Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Guildleader chores - Culling in Flex for Garrosh

I"ve written a lot about the joys of Flex raiding and how I love being able to get people to see the content in a guild environment, but it is inevitable that when we get to Garrosh we have to remove people.

I hate that part of it. I don't like asking people to leave.  People feel bad. I feel bad!  They've put in the hours to get here and then get told they have to go?  That hardly seems fair.  How are they going to learn?  And how are we going to get everyone to see Garrosh if we don't take some of the lower geared people in?

Mataoka said, and I totally understand, that she likes Flex because it's a safe learning place and you won't get asked to leave.  For the most part, that is true.  Garrosh is the only boss in Flex who is still about the same difficulty as one of the earlier bosses in a normal raid, which means you still have to follow the mechanics and steps and every loss of a raid member to a death makes it that much harder for everyone else.

Last night, we had to drop down to 13-14 people, and Garrosh had 167 million health.  When we had 17 people, his health was 203 million or so.  Reading around, I saw that at the minimum you probably need to pull about 140k dps or so for Garrosh to not be a dead weight.  And most of the time we haven't had an issue, because we had our normal and heroic raiders bringing their mains along for the Garrosh kill.  So if you have a few people pulling 300+k dps then you can get away with people DPSing at 100k and so it evens out.

The other thing about last night was that we only had 2 mainspec DPS there - Lushen and Luxy, who of course, did great DPS, as expected.  But we had a lot of people doing under 150k dps, and some that were under 100.  Without a lot of high end DPS to counter that, the encounter was a lot more difficult that it needed to be.  Aza, our to DPS Warlock, was on his hunter, who probably did half the DPS of his main but that's still a nice solid 170k+. Morz was DPSing but that was because we had too many healers - we already had 3 resto druids and a paladin - and I definitely didn't need any more healing.

There are so many things to consider here. Is it fair to ask someone who doesn't need anything on their main to come and help DPS so others can get loot, and then they miss out on loot on their alt?  Is it fair that someone who hasn't put in time in LFR multiple times to get a feel for the fight turns up on a boss fight and never seen it ever before and then wipes the group a few times trying to learn it? 

I give up my time and energy to run flex for my guildies, their friends and other pugs, so they can get loot.  I don't need anything.  Kyxyn doesn't need anything.  A consistent main healer and main tank helps a lot when it comes to doing Flex Garrosh, and that way I feel at least we have a nice routine and plan to follow that is easy to execute .  A lot of people probably don't want to help out on the harder wings on their mains because "What's in it for me?"  If you're not going to get loot for your alt or Valour, then what's the point, right?  As the guildleader, I just want to make sure that people are learning and experiencing the fight, and it would be perfect if they mastered the boss and got loot!  But if you are not performing to the minimum standard we expect (and the standard we set is lower than most other people I think) then I don't you shouldn't expect that we can teach you to run when you've only just learned to walk. And you should recognise that, if your DPS is low.  DPS is not like healing - when you are around other DPS your DPS shouldn't get lowered (unless of course the mobs are dead before you can hit them) because you're all doing damage.  Healing on the other hand is damned annoying because my heals get negated by Disc priest absorbs and I look like I'm not doing anything! So lower geared healers may get the artificial low heals because all the healing is sniped by the others, so they look worse than they are, but as I said, DPS shouldn't have that effect.

We do make it clear at the start of each raid that if we find ourselves struggling with a DPS check then the lower performing players need to be dropped so that the health gain the boss gets from adding players can be negated.  I don't think people should be upset by that.  They should know they are not geared for the encounter yet. If people get upset when I tell them that, then I often think those sorts of people are not the people I want to be flexing with in the first place. "How are we going to learn," they lament, "if we're not allowed to go?"  Well, you won't be learning anything if your health is so low that you can't live through an iron star in phase 1.  And I don't think it's too much to ask to ask you to follow the group if you don't know what you're doing in the other phases. Perhaps I should be more vocal when calling it out so people are more aware! Anyway, here's hoping my next flex will still have well geared people so I can help pull some of the lower DPS through so they can learn.

Kyxyn gets annoyed because of people who come to Flex to learn.  I actually don't see a problem with that. I have done LFR and I learned nothing from doing the bosses because it's so chaotic and people tend not communicate well.  LFR at least gives me an idea of what mechanics the boss uses and what things are bad to stand in, but real strategy is learned in Flex.

I am not the only one with this dilemma.  I was reading someone else's post in forums and other people have the same issues.  They, like me, don't want to kick people and wonder if there is anything that can make Phase 3 easier, which is where the DPS really matters.  Empowered whirls which hurt a lot, Empowered Touch of Y'shaarj that I can't interrupt unless I use Fae silence, and the Empowered Gripping Despair which kills the tanks all make the last phase the DPS race.  I don't know if there is an easy way to deal with it except that every player has to be on the ball with interrupts and DPSing down the MCs.  Man, I've done the fight a few times and I STILL feel overwhelmed during that phase! So I guess, a reassuring thing is that I'm not the only one who tries to run their Flex the way I do, and I think everyone shouldn't think I'm giving them a hard go of it.

I rely on the goodwill of my officers and geared raiders to make the Flex runs work. There are a few pugs who are really amazing and supportive when it comes to helping out with their toons to meet whatever our flex raid requires.  Sometimes I worry about what will happen if those people I rely on are no longer there to help out with Flex. Or if I break all my officers because I make such high demands of them. Ooh, now that's fodder for another post.

But here is my other guilt - I have had to sit out guildies to get a kill.  I don't like having to do that, I want our guildies to get the first go.  I don't want outsiders to be in the raid when guildies aren't!  But the weird thing is, after raiding with the same players week after week in Flex, I think of some of the outsiders as guildies almost.  Those Barthilas friends of Luxy's are so nice and are the first to drop if they think we need a health decrease in the boss, and Rip and Jurlok are always ready to switch to whatever toons we need (even tanks) just to help us get a kill.  They're regulars, and reliably attend, so I think of them as honourary Frostwolves, in a way.

So just to let everyone know what's going through my head every time we hit Garrosh. You might feel bad because I've had to remove you from a Garrosh fight, but I guarantee you that I have spent a lot of time thinking about it, and feeling bad about it and trying to organise everyone else to get it down. My goal is to get everyone a kill.  And hopefully if you work hard and we work hard, we can get there.

23 comments:

  1. I didn't feel bad I was removed. I knew there was an over abundance of healers in the run. Since I couldn't swap to DPS it is risk I take.

    I'm slowly getting my off-spec Ret Damage gear up to quality, but I think I am still short of the target 140k dps.

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    1. I know you don't Tacky, though sometimes I worry you do. But you've got a Garrosh kill and an heirloom so I don't feel so bad, but for those who haven't got it yet, I want to help them get it.

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  2. My take on this has always seemed to be the unpopular view; I guess it comes from my days of being the noob DPS in a hardcore guild who was always the first to be replaced when DPS checks were put in place.

    There is more to raiding then just learning the fight and this is where I think people are getting hurt feelings. They're not seeing the bigger picture of what raiding entails. There is more to learning than just figuring out where to stand; it's figuring out where to stand -while DPSing your heart out-. I assume that people have had however many bosses prior to Garrosh to practice. If you get benched, take it as an opportunity to look at how you can improve so that next run, you're smashing the numbers and you -can- be there to learn the fight!

    A raid/guild leader has to worry about the health of the group as a whole. If you go ahead and take people who aren't carrying their weight, the boss becomes harder and your "muscle" will inevitably grow tired and bail on the runs. If too many people give up, then there is no raid at all! Then no-one gets to learn and grow as a raider.

    Like you said, if you just make it clear at the start of the run that there is a damage check for Garrosh, people might not get so shocked and hurt when they're suddenly dumped at the last crucial boss. They'll have all the bosses prior to keep an eye on their Recount/Skada and try their absolute best to reach the target goal. Anyone who joins up with an alt should also be a part of that rule, but perhaps you could offer them the chance to switch to their main if their alt is lacking.

    Another alternative which means more micromanaging for you, is to come up with the ideal number for completing Garrosh plus one. Then you could always rotate in players who aren't quite there yet to fill that last spot without it being too much of a detriment to the entire group as a whole. People get that chance to learn -the mechanics- and the muscle isn't being too taxed.

    Erm, yes, rant over! :/

    Good luck finding that balance :)

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    1. I have been thinking about that. Lately I felt I had been losing my resolve a little with each Garrosh kill, and I want to get that back again. Starting this week! I will make a rule about Garrosh attempts - 2 learning attempts, and then the cull will begin and we will let one or two people undergeared people stay for the kill - but I will have to discuss that with the other officers.

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  3. Ugh. This is such a difficult topic to address, Navi, and kudos for even trying. I'll start by making clear that I don't think there is a right answer to this, it is too subjective and complex. There is only what makes person X happy, and when there are potentially dozens of X's....well, it sucks.

    I hate being dropped. It means I am not perceived as good enough. But I am aware, and I accept, that I may not be good enough. What frustrates me is not knowing whether it is something in my control or not. Is it my gear level? Is it my raid awareness? Is it the fact that I am learning the fight? These are the questions that I deal with, and I assume anyone who gets dropped also asks.

    I'm just going to ramble now. I am of the opinion that the night is not a waste if we don't get all the bosses down. I value the experience just as much as the (potential) loot. I actually hate being carried just as much as being dropped, since either way I'm not learning much. I don't put any value on having done fights on lfr, it is such a different experience (at least for a ranged dps and probably heals). I'm with Matty here, in that I don't view flex as a 'serious' raiding environment - that's what normal is for. I don't understand how people can get upset that others are learning fights, practicing raid awareness or tanking/dps/healing in what amounts to a practice mode. I get that people DO feel that way, just that I don;t understand that feeling.

    Neri is right that you, as GM, need to worry about the health of the group as a whole. I disagree with the rest of her thought process though. I think it is true only if the expectation is a fast, full clear every time. Then yes, the people performing above the minimum needed (whether through gear or skill, or both) will become tired of wiping and stop coming. I think that is a consequence of the implied goal of the run: to clear it as fast as possible and get easy loot. If that goal is changed to having fun, letting people learn and improve, getting to know the other people in your raid/guild - boss kills and loot being secondary - then you will find that people will not turn up if all they want is fast, easy loot. I see that as a good thing. I know others won't. I saw a lot of shock and embarrassment when we wiped on a boss, even more when we wiped twice. That says to me the primary goal of the run is held to be quick, easy loot. If that is what you are after, then dropping the dead weight is logical.

    Numbers. Going on your numbers for Garrosh, that's around 30M health lost for 3 players (I assume all dps). Is an average of 10M damage (to Garrosh) over the course of the fight unachievable for those players? That's what, under 2 mins of fight time at 100k dps. I honestly don't think the raw numbers are the problem.

    I mentioned gear before. Where is the cutoff point for gear level? Gevlon showed that gear level is not all that important as long as people pay attention and learn both their class and the fight. I got 2 pieces of loot on Saturday, that took me to 540 - exactly on par with flex gear. I would not expect to be dropped for being undergeared at that point. If my numbers are low, it's either because I am not playing well or I am learning the fight. And again, 'low' gets skewed when some of the raid are mains from the heroic team, sporting legendary cloaks and heroic/warforged gear and having had many weeks of experience on the fight. I do think that the "if you drop me how am I going to learn the fight" argument is valid up to a point. (But then, I am one of the seemingly rare people nowadays who actually likes discovering things for themselves. I would much rather spend a night wiping on a new fight because we went into it blind, as a team, and learned the mechanics and formed our strategy ourselves, than expect everyone to be familiar with the mechanics on the first pull. But I digress.)

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    1. I think I've made my position clear. As I said, there is no right answer, you can't please everyone. The only thing you can do, MUST do, is spell out your expectations to the raid so there is a minimum of confusion and disappointment. What people do from there is their choice, their problem, and not your responsibility. You are a fantastic GM for just caring.

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    2. You bring up an excellent point about the purpose of the raid. It's why I came in with the disclaimer that my perspective had been formed from a hardcore background :)

      My points become mute if the aim of the raid is to simply hang out with friends. I got the impression that, if they're already benching people to get the kill, boss kill is a pretty high priority. That's where the "screw people we only bring numbers" attitude comes in handy. It's terrible though, and it's why I gave up my hard core days back at the start of Wrath to run a guild that spent most of the expansion drunk :-P

      You're absolutely right that Navi is awesome for just caring. Many GM's in her position wouldn't, and those guilds are no fun to be in at all.


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    3. Well I was one of the people cut and I'm heals. My item level is 539, just one shy of the 'par for flex'. The factions involved being removed included that we had too many healers for the group size, I couldn't switch to viable DPS and I was the weakest of the healers there. I didn't see it as being cutthroat but of necessity.

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    4. Phew Dah, you and Neri wrote more in your replies than I did in my post :D
      I never look at gear level. What I look at is DPS, deaths and heals. Poor Ala died twice in Garrosh's dream bit - that's a big no no. I can forgive one death, and even two sounds like it's not that bad but Garrosh is a 10 minute fight - wiping twice at 10 minutes is 20 minutes of time wasted in a 2 hour time slot. A third wipe would mean one quarter of raid time was lost.

      And here we come to learning. If everyone is learning a fight, then multiple wipes are expected. If one or two people are learning a fight then a few wipes are expected, but to me and those who know the fight, we don't want to wipe because we KNOW the fight. I don't think I would mind a wipe or two as people learn the mechanics of the fight, but EVERY week, wiping a few times when I know the fight already and am trying to teach it - I may be that patient but everyone else may not. And I cannot force everyone to conform to my point of view, so the best middle ground is one or two wipes for learning and then cull. But this week I think I might relax a little and have one or two people who haven't done the fight with us to come for the Garrosh kill with the main group. Making the choice on who it will be is hard enough - but I hope that by a few months time, everyone will have got a kill.

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    5. As I have been outed as someone who gets frustrated at those who are learning fights, let me explain my point of view.

      I dislike people showing up to a fight with no knowledge of it, whatever the difficulty. Its easy to say you learn nothing in LFR, but for Garrosh you will learn about the mechanics of engineers and iron stars, the transition phases (avoiding purple), dealing with MC's, and that the final phase is a burn phase. I feel that it is considerate not to expect people to waste 30 minutes of flex time whilst a couple of people learn mechanics that they could learn elsewhere. There are plenty of videos that explain stuff, and I can't see why someone shouldn't spend 5 minutes watching something that could save 15 people 10 minutes of their time.

      I love doing Flex and helping ppl get to see content that they may not otherwise see. I hope that the people who are being helped are doing everything they can to help themselves as well.

      I should also add that if you aren't sure why you have been dropped, or want to discuss it, the best time is after the raid. Then we can take the time to go through the thought processes. During the raid, we want to do the best we can with the time available.

      KyXyn the Tyrant

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    6. I would like to make a correction to the original numbers mentioned in the post.

      The numbers that Navi said was only for Phase 1. She didn't count all the other phases where he had X amount of health to get down, which reduced as we reduced the number of people in the raid. But we can look at what did happen in the raid.

      Our first attempt as a whole group (17 people) lasted 12 minutes with 780 million damage on Garrosh himself and he was still at 30% - and that wasn't even hitting phase 3 (where he turns big and purple, which he does when he hits 10%). In our kill attempt that night we did 667 million total damage to Garrosh when we had 12 people. These numbers don't include the adds, who also have a greater health pool depending on the group size. 1.56 billion damage (and that's without a kill) vs 931 million for the kill - look at the huge difference 5 people make - a kill with 17 people would probably require double the damage.

      /rant over
      HK

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    7. Oops this is why nobody should ever let me talk about numbers or boss statistics/stats/abilities because my simplified brain gets it ALL WRONG. How embarrassing. Guess it's too late to edit my post so I don't look so stupid...

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    8. Ahhh, that makes sense, HK. I did think that less than 2 minutes of 100k dps per person was a little low. Thanks for the correction!

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  4. One last thought. This topic will become more relevant in Warlords, since 'normals' are going to be flex, only mythic raiding is fixed size. So, what you need to ask yourself, and develop a policy for, is: will we be culling people on a boss fight in a normal progression raid? When will that cull be made - after only a couple of wipes? A set time (say 30 mins of wipes)? When we've stopped improving on the fight (as a % of health remaining)? Will the culls be based purely on numbers, or will awareness factor into it too?

    And my favourite head-hurting question: If we're willing to cull people in (future) normal flex, how is that different to being willing to replace people in a (current) fixed-size normal raid if we aren't getting a kill? After all, with the current normals, you can't just cut someone and have the boss scale down; you have to bring in someone *better*. If you don't have anyone better, what do you do? Does the scaling of flex get around that problem?

    I certainly don't envy you your responsibility for making THOSE decisions! :)

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    1. To tell you the truth I have no idea how it will work. HOw is the lockout going to work? Will normal raiding have the same lockout as heroic? If that's the case, I don't want to get loot in normals because I will miss out on heroic loot! What I am sure of is that we will probably NOT have our usual "flex" runs (now normals - gosh that's confusing) until we are past that content. Probably a few weeks after we start raiding, I think. However, I think that people who know or recognise they are holding back the raid should recognise that they are the ones doing so - I know that if I was the weakest healer, doing way less than what I should be doing, I would volunteer to sit out until I was up to scratch, and I expect no less of anyone else. Those ones who have insight into their own abilities when compared to others and are humble enough to volunteer to sit out when they realise things aren't going right because of a "numbers" thing, are the raiders who I actually value the most, because they are the kind of people that I want to be in Frostwolves.

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    2. I can give my thoughts if people want to hear them.

      It will run pretty much as it does now.

      Normal raids (current flex) won't be the main focus of raiding. This is the tier where we can take along everyone to see content, but as a result, will need to be delayed until we have the gear to do so. It will also be a way of getting some loot for main raiders initially.

      Heroic raids (current norm) will be the initial main focus of raiding. But I cannot see this being available to all and sundry. If you aren't where you should be in terms of numbers and awareness, then unfortunately this isn't the tier for you. If we need to drop people to get a kill, then they probably aren't ready for this tier.

      Mythic Raids (Current heroic) will hopefully be the eventual raid goal of the guild. To this end, I think we will eventually need to have a raiding roster of 25-ish people, (this is mirroring the fact that we pretty much have a raiding roster of 13 or so 10's).

      I'd like to stress that these are just my own thoughts, not those of the guild, but I *think* this is a likely way for how things will work. We definitely want to have fun, and we aren't saying that Frosties are becoming hardcore, we are just mimicking what we are currently doing (and being incredibly successful by the way).

      The Tyrant

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    3. Yeah sorry, the question was meant to be about Warlords heroics (= current normals, but flex). Given that the scaled raid will give you different decisions to make, how will that be handled? Currently, your decisions are 'do we take person X OR person Y for that slot'? If X is clearly better than Y but Y is still acceptable, X tends to get the spot anyway. In the xpac, your decisions will be more like 'when is person Y a liability rather than an asset'? Given that you can take both X and Y, if you are struggling with a boss how strong will the temptation be to simply drop the perceived dead weight instead of modifying strats or working with them to figure out what problems they may be having (which is what you'd have to do in current normals/heroics of fixed raid size where there is no available replacement)?

      I'm just interested in the comparison between the two xpacs, since the choices presented to you guys as GM/RL are different in each.

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    4. As I said, it will depend on certain benchmarks. A good connection. Attendance. Raid awareness. Utility, buffs and roles within the raid and of course a certain healing/DPS output. If someone is SEVERELY underperforming then we probably would remove them. But if it was someone I would consider as a raider substitute then they would stay.

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    5. "Currently, your decisions are 'do we take person X OR person Y for that slot'? If X is clearly better than Y but Y is still acceptable, X tends to get the spot anyway."

      This isn't how it works in normals/heroics at the moment. We ask if anyone is willing to drop, BUT if someone is dropping all the time we will ask them to stay. We do swap people in and out based upon strengths and weaknesses, and who needs what.

      There have been some limited swaps in and out based upon people struggling (for example when a new raider joined and may have been undergeared or coming to terms with a new spec), but this would have occurred less than 5 times in the patch. As such, I am not particularly concerned with this becoming an issue.

      KyXyn the Tyrant

      Tyrant

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  5. I can't speak for everyone but as i'm considering putting my insta-90 on your server [the dk in guild] I'll say now. I have a main and if I join you for flex, I'd be insulted if you didn't remove me if I was holding things back or not up to scratch. Well frankly, just say the word, and I'd remove myself from the equation.

    I don't have a Garrosh kill yet but we're at him [did replace a couple people so maybe a few more weeks off now] but I understand the burden you're under. We're looking at having to do some of the same next xpac with those who can't dance or damage as well. So been there, done that, hate that T Shirt.

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    1. You're getting me all excited Askevar! I hope you can make it :)

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  6. Any huntard worth his salt should realize that s/he will be the first culled at a difficult boss fight. That is why I would completely expect to be cut at that moment. I mean, to do anything else on my part would ruin my huntard reputation. PAHLEASE! I've worked non-stop since 2006 to develop my huntard street-cred! ;)

    Thanks for caring about us peons, though. It is nice to know that our fearless leader cares!

    Of course, the Co-Tyrant is another story all together! /HAIXYN!

    Z

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    1. My lack of caring was developed during my playtime as a hunter. The only thing you can reply upon is your pet!

      Tyrant!

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