A waste of a raid night?

July 15, 2009 at 12:09 pm 11 comments

I hate hard-modes.

No, I love hard-modes!

Okay, let’s just say that I have a love/hate relationship with hard-modes.

I love hard-modes because I love to be challenged, and (with Yogg-Saron calamarified) hard-modes are the only challenges that remain for us in the current tier (unless you count the Summer Attendance boss, which I sort of do.  If filling a 25-man raid in the middle of July awarded loot, I’d have … one sock.  Maybe.)

But at the same time that I love attempting hard-modes, and eventually overcoming them, I hate hate HATE having to make a choice every time we come to a boss who has a hard-mode — which is most of them, even if you only count those that award ilevel 232 loot and ignore those that don’t drop epicer-than-epic epics but are part of the Heroic meta-achievement.

The question itself is simple (“Do we, or don’t we?”), but the answer seldom is.

Two weeks ago, we downed Flame Leviathan with all four towers active.  It took us a good two and a half hours of attempts, during which we jokingly declared that once we’d finally achieved Heroic: Orbi-tuary, we’d never attempt it again.  Our victory was inevitable, and euphoric.  The loot?  Thoroughly anticlimactic.  A Golden Saronite Dragon for me! (which I was absolutely thrilled about! — but since I’m a Restoration shaman, my guild tended to view it as a waste ;.;), and some Abyss Crystals for the bank.

Of course, with Flame Leviathan in pieces and morale practically air born (or at least as high as our resident shadow priest), the raid’s attitude towards the encounter started to change.  “That wasn’t so bad, after all…”  “It was actually kind of easy, once we got the hang of it.  I bet we could do it again…”  “Ooo, have you seen the hard-mode neck?  WTB!”

The very next week, when we opted to forgo the hard-mode in favor of a quick two-towers kill, half of the raid was overjoyed … and half of the raid was disappointed.  No one complained, exactly, but there were quite a few players who quietly rued the missed opportunity.

Last night, we decided to try for four-towers again.  We’d recruited liberally and had a full raid for the first time in weeks — including several new players who were eager to experience all of the Ulduar hard-modes (including those, like Flame Leviathan +4, that the guild had already defeated).

And although I didn’t mention this to anyone in /officer chat, I personally thought that reprising our previous achievement would be symbolic of our new beginning.

In hindsight?  I sure as hellfire hope not.

We wiped.




If it had been a simple matter of “Okay, we aren’t on top of our game…” or “We have some new players who aren’t quite up to it yet…”, then it would have been easy to call the hard-mode attempts after the first hour or so.

But we were actually making progress! Each attempt brought us closer and closer to the achievement.  We suffered from some exceptionally bad luck, a series of untimely disconnects, several occurrences of the same annoying glitch (Flame Leviathan would continue to move, but his model would stand still — and then magically “warp” across the screen) and a heartbreaking 1% wipe.

Each and every time we charged back into battle, we were convinced that “we so have this fight!”

And until the last half hour, we were having fun, in spite of the wipes.  We were laughing on Vent — joking, teasing each other, discussing strategies and tweaking our line-up.  Energy was high.  Everyone seemed invested in the fight, even those who didn’t need loot and quietly (or not-so quietly) protested that we could be using the time to work on new hard-modes and achievements instead.

Then, about thirty minutes before end-time, when it suddenly seemed possible that we might not manage to eke out a victory after all … morale tanked.  But we were I was stubborn, and invested in our progress (no one wanted to admit that the last two and half hours had been a waste!), so we pushed on.

Flame Leviathan: 1.

Us: … 0.

I was more than a little crushed at the end of the night, when we zoned out of an instance we weren’t even saved to.  I felt like I had wasted the best line-up we had had in weeks on a fight that didn’t even utilize our line-up!  Everyone was pretty down about it, and two of my veterans made a point of reminding me in /w’s that it was my fault we spent the night wiping on “old” content when there were new hard-modes to work on (and therefore progression to be had).

Yes, it was a bad call.  In hindsight, we should have scaled back to FL +2 after the first hour and moved on.

But it didn’t feel like a bad call at the time — we were so very close!, and I can’t help but think that if we had managed to defeat Flame Leviathan, then it wouldn’t have been a “bad call” at all.

Tonight (assuming that we have the right raid composition for it), the plan is to knock out FL +2 and power through the early encounters.   I hate feeling like Flame Leviathan defeated us, but with only two raid days to clear the entire instance, we really can’t afford to give him any more time this week.



Entry filed under: WoW. Tags: , , .

Exploit or creative use of game mechanics? Divine Hammer of the Righteous Guardian … blah.

11 Comments Add your own

  • 1. B Rab  |  July 15, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    Been there before, we wasted 2 hours one night on that bastard after having done it before — when it all goes downhill though we always just run over to the east and blow up hodir’s tower quick, and it’s just as east as +2. Apparently, he is also a Runed Orb pinata when we do this cause we got 3 each time the last 3 times we did FL+3

    • 2. Elleiras  |  July 15, 2009 at 12:55 pm

      Maybe we’ll try +3, then. We skipped from +2 to +4, so I’ve never actually experienced +3.

      I think he awards one Runed Orb per tower left active. I’m not 100% sure, but it seems to hold true for us.

  • 3. Andrew  |  July 15, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    Meh – it wasn’t a bad call, nor a waste of time. Anyone can fluke into a boss kill… you need to repeat the feat to show that your guild has it nailed.

    • 4. Elleiras  |  July 15, 2009 at 12:54 pm

      I know you’re right. I remember wiping for hours on Naj’entus, even after we killed him. No one felt “defeated” then; no one cried about “wasted time.”

      I have new theory about barriers to entry, based on the investment principle of psychology. I’ll expand it into a new post — eventually.

  • 5. mike  |  July 15, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    our guild couldn’t even kill yogg on easy mode this past week, despite having done it several times before, and having FL+4, Heartbreaker, and every other (non-hard-mode) boss on farm. We just couldn’t get past phase 1 most of the time, and when we did we had silly mistakes like going insane or dying to death beams in P2.

    But so far this week we 2-shot FL+4, 1-shot Heartbreaker, handily defeated Kologarn and Auriaya, and we even beat a new hard mode, Hodir’s “You could say this cache was rare” !

    Every guild has its low points, but you should always push your raiders on progression fights (if that’s what your guild’s goal is). Don’t let a bad night get you down.

    • 6. Elleiras  |  July 15, 2009 at 1:21 pm

      Grats on Hodir’s hard-mode! It’s reassuring to read about your comeback after a bad week; gives me hope for mine. 🙂

  • 7. Betty  |  July 15, 2009 at 5:04 pm

    1 piece of 232 loot always did feel a bit low when compared to how much harder it is.

    TBH as long as you end up clearing the whole of Ulduar that week it isn’t a waste of a night. Sure it wasn’t progression but if you can’t repeat a kill you can’t really claim much, and a lot of the other hard modes are way harder than FL+4 (imo)

    Are you looking forward to the change in 3.2 with hard modes being a totally separate instance?

  • 8. Crucifer  |  July 15, 2009 at 5:48 pm

    “But we were actually making progress!”

    Progress never equates to failure. Maybe not this day, but someday all the practice will pay off.

    Feel free to ignore me though – I’ve only ever been to Ulduar a few times.

  • 9. Typhoon Andrew  |  July 15, 2009 at 7:36 pm

    We got smashed by FlameL last time we tried a few towers up, but then stomped him into the ground with just +1 last night. I think its a zen thing that you get some nights, and miss others.

    eg. We did 6 bosses last night, which was ok. Last week it took several nights to get just that far, and two weeks ago the team did 8 bosses in one night.

    Love / Hate wow is so true.

  • 10. *vlad*  |  July 16, 2009 at 5:16 am

    The desire to beat it second time around is often lacking, no matter how much you might tell yourself otherwise.

    For me, if I get a hard-mode type achievement – Vashj, 3 Drakes Sarth, 4 towers FT, whatever, I don’t have much desire to do them again, because all I see is a lot of wipes ahead of me, to do something that I’ve already done.
    I don’t care if it was a fluke first time; I did it, and that’s all that matters.
    Going back to do the same thing in the hope I might get some epic with a 10% drop chance in return for 3 hours of wipes? No thanks!

  • 11. Wangari  |  July 20, 2009 at 6:41 am

    This new raid design brings these problems to a guild. I think it’s important to talk it out with your guildmates, and see what they actually want to do. If you push too hard on those who dont care about the Hardmodes, they will just stop doing their best out of frustration. But if you skip them entirely, those that need the gear or the achievement, or just the challenge, will feel like it’s a waste not to try them. It’s a tough choice, unless you got the miracle of all guildies wanting the same thing.

    I do think being able to progress on each attempt though means it’s not a waste of time and it will pay off eventually.

    And man, I hate you for getting that weapon! Rrrrrrrr
    I’m still carrying my spinning meatcutter from Naxx, and a terrible offhand lol.
    But grats, I’ll try not to be so envious.


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