Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Pull! A Guide to Raiding Faster Revisited

Wednesday, 10 October 2012 - by Evlyxx 0

Again just a post capturing some valuable information that is no longer available from the original source. A transcript of the audio from the above video:


Why should you care what speed your raids run at?

Slow raids lead to bored raiders. Bored raiders lead to more mistakes. And mistakes make raids drag on for hours. Learning to raid quickly speeds up farming nights and progression content, since getting to the hard boss faster gives you more time to practice.

During progression periods, Fusion raids five days a week, a little over twenty hours, and yet keeps up with many guilds raiding six or seven. We do this, in part, because we have a culture of moving fast and using our time in raids as effectively as possible.

Speed isn't about DPS

Having fewer deaths and minimizing downtime will do more to speed up your evening than extra DPS.
In our speed clear we took four healers, two prot-spec'd tanks, and two DPS-spec'd players who put on tanking gear for trash. We can, and have, cleared Naxx with just 2-3 healers and 2 total tanks -- but that's slower than a well-balanced raid.

If you have too few healers and tanks, you can't pull as many mobs at once. Extra DPS doesn't gain you much because most of your time is lost standing around waiting for mobs, or killing those last one or two mobs. Increasing your DPS is fairly inefficient way to change how long it takes you to clear a zone.

Speed isn't about gear

While we have been clearing Naxx since launch, we by no means are all decked out in best-in-slot gear, or wearing gear from the next tier of content.

Speed isn't about yelling and abuse

Being focused has nothing to do with yelling and abuse and everything to do with letting the guild know what to expect and holding people to that.

It's about setting expectations that raid time is focus time, and the faster you get done the better. Most raiders are happier when they don't feel like they're spending half the night waiting for someone else.

Faster raids are about...

Three principles:
  1. Minimize Trash
  2. Minimize Downtime
  3. Lead Effectively

Minimize Trash

The biggest mistake people make is dismissing trash -- raidleaders and raiders alike. The bulk of your time in an instance, unless you're working on a hard boss, will be spent clearing trash.

People going afk, not giving their best, or otherwise dragging their feet will slow down your raid far more than anything else.

Impatience is a virtue

Your biggest asset as a leader or a puller is your sense of impatience. Don't tolerate idleness.

Recruit impatient tanks

Your tanks (or hunters, if you pull with a hunter) set the pace on pulls, and the best way to speed up trash dps is to pulling trash faster. Consider having a "trash tank" if you have an eager but less senior tank who you know can keep up the pace.

Make sure the tank is responsible however: raid frames or some method of monitoring health and mana are critical. Pulling when half the healers are dead, or everyone is at 10% mana will just lead to wipes and frustration.

See the list of Raidleading Addons if you need some suggestions of what to install.

Be an impatient raidleader

Your raiders' attention will drift if you don't keep things moving forwards. Have your other officers help keep the raid moving forwards if you're tired or aren't prone to impatience yourself.
If you need to, set target clear times for each wing and use the stopwatch in game (/sw) to remind yourself to remind the raid to keep moving.

Expect your tanks to tank

All tanks have AE tanking capabilities right now and taunt has a range. Expect them to keep pulls under control -- there's no reason not to AE easy trash.

It can help to have a tank play "catch": he is responsible for noticing mobs shooting off after an eager mage and taunt them and bring them back onto the fold.

Your plate classes can throw on tanking gear on trash even though they're DPS spec and help keep things under control.

Deaths will happen

Death is a fact of life. Handle it. Have a rezzer assigned for incidental trash deaths if you need to. A death isn't a reason to stop pulling, and rebuffing isn't a reason to stop pulling.

Make sure your tank and raidleader have raid frames however: A pull that just wiped out 3/4ths of the healers due to loose mobs means you take a small break unless you want a total wipe on the next pull.

Don't bring extra healers and tanks

Running heavy on healers or tanks slows down the raid and makes people lazy. When there's fewer tanks and healers, people pay more attention since there aren't a lot of other people to pick up their slack.

We've noticed that we have more deaths, rather than fewer, if we run with extras. This doesn't mean sit them and don't let them raid: encourage them to get DPS specs and gears and rotate around who is healing/tanking and who is DPS'ing that night. It's a good way to give people variety as well.

Minimize Downtime

The second major principle is removing "dead" time during your raid.

Handle loot quickly

Loot distribution consumes a huge amount of time for most guilds. Regardless of your system, Consider using master looter so everyone else can clear trash while you assign loot.

If you use DKP, have your master looter be managing DKP also, so only one person is tied up. If you use /random, encourage quick rolls and keep moving.

If instead you have a loot council, like we do, minimize the number of people involved in decisions. More than 4 or 5 is unwieldy, and there needs to be someone empowered with the ability to say "We're doing this, end of discussion."

Only the really big-ticket, high upgrade items need a lot of discussion time, get used to making fast decisions for tier tokens and normal-sized upgrades in under a minute.

Plan AFK breaks

Plan breaks so people know what to expect.

We raid for 4.5 hours a night, so we always take a 5-10 minute break after flasks drop the first time, which is about the halfway point.

When people know there is a break coming, they are less tempted to take random breaks.

Ignore AFK's

When AFK's do happen, they shouldn't slow you down. For the most part, you can keep moving even if someone is afk or disconnected.

Use ready checks

Don't ask "is everyone ready to go?" Do a ready check either with the Game tool or saying "Everyone move up to me."

Having everyone move is better, since that forces people to be actively at the keyboard and not just tabbing in to click "Yes" and then going back to webbrowsing.

Having people actively engaged makes them more likely to respond quickly, and means when you move shortly, your raid will be ready.

Never ask questions everyone has to answer

  • "Is everyone ready?"
  • "Can we start pulls?"
Neither of these is useful because you don't care if people are ready, only if someone isn't.

A better question to ask is: "Who isn't ready?"

Better still: never ask

Don't ask, simply tell:
"Pulling in 15 seconds"
Your raiders will learn to speak up if that's an issue.

Lead Effectively

The third principle is being a strong, effective leader. A raidleader is more than just a guy to yell when people screw up. He's also the one watching the raid's pace, handling errors, and making sure morale stays high.

Encourage tank/healer communication

You need a good rapport between your tanks and healers. Help build that by encouraging communication on vent so the healers feel energized, and not overwhelmed, and the tanks feel confident of their pull speed.

Having heals assigned to specific tanks can give the tanks confidence to move forwards to pull since they know they're being covered.

Delegate, delegate, delegate

Good raidleaders aren't just impatient -- they're also lazy, and they don't want to do all the work themselves.

Raidleader just means that you're where the buck stops -- not that you do everything.

If you use a main assist, don't have him be the same person who is marking targets.

Have the healers coordinate amongst themselves so before you reach the boss they already know how healing will be arranged.

Tanks should know before they're at the boss what is going on.

If a class needs to coordinate interrupts or sheeps, remind them to coordinate it but don't do it for them.

Play well but have fun

There's no reason to accept poor play on trash -- and it's actually more fun to keep moving on a raid.

There's still space for joking on vent and for having fun -- what changes is people's attitudes towards what's actually going on with their game in between bosses.

Plan ahead

Don't spent 30 minutes before each boss "setting up." Expect people to review what they need to as they're approaching the boss, and just spend a brief period reminding people of important highlights before engage.

Reminders are okay

There's nothing *wrong* with your guild if you need to remind them details of boss fights or that this is a particularly nasty trash pack.

There's nothing wrong if you call out waves on Sarth.

Even the best raider has a brainfart on occasion, and when you're talking 25 people, the odds get pretty high that someone will screw up.

Don't sit there ahead of time on the boss detailing out every ability -- but a review during the last trash pack or right before the boss is great.

Raising Expectations

As you start to implement these principles, it's at first a bit challenging, but after that the raid grows into it, and people will start to assume raids always keep moving efficiently and they will pay more attention on their own.

But we'll wipe...

A common concern is "that's nice and all, but if we try what you say, we'll just wipe." Sure, possibly. But you won't wipe for that long. People will adjust to the new pace of raiding.

Once you have your raid's confidence, the best way to understand what rate of pulling is best is actually *to* push yourself to the edge, wipe, and then scale back a bit. You won't know your limits until you actually break them
It gets easier with practice

Soon your raiders will become accustomed to moving more quickly, and it will take less prodding and nagging from you.

You can never let your own guard down -- if you are slow that night, the raid will be too -- but it takes less of a push to get things rolling when people's expectations of changed about the pace of a raid.

Don't ignore mistakes

An important part of being a raidleader is addressing mistakes.

You don't need to rant and rage over every slight error someone makes, but similarly you shouldn't ignore repeated errors or careless play.

Any guild can raid faster

If you're either a main tank or a raidleader, you can start doing this with your next raid. You don't have to wait to reach a particular dungeon, or to get the guild to some specific gear level. Your guild *is* capable of it as long as you're willing to put in the effort.

And this doesn't take the fun out of raiding -- it means people spend less time on the icky stuff like trash, and more time grabbing purples and chatting with their friends.

Remember, it's not about being a dictator on vent and yelling at people, it's just about keeping the raid cheerful focused and always moving.

Advanced Tactics

This isn't for every guild, but it's definitely part of what makes us so fast at moving through dungeons.

We don't use raid symbols, we don't (often) use cc targets, and we don't assist.

Having your kill order be "target the nearest non-cc'd mob and unload on it" speeds up things considerably
as long as your healers don't run OOM (since your melee and caster DPS can become somewhat split.)

Debuffs tend to work out, however, since your caster clump usually gets the same mob when they just do "target nearest."

Sometimes when it's a hard pull, we'll use raid symbols, but they're for tank convenience more than anything else.
If you still like raid symbols and kill orders, check out the MagicMarker mod -- it helps a lot with marking.

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About the Author

By day I'm an IT Server analyst for a major telecoms compnay in the UK and I've been playing World of Warcraft since November 2005 when a pair of colleagues bullied me into playing! I have evolved into a raider (summer 2006), an auction house wheeler dealer (2007), a guild officer (2007), an altoholic (2008), a raid leader (2008), a Warcraft blogger (2010) and a PVPer (2012)

My main has, and always will be Evlyxx, a priest and I love to heal. I started as Holy in vanilla, dabbled with the shadow side during the middle part of Burning Crusade, before returning to Holy but I have been mostly Discipline since mid-Wrath.


About the Author

By day I'm an IT Server analyst for a major telecoms compnay in the UK and I've been playing World of Warcraft since November 2005 when a pair of colleagues bullied me into playing! I have evolved into a raider (summer 2006), an auction house wheeler dealer (2007), a guild officer (2007), an altoholic (2008), a raid leader (2008), a Warcraft blogger (2010) and a PVPer (2012)

My main has, and always will be Evlyxx, a priest and I love to heal. I started as Holy in vanilla, dabbled with the shadow side during the middle part of Burning Crusade, before returning to Holy but I have been mostly Discipline since mid-Wrath.

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