Hello! I'm Yevvie and I'm a dedicated Firebrand main for a couple of well-known fight guilds and a driver for Fabled Mythos [Fabl]. I've been working on a variety of tools and guides, introducing people to the NA fight scene and its culture. Together with my husband and friends we're leading a guild with learning as its goal, so if you enjoyed this guide and ever swing by BP, pop in to say hi!
Recording footage is a big part of fighting scene culture, especially among the people and the guilds that always strive to do better. It's an absolutely underrated tool at lower skill levels, and often one that is omitted by smaller or less experienced guilds, despite being - in my personal opinion - the best way to grow, both as an individual and as a community.
Answer to your questions
It's middle of the fight, and suddenly - you're dead. You don't know what happened, you don't know who screwed up. Your driver may think it was your fault, you may blame the support, support may blame bad positioning etc etc. There isn't "one answer" when you're just guessing. But there may be tension, anxiety, especially if it has been happening a lot and no one knows what to do about it, and while stress may be productive at times, it may also evolve into toxicity and pushing the blame onto each other, in some cases leading to the death of your community.
If you record these fights, you most often will get your answer though. Rewatching the scene step by step, being able to pay attention to different factors and behaviors will give you a good idea of what went wrong. You can slow it down and pay extra attention to boons and conditions on you, notice when you got stripped or didn't get your stab at all, you can watch that one squirrelling support drop in the back before you engaged, or maybe it was a ganking soulbeast casually spiking you from behind the frame.
Seeing the problem is great, but the biggest importance is to learn from your mistakes. Carefully reviewing your own footage and seeing what you did gives you a better understanding on how to become more efficient in the future. This also teaches you to better understand your squad's and enemy movements.
While doing it solo is a great way to catch your bad habits and so called brain farts, the most value you're gonna get from these recordings is by giving it to someone more experienced and asking them for commentary and critique.
This is what we call the footage review.
Akin to an artist looking for feedback on their latest artwork, whenever you're striving for greatness you'll have to face critique. This is a crucial part of becoming good at any skill, and being good at a class is indeed a skill, and it has to be worked on to be actively improving.
While you can take advice from random people you've found around, your best option is to find a dedicated mentor - someone who can guide you and evaluate your growth on the regular basis, pointing out your next milestone in becoming good at your class.
This can be done in a couple of ways.
Definitely most popular way of doing footage reviews. You send your footage to a person willing to review you and get into a voice channel or private call on Discord. They share their screen and watch your footage, commenting on what they see and how you can improve later on.
1v1 review focuses on your personal performance and knowledge of the class. You will most often focus on the way you should chain and space out your skills, how to prioritize certain actions, when to weapon swap etc. This will often bring you a list of things that could have been done better, things you could eliminate and stuff you have totally forgot or didn't know about in the first place.
This is also where you're gonna be under the strongest scrutiny. It is not a bad thing per se, but you may feel embarrassed or stressed when criticized. This is absolutely normal, but if it's causing you too much unpleasant feelings, you can read the later section on how to deal with them.
Group footage reviews are a method of supplementing individual lessons with a presentation on how to properly cooperate within a squad. These group lessons will showcase the best footage of your group and focus on teaching how to play together well by chaining skills and CCs between classes, supporting different players in the way best suited for them, and how to move properly as a group.
Some group reviews will be focused on teaching everyone how to respond to callouts and how to properly deal with driver's commands, as well as what to expect on each of these from different players. Knowing who you can rely on and how to tell if they're doing good is part of personal evaluation process as even as a best player you won't be able to showcase your skills if the supports aren't doing their jobs. This helps you learn to communicate efficiently about any roadblocks mid-raid.
Group reviews may be done separately for different roles in the squad. DPS may get their own presentation, which will focus on the damage dealing aspect and how to properly coordinate bombs. Strip classes may be separately informed on how to strip and how to survive while doing it. People will be taught how to act on CC spikes and chase after the enemy. Supports may need their separate review to teach them how to asses the situation and how to respond to it to the best of their abilities. They may be taught how to cooperate by staggering the skills that provide similar boons and how to keep each other (and the group) alive without wasting cooldowns.
While this is much less personal form of review, it may not provide all the answers you need, and it may not help you get a grasp on your class. That's why for the best effects you'd be trying to aim for getting both, but either one is better than none.
There is one big problem with footage reviews and it's the unique way interpersonal relationships work. Being exposed to a person of higher skill often brings anxiety and awkwardness, as it's never truly pleasant to be criticized, even if you know that it's the only way for you to improve.
There are ways in reducing the anxiety and increasing the value of the feedback you're getting. This requires change of mindset and some personal work, but it can be done in relatively short time if you're stubborn enough. Here are some ideas from my own experience and some from the one of my friends:
When in doubt, remind yourself of persistent growth mindset, in which you accept that you're never truly done learning and will never fully master a class. Knowing that things change from patch to patch and guild to guild, you're focusing to be good, but never the best, and this frees you to be less bothered by mistakes and imperfection.
This mindset opens you up to critique, because you can take the feedback and do whatever you want with it. You can prioritize what is the most important to learn for you right now and ignore the things you deem less impactful. With time, you'll gain the confidence to tackle more of the learning and increase your skills, but focusing on small steps over wanting to be "the best [spec] right now" will drastically boost your mental capacity for learning.
friends after all
Other than that, you need to remember that the person on opposite side of the screen is doing it as a friend. They want to mentor you not because they're paid, not because they need you to be better (they could always get a different player), but because they do want to support you. This means being open to their critique is a form of gratitude, and as such prioritizing honesty and kindness can only lead to the better understanding from both of you. Keep in mind that they're offering you something they can't ever get back and that is their time.
Obviously, this may not be the best approach if the person reviewing you seems rude or derogatory. Seeing red flags such as underhanded comments, elitist approach and other toxic behavior should be treated the same way as if encountered IRL - nicely thank them for their time and never come back. While you may have to burn a couple of bridges, you should prioritize and value yourself as a person over any skill you can get in a video game.
Although most reviewers would want to see both your good and bad takes, the reverse psychology tactic comes out mostly with the bad. You can carefully choose your worst performance footage and provide it to the reviewer, deep down knowing that you can do better, but choose what can bring the most hands-on feedback. Having the ability to say "hey, these are my absolutely worst videos from these fights" can make a powerful statement to help you deal with the mediocre "highs", which don't have all your common mistakes painted all over them.
This will give you the longest list of things to work on. From there it's up to you to step by step eliminate the bad habits and introduce the good ones.
It's not you it's vid
The most important thing to remember is that your footage is not equal to you as a person. You may have done absolutely stupid things, but that doesn't make you stupid. Any action - especially when done in lack of knowledge or experience - doesn't equal to your personality, and you should never take the critique of your footage as a personal insult.
Although if it ever happens that the insults get out of hand and become directed at you, it's time to stand up for yourself or look for new mentor.
Unless you're reviewing for a playstyle of a certain driver or guild, you may need to send your footage to more than one person to get the most of it. Some reviewers may have different idea on how to play your class than you'd prefer and it may negatively bias your experience if not taken into account.
But if - similar to me - you get lucky with a mentor who has the exactly same idea of the class as you do, hold them dear and let them know you appreciate them. This will make your experience much more pleasant and will provide a lot more enjoyment out of every learning milestone you hit.
Retaining the information and actually improving is hard, but here are some tips on how to get the most out of your footage review.
High School Experience
While listening to your footage review, especially when it's long, making notes can help you focus and retain information. Take a piece of paper, open a notepad document or even record the whole session to review later on. I found that having a tidy list of things I can improve on laying on my desk between the raids helps me remember what I was supposed to do better and improves the quality of footage from week to week.
Step by step
Once you have a list, aim to deliberately cross one thing off of it each raid. Even if it means you temporarily sacrifice learning another thing, just focus on that one completely and commit it to memory, so it can develop into habit with time.
persistence is the key
Once again, being a skill, getting good at class requires a certain degree of persistence. If you play only once per couple weeks, you may need to give up on dream of being amazing player, and should only strive to become good enough for casual play.
While you can revive your skills after a longer break, if you never have time to dedicate time for focused learning, you will be always bouncing up and down with your skill level. Aim for getting reviewed at least every couple of raids and make it into a healthy habit. This will help you both in game and out of it, as being used to constant evaluation will make you better at any job.
Thanks to Ebs for providing additional information on this topic and to MaglockE for the extra pleasant experience during footage reviews. ♥