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  1. #1

    "Play what you want"

    Whenever there is a discussion about raid performance, the go-to rebuttal is almost always "play what you want to play", as if it handwaves away the genuine performance concerns that are being raised in the argument. Nonetheless, do raiders really get to play the spec that they want to in raids, especially those specs who are always underperforming?

    I can see how there might be some players, who have been veterans in their guilds, can get away with it while the rest of the guild puts up with them due to their authority. But for the majority of players, particularly those who are joining a new guild, I don't believe they have the luxury of truly "playing what they want".

    If we look at the warcraftlogs statistics, the general trend is that the lower the DPS, the lower the total number of parses. For example, the bottom 10 specs have a total of 17,838 total parses whereas the top 10 specs have a total of 54,698 parses, more than 3x as many. This indicates to me that players aren't really playing "what they want", but playing "what is best".

    Based on the above, can we really say that raiders are playing "what they want"?
    Last edited by styil; 2020-02-17 at 12:42 AM.

  2. #2
    Raiders are playing what the SIMS say is best.

    However, no one really questions sims or APLs. People like to turn off their brains and just follow the lead. (myself included)
    I wonder if Blizz released THEIR AI bots and sims, what would happen
    - if Blizz's AI is smarter than the players, we'd have "oooh" moments to play EVERY spec in the game to try to mimic Blizzard's AI.
    - if the players are smarten than Blizz's AI, can we, the players, concinve the rockstar Devs that WE want to play the lesser tuned specs and make them give a few % of buffs to low performers?

    Either way, everyone would benefit from this.
    (but as Blizz stands today, this AI would be more than laughable...)

  3. #3
    Cute that the selection criteria is not shown in that screen: herp derp i pick mythic raiding post nerf with barely few parses to make conclusions.

    The statement "play what you want" is only relevant for Normal and Heroic raiding. If we look at Normal parses pre-nerf of EV:

    Top10 specs
    607 203 parses

    Bottom10 specs
    273 042 parses

    Bottom10 represent 31% so yea, i would say the statement "play what you want" is pretty fine.

  4. #4
    you can play what uu want
    and progression guilds can pick who they want
    not that hard to grasp

  5. #5
    Yes they generally do, most guilds aren't big enough tryhards to force people into playing something they don't want to play.

  6. #6
    Same usual suspect, posting same 0 knowledge misinformed bullshit.

    For the 95%, "Play what you want" is accurate, and works exactly as it should.

    For the 0.1% it doesnt work, there are classes better for some situations and the 0.1% will always adapt, thats why they have "5 alts" requirements, because in a multi dot fight, you wont bring a melee over a multi dotter the first week, when you are 10 ilvls behind, etc etc, use brain.

    And then you have the rest 4.9%, just following the meta/trend and playing those classes, even if they cant play them as the 0.1%.

    It all has to do what level you play at, the problem is, the 99.9% cant really accept that the problem usually isnt in the class, but the player, so they will find whatever excuse.

    Community perception is a terrible thing that cant be fixed.

  7. #7
    Unless you are competing in some world first race or your group realy suck and struggles you can play whaterver you want and clear the raid.

  8. #8
    I play what the officers and I decide is the best for the guild. This tier it's Ele so I can play Resto for 5 heal bosses. Is Ele itself best? Absolutely not, and if I got to freely choose without worrying about comp I'd probably be playing mage this tier, or maybe melee.

    I think the problem with "play what you want" is that while you absolutely can, it's objectively harder to get into guilds/raids as certain specs(even if the spec in question is actually doing fine performance wise), so that impacts which specs people end up playing.
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  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by styil View Post
    the general trend is that the lower the DPS, the lower the total number of parses. For example, the bottom 10 specs have a total of 17,838 total parses whereas the top 10 specs have a total of 54,698 parses, more than 3x as many. This indicates to me that players aren't really playing "what they want", but playing "what is best".

    Based on the above, can we really say that raiders are playing "what they want"?
    That's backwards logic, though. You're assuming that raiders are NOT playing what they want - but that's not a conclusion you can draw from those numbers, because it might be the literal opposite case. I.e., we could see more people playing higher-performing specs because that IS what they want to play, rather than those people playing them even though they don't want to. I'm not saying that either is necessarily the case, I'm just pointing out that your method of analysis doesn't tell us which is which.

    And in any event, there is certainly going to be an overlap in the first place. It's not uncommon for people to enjoy the spec that performs the best, because for a lot of people, that is what enjoyment means. The case where someone plays something they hate just because it's performing the best isn't actually all that common outside of really high-end raiding, which isn't really a huge balance concern because those people always push the envelope no matter what you design for.

    I have yet to meet someone playing an "underperforming" spec with good parses being turned away from all the guilds because of performance concerns. The few examples people have brought up to me over the years were highly anecdotal to the point of being suspect. That isn't conclusive evidence either, but it's also not an unreasonable proposition that guilds would be happy to take anyone with orange parses as long as it fits their roster within boundaries OTHER THAN PERFORMANCE. I.e., you may be turned away as a melee DPS because the guild already has a lot of melee and needs more ranged, but that doesn't mean you were turned away because you were playing an "underperforming" melee, but just a melee, period. Same with other classes, where e.g. someone might not recruit a 5th Boomkin not because they're worried about their DPS but because they already have enough Boomkins.

    Now, this is talking about raiding - it is a VERY different story in Mythic+ dungeons.

    M+ suffers from several factors that play in favor of increased spec discrimination. You only have 5 slots to work with as opposed to the 20 you have in mythic raiding, which means increased personal responsibility, greater impact of specific toolsets, and stricter reliance on crucial synergies (like e.g. battle-rez or Bloodlust). More importantly, though, M+ is largely played with strangers rather than established groups (which exist, but are far less prevalent than organized guild raiding is). This means two things: 1) you're less likely to want to take risks, and are incentivized to take specs that make it easier to perform because they're better on average; and, more importantly imo, 2) you have an overabundant supply to choose from so why would you NOT take the best you can.

    This second point is very important, because it represents a crucial misconception people tend to have: you are not being selected AGAINST with "underperforming" specs, but alternative "high-performing" specs are selected FOR. This is not the same thing, but it has a very similar effect for the people in question, i.e. they're not being picked. To give an analogy: if you like chocolate ice cream more than vanilla, that doesn't mean you hate vanilla - it's just that if someone gives you the option of choosing chocolate instead of vanilla, why wouldn't you take it? If you don't have the choice, you'll still go with vanilla, but there's just so much chocolate around you basically never have to.

    My suspicion is that, ultimately, the root of this problem isn't with DPS performance at all - it's with tanking and healing being unattractive to people. The problem of "meta comps" isn't so much the fact that you couldn't do dungeons with different specs, but the fact that there is a radical overabundance of DPS and people don't have to compromise. If it was harder to find DPS, you'd take that Enhancement Shaman over the Havoc DH no problem, and you'd totally time that 15 key. But if you can always get a DH instead of a Shaman with the snap of a finger, why would you NOT? And reducing DPS disparities would only be a very limited remedy to this, as people would simply shift to other metrics like e.g. mob control (as indeed many people already are, and it's a big reason for the recent DH craze in M+).

    Blizzard is in my opinion doing the community a disservice not by not "balancing" the DPS performance of classes perfectly (a Utopian notion) but by dismissing the problem so casually. They have a history of such blindness for nuance and proper response, or maybe it's just a corporate PR guideline to downplay such issues. And the community is also partially to blame because they like simple, easy answers - "omg I do 32k DPS on sims and the other spec does 33k I LITERALLY CANNOT GET INTO RAIDS NOW", and all that. That doesn't mean that Blizzard couldn't or shouldn't balance BETTER, of course; there's some outliers that definitely underperform by most metrics (hi there, Sub Rogues, how've you been haven't seen you in a few years). It's a complex problem, and it has to be attacked from several angles. And unfortunately the ONE thing that really doesn't help, in my opinion, is just insisting that the problem doesn't exist. That's not only counterproductive, but also mildly insulting.

  10. #10
    The logs are always a bit misleading because the best try-hard players will always choose the best specs. So we never really see how the lesser played specs would actually perform if all the best players were playing them.

    We do for example not know how enhancement would perform if all the best players use it.

  11. #11
    If you aren't playing the best available spec for your class, you are holding your team behind. If you are holding your team behind, you'll get benched. 100% of raiders have to play meta specs / builds. People who don't and claim to be "raiders" aren't actually raiders and wouldn't be raiding at all if Blizzard didn't make 3 faceroll difficulties for them.

  12. #12
    I try playing the spec that I want to play in mythic raiding
    Though I'm often questionning my choices due to balancing.
    For example; in this expansion I started using my survival hunter. I love the build using multiple types of grenade but it is not the best to perform. OK but is the difference noticeable? not a first, but since eternal palace there is a huge gap forming and now I don't want to play this spec because the recommended build is just not fun!
    Add to that the fact that demon hunters and rogues can perform way better in single target and burst aoe and that places for melee are very much limited, then you just tend to drop your first choice and pick the best option to feel good amongst all available specs.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Tradu View Post
    I play what the officers and I decide is the best for the guild.
    Why don't you just play what you enjoy the most?

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by DarkAmbient View Post
    Why don't you just play what you enjoy the most?
    Those things aren't mutually exclusive.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by styil View Post
    Whenever there is a discussion about raid performance, the go-to rebuttal is almost always "play what you want to play", as if it handwaves away the genuine performance concerns that are being raised in the argument. Nonetheless, do raiders really get to play the spec that they want to in raids, especially those specs who are always underperforming?
    There are no genuine performance concerns. The game has never been more balanced than it is now.


    Sub rogue is a good example. Sub can do great DPS, in M EP in particular, it was just as good as Outlaw and Assassin on basically every boss. In fact, it was often the #2 spec on WCL.

    But people prefer Outlaw and Assassin, so very few people played it. If you took the players generating those top 20,000 logs and made them all play sub, sub would show as the top rogue spec on WCL.

    Mage is another good example. Fire is obviously very high in rank right now. Mage theorycrafters believe Arcane might actually do more DPS than fire when fully geared in 8.3. But arcane is often very low (frost is actually lower right now) on the stats because no one plays it. And even if its 1% ahead in 8.3, people are going to play fire instead, so fire will show as better on WCL.

    Feral is higher than boomkin right now.
    Demo is higher than affliction right now.
    Enh is higher than ele right now.


    People play the spec they're used to and don't change spec. The ranking isn't necessarily what is best, it is what is popular. It looks to be the best, because it is what the best players are playing, the most often, with the most RNG.
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  16. #16
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    If i bring up playing frost over fire, my gm says hell kick me

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Testodruid View Post
    Change guild - Play frost, problem solved.
    No ce guild will take a frost mage, silly

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Biomega View Post
    I have yet to meet someone playing an "underperforming" spec with good parses being turned away from all the guilds because of performance concerns.
    I mean I play SV and I get turned down for stuff all the time because spec. I was 90/95/99% in heroic raid for the last three tiers and 82/80/88 in mythic raid for the last three tiers. Note that an "88" was good enough for world top 130 SV rank (not guild rank), when not even getting CE. Those numbers would have been a lot higher too with faster kill times in a CE guild.

    Just that good players playing these "bad" specs don't get butthurt and whine about being rejected from groups of guilds.

    I also know I could swap BM and probably do more DPS and get into whatever group I want, but I like SV and like melee. I could also play my DH which is about the same as SV in terms of fun and does more damage. I'd actually be better off doing that in non-raid content as well. But, meh, my main from TBC isn't changing.


    Should SV be buffed? Sure. Does it need to be buffed? No. It's viable and unpopular, which is fine.
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  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Testodruid View Post
    I can only speak for myself since I play one of the least played specs (enhancement).

    But it do feel like a lot of people play classes depending on community perception and what is "meta".
    It's a self fulling prophecy, more good players play "meta" specs which means the people playing "non-meta" specs are a lower tier of players meaning logs show them being even lower because no good players are playing them.

    That said... any spec can clear Mythic raiding. Yes, even WW.

  20. #20
    There are players who want to play what's best and don't really care if it's fire or frost........

    Being #1 is way more fun than to play any spec in particular. If you get the enjoyment of being #1 on the meters you usually don't really care what spec you gonna play.

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