Challenge and Reward

I’m  not a gear driven player.  I enjoy getting new gear, and I love seeing my overall numbers increase over time, but that’s not what defines me as a player.  I like a good challenge, and I like to conquer those challenges with 9-24 other players.

I know that there are players out there who think that some of the ICC content (specifically talking about 10 man) is overly difficult.  I am not one of those players.  I think it’s perfectly tuned.  Players with 25 man / Heroic mode gear probably think that regular 10 man is a joke.  It’s probably true for them.  They have the gear, and by virtue of what it took to get, the skill too.  That’s not the world I live in though. 

I’m the guild leader of a casual guild that’s serious about raiding and focuses mainly on 10 man content.  ICC 10 is significantly more difficult for a group that’s got 219-232 gear vs a group that’s sporting 245-258 gear.  Make no mistake, I’m not complaining, just making reference to the group I’m working with.

ToC – ICC reminded me of Naxx – Ulduar.  Blizzard made it a point to make raiding accessable to more players, and in doing so lowered the bar a bit for Naxx.  Ulduar required more out of players who had become rusty and used to sleep-walking through raids.  Ulduar wasn’t really all that hard until you got to the very end, but it did require coordination and teamwork that wasn’t needed in Naxx.  ToC felt much easier in its mechanics, and my guild was able to defeat each boss as it was introduced each week.  I think that’s a combination of the skills relearned in Ulduar and that in general the requirements to defeat each boss were not difficult.  ICC requires more of everyone than ToC did, and I’m glad that Blizzard made it that way.

I love ICC, and I enjoy having content that we don’t just 2-shot on the first night.  The challenge of getting the group to be a fine tuned machine where everyone plays in sync without having to micro manage it is great.  For some of the content, that’s what it takes too. 

We had no issues downing Marrowgar.  He’s a pushover.  We even did it before they decided to nerf him.  In fact, the nerf removed the only difficult part of the fight in my opinion.  Honestly, if you don’t know to DPS someone out of a trap, or to stand somewhere other than in a giant line of blue flame by this point, there’s not much hope for you past this guy.

Deathwhisperer was another issue.  While we have no trouble with her now, it took us several wipes over a few nights to get the add killing and tanking down.  Once we’re in phase two, we’ve never wiped.  This fight isn’t hard, but required our group to be coordinated in a way that wasn’t required of us before.  When you’re not bringing an extra 1000 DPS or more per player, that coordination is much more important.

While I thought Flame Leviathan was a neat idea in Ulduar, the Airship is so much more fun.  We rushed the explanation on the first attempt and wiped.  Everyone knew what was wrong, it was down on attempt two.

Saurfang.  The reason for this post.  If you’re not bringing overwhelming firepower to this fight it is quite a challenge.  It takes our main raiding group about 45 minutes to get to him, but he was our stopping block until last night.  We must have tried 4 or 5 different assignments before we found one that worked.  15-20% of his health left is generally when it all fell apart for us. 

As I would rez back up and the group would prepare for another attempt, I’d be looking for strategy, only to come across the “If you can’t do this fight, you’re absolutely the worst players ever” forum banter.  Of course I’d go check the armory of a few of these people and see that they significantly outgear the people they’re putting down.  I’m aware that they earned their gear and that they most likely are more skilled, but ego reigns supreme, and they’re probably happier being “better” than other people.  Regardless, it’s not helpful, and I certainly don’t appreciate it.

Anyway, our most successful attempts were with 2 healers, 6 DPS and 2 tanks.  About 20 minutes before we were scheduled to be done for the evening, one of the tanks was dozing off and letting the boss get healed, as well as one of our kiters getting manhandled by an add.  I told the group that I know that they were sick of hearing it, but the “tanks have to switch as quickly as possible, we need more DPS and the kiters absolutely can not get hit.”  Seems odd to complain about 27k DPS in a 10 man with 3 people on add duty, but it wasn’t enough. 

The next attempt went well, and the first mark didn’t go out until he was around 35%.  It was one of the DPS and I called out to let them die to prevent having 3 marks by 10%.  We used Heroism at 30% and couldn’t do enough DPS fast enough to kill him with the dead DPS:  14%.  Best attempt yet.  Then we regrouped for the final attempt.

Everyone knew that this was our last shot for the week and the encouragement of the 14% attempt must have helped.  We pulled 3k extra DPS out of somewhere, the add kiters never got hit, and he was under 30% when the first mark came out.  It was one of the kiters, and I remember screaming in vent to not let them die.  I started calling out every 5% lower he got, and the members of our second raid group, who were ready to get started on their own raid, were cheering us on.  We hit 10% and I got the second mark.  The healers were almost completely out of mana and we hit 5%.  My heart was pounding and the amount of “Go guys go” we heard in vent increased.  I called 4%, then 3, 2, and 1%.  And then, he was dead.  When that boss died, you’d have thought we won the World Series and the Superbowl at the same time.

Did I get gear?  Yeah, 251 gloves.  Did I care?  No. 

It wasn’t about gear.  I’m pretty sure that no one cared what dropped off of him.  We just wanted him dead after about 8 hours of total work on him, and he died.  That’s all that mattered.  It took perfect execution, a by-product of all those hours and attempts wiping on him, but it was worth it.  Everyone had a great feeling of accomplishment, and we’re all better players for pulling it off.

Is Saurfang hard?  You bet.  Is he impossible?  No.  He just requires either outgearing the encounter or flawless execution.  I’m so glad that Blizzard made him that way too.  The feeling of pride and accomplishment that my group had last night is something I’d never trade for even the best of gear. 

I’d just like to give a shout out to my raid group for putting it all together last night; the hard work paid off, and we even inspired the second group to get their first Saurfang clear last night.  Cheers Bucklers of Swash, and to everyone else, I hope you enjoyed the story and more importantly, got the point.

– Sam

 

5 Responses to Challenge and Reward

  1. repgrind says:

    Well said, Sam, well said. Grats to you and everyone in your guild who participated.

  2. Chmelyk says:

    There were a few times I nearly died (being the ranged who got Mark of the Fallen Champion) but the Mrs. and Stalk the vent-ninja really pulled through on the heals. All in all a great fight to celebrate about, was smiling all day about it. It was fun but lets not get over confident they bosses only get harder from here.

  3. Finurlig says:

    Well done! I am mainly healer in a casual raiding guild that works on being a hardcore raiding guild. The main raiders had 232-245 gear when we tried ICC the first times. The first three times we went in we couldn’t even get Marrowgar down, which probably is a result of all our best dps being melee, but when we finally got him down it was all cheers and happiness in Vent. Lady Deathwisper were also a big, big challenge until we found out the mechanics of the fight. The airship battle might have been a cool fight but when we oneshotted it we were standing on the ship thinking “Was that it?”.

    And on Saurfang… Damn that fight was hard. When we eventually got it down we had the same setup as you: 2 healers, 2 tanks and 6 dps. Changing from 3 healers to 2 in the same time as we realized the value of PW:Shield during Boiling Blood and our not so good geared Elemental Shaman doing a very good Kite job with one of the beasts ended up in a dead boss along with the achievment for not having more than 3 marks out. In fact we ended up with only one single mark during the entire phase. Truly epic moment in vent and guildchat when those achievments appeared. 🙂

  4. Svarog says:

    If you time it right, you can Vanish-immune his mark. He would use up his Blood Power too.

  5. samueltempus says:

    That works, if he uses it on a Rogue. 🙂

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