Why Do Some Raids Just Fail?

I was fortunate enough this past week to get into a 10 man VoA pug.  VoA on my server, generally does not happen unless it is a guild run, or we have *just* won Wintergrasp, so I was happy to actually get into the raid that never gives me loot (ohh, that is another story, I suppose).  Upon joining said raid, I was happy to see that it wasn’t just a mis-mash of random people (not that there is anything bad about that), but rather composed by some of the top guilds on the server – Shadow Raven, Inexpugabillis, Legend, and even some members of the former Phoenix Rising.  I thought to myself, “Hey, this is going to be cakewalk.”  It was anything but.

We wiped on Koralon twice (ok, I’ll make allowances that it was a new boss), before downing him.  After that, we proceeded to wipe on Emalon TRASH.  Then, once we got passed that, we wiped on Emalon twice more.  My laptop battery died at that point, so I was not able to see the fight against Archavon, but a friend whispered me once I got back in, they wiped on Archavon.

What makes some raids, even though they are comprised of very good players, just fail?

The Tank and Healer(s) are out of sync

This is probably the most common cause of raid failure.  If the tank isn’t getting heals, then there really is no barrier between you and the spirit healer.  And, lord forbid, if the healer accidentally pulls before the tank, you are in for a trip through the underworld.

But small nuances outside of the obvious can spell disaster for your raid.  Koralon hits like a truck to the face.  The fight isn’t really that difficult, it’s basically a test of gear (well, that and making sure your dps doesn’t stand in the god blessed fire).  But he does hit hard.  And your tank and healer have to deal with the most of it (such has been the theme throughout most of LK, hasn’t it?).  Perhaps the tank missed a few parries/dodges/blocks in a row, and the healer had to blow a trinket or key spell to keep you up, at the same time the tank blew his cooldowns to reduce the load on the healers.  The situation was not dire enough to warrant both of you blow your cooldowns.  Then the boss throw’s fire under the tank’s feet, and managed to land a few extra powerful blows.  Now neither of you have any “save me” buttons, and you go down.

Is there a clearly defined raid leader?

Ohh boy.  This was the big problem in my raid.  There were too many people trying to raid lead.  One person would say one thing, another some other thing, and soon we are left with most everyone doing something other than what really should happen.  Then What?  Heals are out of range of Tanks, DPS are pulling aggro, and its a big wipefest.  This was the problem on Emalon’s trash.  Some goofball aggroed a trash, and it killed half the raid before it was picked up by the tank.  Then the raid leader kept yelling to dps it down, while others were yelling just get out.  In the end, there was not enough sustained dps to down the thing, and only those who were out saved the repair bill on that one.

Pug’s especially are really susceptible to this.  When there is an amalgam of people who don’t know what other people’s experience are, everyone suddenly thinks they are the expert.  Make sure, at the start, there is a clearly defined leader.

Is your graphics settings too low?

I say this half as a joke and half as truth – some people (I.E. me) have their graphics setting pretty low.  Most of the time, it’s not a problem.  Some of the time it is.  As DPS, we know we are supposed to get out of the fires.  Right now, if you have anything less than the best graphics settings, any fire over Koralon’s “glass pit” (for lack of better term), I simply cannot see.  I had to watch for the buff/health drain to know when to move in those instances.  It kept frustrating the healers, but honestly, it was frustrating me (and at least one other who yelled “Move him the F*** off of the pit!) as well.

Is your raid “Fluid”?

The best raid teams in the world are what I like to call “Fluid.”  They move collectively and as one person in a bigger unit.  When one person goes down, the others immediately, and without thought move to compensate.  It is difficult to achieve that in a pug setting.  I personally don’t raid with any rogues or DPS shammy’s (where are all the rogues on Muradin?), so I am slightly less familiar with what they can do.  When they go down, I really can’t compensate for much, other than pushing out every last drop of DPS I can muster (which I do anyway, so……).

However, in my normal group, if I see the resto shammy go down, I will use my Art of War proc’s to throw around my instant FoL to ease the burden on the remaining heals.  Yes, it drop’s my overall DPS, but without the team, I can’t do any DPS.  Plus, my raid is observant enough to know when I am doing this and don’t start screaming at me.

This is another thing that is difficult with pugs – they just don’t know when to stop blaming people.  Sometimes it is just bad luck.

The next time you are in a pug, or even have trouble with your regular raid team, maybe take a look at who is doing what.  It may be an off night, but maybe, it just might be the tank and healer are not “clicking,” or one too many hands in the raid lead pot.

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