Raid Leading 101: 10 vs 25

Probably as old as when Burning Crusade launched is the discussion of 10man vs 25man. The jump from 40man to 25man jolted a lot of raiders and caused the collapse of several teams. Raid teams started out in 10-man Karazhan, which geared them to enter the 25-mans until the end of the expansion (Gruul’s Lair, Magtheridon’s Lair, Serpentshrine Cavern, Tempest Keep, Black Temple, Sunwell Plateau), with a 10man Zul’Aman thrown in for flavor.

From what I saw, there was a stigma that 10mans were inferior to 25man. 25man Raid Leaders were thought of as more commanding and needed more control over their team, whereas 10man Raid Leaders didn’t have as much responsibility. The only way to get any decent gear in Burning Crusade was to run 25man raids. Legendaries were obtained only in the greater of the two. The end result was people preferring 25mans over 10mans, even lasting into Wrath of the Lich King. Anyone else remember needing to get into 25-man Trial of the Crusader to get a decent trinket at the time?

However, with Cataclysm, the tables have shifted toward more balance. With the changes that Blizzard implemented, there is less pressure on needing to raid a certain size. Let’s take a look at the pro’s and con’s (as I’ve seen it).

25-man

  • More likely to have every raid buff due to a larger raid.
  • Raiders of the same class can feel more free to tweak their specs.
  • More forgiving to players that may be a little “sub-par”.
  • Battles have a more “epic” feel with a bigger raid.
  • More players = wealth of opinions in strategizing fights.
  • Three in-combat resurrections allowed per fight.
  • Raid competition may not be as crucial (melee vs ranged).
  • ————————————
  • Maintaining control over a bigger group.
  • More standby’s may be needed.
  • More people may equal conflicting egos/personalities.
  • Possible to run into scheduling difficulties.
  • Harder to start up from scratch.
  • Easier for people to slightly slack at times.
  • More officers may be needed.

10-man

  • Usually tighter-knit group.
  • Easier to start up from scratch.
  • More responsibility on each player.
  • Possible to have one of each class (very little gear competition).
  • Fewer standby’s may be needed.
  • Fewer officers or leaders needed.
  • ——————————–
  • Less input for fight strategies.
  • With fewer people, the fights may feel “less epic”.
  • More responsibility on each player.
  • Less room for error.
  • One in-combat resurrection available per fight.
  • Possible to miss certain raid buffs because of limited raiders.
  • Less room for error because of fewer players.
  • Raid composition may matter more (melee vs ranged).

The Choice is Yours

When you’re deciding on which side to go with, keep all of these things in mind. Some of the pro’s and con’s are the same. “More responsibility for each player” may be a good thing for your team or it may not be. You and your team are going to weigh these points differently, and that’s perfectly fine. It all goes back to what you want out of your team. Maybe you want the “epic feel” of 25man and don’t mind dealing with more people/schedules. Perhaps you like less gear competition but don’t mind putting more responsibility on each individual raider.

Remember, the same ilevel gear drops off of 10man vs 25man, so that’s no longer a factor. More gear drops on 25-man than on 10-man to even the scale. Also, Blizzard is still working on balancing the difficulty of the raid sizes, so one doesn’t feel noticeably harder than the other. Personally, I feel this is hard to achieve, but I’m fine with them getting it as close as they can.

As for me, we’ve decided on 10-man since the beginning. I don’t want to put in the extra effort needed to wrangle 24 other players, and we like the greater responsibility placed on each raider. We may not have that “epic” feel because we prefer a more intimate raiding environment. It’s not that I don’t enjoy 25man raiding, but I prefer 10man.

What about you and your team? Have you already made a decision? Are you split? What other pro’s and con’s can you add to the above list?

 

How to Melee DPS Without Making Healers Cry

This is a guest post by Shazrad of Zul’jin. One of the best players I’ve ever had the pleasure of raiding with. ~Lodur

As DPS it’s our job to do as much DPS as possible.  We can’t do that if we can’t stay alive. We can’t do that if we are irritating our healers to the point that they think it would be more mana efficient to res us rather than heal us. In truth, nothing irritates healers and raid leaders more than DPS who have little or no situational awareness.  With that said lets break things down a bit.

To start with let’s break down what DPS really is. I know what some readers are thinking.  “DPS means DAMAGE PER SECOND dummy!” I’m sorry but you are wrong.

It stands for this:

  1. Don’t stand in things that damage you
  2. Placement, placement and placement
  3. Stay alive

Any raid leader will tell you I am right.

Matt’s notes: He’s right.

Those 3 things are the most common obstacles that melee DPS face. Your rotation can be perfect. Your spells can be up without missing a beat. Yet if you fail in any of those 3 areas you become useless to your raid. In order to help you better understand what each item means I will break them down for you.

  • Don’t stand in things that damage you - This sounds easy. I guarantee you that almost every raid leader will agree that standing in fire/defile/desecrate/ (insert random boss ability here) causes 90 % of raid DPS deaths. Standing in things that damage does not just mean health dropping. Some things cause your attacks to slow, some cause you to miss more often and so on and so forth. There are rare occasions where standing in something will give you a DPS boost. Those instances are so rare, it’s best to just not stand in anything that appears on the floor during a boss fight. If you’re not sure, ask. No good raid leader will be mad at you for asking but you can bet that you will hear it if you don’t ask and die repeatedly to the same thing when all you really need to do is move.
  • Placement, placement and placement – Where you stand is just as important as where you shouldn’t stand. This typically means that unless told otherwise melee stands BEHIND the target, casters stand off to the side or behind the target. DPS who stand in front of the target are dealing with cleaves, parry, and everything else the tank is dealing with. It’s not somewhere you want to be on most fights. Always know where you need to be and be there and you will be loved by all. (Disclaimer: I probably still won’t love you I’m anti love unless you’re a chicken salad sandwich.)
  • Stay Alive – No matter what you must live. Dead DPS is not DPS; it’s a corpse. Corpses (unless you’re a ghoul) sit there and rot. So do whatever you have to do to NOT die.

If you can do these three things you are already a step ahead of the game.

Tips and Tricks:

In this section I will go over some basic things that will help you survive.

  • Keyboard Turning – Its bad! Do not do it. Keyboard turning is using your arrow or A and S keys to turn. This method of turning is to slow. Instead use your mouse to turn. Right click your mouse and move it to the left or right. It’s about 100000 times faster. Keyboard turning is just too slow for raiding. The abilities that bosses throw when you need to turn and burn hit so hard that if you keyboard turn you will most likely die. Dead characters are useless.
  • Jumping out of Damage – Its bad do NOT do it. Jumping in World of Warcraft is not like jumping in the real world. When you jump the game records your position. When you land it updates your position. So when you jump out of damage the game registers you in the damage until you land. In most cases your jump is farther than you actually need to go. This means you are taking damage the entire time you are in the air. It’s bad. Don’t do it.
  • Strafing – Is useful. When fighting most bosses they have a tendency to throw stuff right at your feet. Try to get in the habit of strafing left and right to move out of the damage. Moving this way is easier and faster than turning and moving.
  • Zoom Out – Zoom your camera out as far as you can. This allows you to not only see what you are doing but you can also see what’s going on around you. Knowing what’s going on in a fight is the key to winning.
  • Situational Awareness – Without this you might as well go back to soloing Dead Mines. Get yourself a good boss mod. Set it up so that the information it provides is easy for you to see. I try and keep all my important alerts right around my character. This way my eyes are always on what my character is doing. Try to avoid sticking it way off in a corner somewhere. With it up there you are having to constantly take your eyes off the action.  Also make sure you enable the audio alerts. These sounds will draw your attention to important details even if you’re focused on something else.
  • Stay Behind – Unless your raid leader tells you to specifically stay in front of a boss attack from behind. Attacking from the front causes you to miss more often (except in certain special boss fights).  Bosses also often have cleaves and other nasty effects that will usually kill you in a single hit.
  • Ask Questions – Do not be afraid to ask your raid leader a question. I know this is cliché but “There are no stupid questions unless you don’t ask them.” So ask. Even if you have asked before. Do not go into an encounter with a question. Unasked questions are the same thing as not knowing what to do. You will likely die or even worse you may wipe the entire raid out because you didn’t know what to do and didn’t have the guts to speak up.
  • Get Some Mods – There are plenty of mods out there that will help you with every aspect of a raid. Mods like Power Auras Classic and GTFO can be set up to let you know when you are taking damage. Deadly Boss Mods and Big Wigs are extremely good at letting you know when to move. These are just a few examples of mods that can help you know when to move.

Final Thoughts:

In closing there are three things I would like to stress:

  1. Anything on the floor be it fire, funky red glowing circles or a big fluffy blue line is probably bad. Get out of it unless your raid leader says to stand in it.
  2. Know the fight before you start the fight. Watch a video, read a strategy, ASK YOUR RAID LEADER! Know when to move.  Don’t be that guy…
  3. STAY ALIVE NO MATTER WHAT. If you die you are useless to the raid.
Healer DPS: The Good, The Bad, The Unfair

Healer DPS: The Good, The Bad, The Unfair

good-bad-ugly1

The boss looms before you.  Psh!  Boss?  More like pansy!  You’ve worked on this guy for a whileand are just not yet on farm status.  You look at your raid frames and see that everyone seems to be taking minimal damage.  The tank is taking slight damage, but it’s nothing like the early days of learning Patchwerk.  Your mana bar is moderately full, everyone seems to have everything under control.  Your finger hovers over Smite/Lightning Bolt/Wrath/Holy Shock.

You start pressing.

In a very broad sense, this makes my skin crawl.  The hairs stand up on the back of my neck.  My ears start to bleed and my eyes start to fog over.  Okay, maybe it’s not that dramatic, but it certainly ignites a chain reaction.  Basically, a little bit of my soul dies.

The Good

There’s always a reason to need some extra DPS from the healers.  I usually only do this at the request of the raid leader.  He/She (He, in my case) is running the show.  I try to keep cycling Shadow Word: Pain on the boss when I can.  As Holy, I can use my Surge of Light proc to throw a quick Smite here or there. 

When working on Heartbreaker, I usually expect to stop healing, pop cooldowns, and Smite until that heart is dead.  Unless the raid is overgeared for the encounter, this is usually how I’ve seen it done.

Any fight that has a small “add” (Loatheb Spore, for example), it’s not detrimental to help the dps down it quick.  It usually requires minimal mana, and can help get the benefit to the raid quicker. 

If you’re running up against any kind of enrage timer, there may be a point when a little nudge from you could make the difference. 

Notice that I said, “a little nudge”.  The emphasis is on the word “nudge”.

 

The Bad

There’s a point when it becomes excessive.  If you find yourself DPSing to a point where you’re making a significant effort to damage the boss, then that’swhere I start to have issue with it.  I’ve seen it happen a number of times.  Thankfully, I’ve only seen this happen in PUGs.  I would really have a tough time in a guild where I continually heal alongside that kind of “healer”.

If you’re paired with someone else to heal a target or many targets, your shift into DPS mode then places responsibility of your original healing job solely on the other healer.  I have little faith that most “DPS Healers” will keep an eye on their original assignment if they choose to DPS instead.  Imagine carrying a TV up a flight of stairs with someone else.  Maybe they could feasibly handle it alone, but it makes it easier if you’re there to help out.

If you’re expending all that mana to do maybe a third of what the other DPS classes are doing, what are you going to do if something unforeseen happens and you have to go into overdrive healing mode?  Someone accidentally gets caught in a cleave, or another healer gets bombarded by too many of the wrong orb on Twins.  We all know accidents happen.  A raid’s strength is measured by it’s adaptability.  If you’re not capable of helping out when it’s needed most, then you’re not doing your job.

In my eyes, you’re running the risk of being disrespectful to the other healers in your raid.

The Unfair

Let’s say that you get through the encounter okay. Let’s say everyone’s alive at the end.  A key healing piece drops that everyone has been vying for.  You roll/bid on it?  In my opinion: No.  You just spent a majority of the fight DPSing the boss while the other healers did the healing work, right?  Why should we reward a player who didn’t do what they were supposed to do?  It’s like giving a raise to the guy in the office who sits on his computer checking Facebook all day. 

If you find yourself in raids consistently where your healing is not needed, then let a DPS class go in and take your place.  You’re essentially taking the raid spot of a player who can do what you want to do, but he/she can do it better.  If you’re determined to keep along your path, then re-spec/re-gear/re-gem into a DPS spec.  Healing has times of being slow.  It’s the nature of the beast.  If you’d much rather snipe some damage instead of heal, then guess what?  You’re not a healer.  You’re a DPS.  And as a DPS, you’re not specced or geared right.

Some fights may require more healers than others.  Dual spec is a fantastic thing.  Make your off-spec a solid DPS spec, complete with proper gear.  When you know a fight’s coming up where your heals aren’t needed, recommend to the raid leader that you switch into your DPS gear.  If you find yourself in your DPS spec more than your healing spec, it’s time to consider changing your “main spec”.  I would be significantly upset if someone was getting healing gear over me, although they DPS’d more than they healed.  Would you give awesome tanking gear (an upgrade for the main tank) to the 2nd off-tank who only tanks for 1-2 fights each night?

Is “Healer DPS” taboo?  Yes.  Why?  Because in the eyes of this Discipline Priest, you shouldn’t do it unless the raid leader calls for it.  Remember, raiding is a team sport.  Maybe you need to take a step back and figure out which part of the team you really want to be on.

ThespiusSig

Email: Elder.Thespius@gmail.com | Twitter: @Thespius

 

Encouraging Raiders to Sign Up and Why

For a list of suggested add-ons or web scripts regarding raid signups, scroll down.

This is a problem that’s plagued many Guilds. Many members are simply too lazy to sign for raids. I’ve found it very frustrating as a former Officer. I know other Guilds who are suffering from the same problem. It makes my life easier if I know who is going to show for sure and who isn’t.

Let’s take a step back for a moment. Why is it necessary for people to sign up to raid?

Answer: Having Raid signups allows the leadership to determine who will show up for sure and who will not be. I would like to know what kind of assets I have available going into a Raid. I guarantee that all of us have been in a situation where our raid comes to a halt (or doesn’t even get underway) because we’re missing a certain class. Then we spend the next hour trying to find a pickup player. Then we wipe twice on a boss. Then we call it a night. It would be nice to know before hand what players will be there and what needs to be there. With information like that, arrangements can be made in advance to look for other players to fill that void.

On the other hand, I’ve heard of various reasons as to why people don’t sign up. It goes something like this:

“I can’t figure out how to use it.”

“It’s broken. I get some kind of an error.”

“I don’t want to download that add-on.”

I think that just about summarizes almost all of the excuses I have heard in the past. As leadership people, the onus is on us to show them how to operate the tools that they need. The methods you have chosen for signups will be narrowed to one of two methods: Either it’s an in-game addon or some webpage based script. I guess forums can be used, but that’s amazingly tedious.

Enforcing Signups

Now you’ve determined the method which your Guild will use to sign up. The only obstacle in the way is people’s willpower and the laziness factor. Three years and $10000 on tuition has told me that people will take the easiest route to perform an action. Why? Because everyone is inherently lazy. We’re not going to do anymore work then is required. But if we have to work for it, there damn well better be an incentive.

Let’s take a page from Skinner and look at the concept of reinforcement. There’s several ways we can influence people to sign up.

Positive reinforcement: If your Guild utilizes DKP, you can consider giving 0.5 DKP or some other arbitrary number to those who sign up and show up early. But do that only if both conditions are met. This may require additional work on the part of your number cruncher. Not the best idea but not the worse since it involves additional work. Let’s take everyone into account here and don’t forget about the guy who does the DKP who has a degree in science, mathematics, or engineering (or accounting). On a side note, power to YOU DKP guy! You deserve a raise or a beer for having to handle that kind of stress and responsibility. I salute you!

Negative punishment: Players who signup have first priority over loot (okay, so it punishes the guys who don’t sign up). The guys that don’t signup, even if they have more DKP, are forced to wait in line. Carnage utilizes this system well. I recall this precedent being set and followed twice while I’ve been with them so far.

Don’t ask about the psych terms. I learn better if I can apply these principles in real life (or virtual in this case). =)

Next question: What if I’m not sure if I can make the raid? Should I sign up anyway? I know I’ll be late, too!

Yes, sign up anyway. Leave a note explaining your circumstances. Maybe you might need to work overtime. But there is always an off chance that you can make it home in time for a raid. Maybe you live in LA and for some reason the freeway isn’t tied up with traffic or something (Hey, it’s possible!)

Addons and Scripts for Signups

Check out the following links. They just might provide the solution you need if you’re wondering what kind of sign up interface to use. I’ve used most of these at some point during my career. Personally, I favor web based signups because of convenience.

Web Based

phpRaider: This is Carnage’s interface of choice. Actually, we use a slightly dated version. But it still works.

Features (direct from the site)

  • Support for any number of classes, races, and class/race combinations.
  • Support for any MMORPG game.
  • Support for any number of attributes assigned to character profiles such as resistances, damage abilities, talents, and more!
  • Raids are arranged in an easy to view calendar format showing only pertinent information. When clicked, a detailed list of class signups and raid information become available.
  • Post announcements for your members to see.
  • Create any number of characters for each user profile.
  • Extensive permission settings allow you to customize who has access to what features of phpRaider.
  • Ability to signup for multiple raids and create recurring raids.
  • Completely free to use!
  • Much, much more…

Requirements

phpRaider requires a web server (IIS, Apache, etc), a MySQL database (4.0 or higher), PHP (4.0 or higher), and a minimal knowledge of software installation.

RaidNinja: This is an alternative to the above. I remember installing this months ago and I scrapped it for a certain reason. I can’t remember what exactly, but I do believe it was technical. It’s last update was on August 9th and is sitting on version 2.0. I think I might have to install this later on my server and see how well it is. Here’s a sample of what it looks like.

Addons

Guild Event Manager: Looks good in theory. It’s an in-game addon which allows players to signup without the hassles of having to make an account online and such. Events are made in game via a private channel with a password so only your members will have access to the schedules and such. The Guild Leader doesn’t need to be online for this to work. Don’t ask me how or why it works, but that’s the theory behind it.

I’ve never used this addon extensively. I tested it with other people to see if it could fit with our needs (HI JOSH). But, the trials didn’t last very long (partly because our Guild didn’t last very long). At the time, it was easy to use and had lots of features. Now I’ve read mixed reviews about it (mostly on the WoW forums) but the latest version came out on the 30th (2.27).

Group Calendar: Here is another promising addon which I have not had the opportunity to try out. Some of the latest updates include:

- Support for guild addon data channel
– Simplified setup and security
- New event types for doctor, dentist and vacation (doctor and dentist are not shared with the network)
– Notification for new events (minimap button and dates flash when they have new events)
– New tooltip for each date shows a summary of events for that day
- New tooltip for each event shows an attendance summary
– Events can now be created as ‘closed’ which won’t allow signups and players can only be added manually (or the event can be opened later)
- Reminders for events are given at 60, 30, 15, 5, and 1 minute before start time as well as at start time
– Calendar can be set to start the week on a Monday (use ‘/calendar mon’ command)
– Events can now be restricted to members of the your own guild in multi-guild alliances

- Players can now be manually added as ‘not attending’
– Minimap icon changes to an upcoming event one hour before the event starts
– Compatible with The Burning Crusade expansion

I really like that Doctor/Dentist feature. I don’t know why, it just stood out at me. Has anyone used this before? Your thoughts?

Anyway, the last alternative you have if none of these work out for you is to use your Guild Forums and get people to make posts saying they’ll be attending or not. It’s going to be tedious. If theres any other raid management solutions I’ve missed, please do let me know. I’m going to lay down the groundwork for a “Guild Website” series in the next upcoming days. It’s aimed at Guilds who want to establish an online presence but are unsure of as to how to do it.