Blows Struck and Blood Drawn: Melee Reviews

“The man who is in the melee knows what blows are being struck and what blood is being drawn.” – Woodrow Wilson

Going into Mists, the officers of Apotheosis met on Mumble to talk about what we felt we could improve on. One of the areas we agreed to focus on was providing feedback to all of our raiders more consistently, positive or negative. We wanted to let them know whether they were meeting expectations as well as highlight areas they could work on.

Since I am the melee lead for Apotheosis, I’m responsible for writing reviews for all of our melee DPS. At the beginning of the expansion, I communicated to each of the melee the criteria they would be reviewed on.

Here is that list:

Preparation – Did you gear up effectively? Did you show signs that you read the posted strats? Did you bring the consumables expected of you to raid, come repaired, etc.?

DPS – Did you do appropriate damage for your spec/assignments? Did you stick to your assignments, within reason?

Mechanics – Did you execute the mechanics of the fight and your role appropriately?

Avoidable damage – Did you avoid damage you should have?

Teamwork – How was your attitude? What did you contribute to raiding that wasn’t covered above?

I’ve found that regardless of what we do in a given raid week, all of the feedback I need to provide can fall into one of those five categories. As raid weeks progress, I take notes for raiders when issues come up that won’t be evident in log dives. For instance, if someone is asking questions that are clearly answered in strats we’ve posted on our forums, or if someone holds us up by going afk without notice, I will mention something to them via whisper and make a note of it for their review later. These notes plus information I get from the other officers forms the subjective part of the review.

Then I do a log dive. What I look for varies by encounter, but there are some constants I look at for every fight:

Damage done
Avoidable damage taken
Raid cooldowns used
Potion use (incl. prepots where reasonable)
Healthstone use and other self-healing
Spec use (willingness to switch specs for a specific fight)
Role played

There are also things I look at specifically by fight. Here’s my list for things I look at for the fights in Terrace of the Endless Spring.

Protectors (Elite):
Corrupted Waters buffs received
Damage from Defiled Ground (void zones)
Damage from Expelled Corruption

Damage done to adds
CC on adds
Interrupts on adds
Max stacks taken
Fears eaten
Healing done on Tsulong (where this makes sense)

Lei Shi:
Damage to protectors
CC on protectors
Damage from Spray

Sha of Fear: (Logs not entirely helpful)
Breaths eaten
Death Blossom damage taken (where logged)
Damage to adds

So that’s a lot of things to look for, especially considering we have ten melee DPS on our roster. In order to make the process as efficient as possible, I gather all the information for all melee DPS in one pass through the logs, and then write each review in turn. That part is pretty straightforward. I sit down with a notepad and make a table, with melee names at the top and things I’m looking for running down the left side, going fight by fight.

Taking Elite Protectors as an example, I’ll look first at the Survivability page for that fight. If anyone died early, I’ll make note of why in the grid. Then I’ll look at the dashboard for the fight and write down the interrupts for each melee player. I’ll make my way through the other items on the list, making note of anything exceptional one way or the other. When I get to things like avoidable damage or damage done, I’ll typically write down High, Medium, or Low for each player.

Once that grid is complete, I’ll go through raiders one by one, writing up their review. I typically go fight by fight, since that’s easier than jumping around, and I typically don’t make note of everything I’ve written down.

So what does the review look like? To demonstrate the final product, I took a look at my performance from a raid a while back and approached it in a similar fashion:



As part of our ongoing effort to keep regular feedback going with our raiders, I took a closer look at your performance in last night’s raid. Here are my notes, fight by fight:

Protectors (Elite):
Your DPS was reasonable for this fight, with room for improvement (80.8% of rank). What can you do to improve here? Your avoidable damage taken was mixed – low from Expelled Corruption, but somewhat high from Defiled Ground. Watch the latter. You picked up only one Purified Buff from the Corrupted Water – getting all of these would give you a boost to your DPS. You had five interrupts; nice work!

Your DPS was strong for this fight. You had decent damage to adds, and your Kidney Shots helped keep them under control. You had one interrupt – watch for more opportunities to interrupt. Your Dread Shadows were usually cleared at 12, but once got up to 16 stacks; try to keep those at 12 max. You ate zero fears.

Lei Shi:
Your damage was strong on Lei Shi. Your damage to protectors was high, and you had three stuns. You took a lot of damage from Spray; do what you can to watch that in the future.

Sha of Fear:
The logs don’t show everything here, but just from what I can see, your overall damage was strong (95.0%), as was your damage to adds. You took a few ticks from Death Blossom you probably could have avoided.

Overall, you did well. Your DPS was strong, you had good cc on appropriate targets, and you used two potions on every fight. Things to focus on next time around: drop stacks, get the Purified buff every time, and watch Spray.

– Tikari

I try to wrap up with a positive note as well as a small set of things to work on for next time. I typically don’t list everything they need to improve upon, since I expect better results if I ask them to focus on a smaller number. For subjective feedback, I usually address that early if it’s negative or at the end if it’s positive.

I used Terrace as an example, because it’s fairly straightforward. There aren’t any encounters where melee have specific roles to fill, unlike for instance, Heroic Will, where I need to take into account what someone has been asked to do in order to write an effective review. Although it’s late in the tier, I’ll add a list here soon with the things I look at for each encounter in the tier. While this is slanted towards melee and our strats (for instance, I don’t mention damage to Corrupted Waters, since our ranged DPS kill those), it would probably be useful for most other raiders or simply to look at your own performance. I’ll start another list for the new Throne of Thunder raid and link it here once that’s underway.

If you want to see how our healers are reviewed, or want to see other types of feedback our guild solicits, check out Jasyla’s latest post over at Cannot Be Tamed, Anatomy of a Raiding Guild: Evaluation.

Your turn: Do you get (or give) reviews in your raid group? What kind of feedback do you find helpful?

About Tikari

I'm a rogue who likes to raid, guilded with Apotheosis on Eldre'Thalas. If you think I may have pumpkin headed you, it was actually @kurnmogh.
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