Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Flame Leviathon & Thoughts on Ulduar

Ah, the Flame Leviathon. He is becoming known as much a 'come and get your free loot' boss as VR had been (he was sometimes affectionately called 'Loot Reaver').

Why? Ulduar is supposed to be tough, right? Why did my guild go and jump to 'on farm' status for Levi so fast?

It's elementary, my dear Watson. It doesn't matter what you gear is, or what class you are, or what spec you are.

You can go in there with a group of 10 shadow priests and still down Levi.

The hardest part of the whole endeavor is making sure that everyone understands their roles, jobs and the importance of interrupting Flame Vents, staying at Max Range unless you're a Siege Engine, and that if you can get everyone kiting him in the same direction every time, you can lay down this lovely line of tar-fires that he has to drive through.

Our guild leader has said, and to an extent I agree with him, that there isn't much reason why everyone shouldn't be getting together and getting saved weekly in Ulduar if ONLY for Flame Levi. Now, granted, ideally you should be looking for a run that plans on doing everything, because who wants to get saved for a week for a single badge and the possibility of a single piece of loot?

The other interesting thing is the difficulty of Ulduar. Now, I know, people said they wanted more difficult. I am NOT complaining.

But the question my guild is currently facing is 'What do we make our minimums?'. Do we have to complete Maly10/25? What does our DPS need to do consistently? What hit points and armor value do our tanks need? What about those ever hard to quantify healers?

Is it a question of relearning that we have to be on our A-Game at all times? A philosophy that has been largely ignored with Naxx, especially of late.

What if the A game of our guild's top raiders is not good enough? Do we stop trying and run more Nax25/Maly25, etc? Or do we keep trying, striving and seeing if it's a matter of skill, or a matter of gear?

Granted, to a certain extent, you can be the most skilled player in the world and have such poor gear that the worst player in the world decked out in full Tier8 will out DPS you. So gear does make a difference... but not as much as skill, something we all know.

So do we start paring down our raiders and saying, "Not skilled enough, skilled enough, not skilled enough, skilled enough."? And then if we do that, who makes that call? And if we do that, is it worth raiding anymore?

Now, I don't think our guild will ever get to that point. But it's an interesting thought to share anyway.


  1. "So do we start paring down our raiders and saying, 'Not skilled enough, skilled enough, not skilled enough, skilled enough.'? And then if we do that, who makes that call? And if we do that, is it worth raiding anymore?"

    That's pretty much the crux of it. It's one thing to say, "You're not ready for Naxx 25". I'm proud of the fact that given enough time, we can get anyone who wants to be a raider, skilled and geared enough to attend a successful Naxx 25. That inclusiveness is what makes us NOT a raiding guild.

    Until we see Ulduar 25, I can't gauge the difficulty level. But at least for Ulduar 10, our A team is back in Zul'Aman territory... there was no way we were ever going to down all the bosses in there with raiders who didn't regularly go to BT for gear. There was no way we were going to get Jan'Alai on "farm" and start bringing in newbies.

    If anything, we have less patience now than we did then -- 12 wipes in a night on him was just considered the norm, try again next week.

    What I find interesting is that at least for all the Ulduar 10s I've been to, we've never hit the enrage timer on a boss. That to me says.... coordination, adaptability, tactics, and practice. Yes DPS is important, but at least on the teams I've been on, we're not wiping because of DPS.

    The hard-core raiding guilds are raiding Ulduar *every night*. For hours and hours and hours. We're putting two hours a week into it, and 40 minutes of that is loot reaving.

    As much as I think there are people who don't belong in progression content, I personally think that that is a matter of character as much as gear. You and Boon are both skilled and experienced, but you've gotten that skill and experience in part because you are also determined, willing to gut it out through wipes, quick to try changes if something's not working, capable of doing your homework, and comfortable taking individual initiative for a clutch save.

    That's why all of our A-team players are A-team -- that balance of personal initiative and team play. People for whom those aren't in balance tend not to thrive in progression content.

    Anyway, to conclude this long ramble -- I think that you do have to make a distinction that isn't purely based on gear level or DPS. But I think it isn't skill so much as character. Lots of people are going to -want- to raid Ulduar who are not even remotely ready (even though they go to Naxx25), and right now, officers and progression raiders are the best judges of the right people to take along.

  2. @Nesh: Very good comment! :)

    I think until we picked up our DPS output on Razorbeakwhateverhernameis, we were going to hit her enrage timer.

    You know, I really need to study up on the names of these new bosses. I'm going to lose my 'Atlas' title if I don't know them.

    The hard part about wiping so much now is how EXPENSIVE it is to repair. Yikes. The other hard part is that where we stand now in Nax and Maly... we wipe and it isn't, 'Oh well, let's try again.'. It's 'WTF! Why did we WIPE? OMG. I am going to slap a bitch.'.

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