Paragon. Method. Blood Legion. Envy. All are names you recognize if you follow the PvE scene. What is it these guilds have that makes them such strong contenders? Are the players in the top guilds the best out there? I find many mistake what it takes to raid at top level and I do believe that it does not take much skill to raid in one of these guilds. I am not saying the skill cap for raiding is low, you can definitely always push your damage more or use your globals more perfectly but it is not required to kill a boss. Today I’ll be exploring my observations of these guilds and what I believe makes them so successful.
We all know these guilds usually spend much more time on raiding when content is newly released. They are pushing more than 8 hours a day and some continue to do so for days and even weeks. These guilds compete for world firsts and the progress race is the only thing that matters to them.
We need to realize that top guilds spend countless hours on most bosses, just like most guilds. The only thing that differs is that they do it in a much shorter time span. I think most above average guilds spend as much time on a boss as the top guilds do but they just do it over a longer period of time. I am not saying that any guild that can raid like top guilds do can become among the best. We also need to realize that during the first few weeks of new raid content, bosses are much harder due to gear.
Ah, the most interesting topic. Are the players in the top guilds high caliber players? From what I have observed, most of them are not. My theory is that most of the players in these guilds are above average, but very few are really good at this game. If you have ever been in a guild you know that some players are just better than others. And it is hard to get rid of the bad players because they usually are someone’s friend and if you kick one of them, the chances are the others will leave too. Or you yourself have just become friends with them and that makes you overlook their lack of skill compared to your other guild members.
Some think heroic modes are fine at the difficulty they are currently at and some find them a bit too easy. However, I think most top PvE players did find Ragnaros Heroic 25 man one of the most challenging bosses ever. Was he hard from an individual standpoint? Not really. The reason World of Warcraft will never have encounters that are individually challenging is because you raid with 9 or 24 other people. If it was required that you do your job perfectly, it would require your other raid members to do it as well. And the chances for all players in a guild to be good players and do their job well is almost zero percent. This is also why I feel it is silly when guilds say “even when everyone did perfectly and did awesome DPS, we had to deal with the enrage” “It’s a bad encounter” “Too tightly tuned”. No. Just no. You are competing for World Firsts, you want challenging encounters. You want encounters that do not rely on class stacking or time invested but on skill. Yet when encounters like Ultraxion show up, you say they are too tightly tuned or whatever. Of course you will feel that way when 70% of your players got no clue how to play the game. PvE will never be about individual skill but always about dedication and time invested.
This is the reason why World of Logs is so popular among good players, it’s a way to compete with other players. I personally would probably stop raiding if there was no damage meter or World of Logs.
It all comes down to this. How much time are you willing to put into the game for those World Firsts? Because lately it seems like that is what it has come down to. It seems we’re at that point in PvE where skill does not matter as much as time and preparation. I think this is a sad state to be in. You should be rewarded for being skilled. From an individual stand point, hardmodes in Dragon Soul are a joke. They do not challenge you in any shape or form. It is all about waiting for 10 or 25 people to get the fight and execute it. Raiding has always been about that and it can sometimes get frustrating. But at the end of the day, that is what is about. Even if you get the fight, even if you execute it perfectly, you still have to rely on others being able to do the same thing. You have to have players that are willing to spend hours and hours on just learning how to dodge fire.
Kin Raiders is a great example of why dedication and preparation had more to do with their success than actual individual skill. They had the classes necessary, they had the tactic and they had done their preparation. In an interview their raid leader mentioned that their Shaman did so bad DPS that he got benched and was asked to sit on a Training Dummy until he could do decent DPS. These are the kind of players that also play in top guilds. Go figure.
It sickens me when players constantly think players in top guilds are special and as if everything they say is the absolute truth. Do not get me wrong, I have huge respect for some players in top guilds, but do not believe that most of them are great or that most of them know what they are talking about.
Looking for raid has introduced many problems for top guilds. With it not sharing lockout with heroic raids, top guilds started to farm the instance several times to maximize their loot. If LFR stays the same for Mist of Pandaria, I think we will see many guilds farming LFR for an entire week only to gear up all their characters. Hopefully, Blizzard will fix this in some way, maybe release the LFR version 1-2 weeks after heroic mode raid content has been released.
I have been thinking about this for a bit. There was some comment on the Hydra 10 premiere countdown about how TBC players were bad and that Hydra played like an 1800 rated player from Cataclysm. While it is true that compared to now players were bad back then, Hydra was at the top of the game in TBC and is still so now. The skill development from TBC to now is huge. A player that is 1800 rated in Cataclysm would dominate arena if he went back and played at that era with the skill set he has now. But what is interesting, for how long would he dominate? Because it is in my belief that players like Hydra would have caught up with him and surpassed him quite quickly, simply because they are the more skilled players. Great players constantly improve and usually at a much greater rate than average players. They would analyze his play and learn from it and he would be surpassed quite quickly.
Being a successful raiding guild is mostly about dedication and perseverance. Top guilds value people who are reliable, do not fuck up that often and are willing to spend tons of hours on a boss. They do not expect you to play top-notch as long as you do not die to fire and can do that consistently. It is not about how much individual skill you have, that is why many PvPers look down on raiding. I do not believe that most players in top guilds are genuinely good players, they have just a lot of experience and dedication and have spent a lot of time on this game. You could call them the hard workers, but if we looked at skill, most raiders in top guilds would pale in comparison to a real good player.