Two Ways to Approach Ulduar’s Hard Modes

Two Ways to Approach Ulduar’s Hard Modes

While patrolling the Plus Heal forums earlier, I ran into this thread. In it, the original poster laments the reduced healer requirement in order to achieve Ulduar’s hard modes. And why not? Let’s take a quick look at some of Ulduar’s heroic hard modes.

  • Hodir – 32.5 million health, 2 minutes. 270834 DPS required
  • Thorim – Running the gauntlet in 3 minutes after the snake and the ads are eliminated
  • Deconstructor – Bringing the heart from full health to zero in 20 seconds

The DPS requirements for the average raid is simply inconceivable. Honestly, there’s just no way to whip out DPS of that magnitude. The only way to even come close to doing that is to sit healers and tanks and go with the bare bones minimum.

Now let’s stop and think about this for a second. Take a deep breath. More importantly, let’s take a step back.

Hard mode is hard

When Ulduar came out, Blizzard released it with the intention of offering multiple variations of different encounters. The strategy here is to cater towards as many players as possible. The more dedicated raiders could feel good about themselves going after hard modes and earning the higher level of loot. Players that wanted to take it a little easier could take on the bosses in their base form.

Everyone wins.

Hard mode is designed to separate guilds and spread them even further in what I like to call the progression gap. The higher you are on the curve, the better stuff you get and you can scale your guild’s difficulty accordingly. Not every guild is capable of doing hard mode for whatever reason. It’s not meant to be easy. It’s not meant for every guild.

When making the decision to jump to hard mode, there are two possible methods to go at it.

Method 1: High octane DPS right now

seinfeldCurrent DPS output for everyone has a limit: Your guild’s gear. In order to increase DPS, you either switch out tanks or healers and replace them with DPS. Every player added is another 4000-7000 DPS depending on the class.

You saw Hodir’s requirements above.

A little over 270000 DPS.

Obviously the risk here is that you lose raid stability. As in, the lower the amount of healers the higher the risk of not being able to stabilize and recover.

The tradeoff is that you have a chance at accomplishing hard mode right now.

Method 2: High octane DPS later

You continue to work on Ulduar and upgrade your raid’s gear as much as possible.

Even on the test realms when Hard Modes were enabled, Ursula McWeaksauce had to dispense the Shirt of Uber. It’s an increase in the overall raid’s stats by 8% and ratings by 130 assuming we’re decked in full Naxx gear.

For example, the raid DPS output of 4 healers, 20 DPS, and 1 tank right now could be the same as 6 healers, 18 DPS, and 1 tank 8 weeks later.

You don’t have to stack raids with with DPS unless you fully intend to do hard modes right now. You can farm easy mode Ulduar for a few weeks and gear out the players accordingly to raise the overall gear contribution gradually from your players.

To finalize

Jerry Seinfeld ran into a similar problem. In his words:

I was in the drug store the other day trying to get a cold medication…

Not easy. There’s an entire wall of products you need. You stand there going, Well, this one is quick acting but this is long lasting… Which is more important, the present or the future?

How fitting.

In order to meet the requirements for hard mode, you can either raise the quantity of DPS or raise the quality of DPS. Either way, your raid group will reach that minimal floor that hard mode demands. All this does now is determine when your guild can do hard modes.

Do it now with a stacked configuration.

Do it later with the same configuration.

The choice is yours.

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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.

Comments

  1. Drop a healer for dps has always been our method since TBC. We even did progression runs in SSC with 5 healers.
    That’s what fun is all about!

  2. It’s only your choice if you are the raid leader, though. If you are the one being asked to sit out so that everyone else can do the hard mode because your RL decided to stack the raid, I imagine it might not feel like your choice.

  3. You are also forgetting proper use of the NPC buffs. With some of those I had Auto Shots critting for over 9-10k and Explosive Shot ticks like they were Kill Shots.

    More than creating a freaky unbalanced raid is more getting your raid to properly utilize NPC buffs at all times *and* gearing up again in order to make the hard mode timer in my opinion.

  4. The answer for many guilds will be “both”. Why not stack now to get a high world rank, and when the gear comes around, stop stacking. Seems like that is how many guilds do most content.

    As a side, the interesting thing about Hodir is that with the haste and dmg buffs, it is the tank that needs to be geared more than anything. Higher geared tank = less FrR gear = higher threat = hard mode dps. Go Go Tanks!

  5. smeegoan says:

    then they can learn to run like that everytime.

    can only carry people so far, and they have to learn to play.
    most of them don’t match the skill of a healer or tank.

    by themselves they would be pugging heroics. and i’m in a good guild who has made quite a bit of progress.

    I’m by no means in the cut catagory, but start doing that to people, you’ll start loosing good people.

  6. SilentBob3rd says:

    Don’t forget that a lot of classes who can heal/tank can easily fill alternate roles via the Dual Spec system. I have a complete set for DPSing and healing on me drood, and I imagine a lot of folks who are chomping at the bit for Uld progression have their sets ready as well. Healers/Tanks getting benched infavor of DPS to go after hard modes is something I doubt we’ll see in the quantities we did in BC – they’ll just be asked to switch specs, and then on they go.

  7. Benching healers/tanks for DPS is no different than the DPS being benched early on because you need more healers. With 32 ‘raiders’ we ride the razor’s edge of subs in case of emergency – but like most posters, our players have multiple specs that they can jump in to. One of the advantages to farming Naxx is that everyone has at least one ‘off’ set they can go to.

    We’re taking the later route – with the goal of actually clearing Ulduar first, and moving on to hard modes later.

  8. @Adgamorix: Agreed. Those are my intentions likewise. I’d rather focus on the familiarity of “base” encounters first before pressing and gradually increasing the complexity.

  9. Right now we’re focusing on pretty much any achievement/hard mode we can that DOESN’T require an insane amount of DPS. The other ones are more about controlling the fight better than the bare minimum needed to beat the encounter, and DPS burn-style easily spiral out of control. We figure this is a better way to cement our knowledge of the fights so we can handle them better, faster, stronger when it’s time to burn!

    Cerinnes last blog post..3.1 Scorecard: Ulduar

  10. Remember though that in two hard modes that you mentioned, the difficulty isn’t just activating it, but actually killing the boss after its activated. And those parts increase the damage that is being dished out thus requiring more healing. So you can’t stack too many dps unless you have really pro healers.

    Btw, it seems in 10-man, the dps requirements for killing XT’s heart are much lower, as we found when we almost killed it without intending to. First time I saw too mouch dps being a problem. 😛

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