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Saphiel
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2007 11:55 pm    Post subject: Raiding is Serious Business Reply with quote

First of all, let me be absolutely clear that the intention of this thread is not to single anyone out or make them feel inadequate. I have a feeling that such feelings will be unavoidable, but understand this: I wouldn't bother posting this if my goal wasn't for everyone to be able to raid together with maximum fun and minimal frustration. My intention is to help those who feel they are struggling or not contributing as best they can to make the necessary adjustments to do so. My very first piece of advice is, of course, don't give up. Don't stop grouping or raiding if anything said here shakes your confidence. The second: be open to criticism and advice. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

That said, raiding post-BC is a new game. Particularly in Karazhan, where a 10-person limit severely limits the entire raid's margin for error. If someone is not pulling their weight, it is felt quickly and painfully. Another very significant paradigm shift in post-BC raiding is that a lot of weight falls on the shoulders of the DPS. Whereas, pre-BC, raiding was often reliant on how sturdy your tanks were and how steadfast your healers were, Karazhan and beyond has frequent and very demanding DPS checks that test both the raw power and the focus of any DPS class.

Now as you all know, BMR is strictly against pigeon-holing, and there is no intention of changing that. Shadow priests and balance druids and arms warriors, oh my! Fortunately, Blizzard has balanced the classes well, so if you're in a DPS role, you should be able to DPS competitively. Being able to DPS competitively is part spec, part gear, and part skill.

Gearing is a natural progression, of course, but the other aspects are equally important, and can be improved. First, specs. I'm not going to ask or force anyone to change their spec, but I would ask those of you who are serious about raiding, the ones who'll raid about half the time, say, to review their specs. Before you scoff about sacrificing play styles or soloing ability remember that there are many who make a lot of sacrifices for the good of the raid. Prot warriors? Holy priests? Not so good at soloing.

Anyway, what makes a good raiding spec? For a DPS class, you should look to trim your personal survivability-based and soloing talents and work on more on overall DPS (preferably sustained DPS over burst) and group utility talents. The obvious exception, of course, is threat reduction talents. Dodge is great for the soloing rogue. For the raiding rogue? Not so much. If you're a DPS class and you're getting hit frequently, you're either a) dead or b) doing something wrong. Also, any talents you have that provide a useful buff/mob debuff for the raid are great. Basically, take a long hard look at each talent and say "What has this talent done for me/the raid lately?" If 75% of the time, said talent is just using up points, consider dumping it for something with more universal usage. Keep in mind that many raid mobs and especially bosses are immune to stuns, snares, fears, freezes, and other effects.

Similarly, your gear should favor DPS abilities. Having a certain level of stamina (and for casters, Int) is obviously important. I think 6k unbuffed HP is a good starting point for cloth/ranged casters. 7.5-8k should work for melee DPS. 9k mana should be plenty for casters. Past a certain point, however, stacking +AP/+dmg/+hit/+crit is most definately the way to go. Around 600 spell damage with a fair amount of hit or crit for casters is a starting point. I'm not quite sure for melee, but I hear about 1300 AP is a benchmark. A special note - don't underestimate +hit or +spellhit. These stats are deceptively good.

I'll get to actual skill in a minute...

Another piece of advice to any DPSer is to pick up the SWStats mod. It's a sort of damage meter mod. If you're not into mods, ask someone (such as myself) who uses it what your DPS numbers look like. For a point of reference, our clearly most insane DPSer, Poknok (with a few epics, 843 spell damage), regularly hovers around the 400 DPS mark. Nibaw, the main tank, is usually sustaining about 100. On Razi (in 100% blues, 665 spell damage), I can usually sustain about 325-350. I think that most pure-DPS specced classes with decent high-level blues should be able to maintain about 250 DPS at least.

That is, of course, not to say I'm going to kick you from a raid if you don't maintain some standard of whatever. Obviously not. Nor will myself (or anyone else) call you out on something like that. What I hope is, if you find yourself having trouble, you can recognize that and ask for advice.

Now, as for actual playskill. Obviously, some people are more skilled than others. Some of us, WoW is the first game they've ever played. Others are gaming veterans who've been playing since we were in our diapers. However, WoW isn't a paricularly "twitch" based game, so I'm confident that almost anyone can learn and improve, given time, opportunity and a good teacher. It's largely a technique-based game - learning which abilities to use when, and in what order.

This post is obviously already a million pages long, so I'm not going to try and dissect every spec of every class, nor could I, as many I haven't personally played. However, a lot of us have played a multitude of classes, and many of us study this game harder than we study for tests. I know I, personally, have read a *ton* on the game, and I am always eager to help. I can't necessarily tell you how to play Class X, Spec Y precisely, but I'm sure myself and others have plenty of feedback to offer. And hell, I'm sure I could use a few pointers on healing, myself!

So, overall, I just encourage you, if you're feeling just the slightest bit of struggle or would like to eek out just a bit more of a contribution to the raid, to post here or talk to me (or whomever you feel comfortable asking) privately.

Remember, I don't just want any old raid to succeed. I want a BMR raid to succeed. I want to raid with you all because I enjoy your company, and I'd sooner quit raiding then raid with another guild. I know that you all want to succeed, and to see the raid succeed, and I want to make sure that everyone has the tools and resources available to make sure that happens. Just keep in mind that raiding is always a group effort, and sometimes a little sacrifice can go a long way.

Peace,
Razi/Saph


Last edited by Saphiel on Mon Jul 16, 2007 12:14 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Thawr
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2007 1:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great post, Razi.

What I really like about raiding in TBC is that any virtually any class spec has its role, and can bring something to the group (I can only think of retribution paladins being unwanted in raids). This means that any class/spec, when played right, will be desired in a group/raid. It comes down to the experience and skill level of the player to make the most out of their class.

Yes, we can play our characters our own way, but if we're doing it completely wrong, it can hurt the group's viablity. An example of when a class is not played right, is a hunter insisting on going melee (yes, I have seen this! Shocked ) rather than use their class's main strength which is using ranged attacks. Even a Survial (a more melee-oriented talent tree) specced hunter should not be going melee as their primary role. Obviously, this is a very extreme example but it goes to show that there is indeed a "wrong" way of playing.

I'd also like to help out anyone who wants advice on how to go about improving their class role. I've played almost every class in the game past level 40 so I can speak from experience. If anyone is looking for general tips on maximizing your spec utility, www.wowwiki.com is a decent source as well.

Very Happy
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2007 3:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree it's a good post.

I should say that there are people in the clan who hit as hard or very nearly as hard as I do. I think I'm just the most notorious.

I also agree that Kara (and before that the Black Morass) is really the time for DPS to shine. or devour all light, if that's your thing.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2007 6:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I want to apologize for my performance last night. I know I was off my game and even simple distractions, such as getting my shadowfiend out, were enough to make me miss critical heals on our tanks. I also came to the raid with a short stack of consumables. It was an honest mistake, I thought I had more, but still another error on my part. Which brings me to another way you can help the raid.

If players are the blood of the raid then consumables are the oxygen it needs. For this reason I am working on Ritallia's herbalism and alchemy, (320 and 300 respectively) so that I can pitch in. But there are other ways people without these skills can help. For instance, the enchanting oils take in addition to a small amount of enchanting materials a little bit of herbs. So if you aren't using these herbs, pass them on to an enchanter to make some oils. This works both ways, if there are other gathered materials that work in other profession to make consumables, off your excess to those people to ease the burden of providing consumables to the raid.

Also, we tallied up our repair bills last night. It ws a long night for most of us. As a pretty well geared clothie I shelled out 22g over two repairs. Nibaw on the other hand, vendored all his BoE greens from the evening and was still at a net loss of 26g (28?). Plate is always more expensive to repair than cloth. During my brief hiatus from BMR one of the solutions I discovered was to let the tanks take all the BoE greens to offset this cost. Now I'm not asking that we adopt this as an absolute but if you want to help our tanks out in this way, just pass on the BoE greens. This applies to raids only tanks Shocked I'm sorry to say you're still on your own in 5 mans. Razz

Anyway just a couple of thoughts I wanted to put out there. Happy raiding!
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2007 12:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was off my game too last night. At least twice I wandered too close to uninvolved mobs (once, a boss *wince*) and pulled them down on us. Not a good night for me, sorry!

Let me repeat this bit of Razi's to make sure everyone's seen it:

That is, of course, not to say I'm going to kick you from a raid if you don't maintain some standard of whatever. Obviously not. Nor will myself (or anyone else) call you out on something like that. What I hope is, if you find yourself having trouble, you can recognize that and ask for advice.

That's the point of this thread: How can we minimize the frustration I'm sure we all felt with ourselves last night?

Now, one thing the numbers will NOT show is the non-damage/healing contributions of the various classes, so stats need to be taken with a grain of salt. I know I'm not a combat rogue (the "real" raiding spec for rogues) and Janka will probably always out-DPS me, even if I've got slightly better gear. But my spec (a Subtlety/Assassination hybrid, as compared to Janka's Subtlety/Combat one) gives me a few things that DO help out in groups, but don't necessarily contribute to my "bottom line." (i.e. I'm built for quick combo-point generation, which allows me to apply finishing move stuns faster, which boost all DPS against my target. Hemorage also boosts everyone's damage against my target and Quick Recovery means I get a 20% increased benefit from ALL healing, so I use up less of our healer's mana and regen faster if I back out to bandage during combat.)

One thing I've noticed from watching SWStats over the course of the raid that WHICH set of trash mobs we're hacking through makes a big difference in the collective numbers of the melee and caster DPS.

The pulls leading up to Attumen? That's where melee fighters (and probably those casters without AoE damage) shine, because casters are worrying more about crowd control and not breaking crowd control on those pulls (OK, and the warlocks are probably still gathering soul shards.)

The AoE pulls in the ballroom upstairs? Not a rogue's game. My overall DPS contribution drops through the floor as soon as we get there and those with AoE surge ahead.

The physical-only mana wyrms after the curator? That's my game again.

So one thing we also need to look at is which set of trash mobs we'll be on tonight and how we can do our best damage against them. Each section is radically different from the previous one, which is very unlike ZG, the instance we all know best.

Now, one thing I did do recently is alter my gear combinations in favor of survivability. I'm still not sure if that's a good or a bad move, but which is better for melee: Doing a lot of damage and dying quickly in the process, or doing less damage but surviving the entire fight. That's a question I don't have an answer to. Maybe you guys do?
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2007 1:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can help supply mana potions. Since Janira doesn't see much game time she has less need for them, so I'll be shuffling her stock (think she has 10 pots on her) out to the healers. I can also check her supply of herbs and pass those on to folks that have the recipes that need them.

I've been doing a bit of experimenting with specs and did respec Janka slightly yesterday before the raid. She now has a couple more points in combat and more in Assassination and now less in Sub (*mourns Preparation*). Her spread is now 15/33/13. I may do a bit more experimenting, going further into combat. I'm always willing to take advice on spec so if you have any suggestions, you can see her current spec, Here .

Some might say get rid of the daggers, but honestly, I do a LOT of damage with 1200+ backstabs. And these crit backstabs happen quite a bit. And with imp ambush, I also get some nice damage. I will usually get two ambushes in on a boss fight via Vanish (used to get 3 with preparation).
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2007 2:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Keryn wrote:
That is, of course, not to say I'm going to kick you from a raid if you don't maintain some standard of whatever. Obviously not. Nor will myself (or anyone else) call you out on something like that. What I hope is, if you find yourself having trouble, you can recognize that and ask for advice.


That pretty much sums it all up pretty nicely. So far, I've been pleased with everyone's performance in BMR raiding. I'll be keeping a closer eye on the statistics and I will direct tips to anyone who seems to be lagging behind. Of course, this doesn't rule me out from accepting advice from anyone (especially in the healing department!). Very Happy
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2007 2:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Janka -

First, I admit that my build is designed to do well BOTH soloing and in raids. It's a luxury that warlocks get.

Second, you may find that you enjoy this build:
http://www.wowhead.com/?talent=wztcoLZbeEz0Ez00MoLVb

I admit, Master of Deception and Imp. Ambush are lovely skills. In exchange you get an extra 1 second on Gouge, which can be very handy for backstab solo work and, more importantly I think, four points in Combat Potency.

If I didn't think Sleight of Hand was so important, I'd pull those two points out to finish Lethality and Combat Potency. If you switch Guile of Koraazi to the offhand (which should not hurt your Backstab damage), AND have Slice and Dice up? You should see mighty fine Energy recovery, especially nice over long fights.

As a side note, I think the Combat Daggers approach is unorthodox and cool.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2007 2:30 pm    Post subject: Advice Me! Reply with quote

I'm better at watching aggro than I used to be. KTM Threat Meter has helped a ton. I'm also still pretty good at DPS.

Having said that, I'd like to open myself up to suggestions regarding addons, talent spec, gear, or other ways to be better.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2007 2:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Regarding last night: it was a mistake on my part to let the group composition stand as it was. I thought that two shadow priests would be enough to make up for one full healer, but it just wasn't the case, at least not in a fight like Moroes where damage isn't really spread out until the end phases. Furthermore, I found myself being really unhappy with my hybrid spec, so many heals I missed by .5 seconds because I didn't have the talent that reduces Holy Lights cast time. I'll probably end up speccing to a fuller holy build, especially now that we've lost Ren. Anyway, last nights problem wasn't strictly a DPS issue, it was also a healing issue, but that doesn't mean that we *all* can't improve.

Certain specs are just hard sells for me when it comes to raiding. Subtlety for rogues is one of them.

The main issue when it comes to classes like rogues, mages and warlocks is that they offer relatively little group benefit aside from having potentially ridiculous DPS. Hybrid classes specced for DPS often offer substantial DPS plus, say, totems or offheals or auras.

Subtlety feels, to me, like a PvP or soloing burst damage tree - where you're stealthing up to one player/mob at a time and having quick, bloody fights. Raiding is about long, sustained battles. Up until you get Hemo, almost all of the talents are focused around your openers, which even when you factor in Vanish and Preparation, you're only using twice or three times in, say, a 6 or 7 minute boss fight. Regardless of how big your crits are, I think you'd get a lot more mileage out of buffing your standard non-openers, finishers, and energy generation. Sustained DPS is the key.

In your build, Janka, I really only like Opportunity in the Subtlety tree. If you find yourself having aggro issues, keep Sleight of Hand (or, just ask me to give you Blessing of Salvation). I'd consider moving more points into Ruthlessness or Combat Potentcy.

Moving on: Keryn, while I don't disagree that Imp. Cheap Shot in conjuction with quick combo point generation can be useful, frankly, I'm really not terribly interested in improved DPS on trash pulls. The only time that we have trouble with trash is when someone blunders/gets feared into another pack or a healer disconnects, or something.

I'm worried about bosses. It's the bosses that wipe us, even when we do everything right execution wise, because we're lacking enough "whatever." Bosses can't be stunned. Again, even with Prep, you're Ambushing maybe 3 times. Talents that affect your stealth ability or speed aren't useful, Sap and Blind aren't useful. You want fast combo point generation and insane damage? One word: MUTILATE. Try something like this for a night, see how you like it.

(As an aside, I do really like Quick Recovery, though.)

Also, to answer your question RE: gear, it depends on the fight. Certain bosses obviously are favouring a heavier stamina (or resistance) component. Curator and Maiden, for instance (mostly Curator, since Maiden's damage isn't super hard to heal through). However, now that they've fixed Cleave, many bosses are less lethal to melee. Basically every other boss favours a stronger DPS set. I'd suggest bringing both a DPS and survivability set to Kara.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2007 4:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My warlock is affliction specced. was 41/0/20, but since it seemed like curse of exhaustion was handy, I gave up intensity in the destruction tree to get amplify curse and curse of exhaustion. So I'm now 43/0/18

That being said - I'm sustained dps. I have little crit gear so my shadowbolts don't crit as much, nor do I have ruin, so when I do crit, they still don't hit as hard. What I do, instead, is throw as many DoT's on as I can then shadowbolt in between. I think for the most part, I manage to keep up in dps without pulling aggro (with the exception of AoE groups).

What doesn't show through the wonderful damage meters is that DoT's are not so wonderful for the numerous trash groups before you get to bosses. Curse of agony for example, a DoT that does most of it's damage at it's back end, is not going to last until the end of a trash mob. Nor will most of the DoTs. So yeah, I will always fall behind on dps during trash mobs. What I like to look at, is the amount of dps being done to a certain mob (namely bosses). I think this gives a better representation to what you are looking for.

Of course, I'm also still a bit off of where some of our others in dps are gear wise. I'm probably still around 100 or more +damage from say Poknok. So as I gear up, inevitably, my dps will also go up. So, please, if any of you want to run instances that are actually accessible - by all means let me know, and I'll be more than happy to take some upgrades to improve my damage Smile (I'm sure that there are more than me that could use it)
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2007 5:26 pm    Post subject: Re: Raiding is Serious Business Reply with quote

Razikaal wrote:
clearly most insane DPSer, Poknok (with a few epics, 843 spell damage), regularly hovers around the 400 DPS mark.
Razi/Saph



Way to get my panties all in a bunch Raz! Every meter I've ever run has me neck-and-neck or even ahead of Pok. CLEARLY most insane DPSer? No respect I tell ya...

; )

That said, alot of legitimate points here.

For me personally I've got a PvP spec and PvP gear...I enjoy that part of the game as much or more than raiding, and truthfully the DPS I crank out with that spec has me at the top of the PvE DPS meters, and threat meters even with BoS. I'm frequently stopping DPS altogether because of threat issues.

I've considered respeccing to 41/0/20 raid build for Karazhan but frankly the added DPS from that(I could add 10-15%, plus totem of wrath for all our casters) will make me even more of an aggro magnet than I am now. So, until we get more of our DPS challenging for top numbers I think I'm capped on the amount of damage I can be doing without causing wipes.


~M
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2007 5:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Heh, sorry Mong, meant no offense. Smile
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2007 8:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK... when I left the raid tonight, I went off and respecced. I'm giving that 41/13/7 build a try and we'll see how it goes.

*cracks knuckles*
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2007 7:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Regarding the role of Shadow Priests (since Razi brought it up in his initial post). After respeccing to Shadow awhile back, I did some research and chose of a final spec of 20/0/41.

A Shadow Priest dropped out of Shadowform is an indifferent healer and a poor DPSer. However, a Shadow Priest in Shadowform is still a Priest and, therefore, a Support Class.

We bring:

1. Increased mana for all mana users.
2. Incidental healing.
3. The same Fortitude and Shadow Protection buffs as a Holy Priest (if specced that way, which I am).
4. Some decent though not outstanding DPS.
5. Increased DPS for the already awesome warlocks (Shadow Weaving).
6. Priestly crowd control (MC and shackle).
7. Resurrection.

As regards the Saturday evening death fest, I have a couple of comments. One, I should have been second shackle, rather than Brecken (even without a working macro, I am capable of keeping a shackle - though it's hard when they resist three times in a row). Ideally, the main Healer should have no crowd control duties at all, unless absolutely necessary (I'm speaking here of a raid situation, not an instance).

Two, one fully specced healer is not enough in Kara, as I'm sure you've realized. And, as you also realized, two Shadow Priests do not make one Holy Priest Laughing

I played healer for over two years, which gives me a better understanding than some of the pressures inherent in raid healing and the skill involved. Brecken is an excellent priest, but too much was asked of him. Let's not burn out another priest.
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