Retirement Reasons and Reminiscing Part 1

It’s official. In eleven days, my World of Warcraft account subscription will expire and, for the first time in years, I will not be renewing it. This, I imagine, is not news to anyone who’s read this blog more than a couple of times in the last several months, or listened to Blessing of Frost since, oh, Firelands was nerfed.

I haven’t actually clicked the “cancel” button yet, but the last time I renewed my sub, I used a game time card so that even if I forgot to cancel, they couldn’t bill me again. Once I do hit that button, I plan to use these forthcoming posts to help describe my reasons for leaving the game. (There’s no way 500 characters or something like that would ever even put a dent into my reasons and feelings about the game.)

Anyhow, I’m not out to convince anyone to quit or that the game sucks or anything of the sort. Play or don’t play, that’s your choice and your choice alone. I feel compelled to document my decision and my reasons to better understand it all myself. I also want to blog about it because I’ve become more interested in the decision to game/raid/etc than the actual content of the game and so exploring my own reasons seems like a good place to start.

Reason 1: The Evolution of Raids/Accessibility of Raiding Content

Since I discovered what “raiding” was, back in Vanilla, I have wanted to raid. I wanted to be like that guy from my server, Thack (no, not Theck, Thack) who was in 9/9 Dreadnaught Armor (warrior T3) and who was a Scarab Lord. He would stand around Lagforge Ironforge on his bug mount, in his gear and would basically just look awesome.

I was fascinated by the idea of a team, a real team, of 40 people working together in concert to do stuff. So when I discovered what raiding was, courtesy of my brother who was killing Ragnaros with another guild, I went into research mode. I found out everything I needed to know about attunements and questlines and then I shared that info with my guildies. The old Fated Heroes guild had a significant problem in that people would join the guild, we’d work hard to help them get to 60 and then they’d hop over to a raiding guild on the server. So I approached the GM and asked him if he WANTED to raid. All the officers did, they just didn’t know how to retain the players. That’s where I came in. I helped to educate the players and helped to put into action these plans about raiding. I did attunement runs out the wazoo. I helped recruit people. It was a great team effort just to start raiding ZG, then AQ20 (to an extent) before finally hitting up MC and trying to down Onyxia.

Then, the guild kind of fell apart and we kind of went our own ways for the start of Burning Crusade, only we all regrouped in May and then formed Apotheosis on June 1st, 2007.

Here, I thought, was my chance to raid with some people whose company I really enjoyed and we’d do it better than we ever did back in Fated Heroes. We formed with the goal to kill Illidan. And, eventually, we did.

While we fell apart in Wrath of the Lich King, we reformed for “Apotheosis 2.0″ for Cataclysm and we put the old Apotheosis to shame by doing 7/13 HM in T11, 6/7 HM and Glory of the Firelands raider in T12 and following it up with 8/8 HM in T13 Soul along with Glory of the Dragon Soul Raider. These were unprecedented levels of raiding success for our guild. So many people had grown with the guild and had come back to play with us and it was really amazing to see this mix of old and new together, working as a team and succeeding.

Having said all of that, I play the game to raid. I LOVED learning Lucifron in Molten Core. It was such an epic fight to me back then. I remember this one moment where I realized I was about to die, because I had Impending Doom on me. I had used my healthstone. My health potion was on cooldown. My bandages were on cooldown. In fact, here… Since I knew I was going to die, I took a screenshot of it. This was taken on July 22nd, 2006.

So I did die after that Impending Doom. And yet, that ended up being the winning attempt. Lucifron down! And I got the Tome of Tranquilizing Shot. Then we played with Gehennas a bit (Magmadar with just 1 Tranq Shot? HAH.) and called it a night.

I loved the teamwork we showed in this instance. I loved setting up my hunter rotations for Tranq Shot — there was me, Toga, Kaiu, Sharpbow and a few others over the course of the next few months. We never missed a single rotation. We nailed it. Because we worked together as a team.

Now, you may be wondering, Kurn, don’t you still have to work as a team to defeat raid encounters?

Yes. But only to an extent. Why only to an extent? Well, dear reader, if you wait long enough, Blizzard will nerf the encounters.

In their ongoing goal to make raid content “accessible”, their design choices have changed drastically from what they did in Vanilla to what they do now.

TO ENTER MOLTEN CORE IN VANILLA:

- Attunement quest at Level 55, requiring you to defeat most of the bosses in Blackrock Depths in order to get your core fragment. This often required you actually knowing how to play your class well enough to be part of a successful core attunement run. (Or for you to be carried by friends/guildies/etc. Or summoned by a warlock.)

TO ENTER DRAGON SOUL IN CATACLYSM:

- Ding 85.

It’s not exactly even. And don’t get me started on Onyxia attunement. (Dammit, Maj, I still cannot believe YOU DIED on Jailbreak, dude. ;))

Now, and this is where I think a lot of people misunderstand me, I want to make it clear that I don’t much like jumping through arbitrary hoops, despite my admiration of attunements. I think a lot of things they’ve changed about raiding through the years have been quality of life changes.

In Burning Crusade, they introduced the “1 flask or 1 Guardian elixir and 1 Battle elixir” rule. They also changed food buffs so you could only have one on you at a time.

Lots of people cried “NERF OMG” but I was one of many others who were like “oh thank God, I don’t need to have a flask, plus another 5 elixirs on me.” I mean, look up at that screenshot again — I don’t even have an Elixir of the Mongoose on. (Bad Kurn.)

The change made sense. It allowed the devs to assume everyone would have one flask OR two elixirs and one food buff and they would build the encounters with that in mind and it allowed people who wanted to raid to not, you know, farm for the 20 hours a day they didn’t raid. ;) I was a fan of this. (Less of a fan of them nerfing holy paladins and Illumination, but ANYWAY.)

Later in BC, Blizz lifted the attunement requirements to Serpentshrine Cavern, Tempest Keep, The Battle for Mount Hyjal and Black Temple. While we didn’t do the attunements for SSC and TK in Apotheosis back then, we did do the Hyjal and BT attunements just by virtue of progressing through T5 and we also wanted the shadow resist necks for the Mother fight in BT, so we got just about everyone that attunement.

While I wasn’t, shall we say, thrilled by the change, my guild benefitted from it. So I can’t really complain too much. And we did the “important” attunements anyhow, getting most everyone Hand of A’dal and their BT necks.

One month before Wrath of the Lich King was to be released, Patch 3.0 dropped. With new talents and abilities and such came a 30% nerf to all raid bosses. Unchangeable, couldn’t turn it on or off. If you were raiding, you were dealing with a 30% nerf to everything. More, it was initially undocumented.

This was the first really big nerf that Blizzard implemented.

Again, my guild benefitted from it. We were 4/5 Hyjal and 5/9 BT at that point. We knew we would get Archimonde down without the nerf, but didn’t have the opportunity to prove it. Then again, without the nerf, we probably wouldn’t have gotten through the rest of BT and wouldn’t have achieved our goal of killing Illidan.

I never thought this would become a trend.

The next time we saw huge buffs/nerfs like that was in Icecrown Citadel, with a stacking “buff” to make players more powerful in increments of 5% all the way up to 30%. I first killed Heroic 25-man Sindragosa at the 15% buff and later, repeated 11/12 HM progression on 25-man mode (with another guild) at the 25-30% buff level. It was still difficult, because fights like Heroic Putricide and Heroic Sindragosa were more about coordination than raw power.

I was okay with the buff, for the most part. It got pretty silly by the 30% point, but I told myself it was just because the instance was going to be the last major one (please, who counts Ruby Sanctum? Screw you and your boots, Halion!) of the expansion and it was going to last a while. And it did last a while. It lasted a year. A YEAR.

Then Tier 11 showed up in Cataclysm and, well, chunks of it were really difficult. Apotheosis went 7/13 HM before Firelands came out and we were like “SEEYA” to Blackwing Descent, Bastion of Twilight and Throne of the Four Winds.

They nerfed T11 normal modes when Firelands came out. They did not touch the heroic modes.

I felt that nerfing T11 normals was a bad plan. My guild’s alt run carried me through T11 normals on my hunter post-nerf and it was ridiculous. In a single night, Kurn got Defender of a Shattered World, a title that had taken Madrana several weeks (three months?) to earn.

Still, they hadn’t nerfed the heroics and we weren’t touching T11 content anyhow, so I thought, well, that’s fine. I guess.

And then came the Firelands nerf. This is where I became acutely aware that Blizzard’s ideas on raiding were now significantly different from mine.

What had previously been end-of-expansion nerfs or buffs, what had previously been “last tier of content” stuff, was now hitting my CURRENT normal and heroic raid content.

That’s when it stopped being okay for me.

“We want raids to be more accessible,” Blizzard told us.

Fine, okay, I get it. And then we got LFR. And I thought “hey, there might be a bright side here. ANYONE can see raids through LFR. Now they’ll leave our normals and heroics alone!”

But I was wrong. They continued to nerf the crap out of both normal and heroic Dragon Soul, ultimately reaching a 35% blanket nerf on all encounters.

This was basically my breaking point.

I had started raiding back when it was a pretty punishing hobby. I enjoy many of the quality of life changes we’ve seen since then (don’t get me started on how they’ve now removed cauldrons and made feasts inferior to 300 stat food) and have enjoyed how raiding has absolutely gotten more accessible. However, when I started, people worked and worked to get bosses down. There was nothing on the horizon that was coming soon to help you get over that hump. All you had to work with was your raid team and all you could do was keep bashing your head against the boss, until you suddenly had a breakthrough and got the boss down.

These are the epic moments I remember best. People didn’t rely on just waiting until they became more powerful or the boss became weaker due to some developer tweaks, they worked hard to improve themselves — farming gear, using consumables appropriately, researching their class. Gruul did not just fall over for us one day, he finally died because we realized we needed this thing called “hit rating”. Lady Vashj was over 100 pulls of over 35 different raiders and a variety of strats before we got her down.

That’s the challenge I like, knowing that I am stuck on this boss until I down it, knowing that the boss will behave in exactly the same fashion time and time again until such time as I work out what it is we’re doing wrong.

When Blizzard buffs the players or nerfs the encounters, that changes and it infuriates me. I feel like they’re saying “oh, you aren’t progressing fast enough, so here, let us help” and then they drag that finish line closer to us by about 10 meters. That ruins the kill for me.

Let’s look at when Apotheosis first killed Heroic Ultraxion, shall we?

It was Tuesday, February 28th. We had had a crushing 0% wipe on Heroic Ultraxion on Sunday, the 26th. We had spent pretty much all night on Ultraxion by that point, but because we wanted to clear the rest of the instance that night, we had decided that our last pull on Ultraxion would be around 11pm, leaving us an hour to finish up the rest of the instance on normal. The date is important. Why? Because on Tuesday, February 28th, the 10% nerf to Dragon Soul went into effect. This made a huge impact on our decision for Sunday’s raid. “Well,” we said to ourselves, “if we don’t get it tonight, at least we’ll get it on Tuesday with the nerf.”

That’s my problem. Even though I have serious issues with Blizzard nerfing the instances, I had to take it into account. What was more important to us? To kill Heroic Ultraxion and maybe miss out on Madness loot (which was still a bit new to us) or to ensure a full clear and know, with total certainty, that we would kill Ultraxion on the next reset?

Logistically, it made more sense for our raiders to get new trinkets and weapons from Spine and Madness, so that’s what we did. Had we not had the nerf incoming, I think I would have continued to work on Ultraxion until he died, because that kind of “he will die next reset” certainty wouldn’t have been there.

The very presence of the nerfs altered the way I ran my raid. That isn’t a concession I’m happy to make. I do miss the old days where if you were stuck on a boss, you were stuck on the boss and all you could do was farm previous bosses and improve your own performance to get through it. Now, you just wait for the nerf. Even my raid group did it, although I’m not pleased about it, because it made sense for us at the time.

Of course, not everyone misses those old days of being stuck on a boss for weeks, months at a time. That’s a great segue to my next point. My next post will discuss the disconnect between other people’s thinking and my own as a reason for my deciding to quit.

(As always, please remember there is a comment policy in place. Thanks!)

A Sigh of Resignation

When the expansion was announced at BlizzCon, I wasn’t thrilled. My reaction was something along the lines of: Mists of Pandaria? We’re going to have PANDAS running around? SERIOUSLY?

I decided I could probably deal with that, despite not being thrilled with pandas, to the point where I now no longer say “sad panda”, but rather “sad moose”. However, that, combined with the changing talent trees and abilities and such left me doubtful that I would really enjoy very much at all in Mists of Pandaria.

Still, I said, I would wait to see if things were as bad as I thought they would be, by checking out the Beta. I signed up for the annual pass so I’d get guaranteed Mists of Pandaria Beta access and a free digital copy of Diablo III. People who have noted my overall unhappiness with the announced details of the expansion have asked me if I plan to continue playing.

To them, I have said “right now, the plan is to keep playing and keep raiding, unless something significant changes or Beta is terrible.”

So I have basically told people that my viewpoint was that everything would continue barring huge changes/proof that said changes are terrible in Beta.

And then, on Wednesday evening, Blizzard announced incoming nerfs to Dragon Soul, both normal and heroic.

I sighed. And then I resigned myself to the fact that, unless the Mists of Pandaria Beta absolutely blows my mind in terms of PVE play (especially raiding), this is my last expansion of World of Warcraft where I will be anything more than a casual player.

Let me be very clear — I am dedicated to my guild and our raid group. I will continue to raid, continue to lead the guild, up to when Mists of Pandaria is released. But after that? I’m really not so sure what’s going to happen. Until release, I’ll stick around and continue to be a source of holy paladin knowledge, will still do a podcast with Majik, will still lead Apotheosis and will still raid with Choice on my off-nights. Beyond that, well, I’m not thinking I want to be a part of the upcoming expansion, which is a shift from just twelve hours ago. Earlier today, my thinking was optimistic: “Hey, unless things in Beta really suck, I’ll probably keep playing.” Now, it’s more pessimistic: “Hey, unless things in Beta are really AWESOME, I’m probably going to quit.”

The reason is the ongoing nerfing of current content.

For those of you who are brave, the complete rant is below, but that’s the short answer.

Read the rest of this entry »

Glory of the Firelands Raider Achieved

So my last post detailed how crappy it is to be the one who makes decisions like “who gets their mount first?” and such. Shortly after posting that, we walked into Firelands with 25 people and got 23 people their Glory of the Firelands Raider achievements. (The other two in the group just need Only the Penitent…)

This post will detail how to go about getting those less-common achievements, or at least how we did them. I won’t cover the six heroic boss kills, nor Share the Pain, nor Only the Penitent…

The first tip is that we did all of these achievements on NORMAL MODE. That was a huge help.

Death from Above

Goal

This achievement basically means that, during the Beth’tilac encounter, you don’t kill any Cinderweb Drones while they’re below the web. If you are to kill them at all, you kill them above the web.

How to Get It

1) Send up as many people to the top of the web as you can while still assuring yourself of the ability to kill all Spinners and Spiderlings below. This should include a tank, at least one healer and some DPS.

2) Downstairs DPS should stop DPS on the Cinderweb Drones at 20%. Then ignore them. Their energy will tick down. When it reaches 0%, they will go up to the top of the web and will start to drain energy from Beth’tilac herself. This will have the side-effect that she will cast Smoldering Devastation sooner and, as a result, will transition to Phase 2 (the ground/burn phase) sooner.

3) As soon as a Cinderweb Drone goes up to the top of the web, DPS above should focus on it to kill it.

4) If a Cinderweb Drone comes back downstairs, YOU MUST NOT KILL IT. Off-tank it. If it is low on health, let it consume a Cinderweb Spiderling!

5) Tanks should swap between tanking Beth’tilac and when they get Widow’s Kiss, they should pick up any Cinderweb Drones that remain and then swap back. You will likely have 2 drones — one that has already gone up and one that just recently spawned.

We did this on our first attempt, although it was a little hairy and we needed to feed 1-2 spiderlings to a drone.

We had 1 tank, 2 healers and 7 DPS go up top with 1 tank, 4 healers and 10 DPS stay on the bottom.

Not an Ambi-Turner

Goal

This achievement wants you to defeat Rhyolith without ever turning him left. Don’t be fooled by the “while his armor is intact” crap. That means until he sheds it completely at 25%, not when all armor stacks have worn off. Also, damage to the left foot is acceptable, but as soon as he turns left, you are screwed.

How to Get It

Tikari, one of our melee officers and the one who “drives” Rhyolith, brought this solution to the table:

We will want as much direct damage, and as few DoT’s as possible – zero DoT’s on the left legs. For example, I’ll be going with instant/instant poison.

We will have the following calls:
1. Stop DPS (this means everything).
2. Soft right (~6 DPS or so to execute sweeping turns).
3. Hard right (~10 DPS or so assigned to legs opens up on them to make tight turns).

Zero dps on the legs at the start. I mean, zero. We will let him walk forward, stomp, summon two volcanoes, and light one (hopefully one to his right – if not, we’ll deal). Then we will turn right (likely soft) on my call. I will try to keep a soft right call going to get as many volcanoes early as possible. Then as we get closer, we’ll switch to hard rights and just keep him spinning clockwise as we burn him as quickly as possible to force phase 2.

And that’s pretty much what we did. At about 50% or so, we blew heroism and EVERY DPS in the raid switched to the right leg and we turned him in circles for a little bit until he hit 25%, then we blew him up. Beautiful.

We did this on our second attempt (the first had nowhere near enough DPS to turn him, so we bumped that to 6 from 2). Raid comp here was 2 tanks, 6 healers, 17 DPS. Specifically on the legs: 1 combat rogue, 1 assassination rogue, 1 fury warrior, 2 frost DKs, 1 marks hunter, 1 elemental shaman and 2 arcane mages.

Bucket List

Goal

Drag Shannox all over the freaking map to each of the points required, then kill him.

How to Get It

A really simple, if somewhat long, achievement. (And we did it while someone in the raid was getting their foci from Shannox, too!)

First – clear a LOT of trash. You’ll need the space. Anything on the road from the Path of Corruption all the way to Alysrazor’s room and any wandering patrols.

Essentially, you want to pull him at the Path of Corruption. Pull him up the ramp of it until the achievement UI pane checks off “Path of Corruption”. While this is happening and Shannox is turned around again to go back DOWN the path of Corruption, DPS should open up and absolutely slaughter Rageface, to make the encounter slightly less complicated. This will, of course, cause Shannox to do a bit of extra damage.

Going along the road over towards the entrance, you’ll pass by Beth’tilac’s cliffs. Hug the cliffs and you will eventually get credit for Beth’tilac’s Lair. There’s a great spot just to the right of the ramp leading up to Beth’tilac if you’re having trouble finding a spot.

Then head over towards the entrance of the instance. Just a bit up the ramp from where the portal to Majordomo’s area is will be the border for “Flamebreach” and you just need to cross Shannox past that before spinning him around and moving on.

Next up, head over towards Rhyolith’s ramp. Make sure you’ve done Rhyolith FIRST (or at least his trash!) so that you don’t trigger the gauntlet. You just need to go a little ways up. Again, watch the achievement pane for credit, then turn around and head for Alysrazor’s room.

We had previously killed Alysrazor, so we just fought Shannox in there. We had already killed Rageface, so we killed Riplimb, blew heroism and killed Shannox.

Again, the raid comp was 2 tanks, 6 healers and 17 DPS.

Do a Barrel Roll!

Goal

Essentially, the goal of this is to not take any avoidable environmental damage here. No Brushfire, no Lava Spew, no Fiery Tornadoes and no Incendiary Clouds.

How to Get It

We sent five DPS up in the air, as per usual. This left us with 12 DPS on the ground, 2 tanks and 6 healers.

DPS had the instructions to focus the Initiates as they dropped to essentially blow them up before they got a Brushfire out. Stuns were useful here, since Brushfire is not interruptable. This helped greatly to eliminate the chance of hitting Brushfire, because, well, there were very few Brushfires to be found.

Tanks were given the instructions to eat their plump lava worms almost as soon as they could. On normal mode, you get 2 spawns of 2 worms each. We had the tanks use cooldowns through tantrums until the hatchlings were dead. This helped greatly to eliminate the chance of hitting Lava Spew, because the worms were barely alive long enough to clip someone.

The air team was fantastic in dodging Incendiary Clouds, so make sure whoever you send up is extremely comfortable up there.

Fiery Tornadoes were the sticking point, but we found a specific spot on the ground where tornadoes spawn near. Once we all clumped up on that spot and chased the tornadoes around from then on, it only took us a total of two attempts to get the achievement done.

Here’s the spot. It’s on the southern wall of the room. Here’s the picture — that’s the entance to the left.

 

As noted, the tornadoes will go CLOCKWISE, so you’re in a good spot if you’re just off the purple spot towards the entrance.

The biggest problem here was people “getting lost in the crowd”, so to speak. I nearly clipped a tornado because I lost track of where my own toon was and had drifted right a bit, and someone ended up clipping one, so we called a wipe and tried again. It worked beautifully.

Tips:

- Have the Achievement UI pane open (track the achievement) for Bucket List. It really helps.
- Use Raid Achievement for Do a Barrel Roll. It’s really handy and tells you what portion of the fight was failed and by whom. So if your whole raid team, for example, has gotten through a fight with Alysrazor and not taken Brushfire damage, and you already have that portion of the achievement, you can ignore any Brushfire failures.

Hope that’s helpful to everyone attempting their hand at Glory of the Firelands Raider! The other achievements are either really easy (Share the Pain, Only the Penitent) or depend on your group’s progression through Firelands (need all bosses dead on heroic except for Ragnaros).

Good luck!

Catching up with Kurn

I have been a bad person of late, not responding to (m)any comments of late, for which I sincerely apologize. I’m currently writing this post as a break from working on a project for my Video Games as Literature class. Things should be less hectic as of Wednesday!

That said, I had to talk a bit about Heroic Ragnaros, recruitment, Blessing of Frost, Majik and a couple of other topics.

Heroic Ragnaros

We pulled him once on Thursday night. We got Baleroc down for the first time that night, had a third kill of heroic Majordomo and still had time left in the raid. So we pulled Heroic Ragnaros (and I frapsed our infamous FIRST attempt, too!). We didn’t do too badly, in that we didn’t die instantly. ;) We did die to sons hitting the hammer, though. I think doing the nerfed version of regular Ragnaros for so long meant that we were expecting the sons to melt as they normally do. Hot tip: they don’t die so easily!

We spent Sunday night, our last night of the raid week, working on Heroic Ragnaros. 20 pulls on heroic, then one pull on normal to kill him.

According to WoL, the best pulls lasted four minutes and two seconds, four minutes and three seconds and four minutes and four seconds.

For anyone familiar with the heroic Ragnaros fight, that’s a pretty clear sign that the Molten Elementals and/or Molten Seeds kicked our asses. And you would be correct.

It was pretty clear that at least some of the group hadn’t watched the L2R video I’d linked in the forums and didn’t really understand the concept of all grouping up for Molten Seeds. On the one hand, bad preparation. On the other, at least they understood that grouping up for Molten Seeds is normally a bad thing? (Silver linings, Kurn, silver linings.) Still, we eventually got away from the Molten Seeds with just a couple of deaths, but it’s the Molten Elementals that would then catch up to us and brutally murder us.

Someone had suggested using a moonkin’s Typhoon to knock them back. I was going to respond that it probably wouldn’t work when Hestiah, who was asked to go moonkin for the occasion, answered in raid chat:

For some reason, this had me howling with laughter. I mean, absolutely cracking up. It continued for a couple of minutes, too. Oh, man.

Anyway, so yes, the current sticking point is the Molten Elementals. It didn’t help that we had 2 healers and a tank in their DPS offspecs, either. Of course, we don’t always GET to Phase 2, because sometimes, the sons reach the hammer and KABOOM, we are all dead. We had some AMAZING saves, though! Great work by so many people. (Seriously, a 1/7 split is not a lot of fun, though.)

What now? Well, we’re gonna do another week of heroic farming, I do believe — try out some apps, get some gear, get the heroic Baleroc achievement for people who weren’t in for the first one… and then maybe work a bit more on Ragnaros. Ultimately, we don’t know if we’re going to push him, but I think that we’re just going to run out of time before 4.3 comes out. What we will do is spend two resets and get people their Glory of the Firelands Raider achievements. Heroic Baleroc again will finish off the hard achievements, leaving us with things like Bucket List, Not an Ambi-Turner and the others.

I do worry about Alysrazor’s achievement, though. I can’t do anything about the air team, but I’m thinking I’ll use a sacrificial lamb method to have people mark a couple of SAFE places to stand for the tornadoes. So we’d go through P1 and then, when the tornadoes come out, have people mark the ground with safe marks. So to the left of a right-moving tornado, or to the right of a left-moving tornado. And then wipe it and do it again. Doing the achievements on normal mode will make things a lot easier, like we’ll be able to really lock down the initiates on Alysrazor and kill them before Brushfire comes out. We can hopefully get the hatchlings to eat worms quickly and burn them down and use CDs to go through tantrums so that Lava Spew is out of the equation. Then the tornadoes. And hopefully, the air team will have done a good job of not eating clouds. And then kill her during her first ground phase.

That’s the plan, at any rate.

So after we get the meta achievement… then what?

Well, more heroic farming, but I figure we’ll have, at most, one or two more resets after we finish the achievements. So a couple more nights on heroic Ragnaros or do we kill him on normal and give people some time off to recuperate before 4.3 hits?

To choose to work on Heroic Ragnaros, when Beru’s guild, Monolith, just got him down last night after 388 pulls… well, it kind of seems foolish, doesn’t it? It took them over two months. I’m pretty sure we won’t have two months until the next patch.

But shouldn’t we still go down fighting? That’s what we did in Tier 11 content. We pushed heroic V&T and got them down just five days before 4.2 dropped and we even played with heroic ODS, which we didn’t get down.

The time people put in on the Heroic Ragnaros fight, though, makes it seem as though it’s not an achievable goal unless we don’t go to Dragon Soul right away. And that’s the difference right there. Do we bash our heads on something that is likely not to be achieved? Or do we rest our raid crew and prep for 4.3?

Having said that…

Apotheosis Recruitment

Apotheosis is still recruiting! We’ve had some snazzy apps — an enhancement shaman and shadow priest will be starting their trials with us this week. We have an interesting elemental shaman app and I’ve been going back and forth with a hunter.

We could still use a mythical retribution paladin and any spec of warrior, so if you’re one of those and can attend 75% of raids that take place on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, from 9pm ET until midnight (invites at 8:45!), apply now!

Blessing of Frost

Then, there’s Blessing of Frost! We didn’t record last week because Majik had no power, due to a snowstorm and such. We can’t record today because Majik has actually lost his voice. Last night, during the raid, was hilarious. He honestly couldn’t speak, and took to threatening me in raid chat. (We will ignore the fact that I was probably taunting him about being unable to speak.)

So we’re going to let his voice recover and aim to have a new episode of Blessing of Frost out on Wednesday at some point, maybe Thursday at the latest. (We’re going to try to record on Tuesday.) It’s made all the more hilarious because MAJIK HAS IMPORTANT THINGS TO SAY!!! So, uh, yeah. Tune in this week (probably!) for a new episode of Blessing of Frost. :)

Majik Gets a Crazy Idea

And in case you’re missing your weekly dose of Majik (and who would?), he has decided to set up a blog.

Majik’s Missives is a blog where Majik will talk about his gaming life. Not just WoW, but TF2, League of Legends, reflections on older games, all that kind of stuff. He’s actually a pretty decent writer, so definitely check out his first post. He’s got a couple of others already written up and will be posting them throughout the week.

And on that note, my dear readers, it’s back to my Video Games as Literature project. Have a great Monday. :)

“End” of Expansion Malaise

I’m still here, folks, no worries of my head exploding about pandas and the like. ;)

I’ve been slammed recently with deadlines for my classes at university and with all kinds of guild work, but hope to get back to posting regularly in the next week or so.

In the meantime, I wanted to touch on the malaise and burnout and fatigue I’m seeing of late.

We’re not even done with the second tier of raiding this expansion and I’ve had a few raiders come to me to tell me that they’re stepping down or will be stepping down when 4.3 comes out.

While I can’t say I’m completely surprised, I have to say that it’s a little bit startling that so many people — both in my guild and others — are throwing in the towel.

I’m not sure what’s causing it, in general, although I suspect that there’s more to it than just a reason or two.

I do think, however, that Heroic Ragnaros, or the prospect of him, is causing part of this malaise and fatigue. Every single raider who has aspired to clear heroic modes in Firelands has to have thought to themselves, at one point or another, “MAN, that Heroic Rag fight is completely brutal!”

Reading blogs like Beru’s and Borsk’s, reading tweets from Derevka and Pliers, there’s no way anyone can be delusional enough to think “hey, my guild will be different! We’ll spend a week on him and he’ll fall over!”

In Wrath of the Lich King, we didn’t encounter a heroic-mode boss of the difficulty of Heroic Ragnaros (or even close!) until Heroic Lich King. Heroic Anub’Arak came close, in that a lot of guilds got to 4/5 in TOGC and then “hey, ICC is open! Screw Anub’Arak and his ridiculousness!!!”

That’s not to say that Sarth3D wasn’t challenging (it was) or that Algalon wasn’t rough (again, it was) or that 1 or 0 Light Yogg wasn’t extremely difficult (I understand it was). But to *clear* the instance, the final (even optional) bosses were doable for a progressive raid guild.

But Anub’Arak was a jerk, to put it mildly. A lot of people didn’t get him down until after ICC had come out, as I recall. A lot more people only got to 4/5 and then waved a little white flag and moved on to ICC.

And then, Heroic Lich King was a fight that was even more nightmarish.

Here we are, in Tier 12 content, no idea when 4.3 and T13 will be coming out (my best is ~4 weeks from now) and people are being faced with the prospect of an “impossible” boss. Most guilds spend in excess of 350 wipes on him.

By contrast, a lot of progressive guilds got through to Sinestra (although perhaps heroic Twilight Ascendent Council or heroic Al’Akir eluded them…).

So why is Heroic Ragnaros so hard?

I’m not saying “omg nerf heroic rags!!!” or anything. I’m trying to question the logic of putting such an “impossible” boss into this portion of the content. Obviously, the last boss of the expansion has to be Deathwing, so they couldn’t put a bad-ass Heroic Rag at the very end of content.

I think Blizzard does themselves a disservice by making Heroic Ragnaros such a huge stumbling block. I also think they’re doing themselves a disservice by only having 7 “real” bosses this tier. As a result of so few bosses, I think pretty much all classes have a slot where they can’t upgrade to 391 (holy paladins are stuck with the reputation 378 belt, for example) and the way Firelands is structured leads to bashing our heads on walls as we push forward.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind bashing my head against a heroic boss 3 nights in a row.

I’m starting to realize that other people do and I think that’s contributing to the burnout I’m seeing/hearing about. The kind of people who are willing to bash their heads against Heroic Ragnaros for 350+ pulls are increasingly rare. Once again, I have to point to how easy it was to gain gear in Wrath of the Lich King as a reason for people’s lack of patience. It took me months, months (!) of raiding before I got my first epic on Kurn, back in the day. Nowadays, people hit max-level and can immediately use a ton of epics. I understand the reasoning for it and, as a guild leader, I’m thankful for the ability to gear up quickly for lesser-progressed people, who then expand the recruitment pool, but the sense of entitlement is what I think is causing issues.

I remember the days of spending several resets (with our limited roster and time back in the day) on different bosses. Nowadays, it seems as though if you spend more than one reset on your farm content and a single new boss, it’s not enough. God forbid if you don’t down a new boss every week!

All of this begs the question: “Kurn, you guys are 5/7 HM and you’re working on Heroic Baleroc. What happens after you get him?”

Short answer: Probably doing Glory of the Firelands Raider and working (at least a bit) on Heroic Ragnaros.

Long answer: It really depends on the time allotted us after we hit 6/7 and knock out Glory of the Firelands Raider, but, by golly, if I can SPAWN Heroic Ragnaros, I want to WIPE to Heroic Ragnaros.

It’s not all decided, we’re still chatting about things, but I really have to question what the hell Blizzard was thinking to put in a boss that requires 350+ pulls in the second tier of raid content and I have to question if that’s good for the game and good for the raiding population.

My thinking is no, it’s not good for the game, nor is it good for the raiding population. I think we’ll see more burnout issues come 4.3 after more people have beaten their heads on the Heroic Ragnaros fight.

In other (somewhat related!) news:

Apotheosis of Eldre’Thalas is an Alliance 25-man raiding guild with several spots open at the moment!

We are currently seeking:

- 1-2 hunters (!)
- 1 retribution paladin
- 1 elemental shaman
- 1 enhancement shaman
- 1 warrior (either DPS or tank!)

We raid 3 nights a week, from 9pm ET until midnight. Raiders are expected to be online by 8:45pm for invites and are expected to make 75% of scheduled raids in a given month.

Come throw in an app!

http://www.apotheosis-now.com/main/

x
Keep up to date on Kurn's Guides!
  • Stay up to date on Kurn's Guide series! (Raider Guide is LIVE!)
  • Be notified when a new Sneak Peek is out!
  • Get special discount codes for newsletter subscribers only!
  • Absolutely zero spam -- unsubscribe at any time.