February 7, 2008

Become a Better Raider: Learn Your Own Bad Habits

image by zoomar

If you've been raiding for any serious length of time you know that eventually, everyone makes mistakes. Whether you're the tank who forgot to face that nasty mob away from the group, the DPSer who broke CC, or the healer that was too concerned with watching the MT's health to notice his own, we've all been there. In most cases, a single mistake here and there isn't raid-breaking, but there are plenty of encounters in WoW where errors can compound and spiral out of control towards a wipe.

For me, there's nothing worse than the knowledge that my own mistake, small or large, was the catalyst that led to my entire raid dead on the floor. It's easy to talk about bringing your A-game to a raid, but as anyone whose ever wiped on a "farm status" boss is aware, knowing and doing are two different things.

If there's a secret to successful raiding, it is this: every player in the raid must know they're not screwing up. This doesn't mean mistakes won't happen, but it does mean that your entire raid is actively working to avoid potential pitfalls and screw-ups.

So how do you avoid screwing up? Know your own bad habits. If you make a mistake, raid wiping or not, own up to it, no matter how embarrassed you may feel. Once you've informed your raid, stop and analyze the root of your error. Were you unfamiliar with the boss strategy? Not paying enough attention to voice chat? Failing to watch your threat meter, your tank's health, or your surroundings? Falling asleep at your computer?

Once you've identified the source of the problem, it's time to ask yourself if this is a one-time error, or part of a pattern. If it's the latter, you must take steps to fix it. A quick example: for a long time on Firkin, I would get distracted keeping up with the dps target and not keep a close enough eye on my sheeps. While a single sheep running around for three seconds before it gets re-polyed is usually not a big deal, no one wants to be The Mage Whose Sheep Always Breaks And Eats the Healers' Faces... especially not me.

After a particularly egregious night of loose sheep in Serpentshrine Cavern last summer, I decided it was well past time to solve the polymorph issue, so I pulled up the trusty Wowwiki and started researching focus macros. In my mage macros post, you can see the macro I use to sheep now, which lets me re-sheep my polymorph focus without ever losing my dps target. The five minutes I spent researching and setting up that macro has paid off tenfold in game, and I am a better player because of it.

Of course, sometimes you'll be able to identify the root of a problem, but you won't have a solution. If the root of your error is boss mechanics you didn't know about, the solution is to read more strategies before you fight an encounter, but what if you were a protection warrior struggling to kill your demon on Leotheras, or a mage having trouble resheeping quickly enough who didn't know about the /focus command?

If you can't find an answer by simple research, or don't know what you're looking for, the solution's simple: ask your fellow raiders. In the case of the protection warrior, a fellow tank could inform him that a prot warrior's best bet is to save spell reflect for the demon's shadow bolts. Similarly, a veteran mage could point a struggling raider to /focus macros and sheep timers. Even if you're not a newbie, it's always better to be inquisitive than to not ask questions and cause a wipe, so don't be afraid to ask!

Everyone has a few weaknesses as a raider, but if you learn your own bad habits, you can work to combat them. You don't have to spend all your out-of-WoW downtime theorycrafting and reading boss strategies to be a good endgame raider, but you do have to be proactive about improving yourself. Just remember: those other 24 people lying dead on the floor aren't all that interested in "I'm sorry." The most beautiful words to a wiped raid's ears are "it won't happen again."

19 comments:

Arrens said...

Truer words have never been spoken (or typed). God knows I've broken more than my fair share of CC due to my Felguard's Cleave. Nowadays, unless there's no CC in the immediate vicinity, I just turn the darn thing off and hope I'm compensating for that little bit of lost DPS.

Messyah said...

I am a feral tank, and for those that know, Armor, dodge and health are the 3 main keys to feral tanking. Anyway, when I do Arena and BGs, I am a DPSer (Cat) and my gear is very similar to what a Rogue would wear. So, I have a full set of tanking gear for Bear, and a full set of DPS gear for Cat.

Well, we went into Gruul's to fight HKM and for whatever reason, I was getting killed. We tried several times and each time we wiped because I got murdalized! Well, we made the decision to let a warrior tank and I would DPS. Once we said that I clicked on my Item Rack icon to switch to my Cat gear, and that was when I realized that I had it on the entire time. ROFLMAO

Lucky for me, everyone could laugh about it. Anyway, I put my Bear gear on and we wiped the floor with HKM and crew. Now I ALWAYS triple check my gear before starting a raid. :-)

Messyah said...

Btw, that picture is priceless.

(If your thoughts could be materialized after making a raid party wipe, THAT is exactly how they would look.)

Meltfacer said...

List of bosses i've killed myself with Shadow word death on

-Curator
-Netherspite
-Prince

Thank god that up to Vashj and Kael there are no 25 man fights where this is a concern.. so embarassing! lol

Daxenos said...

LOL @ Meltfacer. As a Healy priest, the only time I SW:D is when I have the frisbee.

Ok, well, on bosses that is. I've given myself plenty of trouble using it when I'm out questing/grinding/farming...haha

Dax

Logan said...

@GMW: Well-put! Mind if I link this to my guild's forums? We have a ton of skilled players that put out sick DPS/threat/heals, but we seem to have a chronic problem of people not addressing their bad habits and not bringing their "A game" to raids and it's causing us to take wayyyyy too much time to clear farmed content. Perhaps your words could provide some inspiration?

@Arrens: Some might say that raiding with a Felguard demo spec is a "bad habit" in its own right. :-P
(J/K. I just like to bust demonology locks' chops. If it works for you and you're comfortable playing the spec, go with it!)

Malsorian said...

I'm a raiding affliction lock. Sometimes my timing is bad on my DoTs and they stay up longer than they were supposed to. This is bad on bosses like Hydross where I need my DoT's to end before the tanks move him.

Logan said...

Rule of thumb for affliction locks: on any boss with a full aggro reset (Hydross, Leotheras, Zul'Jin), you need to make darn sure before you refresh/cast your DoTs that they won't still be on that boss at the aggro reset. If they are, there's a pretty good chance you'll end up a dead warlock, and dead warlocks do no DPS. For a boss like Hydross, if your DoT causes him to move back over the transition line and spawn adds, you'll end up with a dead raid, and dead raids get no loot.

A little trick I like to use for aggro-sensitive fights: If you find that you have a curse of agony that is still up and the boss is about to drop aggro, replace it with curse of shadow, tongues, or elements. Because none of these curses do periodic damage, you have just reduced the chance that the boss will make a beeline for you when he drops aggro. It's very situational, but it has probably saved my butt on a few occasions where I got a little overzealous with my DoT-refreshing and forgot that CoAgony lasts longer than I thought :).

Anonymous said...

"... Felguard's Cleave. Nowadays, unless there's no CC in the immediate vicinity, I just turn the darn thing off and hope I'm compensating for that little bit of lost DPS."

lol felguard. gg.

Girl Meets WoW said...

Logan: feel free to link!
Anon: actually, I think some of our 'locks have run with felguards when demonology-specced for Leotheras. There are reasons from time to time, although I'm no warlock expert.

Logan said...

I've found that a felhunter is preferable to a felguard (plus you can pick up Ruin in the destro tree for more threat production or siphon life in affliction for more survivability) for tanking Leo, primarily because of the puppy's high magic resistance. Plus he gives the warlock extra fire resistance, so that's less gear that needs to be dedicated to FR.

I've heard some arguments that a felguard spec can do decent DPS in a raid, but the amount of pet micromanagement that it requires just doesn't appeal to me. I already spend enough time agonizing over DoT rotations :).

Danny said...

Lol. I'm a noob to WoW (NOT MMO's), I shouldn't lie. Recently got my first 70, an enhancement shaman and if that doesn't say noob, I don't know what else does.

I have a RL friend on the server who's been playing for years, in a great guild, just downed KJ this week (Grats CM!). He asked if I wanted to come to one of their weekly Hyjal raids that they do with another guild, just as a bit of a farm/alt thing. First real 25-man raid I've ever been on. So I'm running around looking at things, enjoying the 'lifelike' campaign I played so often in WC3. My noobself sees Jaina, so I thought I'd go talk to her...

It was only after I started the encounter that I get a whisper from my buddy's GM saying, whatever you do, don't talk to Jaina.

My first mistake was more comical than tragic, but at least I know not to touch anything anymore. Hopefully the next mistake ISN’T tragic as well! :D

wasniahC said...

"I did it for the lulz" :p

You are a lucky person to be let into a MH raid o.o

Anonymous said...

I got a bad one too...
Standing on the ledge overlooking eredar twins (me being rogue) so you can jump down when the fight starts.

I fell down the first time, while still getting buffs... wiped.

second try. in stealth. fell down before i got any buffs. (didnt pull cause of stealth) out of line of sight, had to do the try without any buffs. Missing salvation.

3th try, jumping on the ledge... failed again (in stealth) managed to sneak back by using vanish to get past the boss, vanish on cooldown during the fight....
no agro reset possibility.

4th try and all those after, ive decided f*ck that ledge. ill wait till the pull is made and then jump over it. as for me its impossible to get on top of it.
Stupid rail.

Silly, now full tier6 rogue.

ps. oh and do not use distract on M'uru while there are other rogues behind him. He doesnt stop with killing till the raid is dead, not just those rogues hiding behind him
/shame

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