Thursday, July 25, 2013

Will the Proving Grounds Help or Hurt?

Reading an article over at wow insider about the proving grounds feature coming up made me think about the situation of it being used as a yardstick to measure a players worth.  I have thought on this before I read the article, thought about it a lot since it was first released.  I even have considered making some level of it, maybe even as low as bronze, a prerequisite to join the 25 man raid team when it comes out.  Does that make me a bad person?

Let me give you a little background on me however just in case you do not know.  I hate people that list in trade some silly requirement to join their pug.  Absolutely hate it.  I even hate people that would post "meet me in the trade district for inspection".  You either want me or you don't.  If you are too lazy to type my name into and look me up yourself then I am too lazy to come find you for inspection.  You are looking for me to join you, not the other way around. so you do the leg work.  End of story.

As a raid leader myself I understand the need for things like that.  I do understand that when I bring my DK to your group you do not want me gemmed for spell power so my icy touch hits for more.  I do understand that you do not want me using a strength weapon on my druid because it has parry when I can not even parry to begin with.  I do understand that my warlock should not have spirit on his gear, but also am willing to explain if I do end up with one or two pieces while gearing up that it is was better than what I had and leave it up to you if you take that as a measure that means I know it is wrong or I am just making excuses.

The thing is, whenever I would pug I would just tell people to whisper me and I would look them up on my own.  I would not tell them to come to me.  I want them, so I do the work.  It is demeaning to ask them to come to you, like calling your dog, here king, here king.  At least I think it is and I would never ask someone to do something I would not do myself.  I would not walk to someone to let them inspect me so I would not ask someone to do the same.

There was the whole "must link achievement" crap too that I never got into.  Sometimes people would ask for insane achievements to be linked.  This was common place when achievements came out in wrath faded somewhat after gear score made it big.  It never went away however, we still see it from time to time. 

I even remember when cataclysm first came out and we had BH for the first time, at least the first time I ever saw us have it.  Someone started a group saying, must link achievement.  Dude, the game has been out for a week and the alliance have never controlled BH before, how the hell can anyone have the achievement?  Someone actually asked that in chat and the person assembling the group linked his achievement and said, we had it last week around 2 server time Thursday night.

Yeap, link achievement crap is ridiculous.  I, like the person in trade, was denied access because I am actually sleeping in the middle of the night, god forbid.  Poor us.  No big deal, I made my own group and did it, screw him.  We even finished it before he did.  You should never need an achievement to do something.  Never.  There is no reason for it unless you are assembling it to be carried because you suck.  Simple as that.

Gear score was another joke.  While gear score could be amazingly useful to view gear it did not take into account that some items of a lower item level were actually better.  In wrath the greatness card was awesome if you could not get a better drop and many, if not most, people still had it heading into ICC.  I know I did.  It was a great item even if its item level was much lower than current gear.  The paladin relic was the same too.  The low level one was great for a very long time.

The final nail in the coffin for gear score in my opinion was when wrath introduced the weekly raid. People would start asking for groups for naxx, 5000 gear score needed.  So I need all ICC gear to do a boss that was not even hard when I was in dungeon blues?  Excuse me.  Yeah.  That was the end of gear score.

Item level became the big thing in cataclysm and that too started to take the approach of the gear score joke asking for 5K for naxx.  Toward the end of cataclysm I would routinely see people asking for people item level 490 or better for firelands.  Normal folks, not heroic.  I can see asking for a higher item level to pug heroics.  Heroics by nature are harder, pugs by nature are harder.  So maybe asking for a higher item level can ease some of the pain.  But we are talking normal here.  There was a rogue on my server that would set up a DS pug each week asking for a 495 item level or better.  Dude, if someone has a 495 or better item level they are doing heroics thank you very much.  I was never a fan of the item level thing either.

Experience is another one of those numbers people love to throw around.  I am x/12 normal or x/12 heroic.  Congrats, that is what your guild or pug is capable of doing.  Raiding is a team sport.  You did not do that all by yourself and it is not a measure of how good you are.  All that shows me is you have experience and I do value that highly, but that doesn't mean you are any good.  Maybe at the extreme high end with harder heroic kills it would mean a lot, but when we are only talking normals, it means nothing.  There are dozens of people if not hundreds I carried to kills over the years that were not even raiders.  Having kills means nothing, at least it isn't without context behind it.

I have a few people in my guild with heroic kills from when they were on another server and transferred over thanks to free transfers or something.  I would not even bring them on our 25s when we can carry a few people, yes they are that bad.  I bring some people in the 460s and 470 each week but I would not bring them.  The best two players I have ever seen in my life playing the game are both 0/12 this patch because they have not been playing.  But I know what they can do, they are great with mechanics as well as doing their job extremely well at the same time and I would take them into my team in a heartbeat because of that.  The fact they have no kills means nothing to me.

While I do admit that all of these systems could draw my attention.  If someone whispered me wanting to join and said he had the achievement, I would be interested and would definitely look him up.  If someone offered to come to me so I could inspect him, I would know right off the bat I did not need to.  If someone said I have a 5000 item level for the naxx weekly when I would have taken a fresh 80 in all greens to begin with I would send them an invite without even thinking.  When someone says to me they have a 510 item level now, I tell them I will test them out to see what they can do.  If someone said I have cleared it on normal I would at least know I should not need to explain the fights to them.  So yes, offering those bits of information to me will, or could, sway me into inviting you.  The key is, I would never ask for them.

When I pug and someone whispers me my first question is, can you follow instructions and mechanics?  If they answer yes I will follow up by asking them what their gear is and if they have any experience in the content we are doing.  But if they said they can follow instructions and mechanics I will at least give them a try.  Even without the best gear or any experience in the content I am pugging for.  They are worth at least testing out to see what they can do as long as they can do those key thing, follow instruction and mechanics.

So, with all that babble said, being I am so completely against all these measuring sticks like achievements, gear score, item level, why would I actually be considering using proving grounds as a requirement to raid?

Because proving grounds are completely different from everything else.  It is not some made up number that means nothing to me.

Lets go over all the previously mentioned things and I'll explain why they are useless as a single meaning stick.  As I said, all would make me look at your potential but I would not blindly send you an invitation because of it.

Achievements:  I killed LK on my priest before I did my main.  I am better at my main.  If you judge me by my achievements you would say I am better on my priest.  My priest just happened to be a disc priest and that really helped on that fight, hence the reason I got a kill on that before my hunter.  The fact it has the achievement before my hunter means nothing. It sure as hell did not mean I was better at it.

Now add the shared achievements and the fact I can link anything I have done on any character as if it was coming from that character itself.  I could link various achievements that show I have done current content on my warrior and he just hit 90 and has never even done a dungeon yet.  No, achievements mean nothing.  Maybe I will look at you because you said you did it, but it will not sell me on you knowing how to play that character all by itself.

Gear Score / Item Level:  You can get fairly geared without ever stepping foot into a raid.  You could get to, just a guess, a 530 item level.  Some might say, that would be ready for heroics.  I would say, that is nice, but lets see what you can do with that gear.  Gear just shows potential and yes I would prefer to have a tank that has the gear to take the hit over a tank that does not even have the gear to take the hit but if the tank does not know how to use cooldowns, even that gear will not be enough to carry him through without making the life of the healers a freaking nightmare.  Right healers?

So while I do put value on the potential gear offers, like someone in 440 gear is not going to do the 80K minimum I seek, it is not the be all end all and I would never invite someone just because they have gear alone.

Experience:  Experience can mean two different things and I would need to actually do the leg work to see which it is.  If I look you up and see you have 14 full clears it means a lot more than me looking you up and it saying you have 1.  Both people would say they are 12/12 wouldn't they because they both are.  Yet their skill level most likely is not the same.

One of those people from my guild that I mentioned earlier has 3 heroic bosses down and 2 full clears.  I've seen him play.  He was carried, no doubt in my mind.  There is no way that someone that can't break 40K DPS in 523 gear is doing heroic content when we have a person in our guild that is the same item level and same class and spec and he can do over 150K and over 300K+ on buff fights.  So I would not invite someone based on their experience only.

Inspection:  Like I mentioned in the experience, it only means something when you inspect someone.  You will see that their experience could be real and not just one run through where they might have been carried.  You can see their gear, you can see their gems, you can see their talents, you can see their reforges.  You can really see them.

However, there is something that, for me at least, always felt wrong about using this as the only measuring stick even if it is the best of all the ones I have mentioned.  This could be an alt.  They could be a great player but can't afford the better gems because they suck at making gold.  They could have not put on a shoulder enchant because they know they are replacing it soon.  All this can be found out by asking, but when making a pug I am not recruiting for my guild.  I am not going to go through this much effort for everyone.  So while inspection is a fantastic way and really the best way of all of these to judge someone, sadly, it is not very practical and it can tend to leave you with false impressions.

So the big question here is this...

If I am so against judging people like that why am I considering using the proving grounds as a way to measure peoples worth as a player?

Because the proving grounds are different.

Achievement:  Unlike other achievements that are time sensitive this one is not.  Like having the achievement for doing BH when you have never been online to do BH this achievement can be attained at any time you are on.  You can do it at your own leisure.  You can fail it 101 times and finally do it, but in those 101 times you learned enough to get to the point where you are capable of doing it (or at least I hope so).  This achievement can also only be earned solo.  This means you earned it.  Not the team you were with and being it is your achievement and your achievement only, it holds a hell of a lot more weight with me.

Gear Score / Item Level:  It means absolutely nothing in the proving grounds.  You have a set item level.  You have to work within that set item level to complete the task at hand.  So if you are a 440 item level or a 540 item level means nothing.  This will prove you know what to do at the set gear level and show that you are a worthy investment to gearing up.  I might even be more likely to pull someone into a raid that managed a gold but is seriously under geared for the current content because I know they know how to play their role well and are just in the position that they lack gear.  Gear can be fixed and I would love to help a gold winner get that gear because me helping them means them helping me later when they are geared up.

Experience:  Like I said with my priest getting a LK kill before my hunter.  That did not mean I was good at my priest.  So because it had kills means nothing.  It was the group that did the kills, not me alone.  All I did was just spam some bubbles, big freaking deal.  Or like the person in my guild with heroic kills that can't break 40K.  Or another that has a full clear because his friend is in the top guild on the server and they had an open space so they let him tag along, in his own words, they did not need me, they could have 9 manned it.  Having experience does not mean you can do the content.  Except here it does.  You are alone, as I mentioned before.  If you can do this, you can do this.  Some might say you can let someone else in on your account and that might be true, but to me I would like to think people would not stoop that low.  If I see you have done it I will believe you have the skills to do it.

See, the issue here is that all those things mean something else when in a group setting.  Something, that while it might peak my interest in dragging you along on a pug, would not be enough in and of itself to sway me.  But doing the proving grounds would indeed be enough to sway me all on its own.

For as much as I am against requiring things to join a raid I have to think I might just consider this as an option, the first ever I would endorse, to ask for when looking for people for a group.

Now, I would not ask for much.  If I am doing pug content a bronze would be ample.  It shows you have the basic abilities and in a pug you never expect too much, so all you want is people that have, at the very least, a grasp of their basic abilities and skills.  And a bronze should be capable of showing that.

For my raid team, as a casual guild and seeing how most people play, I would think a silver would be a reasonable request from a normal mode guild.  If you can not manage a silver you have to wonder if you should even be raiding.  At least reading the reviews it leads me to believe that.  Perhaps if I were looking for more than just casual progression I might ask for gold but that would even be pushing it.  I doubt I would ever go that far, but it remains to be seen how easy or hard it is when it hits live.

I do have one huge question about this whole new proving grounds however and maybe someone else heard about it.  With the advent of shared achievement what happens if I get the achievement for "the proven damage dealer" on my hunter and then link it on my rogue?  As it is now, it would show as it is my rogues achievement.  Lets be real, I will never in a million years be "the proven damage dealer" on my rogue.  Not because I can't do it, I probably could if I put my mind to it, but because I don't like playing one and I would never consider investing the amount of time in it to get that good.

If people can fake their proving ground medals then the proving grounds really starts to lose a little of its... luster.

Perhaps that is when we have to fall back on the single best thing to ever judge someone in game.  Inspection, online, where you can see if they indeed got the achievement on that character, and can look at everything else.

Even if I might consider using the proving grounds as a measuring stick for invites to pugs or the main raid team nothing can ever beat the good old fashion leg work of inspection.  But at least now I can say, I will only inspect you if you have received a bronze, or silver or gold or proven in the proving grounds.

I think I will like this little addition to the game, even if I end up not using it to judge a persons worth and just use it as another tool to judge potential because it is something that is done solo and proves that you can do it.

What do you think?

Will the proving grounds become the next "link achieve" that people ask for to pug?

Do you think it will be a good judge of a persons ability?


  1. I used to be someone that asked for people to meet me so I could inspect. Don't need to do that now as you can inspect from a distance. Why did I ask that rather than look them up on the armory?

    Usually because I looked them up on the armory and saw they were in ungemmed/unenchanted gear or pvp gear or basically it wasn't good. Either that or they were in the wrong spec, I know I often log out in ret when I'm main spec prot. So I would ask to inspect so I could see what they actually had, not what they had the last time it refreshed, what they had last logged out in, but what they wanted to come and raid in.

    Sometimes it was the same gear and I said "thanks but no thanks" other times, and often enough that I kept to this policy, it was different, better gear and it was enough that I would take them.

    Now my question is. Have you actually tried Proving Grounds? I did and I think you might want to move your boundaries a bit. I hopped on a quick premade, I did gem/enchant/reforge and set up a few keybindings but I didn't test any of that out. I just leapt straight into the Proving Grounds and that was a bit of a mistake. Obviously my gear was markedly different, especially my haste level. Now I've no idea how the 463 normalisation will affect my stats on live I'll have to see. I was completely flummoxed on the ptr though. My fingers were trying to move automatically and it just wasn't working. I wasn't paying any attention to the proving ground at all. I just stood on the healer npc and hit buttons randomly, and I passed doing that.

    Silver wasn't much harder. I didn't have to use a single cd. The healer npc is much too overpowered, really so long as you have threat, you don't have to do anything, and that is really the wrong message to send to new tanks. Gold is where I started to have to use cd's but even that wasn't hard, though I guess I'd warmed up to this strange premade by then. Tanks need to learn not to rely on healers, the more damage they can mitigate themselves, the more mana the healer has, the more they can heal the rest of the raid, the better it is for everyone.

    So for the tank challenge as it stands right now I'd set the minimum as gold. If they can do gold then they know where their taunt button is, they likely know where their interrupt button is, and they know when to move out of something, and they know where at least one cd is and when to use it. I didn't think it was a very thorough exercise, I didn't think it accurately represented what tanks should know. Gold is doable by someone with basic ability I reckon. Though if you want to get completely basic then silver, but really that doesn't test enough.

    So are Proving Grounds a good judge of ability? Well I only did the tank one and I think Gold might show someone has basic tank skills, but it's by no means a real test. For anyone who knows anything then there isn't anything to prove in proving grounds.

    1. You make a point about looking it up but I would usually say something to them about logging out in their PvP gear and they would come to me. I just never liked asking for it up front because if someone asked me up front I would say no. You want me, you come to me.

      No, I have not tried them, I am basing my opinion only one what I have read.

      Your review is a lot different from the others I had heard. I did hear that the tank one is the easiest one of the three but that it was not that easy. Most said the healer was almost useless and healed for nothing. I am guessing they made it easier, going through changes. I doubt it will make it live that easy. Or should I say I hope they don't make it that easy.

      Also there is another thing you seem to forget, you are a knowledgeable player. I would expect you or I or anyone that has raided for a few years to get a gold relatively easy.

      We will have to see what the released product looks like.

    2. Hmm wellI haven't tested it in the last few days so maybe they did as I suggested and drastically nerfed the healer. That healer really was way too OP.

      Yeah I am sure you are right about the experience thing. I did wonder if maybe my experience was mitigated a bit by getting completely flummoxed by the drastic shift in stats and lack of addons. I admit to being used to tell me when and threat plates. Should try harder not to rely on them in case they disappear. Still that undoubtedly wasn't enough to take me back to newbie town though so you are right.

      What got me the most though wasn't the difficulty but how unrealistic it was. Tanking is a group role, yes there's trash and yes a few bosses have adds but mostly it's a boss. Endless waves of adds doesn't really fit that. Plus bronze literally was stand in one place and dps. When was the last time any encounter was like that?

      Hmm I'm not sure whether taking a tank class I don't know so well would help. As I'll always be a tank at heart. I'd like to get an accurate picture of it though so I know if I am being elitist by decryIng it as too easy. If they have nerfed the healer and therefore made the tank take more responsibility for themselves that would be a good first step. Enough people in this game already think "the healer will fix it" which is just so wrong, so as a teaching tool it really can not say that.

    3. What I read about it was from when it was first released. So I am guessing they boosted the healer for your attempt and maybe now need to tune it down a little.

      Like I said, it might also have to do with the fact you are a skilled player to begin with. So it might seem easier for you than it would be for others.

      The healer will fix it is a major issue with random content. Just like if they grab aggro it is the tanks fault. Damage dealers can be dense. And in the damage dealer test, from what I have seen about it, it really seems to reenforce that idea. The healer has people to take care of, the tank has people to protect, the damage dealer just has to beat on some things. Perhaps they should add a tank, and they have to learn to not take aggro by attacking the wrong one, and a healer, that they need to protect with some spot CC until the tank can pick them up.

      I used to be told in randoms that I was the best hunter they had ever seen when I would set a trap at the healers feet when a mob would head to it. Those little things are the things a real good damage dealer does, not just dealing damage. As a hunter I might always joke that dealing damage is what I do but I do so much more. No healer ever died on my watch if I could help it. I was always very protective of them and to me that is what makes me a good player, not that I can put up decent numbers.

  2. Couple things. When I pug I use a preferred Ilevel approach. I usually do something like: looking for 1 dps for ToT going to lei shen please. Preferred Ilevel 510 (something reasonable to achieve but not ridiculous) Please know fights, have vent and be able to follow instructions.
    Couple things. When I pug I use a preferred Ilevel approach. I usually do something like: looking for 1 dps for ToT going to lei shen please. Preferred Ilevel 510 (something reasonable to achieve but not ridiculous) Please know fights, have vent and be able to follow instructions.
    That lets people that are 480 or whatever know that I'm looking for someone I don't have to carry. I’ve found if I don’t list an Ilevel I get level 85’s whispering me to go and what not I don’t have time for that. Basically it saves me time by putting in an Ilevel so I don't have to look up every scrub that whispers me. My one rule on looking people up if you have a stupid letter in your name you can go fuck yourself :P (I actually make them whisper me so I can copy and paste there name so if someone says I can come on such and such and it’s a dumb name I make them whisper me.)

    1. I feel the same about the names. I really hate those letters.

      It could make it a lot easier with the item level in the advert but I believe must know fights "should" say it. Of course you will still get people with a 465 item level saying I've seen the video so I know it. lol

    2. Exactly that's why I go with preferred the smarter people that I'm after can figure out that I'm weeding out scrubs and the scrubs usually don't bother with replying.

    3. I guess I just always take the harder route.

  3. I don't know whether or not people will start asking for PG achievements, but I am 100% sure that (a) these achievements will mean very different things for different classes and specs, and (b) these achievements will absolutely NOT reflect player performance with adequate accuracy, gear and other things, as bad as they are when used as measuring sticks, will still be better at that than PGs.

    OT: WoW is down another 600k subs. Potential topic for the next blog: what the heck should Blizzard do to stop the bleeding?! We are already back to TBC levels of subs (lost more than a third since the peak in LK), and if the losses continue at the current rate, we are going to drop down to mid-vanilla levels in the remainder of MOP. And if the next addon isn't a smashing success... it might actually be the last addon of the type we know, and after that all we'll see would be desperate attempts to milk WoW for what it's still worth (microtransactions, premium subscriptions, etc). So, what should they do to stop that?? How we could help?

    1. They will keep losing numbers because they are moving the game in the wrong direction (making it harder, not easier) and the game is old now and not the type of thing that draws in new people. The losing isn't the problem, you will always lose. The attracting new is the problem, they aren't attracting new players to offset the loss.

  4. I;m just gonna say something here even if it's not on topic - related to Dark Animus.
    This the easiest safest strategy (hence why we did it).
    - Use 3 healers if you must, dps isn't really an issue.
    - Inactives link with Actives so look carefully at your placement
    - Do NOT link the tanks at the start; place them inbetween two mobs each and don't let them move till it's time to move;
    Look around the room, find where you can place them. Either Anima Golem - Tank - Anima Golem or same thing, but diagonally. Start in between them, tank body acts as a stop to the link. If they do manage to link, they did it wrong, they moved.
    Yes, one mob will hit the tank in the back but there's hardly any serious damage. So do NOT link them.

    So here's how it goes: One tank hits the mob in the front and in the back with some aoe. Some ranged helps him and gets the mobs down to say 20% each. If aggro issues, always tank's main target. Tank does an 180degree and then hit the other one. Then, when low enough, this tank pops cooldowns and goes next to an inactive Large. There, kills the adds fast, with the help of all the ranged that are close by.
    > So make sure the two mobs are close to an inactive large; make sure one healer is nearby;

    After this is done, you have one free tank.

    In the meantime, the other tank is the same stil inbetween two mobs, lowering their health but doesn't move.

    So your free tank takes one off him and goes to kill him next to a Massive.

    Now you have an active Massive. You only need one.

    Form here on it's simple. Each player gets close by and the tank taunts the mob so it gets killed next to the massive. One by one. Switch tanks as needed. If you have a DK you can keep it full time on the Massive.

    When you're done with all mobs you should still have one add up. That one you take and kill next to Dark animus and activate him.

    Pay attention to swaps so your tanks don't get swapped so place ranged behind them.

    That's basically it. Yes, it really is as simple as it sounds.

    1. I can link you our kill video if you think it would help, the pull is all that matters and there's a clear view of where I stand at the start and what I do.

  5. @James (for some odd reason it will not let me hit the reply)

    Thanks for that. Yeah, it is the pull that is the issue, tanks always dying or losing them to the healers. I have not tanked this one myself yet. Which I guess is part of the problem. ;)

    I did not know you could use your body as a buffer however, that is a huge tip and I am sure it will really help. They do not seem to hit for a lot at all. So it is all a matter of execution.

    What we tried on the few pulls we did was to have both tanks take 2 and everyone else take one. Kill the two on the first tank into 1 inactive (yes on 10, the 25 still can not get past the turtle), have him bring one off a healer to a massive, kill the other two in another inactive large. Kill the one on massive, kill the others into massive one at a time, kill the last on dark. Simple enough, but like I said, we die on the pull.

    I guess like anything else if we actually get there with some time we will get it. Being we are going to try and extend this week we should be able to do it. That body block trick should really help a lot. Huge tip.

    I've wanted a ton of videos and read a ton of strats and never once had I heard anyone say to keep them separated with you body.

    1. I could never get the hang of standing in between the two little things to stop them from linking. It was much easier just to pop a cd. I would mark one of my little golems and a range would nuke it down into one of the large inactive ones. It wouldn't be alive for very long and it meant no wiping as the damage was predictable. Whereas if you step in between them and they link accidentally then you are screwed. Sure it might be better to do it the non-linking way, but simple is easier in my book and getting the kill is more important than being fancy. DK's and warriors both have cds that can do this, not just paladins. I wouldn't know about druids or monks but I would suspect it would be ok.

      So the two little golems the tanks take go into a large inactive one. Two other little golems usually held by the top melee dps get dumped into the third large inactive one. Then my co-tank usually grabs a little golem off the range that helped him and activates a massive one. I then bring over the little golems one by one until they are all in the massive one. Then there's room for 3 more, so I take the massive and fill him up with broken little golems. My co-tank takes the massive golem back and I activate the boss by killing a broken one in front of it.

      We pop hero about when he gains Interrupting Jolt I think as that's the only mechanic left that can feasibly wipe us. Paladins are good for that with popping Devotion Aura but similar cds help too. We used to have trouble with Anima font, I think it's called, until I worked out that you could move out of it, the red drop thing on the floor.

      Anyway James is likely more technically correct. I couldn't make his method of not linking work for me though, perhaps that makes me a bad tank, I don't know I just couldn't get it right. So while the damage can be high it's predictably high and can be dealt with.

    2. I think if I end up tanking it we will be better off but honestly I prefer being on my hunter as I am sure you can understand.

      I think a bigger issue than the tanks going down are the healers dying near instantly from the tanks losing one or of the adds.

      I think with a few attempts for the tanks to get their shit in order and we can do it. All in all it is an easy fight as soon as you can get the double stack off the tanks. We just never got past that point in the very few tries we took. Hard to judge for me however as we have never actually had a night of progression on it. Only an attempt or two here and there.

    3. My group has only had a half dozen pulls or so but I'm starting to notice the strategy that will make for a kill for us... it's not far from the others mentioned but I think there are a couple of minor differences that'll help for our group, might help for yours as well if it's actually a workable strategy... since it hasn't actually worked yet. :)

      Immediately waste two of the smalls, one on each side, into disabled larges. This will require two players (tank and plate dps, ideally, I'd think) to tank the small pairs on either side temporarily. Everyone else tanks 1. As soon as the two smalls are wasted, those players taunt or pull one each off of the two players who have 2 on them, at that point all 10 have 1 each and the players who had 2 only had to do that for 20s or so, depending on how quickly the wasted smalls were killed.

      While that's happening, the massive tank pulls his small under a massive and kills it with the help of a ranged dps or two who are close enough to help out. After that, each player in turn brings their small over to the massive (or the massive to the small but I prefer the idea of the massive standing still) and they're killed once they get there. After 9 are killed, filling the massive, the 10th is taken to DA and killed there, activating him at which point the second phase begins (that I barely saw in our attempts I can't really speak to that one yet).

      Our biggest issue in executing this was matter swaps, we'd end up with smalls running across the room and ending up in proximity with others, usually blowing up healers (who for some reason we had standing more in the middle than around the edge... not my call, our healers freelance a lot and I think they were moving around to "help out" and causing bigger issues in the process so we just parked them within range of everyone). I think one of the reasons we had this issue is because we were moving the Massive so the swap location was always moving at both ends vs just at one, made it harder to adjust on the fly to keep the smalls separated.

    4. Your suggestions actually give me some good ideas to try the next time we are there.

      One thing first, in the video I liked best and try to emulate, they put 4 into the inactive large ones, not just two. Not sure if that is right however.

      I am going to try this one being we have two hunters.

      Have the two hunters leave a trap under the far ones in each corner, this will in turn assure they come to the hunter. Each hunter will be near the tank on the pull. They will blow up one of the two on each tank respectively, and then we can go from there with maybe less than 10 seconds of tanks having double adds. It would also help the tanks as they can build aggro on the second one for a few seconds knowing that the one the hunter is working on was MDed to them so they have the time to build aggro on both and not end up losing one to a healer, which is what happened on each of the few attempts we had. A healer always got crushed within seconds do to healing aggro on one of the tank adds.

      Thanks for the help. That, with others, has given some some ideas how to do it again. We should be trying tonight, but decided not to extend, so if we get to it again I am going to attempt a few of the things suggested here.

    5. hehe wow you guys think way to much into this lol I have both tanks take two too a inactive large with two dps assigned blow up a marked one asap into the large the tanks blow big cool downs and have a healer that knows its on them to keep the tank alive. usually takes less then 8 seconds to get a small one dead at that point the big damage is stopped we finish dumping into the two large inactive go active a massive and start dumping.

    6. There's no point to fill two inactives.

      You get 36 anima from 9 mobs, 1 mob you use to activate the boss and that leaves 2 mobs to fill a large inactive.

      With one massive you get max siphons, with two you get what?


      My comment is by far the safest and it was meant not as the fastes or whatever kill. I mean I take 3 linked mobs at the start, but that doesn't mean it would fit any group.

      The thing is: with sitting inbetween you get no link. You have all the time in the world. No healer pressure, no healer aggro because no real damage, a lot of reaction time. Even the most skilless tank can follow the simple of instructions to just NOT move. There is nothing fancy, nothing involved. For a paladin it requires even less than nothing skill-wise because you can sit dead middle and just put Cons down at the start.

      Even easier than what I said, you actually only need to lower only one of the two mobs on the tank.

      The way I described it can be done with the worst of healers, with the worst dpses and the worst tanks. There's no real danger apart form those 3-5 seconds you actually link one pair of mobs that you kill near a large. Mob which should have <20% anyway.

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    8. @Tiggi

      It might be a lot of over thinking. I have noticed many times that when we first get to something we make it more difficult than it is. I like the all out blow up idea. Just not sure our tanks can handle it, if I were tanking maybe. We only had a few tries and the one of the tanks always lost one to a healer and it went downhill instantly as the healer died.

      I think we are at the mercy of how long it takes him to learn how to do the pull now. It has happened to us a few times. We needed to wait on him for the maze too. We could not down it until he learned it. He is an excellent tank, just takes forever to learn stuff it would take most people 2 or 3 tries at most to learn.


      I think you sold me on that. Just because of the tank. If I can tell him to just stand there it might work. Funny part is he has watched more videos and read more strats than maybe anyone in the group outside of me. He is just slow on the uptake. Reading and watching does him no good, he has to learn by doing. To each their own.

    9. @James, you overestimate the ability of people to follow even brain-dead instructions like "don't move".

      Actual (paraphrased) conversation when I filled in with a heroic raid on their normal DA kill, my first time in.

      Them: "Okay, you hit this mob with a few auto-attacks, then STOP ATTACKING AND STAND THERE. Can you do that?"
      Me: "Yep. Seriously, I just stand there and let it punch me in the face?"
      Them: "More like kick you in the shin, but yes. When we put a skull on your mob after a few minutes, move it over to the massive. Can you do that?"
      Me: "Yep."
      (fight happens, we get a kill)
      Them: "Wow, that was great, you're the first person we've brought in who hasn't screwed it up on the first pull. We've had half a dozen in here mess it up."
      Me: "Hard to believe."
      Them: "Yeah, you'd think so."

      /flex. Me, heroic-calibre raider. ;)

    10. @ Anon - I agree and can't help but laugh. Yes, some people just do not understand don't move. I can't tell you the number of time I would say stand still and someone starts running.

      Standing still and not attacking anything is heroic caliber? Holy crap, I've been complaining about heroic raiders in my LFR. Sorry. :P

    11. @ james throwing an extra large buys you a few seconds before it hits 50% IIRC I did a spread sheet out on the times.

      @ grumpy I hear you on getting people to do what you want them to do. I found one of the best ways was to explain the fight in very simple terms and then explain why we do something the way we are doing it. once I explained it very well to them the little light bulb went on.

    12. Two large means the massive isn't full. Also means DA siphons 3 mobs up instead of two, sucking anima faster. Therefore pushing jolt faster. Massive also not being filled means you have less time. This is normal, not hc, so you can't kill the inactive ones. One massive and one inactive large is actually optimal.

    13. I used your idea last night. Took 4 tries to get it right but it worked. Nothing connected, tank or healer did not die, it went down easy. The actual fight took less than 2 minutes.

      I knew the first time we got there with a little time we could get it down, but that stand between them thing really nailed it, thanks.

    14. Now I worry about getting there with the 25 man, if we ever do. I have some people in that group that the idea of "stand there" is just too damn hard.

  6. I think it'll be a good enough judge of a person's ability. Far as I'm concerned anyone complaining about the possibility of someone looking for a Gold achievement as a requirement to join is looking to be carried... assuming Gold difficulty does approximate pre-made raiding, that's a horrible thing to complain about.

    Sure, it only trains a subset of what makes for a raider but it sets a level for ONE aspect, one that a RL can't determine in advance for someone he doesn't know (or someone he does know on a new toon or in a new role, for that matter). Gauging player skill is usually the hardest part of evaluating a player... so having the game partially take care of that in advance is GREAT. Bring it on.

    1. I have not tested them but from some of the stuff I read most seem to think that gold should be for the average normal mode raider. At least to them it seemed as if that was their intention. Of course, having not tried it myself, I can not say first hand.

      Skill is something it takes skill to learn to see. No pun intended. We had a lock join us back in DS that had only started in cata. He was new to raiding and on our second team that was only 2/8 heroic. He got some experience and some gear.

      I liked what I saw and started to groom him to move to our main team which was on spine at the time. He started to really blossom and eventually left us for the top guild on the server because 8/8 heroic is better that 6/8 heroic. He is now on another server in one of the top 20 guilds in the world.

      Everyone kept asking me, why am I paying so much attention to him. He sucks. I saw it in him, I knew what he had the potential to be. I spent a lot of time with him, helped him with his movement, rotations, some basic raid awareness tips and it paid off.

      Sure, I would have liked someone of that skill to stay with us, but I do like being able to say that the only reason he is raiding now is because I was the only person on the server that would give him chance after 6 other guilds kicked him from their team because he sucked. He once told me, when I moved him up to the main team, that if it were not for me he would have quit the game.

      So even something like proving grounds, even if it can help, sometimes there are a lot of other little things you need to look for and be able to see to know who the diamond in the rough is.

      I am lucky to say I have had a few people like him in my guild during my years as raid leader. Too bad I have not been able to keep them all. But every single one of them would have failed the proving grounds when I took them under my wing. I am 100% certain of that.

  7. First off i'm not a raider i'm an altoholic so I do loads of low level pugging. The single most important criteria of a good pug: the ability of the team to cooperate and IMPROVISE! A team that can survive the death of the tank & healer by using their whole toolbox is pure gold. Do you know how few people realize you can bandage someone who is fighting? I have been known to bandage the tank if the healer goes down and if the tank goes down i swap in a shield and round up the group - a good healer sees this and heals me while i steal aggro off the others. Switching growl back on, kiting while a battle rez is going, there are ways a group can shine and in those groups i dont care one bit what your gear looks like. Good players outplay their ilevel.

    1. That is good play. Good players play well past their item level. That is how I usually can tell if someone it worth investing time in, when I see things like that.

      So often you need to micro manage every little thing because people can not or will not think for themselves. You doing what you say is a rare breed, a very rare breed.

      If I run across one new player each expansion that I can see those "little things" from it is a lot. And thinking about it now, that is the number. One per expansion that has showed the knowledge, common sense and adaptability to do any of the things you mentioned.

      I wish there were more players like that.