To be honest I have always felt this. To me they were just Dr. Boom replacements, theory-crafting tools to allow questing players to complete their quests, while allowing theory crafters a range of new tools to hone their craft.
Sure they aren’t completely useless, but once you have read the forum or blog post with a rotation that’s already been theory-crafted, why bother?
The problem is, if you are trying to hone your skills for a specific boss encounter during the encounter one of two things happens:
- Best case you wipe and get to try and try again… different strategies, different rotations, different results?
- Worst case you one shot the boss and don’t really learn anything.
I’m sure your raid would prefer the one shot, but it isn’t doing much for your own personal skill development.
I suggested some techniques a while back to ensure you continued to use your skills while grinding, something that isn’t otherwise necessary, but what about encounter specific training?
So my question is, what are the alternatives?
I will present a few ideas here, but I am looking for your suggestions.
I offered up the Argent Tournament grounds in my comment on Larisa’s post.
You get mobs with boss health pools, no aggro, lots of targets and reasonable movement requirements to maintain range.
It’s really only a step up from the target dummies, the main difference being movement.
Target dummies + duel
A combination of a tank and spank fight with additional considerations.
Get a mate with AoE and direct damage spells to join the target dummies.
Now you need to avoid the void zones (eg: flame strike), counterspell the direct damage spells, spell steal the buffs, maintain your wards, time your evocates, practice the ice block, blink out of snares, crowd control etc.
A Boomkin Druid may be a good choice for this. They have most of the effects like Bosses, but can also throw you a heal occasionally so you don’t wipe and have to start over.
Of course you will need to define an encounter plan. AoE every 30 sec, snare every min etc.
If you are on Vent your buddy could improvise Deadly Boss Mods by announcing incoming attacks, which in combination with enemy cast bars or scrolling combat text etc will hone those “information awareness skills” in conjunction with the situational awareness skills.
PvP, whether dueling, battlegrounds or arenas are another option of course.
Some people don’t PvP though, and it can be a pain when you are in one of those battlegrounds where lifespan doesn’t extend much past buffing.
Still, in the right fights you will be honing your skills, even if that’s just running away.
Dueling may be the best option, although if you have a couple of mates with toons on the other faction, you could camp by a remote graveyard and try multiple targets as well.
Undoubtedly a great way to build situational awareness and multiple mob awareness, but likely frustrating if you pick the wrong instance or are still at the bottom of the learning curve for that type of encounter.
More likely than not you will be honing your AoE, snare and kiting skills above any others if you solo, so maybe you need to bring a friend or two.
Get a tank or a healer, or both. Make sure they know they are there to support you, not clear the instance on your behalf. Nothing worse than an OP Pally tank that AoE tanks the mobs to death before your flamestrike lands. You want to be the top on the damage meter, not them. (Of course if them challenging you allows you to find the best rotation for a particular encounter, go for it)
The big thing here is to pick those bosses that replicate tactics you are struggling with.
Fear, try shadow Lab. Mind control, try shadow lab or the WoLK instance. AoE fights, Halls of Stone etc…
Probably best to run them on normal so you can reset and rerun them and hone that specific skill (and to ensure you don’t get annoyed getting to the encounter)
You could of course go in search of elites, however like soloing instances, you will probably be working just as hard at kiting as anything. If you one shot the mob, well that was a waste of travel time.
So tell me folks. If you were trying to hone your skills for raids (eg: Ulduar or ToC):
- What boot camp style would you choose?
- What Instances & specific bosses would you “farm” to hone which specific skill?
- How do you hone your skills now?
PS: as an aside, I have another idea, something I started a draft on 2 odd months ago, so I will finish that one off. The problem is that my idea would require significant Blizzard development, whereas the ideas in today’s post should be immediately executable.
Gnomer and Out!
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