The Flow of the Fight!

Very good post Firefunk and thanks for bringing up one of my old blog posts on this very important subject as well as Hamlet’s empirical piece on what makes a good player into a better raider.

I was going to dust off my blog post and Hamlet’s and re-apply it to the current raid team as most of you weren’t here a year ago, but in truth the old one’s as relevant now as it ever will be, so are Hamlet’s wise words and counsel which along with his many healing theory-crafting blogs and podcasts landed him a job at Blizzard as a Systems Game Designer at the end of WoD.

Reading Hamlet’s piece isn’t just a must read for ranged, indeed it’s a must read for every raider and if you’re not usually much of a reader and are going to only read one long post this year about raiding then make it this one as it’ll provide the biggest improvement in your raid utility and turn more of you into MVPs* which will help us kill bosses sooner than we have been in Legion where we’ve unfortunately been significantly slower at killing bosses than at most times in recent years and this isn’t acceptable.

I also love Fire’s repetition of the term “flow of the fight”, drumming an important concept into players that some of you may not be overly familiar with.

The term “Flow of the Fight” was a term used by a former raid leader here in WW called Ghibi, who worked closely with me as raid team admin back in MoP and WoD until the arrival of his first baby and a time consuming job as a teacher ended his WoW raiding career.  I’m not sure where he got it from or if he coined it himself but I’ve used this internally with successive councils to illustrate a key and important difference between the two common types of players you will find in WoW and raiding in general.

Proactive v Reactive.

Most players are Reactive players by nature.  These people play the game as a series of speed reactions to events as they occur in game and whilst this is really necessary for a PvPers toolkit and will suit you well enough in normal and heroic raiding, it’s actually very suboptimal and problematic for a Mythic raider to be a reactive type player.

Raiders that aspire to be effective in Mythic raiding need to be Proactive.  A proactive player learns the flow of the fight by breaking down the encounter into their components, timings, ad spawns, boss abilities, mechanics etc.  Pretty much everything in a PvE encounter is time related or boss health related and even there that HP is under our power to govern and therefore you can learn to anticipate, prepare and react to any event before it actually occurs.

By learning how a fight will play out a player is never surprised by a mechanic or event, he’s expecting it and as he is expecting it he acts at the correct time and in the correct way in preparation for the event, whether this means a tank repositioning the boss, picking up a spawning add effectively, using a CD, calling for an external, using a speed boost or gap closer or whatever, it means you’re no longer reacting to the event (e.g. behind it) but acting proactively (ahead of it).

A Proactive player learns to position themselves optimally, using their CDs and class tool kit in the optimal way to increase their survival and that of the raid and in doing so we have less mistakes, less deaths so less tries to kill a boss.

It doesn’t really matter whether your approach to learning the flow of the fight happens before you experience it personally (videos, guides, timers, WAs) or during those first tries (what killed me, what was that ability, do I understand this? ask a question, try something different next time) or ideally a combination of the two, what matters is that you learn it as quickly as you can so you’re never surprised again or ever get tempted to deviate from what works from one try to another after you’ve got things working for the raid and you.

Like many, I used to be a reactive raider, as I said, most players are, it’s the default.  However after reading Hamlet’s post for the first time almost 4 years ago I decided to change that and become a Proactive player.

Now, I’m 53 (so 49 then) so not exactly the age where new tricks come easy, but persevering with it (I’m an on the job type learner, I do 90% of it in raid as that’s what works for me), focusing on learning the encounter and how to play in a proactive way allowed me to become a better raider and someone who could be better relied on to handle game and class mechanics in the days when these were arguably more important than they have been in the recent past.

What it also allowed me to do was to become a better raid leader and builder of raid teams as I got used to looking at performance from a different view point than the simple who does most damage or healing, which is where so many players and indeed raid leaders screw up when judging their players and team mates.

If I can do it, any of you can, indeed I expect you to as reactive players are a deficit drain on the overall efficiency of the raid team, they make more mistakes, more unforced errors and are more unpredictable than those that aren’t.

Let’s become a team of proactive players, be the change you want to see, or failing that the one I want to see in us so next time we face a boss like Aggramar we don’t spend 100 extra tries on him biting our fists in frustration at player errors to get a kill we could have gotten two weekend before.

Thanks again Fire for bringing this up.

*Read Hamlet’s post, then you’ll understand this term.

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