Once upon a time in early 2006, there was a young rogue full of hope and dedication that made it a mission to become a top class raider. He gave his life over to the game and played non-stop, a true no-life player who obsessed about the game and raiding all of his waking hours. When he was eating he was reading about the game, when he was sleeping he was dreaming about it. In his mind he could already see himself topple the mighty raid bosses and get their loot. He planned well for it too. He found out the top guild of his server and started to hound them, helping them out whenever he could and making sure they knew of him. He befriended some of the members, always said yes to whatever it was they needed and did anything else he could think of to join that guild. Eventually, some day, he got invited to the guild after a successful Ubrs where he did more dps than one of the guild own rogue. If you haven’t already figured it out that rogue was me.
The best advice ever given
Upon joining I was assigned a mentor, more precisely the warrior class lead, a big orc called Nefarious who had a deep, scary voice worthy of Darth Vader and who would be responsible to teach me the ways of the hardcore raider. Unknowingly to me at the time, rogues were poorly tought of by my new guild and they only kept one or two on the roster to provide certain critical buffs or interrupts wich meant we weren’t worthy of having our own class lead. In many ways I was extremely lucky to have joined them.
Within 5 minutes of joining them I got the best advice I would ever be given about raiding. I still remember exactly what was said to me.
Whatever you think you know you don’t know anything. Just shut the f*** up.
Then he left me on that harsh welcome. I was a bit dismayed at first but as I would learn later on this was in fact the most powerful advice one could be given. A koan worthy of the greatest buddhist priests, a riddle for me to understand and learn from it wisdom. I discarded it at first but those words would come back to me frequently over my raiding career until I understood to remind me of a simple truth.
Whatever I think I know I don’t know anything. Just shut the f*** up.
I stayed with that guild for a few months, right up until we got the server first kill of C’Thun wich made over half the guild quit the game over night. I had a job myself to look forward too so I took my leave too but the experiences I learned in there would change how I approached raiding forever.
Raiding wisdom from Nefarious
So what exactly did that mean orc meant when he said the fateful words? A lot of things but I’ll try to be clear.
Whatever you think you know you don’t know anything.
Right here is the best part of the riddle. Mostly everyone when they get to a certain point in WoW think they have it mostly figured out. They pull great dps, don’t stand too much in fire and stuff and they can react well to most situations. So they get complacent. They stop trying to improve because they figured it all.
Learning is never over in WoW. While you might know everything there is to know about your class you might not know exactly how it meshes with other classes or how you could use a particular raid member ability to get even more dps. Even if you figure this out it can change on every encounter. You can go further and figure out that because of a mage rotation you get slighty more dps because of the periodic buff that mage puts on the boss.
There is no limit to the things you still have to learn and you can always find out something new. But sadly, once you get to the top of the meters a lot of people think they have it figured out.
But the true gem here is not even in knowing your own class. It’s about realizing that if you cannot ever fully know your own class there’s no way your going to know everything about other players classes. You don’t know how every element of their spec, class, gear, buffs and everything else play out for them. You can’t read their mind and you don’t know how they reason. You might be appalled that the hunter isn’t using Hunter mark at the beginning of the fight but there might be a valid reason. You simply cannot know why until you actually ask him.
And if you cannot know what others are thinking or how best to play their own characters you cannot know either what the raid leader is thinking. What might sounds a weird strategy to you might actually be a custom-made refined plan tought over long hours after reviewing the raid performances. But you cannot know, after all you’re not able to read minds.
Just shut the f*** up.
Luckily for us Nefarious gave us the answer to all our troubles. It’s so simple it’s scary. Just be quiet. That’s it. It’s not more complicated than that, simply stay quiet.
Once you realize you cannot speak for others simply because we don’t know what’s going in their heads it becomes pointless to make assumptions about what needs to be done. There are people in your raid whose job is to do exactly that and monitor what’s going on and believe me, they do all the time. So if a raid leader doesn’t speak up about someone not doing X or Y it could be because they didn’t notice. Or it could also be because they know but they’re fine with it. They really don’t need someone else to slow down the raid by starting to question everything and cause drama. It’s probably the easiest way to make sure you never get to raid again with that particular raid leader.
In time, your questions will become more “Would it help if the Hunter used Hunter’s mark?” rather than “We wiped cause the hunter didn’t mark”.
Yesterday I had a pally in my group who forgot this simple rule and tought he knew better than all of us. The end result? A swift quick from the group and a wasted ID for him just because he could not shut up. Funny how the raider who was supposedly the best of us is the one who didn’t finish with us.