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.
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.