Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Min/Max, Skill, and Performance

Originally I was going to tie this article in with Cookie Cutter Builds, but I decided I wanted to do a completely separate article on it. This article is going to look at the differences between min/max, skill, and performance in raid situations and wipes.

Most all of us want to achieve the highest min/max we possibly can, whether looking at dps, hps, or tps. We want to strive to be the best so we go out and find what other people are using, or see what the computer says is best to do. We all know that is takes more than just the best gear and the best build to be the best player.

The best players have the ability to react and adapt to adversity. They are able to multitask and understand everything that is going on around them. They know all the bosses moves and what each of them means and how it effects them and the raid. If players come to raid prepared, know the fights, and the mechanics it can help themselves and the raid extremely.

Another thing is skill. We have all seen all the debated and jabber about the add on GearScore. We either love it or hate it. The phrase "GS does not equal skill" has been thrown around plenty. Skill comes into play in a variety of different manners. Knowing your classes mechanics is one of the biggest keys. If you don't know what things mean or do in your class then you need to take time out to research them. It could potentially hinder a raid. As I stated above, you need to be able to adapt to adversity. When that red circle is under your feet you need to know to run. If you are targeted by a bosses spell you need to know what to do. But, to be able to distinguish yourself from a good player to a great player you will need to know just how far to run and just how hard to need to go to a place when your targeted by a spell.

The last thing is performance, this can be anything from latency, distractions, or anything else that hinders performance. Latency is basically the reaction time between your computer and the server. There really isn't much you can do to combat latency issues. One thing you can do is to try and stay away from having open windows that use internet connection, this can free up space and allow your computer to be more responsive. Another thing, if your a serious raider is to try and limit distractions around you. If something happens around you and you have to look away from the monitor for a few seconds then something drastic could potentially happen. I don't mean this to sound like a "don't have a life" while raiding sort of mentality, but a boss fight is typically around 5-8 minutes or so. It shouldn't be hard to concentrate for that long.

I would like to changes directions now and talk about all of this and how it can affect wipes. Most of the time you will probably hear that dps simply needs to step it up and that if there were more dps then they wouldn't have wiped. In my opinion this is very rarely the case. The only time it can really be said that there wasn't enough dps is when absolutely everything goes right but you still hit the enrage timer.

To give you an example, my guild was doing Festergut in ICC. We had done the fight previously with all raiders. We had people calling out where spores needed to go. Everything went fine, no tanks died, no one missed spores or had to many spores. In the end, we had done everything right but missed by 1% do to the enrage timer. In this situation you can go back and look at who was struggling at dps to determine where the problem was. In that particular fight melee should be doing the most damage as they don't have to move at all unless 2 get a spore in the middle. Ranged have to run a bit due to spores so that will affect a little bit of their damage.

This isn't true for all fights though. A lot can go wrong during the fight such as a tank dying causing a bit of panic where dps might have to stop and the raid needs to quickly regroup. Another might be a dps dying, as they say, "you do 0 dps when you're dead." There have been plenty of times where you can look back on a wipe and say, "if player X wouldn't have died then we would have had enough damage to kill the boss." I would say the biggest reason raid groups wipe is simply lack of knowledge about the boss mechanics. If you know and understand what the boss does then you should be able to adapt to any situation. If players are able to adapt and regroup quickly then there is a high probability of killing that boss.

To sum up I would like to say that while it is good to min/max, it is not as important as knowing your class mechanics and how to use them to their fullest. Just because someone didn't get that 1% increase in dps talent doesn't mean that they are the reason that your raid didn't get the boss down that final 1%. Many other factors determine the cause of a wipe.

If people want to strive to be the best player they can they need to learn their class mechanics, come into fights knowing the mechanics they will be facing, avoid latency and distractions as much as possible, and be able to adapt and adjust to adversity. Late note, make sure you have fun. In the end it is just a game and if it gets to stressful just step away for a bit and regroup yourself.