The Pain of Regression

Future Past & Present sign in the sky

Last night was not exactly a pretty one for our guild.  With Sarth being our only bit of content left for the week the guild gathered up and got ready to try and tackle 3 drakes for the second time.  We had a full group and were ready to get the job done, but there were a couple of snags.  We had an overabundance of healers for one with 7 along for the ride and had four tanks as we found having two add tanks more effective than just one at keeping the adds off of the squishier folks.  Also, one of our top DPSers in the guild was absent for the night due to job commitments and we had to replace him with one of the newer apps, who was inexperienced at 3D and had less than epic gear.  We were also missing some of our regular, more geared out dps, but we decided we were here and we were going to give it a whirl either way.

So we clear everything, buff up and hunker down to get to business with our DK tank pulling and the same set of healers on him as last week.  The first drake lands and dps goes to work, with us healers doing our usual chaotic healing dance for Sarth 3D.  Things are progressing along normally till the first drake lands and the fire wall comes when about five of the dps die.  That’s right, five.  On the first wall.  Our guild leader was not happy, nor was Dueg, but we decide to keep going for the time being anyways.  Needless to say the first drake was nowhere close to dead by the time the second came and eventually we had to wipe it up and start over.  At that point though, I could tell that this was not going to be one of the more enjoyable raiding nights.

So the second attempt comes around and we go back to work, with this time only a couple of dps dying to the flame wall.  Not really better, but certainly more acceptable than five.  However, dps is even worse now with the first drake still being somewhere near 25% when the second lands.  For anyone not familiar, the first drake should be dead before or very soon after the second drake lands if you want to have a fighting chance.  So this results in another wipe and we run out to start all over again.  The third attempt is even worse, with the third drake landing before the first one was even dead.  As my guild leader put it, “That is fucking horrific.”

So we give it the old college try for a few more wipes, with the first drake always up and with significant health when the second one lands.  However, after that truly pathetic third attempt, I knew that unless we did something truly heroic, we were just not going to be doing Sarth 3D that night.  After the fifth wipe, the grumblings started to come up with people seeing that we weren’t improving on subsequent attempts and were either static or getting worse.  True, we were carrying an extra healer and maybe we could’ve had a respec to help with the dps, but if our normal dps couldn’t even make a decent show of it, what was one scrub dps going to be able to do?  After about an hour of attempts, the guild leader said we weren’t going to waste any more time, so we killed one of the drakes, one shotted Sarth 2D and went home.  No honor, no glory, and no DKP for a regression fight.

Of course there was a great amount of frustration, with the DPS defending themselves while we tried to figure out where exactly the disconnect was at.  Like I said, we were missing a few of our usual dps crowd and some of the people who were there were undergeared for Sarth 3D, which is a very unforgiving fight.  Not to mention, we were healer and tank heavy, but the raid was sloppy, people weren’t focusing and were dying to void zones and flame walls, one of the most basic things you learn to avoid in this fight.  When we were finally able to down 3D the first time, you could actually see people progressing on each attempt and there was a definite air of improvement along with a sense of “we got this” with each try, even when we wiped.  But last night there was only despair and heavy weeping with each wipe.

I knew it was going to be a rough night when I saw who our raid was composed of last night.  Not because any of our raiders are bad or don’t know what they’re doing, but we only had about 75% of the raiders who helped down 3D the first time and the rest were our newer members.  When our shadow priest was consistently beating out two of our warlocks and hunters on the dps charts, I knew there were other factors going on here.  That’s not to knock shadow priests, and especially ours, who I dub Sir Pimpenstien, but fact is, hunters and warlocks are pure dps classes and should always be at the top of the charts if they know what they’re doing and are decently geared.  Sir Pimpenstien was in the top 3 for almost all of our fights, a hybrid class beating out no less than four pure dps classes almost every attempt.  By those results, I could see that our dps group was simply gimped for this fight.

So now I ask you, how do you think guilds should deal with this?  The idea is that anything that’s considered regression such as Sarth 2D will not be worth DKP.  We know we can do it with 3 drakes, so why should we ever go back?  When Ulduar comes out we’re going to be the same way in that once we handle a fight on hard mode, easy modes simply will not be worth DKP.  But some guilds would look at it with a sense of, we’ve proven we can do it, so who cares if we do it every week or not?  We’re not one of those guilds though, we truly believe that now that we’ve done it once, we should be able to do it every week and not doing it is a step backwards.  Last night we took a big step backwards and quite frankly, it sucked.  A lot.



9 Responses to “The Pain of Regression”

  1. 04/07/2009 at 10:42 AM

    Not offering any DKP on the fight is not going to motivate people to show up next week. Perhaps the DKP policy could be changed for this, maybe even give bonus DKP to people who show up for 3D whether you kill him or not.

    I know its tough right now. Been going thru the same issues in my guild with less and less people showing up for raid nights. Last night we did Naxx with 20.
    We need Ulduar and we need it now to get people motivated to play again!!

  2. 04/07/2009 at 10:44 AM

    Ahh, that sucks 😦 Thou, I’ve had the same last week, we’ve been downing Sarth for 1.5 month now with about 5 whipes and last week we couldnt do it after +10 tries… So we killed a drake (sucks …). Then again, this week we one-shotted the bastard for the first time. I think there are so many factors to consider about fights like this. The tanks, the dps, the classes brought,… If I were you I wouldn’t stop trying 3 drakes and really push it to atleast down him, in the end it’ll be worth it.

  3. 04/07/2009 at 10:59 AM

    I don’t have much experience with DKP, but from a game theory perspective, providing DKP only for the front edge of your progression will, over time, create a larger and larger gear gap between your 1st and 2nd string raiders.

    When that gap gets big enough, you won’t be able to do the same level of content with subs. Which is where you seem to be right now.

    If your guild values its backup raiders (and it seems that you do by the high expectations you have for them) then you need to have a system to reward them when they step up. Loads of wipes, high repair bills, frustrated officers, being expected to perform at 1st string level with 2nd or 3rd string gear, and no DKP doesn’t sound very rewarding.

    It also sounds like your 1st string people knew there was no way 3d was gonna happen, and phoned it in for the rest of the attempts.

    I’d say reset the expectations for the raid to match your line up for the night, and downgrade DKP accordingly. Sometimes its better to get a win for the team and keep people happy (and showing up).


  4. 4 Jack
    04/07/2009 at 11:26 AM

    Just to make sure I understand what you’re saying correctly:

    (1) No DKP for fights you’ve beat.

    (2) Newer members of the guild are not well geared enough for 3D.

    (3) Newer members of the guild need more Sarth experience.

    (4) Newer members of the guild still don’t get DKP for 2D?

    Who is defined as the “you” in (1)? I assume the guild is? The whole guild?

    Were the undergeared/underexperienced guildies part of the 2D fight when it yielded DKP?

    Since you don’t give DKP for 2D, am I correct in assuming, very little (if any) was spent on what loot dropped? So it mostly ends up distributed by /roll?

    I would think that, theoretically, what should happen with 2D loot is that the undergeared guildies should be able to get the loot they want at bargain prices since the appropriately geared guildies already have it. At least, that’s what should happen if they have any DKP to spend. Do the newer members of the guild have access to fights which do get them the DKP which will help them get the gear they need to contribute productively in 3D? Or does (1) result in a DKP starved guild that ends up just distributing loot randomly?

    Going back to fight 2D, rather than just going home, was probably a good idea. Gave the underexperienced guildies a chance to catch up on learning the fight. Do they have a good way to catch up on gear?

  5. 04/07/2009 at 11:51 AM

    To address the issue of keeping our newer guildies from garnering dkp, keep in mind that no one got dkp for this fight. You can’t say they’re losing out or there’s a growing gap when they got the same amount of dkp as the rest of the guild, even if it was zero. And Sarth is not a gearing out fight, that’s what we have Naxx for. Lately almost every epic that drops in Naxx goes for one dkp or gets disenchanted, so the newer people are hoovering up the good stuff and still getting DKP (Naxx yields about 200 per clear).

    What it comes down to was that last night was our worst 3D attempt ever. Ever. Worse than the first time. It wasn’t just a step backward, it was a leap backwards into a lake with cement boots on. By not rewarding DKP, we’re sending a message that that is unacceptable. I doesn’t punish a particular group, it punishes everyone.

  6. 04/07/2009 at 12:26 PM

    “Sometimes its better to get a win for the team and keep people happy (and showing up).”

    This is my philosophy too, Vess. Our guild has been hit by the pre-3.1 malaise that has been going around, and our rosters are getting more and more shaky. (I’m not worried about it in the long rune — everyone will be back for Ulduar, the slackers.)

    The result is that for the past couple of weeks we haven’t been able to do 3D. And.. I’m.. not stressing about it, anyway. It’s not our best team, and 3D is still hard. So usually we do 2 hours of 3D attempts, then kill Vesperon and do the two “tough” drakes for more practice. There is lots of practice, some loot, some DKP (or SLS, in our guild), people are happy and cohesive and got experience.

    Would I like to still be knocking 3D out of the park? Hell yes! But I am a big believer in choosing my battles when it comes to guild leadership, and I anticipate Ulduar is going to need a lot of demanding leadership. 🙂

  7. 7 Jack
    04/07/2009 at 1:48 PM

    You can’t say they’re losing out or there’s a growing gap when they got the same amount of dkp as the rest of the guild, even if it was zero.

    I think the misunderstanding we had (at least that I had) is that since your current fight is Sarth 3D . . . no DKP from 2D meant no DKP from any source. In which case, yes, there would be a growing gap between newer and more established guildies. Not necessarily a DKP gap, since as you point out, no one got any, thus leaving everyone equally at zero . . . but a gear gap. Because one group has the gear and the other can’t catch up.

    But since there is a DKP source . . . not an issue. I guess you just hope the lack of DKP that night will reinforce how miserable it was and motivate some of the participants to get in on some gear runs.

    Or weed out those who aren’t so motivated. If that’s part of your intent.

    Better luck next time.

  8. 8 Mugician13
    04/07/2009 at 4:57 PM

    I understand that it’s an even playing field if NOBODY gets DKP for a non-progression fight. From a purely management perspective, it makes no sense to reward someone for NOT completing the job you assigned them to.

    That said, I tend to agree with the sentiment that there should be some incentive for the raiders to show back up. You indicated many were at least TRYING hard [& I imagine some of those were the newer folks who were trying to prove themselves, even with inferior gear]. When you put forth your best effort and still fail, it’s difficult to want to repeat that situation. That feeling, warranted or otherwise, could isolate some of the new members.

    Perhaps an “achievement” type system? New Member X has never completed 2D, therefore is awarded [a lesser amount?] of DKP. Once X has successfully completed it, he will no longer receive DKP for that fight. [Granted, tracking that could be difficult…]

    Just a thought, for what it’s worth.

  9. 9 xeonio
    04/08/2009 at 3:41 PM

    My guild had similar issues. Sarth 3D dies, 2nd week we fail, 3rd week we get him… it might just be everyone kind of took a mental break.

    The Saturday we did kill him I had to replace a few people mid-raid simply because they A) didn’t have the DPS for the fight or B) they couldn’t live (Flame Wall / Fissures).

    A) We use 7 healers & 4 tanks which seems to require a minimum of 4k dps / person with your top DPS picking up the extra slack. Our most recent WWS…. http://wowwebstats.com/13ykh6uqhbkhk. I hate how WWS breaks it down for the full attempt but if ur wiping around the 2nd-3rd drake, not long after whelps, its a great time to look for the DPS numbers because that’s when people should have their highest numbers (due to the AEing).

    B) Everyone knows at the beginning that I’m keeping a list of people who are dying to Fissure / Flame Walls prior to wipe being called (you can set DBM to announce in raid chat if someone gets hit w/either). After an arbitrary number people will be replaced. I’ve only actually replaced someone once and it was a healer who would be dead w/in the first 60 seconds of the fight.

    Re: DKP – People should get something for their time spent. I think you are pushing away your better players from wanting to go if they could be cheated out of points simply because newer people failed to perform (be it their fault or a gear issue). Especially if they would rather just do 2D for the actual upgrades since a lot of people don’t care about the Drake.

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