The Hyjal / Sunwell Effect

The Hyjal / Sunwell Effect

sunwell

I use PUGs to gauge a lot of player response to content, the new LFG tool has made it that much easier and given me a broader spectrum to poll. A lot of times I’ll bring it up in random banter and ask people what they think of the current content and such. Occasionally I’ll join a PUG raid on my Hunter in an attempt to gear her up outside of the guild’s assistance, but also to see how the pugs are doing on raids and ask questions without “Lodur” around. I’m guessing you’re wondering what this has to do with the “Hyjal / Sunwell” effect, and indeed what is the effect anyways? Well, I’d like to share some recent and past observations with you.

Let me explain to you what the Hyjal / Sunwell effect is.

map_hyjal

Back in BC when end game raiding was all the rage, you had Black Temple, Hyjal and then the culmination of all things raiding for that time Sunwell. Hyjal Summit was an interesting raid instance. You sat in one of two camps and waited for trash waves to come to you. After you were done killing the trash waves a boss would spawn and come for you. The zone had 5 bosses. 4 of those bosses could be broken down into tank and spanks after their various tricks were discovered. Aside from the last boss it was a very easy instance and at the very least on my server, the zone up to the Archimonde fight was easily PUGable and there were many many Hyjal PUGs weekly. I know because I used to go to them on my hunter. So we can assume a level of ease at least for the first 4 bosses, with one boss that was a PITA but still killable.

Then came the Sunwell, and everything changed. People ponied up and the PUGs surged forth expecting to roll over some trash and get some trash drops and maybe even down a boss or two along the way. Then they encountered the first pulls, and it was like watching a charging bull hit a steel wall. Giant arcane powered robot wiped the raid in nothing short of what could be called a spectacular explosion of brightly colored bodies. I heard stories of established raiding guilds having to work hard on some of the trash and in some cases still wiping, let alone hitting the bosses. Trash required solid use of CC and careful maneuvering. The bosses were complex and required coordination in order to succeed. I never saw a PUG get past Kalecgos, and the ones I heard got there, only barely beat trash. That is at least how it was on my server. There were PUG / Farming groups that would go and kill trash, then run out and reset and lather rinse repeat in order to farm gems, gold and trash drops, but those groups required a certain level of gear (and they did check) before they would consider you. And that’s just for trash farming! People pissed and moaned that Sunwell was “soooo hard”, my argument was that Hyjal made people complacent.

WoWScrnShot_092309_232622Enter Wrath of the Lich King. The raiding scene in wrath mirrors pretty well that of BC but builds upon it. Naxxramas became our new Kara. Ulduar provided us deep lore and some decent challenges. and then came ToC (25). Trial of the Crusader offered an easy loot system (the tier available for badges alone), an instance with NO trash only bosses, and to be honest fight mechanics that weren’t terribly difficult. While it did require some coordination, I have seen more PUG groups successfully complete it then any other raid instance. The 4 bosses leading up to the final boss are gimmick fights like Hyjal was, with the final boss being a tank and spank get out of the way healers just heal fight. I’m not saying they aren’t fun, and as much as I hate to admit it Faction Champs is a blast watching my raiders run around like chickens with heads lopped off, but it just mirrors Hyjal a little too much as far as it’s placement in raid progression, content and general feel of the zone.

Now in Wrath we have Ice Crown Citadel. It mirrors Sunwell almost perfectly as well, especially with Chill of the Throne being so very similar to Sunwell Radiance. The fights are markedly harder and the trash is capable of killing a raid. The trash pulls require use of CC like priest shackles and paladin fears / stuns as well as requiring careful positioning of the raid. Random triggers cause giants to spawn that can interrupt spell casting and saber lash a tank into nothing in no time. The bosses while not overly complex, still require a certain amount of raid awareness and coordination and use of abilities such as CC to win. Lady Deathwhisper is a pain when not done right and it requires a lot of coordination to get all the components down pat. Saurfang is a beast of a fight currently and while people have beaten him I have yet to find one strategy that doesn’t call for at least two people to be sacrificed. That says something right there. What amuses me the most is the people who were pugging ToC (25) went rushing headlong into ICC (25) and in most cases hit the trash on the first landing and splatted. On my server I can’t find a PUG for ICC (25) on my Hunter, as a matter of fact she has an easier time finding ToGC (25) pugs. And while the argument can be made that the 10 mans are puggable, I say that while I’ve seen some pugs do ICC (10) the players almost always out-geared the 10 man tuned version. I also hear it from some of my raiders. We’ve been having fun with Saurfang. Random things like moonkin’s pushback randomly not working, Tanks dcing, starting the fight and immediately having 8 raiders get Mark of the Fallen champion. These are things that make new instances fun for me.

But IWoWScrnShot_092309_232622 hear the murmurs in the crowd. I have some raiders in my group that think ICC is too hard, I’ve been in pugs with my hunter that people have done nothing but complain about the difficulty of the new fights. This is what I call the Hyjal / Sunwell effect. ToC gave us a certain level of apathy. Sure Heroic Faction Champs is a hell of a fight, but once you get the basic concepts down for it is it really that hard? ToC spoiled us with easy loot and fast content, and as such continued the cycle of Hyjal / Sunwell. The effect is in the disparity between two level of content on such a level that it is noticeable among the general population. So now I hear people complain that Marrowgar hits too hard, or Saurfang is tuned too high. Personally I love it. I love content that makes me think and re-evaluate my raider assignments. I love actually having to go through trash to get to that boss and fight mechanics that while they may not be new are interesting in the way they are combined and presented. I love going through cut scenes and NPC conversation and hearing the lore behind the raid zone and feeling like I’m in epic content. The difficulty will only go up as each wing and each new boss and it’s mechanics are unveiled, and personally I can’t wait. I’m also excited that the vast majority of my raiders feel the same way and not everyone is suffering from the Hyjal/Sunwell effect.

What about you guys? Have you noticed people complaining about the difficulty? Raiders or PUGs? How do you feel about the new content so far?

Until next time,

Sig

Images courtesy of Matticus, My own screenshots and mmo-champion

Random Thoughts for Thursday

  • Guild bank infiltrated. 80 hearts taken and many epic gems lost
  • Our bank was not the only one
  • Mages need another rank of conjured water
  • 1 healer means the difference between doing Black Temple or Mount Hyjal
  • Warlocks have something which allows them to increase healing done on them by some percentage
  • The feeling of dread is universal be it an exam the next day or a deadline to face
  • My Spiritual Guidance column is almost done and will be ready over the course of the weekend
  • I need to find more free stock photo websites
  • Freedom happens after 6 PM
  • Learning is not about regurgitating what is taught to you, it is about applying what you learn
  • Profs make more sense when you speak to them one on one than in lecture
  • How did Kael’s forces take over Quel’Danas?
  • Raiding on an empty stomach is not fun
  • Running Hyjal with 6.5 healers with the .5 being a Prot Paladin
  • Bocelli helps a lot with stress relief
  • Contemplating writing another RP post on a slightly larger scale
  • Dirty D is liveblogging tonight’s raid. Go check it out!

Great news, Good news, Bad news

Quick hits here, guys. Had an extremely eventful Sunday.

Great news: I’ve acquired my Stanley Cup Rings (RE: Band of Karabor) x 2. They’re both fully enchanted.

Good news: My Guild apparently killed Archimonde.

Bad news: I wasn’t there when they did it.

Really bad news: Apparently the Apostle of Argus dropped.

Just when you think it can’t get any worse: It got disenchanted.

EDIT: My Guild’s a bunch of practical jokers. *whew*. What’s worse is that now I’ll have to endure the gloating from that OTHER healer. Yeah, you know, the furry one. To which I’ll retaliate with songs from West Side Story.

 

 

 

Excuse me while I go cry myself to sleep.

6 Reasons Why I Haven’t Killed Archimonde Yet

6 Reasons Why I Haven’t Killed Archimonde Yet

archie-sad
Image courtesy of KLatham

Note: If you are against WoW players with elitist attitudes, don’t read this post.

"No sacrifice, no victory!"
Sam Witwicky (Transformers, 2007)

I’m sure you’ve read about some of the frustrations that I’ve had with Archimonde in the past few weeks that we’ve worked on him. I wrote off the first few wipes as attempts on learning. Following one of our recent raids, a raid leader asked me for my thoughts on the issue. At the time, I did not know what to say because I did not put a lot of thought into it. After a few days of reflection, I’ve come up with a list of reasons about what our Guild is missing and why we aren’t getting things done.

Willingness to bench players

Remember Bruce? He’s an active member of our 25 man teams. When I mentioned to my raid leader that we should be switching out players that aren’t cutting it, he responded by saying that it isn’t going to work all the time. This is true, I will admit. But this is a progression encounter and we need to bring our best players in at all times. The fact is, Bruce doesn’t qualify as that yet. I respect the fact that he decided to go hemo spec to further help the raid. Unfortunately, I don’t for a second believe the DPS output of the raid has increased to offset the amount of potential damage he can do if he’s not hemo. For a melee player on Archimonde, he has to perform more damage then that.

When we first started on Archimonde, the raid leader said he was going to keep a list of names on who was dying and why. Enough is enough. It’s time to put that list to good use and bench the players that are at the top of the list. I don’t care how good or reputable that player is. If you’ve died many times, then you’re only gimping the raid. Hell, if it were me holding up the raid, I would voluntarily sit out because I know that I suck.

But there are certain players who make me groan to myself everytime they raid with us. It’s because they’re stupid or they don’t listen or they don’t pay attention. I’ve had to mute myself on numerous occasions because I have one hell of a temper. I don’t mind occasional wipes as long as we learn from them and it doesn’t happen again. Those are called progression wipes, and we learn best by experience. Yet if the same players continue to die for the same reasons, why are we bringing that player to a progression raid?

Examples:

  • Players unable to time their air burst tears
  • Shamans who don’t stay with their group for decursive purposes
  • Paladins who can’t seem to listen or understand their assignments

Lag cannot continue to be an excuse

Several of our players were affected by lag issues (no doubt stemming from 2.4 patch related problems). But even before then, some players were complaining about lag affecting their timing. Those players have got to go. We cannot blame all problems on lag. If you cannot compensate for lag, then the law of probability dictates that sooner or later you will get air bursted, die, and subsequently wipe the way. In fact, based on the amount of players that were lagging that day, we should have done something more lag friendly instead. But my point here is the fact that if you’re experiencing connection problems, bow out of the raid and watch some TV.

Healers are being blamed

The whole blame healer excuse also needs to stop. Every once in a while, if it genuinely is a fault of one of ours, I know that our healers are man enough to accept that they had a brain fart and lapsed. But in an encounter with Archimonde that has Doomfires that snake out from Archimonde at a slow speed? We have the best healing corps, in my opinion. Yet a lot of pressure has been directed at us. Statements like "I need heals through doomfire" or "I wasn’t getting any heals" don’t cut it here. As a survival fight, there is no reason for any player to be suffering through doomfire. Healers might be able to compensate for one player getting it, but not when multiple players are getting hit. And they have the audacity to say that they’re not getting the proper heals? Why are you eating doomfires in the first place?

Consistency

In hockey, goalies that are on fire continue to play. Goal scorers that continue to score are paired with the same players. Why? Because of this magical thing we call chemistry. Those same players continue to deliver the same results night after night.

We’ve had nights where we one shot the first 4 bosses in Mount Hyjal with absolutely no problems on trash within the first 90 minutes.

If that’s the case, why do we change up our roster when we get to Archimonde?

The raid leaders said it themselves. This is not a DPS fight, this is a survival fight. We can afford to keep certain classes that might not boost our DPS up a lot because we know they’re not stupid. Instead, we bench those players to bring in players who aren’t as good but we unfortunately need their buffs that they bring to the table. I’d rather take an extra Shadow Priest or a Ret Paladin instead of an Elemental Shaman or Holy Paladin. I know it’s extremely hypocritical for me to say that after I mentioned Bruce earlier above. But that case is an exception. Melee players are the rare few who get to go all out on Archie without much fear of anything happening to them.

I will take veteran experience over buffs any day.

Where’s the focus?

Everyone needs to be present and on the same page. I downshift my focus on trash, but I still go through the motions. However, when we get to bosses, my back is straight, my door is closed, and my cellphone is off. One small mental slip in concentration will result in a wipe. In an area like Hyjal, it is often disastrous.

One of our Warlocks once pulled aggro on Azgalor without realizing it. The raid promptly died and it was 5 minutes to the end of the raid which lead to the raid being called. That’s 30 minutes wasted. For a guild that only raids 11 hours a week, every minute is precious.

One voice

It’s nice to have 2 or 3 authority players who are leading the raid. But there are times when too many cooks spoil the broth. I’ve seen times where one person said to do this, and another player told that same person to do something else. Both players hold rank in our Guild. We cannot afford to have more than one person directing the play. Uncertainty is going to kill us. Those raid leaders need to get together and pick one person to lead quarterback that play and be done with it. If he’s wrong, then it’s another lesson to add to the playbook. The point is that he picks a clear direction for the player to proceed in with no hesitations.

This is one of my harsher posts and it’s for good reason. But the tone of this post pales into comparison to the moods I’ve felt after some of the recent raids. I’ve tried to structure this post in a way that can reasonably convey how I feel about our Archimonde attempts with some reason and thought behind it. My tolerance level is quite high. I’m not at the point where I’m openly going to criticize my raid leaders (yet). This is just what I think and my vantage point is different than everyone else in the raid.

In review, I believe my Guild needs to :

  1. Toughen up and crack down on underperforming players
  2. Stop subbing out players
  3. Not blame lag
  4. Bring back the focus and turn off the distractions
  5. Have one leader that’s clearly in charge of the operation

Kaz’Rogal Knocked Out

Kaz'Rogal death by Carnage

Carnage is now 3/5. Azgalor is projected to go down within the next week. Then we might start working on Archimonde or focus on Black Temple.

Phat Lootz

Blue Suede Shoes
Black Featherlight Boots

The Most Important Rule in Mount Hyjal

If you ever get to experience the pain of Mount Hyjal, just make sure you follow this very important rule:

Go to the bathroom BEFORE engaging trash.

Oh, and I forgot to include this awesome screenshot:

Anetheron

Yes, we killed Anetheron. We’re sitting at 2/5 Hyjal.

Phat loots? You bet!

Archbishop’s Slippers
Bastion of Light

I picked me up a pair of slippers to replace my Boots of the Long Road.

The Chain of Progression in Raids

Raid members ready to go and do something

In case you’ve ever wondered what raid bosses and instances to do in what order, I’ve compiled a list here from Karazhan onwards. This list is aimed mostly at Guilds who have started raiding and aren’t sure what’s best for them or their Guild. Obviously you can do them in any order that your Guild likes, but there are some bosses which should be done first before going into other instances.

Edit: Rankings are based largely on difficulty level and convenience for Guilds.

Karazhan

Attumen, Moroes, Maiden, Opera, Curator, Shade, Chess, Prince.

Once you’ve taken down Prince a few times and you think your 10 man team is up to snuff, you can go proceed to go after Nightbane, Illhoof and Netherspite.

You’re also ready to start tackling the first 4 or so bosses in Zul’Aman.

Mallet with a wolf

At this point, your Guild is now officially ready for the 25 mans. Your first 25 man test?

Gruul’s Lair and Magtheridon

Take down High King Maulgar then follow up with Gruul. Once you’ve gotten them down easily, consider going after Magtheridon.

Magtheridon himself

There’s quite a few Guilds that I know of that have completely skipped Mag in favour of launching right into TK and SSC thinking that Mag is too much of an effort required. To them, I say Mag is a piece of cake compared to boss fights at the Tier 5 level.

The reason you go after High King, Gruul and Mag is that these 3 bosses are idiot checks for your Guild.

Can the people in your raid handle being in the spotlight with important jobs?
Can your warlocks enslave and kill simultaneously?
Is your mage quick enough on the spellsteal?
Do your healers trust each other enough to not overlap each other and just do their jobs?

For Gruul, the question you want to ask is if your raid members are able to work together and cope with shatters. Are the tanks geared enough to do their job? Do players know how to run away from each other?

As I’ve mentioned before, a lot of Guilds skip Mag initially. Don’t be one of them. I highly advise giving Mag a few shots. Here, you’re testing the discipline of your raid and the endurance of your healers. You also want to discover how quick and effective your DPS is in a 25 man unit. Mag also sets your guild up to have 4-5 skilled and geared tanks. Once you get past the initial phase 1 hurdle, it’s up to the healers and your 10 volunteers to click cubes. If 10 people can’t click cubes properly and time it, you’ve no business being in SSC or TK.

Tier 5 Instances (SSC and TK)

There’s essentially 2 ways you can go about it. You can go into SSC and clear straight to Lurker. The alternative is to crash TK and bring down Lootreaver Voidreaver followed by Solarian.

Hydross in SSC

While your working on those 3 bosses (in any order), your tanks should be gearing up for Hydross.

Now at this stage, I suggest working through the T5 raid’s in an order like this:

  • Voidreaver/Solarian/Lurker
  • Hydross
  • Tidewalker
  • Fathom-Lord
  • Leotheras
  • Al’ar

At this point, you’ll be at the coveted 5/6 SSC and 3/4 TK mark. Take your pick between Vashj or Kael.

I’d say give Vashj a couple of shots but that’s because I find her a little little easier as compared to Kael who I think is a whackjob.

T6 Raids (Hyjal and BT)

I don’t have a clue here. I heard it’s Rage Winterchill and then straight into BT for the first 3-4 bosses.

Does anyone have an idea of what should come next?