Thursday, April 20, 2017

Success is the Hardest Thing to Argue Against

Lately, my guild has taken up a tactic which I find distasteful, but is leading to success. So far it's been used sparingly, but because it is successful, the leadership's aversion to the tactic is eroding. I fear we'll start resorting to it earlier and earlier in the next tier.

Basically, on a difficult boss, when we're fairly close to a first kill but are having trouble closing out that last 10%, the raid lead will start asking the lowest DPS people to step out. Because normal and heroic raids scale now, the average DPS of the raid increases while the mobs get weaker.  We got our first kills of Heroic Botanist and Heroic Gul'dan this way.

I don't approve of this tactic. To me, a raid team is a team, and you win or lose with that team as a whole. I'm perfectly fine with having minimum requirements to join the team, but once you're in, you're in.

If we didn't use this tactic, we would progress a little slower, true. Maybe we would have killed Botanist and Gul'dan a week later. But we have plenty of time.

I also think we're using this tactic as a shortcut instead of tightening up our strategy and positioning. We aren't a Mythic guild, and thus our basic handling of mechanics is not as good as it could be.

But it's really hard to argue with success. The raid leadership will point out that they only do this when it's "necessary", after we've already wiped for a couple days and no one objects in raid. But no one really want to be the person holding back the group, either. And it's hard to say that yes, we should spend one or two extra weeks wiping when we could be progressing and working on new bosses.

But because it's successful, we're reaching for it earlier and earlier. I think we wiped on Botanist twice as much as we wiped on Gul'dan. How much will our tolerance erode in Tomb of Sargeras? One night of wiping? As soon as we have a 20% wipe?


  1. In my experience (albeit about 8 years out of date, but human nature isn't changing that fast) the people at the bottom of the DPS list aren't going to improve until they are motivated to do so by missing out.

    So not only is it a good tactic mechanically, it is one of the most effective ways to get the low performers to step up.

  2. Agree with Phelps on that. Though there's something to be said about raid leadership not having the right raider requirements in the first place. If that bar is too low, then it is just setup to fail.

    Way back in my raiding days we had minimum dps requirements (averaged) to make the roster. Those reqs dropped as the group got better gear. Maybe you didn't make the first few clears, but eventually your gear/play got better and the bar dropped.

  3. If people are consistently that low on DPS in my group, I let them know they need to bring it up, and I follow up with them after a couple weeks. If it still isn't up to par, then I cut them. I've only had to do the "cut them" part because of performance issues twice in 10 years.

    Thankfully, even with Flex, it's relatively easy to calculate the average DPS required to beat it by enrage on a fight like Krosus, and if they're under, I have a easy metric to show them. Also note that most boss health scales up slower than adding people (ie: the more people you have, the less DPS the average raider has to do to down the boss), so that metric does change with raid size.

    If they're that consistently low and not able to increase performance, personally I'd cut them. But performance increases can come with practice on a fight, too, and dropping them from a fight before they have a chance to internalize the fight's rhythm can mean they'll never really have the DPS/HPS to make the grade.

    That said, you're probably correct in that your guild is probably relying on brute force, and dropping the low DPS means being able to ignore mechanics. My raid recently has had a few visitors from a different raid hat basically ignores mechanics in favour of brute force, but my raid is making faster progress despite on average doing maybe 75% of the total DPS their raid does. I attribute this largely because we focus hard on mechanics. Brute force is a tactic that'll work in the short term, but those people getting dropped probably won't stick around, and eventually you'll hit fights that your raid can't brute force and get stuck. Good short term strat, not a great long term strat imho.

  4. It's not just a good strategy, it's the ONLY good strategy. You are hurting yourself by carrying baddies. If they don't improve, the hell with them!

    Not letting them joining the group would be worse as it would reject them the chance to learn. Now they can practice and prove themselves. If they fail, they have no one else to blame.

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  6. But be prepared that it works the other way as well. If you get a group of people focused on the kills not the team, then these are the people most likely, once your guild has geared them up, to move on to a more progressed guild. Middle-of-the-pack guilds can take a lot of effort to maintain with constant recruiting to replace the people who leave because the guild is "holding them back."