Tobold's Blog
Monday, December 15, 2008
My first level 80 epics

After collecting the tokens from the Dalaran jewelcrafting daily quest for 10 days, I spent them for the recipe and materials needed to make a Titanium Spellshock Ring, my first level 80 epic. That was a hard decision, because otherwise I could have used the tokens to learn new jewelcrafting recipes, which now will have to wait. Then I went and bought a second epic, a Wispcloak, for 999 gold from the auction house.

The reason why I suddenly felt the need for more epics was that our more dedicated raiders in the guild are unhappy. Two left for a more advanced guild because we weren't doing Naxx25 yet, and from those who remained there was some grumbling of how people shouldn't come raiding underequipped. Quote: "A non-defense capped tank, a healer who goes oom after 2 minutes or a DPS who misses half of his attacks are totally useless in a raid and will only cause hard feelings to the team. Why is he/she even in raid ? Why doesn't the raidleader ask him to leave ? Why isn't he replaced yet ?" While I know how to conserve mana and play my priest reasonably well, it is true that my gear still needs improvement. So to avoid the humiliation of being kicked out of a raid for underperformance, I really feel the pressure to gear up quickly. I already carry flasks and the cooking quest ultra-food buffs, but I haven't had time to run all that many heroics, especially since I don't necessarily want to do those in pickup groups all the time. Isn't it ironic? Instead of raiding for better gear, we need better gear for raiding.

While I do my best to try to conform to the standards of the raiders, I'm not totally happy with the attitude. Being chided for bad gear or raid performance is a bit like getting bad grades at school, or a bad performance review at work. Somebody is pointing a finger at you and telling you that you are sub-standard, and that hurts. Which is kind of silly, because obviously your raid performance doesn't even have a fraction of the importance of your performance at school or at work. I'm certainly not going to pull a lot of WoW all-nighters to improve my game at the detriment of my job. Isn't the purpose of a game to have fun, to relax, and not to add more stress to your life?

And me, I'm totally happy with my guild's raid progress. We already cleared half of Naxxramas, including some "gear check" bosses like Patchwerk. Not having done Naxx at level 60 or in the beta, it'll take some time for everyone to learn the various bosses, but that is what the fun of raiding is about. If I had already killed the last boss of Naxx25, I'd be less happy, because then there would be nothing else left for the moment. The top raiding guilds are clearing all existing raid dungeons once a week for gear, just so that when the next raid dungeons come out they can rush to finish it again, and again be stuck with nothing to do but farming. Why would anyone want to stress himself and spoil his fun for the doubtful achievement of a "server first", followed by months of complaining that Blizzard doesn't add even harder raid dungeons? If your style of playing doesn't make you happy, then why do it that way? Wrath of the Lich King is a great opportunity to approach raiding a bit more relaxed, as hanging out with friends and having fun, instead of constantly having to judge them, and kicking them out if their performance isn't up to top standards. I certainly don't want to be a burden to my guild in a raid, but I'm content if I'm well equipped enough for Naxx10 to do that for some time, instead of rushing to Naxx25 undergeared.
I agree, item-based combat systems are terribad.
On one hand, I really do agree with you. That type of attitude is not all that productive and threatens to ruin friendships. Only in the most hardcore of raiding guilds should friendships fall by the wayside for progression. More casual guilds can easily manage to do everything there is, even if some people aren't the best. It's called having fun, and more people should try it.

But on the other...sometimes it just hurts to see other DPSers doing 1300 DPS in 25 man naxx. I badly want to try and help them do better because it is really, really sad DPS but I can't find a way to approach the issue without sounding like...well, someone I don't want to be. I'm not the raid leader, and I really have no say nor do I want to, but it can be really frustrating to bang your head against a DPS race boss that you KNOW could be downed easily if people just...played better.

Healers are a bit trickier though, and it is REALLY hard to tell if a healer isn't cutting it as a healer in a raid. All the healers heal in different ways and can make the healing meters essentially pointless as a measure of how well they are doing. Add in that a very good healer can make up for a sub-par one and that when the healing is under performing it can be hard to pin it on a single person and I really don't know how you can criticize a healer unless you watch them or they aren't doing some very specific assignment.

Healing seems like one of the things where skill goes a MUCH longer way compared to gear. I have had a half-epic half-blue healer fail utterly at healing a heroic and a fresh 80 green geared healer perform spectacularly (Although, mind you, their gear WAS a huge challenge to overcome and they kept going Oom, but we did it with minimal healing problems).
Some normal dungeon runs, quest rewards, a little non-epic crafted gear or reputation rewards and some blue boe's is more than enough for a healer to do 10 man Naxx. You need just 1 piece of frost resistance for Sapphiron and that's it. 10 man Naxx and Obsidian sanctum is the best way to gear yourself. Half(or more) of it is much easier than most heroics.
I really like your take on this. You are realising that you need to improve so that you can be an asset instead of a burden in encounters already full of burden (reaction to boss actions, min/max abilities, etc), all the while observing that in the end, it's just a game. I am also not the type to get all bent out of shape over wiping due to someone not knowing their role in an encounter or not being statistically perpared, but I can also see why someone would get upset over it. I just really like your attitude, you're a great guildy. I wish I had more like you in mine haha. And a healer, no less.
"Isn't the purpose of a game to have fun, to relax, and not to add more stress to your life?" A rhetorical question no doubt. Still you seem comfortable with at least some amount of stress, in order to comply with the needs and wishes of the guild. Now this is exactly why i do not raid and am very hesitant to join a guild in any game. Also this attitude you describe underlines the observation i made in yesterdays open thread: the WAR player seems more aware of the fact that it is ONLY A GAME, not a job or race, creating a relaxed and casual friendly environment (which a GAME world should be per definition imho).
Naxx25 and Naxx10 feels about the same level of difficulty to me. Maybe a bit extra stamina is useful for 25, but otherwise I didn't really have any problems as a fresh level 80. I do however try to gear for extra mana regen from the start as running out of mana is the thing I desperately need to avoid as healer. Once my regen is ok, I try to improve my other stats. Mana regen is in fact usually easier in Naxx25 as it's more likely that I have buffs like Replenishment there.
For me, a guild should primarily be a group of like-minded people that enjoy playing together, some of whom may then decide to organise raiding activities for a bit of fun and challenge. If a guild exists just to raid, and there is no greater connection that ties its members together, then it isn't surprising that people will jump ship to join guilds that embody this raiding raison d'etre more successfully. Friends should be happy and willing to accommodate each other, even if that means putting their own progress on hold for a little while. If guild members are willing to jump ship to a guild a little further along an arbitrary raid progression, then good riddance IMO.
Drops in 10 man Naxx are ilvl 213 for Saph/KT, 200 for all the others, the difference between those and craft/heroic/rep items is rather small, compared to pre-WotLK items.
Items bought with heroic badges are the same ilvl as those found in the 4 wings, so you can actually pretty much outgear naxx without ever setting foot in it.
In addition, you should not be too fixated on "10 man -> 25 man"-progression, many of the encounters are actually more difficult with 10 people.
I think that 25 man runs are actually more suited to gearing up players, since someone lagging behind only means a 1 in 25 reduction in overall efficiency, rather than a 1 in 10.
Raiding has become far more accessible in WotLK, but guild composition plays a big role in how your experience is going to be.
It sounds as if you have a few hardcore raiders in your guild who will be understandably miffed when others don't perform as well as they do. If your guild was made up entirely of casuals you probably would not experience this kind of pressure, so maybe splitting people into casual and hardcore groups/guilds is not such a bad thing.
Naxx is mostly about coordination and reaction, gear does not matter as much as it did in other fights. Patchwork has become less of a gear check, but Grobolus, Thaddius and Haigan still require you to pay attention.
As long as you are willing to get a few easily accessible items and pay attention during the raid you will be able to clear naxx comfortably, even if the hardcore players may be a little quicker.
That is sooooo not where I want to be. Raiding for me in BC consisted of nothing more than a few Kara runs, and as soon as I got a sniff of the guild leaders being dissatisfied at the way I was geared/specced I was out. Of my own accord I might add. Being the best I can be, constantly monitoring my performance, critical evaluation- that’s what I go to work for. The same things happen in a raiding environment (or at least every raiding set up I’ve ever seen), which is why I don’t do it. Some people thrive on it and good luck to them. I’m happier with the randomness of pugs and leveling fishing.
"I'm not the raid leader, and I really have no say nor do I want to, but it can be really frustrating to bang your head against a DPS race boss that you KNOW could be downed easily if people just...played better."

By this you mean, of course, "had better gear".

Yep, I'm bitter and I quit WoW :P
I wouldn't get too worried

It's the nature of casual raiding guilds to have a tension between people who really push and people who are more relaxed.

This tension can be destructive when your progress is blocked by a boss you can't kill with your current level of commitment but that is soooo not the case with the current raid game. Naxx is designed to let guilds like yours progress at their own pace
I think gearing up is part of the fun of raiding, really. Not worth stressing out over but it's fun to see some character progression via gear and pick out what you want and where to go get it.

Having said that, my lil warrior is geared fine for tanking 10 man Naxx and it was mostly via crafted, reputation, and quest gear and drops from normal level 80 instances. Obv its improving now I'm running more heroics and raids but it's more a case of knowing (and caring) how to gear than any crazy grinding right now.

It sounds as though your guild leaders are complaining that some of their raiders don't 'care enough' about their raid performance rather than not being kitted out in all purples. From a management pov I'd be looking more at coaching the raid team, helping people figure out how they could improve with the least possible hassle (eg, helping someone improve their dps might come down more to rotations etc, and it's assumed that if you are raiding you will at least be interested in this) rather than nagging about gear.

Anyhow, enjoy your raiding Tobold! I'm sure your priests gear is fine.
@Anonymous : 15/12/08 11:51
Totally agree! I simply cannot relate easily to gamers who seek a job-like environment with rigidly structured responsibilities and duties in their leisure time. Certainly people who are employed and deal with that on a day-to-day basis (like Tobold). To each his own i guess...
Better play is not the same thing as better gear. Gear is important for progression, but often times the 500 DPS difference between two rogues is because one of them is doing the wrong thing. We just completed 10 man Naxx last night, on our 5th night of raiding (2nd week). We have a few well geared folks, including our tanks, but the rest of us were in a mix of blues, spattering of epics and a fair amount of level 70 items.

Sometimes raid failures are just a good excuse to point fingers at undergeared people.
As a raid leader for a guild that cleared sunwell we have our share of problems. Many of them come from Sunwell burning people out (we had a lot of people quit game instead of play WotLK). Many people miss that gear (other than tank hitting def cap) is under 5% of being able to raid well. 25% is skill and the rest is showing up prepared, on time, and regularly.

Gear doesn't matter! Putting out DPS or keeping people alive is a lot more about using correct dps rotation and healer reaction time/mana management.
I'll never understand players the defend and promote sub-uptimal playstyles. Bad players are bad players. Defending poor placement of talent points and incorrect gearing as some sort of statement of individuality is a rather poor arguement that lost all of it's steam sometime back in 2005.

Those raid and class leaders are spending their own free time to try and help you become a better player to help the group suceeed. Pretending that your suboptimal play style is not affecting your group mates play time is rather naive.

One day perhaps I will understand the happily ignorant WoW player.
I don't think there is any fun to lead a raid that fears to progress too fast. You should search for another raid, Tobold. Perhaps a random raid ? They might progress at the speed you need to finish Naxx-25 within a year.
Depends on different people. For some (obviously not you) the way to relax and enjoy leisure time in wow is to push the edge as far as you can as hard as you can. You shouldnt assume your idea of fun is the same for everyone. It is not, and thank god the game supports us all. You're pseudo-rational argument about how top players are just "farming" all the time and begging fot hard content is silly, because you have no idea what's going in in their minds or what motivates them.

tanks who arent defenced capped at naxx 10???? I would have left a guild like that a long long long long time ago. And if I have noobs in my pugs, I tend to kick them too. That's my style of fun; not my problem if you dont understand why you just got kicked.

Just to be clear: I hate bad players, and I will not sacrifice my leisure time to drag their asses through instances. You're glowing support for mediocrity is not my personal playstyle.
Some people seem to quickly forget that when your in a raid, 10 or 25 man, one person's bad performance doesn't just hurt them individually but the whole raid. Constantly wiping isn't fun and people who are geared/skilled/knowledgeable will only put up with constant wipes due to people who aren't for so long before they say enough is enough. The point of the game is fun and clearly lots of people don't like to have their fun ruined because a few people haven't taken the time to prepare themselves and/or understand how to gear/spec/play their desired role properly and effectively.

Like other posters have mentioned, getting your gear ready for WoTLK raiding isn't a daunting task and if your interested in raiding it's not criminal for people to expect you to know how to perform the role you signed up for adequately.
As I jokingly said a few weeks ago, you're now equally leveled with your guild, now it's time to feel pressure to keep up in gear. (Or something along those lines.)
"Isn't it ironic? Instead of raiding for better gear, we need better gear for raiding." --

We finally saw an end to this with the last patch before the xpack. Sure, alot of the lower content (Kara, gruul's, mag's) was almost too easy, but not once did we do any kind of gear checking for those raids...I mean, some people were in full green sets, and it didn't matter. Even when the whole raid was undergeared, all that happened was the fights lasted a bit longer. The key was that people knew what they were doing. They moved out during the collapse in gruul's, they clicked at the proper time in mag's and they avoided prince during enfeeble. It was just plain fun imo, you could logon, pug a raid and be done in a few hours. And if you so chose, you could try the more difficult content with your guild (and your new shiney gear)such as SSC, BT, etc. I don't know, just my two cents...I had fun before the xpack, now...I'm not having fun because I've spent the last month playing alone "leveling".
Nothing is more frustrating than wiping on a boss only to find out that the rest are half assing it. It's ok to wipe if you know the rest of your raid is trying hard and did the best they could to prepare i.e. get the best gear pre-naxx, gemmed/enchanted/ right, specced right, got flask/food etc. With all these your bound to clear Naxx.

At least bring 2 flasks and food! Show the raid that you are not there to be a dead weight.

If you can't, then join a raid who has the same raiding attitute as you. Sounds fair right? Sorry no free lunch.

Don't assume hardcore raiders are all the same the way we think and that we are all whining about the content. That's just like me saying all casual players are bad which is simply not true =).
My guild just cleared Naxx 10 man for the first time last night AND we downed Seth (10 man) on our first attempt (no drakes). Malygos smacked us down hard though (got him to 55 percent)but only tried him once. My guild is not a hardcore raiding guild though those of us who are doing the 10 mans are probably closer to it than the rest of the guild. None of us like the attitudes of true Hardcore raiding guilds so we don't force respecs and we won't kick anyone out of a raid after we have invited them. A good guil/raid leader knows if osmeone has the gear needed for the instance and that way you can just avoid the frustration and hurt feelings.

The key to raiding casually is patience. You will have ot wait a little longer to see some of the content but you WILL see it eventually. My guild right now is essentially just waiting on enough people to get to 80 so we can start on 25 mans. Until that happens we will be doing 10 mans and gearing up. Once we have the bodies for 25 man that will become our new Progression raids and the 10 mans will be moved ot the off raid nights for whoever wants in.
From the point of view of my Mage in TBC, when starting to raid, purple or blue doesn't matter. But it is important to know what stats are really best for your spec (just read some theorycrafting) and come with the basic and cheap consumables, suited to your role and the bosses.
A quote that never gets old: "Gear doesn't kill bosses, brains do."
Mjah, I'd just tell folks to shove it Tobold. My guild's got a bunch of kiddos in there who seem to play WoW for a living and I get the same crap from them regularly. I am just nicely casualing along and on ignore mode with those comments. I also find there's again this totally annoying focus on meters. Like you're doing Malygos and some Warlock is topping the DPS meters and everyone's supposed to use him as an example. Besides the gear advantage because the guy apparently has nothing else to do and needs to finish the game in a month or so, obviously to top the DPS meters he ignores all adds and just DPS-es the boss 100% of the time. Zzzzz. Whatever.

Anyway, seriously not caring about it. I've nicely relaxed my way through WotLK so far, nothing near as stressful as that retarded Sunwell instance I wasted so much time in. All the hysterics from the achievers aside you can finish all instances with a modest degree of "skill" (WoW barely takes any, I'm basically retarded and breeze my way through everything) and some free time. I've done all raiding content already and I've got this "been there, done that" feeling coming up hard now. Time to take a break again it seems, really think WotLK was great, nice content and all and no stupid brick walls to waste my time on.
Sorry no free lunch.

Actually I suspect the people who leave one guild to join a more advanced one to be looking for a free lunch, or at least an easier one. Or as you say:
Nothing is more frustrating than wiping on a boss only to find out that the rest are half assing it.

You'll rarely get a raid in which every player is exactly equally geared, skilled, and knowledgeable. And those who are the best geared, most skilled, and have informed themselves best, often end up with the hardest job: They have to explain things, and "pull" the raid through when somebody else underperforms. By leaving that position and joining a guild of more advanced people, it is suddenly them who are less geared, and maybe also less skilled and experienced, which makes their life considerably easier.

What I protest against is the idea that everybody who doesn't perform as well as you is "half assing it". I think you need to establish reasonable standards, like bringing flasks and food, and reading up on the boss encounter on WoWWiki or some other site. But most players, even casual ones, don't have a problem with that. As you could read in the comments from my guild, they were complaining about gear, and to a lesser extent about skill. Several of the raiders in my guild already have the "100 Emblems of Heroism" achievement, while I have something like 20. Gearing up is simply a matter of time spent in game, which varies hugely between people. Running 20 more heroic dungeons would fix my gear problem, but that isn't something I can do that quickly.

Skill is a different question, and a difficult one. One of the players who left was a priest, similar spec to mine, and yes, he outhealed me on a healing meter (although that isn't necessarily a meaningful measure). But he never made a single suggestion to me how I could improve my game, if it even was my skill and not the gear difference that caused this. I've found very, very few raiders over the years who would be both willing and able to teach somebody to play better. In most cases you get just a "l2play n00b" or the raiders talking badly about you in a private chat if you're less skilled than the others. So how are people supposed to learn to play better, if nobody helps them? I think one of the big improvements of Wrath of the Lich King is that the entry level raid dungeon Naxxramas is easier, and thus allows people to train their skills, seeing how nobody is willing to help them.
The complaints you listed that were made by your guild mates are correct at first blush and incorrect in assumed solution. Yes, any underperforming class can potentially hurt raid performance, however, with Wrath it’s rarely the gear and overwhelming the skill of the player. They should focus on analyzing sub-optimal habits and raid routines then offer constructive criticism before blanket blaming gear.
For example, our guild is a top server guild and the casual’s in it who do not raid with the core found raids on the 10 man’s consistently. Due to the number of casuals in the guild each weekend raid usually has a different and varying array of members. Their skill ranged from moderate to highly competent. The healers rarely go out of OOM on fights because they divvy the healing roles well. The DPS in all blues put out 2000-2500 DPS at minimum. The tanks are able to hit the defense cap in dungeon blues and while not have 34k raid buff health, are able to still tank any boss effectively. They clear 10 man raids with little to no problem, largely in part to a team oriented attitude, good organization, clear communication, and skill. Many of these weekend raiders gear alts fresh off the 80 mint gear level and pull their weight while they are at it.
While each player in a raid should make their best effort to optimize for a raid what is actually possible ranges on that persons schedule and so forth. Too often, even in our own guild, I’ve seen the caustic attitude that raid members should “gear out” by running heroics before joining a raid yet are unwilling to lift a finger to help those players when they ask.
Pre-Wrath, I was an officer in a "casual" raiding guild. We had our "A" team of about 12 players, clearing kara easily with no wipes and making steady progress on ZA. We wanted to progress to 25 mans, so we started recruiting. All of a sudden, the things I'd previously taken for granted, things like speccing correctly, knowing your dps rotations, coming to raids prepared, progressing yourself by doing dungeons/heroics when there are no raids, didn't happen with our recruits. Hell, one time we noticed a hunter meleeing on Netherspite, when we asked him why he was doing that, he said he'd RUN OUT OF ARROWS.

To me, wiping is not a big deal, it happens all the time. I can't tell you how many times I got blown up by Shade because I didn't notice the magnet in time. Mistakes happen, it's the effort I care about. I don't want to be in a guild with people who refuse to do the little things to better themselves and the raid. I'm not saying you need to be on EJ 24/7 to find the #1 min/maxed dps rotation, but if you notice another member of the same class performing above your level, ask them if they can help you figure out what you could do better. Conversely, if you notice a guildie underperforming, see if there's any advice you can offer them. I'll never get mad at a guildie for asking for help.

My pet peeves, and there's really no excuse for these:
Not bringing enough consumables (flasks, pots, goddamn ARROWS) to make it all the way through the ~3-4 hours of raid time.
Not speccing correctly (not every single point must be min-maxed, but for the love of god, respecs are cheap enough that you should never show up to a raid with a pvp spec.)
and my #1 peeve, never doing any non-raid content when there are still upgrades you could get. If you can't spare a couple of hours one or two days a week to do a heroic or two, I don't want you on my raid. IMO it's an insult to the people who do try. The thing that really got on my nerves in my old guild were people who were told that they couldn't come on a raid because they were undergeared, who would then just log off for the night, when there were 2-3 other guildies who couldn't come for whatever reason looking for more to do a heroic.

TLDR: Be prepared, show some effort, and don't be afraid to ask questions, and I'd be glad to have you on any of my raids, undergeared or not.
I am glad I am in a very casual guild. We still have fun running the Nexus with alts or do a quick Azjul run ;). We just like playing the game and have a lot of fun, even (or especially) when we wipe ;). Funny thing is, is that we know how we all play and do it pretty well. Wouldnt want to be in some sort of competetive guild, already have enough of that IRL.
Ah, raiding. Brings out the personality differences of all those in attendance, leading to guild drama unless you happen to be lucky enough to play with a group that thinks exactly the same way and shares your same values (be it taking things at a relaxed pace - and just how relaxed is relaxed, anyway? Or pushing as hard as possible.)

Thanks for confirming why not playing WoW was a good idea for me. Prefer games with less pressure to perform to a certain arbitrary standard, especially when the performance is measured through items.

It certainly makes me wonder if things would improve with another kind of guild structure or system. What if you were able to join multiple guilds for raiding different mobs, would that let the hardcore find their own more easily, or would the more relaxed then be unable to have any chance at raiding whatsoever?
Tobold, did you ask that other priest who "outhealed" you for suggestions on how to improve? A lot of people are very careful with trying give advice to others when not being directly asked.
I guess it depends on the type of guild

If it's a raid only guild, many only want to accept members that are already geared. That is fine.

If it's not a raid only guild, and has members leveling up their character and tradeskills, then they have an obligation to help everyone gear up for raids and help level their tradeskills if they are going to benefit the raid. After all more people geared to raid means you can have more raids and more sucessful raids.

It depends what kind of guild they want to be. Complaining doesn't solve problems it just creates division. Prioritizing goals and then acting upon them solves problems.
Be sure and check the class forums on either the Blizz site or EJ for best in slot pre-Naxx gear. This should allow you to focus your heroic and badge farming for maximum benefit.
Thanks for reminding me - again - why I don't raid. Why can't the "friends" in your guild be more patient?

Do they worry that the new content might be removed from the game?

Have Doctors told them they only have six months to live?
The worst thing in WoW is feeling like you wasted your time. When someone else isn't able to put in equitable effort (consumables, briefing the fights) or is incapable of handling the encounter (dies every time on Heigan or Loken), then your time is being wasted. I'm in a casual raiding guild, and there is a huge difference between those who prepare, and those who don't, and those who are capable, and those who aren't. Last, from a leadership perspective, there is nothing worse than putting in the effort to corral 25 people's schedules long enough to coordinate a 4 hour raid (the length of a LotR movie), and have people not holding up their end of the expectations. Hardcore or casual just describe schedules, it isn't an excuse for good or bad performance. Come prepared or don't sign up, is what I say.
I suggest, you try to be a raidleader at least once in your WoW life, Tobold. After oraginzing raids for at least 6 months you will finally understand the whole picture. I am serious - you will be astonished as to how big the emotional impact of preparing and sacrificung time is; especially if you nicely tell people what they do wrong, if they say 'yes' - and then do it all wrong again - after (about) the 3rd time this will have changed your perspective. That's generally a good thing - isn't it ?
It's definitely true that being a raid leader or officer will change how you look at things.
doesn't sound like anything 'wrong' with the game [because the game is what it is, and you have to accept that, within reason] but a problem with the attitudes of the people you play with. your guild needs to work out for itself what sort of level they're going to play at, and those who feel differently can leave, and that's it.
"It's definitely true that being a raid leader or officer will change how you look at things."

You become a dickhead?
Well, the thing about WOTLK is that gear is much easier to come across now, so the idea that someone is being lax if they're not gearing up does hold some weight. If you're in a raiding guild, or even a social raiding guild for that matter, you owe it not only to yourself, but to everyone else that shows up each week to be as prepared as you can be for the encounters. Nothing hardcore about that perspective whatsoever. Plus, with the oodles of strategy guides that exists out there, there is simply no reason for people who are not in the uber-cutting edge raiding guilds to not be amply prepared when it comes time to raid. Heck, even a quick rundown of a particular boss strategy in Ventrilo is usually enough to get you thru most encounters skill wise.

I find it odd that after 4 years of the SAME gear grind and the same progression patterns, that people are still debating this with any degree of seriousness. Preparation includes gearing up, getting consumables together, repair bots made, strategies researched...ect..ect. Absolutely nothing new here. So yeah, you're doing the right thing, Tobold.
As both a player, and a raid leader, I can see both sides of the coin. On the one hand, it's not really fair for a harsh raid leader to treat players in a draconian fashion. On the other, it is also not really fair to the other 9 or 24 people in the raid if you can't be bothered to put in the same effort that they do. Nobody *likes* carrying dead weight if they don't have to. The difficulty lies in the fact that both parties have legitimate gripes. If everyone was undergeared/sub-optimized, the raid would probably not do as well, take longer, and be generally a lot more frustrating due to repeated failure. If everyone optimizes, it's easy to lose sight of the fun and become a second (or third) job. Keep in mind that for some people giving 100% and reaping the rewards of a job well done *is* what is fun for them. It really isn't anyone's place to tell them (or you) how to have fun. Different folks are different.

It isn't even as simple as an on/off switch. You can't just divide players into optimizing and non-optimizing, since there are folks of all walks of life in this game, and run the gamut from super casual to super hardcore. The important thing is not to choose one or the other, but it's to find a group of people who are like-minded and follow a similar pace, and stay with them.

The only time that I'd say you have to really call a halt is when someone else's fun comes at my expense. If they aren't happy unless I'm not, I'd say that type of person needs to go away. Live and let live, play and let play.

I find it odd that after 4 years of the SAME gear grind and the same progression patterns, that people are still debating this with any degree of seriousness. Preparation includes gearing up, getting consumables together, repair bots made, strategies researched...ect..ect. Absolutely nothing new here. So yeah, you're doing the right thing, Tobold.

I think the reason why this debate is still raging on after 4 years is that everyone agrees that you should come prepared, and then ends up disagreeing how exactly. In my particular case, the comments of being undergeared weren't directly aimed at me, I just felt I needed better gear. But I'm still unsure what level of gear exactly would be required. It would obviously be silly to demand being full epic before even starting the first raid dungeon. But how many heroics exactly would I be supposed to run before being allowed in a raid? Everyone will answer that question differently.

Also, the matter would be different if I was playing a class that was more numerous. We have a healer shortage in general, so if I say "sorry guys, I'm still running heroics for a month before starting to raid", there would probably be some raids that wouldn't start at all, due to not enough healers showing up. How many healers do you know where when they turn up for a raid you say "Oh no, not another dead weight only here to leech epics!"? Raiding for me always includes a component of helping my guild. Very selfish people rarely roll healers. But I don't just want to be invited because there is nobody else, I would like to pull my full weight, and includes gearing up.
Raiding for me always includes a component of helping my guild. Very selfish people rarely roll healers. But I don't just want to be invited because there is nobody else, I would like to pull my full weight, and includes gearing up.

What the debate never touches on, or seems to consider, is that in a guild, the function of a player is still the same; TO SUPPORT THE GUILD. Regardless of the approach(hardcore or casual) used to achieve progression. Guilds wouldnt be needed if progression were not a component of the long term(and often transparent)goals of a guild. Guilds are social mechanisms, and as such there will ALWAYS be a component of judgement that trickles down and forms the all too familiar pecking order of where players stand within the guild. Myself, I dont consider gear as important as class knowledge when it comes time to choose who I group or raid with. Which brings me to address the point you made about selfish people not rolling healers. I'm VERY selfish when it comes to my character, to the point(as of late) that I refuse to heal PUG's anymore.

Thing is, over the past 4 years I've built my social network around people who take how(well) they play their class(s) seriously...which includes a large portion of my guild. However, myself and several others in the guild have crafted numerous epic items and almost entirely filled 2 GBank tabs with items that people need to advance their characters. The gear is there for the taking...for free. The interesting thing here? Every single one of these people who are so selfish with their characters, are also very succesful in raids and instance runs, yet very giving to the guild as a direct result of that success.

I relate it all to the old "You can't soar with the eagles when you're running with the turkeys" mentality.
Remember the Chinese guild that beat Illidan with mostly T3?
Gear is actually quite unimportant. The big difference is motivation (and consequently 'skill'). And that does not mean to show up with flasks. Spend one evening going through the statistics of a raid and you will find that some healer heal 50% of others. But if you tell them they tell you that they conserve mana. But why should anyone conserve mana while the MT dies ? REPEATEDLY ?
It's absolutely a joke to say gear doesn't matter. Compare any two competent players, one in blues and another in epic gear and there's going to be a *huge* difference in their output. Playing and gearing properly is important, sure. But acting like gear doesn't matter is just bull.
[i]But he never made a single suggestion to me how I could improve my game, if it even was my skill and not the gear difference that caused this. I've found very, very few raiders over the years who would be both willing and able to teach somebody to play better. In most cases you get just a "l2play n00b" or the raiders talking badly about you in a private chat if you're less skilled than the others. So how are people supposed to learn to play better, if nobody helps them? I think one of the big improvements of Wrath of the Lich King is that the entry level raid dungeon Naxxramas is easier, and thus allows people to train their skills, seeing how nobody is willing to help them.[/i]

I don't know that I exactly agree with this statement. One of our guild philosopies is that if you make it past our trial period, you are here to stay. If we notice underperformers in our guild, we start off pointing them to resources that will help them perform at a level that we need to be successful ("have you read the EJ thread on blah blah"). In addition to that, our leadership extensively researches different classes, so that we can help them to excel if they are weak. The best way to offer someone else advice is to have experience at that class, and if you don't, talk to people with experience to find out what they do (I myself have all 4 healing classes, along with a mage a warlock and a hunter that were maxxed at the end of tbc). In the alternative, you need to do some comparison between the person struggling and the person out performing and see if you can pinpoint why there is such a difference (number of spells cast, time spent casting, amount of mana restored and from where, etc.). As long as a person is willing to listen [i]and take suggestions[/i], we are willing to help them excel. Maybe we are a rarity, but I think to broadly state that this is something that doesn't happen frequently in the raiding game in WoW is unfair. Maybe you just aren't with the right group of people if your leadership isn't taking enough of an interest in their guild members to work with them. Helping someone improve is much better than replacing them, and keeps your guild from becoming a revolving door.

The other thing that bothered me a little about your post is that you assumed that the priest that outhealed you had an obligation to give you suggestions and/or advice. . .but if you want to learn you have just as much an obligation to strike up that conversation and ask for tips on how to improve. Sometimes people are hesitant to give un-solicited advice because they fear that it will be taken the wrong way. If you *really* wanted to excel and improve, and find out how you could perform at a level of another member of your raid, you would have reached out to him and not simply waited for him to tell you what you are doing wrong. It's a two way street.

As for those who say everything is always about gear...I disagree. Skill will always outweigh gear. Gear is easy to come by, a skilled player is not. If you have the skill, the gear will come, plain and simple. I have often recruited that guy in blues, several instances below or level of content, if he can show dedication and skill, because I know once I get him the gear he is going to be an outstanding asset to our guild. Purples don't automatically mean that you know how to play. Lord knows I've seen plenty of horrible players sporting the best gear in the game.

Tobold, if you aren't getting advice, solicited or un-solicited, from your guild mates, then maybe you aren't surrounding yourself with the right group of people for your personality/playstyle =) Just my 2 cents!
WoW is still a lot about gear, but: Raiding was never easier and more foregiving than now.

There is one thing that Blizzard cannot change: The guild leader and his members.

I was quickly 80, supremely equipped: I got invited by random guys into their guild because of my equipment.
Some guys I regularly played with said they need a warlock in their guild.

They had Warlocks, plural. But they did not play 24/7 like me before I quit, and maybe they were not as experienced in the game as me.
But Naxx 10 and 25 as well (I think some people already mentioned some Naxx 10 bosses to be harder) does not require that much gear or skill, actually.

Nobody really needed or wanted ME, they all wanted the stats/gear of my Warlock.

I no longer play WoW, and I do not regret it. This was not the fault of WOTLK, I think it is very well done, but after some months the game always boils down to this silly item hunt! I recommend Guild Wars or reading fantasy novels, really.
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