Thursday, May 13, 2010

The way I play

I have to admit I’m not a very good player. I have a lot of trouble thinking clearly on the fly and this causes me to make mistakes often. The reason I can do well in WoW while still being very average in this area is that WoW is a game that lets you make up for your shortcomings by putting more time into other areas.

I like to think of overcoming challenges in WoW as requiring a combination of three facets, character/gear level, strategy and execution. A shortcoming in one can be made compensated for by a combination of the other two. This means I can make up for my lack of skill in execution by putting the maximum effort into gearing and strategy.

Gearing for me isn’t just researching drops and bidding strategically, but usually spending an hour or so after getting a new drop rebalancing my stats, hitting the necessary caps and running a sim over and over to see if modifying my gems could get me an extra 10 theoretical dps.

The strategy part is in managing headspace for the fight mechanics. I don’t know about other people, but if I have to glance down at seven different abilities literally every second to ascertain which is the highest priory ability that will be useable by the end of this GCD there’s no way I’m paying attention to boss mechanics while doing it.

While I consider Enhancement DPS to be something of a faceroll spec, a rogue once told me it’s one of the more complicated priority systems. Let’s look at the priority list:

- Lightning Bolt if five stacks of Maelstrom Weapon [MW5]

- Fire Elemental totem [if Heroism will occur in the next minute-twenty]

- Spirit Wolves

- Heroism [depending on boss strat]

- Shamanistic Rage [I also use engineering bombs and hyperspeed accelerators as they share the 1min CD]

- Stormstrike if no debuff charges left on target

- Flame Shock if dot has expired

- Earth Shock

- Stormstrike

- Magma Totem if less than 4 seconds remaining [skip if Ele totem is out]

- Lightning Shield if less than 3 charges remaining

- Lava Lash

- Fire Nova

The way I handle it is to have my ability bars set up to have one central point of focus with a couple of branches around it. There’s one place I need to look and anything I do need to press on proc or CD I have set up to present me with a visual [and aural, in the case of MW5] cue to press that button or follow that branch when its priority next appears.

So while I still do make a lot of mistakes while playing, the ability to put this effort in ahead of time to make the execution as straightfoward as possible can more than make up for it, and I can link you the logs to prove it.

And all the time I spend researching drops or putting together a slightly better gemming arrangement or agonising over how to lay out my interface or writing macros or setting up Power Auras is to me all as much a part of playing WoW as its culmination in the raid execution itself. And I wouldn’t want it any other way.

With the exception of the Armour Penetration stat. That bullshit can burn in hell.

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