Monday, September 17, 2007

It's not what you do, it's why you do it.

This is a quasi-response to Galo's post, quoting Vanifae. I'll be honest, I'm not overly fond of Vanifae. While I certainly will admit that he's usually right, how he answers people's questions, in most cases, really bugs me. He gives very short, abrupt answers. Technically he's usually right in his answers, but he's not that helpful.

There's an old adage: "Give a man a fish, feed him for day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime." Vanifae gives people fishes. A lot of his answers are minimalistic and only give them the direct answer to the question they are asking.

What I think we should be doing is not only explaining what, but the actual whys behind it. Understanding the whys is what really separates the good players from the bad. It allows people to make decisions about what abilities to use on the fly, and makes people more flexible.

An example of this could be gear. There are a bunch of lists of good pre-Karazhan tanking gear. You can even find one here on my blog. And while that list is certainly good (over 11,000 health, uncrushability, and over 250 spell damage), what happens when you start hitting up Karazhan and get certain gear pieces.

While most of the direct upgrades from blues to their purple Karazhan counterparts are actually upgrades, what about if you already have a purple and are moving to another purple.Two examples that come to mind are moving from Iron Gauntlets of the Maiden to the Paladin T4 Gauntlets and going from the Boots of Elusion to Battlescar Boots. The Paladin T4 gloves are a huge step down in the avoidance department, and if you aren't careful they could easily push you into crushability range. As for the boots, I got the Boots of Elusion early on (very lucky on that mark) and while the Battlescar Boots are one of the last pieces of tanking gear you can get in Karazhan (assuming you do it in normal order after Curator and don't jump straight to the Chess Event like we did. *cough*) they are a huge step down, almost a full percent lower dodge chance, not to mention, generally speaking, lower stamina (can be gemmed higher but then lacking in other areas).

By understanding what value a piece of gear gives instead of "Hey, this is what you should get." you can better understand what's actually an upgrade. You don't need to go searching for information on whether item X will be worse than item Y with all your current gear. You can figure it out pretty quickly off the top of your head.

The same applies more generally to everything you do. It's one thing to know what spell cycle you should do. But if you know why you should do it in a certain order, if you need to change it, you know what to change and you can weigh the options yourself.

This is why I spend so much time thinking and digging for details and theorycrafting. If I know the why, I can figure out the best what on my own, and make myself the best player I can be.


Galoheart said...

I agree. Teaching someone what to do OR Helping someone understand What to do and Why will always be more easily understandable and valued in the long run.

Much better than been told, get this specific gear or do this specific thing or cycle for spells for example if someone asks something. At least they get a better understanding of what to do and why.

Vanifae does post some direct answers on the Maintankadin forum, maybe it helps some people in a Q&A maybe others it dosen't directly answers their question as much. For the most i like to understand How or Why i need to do something to understand it. Yet sometimes a direct answer is as simple as that for simplicity. How do you get good at Tanking....Practice. As simple as it needs to be i guess was the answer he gave. But some people would read that quite different in the Quote.

Kaziel said...

While yes, that is the technically correct answer, it doesn't really help.

"Go out and practice."

"Practice doing what?"

Without details, and just going out and practicing the only thing your sure to learn is what doesn't work. If you do something that doesn't work, then try it again, and it doesn't work, you quickly learn "Hey... that doesn't work." On the other hand while you will learn some things that do work, the things you do find to work may not necessarily be the best options or approaches. I can guarantee that the common knowledge that we all use in our day-to-day lives as Paladin tanks by just one person, but by the collective mind of Paladin tanks each doing a little bit of testing and practice and reporting what they find.