Baby Steps

or –

How I Learned to Love Extra Credit Achievements

My guild has only just recently been trying for hard mode encounters in Ulduar.  We started off doing only 10 man, and just about as we got Yogg-saron dead, the guild grew large enough to do 25 man.   This of course required us to take a small step back to gear the newer players.  I am just now feeling comfortable enough to start working on the hard modes for some bosses. 

I won’t lie – the hard modes for us were really……hard.  For every failed attempt at the hard mode encounters, I realized that we could have taken smaller steps toward learning the mechanics of each fight rather than jumping headlong into the hardest versions of them.

Little Achievements Lead to Big Things

It began with a look at my own achievements one day, just curious as to what I had done, and what I was close to completing.  I was pretty amazed at how many very easy achievements we had never got.  Not hard modes or anything, just the other little “extra credit” achievements you can do.

For example on Kologarn.  He has no hard mode, nothing that gives extra loot anyway.  A simple achievement (in theory) is to not stand in the eye beams.  That should be a gimme IMO.  It’s not much more than the standard “don’t stand in the fire” mantra we all know and love.  Granted the “fire” follows you this time, but you do have a 2-3 sec window to get out of the way before it actually does damage to you.  But in my 16 kills in 10 man and 9 kills on 25 man, we’ve never managed to do that.  I remember one specific attempt, I noticed a ranged DPSer stand there and eat the eye beam every single time – didn’t move 1 inch.  Like I said, there’s really nothing to that achievement – just move outta the damned eye beams.  Doesn’t require 7k DPS.  Doesn’t require some odd ball gearing or spell selection.  Just move.

The same is true for these other achievements we have yet to accomplish. Cold in Here, Don’t Stand in the Lightning,(gee, I wonder what you have to do for that one….) Shadow Dodger, etc.  I could go on, but you get the idea.  None of these require massive gearing or near perfect coordination – just the same stuff you should all ready be doing in the first place.  No one could expect a group of players to get these on their first time through the instance.  But – as above – after 9 or even 16 times, you’d think it would be old hat by then.  But alas, the fire is still too much. 

One Giant Leap

Even before I started thinking about Ulduar hard modes, I had an unwriten “rule” regarding these types of encounters – mostly stemming from the Tier7 days.  My rule is:

Let’s do the normal mode first.  Let’s perfect the “easy” way of doing this encounter.  Let’s have everyone live through it, and not stand in the fire before we go and turn it up a notch. 

And I think that’s really why it’s taken me so long to even consider trying the hard modes.  We can reliably clear to Yogg now 1 shotting every boss save Mimiron and General – typically a 2 or 3 shot for those gents, although we 1 shot them all last week.  But we never do it cleanly (I think at the end of our General V kill we had about 10 people up).  How can I expect someone to do an extremely hard fight such as Firefighter when they can’t even move out of Kologarn’s eye beams reliably?  That’s the only freaking thing you have to watch out for the entire encounter.

I wasn’t going to jump into Sarth3D when people are still eating lava waves multiple times per fight, and I’m not going to try Mimiron’s Firefighter when melee DPS keeps eating Land Mines in the first phase.  To me it just doesn’t make sense to drive in the Indy500 when you don’t even know how to work a manual transmission.  One step at a time.  Learn the basics, then move on to the hard stuff.  You wouldn’t let a high school grad perform brain surgery would you?

I think there’s 2 main contributors to these “dieing to easy stuff” scenarios.  No motivation and just pure laziness.

Good Enough

Some players have no genuine interest in hard mode encounters or the little “extra credit” achievements.  Although I do not share the same mindset, I can perfectly understand it.  Some players feel that just killing the boss is good enough.  These players may not necessarily be standing in the fires as above on purpose (although they are usually the ones doing so), but they will generally have little interest in learning any new mechanics.  If a boss has any new tricks up his sleeve for hard mode, these players generally don’t give a crap. 

To them, killing a boss with 1 player left alive is the same as killing it with 25 players left alive.  So long as they get to see purples at the end of it – that’s all that matters. 

And not to say there’s anything wrong with that really.  Many guilds and players prefer to do only normal modes.  But – if your guild/raid is seriously considering attempting these hard mode encounters, these players will likely need to be replaced.  There is very little you can do as a Raid Leader to try and motivate these types of players into wanting to do hard modes.  I hate to use the word “carry”, but that’s essentially what it comes down to.  If you don’t have to desire to push yourself to the maximum of what you can do, you will have to be carried through hard mode encounters. 

It’s Just…

The other contributor of  “dieing to easy stuff” – is just pure laziness.  One of the things that really irks me, is when players say something along the lines of, “It’s just xxxx.”  It’s usually, “It’s just a 5 man”  “It’s just Naxx”, etc etc.  It’s usually the response you get when asking why they haven’t used a flask, why they don’t have a food buff, why they aren’t moving out of an AE damaging ability. 

This entire mindset really boggles my mind.  Does this mean the player adjusts their skill and awareness based on the instance or encounter they’re doing?  Why?  If you devote 100% of your attention to the task at hand when attempting Yogg-saron, why would you not do the same for Auriaya, Hodir, etc?  Why is it important to focus on BossA, but not BossB?  Granted there’s probably 10 or 12 things to watch out for on the Yogg fight, versus say 2 or 3 for Auriaya.  But that doesn’t mean you should be watching TV for Auriaya, and then suddenly pay attention on Yogg.  You should be paying attention all the damned time.

I’m gonna have to try this the next time I tank an “easy” boss like Ignis.  “Ande why didn’t you taunt?”  “Meh, it’s just Ignis.”  Well see how well that goes over.

If you can’t do the easy stuff on the easy bosses, there’s no way you’re going to be able to manage the hard stuff on the hard bosses.  Players should be constantly striving to improve their skills, not getting stale by 1/2 AFKing through an encounter.  Just because you’ve killed the boss 3 times before is no reason to slack off on the 4th attempt.  There’s always room to improve, always more achievements to learn, always more hard modes to do.

Just so long as you remember to take them in baby steps.

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~ by Andenthal on September 21, 2009.

2 Responses to “Baby Steps”

  1. “Ande why didn’t you taunt?” “Meh, it’s just Ignis.”

    Heh heh heh.

    • And yeah, I learned this the hard way a while back too. We very much have the gear to do a lot of the lower-level hard modes (10 man Uld hard modes and old stuff like Sarth 3D), but when I put together a group to put in some time on Sarth 3D we had people dying to flame waves and other stupid shit. No matter how much gear you have and no matter how much of a “lol” fight it is, you need to have the basics down. You can still die on Kel’Thuzad by being a noob in a void zone, and likewise you can still wipe in 5-mans if you put in no effort.

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