Friday, March 27, 2015

The Stages of Progression Raiding


1. Wipes in under a minute

What the hell is this unmanageable clusterfuck of damage? How does anyone live through this? Is this boss even possible?

Characteristic phrases:
"What the shit?"

2. The learning process

Now that we have some kind of understanding of mechanics, it turns out this boss is indeed possible. Time to make incremental progress and adjust our strategy whenever we encounter something new while patting ourselves on the back every time we get the boss down lower than we have before.

Characteristic phrases:
"Ok, so we know what to do now."
"This isn't how Method does it."

3. Hitting hurdles

Our strategy is solid, but we will spend the bulk of our wipes banging our heads against two or three specific places in the fight where people make stupid mistakes/RNG screws us over and everything falls apart.

Characteristic phrases:
"Guys, we've seen this a million times already."
"That was a shitty pull anyway."

4. Single-digit wipes

It takes everyone a full thirty seconds to release because we're all staring in disbelief at the spot where the boss despawned at 2% when the rogue's Evasion ran out. If people weren't dying and we weren't going into the last phase with half the raid down, we could kill this.

Characteristic phrases:
"We got this, guys!"
"Just LIVE!"

5. Lucky alignment of stars/Perfect play

Great work, everyone! You all finally stopped playing Hearthstone or Skyping with your significant others and got your shit together for one perfectly executed pull. Nevermind that Beastlord breathed fire in the best possible direction or that Iron Maidens picked a pally for Penetrating Shot almost every time. We nailed it!

Characteristic phrases:
"I knew it was a kill when I missed my pre-pot/my trinkets didn't proc/the shaman died."
"No conq token."


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

My spellcheck is telling me "clusterfuck" isn't a word. Like hell it isn't.

After years of raids and dozens of boss fights, there's a reason the tired phrase "Don't stand in fire" is still the single best piece of advice any player could attempt to follow, forget while tunneling a boss, and then die stupidly while ignoring. Once one learns the timing of mechanics, any boss encounter is easy enough to maneuver, but during progression and especially if someone messes up an aspect of the fight that imposes punishment, such space-encompassing effects can just look like unmanageable clusterfucks where standing anywhere is impossible. While it may not be so fun to work those bosses and die to their puddles of bad, it's definitely amusing to reflect on how ridiculously excessive their mechanics look while tanking the floor.

Imperator Mar'gok's infamous runes

Previously featured in my post about how pretty this encounter's mechanics are, beauty doesn't make up for how helpless one can feel when surrounded by a bunch of runes with no gap and the boss is across the room.

Mythic Operator Thogar's track fire

Look at that perfect positioning.

I don't think he's supposed to set train tracks on fire when there are trains still coming through them, but hey. He's the boss.

The Iron Maidens' Omega Pattern bombs

Aw. It's so sweet of the Maidens to give us safe spots in which we can stand. As long as other mechanics like Penetrating Shot or Rapid Fire don't fuck us over, we can do this dance forever!

Mythic Iron Maidens' Convulsive Shadow debuff

To be fair, it's not supposed to look like this, but part of progression is seeing all the possible iterations of how badly we can handle a mechanic and how comical it looks when we completely botch it. While this is what happens when everyone gets the debuff and nothing is dispelled, we also managed to dispel people too quickly and instantly kill them. However, it looks nowhere near as glorious as this.

Blackhand's Siegemaker fire

It's not supposed to look like this either.

Phase 3 Tectus

This is exactly what it's supposed to look like.


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

There's a special place in hell for monsters like me.

I think I just had the saddest experience in all of WoW.

Though my hunter has been level 100 for a few weeks already, I've pretty much just been winging it in LFR, never changing from the talents I used to level and definitely never brushing up on which pets give what new buffs. This weekend, I finally decided to update my stable with all the necessary raid buffs and the most attractive skins, and I headed over to the Jade Forest to get myself a pretty chocolate-colored stag.

Maneuvering through the canopy to touch down in the grassy lands of eastern Pandaria, I surveyed my surroundings to find my prospective animal companion. Almost immediately, I came upon a Shrine Elk standing amongst the trees that was taking its time to pick tiny bites at the grass in a glade void of any apparent danger. I took it as a sign that it was the first stag that I saw and had already decided not to look any further when I noticed a tinier yet identically-colored deer hanging around close by. Obviously, it was my target's child, and I hesitated setting up my trap for a second, but I had plenty more pets to tame that day, and my desire to get my task over with was most likely the driving force behind my ultimate determination that the fawn looked old enough to get by without its mother.

And so I proceeded to tame the elk, an act that would ultimately end in great sadness because I forgot a couple important elements of the situation. One, if I tried to tame a doe with its child nearby, the child would come and attempt to defend its mother despite having no chance of winning. But no matter. I didn't need to hurt the fawn; I would just feign death after I finished taming. Two, after I tamed a creature, I would have a fucking pet, so before I could even feign, my newly incorporated minion saw that I was being attacked, turned right around, and killed its own child.

There I was, standing in a clearing with a loyal new charge, sick with horror at the tragedy I had just facilitated. In my many years as a hero/errand runner of the Alliance, I may have slaughtered plenty of animals, accepted work as a strikebreaker, and accidentally assassinated undercover agents of my own team, but I have never felt more horrified at myself than when I forced a mother to kill its young, all for a 3% buff to versatility, a stat universally accepted as the least arousing. It was enough to make me question the benefit of a combat style in which I am the cause for sad events like this one. Is the life of a hunter worth such a high cost in misery?


Well yea, my main is a warlock, but that's a different kind of misery. The good kind. For serious.