Friday, October 3, 2014

Don't Panic! Just Wipe It

The difference between having 30 attempts per night and 25 attempts per night can be because of a lot of factors.  How long the fight is, how long it takes you to run back after a wipe, how long your break is, how many of them you have, and of course the players involved and if they have a lot of personal stuff they need to attend to or not.

Many of these things most people already know how to deal with. 

In a guild like mine we take one break of five minutes and when someone goes over five minutes we, of course, gently rib them.  It is a nice way of saying, hey, get back faster next time.  We are a casual guild so that works.  No need to go all medieval on their asses over a 7 minute break instead of a 5 minute one, but you always want to keep stuff like that to a minimum if you can.  I'll usually shoot someone a whisper if I see them do it often to address that issue.

Also in a casual guild like mine it is not unheard of to have someone need to step away for a minute or two to take some medication, to tend to a sick wife or kids, let the dog out, bring the horses in, or for an emergency bathroom break, but again, that is something you deal with in a casual guild and it is factored in.  Usually if some guy needs to take his medication at 9 server time, he does every raid day, so you work around it.  No big deal.

Then there are the factors of fight length, how far you are getting into the fight, and the such.  Things you have absolutely no control over.  A 10 minute fight will be a 10 minute fight and until you have it on farm and over gear it, it will usually take the same amount of time.  But when progressing on it, as we are talking about here, there is nothing you can really do to make it shorter.

The run back after a wipe thing is probably the number one time killer and attempts of any raid team and everyone that has ever raided from the most hard core team to the most casual team already knows that so I will not harp on it.

But there is one killer of attempts that never gets spoken about, at least not that I have ever recalled seeing.  The "call for a wipe" factor.

A lot of raid leaders, myself included, are adverse to calling for a wipe early in a fight.  They like to keep the "we can do it" feeling going, it keeps the groups spirits up most of the time even when you die.  Saying things like, we did really good on that attempt, if only we had not lost 2 people early we would have had it, does go a long way for people to start to feel they can get a boss down.

The thing is, at some point, you need to realize that you will not get the boss.  You will not have enough DPS, you will not have enough healing, you will just not be able to do it.  You have to cut the "lets see how far we can get" rope and just call for a wipe.

I am still pretty wet behind the ears as a raid leader.  I am still learning, always learning as I go, but one of the things I have learned more recently is that sometimes it is better to call for a wipe early than to "see how far we can get".  After you get a few attempts under your belt you know what your team can do on the fight and you have to make a judgement call quickly if you want to get more attempts in.

More attempts mean people have more chances to get it right, to learn from their mistakes, to refine how they are doing things.  More attempts is how every guild gets a boss down.  More attempts as a team, not as some of the team.

I know it took me many years to realize that calling for an early wipe is sometimes a good thing.  I used to panic about it, think to myself, if I call a wipe the group will not think we are not doing good and things will fall apart.  I should have learned the don't panic, just wipe it motto much earlier in my raid leading career.

The theory is this.  After enough attempts everyone knows the whole fight.  They know what to expect, when to expect it and how to handle it.  But when you are working on progression and mistakes are made people die.  That is when decisions need to be made.

You can try to push it and see if you can get it done.  It becomes a judgement call and you will learn it as you go.  Sometimes you just need to call for a wipe.  Calling for a wipe will get you more attempts, just the same as getting people back after a wipe will.  People do not need to "continue so we can learn" after a certain time because they already know what to do, now it is the time they need to do it right.

I am not suggesting at the first sign of a problem to call for a wipe.  Absolutely not.  I've seen way to many kills end up being 9 manned or 8 manned, or hell even one manned, when from the outside looking in you would have been sure it would be a wipe.  But that is where your judgement as a raid leader needs to come in.

If you have pushed a boss to the enrage timer multiple times and are just cutting it short than losing a damage dealer early on or even mid fight will mean even if you do everything else perfect it is a wipe.  This is the situation I am talking about.  Don't panic, just wipe it.  It is okay to wipe if it means you have another chance at the kill instead of just another long fight that you know you can not win.

If you keep going you are wasting 2 or 4 or maybe more minutes for everyone to practice basically when the only person that really needed practice is the one that died.  You know you will not get the boss down because you were not doing it with everyone up so doing it with one person down is pretty much out of the question at this point.

So lets say over the course of the night you are working on that one boss and this happens even just 3 or 4 times where you lose someone early and keep going through with a long fight you know you can not win.  If only you had called for a wipe those times you might have had an extra 2 attempts.  Those 2 extra pulls could have been one of the ones where everything finally fell into place and you end the night with a kill instead of thinking there is always next time.

I have read so many articles and post from people telling me ways to get more attempts in.  Ways to get people back faster, to get ready for the pull faster, but no where have I ever run across anyone saying that wiping can be used as a timer saving technique.   Maybe that is because all those raiders were in better guilds with better leaders that did not want to think of wiping as a good thing.  But I am just some raid leader that never wanted to lead raids to begin with in a casual guild, so maybe I look at things differently and I see a perfect way to get more attempts in that no one else ever wanted to talk about.

There are lots of ways to save time to get more pulls in but many people do not realize that knowing when to call for a wipe is a very big one of those ways you can get more attempts in.   I am still learning but I believe I have learned the secret of don't panic, just wipe it.  Sometimes wiping early when you need to can lead to collecting loot sooner than later.   It is just a matter of learning when to call for a wipe.

What do you think?  Do you think calling for a wipe early is a good tactic to get more attempts in when you know you will not get it done?


  1. sure especially in a time limited guild. If you know as a raid leader there's no chance of pulling of the victory but there is if you get another attempt call it. Some times you just know

    1. I can not even remember the number of bosses we managed to get for the first time ever on the last pull of the night. Sometimes I think people only do their best when the pressure is on and you say it is the last pull. So not sure if it is the "last pull" that did it, or having extra pulls due to time.

  2. A lot of what you say makes sense, but I know that I often learn the most about an encounter when I'm lying dead on the floor watching everyone else play. When I'm alive I'm too busy pushing buttons and scanning the ground to pay attention to emotes or telegraphs, or think about what warnings I need to prune out of DBM.

    Our raid lead is pretty good about calling wipes early, but sometimes I really want everyone to hold on to the bitter end just to practice mechanics, and give people who died early the chance to figure out why they died and how to avoid doing it again.

    1. I am the other way, I learn better by doing. I find tanking and healing easier than trying to get max DPS so if I have to tank or heal a fight first I like it because it is easier to learn it form those roles. That is for me of course, we are all different.

      Not sure how your raid leader does it, but I know when we first meet a boss I often say just keep going. That way people can see more of the fight and get more practice. Once I am sure people know what is going on and it is just a matter of doing it right, that is when I start calling for the early wipes personally.

  3. So, I don't raid lead. At all. And I don't ever care to. But, as with everyone who refuses to lead a group, I do of course like to criticize the way others lead... :-P

    Anyhow, one point of contention I've had with one of my raid leaders, is if someone pulls early. I feel like we should just let them die, then rez them. I mean on a progression fight that takes effort, of course. There's no reason to start with everyone losing their pre-pot, and everyone a bit off anyway. If army of the dead is a bit to close, or someone mis-clicks, just wipe it and start over. Especially because at that early point, you don't have to run back.

    I'm not totally sure on my motives here, either. I mean, I do believe that it's better to wipe when someone mis-pulls, that it saves time. But also, especially when playing BM, messing up my opener means losing millions of damage. In most fights for the opener, I'm bursting well over a million DPS, and messing up just one GCD in there is a huge loss of damage, messing up the entire pull is literally, millions and millions of damage lost. I just don't want to start that way.

    Thinking back, maybe during progression we weren't bursting that high, except maybe on shamans. Still, it's a huge loss. I don't know if other classes are affected as much, but seems ridiculous to me, that we would continue when someone botches the pull.

    Oddly enough, at the same time I don't mind dedicating a few pulls to just learning. Say the ranged are struggling avoiding a certain mechanic, I don't have any problem using raid time to do the fight without DPSing, just to practice or whatever. So I'm not against "let's see how far we can get" really early on, just to see all the mechanics. but after the first few pulls, I get really annoyed when we continue with pulls that have no hope.

    The other comment I wanted to make is regarding Challenge Modes. I had a great team that was selling golds, and a really good leader. 3 of us (the healer, tank and myself) had sold several gold runs together, and had gotten it down to just a couple hours total, where we could run people through with minimal pain. But then recently, I've been pugging into CMode groups that need help getting the achievements before 6.0.

    The thing is, at this point I know exactly where we need to be to get a gold at most points in the fight. and if we're not there, there's no reason to keep going. Maybe go through once or twice getting silver to learn the fight if you don't have a leader who's knows the fights well, but really, there's nothing complicated to learn in CMs. It's just about performance, not making big mistakes for the entire run.

    It drives me nuts that people want to keep pushing when there is no hope of finishing on time. Especially when they already have silver.

    That's all. :-P

    1. I never wanted to raid lead either. Been doing it 4 or 5 years now and I still hate every minute of it. Sometimes, you just have to do what you have to do. If I wanted to raid in my guild, which I did, someone had to step up, so I made the personal sacrifice. I would love to trade it off to someone, but there is no one I trust. Want to come raid lead? lol

      When we first get to a fight if someone accidentally pulls when everyone was ready, like say the countdown is a 7, we just go for it. We need the practice anyway and the pre pot is most likely not going to make a difference but the learning from the pull can. If it i someone we are close to killing, or should kill but it is still a tight or complex fight then I say let them die. However, if it is pulled when half the people are not back, there was no ready check yet, not everyone has eaten or assignments been given out. I will just say wipe it and lets start fresh. That would be my motivations. Of course not every example explained, but I think you get the idea. I would not be surprised if your raid leader were thinking something along the same lines.

      I'd buy a gold run, it would be worth the investment for a competent team. I've had no luck assembling them or pugging them.

      That is one of my problems with assembling teams. I will run the first time so people can learn and I can explain but then after we finish, they just want to quit. Or if they do want to go again they never want to reset. I would say something like we wasted too much time on that pull, lets reset, and they would be, no way.

      I think it takes a special type of person to be willing to do that and I've not had a great deal of luck finding them. So yeah, at this point I'd pay to find a team.

  4. Does anyone actually want to raid lead? Another one here who kinda fell into doing so by circumstance. Though obviously I'm not doing so now but I raid led for four raid tiers.

    Yeah that wipe call tough one. I have on one memorable occasion called for a wipe only to have the 5 people still alive ignore me and kill the boss. I was pleased they did it obviously but ooops, bad call from the raid leader there. Thankfully no-one gave me crap over it, I apologised good naturedly for my lack of faith and we moved on. Then there's the occasions when I've been told to wipe it by dead people watching. Sometimes they were right, I made a bad call in thinking we could do it, sometimes they were wrong and we managed it.

    Point is that judgement call is very subjective and there's always the possibility of being wrong. When there's a wipe call someone will always disagree with it and I'll get a /w or complaining on vent that we could have done it. Which makes it tempting to let it continue a little longer until it's obvious to everyone that it was a lost cause, or I guess until it wasn't but hindsight is 20/20, you can never tell what might have been.

    Anyway basically I agree with you. Cutting your losses saves time but you have to weigh that up with the groups morale and mentality. Like on Garrosh. I knew if we weren't below a certain percentage by mid phase 2, he wasn't going down. Do we spend another couple of mins to prove it or wipe and try again? Tough one especially when as the RL I hated that fight. I wiped over 150x before I got my kill, I dreaded raid nights when we were on Garrosh and so then it's like "how much am I influenced to wanting to wipe because I'm fed up, because I see failure no matter what" which is another issue as you can get predisposed to wipe.

    This makes me glad I'm not a raid leader anymore. It's too damn hard to get it right.

    1. Some people love to raid lead. But I think a there are more than a few like us that just kind of got sucked into it.

      On garrosh if the first phase was the temple of chi ji I would just call it a wipe right there. Now we can do it no problem, but when we were first progressing on it, it would empower on that one being we one tanked it and we wanted to not have that happen for obvious reasons. Probably one of the easiest lets wipe early decisions really.

      It is a judgement call and I've made many mistakes as well over the years. As you said, wipe or not wipe, someone will always disagree. For me it usually comes down to it that I am kind of a hard ass in a nice way. So rarely do people complain, they just listen.

  5. You're right, calling a wipe can save a lot of time, especially on really long fights that you mess up early. You can drag it out but you may not gain anything from it.
    Calling a wipe is dependent on many factors, like you say. If we're learning the fight, then usually I'll keep it going if it is practical (ie not all the tanks/healers are dead) so people get used to the timing and the fight cues.
    I'm a part time, soon to be none, raid leader. If it is a familiar fight and we've lost someone crucial, we wipe and start again. If it is close to the end and we just might manage it I'll keep it going.
    There are nights when my lot aren't focused and they fail on straight forward "you must do this or we lose" stuff. That's when I use my 'yes I really mean it' tone and tell them that the moment someone screws that up we're wiping and going again. That tends to focus them back onto things, because they dont' want to be the one who prompts the wipe.
    What I hated most was paladin tanks and Divine Intervention. We had one pally tank that would DI when he decided we should wipe, irrespective of the RL's call. Of course after that we were going to wipe regardless. Drove me nuts.

    1. I think that is part of the reason they removed DI. People hated when people did that.

      You get what I was going for with that. There are some times I feel it is just worth wiping and restarting all over. For me and my group it works. Some groups I can see really getting upset over it, I've seen it in wipes.

  6. I think it's been 4 years or since I was a RL, but tanking means I tend to get involved nonetheless. I'm an optimist, I think we can win most often than not. I recall going ballistics after our healers and my offtank died on DS last boss, yelling that we'te not bloody wiping while I'm still standing. It was a kill. We've had so many kills with 1-3 people left alive (usually healers dropped and people going down one by one trying to survive as much as possible) that I tend to ignore wipe calls.

    1. I think tanks are best designed to be raid leaders, followed by healers. Just my personal opinion, but the tanks always end up playing an active part in leading even if they are not actually leading.

      I've had a few kills like that. One this tier. First time doing the first boss on heroic. Everyone died do to a tank mix up with the puddle except for one tank. There was one healing orb a priest had pulled back and was moving super slow before we all died. We yelled out to the tank to heal it and as a paladin he threw some heals on it and ding, we downed him with one person up. That was just complete luck.

      It comes down to knowing where to cut your losses in my opinion. If you had lost the healer and OT on the first, second or even third platform it probably would have been better to call for a wipe. But when you are so close you can taste it, might as well give it a try.

      And thank you for giving me a great idea for a post. Cool last minute victories. :)