Talking about the Intangibles

Monday, May 11, 2009

Question: What makes 2 players with the same gear perform at two different levels? How can we account for a huge discrepancy between two players of similar spec and gear? Why is it possible for some players to excel with the bare minimum gear necessary for an encounter, while other comparatively over-geared players struggle to get by?
The answer: The Intangibles.
INTANGIBLE:
–adjective
1.not tangible; incapable of being perceived by the sense of touch, as incorporeal or immaterial things; impalpable.
2.not definite or clear to the mind: intangible arguments.
3.(of an asset) existing only in connection with something else, as the goodwill of a business.
–noun
4.something intangible, esp. an intangible asset: Intangibles are hard to value.

During the lead up to the NFL draft I spent a lot of time reading prospect stats, scouting reports, and synopses of eligible players. These reports contained information like 40 times, vertical leap, height/weight, etc. They also contained verbage like, "possesses elite speed", "athleticism", and "has the intangibles necessary to perform at the next level". Based off these reports NFL teams have to wade through mountains of prospects to find the players best suited to fill holes in their organizations.

Last night I came face to face with some intangibles. While making another attempt at the Four Horsemen, we were short a few players from our normal raid group. Two guildies (Kuzuki and MPI) volunteered to take their place and the raid got underway. While clearing the trash mobs up to the boss, I noticed a distinct lack of DPS being produced. I decided to check out the two "newbies" and was shocked to see them decked mostly in lower level craftable gear. I voiced my concern to the raid leader, but as the alternative was to call off the attempt, the decision was made to push on.

The first several attempts on the Horsemen were abortive at best. Here, I must admit, I was quick to once again be the nay-sayer. As this was a new fight for all of us we figured, even with little hope of completing the encounter, we could learn the mechanics and a couple more shots at it couldn't hurt. At this point we were still testing out strategies and shuffling groups to try and find a setup that would work.

For the next attempt, both of our noobs (I use the term lovingly, we were all there once) got shuffled to the back 2 horsemen. Here they would be responsible for healing themselves and switching between the two back bosses to shed debuffs that would be put on them during the fight. If at any point either one of them got out of range of the bosses, they would wipe the raid with powerful AoE attacks. This is a very tricky switch with raid wide implications if botched, lots of responsibility for the two rookies.

Now you may be wondering what this has to do with intangibles. The thing is, even though MPI and Kuzuki were way under-geared for the encounter and Naxx as a whole, they did better in the back than our regular raiders were doing previous to them. The reason: situational awareness. They are a husband and wife team, sitting 3 feet from each other, completely aware of what is going on on each others screens. They had no communications lag and made the switch effortlessly every time.

Their success at an event they were not ready for, by all accounts; wowhero's score included, allowed us to get further in the encounter than ever before. We went on to down The Thane twice, and almost kill off The Baron as well. Certainly, visits to a few more Heroics are in order for the dynamic duo, but there can be no question as to whether they are ready for endgame. They have the intangibles.

The lesson I learned last night (besides not standing too close to Corday after we make the switch up front) is that we need to look past the gear and rating scores to the intangibles as well. While some may say WoW is a very gear dependant game, and it is to an extent, it also requires a degree of skill, knowledge about class roles and specs, and the intangibles.

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2 Responses to “Talking about the Intangibles”
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Richard Yu said...

Well put Svenn! I also notice that Kuz and MPI pvp a lot, and the faster paced gameplay in BG's also help those guys reaction time in raids, Im sure.

Thing is tho, some of the bosses in raid simply cannot be done without gear, no matter how good the players (Gluth and Patch come to mind).

That just means we need to get our new raiders some loots! Nothing some heroic runs and craftables cant cure.

Hamm

May 12, 2009 at 1:00 AM
Shadowbreeze said...

I'm going to jump in here and say that this isn't the *first* time I've been shocked to find that the "new guys" have really exceeded any expectations I had of them. I can recall at least 3 times right off the top of my head where "it shouldn't have worked", but it did. Sometimes it helps to have a fresh perspective on things. And yes, the "Intangibles" do make a huge difference as well. Unless things are going really, really poorly, I have no reservations allowing the less experienced players to learn the fights. One part of the FIST philosophy is to help other members get geared/experience. And I'm glad we were able to do that!

May 12, 2009 at 8:28 AM

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