Monday, January 14, 2013

Building a Raid: Raiding and Guild Membership Principles

Principle 1:
 Raid teams tend to be hosted by guilds, and players who wish to raid tend to gravitate toward guilds that provide raiding opportunities.

  One would be denying the most basic aspect of the raiding community in Warcraft to disagree with the above. I welcome any proof to the contrary. Please, prove me wrong. Seriously.

  Given that assumption, I propose two more principles that compete with it:

Principle 2:
 The Guild is not the Raid and the Raid is not the Guild.

Principle 3:
 Guild membership is a player choice, made in concert with other priorities.

  I will expound on each of these, to be clear on what I mean.

The Guild is not the Raid

  Warcraft guilds unite around a common set of acceptable behavior. That behavior varies, so you have some guilds advertising "Be mature" and others saying "Anything goes". Level and gear doesn't matter, so long as you don't break the rules. This is a natural part of gameplay, and it allows the game to cater to us all in our own way.

  However, when a raid team starts to form, additional rules begin to apply. Gear is checked for readiness, and performance is evaluated. Availability and attendance is taken into account. Stricter requirements form.

The Raid is not the Guild

  Players that do not fit the guild's rules may sometimes be allowed in the raid. For example, foul language may be banned in guild chat. If a raid member does not use foul language in guild chat, but does in raid chat, or over Vent, a double standard is apparent.

  This apparent hypocrisy brings to light the difference between the Raid and the Guild. They are two social circles that tend to overlap, but both have separate requirements.

Guild Membership is a Player Choice

 No one else can tell a player what to do with the time they pay for. "It's my $15 a month" is the phrase that best represents the attitude I'm alluding to. Pressuring another player to change allegiance based on a single aspect of gameplay, be it raiding, PvP, whatever, is ineffective in the long run, and does not instill true loyalty.

Made in Concert With Other Priorities

  Players do tend to flock towards guilds that provide the gaming opportunities that are in their interest. However, those interests may be in conflict. The stereotypical "No-lifer" with full availability, who can devote 40+ hours a week toward any given goal is just not common enough to be a realistic stereotype. Players are also people, with real lives, often a job, relationships, even other hobbies.

  The most hardcore of guilds take these factors into account, and casual guilds tend to cater to such factors. In the middle seem to be a group of people who aspire to be "hardcore" yet they fail to recognize these factors. With such "hardcore" players, such things as having a job, a significant other, child, or pet, another hobby, or even a properly functioning digestive tract that needs occasional attention brands a player as "casual." Loremaster is "casual." Exploring is "casual." Fishing is "casual." Gradually leveling an alt is "casual." Doing old content is "casual." Anything outside their specific, personal goal is "casual."

  Different players have different goals, and they must be accounted for. If enough available player's goals are aligned with a given group's requirements, have fun storming the castle. If there are not enough available players meeting such requirements, perhaps the requirements should change.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Building a Raid: Slots and Buff/Debuff Optimization

I've been considering starting a raid team, so this post and a few to follow are my opinions on how a raid should be established and managed. My intention is to have a page I can point people to so they know what to expect, and to make myself open to constructive criticism on the record. I welcome any advice.

Ideal 10 Man Raid Composition:

  1. Tank
  2. Tank/DPS
  3. Healer
  4. Healer
  5. Healer/DPS
  6. DPS
  7. DPS
  8. DPS
  9. DPS/Tank
  10. DPS/Healer

Ideal Tank Team:

Two tanks who know what they're doing. 1 tank must have a DPS off-spec. While it might be ideal having 1 Plate and 1 Leather wearing tank, gear competition takes backseat to having two tanks that work well together.

Ideal Healer Team Composition:
  • Pally or Disc Priest (Absorbs based) - Tank Healer
  • Shaman or Monk (Synergy/Utility) - Tank and/or Raid Healer
  • Druid or Holy Priest (HoT/AoE based) - Raid Healer
Effective performance takes precedence over class/spec preference.
1 healer is greatly desired to have a DPS off-spec, increasingly so with progression.
For fights where one tank takes damage at a time, use one healer on tanks, two on raid.
For fights where both tanks take damage simultaneously, use 1 healer on each tank with overlap between them.
Healer assignments are priorities. All healers heal all raiders, prioritizing their assignments.
I don't know much about Monks other than what I've read on EJ, Noxxic, Icy-Veins, and WoW Insider.

Ideal DPS composition:
  • Competent DPS that stays out of fire.
Seriously, that's it. I'll take 3 Locks and 2 Rogues that get it done over an ideal balance of specs that fails.

Having 1 DPS each with a tank and healing off-spec will greatly reduce raid delays or cancellations, but should not be required of DPS who don't wish to fill those roles.

Buff/Debuff Optimization:

Player performance comes before class consideration by far. This information is to help optimize any given group composition, not to guide recruiting.

Hunters should be prepared to bring a pet that has a buff/debuff otherwise missing from raid composition. A handy Flowchart can help.

TL;DR (BM only/all specs):

Core Hound>Quilen>5% Stats>Mastery>5% Crit>10% Stamina>assess caster/melee balance>
Caster Heavy: 10% Spell Power>8% Magic Damage>10% Physical Haste>4% Physical Vunerability>12% Weakened Armor
Melee Heavy: 10% Physical Haste>4% Physical Vunerability>12% Weakened Armor>10% Spell Power>8% Magic Damage

10% Attack Power
10% Physical Haste
5% Increased stats
5% Critical bonus
10% Spell Power
5% Spell Haste
10% Stamina

Given the popularity of both Hunters and DK's, 10% AP is not a problem

10% Physical Haste is likely to be covered, but should be checked for.

5% Stats will almost certainly be covered. If there is no Druid, Pally, or Monk, that is a strange group comp indeed.

5% Crit should be checked for.

Mastery is likely be covered.

10% Spell Power likely to be covered.

5% Spell Haste should especially be checked for, since only 3 specs bring it.

Weakened Armor
Effect: -12% armor
Physical Vulnerability
Effect: +4% physical damage taken
Magic Vulnerability
Effect: +8% spell damage taken
Weakened Blows
Effect: -10% physical damage done.

Though Resto Druids can provide Weakened Armor, it's much preferable not to distract them. If there is no non-healing Druid, this should be provided by a Hunter before a Warrior or Rogue, unless another buff is needed as well..

If there is no Plate DPS, but there is a Hunter with a Rogue and/or Feral Druid, the Hunter should probably bring the Physical Vulnerability debuff, depending on group comp.

Magic Vulnerability is the moste likely debuff to be missing, as Warlocks and Rogues are less popular. If a raid is otherwise heavy on magic damage but missing these classes, a Hunter should provide this buff.

As all tanks bring Weakened Blows, this debuff is not a concern.