Frustrated by Ulduar? Here’s Why

Frustrated by Ulduar? Here’s Why

Guys, I have a theory. I want to write about the perceived “easiness” of Ulduar. Random conversations with other WoW players on Twitter and reading of blogs inspired today’s post.

Here’s the theory.

“Ulduar’s easy mode wasn’t cleared because it was easy. It was cleared because the top guilds raid way more than you and I.”

No really?

But let me explain further to the guilds, leaders and raiders who appear to be frustrated by their guild;s lack of progress. Many guilds have forgotten what it’s like to hit a progression wall. Raiders who felt good about themselves and their abilities started having doubts about themselves. More on this later.

Don’t compare your guild to Ensidia or Vodka. Don’t use them as benchmarks to your guild’s success. They are the top guilds in the world for a reason (One of the raid leaders likes to occasionally remind players of this fact). They’re on a completely different level.

It boils down to hard work.

These are guilds that spent extensive time on the PTR. Every time a new boss was active, raids were already in and ready to engage. They would spend hours in there wiping relentlessly experimenting and trying new things and making strategy adjustments.

Sounds like your guild right now, doesn’t it?

The learning process that guilds are going through right now have already been experienced by top guilds on the PTR already.

Don’t be ashamed of yourselves or disappointed. Flashes of sadness, anger, and determination (in that order) routinely flood through me during raids. I’m disappointed at myself for not executing. I become angry because I know I can do better. I’m then determined to prove myself right.

It’s called challenge.

And here’s where the payoff lies. It’s the steadily ticking down of boss health. As it counts down from 10% to 9% all the way down to 1%, the adrenaline is still pumping. The euphoric feeling that courses through your body after a kill? That’s what accomplishment feels like. It feels good doesn’t it?

When I measure and compare progress with other players or guilds, one question I like to ask is their hours spent raiding. The problem with using weeks is that the range which guilds can raid vary tremendously. Some guilds log 6 hours a week. Others log 18+. As an example, it took Conquest troopers around 7 hours to get from the start of Ulduar to the kill of Deconstructor. If a progression guild takes down Kologarn after a 16 hour raid week and a progression guild knocks out Kologarn after two 8 hour raid weeks, then I’d say they’re about on par because it took both guilds the same amount of time to get there (16 hours).


You know this. I know this. I’ve talked to players both in different guilds and abroad on Twitter. Everyone knows this. It’s still a difficult and bitter pill to swallow. Like the great Morpheus once said, “There is a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.” The average time it takes for a typical heroic raid to learn and kill a new boss is around 2 hours. Shorten that time if players watched videos or read strategy or have done the 10 man versions.

Even now, we start seeing progression gaps among the different guilds. The spread from first, to tenth, to twenty-fifth is increasing. It’s becoming increasingly visible to separate the “pretenders” from the “contenders” (Hockey playoffs still in my head).

To the guilds leading the progression charge, I salute you. I’m always interested in reading what guilds like Fusion are up to (especially with their popular StratFu blog) and how they handled particular challenges. I’ve heard stories of how some guilds prefer to keep their raid secrets a secret. Never really bought into that policy. Always preferred to teach players and learn from others.

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About Matticus

Matticus is the founder of World of Matticus and Plus Heal. Read more of his columns at WoW Insider. League of Legends player. Caffeine enthusiast.


  1. Galoheart says:

    About time someone told the honest truth and telling it like it is in the new Raid Dungeon. As well players expectation, guilds expectations, or others unpreparedness because the boss and trash don’t seem to fall over like a giant loot bin.

  2. If Ulduar is SOOO easy I dare people that have yet to try it to try Ignius’s Trash and then come back to talk. Try Razorscale, XT will also blow you out of the water. Just try it and then come tell us the same thing if you really can.

  3. crayzeigh says:

    Ulduar is a wonderful refresher after the drudge through Naxx-Pinata. I like actually having to think about pulling a group again, assigning CC, Focus firing down mobs. It’s a real nice refresher from AOE, AOE, AOE, Brute force boss, AOE AOE.

    I have also noticed that one can no longer be carried through the instance. As a guild with some really exceptional players and some really, well, let’s say, “unaware” players. It’s becoming frustrating to try to pick up the slack in an instance that is unforgiving of such shortcomings. Our 10 man Mimiron attempts made this incredibly obvious. I’m nervous to see what will happen in our 25 man attempts.

  4. Ulduar is difficult but not crazy difficult. They have tuned some of the early fights eg. XT.

    XT was a perfect example of a fight that is too hard. We killed him pre nerf and all I could think was that fight is going to be way too difficult for any below average guilds. At the time it was a fight that allowed for zero failure and as you know some guilds have players that fail alot. XT would have efffectively frozen them out of the rest of the instance

    Ever watch that show Pros vs Joes? You know the show were the average guy who thinks he could have made it to the show goes up against a real athlete? Once and a while a Joe beats a Pro at something but thats just the odds. The reason why the guy is a pro is because of consistency. Too me at least in WoW thats the biggest seperation between good players and bad players. Consistency. Its funny and kinda nice to see people that were not in successful guilds(able to see and do all the content) come in and be sucessful because they learn to be consistent.

  5. I think that guilds have forgotten what it was like to have to REALLY work for progression. Downing a new boss and here and and taking months to get through an instance was normal. Having epics was bragging rights, and all in all, the game was a lot harder. Blizzard decided to drop the scale of difficulty, but future content in the 3.X Era are just going to be progressively more difficult. We seem to have forgotten this when we were reset backwards to an “easier” mode.

    When was the last time you jumped up and down screaming for that FINAL downing of that boss you were plugging away at for weeks on end?

    Kudos to the guilds who are plugging away, victory will be all the more sweeter for your efforts.

    AltoholicsRUss last blog post..A Tisket, A Tasket… A Guide to Noblegarden

  6. Ulduar feels tuned about perfectly in my oppinion. It’s refreshingly hard but stays in the realm of “just need to perform a little better to get it down”

    Thats the way I like raids, Because it means I don’t need to sit non min/maxers all the time. Ignis trash isn’t so bad, it just doesn’t cater to people who don’t set a quick pace or aren’t paying attention.

    I love razor for one reason. WOTLK made it almost impossible to tell the difference between good and bad tanks. They took the skill out of it. Razor put it back.

    If your healers are dying to mobs get tanks that pay more attention

  7. My MT and raid leader just left the guild – transferred overnight – because he was not happy that we hadn’t killed Yogg-Saron in the first or second week. He transferred to a guild who killed YS two days earlier.

    We have only had two nights on him and got him to 34%, by the way.

    People have these crazy ideas of how fast they should progress through Ulduar. Naxx spoiled us with bosses that not only had well-known strategies and had been experienced already by some, but only took a few attempts to master, in our case.

    Remember the days of working on a new boss for the best part of a week’s raiding time? Bosses that took several nights to get a strategy down for? Raid weeks where one or two new boss kills was great progression?

    But now, if you can’t kill a boss the same night, you’re a failure. Our guild, despite being #1 on the server, having cleared almost the entire instance in the first week (despite bugs), and getting Yogg to 34% on the second night of attempts – is a failure. And it cost us our main (geared../cry) tank and raid leader.



    Keevas last blog post..Thanks!

  8. I am having a lot of fun in uldaar, sure 1-2 more bosses down would be great but its all good. I suspect some of the frustration was from before the bug fixes and nerfs. The Ignis we 2 shot for the first time last night when we didnt have time left for mmiron trash was not same ignis or even ignis trash we faced 12 hours after 3.1 release.

  9. FredOzzel says:

    I myself recognize some of the commentary here as being quite valid, part of the problems are indeed the simple fact that people may have never understood what a progression wall was in the first place

    This is frustrating because many people get dispirited by such walls, frustrated, and instead of toughing it out, try to find “better” guilds because people are fundamentally impatient unless they’ve put up with these kinds of walls before and know what to expect.

    I myself have told my guild the same thing: other guilds have been clearing content on the PTR while we’ve been trying to catch up. Out of all the times we’ve had a chance to, my guild’s only been on the PTR once trying to learn the content before it was released live.

    As Mattycus says, while there are videos and strats, there is always key information that cannot always be directly observed from such things. Unfortunately a *lot* of people believe reading or watching a fight is the same as knowing it >..<

  10. Garamonde says:

    My guild raids a staggering 8 hours a week and we are having a great time in Ulduar. We are working on Freya and Thorim now and will probably have the instance cleared inside the month. I like Matticus’s point “just because you haven’t cleared ulduar doesn’t mean your a baddie”. Dark Pact is the top guild on server they are conistently good and raid frequently to boot. Remember progression rankings is only a benchmark make sure your enjoying guilded friends as you move through the content.

  11. My guild is a little slower. I don’t really have a problem with that. We’ve killed 5 bosses in Ulduar (and made what I feel is significant progress in Ulduar) in about 24 hours total. And no, we’re not realm first, and we don’t want to be.

    Thanks for posting a nice reality check here, Matt.

  12. I am exceedingly thrilled with Ulduar. It was more than I ever expected after becoming extremely bored with Naxx. I’d say about 2 hours per boss ( on average ) is a good estimate. Even Emalon in Vault is refreshingly challenging, unfortunately you have to hear all the puggers cry about the difficulty.

  13. I agree with most of what has been said, though I come from a 1st week Yogg guild. We worked hard for that first week kill, about about 20 hours to clear the whole instance (having to kill XT with all his trash up bc the GM’s wouldn’t despawn it wasted a ton of time…). Which is a lot of time in one week. 7 of those hours was on Yogg himself. A fitting end boss.

    Many of us have forgotten what raiding was like in the past. Pre-nerf Gruul. Kael’Thas the Guild Crusher. Lady Vashj the Impossible (that one was just funny). Weeks of smashing our heads against Morgim. And of course M’uru… This return to harder content is welcome in my eyes. I can’t wait to start smashing my head against Yogg Hard and Algalon the Short Lived.

    So, good words Matt. And for the rest of us, I look forward to basking in progression, whether it be normal mode or hard (its Normal, not easy mode). This is why we raiders play.

  14. Great post. I found that in the raiding guilds there has been an exposure of the people being carried. To say the least we have had a lot of new recruits in the 2 weeks and 12 boss kills.

    Tristans last blog post..How Tristan would do Val’Anyr


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