It is possible to perform tasks without the proper tools or with inadequate tools.
My mother has assembled a vacuum cleaner with a butter knife in lieu of an available screwdriver.
I have used a screwdriver and hammer to open a can in lieu of having a real can opener.
(The events are unrelated; it’s not my fault she didn’t have a screwdriver.)
This is what is commonly referred to as “making do.”
I frequently will open packaging with my teeth instead of taking 20 seconds to locate a pair of scissors or a knife.
When we go out of our way to perform a task with unusual limitations or tools, it’s known as “doing things the hard way.”
(Funny how sometimes being lazy leads to things being harder than they need to be.)
In single-player scenarios, not having the appropriate tools, making do, or doing things the hard way have little consequence.
Oh, sure, it might make it impossible or difficult for you to complete the task, but it really only affects you.
Assembling appliances with utensils is hardly efficient, but it does, eventually, get the job done.
I probably made a bit of a mess with my improvised can opener, but I got my food and cleaned up after myself.
It takes me a little while to open something by chewing on it, but if I wanted it any faster I could get off my ass and find something sharper.
But what about a group environment, such as raiding?
I’m going to talk about some groups of tools useful for raiding.
These may or may not be required by your guild.
Is it possible to raid without them?
But it’s like putting together that vacuum with a butter knife.
And your whole guild is staring at you while you fumble with the hose assembly.
And you manage to cut yourself on the butter knife.
And then you bleed on the carpet.
And then they all talk about you when you’re off line.
Because there is always one and I don’t need to be flooded with, “but *I* can do it just fine” comments.
As an example, the general consensus is that key binding is generally superior to clicking for most people. Same with mouse turning versus keyboard turning.
(Did I put enough caveats in that?)
The only time I question if someone is a clicker or keyboard turner (or not using add ons) is when they seem to be very slow to respond, move in odd ways, or are lacking in some other respect.
If a person has exceptional reactions, great DPS/HPS/TPS/whatever, moves appropriately, target swaps, etc. I will not question what tools they are using or the methods in which they are being used.
Well, I might question what they are doing so I can pass it off to other players that are struggling.
Long story short, if you’re not broken I won’t try to fix you. Even if you are a clicker. =)
But, if you’re falling behind, I will start asking what’s happening on your end so we can get it fixed.
So what types of tools do we have to work with in WoW?
They fall into four basic categories:
Communication, Notification, Feedback, and Convenience.
The biggest one here is vent. Ventrilo is required by my guild for raids and by many others as well. (Or Teamspeak or the in-game voice program.)
Being able to instantly (aside from lag) relay information to your raid team increases odds of success greatly while reducing the likelihood of carpal tunnel.
Think of pugs you’ve run where that one guy won’t get in vent. And that one guy is usually the one that misses out on something important passed on in vent and he dies. And then bitches. And gets kicked for being a tool.
In here, I have add ons that, well, notify you of stuff.
Notably: Deadly Boss Mods (or its equivalent such as BigWigs). Raid bosses do lots of different things at different times to different people. Add ons like this tell you when the shit is going to hit the fan and which person is going to get splattered. This is a required add on for our raids.
Having an add like this means there is no excuse for failure to switch to the correct twin or essence on the Twins in ToCr, or to not stop casting when Ignis is doing his thing. These adds do not directly translate to an increase in DPS, but they do contribute to an increase in awareness, survivability, and efficiency, which translates to making a kill.
Secondary to boss notifications are adds that will notify you of more personal things. Maybe you need to keep track of buffs or debuffs (I use X-Perl, DoTimer, and IceHUD for this), health of all the raid members (X-Perl, Grid, etc.), when cooldowns are up or procs have procced (OmniCC, NeedToKnow, EventAlert, etc.).
These types of adds are generally not required, but if you have something to keep track of and you’re not keeping track of it, this is a good way to fix that. If your DoTs are falling or getting clipped, if you miss procs, etc. these adds will contribute directly to an increase in DPS/HPS/etc.
Guild-wise, we require Grid for our healers. It could also fall into the communication category because it transmits data about incoming heals. This reduces our double-healing.
Adds in this category give you information to consider, but possibly not to respond to right away. Set up properly, these adds allow you to make changes to your behavior to see an improvement in your performance.
A simple one would be a scrolling combat text add. You can track incoming heals, outgoing damage, all sorts of useful info.
Recount also falls into this category, especially for DPS, when used properly. Without an add telling you what your damage is, how do you know if you’re pulling your weight?
If you want to be a contributing member of a raid, to not be carried, you need to know if you’re doing it right. Even if you don’t want to run a meter in a raid, spending some quality time with the dummy and verifying that you’re pulling appropriate numbers is important.
Any time there is a change to your class, your spec, your gear, you should plan a return trip to the dummy. Did it make a change? Can you make it better? Is it worse? Can you fix it?
Recount allows you to take your research, apply it, and then measure it. No matter how much time I spend reading up on a rotation, if I can’t accurately reproduce it, it was wasted time.
While leveling, there isn’t much information about appropriate levels of damage. At end game, there is so much information it can be hard to weed through. Your best bet is to make sure that you are at least running with the pack in your raids. Someone has to be first and someone has to be last, but the difference between them should not be astronomical.
We don’t require Recount, but I do recommend that people have access to a meter when they are getting their raiding specs and rotations worked out.
For official purposes, we use a combat log parser and load the results on to an internet site so the whole guild can review their performance. And I expect that people review it.
And here goes everything else that is useful.
I find Dominos to be useful, especially for fast keybind changes and customizable action bar layouts. While this doesn’t directly contribute to my damage or my heals, it does make for a more comfortable playing experience. We all have our favorites here.
As a guild, we require certain adds to be loaded for processing of our EPGP loot system. They don’t help us get to the loot, but they make handing out the loot much easier and drama-free.
Part of being a Focused raider means using the tools at your disposal.
Yes, you can gnaw on the boss with your teeth or hit him with a butter knife, but you’re letting your raid down by doing so.
- Add ons are tools. Using tools is what sets us apart from most of the animals. If you want to be a contributing member of your raid, don’t be a tool-less sheep.
- Not all adds work for all people. Talk to others to see what works for them, but experiment and find what works best for you.