The bottom line is, ladies and gentlemen, that ranks matter. No, not guild member ranks or PVP title ranks or arena rankings. Not guild progression rankings, not server progression rankings or anything like that.
I’m talking about spell ranks, ability ranks and talent ranks.
While levelling, I can understand that you don’t train every ability to its top level every opportunity you get. I will probably still think you’re a moron for not training, but I can at least understand that stuff happens and you ding unexpectedly or you forget to train.
As soon as you hit 80, though, I expect you to train all of your spells available in your spec. Both your specs, if you have dual spec.
I’ll try not to rely on my primary argument, which is “BECAUSE IF YOU DON’T, YOU’RE AN IDIOT!” as that is not remotely helpful. It is, however, the ultimate message I would like to impart on people, so if you don’t want to read another 1500 words explaining why you’re an idiot if you don’t, you can stop here. ;)
As soon as you hit 80, you can’t instantly queue for heroics using your crappy greens or outdated blues. I would imagine that most fresh 80s these days, at least those who are alts, buy a couple BOE ilvl 200s or get some crafted gear or, if they’re lucky, have a main who is rich that buys them pretty BOE things from raid instances. Once they’ve done that and manage to trick the system into thinking they’re deserving, they queue up for their random heroics to get badges to try to start collecting tier 9 ilvl 232 gear. (This is why I miss revered rep as the requirement for heroic keys. Oh, Burning Crusade, when a human’s Diplomacy was the most OP racial ever.)
It’s not that it’s a horrible thing to go to heroics quickly, particularly if you know what you’re doing. The thing that you need to be aware of, though, is if you’re a drag on your group.
What do I mean by that?
I mean if you pull 1k DPS at 80, you’re a drag on your group. You obviously haven’t done any research on your class and don’t know your DPS rotation or priority system.
If you’re a tank who can’t hold aggro against people in T9, which is a lot of the people running heroics these days, you’re being a drag on your group. I’m not saying to expect to hold aggro against people in 277 ICC gear, but you know, don’t be that moron whose AOE threat moves doesn’t do anything.
If you’re a healer and you can’t keep the tank AND the DPS AND yourself up through regular damage (not like DPS standing in the fire), you’re a drag on the group.
Part of not being that tool that everyone hates because they are dragging you through the instance, is doing your job, whatever that job is.
That means training all ranks of all your spells. No, really. It does. Doesn’t matter if you’re a prot or ret paladin — if your healer asks you for wisdom, you need to have the max rank available for them, even if it’s not improved.
If you’re a hunter and you’re using Aimed Shot Rank 6 instead of Rank 9, you’re not doing your job because that is a crapton less damage, depending on how often you use Aimed Shot.
Even if you’re not a team player (why are you even playing this game if you have no interest in being a team player?), there are reasons to make sure your spells are up to date. The most compelling for the non-team player is this:
Your damage/healing output suffers when you’re not fully trained. If you’re not a team player, chances are you care about your damage or your healing. If you use mana, did you know that lower spell ranks cost the same as the highest rank? That means that you’re doing less damage or healing for the same cost the regular rank would cost. Wouldn’t you rather spend your 500 mana doing 1000 damage or healing rather than 500 mana on 250 damage or healing? I know that I sure would. You’re basically throwing away mana on something much less useful than it could be. So quit it. Train your spell/ability/talent ranks!
If the idea of letting down the team (group) because you’re not fully trained doesn’t actually bother you, or if you’re not too fussed over your DPS or HPS, then the above arguments just don’t make sense. Fine. I get that. What I don’t get is you inflicting your dumbass self on people who actually care to play their characters properly. Are you really that much of a douchebag?
There are three types of people in the random heroics these days.
a) People who are just there for their two Emblems of Frost, period. These people are generally very well geared and are probably raiding ICC content.
b) People who are farming Emblems of Triumph. These people are generally decently geared but still need a few Emblems in order to get their 4-piece bonus or something along those lines.
c) People who just hit 80 and are starting the grind towards 232 T9. These people are generally horribly geared and don’t know the instances because they didn’t bother running them on regular the first time around. (Halls of Lightning, Halls of Stone, Utgarde Pinnacle, Oculus, Trial of the Champion, Forge of Souls, Pit of Saron, Halls of Reflection, just to name a few.)
All of the people above are interested in completing an instance quickly and efficiently (although quickly and efficiently differ based on whether you just want your Emblems of Frost or you’re farming Triumph). No one wants to wipe. No one wants some moron to screw things up and cause a wipe. No one wants to be stuck with these people for any longer than they have to be. The overriding mindset is get in, kill the minimum amount of bosses for the run to work for you, get out.
So imagine if you’re not running the instance with one tank, one healer and three DPS. Imagine instead that you’re running with half a tank or half a healer or the equivalent of 1.5 DPS.
By not training your ranks, you are doing everyone in the group a huge disservice. Does it matter if there’s someone there who can pick up your slack? No, because even if there is, there’s not guarantee that there will always be.
I’ve been thrown into a group where myself (the healer) and the tank were the only ones who should have been in a heroic. The three DPS (and I use that term loosely) were all clearly new to 80, didn’t know their abilities, their capabilities and were still wearing things like heirloom shoulders and chests and weapons.
There is a difference between doing a boss fight as it was intended (most likely in in ilvl 187/200 gear) and doing a boss fight with two well-geared players and three people who didn’t even care enough to finish training before queuing up for heroics. What do I mean by that? I mean that I don’t care if you’re appropriately geared for a heroic (with 187/200 gear) so long as you are doing your best. If I have a hunter in my group with a 3000 gearscore, or whatever is considered laughably low-end at this point, I don’t care as long as they know how to damage the mobs and knows how to control their pet and would actually know where their Freezing Trap and Wyvern Sting buttons are for emergency CC. I don’t care if their Explosive Shot hits for next to nothing as long as they’re trying to do their best.
Part of doing your best is training.
Of course, sometimes, training is not enough.
I run RankWatch on most of my toons. It was a very popular addon a few months ago when it was discovered that your abilities on your action bars did not update in your inactive spec when you trained. I discovered this by doing Instructor Razuvious the very first week of weekly raids on my restoration shaman, who I had levelled as enhancement. I’d been healing on her for 3 months or so, random dungeons, VOAs, the odd Sarth or Onyxia…
I got a whisper from someone running RankWatch, telling me that, among other lesser-used spells, my Chain Heal was three ranks out of date.
Chain Heal 4. Chain Heal 7. For 835 mana each time I cast it, CH4 was healing people for 600-700 (plus spellpower and bonuses) instead of 1055-1205.
For three months.
I felt like an idiot and whispered the person back, thanking them. I took some time to verify my ranks (on all my toons) and then got the addon and started running it myself.
While RankWatch was welcomed in the early days of random dungeons (perhaps because the people running dungeons actually had standards then?) it’s as if I’ve just insulted someone’s mother if RankWatch goes off now.
Part of it might be my settings. I have it set to go off in /say so that if it’s a healer, for example, who triggers it, the tank might realize “hey, the healer needs a second to get their ranks in order”. (This is rarely the case, but I maintain it’s faster and more efficient in a group than the whisper-spam which people, in my experience, take less well than a simple /say announce.)
“Turn that shit off,” people will say, “it’s annoying.”
I generally reply with something along the lines of “What’s really annoying is that you’re using Rank 1 Devastate at level 80.”
“lol,” is the typical response I receive.
Good to know my tank is taking his or her job as seriously as I take mine.
The good news is that I’m seeing less and less dual-spec related mistaken ranks. The bad news is that I’m seeing more and more people who just haven’t bothered to train.
Blizzard is forcing us together because there’s currently no form of cap on the amount of Emblems of Frost we can earn a week, something I’m relieved to know they’re changing in Cataclysm. As long as game mechanics strongly encourage me to group with people I don’t know or care about once a day, I’m going to insist on certain things: a tank in a tank spec with tank gear; a healer in a healing spec with healing gear; DPS in a DPS spec with DPS gear. I’m also going to be that annoying person throwing out RankWatch warnings if you’re using out of date ranks of abilities and if you’re NOT trained and REFUSE to train, I’m going to try to vote kick you and will leave the group if I can’t kick you yet. Even if you’ve already pulled and I’m the healer.
What brought this on? I was running RankWatch silently in an Alterac Valley in the 61-70 bracket this weekend on my level 66 priest. I had to unload the mod because of all the spam I was receiving, notifying me that others had failed to train or failed to use their max-rank abilities. And the Alliance was just confused as to why we were losing. I resisted the urge to call people out for not training, but of course you’re not going to do as much damage as a 64 shaman who is trained, even if you’re 68 if YOU haven’t trained.
Thankfully, I don’t see it all too often in dungeons, but I still see it enough to think it’s important to explain some of the my justified hatred towards people who deliberately don’t use max ranks.