Greedy Goblin

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Undercommunicated

Once upon a time, there was a strong belief that "u need 5500+ GS to do udluar". Players were demanding higher and higher gearscore for a 5-man, not to mention pug raids to old bosses. It was common that if you could use the gear the boss dropped, you were undergeared for it.

Then, two years ago I published a post where we cleared Ulduar (when it was current content) in only blue gear. This post had 100K visitors over the two years. Since then the "u need better gear" nonsense has disappeared. I don't even see ilvl demand to Occu'tar trade pugs. Of course it wasn't my doing alone, many bloggers and forum people spread the word, and also it wouldn't work without the people who raided there and later in my project-guild that practically oneshotted ToC and then did 8/12 ICC. The Undergeared project ended because I made one mistake: I did not only demand "no gear" but also 1 raid/week, which made the people lose interest. The guild was practically dead between the raids. One challenge is enough, pulling 2 were silly.

The new GS is the voice chat that you "must use". If not gear, then "communication" is the key to victory. Anything just not skill. The truth that the social guild can't progress because the players are unskilled, and not replaced in unacceptable for them.

So, I once again rally good players against a social nonsense: progression raiding without voice chat. While my guild does raid this way, the focus was not on progression but on the "casual but not social" character. I managed to prove that you can raid without pre-screening the people, without application process, with practically inviting anyone who want to join.

Now I want to prove that skill > "communication", the same way I proved skill > gear (which was known, but not proved by the good players). The "communication" is a buzzword not only in WoW, but also in real life. Company failed? Lack of internal communication or lack of communication to the customers! Can't find a job? Go to a communication training to amuse the HR guy! School? Let's not load kids with mathematics or sciences, since all they need is communication and social skills! I want to end this nonsense.

If you are a good raider who is ready to devote time to raid and prove an important IRL point, make a difference in the thinking of literally hundreds of thousands people, join The PuG.

What can I offer:
  • Hardcore schedule. The guild already raids 5-7 days a week. Of course not the same people. On the other hand you (and me) could raid a lot. Just like undergeared, we are fighting against the odds. Voice chat - exactly like gear - helps surviving stupid. If you have 20% more HP, you survive standing in the fire. If someone shouts at you, you also live. To go without these stupid-saving mechanisms, we have to make extra effort. While there will be still no attendance rules, if we want to make difference, we must kill several HC bosses, get into World top 1000. It won't happen in 4.2 (Top 5000 is realistic), but I expect it to happen in 4.3. And these won't happen without effort.
  • Still no attendance rules. Cat is sick? Wife (or you) having a baby? Just had enough of WoW and want to watch football or romantic movies? You don't log in. Or log in but don't raid. No problem! Perfect place to ex-HCs who couldn't keep up schedule due to work or family.
  • Still no demanded roles. If you want to be retribution paladin, no one will tell you to re-spec prot.
  • Gold. Free, unlimited repairs for raiders (I'll fill the bank with gold), 100G for re-rollers, free consumables (cauldron, feast) on wipe raids without pot. Crafters providing all kind of items for low fees.
  • Already functioning guild. We won't stand around for weeks like Undergeared, waiting for 10 to be ready and online, The PuG already has raiders, you can join raids the first day you hit 85. Literally. 2 tanks did exactly that Sunday, their first raid boss to kill being Nefarian.
  • Living 5-man environment in the guild. If you join us, you'll never have to go with Arthasdklol for your valor points.
  • Relaxed alt rules. We are discussing it right now, both on the blog and /g, the plan is that you can have unlimited alts, as long as they are raid (or RBG) ready. 
  • A very "friendly" guild atmosphere for top raiders: meaning no crap on /g, no begging, no need to boost little brothers or anything like that.
The "no voice chat" was always a rule in my guilds, including Undergeared. What is new? I just recognized that it is itself an interesting point, it is considered "needed" by most, therefore worth falsifying by its own.

43 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'd join the PuG, but my account is US. There's that US PuG, too, but I prefer the original. Any method to play Euro servers with US account?

Anonymous said...

I think you are polarizing the voice-chat issue on purpose Gevlon - it serves your "agenda" and your type of argumentation well.

The polarization you are trying to manufacture is that using voice-chat on average equals low skill players and not using it equals high skill ones.

Just assuming that all the guilds that use VC, use it in the exact same way is nonsense. Generalizations like these (including the similar "morons who collect mounts") are what hurts your arguments and makes them hard to take seriously by anyone not ready to believe that a headline is enough to get the whole story. Especially if its one headline, from one day of one newspaper.

What is easier to believe? that all guilds use VC just to share in silly social bonding and yell at bads to get out of fire, OR that there are numerous ways VC is used as technology, as a communication and a social media device for all kinds of purposes? Denying the pure fact of variation and unforeseen appropriation of VC is like saying that YouTube is only used to show videos of cats falling into toilets.

But I do not even think that you would truly deny the variability and difference of usage. Seems to me you are deliberately and carefully selecting one type of usage out of plenty and choosing it to be the anti-poster child of what you are trying to prove. I know this is a blog and that blogs have the freedom to be written from the most biased position possible, but not even acknowledging the possibility of difference outside of the realm of your own judgements does not make your arguments stronger. it just turns them into a reverse-trolling tactic.

Anonymous said...

Now this is just silly. I can see trying to prove that demanding gearscore for old content was harmful to the community, because it was. But voice chat is in the exact same category as UI addons or researching an encounter, something that helps people play better by providing more information in a quicker, more accurate manner. Nobody in their right mind turns down a clear, obvious advantage if there's nothing to be gained by doing so, and the simple fact is that voice chat is an unambiguous advantage. You may as well be saying something like 'Everyone these days demands that people raid while looking at the screen, but everyone knows that skill > seeing what's going on'. Yes, it's clear that it's possible to beat content without gear, voice chat, UI addons, without know the boss beforehand, in a trade PuG. But why would you want to, given that you'll be doing it slower than otherwise? Once again, the simple fact is that given the same level of skill a group with good information, good addons and voice chat will out-perform a similar group without.

You're already behind the curve in terms of raiding, plenty of casual guilds are already done with normal mode Firelands and as far as I can tell you beat Baleroc over a month ago without anything new since. So it's not like you can say 'We stayed ahead of the curve even without voice chat' since you were behind to start. It's not even that you're doing something unique this time, as there's plenty of guilds around that don't enforce voice chat. Hell, I was in one for years. Finally, I don't even see how you can prove it since it's entirely possible, even easy, to fake it.

Basically this just seems like wasted effort to me. Keep voice chat out of your guild if you want to, but you can gain nothing by trying to proselytize about it.

Gevlon said...

@First anonymous: you have to buy an EU account, sorry.

@second one: Voice chat is not just like UI mods. The chat itself gives nothing at all. It becomes useful when other PEOPLE on the chat tell you information.

This is clear boosting. They help you. "Voice chat is needed" = "the goods MUST boost bads".

The social aspect of voice (chit-)chat is just bonus here.

Anonymous said...

I am in a top 100 (#45 on wowprogress right now) guild and I can say voice communication is pretty damn crucial or us.
Sure, we could raid without but not nearly as efficient. It helps to compensate for bad rng and fails and let player focus on other things.

Pugs are another story. I don't think anyone doubts you could raid without voice if you have skill but that isn't the point. If I would recruit someone through something like trade chat, I don't expect them to have skill...
Kicking every bad player? Not gonna happen, you won't find replacement with skill at all (on my realm that is). All you can do is to guide your moronic sheep through every obstacle via voice communication and pray.

Clockw0rk said...

The entire premise of this post feels like anecdotal evidence...you may no longer see GS requests but on my server I still see plenty of people advertising in trade "LFM Occu'thar, must be 365 iLevel or higher" which has replaced Gearscore, or posting minimum DPS requirements "13k DPS for loot". I rarely see people advertise with a requirement for Ventrilo/Teamspeak. If anything it is advertised as a perk, not a requirement.

Certainly the Undergeared project showed that it COULD be done, not that it SHOULD be done...most people, especially your average PuG are still going to want the highest gear levels they can get (and as they assume highest DPS) for even trivial runs. Like Ventrilo, the gear is a perk that makes it potentially easier, not necessarily a requirement.

Best of luck with the new project though, I'll be curious to see how it pans out.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Gevlon on voice chat. In every single guild I've been, voice chat starts "just for RL to give quick instructions, and for tanks to be able to notify eachother for taunts", but by the second or third raid it becomes worse than a village fair. I went to 25mans and had to mute every single person but the RL.

I believe that in HC guilds the situation differs, but in your every-day social guild, everyone thinks that he just HAS to talk. I never even had the microphone.

Anonymous said...

Nobody in your guild has reached 2200 arena rating. Is this because you enforce no voice chat rule?

You cleared Ulduar 10 normal in blues after having played Ulduar 25 hard modes. Thats the same as killing Cho'Gal on your alt after you killed Sinestra for the umptieth time on your main. What it proves for me: if you know encounter its easy, normal modes are a joke. I am not able to back up my argument yet neither are you able to back up yours. If you killed Sindragosa HC, Yogg + 0, Firefighter, or Lich King HC with blues I'd be impressed however you did not achieve such. Even that would not prove your argument; I'd merely be impressed.

Nobody is claiming voice chat is mandatory for performance. What people are claiming is that it improves performance, for many solid reasons:

1) You're able to make ad-hoc decisions to adjust tactic because of PvE scripting, RNG, or mistakes made. Even more important in PvP. The ability to adapt to situation at hand, and ability to communicate what players do not know (nobody knows all classes or sees the whole PvP map) greatly increases the tactical overview of the fight.
2) Likewise, you can communicate important CDs with your fellow raiders. Interrupting, healer CDs, tank CDs, combat res, and so on. Always important in PvP.
3) You can focus on the middle of the screen where it really matters. I've seen quite some fucked up UIs in the many years I've played this game one of which was the default UI I started with. A good UI enforces visual focus on middle of screen as much as possible (thats why recount shouldn't be there). Only a moron who wishes to be unfocussed would watch chat AND middle of screen.
4) It has been scientifically proven that people perform better when they have fun breaks in their life (weekend). You're also able to discuss matters quicker than via chat. This can be done inbetween wipes. A good raid leader is able to call the shots (remind people) how and when people should behave. A bad leader rages on voice chat creating a bad atmosphere, or isn't able to convert the atmosphere positively.
5) If voice chat would be inefficient why are ALL top HC guilds using it? If it'd be more efficient to use carrier pidgeons or text chat they'd certainly be using that. These people optimize every little aspect related to the game. Why would they slack on communication? The reason is simple: they don't slack on communication, they use the most efficient form of communication during raiding and rated BG: voice communication. These people are wiping 500 hours on Ragnaros. It is safe to assume that if something as simple as using chat for communication would improve their gameplay they'd have figured that out.
6) The most important reason which sums up most of the above: you can play the game and speak/listen at the same time, but you cannot type/read and play the game. Especially not type and play the game.

If your guild gets more progress than it has now (it appears you're only 4/7 normal in FL?) does that prove you are more skilled than raiders who are succesfully using voice chat? What about those raiders who don't use voice chat & aren't succesful? I don't see any fair compare being made. There is no raw data, no statistics. Your current progress doesn't reflect you are skilled due to not using voice chat yet I have no way to prove this is due to lack of voice chat. Likewise, you wouldn't be able to prove your progress is due to lack of voice chat for the simple reason where most of your arguments fail:

Correlation != causation.

There was a time where voice chat wasn't used in multiplayer games. You know what would prove your point? If you were not some kind of insignificant statistic anomaly if you succeeded. How to achieve that? Make all top guilds ditch voice chat and switch to typing on the keyboard like players used to play games together before there was voice chat widely available. Good luck with that.

Anonymous said...

Do you use Addons like Deadly Boss Mods? I think they have a greater impact on low skill players than VC.

Steel said...

@Gevlon - ah the undergeared project how well I remember it. It completely changed my way of looking at the game, and life in general.

"Nobody in their right mind turns down a clear, obvious advantage if there's nothing to be gained by doing so" - not listening to BS and dick-jokes during corpse runs would be a gain. Still, must not complain, it was way worse in some other guilds.

On a serious note, I must say though, having killed heroic Cho'Gall 25man prior to 4.2, after an enormous ammount of guild effort, I often feel my mental capacity stretched to the limit on some of these hardmodes. And I'm one of the beter players in the guild in terms of awareness. There is a lot of distance between a 10 normal firstwing and a 25man hardmode endboss, I'll tell you that. A million things are thrown at you all at once, and any mistake/death is a guaranteed wipe. And there is another million things coming 20seconds later. I find important to have key mechanics called out and coordinated in vent, using voice as another channel of information, since my eyes have to watch 3 fires, six timers, rotation, more timers, more fires... Sometimes, my brain melts.

"Usso taunta! Usso taunta! Usso taunta..." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HKDLXauhy7E&feature=related

Gesh said...

Gevlon: "This is clear boosting. They help you. ". This looks like a small hole in your argument. These words imply that someone in the group of - say - 10 mans sucks pretty badly and the others are 'boosting' him. But what if the group members are equal of skill - who is boosting who? And you are really polarizing the issue - I mean of course voice chat is not NEEDED to raid, but it sure can help you, depending on how do you use it. Of course you could down most of the bosses without it and brag on your blog for being in the top 1000, but one should keep in mind, that although this spot seems pretty high, its only because the average player level of wow is pretty low.

Anonymous said...

Wow ... i will promise you that you will fail. Not because of the voice chat. But World Rank 1000 is to high. Of course you are speaking about the combined 1000 (not 10m only)?
We are currently world rank 600 and the demand on player skill is really high.
IF somehow good players are interessted in your project, you maybe got a chance.

However this whole reasoning about voicechat is a joke ... Back in time everyone liked your undergeared project because of one reason: Players were measured only after 1 number (gearscore).
You actually proved that skill is also very importent.

But Voicechat? Where are the Tol Barad Raids, that demand voice chat? Back in Woltk i leaded many Trade Pugs through it. Of course i posted a Teamspeak server. The 2. boss wasnt that easy, you needed some minimum skill for him (when he came out).
So why did i want them in Teamspeak? So they can chit chat?? Bullshit! I wanted them in TS, so i could explain the Fight and the different parts everyone should take care. Told the that which target they should tank and told the healers which tank they should heal ... Also it helped me after a wipe to explain the failguys, what they did wrong and how they have to handle it correctly.
So the selling point for voicechat was, that i could much faster tell everyone what to do.... Voice faster than keyboard...
Did i boost some noobs with it? Of course! But wouldnt i also boosted them, if i wrote it to them?
And sure i could kick them and replace them with other guys until i have 25 People that could carry their own weight. But finding 25 good ppl would ve needed much more time, then boosting some noobs. So i did a very goblinish way: I choose what costs me less time.

And of course, after some weeks, when everyone knew the boss and the strategy. I didnt even posted voice that.

In my current raid, we use voice chat also
1. for tactics. It is faster than typing, so it is saving us time.

2.Also in fights we use it if we need to change tactics on the fly.

3. Of course we use it to tell people that they are standing in fire.


Are these 3 points, the reason we are top 600? Hell no! It's because we have the gear, the player skill and the time.

So what you try to prove is, that if we didnt use Voice chat, we would be even higher in ranking?
I m pretty sure, that we could kill the bosses without voice chat, but we would need much more planing upfront -> more wipes -> more time consumed.

Hardcores will always use voice chat because it saves time and it is possible to manage things on the fly (good luck with learning baleroc HM).
Socials will use voice chat for what ever reason. But they will fail because they are bad players ...

If you want to prove, that you dont need voice chat to be successfull. No need to prove, every good player knows that already. But every good player trys to get every 0,5% gearupgrade for the next progression boss... And Voice chat is also such an upgrade.

Gevlon said...

@Anonymous 8:44: you misunderstood me. I never said chat communication is better than voice. I'm saying that communication at all is not needed in the scripted environment of WoW raiding.

The only things needed to communicate is the roles (X flies, Y heals Z) before the raid starts. From that point ALL communication is moron-boosting:
* evaluating wipes: wipe happens when someone fails. If the failer is not a moron, he would know what he did wrong and could use a "/raid Sorry, I messed up, will do better next time" macro. (reading is faster than speaking). The evaluation is needed because the failer has no idea what happened.
* yelling to morons standing in the fire.
* calling out taunts, CDs (because the other is unable to see the huge boss emote "Badguy does something really bad"

I believe that even on topguilds there are many unskilled grinders. Guys who are ready to wipe 500 hours, so preferred over someone who doesn't, despite couldn't tie their shoelaces without the RL yelling at them.

Steel said...

After making my first post, I went and watched that video again (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HKDLXauhy7E). I was surpised about how similar they sound to our own vent during final phase progression bosses. From "kill it ffs" to who uses next mastery/bubble, to watch out for defile in 5 secs, to "usso taunts...". Seems that even superhumans have limits. You might want to review some of your old Uludar hardmode posts...

I also object to the fact that vent is diferent that addons, well, partially, maybe. Again, 10man firstwings are different than 25man endboss hardmodes. It's not so much as good boosting bads, it's people assigned to watch that set of things to people assigned to that other set of things, because at this point there is litterally too much crap flying around for any one brain to keep track of it all. I have experienced few ten mans since cata launched, but from my limited experience so far, complexity and overhead multiplies incredibly when you get to 25man, a lot more that was the case in WotLK, and 25man HCs can be insane.

I was going to acuse you of trying to be more catholic than the pope... but I realized we are talking about different games. So I'll concede that at the level you are now, and because of the speciffic way your guild/raids function, no vent is a good ideea. And hell, it may even be a proper way to teach new players to develop awareness and skill. They'll surely need that if they aim for HCs. On the other hand, I'm not sure if you have experienced a 25man environment yet in Cata. You may want to try it. If memory serves, when you took the PuG first time into 25man ICC first wing, you had quite a few revelations.

Unheilvoll said...

People here seems to not understand anything.

Almost all raiders I've been with use Deadly Boss Mod, and keep dying in the fire or forgetting to change target or whatever, when that addon yells at you what you have to do. If you are a moron, DBM will keep you that way, there is no "redepmtion" addon.

Almost all the defenders of voice chat recognize that they use it to make up mistakes during a raid. They are accepting that bad playing is inherent to a boss kill. Gevlon tries to disprove this nonsense. If your tank doesn't taunt back, or if your raiders can't adjust to an rng event (rng event in a scripted boss?), or you can't count to 5 and move in a defile (a giant black pool beneath your feet), they are morons. You don't have to yell at them what they have to do, you just have to /gquit and find better players.

These two themes repeats constantly, people give bad excuses to bad players for their bad performing (even if they are at top hc guilds). Stop doing this: recognize that you don't have a high skill (or simpe enviroment concience) and you need voice comunication to compensate it.

Anonymous said...

I think this could work. In my experience, people lean on voice communication way too much. I've been in too many wipes where people excused their fails by saying "But the RL didn't announce in Vent that [some boss ability] was happening", or "I didn't hear anyone telling me to move over there on Vent". Eliminating voice communication = people have to think for themselves and take responsibility for their own fails.

As for using Vent for explaining tactics, I also think writing them down in raidchat is better. If the RL drones on about a boss tactic for too long (+30 secs), the odds of people simply zoning out and alt-tabbing to facebook grow all the more higher. By writing the tactics, you force people to have to actively read them. My former RL had quite concise text macros for each boss that he simply pressed in a row to give out tactics.

As for "but all the high-end guild use voice communication!", so what? Back in WotLK our guild got hold of a former world top-50 paladin (I've no clue why he joined us, and he left after a few weeks), and he was our RL for a few raids. His tactic was to micromanage every single thing in the fights. He gave out warnings, told people where to move, what to dps, what to heal, when to switch tanks etc. etc. The guy did not shut up for a single second of the entire fight. Naturally, with him being a pro player, this worked perfectly and got us 2 new boss kills (Sindragosa and LK). However, it also made people completely dependant on him very quickly, and once he left we were crippled for a long time with no further raid progress. People just stopped thinking and turned into zombies. If that's how most of the top guilds lead raids, I believe any dummy with good enough gear and basic understanding of their class could join them.

This is why I'd prefer no voice chat during raids. As Gevlon says, the fights are scripted, there are rarely any surprises.

Anonymous said...

How are you handling things like baleroc shards without any communication at all?
Everyone running at those shards while loosing dps and probably getting many unnecessary torments thanks to lag?

How are you even going to communicate a tactic if you don't want to use [i]any[/i] communication besides role assignment? How many cleaves do you eat at Staghelm, when will your team spread out or gather to trigger transitions? Do you play the scorpion at all? How are you handling the seeds? Sticking together and bomb them, spreading out and single dps?

There are so many bosses with so many different tactics spreading arround...
Could be tough to beat them without communicating the tactic your raid has chosen

Ephemeron said...

"A scrub is a player who is handicapped by self-imposed rules that the game knows nothing about. A scrub does not play to win." - Sirlin

If you refuse to use voice chat because raiding with it "requires no skill", you fall into the same trap as all the other SCRUBS who don't use throws in fighting games, early rushes in RTS games or counterspelling in M:tG because it's too cheap, boring and requires NO SKILL.

The fire doesn't care whether you moved out of it on your own accord, due to an addon prompt, or because of the warning on Vent. Raid bosses won't be awed and impressed by your 'skill' and refusal to use 'crutches'. And WoWProgress does not have a separate category for "guilds with skill". Just as there is no prize in Street Fighter for "losing the tournament but performing a lot of difficult combos" or no medal in Starcraft for "staying forever in Bronze League but being capable of really cool micro tricks", there's no reward in WoW for "still 4/7 at the end of August, but without voice chat!".

The only rational, non-SCRUB reason for refusing to use voice chat is the possible lack of beneficial impact. However, that needs to be proven or disproven scientifically, not by blindly following one's established prejudices. With that in mind, I propose that you conduct an experimental trial to test this hypothesis. Try alternating raid nights when VC will be allowed with the ones where it's banned for 3-4 weeks, and compare the results. You will probably be surprised by them.

Don't be a scrub. Play to win. Use all legally available tools, even if they "require no skill".
In the end, KILLS > SKILL.

Shintar said...

I assume your railing against communication instead of voice chat in particular is just hyperbole, right? Though it would make for a fun experiment for sure, a raid where people are banned from talking to each other and you just quietly wipe over and over, hoping that everyone is able to figure out what they have to improve on their own (yeah right...)

I don't think you'll find much support for this idea. Undergeared got a lot of positive attention because the issue of people having unreasonable gear requirements for pug groups had a negative effect on the enjoyment of the game for a lot of players and they felt vindicated by your experiment.

Your crusade against the evils of voice chat on the other hand is only your own. Most players don't mind it, they consider it a useful tool or even fun. I bet that you'll find few people who have been dying to raid without it but hey, good luck to you.

How's The Pug's raid progression going anyway? You seemed to get to 4/7 reasonably fast and then it suddenly got quiet. Last post about raiding that I remember from you was about using different consumables on normal Rhyolith. Didn't sound very progressive?

WoWMidas said...

skill > gear is obvious
skill > communication is too

not the point imo

skill + communication >> skill >gear

I'd bet 90%+ top performing guilds communicate using voice chat.

Directing people in real time will yield better performance than letting them make unneeded mistakes, particularly on fights where coordination is critical.

The chat itself gives nothing at all. It becomes useful when other PEOPLE on the chat tell you information.

This is clear boosting.


What difference does it make if you use your voice or type? One is just slower - i.e., less efficient - than the other.

Boosting is boosting, whether you're issuing orders or reassigning responsibilities via voice chat on the fly, or explaining someone's mistakes in a boss wipe post-mortem so you can piss on their back later in a blog post. One of them is much more efficient and is why - I'd bet - that most successful raiding guilds use voice chat.

Gevlon said...

@Shintar: We got 4/7 as #6500, then simply the summer hit us. Tried about 3 hours on Alysrazor. We will have wipe analysis, exactly because people are on different skills and unable to figure out. So I'm "slacking" and only remove in-fight boosting, allowing inter-fight boosting.

@Ephemeron: no one doubts that the same team is better using voice than not. No doubt that not using voice in some tournament because it's "cheap" is stupid. I'm NOT on a tournament. I'm not set out to world first. I want to prove that losing voice chat is not a large loss if the players are skilled, and the "need" for it is coming from the fact that people are not skilled.

@Wowmidas: this is exactly what I want to DISprove. Voice gives similarly small improvement as replacing a piece of gear if the players are not morons.

Aureon said...

@gevlon: Then go in a topguild, and see if you can manage. RL yelling or not. Your guild never did the "Hard" stuff, and so judging won't work.
Sure, you can do much without voice chat.
Sure, you can do much without gear.
And they're both advantaged which are going to be needed when you're on the bleeding edge. You weren't gonna do HLK25 at 10-15% boost without all T9hc+, for simply theoretical limits on ehp/dps/hps. And so it works again. Asking everybody to push their limits due to not wanting an obvious vantage due to beliefs shouldn't happen in any serious envinroment.
Voice chat helps you SALVAGE the kills.
If shit hits the fan, and it often does, you may need to rearrange something on the fly - VC isn't only needed for DBM-style warnings.
Communication isn't needed when you aren't on your limits, skill limites and gear limits, since you can roflstomp it anyway.

Mithfin said...

Already proven, sorry. Take a look at Borked (Ravencrest-EU) wowprogress history. They was realm1 and top100 world 25m raiding guild for all WotLK, did 12/13 cataclysm hc and 5/7 firelands hc (as 10m guild) without any kind of voice communication.

Anonymous said...

Voice chat, like gear score, is a tool.
Its how people use the tool that creates the issues.
Used properly, gear score allows a PuG rad leader to rule out people with very inappropriate gearing. Used incorrectly, you see situations toward the end of LK like: "LFG for H-Nexus, must have 8K+ Gear score, link 2500+ arena rating and alone in the dark achieve".

Ditto with voice chat. Used well it can greatly speed up organization, snap information on the fly, and boost moral when its needed most. Used badly it becomes a crutch for those unable to function without being told what to do and where to go, and epeen flexing.

Im not sure that Gevlon can 'prove' that Voice chat is of the same level of 'evil' that gear score is however. Gear score is a very simple tool - a single numerical score given to every player. Voice chat is very much more complex - as is methods of evaluating its use/failure.

Ellifain @ Khaz'Goroth

Ephemeron said...

I want to prove that losing voice chat is not a large loss if the players are skilled, and the "need" for it is coming from the fact that people are not skilled.

All the more reason to conduct the aforementioned trial, then!

Pick your best 10 players. Have them do a few runs with voice chat on and off, keeping the rest of the variables (composition, gear, etc.) the same. Check the logs and compare the performance. Repeat the procedure for your worst 10 players. Then again for the average 10. Then for a mixture of best, worst and average. And then see which group shows the greatest improvement with the addition of voice chat.

Maybe your hypothesis is correct, and voice chat is only helpful for those who lack individual skill. Or maybe it serves as a linear performance boost, providing equal benefit regardless of the skill. It is even possible that voice chat functions as an amplifier, providing the greatest benefit to the ones who are already skilled. The only way to find out is to experiment, and you are in a unique and enviable position to do so.

Anonymous said...

In essence , the use of VC really really isn't neccessary. But it is, as many have already said it many many times , just another tool in the toolbox that is at your disposal .
I mean, what is your initial premise? " i can kill bosses without VC"?
Or " i can kill bosses just as fast without VC"?
To illustrate the distinction imagine using a hammer and power hammer? you can hit the nail with your ordinary, good old hammer, but wouldnt you use power hammer instead?Likewise you can use hammer for more sinister purposes , same goes with VC.
If ( " VC isnt needed in order to kill stuff" )is what you are trying to prove , then i highly disagree, because given the time you will be able to defeat oponents even with screens shut down. In my opinion that isnt even a premise , its statement that is true on its own.
Further more , you are using raid chat as form of comunication to issue tasks and analise mistakes (as opposed to VC). You do not allow lolspeak, unnecesary chit chat.
You can enforce such rules for VC too( ie you and only you issue tasks, you and only you ask a dps why he stood in the fire etc etc).

What id like you to do is to prove that " not using VC is just as efficient as is using it". I'M sure that would provide us with some interesting data.

Anonymous said...

I'll add some anecdotal evidence from my own raiding experience. In vanilla WoW I raided with a guild that cleared MC, BWL, AQ40 and most of Naxx as current content. Our C'thun kill was one of the server firsts, and Naxx progression was somewhere past 2/3's. We used no voice chat, people came to raid prepared and ready, having read strats and thought about it or they were sat. Without voicechat it was incredibly easy to see when people didn't read or prepare, they'd run in on C'thun and promptly stand in the wrong spot getting the raid eye-beamed, and then say "Ohh, I didn't know that would happen."

During the transition to BC raiding and from 40->25 man raiding the guild switched to using voice chat, despite knowing the dangers. I say that because there were numerous threads on the guild forums, as well as /guild discussion of the change and the danger, carrying lazy people, that it brought. However we switched because running a 40man guild without voicechat was extremely taxing on our officers, they had a very proactive approach that (it was thought) would mix well with voicechat. Other factors conspired to make BC progression a clusterfuck for us. Fast forward to Wrath. We're clicking along, second or third on the server in progression having a great time. Except we're not doing this because of skill, we're doing it because we've got three very vocal, very effective communicators that, through tireless effort are hand-holding us through the content on a 3 night a week schedule. They'd spend hours before and after raids talking with people, writing them little messages and performance reviews. During raid they called out everything so that you could come to raid without reading ANYTHING and would know what you were supposed to do. I know this because I did it, however I'm a fast learner and even for our first kill of heroic twin-valks (server 2nd by 2 hours) it took me a couple of attempts to figure out my job, (orb duty+dps) and after those first attempts I was one of the people standing around at the end cussing, thinking (or saying in the /lock channel) "why the fuck couldn't everyone else be like me."

Officer burnout, from the constant non-spot 3 night a week talking +doing all the raid-prep for 30 people was a huge factor. When we had 50 people raiding the officers had less work because there was no way to show up unprepared, but now you could show up and get talked through it.

The other side of the problem was that voicechat meant even those people that used to be able to read and learn had got out of the habit and now didn't remember how to do so, they had lost that skill set through un-use.

As officers burnt out, people couldn't step up fast enough to replace them, and the raiding core had become lazy. End result? A minor stumble (1 officer leaving) was a pebble that ended with us going from server 2nd by a couple of hours in heroic ToC to not killing the Lich King on NORMAL mode a few months later.

Backthief said...

What would be the different between "skill" and "know-how"?

Arent we all making a mistake, calling something Skill, when what we are really looking for are people with Know-Hows?

Wilson said...

"get into World top 1000."

Highly unlikely, without fundementally changing the way your guild operates (ie, imposing a lot more structure). The first few months of Cataclysm were the guild's high water mark in terms of motivation and effort and you didn't reach that level then. But even if you do manage it, so what? Pumping your fist in the air and shouting "We're number 987!" simply isn't inspirational - you aren't going to persuade more than a handful of guilds that they'd be better of without VC.

Symbolsix said...

Gevlon, do you happen to have any sense of how ping to your server is, from the US?

Gevlon said...

@Symbolsix: start a trial account. If you can't play, you don't upgrade it.

Anonymous said...

A very small percentage of the population actually believes you need the BEST gear and voicechat to successfully raid. They believe that those are both useful tools that will allow guilds to gain an extra edge and push farther/faster through content. Asking for your members to have voicechat or reasonable gear from 5-man's and intro raid content is a completely legitimate request. To refuse readily available tools that will help your progression is no different the ArthasDKlol not having gemmed/enchanted his gear or not using consumables.

David said...

You really really need to reinforce that this theory is PURELY for PVE.

In PVP, Communication + Skill >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Skill.

Even Communication + Less Skill >>>>> Better Skill.

In scripted PVE communication is not necessary, in dynamic PVP it is a must have.

Once again, try out using skype for your RBG groups. As the leader you can mute annoying dps and ensure no one misses calls and target switching is much smoother. And it is free.

Anonymous said...

The way I see it, it is most certainly possible to raid without voice chat. Assuming players are skilled enough to handle unexpected situations (or prevent them from happening), it doesn't even have any benefits.

However, there aren't a lot of such players. If I had a possibility of organising 25 of them together, that group could easily claim the title of number one raiding guild in the world, voice chat or not. The thing is, there are a lot of things going on in hardmode raids. So much in fact that the concentration of even the best players is stressed and they occasionally end up making mistakes (especially after wiping 50 times in row). Voice chat allows them to better handle the situations where those mistakes happen, and allows them to focus on more important things (example: instead of looking at debuffs on another player to make a switch, they can concentrate on internal trinket cooldowns in order to time their cooldowns properly and inch out 50 extra DPS).

Simply put, unless everyone in the raid is among 100 best players in the world, you are hurting your performance (of course there's nothing wrong with that per se). Then again, if your purpose is to create better players, I do agree voice chat is harmful, and unmoderated chit-chat often outweighs the pros of using it. Still, I don't really understand what you are trying to prove. No intelligent person would suggest that it is impossible to raid without voice chat and it is impossible to draw any conclusions from your project.

Steel said...

I was the first one to point that it'd be nice to not have to listen to stupid jokes in vent between the fights, and as someone who went through ICC25-4/12-forever guilds, I am well aware of how vent catherding and handholding works (the RL was awesome at it /bow to him).

I do object to generalisations though - voice is universally bad, or ALWAYS more bad than good, or universally unnecessary. From reading some of the replies, I get the feeling that you guys must have superhuman reaction times, infinitie mental multitasking abilities, and zero time decision making. You never miss a shot while dogding threee different fires, all while at the same time kiting three mobs interrupting a fourth one and MDing a third add to exactly the off tank that has had his previous stacks drop. Anyone player is aware at any milisecond of the fight of all other players raid CDs, instantly knows whether he should blow his own mirror or that the second priest will bubble him, and all of your 3 discpriests and 3 hollydins (we are on a 25man heroic) will instantly calculate which one will blow which buble on this totally RNG combo of 3 different raid damage abilities, while making sure that only one is blown so that the rest of the 5 CDs are available for the next 3 expected raid dammage abilities, while still leaving the other two to counter the other 2 random raidwiping abilities that aaaaaaa.... My friends, I /salute and /bow to you.

I remember Gevlon, that you said you hated the Al'Akir fight, but you never said why exactly. I was very intrigued by this. I mean it couldn't possibly be why many other people hated it - the RNG hell, coordinating precision dps within seconds, all under enormous raid damage and dps-race pressure - since we have established you have superhuman skills, and can do all that stuff with no effort. Oh, and I loved the fight by the way, too bad I only got to see it a few times, as the guild didn't care about it.

Steel said...

@ Annonynous 20:31 - exactly what I'm saying.

Here is a concrete example, instead of my exagerated and thoretical ramblings in my previous post. During our Magmaw 25man hardmode progression, I remmeber I had to watch two raging infernos (1-2shot ticks, and they creep a la Mimiron), know which one will flame out next so I can stack there, stay in range of heals at all time, know when inferno is coming to not drop fires in the middle where the DK is kiting worms, dodge pillar and meteor landings which are guaranteed oneshots and their timers get out of sync during the fight, know when engulfing fire+headslam is coming and instantly disengage if it's on your side as it is a oneshot also, all while watching the construct timer, pool focus and ensure ES is off cooldown for snap aggro misdirect the instant splitsecond a construct spawns (at a random location anywhere in the room) otherwise they will oneshot ranged heals (5 people need to be ranged on 25HC or you get pillars in melee), while knowing wich tank is currently taking adds, as that varies with their chains cycles and how long each takes. Then you also need to run your optimal rotation at all times, know exactly when we are DPSing which constructs or burning the exposed head before switching back to constructs (depends on where the each construct hp is as they cast armageddon at 20% and wipe the whole raid in 2 secs), stay out of minimum range of the exposed head hitbox (half the room), on final phase watch the proximity meter while everyone is dodging engulfs and max dps burn while knowing exactly whether we need to finish the last construct or we can aford to let it up. I'm sure there was more.

So at that point, my brain absolutely melted, and I totally needed the tanks to call in vent, which one is now taking the MDs, since I needed to switch focus macros in the middle of all that hell, and even had to shout in vent "which tank is now, which tank is now, which tank is now"(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HKDLXauhy7E&feature=related) over 3 others who are also coordinating in vent, since a missed MD or a MD on the wrong tank is a wipe. And like I said, I'm one of the better players in the guild in terms of awareness. I have absolute respect and awe (dead serious) for those that oneshotted this fight on 25man heroic on the first try, without vent.

Anonymous said...

Eliminating voice chat also allows someone without traditional leadership qualities to organize groups of people. If someone doesn't know the fearless raid leader is a 12 year old with a heavy accent they can concentrate on the raid instead of publicly mocking them.

chewy said...

..I want to prove that skill > "communication"...

and

The "no voice chat" was always a rule in my guilds...

So are you suggesting that your current guild members are just not skilled enough ? Which is one conclusion or the other is that you've already proven that not using voice is in fact a handicap.

Anonymous said...

Nobody thinks that talking about your dog, even in the clearest and most engaging way, helps during a raid. Your company failed because your engineering team didn't know what your sales team was doing, marketing was out of step with both and your supply chain was sloppy and slow.

It's not about communication per se; it's about coordination. By focusing on the medium rather than the message, you're fighting a straw man.

Steel said...

This post and thread is exciting!

I'm going to go ahead and flat out say that "skill > gear", and "skill > communication" is an incorrect equation from a mathematical point of view. The correct one is "skill + gear + other = bosskill", where skill, gear, other are variables depending on player/guild, and bosskill is a hard threshold tuned by Blizz. These variables variate, and their profile changes from guild to guild, so Method can reach bosskill with green gear because their skill is so high, we need solid previous tier gear, good communication and all the skills we have to reach bosskill on a current tier 25HM, and darkgnomkillaz cannot reach bosskill even with +2 tiers overgear badge epics and nerfs, because their skill is so low. Of course boskill also variates, from first boss 10reg, to endboss 25hc. All valid points on the equation line.

It is valid to say that if I had 10% more skill I could reach the same bosskill sum by dropping some gear/communication. Or if the skill and gear remain constant, I could at a bit more to the communication/organisation factor, the final sum will increase, alowing me to kill higher bosses (and you seem to agree with this "@Ephemeron: no one doubts that the same team is better using voice than not. No doubt that not using voice in some tournament because it's "cheap" is stupid."). This is simple math. So "skill > gear" is an improper equation, the correct one is "how much more skill (measured on a scale) do I need to offsed how much gear+other factors", and "how much skill, gear, other, combined do I need to reach what boskill threshold."

Now here is my problem, skill is the hardest factor in the equation. Gear rains on you, RL can handhold you etc. Skill depends on your mental capacities, concentration, dedication, etc. And it vastly depends on what skill level we are talking about. As you get higher and higher, to harder and more complex fights, it's harder and harder to squeeze extra "skill", you are reaching the limits of your brain power. This is why I'm getting tired of the "morons standing in the fire" meme. We are no longer talking about a tank and spank 2 botton rotation with a single obvious fire on the ground. WoW has reached very high complexity and difficulty at this point, it's not just me saying this, it's Paragon and everyone else (even you). Now it's 3 different oneshot abilities on separate timers and randomness, all while you need to execute a flawless rotation, and perfectly coordinate 3 other mechanics between x different players, and make decisions in fractions of seconds. I'm getting the feeling (and please correct me if I'm wrong) that you want to stand in front of the full spectrum of wow players, from darkgnomkillaz to paragon and say to all: "you are all fail for using vent, just get 10% more skill".

Do know that I allways had respect for you and your "no vent" rule in principle, as I'm fully aware that it requires extra skill to compensate. I think some modesty would be in order though. The fact that you are 4/7 10 reg because "summer hit us" does not mean you have the moral authority to tell 25HC topguilds how many unskilled grinders they are carrying, and how much (percent measured on a scale) they suck for using vent.

Jack Le Maniac said...

Gevlon does not want voice chat because it would make it hard for it to document everything that happens.

For instance, raid chat logs, guild chat logs.

In raids:

People could like he said, call someone a "nigger you press the wrong keys" then claim they said "finger press the wrong the keys."

If people can get away saying things that may go unnoticed, they will.

He doesn't use voice chat, because at their level it's not necessary.

His second reason is that players learn to react on their own; not being told to move forces them to improve or get kicked. It's one less crutch to be addicted to.

These are the practical reasons he doesn't want it. The "social" reasons is to devoid communication of emotion as much as possible.

It's hard to prove it (Voice chat) will make the guild become lolsocial if used, and is not worth destroying the guild for, that is true. But then again, he proved they don't need it. It wouldn't improve their raids anyway. People don't fail.

These are good enough reasons to not insert it in his guild. They do NOT need it.

However some guilds will use it. That is their right as well. But, Gevlon's reasons and progress proves voice chat is not necessary.

So why do those guilds use them? To make their raids easier, I guess. But then again, I don't see the difference with using the regular wow chat. Calling things? Isn't DBM enough? Can't look around and stuff?

Meh. Voice chat is something to use, or not. No real discussion needed. When is voice chat needed? Beat me. Personally, all I see is the RL calling things when I used it. Things I was already aware before he had the time to press the key and speak, anyway.

csdx said...

So if we can agree that skill is not constant, but rather improves the more you practice something (in this case raiding), then what tools you use affect how fast you learn. Good tools make you learn faster, bad ones hinder learning a skill.

So the test would be: If you compare your progress to other casual guilds (who presumably have voice chat and lenient raiding schedule), has your group fallen behind the curve? If so, then clearly voice chat is a tool aiding their learning and ability to acquire skill. This would be counter to your idea that voice chat in fact hinders the development of skill. Otherwise if you are holding steady, then clearly voice chat is insignificant, and if getting better, clearly it is actually holding others back.

If someone knows how to pull historical rankings from something like WoWProgress then a graph could be made to see whether you've been going up or down.

Anonymous said...

I'm curious how you would possibly do heroic baleroc on even 10m without voice communication. You need to change who is taking torment on the fly due to countdown. I do not think it is possible without an insanely large amount of prep work that would render the time spent wasted when you can just use vent.