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Saturday, February 26, 2011


     If you haven’t already you need to see some fantastic new videos that are causing laughter heard from one end of Azeroth to the other.  The WoW=RL themed videos from the team at Raid Ready are a huge hit on youtube with our WoW community.  But these hilarious epic shows are only the tip of the iceberg of what is going on at camp Raid Ready.  (View my submission for their Raid Ready video contest on YouTube Huntard) They’ve got a system being developed that will have raid leaders and GMs happier than a fat kid in a candy store! 
While we as raid members have add ons in game for raids such as DBM, and we have tank spot videos for research, there are still missing areas for raid preparedness when it comes to raid leading.  Raid leaders still have to go through the long process of checking the armory and wow heroes when selecting group members.  While this is a necessary process to ensure the strength and readiness of a team, it’s still an arduous task.  Well there is a light at the end of the tunnel coming soon for GM’s and raid leaders alike from the team at Raid Ready.  They are working on a system that will revolutionize and take the frustration out of the raid creation process. 
     As a raid leader your team counts on you to make sure all the members are ready for the content.  There are so many things to consider such as proper gemming, enchanting, talent build, etc.  It’s a thankless job that we as team members may take for granted.  As a hunter I know my talents inside and out and am confident I’m geared and spec’d properly and that I’ve reforged stats to optimize my performance etc.  But ask me if the warrior tank in my group is doing things correctly and you might as well ask me to disarm a nuclear bomb while I’m at it, I wouldn’t have a clue ‘cause I don’t play that class.  But raid leaders are expected to be a swiss army knife of knowledge when it comes to all classes to ensure team success.  And as I said there’s no streamlined easy way to check up on your crew in a simple easy manner.  I’ve had the pleasure of participating in a skype call with Eric, one of the creators and brains behind their soon to be released project.  I really liked what I heard and I think they’ve got a real winner on their hands.  Here is a brief synopsis of what's in development, quoted from their site:
"Raid Ready is a new way to approach raid planning. Rather than having raid leaders check several different sites repeatedly to determine the readiness of their raid team for the content they want to take on Raid Ready takes the raid as a whole into account. Raid Ready takes the community's best research applies it to the members of your raid in one place and on one page and the best part is you never have to do the math.

Raid Ready is the result of four years of research and development by frustrated raid leaders. The Raid Ready system only uses cumulative player stats and not the individual stats of items. This is especially important given the recent changes which allow players to further customize their characters' stats through gemming, enchanting and reforging. Raid Ready is designed to balance stats against known required values and determine player and raid readiness through careful balancing of stats and stat flexibility. The end result is a simple go / no-go solution, extended data on raid members and a raid report that's designed to provide a raid leader what they need most, situational awareness."
I sent a Q&A over to the guys at the Raid Ready camp and here's what I got so far from Stubby the web designer and developer :

Please introduce yourselves and tell us who is the team behind Raid Ready?
Stubby - The web designer/developer and the guy who came up with the Raid Ready applicatoin.
Eric - The video guy and marketing guy and a large part of the creative force behind Raid Ready.
Seth - The idea incubator.  Seth takes creative ideas and makes them 10 times better.

Obviously you guys play WoW.  How long have you been in the game and what toons do play?
Stubby - Played since launch.  I prefer not to mention my characters since they might color people's opinion of Raid Ready.
Eric - Has maybe hit level 13?  He has a Worgen hunter.

Before we touch the raid planner what's up with the funny videos?
We wanted to market the app in a new way.  We were really trying our best to be endearing and embraceable by the community because when you boil it down we really are just three guys trying to help make WoW a little easier to play.  Being funny comes naturally to us and really seemed to serve the purpose of making us more approachable and human.  We always want to be able to work with the community as well as be in it.

What made you want to build a new way to raid plan?  Are any of you raid leaders?
Stubby - I've been leading raids since BC.  I took a break between vanilla and BC to have a daughter and I lead a rather large guild.  Entry level for raiding in BC is a 10 man raid which complicated raid building.  To avoid accusations of favoritism I did some research on what different classes and roles needed to start raiding and created a spread sheet that would weigh these values against each other.  If someone wanted to dispute my decision I could point to it and give them some direction on what they needed to work on to make themselves ready to raid.  Looking back Karazhan is an extremely easy raid, but I wanted to be able to have something to point at and some way to help my raiders that would be simpler than telling them to research for themselves.  It made my raiders better raiders and made me a more useful raid leader.

So on your Raid Ready site you describe briefly this new system you're planning.  What exactly are we in for?
The simplest way to explain what we're doing is to say that when you research a class and spec you generally get a list of 5 stats that are important to that class.  We take it a step further and find what neighborhood those stats should be in and then measure your raiders stats against those to determine their level of readiness.  No two players are going to play exactly the same so we try to allow for a little variance in stats and do some math to see if that variance is within some level of tolerance.  We take the results of those and measure them against other players in the raid to determine whether your raid as a whole is healthy enough to complete a raid or not.  This doesn't mean that every raid that passes can make it, it's really meant more as a tool to understand what you're going in with and give a raid leader some situational awareness.

Will the Raid Ready system stop at raid planning calculations or do you have plans to build other aspects into your system?
We certainly don't want to stop with our raid planning calculations.  We have a lot of plans we're not talking about just yet.  What we do in the future depends entirely on the success of Raid Ready and the willingness of the community to help us help them.  We want to grow our tool to best support the community.  By no means do I think we have all the answers and, really, the community is what's going to make it work.
Will this be a downloadable program or a web based application?
We're launching a web application that pulls from the armory.  Currently that's our only plan and, like I said before, it really depends on the success of Raid Ready how we proceed after.  We certainly have the expertise to do more, but we want to focus on one platform and make the best service we possibly can before trying to branch out to other platforms.
Is there any pricing decided upon yet?
Nothing is set in stone as of yet.  We won't be able to keep working on Raid Ready without some income for sure, but we've not decided what price that will come in at.  We want to stay reasonable, no more than what you might pay for a small app anywhere else.  We know the community is already paying $15 per month for the game itself so we want to come in at a fraction of that so that it's a very easy thing to make the decision to subscribe to the tool while still allowing us what we need to put the time and resources into making the best tool we can for the WoW community.

     As the project progresses I'll keep you up to date on developments as they become available.  Be sure to check their Raid Ready site and sign up for email notifications and also to be eligible for possible beta testing. You can also follow them on twitter as @RaidReady.

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