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Ready Check: How to deal with multiple wipes

Tyler Caraway

Ready Check helps you prepare yourself and your raid for the bosses that simply require killing. Check back with Ready Check each week for the latest pointers on killing adds, not standing in fire, and hoping for loot that won't drop.

Are you willing to spend a night wiping on new content?

It's a fairly common question seen on applications to raiding guides these days and has been for the longest time now. Wiping is a part of learning content. Everyone wipes -- everyone. There's simply no way that you can hope to avoid it. Anyone who wants to join any raiding guide at any level of progression is going to have to accept the fact that they are going to spend a good deal of time tanking the floor.

Despite how common it is and despite how much we have all come to accept that it is going to happen, people really don't like wiping. It isn't fun, after all. Wiping means that you've failed, and people hate to fail. Still, this is a truth that we must all learn to accept and all learn to deal with.

Are you willing to spend a night wiping on new content? Can you really deal with it? How do you deal with it?

I will not rage

The #1 golden rule of WoW: I will not rage. We tell ourselves that for nearly everything that we do, because it is the most important lesson that we have to learn. If playing the game is making you angry, if you are becoming that frustrated, then it is time to take a break. The downside is, that isn't always an option.

Wiping is a very frustrating experience that no one truly enjoys. Avoiding the rage factor is pretty tough when tensions are high and every minor mistake that any player in your group makes leads to defeat. You may want to quit, you want to step away, to scream at something -- but you can't. You have to stay, you have to press on, you have to keep going and try again, and again, and again, because this time, you just might get it.

We all tell ourselves that we will never rage, that we won't let a game get to us, but let's face facts: We do. We rage, we get angry, we get stressed as we spend time dying over and over again to seemingly simple mechanics that we should be able to avoid. Worse yet, we get peeved at other people who aren't quite getting it for some reason. Simple mistakes, mistakes that otherwise would go unnoticed, become fuel for the fire during the course of a night of wiping.

When tension piles up

While taking a break from the game might not be an option, you still need to find a way to release your frustration that doesn't involve screaming into your mic at people you would otherwise consider your friends. When leaving isn't an option, what's a raider to do?

First, consider if perhaps taking a break actually is a option. If the entire raid seems to be on edge due to constant wipes, then perhaps it is a good time to call for everyone to just take a 10-minute break, cool off, clear their heads, and come back refreshed. Never underestimate the power that a short reprieve can give an entire group. Just a few moments to relax and put their mind towards other things can be a huge weight off your raider's shoulders. Don't be scared of calling a break for the sake of progression. Throwing yourself against a brick wall constantly is a huge mental drain on people. Give them a chance to resurrect their brain power.

If taking a break isn't an option for you, find something that you can do between deaths to take your mind off of things, if just for a moment. Take a quick second to just get up and stretch, text a non-WoW friend about something non-game related, count the change in your pocket -- something, anything that isn't focused on the task at hand. A quick, easy distraction will take your mind off the deaths and reduce your stress.

No sniping

Similar to not raging, not sniping at your fellow guildmates after a wipe a huge rule that is broken often by many people. Snide remarks over the mistakes that others have made don't help the situation at all. They won't reduce your stress levels, and they'll only serve to antagonize your fellow raiders.

When players make a mistake, they often know that they have. There isn't any need to make the situation worse for them, and doing so is only going to cause resentment and possible backlash which leads to drama. Drama, as we all know, is bad; no one wants drama, so don't start it.

Players often can break this rule even with the best of intentions, thinking that they are safe in doing so. Perhaps you aren't "calling them out" over Vent or in raid chat, but you just mention an issue passingly in party or in a whisper. While questioning mistakes is good, and doing so in whispers is he best method for this, be cautious in how you bring the issue up. Don't be accusatory, but also don't chide.

The best way to broach a problem with another player is to merely ask for an opinion instead of directly accusing or even directly questioning someone. Again, players often know when they've made a mistake, but a raid leader also needs to know that it has been corrected. Instead of saying "What happened?" or "Can you fix it?", be more neutral. Say something like, "Are you fine tanking all of the adds, or did you need an extra tank to help?" or "Can you keep the tank up alone, or should I switch another healer over?"

Don't assume someone has failed; don't assume he isn't good enough. Give players the opportunity to supply their own input before you question the validity of their actions. A tank could have died because of a misjudgment of damage output. It could have been that the healer does need additional help, or maybe they just need more practice dodging environmental factors and keeping the tank alive at the same time. These things seem easy on paper, but in practice, it can be much harder than it sounds.

Similarly, with adds, perhaps the tank just needs a Misdirect, or maybe the adds just spawned slightly differently from what the tank was used to and a small little slip resulted in a chain reaction of bad. Mistakes are mistakes; learning is learning. Never assume that a simple error was anything more than that, and always doublecheck that it is something that can be avoided in the future.

We be giants

There will be times when a wipe isn't particularly due to any one person's mistakes or even those of a small group of people, but rather by the collective raid as a whole. It wasn't one thing that went wrong, but a collective mess of everything falling apart. In these cases, it can be tempting to scold or, worse, belittle the raid as a whole for their failures, especially if it has happened several times over or if it's mistakes that shouldn't be happening.

Never, ever give into that temptation. I've heard it often, in groups to raids to PVP, but phrases such as "We shouldn't be dying to this, this is easy, stop messing it up," -- though usually the language is a bit stronger -- doesn't actually help. That isn't a resonating battle cry that's going to rally your troops. People don't respond well to negative reinforcement.

It is entirely possible that it is the truth. You may be dying to something that is "easy" or that you shouldn't be dying to. The raid might be making mistakes that they shouldn't be making. But pointing it out in such a manner isn't going to fix your issues at all. You'll only end up in frustrating the rest of the raid and potentially causing more wipes.

Remind the raid the mechanics, repeat what they have to avoid, but do not do so in a tone that demeans them, and certainly don't admonish them for it. This is a game; your raiders are only there to have fun. Once they stop having fun, they stop trying, they stop caring -- and worse, they could blame you for it. That is something you want to avoid more than any fire.

I will be a scientist

Remember that you should always be learning from your experiences, whether they be successes or failures. If you spend a night attempting a boss that you just can't seem to get down, then spend some of your next pre-raid free time figuring out what it was that went wrong. Usually, it isn't one major thing or even the ability or gear of one player. Sometimes, it could be the strategy itself that is flawed.

There are a lot of guide sites out there now; information on WoW has grown rapidly over the past few years. For all of the information that is out there, for all of the good that this has done for the community, the major downside of this has been that far to few raids are willing to deviate from the "normal" plan.

I've seen and heard of numerous guilds that will call a raid or skip heroic Magmaw simply because they lack a death knight in order to kite the parasites with. Certainly kiting the parasites is the most accepted method for dealing with this encounter, and hands down, frost death knights are the best at doing this -- but that doesn't mean it is the only way of completing the encounter.

If you don't have your usual setup or composition for a certain encounter or strategy, don't be afraid to try something else. Use a hunter or frost mage to kite with, maybe even a balance druid. Maybe you have to try a different tanking method or a different rotation of cooldowns to deal with healing mechanics. Stop worrying about what you don't have and focus instead on the things that you do have.

Further, don't get stuck into thinking that the way a certain top guild did an encounter is the only way to beat it. WoW is brilliant because there are so many abilities in the game, and there are multiple ways to beat every encounter out there. I promise you, Blizzard doesn't sit there designing encounters by saying, "Oh, yes, they'll have to use spec X of class Y for mechanic Z, and if they don't have it, well, they can just recruit and get it!" There is always another way. Don't be scared of experimenting, of trying something different.

Every player plays differently. Every raid has a varying composition. What works for one raid isn't always going to work for another. If things aren't going your way, instead of finding the flaws that people make, try and find ways in which you can limit those flaws from happening, or a different way to avoid them than what you've been trying. Sometimes it's a matter of things not clicking together; sometimes it's a flaw in your strategy.

Ready Check shares all the strategies and inside information you need to take your raiding to the next level. Be sure to look up our strategy guides to Cataclysm's 5-man instances, and for more healer-centric advice, visit Raid Rx.

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