Thursday, May 28, 2009

More Insight on the Missing Rush

I've been doing lots of mental exploration lately about WoW and Raiding, and most specifically the missing rush of adrenaline that comes with progression kills.

The last BIG BIG Rush was Sarth+3, many many months ago.

Before that was a BIG Rush with Malygos.

And before that was a Rush when KT died in Naxx.

And then Ulduar was released. Fresh new content to push through. Should be pretty exciting, yes?

Well, it is exciting, but as I've shared in some other posts, it feels like its missing something. Many of the progression kills, even ones that required numerous wipes to master, just sort of happen and then you go loot the boss without so much as an elevated pulse.

There has been some good ones.

Our first Flame Leviathan kill, shortly after the servers came up on patch-day. I'd call that one pretty thrilling, in large part due to beating out the lag before all the majority of the server started raiding and crashing the instances rather than the epic feel of the event.

Mimiron was definitely a satisfying kill. Even the second kill evoked some dancing and fist-pumping celebration.

But what about all the others?

My most notable example: XT took us a few nights of learning attempts. Our progression kill was before they nerfed/relaxed his enrage timer, plus we weren't using the "bring him to one side, thus eliminating two of the four streams of incoming adds" strategy yet, so it was very challenging to master all the environmental factors plus keeping up with is enrage timer. No rush though, just loot like it was a farm raid.

And all the other progression kills? Similar. Wipe, learn, kill, put on Chef's Hat, take screen shot, loot, move on to next trash, notice you're still wearing the Chef's Hat, switch to DPS helm, prep for next boss. No rush.

So what is it?

I'm happy with our rate of progress on default-difficulty boss kills.

We're currently working on Yogg-Saron, having a pretty good handle on Phase 1 and had many good learning attempts on Phase 2.

We'll be onto Phase 3 and its insane DPS requirements soon enough, completing the full-clear of default difficulty.

Then it comes time for Hard Modes.

Which I think is the kicker. The thorn in the side of the adrenaline rush.

Yes, we killed the bosses. But did we really kill them?

Sure, our raiders are wearing the loot that only comes from a dead boss, so surely we killed them.

But it feels empty. I personally could care less about the loot. It is a necessary evil required for progress, but I'm here to bask in the glow of mastering the execution of complex encounters. I can mentally view each piece of gear our raid upgrades as one baby step towards being able to handle hard modes, but that only keeps the motivation for just so long.

Its tough to enjoy it if you know that when you come back for Hard Mode the fight that you just thought was a challenge will feel like a walk in the park.

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

I'm happy with how Blizzard designed the dungeon. Algalon, the real final boss is only available after killing all the Hard Modes of the other bosses.

Its unclear to me whether that is during the same raid ID, or if you just need to have the achievements of each of the other hard modes to activate him.

Doesn't matter.

What matters is that they've provided ample motivation for guilds to keep pushing Hard Modes until they're mastered.

Sure we killed Sarth+3D. Several times. But we definitely never got that on farm status, and after a few kills, most people lost motivation to keep wiping for "just a vanity mount".

So we gave up before I'd say we mastered the encounter.

I hope that the alure of Algalon keeps the guild driving to complete the Hard Modes and then continue to improve until they're on farm status.

We may never achieve that goal.

It may be too hard for the caliber raiders we have including myself, it may be too hard for the caliber leaders we have, it may be too hard for the number of hours we raid per week, it may require decisions of raid composition and bench warming that are too hard for our team to make.

But being on the path towards excellence, dying trying to make it happen, never giving up (until the next dungeon in the rat race is released), means way more to me than farming some loot off of default difficulty knowing something greater is out there.


Abe_Froman said...

I've noticed this too, and I think you're totally right. I'd like to add my thoughts on why we've been so subdued during boss kills. Here's what I've come up with.

1) "It's not a big deal." Killing Deconstructor was nice, but he wasn't the last boss in the instance, and we weren't even killing the toughest version of him, so there is a sense of "Well, it wasn't THAT big of a deal" that sets in. I also think that for some guild members, the coming down feeling of "We got the kill, that's a relief" often trumps the exhilaration of a "OMFG, we got him! Ya baby!" moment.

2) "We didn't have to try that hard." We usually don't have to practice all that much to get down any boss for the first time. Before Mimiron, we only had to try a handful of attempts (and sometimes 0 attempts) before downing a boss for the first time. So the excitement is somewhat muted because there isn't the sense of real accomplishment that comes when you down a boss after seeing him wipe your guild 20-30 times over a course of several weeks. Even our Vezax kill came on only our 3rd or 4th attempt, and he's the second-to-last boss in the instance!

3) "We got this." Second, most of these boss fights have a pattern, and we often find ourselves cruising into the finish. When we get there, it's not like Jordan hitting a do-or-die game-winning shot as much as it's like watching Tiger Woods putt in from 2 feet to win a tournament that he was already ahead in by 10 strokes. The "We got this" mentality works to our collective disadvantage here as there is no sense of danger that would help to increase the sense of excitement when we pull off the kill. Think of a fight like C'thun back in the day. Even toward the end of the fight, when you had him down to 20%, there was still a feeling of anxiety because you knew that any one player (out of 40) could cause a wipe by positioning themselves incorrectly. That contrasts heavily with most Ulduar fights, where we know that once the boss is around 20% we've probably got a kill on our hands unless our tank does something really stupid.

To help underscore your point, I submit that our U10 hard-mode Deconstructor kill on Saturday contained more excitement than most of our 25-man first kills. In addition, Last night we had Steelbreaker at 17% during an Iron Council hard-mode attempt before a wipe and you could taste the intensity and tension in the air. Had we got him down, there would have been a lot of noise on vent.

We'll certainly celebrate when Yogg goes down, if only because it represents a conclusion of sorts. At that point we will have killed all the normal-mode bosses. The feeling will be nice in the way that finishing Community College is nice. But the real challenge is in the hardmodes, and I'm as anxious as you are to see and experience the various guildmember reactions as we start knocking down those bosses under more difficult conditions.

Durgan said...

Well its still quiet here. I keep checking in but it seems your bloggers block is still in place. Hope you update this again sometime, I've taken a break from wow, got to do some Ulduar 25 man raids but the guild I'm in wasn't organized enough and I started to get frustrated at which point I figure it was a good time to take a break. Still following progress through Ulduar, I see you've hit Phase 3 of the yogg fight. I try to live vicariously through you, don't let me down now.

Lakland said...


Daxenos said...

Hey, HEY!!!

Ok, I know you were depressed when I stopped reading you, and that's understandable, but I'm back...soooo, get up off yer dead arse and entertain me!!!


Anonymous said...

Hey Amava, I think you're missing the progression rush because you don't have someone who can do a good Arnie or Yoda over vent after the take down. I'm just sayin'. Still missing you on Terokkar. Your favorite holy pally :), -Z.

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