gear score and either insist we kick or just flat out leave.

    At the end of the expansion, slack should be cut to anybody that is behind the skill curve. Or, perhaps they are taking a night off of being “serious”. What ever.

    I will and do replace people in my raids that under-perform badly and make it impossible for us to clear Icc. It’s my least favorite part of leading a raid, but sometimes it has to be done because they are “having fun at the expense of others”. Generally it’s a guildie, and generally they know it’s coming. And generally I’ll make it up to them the next week by building a group that will take some of the pressure off them.

    I think it’s ludicrous and crazy to even concern one’s self about how much dps anybody is doing in a heroic though, because the whole dang game can’t be super serious all the time. It wouldn’t be much fun if it was.

    Now, when the next expansion drops, we are all going to have to try hard in heroics again. Until then, heroics is the place we all can kick back and take it easy in.


  14. “Having your weapon skill maxed, Defense Skill capped if tanking and your class requires it, your own buff food, flasks or elixirs if the situation calls for them (or mats to have same crafted), equipment repaired, ammunition on hand in sufficient quantity, reagents if necessary to cast your class buffs, and being ready to go when the group is SUPPOSED to be ready to go.”

    Yep, especially the defense skill cap. Had what turned out to be a cat druid queue as tank in my attempted random this morning, didn’t have the crit reduction skill, and it went much as one would expect – I suddenly didn’t feel like I was dropping the ball as healer when I discovered this, and thanked him for wasting my time before dropping group and going to do Brewfest activities on an alt.

    When an individual chooses to engage in activities in the game where people need to work together to succeed, there is an expectation that the individual will reasonably be able to carry out his role. For me, this is defense capped tanks with skill sufficient to keep healers from getting aggro, DPS who won’t pull things on their own, and that’s *pretty much* it. The ICC buff is so generous these days that I never worry about flasks or even food buffs that much anymore – so much of that raid is in knowing how to execute the encounters.

    This is much less the case in pvp, but I have to imagine this will change too once rated battlegrounds are en vogue. I’m looking forward to it.


  15. I think getting so locked into “this spec/this combo of chars is what you must have” takes away some of the fun of figuring out how to use what you’ve actually got. My 10 man currently consists of a prot pally, blood DK tank, unholy DK DPS, 2 combat rogues, boomkin, tree, holy pally, holy priest, and elemental shammy. Yep, no mages, hunters, warlocks, or warriors. I doubt anyone would call us an optimal group; however, I would say that every person in there is an exceptional player who knows how to get the most out of their class (sometimes more than many would say would be possible to get out of the class).

    So we make adjustments. On heroic DBS, the ranged take one blood beast while the DKs chains of ice it, while the rogues tear apart the other beast, tricking it out to a healer at range, while the pallies alternate stunning it. We got our first heroic BPC kill last night, and what worked for us was, rather than having the ranged juggle the kinetic spheres, the only pet owner–yours truly the unholy DK–did the juggling.

    Hopefully, next week or the week after, we’ll have our heroic Lich King kill. And we’ll get it playing with people we enjoy playing with, who’re playing the chars they enjoy playing.


  16. I find that the optimized rotations or specs mean very little if you don’t know what you’re doing. A dead toon = ZERO dps.

    I’ll take sub-optimized but knowledgeable/caring people over anything else – any day.


  17. I think the phrase “who died and made you the grand archon” is one of your most epix yet, somehow you made me giggle like a schoolgirl for 5 minutes xD

    On topic, I totally 100% agree on oh so many levels:

    First of all (and sadly) in heroic pugs people usually give a fuck about what they are supposed to do… though mostly the DPS are those, the healers usually know they role, tanks are a coin flip most of the times, but as I play tank I dont get to suffer them… but DPS are usually all bad (in my experience at least) I mean, I think its Wrath’s fault… cause in the TBC days the DPS had to attack following a reasonable order cause tanks didnt have lol aoe’s, but you nailed it with the pulling thingie, I mean… im tanking and I usually get some moron in my group who’s going “faster plz” and when I tell them to go fuck themselves they start to pull on their own, and sadly when you wipe cause ofc DPS dont pull 2 or 3 mobs, when they pull they bring you a whole battalion of 10 mobs, and you are supposed to tank them without a hitch, then you have to hear the rest of the group and the healer bitching about how you couldnt tank them. At the moment PUGs are very very frustrating, thats why I said in the last post that im hopeful for cataclysm and its apparent lack of threat, and the death of lol aoes, cause it will either make people learn how behave or its going to be a wipefest, either way…. I prefer it.

    Second, even though there’s a lot of groups that use a specific spec for raids, I really dont think its necessary… as much as the individual has to compromise for the good of the group, the group has to learn to play with this new character/spec… after all, DPS are DPS… healers are healers and in wrath, all tanks are basically the same. In TBC a paladin did things a warrior or a druid couldnt do and the other way arround, but now a DK can put crazy aoe threat, same with the druid….. so, other than a good buff, or a crazy debuff, there’s not much difference between the characters/spec, so yeah… if you are a feral kitty and the group would have more use for a balance and you go for it, yeah, great….. but the group should be able to function with a feral instead. Cause if you are only able to do a raid with a fixed class/spec setting, then.. you are doing something wrong.

    Same with the “theoretical DPS” stuff….. DPS fluctuates far more for lack of skill, lag, gear and disposition of the player than the spec, so…. maybe an arcane does a bit more DPS than a fire, but as you well said… does it really matter? and even more so, most of the times being good in a spec doesnt mean you would be good in another, back in the day I was a great Elemental / Feral, but if you gave me a Balance / Enhancement I wouldnt even know where to start, even If I had the gear at par with the other spec, same with Fire and Frost or Destruction and Affliction.

    The problem in there, is not the game limitations but the morons who start bitching about that….. and thats a thing hard to change.


  18. I’m with you 100% on this. I think we all have certain levels of expectations in WoW, or any multiplayer game really. There are certainly levels of expectations we have in a group, but as you say, there are certainly a fair amount of folks out there whose expectations are pretty high. Personally, when it comes to DPS in a group, I’m fairly forgiving. Clear 1500 in a heroic and I’m generally happy. I don’t feel it’s completely unreasonable an expectation; most if not all specs should be capable of meeting at least that in gear you can get easily from questing and reputations.

    As for specs themselves, Blizzard has done a fantastic job making every spec workable for the role it’s intended to fill.


  19. Hear Hear! This is the exact philosophy my guild uses! We may not be the fastest guild in progression, but we’re not bored right now either with members climbing the walls and creating drama waiting for Cata. Our 10 group is working on LK and I expect no problems getting him down. While our progression runs have a minimum DPS, we could care less where exactly that DPS comes from barring a good mix of melee & DPS. Over 250 accounts in our guild agree that this play style is the win 🙂

    WoW is big enough to allow for all kinds of play styles. You just have to find your home!


  20. Hmm lets hop in the way back machine folks and remember a day when AoE tanking was unheard of. My silly self had a prot paladin at cap with the silly desire of finishing the compendium on dragon slaying. What that meant then was I needed to have Ony level 60 flavor and the damming Lady Rrestor at the same time; breathe fire unto to sword which I had acquired pieces parts for and her flame would reforge a fairly nice tanking sword. Now back then Ony was a 40 man raid and Paladins were holy buff bots simple that was it. Never got that sword till she was re released as the level 80 flavor and it became a drop. Me i loved going against the grain never changed him from dedicated prot till ICC. Now sorry for the ramble but back to topic I loved and still love that toon as my main. Had a secret desire that shockadin might return as viable spec but was not to be so currently I have a main speccd holy paladin with shadow’s edge and someday I hope Shadowmourne, so that someone can wonder why the healer has shadowmourne.
    Ive been in guilds that had gear and spec requirements and raided successfully. been in non progression focused guilds and raided successfully and probably more enjoyably
    In the end I have found out a couple things that keep me coming back to this game. 1. the company will still find ways to make me enjoy playing it 2. A large portion of the people I meet have been decent folks whom it has been fun to slay internet dragons with. 3. If I confine my contrariness to my spec and my class combo I can thumb my nose at the man and still be part of the game.
    Ill shut up after this promise 11 million people play this game I find it hard to believe some insist that there is a “right” and a “wrong” provide what you do doesn’t intentionally interfere with another persons game play.


  21. I have no problem with people showing up in whatever spec they want to a 5-man or an older content pug raid. I have a guildie who decided he liked frost spec for his alt mage (fire you can get away with, but frost brings the evil eye). So he showed up to a VoA and broke the sacred mage protocol where they all swap Focus Magic on each other because he didn’t have it. And being that he had a water elemental his spec was quite visible to everyone.

    But for a dedicated group, or a pug that is advertising to down Lich King or do hard modes, please don’t show up in vastly sup-par specs. -_- Some specs aren’t that bad. I won’t turn away a fire mage or a destro warlock as a raid leader, because the difference in damage isn’t that high, but I would turn away a subtley rogue, or somebody in PvP spec. At that point it’s not being elitist, it’s just being practical.


  22. I’ve been Guild Leading and Raid Leading since the start of the summer, not that I wanted to at first. It’s still abit much, the expectation and my God juggling peoples personal preferences with progression and the best group we can get is seriously difficult. I am lucky however in that I have a few dedicated people with about 3 characters who are willing to save them ALL to the same icc10, we have yet to slay the king :(, but we’re working hard towards it. I like, where possible, to allow anyone to play whatever spec they want, for instance we have a perma demo lock and destruction lock (who also has a hunter a druid and a paladin). I’m currently about to roll a resto spec, (Having been Tank/Balance for god knows how long) because we’re seriously healer lacking and some dedicated people have rolled tanking specs on their alts. I will make a point to suggest where I think some peoples talent specs are sub-optimal, but only incase they do not know, if they prefer it their way that’s fine with me.
    We really really really badly need a disc priest for the Lich King, infests and defile are really getting the better of us. I think your views are usually pretty dead on, finding the “reasonable” part is tough though. Where is asking too much?
    Anyway love the posts keep them up 🙂 (Your internet Government post really made me think and I loved it)


  23. I’m so glad I’m a druid when it comes to this, ha ha! I walk into anything be it ICC 25 or a PUG and I get ‘OMG LAZERCHICKEN!!’

    I have gotten ‘oh crap, another bear with low def…’ though. *facepalm*


  24. long time reader but dont comment much, on my guilds first icc 10 clear raid comp was druid tank (myself thank you very much) 2 druid healers 1 feral 1 balance druid 3 paladin (ret,prot and holy) blood dk dps and destruction warlock we ended up using that lay out at load of people we would normaly have used had to cancel but we had a great time and boy o boy did all those combat res’s and innavtes come in handly at the end of phase 3 we only have me the prot tank and the holy pala up we only just beat the enrage timer lol at first i thought we had missed it haha we a good night but say what you want about optiman dps or maxing your dps i would rather raid with my friends who i know can play there class any day as we alway stumble our way forward though the content, ( side note love ya storys about when ya used to be a trucker haha they always make me laugt)


  25. In general I agree with you, but you have messed up one very important point:

    “flasks or elixirs if the situation calls for them (or mats to have same crafted)”

    It is in NO WAY acceptable to show up to raid and expect a random alchemist to make you a stack of stuff. If you haven’t cleared this ahead of time with them you are being an inconsiderate jerk. The alchemist may or may not have bag space to hold your mats and create what you need. Just because you have mats and it won’t “cost” them anything to make doesn’t really detract from the fact that during the hours before the raid when said alchemist could easily have transferred stuff to the bank you didn’t bother to plan ahead.

    Why yes, I have been burned by guildies expecting that I can magically rearrange what I am carrying to create what they need.


  26. I’ve been a fan of unpopular specs and making ’em work. Hell, I’m a Boomkin main, which until recent times, has been quite often referred to as the ugly redhead stepchild of WoW. My 2nd toon is a Demo lock, again originally unpopular, but I do well, even before the 3.3 changes. I’ve leveled my first toon, finally, a hunter, with the express intention of try to prove BM is capable.

    I also have a frost mage, though… he’s semi-twinking the 29 bracket at the moment.

    In our guild, our demo lock is pretty good at what he does. However. He does want to try other specs, but the other locks are quite comfortable in their specs. Which means, for the good of the raid, our demo dude must remain demo, unless another lock is willing to change. This is, i guess, an example of sacrificing personal satisfaction for the greater good. We don’t have any other odd specs… they’ve usually chosen the spec which gives them the best results.

    Incidentally, our last raid saw us with only one source of replenishment, as people have drifted away from such specs, such as survival hunters. And boy, did we FEEL it!


  27. I think it’s all about what works best for the individual. My boyfriend plays a beastmaster hunter who also plays without a rotation. Yet despite both of those things against him, he is usually one of the top dps when he pugs a raid (if he can find one that will let him in) He constantly gets the comment”how do you do so much dps as a beastmaster?” His answer…”I mash buttons” Now on paper, it says he would do even more if he switched specs or used a certain rotation, but this is the playstyle that comes naturally for him, and this is how he plays best. I am certain these changes would result in a dps drop. Some people might say this makes him a bad player. I say he may be a bad survivalist or marksman, but he is a very very good beastmaster, and that makes him better than many other hunters out there of any spec.


  28. I’m going to make this a comment, not part of the post. When it comes to having particular classes to provide buffs, such as having a Demonology Warlock for that incredibly tasty Demonic Pact buff, in my opinion that is the province of a dedicated group, where everyone walked into the raid together knowing and accepting they maybe asked to play a particular spec, or even a different class entirely, “for the good of the team”. If you’re good with that as part of your team, fine. You always have the option of refusing and leaving for another, more open team if you so desire, up to and including forming your own band of misfits and ne’er do wells.

    For random 5 man instances with strangers? I always mentally facepalm ANYONE that starts bitching about someone else’s Talent spec.


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