Unemployed? Check before you buy!

I raid lead for 2 different groups in my guild.  Both raid only 6 hours a week with one at 5/7 Mythic and the other at 4/7 Mythic.  I am the sole recruiter for both raid groups so I talk to a vast amount of people weekly and hear horror stories every day from people looking for a guild.

Here are some suggestions if you’re unemployed and looking for a long-term guild as a home:

Check wowprogress.com for a history of the guild.  Update the guild.  This is a pain because it’s only easy to update the first 25 people, but update every single member in the guild.  There’s a reason for this!  On the mythic kills does it show 20 people after it’s updated?  If not the person in on the kill has either left the guild or they had to pug someone for the kill.  Pugging is generally not a good long-term sign.  Does it have high turnover (people constantly coming and going?)  Occasionally a person can leave with all 12 of their alts, but if every day several people are leaving that’s not a good sign!

Check out warcraftlogs.com for the guild.  Do they have public logs?  Unless they’re world first hiding strategies there’s no reason to hide logs unless “they’re hiding something on purpose like cancelled raids or forced into heroics instead of mythics.”  Public logs can show you some valuable things like do they start on time?  Do they end on time or is it “one last pull” for 1 1/2 hours sometimes after they’re supposed to stop.  Do they raid the days they advertise or do they have extra “farm” days that they don’t advertise, but you’re expected to show up to.  I’ve talked to many raiders who signed up for 2 or 3 day raid guilds who found out it was 2 or 3 days plus a farm night.

If all that checks out next check out their guild website.  If they don’t have one you probably need to pass them up because websites can distribute a lot of information and create discussions to make bosses easier.  Is their website updated regularly?  Most guilds will have a members’ only section, but is the public facing website updated at all?  Guild website activity generally correlates to raid performance.  Some people are better at aural instructions while others are better at visual instructions.  You’d be surprised how many wipes can be avoided with a rough MS Paint drawing like this one.

Next talk to them in voice chat.  Be wary of any guild who will invite you without a voice chat.  There should be a quality control aspect to their recruitment program so you know they are weeding out people who don’t fit in, cause trouble, low performers, and such.  Are they trying to sell you or just telling you about the guild?  I give everybody a brief history of the guild, typical raid night expectations, loot system information, and “sensitivity.”  People laugh at that last one, but in my guild we censor nothing while having respect for our fellow raiders.  I’m also “fueled by rage” which gets directed at people who perform poorly.  My guild sells itself and I don’t need to lie to potential applicants.  Be wary of those who are evasive during your questions!

Hopefully that helps you find a quality long-term home!


Class Discord Servers

The emergence of blogs, vlogs, and youtube videos has decreased the need for me to share information nowadays.  There are some class discord servers where people can find good information.  Here are the links:

Death Knight: https://discord.gg/0ez1cFfUH3ingV96

Demon Hunter (Mardum): https://discord.gg/XW5m9QN

Demon Hunter (The Fel Hammer): https://discord.gg/zGGkNGC

Druid: https://discord.gg/0dWu0WkuetF87H9H

Hunter: https://discord.gg/yqer4BX

Mage: https://discord.gg/0gLMHikX2aZ23VdA

Monk: https://discord.gg/0dkfBMAxzTmggsPH

Paladin: https://discord.gg/yqer4BX

Priest: https://discord.gg/0f1Ta8lT8xXXEAIY

Rogue: https://discord.gg/0h08tydxoNhfDVZf

Shaman: https://discord.gg/0VcupJEQX0HuE5HH

Warlock: https://discord.gg/0onXDymd9Wpc2CEu

Warrior: https://discord.gg/0pYY7932lTH4FHW6

World of Warcraft went backwards with loot

One of the supposed improvements with Warlords of Draenor was loot would drop and you wouldn’t have to run off and reforge it before using it.  To get the numbers to reforge it you’d normally use an external application or website.

Now in Warlords of Draenor with gem sockets and warforged you still need to be using external applications or websites or have your spreadsheet handy for die hard theorycrafters.  This is where mathematics come into play.  While you’re best secondary stat might be X followed by Y that doesn’t mean in the overall mathematics of things that a gem socket and especially a gem socketed warforged wouldn’t trump what you “think” is your best item.

Let’s start with some basics ideas to introduce why the new loot system isn’t much better than what we had before:

Almost all simulations rank secondary stats from 0 to 1.  The best is 1 and the worst is 0.  Blizzard tries to keep the stats fairly close to 1, but it’s not surprising to see 0.5 to 1 ranges on some specs.

Let’s say your item has X stat of 250 with a value of 1 and Y stat of 100 with a value of 0.8.  Overall it has a value of 330 (250 multiplied by 1 added to 100 multiplied by 0.8 equals 330).

Now here’s where the math comes into play.  Adding up all secondary stats you want the highest total.  Normally that works out you want the two top stats closest to 1, but adding a socket generally will make 2 weaker stats plus the 75 best stat from the epic gem overall better in many cases.

Let’s say now the item has a value of 175 of stat Y with a value of 0.8 and 175 of stat Z with a value of 0.7 but it has a gem socket.  Just from those two stats you have 262.5.  Add in a gem socket of 75 stats of X at 1 and you now have an item worth 337.5 that’s greater than your two best stats on your previous item.  That’s not a huge gain, but still better than what you had before.  Add in a warforged gem socket and it’s actually much better than what your “best in slot” list probably shows when comparing non-gem socketed, non-warforged items.

This doesn’t apply to odd situations like proving grounds, challenge modes, and timewalking because they have scaling/disabling of gems in them, but for current raiding the bottom line is DO THE MATH!

Windows 10 can impact your raiding (if you leave it default)

Windows 10 by default sets up a peer to peer network for updates.  Most the time creating lots of connections and uploading wouldn’t be a big deal, but during raids in WoW where fps and latency can become an issue this isn’t ideal.  Here’s how to limit it so you only share via your own network or to completely turn it off.  It defaults to setting up peer to peer networking across “PCs on my local network and PCs on the internet” if you don’t change anything from the initial upgrade.  To begin click the Start Menu and then Settings.  The screenshots below will guide you through it.

Setting up BigWigs properly (So you don’t wipe the raid again).

From start to finish this shows you the basics of how to set up BigWigs initially for frame positioning along with customizing it for alerts you need to react to so you’re not “that guy” who didn’t react to something and wiped the raid.  The first thing most people need to know is BigWigs can display pull timers from users of DBM and can send pull timers to both BigWigs and DBM users by the command /pull followed by the numbers of seconds from 1-60.  For example, “/pull 10.”
This is my basic UI positioning without BigWigs.

Type “/bigwigs” to bring up the settings.

The settings page.  Uncheck “Raid Icons” unless you’re the raid leader so it doesn’t conflict with any raid leaders marking.  Click on “Toggle Anchors.”  Next click “Create Test Bar” about 10 or times then close the window so you can see how the boss mods would look during raiding.

Your screen should look like the next few pictures.  Any boss mods frames that are unlocked can be moved unless they’re locked.  If they are locked then use the left column to select the frame and unlock it then move it by dragging it.  Notice that I have my focus/target frames up during this to prevent overlap issues.  Healers especially need to make sure raid frames don’t cause issues with the boss mods frames.

Now that the frames are moved type /bigwigs and then “Toggle Anchors” to hide them again.  “Alt Power” is used for certain fights to display amounts the raid has of certain buffs/debuffs like Corruption on the Norushen encounter in Siege of Orgrimmar.

Next we’re going to optimize BigWigs now that the basic layout is done.  Click on “Bosses.”

On the left side select the raid and then use the dropdown in the upper right corner to select the boss.  In this case we’re going to set up “Pinned Down” for Beastlord Darmac in Blackrock Foundry.

Now scroll down to “Pinned Down” and click the red >> button to the right of it.  This screen is where we customize BigWigs.  Select “Emphasize” to make the notification appear in bold letters in the emphasized BigWigs frame.  On certain encounters this screen will allow /say announces,  icon pulses, and a few others options if you need it.  It also has a visual and verbal countdown from 5…4…3…2…1… so you can be assured to get the notification in the heat of combat.

 Notice the “Only when on me” option.  This will turn off notifications on other players.  You’re probably used to seeing “Player X, Player Y, Player Z has Bad Debuff,” but by selecting this you’ll only ever see it when you have it.  I suggest selecting “Only when on me” this when anyone without the buff/debuff doesn’t have to react to it, but someone else has to like Feldspar’s “Rupture” debuff in the Blast Furnace encounter of Blackrock Foundry.
Next click the “Sound” tab along the top.
Now let’s customize the sounds so there’s a strong audio warning that you can’t miss.  Use the dropdowns to select different sounds.  I recommend “BigWigs: [DBM] Beware (Algalon)” because it’s short and fairly loud.  In this case I’ll set all sounds to the Beware sound.
Here’s what it looks like after setting custom sounds.
Here’s what emphasized looks like in a raid finder for notifications.  Notice the bold lettering prominently displayed.
Several encounter mechanics I would recommend emphasizing, changing sounds, or selecting only when on me.  I used it for Pinned Down on Beastlord in Blackrock Foundry in this example, but other encounters like the Blast Furnace for Melt, Volatile Fire, and Rupture along with Blackhand’s Impale are good to set up as well.  Set it up with enough notification that you can’t miss something again that you need to react to.
Spanish translations by Laiwel of Drakkari-US.

When to use cooldowns (with simple math)

A big trap new tanks make is using cooldowns reactively instead of proactively.  Most tank classes have an ability that reduces damage by 50%.  New tanks consider cooldowns as “oh XXXX” buttons.  Don’t fall for this trap.

Let’s do some napkin math.

You’re at 100% health.  You take a big hit and now are at 20% health so you press your big cooldown and effectively have 40% health before you die.  50% damage reduction and only 20% health so it takes damage equal to 40% of your health before you die.  You used it reactively.

Now let’s look at it proactively.  You’re at 100% health and use the cooldown.  You take the big hit but at 50% damage reduction you’re still at 60% health and you require 120% of your health to die while the cooldown is still up.

Use cooldowns proactively so you can survive.  Your healers’ mana will last longer and they won’t have to cover for you.

Why require double potting and the best enchants/gems/flasks even on farm night?

When you make the transition from being a raider to assuming the role of raid leader or just wanting to be a better raider there comes a macro “big window” view you have to take into account.

As a raider you only care about your damaging/healing/tanking abilities and how they interact with the raid.  Always running the recount/skada/combat parsers and where you’re at on the meters.  As a raid leader you have to take a macro “big window” view towards the raid as a whole.

Double potting (using one potion pre-pull and then another during combat) is a good habit to get into even on farm night.  Kill the boss faster and move onto the next boss faster.  Now take that and multiply it by 20+ people because as a raid leader you now have to view it at a macro level.

Cheap enchants/gems/flasks are another trap.  The blue 630 item level piece isn’t “worth a good enchant,” but on a macro level it’s the best gear you have and if everyone thinks cheap is okay because the gear isn’t worth it then on a macro level you have an issue.  Now take all those missed stats and multiply it by the number of raiders.  The math starts to add up.

On a macro level you want to kill or practice on as many bosses as you can during your allotted raid time.  Allowing single or no potions and cheap or no enchants/gems/flasks isn’t helping towards your goal.

Be a good raider/raid leader:  Think macro, not micro.

Raid Awareness is a Learned and Practiced Skill

@HamletEJ wrote an article about user interfaces and how they can help or hurt your game play.  While I use this blog as a collection of information/sources I admit I’m not the best communicator.  Here’s a link to his blog post.  Hopefully it succeeds where I might have failed to communicate how a user interface affects game play.

Raid Awareness is a Learned and Practiced Skill

Threat and tanking alerts provided by Blizzard

There are several ways to quickly find out who has threat using the default UI without having to pay attention to a threat meter or threat percentage number on the target frame.

Red shows tanking threat. Green shows not actively tanking.

Tanking threat is highlighted in red. Nameplates increase in size to show transitioning threat and nearing potential tank change.

The absence of the red highlight on this nameplate signifies no tanking threat.

A red highlight around a player frame only shows the player is actively tanking something. While tanking multiple enemies this will go red with 1 or 101 enemies being tanked.

Red highlights on the target frame show tanking threat. Yellow highlights show transitioning threat and a possible tank change. The absence of a red or yellow highlight display a lack of transitioning (yellow) or tanking (red) threat.

Raid frames allow the red tanking threat highlight. Here Koshiba is tanking while Prune is not.

The raid profiles setup in the Blizzard interface menu system and all the settings to achieve the raid frames becoming useful for tanking threat.