27 Jun 2010

The Pre-Raid Credit Check

There’s been a rash of this going on in the Trade channel on almost every single server I know of. You’ve probably seen it yourself – the type of person that asks for ridiculously high requirements purely in order to join a raid. It’s either that or they ask a laundry list of questions that they expect you to know the answer to. Just as an example, here’s a screencap of one that came up the other day, along with my reply.

In this example, it’s as if the raid leader is screaming out “I have no brain! Feed me an arbitrary set of numbers and I’ll only invite you if they’re big enough!” There’s absolutely no guarantee that the numbers you get will be any indication of a raid member’s performance. Hell, I’ve even seen PuGs of players fully decked out in tier 10 wipe repeatedly on Marrowgar. But in case it still feels like it’s plausible let me break it down for you.

First up, a lot of people have two specs. Apart from getting an achievement from it, there’s also the huge versatility benefit it gives hybrids. On the flipside, there are classes (rogues, mages, hunters and warlocks as an example) that can do nothing but DPS. What do you want from me, bandage spec? Isn’t it better to say what you need rather than ask superfluous questions?

Secondly, Gearscore. You probably know that I think Gearscore is crap, and for a fair reason. I can be wearing PVP gear and get a high Gearscore. I could be wearing +MP5 healer gear and get a high Gearscore. I could be holding a tanking one-hander and get a high Gearscore. Get the idea? It’s no indication that the gear I’ve chosen is right for my class or spec, doesn’t take into account any gems or enchants (or even if those gems/enchants are the right choices) and can generally be fooled. Putting your faith in an arbitrary number in this way is stupid, and if someone takes advantage of you as a result then quite frankly you deserve it.

Thirdly there’s the issue around single target DPS. The trouble is, it’s not a finite value for some classes due to the heavy influence of random number generation. It means that rather than having a fixed value that you can reliably put out, your DPS will hover around a point. Over the number of attempts you make, the distribution of your DPS will form a bell curve.

I could give you any figure on that bell curve and it’d be a valid answer because you weren’t specific. The real joke is that you only get this smooth curve after doing thousands of attempts against the same target in the same gear. Imagine doing a thousand target dummy tests – you’d be there all week! The spread of the curve can be about 1.6k DPS, which is a huge margin between top and bottom. Tachyon’s been doing some heavy maths on this, so it’s worth looking at his figures.

Finally, here’s my most important point out of all of this. It’s Vault of Archavon for crying out loud! You know, the one with the easy loot piñatas! You walk in there, you roflstomp, you walk out again! No challenge, no difficulty, ten minutes and you’re done! Why the hell you need all this information to form a raid for the easiest dungeon going is beyond me. If it were ICC then maybe I could understand.. ish. For VoA, it’s waaay over the top.

Of course, I wouldn’t be little Gnomey Smarty-pants if I didn’t have a better way of doing it. It requires a little bit of brain power and a little bit of understanding other classes gear requirements, but it means you can be a lot more flexible about who you invite. It also means that you can help eachother out a bit – understand gear choices and maybe learn a little about other classes.

Starting a group to VoA 25-man. I need a few healers and some DPS. Meet me by the central Dalaran fountain for a quick gear check.

That way you actually meet people, you get to look at their gear choices properly and you can make informed decisions about who to have in your raid. Get away from the reliance on arbitrary numbers and take a look at the characters you’re going to be bringing with you.

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