Situational Awareness: Competent Players vs Great Raiders

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Situational Awareness: Competent Players vs Great Raiders

Post#1 » Mon Jun 30, 2008 4:38 am

What is a Competent Player?
Most of you, whether or not you know it, fall into a category that I like to call "Competent Players". To me a competent player is someone who understands their class, what abilities to use and when. In addition they know how to play their class properly, ie. Holy Priests heal like priests, using a combination of direct heals and HoTs rather than trying to play like pallies and relying only on direct heals.

Then, there are the Great Raiders. Believe it or not there is really only one major difference between a Competent Player and a Great Raider. It's situational awareness. A great raider has the ability to watch part or all of an encounter at the same time as performing their other duties.

How does this make them better than Competent Players?
It's pretty simple really. By monitoring a larger portion of the encounter you can react to events before they happen. The easiest example I can give of this is the one I gave Liz tonight:

Elvenbane wrote:If you're paying attention to your surroundings so that you can see the mob running at the player before it gets to them, and can toss up a renew/shield/pom whatever, you have much more time to react to other events than the person who goes "oh look, their health is going down /heal/heal/heal, i wonder what happened"

Not only will the person already be getting the damage mitigated by your incoming heals, it also gives you much more time to worry about what's about to happen to you:
  • Is a mob about to attack me?
  • Do I need to move because I'll take damage from fire/void zone/spout etc. if I keep standing here?
  • Am I about to pull aggro off the tank?
  • Do I need to re-sheep/shackle/banish/sleep my mob?
    etc.

In addition to your own survivability it also allows you to help others:
  • Does player x need a hand with whatever their doing, and do I have enough time to assist them?
  • Can I take a quick break to regen mana/bandage etc. so I'll have that extra mana/health etc. for later in the fight?

How can you learn to improve your situational awareness?
In my opinion the best way you can improve your situational awareness is by playing a fast paced first person shooter like Unreal Tournament. These games are ruthless at beating situational awarness into your brain because if you don't know where your opponents are, or could be coming from, you're dead.

However, spending hours playing FPS's is not practical, and isn't of interest to many people. With that said here are a couple things you can do in WoW to improve your situational awareness.

  1. PVP
    Now I know a lot of you don't enjoy pvp, and have no interest in it, but like FPS's it's one of the better ways to learn because the repercussions are immediate, but temporary (30s rez time) so you can get back into the fight and try again.

    The problem with WoW PVP vs FPS's is that not everyone is on the same playing field. With each person not having access to the same gear it makes it harder for new people venturing into battle to learn as they'll be killed easier than geared players.

    Note: if you want to try this method I recommend the 10m or 15m BGs. In WSG try to retrieve the flag as it will be guarded, or escort your team's FC (Flag Carrier).
    In EotS and AB defend or assult whichever base is getting the most action and try to keep track of howmany players are reinforcing that position. Keeping tracks of adds is important!
  2. Adjust your camera settings
    Go into your Interface->Camera options and max out your camera distance.
    You can then increase it further to the game's max distance with ImprovedCamera 2.4
    or the following script:

    Code: Select all

    /script SetCVar("cameraDistanceMax",50)


    This will give you a bigger view of the battle field so you can more easily see the things going on around you, rather than just watching the back of your character's head.

    Turn off Camera Follow
    Interface -> Camera -> Follow: Never
    This will allow you to look around you without your camera snapping back to being behind your character, this will allow you to look around while still performing your task, if you want to face forward again simply hold down your right mouse button and point your camera in the direction you wish to face.
  3. Learn the event ahead of time.
    Now this is a big one, and something you should all be doing anyways. Read the strategies for the fights, watch videos so you know what you're getting yourself into.

    However, there is one thing in this regard that I'm sure most of you are not doing and it's the most important things of all. Discuss the fight with other people, preferably people who have done the event before. They will be able to offer you tips and insight that you may not have thought of or may not have been covered in the strategies/videos you watched.

Conclusion
Well I've never been good at conclusions, just ask any of my English teachers. I guess to conclude I would like to say that we, the leadership, and also your peers are here for you. If you have any questions regarding how you can improve your play or just have general questions, please don't hesitate to ask. We're more than happy to help.

Also, I would like to reiterate that we're not looking to replace our existing core of members, rather we would like to help each and every one of you break the barrier between Competent Players and Great Raiders so that we can continue to blow through content in true YaWA fashion.

Cheers.
Last edited by Elvenbane on Mon Dec 20, 2010 7:51 pm, edited 11 times in total.
It's the thought that counts, not how many people die because of it.
Elvenbane#1520

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Taralash
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Post#2 » Mon Jun 30, 2008 5:31 am

It's that easy folks. Learn it and apply it to your game and we will pwn harder, faster and longer than before.

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Post#3 » Mon Jun 30, 2008 8:08 am

Get used to maxing your camera distance and SPINNING it around constantly. This has helped me so much. Especially if you are a ranged dps class you should learn to do you job without having to constantly look at your target. When doing 5 mans practice and see if you can spin your camera to look behind you for most of the fight, just glancing back to check positions and such.

Also try to move using your "q" and "e" keys more. This keeps you facing your target while repositioning. This helps on fights like VR - move away from the orb coming at you, but make sure you don't move right into another one. It's not real life, you arn't going to trip over something if you don't look where you are going!

Think about the advantages this would give you in say... i don't know, the Vashj fight. If you have your camera maxed you will see everything that spawns in your area and you greatly reduce the risk you will miss a core. Spinning you camera means you can keep tabs on where the strider is so you don't miss your dots and where you healer is in case you need to toss the core to them.

The more you know about the fights and your job in them, the less you brain has to focus on that. When you can do a fight without even thinking about it, it totally frees you up to watch what is going on and adapt.

Also, if you are a clicker, try to fix this. You can't spin your camera if you are using your mouse to cast spells. It's not a hard rule, but try, as a rule of thumb, to use your mouse hand to move and your keyboard hand to cast all spells. There are some spells you only use once a fight or so, I click them, but your core spells shouldn't be cast via mouse. Some players even move wasd to esdf to make 1-5 easier to reach instead of just 1-4. I never could get used to it and can easily reach up to 6 without moving my hand, so it's all about your play style. Just work to improve it - don't say "well, I'm just not as young/as much of a gamer/as good as so and so" and just be satisfied with your current style.

Improving your skill not only helps us all move forward and do better in the game - it really really does make it more enjoyable.

[edit:Elvenbane]paragraphs[/edit]

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Post#4 » Mon Jun 30, 2008 8:13 am

Good point, added information about camera follow
It's the thought that counts, not how many people die because of it.
Elvenbane#1520

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Lealla
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Post#5 » Mon Jun 30, 2008 8:33 am

Honestly, as nice as it would be to have everyone on the same level competence-wise, I'd be happy to get 25 members of this guild to attend a raid. Nobody is getting kicked out of a raid spot, but if you aren't there to participate, we either have to get somebody else or not go at all. RL stuff happens, but we need more core raiders to be able to absorb these absences.

Vashj probably would have died last week if we'd had 1 more player. Think about it.

Edit: I guess this is kind of off-topic, so feel free to nuke it if ya want, EB.
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Guenever
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Post#6 » Mon Jun 30, 2008 10:37 am

Very nice conclusion EB. Summarize argument, restate thesis, use spell check... someone has taught you well. :-D

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Heartwood
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Post#7 » Mon Jun 30, 2008 1:28 pm

Part of my educational background is an Hons. BA in Cognitive Psychology, which has a lot of application to gaming: how players perceive, process, and react to in-game information.

Reading and talking about encounters is important. We all have a finite amount of cognitive resources (how much information we can pay attention to at a given time). Information or behaviour that you have gone through multiple times requires less cognitive resources. Remember when you first started WoW and had to look at the icons on your screen, figure out which icons where for which spells, recall how they were used, check your fingering position for the right hot key, and then perform the action? By now most of you are automatically hitting keys without much thought and performing the in-game actions that you need to without a lot of required concentration. So too with boss fights.

If you've read the various phases and components of a fight and watched a video of it (especially if more than once), then your brain will not be as tied up in trying to interpret all of the new information it sees for your first encounters and trying to sort out what is relevant from what is not relevant. The more you run through the same encounters, or the game in general, the less of your cognitive resources need to be spent on lower-level details and can be devoted to higher-level details (what Elven is referring to as situational awareness).

I play with my camera zoomed out at about max distance. I don't need to know which players are which (generally), what colour their armor is, what their casting animation looks like, etc. What I do need to know is where are our raid members, where are the mobs, how are they generally interacting, and where are the environmental hazards. For tanking, those are the irrelevant and relevant factors respectively that make for situational awareness.

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Gnomerman
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Post#8 » Tue Jul 01, 2008 10:39 am

very nice post, and if anyone needs any help with anything, feel free to bother me, in game or out. Btw, fps is teh pwnage
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There is more to life than pew pew you know, like staying out of the fire so you can live to pew pew another day

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Taralash
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Post#9 » Tue Jul 01, 2008 4:07 pm

Download the Unreal Tournament demo. Play it for a few hours and you'll be good

Ahlyzabeth
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Post#10 » Wed Jul 02, 2008 12:58 am

What about Counterstrike?
You're the boss, applesauce!

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Taralash
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Post#11 » Wed Jul 02, 2008 1:11 am

No

Ahlyzabeth
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Post#12 » Wed Jul 02, 2008 1:16 am

Why not?
You're the boss, applesauce!

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zephar
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Post#13 » Wed Jul 02, 2008 4:18 pm

U DARE HATE ON COUNTERSTRIKE
I crit perception so hard that I could see why people love Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

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Gnomerman
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Post#14 » Wed Jul 02, 2008 4:19 pm

counterstrike is the best multiplayer fps ever... end of story
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There is more to life than pew pew you know, like staying out of the fire so you can live to pew pew another day

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