Friday, August 2, 2013

Easy or Hard, What Makes it So?

I have often said here on my blog that each person is different and I stand firm with that belief.  Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses.  As a raid leader I see that in places most might never notice.  I am sure any observant person even if they are not in a lead position has noticed that guy that "does great when he is alive".

I wonder if strengths and weaknesses are connected to the personality of the real person behind the character.  There is no way for me to actually find that out without some form of extensive research with people that are honest about their weaknesses.  Something I won't be doing any time soon but would love to read if someone ever did.

I've raided with many people and have seen many different types of players in the raiding environment.  I've seen those people that can do no wrong, they just seem like they run as the picture of perfection and I have seen those people that can do no right no matter how much time and effort they spend on trying to get better.  I've also seen everything in between both as well of course.

Is it something in us, the person playing, that dictates what is easy or what is hard for us?

I often say that my team is better in the raw numbers department and worse in the mechanics department.  It seems to take them longer to get the "little things" down then it should (which bugs the crap out of me), but if there is anything that can be forced with shear force, we will force it and succeed doing it.

Just look at the bosses we basically one shot as we made our way through the raid.  Council of Elders, Megaera, Primordius, Iron Qon and Twin Consorts.  And then look at the bosses we had the three highest amount of wipes on.  Our friendly neighborhood destroyer of guilds Horridon, Tortos and Ji-Kun.

If anything is more telling of what is easy for us and what is hard for us that it is.  The fights that are basically about stay out of the crap and put out big numbers we did exceptional on and the fights that had some gimmick or required more coordination we had fits with.

Yet there are some groups that I have friends in that have been stuck for weeks on Megaera or Primordius but had little issue with Horridon and Tortos, which where the ones that took us weeks.

Some say my group is in a good place because we can do numbers and dancing is only a matter of practice.  Others would say that the dancing should come natural and you can teach numbers.  I believe both are wrong.  It goes back to what I said at the start.  Everyone has their strengths and their weaknesses.  While both things can be trained from either angle they will always remain a strength or a weakness for the people that are inclined for them to be a strength or a weakness.

I am interested in seeing what people consider easier and what type of person they consider themselves.

Are mechanic based fights easier for you or are power fights easier for you?  Would you prefer something with a little of both or in the middle leaning a little one way or the other?  What are your strengths and weaknesses and why do you think they are your strengths and weaknesses?


  1. My personal strength is power fights, absolutely. Pushing buttons, timing cooldowns, etc. I'm also pretty good at following instructions.

    My personal weakness is heavy multitasking, the more I have to do/watch for/react to, the worse I'll do, although I can still be improving on those fights on the 50th pull, I do get them eventually.

    My group has struggled on, primarily, Horridon, Tortos and Meg... H and T took a long time to get down but have been pretty easy since, M went down relatively quickly the first time but is a continuing struggle months later.

    Ji-Kun, oddly, went down pretty quickly and has been basically a one-shot since then. That surprised the hell out of me.

    Council is an occasional struggle, too, our current comp has major instruction following issues... seriously, ranged, focus on empowered. Just the empowered. WHY THE HELL ISN'T IT DEAD YET?! Alright, everyone switch and help out. Grr.

    As an example of my weakness, I decided to pick up 2pc T5 on an alt hunter, tried and failed at 85 in quest greens back in Cat (don't judge me) but went in at 87 with a bit more gear and health. Void Reaver was cake, as was the blind dude in SSC but he didn't drop my token so I needed a second one... Fathom-Lord.

    Having to solo that kind of fight plays exactly into my weakness... I need my pet to have aggro on everything but stuff needs to die quickly so I can't hold back any more than that absolutely necessary. I need to avoid the tornado while staying within range. I need to kill totems when they pop up. The pillars will LoS me but not the boss (of course) so I have to factor that in. The ramp can cause LoS issues as well. I also need to do all the self-healing possible since even at this point the bolt hits HARD in the later stages of the fight.

    I basically found it impossible to manage all of those simultaneously... SOMETHING would go wrong each attempt. I eventually figured it out mechanically but had to cheese the fight to actually survive long enough to kill him after all the adds were down.

    Horridon was similar as a melee. Be in melee range of whatever I'm trying to attach (which is tough when mobs are moving all over the place), interrupt when necessary, stay out of ground effects, watch for when you're targeted with the charge and move out of the group, avoid the cone when someone else doesn't do that, help taunt mobs off the pally tank on the boss so we can actually attack them, etc. Sure, eventually it becomes pretty much second nature but I really don't enjoy the learning process on fights like that. Fights like Prim (burn technique), though? I'm all over that. Spread out 5 yards and do the most dps you can. I can do that.

    1. Your post is so perfect about showing the differences in groups. The council thing you mentioned is not uncommon. In the 25 I run when I have all guild members we usually one shot it, the two times I needed to pug a few people, not many, just 4 of 5, we did not get it down. Something as simple as "hit the right target" seems to be a huge challenge to some oddly enough.

      I think people that are good at multitasking naturally make for excellent healers. Do you play any healing classes and if so does that end up being harder than a damage dealer for example?

      I'm a lot like you where you said the more attempts you get in the better you get. I am always getting better, or trying to, and each attempt I make adjustments to see a noticeable increase in my ability to do what I am doing. I guess it comes down to being better with timing the more you do it. That is a strength of mine, finding patterns and using them to my advantage.

      Soloing is a skill in itself and some are harder than other. All those things going on at once are bound to get to most people and force mistakes. So it is a weakness many share. There are a few hunters in my guild I've given advice on how to solo some stuff and they can not do it. They think I am so great for doing it and I just have to explain, no, I am not, I just wiped a hell of a lot until I got better at it. I am not great, just determined. So it is a weakness of mine as well. One that can, at least somewhat, be over come. Never give up.

      I hate horridon as melee. It is a nightmare and I never feel as if I am contributing.

      Yeah, we do burn on prim, and it is awesome fun. I dig fights like that. I guess that is one of the reasons I keep saying that should have been the second fight and horridon should have been in his place.

    2. Well, if Prim had been boss #2 you wouldn't have been able to burn him, burning requires a lot of gear that you only got by taking 4 months to get to him in the first place. :) Having said that, I've done that fight with the standard technique with a different group and it didn't seem too bad...

      I healed more back in Wrath than I do today (in Cat I was almost exclusively a dps). I'm better with healing assignments than the current "everyone heals everyone" paradigm. Not quite sure why healing assignments went out the window, I don't see a downside of them but far as I can tell they've fallen out of favour.

      When I heal in LFR (at this point I'm primarily healing on my pally, druid and priest) I normally pick a role for myself early in the first boss fight (either tank or raid healing) and generally stick to that. Obviously I'll keep an eye out and help out in another role if necessary but I find that takes a big dent out of my mana... healing these days seems optimized for particular rotations due to spell synergy. Going outside of that set rotation seems to hurt the mana pool. My only issue as a healer I'm still working on is tank swaps when I'm tank healing... I don't notice the swap quickly enough, usually takes me 2 or 3 seconds to notice which means 3-5 seconds before my first cast hits them. That makes catching up challenging and not particularly mana-efficient.

    3. Very true, by the time we got to him we well over geared it because of all that wasted time on the earlier bosses. But I still believe he would have been an easier 2 fight than horridon was.

      I think healing assignments went out the window with DS. I still was pretty strict with them in FL but once DS came out where every fight was AoE heal everything, the world of healing changed. I say that from the perspective of someone that raid leads and heals. I might assign cooldown rotations now and sometimes assign a dedicated tank person but most of the fights this expansion are just like DS. AoE and heal whoever needs it. Blame blizzards bad raid design that everyone should be taking damage all the time for that change.

      You do bring up a huge point with the assigned healer thing however being you mention LFR. It can make it a lot harder when someone is not working on the tanks like you do. And you are right, it does blow through your mana when you are the only person doing it. Guess that is proof that the people around you can effectively make something hard on you.

  2. I prefer power fights, but I do fine on mechanics fights within reason. As Anon mentioned, multi-tasking can be problematic. I think I'm ok at watching a couple of extra things beyond my normal abilities but if I need to watch half a dozen things... I'm just going to screw up something.

    Also, I've said this many times before, but vehicle fights are the bane of my existence. They are my kryptonite. I'm a hunter... I'm not a giant elemental or whatever.

    I don't like random things much either unless they really give you enough time to react. LFR and Normals are usually OK but random stuff in Heroics has been very stressful for me.

    That's why I absolutely loathe Amber-shaper because it combines all of those things.

    In general, I can usually do pretty good in Normals after the quick Raid leader instructions and after having done it in LFR.

    The groups I've run with have usually been a little slow with mechanics but good at DPS. We often had the problem where we would overkill the boss and get the mechanics all out of sync and wipe.

    1. I hate random because I am a pattern person. So much happier when I can find a pattern and work with it.

      Over kill seems to happen a lot with this tier if you how really good damage dealers. On the consorts we had to stop DPS completely or we would have killed the first one before the second came out. And we need to hold back on the last boss too. We only got a few attempts in, like 3, but that is one thing we learned already. Do not push him when you are only on the second pillar. lol

  3. Anon, Grumpy's former Guild Leader:

    Hmm, I honestly always prefer stand your ground and fight type fights. The bullshit of run here and run there all according to a preplanned script just annoy the hell out of me. Sadly Patchwork fights are increasingly uncommon in WoW up to the point where I didn't want to raid anymore (one reason anyway). Sometimes Blizzard got the cute tricks done well enough that it seemed like a true possible reaction to an event of a bunch of marauders bursting into a room for the boss to take on. More often it was like a dance where I had to learn the steps on the fly when I could not hear the music and have a bandage across my eyes.

    Lord knows watching a video on a fight or reading about it was near worthless to me. The information is there and I have a very high reading comprehension rate (probably MUCH less so for watching all the details in a video) but until I did the new dance repeatedly, it would not sink into my muscle memory where it needs to be. What I really hated was I would generally get the fight down and do my part of it correctly time and again only to fail because others are/were behind me on the learning curve.

    I do agree with you on always always always be trying to improve. Always be adjusting things, slightly or greatly, to try to get a better results. Just give me a pure DPS check fight however if you want me to be entertained.

    I suppose the only fight I ever encountered that was mostly a stand and deliver fight that I could not get right was Ultraxion in Dragon Soul. And if my memory serves, as a group we finally decided my lag was the issue on it more than anything else. Also we found a work around on it by having another person use vent to let me know in advance to fade out of the fight. Then I could do it. Without that help, it weren't happening.

    You have no idea of how much I hated that I was being a liability on it, but otherwise in DS and all the previous raids I have been in, a stand and fight encounter was my preferred cup of tea.

    1. You would hate tortos then, so many new people I have got there and they all but wanted to quit after spending the entire fight being thrown in the air or running. It is a nightmare on healers even more so because one wrong move and you get caught in a bad place and everyone is dead.

      All that, and it is completely and totally random. There is no way to actually get better at it. Or learn to avoid stuff. It is 100% reaction only. For a great deal of players, more so new ones, it is hell.

      Yeh, your lag was the issue because you were hearing the countdown to late. I really dislike fights that make it harder on some people because of something they do not have any control over. Like that fight with your connection or the durmmu fight with my color blindness. Heck, they even have a phase in the fight called the color blind phase. How messed up is that. They should never have anything, at least in normal, that can hurt peoples game play through no fault of their own.

  4. I think a key component of what makes some fights harder for some people is the the way that we learn. Everyone is different some people learn by visuals, some need to read, and some need to do (plus a few others) I myself am a learn by doing person which makes leading raids hard. I have to put in a lot of extra effort. Part of leading a raid tho is knowing your team and how they learn and helping them to learn :)

    1. Our tank is like that. He is great at doing extensive research. He knows everything about the fight, tips and tricks he can do, if he needs to change glyphs, where he needs to stand, how and when to use cooldowns, etc.

      But when we pull, he messes up. It takes him a bit longer to learn. Like the circle things on the first boss in HoF. He died at least 20 times on that when everyone else had it perfect by attempt 5 or 6 at most. Or the rotation for a paladin tank to solo tank and lot of the bosses with BoP, something that is simple really but it takes him at least a dozen tries.

      But once he gets it, he got it. He is golden and will never mess it up again. He needs to see it.

      I think we all, to some degree, need to see it to do it. I know I can read and watch and usually pick up some mechanic in two or three pulls at most. But my DPS does go up considerable from first attempt on. As soon as I hit that comfort zone I can start making sure I am hitting my buttons in the right order.

    2. I can't understand how he can still want to tank. Everyone expects me to never fail any type of dance. Not Emperors, not Vizier balls, not Durumu maze. I recall even the first time I did Heigan the Unclean, they put a star on my head and said 'follow the tank', even though I had never done it before. That's what tanks do, do things right and people follow them. I don't know, I feel really really bad when I fail people. Even with everyone's support... I don't know, I don't think I could take wipe-ing people too much.

    3. He likes doing it and over all he is very good at it. If someone enjoys what they do I say they are better off doing it. He just takes a little longer to catch things than others do.

      Sure, it is frustrating sometimes, but others need to learn too. And as long as he is learning with others it usually is not a problem because everyone is making mistakes.

      I would say there are only three people on my raid team that usually get something right the first time they do it. Myself being one of them which is usually why it is not such a bad thing when I end up tanking.

      Tanking, as you know, is different than any other role and it needs a specific type of person to do it. He has that personality and knowing how nearly impossible it is to find tanks I am glad to have him. He might take a bit longer to learn it, but he does, and that is all that matters.

    4. Yeah, that's a great point, Tiggi... and most raids have people of various types. Personally, I like to go in with minimal info, in large part because whatever strategy the Tankspot folks use probably isn't one that'll work for my significantly inferior group and it's hard to unlearn the first strategy you study.

      I'll read up on key mechanics before a fight (basically, what'll kill you and any tricks required (passing debuffs between players, stack/spread mechanics, etc) but generally won't watch video. My first pull is usually more about surviving than doing dps (and if I had my way, my group would put their weapons away on a first pull that doesn't involve phases based on damage and focus EXCLUSIVELY on the mechanics, whatever they are... running a maze, avoiding effects, dropping puddles, dispelling at specific times, tank swaps, etc).

      I would have also said that everyone dies on the Durumu maze first time in (I've died to it, technically, twice, first time in on LFR when I couldn't find a path (pre-changes) and once on normal where I apparently got hit by the beam despite not being hit by the beam... lag, maybe) but a tank buddy recently did it in LFR for the first time and I don't think he took a single tick of damage from Eye Sores. He's good but until that moment I don't think I've been giving him quite enough credit.

      @James, tanks only carry that level of expectation if they've earned it (I'm trying to make that a positive). The group is likely aware that this particular tank takes 20 pulls to learn a dance so they wouldn't have that same level of expectation. You wouldn't want him filling in for you on a progression night, though. :)

    5. I often tell people the same thing you say on early pulls, even more so if they have any issues. Don't DPS, just do. Lets see how long we can survive. learn how to do that and then we can down the boss.

      Like you said, most raids will do it different from what they see on the video. I know mine does. We have to work with the team we have and sometimes that means things that are completely different than the video.

      When we grab a pug it is always "that is not the way we do it" and I say, politely of course, "I don't care how you do it, this is how we do it, is that going to be a problem?"

      If it is a farm boss what the video says means nothing. We do it our way and move on.

      Anon is right with that. We all know the tank takes a little time to learn and we are all cool with that. He has earned that right by being there for every raid for 3 years and only missing one because of a birth. In the day and age that we go through tanks like tissue paper I do not mind wiping a few times while he learns and neither does anyone else in the group.

      Just like some tanks earn the expectation that they will know it from the start he had earned the respect of the player they run with him that we are willing to learn with him.

      With that said, I would not want to bring him in if it were something new to him that we all knew because we would need to relearn with him as he is usually not a quick learner. But the same could be said for everyone. I've bought in damage dealers and healers on fights we down easy and watched them manage messing up things I did not even knew could be messed up. No one ever likes people coming from behind, so to speak. As long as he is moving with us, we are fine.

  5. On a personal not I sort fights as 3 types :

    -Pure "number" fight (Ultraxion , Jinrokh normal, Mageara)

    -Mechanic fight (Animus, Lei shen, Ji kun)

    -More "hybrid fights".

    I'll explain the last one a bit, those are fight were you can power through mechanics with gear but can't really totally ignore them as well. Horridon fall in this : you can't ignore adds, but better gear will help you handle them easily.

    The hardest for me (and my team) are those fight, the easiest are the mechanics fight.

    Example in ToT : we took quite a long time on horridon, had some trouble on tortos, and then it was a walk in the park.

    I think we got ANimus down in like 15 attempts.

    1. It was the same for us, those two bosses were a road block but the rest of the raid was rather simple.

      Hybrid fights can be the worst sometimes.