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.