Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Tiered Approval

I belong to a fairly large guild alliance on Whisperwind known as SLACK. One item that we've found over time is that it takes a great deal of coordination to get people involved in the alliance raiding and getting them to understand when they are prepared for the various tiers of content.

One way we've recently been addressing this internally as of late is to develop the "laundry list" of approved characters. Allow me to outline how we break it down and what the various tiers mean to our raiders. Bear in mind these are the bare minimum guidelines for what we are expecting. These are some what fluid too. We recognize that not all classes are created equal with equal gear.

NOTE: PTD from Part Time Druid brought up a good point. Please don't view these as the "Hard" rules we use. These are meant as guidelines to help our raid leaders from across 6 different guilds judge their characters and players. As always Skill>Gear, but some gear requirements must be met at times or people's skill can't keep them alive through the encounter. Personally even if you meet these standards people need to be reviewed for their individual performance not just, "hey you met a number". Meeting a number and being a productive member of the raid are two entirely different things.
  1. Karazhan Approved
  2. T4 25 Man Approved
  3. T5 Approved
  4. T6 Approved
  5. Sunwell Approved (not yet developed)

Karazhan Approved

I applaud Blizzard generally for making content available. They started out by making content semi difficult to attain. The attunements were generally put into place to ensure that your groups had at least the minimal gear requirements necessary to walk in the door. For our guild, we've found that once the attunement lifted we've been forced to look closer at how we approve people for Karazhan.

For my group I generally allow any raid leader to approve someone for Karazhan. This is for two reasons. The first is simple... I'm not online every night and I want people to have the flexibility of getting approved by a larger pool of people. Some basic guidelines I follow when reviewing a person are:

  • Is their gear more blue than green?
  • Are they wearing the right gear for their class?
  • Are their gem slots at least slotted with green gems of the appropriate type for their class?
  • Do they have at least basic enchants on most of their gear?
  • Are they spec'd appropriately? Are they using a PVE spec vs. a PVP spec?
Gear is probably the hardest one for people to figure out, but the easiest one to fix. The best way I've found as of late to fix the base gear for Kara is to use the new PVP gear that was added to the rep vendors. Other than the resilience stat, the base stats for these blues are very nice starter sets for Kara. They typically come with lots of gem slots too which gives a great deal of customization to the gear as well. Other sources I recommend to people are:

  • Netherstorm and SMV group quests have lots of very nice blue pieces. Some are top of breed pre Kara gear.
  • PVP Arena or BG to get some nice T5+ equivalent purples.
  • Lvl 70 Dungeons. Some specific trinkets and pieces only drop in these dungeons... if you want them you have to go.
  • Rep rewards
T4 25 Man Approved

Twenty five man content is dramatically different than being ready for Kara. It not only requires higher DPS, but it requires a great deal more situational awareness. Approval into the T4 25 man content requires special approval based what we call a "KITT". KITT stands for Know IT all Timer which dates back to the MC days before we all had mods like Incubator and DBM which tell you when trash will respawn and bosses will do special abilities. KITTs also have the responsibility of advising their own people what to expect and when they are having issues with their DPS, Healing, Tanking, Gear, etc.

For our purposes the types of things I am looking for to approve someone for T4 25 man content are:

  • A minimum of 550 sustained DPS on boss fights for DPS classes.
  • Threat awareness.
  • Situational/Positional Awareness
  • Maturity
  • 7000-7500 HP unbuffed
  • 1600 +healing for healers and an ability to heal effectively.
  • A raid leader recommendation

T5 Approved

As you can imagine moving up the tiers really becomes more challenging. Our raid alliance has come up with some general guidelines on what we want to see, but I've found over time that numbers are fine, but you really need to see a person in raid to figure out if they are ready for the next level. Every tier adds new challenges. T5 has a great bit more complexity than T4. There are a great number of fights which aren't challenging from a DPS/Healing aspect, but require a great deal more coordination and movement on the raid's part. These types of lessons have to be learned and web stats won't tell you that.

These guidelines are courtesy of our raiding alliance and were developed in conjunction with several raid leaders and guild officers.

Overall T5 Guidelines

  • Macros set up for spell rotations or very fast reactions.
  • Unbuffed HP around 8k
  • Situational and Threat awareness
  • Appropriate Enchants
  • Blue level or higher gems
  • Appropriate Flasks or Elixirs
  • A PVE spec appropriate for raiding.

DPS T5 Guidelines

  • 650-700 "Raid" DPS which means average dps on boss fights. If you did 900 DPS, but only spent 33% time on target you're raid DPS would be equivalently 300 DPS.
  • Ability to rapidly CC on pulls if necessary.

Healer T5 Guidelines

  • Ability to keep Heal Over Time spells up on multiple people for about 5 minutes (Druids/Priests)
  • Ability to dispel/decurse effects while healing.
  • Ability to Solo heal a tank on trash pulls if necessary.

Tank T5 Guidelines

  • 600+ Threat Per Second (TPS) for warrior/druids and 550+ TPS for Pally's.
  • Adaptablity to changing combat situations.
  • 15k+ unbuffed HP for Warriors/Druids and 14.5k+ unbuffed HP for pally tanks.
  • 60%+ parry, dodge, block pre uncrushable avoidance for Pally's and Warriors.

T6 Approved

With every tier of approval the stakes rise. This should reflect the growing gear and skill levels of your raiders. Basically all of the previous expectations hold true in addition the following higher expectations must be met.

Overall T6 Guidelines

  • 9k+ HP
  • Positional Awareness - T6 fights require some extreme amounts of relocation as well as being aware when you are over certain distance lines etc.

DPS T6 Guidelines

  • 850-900 "Raid" DPS or the ability to raise other's DPS enough to make your DPS equivalent to the 850-900.

Healer T6 Guidelines

  • Positional Awareness.... Sorry its just critical for healers in T6 so we emphasize it for our healers especially.

Tank T6 Guidelines

  • 700+ TPS for Warriors and Druids and 650+ TPS for Pally's.