How does your guild decide that they are ready to move on to a new instance? It seems as though many guilds do it by a popular demand or peer pressure route -- you know what I mean. By giving in when enough voices complain about being sick and tired for doing whatever your current raid instance is. We've all been there and done that.
Sometimes the voice of the guild is on target -- but other times you have folks "sick of" an instance you've cleared three times. And that makes it highly likely your guild actually isn't ready to move from a gear perspective. Rather than getting sucked into a round of my opinion is better than your opinion, there are some tools to help you objectively determine what your guild is ready to tackle -- and who should be your first picks for the new raid's slots.
Making the Assessment
Your first stop for assessing your guild's readiness to move on should be WoW Heroes. Many guilds use a personal WoW Heroes score as a guideline for being ready for a specific instance. But it can do more than that-- it can provide a snapshot of your entire guild's readiness. Here's an example from my guild:
From this overview, it should be pretty clear we are a casual guild with occasional raiding. We have a few folks who clearly have done some out of guild raiding. The bulk of the top 10 geared players can all use items from Malygos and 25-man Naxx and OS, but are able to start on 10-man Ulduar. Pretty good for a casual guild!
The next 10 players need to be signing up for Naxx 10 runs and getting their toes wet in some raids before thinking about heading off to Ulduar. It should be noted, however, that when you take a snapshot of the guild matters. If your bear tank is playing around in BOOMkin form their score is likely going to be lower. Also, you may notice some of your key players are missing when you do your first snapshot. This is easily fixed by going to the character tab and bringing up their character, choosing to pull live data from the armory. The next time you pull your guild results, you will see them there.
Individual Room for Improvements
After you've made the leap and decided to move on to new content, how do you handle the outliers who want to come but aren't quite ready from a gear perspective? Although some lazy raid leaders may just decide to drag those folks through the new content -- despite potentially burning out the players who are ready for it -- that is not your only option.
Individual raiders can start to assess their overall gear readiness by using Be IMBA. When looking up a character here, you get back a report that includes enchants that can be upgraded, missing gems (or ones that skip them socket bonus), and an overall gear score that shows where the character can pick up gear upgrades. If the character has a more common talent distribution it will also evaluate the spec. Here's an example:
Things to look for when evaluating:
- How close are they to their hit cap?
- Is there a reason for missing their socket bonuses?
- Are there any missing enchants? Any inappropriate or significantly downgraded enchants?
As you can see from my BeIMBA report, I've chosen to skip over two of my socket bonuses to maintain my META gem requirements in one case, and because I didn't care about the spirit bonus in the other. Every gear upgrade becomes the great shuffle of the gems...You can also see I haven't shelled out the additional 4 Abyss crystals for the best enchant possible for my robe because frankly, I spent too much cash on enchanting mats the week I got it. And I am missing 7 spell hit from cap, which I could address with food or an enchant if it were significant enough to do so. I am putting both on my to do list.
My one quibble with BeIMBA is it can have some issues with hybrid classes. The suggestion I should have mana restoration over super stats as an enchant is a good example of this. My shadow priest doesn't run out of mana, so that would be a wasted enchant even though it would raise my BeIMBA score.
After digesting the Be IMBA report, the next stop should be WoW Heroes. Choose a player of the same class/spec and see how the character stacks up. Ideally, you want to pick a player you know who is slightly more progressed or your guild's best in class player to see where you might have room to improve.
I picked a shadow priest I've run with a good amount as a point of comparison. He's in a more progressed guild but we have roughly equivalent gear, and substantially different stats. Where I've made sure to get close to the hit cap with gear and made up for it with spellpower gems, he's stacked crit gems. And as an enchanter he gets a leg up on the spellpower with two ring enchants. As we move through the WoW Heroes report we can see how this plays out.
In the end, he has a smidge more spellpower, and 3% more crit. His haste is 50% more than mine, while his MP5 while casting is about 1/3 less than mine. Two different approaches to the same spec. When the rubber hits the road, I've typically come out significantly ahead of him on the meters, even when less well geared. I chalk that up to his not being hit capped, which we have had lengthy discussions over. He weights haste and crit at the expense of hit, which makes his trash numbers look good and his boss numbers not as sexy.
Reviewing his character sheet does give me the thought that I could be less stubborn and pick up that crit socket bonus on my pants by moving over a purple gem to my red socket and adding in a smooth autumn's glow to the yellow socket.
If you were a raid leader, looking at our two sheets, you would probably find us to be interchangeable, which I would agree with on the whole. The only way to get a more informed picture at this point would be to review WoW Web Stats/World of Logs / Wow Metre Online files from your most recent raids. Many other folks have gone into the finer points of dissecting each of those reports so I won't go into that here.
When reviewing your raid logs, you want to see that:
- The spread between your top 3 damage dealers and your bottom damage dealers is not too significant. If your top DPS did 50% more damage overall than your bottom DPSers, there's a problem.
- Likewise for your healers -- you want overall healing to be within a few % points of each other.
- Look at the who healed whom charts -- does it stack up against the healing assignments, or did someone only heal the main tank/their best friends instead of the ranged DPS they were assigned to?
- Is there a high DPSer with low damage overall? Were they ninja AFKing or splatted on the floor from pulling aggro (mister itchy trigger finger mage I am looking at you)
At this point, you should have a good idea of what raid instance makes the most sense for your guild, as well as who you want as part of your team. Take a hop on over to World of Matticus for some ideas on how to additionally apply some raid rules to ensure your next raiding adventure gets off on the right foot, with clearly defined expecations.