This post was published long before the Mists of Pandara Expansion.
The tips and techniques explained here may be outdated.

The Parable of the Ham

hamonboardA child stood and watched her mother prepare the annual holiday ham. The mother carefully cut each end off the ham before placing it in the pan. The child asked, “Mother, why do you always cut the ends off the ham?” The mother replied, “Well, that’s the way my mother always did it.”

So, the child called her grandmother and asked, “Grandma, why do you always cut the ends off the ham?” The grandmother replied, “because that’s the way my mother always did it.”

Finally, the child called her great-grandmother and asked, “Great-Grandma, why did you always cut the ends off the ham?”

The great-grandmother replied, “Because the ham was way too big to fit in my small baking pan!!”

Sometimes in raiding you end up cutting the ends off the ham for no other reason than because you’ve always done it that way. Or, better yet.. because that’s what the Tankspot/YouTube video showed.

Just because you’ve always done it that way doesn’t make it right.

Last week we worked on Iron Council. Tankspot video showed that the Off-Tank snatched up the Medium/small guy and dragged them to the back of the room. Then the Main Tank grabbed Ballbreaker Steelbreaker and tanked him at the front of the room. We tried this and could -sometimes- get Steelbreaker down. Finally we decided to change it up and try it a different way.

Since the little guy really wasn’t paying any attention to the tanks anyway we decided to just leave him in the middle of the room. He’s going to randomly lightning bolt people.. but he was doing that anyway. The MT grabbed Steelbreaker and brought him to his regular spot up near the door and then the OT grabbed the Medium guy (whatever his name is) and ALSO tanked him up near the door (in fact on the side opposite of Steelbreaker). After 3 attempts like this we finally downed the group.

The healers declared it was “much easier” to heal the first part and the second and third parts were very easy by comparison.

On Ignis the Tankspot video shows them dragging ignis in a great big giant rectangle.. all the way to the far side of the room. We tried it like this but had lots of problems with range and with people just being too far away. Finally the tanks changed it up and now concentrate on making a “very tight box with Ignis”. The box is tiny and is snuggled up close to one of the pools of water. Everyone stays in range and it’s almost trivial to turn around and blast the brittle add. Much much easier.

When you have a fight.. and you have standard positioning.. or assigned roles.. make sure you know -why- it is that way. If you’re doing something specific in a boss fight, it should have meaning.. not just empty motions for unknown reasons. The response “Well that’s they way they did it on Tankspot” isn’t good enough unless you can explain WHY… and EVEN THEN.. don’t be afraid to change it and make it better.

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10 comments to The Parable of the Ham

  • Resto

    Iron Council – You are missing the part where the OT on the little guy is interrupting all lighting and its not hitting the raid at all. Also if your healers are standing in the middle, that 80yds between tanks before they are out of range.

    Ignis – Not sure what you mean by “far side of the room” its a box around the center tile with the four corners basically being at the edges of the pools of water. Sounds like your tanks didn’t watch the video that close and where WAY out of position.

    I agree with your point that there is always more than one way to get the job done. I just don’t think your example of “what was wrong” are accurate. The two strategies you are making example of are solid and I have watched them work in 10/25 full guild and PuG runs.

  • Nibuca

    Iron Council: for our group we found that the little guy didn’t really want to follow the tank to the back of the room.. so whether there’s a tank “interrupting” him or not, we were still getting lightning bolted. Healers said that it was easier to heal through the lightning than it was to send a healer/tank to the back of the room.

    Ignis: Regardless, for our group we found that keeping the box as small as possible and grouping it up near one of the pools really increased our success rate.

    The strategies may be solid.. but that doesn’t mean they are the absolutely most 100% correct and only way to do it.

  • Had some fun last night trying out the new 10 man raid with our raid group. Was unique going in having a general idea of the bosses abilities but no real strategy. Even though we didn’t get through the first series of bosses, there was a sense of accomplishment flying blind and progressing.

    There are a few of us that are always wanting to change strategies and adapt techniques to better fit our group. Our raid leader for the most part though is resistant to a lot of these ideas. I suppose it balances itself out in the long run though.
    .-= Whats my main again?´s last blog ..Plans for 3.2 =-.

  • I’ll /agree with you, Nibs. The Ignis video does appear to be a rather large rectangle in the middle that can cause some problems with range and such when the OT is taking a dip. We scrunched over to one side and found it a lot easier on everyone.

    Perhaps its a dysfunctional interpretation of what we’re seeing on both our parts, but what you describe mirrors my experiences as well. Like you said, solid perhaps, but the *best*, maybe… maybe not. Certainly not the only.
    .-= Fulguralis´s last blog ..3.2 Frost DPS DK Patch Notes =-.

  • New Post on Mystic Chicanery: The Parable of the Ham http://bit.ly/efsLn #parable #raiding #questioneverything

  • RT @Nibuca New Post on Mystic Chicanery: The Parable of the Ham http://bit.ly/efsLn #parable #raiding #questioneverything

  • Jeg

    RT @nibuca: New Post on Mystic Chicanery: The Parable of the Ham http://bit.ly/efsLn #parable #raiding #questioneverything

  • Clyde

    Well, I can say that the guys at Tankspot would agree 100% with this post. Folks try to explain their reasoning in the videos, and are happy to discuss in the threads what they are doing and why, but what is right for them is not “The Way To Do The Encounter” in most cases, it’s the way _they_ do the encounter. What works for you is what works!

    That having been said, those of us over there do really appreciate discussion of what you changed up, and why, and maybe even why you had to discard what was presented entirely. What works and doesn’t work for you might match what some other raid is hitting.

  • Shy

    Vault Emalon.

    We tank the adds on top of Emalon and the add tank runs out with the dps. This means that melee dps has less runnning to do, and it allows for you to bring lesser dps because the dps lost in running from one side of the room to the other is gone.

    We’ve had some wild looks when suggesting this strategy and even had people leave the raid.

    You do need a good add tank :)
    .-= Shy´s last blog ..Jaina the fortune cookie? =-.

  • GK

    “Iron Council: for our group we found that the little guy didn’t really want to follow the tank to the back of the room.. so whether there’s a tank “interrupting” him or not, we were still getting lightning bolted. Healers said that it was easier to heal through the lightning than it was to send a healer/tank to the back of the room.”

    This is a tanking issue that is putting a lot more pressure on your healers than need be. The little guy won’t follow the tank if he can just stand there blasting lightning, so what we found works well is to smack him around until he starts a cast, interrupt the cast, and then take him away from the group. It really is much, MUCH easier that way (from a healing perspective, Holy Paladin here) but if your healers found healing through lightning whirl easier, they must be pretty amazing!

    But, your point is very well taken. Always make sure you know they why of the fight, and the how becomes much easier.