Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Progression comes in many flavors

Progression. Raid Progression. Normally used to describe a guild or team beating a new boss for the first time, the concept can manifest itself in a variety of ways.

Over at Musings of a Survival Hunter, ChainTrap writes about his guild's progression level, and the excitement that comes with each new boss kill.

My team is right about at the same progression into Karazhan that CT's is, with their team being perhaps a month ahead of us (they've got Shade of Aran down reliably, and have taken down the Prince, we're just knocking on Aran's door), and I totally share that excited vibe with each bit of progress.

Each time we face a new boss, the team is totally filled with buzz and energy. When we take a boss down a few notches further towards death before a wipe, that energy remains. When we kill the boss, its a huge rush. Even the early bosses who are getting easier and easier with technique and gear are still enough to get a rise out of the team.

Then you've got some of the different forms of progression.

Start with some simple ones. I run WWS reports for each raid night. We've steadily watched our combined team DPS go from around 1950 to 2700. That's a pretty tangible tidbit, coming from a variety of factors: awareness of hit and spell hit, spec changes, shot/attack/spell rotation changes, and gear improvements.

Sunday night, while clearing our way to the Chess Event for our second time ever, one of the healers called out excitedly that they've healed through 2,000,000 HP on the night, which was greeted with cheers. Now that's not progression in the traditional sense, but it still was a nice moment, and things like that keep the morale going.

Earlier in the week, we killed The Crone. Sure, the Wizard of Oz event isn't too tough, but being so new to it, we're still getting a hang of the strategy. Short on off-tank capable players, we had to adjust and found out that a Hunter's pet is a perfectly viable tank on Tito. This gives us much greater flexibility on class composition and will make filling in absent slots much less stressful. I view this as progression in raid versatility.

Another example...wednesday night we cleared out Attumen, Moroes, Opera (Crone), and Curator. This is progress as our first ever "first night Curator kill", showing us that we can indeed plow through more and more trash as we make progress on our speed clearing and organization of bio breaks and just general familiarity with the place.

But, we didn't have our Holy Paladin on wednesday, so we chose to skip Maiden. Our only strategy so far has been to use Blessing of Sacrifice to keep the pally alive and healing the main tank through the Repentences.

Walking into the raid Sunday night, Maiden was still standing. Scheduled kick-off time is getting pretty close and Holy Pally isn't on. We decide to fill the slot with a DPS'er (another Hunter who just respec'ed BM, w00t).

Raid wanted to skip Maiden, as they're still fearful of our earliest days in Kara where Maiden was slapping us silly, until we worked out the BoS strat.

Bah, Amava's got this grand vision of "raid versatility" and so I try to pep talk everyone into giving it a shot. Biggest key will be to have heavily proactive Renews up on the MT from both priests, and also good communication between one healer and the MT so he can kite Maiden over and wake the healer up quickly during the Repentences.

Took a little convincing but the team saw the idea and wanted to give it a go.

Bam, one shot. Sure, several of us were dead at the end because the priests were working so hard at keeping the MT alive through the sleeps that the Holy Fires were slower to dispel, AND the MT did eventually die anyway. But the team stuck together, and the off-tank was #2 on the threat list, and some other DPS'ers stepped in when two of the top three damage dealers were dead.

Brand new strategy, pushing us out of our comfort zone. Showing the team that we can do it with a different class composition than we thought we could.

To me, that's nearly as good progression as killing a new boss.

Well, ask me how I feel about that on tuesday morning, as we're scheduled to go dance with Aran monday night.

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