Minimum Expectations for Raiding

Production Company took most of the last few weeks off from raiding as we customarily do for the holidays.  Due to the timing of the expansion, the break ended up being a little longer than it has been in the past.

Although we had a couple of mostly informal raids over the break to take a peek at a couple of the bosses, we had our first official raid this last Monday (January 3rd) and I was pleased to see us get 3 bosses down and a couple of looks at a 4th.  I will probably have more to say about that soon but wanted to make some sort of post today since I just joined the twitterverse for the first time and the blog will probably have some new visitors.

Here is the post I made last week in our forum outlining our expectations for everyone on the raid team.  Hopefully it will be of some help to someone somewhere. (I’m not sure how much editing something like this should really go through to make it more interesting for the general public to read but I figure if my raid team can wade through it, most of you should be able to as well.)

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Our first official raid of the new expansion is a little less than a week away and so I wanted to post some more explicit guidelines for what we are looking for from everyone as far as gear, gems, enchants, and etc… goes.

Log Review:
I am putting this in its own section just to hopefully highlight it for everyone within this giant wall of text. The World Of Log reports have gotten pretty darned amazing at what they can show. I would expect that everyone is going back and spending some time checking through the logs each week. At the very least, you should be checking through your own performance and trying to identify some areas that you can personally improve on for next week’s attempts on those attempts/kills. I’m not going to list all of the things that you should be tracking because it is different from person to person and role to role but there are definitely “things” that everyone should be trying to check up on. If you need any help at all figuring out how to find what you are looking for, please ask for help.

Performance Benchmarks:
The following are just over generalized examples to provide some guidance and will vary from fight to fight and attempt to attempt based on a wide variety of circumstances. However they should, when averaged out over a night or two of raiding, be generally indicative of our minimum expectations.

DPS:
In general, one of the following should probably be true when we look at the logs for a given fight/raid/week.

DPS should be putting out something above ~10,000 dps on average. This is generally the worst indicator to use. That being said, I suspect that 10k dps is very low however and should not be and unreasonable benchmark at all

Assuming we have 2 tanks, 3 healers, and 5 dps for a given fight, each dps is generally responsible for 1/6th of the damage done during the encounter (16.66%) and the two tanks combined are responsible for the remaining 16%

DPS should all be within ~5% of total damage done from each other. This is a better indicator as it scales/adjusts from fight to fight. It means that if the top DPS in the raid did ~18% of the total damage during a boss fight, you should have done at least ~13% (Again, this is on average and barring any really screwy assignments for a given fight.)

DPS should, individually, be putting out damage reasonably comparable to Roksi and I. Depending on the fight, special gimmicks like Festergut, and number of bosses/adds, this can range from a pretty good indicator to a terrible one.

DPS should be showing regular improvement from attempt to attempt and week to week on boss fights.

Healing:
Healing is, as a rule, harder to evaluate than dps and as such much more difficult to try and pin down generalizations that make any sense in a post like this. I’ll try and give it a shot though.

Mana management. If you’ve been reading anything at all about the way raiding works right now, one of the biggest things being discussed is that the new bottleneck to most encounters seems to be killing the boss before your healers run out of mana. When looking at the logs for healers, I would expect to see you all using your mana reclamation talents/skills/abilities early and often and during a given fight I would expect to NOT see any of you *consistently* running out of mana before the other two.

Coordination. I am hoping to leave most of the coordination up to you to work out as far as healing assignments and coordinating cooldowns and AoE heals and such. I’m happy to help or offer a decisive voice anytime you feel like you need/want it but I generally believe you are all capable of doing it on your own and the results will probably be better if the people actually seeing and monitoring the fights from the healer perspective are the ones making the decisions.

I have no numbers or figures or anything like that for this but I would encourage all of you to watch the logs and start monitoring your overhealing from fight to fight and week to week. Overhealing was completely irrelevant during wrath but that has clearly changed. until I really get a chance to do some healing myself and see more numbers though I have no real idea what sort of numbers should be considered “good.” What it ultimately comes down to though is whether or not you ran out of mana before the boss dies and whether you kept everyone who didn’t outright commit suicide somehow alive.

Tanks:
In order to try and be fair, I suppose I should try and outline some of what Roksi and I are generally evaluating ourselves on.

Boss positioning and mechanical issues. Tanks generally are required to position bosses in some special way to maximize or minimize given mechanics from encounter to encounter. When we screw up it is generally a wipe and so we need to do whatever we can to minimize screwups. Lots of advanced research is a good way to help with this. General expectations are that we collectively get 1-2 failures before we should both be learning from each others mistakes and after that point we shouldn’t be letting the issue be an issue again.

Cooldown usage. Tanks should be using their damage reducing abilities intelligently and as often as possible. This includes not only periods of high tank damage but also anytime large parts of the raid take heavy damage (planned or due to people screwing up) As the primary drain on the healer’s mana, anything we can do to require less healing should be aggressively pursued.

DPS/Threat. Probably not nearly as important during the first tier, but we need to make sure that we are meeting or surpassing our dps contribution and putting out enough threat to allow the DPS to meet theirs.

General Expectations:
Things that everyone need to be striving for and that I/we will be checking up on in the logs from week to week.

Potion Usage: Carry them and use them. At the very least, every DPS in the raid should be using a potion every time we kill a raid boss. Most attempts that get below ~30-50% should probably show a potion having been used as well. Please note that I didn’t say “progression bosses” but it says “every time we kill a raid boss.” For those of you who are extra stingy with the potions, you can opt out for pre-cataclysm bosses if you want. As far as healers go, I would expect to see potions being used “most of the time” (~75%+) and I would think that a variety of potions will probably make the most sense from fight to fight. Some kind of balance between mana/rejuv potions and throughput boosting potions of some sort. Tanks should be similar to healers and we should either be seeing armor pots on fights where we are worried about dying or DPS potions where we are less worried about dying and have settled into the process of shaving time off our kills.

Bandages, healthstones, and personal/group damage reducing cooldowns: Again, with healer mana being our newest bottleneck, it is more important than ever for people to be taking whatever opportunity that they can to help the healers out. This is another of those instances why it is so important for everyone in the raid to be able to monitor what is going on with the rest of the raid. Everyone should be able to see when the healers are starting to get low on mana or when a large chunk of the raid takes some kind of damage and balance that information against a minor hit to your own dps to pop a healthstone or bandage or use a personal damage reduction cooldown. These probably won’t show up in all or even most fights, but everyone needs to get used to using them more often.

Boss Mechanics: In general, we have some level of expectation that everyone adapts to new boss mechanics and changes to our approach as quickly as possible. That can mean anything from doing some advanced prep for upcoming fights (all fights in the current tier should be considered as potentially upcoming) getting any special “stuff” for your UI setup like keeping your bossmods addon current, setting up and configuring your power auras for anything you need or will need for a particular fight, and most importantly… We need to get better at learning from each other’s mistakes. It shouldn’t take 12 attempts for each new encounter mechanic for everyone to take turns personally making the same mistake over and over. We all need to get better at seeing and recognizing when other’s in the raid screw something up and then understanding what happened and how to avoid making the same mistake ourselves.

Raid Awareness: Hopefully I am starting to sound like a broken record with this. I really want to make sure that everyone in our raid is trying their best to get better at monitoring what is going on with the raid outside of your own little tunnel-vision section. One of the biggest issues our raid generally needs to get better at is trying to pay attention to what everyone else in the raid is doing. Having adequate raid frames to track things like debuffs, health/mana, aggro, and other “specials” on the raid is something I am going to start cracking down on a lot more this expansion. As one example of what people need to start working on working into their awareness; ideally, when someone dies during a boss attempt (prior to a wipe being called), everyone in the raid should be able to explain why that person died.

Gearing Expectations:
Gear:
Everyone should be in nearly full ilvl346 gear, meaning 1-2 pieces below that level. With some possible exceptions, no one should have anything below ilvl333 by our first raid. If you think you’re one of the exceptions to this, and you won’t have it taken care of by the first raid, please drop me a note in your private forum with a comment about what the plan is for that item slot.

I would also hope that at this point most people should have 2-4 epics as well from crafted, rep items, and the world BoEs that seem to be selling for around 10-15k each on the AH. I do understand that in a lot of cases Blue quality ilvl346 items are better than the easily available epics due to things like gem slots and better itemization.

For anyone that has missed it, there are some pretty nice PvP gear options for pre-raid stuff that isn’t listed on most of the BiS lists I have seen for different classes.

Gems:
This should be no surprise, everyone needs to have full blue-quality gems in all sockets, and a current Cata-level meta in their helm. In general I would expect to see most people meeting most socket bonuses at this point and some sort of general intelligence shown in using hybrid gems appropriately to meet them.

Enchants:
Enchants are still a little crazy at the moment. A severe shortage of [Maelstrom Crystal] in particular is going to make top end enchants a little out of reach for some still until more guild’s start raiding. I am expecting to see everything enchanted with the best available enchant that doesn’t require a [Maelstrom Crystal] as a minimum. Everyone should be Exalted with Therazane for their shoulder enchants. Everyone should have access to their Cataclysm head enchant. Everyone should at least have a Blue Quality leg-armor/spellthread, I would rather everyone had one of the epic ones but they are still pretty pricey at the moment as well.

At some point this week, I will go through and figure out prices for enchants from the guild bank and post an initial price list. If you don’t see an enchant you need on the list, please speak up as early as possible. I will try and have the bank stocked with scrolls by the 1st or 2nd. Again, if you don’t see a scroll for an enchant you need, please speak up.

If you are waiting until the last possible moment to enchant your stuff before the raid, drop me a note so I won’t have to worry about you being completely clueless.

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