To Drink or not to Drink - When to start with consumeables
I have not found a similar topic yet. Most likely because for most of you the answer is obvious. However in our guild a minor discussion is currently going on, and I would like to hear your takes on the subject.
The question is: When, while working on a new boss, does/did your guild start using consumeables?
In our guild there are currently two positions (since we are currently working on Vashij Phase 2 - with the striders being our main problem - I use this as an example) :
The early-drinkers say, as soon as the basic principles of what everyone is supposed to do are clear we should use flasks to maximize our chances in any given attempt. In the current situation the 5-7% buff from DPS consumeables will allow us sooner to get to the point where we kill one strider before the next one spawns.
The late-drinkers say, we should wait with consumeables until all coordination issues are worked out. Only once we manage (or almost manage) to kill one strider before the next one spawns should we start using consumeables, to add a margin of error to a now working strategy. Using consumeables earlier will only cover flaws in our strategy.
I know this is mostly focussed on DPS consumeables. For mana potions and tank consumeables the point where you start using them is probably a lot earlier than for all others.
Use flasks as you learn, then full consumeables when you have it on farm. Flaska really are cheap now days and a good solution to this problem.
One thing I hate is to be using expensive consumeables, while others slack and don't use a damn thing. At leasts flasks are not so expensive anymore and they provide a smaller, albeit nice, boost. Don't forget your marks of illidari also!
There is light at the end of the tunnel.
The only problem is, it's often an incoming train.
Depending on how often you raid, I would consider 100% flask time appropriate. We raid 4 hrs a night, I usually flask at first boss pull (20-30 minutes into the night) and that way if we raid later than intended my second flask is still up.
Really I am at the point where I spend more on repairs than flasks anyways, why not have 100% uptime?
Usually when learning a boss, we do a couple attempts with zero consumables just to get our feet wet (with the exception of Hyjal), and then we put on full consumables. There are a lot of fights where using consumables gives you just enough extra dps to push you on to see the next phase of the fight. Also using a flask early on for healers may save them more consumables in the long run (ie mana pots).
In any fight where dps affects your survivability, I think drinking the whole time is easily justifiable. The thought being the same as flasking up the tank almost from the very start: it might let you see more of the fight earlier even if it isn't the difference between winning and losing on a given attempt. On the other hand, for mostly homogenous fights without adds I could see being a bit more reluctant to pot up.
I think that in the end everyone being on the same page is much much more important than the actual decision you reach though. People getting pissed off that they're spending a lot of money on learning while others "slack" is potentially a lot more detrimental than the actual loss of stats from said people not using consumables.
i generaly always pop a flask on all unkilled / newlykilled bosses, if its a boss where we dont struggle with dps at all i dont realy use that many consumables except maybe 40ap food as i get tons sent by guildies regardless, 120ap flask is better than 35ag20cr and then 16mp5 or 30int/spi in most cases, and alot cheaper, no only does it last twice as long but it persist through death, maybe you wont die on the boss where you pop it, but then maybe on the trash towards the next one, flasks realy do have alot of advantages.
If you're learning a boss with quite an obvious "dps check" mechanic (such as Vashj, Kael, Al'ar, or whatever) then learn the basic principles of the fight and make sure people know what they're doing (which should take an hour if you've read up on everything before, but maybe 2-3 if you have no clue when entering the fight/have people who are slow to pick up on things that have been blatantly pointed out) and then flask/pot. Flasking or potting makes people concentrate more because there's something at stake other than just repairs, and it means people have a focused window of opportunity (say that you normally raid 5 hours, but you spend 2 on pre-flasking then flask - say you'll finish the raid when flasks tick off rather than pushing for another hour/wasting one hour of flask time).
The obvious benefits are straight up more dps/healing output/tanking stuff. The less obvious benefits are the focus/etc that people seem to have while using them.
I agree with what dukes says, on a fight like vashj where there is a reasonable amount going on, you run unpotted while people get the general idea of what's going on - to flask up when you've still no idea what to do with the cores, or you're failing to keep striders kited properly is pointless and will inevitably annoy people if you flask the whole raid and you're still faced by the same problems you had unpotted. Once you've got the whole raid with a general idea of whats happening and have made reasonable progress, say 2 shields down on vashj and you're starting to be overrun by striders/nagas/elementals through lack of dps, would be the time to start potting.
Consumables are good if you're lacking dps or whatever, but they wont make a bad person play like a rockstar.
As a tank, I often flask when we have no idea what we are doing other than what we have learned from websites etc. If I read a boss can put out some crazy burst damage (shaman on Karathress for example), then I flask from the start.
For fights like Vashj, it is of course very beneficial to do dry runs until you have the basics of the fight down and literally just need thta little extra DPs boost to win.
There is light at the end of the tunnel.
The only problem is, it's often an incoming train.
I don't tend to flask if I know it's 100% unnecessary, but on fights we've only done once or twice I feel flasking makes it much easier. If you factor in how long you'll end up being in the instance and the very low prices of flasks, it's overall far more beneficial to your DPS and the raid if you flask for encounters where the extra DPS may be needed or used to cushion an enrage timer.
It really depends. On some fights like Kael we had a lot of wipes in phases 1-3 so I waited each evening till we got to p4 and then chugged my flask.
On the other hand on hard hitting bosses I tend to use a lot of stuff in order to ensure clean kills. I still chugg my ironshields on Tidewalker and even some on Karathresh. Its pretty tankspecific obviously but its almost ironic that I sometimes I can go with zero consumables whereas the rest of the raid is fully flasked since having 500 HP less won't have any impact on the fight.
To the OP definitely flask your raid in order to get more breathing space. Having your whole DPS crew flasked is a difference like night and day compared to an unflasked raid (that might not even use bufffood).
I think even for fights where you have to check various variables it is sometimes very helpfull to have your dps at least fully flasked up since you often won't be able to progress without enough raid DPS (or won't be able to distribute your DPS in such a way that all bases are covered).
I find it hard to motivate the use of elixirs these days. Since the flasks are so cheap and lasts so long... We do 3 hour raids on weekdays and 4 hours on sundays. I usually try to wait till we reach the first boss on weekdays and pretty much flask as soon as I enter on sundays, having a second falsk with me when the first expire.
Now I just need to learn not to cancel SoR when someone in my party with an aura comes close since it usually leads to me cancelling my flask by mistake.
As a paladin healer I havent felt limited by my mana so I have not been using resto flasks as much. When we were learning bosses I used flasks exclusively because you die all the time. But now that everything can be 1 shot more or less, I perfer the stats from Healing Elixir/Major Mageblood over a resto flask.
I wouldnt use elixirs if I was not a herbalist though, buying them all the time would suck. On tougher bosses I try not use them until after about 15-20 seconds into the fight. Too many times I've seen things fall apart within the first 30 seconds. Though last night we were having an exceptionally rough time on Archimonde and I ran out of elixirs (only brought 5 pairs) so I flasked heh.
My raid group typically flasks for everything, with the exception of tanks on certain fights.
A couple elixir spec'd alchemists really bring the cost down to almost nominal... I think I just spent about 150g in mats the other day, but I came out with 4 stacks of flasks of relentless assault. That's 40 hours of raiding, and will last me a good 10 raids.