Thursday, February 21, 2013

Is Time More Important Than Skill?

I was reading a post about someone in a high progression guild that quit because it became too much for him time wise when considering his real life responsibilities.  First thing first, congratulations for being an intelligent and responsible person, there are too few of them in game.

Reading the comments however show that people are sometimes extremely intelligent and extremely stupid and it seems that one of those seems to feed the fire of the others.  The more intelligent the post the more violently rude the stupid comments get in reference to the person that made the intelligent point.

Raiding seems to get the blood flowing and incites arguments just like talking about religion or politics do sometimes.  So much so that one of the first posts someone made was to call the person that quit the top level guild because he could not dedicate enough time to it by saying it is no big deal he quit because he is a bad player.

At no point was any skill in game play ever mentioned.  He just mentioned that with a new born, a 10 hour a day job, and all the responsibilities he could not dedicate enough time to the game to be in a guild of that caliber.  No where did he say he could not keep up with them skill wise.  It was a time factor.  Yet people still ripped him for being a baddie and having no business being in a top end guild to begin with.

I look at people like that as the raiding version of most PvP players.  They play only to insult others that they deem lesser skilled then them.  Like the PvP player that has a spit macro for everyone they kill or in some cases macroed to every single one of their abilities.  For those raiders and those PvPers insulting others is the only way they feel better about themselves.  And it seems the high end, or people who like to think themselves high end when they are not, really brings them out.

The more intelligent posts all seemed to fall back on the time factor involved in raiding.  Many of those posts were made by people that have been there or are there now.  Top 10 guild members that know first hand what is involved and those, the intelligent posts, were mostly ignored by many because those people would rather talk about the baddie that could not keep up with a top 10 guild and forget the fact that being a parent of a new born is in itself a full time job on top of the full time job this person already had.

But this is not about that guys ability to play, it is just about his time to play that changed, and not his skill level.  It is about the time factor and some of the points some commentators made that I found interesting.  The following one more so than anything else as it got me to think back on the past.

"For every top 10 progression raider there are 100s of others that have more skill but less time and dedication."

That is paraphrasing one of the comments and I thought it was a powerful statement coming from someone in one of those top 10 guilds.  If anything, his standing brings a little more weight to it.

I am sure all of us scrubs that are not in heroic guilds pressing content fast can say we have experienced exactly what he said.  Ever join a pug and just blow away people that are better than you progression wise?

I remember one time doing a ToC 25 pug back in wrath, I was still in mostly ulduar gear and the top guild on the server needed a few people to fill it out, so I joined and destroyed everyone DPS wise, did not die once and was last in my favorite ranged DPS stat, damage taken.  I always get a kick out of being #1 on damage done and last in damage taken.  It is like a badge of honor for me, it shows I did the best I can do and followed mechanics perfectly.  One of the hunters from that guild, in all heroic gear mind you, that I beat quite hard whispered me and said, nice work, why are you not in a more progressed guild.  I said, I can't raid the times they are raiding.

It was as simple as that but that is exactly what they guy meant by that comment.  For that hunter and everyone else in his guild, who were in the number 1 guild on my server, I was still better with less gear and less progression, all thanks to the time factor.  He and his guild were only ahead of me and my guild because we raided 2 nights a week 2 hours a night back then and they raided 4 nights a week 5 hours a night.

He asked me to join his guild, even said that I would not need to fill out an app or have a trial period.  I was the best hunter he ever met and he wanted me.  I was beyond flattered and quite honestly excited to hear another hunter, even more so one in the top guild n the server saying that, but I declined.  He asked why.  I said, I can not raid until midnight every day because I wake up at 4 AM and midnight server is 1 AM for me.  He understood but I still would always get invites for stuff on weekends.  Even still get messages from him from time to time to help fill out a run if I am on, two full expansions later.

So is time really more important than skill?  That is only one tiny example and that was only a top 1000 guild not a top 10 one but from that alone I can say what that person said is true to some degree.  For every top progression player there are 100s that are more skilled but do not have the time.  Heck, I am not even the best player on my raid team and I was better than anything his guild could throw at me in all the runs I did with them back in wrath and all the ones I did with his guild throughout cataclysm and this expansion.

Of course, with every intelligent comment like the one I mentioned that makes you think about things there are the people that have to inflate their own ego and insult the people that say them.  And that happened.  What do you expect from this community.

But I am thinking about that comment that I read and something someone in guild said a while back.

How come there are guilds that could down this boss with no problem and we are wiping on it?

I explained it as simple as I could.  Because we are new to this boss and we have only had 8 attempts at it over 3 weeks.  They probably spent 5 or 6 hours at it 3 or 4 nights a week until they mastered it.

Ever notice that each attempt the tanks get better at using their cooldowns more effectively?  Ever notice that the healers have a easier time with each attempt as they are getting used to when the damage is coming and we are getting used to avoiding it?  Ever notice that you are doing 20K DPS more now than you did on our first attempt?

The more attempts you put under your belt the better you will get at it, the better we will all get at it.  It is all about practice.  Those other people are not better than we are, they just spend a lot more time on it than we do.  If we spent 5 hours in one night on it we would make it look like it was easy too, we haven't even had a full 2 hours on it yet and we can get it under 10% already, don't feel bad.

I've learned that motivating speeches like that are part of the job of a casual raid leader.  The best part is that I am not just saying motivational bull shit.  I am speaking the truth.

The other night we had an accidental pull.  Not only that, an accidental pull on a boss we have never one shot before, with people in the wrong specs and missing a person while clearing trash.  Even if we beat it a few times it usually took two attempts.  It was one of those whoops, lets roll with it.  We had two players in the wrong spec as we were playing around with the trash and people were testing things.  Most of us did not have cooldowns up.  I expected a wipe but we did not wipe, we one shot it with everyone alive.  Now that was fun.  But that goes to show you, the time we invested wiping on that boss paid off, we were able to one shot it even with a mistake pull and missing a DPS.

I am not saying skill does not matter, it sure as hell does.  We would not have downed that boss if we were not skilled enough to do so and surely not on a mistake pull with people in the wrong specs and most of us without our cooldowns on the pull.

But even with our skill we would have never been able to do it if it were not for the time spent wiping on it in previous attempts.  The time we spent on it made it so we knew all the ins and outs of the fight.  Sure I had to call a few things out that people needed to do and were probably not used to doing but they knew the fight from all that time spent on it previously that they could do what they needed to and let the skill take over.

Skill does matter but the time you invest in playing is what will make or break you.  No matter how skilled you are you will never be able to down a boss in all blues unless you bust your ass learning everything you can about the fight to the point where it is second nature and the only way you can learn that is with time spent doing it.   That is why you can carry alts through after something is on farm.  Because even if your alt is not as good as your main you can still do the fight because you know the fight.  It is not your skill on that alt that makes it easy for you, it is the time you spent wiping that makes it easy for you.

That guy, the original one in question, would have never been in a top 10 raiding guild if he did not have the skill and people blasted him as being bad.  No, he was not bad.  He was good, at least good enough to get that spot.  He just did not have the time and that is what sets apart the top tier from the rest of us more than skill does.  Time.

Another post later on explained that perfectly when he explained the difference between two equally skilled players in a made up example.  One that raided 5 hours a week and one that raided 50.  While the 50 hour one would have downed heroic sha a month ago the 5 hour one would not even be up to normal sha, even at the same skill level, because it takes time to learn a fight.  He sited the average of 150 pulls (not sure where he got that from) that it would take most progression guilds that did not grind to over gear sha to get it down saying that the 5 hour a week guy probably does not get 150 pulls in per month where the 50 hour one might get that many in during one night.  It was that time spent raiding that set them apart.  The difference between heroic and normal is the time spent until you master an encounter.

So, assuming that skill is a constant, everyone was the same, time really is the only factor in progression.  Someone with less time will never be able to accomplish what someone with more time can, plain and simple.  And that is how it should be, shouldn't it?

But in the same vein someone with less skill could get something done if they invest enough time, should it be that way?

Time is, in my opinion, without a doubt the most important factor in raiding.  The more time you can spend at it, the better you will do.  It is not only about skill but even if you did want to say skill was more important I would like to remind you that the time spent will also increase the level of skill, just from doing it.  So even if you value skill high, it is time spent that makes you skilled.  So time really is more important that skill and for this one guy at least, the only thing that sets him apart from being in a guild like mine or being in a top level guild is a little baby boy.  It has nothing to do with his skill. 


  1. Sure it is, but I will go one further - time is important in anything (or for everything) done in life - family, job, and any game.

    I am gettng back into miniature gaming. What I remember was getting together 1 or 2 times a week (usually a Friday and/or Saturday) and playing 1 battle that lasted anywhere between 6 to 12 hours. Now, that is not done anymore - 4 hours is the max, because people have realized that time is more important elsewhere.

    Bravo to this young man who had the guts to say emough is enough that I have a family. And a /spit to those who take it upon themselves to lash out venomously - nothing but bullies.

    1. Most people would burn themselves out trying to do everything, so yes, kudos to him for standing up and quitting. I know I would have tried, hence the reason I never even considered trying to get into a more serious guild like that. I would try to make time for something I don't have the time for.

  2. "Time" is everything.

    I did heroic progression raiding for DS but we were still casual since it was only about 3 hours 2 nights a week (Fri/Sat). That's all the "time" we had, so it took us a long "time" to clear it. I think we had a month of farm before the expansion ended.

    In Mists, I quit my spot on the raid team. Fri/Sat night was too much of a "time" commitment for me and I can't raid weeknights with the other team anyway because I don't have "time" then either; 3 hours starting at 10:30pm doesn't fit my work schedule... especially since I can't just go to sleep right after raiding; I need "time" to wind down before I can actually sleep.

    So I'd have cleared Sha by now and be working on some heroic modes, if I had the "time" to actually raid.

    For 5.2, my previous raid leader wants me to come back because he had another player quit because he didn't have "time" to continue playing. I told him he could have Fri nights but I didn't have more "time" than that, and he seemed ok with that so we'll see.

    I finally got some "time" to start doing Brawlers. I blasted through the first 6 ranks to hit rank 7. 489 BM hunter with a proper buff stable and a macro to smash all major CDs at once = MASSIVE BURST! I made that comment in chat and a guildie commented "it was the best 15 seconds of her life"... which is quite true since that's about how long it lasts and the fight is over soon after. Anyway, rank 7 is where practice comes in. After spending an hour or so messing with GG Engineer (most of that waiting for CDs to reset), I determined that this was not a valuable use of my "time" anymore and gave up. I'll come back to it later, if I have "time".

    I could cite many more examples.

    Time in a game like this is the deciding factor.

    Time trumps everything else.

    1. I still have not even tried the brawlers guild because I have not had the time. ;)

      Mind sharing the burst macro? Never used one for that purpose but I should. I am used to my keys.

      I always say that with my team, if we just raided more we would get more done. Hard to get serious progress when you do not spend any considerable time on it.

    2. I got it from Arth at the WHU.

      Brawler's Burst Macro:
      /cast Ancient Hysteria
      /cast Bestial Wrath
      /cast Rapid Fire
      /use Potion of Brawler’s Deftness
      /cast Stampede
      /use 14
      /script UIErrorsFrame:Clear();

      I don't have an on-use trink so I took that line out.

      Combined with a stable containing different buff pets (and not using the stampede glyph), gives you a really good buff layout, especially if there's no buff group formed in the Brawler's bar.

      Stable I was using:
      Corehound (main pet), spirit beast, devilsaur, silithid, and shale spider.

      Oh, Corehounds don't "stomp, stomp, stomp" like a pile driver anymore. :)

    3. Thank god, I really hated that stomp stomp stomp.

      Thanks, I will have to add that for when I am doing the brawlers guild. I am sure it will help a lot.

      Maybe I will get the time to try it out some time soon, but with a patch coming out I doubt it.

    4. Hi Jaeger! Ok, whats "potion of Brawler's Deftness" and whats "/use 14"? is that trinket you got? if so, what is it? Thanks.

    5. Brawler's potion is something you can use for the 4000 agility boost. It is cheap and better than using the ones you can make with alchemy because they are cheaper and always on sale.

      Use 14 is your top trinket slot. It will use it so you do not need to click it. 14 refers to the slot number, so you do not need to change it each time you get a new trinket to the name of the trinket.

  3. Time is everything, absolutely.

    Time vs skill is an eternal topic in PVP. :-) The strongest argument on the side of those who claim that time matters less than skill is that guys like Vanguards routinely jump onto a new class and almost immediately start playing that class much better than most others. Yup, this happens, and yup, that's skill (and props to Vanguards and others, they are *exceptional* players), but what's behind this ability to jump between different classes and specs quickly mastering them all? Right, it is thousands of hours of playtime.

    If you invest a thousand or so hours into arenas, and keep doing this every expansion, you might not become Vanguards or Braindeadly or Dakkroth, but you will end up pretty close. The game is simple. :-)

    1. There are some people that are just "that" skilled that they do not need to invest the time to get better at it. They are rare and the exception. But as you said, even at that, it goes back to play time and them getting so good at knowing and adapting to the play styles because they put in enough time to learn how they all interact.

      The game is simple... if you have the time.

  4. Well... "time is everything" doesn't really hit the sweet spot with me..

    I think that items are a quite good example for this. Your "spec" (raider) needs several "stats" (qualifications).

    Some you need more of, some less. Time is maybe something like a main stat, along with dedication. Then there are secondary stats like situational awareness, social skills, endurance, reliability and such. Those are important as well, but you could still be a decent raider lacking one.

    But to be a exceptional raider capable of world first, you need the perfect mix of "stats", in order to be best in slot.

    1. Absolutely. You need to have all those skills, and the secondary skills, to reach that level but in the end, none of those skills mean a thing if you can not dedicate the time to it. Also, how do people get those skills, practice, which also takes time.

      The factor you added there, dedication, is what really turns that time into skill. Someone could have lots of time and no dedication, so they will not learn. With time you need dedication or all you are doing is wasting your time.