Thursday, April 22, 2010

Two Roads Diverged

It's not that I chose any road less traveled by, I just like Robert Frost. I actually chose both roads in this case.  We'll call this Bifurcated Post Day.

Road 1 is a semi-response to the whole PvP shenanigans that my wife talked about yesterday.  I don't have too many thoughts, because I've been PvPing on my DK a lot longer than she has on her Spriest.  I'm sort of saddened that she won't go healer for me, since having a healer in a BG is often a rarity but can totally make you feel OP, but such is life.  The problem now is that we need to teach her the art of being ranged.  She doesn't run away like a good clothy should.

Now, part of it isn't her fault because Rogues just suck.  I swear, the only way I've ever been able to beat a rogue is outlast their plethora of stuns.  And boy do they have aplenty.  I recall a recent article that I can no longer find to link (edit: duh, here it is on WoM, thanks Deyndor for the comment and link and thanks Thespius for the inspiration!) whereby the statement was made along the lines that "a well played Rogue is damn near impossible to beat 1 on 1."  That's probably not an exact quote (Here's the real quote from the above link: "Now, not because I think they’re OP, but because when a rogue is good, it’s near impossible to survive. "), but the point was that, as things stand now, if you avoid one of those bastards popping out of stealth, stun locking you, and having his or her way with your corpse... it's more than likely because they didn't see you than any skill on your own part.

This isn't to say Rogues are OP, as the original poster also pointed out.  We don't want Rogue nerfs, we want other class buffs.  The whole increased health pools across the board in Cataclysm will help.  So would giving classes more opportunities to counter the stun abilities.  The problem is that it's incredibly frustrating to sit there and watch yourself get stabbed together and be able to do ABSO-FRIGGIN-LUTELY nothing.  Sometimes you can like, trinket out and maybe pull off a miracle, but you really need to be twitch-tastic to have a good shot as survival.  Otherwise, just wait out that damn spirit timer (which is ALWAYS just resetting when I die, I swear) and get back in the game.

The short explanation here is that neither Fuu nor I am really geared enough to survive yet, but we're working on that.  I think PvP as a whole will be a lot more enjoyable with bigger health pools.  Everyone will be a lot harder to kill, but shouldn't that just make for more epic encounters?  At the same time, some of the BG mechanics may need to be reworked to account for this.  I don't have any cool examples off-hand.  I can offer one piece of advice to anyone who might be looking to break into PvP to stave off boredom like we are... if you want to gear up fast, hit up Wintergrasp.  It is hands-down the best way to bank honor and snatch up the starter pieces.  After that, you're on your own :-).

Road 2 is just a short point regarding knowledge retention.  I think one of the most overlooked facets of raiding is Raider Retention Rates (RRR).  We talk a lot of about skill, situational awareness, and such.  I don't ever see much about the impact of RRR, yet, to me, this is one of they key components to any successful raid group. Raider Retention can be looked at from two angles.

First: do you have the same group of people from week to week?  I've been a part of two distinctly different raid groups now.  One had a very high turnover.  The other was a very consistent group.  They both have been pretty successful at raiding, but I think one spends a lot less time at it.  You guessed it, the consistent group.  It's pretty obvious that when you're switching a lot of people in and out, it can add an extra challenge.  However, having a consistent group isn't all sunshine and butterflies either.  Scheduling can be quite difficult, as well as catering to individual needs and issues in order to keep the group cohesion.  RL has a bad habit of getting in the way of an otherwise good, efficient crew.  That's just the nature of the game, but it should hardly be overlooked.

Second: how well do your raiders learn?  Knowledge retention is the key to putting things "on farm".  It does you no good to learn a fight, master it, and then forget everything you learned.  A big part of raiding is locking those lessons learned away.  This is one thing my current group excels at.  We may spend a lot of time learning things and not have a whole lot of time to begin with, but I feel that we go from "learning" to "farm" in one or two runs.  It's a nice feeling.  In a group with a high amount of substitutions, you could expect several more "tweener" runs when you're transitioning from "learning" to "farm".  A lot of times, those can be the most frustrating since half the group may believe their beyond the content, and the other half is still new at it.

Raider Retention Rates are definitely something to be aware of when choosing a raiding group or leading one.  Each group will have it's own identity and rate, and a good leader will need to work with that to succeed.  Also, you don't want to choose a group that doesn't fit your desired raid style.  If you're a quick learner, you may be really frustrated in a high-turnover, low retention type group.  At the same time, you might be forced into such a group if you just aren't able to commit to a more stable group.  There are certainly trade offs.

This was just a little topic that was needling at me since, like I said, I feel it's pretty undervalued.  What works for one type of group might not work for another and you can really tell a lot about a group by the strategies they employ.   A group with a lower retention rate will really see the value of a simplistic strategy.  After all, the less that has to be explained, the less that needs to be retained.  A group with a higher retention rate may benefit from a more complex strategy, since many of the lessons learned and skills perfected will be carried over to future encounters.   Usually more complex strategies take the emphasis off gear as well, allowing you to rely more on player skill that time able to gear up.

I don't think approach is essentially better than the other, since each can most certainly lead to success.  I just wanted to point out the differences as they occurred to me.  I'd been writing and getting a lot of great, varied responses about ICC strategies lately, so it sort of fit.

That, and bifurcated streams suck.  That's all I have to say.

1 comment:

  1. I think the post you're talking about was by Thespius over at World of Matticus, "Hope for the PvP Healer". I could be wrong though.