The power of knowledge

Raiding Pains

This past week was an interesting one. First off I had to raid on Sunday on a laptop because I was at my company holiday party and a long ways away from my home desktop. It was amazing how much harder it was for me to see certain things with the blizzard UI. I had to drop my addons down to practically nothing so that my computer could handle the raiding environment. I was getting like 2 fps in ToTGC and that was not going to cut it for Putricide.

In the end, it was a painful night; we had quite a few new people in the raid, so Anub’arak was left up with 45 attempts because people sucked at kiting the spikes. One of our guildies put up a really funny youtube clip on our forums from Austin Powers where the guy dies to a Steam Roller. It basically summed up that encounter. The spikes are slow, and you get a BoP, how hard is it to just run to the patch and stand there. It wasn’t even that the new people were the sole source of bad play. We had people that have been there every week for the kill playing poorly, and there was just no excuse.

After ToTGC, we went into ICC to clear out our putricide attempts, and I am sad to report that the end of my night finished with my raid dead, me alive hacking away at the boss, one attempt remaining on the counter, and Putricide at 2%. Next week folks, next week…

Knowledge is power

On to the bread and butter of what I wanted to talk about today. This is not a topic of discussion that is exclusive to tanks, but it is one that I feel is more important for tanks to understand. So, once again I digress from theory craft, gear discussions, and thoughts of guild management to discuss something that every great player should be doing, but seldom maintain. I am talking about the power of knowledge, more specifically research, preparation, and understanding of mechanics.

We can specifically talk about the mechanics of fights, knowing what is coming so that you can be able to react, and be better for those first few nights of progression. Or, we can talk about a more general discussion of knowledge based off of class abilities, gearing strategies, and understanding of mechanics and statistics. However, in both cases this is what separates a good player from a great one. I know people that can pull 10k dps consistently, or can tank and hold great threat, but if you do not understand gearing philosophy, encounter mechanics, and general strategies, then you are not a great player, because knowing these things could make you that much better.

There are people with in my own guild, casuals, raiders, and officers alike, who do not play at the level that they should because they are not knowledgeable about these things. They think that at the level that we play, you can still log on, hop into a raid and hope for the best. Now while the demand on proper, prior preparation is more essential at the end game progression level for cutting edge guilds, it makes any player who is good, better.

Ignorance is not bliss; the intelligent suffer

Knowledge is the key to success. The more you know, the better prepared you are for the unknown, and the quicker you can react to dynamic conditions. I am astounded at some of our dps for not knowing the mechanics of a fight. I have heard responses such as:

I just have to sit back here and cast my spells, who cares what the boss does.

Now while I am confident in my assessment that this statement and mentality alone is not the reason that this raiders is one of our lowest performing on a daily basis, but the attitude in general is the main contributor to the lack of performance.  If you do not understand the most recent gearing philosophies, rotations of abilities and management of cool downs, then you are wasting the gear that your guild gives to you.

Exceptions to the rule

Now while these thoughts reach those of you who do not need to hear this, and fall on deaf ears to the ones who do, I still feel that it is an important topic to bring up given the push for progression that we are facing over the next few months. Almost everyone who reads this is already well versed in researching abilities, skills, and encounter mechanics. If you weren’t, you wouldn’t be reading a blog or MainTankadin, you would be online, gabbing away in trade chat that you have the highest gear score on your realm, but have 5 points in Divinity and none in judgements of the just.

We are the exceptions; we are the unique snowflakes that shoulder the responsibility and progression of our guilds.  I wanted to talk about this today because I had a conversation with a few of my guild mates that opened my eyes to the fact that even in very progressed guilds, there are people who don’t know their head from their ass. It started with our one of our very best dps talking about armor trinkets and how OP they are on a fight where there is quite a bit of magic damage.

It never dawned on me that people do not have the resources that we do at MainTankadin. The information is out there, but not for most. Tankspot is a great place to go for warrior theory crafting and boss strategies, however I feel that theck and our brain trust at MainTankadin goes a bit further when it comes to analysis.  It took me 15 minutes to explain why he was wrong, explain the new equations for effective health, and the role that armor plays in our damage mitigation.

This lead direction into one of our casuals talking about how much chill of the throne sucks and how he is now the worst tanking class. I almost choked on my drink, because he is a druid. I began to explain to him that he is sorely misinformed and that he is currently playing one of the best tanking classes in the game for progression, and that his effective health is greater than any other class when you take into account cooldowns. This is where it got down right scary (and the true ah-ha! Moment for why I wrote this thread). I started to tell him about the druid T10 four piece set bonus, its uptime percentages, and its ability to mitigate a substantial amount of damage.

He replied: oh, well what is my T10 four piece set bonus? Well that’s just 12% that’s nothing.

For those of you who only play a paladin and missed my discussion on 4 piece set bonuses, here is a link to the blog post where I outlined why druids are king of the mountain when it comes to effective health and being able to take the hits like a champ. This guy didn’t even know what his own set bonus was, or why it was so important, or that he had two stacking cool downs that were both on a 1 minute timer, or that he had a 20% uptime of a 32% damage reduction, making him more powerful at taking a hit than any other tanks in the game.

The moral of the Story

As most of you know, research and discussion of mechanics, abilities, and rotations is important to your ability to play the game to the best of your abilities. What I learned last night is that, while I am a contributor to the paladin tanking community and the blogosphere, where many people may consider me an expert in gearing philosophy and tanking, my own guild was not receiving the same level of information. How can I love teaching complete strangers and not teach my own guild mates. So I leave you with a final thought:

While most people in your guild will probably get tired of your theory and discussion if you are as active in gchat as you are on forums and blogs, the occasional educational session will benefit your guilds greatly.


15 Responses to “The power of knowledge”

  1. 1 Tonab Shin
    January 12, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    Great post, as always I had to link this in a quote to the guild forums, but this time it went to the members section. The only way forward is to roll with the times, things constantly change which is what makes this such a great interesting game to play.

  2. 2 Selyndia
    January 12, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    Your post struck a huge chord with me… I’ve had the arguments constantly with both members and nonmembers about being at least remotely prepared. Are we great in progression? Not really. We haven’t downed Anub in ToGC 25 and we didn’t down Putricide (But we did get Rotface and Festergut at least) but it’s something I’ve seen in all levels, between the guild just attempting to break into raiding, or the ones that are doing the server firsts.

    I’ve had some conversations with several back and forth recently (The EH formulas were a good source, and we’ve been discussing the various ICC level trinkets comparing the armor/stam/effect and what bosses they would be good on, and why), I’ve also had situations where I’ve wished there was a button in vent that allowed me to send electrical shocks through members indiscriminately for being god damn idiotic and wasting time.

    Every time I have an officer completely zone out on boss assignments and ask for me to give them to them in officer chat, or that I’ll go through research the bosses BEFORE they are released, post up all the boss abilities and general strats to be adjusted to find that half of even the officers, and the guild leader never even bothered to look at the post, let alone discuss it. And every time I try and explain something to be mocked by an officer for droning on, I want to send electricity through their god damned skull.

    I am a large proponent of leading by example. If you want your members to research the fights, or read the threads, or participate in a theory crafting discussion, then you need to have your officers do that too. And when they blow it off, it leads your members into a “Well, XXX doesn’t do it, why should I?” The difference between what I do, and what I try and do, and what others do is so striking it sometimes just makes me think that staring at a wall for 3 hours might be a better use of my time.

  3. January 12, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    That’s a thought-provoking post.
    Your examples of guild members, members of a serious raiding guild, not knowing some of those facts, is strange indeed. On one hand, it’s hard to find the knowledge. Take your own superb blog for example, which has some navigation on the side and a search feature, but if I wanted to look for your specific opinion on say the best tanking seal, it’d be hard. Maybe we look at the whole internet. Multiply that by so many google results, and so on. It’s kind of hard to find answers from people who’s opinion you trust. If Theck says something related to numbers, I trust it. I tried to google a “boomkin best levelling spec 3.3” and had trouble.

    So knowledge has barriers to entry. It takes a certain personality type to seek knowledge.

    I think the best thing for the broad community is well-written sticky posts or reference guides, which are also easy to find. I think I’ve failed on this matter too, even though I try to make my stuff easier to find in my little corner of the tanking world, it’s still not good enough.

    This post is great food for thought.

    Another writer on a similar topic wrote about how numbers don’t matter so much anymore, over here

    • 4 Wrathy
      January 13, 2010 at 8:33 am

      While I agree with the post that you linked from a broad stand point, I do not think that any of the progression tanks theorycraft any less now than they did in previous expansions. It is still essential for us to know how to squeak out every last point to survive the burst damage when you do not overgear hard mode encounters.

  4. January 12, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    Oh, here’s some analysis on the Organ trinket too, as another example of good analysis that’d be hard to find (if you weren’t a blog reader).

  5. January 12, 2010 at 5:59 pm

    When I read that quote about the 12% bonus from your guildie I, literally, grabbed my monitor and started shaking it and screaming.

    And yeah, this is why I posted on MTadin asking if anyone knew of a Shaman place which had a similar atmosphere to MTadin for my girlfriend, because I just couldn’t find one. There seems to be so few places like this and it really makes me glad that it exists. It’s one of my online homes.

  6. 10 UFTimmy
    January 13, 2010 at 10:10 am

    This is something I have begun noticing more and more, as well. The gap between those who really try to learn about their class, the game, fights, mechanics, etc, and those who are just there to play.

    There’s no wrong or right way to play, but I think we can all get into our own little cocoon where we assume everyone plays the same way we do. And that’s just so not true. Even in a guild, like mine, where we’re all very close and have very similar goals in game.

  7. 11 Sapria
    January 13, 2010 at 11:12 am

    Great post Wrathy!

  8. January 13, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    This is a really great post and really sorry my comment I wrote out didnt get posted. I was reading this post like around 3am while I was at work on my IPhone and had low signal on my Phone when i wrote a comment long response and it got lost in interspace posting the response when the page wouldnt update.

    But a great piece and its something I think about allot and hopefully I get to write something follow up to it at some point when I have more time.

  9. January 13, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    I really enjoyed this post wrathy, nice work!

    I’ve been meaning to touch on this subject, mainly because one night an assination rogue in a ToGC did not realize that he was to be using Wound poison in certain fights… that it would be better for the raid. He was truly shocked to realize that Anub healed in the fight… It’s for moments like these that I ever thought he did well in some of our runs (because he wasn’t horrible).

    As was stated above by UFTimmy, there is a large difference between those who are here to just play, and think they deserve to kill bosses; And those who understand their class and mechanics, then decide they will kill bosses. It’s amazing to me that those who are there to just play, have some sense of entitlement to kill the bosses when I spend a small bit of effort over a long period of time to stay current with game mechanics and class mechanics.

    Sadly I consider that if all of those in a raid were to decide to be informed about bosses and understand their own class (not even be the best of the best at executing their abilities, just a pure level of understanding) how much more success and fewer wipes I know my guild’s raids would have.

  10. January 13, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    ….So did you find a similar resource to MTadin for shamans or even remotely comparable? My alt and the character I intend to play when giving someone else a shot at a tanking spot from time to time is a shaman, but I feel like a babe in the woods with her compared to the tankadin.

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