Monday, June 20, 2011

The Encounter Journal Has Killed Raiding (Not)

With the Encounter Journal coming out, and every boss ability laid out, bare and squirming, for all the PvE guilds to dissect and build strategies around, the raiding game is done, right? All that's left is execution. Might as well stop raiding now. Right?


So, we're not a top guild by any means, we're casual leaning a bit towards progression oriented, but we finish content at our pace, and by the time we're pulling a boss, there are a ton of guides, videos and a lot of information uploaded to the usual suspects - certainly far more information is available to us than is in the Journal. Alternate strategies, ideal specs and glyphs, all that sort of thing.

With all that knowledge, you would imagine we could clear content with no problem, and yet, let's look at Nefarian.

The accepted ways to doing this fight were just not working for us. Phase 1 and Phase 3, the way they were planned and executed by most guilds just did not work for us, so despite knowing everything about the fight, we had to develop our own strategies to balance our particular raid composition and our particular play style.

  • I don't know anyone who runs Nefarian on normal mode 10 man with 3 tanks and 3 healers, but we do.
  • We put Nefarian in one corner of the pit while the adds are kited over the majority of the center while everyone else more or less stays put, instead of putting him in the center.
  • Rather than play the rotating game with Ony, we just plant her butt in the middle of the raid and let everyone deal with tail slams.
  • We Hero in phase 1 to make the transition to phase 3 that much faster while still getting 3 crackles before Nefarian lands for the second time.

    And it took us (a brutal) four straight nights of work to get to that point. We didn't have roots, reliable CC or any other means of gathering the adds up so we used a third tank. We were having too much trouble with fire with Nef in the center, and it took excruciating amounts of wiping over and over again sub 20% till we come up with a way that worked for us. We really had to unravel the fight despite knowing everything about it in every possible way.

    We've done the same on most of the really complicated fights - our Cho'gall positioning is fairly odd, for example, but it's perfect for us. We don't spread out as much on Al'akir as most 10-mans do, instead preferring to have double healer coverage. We don't have all the DPS swap to kill Sparks in phase 2, I manage them on my own as Retribution.

    All these little tweaks and adjustments that have to be made are done on the fly, on the ground is what raiding is all about. The fights require us to make these decisions not based on "I know what this boss does so I know how to deal with it," but rather, "I know what this boss does, but lets figure out together, how we can manage it."

    That right there, is why I love raiding.  The team-work and friendship that grows out of that is really, really hard to get over.


    1. What might be interesting is if the encounter journal after being dissected allows for more flexibility within your Raiding crew to change tactcics so it isnt a boring replay of the same old stuff. I think that would be the best part. If everyone knows the boss fight, then guilds might be able to build the strats that best suit the make up of their crews. This in turn means that a wider base of toons that players simply love may have a crack at it. I'm all for it.

    2. I love that. Who cares about convention? Do what works for your raid! I get squirmy when people say "You NEED to have x class for this," or "You can't do this without y." I don't respond well to "You can't," because I'm contrary I guess, my immediate response is, "Oh yeah? Watch me."

      If it means doing something opposite to what's "recommended," if it works for your group, then more power to you!

    3. Yes, exactly, and I think the Journal will allow for raid leads to plan around what to bring, what specs to keep and so forth. There will still be a lot of adjustment in the field, but you come prepared and that's never a bad thing.

      I think that's what gets me about some raid-leads I've had in the past who find their favorite strategy guide and refuse to deviate from it.

      "Tankspot says this, so we have to do it this way."

      Not a lot of fun when you look at your comp and you know you can't pull off the conventional strat so you wipe for a while and hope the raid lead sees the problem and changes it to fit our needs.

      The only "right" way of killing a boss is the one that your raid team can execute and lets you get consistent kills.

    4. We do the same, our raid composition can be pretty odd at times and we have to make adjustments to make things work. We didn't CC the adds either on Nefarian after trying - and failing - that with too few good CCers. So we had our Hunter go get himself a turtle and act as the tank.

      Strategy guides are nice, but they're really just to be used as a basis for you to come up with what works for your raid - as you seem to have managed just fine :)

      I don't see why people would complain about the Encounter Journal, because in the end it's not a strategy guide but a list of boss abilities, and you can find that on Wowhead or any site. All it does is save you from tabbing out to look elsewhere.

    5. Man, that's an awesome hunter to tank Nef adds with a turtle! :D That's my point - I think all raids do adjust plans and strats on the fly.

      Most of the people who were complaining were the Ensidias and the Paragons and the Vodkas who were competing for world firsts.

      I don't see the point of that either as WoWHead or WoWPedia or MMOChamp usually data-mines and posts that information anyway. Or they have people in their guilds who would do it for them. Or they learn that stuff on the PTR anyway. /mindboggle

      Idunno. I'm glad it's in the game, should help a lot of groups form their own versions of raid strats I think, and it'll be a real boon for PUGs who're new to 5-mans.

    6. Can I tank the adds with my turtle next time? It's a Theory. Heh heh heh.

    7. Does that mean you're bringing your Hunter to Nef now? You want the title on both characters? :P