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How To: Progression Raiding?

bsbrad's Avatar

12.23.2013 , 06:44 PM | #11
The only way I have seen at improving raid awareness is to run alts, i.e. if you a main DPS, roll a tank alt. If your a tank roll a healer. This allows you to see the fight from different perspectives and will appreciate the jobs the other members in your party do.

As raiding has progressed through this game the DPS have had more and more things to do, from clicking a puzzle in EV to standing in circles in TFB to off cleansing/interrupting in DF. To get more proficient at these tasks you should make sure your DPS practice all of their skills while running dailies instead of just muscling through them. Interrupt the channeled abilities, cleanse when required etc.... The DPS who typically do the best are those who can do these off skills while still keeping up their DPS. Just like healers throwing in the odd DPS attack (Styrak being a prime example) to help avoid the enrage timer, or knowing when to heal (this one requires the healers knowing the fights and having a very good relationship with their tanks, i.e when and what defensive cooldown the tank is going to use)

I also concur with what is said above, those with the most practice online are more likely to be more familiar with their roles. DPS PVPers typically are the best at interrupting as they need to be to kill the healers.

Typically each fight in an operation tests each of the roles, whether it be testing the tanks (with swapping, positioning), testing the healers (with cleanses, insane spike damage) or testing the DPS (with AOEs, tight enrage timers). The key is to research the fight and know when to give up, for instance if you feel that you are regression raiding, call it a night and come back fresh another time. There is nothing more frustrating that hitting a wall for three hours trying to squeak out a little more DPS or to not miss interrupts only to fail.
The answer is easy the question is not....oh who am I kidding!!!.

KeyboardNinja's Avatar

12.23.2013 , 07:03 PM | #12
A refinement of the "competitive" notion is to simply foster a culture of self-improvement. Start with the DPS. There is no DPS, not one, who cannot get better. Even more importantly, there is no DPS who is "good enough" or even worse "friendly enough" that they don't need to push themselves to improve. DPS improvement is easy to measure. Even if people don't want to benchmark against each other within the raid (group parsing), it is vital that they benchmark against themselves from week to week.

The same thing goes for healers and tanks. Did you lose someone during that high damage transition phase? That's bad. Why did you lose them? What could you have done better to not lose them? "I don't know" isn't a valid answer. Analyze, experiment, improve. Healers and tanks in particular have a tendency to get very complacent and to blame others for situations that they themselves could have averted (I do this plenty myself). Take responsibility. Learn. Improve. Never settle or consider yourself "arrived". The best tank in the world knows several other tanks which he/she considers to be even better.

On a more personal note, I will emphasize Boarder's point on tanks pushing themselves to hold agro off of DPS. Agro loss is not the fault of the DPS. Not ever. DPS should be blowing everything and unbinding their agro dump to pull off the tank. As a tank, I would expect no less from my DPS. If they pull off me, I own up to it and I learn. Understand what you did wrong (and if you lost agro, it was wrong!) and do better on the next pull.

The culture of improvement extends to the group and to the raid leader. The number one job of the raid leader is to answer the following question: why did we just wipe? A raid leader who doesn't have an answer to that question is a bad raid leader. Always focus on improving something from one pull to the next. Refine. Iterate. When you've gotten to the point where you feel that more practice is required and that's the main thing holding you back, then throw as many pulls as you can at the boss until you find something new to tweak. If you reach a point where the problems are numerous but small and hard to isolate, then call it! Don't be afraid to walk away and sleep on it as a group. Do research, read logs (yours and others), and come back with a fresh perspective. My guild downs a lot of hard bosses on the first or second pull of the night. Sometimes the last pull, but less frequently.

Always be critical of your success too. Great, you just killed the Dread Masters. How did it feel? Could you do it again? Could you do it better? Who screwed up, and why? What did *you* screw up?

If you can satisfy these attributes and demonstrate the patience and persistence to apply them, I think it's safe to call yourselves a progression guild. Even if your "progression" is story mode EV. Progression is an attitude and a culture, not a gear level or particular raid.
Computer Programmer. Theory Crafter. Dilettante on The Ebon Hawk.
Tam (shadow tank) Tov-ren (commando healer) Aveo (retired sentinel) Nimri (ruffian scoundrel)
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raidmac's Avatar

12.23.2013 , 07:35 PM | #13
As my guildies on the harbinger used to tell me when I was still on BC. The Harbinger is that way ---->
<Hit and Run>
<Textbook Execution>

tman_ac's Avatar

12.23.2013 , 11:19 PM | #14
When I read that you really needed 2 weeks to down Grob'thok I think your group lacks a lot of skills. This is not meant to be rude, it's just that this is maybe the easiest Boss I have ever faced in the newer Operations (past KP). It is basically tank&spank and doesn't require hell a lot of tactics.

However, I will try to give my thoughts about what makes a good progression group.

First I have to say, it is essential that you know your advanced class 100%. Make good use of all your abilities and even your skill trees. You need to be able to adapt for bosses. A dps who is always running the "standrad spec" and doesn't know what else he can bring in for a special boss is someone you will not want in your group. Same applies ofc to all other roles.

As mentioned before in this thread, you need one guy in your group that fits the role of a shout-caller. In our group it is always a tank as he has the best overview about the entire raid situation. That guy tells when to use Inspiration, a gunslinger shield, when some special dots are up and on whom (for example Tyrans Infernos), who stays in aoe and has to move out (should be very rare, as all guys should be able to recognize their positioning) etc.

I don't know if I would be up to form a new progression group again. The Team I am in right now is together already for 1 1/2 years (at least the core of 6 people). We know each other very well now so whenever there is new content to clear we take on this challenge with ease. Whenever I join a pug group to clear something on my Alts it feels very frustrating from time to time as you can't rely on these guys. If one guy goes down, a pug group starts panicking and it will result in a wipe.

So my tip is, get to know each other first. Do all kind of stuff together, speak on TS/Mumble so you know the voices of all guys. If someone needs a dispell in a raid group and the healer has to ask "who just said that" is not a good sign. If you have a good team synergy you will see that doing progression raids is something really entertaining.
In general I mean you need to socialize with your team members. When we're not raiding and hear each other in TS, we are always online in our skype chat group and write about everyday stuff as well as on SWTOR related stuff. That's why I love my raid group and we have good success.
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slafko's Avatar

12.24.2013 , 01:34 AM | #15
Quote: Originally Posted by Jerba View Post
Any player can get high DPS if he ignores mechanics and stands still. Your DPS can brag about who made the most damage, but never let the combat parsers decided who is a good player and who is not.
I've been saying this for years. People get too immersed in parser logs they tend to forget other things sometimes matter even more than pure damage output.

Bowenator's Avatar

12.24.2013 , 01:55 AM | #16
There's already a lot of good advice in here, but one thing I haven't seen anything about yet is knowing when to quit. If there was one lesson I learned the hard way, it's that some times walking away and finding a new group is the ideal fit.

The first step is to identify your personal goals. What level of content do you want to clear? What level of content do you realistically think you can clear? If your group was wiping on Grob'thok for weeks plural, I agree with the previous poster that says you have an uphill battle for progression.

This was my first real MMO, and when I was started I was bad. But I kept working at it, playing different roles and improving. After a year or so, I graduated to what I like to think of as the "HM casuals." These are groups that attempt to run HM and have some decent players, but do not consistently clear the content.

I got along with everyone, but I consistently felt let down by the groups I was playing with. It seemed whatever role I wasn't filling, we would struggle with. After bashing my head against progression walls for a few months, I struck out on my own and bounced around for awhile, still improving my personal skills and forging new relationships. And then I was fortunate enough to land in a burgeoning progression group and in a few months time went from barely completing HMs to having achieved a Dragonslayer title. There are much more accomplished guilds than us, but it was a remarkable turnaround for me personally.

Is this attitude elititist? Yes, it is. If you want to achieve on the highest level, you must be prepared to push yourself and others to that level and accept the fact that, no matter what kind of coaching they receive, some people will just never be that good. Any more than I can expect to walk on to an NFL field tomorrow and perform at a high level.

Skills and muscle memory can be improved, but talent matters. In my group, we mostly joke and have fun. We understand it's just a game. But are there ego collisions some times? Sure. Do people some times call others out? Absolutely. But in the end we achieve our goals and have fun playing the game at the same time.

So first I ask that you look in the mirror and decide what kind of player you want to be.
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Jerba's Avatar

12.24.2013 , 05:06 AM | #17
I agree, a lot of helpful advice here; I even learned a few things myself.

However, since the OP specifically asked about raid awareness, I want to clarify something.
Raid awareness is not so much about knowing the boss mechanics or having top DPS/HPS, it is about keeping a cool head during the fight. A lot of the boss mechanics are designed to create chaos, but raid aware players will not be overwhelmed by this. They will always see what ability the boss is casting, where a void zone appears, they already think of what they have to do in the next phase, and they are still able to deal top damage or heal so that no one dies.
In another thread, they compared raid awareness with the ability to multitask, and I highly agree with this comparison.

I can't stress enough how important a good raid leader is. Individual wipes are always the fault of a certain player, but it is the raid leader's responsibilty to identify what went wrong - be it a mistake by players or a flaw in your tactic - and make adjustments accordingly.
This of course means that the raid leader does not just have to do his role. He has to watch the entire group, see who's standing in a wrong spot, who's attacking the wrong target. That's why raid leaders need a much higher raid awareness than other players.
In my opinion, healers are suited best for this. Tanks are usually standing near a wall and have a huge monster in front of them. They can't see anything but the belly of the boss, how are they supposed to keep an eye on the raid? The DPS always keep an eye on the enemy, they don't look at their own group. Nevertheless, I know that there are good DPS and tank raid leaders.
Also, players in top world progression guilds don't need a raid leader to tell them what went wrong. They are seeing their mistakes by themselves, or can identify errors that the raid leader did not see.
I know that in my group the players are not able to do this themselves, so I keep an eye on everyone and call out mechanics during the fight. In your group, it looks like you also need a raid leader who watches the group, who tells each person what they did wrong, since your players do not see this themselves.

ZooMzy's Avatar

12.24.2013 , 10:53 AM | #18
Thank you all, I really appreciate and enjoy seeing this amazing amount of advice. I have picked up on a lot of things, and I'm eager to look into trying various new ideas, such as perhaps, encouraging our players to be leaders themselves and having our healers be more vocal on what went wrong.

But this next bit I find as key:

Quote: Originally Posted by Jerba View Post
Also, players in top world progression guilds don't need a raid leader to tell them what went wrong. They are seeing their mistakes by themselves, or can identify errors that the raid leader did not see.
I know that in my group the players are not able to do this themselves, so I keep an eye on everyone and call out mechanics during the fight. In your group, it looks like you also need a raid leader who watches the group, who tells each person what they did wrong, since your players do not see this themselves.
And that's what I believe the big issue is. I've read through posts here, and the ones calling for you to know when to quit are actually extremely logical. It is sad really, as we have been clearing content since the days when EC HM was the frontier of progression raiding.

But my desire to clear content does not outweigh my desire to see it done with friends, and I am willing to do whatever it takes to get it done with this group. And the difference right there in that quote is what I personally believe can make a team great.

Raid leaders are important, yes. But their job should only be when the group isn't in the fight itself. Call outs, reminders, pretty much anything that results in someone relying on the command of another restricts the most important thing I believe people need for raids: adaptability.

This is something I strongly believe is applicable for PvP as well, because I have competed in a few ranked scenes where I was the leader. And back in those matches, I tried to avoid ever calling things out, as the type of response needed in those matches was way too fast for even VC. The matches where I voiced movement, who to target and etc. ended in defeat. I picked up that tactic actually when I was asked to help fill an 8th person role in an ITK pug group back when they still played on BC. No one really spoke, no one called out who to focus fire and who to guard. Only the call out that the guard was swapping, and the very rare curse when someone would die.

Every single member has to see things coming, and what I have learned is the many who rely on call outs are also surprised mechanic after mechanic, resulting in loss of DPS, heals, and you'll know when a tank is surprised by a mechanic change up versus one who adapts. This is why I also believe that in terms of raw talent, the best players in the game come from the top of the WZs. Anyone who can master healing, DPSing with a single target damage spec, and knows how to tank in one as well, already has a huge advantage going into an op because success in a WZ is all about overcoming the side that is directly trying to shut you down.

Which I feel that my group ultimately lacks heavily in adaptability, which would explain why we wipe do much on a boss before clearing him. We need to execute the mechanic flawlessly for us to pass it, otherwise we wipe and fail. It would explain why we have NiM EC as an Achilles' heel (we literally passed Warstalker with two minutes to spare with our main group), as the mechanics are tuned to require real time responses, and our group seems to lack a capability of "learning as we go".

MeatbagTitan's Avatar

12.26.2013 , 02:57 PM | #19
Yeah, lots of good input here- I think something else that ties into assessing the question "what went wrong" goes into communication as a team as a whole. If you all aren't all on the same page of your goals (i.e. we want to clear this content, not bash our heads for eternity, and not screw up) and have that comfort/familiarity with each other, then sometimes tough love is good and necessary. Everyone needs to be open to criticism, suggestions, adjustments, all of that (although in the middle of a raid is not always the best time for a dramatic overhaul unless there's something seriously wrong tactically) and within your team understand it's not a personal thing, not being a jerk thing, but is trying to identify ways everyone can improve. If you lay it out there "I want to down this content, master it, and play my class better, let's make sure we communicate about things" and everyone has that same commitment, then criticism is not something elitist or drama inducing, but is the basic courtesy of helping everyone to improve together. It might not be bad to have a separate meeting or something to deal with some of these things, so that people aren't either at the end of raid time, exasperated with wipes and being extra harsh if this kindof conflict/ "calling out" of eachother is a concern as a potentially elitist attitude. Because quite frankly, if you're struggling to down a certain boss, bashing your head against it, and are NOT open for criticisms/suggestions/ideas, you're in for a rough ride and more pain.

Another thing that can be helpful is recording your fights- you don't necesarily need to upload them all, esp a not-kill, but I know for myself as i transitioned from being a casual raider to a more dedicated raider with an eye on downing content quickly being able to go back over and watch my fights either from a fight we were learning, or even kill footage I had uploaded for the rest of the guild's benefit was helpful for me to identify patterns and places where I'd forget it was my footage and I'd catch myself critiquing the heal selection, how long I left an ability off cooldown for, poor boss positioning as a tank, whatever it may be- I can learn a lot, and even from an attempt where I thought i was doing my job really well identify places to improve and make it even smoother next time.
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TheRealCandyMan's Avatar

12.26.2013 , 07:40 PM | #20
Well, sounds like you already possess arguably the most important trait of not giving up and persistence. Nothing in the PvE side of this game is more rewarding than spending 150+ attempts and 20+ hours in the span of only like 3 days on a single boss (TFB NiM Dread Council) before you down the bastard
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