Last week in a post I spoke about 2 warlocks by the, of course, made up names of Mr. Big Numbers and Mrs. Tiny DPS. The idea of the comparison was that the person pulling small numbers but doing the fight correctly was a better play than the person that was ignoring mechanics and pulling big numbers.
The example I used was on the General in siege. Mr. Big Numbers was putting all his effort on the boss even in defensive despite being told numerous times to stop while Mrs. Tiny DPS saw the top receivers of her damage as the warshaman, arcweaver and assassin. So while one was pulling lower numbers they were doing a better job than the person pulling high numbers and that made her the better player.
While I do believe that to be true there is a thin line. Mechanics are always the most important thing and anyone that would ever consider themselves a raider should agree to that but there are requirements that need to be met. There is only so far you can push "but at least they were doing the right" thing. Just like at a certain point Mr. Big Numbers would not be invited to a raid because he would be a liability that might cause wipes due to his inability to listen to instruction and follow mechanics Mrs. Tiny DPS would also be left behind and not get an invitation to a normal mode raid.
Both those players are flex players, bottom line. Where one person not following mechanics "might" not cause too much of a problem on some fights and one person doing lower than average numbers but doing the mechanics perfectly will not really hold you back if you have some others picking up the slack neither one of them is actually doing good.
Both those players, in my opinion, would be placed right under the thin good line. They are not bad players but they do not quite reach that marker that would make them a good player.
What is that line and more importantly is that line the same for everyone?
The line where people are considered good usually depends on the content you are doing. While I like to consider myself a good player it is because for the content I am doing I am a good player. Perhaps if I were in a group pressing for heroic kills as fast as possible, or server, or even world first, I would be a bench player, who knows.
But I believe a good player is more a formula. Not an absolute. A balance between doing the mechanics right and doing their role correctly. Oddly enough what made me think about this was a pug for flex 3 I picked up yesterday on open raid.
They were on the last boss and someone asked for a hunter in the open raid chat. What the heck I thought, I got a coin and I could use the helm for my 4 set, I whispered them and was sent an invite immediately. It is odd, make that extremely rare, to see someone asking for a hunter specifically so why not. Add to that I had spent the better part of 20 hours trying to get the third boss down in LFR, yes, not kidding, but for an extra shot at the 4th tier piece I stuck with it and queued up over and over like an idiot. Perhaps it would just be better to spend a coin on the flex version now that I have that option.
I mentioned on vent to some of my guild mates that they asked for a hunter specifically and they asked why is that. I said, have no clue, but I'll take it. Seriously, I had no clue why they would ask for a hunter on that fight. Sure there have been some fights over the years that having a hunter makes it so much easier but having done this boss before there really didn't seem to be anything hunter centric about it to me. At least nothing that I took notice of immediately
It then occurred to me why they might have asked for a hunter. To misdirect the jailer and tranquilize shot him. Makes sense, but the odd thing was, it never occurred to me that doing those things are something "special". I just look at it as part of my job. Those little things that I take for granted are something I like to consider "the line". If you need to tell a hunter to MD the add to a tank, they are not a good player, if you have to tell a hunter to tranq shot off an enrage, they are not a good player.
They did not ask me to get on voice chat, they just said the order of what markers they would be stacking on and went at it. They did not even mention to me to MD or tranq. Maybe my item level made them believe I already knew what to do. Maybe they figured that when I said I know the fight that it goes without saying that I do those things. I've done enough pugs to not take that for granted however. Maybe it was just a bad raid leader. Who knows, it worked and we one shot it. Well, one shot it once I got there, looking at the bones there had been a wipe or two beforehand.
After the run someone whispered me, nice work, thanks.
The group was made up of fairly geared players for the most part. I was near the lowest there. Most where around 555-560 and I have had no loot love since week one so I am still sucking it up big time gear wise.
I could have considered it was my high DPS that was the reason he said thanks. I was # 2 in damage done by only 0.2% behind the # 1. They were at 245K and me 225K. So maybe they were saying thanks because they needed that extra DPS. No, that was not it, it was because I played the role of Mrs. Tiny DPS by doing the right thing, not because I played the role of Mr. Big Numbers putting out high damage.
They could have asked for anyone to come in there and just said, over 200K, if they wanted the DPS. They asked for a hunter specifically and that meant MD and tranq and I did those and that is why he said thanks. I could have done 125K and he still would have said thanks if we got the boss down. That is what it was all about. Doing the little things.
So where exactly does that balance come in where we draw that line of good?
I had done well that run, can't really say there is much more I could have. My DPS might have been lower than I know I can do, but for flex it was fine. I did the numbers, the mechanics and used my class abilities to their potential. So for that run, I most definitely was what someone could call good.
But lets take that run and dissect it removing piece by piece and see when it starts to look like I am a bad player below the good line. Lets try to find that line between good and bad. That thin good line.
There is the original obvious things that would ring as a bad player, so let us start with those.
If I said I knew the fight and didn't it would become apparent quickly, even more so if I were being chased, or if I did not switch to the jailer. So we have to check off "know mechanics" in something needed to be considered good, would you agree?
But does a person need to know all the little things to stay in that good category? Lets say I knew that I needed to run when chased and ran in the wrong place or a little sporadically making it harder on others to avoid his path. I would have known the mechanics, I would have known what to do, I just did not do it in the best possible way. Would I still be considered good?
This is where we approach the line in my opinion. You can know the mechanics and not do them perfectly and still be a "good" player but at what point does not doing them well move you from the good player to the bad player. Like Mr. Big Numbers tunneling the General during defensive even though he knew it was wrong. I know he knows the mechanics, he just figured that the rules did not apply to him. So just knowing the mechanics is not enough.
Another one of things one might consider obvious was the fact they asked for a hunter. If they asked for a hunter specifically they must have wanted one for a reason. It is not like it is a normal raid where they needed a mail agility and ranged weapon soaker. So like I mentioned, what does a hunter really bring to this fight? Not much. A misdirect, a tranq shot and maybe a missing buff with their pet.
When I got there I saw they had no attack speed boost so I switched to my hyena. Before the pull the raid leader did ask if I had an attack speed pet. I said, already out, as soon as we attack he will bark and we get it.
Was I a good player because I had noticed it was missing and got it out without even being told too? In my opinion yes. I hate when I have to tell hunters to switch a pet. It is of the same ilk as having to remind the priest for stamina every single time we wipe. It is your buff, you should have it ready without needing to be told about it.
Sure, unlike the rest of the classes in the game that just hit a button a hunter needs to have a brain to know enough to look at which buffs you have and know which ones you need and get out the pet for it, and of course, they need to have said pet as well. So when it comes to hunters they actually need to think about buffs and not just press a button. But still, having the right pet out without being asked for it does set someone into the "good" category in my opinion wouldn't you agree?
But lets continue on pets for a moment. If I had not put out my hyena without being asked and needed to be asked to put it out, would that means I was below the thin good line? Some people might say yes, others might say no. I believe that anyone that plays a hunter should know what buffs their pet brings so their hunters union card can be taken away for not knowing something as simple as bring out the hyena. But others would say, no big deal.
Now lets go further down the line. Lets say I knew it was a hyena and did not have one on me. Hunters can only carry 5 pets and most hunters will usually carry around things they tend to need for their raid group or if nothing specific is needed for their raid group they might just carry around the pets they like.
Would a hunter that did not have a hyena on them be considered under the thin good line? No, absolutely not. When you join a pug you never know what buffs you need to bring. So when you notice it is missing you can say, would you like me to get one from my stable, and leave it up to the raid leader. Or, you could just ignore it and wait to be asked and then offer to get one from your stable. Or what if you are asked and did not have one in your stable. Would you then offer to go catch one?
Where is the good line there? I think the good line is that you should have at least one pet of every buff /debuff type in your stable. You do not need to carry them around with you. You only have five spaces on you, but you should at least own one of each type. Word to the wise, from my experience in pugs. Always have a sporebat and a hyena on you. Trust me, I need to call out those 2 so often I just run around with them now so they are already out with me. Saves lots of trips to the stable.
Just one little aspect of my visit to this pug and there are so many things that could be the "good" line just concerning pets. Having it on you, bringing it out on your own, being asked for it, being willing to get it from your stable, being willing to go catch one. Heck, knowing which one you would need to use to begin with. Where is the "good" line?
Some people might even say that the pets and the buffs they offer do not matter. If a hunter is good in every other aspect, who cares. That is why the thin good line is blurred.
Now lets move to listening to instructions. The raid leader put out markers before hand and said we start on red, stack on blue second, then green, then purple. Simple enough right?
I have a decent memory so remembering red, blue, green, purple was easy enough. But lets just say for a moment they used yellow and green and he just said it as yellow and green. I am color blind and can not tell the difference between them by looking at them and for some odd reason I keep forgetting which symbol is which. Does that makes me a bad player because I can not know which one to go too first if I am color blind or does it mean I am a good player because I am smart enough to just follow the crew when I do not know, as I know we are all stacking together anyway.
Would someone that does not have a good memory be considered a bad player? You know the type, we have all raided with them. You would need to say stack on blue after this ability. They would always forget. They could be good in every other way, but they could never remember stuff like that. Does that make them appear to be below the good line?
How about positioning, which was not really needed in this fight for the most part, but that is a huge piece of information and I can make it relate to this fight in a way. You know when DBMs pops up a range finder and you know you need to stay that far away from others? How often have you fond yourself the perfect spot and someone always walks into your range and you move and they walk into it again. I've always wanted to scream get the hell out of my circle. I consider little things like that big factors in where a person sits on that thin good line.
For the fight I am mentioning there is something like that, even if not exactly like that. The pursuit. Then the dino is on his lunch rush it is really as simple as don't get in his path. Easier said than done for some people. It is almost in the same category as stay out of my circle. Stay out of my beam.
The thin good line does not only pertain to the person with the beam but everyone around them. If they are in the middle of the pack when it changes to them the "good" player will run in a direction that will give everyone else the quickest path out of it.
The good player that gets the beam on themselves and is about to be chased will have a few things go through their mind and will need to make a decision in a split second. Some of those things would be which direction will give them the most current distance, which direction will give them the best path to move, which direction will leave the dino in the best and furthest position from the group when it chooses its next person and last but most definitely not least which way will leave the rest of the group with the clearest path out so none of them die. The good players without the beam will then notice which way the person being chased is running and run the opposite way of it. Those are good actions the put people above the line.
Many of us don't even think about it when we do it because it had become second nature, but there are a lot of things that go through your mind when positioning and it isn't just where do I stand or where do I go because in a lot of cases in a lot of fights where you position yourself has a huge impact to everyone else in the raid. Having a giant blood thirsty dino chasing you and killing everyone in its path between him and you shows your positioning really matters.
Some people are slower to react, how slow does someone need to be before they are considered below that good line? Is the person that is being chases taking 5 seconds to decide where to run taking too long, is even 3 seconds too long. Should they need to move instantly to be considered over that thin good line. Is the person not being targeted not knowing they need to move instantly as well mean they are doing badly? What is their leeway to how long it should take them to decide on which way to move? Maybe 5 seconds is okay for them, maybe 3 is better. Or perhaps the second after they see which way he is running they need to start moving to be over that thin good line.
Now back to them asking for a hunter, namely me in this case. As I said, I figured I was there to tranq and misdirect. I was never told to do so and at first I did not even think about it. Playing a hunter as long as I have been it seems second nature to take off an enrage and to MD a loose add to the tanks. But doing so would surely put me over the good line right?
What would happen if I did not do one of them? Lets pretend that I did not misdirect. Would I then lose my spot over that good line because I did not MD and it is a hunters job to MD? All tanks have taunts and they will be coming from the boss which means they have nice vengeance, so they should be able to pick up a single add and keep aggro on it without the help of my misdirection.
Lets say for a moment the tanks did pick it up and did keep aggro on it, and it never hit anyone else what so ever. Then the fact I did not MD would mean absolutely nothing right? So even if I we bought there with the raid leaders intending for me to do it, it was not needed and not doing it did not hurt anything. So does that mean I still earned my slot over that thin good line or did I lose it because I did not do my job even if it was not really needed?
I am sure we can debate that one point for days on end. I personally believe that even if the tanks were on it like white on rice it is still my job to MD it too them. Not doing it means I was doing something wrong and thus my place over that good line would surely be in jeopardy.
Now to reason number two why I figured they might have asked for a hunter. While the fact remains I did use tranquilizing shot the split second that the jailer became enraged each time lets pretend I was really slow with it. Would I lose my spot over the good line for taking too long to dispel it?
If I took too long to dispel it and noticed the tanks were not going down even if it sat there for a bit and decided to just burn baby burn on the jailer and just ignored it thinking the druid could take care of it if it really mattered to them would I then lose my spot over that good line?
I would guess if your healers were not having an issue and your tanks were not having an issue then removing the enrage was really not needed. There is a very reasonable argument I could make that says why I should not remove it. Why waste a global when it goes down that fast and when the tanks are never in danger because of it anyway?
Would it move me below the thin good line if I just completely ignored it? Maybe, just maybe. But you know what would most definitely bring me below the thing good line? If I were asked the remove it and said, I can't. Now that, for sure, shows that someone isn't quite good, when they do not even realize what their own abilities do. Small one line side story. I needed to tell a hunter that they could remove it with tranquilizing shot and he said, I have never used it, let me find it and put it on my bar. Is that hunter below the thin good line?
Now some might say that they asked for a hunter because of the attack speed pet being they did want it out. But they could have asked for other classes with the attack speed buff and not just assume that a hunter would have an attack speed pet on them. Being they did not ask for someone with the attack speed buff that meant, I believe, they wanted me for MD and tranq.
Now, with that said, lets say I never MDed and never tranqed. The tanks picked up the adds just fine without my help and we downed the jailers so fast that there never was a need to take off the enrage. Would I still have gotten someone messaging me saying I did a good job and thank you after the run? Would I still have been over that thin good line even if I completely ignored the reason I was brought along to begin with? I would be below the line, even having done well other wise, I would be below the good line because I did not do what I was supposed to do. My opinion of course. Even with success, you could still have done poorly.
Now to the last part I want to discuss about the thin good line. Damage. DPS if you will. Where is the thin good line for that? Sometimes, most times actually, people get too caught up with these numbers and use it as the be all end all of deciding who is above the "good" marker. Let me point something out here, and feel free to disagree, but they are wrong. Absolutely 100% wrong and could not be more wrong even if they tried to be wrong.
Yes, I do believe that damage dealers are the single most important part of downing bosses. Without the appropriate amount of DPS no matter how excellent your execution is you will not down bosses. A friends group in ToT proved that one. His group has some amazing people when it comes to the "little things". They never made it past tortos. They could not get the turtles down fast enough, they could not get the bats down fast enough and that all meant that sooner or later they were over run and wiped. DPS is the single most important part for anyone that plays the role of a damage dealer after they are following mechanics and doing their job of course, they all go together. But where is the line of how low is too low?
As I made the assessment when talking about Mr. Big Numbers and Mrs. Tiny DPS that the person doing less DPS was actually the better player that does not mean they were above that thin good line. Both people were doing poorly. One was doing poorly because they were not doing what they were supposed to do in favor of big numbers and the other was doing poorly because they were doing what they were supposed to be doing but just not pulling their own weight. Neither of these people are over the thin good line. Mr. Big Numbers could learn to listen, position, follow mechanics and he could be over the good line. Mrs. Tiny DPS could practice a little on the training dummy, maybe run some more content to get used to her class, and get her numbers up to par for the gear she has and she too could be over that good line.
If we had someone doing 500K on that run and not standing where they were supposed to, getting other people killed with the chase, or themselves because they ran right through it when it was chasing someone else, they could very well have wiped us. So while putting up the numbers is awesome, and sometimes needed, it is not the be all end all of being a good player. Not even close.
Using my run again and my around 225K while doing everything else I was supposed to be doing how low could my DPS go before I fall below the good line? Anything over 200K is exceptional for a flex pug. How exceptional you might ask? I've done a lot of them and with the exception of the people in my guild that have been in them I have only ever seen 2 other people do over 200K in a flex. So yeah, 200K in a flex is like a god send when pugging.
So we need to scale that back a fair deal, lets take 50K off what I did. Would 175K while still doing everything else right be the line? 160K, maybe 150K. How low would it need to go before you said, I don't care if you are bringing the attack speed buff and listening to instructions and following the mechanics and MDing and tranqing, and kicked my below the line butt from the raid? 140K, 130K, perhaps 120K is the mark?
DPS, like many things, depends on the fight in question and this fight, if you want to do it easier can be pushed faster with more DPS. So more DPS is of course what would be best for it. So for this example at least I might say 140K would be the number where it went just too low. Where even if I did everything right, it is just not worth it when we can get someone else to do better DPS while still doing the "little things" I was doing.
So while dealing damage is always a factor on where someone sits on that thin good line as a damage dealer it is probably one of those sliding numbers. It is not an absolute number. On fights where specific tasks might be asked for you, ones that would lower your over all damage, you can not judge completely on that.
Where is this all going too? I have no idea because I do not know where the line is. The line is in our own minds, where we figure it to be. It will change on what you want to do.
At what point does showing up prepared put you over the good line? Is having your own food, flask, potions, and some tomes for talent changes enough to be over the good line or do you also need to be there ahead of time? Or what if you forgot your flask, does that immediately put you under the good line.
All things like that, all those little things, they all add up for a complete score of a player. Mr. Big Numbers and Mrs. Tiny DPS would have the same number. On a scale of 1-100 they would both rank around 60 in a scale that requires 75 to be a passing grade.
Maybe one day I will make a list of things that place people under, on or above the line and people can see where they fall. But it would never work because everyone thinks they are good. For all I know, that run I might have not been asked to come along for the MD, the tranq or the attack speed buff. Maybe they just wanted a hunter and no matter what I would have done they would have said "nice work, thanks." because in the end, all that matter is the boss died and for most people, that is all they need to think they are good. Even Mr. Big Numbers and Mrs. Tiny DPS probably thought they did good when the boss died.
And that is why I call it the thin good line. It is really hard to tell which side you are on sometimes.
Good is a very subjective word. There is on real answer for it. It is always a dance of a bunch of things happening all at once. How you judge who is above it or who is below it will always be based on opinion.
Like I say that a good player always has an idea about a fight before you step into it. Some others would say, who cares, as long as they listen when I explain. See what I mean. Always a dance around the thin good line and each of us will have our own requirements on what makes someone good and what doesn't.
What are some of the little things you feel ring good player when you think about it?