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Posts with tag performance

Totem Talk: The 3 easiest ways to improve your restoration performance

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Totem Talk for elemental, enhancement and restoration shaman. Want to be a sultan of swing healing? A champion of Chain Heal? Totem Talk: Restoration, brought to you by Joe Perez (otherwise known as Lodur from World of Matticus and cohost of the For the Lore and Raid Warning podcasts), shows you how.

No matter how good you are at the job you're doing, there's always something more that you can do to make yourself better. Even at the top of your game, most of us are continuously looking for ways to improve our performance -- to squeeze out a little more DPS, to survive a bit longer, to do that much more healing.

While you can spend your time poring over logs or upgrading your internet to faster speeds, tweaking your stats or replacing your mouse and keyboard, I like to follow words of wisdom given to me years ago by a musician friend of mine: Sometimes you have to get real simple before you can get real good. To that effect, let's highlight the easy things you can do to improve your healing performance.

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Filed under: Shaman, (Shaman) Totem Talk

Breakfast Topic: What's your motivation to perform?

Firelands DPS chart
This Breakfast Topic has been brought to you by Seed, the AOL guest writer program that brings your words to WoW Insider's pages.

The raid is falling apart. You're on a boss you've downed before, but now it seems impossible to make it out of phase 1 because people keep failing on mechanics they should already have mastered. Ranged DPSers are standing in fire. Healers aren't popping CDs when the boss smacks the tank with its hard-hitting ability. Melee DPSers aren't switching to the adds in time, so they wipe the raid. Tanks can't seem to position the boss correctly. The raid is falling apart.

So what is it that will motivate your group to pick up the pieces, stop failing, and win?

Some group or raid leaders seem to think anger is the best motivator. They get stern, raise their voices, and threaten to kick the next person who fails, hoping their severity will prod everyone to victory. Some take a sarcastic tone, mocking group members until they clean up their act. "Wow, what a pro-mage move -- you Blinked right into that explosion. You should really think about doing this for a living." Others seek to break the tension and frustration by giving everyone a short break. Perhaps a reminder of the rewards works best, since shiny new loot is a great incentive for most. Sometimes even humor does the trick; it's just a matter of getting people to LOL at how pathetic that last attempt was or how ridiculous their character looks while riding Magmaw.

Since people are different, though. Sometimes one method of motivation doesn't work for everyone in the group. The angry lecture approach can backfire when group members get so worried about failing that they freeze up and stand still instead of doing their jobs. Taking a break or laughing for a few minutes can have the unintended result of breaking the raiders' concentration, at which point their loss of focus causes even more fail.

So what is the best motivation for you to overcome obstacles, perform at the highest level, and succeed?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Officers' Quarters: Destructive criticism, part 2

Every Monday, Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership. He is the author of The Guild Leader's Handbook, available from No Starch Press.

Last week, I began addressing what is one of the most complex and difficult duties an officer or raid leader must occasionally perform: giving out unsolicited constructive criticism. As the email that sparked this discussion proved, such conversations can be volatile. With the wrong approach, you can destroy friendships and lose guildmates. Let's continue to examine the right approach.

To recap, here are the first two steps from part 1:
  1. Consider your guild's criticism culture and adapt your approach accordingly.
  2. Plant the seed of taking personal initiative to research and improve play.
At this point, you have to be a little bit patient. If your guild is on the brink of collapse over performance issues, you can't always afford to let this situation play out. However, the safest bet is to give the underperforming player another week of raids to show an improvement. Keep a close eye on him during this week. Examine his spec and gear to see if he's made any adjustments. Record a combat log to see if he's using the appropriate class abilities. Watch him during boss encounters to see if he is following instructions and executing the fight properly.

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Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

Officers' Quarters: Destructive criticism

Every Monday, Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership. He is the author of The Guild Leader's Handbook, available from No Starch Press.

In the day-to-day duties of an officer and a raid leader, few endeavors are more fraught with the potential for drama than doling out performance advice to your players. Constructive criticism, no matter how well-meaning, can become destructive in the blink of an eye if it's not approached delicately. After scaring off a healer, the officer who wrote this week's email is looking for a better way to deal with these situations.


As an officer in my guild, I take care of several things, but the big three are raid leading our second 10-man group (which is not easy as a healer, by any stretch of the imagination), making sure our priests are doing what they are supposed to be doing both as dps and healers, and any extra healers, making sure they're doing their job right. The first two are interesting enough, especially since there's very little consistency with our group, and our number of priests waxes and wanes with the seasons. But the big problem here is when I have to "fix" a healer. Now, I know no one likes to receive constructive criticism, and officers like even less to give the constructive criticism for fear of running off the guild member.

Recently, I've had to talk to two different healers to try to help them out with their healing, one was a holy priest, the other a restoration shaman. Now, I have some pretty hefty experience with both classes as healers (I have two max level priests, and a max level shaman, and I've healed in raids on all of them), so I find myself at least somewhat knowledgeable about the classes, but by no means do I consider myself an expert. I'll leave that to Elitist Jerks. At any rate, the two healers, after speaking with them separately in tells, I found that the priest was more willing to work with the suggestions I'd made, and there was a huge improvement the following night in our raid. The shaman, however, was very adverse to my suggestions. Here's where the meat of the problem comes in.

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Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

Drama Mamas: At what price perfection?

Dodge the drama and become that player everyone wants in their group with the Drama Mamas. Lisa Poisso and Robin Torres are real-life mamas and experienced WoW players -- and just as we don't want our precious babies to be the ones kicking and wailing on the floor of checkout lane next to the candy, neither do we want you to become known as That Guy on your server. We're taking your questions at DramaMamas (at) WoW (dot) com.

At what point does the perfectly optimized spec, spell rotation or gear set (for the sake of the guild) take precedence over a spec, spells or gear you simply prefer (for the sake of enjoyment)? Be off with your trollish, black-and-white responses! The Drama Mamas favor neither the airy-fairy, let's-all-hold-hands-and-sing-Kumbaya crowd nor the hard-nosed, theorycrafting progression rockets. You can hypothesize about what people should do 'til the Beast Mastery pets come home -- but unless you're talking about specific people in specific guilds with specific goals, you're just another victim of the Pack mentality. We'll explain why and show you how to find the line between optimizing for performance and optimizing for fun.

Dear Drama Mamas: Our raid is working on ICC-25. We've done a few hard modes in TOC, back before ICC came out, so we aren't completely terrible. We've cleared everything except for Putricide, the Blood Queen, and the Frostwing Halls. However, my guild leader is noticing more and more that our DPS is falling behind and that a few players are making choices about their characters that are ... well, "not optimal." These include a fire mage who isn't too interested in respeccing Arcane, a shadow priest who's still falling behind even after the buffs, and a holy priest who plays well but makes some odd talent choices.

We keep hitting DPS walls on Putricide and of course the Blood Queen, which is definitely a DPS race. We value the players as much as downed content; however, it would be nice if we didn't have to wait until we overgeared the fight to be able to clear it. What would be the best way to encourage players to retool their specs, gear and playstyles, in the most fair and personable way possible? Thanks, Theorycrafter

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Drama Mamas

Healer survey contains a wealth of information about healing

If you've ever wanted a close-up look at the game's healing zeitgeist, Miss Medicina has it -- she recently started up a survey/meme of healers around the WoW blogosphere, and the answers are now in and posted on her site. They make for some interesting weekend reading, especially if you're interested in healing and what healers think of it. I'm sure there's lots of conclusions that could be drawn out of this (I'll let you all come up with some in the comments as well), but just reading through them on my own, it seems like there's a few threads between them. The majority of healing seems to be done in 10-mans, which probably isn't too surprising, given that's where most of the endgame players are right now as well. There's no clear winner on class or spec (all four healing classes are represented pretty evenly, though I didn't really crunch the numbers), though there are quite a few priests, and of those, things seem to be split between holy and disc.

In terms of a favorite spell, there's almost no crossover at all -- people are all over the place, from Beacon to Penance to Circle of Healing. To hear these guys tell it, healers have all kinds of fun spells to play with. In terms of a weakness to healing, two main answers appear: mana regeneration (always an issue with mana-heavy classes like healers) and mobility. Shamans and druids have problems with big burst healing, and paladins say they need more group healing strength, but almost everyone mentions either mana or movement. There's a lot more to look through, too, in terms of how healers evaluate their performance and addon recommendations from everyone. As a look inside the healer "scene," there is a ton of information in there about what healers are up to out on the realms.

Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Priest, Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Classes, Buffs

Officers' Quarters: Ball and chain

Every Monday Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership.

With Ulduar proving to be more difficult than Naxx, raid leaders are focusing more and more on performance issues. Raids are finding out that they can't just carry their weakest players through this ancient Titan stronghold the way they could through Kel'Thuzad's floating magical loot pinata. One raid leader in particular has a performance issue with a bit of a twist: The problem player is the wife of one of his best raiders.

I warn people that this is a long e-mail, but it is well written and the details are important to what follows. TLDR version is after the break!

Hello, Scott

I am an officer in my guild and a raid leader for a semi-casual raid (non-Heroic). I am facing a problem that seems perhaps not too uncommon for this type of environment, but it is one I do not know how to fix.

One of the best raiders in our guild has ended up in my raid. I'm very lucky to have him as he is a great guy and fits well with our group, but unfortunately he came with a problem: his wife. Despite having no raiding experience, I agreed to let her join us in the raid. I was hesitant, but I figured that she would pick up things quickly, especially surrounded by skilled raiders in a relatively casual atmosphere.

However, to say she is a horrible player is to put it nicely. At first, I was not worried because she was new, but as we enter the sixth month of the raid and she's seen absolutely zero improvement, I am now concerned to say the least. She has a perfect failure rate on any sort of raid encounter where you have to avoid or move out of something that will kill you. She has NEVER lived through either Heigan or Grobbulous and regularly dies in Kel'Thuzad and other fights requiring alertness. Most of the times she survives things is due to the strong healers in the raid, not her own actions [. . .]

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Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

Scattered Shots: Fixing your Hunter's dps

Scattered Shots is your weekly guide to improving your Hunter skills, brought to you by Jessica "Lassirra" Klein of The Hunter's Mark, covering a variety of Huntery topics. Today, we'll be talking about how to fix your Hunter's dps!

There are a lot of factors that play a part in making up your damage output: your gear, your talents, your gems and enchants, your glyphs, your ammo, your consumables, your shot rotation, your pet, your pet's talents, and even your latency and frame rate. Today I'd like to spend some time talking about all the pieces that make up the Hunter dps puzzle and offer some ways to help you figure out where you might be going wrong. After all, we've all had those nights where our numbers just weren't what we were expecting, and it's important to know how to identify the problem so you can find a solution.

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Filed under: Hunter, Items, Tips, Raiding, Guides, Talents, Enchants, Hardware, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

Wintergrasp retuning incoming

Back before Wintergrasp was first introduced, Blizzard told us that they'd finally figured out world PvP. They said to us that they'd figured out how to have hundreds of players fighting in an open zone at a time, without any major slowdown or lag issues. At the time, we were skeptical (and this was even before the instance lag after the WotLK release), and we continue to be: anyone who ducks inside Wintergrasp while things are nuts can tell you that they're far from perfect.

But maybe not for the reason you think. Beatus on Kul Tiras posted a pretty well-written complaint about the layout of Wintergrasp on the EU forums, and new blue poster Ancilorn speaks up with a little insight into just how Blizzard was planning to keep down the lag in WG. They were planning to spread players around to the towers in the southern side of the zone, thus allowing hundreds of players to play, but in a few separate groups conquering different objectives.

The only problem, says Ancilorn, is that there's not enough incentive to split players up -- people who go south miss out on honor and daily quests, and there's not enough reward to make them go that far. He says a retuning of the map will eventually be done to try and spread out the battle a little more.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Blizzard, PvP, Wrath of the Lich King

Why healing meters suck

Matticus also has a guest blogger on his site (I posted about Phaelia's guest blogger earlier today), and he's got a great post up too, about healing meters and why they just aren't helpful to anyone. Damage meters are well known to be disliked by many players -- while they can often show some DPSers where they fit in the general rankings, they're usually still not a great indicator of performance (and when DPS gets really involved in beating the meters, then things go bad quickly).

But healing meters are even worse. Given all of the crazy mechanics in the game (from armor and self-heals to situational abilities and AoE heals), they are very rarely (if ever) a valid interpretation of who's doing the healing and whether they're doing it right or wrong. And as guest blogger Ulkesshern says, more healing doesn't make a better healer anyway -- overhealing and spamming big heals do not mean you're a good healer, though they may get you higher on the healing meters.

There is one good word for healing meters, and that's to give the healer an ego boost after you show off the DPS meters at the end of the instance (usually they're on the bottom of DPS, and so when you switch over to healing, they're happy to be back on top again). But Ulkesshern makes a good point: for anything worth tabulating or tracking, healing meters are not to be trusted or followed.

Filed under: Paladin, Priest, Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, Guilds, Raiding, Bosses, Buffs

Tunes for toons while raiding

We've talked about listening to music while playing the game before. While the "actual" game music is pretty good (I've gone back and forth between having it on and off during the time I've played, and at this point I'm in an "on" phase, so I can hear all the new Northrend music). But Lazaragh on Jubei'thos wants to know about a specific situation: what do you listen to while raiding?

Personally, while I'll often have a podcast or a movie on while playing solo or sometimes running five mans (if I'm feeling particularly awake), I tend to have to focus while raiding, so I usually turn the background noise off and listen to Vent or just the audio queues ingame. Any more than that an I get distracted. But there are all kinds of answers in the thread, from trance to pop to metal (Dragonforce FTW!), and pretty much across every genre that you can think of. What might be most interesting about all of this is that the music apparently has no effect on gameplay, though it'd be interesting to see the raiding performance of people who listen to music while playing against people who don't.

Maybe an enterprising raiding group can do an experiment and figure that out. I'd guess it's just personal taste, but it does seem to me that even if you say your attention isn't divided, the music has to be a little distraction. Maybe it's just me. What kind of music do you raid with?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Instances, Raiding, Wrath of the Lich King

Mages and Rogues jump in Arena stats, while Hunters fall behind

Vhiari, keeper of the Armory stats, has updated once again, this time taking a look at Arena performance across all three rankings and all of the classes contained within. The 2v2 comparison (showing Arena rankings, across the bottom, with the percentage of players in each class at that ranking) tells the overall story: Mages are seeing major gains in the Arena, as are Rogues, which Vhiari speculates may be at the cost of Warlocks (who took a small tumble). And just as last time, Hunters continue to struggle in all three brackets -- 5v5 has the same situation as above, but in less extreme amounts.

Of course, these are stats, and what these stats actually mean is up to you (and more importantly, up to Blizzard -- this is just a sign of who's getting which rankings at which levels, and this could be the result of many different things, so there's no reason to expect buffs or nerfs based on just this information). Still, it's a pretty clear look at just who's winning out there, for whatever reason -- the stats say Mages have done well the past few months, while Hunters continue to struggle inside the Arenas.

[via WoR]

Filed under: Hunter, Mage, Rogue, Analysis / Opinion, Ranking, Odds and ends, PvP, Arena

L70ETC, Video Games Live will both perform at WWI

Just in case you were worried about whether or not you'd see Level 70 Elite Tauren Chieftain live at Blizzard's upcoming Worldwide Invitational event in Paris, worry no more -- they'll be there. Both L70ETC and the Video Games Live orchestra will be performing at WWI, just as they did last year at BlizzCon '07.

Should be a great show on both counts. Does make us wonder, though, what Blizzard is planning for BlizzCon this year -- a repeat of last year's performance would be nice and all (and we have no doubt that no matter who else plays, L70ETC will definitely have to be there, considering that they're made up of Blizzard employees), but maybe we'll get some new blood in the mix? Jonathan Coulton is definitely a name that springs to mind -- even if he's not specifically a Blizzard guy, his music is very familiar to WoW fans of all levels.

Who else could they hire? Nyhm? Felicia Day to host? As fun as Jay Mohr was, seems like after all the taunting last time, he just might be trouble to get again -- Blizzard might as well choose someone that WoW fans want to see.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Machinima, Fan stuff, WoW Social Conventions, Blizzard, BlizzCon

Ready Check: Progress raids and You

Ready Check is a weekly column focusing on successful raiding for the serious raider. Hardcore or casual, ZA or Sunwell Plateau, everyone can get in on the action and down some bosses. Or wipe to them. Again. And again. And again... This week, we look at progression and what it means to you.

This week, we were going to present a column on Brutallus, in similar vein to our Kalecgos and Zul'Aman timed run walkthroughs. However, we'll be leaving you in suspense for another week, as disheartening 1% wipes prevent us from actually having killed him yet. So, until we manage to eke out that final drop of DPS, we present WoW Insider's handy guide to Progress Raiding and You.

There are two main 'classes' of raid, progress and farm; progress raids involve conquering new content, such as facing (and killing) a boss for the first time, whereas farm raids are easy rides through familiar territory, with clean kills and quick epics. Obviously, there's some middle ground, when you kill something for the second or third time -- but at some point the fight becomes repeatable, easy, and unlikely to warrant a second trash clear, earning it the title 'farm'.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tricks, How-tos, Features, Raiding, Bosses, Buffs, Ready Check (Raiding)

Mac OS X 10.5.2 brings big FPS gains

Ever since a few WoW patches ago, many of us Mac users have been, honestly, suffering with much lower framerates than we should be seeing, given the hardware we're on. Fortunately, it looks like the just-released 10.5.2 system update will give a lot of help in that department, along with many other system fixes. Tipster Jason went from 27.5 FPS to between 45 and 60 FPS on his iMac after installing 10.5.2 and the Leopard Graphics Update (which also just came out today and requires 10.5.2), and our own Adam Holisky went from 30 to 50 FPS on his own first-gen Intel iMac. I didn't have the presence of mind to test my WoW before updating, but it's certainly running silky smooth now on my MacBook Pro. Go now, good Leopard-using readers, and run your Software Updates (always a good idea to back up before major updates, though). Those of you who have updated, are you seeing performance benefits?

Filed under: Patches, Tips

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