Ranked, Shmanked   4 comments

Have you ever noticed that when your guild uploads your raids to World of Logs (WoL) or WoW Meter Online (WMO) sometimes players will perform in such a fashion that they become “ranked”? I don’t know if everyone takes note or not, but I wanted to spend a few minutes here today discussing those rankings. Partly because they give me the big head and from time to time I need to deflate it by being realistic, but partly because I wanted to attempt to dispel some things about these types of rankings.

As an example for this post, let’s use my logged and ranked parses: http://www.worldoflogs.com/guilds/3918/rankings/players/ (you will need to click the tab for “healers”).

You will see I have been ranked quite a bit dating all the way back to Ulduar when we switched to WoL from WWS. But really, what does that mean?

Not as much as you might think. It means that on some day I performed well enough that my numbers were such that I healed better…or worse, than other druids on a similar encounter. But that is all this ranking tells me. Which, really, is a bit misleading, isn’t it? I think it’s more what these numbers aren’t telling you that is more interesting. Sure, it’s cool to get the big head and feel good about a performance, but I think a lot of the data presented in “rankings” needs to be taken with a grain of salt.

What do I mean?

Well, let’s take that Hard Mode Deathbringer Saurfang kill that I have on there. From just looking at the rankings you know that I healed a certain amount, and that comparative to other druids on the encounter I healed “worse” than 24 of them, and “better” than the rest of them. But what that information isn’t telling you is that we run with only two holy paladins for this fight where a lot of guilds will run with three and that we run 6 healers. My job for the fight is to keep HoTs rolling on all marks and the tanks as well as keep the raid topped off…and that I was the only resto druid in that raid.

I can hear what you are thinking “so what”…but it makes a difference, doesn’t it? I had a lot that I was responsible for healing in this encounter. This in turn afforded me the opportunity to heal a lot, and in the end perhaps more than other druids healing this encounter who had a different raid composition. Who is to say that in the same position and same circumstances someone else in my position wouldn’t perform just as well if not better?

I certainly think raid composition plays a huge role in your performance on any given night.

To illustrate this, let’s take another example: Look on that first page at “Mynn”. She’s ranked for two VoA 10 kills. She is my shaman alt, and quite honestly doesn’t really deserve to be ranked for anything…other than sexiest troll on Llane. So how did I get there? I solo healed the two encounters. However, I am beyond confidant that a more skilled shaman given the same situation would heal me under the table. So while she was determined to have put up impressive numbers for those encounters, what would happen if we limited where she was ranked by being compared only against other shaman who solo healed those two encounters? I guarantee that I would not fall in the top of that list.

I guess what I’m trying to point out here, is that while being ranked is nifty and perhaps it’s healthy to get the big head now and again (as long as it’s popped in short order for you), it isn’t a particularly accurate measure of someone’s talent. It doesn’t take extenuating circumstances into context at all. We run with 6 healers, but a guild that runs with 5 will likely have people who have the potential to put up bigger numbers just because they have more that they have to heal. The opposite goes with guilds that run with 7 healers.

It’s also important to look at what classes are in a raid. Recently I’ve been the only resto druid in a lot of our raids. In a fight that requires a lot of blanketing I have the potential to put up bigger numbers than a raid with two druids (although our holy priest is taking names on some of those fights!). Not only that but not all raids and/or guilds are not going to have the same strengths in their healers. I will venture to bet that if you took a poll off 100 guilds and asked them who they considered their “best” healer, you’d probably have a healthy cross section of the 4 healing classes. Other healers’ strengths and weaknesses will invariably affect your performance on an encounter.

There is also no date filter. So if I were to go back into an encounter in, let’s say, Ulduar in my full ICC gear, I would hope that I am a stronger healer than someone that was decked out in their Ulduar gear facing the same challenges. While it rankings do indicate what date you achieved your “score” it leaves it 100% up to the user to disseminate how to weigh the ranked performance. However, to me it seems a little bit of a fallacy that I can “bump” someone in my gear that is now two levels higher than what the content was meant to be experienced in. A very similar argument could be made about the 10 mans and gear, I think. Sure, I know that there really isn’t any way for sites like WoL to make this distinction, but it seems to invalidate the data slightly I think.

Also note that you are only being ranked amongst those who are utilizing your venue. In my case, I am only being compared amongst other druids who happen to be parsing with WoL. Which, all in all, kinda limits your sample size a fair bit. In essence it makes you a fish in a pond rather than a shark in an ocean.

In the end, it may be fun to look at the numbers, let your brain swell a little bit, but when push comes to shove, at least in my opinion, they don’t mean a whole lot. I like seeing where I fall in the raiding community, but I also know that there are so many moving factors that what is presented to me really isn’t much more than an estimation, at best. It’s like watching a swim meet where you have one team swimming in calm waters and another in a wave pool. How do you judge that? There are clearly different conditions that will have an obvious effect on the performance of the two teams.

What do you think? How much weight do you put on personal rankings such as those listed above? Do you think they are valid? Silly? Stupid?

Posted May 11, 2010 by Beruthiel in Druid Healing, Raiding, The Big Head

4 responses to “Ranked, Shmanked

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  1. I’ve spoken about this a couple of times on my guild forums and on vent, when other healers have bragged about being ranked, because it annoys me.

    Certainly I don’t begrudge them their 15 minutes of fame.. but there’s just so much that can influence those healer rankings – far more than the DPS rankings. I’m happy for them that they get a little bit of an ego boost – but at the same time it makes me feel self conscious because I can’t get up there too. It makes me feel like I’m failing. Why can’t I manage to get ranked?

    As a druid I can pump out some crazy HPS, yes – but I’m also “competing” against guilds who take fewer healers, have different assignments, have DPS that stand in different amounts of fire, have strats that call for healers to “just heal through it”, have different healing assignments and healer mixes…. and so on.

    If I’m in a 25man fight and the RL calls for more DPS and fewer healers to cover everyone, then we’re all going to do higher HPS by default. Or if I’m the only resto druid on Blood Queen or Sindy, I know I’m going to be higher than normal. If we decide to 2-heal 25man Twins “for the lulz”, then our HPS is going to be crazy.

    It’s also important to note that a lot of people don’t get ranked casually, by chance, in passing. They deliberately set out to do it by altering their play style or assignment, and getting their raid leader to assign fewer healers, etc. I’ve run with several healers who informed me they were “going for” top 10, so they were going to do XYZ this fight.

    On current content, and possibly even beyond, I doubt I’ll ever get “ranked”. I can’t compete with a group that 4-heals ICC, when we take 6.

    There’s a finite amount of healing to be done in most fights – it may fluctuate if people stand in badness, but speaking very generally, there’s only so much healing to go around. Dilute it with more healers, or healers whose strengths in that particular encounter can eclipse yours… and there’s little chance of you getting on that list.

    • I definately agree that they don’t really mean that much as far as healers go, there are just too many circumstances that can change output. It’s kinda neat to take a peek at, but you can’t really judge much of anything by them.

      I’ve never really run into anyone that has done things “to be ranked”, but I don’t doubt that they exist. Even on the parse there with my shaman, I only solo healed because the other healer swapped to his tank because we couldn’t find a second tank and I said “I might could do this alone…”.

  2. I find the healer rankings a little silly. None of the healers in my raid were ranked (we run with 5 or 6 for most fights). At first knowing this made me feel a little bad. But the fact is, we do our jobs, no one dies, that’s really all that can be asked for. We could probably reduce the amount of healers we use on a lot of fights, but the healers like to heal, the dps is more than adequate, so there’s not really a reason to.

    In our raid last night, after reading your post, I actually tried to to boost my HPS as high as I could to get ranked (without the raid group being altered in any way). I only ended up getting ranked for one fight, Festergut. Really, it’s not about HPS. In my attempt to get ranked, I was actually playing worse and felt less useful to the raid. It was also kinda boring, since I used less variety of spells than normal.

    • Don’t feel bad at all. The rankings for healers don’t really say much. I have never gone out of my way to be ranked, but a lot is going to depend on who you are healing with.

      And as you said, if everyone is alive at the end, that really is the most important thing!

      The whole point of the post was to show how silly they are, really. I was hesitant to link myself because it made me feel narsisistic, but at the same time wanted to give examples. And I know the circumstances of my raids, and can elaborate on them, I couldn’t do that picking someone I wasn’t familiar with.

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