Tobold's Blog
Friday, March 27, 2009
 
How prepared are you for Ulduar?

Ixobelle is asking a good question: "Are we honestly going to be expected to zone in for the very first time on the first new raid content in a while, expected to already know what our role is exactly going to be, exactly where to stand, and exactly what to do?" This of course in response to a guild requesting just that, that people already study Ulduar on the PTR, or read tactics and watch videos that explain you exactly what to do. Well, at least the tactics reading part is also required in my guild, I guess I'll read about the bosses of Ulduar before I actually meet them.

Of course that basically destroys the most fun part of raiding, meeting an unknown challenge and figuring out how to beat it. People are rushing for server firsts, and now test server firsts, not just for the status, but because then they'll get to spoil the fun of everybody else. And everybody else is stupid enough to just follow the tactics other people posted. One day somebody is going to hack WoWWiki and change an entry for a new boss to "this boss can only be beaten while hopping on your left leg", and we will all hop on our left legs while trying to beat him, without even questioning why.

I'm not playing on the PTR, and I'll only do the minimum required in preparation before I go there for the first time. Which won't help, as the raid leader will explain tactics anyway before the fight. I'd propose we all go in there blind, wipe a couple of times, and come up with our own tactics, but I guess that proposal would just get laughed at. Just like in the story about the addons, the big question is: Why are so many people complaining that raids are too easy, but do everything in their power to make them even easier? All this talk about looking for challenge is just a big fat lie!

How prepared are you for Ulduar? Will you know everything there is to know about it before your first raid on the live servers? Will you have already played through Ulduar on the PTR before that raid goes live? Or are you daring to go unprepared, and come up with your own tactics?
Comments:
I'm with you Tobold. Going out of my way to spoil all this new content seems dumb. I'm planning to glance at the wowhead entry for each boss as we clear the trash on the way to them and that's about it. I don't want to know all the gratuitous details before we actually try it. I'll be trying to convince the raid leader that some wipes are worth the fun. My guild is kinda casual (though we do have T7 on farm) so maybe they'll go for it.
 
Nope, it's not a lie, there's just something missing. If an MMORPG player says something like "Content X is way too easy", he usually means "Content X is way too easy for other players than me" - just like the perfect difficulty level of any content is that level at which the player in question is able to beat it with ease, but at which no other player is able to. Any content not at this nonexistent level is considered "way too easy" (because other players are also able to beat it, which just can't be in order to keep up everyones personal elitist status) or "way too hard" (because the player isn't able to beat it, which just can't be, as that hurts the players' ego equally hard).
 
Of course that basically destroys the most fun part of raiding
This is highly subjective. For an explorer archetype, learning an encounter is indeed the most interesting part. But for a socializer it's spending time with the guild, and for an achiever it's all about the execution of a strategy. It makes perfect sense for achiever-oriented guilds to take the learning part out of the equation and dive straight into the part that interests them the most.
 
It's interesting what you are writing about hopping on our left leg. How certain misconceptions can become prevalent in the community. Good example of this is the Onyxia fight, where everyone believed that the more DOT effects the boss has on it in the 2nd phase of the fight, the lower the chance of the dreaded Deep Breath occuring.

Later one of the developers said in an interview that Deep Breath was random.

Similarly, it is also said to be unnecessary for the melee dps to jump into the sludge at Patchwerk, since the boss wont attack them if they keep below the 3rd place on the threat table.

Anyway, its a valid point, we do all these things because somebody we don't even know said we should.
 
I slept with the guild leader to get extra DKP.
 
I'll see the content when it's done, no need to spoil it. And I'll prepair by buying a few flasks/second set of glyphs.
 
I would love for my guild to go into Ulduar completly blind and learn it through execution. Since my guild is fairly casual, it might just come to that. However, even if the raid leader is doling out strategy from information he read about the fight previously, there is still an interesting social element present that reading about the strategy seperely doesn't provide. One person is bestowing the forbidden knowledge, as it were, to each of us, but at least for the first few times that knowledge will be little more than rumor of speculation of long ago heroes who had traveled there before us.
 
Tobold, while I agree with you on the reading tactics part (i WAS laughed at when i suggested the very same when raiding) i strongly disagree with the add-ons part. Most encounters are tuned in such a way that some roles in the raid are almost impossible to be performed effectively without the aid of some add-on. I am sure that someplace in the world there's a druid who managed to raid heal in Sunwell Plateau without any addons but that would be akin to those people who are able to memorize a phone list in 10 minutes.
 
Why are so many people complaining that raids are too easy, but do everything in their power to make them even easier? All this talk about looking for challenge is just a big fat lie!
"Do not stand in the fire!" is one easy sentence, that would be clear not only after one wipe, but after 30 secs of the boss fight.
Getting 25 people to actually *not stand in the fire* is the hard part :)

So while is a very basic example I don't think there's a huge contradiction as you say.
I've hardly ever seen people not *grasp* the tactics after 2-3 wipes. It's always the execution.

And yes, on multi-phase fights like Vashj or Kael'Thas this would really stretch the time until success. But then again I'd be a bit annoyed really if we manage to get past phase1 after a few tries of getting the tactic and then have the same for phase 2. and again for phase 3. It would get exponentially (exaggerated) more difficult.
 
This comment has been removed by the author.
 
Inner Focus, an Alliance guild on US-Elune ( www.inner-focus.org ) is going to do Ulduar blind... we are recruiting if this kind of thing sounds interesting!
 
I completely agree. Part of the fun of a raid is you are your friend discovering how to get by on a boss. For every fight, we usually get an idea of what might happen through WoWhead, but then we try it and see what happens. We discover tactics on our own.

That said, even with this option, I think Naxx is a little too easy. It took us months to do our first guild clear of Kara. It was slow progression, but progression nonetheless. We would be able to kill only 1 or 2 new bosses a week. Not until we had some ZA gear were we able to clear all of Kara in a night. But in Naxx, first time stepping in the place we cleared two wings with only a few wipes. We killed Kel on our second try. Just not as hard. Should've been. We are close to clearing the place in one night and we just started the place less than a month ago.
 
We actually did that in Kharazhan - not read tactics, try to find our own. There were some guildies secretly reading up of course, but they weren't allowed to spoil it for everybody who did try to find out what the bosses did on their own.

And then we had tons of people leaving the guild because we didn't progress fast enough.
 
"Most encounters are tuned in such a way that some roles in the raid are almost impossible to be performed effectively without the aid of some add-on. I am sure that someplace in the world there's a druid who managed to raid heal in Sunwell Plateau without any addons but that would be akin to those people who are able to memorize a phone list in 10 minutes."

It saddens me that addons are not directly supported by blizzard. Shouldn't you ship your game with all the software you need to play it? The developers should create a game that is playable, yes? They shouldn't rely on independent developers to make their games playable.

Besides all that addons change the game. Instead of carefully watching your dps you just make sure you lay off the damage button when your bar gets close to the tanks on the threat meter. That was my biggest problem with raids in WoW- I wasn't playing WoW anymore, I was managing a threat-meter and dps-meter while taking orders from a manuscript printed off of a raid guide website.

If people like that then great for them- I just know it's not for me.
 
For me this is like if you just read a full game guide before you play the game you just bought for your Xbox 360, most people don't do this.
Anyway in the end it is just everyone cheating on their own fun.
I wont read any guides as i enjoy thinking while i play a game instead of following instructions from a step by step list.
 
I actually made a post on my blog about this exact issue, but to reiterate - I agree with Hirvoxx. its highly subjective. not all of us are explores and pioneers. for many of us its NOT fun to go into something blind.

The problem with current content being to easy is not in a fact that we all know the strategies for the fights etc. its in the fact that you can sloppily "by accident" pull more then one group of trash and live just fine through it, that you no longer USE any sort of strategy when clearing most of the content. The content is too easy because it allows far to much slack, far too much room for carelessness with not penalty.

I used to hate Malygos fight. I'm not the best at operating vehicles. Now it, and Sarth with drakes are my favorite fights in current content. Not because the strategy is particularly difficult - it really isn't. Its becasue knowing what to do before hand doesn't make you any less proficient in execution. All it does is give you guidelines. Execution is STILL a challenge and for some of us - fun lays in execution, NOT in facing the unknown. I don't remember exactly who said that, on which blog, but the key here is to find the like minded players to play with. you want to be server first? find a guild who has the same goals and you WILL be required to know and have played all the strats before hand (but then again - if you want to be server first, you will welcome that idea). You want go into encounter completely blind? what exactly is stopping you?
 
you want to be server first? find a guild who has the same goals and you WILL be required to know and have played all the strats before hand

i thought server firsts didn't have strats to go by?
 
Game firsts don't, but server firsts do. Everyone would be expected to have already experienced the raid on an older server before coming to the new server with the intent of finishing the raid first. When people are racing to be the first at launch (oh dear, what a way to ruin a game (in my opinion of course)) I'm not sure exactly how it works. Are there beta testers that have created strategies already? I don't know. I guess server firsts wouldn't have strats if they were close enough to entire game firsts, since the strats might not yet be posted on the intarweb.
 
I doubt if most guilds will avoid spoilers or strat websites for long. The pressure is on for raid leaders to perform, and that means knowing the strats and how-tos. And then after downing the bosses after reading some strat website they'll go whine about how easy it is...
 
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