Saturday, November 10, 2012

When Your Best Isn't Enough

Someone once said to me that if a game reduces you to tears, it's time to stop playing. I disagree.

6th. In the end, its all about the numbers.

Last night I failed to bring the numbers. If you know the first fight in the Moshugan Vaults then you will be aware that to succeed (and to not hit the enrage timer) all your DPS are going to need to bring at least 44k to the table. What makes this screenie all the more significant is the priest at #3 swapped out of healing to dps when it became apparent we weren't going to do it. He should have stayed healing. Last night, I did not do what was required.

My hunter compatriot wasn't rocking the same spec as me, but was able to contribute (on average) 8-10k dps more than me per fight. The next question, as far as I am concerned now becomes: why?

Our gear is, if truth be told, pretty much comparable. He's Survival, I'm BM, but even switching spec last night to match his could not give a return comparable to his. I was told this morning by my husband that I failed to grasp a fundamental mechanic (you should always attack lions in pairs, never a solo lion even if it's the one charging for overload because of the damage reduction a single lion possesses) but even so... 10k. That's a MASSIVE difference. My Paladin mate also has a dps issue but a great deal of that cannot and should not be laid at his door because as melee, he has his work cut out to begin with. I'm at range, I can pretty much pick and choose where I stand and (assuming not encumbered by Chains) should have far more opportunity to actually do damage. The question remains: why am I not bringing the numbers?

I am as well geared as it is possible for me to be considering the circumstances of my rep position. I have maxxed Valor every week and bought items according to gear lists. I am optimally enchanted, gemmed and reforged. At this point, I am left with one very simple possibility. We apply Occam's Razor and the answer to my question becomes clear: I am the problem.

I get confused in fights and forget cooldowns. When I macro them I forget to use the macros. I spend more time concentrating on the floor and not stepping in stuff than I do putting dps into the boss. I am not capable of co-ordinating with the speed and dexterity of my hunter friend, who is not only capable of all these things, he can also tell me on Teamspeak when I should be moving when I forget I should. These are my failings, and no amount of gear and macroing will ever solve these problems. The only way I will ever improve my dps in these circumstances is by doing better than I did, and by learning to do things differently. I do not expect to be carried, and as GM I cannot be critical of anyone else until I am capable of doing so myself.

When I look at people complaining on the forums they are nerfed or that things are too hard, it makes me wonder if they have take the time to stop and think about all of these things. I also wonder, when I look at people who effectively leave characters because they 'don't work for them' if these people did their best and were able to take a long hard look at all the problems that there were to solve, and not just the ones that involved Blizzard making the game easier. I don't want an easy game, I need one that makes me think and demands I work it out and expects me to do the absolute best I am capable of. When my best isn't enough, it isn't Blizzard's responsibility to meet me halfway. If I want it, I should have to work for it. I shouldn't be able to buy my way to success either: I purchased a Tigers Deck this morning (as it is the last day of the Fair) as I know it is a major upgrade but with the knowledge that extra stat boost only means something if I make the most of it. Just having the numbers is pointless if you cannot maximise their potential.

I click my abilities and don't use a keyboard. I'm a keyboard turner. Both of these things I know are sub-optimal, and will require a major shift in co-ordination after eight years. I'll still get confused and forget stuff, and I'm not sure how I can cope in situations where I know every ounce of dps will count. The most sensible solution is also remarkably easy: I just don't pick myself any more. If there are better players who can bring the bigger numbers it is a simple equation: bring those people to beat the content. Then of course we move into a whole different moral predicament: should it be about beating the content at all? Should you not pick your pace over the need to run to the line? If everyone else is faster than you, there comes a point where it could become unfair to expect them to wait, where you could be seen to hold them back rather than be helpful to the overall cause. These are the problems you need to deal with as a GM. These are the things I must consider before our next raid.

I need to improve the player I am and what I an capable of doing.

There is a very good reason why L2P can be as abusive a phrase as it is. If you can, then it is likely you will never understand the issues that arise if you can't. Knowing you can't, and admitting that fact is often very difficult. Objectivity can often be too painful and it becomes easier just to either ignore the problem or blame it on someone else, and not yourself. The fact of the matter remains in this case: I am the one who needs to change, and I need to find ways I can do that which I can easily grasp and that will have decent, long term benefits to my playstyle. In the end, I need to pull my weight, and if I'm not capable of doing that then the solution is fairly straightforward. Blizzard tell us to bring the person and not the toon, but that only works to a point. I don't expect anyone else to change one iota of anything because I can't bring what's required at this point. The responsibility rests firmly on my shoulders. I just wish more people would understand that when you can't bring the numbers it might have something to do with the person playing...


Nev Jones said...

You just summed up all my problems too - keyboard turner, spell clicker although only been playing for 3 yrs. I have tried using keyboard for movement on a brand new character - thinking I would make myself relearn but then I have no real idea how to keybind, how to move my fingers etc - I'm not a touch typist either - I look at the keyboard so at least by mouseclicking spells, I have peripheral vision of the fight and/or spells. I get sooo frustrated sometimes & I probably blame myslef more than I should but bad dps & nasty comments in dungeons really put me off dungeons in cata. Fighting back this expac tho - now I just have to relearn how to actually move properly :)

Rezznul said...

It's a really hard thing when you acknowledge something isn't clicking, but can't truly identify the root cause.

I'll admit, there are times when certain fights present such a vicious mental block that even when we are months into farming, I'd dread them.

The best example of this was TotC, Beasts. When Icehowl would come out, I'd tense up. I still remember the first time I was in the fight. I heard my GM state that if you would fail at the charge mechanic, you just are incapable of thought. I heard his best friend chuckle in Vent when I was targeted. I heard his bitter laugh of glee when I was turned around, got stuck in the stupid stadium and sprinted into a column.

During the fight, one of the officers was being really helpful, but I was in a state of panic that nothing would change my mindset that night. I had to look at how to position myself, etc. and I got the mechanic down.

The dread of it, though, stayed.

The thing I really took away was after I broke things down, it became easier to figure out what was tripping me up, so I could slow the fight down.

Last night, I led our raid. I knew the fights, but when we began, my brain just shut down, and I forgot how I wanted to present it.

Thus started my evening of frustration. It's one of those things that it makes it difficult to be a raid leader if you feel you're not executing.

I'm sorry that you had a bad night, and I hope things get better.

Cynwise of Stormwind said...

The best thing about brutal self-honesty is that it lets you fix the problem. You, and by you I mean all of us you, CAN get better. The first step to improving is to say, yep, I need to get better here. I need to get faster, I need to pay more attention, I need to compensate for this weakness, I need to play up this strength.

The worst thing about brutal self-honesty is that we tend to go too far the other way, and attribute too much of the problem as a personal failure, of setting limits instead of an actual honest assessment.

I get confused in fights and forget cooldowns. I don't hit my defensive CDs until it's too late, I take cloth wearers into a pack of melee, I hop on classes I barely remember how to play and wonder why I die so quickly on them.

Don't take self-criticism too far. You can still be critical of other people while being critical of yourself. You can say, everyone over 44k DPS - you were doing it right, good job. Everyone under 44k DPS, including yourself - needs to improve. You don't have to be a paragon to manage and lead people.

You just have to be honest.

Navimie said...

I understand how crushing it is for you - I am often told by other druids that I should be producing bigger numbers especially since my gear is better and I am always wondering what I am doing wrong. Though for you, as guild leader, I can understand you expect a lot more of yourself. Knowing you, though, you will put a lot of effort into trying to find the cause. It's your first day in there. I hope that as you compare different specs, or try a different rotation or fix your stats, that it works out better for you. <3

Anonymous said...

I'm in the older end of wow players, I'm 34 and the average age of the group (without me) is around 20 I guess. I do find that I need to do a little more than they do to keep up. I remember starting on Heroic Alysrazor, I was flying, and the first night I was embarrassingly bad. I turned to the mmochamp forums and read every thing I could find. I did the same with YouTube. Next week, I used all those little tips that they'd shared and didn't muck up once. Even better than that, I topped the DPS. I've found that whenever I'm struggling with something, be it class mechanics or a specific encounter, the community has had the answer 99% of the time.

One addon I've found that has been incredibly helpful for me personally is WeakAuras. I set this up to monitor my cooldowns (fire mage). I've got auras set to show me when combustion, alter time, etc are available, but also when they've got 10secs left on their CD. Having these visual cues have really helped me with maximising my output. One other useful thing I've found with WeakAuras is on specific boss encounters. We have been working on the fourth encounter in Heart of Fear, and you have to use a spear to CC some adds. I was put on spear duty. After failing once to re-cc the add, I asked for a few minutes. I setup WeakAuras to monitor for the presence of the debuff on my focus frame and alert me when there's 10 secs left to run. Needless to say, I've not missed keeping my add cc'd once since then.

I know people bemoan LFR, but what I do like it for is it gives the opportunity to practice encounters, albeit with much more room for error. The DPS queue times suck, but it can be worth it to practice an encounter if you're having difficulty with part of it.

One last thing, I've often turned inwards to my guild for advice. I have yet to come across a guildie who won't spend some time explaining either an encounter, or helping with class mechanics, or even just queueing to have a friendly face there when you're practising.

Whenever I'm struggling, the community usually has the answer somewhere - be it on forums, the game itself or even an addon. I reckon it's there for you too.

Anonymous said...

I think you are blaming yourself a bit too much. Sure, you didn't deliver that 40k, but neither did couple of other players and we still got them to 0.3%. And that was with people dying as soon as at 70-80% of the boss' hp. Their loss caused a much greater decline in dps than your supposed lack of 10k. So if I had to name the main problem of yesterday's raid, that would be it.

Even though I'm far, far away from a raid dps expert, I believe you have identified your personal dps problem. It is the clicking. In fights like this (and many other raid boss encounters) movement becomes a huge factor in your dps output for both melee and ranged. There is so much stuff going on and the only thing that you can count on is that something will happen which will make you change your predefined tactic and hope you can adapt to the situation. Now imagine how much easier would it be not to have to split your focus on moving around and pointing your cursor at the abilities and how much time you could save by having it all within minimal movement of your hand. Even if it would save you a fraction of a second for each action it would sum up to a quite significant time saving. My advice would be to try it and bind 5-6 of your most used abilities and see how it goes. Hope to see you in the next raid!

Anonymous said...

As a participant in that same fight, it really is a tricky one when the group's overall DPS was borderline even with only 2 healers on beating the enrage timer.

Over the last 4 years of joining in with the guild, I've taken, accepted and rejected (delete as applicable) plenty of advice on playstyle. My combination of macroed up cooldowns, keyboard bindings and click interface are as slick as I can make them. Since the Pandas arrived, I've found it easier to dps/heal and run at the same time due to the new talent trees but I'm STILL suffering with the age old problem - not watching the mechanics.

I don't mean the mechanics as in which statue to hit or target switching, but I mean the cast bars and DBM warnings. Too often, I'm standing in the wrong stuff, run the wrong way or just plain end up isolated on the far side of some shizzle on the floor well away from the poor tank that I'm supposed to be looking after.

I'm reliant on shouts from other players or lots and lots of practice to get it right. I can chuck out the heals just right, I can push the DPS (as shown from the graph above), but it's all for nowt if I can't keep myself alive.

So - how do I achieve that?

First port of call is to probably try and heal/dps slightly less and watch my feet more. It may knacker my output a little, but that's a whole world better than being a rotting cloth covered corpse or burning a valuable combat res. I've watched the fight and know what's SUPPOSED to happen, so more research isn't going to help much.

Second - is there anything I can do with DBM to shout some very personal and specific warnings for me and what to do? Possibly, and I'll need to research that.

Finally, I need to talk to raid buddies, work out where my personal failings and strengths are and play to them, getting guildies where they can to fill in some gaps. After all, it's a team effort, and buddying up with someone who can help me improve would be a bonus. Hopefully someone who isn't colourblind for that particular fight.... One of our hunters was invaluable in helping on this fight and it may be that he's my eye in the sky and can kick my arse if I'm stupid....

Other than those three? Practice Practice Practice. The only suggestion I can make.

Erinys said...

Regardless of where we are on the meters, we can always improve in some way or another. Having the confidence in yourself to look objectively at your own performance is perhaps the hardest step but you've already done that.

After that it basically comes down to the three Ps, practise, perseverance and pvp.

(and yes, pvp is the answer to 99.9 percent of WoW related questions).

Andy said...

I was going to reply to this about the keybinds thing, but it ended up being so long I turned it into a blog post instead. I hope it's useful :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Godmother.

Just wanted to say I enjoy your posts.

In this case, I think that your attitude will help you to overcome, you will find a solution because you want to.

For what it is worth, I struggle mightily trying to use the keyboard without looking at it. I have switched to a gaming keyboard with 12 function keys down the left side. I can use those keys without looking.
Also, I bought a gaming mouse with extra buttons which allows me to bind the strafe and backwards functions. Now I can handle most navigation just with the mouse.

Those two items helped me to transition away from keyboard turning.

Good Luck to you.


dobablo said...

I recently keybound the numberpad. Now instead of having to work my way across the keyboard I can reach all the buttons that I use exactly when I need them.