Friday, March 27, 2009

Good Enough, Part II

Gevlon comments on the previous post:
My point was that the content defines "good enough". You are right that you can select the guild. However the selection goes for content and not for effort. Effort is defined by content.

This is true to a degree. But I think it's still a good idea to farm and exceed content requirements for several reasons:

1. Future Content

We are not just gearing for the current fight, we are gearing for future fights. Sure, if Patchwerk only requires 2.5K DPS, you're fine. But what do you do when the next fight requires 5K DPS? If you prepare beforehand, you're golden. Otherwise, you have to work on getting the required gear instead of trying the fight you really want to do.

The moment Ulduar comes out, we're going to drop Naxx like a hot potato and dive straight in.

2. More Options

If your gear exceeds requirements, it gives you more flexibility. You can do easy encounters or hard encounters as you choose. You can bring alts, because the mains can handle it. You can let a healer attempt to DPS Scions of Eternity for an Achievement, instead of needing her to heal 100% of the time.

It's like having a lot of gold. You don't need 50K gold. Personally, aside from buying my Epic flying, I've never exceeded 5K gold at any one time. But having more gold on hand makes life easier, because it gives you more options.

Additionally, it also gives you flexibility in recruiting. If a portion of your raid exceeds minimums, it allows you recruit good under-geared players and gear them up without having to go back and farm old content.

3. Greater Margin

Better gear reduces the probability of a catastrophic mistake. If you kill a boss in 5 minutes instead of 10, it's less likely that someone will make a mistake which causes a wipe.

As well, better gear allows you to be successful with less skill. Yes, Ensidia and the other top 10 guilds can probably blow through content with minimum gear requirements. But most of us are not Ensidia. If my time-on-target is 10% less than an Ensidia rogue--because she's better at movement--I'm going to need to hit 11% harder in order to do the same damage.

4. Raids are More Fun

Most of us raid because we enjoy raiding. But honestly, wiping on content we've already beaten is not fun at all. A high degree of effort leads to faster, cleaner raids which is more fun for everyone.

Wipes also increase the effort required. For example, my guild uses Food+Flask on all our Naxx runs, even though we probably don't need to. But wiping incurs repair costs and wastes time. The Food+Flask contributes to a faster run with a minimum of additional costs.

5. Expectation Management

If you expect more from people, they will respond to that, and rise to the challenge. If you expect the bare minimum, then the minimum is all they will give you.

Maybe Food+Flask is unnecessary. But it is a signal to the raid that you are willing to give 100% on this attempt. That you are willing to incur a cost, maybe even just a symbolic cost, to ensure success.

I think people respond to that, mirror the group they find themselves in. If you're in a raid where people slack off, often you will start to slack off as well. If you're in a raid which has high expectations, often you will rise to meet those expectations.


The most important part is to have the entire raid on the same page as to what "good enough" means. But there are significant advantages to having a higher standard of "good enough" than is strictly required for content.

However, it's also possible to take this too far, especially when looking at new content. By far the most important element in mastering new content is spending time on it, not gearing up for it. If Ulduar comes out, and you decide to spend a few weeks farming Kel'Thuzad instead of trying new bosses, you are making a mistake. But having a raid that chose to exceed the minimum requirements back in Naxx will help you greatly in Ulduar.


  1. You are very wise. when I read his good enough post, back when I was still reading his blog - my first reaction was -"no, its not good enough". But you are right - its merely a higher standard of good enough, something above a bare minimum that gives you some wiggle room.

    And you are absolutely right - when higher standard and stronger effort is encouraged - people tend to give more and as a result, accomplish more :).

  2. This is absolutely true. One of our most geared players (a ret paly) said recently that "I'm going to let other people take my spot in Naxx, since they need the gear more than me". Which is basically saying "I'm tired of running naxx because I don't need any gear from it". Then a few weeks later it was "I'm leaving the guild to find a more progressed guild". This is fine, we are not a progressive raiding guild. But the attitude that somehow we'd be better off without his 3.5k dps is just, wow. With him, we can get away with brining a bunch of guildies who are not geared and make up for their bad dps. With him, we could get away with a few people dying on dps dependant fights. Anyway, he left, a bunch of others left, our raiding team collapsed. Oh well. We're rebuilding.

    In the meantime we've been doing alot more social stuff which the members enjoy much more than the "we're going to naxx tonight' type stuff that we've done.

  3. Very, very true. The benefit from overgearing the content or having gear that is 'more than good enough' is time.

    I don't want to be in a raid longer than I have to. If you are clearing the content faster, you can significantly cut down on raiding time.

    My guild has gone from clearing content in 3-4 days to 2 days, so you have much more free time. Faster dps = faster trash clearing/boss fights.

  4. I think another flaw in Gevlon's notion is that it looks at the issue in terms of dps which is a measurable role without considering tanking which is not a measurable role. He also mistakenly believes that healing is measurable by simply referring to position on the healing meter (aka how much coh/wild growth spam you did).

    If you had a raid where all the dps hit the minimum and stopped you'd lose your tanks. Because they typically work hard on their gear. Never met a slacker tank (well I have but they got switched to dps) and I haven't met many who would enjoy being in an overtly slack culture.

    You'd also lose the healers who focus on keeping tanks up rather than meter chasing.

  5. Pt4 is not a point. "More fun" is completely subjective. Larísa just wrote about how much more fun it was to run Naxx undermanned since it was challenging, instead of normal, boring run.

    Pt1 and Pt3 are both valid alone, but kill each other: In 3 you claim that you can brute force the encounter by overgearing, like killing Patchwerk with 10 living 4.5K DPS after 5 other pulled aggro and died. In 1 you claim that you are preparing for further encounters. However you cannot do hard encounters with 5 aggropullers. You either let the mistakes happen and fix them (by learning or kicking) or you cover them by outgeared people and abandon harder content.

    Pt2 and Pt5 are both valid alone, but kill each other. In 5 you claim you train the people to give their very best, to be prepared and ready. In 2 you claim you allow undergeared people and alts to be carried by the raid. You either boost such people or you demand to give 100%. You can't have both.

    Actually Pt1 and 5 are the answers of a competitive HC guild: prepare for next content and always give your best. If you slack (even if content allows it), you don't belong here.

    Pt2 and 3 are the answers of a friendly social guild: good people are expected to carry those who are undergeared or make mistakes.

    You can have a HC guild or you can have a friendly social guild. But you can't have both.

    And you can have a goblin guild where "good enough" is good enough.

  6. @Gevlin

    While a guild may not prefer to carry undergeared players or alts. You can consider them long-position investments.

    For the guild that takes the long-position, it's valuable to have degrees of freedom in roster.

    Of course, 1 and 5 are seemingly contradictory in the moment of a given raid. But over the course of several tiers of content they are not.

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