Tobold's Blog
Monday, April 06, 2009
Unheroic raids

Green Armadillo from the Player vs. Developer blog is Ashamed of Victory, killing Sartharion on heroic with a horrible pickup raid group, and wondering if raiding is too easy if such a bad group can do heroic raids. Spinks even thinks that easy raids are killing hardcore guilds. But like so often, the whole discussion of "are raids too easy" is full of sweeping generalizations, which often totally fail to get to the core of the problem, and then propose solutions which only make matters worse.

As I said often enough, but guess I'll have to repeat every time, Naxxramas-10 has a near-perfect difficulty level for an entry-level raid dungeon. Making raids generally harder would destroy that, and get us back into the bad old days of TBC. Where the actual problem is, is the SPREAD of raid difficulties: There are not enough raid dungeons, and there isn't enough difficulty difference between normal 10-man and heroic 25-man raids, so there isn't enough CHOICE between easy and hard places to go.

So-called "heroic" 25-man raids are a particular problem. There is a persistent myth that guilds have a measurable degree of power, as in "my guild can kill Sartharion with 3 drakes up". People think that by looking at raid "progress", they can measure the power level of a guild. But that would only be true if everybody in a guild performed at exactly the same level, and doesn't take into account how raiding actually works for the various roles.

Tanks have a very individual and binary role, they either hold the undivided attention of their target and survive, or they don't. Healers work in a similar way when there are healing assignments: Either your target lives or dies; but then raid healing is often a more shared responsability. But damage dealing classes work on a collective sliding scale: The boss has a certain number of health points, so the SUM of all damage has to beat that number before the fight ends due to some enrage timer or other end condition. It doesn't matter who deals what damage, as long as the sum is high enough. Gevlon coined the phrase "good enough" for the idea that everything is fine as long as we just divide the sum of all damage needed by the number of dps players in the raid, and everyone is doing the required amount of damage, not less, but not more either. Of course real life doesn't work that way. One man's "good enough" is another man's "moron and slacker" (another Gevlon term).

But the problem with "heroic" raids is that necessarily due to there being a larger number of players, the spread in performance between the best and the worst is larger than in a 10-man raid. And as dps performance is measured by the game on a cumulative level, and not an individual level, it becomes possible for the people who perform better than "good enough" to carry those who perform worse than "good enough". Green Armadillo's PuG was lead by a freshly minted Death Knight dps in green and blue gear, who perfectly abused the system. While no being "good enough", he used his raid leader position to invite enough people to compensate for his deficencies, and the ninja'd the loot he needed, being the master looter. Obnoxious to the extreme, but not stupid; he cleverly used all the deficiencies of WoW's raid system and lack of social coherence to his advantage.

For guilds the matter gets even more complicated, because suddenly social aspects come into play. The spread between best and worst is not necessarily unwanted, because it enables the better player to gear the worst players up faster. Me squibbling with my guild on how to do Malygos boils down to a simple argument of whether we should close the gap between our collective performance and the performance needed to actually kill Malygos on heroic by A) practicing the fight by wiping with everybody or B) gearing up the people who currently operate below "good enough" level.

Some commenters on this blog fell into the easy trap of thinking that if my guild can't beat encounter X, then we all aren't "good enough" for it. But in reality we simply have the same problem as many medium-sized guilds: We gear up running one or two 10-man raids, I don't know any guild that manages to run 3 of them in parallel. And there is no fixed rotating roster, like most guilds we assign raid spots by selecting a reasonable class mix among those who show up, and some people just show up more often than others. So in the end we have a rather large spread between the best and the worst performers. Which, as long as we go to places where the sum of all that performance is "good enough", is no problem at all. As long as a guild succeeds, it doesn't really matter whether everybody performed at the same level, or whether some people were willing to perform better and "carry" others who performed worse. But if the spread becomes too large, which is more likely to happen in a "heroic" 25-man raid than in a normal 10-man, and the overall performance isn't sufficient, then it becomes more problematic. The cost of wiping, in terms of wasted time and gold, is carried evenly by everyone involved. But World of Warcraft is a game of diminishing returns, so it is much harder for somebody already performing well to further increase his damage output than it would be for somebody under the "good enough" level to get up to that level. Diminishing the spread between best and worst, in my opinion, not only relieves social strains from the guild, but also is more efficient than wiping together.

In summary I think the solution for 25-man raids is not as easy as simply making them harder by adding X% to the health and damage of the bosses. Instead we would need a different design for raid bosses in which there is more attention to the individual performance of everybody, and less collective measurement of overall performance with the possibility of wide spreads. Thaddius from Naxxramas comes to mind, or in one extreme case Razorgore in Blackwing Lair. Many guilds had problems with Razorgore, although collectively they performed well enough, but by having to split up the fight into 4 quarters, there was less possibility of spread, everybody had to perform "good enough" to succeed. That won't please everybody, but ultimately such design feels more "heroic" than using 25-man raids for easy gearing up.
The 10 man version of the dungeons is harder than 25 man version, but offers worse rewards.

The encounter is bascially the same, but one player making up 10% or 4% is a huge difference in personal responsibility. Narrow that down to a task oriented setup between tanks/dps/healing and it's even worse. Assume a 2/6/2 setup. A death is then a 50%, 16.6% or 50% loss in tanking, dps or healing. Compare that to a 3/16/6 setup with a 33%, 6.25% or 16.6% loss. When you then consider differences in performance, one or two people underperforming effectively cripples a 10 man run.
The two streams were meant to be parallel, meaning they could not expect you to necessarily gear up in 10 man before you did the 25 man. In fact it was probably just the opposite. Sure with Ulduar coming out they expect some people to run both now (but the 10 man gear isn't much if at all better than nax 25). However since the entry level gear requirements are fair more defined then they were for Naxx I expect Ulduar to be more balanced then Naxx.

That said since a fair number of people have pugged naxx 25 already they could already be overgeared for the 10 man, meaning they will just pug the 25 man again and the cycle will continue.
Having slackers is no problem with most fights in naxx. So, player X does only 3000 DPS on patchwork where others do 5000 DPS. He'll end up dead anyway. Or player X dies each time on Heigan, no problem, we can kill him with 15 standing.

However, once fights require everyone to be on their toes such as Sarth 3D you can't compensate any longer. People have to avoid the flame walls and void zones as you can't finish the fight with 15. Nor can you deal with people doing pathetic DPS.

Those encounters are more fun for everyone... if everyone is doing their job. Often it gets quite obvious on those fights that some players just can't do it. And if they're not replaced or improve their game, it's just frustrating.
My guild is medium sized and we have been focusing on one raid night a week. It's been working well for us and we haven't needed to "PuG" any additional members to full clear Naxx 25. In a guild setting like ours, having a few top performers carry some weaker performers really isn't that bothersome. In fact, in most cases it means we can 20-23 man quite a bit of content if some people can't make it or show up late. Fair or not fair, I really don't mind if my superior performance gets a guildie an epic he probably didn't earn.

However, when you start to introduce PuGs into the equation, I actually DO mind. Almost all PuG Raids operate under some form of the "free rolls" loot distribution. The problem with that system is that the poorest geared player in the instance gets the most opportunities to "roll" on items. For example, my last two Naxx 25 runs haven't even dropped an item that is useful to me. A poorly geared player may get six to seven opportunities to roll for gear. I get maybe one. On all that gear that drops that I can't use -- no big deal. However, the problem is that they also get to roll on that one item in the entire instance that I actually DO need.

There is a good example of this in a Naxx 10 we ran today. For whatever reason, I just haven't had much luck getting a nice head piece. Needing nothing else in the entire Naxx 10, I decided to run it for a shot at the Tier head piece off KT. The group included a handful of our Naxx 25 best and a couple of our newer members who needed a few upgrades. All told, there were 8 of us and we picked up two PuGs. One of which was a pretty badly geared Mage who picked up three pieces of Tier, a cloak and a neck in the first four wings. KT dropped the Vanq tier head I needed and the Mage rolls again (against me) and wins.

So he walks away with four pieces of Tier (including the head) and two other nice pieces of gear. I, on the other hand, wasted two hours and got nothing out of it despite coming to the raid for only the Tier head piece. In my mind, that's singularly the biggest problem with someone getting carried through an entire raid.

So in a "guild only" setting, my take is that it works fine to let people get carried because the social dynamics of your guild will dictate some measure of fairness. But in a "PuG" scenario, it's easily taken advantage of and/or unfair to the players carrying the poorer players.

My original take on "easy" raiding was that it was good to let more people into content. But I have to say that I am really starting to change that opinion with the "PuG" behavior I have seen over the past month or so. The internet dickwad theory is really turning a lot of these pug raids into ninja loot whores. For two consecutive weeks, I have seen the trinket in 25-man OS get ninja'd by the raid leader. I pugged a Naxx 25 with my alt and left after the raid leader ninja'd a wand.

And as Tobold pointed out, one of the biggest issues is that the players who are "raid leading" these pugs are often the most undergeared player in the raid. It's like that DK forming a 25 man Vault and miraculously he's the only DK in the raid despite the group needing 3 more players and there are 8 DKs in LFG. Oh, and of course the same raid has 6 mages and 3 rogues

I guess what we are seeing here with easy raiding is that casual players are just as big a dick (if not bigger) than hardcore raiders.
Jeff Kaplan and Rob Pardo were followers of the RAID OR DIE craze that befell EverQuest. Suddenly Raiding became "the endgame content". They continued and transported their favorite pasttime to WoW. But already in EverQuest, the vast majority did not raid at all. People often levelled another char, which took much longer than nowadays. The journey was the reward, not what hardcore raiders declared the endgame content, namely raiding.

But WoW is totally different;
for levelling, it is single-player questing and early level dungeons are either skipped nowadays or declared a nuisance.
The endgame is then a 10-25-40 man organized square dance.

Before TBC and WOTLK including longish preparation periods of potion farming. I would like to point out that raids are memorizing an encounter and making no mistakes, and this is nowadays easier than ever before.

Instead of making raiding more accessibly for everyone and thus basically boring for raiders, Blizzard should give people some other things to do at level cap. Players value this company highly, but it seems they ran out of ideas in terms of the "endgame". Alternativ endgame content would mean that raids could retain their challenge character, and people who actually only raid because there is gear to grab could focus on the alternatives, or people could do both. I am quite sure many people would not bother to raid if there would not be the "better items" carrot.
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Tobold, you absolutely wrongfully assume that the underperformance of DPS has anything to do with gear. Full ilvl200 BLUEs can provide 75% theoretical performance of ilvl213 epics. The theoretical maximum of DPS in a raid environment is somewhere near 5K. So a FULL BLUE character is expected to do 3.5-4K. If he does significantly worse, he is not ungeared. He is an M&S. My girlfriend made 3K on the day she dinged 80. I use to make 2.5 as moonkin in zero hit healer gear. Stop this "ungeared" crap. You can boost them forever, giving them ilvl213, they will still be useless.
You can boost them forever, giving them ilvl213, they will still be useless.

Another stupid sweeping generalization again! Whoever says gear doesn't make a difference is invited to try his next raid naked. Of course it is BOTH skill and gear which contribute to the overall performance. But being undergeared doesn't only mean that the player is missing some stats, it is also indicative that he is missing raid experience. Ideally his guild would take him on a run to Naxxramas and *not only* gear him up, but have somebody of the same class watch him on Recount and give him suggestions on how to improve his spell rotation etc.

Nobody is forever useless, people can learn. You just need to organize a little help from time to time. In a guild environment investing some time into somebody who is going to be around for a while is the better investment than just kicking him out and taking the next applicant until somebody talented comes along. You need to work with what you have.
I quit wow after a raid in while we full cleared Naxx 10 with almost no deaths....during which the following events happened:

- I asked a ret paladin to hammer the caster (ie to interrupt) - the player DIDN'T KNOW WHAT HAMMER OF JUSTICE WAS.
- We 2 healed it - the other healer was one of those player-wives. She spammed flash heal, and never did anything else.
- Only 1 ranged - a hunter who couldn't kite at all. A DK handled the kiting.

There were only 3 players I would consider above-average in this raid, yet it was easily full cleared. More qualified players only result in the time to clear going down.

Naxx 10 is not "near-perfect" difficulty - it is insanely forgiving for new players who don't know what the hell they're doing. This should be what heroic 5-mans are for. I would go as far to say that any guild must be able to easily clear the first two wings of Naxx 10 in a night even if they have NEVER RAIDED BEFORE. It's way too easy - there is no satisfaction of downing a boss at all. Arch and OS are ridiculous - only time is needed, not skill. No fights are memorable either - why would they be when they all easily drop?
I'm with Tobold. None of this bitching would be going on if WotLK had launch with Uldar like it should have. The game is painful for a reasonable skill level raiding guild right now. It is very hard to keep players interested or maintain a reasonable raiding schedule (more than 1.5 days a week). However my son who is 9 can raid. I like having easy content available. Not enough raiding content was released with the expansion.
Tobold wrote: "Nobody is forever useless, people can learn. You just need to organize a little help from time to time. In a guild environment investing some time into somebody who is going to be around for a while is the better investment than just kicking him out and taking the next applicant until somebody talented comes along. You need to work with what you have."

That really depends on your guilds level of progression. Players can learn, but they don't need assistance from the guild to do it. A motivated player could go do the 30 minutes of research it takes to play at 80% of their max without anyone in the guild holding their hand. Those types of motivated players have a higher market value to raid guilds than a player who expects someone else to show them how to play. Players with higher market values will end up in guilds that can compensate them (via loot) at the highest possible rate. That doesn't mean every good player will go to a 5 night a week, 7 hours a night guild, since not every good player can sustain that.

Gevlon's point, although overly generalized is still good. A rational player will realize that their performance is low and look to see what resources they have to improve. Converting time into gear is one resource, although your return on investment can be fairly low with unlucky drops. Converting time into class knowledge via theorycrafting has a high rate of return and should be every players first step if they are looking to improve. In a casual core raid setting that you seem to be describing, that investment will very likely elevate them to the "good enough" level of performance. So effectively, poorly performing players can't reasonably blame their gear, unless they're in such a competitive environment that even a well played but poorly geared character can't contribute.
Totally agree with Gevlon. The sad truth in a non-pressure raiding environment, is that gearing up your worst players probably wont help. I've been there; I've experienced the frustration and the inherent contradiction, and I moved on.

"I want to experience harder content, but I dont want to do anything to improve myself", is the rather pathetic stance of the weak lazy player.

"Nobody is forever useless, people can learn." Sounds nice & reasonable. However, its a sweeping generalization, and actually its often not true. Some people are forever useless. Some people REFUSE to learn. So no matter what you do for them, how many chances, and how many pointers and directions you give them... well, its like being a fat slob who sits on the sofa all day long eating pizza. You cant force them to go out and exercise if they dont want to.

A lot of casual guilds have to deal with this (or rather, in my experience, do their best to avoid it). Because casual means "friends", it means "everyone is invited" and "everyone is trying their hardest, they just got unlucky" etc etc.

When you peer below the (non-politically correct) surface, you find appalling players who do not care - or are oblivious to - the fact that their laziness affects everyone else in the guild. The casual guild leaders find ways to cover this up... and yes, they're always talking about "gearing up their weaker players" That's because they have to. They have to find false resolutions to a problem because they cant admit the truth. They're all "friends" after all. And like any false conclusion, it wont have the desire result, because that's not where the problem lies. I've seen it so many times in my wow gaming time that I can guarantee that's what happens, over and over.

Now, all this is well and good if that's how you enjoy playing wow. Just dont expect to beat hard content.
ok, so which one of you "expert" raiders in here can do 3.5k-4k dps on patchwerk in blue 200 gear? Actually, how many of you with your mixed epic213 gear can put out 4k on Patchwerk, show me SS. Then show me how many of you in 2/5 or more tier set pieces that can do 4k+ on Patchwerk?..

I call bs on Gevlon. It depends largely on class of that character but stop bsing already. Right now, maybe DK can get around 2.5k with blue200 set.
I'm totally with Gevlon here. Players who are underperforming need to be told their underperforming and that they need to improve or risk not being invited to future raids. They let the entire raid down and it's not the group's responsibility to carry them.

I first got a tank to 80 and lead our 10-man group though Naxx10, with a lot of PUGs because our guild was so small. I've since had my shaman reach 80 and gear up rather quickly as resto, but just recently got my warlock to 80.

With no epics other than then engineering goggles, zero enchants, zero heroics, and only one purchased item I manged to do 2400 DPS in VOA25. DPS is *not hard*. Anyone who is doing less than 2k/2.2k DPS (avg. required for 10/25) on a stationary boss like Patchwerk and has been 80 for more than a week is either a slacker or a moron. Once you're in full ilvl 187+ gear you really ought to be doing 3k+ minimum as DPS. It's just not that hard.

Our group prefers 10s because we don't have to rely on so many other players. There are too many slackers out there for us to bother. Instead we can get our core of over-performers and we can have more control over how the raid goes and we know that if someone doesn't do their job, they'll fix it.

You're going to either have to accept that you're a casual group that won't be able to make serious progress or you need to make the slackers accountable.
Blizzard made the mistake that difficulty does not correlate with rewards. Heroics, Naxx10, and Naxx25 are all comparable in difficulty. You can argue that in some cases, heroics are the hardest, followed by Naxx10, then Naxx25. But since the gear level is inversely proportional, everything is out of whack, and you have ungeared people leading 25-man raids to ninja loot.

As for the difference between bad players and good players: I think some are lost causes (lazy, too slow, or whatever), but some players can get better. Who knows what the exact percentages are? But as for gear, we can exactly quantify the difference it makes, for a given player. Rawr is a great tool to do that. For example, my main is a feral druid, hybrid tank/DPS spec. Rawr tells me that for my gear and spec, my theoretical DPS is 3.5k. My current gear includes 4 tier-25 pieces and an i213 weapon.

- If I drop all of gear down to best possible i200 blues, my theoretical DPS drops to 2842, which is 81% of 3500.
- If I then drop all of the enchants, the DPS drops to 2672, which is 76% of 3500.
- If I then drop all of the gems, the DPS drops to 2577, which is 74% of 3500.

So it seems Gevlon is right on with his estimate that a player in i-200 rares (unenchanted and ungemmed!) can do about 75% of the damage of a player in fully enchanted and gemmed i213 epics.
DPS should be willing to learn whether or not it is effective. The problem is that many people don't play the game enough to know about Recount and Elitist Jerks. While getting an efficient DPS rotation down isn't that hard, many people don't even know that there is some efficient, maximum DPS rotation. While people who seek WoW outside of WoW, like bloggers and blog readers here do know there is more than just doing damage in an instance, not everyone researches WoW. You can refer to them as M&S, but what they are is uninformed.

If you want to lessen the amount of M&S in WoW and on your realm, take the whole 30 seconds to tell someone doing poor DPS to go to Elitist Jerks and find a proper DPS rotation, and to download Recount to practice the rotation and analyze what they've done. I was with a hunter (it almost always seems to be hunters) in VoA 25 who did 800 DPS. Rather than pretend that I'm an amazing person because I can do 4x the DPS with similar ilvl gear, I instead told him to check out EJ and get recount, because his DPS was rather low for his level. I also preceded the advice with "I'm not trying to be a dick or anything, but...".

The hunter thanked me for the advice, and now does about 3k DPS. While a hunter doing 3k DPS isn't amazing, he is now a "good enough". Claiming that people who don't know something can never be taught, informed, or changed, is an utterly idiotic statement. In fact, if Gevlon thinks so, I'd have to ask whether his blog that gives advice and tips on making gold in WoW is basically just a monument to his ego...if he believes that uninformed people have no capacity to learn. whats the point of offering tips? They either know it already and are gold capped and practicing usuary on their realm, or they will never have enough gold to keep their armor at 100% durability...right? Or does it come down to awareness?

You can call the hunter a M&S because he wasn't "Pro" like all the WoW blog readers and theorycrafters are...but I'd more aptly consider him uninformed.

Now, there are people who would probably take the advice I gave and tell me to fuck off because they don't take the game as seriously as me. Or consider it as a personal attack on them, rather than their DPS rotation. Those people who don't want to improve, I guess I could consider calling M&S.

But to assume that there are only good and bad WoW players is a mistake. Some people don't know they are bad, and would love to be given advice on how to improve. Linking Recount in raid chat, or telling someone their DPS sucks isn't helpful. You can take the 30 seconds to tell someone that they can improve their DPS by going to EJ, and maybe make the person aware for the first time that just doing random damage to a boss isn't entirely optimal. Or you can be the asshole who can't be bothered to take the 30 seconds to give the advice, because WoW is just that god damn important to you.

Ultimately, you can choose to ignore anyone who doesn't do enough DPS as a M&S because you know better. But not everyone has as much knowledge as you do. You can offer 30 seconds of help and maybe improve that player. Players improved through your help may be willing to help someone else, whether its the same class, or just another player doing low DPS. And the general knowledge of how to do good DPS may improve as a whole in WoW, which would be a good thing. But unfortunately, too many assholes choose to bitch and moan on the WoW forums or their own blogs about "bads" and M&S doing low DPS. And most likely the same assholes complaining now would have been considered bads and M&S at some point in their WoW career. Mind boggling and saddening at the same time.
ok, so which one of you "expert" raiders in here can do 3.5k-4k dps on patchwerk in blue 200 gear?

My frost mage alt in iLevel 200 blues easily hit 3.5k dps on Patchwerk in 25 man Naxx. And.. frost is considered the worst spec for raids by a large margin.

However, I do disagree with Gevlon for a few reasons.

The first is that not all classes scale equally. This is particularly true for classes (or specs) that scale extremely well with more crit rating or other important multipliers. Since the net effect of these stats is multiplicative, the difference between full iLevel 200 and full iLevel 213 gear can be more like 50% than the 25% he is suggesting.

Secondly, raid buffs are a huge contributor to raid dps. An individual player's dps can easily vary by 30-40% simply based on the raid buffs h has received. I hate getting asked how much "deeps" I do on my Rogue because the honest answer is that it depends. Blaming a particular player because the raid leader is an idiot and brought 6 mages, 4 rogues and no paladins or shamans is equally idiotic.

Thirdly, a full set of iLevel 200 blues doesnt mean that the person's gear is itemized correctly. Maximum raid DPS is not just dependent on player skill, spec and knowledge. It's also about having the RIGHT pieces of gear. The player just may never have had access to the gear that maximizes such knowledge about their class. Perhaps they have a bunch of +haste gear because that's what dropped and really need +crit gear.
in the world of BS, where are all your alt names that can do 3.5k dps in blues? show me a SS of recount too.
"in the world of BS" is a bit harsh. Accept the fact that some players play better than others with identical gear. When I left my old guild behind for a better one, the first thing I noticed, on my first naxx farm run, was how exceptionally higher everyone's dps was. We just cleared *a lot* faster. Now, everyone had the same gear. Besides, we've all had the same number of weeks to farm gear from naxx, full clear every week since december. How do you explain that? I dont know actual dps figures like other people here have quoted, but I'm a massive supporter of elitism in gaming - and calling out slack players for who they are. I choose my friends in wow accordingly, because I trust them to do the same.
How is everyone coming up with these theoretical DPS numbers? Mods? Supposition?

Does anyone here realize how much of a pain in the ass it is to see recount data spammed after a boss is killed? What ever happened to the days where recount/dps data was a matter for the raid/class leaders, to be considered in private after the raid was over with?

Seems to me the "easyness" of WOTLK raiding has given rise to the "Casual E-Peen"- people who think they are uberskilled raiders, who dont realize they are being spoon fed content. Ghostcrawler and other community monitors openly admit that WOTLK raiding was easy "by design", so don the cardigans and wax peotic about your DPS all you want, this "special olympics" event of raiding will soon be over. =P
>> However, when you start to introduce PuGs into the equation, I actually DO mind. Almost all PuG Raids operate under some form of the "free rolls" loot distribution <<

The PuG's I've been on for raids do more of a "you get one need roll and unlimited greeds" basis (and use a master looter to enforce this). For naxx this can be per wing, or not.

So in that case the mage _probbably_ would have blown his need on the first tier piece and you could use yours on the helm and everyone is happy(ish).

Of corse the "PuG" runs I have been on tend to be 4 folks from my guild, 2 or 3 from an ally guild, and the rest filled in with people from our friends list, so it is really more of an "extended guild family" run.


As far as "Nobody is forever useless, people can learn" goes, that is a generalization too (less harmful then Gevlon's). Some "useless" people _do_ learn. Some do not. I don't know how to tell ahead of time which is which, but I tend to try to teach and see if folks learn then assume they can't. My patience isn't unlimited though. Nor am I the best teacher in the world. So I'm sure some folks I give up on really can learn, and maybe will from someone else. However I have helped several folks go from sub-par performers to "good enough" (or better).

I'm not saying you need to give out vent info and take them under your wing. Nor walk them through some optimum rotation/spec/enchants, etc. All I would say is that if you aren't even willing to point them in the right direction, with a mention of Elitist Jerks for spec/rotation and Recount so they can test and analyze their DPS, then you might as well just put them on your ignore list and post on the WoW forums about some bad DPS you met earlier.

There isn't a Good or Bad DPS category only. Some people just really don't know.

Similar to that, there isn't just a Teach or Ignore category for people who do know. You can simply throw them a bone about EJ and Recount. If they decide to get better, then they arent M&S after all. If they don't...well, then you've found the M&S player and know who to ignore and stay away from.

I just have a problem with calling someone M&S, as if everyone who plays WoW who isn't M&S is in a hardcore raiding guild, has EJ as their homepage, and an excel spreadsheet open with the latest data for further analysis.

There really are people out there who would be a good, or at least 'good enough' player if they knew where to find good information that deals specifically with DPS, specs, rotation, gems, etc.

I'm not advocating for good DPS players to go out of their way to carry a bad DPS player. If someone isn't carrying their weight, let them know, and if its actually a problem, then uninvite them and tell them why. Ignore them if you want. But if you aren't willing to tell the person where to find out how to definitely improve their DPS, you shouldn't cry about low DPS/M&S players like they are burdening you. You are part of the problem too.
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"Healers work in a similar way when there are healing assignments: Either your target lives or dies; but then raid healing is often a more shared responsability. But damage dealing classes work on a collective sliding scale"

I'd be interested to hear why you make a distinction between these. Healing works on a sliding scale as well, either your healers collectively are doing enough healing to keep the raid up or they aren't, its more or less the same thing as dps. As someone who consistently plays both a dps and a healer, I've seen raids where a few really good dpsers make up for a slough of bad ones and I've seen raids where one or two really good healers are able to make up for two or three really bad ones. There are many healers out there that are just "good enough" but due to the extreme shortage of healers that many guilds are finding themselves with these sub-par healers still get raid spots whereas most guilds have enough dps that it is viable to replace those dpsers who aren't carrying their weight.
Your overall point of increasing raid difficulty by increasing the value each individual must bring to a raid remains valid but I would argue that it applies more to healers than dps, not less.
If the DPS achieves it's goal then the boss dies (obviously as long as nothing else goes wrong). If the healers meet their goal people may still die. Without extended investigation into why various people die then it's much harder to judge whether the healers are doing their job or not. If a tool was created that allowed easy judging of all the healers then I am pretty sure it would be used and healers would be a fair bit more competitive.
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