Howdy, everyone. I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus with finals and papers and getting married, etc. I’m finished all that now, though, so here’s to enjoying the rest of my summer and hopefully posting a little more regularly. At least until school starts again.
I’ll get back to posts I started before my hiatus later, today I’m more interested in what it means to become a better player, and why it’s important to know that you have areas in which you can improve. More importantly, why it’s important that you pursue strengthening your weaknesses, despite possible frustrations, and ask for help from more experienced or knowledgeable guildies or friends.
My husband just started playing again a few weeks ago, and having been gone for some time, a lot of people don’t really know him that well, and he doesn’t know how the people who were newer 70s when he stopped playing have progressed. This being the case, he’s returned to being as vocal on the guild forums as he was before he stopped playing, and he’s been looking at the armory and checking out gear, gems, enchants, and talents of guildies. His first 70 is a hunter, his second 70 is a druid, and he just graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from one of the best (if not the best) schools in the nation (and consequently, the world, of course). What I’m trying to say is that he has a pretty good understanding of how things work and how to make them work better. He likes understands numbers, and quickly sees when specs, gear, etc. don’t make sense. Of course, when you’re talking to guildies, and fellow class members, you can’t necessarily come out and say, “Your spec is totally wrong” unless you know that they haphazardly chose their talents and have never respec’d. Even then, there are many people who refuse to acknowledge, much less accept, criticism from others. One might argue, however, that these sorts of people are not the sort that are desirable in a raiding guild.
This post isn’t really about how to approach guildies about not meeting expectations, or choosing weird (if not flat-out wrong) talents. It’s about figuring out what you’re bad at (or could improve on), and pursuing it. Of course, if you wanted to point a guildie or friend over here to give a subtle hint that they can improve, feel free.
No one is perfect. Cliche, but true. I, personally, am less mathematically inclined. I love that Phae posts about theorycrafting and mana efficiency, but most of it is difficult for me to not gloss over. I pick up the conclusion and trust that she knows her stuff. I also know that I could set up way more macros than I have, so I could free up an action bar for my Cheesy Cow Pun arena team, but I haven’t taken the time to learn how to write my own macros without relying heavily on a pre-existing macro. I know to keep the lifebloom stacks rolling, and rarely use Healing Touch, but I don’t really know why. Well, I know it’s more efficient and effective, but I don’t know how much more and I don’t know if I’m really maximizing my potential. My goals are to find out, and to write some freaking macros.
A lot of people, like myself, aren’t mathematically inclined. However, many WoW players, like the lovely Phae, are and they are even kind enough to provide us folks in the humanities some explanation of how and why things work without bogging us down with numbers. It is your responsibility as a player, especially in a raiding guild, casual or not, to understand how your class works, even if you don’t know precisely how or why. There are a number of things involved in understanding how your class works.
- Perhaps the most important of all – Talents. Choose carefully, do research, find out what works for other people before you go picking talents all willy-nilly. Ask class officers, if you’ve got ‘em, what they think of your particular spec. Ask about specific talents. Figure out if it’s important to fill up a particular talent, or to split the points between two talents. Find out what talents you need if you’re under hit cap, and which ones you can lose if you’re over hit cap.
- Stats – What do you need? Of the Boar? Probably not. Take a look at the gear of your class mates, check out what stats they have. Even if they’re at a much higher gear level than you, the basic stats won’t be wildly different. Hunters will always need Agility, and Mages will always need Intellect.
- Enchants – This is largely just a subset of stats, but make sure you’re getting things that are helping you do what you enjoy doing. It is generally recommended that you have different gear for PvE and PvP, since you need different performance from your gear in each of these situations.
- Gems – Another subset of stats, where you have more important PvE vs PvP choices to make. Stun resist isn’t going to help you in a raid. Bosses cheat. Enchants and Gems are also easier to switch out than gear if you’re just under or just over hit cap.
- Macros – Not everyone needs them, but sometimes they help. Ask some of your more technical guildies to help with macros, or to offer suggestions on ways that macros can make your WoW life easier.
- Shot Rotation, what? – If you’re a DPS class, find out how to maximize your DPS! Your job is to hit stuff in the face, as hard as you can, as quickly as you can. If you’re picking spells willy-nilly, you probably aren’t hitting as hard and as fast as you can be (can you tell I really like the phrase, “Willy-nilly?”). Again, ask the more technical players about shot rotation, or look around the internet. There are a TON of fabulous resources out there, you just have to know how to look for them.
- Add-Ons – Omen and Big Wigs or Deadly Boss Mods are pretty much a must in most raiding guilds. These however, aren’t necessarily the only add-ons that can help you. There are a lot of add-ons available, but choose wisely, as some can slow down your computer more than they’re worth. I trust Curse more than other sites, but it’s mostly superstition. I think. Find out what other top raiders are using, or just browse Curse for something that looks like it might help. If you haven’t downloaded add-ons before, it might seem a little daunting, but once you get the hang of it you’ll probably find that they’re immensely helpful. There are add-ons for pretty much anything. They exist to make the layout prettier, to tell you when to cast your next spell to compensate for lag, and where to find that node of Golden Darters. Go! Explore! Tell me what you find! For those of us who are directionally/spatially challenged, I believe I’ve seen a Tom-Tom add-on but I haven’t tried it out yet.
You might be thinking, yeah, I’ve got all that down. Are you helping guildies? Are you offering up your abundant knowledge to your class mates? Sharing your information, and being available for others to ask you questions is not only a great way to help other people, but it’s also a very good way of really, really getting to know your class. When you’re giving advice, make sure to also offer resources for those listening to take a look at, so they get a chance to explore a little (and so they know that you aren’t just full of it).
As always, I hope this helped. Comments are appreciated very much (though I still haven’t gotten around to integrating wowhead links… I will!)