Doing a lot of flex lately has had me running with some people I had not ran with before. Some new people that were not even in our 25 man, some people that never raided, some people that used to raid but had not in a while, some really good people we are testing out for fill in positions or to start the 25 up. Lots of different people of varied skill levels.
This is a good thing because it is an inclusive style of game play which can really be fun at times. There is something about being able to say, sure you can come, even if the person is only going to do 60K because you know it won't hurt the team and it might get that person some experience and gear so maybe they will catch up if they wanted to or get the raiding bug if they never had it.
I've noticed that the two things I am looking for most out of the people I bring into flex are their level of common sense, otherwise known as raid awareness and their ability to listen. These are two things I don't believe can be taught. You either have the ability to listen or you don't. You either have common sense or you don't. Mechanics can be learned, rotations can be learned, movement can be learned, anything can be learned. Everything except the ability to listen and common sense can be learned.
I'll start off with a story of two warlocks as the basis of this post.
One pulls nice numbers, is a dedicated raider as in they always show up to raid, they are always ready to run at start time, they make the extra effort to gear themselves up and not just wait for raid night to get gear, they cap every week so they can upgrade items every week, and they pull very respectable numbers for the content we are doing, namely flex in this case.
The other warlock is the exact opposite. They only show for raid night and you never see them on otherwise. They only show up once in a while even when they do, they usually do not stay for the whole raid and they absolutely do not go out of their way to be the best they can be as you can tell from their 60K DPS with a 520 item level.
Which one is the better raider on paper from what I said?
Mr. Big Numbers seems like the ideal raider while Mrs. Small DPS seems like the tag along. Heck, I know where I am going with this and I would still see it that way from what I said above, but it is not all about that. It is about listening. It is about raid awareness.
Using the General as an example, we wiped 3 times doing it on flex, all three times I said before the fight, all ranged on adds at all times with the shaman as the priority and never attack boss in defensive. Two simple things and even if I did not give prompts in game, which I did, like calling "adds" each time adds came out and "off boss" or "on boss" as defensive happened and ended, it should still be easy enough to follow. But with me saying all those things it should be a no brainer. Just do what I said right?
Mr. Big Numbers was pulling 190K which is very good in flex and Mrs. Small DPS was sitting at a quite dreadful 60K and that would be dreadful even by LFR standards.
The one huge difference I noticed was not just with their numbers but where their numbers were going. Mr Big Numbers was sitting at 89%, 88% and 84% on the boss in all three attempts. And no, it was not just because he was playing with multi dotting and havoc on the boss, I checked, he was focusing the boss at all times.
Even during defensive he was hitting the boss until I called him out not once, not twice, but three times. Mrs. Small DPS has surprisingly different numbers. The shaman was the mob that received that largest percentage of her damage. She was multi dotting the boss from the looks of it, but she just isn't really all that good at it yet. However, she did exactly as I asked. She prioritized adds, she made sure the shaman was the main focus of those adds, and she never attacked during defensive.
This was not the first week of Mr. Big Numbers working his way on to my shit list but it is really getting tiring having to say the same thing before each and every pull and being ignored. It is annoying having to spend more time watching what others are doing because I can not trust them to do what they are told. Mr. Big Numbers might soon find his way out of even the flex runs. And just to think this is someone that keeps bugging me because he wants to join one of the 10 running through normals while we are waiting on the 25 man to start up. Sorry, no not going to happen if you can not follow simple instructions
Numbers be damned, if you can not listen to your raid leader, you are not a good player. Simple as that. Mrs. Small DPS is a better player, even if less skilled. See, there is a difference between being a good player and a skilled player. A skilled player can still be a bad player and Mr. Big Numbers proved that.
The single most important thing in any raid is doing what you are supposed to do and that usually means doing what you are told to do. If you can not do that, you are a bad player. Like when doing spoils and I asked Mr. Big Numbers to revive someone on his side. I had to say it 4 times before he even answered and then it took him 20 seconds to do it.
I said his name, what to do, and to who. It was not like I was being cryptic about it. There is no reason I should ever need to say "bob revive john" more than once. If I say that I expect the person to be up in around 5 seconds. Not me having to say it 4 times and it taking almost a full minute from the time I first said it to the time it happened. You can not go wasting time like that in a raid, even more so a timed event.
Listening in a raid is a huge factor in the success or failure of the fight. Sure, listening to your raider leader can also lead to a wipe. I've had it happen before when I did not call for a revive because I wanted to save it for a tank and we wiped at 1%. If I had called for the rez we would have downed the fight. But that does not change the fact that people listened to me. That is what they are supposed to do. The wipe is on my shoulders, but that is exactly where it should be.
Another one, and I notice this mostly with locks, is when it comes to reviving people. Never revive people unless I said so. That include yourself. We had a lock testing with us last tier and he always put his soulstone on himself. I explained to him that it could be used as a battle rez, in case he did not know, and to save it until it was needed. Occasionally he would forget and put it on himself. No big deal, we have enough people that can rez in group anyway, I will just cross him off my list of people I can call out to revive.
Then he dies during a fight and pops up. Time to have another talk with Mr Dyingalock. Never pop up as a warlock because it consumes one of the three battle revivals we are allowed and if you are dying that often it is safe to say you are not someone I would ever call to be brought up. Yes, I actually did say that to him.
So he did it again the next week and I gave him the final warning. If I see you even put that stone on yourself again in a raid I will kick you. I ended up kicking him the next fight.
Speaking of popping up, shaman that automatically take it upon themselves to pop up, stop doing that. Don't ever pop until I tell you too. Never, ever. If I see a wipe coming I will not have you waste it when we can use that later. If I think we can do it without you, I might not want you to use it yet. If I know there is a huge damage moment coming I might wait to tell you to pop until after it. If I happen to notice there is some ground effect under your dead body that you might not notice, I will not want you to pop. It might be a personal cooldown, but it is one that should only be used when it best helps the entire raid. Like hero/lust. You would only use that as instructed right? So only pop up as instructed.
Oh, and if you ever pop after a wipe to avoid the run back you might find yourself on the bench next week. Do not ever waste a raid cooldown out of combat. You would not blow hero/lust while on a five minute break so why would you pop during a 2 minute run back?
Seriously, people need to just learn to listen. Running the flex and seeing many different people I have seen more and more how people just do not listen. They are all in their own little world. Hey, I am the anti-social person here and if I can deal with being stuck with all of you, the least you can do is listen to what you are being told if you get stuck with me as your raid leader.
Raid Awareness aka Common Sense:
Malkorok is my type of fight as a raid leader. It is probably the easiest fight to explain and really all you need is a little raid awareness and the fight is super easy.
Here is how easy it is to explain to people that have never done it. He will do three arcing smashes, they look like a shock wave, avoid them and remember were they are. He will put circles on the ground, one person need to stand in each or it is a wipe. After the 3rd smash wait for circles, stand in them, once we take care of them stack in the area he did not smash. Rinse and repeat. Healers keep people topped off with bubbles, catch up on healing needed during the second stack phase. Tanks, swap, I know, hard right? When we stack everyone must stack on tanks, move out if you have the debuff during the stack phase. Collect loot.
I love, repeating because it is worth repeating, love this fight. I wish all fights were really this simple.
This is also the ultimate raid awareness check because everything in it needs raid awareness. If you see someone in a circle, do not join them, it is taken care of. Never assume someone else will move to it, always move to it, whoever makes it in first stays there. Look at where the smashes are and you now know where the safe spot is. I know the room is a circle, but if you can not remember where three smashes were in reference to where you are standing for that short period of time you are not a raider. Make sure you are stacked with the tank in front of the boss, notice if you have the debuff to move out if you do.
As a raid leader I should be completely silent on this fight. There is nothing really to say. Everything is up to the player to handle themselves, all common sense stuff. Hence the reason I love this fight as a raid leader. I actually get to play the game instead of micro manage. In theory anyway.
Also this fight is one of the reasons I sometimes hate some of the people I play with when doing flex, and lets not even talk about the people in LFR to which raid awareness and common sense are four letter words.
Mr. Big Numbers runs from the circles every time he sees them. I keep having people complain to me that they have to run to it even when he is 2 steps from it. People don't notice they have the debuff on them so they do not run out. Excuse me, but doesn't your screen change colors and yell at you when you have it? I think I got it once and that is what happened, either that or I must have taken some drugs and don't remember taking them. But how exactly can you not notice your entire screen changing?
I find myself having to remind people to stand in circles each time they spawn. Having to mark the safe area because people never know where it is. Having to call out who needs to move from the stack.
What the hell is wrong with all you people that you can not even grasp some of the easiest mechanics of any fight in there? Every single one is about common sense raid awareness. With the exception of me calling for when people should use personals or for a rez for someone, there really should be nothing a raid leader needs to say. There are only a few mechanics, the are all individual responsibility ones and none of them are actually any harder than moving to the right place. Move to the circle, move out of smash, move to the safe spot, move to the stack up, move out if you have debuff. See, simple fight.
I understand we all have brain farts and mess up on common sense things. I notice it happens to me a lot more when it is older stuff we have been doing a while. One of those, oops, I forgot about that. But guess what, next time I remember it because it just happened. So I can never fault people for making mistakes. We all make mistakes.
I also have no issues with new people seeing something for the first time making mistakes. When things are new they all seem to happen at what seems like a bang bang done pace and you could easily be caught off guard by them. These are not world class players here, neither am I, so I understand there will be a learning process to wipes. I am not saying everyone should be perfect from attempt one, that is not going to happen.
Little things like when DBMs yells at you with the little red riding hood line from kara of run away little girl, run away, that you, well, run away like a little girl.
I've actually had people tell me that they didn't think they had to move to certain abilities. Excuse me? It was doing damage to you, DBMs was yelling at you, I said to move on vent, what more did you need, a F'N written invitation?
That is what I am talking about with concerns to common sense. Little things. If you are the only person near a circle, stand in it. Common sense.
I was in one run where the person said, but I am low, if I stand in it I might die. It boggles the mind. So you would rather not stand in it and everyone dies, or stand in it and you might die but the rest of the right moves along and kills the boss.
Where is the common sense here? When it is better to wipe the whole raid than to take one for the team and die so everyone else can live? No really, when is wiping everyone a better option than killing the boss? Common sense is not so common.
I believe that in the end Mrs. Small DPS is a better player than Mr. Big Numbers. If I spend some time with Mrs. Small DPS and work with her on some key binds, some macros like a mouse over for havoc, some positional advice, some rotation time on the dummies, and some more actual raiding time she too can be pulling 190K like Mr. Big Numbers. But I don't think that I could ever get Mr. Big Numbers to pick up his raid awareness or become a better listener. Some things can be learned and some things can't. Sometimes it isn't all about the numbers, it is about the other things you see. One more reason I love flex. Mrs. Small DPS would never get the chance to get noticed because she would never have been in a raid. Now I see someone that can, if they are willing to put in the time and effort, be a very good player some day.
We all make a lot out of numbers. They matter a lot, lets face it, there is no denying that. But in the end, big numbers does not equal good player. Mr Big Numbers proves that. Raiding awareness (common sense) and listening (doing what needs to be done) are the beginning steps of what makes someone a good player. At least in my opinion.