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Thread: PSA: Unless you're a theorycrafter don't experiment, use a guide

  1. #46
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    I see it the other way around, experimenting is better than using a guide. When you experiment you come to understand the intricacies of skill interactions and possibilities, as well as what works best for you personally. Using a guide may give you a build, macroes, and describe when you should do what, but without truly understanding your skills you'll end up botching some part up.

    I ended up creating my beloved sentquisicar spec before any guides were ever posted about it. Even after they were posted I found that none of them were identical to my specific allocation and style, and that mine performed better in execution.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zadozex View Post
    I guess my fundamental problem is that people have this holier than thou attitude of "Well I paid for the game, I can do whatever I want", but you still exist in an ecosystem with other real people.
    How is that even in the slightest a "holier than thou" attitude? The MOST that can be said of that attitude is that they think they're equal to any other given player. Anything beyond that is assumption on your part.

    If someone is doing horrible DPS I won't argue about people votekicking them. I personally don't unless it's obvious that they're not trying or don't care to try. However, a person doing low enough damage that they deserve a votekick would not have miraculously been acceptable just because they switched from a suboptimal spec to top spec.

    You exist in this ecosystem as well. If you feel everyone should suck it up and play only pre-approved specs in consideration of other players, then to not be a hypocrite you'd have to suck it up and accept suboptimal players in all their glory in order to be considerate of them (themselves being players).

  2. #47
    Rift Chaser tteen6789's Avatar
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    Meh, I'm always finding new ways from other players or myself on how to improve guides I write. Or specs I use.

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  3. #48
    Ascendant Ajax1114's Avatar
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    The OP didn't say "people who theorycraft should stick to using guides." He said that people shouldn't throw together random build ideas without putting any thought into them and then assume that they're optimal because content gets cleared.

    Min-maxing is all about getting the most out of every possible resource. Haphazard soul combinations aren't min-maxing and although you might find 2350823023 viable specs by trying stuff, you certainly aren't going to find the optimal specs by putting buffs up and assuming that victory = good build.

    i.e. if you're going to ignore the guides and experiment instead, then learn something from it - don't just do it to be different.

  4. #49
    Ascendant Violacea's Avatar
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    My advice to people is to preferably not follow guides initially. Try a lot of your own setups, try what you think works, go through 50 crappy specs to come up with 6 good ones.

    Use guides once you are very fluent in your class and can look at the point lay out and already grasp the concept of the spec and pretty much understand what you're going to do.

    Always been my way of teaching things well before this game. You perform better if you learn the intricacies and try more yourself. Use guides later.

    I guess they don't hurt, but, I always think you learn better if you make it a more natural process instead of looking for a raw spec layout and macro list. Even in most guides I use slightly different point specs or slightly different buttons.
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  5. #50
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    Buttons, macros and the like always come down to personal preference. Usually even the guides say that you can put the secondary/tertiary points where you prefer (at least some of them). There's a difference between that and erroneous thinking because you don't know the actual stat weights and ability balancing that your calling has, and making incorrect judgments that might look good on paper but don't work in the game (again for instance a typical Warrior tank build that takes 4 points in Warlord for Recovery Posture; the idea being to help with self healing but it doesn't turn out that way in practice and those 4 points would be better spent elsewhere), or missing a key skill/cooldown/raw bonus from putting more points in a soul because you aren't seeing that it's better.

    Experimenting works fine for soloing and content where you don't need to really step up your game to down bosses. For instance, I spent most of yesterday playing around with something like 58 Warlord/18 Champion to make a good open world survivable DPS spec for soloing; it turned out decent enough, although it was insanely power starved, but it wasn't nearly as survivable as 41 Warlord/35 Champion (I tend to pull a LOT of mobs, like 10+ when I can; without Cornered Beast my health was falling like a stone) so I went back to that, however even that build I use some slight modifications from the guide; reading the guide some other people posted their own variations and I did a combination of a bit of all of them. So I am by no means saying you should never experiment with anything and wait for people to do the work for you, but you should have enough knowledge of what everything is giving you to make an informed choice, and you should save that experimenting for content where you won't accidentally hinder the rest of your team by not having x many points in the soul you should or not having Ability Y that's crucial to your role.
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  6. #51
    Sword of Telara Crovack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shoggoth1890 View Post
    I see it the other way around, experimenting is better than using a guide. When you experiment you come to understand the intricacies of skill interactions and possibilities, as well as what works best for you personally. Using a guide may give you a build, macroes, and describe when you should do what, but without truly understanding your skills you'll end up botching some part up.

    I ended up creating my beloved sentquisicar spec before any guides were ever posted about it. Even after they were posted I found that none of them were identical to my specific allocation and style, and that mine performed better in execution.



    How is that even in the slightest a "holier than thou" attitude? The MOST that can be said of that attitude is that they think they're equal to any other given player. Anything beyond that is assumption on your part.

    If someone is doing horrible DPS I won't argue about people votekicking them. I personally don't unless it's obvious that they're not trying or don't care to try. However, a person doing low enough damage that they deserve a votekick would not have miraculously been acceptable just because they switched from a suboptimal spec to top spec.

    You exist in this ecosystem as well. If you feel everyone should suck it up and play only pre-approved specs in consideration of other players, then to not be a hypocrite you'd have to suck it up and accept suboptimal players in all their glory in order to be considerate of them (themselves being players).
    Actually, it can be argued that they're valuing their own desires over those of 19 others. When you decide that you want to use 'your custom awesome spec', despite the fact that it's been shown to be unreliable for your role in raids, you're putting your own desires ahead of those of everyone else in the raid. This is part of the message that's being attempted to be addressed in this thread, however incoherently at times: there are specs that are and are-not viable. I haven't seen anyone say "play only pre-approved specs", or at least anyone that should be taken seriously - but there's a difference between 'cookie cutter' and 'non-viable'. If you decide to play 61 warlock with 8 in necro instead of 8 in pyro - yes, you're playing a non-ideal spec; however, if you can still be a viable contributor to your raid based on collective expectations, that is fine. For someone in a guild that's 2-3/4 and 1-2/5 or less, I'm sure 61/8necro is a perfectly fine necro spec. On the flip side, if your guild is attempting world first hard mode kills and you're playing a spec that is noticeably less dps, then you are a problem.

    Context is everything.

    Now, with the above established, there's another level that is an outlier to the above: "non-viable" specs. Trion dictates standards for any given encounter and while it is rarely necessary to do so, you can mathematically calculate the exact level of contribution you need players to bring in order to succeed. Generally this is done instead as a 'raid dps' level. I believe, for example, Gelidra takes roughly 140k raid dps to meet the enrage timer, though that number is rather inflated by the swarm of birds and aoe dps used on them. Realistically you need a certain amount (likely in the 130k+ range) of single target dps on gelidra+big birds + elemental. Anyway, point being: if your 'custom spec' can't provide the expected level of single target dps necessary to meet the enrage timer on a fight, then quite simply put - you're the problem. There's a difference between acceptable of 'sub-optimal' and 'non-viable'. You talk about them 'thinking they're equal', but a player who is bringing a non-viable spec to a raid is actually thinking they're more important to the point that other players need to make up the difference.

    Content defines where the line for 'sub-optimal' versus 'non-viable' is. For TotDQ, you can go to rather extreme levels of sub-optimal and still be viable; in 20-man hardmodes, there may be very little wiggle room below 'optimal' before you hit non-viable.

    You mentioning that switching specs may not turn a bad player into a viable one, but often it can be a spec issue - particularly for those using 'custom' specs. If a mage brings a PyroDom pvp spec into pve (which is an actual recent example), his dps is abysmal. We're talking about rarely beating the tanks and chloro for dps. If he switched to a viable spec, his dps would increase substantially. Would he sudden be 1st? Probably not. But he'd certainly be better and capable of being viable.

    Also, your personal example of "I found a spec before anyone and it was better than the version in all the guides" (paraphrasing) shows a rather keen insight into who you are. Chances are high this is simply a lie, particularly the 'mine performed better' aspect. However, even accepting this as a truth - it would mean that you were an extremely self-centered player that upon finding a viable spec decided neither to share it with others in the community (in which case there'd be some date-established evidence of your 'brilliance' ) or that even when others posted guides that you considered sub-optimal to your version, that you still didn't enlighten the community as to your singular insights into the build.

    Remember that Trion sets the benchmark for 'what is required' for completing group and raid content. When you, or any other player, is too inconsiderate or selfish to play a spec capable of meeting that requirement: you can only blame Trion or yourself. The rest of us that are tired of carrying you owe you nothing and the moment that you're kicked from an expert or sat out of raids on progression content because of that factor, you have no one to blame but Trion or yourself. Given the nature of your post, I'm sure you'll blame Trion.

  7. #52
    RIFT Guide Writer Muspel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crovack View Post
    You mentioning that switching specs may not turn a bad player into a viable one, but often it can be a spec issue - particularly for those using 'custom' specs. If a mage brings a PyroDom pvp spec into pve (which is an actual recent example), his dps is abysmal. We're talking about rarely beating the tanks and chloro for dps. If he switched to a viable spec, his dps would increase substantially. Would he sudden be 1st? Probably not. But he'd certainly be better and capable of being viable.
    And it's also worth noting that many people who glue together bad specs don't have the proper rotation, either. When you see someone using 43MM/33NB, it's extremely unlikely that they took the time to test out rotations and come up with the optimal one. More often, they're doing the same thing they did with their talent choices-- using whatever looks good without evaluating its effectiveness.

    In my opinion, the most important part of a guide isn't the talent choices, it's the explanations of which abilities you should use, and when. I see a lot of people who talk about not using cookie cutter builds, or how they can't do good DPS when they don't have good gear, but the simple fact is that debugging your rotation is often the biggest DPS increase you can make.

  8. #53
    Rift Disciple nygn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sumelar View Post
    Hope you enjoy soloing then. Because if you're in my raid, and you still think you can play however you want, you have a rude awakening coming.
    Or I can just play with cool people.

  9. #54
    RIFT Guide Writer Muspel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nygn View Post
    When you pay my 15$ a month then you can tell me how to play my game.
    When you pay the $285 a month for the other 19 people in the group, then you can start expecting them to carry your suboptimal builds.

  10. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crovack View Post
    Actually, it can be argued that they're valuing their own desires over those of 19 others. When you decide that you want to use 'your custom awesome spec', despite the fact that it's been shown to be unreliable for your role in raids, you're putting your own desires ahead of those of everyone else in the raid. This is part of the message that's being attempted to be addressed in this thread, however incoherently at times: there are specs that are and are-not viable. I haven't seen anyone say "play only pre-approved specs", or at least anyone that should be taken seriously - but there's a difference between 'cookie cutter' and 'non-viable'. If you decide to play 61 warlock with 8 in necro instead of 8 in pyro - yes, you're playing a non-ideal spec; however, if you can still be a viable contributor to your raid based on collective expectations, that is fine. For someone in a guild that's 2-3/4 and 1-2/5 or less, I'm sure 61/8necro is a perfectly fine necro spec. On the flip side, if your guild is attempting world first hard mode kills and you're playing a spec that is noticeably less dps, then you are a problem.
    Exactly the point I was trying to make. 61 Warlock with 8 Necro instead of Pyro is a difference, but a minuscule one. Compare that to somebody doing let's say 54 Warlock and then some other things; they would be losing out on a lot and probably don't realize it, and are going off of what tooltips say or thinking of synergy where there isn't any or where it's not taking.
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  11. #56
    Sword of Telara Crovack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nygn View Post
    Or I can just play with cool people.
    This is the kind of response that simply abandons all attempts at reasonableness.

    "Cool" is subjective, but even with that being a worthwhile factor I believe that I can (and for the most part, do) play with people who I both consider "cool" and have objective progression goals in the same area as mine. I establish that we are NOT 'hardcore' - we've yet to kill Regulos and we'll likely be waiting to do hardmodes till either Regulos is on farm and/or there are well established guides on how to do so. Our players range in skill from 'slightly above average' to 'hardcore', and some of our players certainly could be in more-progressed guilds than ours. However, on the whole we have an expected range of skill and performance for our raids and our players, while varying, fall within that range. The fact that most (some more than others) are "cool" and friends can be completely independent of their raid performance.

    All this said, the key for any guide is finding like-minded people. If everyone in your guild wants to run 61champ/61stormcaller/61tactian/61cab as their st dps specs, have at it. If you're all having fun, by all means, enjoy yourselves. The only problem that other players will have is when your decisions have an effect on them; be it the fact that you're in a guild that isn't like-minded in that regard (some players have higher expectations of progression levels), or you're participating in some sort of 'pug' activity, be it raids or experts(/hopefully to-be-released MMs).

    Also, this all stemmed from you wanting to 'try out' specs. While there is nothing at all wrong with wanting to test new ideas and theories in Rift, the majority of builds can be tested within a reasonable degree on dummies. In fact, the PTS is particularly well setup for testing various specs in different situations including gear you can use too and seeing as it's on the PTS, there's no real cost to respecing and testing any number of variety of things.

    However, when you decide to use other people as your testing ground, you're starting to cross a line. They may be fine with it: in fact, if someone asks at the beginning of an expert "mind if I try out a new spec?", I wouldn't mind and I'm willing to assume that neither would most players. This may, in fact, add a level of understanding to sub-optimal performance and give people more patience with you. In addition, they're aware that if the group begins struggling with content due to this sub-optimal, that they should be able to ask you to go back to your normal spec so they can complete the expert. Asking people to be patient with you in order for you to learn is one thing, expecting them to simply accept non-viable performance levels and carry you through the content is very different.

    If you want to boil it down to 'your $15 allows you to play how you want', then don't complain when 'our $15 allows us to vote kick you'.

    Finally, the funny thing is, for the most part people are far more willing to be critical of tank and healer builds, as if your tank and healer don't have the combined power to mitigate incoming damage and non-avoidable effects, you're very clearly aware that they're failing their role. However, when dps are pulling 2k dps in an expert, they suddenly feel that this should be acceptable. The double-standard for having expectations of tanks and healers but not having expectations for damage dealers boggles my mind.

  12. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crovack View Post
    ...
    They are selfish yes, but in no way claiming they are better than another person, which is what holier than thou means. Selfishness is a completely normal human quality. In most cases it's also what drives the votekickers that claim to be thinking of the other party members. How many people do you know in all honesty that would kick a single substandard player from the group but wouldn't ragequit if the entire group was substandard (though still had the potential to complete the content)? If their motivation was truly for the other players rather than themselves, they'd stick with the group in that scenario.

    As for my mentioning my preferred spec I'm not saying I am some sort of god or anything. I'm saying my experimenting worked in such a way that I found a spec that for me worked better than the posted spec. As for why I didn't write a guide myself, I'm not a guide writer. That's not my thing. I barely even visited the forums that much at the time. Anytime someone inquired about my spec I shared it openly though. Others tried it themselves and had less success so went back to some other one.

    My point was not to say how great I am. In fact I figured that other people had probably independently created the spec or similar for themselves without a guide. I was just saying that a blanket statement that people should not think for themselves is flawed as even someone as average as me can come up with good specs with experimentation.

  13. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by wayne62682 View Post
    Exactly the point I was trying to make. 61 Warlock with 8 Necro instead of Pyro is a difference, but a minuscule one. Compare that to somebody doing let's say 54 Warlock and then some other things; they would be losing out on a lot and probably don't realize it, and are going off of what tooltips say or thinking of synergy where there isn't any or where it's not taking.
    The confusion probably comes from you using the word "experiment" then. I agree people shouldn't use recklessly hobbled together specs, but if they don't realize how bad the specs/rotations are then they didn't really do any experimentation.

  14. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by Muspel View Post
    And it's also worth noting that many people who glue together bad specs don't have the proper rotation, either. When you see someone using 43MM/33NB, it's extremely unlikely that they took the time to test out rotations and come up with the optimal one. More often, they're doing the same thing they did with their talent choices-- using whatever looks good without evaluating its effectiveness.

    In my opinion, the most important part of a guide isn't the talent choices, it's the explanations of which abilities you should use, and when. I see a lot of people who talk about not using cookie cutter builds, or how they can't do good DPS when they don't have good gear, but the simple fact is that debugging your rotation is often the biggest DPS increase you can make.
    This is the point I was trying to make. If they are running a horrible spec/rotation then they'd still be doing poorly in a posted spec trying to function with the instructions of what to use when. As good as a guide can be there's still the leap from theory to practice, book learnin to real world experience. You can't just use a guide, you have to experiment to truly understand the nuances.
    Last edited by Shoggoth1890; 03-03-2013 at 01:15 PM.

  15. #60
    Telaran Romulus's Avatar
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    What I think a few people are missing in this discussion is perfect specs and knowing the perfect priority order won't matter if they aren't also executed perfectly. If a spec is too complex for someone to use then they are better off using something else. Generally they will do worse using the "best spec" and not being able to play it.

    If you aren't pushing for world/shard 1st's then you don't need to gimp yourself with something you can't play comfortably. I was a neurotic min/maxer back in my hardcore WoW days. I theory crafted everything possible about Priests. The other priests in my guild copy my spec and drop in the h-meters, it was way above their skill cap. My point behind that was we weren't pushing world firsts, in our hey-day we barely cracked top 500. They didn't need to stress themselves out by playing something they couldn't fully grasp as our progress didn't require perfect execution from everyone.

    If someone is just playing and doesn't require max DPS/HPS just let them play, if you are someone who is neurotic about it don't play with "randoms". It's a lesson I learned several years ago and it lowered my nerd-rage in random groups.

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