This could easily be about the recent removal of Volley and Blizzards attempt to stick the shaft up the heresy highway of Hunters everywhere without even greasing them up first but it is not going to be about that. What it is going to be about is the fundamental tools that are outside of the game and not the ones that are in it.
There are standard tools that everyone needs to work at their peak performance in the game and none of them are actually tools they give us in the game. I'm going to go over a list of things I most often hear people talk about, myself included.
Chair: Believe it or not being comfortable makes a huge difference. I've heard players bitch about their chairs and then hours later when we raid something just seems to be off with them. You need to find something that is comfortable for you to sit in. It might be a 1 hour raid like ToC or a near all night raid where you are spending upwards of 4+ hours sitting in one place. If you are not comfortable you will not be at your peak performance.
Keyboard: Many people use a standard keyboard and they do just fine. Others go out and get keyboards with more keys for macros and others even go out and get ones that are made specifically for game play. The ones with more buttons seem to play better because they have more bindings they can do. I have seen a marked improvement in my game play as soon as I got myself a new keyboard with 12 extra keys that have 3 setting giving me a total of 36 new possible macro placements. Being they are all on the left they are all easy access for me and I use them often. No, I do not have all 36 bound but having that option is nice. Another thing to think about is comfort just like your chair. If you are not used to typing on that "style" of keyboard you will not live up to your peak performance.
Mouse: There are a million and one types of mice out there. One is perfect for you and it is just a matter of finding it. I still have not found mine even if I tried. There are gaming mice with extra buttons for macros and I bought one because I thought it would be awesome for PvP and healing but I just could not get comfortable with it thus making my performance worse and not better. I might have gotten better with it if I gave it time but I did not want to try. It felt clunky and spastic, at least in my clunky and spastic hands. I use a trackball and would love a mouse that used trackballs and had extra buttons but I have yet to find one. So I can really say that your mouse makes you perform better if you are comfortable with it.
Connection: This one you have less control over because you can only work with what you can afford or what is supplied in your area but the speed and dependably of your connection will make a difference in your game play. If you can do something to tweak your latency such as turning off other programs or disabling some of that useless crap that is always running in the background on your computer you will see the difference. For the sake of all that is good, please do not have facebook games open while playing wow or any other game, they drain your computer resources faster then the birthday cake disappears at a fat kids birthday party. A solid and fast connection is required for peak performance.
Knowledge: This is something you have complete and total control over. It means time spent learning about the content you are about to do. While it is true that you can waltz through a raid never knowing the fights and just being quick at picking up on what is going on or having a great raid leader that described things so well that they made it seem easy so it was easy (was like that my first time ever in ToC, full clear on 25 in less then an hour and I had never done it before). Most of the time however you will need to put the effort into looking up the videos and reading the strategy for the fights. If you really want to do good then go check out if there are any helpful tools for your own class for that fight. I always make sure you have my hunter macros set for a fight before I need them. I do not go back later and say "let me find an macro that will help me". Knowledge and the more you know will help you reach your peak performance.
Intelligence: This is how well you can adapt. Even if a raid has been perfectly laid out for you and you understood it 100%. Even if you watched every video in the world and read every forum in the world. Even if you have done that same fight one million times without dying. You will need some intelligence to adapt if something strange happens. Some people are quicker then others at adapting to a change in the playing field and others are not. You can train this skill by practice and paying attention. Paying attention is a sign of intelligence. Have you ever wondered how raids that have done Naxx a thousand times and are geared in ICC 25 man HM gear can wipe on a Naxx weekly? They are normally intelligent people that are not paying attention. Paying attention is part of being an intelligent player. They go hand in hand. You can be the most intelligent player in the world but if you do not pay attention you will fail. You can also always pay attention but if you are not an intelligent person you will be destined for failure. Put the two together and you will learn and continue to learn and never make stupid mistakes. You will always need to approach things intelligently and pay attention to everything around you should you wish to work at peak performance.
Common Sense: OMG! I can write an entire grumpy rant just on this one. It can often be confused with intelligence. Like something making a mistake over and over, you might say they are an idiot but that is not always true. Might be sometimes but not always. They might be the most intelligent player in the game but they simply enough do not have the common sense that god granted even bugs on this earth. They would walk into glass doors and not open them if people did not tell them that you could not walk through glass. They are not stupid they just do not realize what they are doing it wrong. Some people can be taught. If they are taught that means they just did not know. If they can not be taught that means they lack common sense. People who lack common sense should never be allowed to raid with you. You should try and distance yourself from them. You can be their friend if you want to, you can do dungeons with them if you want to but do not take them on a raid. You will never be able to explain certain things to them because they lack simple common sense and common sense, like a connection sometimes, you have absolutely no control over. If you are one of those people you can work extra at the Knowledge and intelligence to try and compensate for your lack of common sense but you will never be working a peak performance without it and sadly there is no way to get common sense if you do not have it already to start off.
So there you have it, the list of tools needed for success in anything in WoW or any other game for that matter. When you show up for your raid make sure to bring all your tools with you.
Chair, Keyboard, Mouse, Connection, Knowledge, Intelligence and Common Sense.
Without them you are never going to reach your peak performance.