‘What can I do to make myself a better player and contribute more in Raids?’. That’s a deep question that can be daunting to try to answer, let alone come to a solution that has meaning and a way to be turned into a positive result.
General Understanding of A Class
Bolstering has touched on each spec in the game in our Class Guides. These guides give you the basics of how to play any spec and class in the game. It’s a great starting point for someone trying a class for the first time… but it won’t make you a better player if you are looking for specific opportunities within one of your characters unless you are in need of a back to basics training session.
Beyond the Basics
Okay, we’ve re-read Icy-veins and it wasn’t anything ground breaking… now what? To get going on how to get better at raiding, we need sources of information to dissect. Luckily, we keep raid logs! Our logs will tell us ALMOST everything we need to know about any encounter (it won’t tell us if we had a coughing fit during Kin’garoth, although a break in casting could suggest that something like a coughing fit happened). Thete Gaming put together an entire series on Warcraftlogs, It’s a 5 part series, if you are really interested in what he has to offer (not necessary for this process, but worthwhile if you have the time).
Logs aren’t necessarily about ‘mah parses, brah’ even if it is something many players look to in evaluating how well they did or did not do in a raid. Honestly, the best approach to take is ‘did my performance improve over the last time we faced this boss?’. If the answer is no, then you can look at what has changed from your best log and work on a solution. If the answer is yes, pat yourself on the back! The goal then becomes what can I do to be even better next week.
To compare your previous performances, all you need to do is go to Warcraftlogs and in the upper left hand corner there’s a search bar for you to put your character name into (if you have special characters in your name you will need to know how to input that). When your character shows up in the drop down list, you select it and you will be directed to your individual performances for the current raid. This will allow you to see each of your parses for each boss. It will also show you what gear you had equipped when you logged out, among other things. Basically, if you click on an encounter it will show you more detail about each kill you have for each boss in Legion. You can also use this to see what other people who play your class and spec are doing differently from you… there are no limits to how much information you can learn from the logs!
TL;DR on Warcraft Logs: It records every moment of the raid from the time someone types /combatlog to the point the logging has ended. In our Guild, I (GT) am responsible for running the logs (although at times Mike Nick or Wilson will also keep logs in case something messes up). At the end of each raid, these logs are posted in the #warcraft-logs tab of Discord.
Yes, Sim yourself… That’s the answer to every single ‘Is this an upgrade’. It’s a frustrating statement for folks who are unfamiliar with how this all works. Now, fair warning: Simming is not the answer for Healers and Tanks for the most part. They are more reliant on research and class Discords to find more information about their characters. For this sections, the assumption is made that we are talking about DPS classes.
Cool, we’ve identified that it’s important but how do we ‘Sim’ ourselves. The answer is easier than you might think! You will need 3 things to do this scary and daunting task. The first is an add-0n called Simulationcraft (available throught Twitch). The second is a web browser to be used at raidbots.com. The third and final thing you need is an add-on called Pawn (also available from Twitch) Once you install simcraft, the steps to setting up your stat weights go as follows (lots of little steps here, but they are straightforward):
Step 1) In-game, make sure Simulationcraft and Pawn are enabled
Step 2) type /simc
Step 3) hit CTRL-C (to copy the information from the pop-up window)
Step 4) tab out of game and open raidbots.com
Step 5) Pick the type of simulation you wish to view from the browser (we will select Stat Weights)
Step 6) In the box below ‘LOAD FROM SIMC ADDON’ paste the information from Step 3 (using CTRL-V or right mouse button and select paste)
Step 7) Scroll to the bottom of the page and click the big green button that says ‘Generate Stat Weights’.
Step 8) Wait for the page to generate the information you wish to find
Step 9) Press the ‘Copy to Clipboard’ Button (how convenient is that?)
Step 10) Tab back in and open your Character Info tab (looks like you or, the C button if you haven’t unbound it)
Step 11) Below your character image, there should be a button that says ‘pawn’. Click on it!
Step 12) Click on the Scale tab at the bottom of the pop up window.
Step 13) Select the ‘Import Scale’
Step 14) A window will pop up to tell you to paste the string into the box, press CTRL-V to do so
Step 15) You have now got personalized stat weights for your character! Every time you get an item, use Pawn to tell you if it is an upgrade or not. If you replace items, re-sim your character to update the stat priority!
That may look like a lot of work, but it really isn’t once you do it a few times. It will help guide your gear in the right direction! If you are looking for help with relics, there’s a raidbots tab for that; If you want to look at other gearsets, raidbots has a tab for that as well. If you want more information, P R E H E E T has a great 15 minute guide for extra assistance (including Top Gear, which is incredibly useful).
ILVL vs. Tier Bonuses
One frequent thing heard among players is that they don’t wear tier because it downgrades their ilvl. This idea is only valid to a point, and should not be taken as a serious method for determining what is in the best interest of your character’s ability to perform at the highest level.
Anyone who has been with Bolstering for a while has probably heard the whining of Outtafocus for being tied to Tier 19 and Tier 20 bonuses. The reason being that the previous Tier set bonuses are so strong, that the only way to get more damage is to get an absurdly high Tier 21 set so that the damage from the raw stats outweighs the bonus’s damage. It may sound confusing, but have a look at the data below and determine for yourself which gear set you’d prefer to run.
Set 1: 2 pieces of Tier 19 from Nighthold (920 Helm, 890 Legs) and 4 pieces of Tier 20 from Tomb of Sargeras (915 Back, 915 Shoulders, 925 Chest, 920 Hands): 1.650m DPS with an item level of 943
Set 2: 4 pieces of Tier 21 from Antorus (930 Back, Hands, Chest, and Legs): 1.635m DPS with an item level of 952
Set 3: No Set Bonuses, but Best available gear: 1.544m DPS with an item level of 956
Set 4: 4 pieces of Tier 21 from Antorus (930 Helm, 945 955 Hands,945 Legs): 1.703m DPS with an item level of 957
As you can see, the bonuses are a HUGE part of how you gear! Sometimes the best item level gear does not make your character passively better. This information was determined from raidbots, using the Top Gear function. It took a long time to come up with the right gear set ups. As you can see, for the longest time having a lower item level was better for this character! Keep in mind Set 4 was not an immediate option, it was a result of running the content week over week to collect the right items.
Oh, one more piece on gear! If you have a gem slot, use it. If it can be enchanted, do that! These things may seem to have a minor impact, but a +200 here and a +200 there can end up being over 1000 additional stats to your character! That alone can take your gear up to the next level!
To add one more layer to help with raiding, there’s Wowanylyzer. This is a great resource to give you a few ideas about issues with your rotation. It’s not going to tell you everything, but if you are missing something major it will be of benefit!
Grab a log for a raid you were a part of from Discord (copy the link) and go to the Wowanylyzer website. As soon as you paste the log into the provided box on their site, the log will be loaded into their engine. The next screen will be all of the encounters included in the log. Click on the fight you wish to have reviewed and then when the next screen loads, you merely need to choose your character and wait! It will review the fight and give you some suggestions about what you missed or how you could have prioritized your spells differently (i.e. your talent ‘Killer Cobras’ was not used effectively as you wasted 4 Kill Command resets).
Be advised that this site may not always be the answer. There are times in a fight (like in the last 30m of a fight) where you intentionally avoid certain casts just to push the bosses health to zero faster. It is meant to be a general guide to show you that there’s a glaring issue with your rotation that you can address.
Some Extra Little Things
Practice? We’re talking about Practice? One of the best things you can do to get better is experience the content more often. That’s LFR, Normal, and Heroic. There’s no harm in getting an extra viewing or two of the bosses. It can give you a great chance to find a better spot to stand, or understand the burst windows better, or even something as simple as finding the right time to use your second potion.
Sometimes there’s no better way to see what you’ve done wrong than to record the entire raid yourself and watch it afterwards. I’ll guarantee that you are going to be yelling at your own rotation mistakes! Totally worth running OBS or any other kind of recording software if your system can handle it. If not, Tom (Bombeon) streams our raids, and puts them on youtube for you to watch! Give him a follow and a subscribe!
Do you know someone else who plays the same class and specialization as you? I know that the BM hunters from time to time chat with each other about various topics including Legendaries, Gear, Stats, Rotations, Talents or sometimes just silly things like transmog. Sometimes there’s something to be learned just from helping someone else answer a question. I know I’ve learned lots about many classes just from trying to guide someone with their challenges.
Hopefully this long, long guide is something that can help you to get better at Raiding. If you need better details on this or anything that wasn’t covered, as always, reach out to me! I’m more than happy to help.
Have fun out there Bolstering!