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Curses, Myths, and Oddities

August 23, 2013

Dear Reader,

First, I want to ask about the oddity.  Really, the title should be oddities, myths, and curses, but it sounded better the other way.  About once every twelve hours, my site gets about 60 views from the same individual.  They are not referred links, so it’s someone coming to the site and refreshing, I guess, or something like that.  It creates the odd, spread out spikes in my stats that makes it impossible at a glance to see what’s been happening.  I’m not sure why someone would do this, as I look at individual viewers, not number of views to gauge – well, nothing, really, but as a gauge.  More importantly, I’m not sure if this is something I need to be worried about, if this is some sort of preamble to a hacking attempt or the like.  Has anyone else experienced this?  Any thoughts on it?

Today’s correspondence, though, is actually about some myths in WoW.  The myths seem to be perpetrated by more advanced players, but repeated often enough that they become a sort of cultural belief that can inadvertently disempower late comers to the game or tier.

The most common one I’m hearing has shown up both on this site and in my guild chat.  It has to do with how “easy” it is to gear up now.  It spreads a myth that people who ding 90 should be raid ready, as one person in my guild said, “within a week, if you put in enough time.”  To be clear, I don’t think this person meant LFR; we were discussing recruitment for the 5.4 raids, so I assume he meant 90 in 5.4 and ready to raid in 5.4 content a week later “if you put in enough time.”

This is one of the top dps in the guild, a very likable guy who at the same time says things that he doesn’t mean to be arrogant, but are, such “how easy” certain boss mechanics are, or “how easy” it is to make gold.  I’m not disputing those claims, only the one about gearing.

When I came back to WoW in 5.3, I already had about half purple gear.  With my saved up Valor, I was able to purchase a few pieces off the bat, too, to help supplement my ilevel to get into the more advanced LFRs.

Then it took me 3 weeks to get rid of my last blue.

Now, my gear was brought up as an issue during my recruitment; the recruiters weren’t nasty about it at all, it was just mentioned that it would need to be improved before I could raid, which I expected and was fine with.  But I only had 2 blues at that point: wrist and trinket.  It took me 3 weeks of LFRs and grinding valor to replace both of them, both of which were purchased from valor vendors, too, not dropped by LFR bosses.  So I have a hard time believing that the friendly-but-arrogant player really understands what he’s suggesting.

There’s a pretty well known detriment called “The Curse of Knowledge.”  This describes the inability for people who fully understand something, who “grok” it, to use Heinlein’s word (re-popularized by Koster), to remember what it was like when they didn’t.  As a result, their ability to communicate how they came to understand it or empathize with people who don’t understand it is impaired.  We’ve all had those moments when we were trying to explain something blatantly simple to someone who didn’t get it and felt frustrated and at a loss for words.  It’s simple.  Why don’t they get it?

Well at one time we were all like that.

This player – who truly is friendly and funny and easy to get a long with – has multiple 90s who are well geared (perhaps even raid geared) but has clearly forgotten what it was like to be struggling with that first toon.  When you have all the grand commendations, when you have 150,000+ gold and can just buy your way to ilevel requirements, when you have all the BoA gear and can pass it around to help get into those first LFRs, then, yeah, I guess gearing would be a lot easier.

But when you’re stranded on a server, alone, with no heirloom gear, no money, no real friends just yet, struggling to get rid of those last two blues and you hear people talking about how easy gearing is and that dedicated players can have it done in a week, it undoubtedly makes you question your own ability.  After you question it, sure, you might just dismiss the other person as suffering from the curse of knowledge.

Or you may turn it upon yourself and feel like giving up.

So, elite(r) raiders, please remember what it was like before you toss out a statement like that.  It could do more harm than you realize.

On a separate note, my Thursday raid was good after a slow start.  We usually finish Wednesday on Tortos, frequently 1 or 2 shotting her (I assume, since she has babies).  Starting on her was a nightmare, though.  It took us a good long while to get through it, honestly due to some tough healing situations and RNG.  Megaera, who has traditionally been the problem, we 2-shotted with ease.  Ji-kun fell, too – my first time, so I was quite excited about it.

I noticed that in almost every case I was one of the last people dead in a wipe.  At the same time, I feel like my dps has been more lackluster than when I first started with the guild, like my performance has actually worsened rather than improved.  I’m wondering – and I fully realize this may be just a justification for poor performance – if maybe my dps is lower because I’m making absolutely sure that I don’t get hit by effects I can avoid, whereas others are stealing dps at the healers’ cost.  In fact, the Quills phase on Ji’Kun was trouble, so I eventually stopped fully dpsing and alternated a heal with a dps cast throughout those phases just to help the healers out.

I’m not sure if that’s the right play.  We got the bird down, so it is, sort of, no matter what.  But perhaps better dps and expecting more of the healers (the two we had were very limited in their aoe healing options) would be a better outcome.  I don’t know.  I saw a problem and solved it.  I’m not sure if that’s good practice, though, for a team game.


Stubborn (and self-assured)

14 Comments leave one →
  1. acbarberi permalink
    August 23, 2013 1:23 pm

    Just a quick note about those silly gear “requirements”; all those guilds that got Realm First raid boss kills did not have the gear yet. Plenty of good guilds went into those raids with blues and got purples when they defeated the bosses. “Epic” is a description of a player; “epic” is not a description of a player’s gear. Skill is much greater than gear.

    • August 23, 2013 1:53 pm

      You mean plenty of excellent, top-of-the-game guilds went into the much-easier raids with blues. Dinging 90 in 5.4 in an average guild and expecting that even one person in the raid can raid in blues does not seem realistic to me. While I agree with your final point, I also feel I have to mention that there are simple mathematical facts about gearing that can’t be ignored. I don’t think you’ll see a guild getting a server first in 5.4 with its members routinely below a 510+ ilevel. Skill may matter more, but in later content patches, the gear dictates the possible output, and if you can’t meet a certain output, you hit soft or hard enrage timers.
      It may be that I’m misinterpreting your comment and we’re actually in agreement; I’m not sure, but it’s worth mentioning.
      Regardless, thanks for the comment!

    • acbarberi permalink
      August 23, 2013 2:37 pm

      Yeah I think you understand me. I think, given the right amount of skill, the importance of gear becomes less important even in later raids.

      I also think gear is quickly outdated, thus I have found that “gearing up” quickly becomes a frivolous goal.

      In the past, I would have said that my in-game objective was always to get better gear. Now, I would now say my objectives have changed drastically. My objective now is simply to have a good time with my friends. For example, I will do a raid so that I can play with my friends. However, I will not do a raid simply to get better gear.

      Ah, there I go… changing the topic.

  2. August 23, 2013 2:22 pm

    I personally ask my healers sometimes, if they would prefer if I let them handle it or if I should just blast away.

    If I’m the bottom though, I’d probably not ask (because they might tell me to help myself stay alive). I’d probably just straight dps to try and look better.

    And if I was still not doing much dps, then I’d heal myself and be like “yeah, but look how good I am at survival! Dead dps is no dps, right!?”

    In regards to your awesome dps dude, I’ve learned to try really hard not to be like him. I’ve introduced a few people into WoW and remembered just how much I’ve learned over the past five years. I remember being at level 70 and using a strength axe on my hunter, because I thought raptor strike should hit hard, too 😐 Also, that axe looked boss.

  3. August 23, 2013 3:46 pm

    It is the wrong play. You have to trust your healers. Your job is to pour on the DPS.

    Sure, you can use personal CDs pre-emptively if you know there’s a big hit coming, or use group cooldowns if you have any.

    When I healed, I absolutely hated the DPS who would try and justify their low numbers by saying that they helped heal. It was unnecessary and unwanted. If they had just done a competent job on DPS, everything would have been fine.

    If the healers need extra help healing, they need to speak up and a player specifically assigned to help them. Which does happen, very often we would get a dps druid to Tranquility at a specific time. But it’s necessary that this off-healing be predictable, and not some random DPS deciding to play hero instead of doing her job.

    • Beshara permalink
      August 23, 2013 5:16 pm

      I know as a healer, when I dps I have a hard time not trying to help the healers. Also, dps tends to be lower during your first couple of times seeing a boss, until you learn all the timing.

      I have to agree that gearing doesn’t “just take a week if you try”. Random is random. In LFR I had gone three weeks, with coin rolls, without getting a drop I could use before taking a break. I had three weapon drops, two gloves, and a trinket.

  4. August 24, 2013 2:57 am

    Gearing can be incredibly fast – but you do have to try.

    For example – the bracers could have been replaced with 476 ones via justice/honor points.

    More to the point, you could have gotten nearly an entire set of 496 gear via Conquest points – your cap at this point in the season would be insanely high. You could have filled every slot but trinkets and weapon in that week. Then you could have bought the 489 trinket and 496 trinket for cheap valor. All this could be done in a few days, I believe (maybe not both trinkets, forget how much they cost atm). Then all you’d need is a weapon – and you could cross realm MSV/HoF/ToES and coin all the weapon bosses. If that fails, you can still coin those LFR. Odds are very good you’d get at least one weapon, meaning you’re in nearly full 496 within a week (and 502 barrens boots). You also have a guaranteed 516 from the first heroic scenario. And the possibility of 522 loot from Oondasta or Nalak.

    And that’s not even counting ToT LFR yet! Which has more chances at gear, especially weapons and trinkets.

    Getting 496+ ilvl in under a week is very doable. You do have to try and commit to it, but it’s doable. You might hate PvPing and hate the grind, but it’s doable.

  5. August 24, 2013 3:50 am

    Oh, and…

    “But perhaps better dps and expecting more of the healers (the two we had were very limited in their aoe healing options) would be a better outcome.”

    Ji-Kun is usually three-healed. Especially for a group with some less skilled players, you really want three healers for that fight.

  6. Tiggi permalink
    August 25, 2013 11:19 pm

    if he was talking in context of 5.4 remember a lot of things are changing even for brand new characters. the new timeless isle literally has free 496 items laying around on it in chest that you just walk up to and loot. also there are items that turn that 496 into 535 gear albight more rare. Not only that but the rep requirements are gone from the old valor gear and its all being sold for honor. .

  7. Samus permalink
    August 26, 2013 6:19 am

    This reminds me of one interaction I had back when I played. Someone posted on trade chat, “recruiting raiding Mage, must be able to do XXX dps and have YYY item level.” My response was, “you know, if they can do XXX dps in questing greens, that’s probably the badass you want. They can always get better gear.”

  8. August 26, 2013 12:43 pm

    I just got an orphaned Monk on a new server up to 90 on Thu this past week so I have very recent gearing up experience. That toon has minimal gold (and not enough to be forking out 40K for gear) and no profession items available, both professions are gathering (herb/mining). I do have all commendations from my main server, though, which had a minor impact in gearing up. Note – all content I did was solo/random, no premades (so no cheating by doing the x-svr HoF/ToES runs) and I don’t PvP, period. As Balkoth mentioned, if you’re willing to do one or both of those then it does open up some good opportunities in the first week that I didn’t have access to, mine’s kind of the worst case lone wolf technique for someone with some time to put into it. Lone wolf on a busy server, though, which doesn’t hurt.

    Right now, with some time investment, it *IS* pretty easy to get into LFR with i460… chain-running heroics (which even as a dps are pretty quick queues these days), i476 belt from the Island on day 1 *IF* you have a commendation from a toon on any server, i502 boots from the 5.3 questline (which is going away soon) and as someone mentioned above, the i476 PvP epics from a JP->HP conversion (so you need 50% more JP than the JP requirement… the 1250HP gear requires 1875JP, I believe). Plus, decided to make an i489 piece from the Barrens weekly, did that while queuing for chain-running heroics.

    By Sunday (so, 4 days later) I’ve run that toon through all LFRs she can queue for (up to and including Terrace), used bonus rolls on almost all LFR bosses (got a bunch of elder charms from the Island treasure scenario with a key I got from a chest there, only had 1 key to use, though) and picked up half a dozen LFR upgrades. I was also able to do all 4 world bosses which may not be possible on all servers these days, only got one i496 drop off Galleon, though, no i522 pieces from Nalak/Oondasta.

    Currently at i473 and VP capped days ago, I’m holding off on spending VP until I can get the i522 neck after the reset. Current problem pieces are neck (i440, waiting for VP neck), back (i458 PvP), both rings (a few dropped in heroics and I was outrolled by off-speccers, currently i442 and i437, JC rings aren’t a big enough upgrade to buy) and a trinket (i458 JP trinket from Shieldwall).

    I could buy my way to i480 and try to get all the ToT wings done tonight in the first week but I decided not to force it, now that 5.4 has been pushed back I still have a couple of weeks to gear up.

    The problem is that while getting to i460-i470 isn’t difficult if you can put some time into it, i480 takes a bit longer and after i480 things slow down a LOT unless you get lucky with Nalak/Oon or unless you can talk your way into a normal raid. So, I’ll generally concur with your guildie that if they’re willing to bring someone in with i480 gear that it’s possible to do that within a week or two, expecting i500+ in that timeframe is probably optimistic in most cases without significant luck or a hefty gold investment. I figure I’m 50/50 to be i496 when 5.4 hits. Doable, but far from a guarantee and will require an avoidance of bad drop luck.

    Interestingly, through all the gearing and having to buy EVERYTHING off the AH (enchants and gems) and reforging a few times, I’m mostly breaking even… running heroics/LFR has actually offset those costs for the most part, probably down 2K since hitting 90 and had to buy 2 of the Dancing Steel enchants at over 2K/ea.

    (side note, I haven’t done a full set of LFR back-to-back in months, the calibre of toon in there has really dropped lately… I actually had to use my “best gear” iLvl to queue for HoF, only had i468 equipped at the time… tanks barely had more health than *I* did and I was top 5 dps on all 10 fights in HoF/ToES and top 2 on 7 of them… I’m pretty good on a monk but STILL, that’s kind of ridiculous considering I didn’t even have the appropriate equipped iLvl… yet, only wiped once, on a bad pull when healers had no mana and half a dozen dps were dead so I guess most were on alts and at least somewhat knew the fights)

    • August 26, 2013 1:24 pm

      That’s some excellent data, actually, and is good to know since I think I’m going to roll a tank to level with on this server (plus, if the guild doesn’t work out, it’ll only be a few levels I’ve lost instead of another 25 bucks).

      It’s good to know that it might actually be as easy as that guy describes, but both you and he put the same qualifier: If you have enough time. That’s what sticks with me; I really don’t. School just started last week, and my play time became limited to raiding on the raid nights and maybe an hour beyond that each day. So unless I ditch the raiding, which I’d prefer not to as it’s why I came back, in which case I’ll still need to do a few money-making activities for repairs and upgrades, I’ll probably only have a few hours each week to really play.

      Which of course is fine with me, I just don’t like when people make sweeping statements about what others “should be able to do.” To be clear, that’s not how I view your story; I find the data you provide their invaluable, almost like a guide to quick gearing (something I’ve considered writing for time-poor players like myself). I just dislike time-rich players who judge time-poor ones based on how long it takes them to gear up.

      Thanks for the comment, and if I do decide on trying to write that guide, perhaps you’d be interested in co-authoring?

    • August 28, 2013 12:58 pm

      I’ll just pop a summary below since this will all be changing in 5.4. Note: I’m assuming this is for gearing an alt and that a main has already done the heavy lifting (ie. commendations).

      So, my (sorta) quick and dirty guide from fresh 90 to i480 within one reset with some luck &/or 25hr or so of time investment, lone wolf PvE (ie. no friends and no PvP) edition:

      Do not buy JP or VP gear or upgrade any gear (JP or VP) at the upgrade vendor. Use your JP as indicated below and hang on to all of your VP. If you want to speed up the process by crafting/buying i458 PvP, i476 or i496 gear, go ahead, but it isn’t necessary, you’ll be spending enough in gems and enchs as it is. Some toons will have a more difficult time doing things in this order than others, if you need to re-order things (run some heroics to gear up before doing the Island scenarios, for instance) then obviously do that.

      * Get the i476 belt from the Island and finish off all the dailies, should be doable in one day.
      * If you didn’t get a treasure scenario key yet, find a treasure chest or kill rares until you get one. Run the treasure scenario, hopefully get 15+ Elder tokens.
      * Do the 5.3 questline to get the i502 boots. Grab the weekly quest afterward, farm mobs or commanders (depending on the server) until you have 50 lesser tokens. While working your way up to 50 lessers, queue for and run heroics to accumulate JP and VP.
      * Once you have 50 lessers, turn them in for 3x Mogu tokens.
      * Do as many of the 4 world bosses as your server allows. Use tokens on all 4.
      * If still not i460 at this point (which is unlikely), keep running heroics until nearly JP capped, keep working on the Barrens weekly while queued. If still not i460 when nearly capped, trade in JP->HP and buy an i476 PvP piece that upgrades your worst slot. Repeat this step until i460.

      As soon as you hit i460:
      * Run MV LFR, make sure to keep 10 Elder tokens but use any over that on appropriate bosses (so if you have 14 tokens, use 4 in MV).
      * If still not i470 at this point, keep running heroics until nearly JP capped and keep working on the Barrens weekly while queued. If still not i470 when nearly capped, trade in JP->HP and buy an i476 PvP piece that upgrades your worst slot. Repeat this step until i470.

      As soon as you hit i470:
      * Run HoF and Terrace LFR (use tokens on all bosses, assuming you kept 10).
      * Finish off the Barrens weekly while in LFR queues (assuming you haven’t already) and only at this point get a i489 piece from the weekly reward, buy the item token if necessary (they’re generally cheap on the AH, pick a slot that isn’t already i476+, preferably).
      * If still not i480, for any HP->i476 PvP, may not be necessary though.

      At that point, should be at or very close to i480, absolute worst case (zero drops from world bosses, HoF and Terrace) I believe you’ll be i477. I may also be missing a source of gear or two that don’t require RNG or significant gold.

      Based on this process and my sub-optimal experience (I wasted some JP before remembering the i476 gear), I’d expect it would take a dps 20-25 hours to get to i477+, longer for a slower server or with ridiculously bad luck, shorter if you have some resources that I didn’t or if you get lucky with world bosses (I didn’t). Might be faster for a tank or healer, might not be (faster queues but slower grinding). I also didn’t buy any i489/i496 rep VP gear, decided to save up for i522 gear.

      Personally, I think my monk at i480 does enough dps to be viable as a fill-in for a normal ToT run (80-90K non-gimmick dps, more than most of our fill-ins were doing and we still managed to kill bosses) but obviously that opinion won’t be shared by all. I still think i496 by 5.4 hitting is a 50/50 likelihood for me at this point. I’ll have two i522 VP pieces by then but I’m not sure those plus two more weeks of ToT LFR will be enough, I’ll likely need a world boss drop or two as well.

  9. Cain permalink
    August 27, 2013 9:22 am

    It also greatly depends on class. On classes like pally or druid it became faster because I could pick up offset pieces to artificially boost my ilvl just to be able to run additional LFRs to have more chances at actually useful pieces. Running heroics I took any item someone else didn’t need (I’d look at the loot window if it wasn’t for my spec before rolling). When I got to the early LFRs I would look at the loot for all the specs before we started a boss, and compare that to the slots that I needed upgrades for. I didn’t care if I got holy loot on my ret pally if it meant my ilvl went up. I didn’t really feel bad about cheesing the system so bad because I was still pretty high on dps even though my equiped ilvl was really low compared to my overall ilvl.

    You are right that a lot of it comes with it not being your first character as well. I crafted a 502 weapon on one toon and left it in the bags of alts to help boost ilvl. I used the boa weapons/trinkets/necks/offhands on almost every alt I’ve had this xpac (either the arch ones or the rare treasure ones). I actively seek out the rare treasures on almost every alt as I already have where they are memorized. Being able to pass a couple 450’s or a couple 471’s to every alt made a big difference in getting into lfr’s. (Being able to upgrade BoA’s on other toons and then mail them) Being able to pass rep tokens with kirin tor. Knowing that if you run the treasure scenario trying only for coins that it’s possible to get 15-20 coins in a run for use in LFR. Knowing that you can run that LFR as many times as you want to use a coin on it for extra chances at specific items you’re missing.

    I consider raid ready for 5.4 to be about 520 ilvl though so I don’t think there’s any way that’s possible in a week without insane luck. Getting into all of the early LFRs in a week on an alt not that hard. Getting it all on a first toon, much different.

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