Over the course of the last two and a half years, I have been asking and answering questions over discord, private messages, and forums. With tens of thousands of messages on both sides of the fence, I have come to be very knowledgeable of my class and look to share that knowledge with others but sometimes it can be difficult to judge the level of player and what they need if they are not asking the correct questions.
With the intent of improving the discord community and strengthening the druid community as a whole, I am going to talk about how to go about improving yourself via the peer review system we use in discord. This will be split into three levels of player: beginner, intermediate, and expert as everyone can find something to improve in their gameplay.
- Start with a guide to learn the fundamentals
- Ask open ended questions to improve your understanding
A beginner is defined as someone who is starting to learn a skill. World of Warcraft is a skill based game like many others and knowledge is power. I would like to preface that everyone starts somewhere and that no one is inherently a bad player. Learning the fundamentals, whenever you started playing, is when you begin to learn the game and the class and where will we start.
The most basic of questions can be addressed in a guide. Reading over fights and your class is the best introduction, better than anything you can get over discord. Guides should be the first stop for all beginners as they cover the majority of basic questions. Asking questions about gear, trinkets, stats, etc are all readily available on the two main guides in the community. Once you read your guide of choosing over once or twice, you then want to focus in on parts you do not understand.
This brings us into how to properly detail your question so that you get the best responses. Basic questions that ask for general tips or gearing choices generally lead to quick responses with little to no context. You will want to reference your personal experiences to what you have read or heard. As a beginner, you are looking to expand your knowledge which can only be done by understanding why you are doing things. Why is X trait so strong? Why is Y trinket so bad? Why are people gemming or enchanting Z stat? You want to learn why things are done the way they are done so that you can apply the same reasoning to yourself in the future.
- Learn to use and understand the results of Raidbots
- Have your fights logged
- Frame your questions to focus on specific examples and instances
So the basics have been learned and now you are playing pretty good but your DPS seems a little low and you think you can do better. You have reached the intermediate stage of the learning process. This is where you begin to find the big issues in your gameplay and start to fix it through the use of external tools.
Tools such as Warcraftlogs and Raidbots should be regularly used at this level. Have someone record your fights or learn to log yourself so when you start asking about your performance, you can accompany that question with a log. You can also run it through the Wowanalyzer program which can help identify some of the larger issues.
When linking a log, the more specific you get with your question the better. Asking how you can improve your DPS is generally fine and you will get answers from that. However, what if we add some details to that question? How can I improve my DPS when I have to move so frequently on X fight? How can I improve my DPS on multi-target fights? What can I do to increase my damage during Y boss in Z phase? A good question always includes specific information to look at. The questions you ask should make people think before answering.
Raidbots should replace almost all gearing questions. Gearing these days has been streamlined by using the Top Gear option on Raidbots. Learning if you can gear better for certain fights can still be useful. For example, when a trait or item has a downside, knowing for which bosses that trait is usable is good information. The same thought process can be applied to trinkets with varying effects as well.
- Have more than basic understanding of log reading
- Record or stream your point of view to get various perspectives on your play
- Work with other players in or above your skill bracket
Well you have gotten pretty dang good now. You parse well and you rarely die but, you are just not quite sure where to go next. All log related questions now have to be specific as we talked about above and Wowanalyzer loses much of its glamour when you get down to the nitty gritty of the spec. At this point you should learn to read logs yourself.
This video should help you understand what you are reading and some of the things you are looking for when you open up a fight log.
As infrequently as it is done, a video recording of your performance on a specific fight is one of the most beneficial tools someone can use to help assist you. Everyone makes mistakes on fights that they sometimes do not even realize they are making. Just like with logs, you want to get to a specific pull or part of the fight as hours of pulls can often dilute the amount of useful information. Get a timestamp or a time range you want evaluated and you can get plenty of different perspectives that might see what you can not.
At this level of gameplay, having a group of people that are experiencing or have experienced the same content that you are on is critical in your own development. Being able to bounce your ideas off others and have them verified or debunked is invaluable. While you should not go around asking people what their logs are or their experience is, by reading the channel over time and also already having a strong theoretical understanding of the game and the spec, you will find other players whose replies you can generally trust.
You can summarize balance druid with a very simple quote, “The devil is in the details”. The class itself is very streamlined and has very little reactive gameplay in it’s kit. While it is one of the easier classes to introduce yourself to, there are a ton of little things that go on between the skill floor and the skill ceiling.
Learning the whats, the whys, and the hows is critical in player development and that requires you to know more than just the fundamentals. The more you grow to understand, the more easily it is to take in new information and properly reason it yourself down the line.