First Lessons from Heroics - Communication

This is not news, but Cataclysm Heroic 5 Man dungeons are very hard.

Well, kind of.  It depends on the group and how well it communicates.  In my opinion, communication is the single most important factor in determining the group’s success.  All other things being equal, a group that talks to each other and discusses or explains the encounter strategies will succeed where one that doesn’t communicate will fail.

The PUG groups that I have been paired with using the LFD finder have been failing a lot.

With most LFD groups, the communication has been terrible, and its really been affecting the results.  I’ll give you four examples using a couple of the runs that I have done over the past couple of days which have had differing levels of communication and differing levels of success.

1)  The Guild Run – Heroic Halls of Originiation
This was brilliant.  We had 5 Shadowgardes, all with raid experience and good attitudes.  Johnscar, our tank, is awesome.  I was healing, and we had a mage (Grimsidious), a kitty drood (Shtika) and a Fury Warrior (Mackfurion).  Most of us were just able to queue for heroics and had never been to the instance before.  But we made it through the instance with very little in the way of problems.  We wiped a few times on Anhuur until we figured out how to do it (Holy Paladin guide for Heroic Halls of Origination coming soon), but once we figured out a strategy that worked it was very easy.  We one shot Earthrager Ptah and got Anraphet down after only two wipes.  We didn’t finish the dungeon – stopping after the Vault of Lights – only because I ran out of time and had to leave.  I wiped on the Real Life Holidays Boss.

The key to this run was that we all knew each other, knew how to talk to each other and most importantly, were talking on Ventrilo.  We were able to discuss the strategies while we were playing and were very quickly able to communicate what changes needed to be done after a wipe.  It was a very smooth run with no drama or bad feelings at all, mainly due to the ease of communication.

2)  The Good Pug – Heroic Lost City of the Tol'Vir
Now, I don't know if this one of the easy heroics or what, but this run was absolute cake.  I queued in the LFD and got a completely random group.  I announced that I had never been in the dungeon before on heroic and the tank simply said, “No prob” and started off.  During the trash runs, the tank was marking mobs and announcing in Party Chat what crowd control he wanted for each mob.  He paused to explain each boss and what he wanted us to do.  In short, he took charge, told us what he wanted to do and we did it.

We one-shot every boss and were out of the dungeon in 20 minutes.  It was just like a WotLK heroic.

This is an exception to the rule of pugs these days, certainly.  The tank was amazing, the DPS listened and did what they were asked to do, no one stood in the bad, and my job as the healer was remarkably easy.  It was so unusual that after the dungeon was done nobody wanted to leave and hung around on Siamat's platform for a 3 or 4 minutes just reveling in the run.  The tank and I couldn't run another, but I would have.  I would have run heroics with that group until my fingers were bleeding.

Mr. Bear Tank, I wish I would have screenshotted your name.  I doubt you will ever read this, but you rock.

3)  The Bad Pug – Heroic Grim Batol
The first time I set foot into Heroic Grim Batol didn't end well.  I zoned in saw that the group was at the first boss, so they had lost at least one healer already, but they were 4 people from the same guild, so I thought that this group had some promise. 

And then they start talking in Party Chat and I got much less optimistic, since I don't understand Spanish.  I posted that I didn't understand what they were saying and swearing, I pulled up General Umbriss in Wowpedia to get a better idea of what the fight was all about (I missed Umbriss the only other time I was in Grim Batol, zoning in to face Throngus).

Several wipes of utter chaos later and I had had about enough.  With the instructions in a different language and no way to communicate with the group, I realized that this just wasn't going to happen.  And frankly speaking, the group didn't appear to be listening to whatever the party leader was saying anyway, as they were getting one-shot by just about every Blitz that Umbriss threw out.  One of our attempts lasted all of 44 seconds. 

Now, aside from the frustrating communication issues, there were other issues, and I certainly was not blameless.  I should have known that fight better than I did going into it.  I got hit by a Blitz or two as well, and I'm still not sure what I'm supposed to do with all those Troggs beating on my face.  But the biggest problem with that group was the language barrier which prevented us from communicating properly.

4)  The Worst PUG – Heroic Shadowfang Keep

The worst heroic run that I have had so far exemplifies the communication issue perfectly. And the sad thing was that it wasn't a PUG. We had 4 of our guild members in the group and we used the Dungeon Finder to get us a Tank. It was a disaster.

The first tank that we got ran off before buffs were out and started on the trash. To his credit, we plowed through the trash quickly, and got to Baron Ashbury easily. Unfortunately, he rushed into that one as well before we had a chance to assign interrupts or explain the fight. Two or three wipes later with still no communication with this tank after repeated attempts to get him to slow down, we kicked him and requeued.

The next tank we got was fantastic. Good communication and he discussed the interrupts with us and waited until everyone was ready. We wiped again, but everyone felt better about it. Sadly, he was impatient and left after I said I needed to log out for a second to fix my Deadly Boss Mods.

The next tank again spoke only Spanish and couldn't understand us any more than we could understand him. I think I need to take some Spanish lessons.

After that, we gave up. But the big problem was not just the tanks... the four of us guildies weren't really communicating either. We weren't working together very well at all, actually. Two of us were in vent, the others were not, and we never did get the interrupts down. This is when it really came to me that communication in these Heroics is going to be the key element to getting them down with this gear. Until we start talking to each other, we're just going to keep struggling.

Too Long, Didn't Read 
The moral of this little tale is that the days of the silent and ultra efficient dungeon pugs are over, at least until people know and overgear the fights.  Talk to your party.  Tell them you need help if you don't understand something.  Ask questions or provide answers if you know the fight.  If no one is talking, speak up and help keep the run organized.  It makes things so much easier if people communicate on a high level.  And it's much more enjoyable as well.

1 comment:

  1. I've never encountered a Spanish-speaking only playing in LFD, but if I do hopefully my 7 years of Spanish from school will come in handy.