My last post was a rant, I apologize for that. I didn’t answer the comments. It was a time when I got some extra amount of work in professional, personal and gaming life. I’ve had no time to answer, no time to read other blogs, barely time to read the patch notes of the last patch. Then, when thing slow down a bit, I just could not see the point of answering so late…
The guild is slowly progressing. Four hardmodes done, the easiest. We have a few applicants too, one priest and some ranged dpsers. We grabbed a good ranking despite raiding 10-man. Guilds come and go on the server.
Now is a good time to review the old "what I want for Cataclysm" post.
Expected : a really good raid
I wanted to raid less but with more quality. I think we achieved this. The raid is overall good. Progression is there. People are committed, skilled, competition is there. The team is not exactly what we thought it would be. Some people stopped, some changed their mind and went to another guild with other friends, some people were not committed enough to deserve a spot in the raiding team and were put aside, however disappointing it was.
But the core of the raiders is there. Some people surprised me actually, one especially. When he joined us this summer after nearly one year of break from WoW, he had no clue. I thought he might not understand our goal, our project for a guild. But it was the end of the expansion, nothing was to be done really, and motivation wasn’t there. That guildie just bloomed in Cataclysm. He’s active, skilled, friendly, and I can’t imagine the guild without him now.
This guild we are leading, is a guild of friends, but like we say in our charte, our respect and friendship is earned in raids. We are very unforgiving in raids. We are a hardcore guild, yet we play less than most of the guilds performing at the same level on the server. We are proud and arrogant, because what we ask from ourselves, we expect it from others too and are often disappointed. We hate to fail. We are all like-minded on this : fail is our greatest enemy and we fight it every raid with all our heart.
This makes our raids not the more relaxing parties, but highly efficient anyway. That’s exactly what I wanted a few months ago. That’s an achievement : we have the raid we wanted, we are performing at the level we expected, and all the raiders have the same vision of what progression raiding is. We turned out a nearly perfect application recently because of that : the vision.
Unexpected : 10-man raiding difficulty
OK, that, we didn’t see it coming. For us, 10-man was just a way to not have to carry 15 extra people. Blizzard said the rewards would be the same, the difficulty too. That was not exactly true.
First, gearing the raid. Actually, gear is maybe the same, but gearing a 10-man is longer because the RNG is not as forgiving as in 25-man. In 25-man, the piece you need have more chances to drop and you have more chance that the piece that actually drops will be needed. As an example : the Agility staff on Halfus. We are 2 raiders needing that piece. It’s the only Agility 2-hander on this tier. In two months of killing that boss every week, we saw it once. But we sharded the leather boots countless times. So you might get as much drops per person on a boss in 10 and 25-man, but you don’t actually gear at the same rate. They fixed the ‘you may not get T11-heroic token in 10-man’ in the last patch and that’s more fair. Those are the issues I failed to explain in my last post.
Secondly, the difficulty. Before launch, we hoped that 10-man raiding wouldn’t be like it was in WotLK : easier than 25-man. Actually, there was really a few fights known to be harder in 10-man than 25-man. Sarth3D was one of them, if not the only one. Most other fights were doable, and made easier by the gear you could get easily in 25-man. Most guilds used to go in 10-man first, with their 25-man gear, and then bring the knowledge to the 25-man raid. Only the 10-man strict guilds could say how difficult the content was with 10-man gear.
Except with Sarth3D. The mechanic of the fight made it just much more difficult in 10-man. You needed a death knight tank, you could not afford a third tank contrary to the 25-man, I’m not familiar enough with the fight actually to say more. But it is a good example of what 10-man guilds are facing in Cataclysm. For every hardmode fight.
Important : I’m only talking about hardmodes here, progression. Normal modes can be done with nearly any raid composition as long as the players are awake, there is no real difference between 10 and 25 raids. That’s why both 10 and 25-man guilds progressed at the same pace at the beginning, maybe a little quicker for 10-mans. That’s why Larisa said in my comments it was harder for 25-man guilds at that moment. Normal mode is like that : easiest in 10-man for logistical reasons : easier to set-up, to find raiders, to find puggers. Normal modes are forgiving and you can afford bad apples : we see it every week in our alt raid. Guilds running 25-man will have problems recruiting as long as they don’t do hardmodes.
But when you enter the hardmode race, things go the other way. This week, two 10-man guilds of the server, respectively 3rd and 5th on the server (we are 4th), both stuck at 4/13 HM, decided to run 25-mans together : 10-man encounters are badly tuned. You need raid compositions you cannot afford in a 10-man guild. Blizzard nerfed some encounters in the last weeks, and it was most welcome, as it made the encounter possible. It was not hard, it was impossible to do. Wonder why all the world first were done in 25-man ? Because most 10-man encounters are just not tuned for a 10-man raid. Nerf after nerf, we see they are now feasible, and that gives us hope. Those guild decided it was not worth the effort to do 10-mans. They chose the easy path.
Frustration : or, who thought it was fun to put RNG on that crucial mechanic ?
There is one fight that is as difficult in 10-man than 25-man : Atramedes. Because all you need is a tank, 3 healers, and 6 dpsers. You can have any class (even if having a paladin healer for the tank and a holy priest for the raid is great… Druids and shaman really are the poor ugly little ducks of this tier) as long as your raiders open their eyes. Maybe it’s even a bit harder in 25-man because you have less room. It’s a fun fight, wipes occurs on individual mistakes, someone dying on Atramedes generally have one person to blame : himself, or the one who should have clic that shield a second earlier.
Why is it easier : because no RNG is involved in crucial mechanics. The RNG is there of course, but with surrounding awareness, you can beat it. But there is always an explanation to a death, to a wipe : individual fail, bad positioning, lack of healing. Skilled players will find this encounter fun and easy. We killed him first server, I know why. Bring your A-team, whatever the class, don’t suck, win, don’t get the damn bow because it didn’t drop…
Chimaeron and Maloriak are totally different. There is RNG involved in those encounters that can make the encounter hell on the raiding earth.
On Chimaeron, Feud is a crucial ability. If you have enough time between 2 feuds, your tank has time to reset his stacks of debuff, if not, you’re unlucky and might survive. If it happens a second time in the fight, you wipe because your tank already used his big cooldowns. And you are anyway likely to wipe because you tanks won’t have their cooldowns for the final phase. In 25-man, just bring another tank and it’s fine. In 10-man, we can’t have that extra tank, we lose too much damages. We must use a plate dps to tank between Feuds, our enhancement shaman had to bring his DK alt so we were able to kill him. You also need paladins and priests for the cooldowns, and will need a shaman for the mana tide.
Noticed the lack of druid here, again ? Bring the player not the class ? Are you kidding me ? Our druid healer is awesome, it’s heart breaking to put him on the bench for progression because his class just can’t bring what is needed, even if the player behind it is among the 2 best healers of the guild.
Maloriak is a bit different, but also have it’s RNG silliness. Maybe there is a trick we missed, but we noticed that sometimes he releases aberrations before entering the black phase, sometimes not. We tried to slow dps in case it was related to his HP, but it seems it’s totally random. The thing is : if we can have 3 aberrations during the first black phase, the fight is doable : they are killed with the goo in the aoes, and we will only have 6 aberrations in green phase, our tank will survive and we won’t get diminishing results on the aoes. If not, the tank will take huge damages and will very often die during this phase because we can’t kill the aberrations quickly enough.
To be honest, we think Chimaeron is a waste of time. We are not even pulling him again in hardmode. Our raiding time is precious : we have few raid nights, we want to hold the top 5 of the server ‘against’ the other guilds raiding 5 to 6 times a week, we can’t afford losing time on this stupid boss. It’s not fun. Maloriak is actually fun and you can make him reset if he doesn’t cast the aberrations or have awesome healers and tank able to survive the extra adds, but Chimaeron, there is nothing we can do. Better be trying other fights.
It seems that the other fights, after the tuning they got in the last patches and hotfixes, are now feasible, really hard, but feasible. Chimaeron is just a stupid fight, too bad it’s the among the first ones we tried. We want to do hardmodes after all, not impossible modes.
Rewards : leading friends and holding our rank on the server
I wanted to end this post on a good note.
Our raids are hard. Progression nights are great and tiring, but we make progress. We also have to bring our applicants and the people who were not in the original killing composition for a fight. We use to bring always the same comp, if possible, on a progression fight, which means that some people don’t know the fight as well as others and need practice we not always have time for. That means we often have to chose between doing progression and farming gear on the hard bosses. We have had weeks when Nefarian didn’t die, it’s been two weeks, since our first and only hard Chimaeron kill, that we simply kill him on normal mode to gear people. There are weeks when we don’t put the foot in the Throne of the four Shards, as we call that raid, for lack of time.
Yet, we are 4th on the server, 2nd as a 10-man strict. We claimed the first Atramedes heroic kill. Spirit goes up and down, especially when some raiding night, we spend the evening wiping on stupid. There is no fun in wasting 2:30 hours on Nefarian or heroic Atramedes because of individual repeated fails by the same people. But overall, we have a solid team of raiders.
And that’s the reward for leading friends. Sometimes, it’s not easy to tell a friend he needs to bring up a better game. On another side, you don’t want to disappoint your friends and try your best. And it’s something quite unusual, at least on our server, to see a guild held by that strange bound, fragile bound of friendship. It’s hard to became a part of the team, but once you are one of us, you don’t want to go. For the first time in 2 years of hardcore raiding, I haven’t been looking for another hypothetical guild.
We have a friend guild on Horde side, ex-guildies run it, we share the same TS. They lost a bunch of people to another guild recently. That’s something that won’t happen in our guild at the moment. Our GM joked about that, telling the officer of the Horde guild ‘See, why didn’t you join us in the beginning ? Look our raiders, I yell at them every night, I could piss on them, they stay, I don’t understand why…‘ It’s not true of course, there isn’t real yelling at, it’s more like ‘man, I thought you were better than that‘ with a disappointed tone that makes you want to bury yourself 6 feet under. It makes applicants go very nervous and the old raiders feel the guilt of their failure harder than any shouting from a random stranger. Maybe it’s the accent… (*tease* I know he reads this blog…)
And I already said that for our Herald of the Titans kill, but with each first kill, during each progression night, there aren’t anyone I don’t want to see breathing the same virtual air. We managed to grab good rank and yet raid as a tight group of friend. There have been casualties, some people couldn’t follow the rhythm, the pressure we put on ourselves, and we also know we may not be able to climb more ranks because of our tight schedule, but we try our best.