Will Ulduar Break You?

Pictured: Ulduar

Pictured: Ulduar

So last night was our guild’s third night in Ulduar and our guild leader was forced to sit down and have a little heart to heart with our guild.  After two full nights in Ulduar and only getting Flame Leviathan down, we were showing ourselves to be painfully below Ulduar standards.  To be fair, the difficulty is way ramped up and it’s just not the loot pinata that Naxx has been.  Also, if what Blizzard has been stating is true, then having full Naxx gear combined with WotLK dragon loot in every slot still puts you at barely ready for the 25 man raid gear-wise.

But that wasn’t the only problem.  As everyone knows, Naxx was laughably easy compared to old raiding content.  Even Blizzard has admitted that they may have screwed the pooch by making it a total cakewalk.  Anyone who had mastered the basic concept of “stand here,” “run there,” and “cast this” could conceivably be picking up KT loot after a four hour investment regardless of how much raiding awareness and skill they actually had.  Hell, you could PuG it, something that hadn’t been seen since they nerfed Kara in order to get people ready for Wrath.

The main problem with this, according to our guild leader and the officers, which I agree with, is that it has bred bad habits and complacency into our raiders.  The easiness of the fights meant people didn’t really need to bring their A-game anymore once we had placed Naxx on farm in order to get their weekly purples.  Consumables didn’t matter, flasks were whatever and min/maxing was something to consider, but not necessary in order for people to “succeed” at raiding pre-3.1.  

It wasn’t just gear either, people could get away with being a step too slow or only half paying attention to what was going on on their screen during a boss fight.  It felt like out of any given 25 man raid, you only needed between 10 to 15 people to really pay attention in order to carry the raid.  Hell’s bells, there have been several occurrences of Naxx bosses being downed by 2 people, and not just the 10 man versions, the 25 man ones.  Ponder that for a moment, a boss meant to be killed by 25 people is instead downed by 2 who’s only obstruction was how much time they had on their hands.

But that’s just not the way of WoW anymore.  You can’t kill any of the bosses with just a tank and a healer, you need a whole raid.  Even more so, you need a well geared raid that’s on the ball, aware of what’s going on around them and keeps their mistakes to a minimum if they make any at all.  Dying in a fire not only makes you look like a jack-ass now, but could conceivably wipe the raid, especially during these first few exploratory weeks when every single dps or healer or tank makes a difference.  So it was on this subject that our GL spoke to us about.

The main point of the discussion beyond the usual “stop fucking up” that you’ll usually hear from those types of spiels is that min/maxing is no longer optional.  If you want to raid with <NEED A DISPENSER HERE>, you better have a stack of consumables and enough flasks to last you through the night.  Your enchants had better be top notch, even if the mats cost you a lot of gold.  And you better be prepared to sit out on raiding for the night if someone else has put in the extra effort over you.  Simply put, we won’t be carrying anyone anymore.  This ain’t yo momma’s raids anymore.

There were the usual grumblings over this and cries of “that’s not fair!” and people upset that they wouldn’t be allowed to get away with letting 24 other people do the work so they could get epics.  However, I must say that I agree with this.  There’s a place for casual raiding in the game now and that place is Naxxramas.  If a guild wants to progress in Ulduar, they have to shed that ambiguous idea of “casual.”  They must become a team that cares about doing better than they previously did or else they might as well just consider Sarth 3D the apex of the game and consider WoW beaten once they get the Twilight Vanquisher title.

We’re gonna be organizing some 10 mans this week and trying to get people some more proper gear and practice for 25 mans, but for some people, Ulduar has already broken them.  We’ve had 3 gquits since 3.1 hit.  One who wasn’t sure if he wanted to be a raider anyways, one who thought we were dicks for expecting people to perform and one who felt he just wasn’t up to snuff for Ulduar.  Though I hope it won’t be the case, I’m fairly certain that we might shed a few more raiders along the way.  So I ask you, now that it’s been out for a full week and most people have had a chance to at least give Ulduar a taste, do you think it will be a bump in the road that will eventually be overcome, or will it break you like the weak, capitalist pig you truly are?



29 Responses to “Will Ulduar Break You?”

  1. 04/20/2009 at 2:51 PM

    I have no viable opinion, as I am not a raider, but a noodle-armed druid! 😀
    But yeah, I think people shouldn’t get pissy over that. Dare I used a guild name, but “RAID OR GTFO.” If you join a serious raiding guild, expect to raid. Hell, I applaud the guy who /gquit because he admitted he wasn’t up to snuff. That takes guts.
    There’s no shame in joining a more casual guild. Just know yourself and your ability.

  2. 04/20/2009 at 2:59 PM

    I’ve been the last healer standing in a fight in Naxx, duoing — yes duoing — Heigan with a DK tank. I’ve seen the raid press on through various encounters — hell, through whole wings — down a healer or two as someone decided to ninja AFK. If people noticed, no one cared. I’ve been in successful VOA pugs where most of the DPS could barely hit over 1K. On Friday night, one of my guild’s off-nights, we cleared Obsidian Sanctum with just 14 of us, a raid made up almost entirely of alts and offspecs. Prior to 3.1, as long as one or two people were paying attention, everyone would get their epix.

    So yeah, Ulduar is tough. But part of the difficulty isn’t just that the encounters are new or that they tax our dps or healing abilities. It’s exactly as you say: people have been able to muddle their way through all the raid content (with the exception of Sartharion 3D and the Immortal title) without care, without skill, without effort.

    And now, raiding requires care, skill, and effort from everyone. The injustice!!

  3. 04/20/2009 at 3:01 PM

    Oh, and whatever happened to Dolph Lundgren, eh?

  4. 04/20/2009 at 3:04 PM

    I know y’all can do it. 🙂 With smart people like you in it, how can failure happen?

  5. 5 Isiene
    04/20/2009 at 9:30 PM

    Quite honestly, I know that there’s no way I can do Ulduar right now, or even in the near future because of gear and mostly, lack of experience. However, I’m extremely happy because of it. Why? Have any of you ever been annoyed at the fact that as a healer, you sometimes have to respond to, “I don’t have to move out of AOEs. Just heal through it. If you’re good enough, you should be able to heal through it. After all, my Naxx 25 geared guildy can do it.”

    In other words, I should be at the top of my game, but that person can be lazy, sloppy, and at the same time, he/she is implying that I’m the one who is somehow lacking for suggesting it?

    This is the, “Hurl strategy and detailed playing out the window by outgearing it” mentality. Sure, I can heal through most of that AOE damage I encounter without exerting myself too much (and when it IS difficult, it’s an absolutely awesome learning experience for me in how to use mana/cooldowns efficiently), but refusing to move because you can still survive is sloppy, sloppy and lazy in my book.

    And sloppiness makes me furious.

    Even though I don’t take damage, or when I know it doesn’t hurt, I move anyways. Why? Because it’s great practice. Reflexes (even in a game) atrophies just as well as physical muscle irl from lack of use. Complacency can solidify when it sets in; you can’t simply say, “I’m going to stand in AOEs, ignore all debuffs, and space off for 6 months, and then when something crazy comes along, I’ll be able to dust off my awesome skills and jump out, guns blasting.”

    The fact that Ulduar hits every complacent player like a truck finally makes me feel like I’m playing something worthwhile. After all, previously, with the ease of Naxx, my griping about sloppiness only makes sense in that I lean a tad towards the perfectionist side. I would even argue that by allowing people to survive (and succeed) in such complacency, WoW itself was actually encouraging the behavior. After all, I could frown at people who stand in AOEs, but since I can heal through it easily, wouldn’t I be the one in the wrong for being huge perfectionist grump and a !@#! to criticize them for it?

    In any case, I’m very, very, very glad for the change.

  6. 04/20/2009 at 10:46 PM

    @Isiene: You’re right to be frustrated by that and you’ll be glad to hear that lazy people like that are going to be rewarded with a swift death in Ulduar. If something is meant to be moved out of in Ulduar, that means it will kill you in seconds and there will literally be no time whatsoever for a healer to keep you up. Raiding is becoming extremely unforgiving lately, and that’s just fine with Dueg.

  7. 7 Pugnacious Priest
    04/20/2009 at 10:47 PM

    Ulduar has come as a shock. We are stuck at XT-002 – probably didn’t help that we changed strats 6 times during the 3 hour attempt last night. We are getting the lecture that we are better then that, and the moment someone is honest and says that something is a problem for them, rather then working on it – they get shot down as all the rest who have been making the same errors stay quite. No one wants to admitt anything – or even offer suggestions – they are all safe and secure in their own little bubbles. Will it break our guild? We have lost 4 good healers for various reasons in a week, and there is a Que of new DPS applicants at our door. It may not break us, but its hurting.

  8. 8 xeonio
    04/20/2009 at 11:53 PM

    Its really interesting to see how this has effected groups and how they have responded, what changes they’ve made and how others have been asked to step up to the plate. Nice post Dueg.

  9. 04/21/2009 at 6:23 AM

    Ulduar clearly shows the “bring the player not the class” though I don’t fully agree with this (healing wise I’d prefer aoe healers instead of 3 paladins and 2 disc priests showing up). People need to react fast, and not finish casts! At Kologarn some people had troubles kiting the beams while I (lowest health in the raid -can I get a reward for that?) could kite them easily with only a shield on me. It’s sad to see your guild isn’t making progress 😦 I think you’re not the only one out there though, there surely are more guilds having Naxx on farm and failing at Ulduar. I noticed bugs are holding my guild back atm for progressing (Ignis bugs, Auriaya likes to spawn her adds again in the middle of the fight,…). I’d like to say, don’t let Ulduar break you! I’m sure with enough of practice you’ll eventually get there. We asked for a challenge and well… We got one I can say.

  10. 10 Light
    04/21/2009 at 7:56 AM

    I think people will only overcome it if they start to think they have room to improve. I’ve also been in raids where there are one or two top DPS carrying the raid and everyone else is there for gear. I guess there is no middle ground between “casual” and “hardcore”?

    Have you been to the new boss in VoA on 25 man mode? He’s the exact same way. In a sick kind of way I love watching DPS fall flat on their faces cause they think that ‘rules are meant to be broken’ and ‘barely more DPS than the tank is enough’. 🙂

  11. 04/21/2009 at 8:35 AM

    Blizz is still making adjustments in Ulduar so I expect some things might become a little easier.

    Still I can see where Ulduar is going to show us who is worth their salt. Though we’ve now downed 3 bosses, we’ve only been getting one boss per night after multiple wipes. I’m not confident we will have this on clear any time soon.

    Still I have to remind myself that this is far improved from the BWL days when you’d be wiping on the same boss for weeks.

  12. 12 Duht
    04/21/2009 at 8:45 AM

    I raid lead a 10 man, and we have a 25 man team in guild too.

    Both raids were stopped dead cold at the deconstructor.

    The 10 man team, after about an hour (3 or so attempts) started having “important personal things to do” elsewhere, and left with hardly any effort expended on the boss. My assistant and I sat there, shocked at the complete unwillingness to approach a challenging fight with any kind of tenacity.

    I was disappointed. This… is my raid team.

    The 25 man team got to Decon the first night and gave him a good hour/hour and a half effort. The second night, after two hours of attempts the raid leader started calling people out en masse. People were offended, one ninja logged. DPS started bitching about not being able put up the numbers because they were dead, healers started complaining that they just didn’t have the Naxx 25 gear to be carrying the heal load – and to be fair, they didn’t.

    Shortly afterward, the raid leader vanished. He was online, he just wasn’t talking.

    The rest of us that were in good spirits hung out in the instance for a little bit making fun of each other until we figured no one was coming back and went off to do our own thing.


  13. 04/21/2009 at 9:20 AM

    I think what has largely saved our guild is that many ulduar encounters have similar moments to tbc ones. So you walk into kologarn and tell the raid “you have to kite beams here like on felmyst” and people slip into old SWP srs buisness mode. Even then our officers had to pick up mods like raid buff status and failbot to see who was slacking on consumables and consistently dying preventable deaths.
    If people really have trouble executing a part of the fight that requires coordinated movement we position everyone with our tank pretending to be the boss and use raid marks and flares to indicate certain events. People that don’t move and aren’t paying attention get drilled until they do it right or get swapped out for someone that can.
    Even then it kills me when 4 people always show up with no food buff when 2 fish feasts were put down. Everyone managed to bring food all tbc, why can’t they at least click a feast now?
    T7 gave everyone some really bad habits.

  14. 14 Porf
    04/21/2009 at 10:20 AM

    Nice post. I think your comment about dropping the “casual” is exactly what needs to happen with our guild. We’ve always been casual, and Naxx just furthered our ability to do that.

  15. 04/21/2009 at 11:53 AM

    Great post! I too am looking forward to a difficult time with Ulduar. It shouldn’t be impossible, just difficult. That makes it worth it!

    As it is, I have yet to step into Ulduar and I blame Amber (just because :)). But it is on the calendar for tomorrow.

  16. 04/21/2009 at 12:18 PM

    Good post! It seems to me like your guild is approaching this correctly — Ulduar is serious(er) business, so your guild needs to be serious(er) in their approach.

    My guild went through the “min/maxing is not optional” phase when we started SSC and TK back in the day. I’ll be totally honest: we lost a good half dozen people over that decision, and I was sorry to see them go. It was a difficult time, but it was the right decision for the guild, and we came back stronger.

    Of course, Naxx didn’t require those skills, and we sure haven’t been using them. I’ve noticed this week, though, that the theorycrafters are coming back to our forums again, people are upgrading their enchants their gear, and there is a buzz in the air. I guess being a min/maxer is like riding a bicycle. 🙂

    Anyway, good on your guild for having the nerve to be honest and say what needs to be done. Keep that up, and you guys will be kicking Razorscale’s butt in no time.

  17. 04/21/2009 at 6:34 PM

    You just described my weekend, Dueg. After an hour or two of thoroughly disappointing Deconstructor attempts — which ended prematurely when three of our casual raiders suddenly had real life crises to attend to :eyeroll: — I announced in our guild forum that we would be “seriousing up” for Ulduar. I know from our BT days that we’re capable of the kind “serious raiding on casual schedule” will advertise on our website … but after months of “casual raiding on no schedule at all” (i.e., Naxx!), we’re lost.

    No one has /gquit over it, and my core welcomed the announcement — loudly — but I have demoted a few of our more casual players to Friends & Family, including the fury warrior who couldn’t out-DPS his prot counterpart in Naxxramas. He’s a nice person who is friends with several of our officers, but … Ulduar isn’t exactly pet friendly. ^.^

  18. 04/22/2009 at 3:43 AM

    thanks Dueg for a very topical article:-)!
    it imo is describing the current situations in majority of guilds. maybe the really hardcore guilds dont have these issues, but i bet that the “normal” guilds do.
    i myself love it in Ulduar and im really happy for the new content. it s so fresh:-). (and yes, it IS tough:-))!!)
    anyway, what i myself encountered with the ulduar release and what i didnt enjoy much is:
    guildees whining about raid spots and not able to cope with that EITHER they have a chance NAU to show what they can do OR they d better “stay at home”.
    and ppl thinking that if they are still in a “few blues”, that it doesnt matter and that -ooops i forgot to bring my food for “cheese” buff- IS a valid excuse.
    these and similar are proly not that rare issues lately. for all the “casual” guilds that still want to have some fun raiding, i wish you good luck and a dedicated 10m team that is interested and doesnt give up easily:-)!!

  19. 20 Akandra
    04/22/2009 at 5:40 AM

    Alizarine is right – very topical.

    Naxxramas has made people sloppy. After the pre-Wrath raid nerf people could just charge in and kill things they never would have dreamed they could kill before, with very little reference to tactics, even at t6 and in Naxx that didn’t really change much. Even the heroic dungeons are easier in Wrath. Its not even that Ulduar is that hard, its just that people have forgotten theres more to raiding than pew pew.

    There are quite a few guilds out there that managed Naxx but couldn’t do Malygos or OS with dragons up. I think that to say you can go from Naxx to Ulduar is just not true – if you can’t take down the dragons then you really will find Ulduar hard.

    We noticed it out first night on Razorscale, when people had to start thinking about interrupts and crowd control again. We also had our very first whining about wiping although that player was shot down fast. We got him down the next day and Ulduar is renewing our guild rather than destroying it. However I think this post is just right for a lot of guilds who in any other iteration of the game would never have completed a raid.

    Now everyone has to learn a new skill – wiping gracefully and efficiently.

  20. 04/22/2009 at 10:09 AM

    Nice article 🙂

    I’ve been part of a dedicated raiding guild for quite some time now and the hardest part for us these last months was the utter boredom that was Naxxramas.

    I can understand that the developers wanted more people to experience Naxxramas, since pre-TBC not alot of people got to see it. Unfortunatly they ruined a really really nice instance. The original fights had alot more complexity. Most of the WoTLK fights had many (or all) challenges removed. Alot of people in my guild experienced Naxx pre-TBC and the new version simply wasn’t the same instance.

    Next to that the “Achievements” in Naxxramas weren’t that orginal. You didn’t have to change alot in your approach to a fight in order to it with fewer people or not have anyone dieing. That was the part I hated the most about Naxxramas really. There was absolutely no challenge for guilds that had been raiding at a T5/T6 level pre-WoTLK.

    Ulduar has been great so far, cleared most of it last week and hopefully starting the first hard-modes this week. Alot of nice achievements that actually require more then just kicking some people out of the raid or sheer “dumb” luck (1% Immortal whipes ftw.).

    Nice article, agree with alot of things you said
    Peachz of Offspring

  21. 22 mishkachu
    04/22/2009 at 3:48 PM

    You know, one thing seems to get left out in all this: there are still people, myself included, who are just beginning to use their other hand to count the number of times they’ve been to raids. People think that if you haven’t had a character that plateaued in Old World and BC, frankly, you suck and there’s no reason to bother teaching you when there’s 2 dozen other people who already know how to raid. How on earth are we supposed to learn how to bring our A game when no one is willing to teach? I read about the fights. I listen to the raid leaders. I have watched other people raid, just to learn. Unfortunately, I can’t get the gear by studying. It’s…frustrating, to say the least.

  22. 23 Astmathic
    04/24/2009 at 7:22 AM

    So, Im in a casual raiding guild (casual since we only raid around 3 nights per week) and we got heroic: Glory before 3.1 and currently have everything up to Mimiron down and Im quite certain that he will go down on sunday.

    Being casual isn’t equal of being M&S or sucky. It’s equal to spend less time in game while still performing on content.

    Question now is “Can you take the pressure of always doing the best you can for a few raids per week?”

  23. 24 Wolfi
    04/26/2009 at 1:36 PM

    There is a difference between casual and raiding casually. Ulduar can be cleared by both casual raiders and hardcore raiders. It is a PuG breaker, but I do believe the right kind of PuG can still clear several bosses. Ulduar is not hard, Ulduar is a normal raid, full of bosses that actually keep you on your toes and make you keep your brain alive. Other than FL, Ulduar actually needs strats and people who can constantly adap and change strats based on guild needs. Just like any other boss (non-Naxx) in the game, not one strat will work for every guild. Ulduar is not much different from SSC/TK and the hard modes are very similar to attempting Kael Pre-Nerf/phree badge loots. Yes, Blizzard is still tweaking Ulduar, but since all the bosses have been cleared, it is all clearable. A friend said to me the other day-from an elitist perspective. “I don’t think Blizzard needs to make Ulduar easier, people need to just get better.” Like the guy said, Naxx has built up some very bad habits and Half-assing. Get over that time, and expect to raid. This game is not hard, but like any other game it should require one some challenge for glory. If you feel you are not good enough to clear Ulduar, then go do some brain puzzles and come back and try again. Ulduar is not possible, it’s just “different” then what we expected from the current Wrath content. Good luck to the guilds that are progressing through Ulduar, remember to stay strong and keep your minds focused. Don’t let some pixels break you or your guild, it has been cleared llready and will be cleared again, and most importantly can be cleared by any guild that will min/max using what time they get to raid each week whether 9hrs or 40hrs.

  24. 25 Sharrae
    06/02/2009 at 8:47 AM

    I am doing research on Ulduar because my guild thinks they can take an off tank with a blue weapon and another piece of blue gear and then they couldnt figure out why we could beat flame lev. and another boss and couldn’t beat others. I have to agree with the person who wrote this and I also have to say ‘gratz’ to the person who left because he knew he wasn’t ready for ulduar. My guild won’t get 25man man naxx’s going because they may have to pug a few ppl which drives me crazy but I do like the guild so I have to put up with the craziness for now. If anyone has any good sites I could look at about ulduar, gear req… ect…. I’d really appreciate it. I am gonna have my guildies read this because they can’t get over how much it costs to repair, that they need to bring their own food, flasks ect… ty, someone has to put it out there and ppl have to face the facts and thats what this post did.
    ty 🙂

  25. 06/02/2009 at 9:39 AM

    @Sharrae: Your tanks are going to be the people in your guild who MUST have a good gear set. I can understand not wanting to PuG Naxx, but if that’s the case, then the tanks need another venue for collecting gear. I’d recommend 10 mans, and they should be able to handle at least part of 10 man Ulduar if your guild is handling 25 man Naxx alright. It’s the perfect place to get practice / gear for the 25 man counterpart.

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