Raid Diversification
Remember how you were taught to eat certain foods from every food group? You probably learned young that while you may be able to survive off of nothing but peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the rest of your life, it was far from ideal. Health wise, you'd definitely be gimping yourself.

The same principle applies to raids. You could do an entire raid with nothing but Druids, I'm sure. You'd survive, with a bajillion combat rezes. Hell, you'd even be covering the basic 4 food groups of a raid: Healer, Tank, Ranged DPS and Melee DPS. You could go with all pallies as well, though you'd be lacking on the ranged dps.

The point is, you don't necessarily have to have optimum raid synergy or diversification to succeed. Blizzard has really pushed the "bring the player, not the class" mindset since the release of Wrath, though there have been multiple exceptions. None of us healing priests have forgotten the nightmares of trying to Mind Control for the first time on Razuvious. *shudder*

However, the main way that Blizz has worked in this philosophy of raid makeup is by merging various kinds of buffs. They started this in BC, and I really think a big reason for that was the true takeoff of 10 man raiding that was coming in Wrath. Instead of utilizing Shadow Priests as mana batteries, they introduced the Replenishment buff that could be provided by several classes (Frost Mages, Ret Pallies, Survival Hunters, Shadow Priests, Destro Locks - learn it, live it, memorize it!). The tradeoff to opening up that mana return ability to multiple classes? You really needed to have it. Lots of folks didn't like this, as it went away from the BtPNtC attitude.

What do I mean when I say a certain buff is "required"? I use the word loosely. Shadow Priests were definitively required for Instructor Razuvious in 25 man, and that is certainly a different degree of requirement than Replenishment. However, there are certain buffs around which encounters and dungeons were designed. When Ulduar was designed, and when it was first released, it was done around the assumption that parties going in would have a Replenishment buff just as much as a typical tank/healer/dps setup. The same goes for Icecrown.

Blizz recently added Runescroll of Fortitude to the game, as well as Drums of Forgotten Kings and Drums of the Wild, admitting that they consider these buffs as somewhat "required" for raids (and therefore allowing you to have a slightly inferior version of the buffs without the particular class in your group) - i.e. the encounters are designed around the assumption you have that buff. Does that mean that you can't take down a boss without a Stamina, Kings, and Gift of the Wild buff? Not at all - it just means that you will have to work that much harder, or be geared just slightly better than the suggested iLvl.

Putting Diversification into Practice

When I first assembled the roster list for my babyicc10man group, I agonized over the buffs and whom to invite. Trust me, Fulguralis gave me hell for it. At the time, there were only 5 people in my guild, and therefore I had to reach out into my various networks to figure out the best way to fill out my group. I also had to consider the various group makeup requirements of each of the fights that had already been released when we started (I'm looking at you, Deathwhisper).

  • Prot Warrior - Tank
  • Prot Paladin - Tank
  • Disc Priest - Healer
  • Resto Druid - Healer
  • Elemental Shaman - Ranged DPS (designated Third Healer)
  • Arcane Mage - Ranged DPS
  • Affliction Warlock - Ranged DPS
  • BM Hunter - Ranged/Melee DPS (The Hunter may be ranged, but the pet is melee - for BM hunters, their pet is worth quite a bit of dps!)
  • Rogue - Melee DPS -> Later replaced with an Enhancement Shaman - Melee DPS
  • Retribution Paladin - Melee DPS

Since its conception, I had to change the raid night, and in doing so had some roster swaps. Having a second shaman made me cringe a bit, but in actuality, it has worked out marvelously. Besides, nothing wrong with have two sets of totems.

The value of this raid lies not just in the ability of each individual player, though I am insanely proud of them. I've watched the DPSers go from a struggling 4k when we first started, to pushing 7k on Festergut - and I know it's not just gear upgrades. The diversification scheme also helps a lot. They each contribute to one another's abilities. I base my personal gear choices around the assumption that I will have replenishment and blessing of kings. Even Fulguralis finally acquiesced that having a diverse mix of class combos also helps on the gear front (and trust me, he and I have argued about the raid mix question for months, so even a tiny acquiescence is like a gigantic victory for me!).

But it's not just about the individual buffs that each class brings to the table. Having a diverse group that covers every type of damage mechanic means that the same 10 people can go through the entirety of Icecrown Citadel without having to swap people out for certain fights. This was incredibly important to me - I wanted my group to be cohesive and comfortable with one another. If we kept swapping people in and out, we would constantly be battling the challenge of learning how a new player works. I could have simply ignored raid synergy, and brought only the highest DPS possible. I could have chosen only those with the best gear.

I chose not to do either of those things, because I wanted this group to go into ICC from the start, and grow as a group through the entirety of this raid sequence - together. Spending all the extra time and effort into building a solid and diverse mix of classes for the team from the beginning means that I don't have to worry later about whether or not we can take on a certain fight without our makeup - we can. We have multiple forms of rezzing, buffs, crowd control, healing, damage, you name it.

I'm incredibly proud of my group.
11 Responses
  1. Edainne Says:

    Mmm. Diversifying your raid. Remember when that was the be all and end all of BC? It was such an accomplishment that my group did ZA timed runs because we had no other buffs than kings, fort and heroism.

    I really am loving the fact that my 10 man team can be the same core people every week, and it doesn't matter that we're lacking kings or boomkin aura or arcane brilliance. We can just be the group of 10 friends who all want to see the same content together.

    Thanks for putting my sentiments into words <3

  2. Arioch Says:

    Having the same 10 people every week for ICC progression would make my life so much easier.

    Replenishment is the one buff that I can't count on having, and as an arcane mage that really makes life tough. In the long run, I've had to learn more mana management than other mages, but when I DO have replenishment, it's like I don't know what to do with it.

  3. Fealen Says:

    Our Officer raid comp has learned to work well together. It maybe be heavy melee one night and caster the next time we go in cause it grabs from all the officers but we gel well together.

    I've sent the Fort, Kings and Wild buffs but I have yet to see a raid with out a Shaman, even if only for a mobile BL. Just something I've noticed.....hmmmm

  4. Juzaba Says:

    Minor correction: Priests are required for Instructor Razuvious, but Shadow Priests are not. Holy or Disc priests can handle the MCing job easily, especially if they have some hit gear lying around. The only advantage that Shadow Priests have over other priests are that they're more likely to have +hit gear, and they have a +hit talent. But with ~160 +hit, a Holy priest is just as good as their Shadow brethren on the fight.

    Otherwise, omnomnom good article.

  5. @Edainne

    Ah, kings, fort and heroism. The holy trinity of success, amirite?

    I'm such a buff whore. Luckily I have a scribe alt, so I keep a stack of 20 Intellect scrolls on me in case I didn't get a mage in the group!


    Ahhhh I can't stand running without replenishment - especially since I pick my gems, enchants, gear, etc based on the assumption I'll have it. Thats the bonus of putting together the 10 man myself though... I make sure it's there. If it's a warrior assembling the group, they probably don't care >.>


    I'm going to assume that since you said BL instead of Heroism, you're hordie? It's a lot more common alliance side to see a group without a shammy. I'd bet there's a difference between the factions there.


    Doh. Thanks for pointing that out, I'd better go correct that. I should know better, I had to do it as a holy priest!

  6. Wugan Says:

    That looks like a very nicely balanced group. Back in Ulduar my 10 man leader had us stack melee so we could cover all the melee buffs, so I had to try enhancement. With fights like Lady Deathwhisper and Festergut in ICC, you need a nice balance of ranged and melee, which I appreciate.

    And yes, I rarely see a raid group without a shaman Horde side. We loves our Bloodlust. Of course, that's probably because I'm a shaman, so if I see the group, there's a shaman there. :)

  7. Fealen Says:

    Correct Miss. Horde FTW.

    It's something about the Horde. We can have a 10man raid full of classes without standard buffs, but god forbid there isnt a dark blue class colored name plate in my raid frames. I'm not sure if it's the reroll from BC still carried over in the number of them or if people love the "Brghhhhhlll" noise that is produced when you click the button.

    My server: [Trade]: LF Shaman. Need BL.

    "Bring the player not the class" does not apply.

  8. Breevok Says:

    OK I have to ask - what caused the selection of the BM hunter over and MM or SV?

    I understand the concept of the melee aspect of the BM hunter - but it still doesnt compensate for the fact BM is still the weakest of the three specs.

    To quote Rosamonde on EJs "Despite our best hopes for these changes, BM lags behind MM and SV for raid dps, and the gap widens as gear level goes up. It still produces solid damage and has a useful raid buff for groups that are lacking a retribution paladin or mage."

    If you tell me its because your hunter loves BM then I can accept and respect that - but if you are purposely running BM over the other two specs because of the range/melee aspect of the class you are, imho, nerfing yourself and them.

  9. @Breevok

    The BM hunter is one of my guildmembers, and I wanted all my guildmates in the group. She loves being BM, and it works out well with no problems, and she does higher DPS as BM than any other non-BM hunter I might have otherwise chosen anyway, so I never give her beef for her spec selection.

  10. Cassandri Says:

    But but but... see how you carefully chose the specs/classes for your 10 man?

    Isn't that bringing the class, not the player?

    I mean, you haven't said: I'm taking Joe, Bob and Harry and, oh yeah, they all play Arcane Mages.

    I don't know. Half of the arguments for Bring the Player, Not the Class seem to be arguing the opposite to me.

    Sure, you have a bit more choice (4 specs offering Replenishment, one 1), but you're still very carefully selecting the raid composition.

  11. @Cassandri

    Oh no, don't misunderstand me. I'm really not a big advocate of bring the player not the class. I'm way too OCD for that. That's where I get into arguments with other people - I don't care if all three hunters are awesome players, I don't want three hunters in a ten man raid.

    What Blizz HAS done is a lot of buff duplication, so it's certainly a lot more flexible than it used to be. Raid wide buffs are a big component of that too.

    But, that having been said, I still want a diverse raid with a nice healthy mix. I am one of those annoying people who will turn someone down from a raid slot, even if they're a good player, because I don't want another one of that particular class. I get a lot of flack for it, which is probably justified, but I don't care XD

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