Friday, April 25, 2014

Notes For SoO 22April14

Tomorrow night we once again return to the Seige of Orggrimar. This week we will be introducing a few new faces and working to stabalize our core team in order to really get down to some progression.

For the first few bosses which we have on farm I will be trying out a few new mods to see if they will end up being usefull.
I'm trying to find a good fail finder mod and have Phoenixstyle and Ensidiafails lined up.
I also found a neat little mod called Panic Tracker which shows incoming damage verse incoming heals.
Finally I will be giving Big Wigs a go as a replacement for DBM. I was able to play around with it a bit before work tonight and I am very excited about its potential.

Before raid tomorrow I need to go collect my warforged seals and give Ordos a good beat down. After that I need to get the last upgrade for my chest so it will be 2/2. Also even though the guild does provide consumables I like to carry my own so I need to restock.

Boss specific notes after the break.

UI Evolved

Part of my responsibilities as Raid Officer for Bandage Brigade is assisting enthusiastic new raid leaders and helping to mentor them. One of our officers who has been playing wow for some years has decided to head up a Flex team on Saturday nights. The only catch is ....he has never raided before, except for LFR but if you know me you know I don't count that as raiding.

So he's been talking with myself and the other officers and shoring up his knowledge base and we came across the discussion of add-ons. An early Zen Wiping post touched on this but sometimes its easier to see things than to just read some vague armchair philosophy. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Triage Healing coming to WoD? How about Raid Wipe Differential Diagnosis till then?


This is much more readable version I listed in my guilds officer area

Understanding why wipes occur is important for any raid leader, or at the very least having someone on board who who can figure this out for you.
Ok, so wipes occur for one of four reasons:
1 - Tanks failed to controll the boss or adds that require a tank
2 - DPS failed to do enough damage during the encounter
3 - Healers insuffentiently healed the fight
4 - Raid mechanics were poorly executed
How do you know which one was the cause of the wipe?
The best way to examine the deaths that led up to the wipe cascade (for ten man this is roughly the first three deaths, or first four if a battle res was used).
Were you under the enrage timer but the wipe cascade occured because a boss was smashing everyones face? Then it was the tanks (this happens to us when Wort forgets to turn on his blood presence or Tonk forgets his seal of righteusness). Check that your tanks are playing properly, council if needed and retry.
Was everything great until you hit the enrage? In this case DPS was too low (when we first began the Norushen fight this was our main issue.) If so look at your DPS players? Does their dmg seem low for their gear? Check that they know their rotation, understand how to gem/enchant/reforge their gear, and know when to use DPS cooldowns to maximize their output. If all of that is good then their gear is simply too low, you can try dumping a healer for more DPS so long as you don't hit the third wall.
The next two are more complicated but also interrelated.
If your raid is dieing becuase they are taking too much unavoidable damage then your healing is insuffcient. Like DPS above check spec and gear and look into healing competency. If all looks good ditch a DPS for a another healer and hope you don't hit wall 2.
The thing is though we aren't robots nor are we top 1% players. We will be taking avoidable damage. The top 1% may only take 10% avoidable damage the whole fight (this is why they are so conserned with a 1% DPS gain that simply wouldn't phase our group). The rest of us take considerably more avoidable damage and healers must compensate.
Galakras burn phase is a great example of taxing healers and seeing what they can put out. On the other hand Dark Shaman test the raids ability to control damage mechanics and stay alive. Finally General Nazgrim is designed to test your raids ability to prioritize targets and understand boss stances (if shamans heal him it will be a wipe, if DPS don't understand Battle stance is for mild DPS and add control, Berserker stance is for cooldowns and heavy DPS while still control adds, and Defensive stance is a time to sit back and regenerate while dealing with adds then the fight gets many times more difficult).
You will have to look at logs for this one and talk to (or be one of )the healers and then talk to your raid as a whole. Make sure people are avoiding the fire, using raid and personal defensive cooldowns, and that healers are performing well. Again you may have to swap a DPS for an extra healer and hope you still have enough DPE (damage per encounter). Or maybe you need to have your healers do some research and become better, or as Moke says "Stop being a noob Air!"
Once you know what to look for you will be better able to direct raiders thoughts after a wipe in order to find and work on a solution.
Soon we will discuss logging and how to interpret logs so you can hone in what the actual problem is.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

What add-ons do you consider mandatory for raiding?

The simple answer is only the ones that improve your performance.

o.O .....and.....which ones are those?

This is a much tougher question. I've been in and seen many guilds that require certain add-ons. Does simply having recount or omen or DBM make you a better raider?


Omen is a bit of non-issue now a days. You saw this one more in the old days when it was easy to strip threat off of a tank.
See the thing is simply downloading these add-ons is not beneficial for most raiders. For one thing omen should you the entire groups threat. It was difficult to parse through and find yourself on the list and even if you did you had to take a few milliseconds or more to parse this data.
DBM suffers the same fate, out of the box it simply provides both too much information and too little. Does a non-tank really need to know how many stacks of Tank Death debuff are being applied? No. Do you really need a warning to tell you not to stand in the big red circle? No.
DBM can be extremely useful but only if you go into it and turn off the things that never apply to you and turn on the ones that do. After a wipe ask yourself which warnings you ignored and which you spent time parsing the multitude of bars to pay attention to. Turn off the ones you ignored, check for ones that track things that you spent time wishing you had a warning for and then when a bar appears you know that that bar is special to you.

Recount/Skada are a mess in the hands of the ill informed. First off do you really know what they do? How about what they don't do?
What these add-ons do is track the amount of damage you put out and the length of time you are in combat mode. They don't care what target you hit, if died, if you stood in the stupid the whole fight, if you front ended your damage then picked your nose while your mana bar slowly crept back up. The HPS charts are even worse, they are almost completely useless as a method of evaluating healing.

Finally if you just run an add-on without thought or care as to what it does you may never see the things the add-on is supposed to show you. It does no good if your DBM warning are at the top of your screen and you never look there during a fight.

This is one of the reason I love Weakauras, when you setup an aura you are invested in its creation and its success. You have ownership of it and its yours. I guarantee the WA icon you spent 20 minutes making is going right where you can see it every single time its up. If only because we humans are just vain like that.

At the same time I absolutely hate when people say "I just use the default UI. Blizzard designed it and so it should be all you need."
You know what else Blizzard designed? The ability for creative people to make add-ons and further the ability for players to customize their UIs to insane degrees.
Few other games allow this much modification of the UI.

If that doesn't convince you then try this one on for size:
The default UI is designed to work for new players and max level players, for raiders and pvpers, for healers and tanks and DPS, for 11 classes and 34 specs. It is meant to work for Granny and for the young-uns.
The default UI is over generalized to the point of weakness. The only answer I would accept for someone not tweaking their UI is "It works and I'm too lazy to optimize it". Fair enough.

The rest of us should work to increase the amount of useful information and the efficiency with which it is displayed while removing extraneous noise and poor placement. Any add-on that is distracting you is making you a worse raider. Any information that takes time for you to find, parse, and react to is inefficient.
Don't just shrug it off as part of the add-on that you are gonna have to live with, find a solution. As someone who records many of my raid attempts I have found upon re-watching my own play that something on my screen was completely ignored (I removed it) or something was out of the way (I moved it) or confusing (I made it bigger and moved it to a place that made more sense to me). I'm constantly looking for what I'm doing poorly and working to find a solution.

So my list of required add-ons for raiders is not filled with something you can find on curse or wowinterface, instead it is the idea that what ever you use make sure it works for you. Make sure it helps you and does not do more harm than good. Good raiders shouldn't have to be told what add-ons they must use because a good raider is a raider who is constantly and perpetually looking to improve her raid performance. She will find the add-ons that work....or she will find herself on the bench wondering why.


Before you Raid....

I f  I could sit all my raiders down and force them to watch one video and read one blog entry they would be the following:

Fail Faster. While the topic here is actually game design the concept applies all through out our lives. Raiding especially. If we could learn to recover faster and rework bad play we would all get just a bit further. Wipes are not a failure, not learning from wipes is.

Raid Awareness is a Learned and Practiced Skill.

This is wonderful blog post by a man named Hamlet who writes about healing mainly. I'm sure he was simply putting down some thoughts he had but what he ended up with was a Raider Manifesto. Raiders should read this, think about it, read it again, then read it again. Read it once a month. Read it every night you spend wiping. Just read it.

These two works more than anything form the basis of what a good raider should be.

EDIT: I'd like to add one thing, as a raider the best thing you can do post wipe is assess your play and determine what mistakes you made. Don't be dismissive about it and skip over every thought you have about that thing that that OTHER person did which screwed you over. Simply think back and find all the fire you stood in, the OSB you forgot to push, the ability you missed and own them all. Those were your mistakes, no one else, they can get their own because you own these. If you can think of a helpful way to avoid the mistake again mention it. If it is simply a matter of pay more attention just do a mental note.