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Force builds/talents or not?


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#21 tritium4ever

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Posted 24 September 2006 - 09:05 PM

Rather than letting spec determine the way you view people, let their performance do the talking. Does the mage tend to be low on the damage meters despite being better geared than most? Maybe spec is a factor. Is he able to keep up in MC/BWL despite being fire? If so, then great!

My view on this topic has always been that unhappy people tend to play worse than happy people (same applies IRL, in the workplace or in school), and if forced specs are making people unhappy then it may have a real and tangible influence on the performance of your raids. Given complete freedom to spec and a desire for progress and helping out the guild, what you may well find out is that most people will tend to spec towards raiding builds simply to do that much better in seeing the guild progress. That's certainly the case in our guild: we don't force specs at all, yet almost all priests are full holy/disc healbot build, many pallies are deep into holy, and all hunters and rogues have a raiding build that sacrifices PvP/farming ability. Also keep in mind that there are plenty of times where "off-specs" are useful in raids: we really miss our shadow priest when we do C'Thun without him (that Silence is ridiculously useful for giant eyes), and many times it's nice to have a couple feral druids who are geared and specced in a way that allows them to perform serious boss tanking duties.

I suppose you'll never know until you try, but it may well be a good thing to relax restrictions on spec.

#22 Brissa

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Posted 24 September 2006 - 09:22 PM

I fairly recently started not enforcing speccs, but as class leader for our warriors saying what I expected out of the raidforce and then starting to prioritize based on a combination of specc, attendance and attitude towards invites on raids.
My crew knows that if they want to go MS/Enrage to have more fun in PvP they will be spending more time outside looking at the big swirly entrance to the instance.

So far the feedback has been good and people like it, personally I went from an MS/Enrage specc with ash to 5/31/15 OT specc with ash and it works really well.

#23 Bekah

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Posted 24 September 2006 - 09:33 PM

Force people to be useful, but not to spec a specific way.

If someone with a suboptimal spec can consistantly place in the middle of thier class (or higher) for damage through extra consumables, superior skill, superior gear (due to being the only one picking up certain items), or whatever, then let them. Yes, they're hurting you by not doing as much damage as they could, but the people under them are hurting you more. Resolve the problems with the people at the bottom first, and then go after the offspec people.

If someone is offspec and consistantly dealing significantly less damage than the rest of the class (and not outgeared/etc.), then tell them they aren't contributing and need to change something.

I agree with this poster. Forced specs aren't always the solution and honestly, unless you're facing the edge of content or trying to race through old content significantly faster than gearing will allow (MC/BWL/AQ in 3 months with no prior gearing GO)- you're more than likley attempting to tweek preformance where spec gains aren't necessary.

We've always had 1-3 shadow priests and a feral druid or two and we're progressing just fine in Naxx. (7 bosses down with Gluth on the table). Look, instead, at what level of effort folks are giving you with thier spec and see where they can improve. Look first to the folks who are underpreforming with no spec reason and once you've nailed down the people who just aren't trying or giving the effort- THEN look at your hardest workers who are working with sub-optimal specs. Don't drive away your highest skilled players who are contributing higher numbers than people with better specs just because you see an ignite or shadow weaving on the boss!

I'll accept criticism about a shadow spec when 2 conditions are met.
1) The current content requires a pure spec.
2) I cannot preform at the same level as the pure specced folks.

Judge those two things well and look at overall preformance first.
THEN you can get snotty with the people who don't spec the way you want.


THAT SAID. Rules are rules even if they suck. If these rules were in effect when the players joined, they knew the rules and they're choosing not to follow them. Your leadership should have consequences available for not following the rules and use them when they feel it's appropriate. This is why I chose a guild with no forced speccing. There should, however, be a method available to talk over or reconsider rules that may not the relevant anymore. Forcing frost spec isn't going to help you a damn bit in AQ40 or beyond. =/
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#24 henaki

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Posted 24 September 2006 - 10:31 PM

I disagree with forcing specs unless you are forced too because of a fight. Spending another week on an encounter is better than burnout, but you may also be running a 100% completely different guild than me. Most of my players are semi-casual, and like to do what they want in their spare time, fuck, I believe I'm the ONLY Combat Rogue in my guild (or at least the only active one). Most of my players are intelligent and know what spec suites them. The majority of my priests are Disc/Holy, most Warriors are 31/5/15 or deep Prot, ironically most of my DPS classes are off-specs :/ Burnout and drama really does not happen in my guild which is nice.

With TBC rolling around soon, I don't expect people to even have "optimal" specs anymore, fuck I'll probably be some variant of Assasination/Combat.

One thing about forcing specs though, is the fact that you basically cannot have any strengths that certain builds do have, even if they are minor and situational. Example: Lightwell, as stupid and gimmicky as it is, still has great uses on certain fights.

Edit: I force jobs though, forgot to mention that. Shadow Priests heal, unless they have the judgement to put up Shadow Vulnerability, Druids heal unless they are called out to have Feral Gear on to back-up tank because we're short on Warriors (never happened unless we're in ZG or something). We have Moonkin Druids who do damage on trash but they know they heal.
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#25 Creslin

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Posted 24 September 2006 - 10:55 PM

if you are in a serious raiding guild you kinda need to force specs as much as possible.. attrition is something to worry about but progressing in naxx with a guild full of hemo rogues, AP mages, shadow priests and oomkin is beyond painful.

In general its easier and theres less drama if you enforce specs more through peer pressure than actual rules that the leadership has to enforce.

Its really entirely about what your guild is doing and what your guild is trying to do in the future, if you are semi casual, raid as friend type guild then its prolly not an issue... enforcing specs with actual ironclad rules tho tends to have bad effects on morale and can make players resent leadership.

#26 kais[bo]

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Posted 24 September 2006 - 10:57 PM

we used to have a laid back attitude on specs as well. it kinda changed with nax when we came up to the heavy dps encounters. almost all our rogues were pvp dagger and went combat dagger or combat swords, our mages are all fire and our dps warriors went from MS to fury. the difference is HUGE. the ignite trains on patchwerk and loatheb are fairly sick and suddenly we do not see patchwerk get to his timed enrage any more.

but in general its mostly dps classes and the hybrid healing classes, taht do not want to spec pve. you always have a few warriors that really want to tank and go ms/prot or full prot and i do not any raidnig guild that has a seriuos issue with too many priests being shadow. but all those shamans, druids + paladins ... the dark side is tempting.

#27 Omentuva

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Posted 24 September 2006 - 10:58 PM

A shadowpriest or fire mage will not have the longevity in MC/BWL that a holy priest or frost mage would have, but a talented player will get the job done no matter what the spec.

This is pretty much it. As long as that shadow priest or feral druid knows his role in whatever you're raiding, let them spec whatever. Then again, if they claim they're PvP specced but they never PvP outside of, say, ganking outside instance entrances, maybe you should have a talk with them, or "encourage" them somehow to spec in line with what they spend most of their time doing.

Seconded, this tends to lead to fairly good results as well. (A skilled fire mage is a killer on Nef Phase 1 when you use AoE when applicable and Blastwave on the zerg tends to be a very, very quick death for the mage unless he popped a Limited Invul pot / BoP.). The job will get done and Fire, while extremely unwieldy in BWL with 4 bosses immune, remains very handy, in the hands of a skilled player. In my opinion then.

Oh, and never 'force' specs, just say that you'd rather have x or y and let it be known that you assess the class. (What Arawethion said basically, it's doing your 'job' at the end of the day.) I personally didn't care how one did damage. (Unless he consistenly pulled aggro, but that was luckily reserved for those 10 % chromaggus TL resist with good vulnerabilities only.), as long as he did what he was supposed to do. If that involves you playing a different spec, fine with me. Just know that you might get subbed out if needed. (Which hardly need be done, really.)

#28 henaki

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Posted 24 September 2006 - 11:00 PM

if you are in a serious raiding guild you kinda need to force specs as much as possible.. attrition is something to worry about but progressing in naxx with a guild full of hemo rogues, AP mages, shadow priests and oomkin is beyond painful.

In general its easier and theres less drama if you enforce specs more through peer pressure than actual rules that the leadership has to enforce.

Its really entirely about what your guild is doing and what your guild is trying to do in the future, if you are semi casual, raid as friend type guild then its prolly not an issue... enforcing specs with actual ironclad rules tho tends to have bad effects on morale and can make players resent leadership.

It's much better to threaten peoples positions through competition if that's the case, if someone is forced to compete, they will put in their all if they care for their position. Recruit people who are willing to spec that way. This won't work in a more laxx guild (all of my Rogues don't give a shit that I trump them 100% of the time because they still push out more damage than other players except our token DPS Warrior).
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#29 Celnathor

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Posted 24 September 2006 - 11:10 PM

You should judge them on performance, not what their spec is. Their spec will affect their performance to some degree of course. I've done experiments where I've stealth specced back to shadow, done a full AQ40 run, and not a single person has noticed. Your problems really come offspecs who refuse to adapt their role in a raid. i.e. my job in a raid is to heal, that's all there is to it. Not to raid in DPS gear, not to DPS, but to raid in a full healing set. The feral druid who bitches about healing, and never takes any healing gear is going to lag really far behind, and then you can sit him out of raids and explain why. The shadowpriest who is in Naxx with a few pieces of Prophecy and is always whining about wanting to DPS is going to be a joke, and so on. Those are the people who you sit on the bench. The ones who enthusiastically adjust to what their raid role is, the ones who take gear and use the necessary consuambles to help them do that, are the ones you want to keep.

Judge people's attitude and performance, forget about the specs for now.

Agreed: Tell them that for your progression raids, your goal is to field the strongest 40-man team possible. This doesn't mean that they'll be inherently included/excluded based on spec, but for people who are near the borderline based on ability/gear, spec is a significant consideration.

#30 Xunwael

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Posted 24 September 2006 - 11:37 PM

Forcing speccs is not a very good idea since it makes the game less enjoyable. On the other hand, you don't really want to be raiding with people who can't be bothered to atleast specc apropriately for whatever instance you're currently progressing through.

Also, specc matters for abit more than you seem to give it credit for. We had a mage climb from his constantly puny puny <8 (usually lower) position on the damage meters to a consistent >5 after respeccing, increasing his damage by around 20%.

Though, ideally, the guild will be made up of enough people who want to specc the optimal specc that those who don't aren't really dragging you down, but if the majority, or even more than say 8+ per raid, start doing it it gets noticable.
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#31 Jonno

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Posted 25 September 2006 - 12:34 AM

There seem to be a lot of people here saying forcing specs is a bad thing and I don't really tend to agree. In saying that there is usually a fair bit of room to move in most classes and some require more specific specs than others.

There is simply no room for a "suicide spec" shammy in any serious raid group, nor can your entire priest roster consist of Shadow priests or your warrior group consist of 6 MS guys in DPS gear. There IS a point where a line must be drawn. Your example with the mage is a bit more debatable because you are almost at the point now where Fire becomes the more viable spec anyway. Personally I'd be happy to let that one slide but be more worried about the guy's attitude rather than his spec.

I would never advocate a set of rules where you say everyone must spec a certain way but there are minimum requirements I see as necessary for some if not most classes if your raid is half serious. As a Shammy I'd say NS is an absolute must and Purification is almost in that boat too. Our raid group personally doesn't force exact specs but we have booted a number of people who have refused to play ball in regard to specs.

The issue of raid specs really come's back to player's attitudes. Using a Shaman as an example, someone who is taking up a raid spot as a healer but who is unwilling to spec to add 10% onto their healing (Purification) is not helping your raid as much as they could be, nor is raiding the main focus of their gameplay. Maybe they have different goals to you and the majority of your raid and aren't prepared to sacrifice their PVP "leetness" to help the raid. It is this kind of attitude that you need to work out where you stand with. Do you want to min/max your raid or are you happy with people maintaining less raid geared specs and possibly slowing raid progressions as a result?

It's really a question only you and your raid leadership group can answer.

#32 Shalas

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Posted 25 September 2006 - 01:03 AM

if you are in a serious raiding guild you kinda need to force specs as much as possible.. attrition is something to worry about but progressing in naxx with a guild full of hemo rogues, AP mages, shadow priests and oomkin is beyond painful.

A serious raiding guild won't be full of players who would be hemo rogues, AP mages, shadow priests or oomkins if they were allowed to. That's a casual raiding guild with a leader who's trying to make the guild do something it doesn't really want to do.

#33 panny

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Posted 25 September 2006 - 03:24 AM

Take the people who do their jobs best. If that fire mages has consumables for every fight and farmed for Talisman of Ascendence, etc, take him instead of the ice mage who keeps mysteriously disconnecting before lab packs.

Make people compete for their raid spots based on their effectiveness if that's what your guild is about. Some guilds assign spots based on attendence, senority, or whatever. But if you're going to judge based on specs, make sure you remember why you want people to take those specs in the first place.

#34 Anias

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Posted 25 September 2006 - 03:29 AM

You can certainly force specs. There is a time and a place for it, and hopefully your leadership is bright enough to realize when that is.

Rebirth doesn't force specs, because there are other optimizations we could make (and choose not to) before we would be at the point where forcing specs was correct. We have a fair number of very bright people in guild, and they'd call us on it if we started forcing specs before forcing the other optimizations that would make a much larger impact. That said, there are a lot of insecure and, frankly, quite terrible players/leaders in world of warcraft. What they choose to do to their guildmates and themselves is their own business, and they might even be in a guild where noone will call them on it. If you want an honest opinion, I would say the majority of guilds that force spec do not perform encounter analysis sufficient to understand why a spec is useful in an encounter, nor do they prepare for the average fight correctly, nor do they consider the merits of changing the raid distribution. In short, most guilds that force specs do so by rote, and can't really explain the reasoning behind their decision processes.

Before I would consider forcing specs, I would be certain the following were all done:

Each player had equivalent skill - the skill-less wonders are far more detrimental to your raid than the skillful but sub-optimally specced members. This is a long, and somewhat luck-dependant, process.

Each player made good gear decisions from the point of view of the raid. This probably means community loot council in each class.

Each player has equivalent attendance - the sunny-day raiding crew hurts your progress far more than a sub-optimal but dedicated member.

Each player is prepared, they bring consumables, in great numbers, they turn on their /combatlog, they understand what the plan for the encounter is, they communicate. Having members that put in 10% of the pre-fight effort is far more detrimental to your raid's progress than the sub-optimally specced members.

The raid is correctly configured. While it's nice to say "No shadow priests here" in a 18 healer raid, I'd certainly hope some of those healers are dpsing. If they aren't, why did you fill slots 15-18 with pure healbots who will spend the majority of their time doing nothing.

The raid's configuration is dynamicly updated during the raid to configure it for the next boss/trash. Ouro isn't rogue heaven, c'thun isn't 19 mellee guy, emps likes healers, huhuran doesn't. In naxx - noth likes mellee, heigan likes ranged, patchwerk likes healers, grob doesn't need healing. etc.

The fights are being analysed well - /combatlog and some smart people. If you are not analyzing your own fights, you don't need to force specs, you need to learn to play.

There's more, but that's the basic checklist. There are very few guilds that would gain more from forcing specs than from improving one of the above areas. If you judge your guild to be one of them, feel free to force specs. Speaking for myself, I'd find any guild-leader that told me to spec in his proscribed way without all of the above being taken care of, to be somewhat hypocritical. Your milage may vary. The core value to take away from this is - you want to play with players that are smart enough to perform this type of analysis, one of the requirements for dealing with smart people is to not make stupid decisions and try to enforce them. Forcing specs as a "holy-grail" to increasing raid performance is usually a stupid decision, and most of the smart gamers you want to game with will pick up on it.

Good luck.
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#35 henaki

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Posted 25 September 2006 - 03:55 AM

edit: nevermind
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#36 Tempestra

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Posted 25 September 2006 - 08:01 AM

Maybe the fire mage should force you guys to spec fire if you're starting AQ40, it's far more powerful. =)

As a fire mage, keeping up with frosties in BWL isn't very difficult. When you guys start focusing on AQ40 more, you'll begin to understand why fire is so strong a build after 1.11 for mages.

#37 Chicken

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Posted 25 September 2006 - 09:03 AM

I disagree with forcing specs unless you are forced too because of a fight. Spending another week on an encounter is better than burnout, but you may also be running a 100% completely different guild than me. Most of my players are semi-casual, and like to do what they want in their spare time, fuck, I believe I'm the ONLY Combat Rogue in my guild (or at least the only active one). Most of my players are intelligent and know what spec suites them. The majority of my priests are Disc/Holy, most Warriors are 31/5/15 or deep Prot, ironically most of my DPS classes are off-specs :/ Burnout and drama really does not happen in my guild which is nice.

With TBC rolling around soon, I don't expect people to even have "optimal" specs anymore, fuck I'll probably be some variant of Assasination/Combat.

One thing about forcing specs though, is the fact that you basically cannot have any strengths that certain builds do have, even if they are minor and situational. Example: Lightwell, as stupid and gimmicky as it is, still has great uses on certain fights.

Edit: I force jobs though, forgot to mention that. Shadow Priests heal, unless they have the judgement to put up Shadow Vulnerability, Druids heal unless they are called out to have Feral Gear on to back-up tank because we're short on Warriors (never happened unless we're in ZG or something). We have Moonkin Druids who do damage on trash but they know they heal.

We basically do the same, though in our case it's ended up with around 75% of the raiders having specced optimally for raiding. Largely due to class competition. Nothing encourages 'optimal raiding' specs like some healthy competition.
We do have a few folks with less than 'optimal raiding' specs, but they still hold their own well, and they know that the job that they'll most likely be doing throughout most of the raid isn't going to be what they're specced for.

We've cleared AQ and got 5 bosses down in Naxx, so it seems to work. ;)

#38 Thorn

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Posted 25 September 2006 - 11:23 AM

If your players are serious about raiding then it shouldn't be necessary to force specs. If you are in a raid guild with enforced specs and you removed that rule, how many of your priests would immediately go shadow and stay that way for longer than a fortnight (i.e. after they've had long enough to test their new freedom)?

My experience of free spec raid guilds is that you only get 1-2 people per class wanting to play off-specs for any real period of time, and that 1-2 off-specs per class is actually a valuable thing to have. The "forced specs will be required for instance X" argument has come up for every raid instance that Blizzard has released, and so far I'm not aware of an encounter that can't be defeated while you have a handful of off-spec characters in the raid.

If your entire healing roster decided to spec shadow/feral/enhance then I could see it being a problem, but I'm not convinced that eliminating those last 1 or 2 ferals or shadow priests who provide a little flexibility and still perform respectably actually achieves anything.

#39 Breaksmith

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Posted 25 September 2006 - 12:21 PM

A further question. I don't think forcing specs is a good idea. Saying "you spec this way or you're out!" But how do you feel about restricting loot based on spec?

The guild I'm in has been around for about 18 months and one thing I've always seen as a problem is people (ok, warriors specifically) speccing as say, a tank and then expecting or bidding on DPS loot or vice versa.

I'm currently trying to get our warriors to pick a spec (one they like, nothing is forced here) and position themselves as either a tank (31 points in prot type spec - prio on Dreadnaught, Styleen's, so on) a Hybrid (31/5/15 type spec - prio on Conq's, off set tank pieces and 2Hers ususally) or DPS (17/34 type spec - DPS plate and most 1Hers in a system we've agreed with the Rogues).

Is it acceptable to link people's looting rights to their spec? If you want prio on dreadnaught, you spec 31 point prot, if you want prio on 1hers with rogues, you spec fury DPS? Or am I some kind of micro-Hitler?

#40 Shadout

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Posted 26 September 2006 - 02:07 AM

There are different ways to "force" specs.
If you are in a raid minded guild hopefully your members will force themself to spec useful pve specs. If not they dont really belong there. You can call it forcing specs if you want. But in the end if they dont want to spec anything decent, why bother.

Also, there is quite a difference between saying, "you need to spec frost" or saying "you need to spec exactly this and this build". There are plenty of room for personal influence in each tree (at least for mages) even if you want a raid spec. In the end mages cant really complain, we got lots of freedom in specs compared to many other classes.
Also, there is a serious difference between having useles pve builds or slightly suboptimal pve builds.
I have a 10/38/3 fire spec, and sure, I might probably get a minor boost in raid utility by taking 7 points from fire and get a bit mana regen from arcane instead. (and thus having what is pretty much the standard fire raiding build). But still, the difference between those 2 buids are very small, and it can surely still be called a raid build. (its hard to make really useless raid builds for mages, it had to be some elementalist build or heavy arcane).

Your raiders should have a feeling about which general specs which benefit the raid most, and then have some freedom to make an actual spec from that, which can have differences from player to player based on their preferences.

If they cant see the reasons behind that, they might not really fit in.




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