Friday, March 19, 2010

Raiding Less (and why that's better)

I was standing in Dalaran staring into the fountain newly decorated with garish gold statues and thinking deep thoughts as usual about what an egotistical bastard Tirion was for erecting a statue of himself in the middle of the city when I saw an old friend wander by.

We said hello, and began to talk, mostly about raiding as that's what everyone seem to be into lately, and as we wandered northward, I invited her to come along with my raids as we often have gaps in ranged DPS and she is a good warlock.

We stopped to peer into the most displaced well in the midst of a busy boulevard, "As long as you run at a normal pace."

I blinked, "Normal pace?"

"Oh, you know," she sighed, leaning against the bricks, as mammoths, unicorns, bears, kodos and other horrible things went whizzing by, "I was running with this other big guild on the server and they just kept pulling the whole time with nary a pause. Kind of stressful."

"Huh," I said, swallowing the compulsion to push her into the well just to hear her yelp, because I'm really ten years old, "Well, I set a reasonable stride. I think."

She shrugged, and then we waved farewell, she went on to the bank in the north and I wandered into the smithy, to hem and haw at various tier pieces, and began to think about the pace of my runs.

See, when I run a raid, people laugh a little because I tend to cover things very, very quickly over vent and end with a brisk, "Gogo!" even as I toss a shield into a mob pack or charge a boss' face.

I know it's funny, but I'm really doing it to make a point. Trash should take minimal time. Once you're through a dungeon more than twice, you should know what the pulls are, you should know know how many packs to pull, the patrol patterns, all of that jazz. The tanks should be pulling continuously unless the healers ask for a slowdown. Dead folks should get raised as the pulls happen, and rebuffs aren't important.

I first learned that you can run as quickly as this whilst studying this video by Kyth of StratFu fame (BTW, I think I have a small crush on Kyth) but have adopted it to most of my dungeoneering, whether 5-mans or raids.

When I walk into a 5-man, my gear level is at a place where I feel comfortable saying, "I'm just going to chain-pull the dungeon, please tell me to slow down if you need room." And then 10-15 minutes later, almost every dungeon in the game is done.

And I for one think this is great.

Another major killer is downtime for AFKs - having set points are great for this. As Blizzard has really adopted the wing structure for raids this expansion, I usually don't take a break in the middle of a wing. If we're flying along, I'll take a break every other wing. Or whatever. It's a lot more structured that way and people feel accomplished and ready to take on the new wing when they get back.

Of course, learning a boss is different, I'm mostly talking about farm content here. Once you know a dungeon, you as a raid leader should give your tanks permission to pull aggressively and tanks should pull aggressively, and healers should coordinate to make sure raid heals are covered at all times - there is no need to pause between packs of mobs if your DPS and healers are keeping up with you without a problem. Chain-pull, get to the bosses, don't linger over the "is everyone ready?" and just get shit down.

I typically throw up a /readycheck when we reach a boss and as soon as the last person checks off, I'll shout out any last minute instructions, "I'll take left side, Issacc take right side, melee clear all adds before switching to boss, on phase transition wait for her to be moved off the platform before ripping your CDs, ranged open up, GoGo!" And if ranged doesn't open up, I'll just throw a shield and get it started. My raids have NO ROOM for dillydallying.

Pull hard, pull fast, pull clean, don't wipe, and someone tell Tirion he's an egotistical bastard for sitting frozen in an iceblock all fight long and then taking credit at the end for everything.

Sick bastard.

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