Alright I'm back. After christmas vacations, moving house and having the old house flood I managed to sit down and write the next entry. Feedback on the previous article wasn't that nice so I'll focus less on fails this time around. Anyway, here we go.
As Tier 11 was cleared, we were all getting ready for Firelands. Morale wasn't that high due to lack of World Firsts, but the reason we failed was pretty simple: lack of good players. If we could be able to get a few quality recruits and build up the roster we could succeed. Player evaluation was coming into place and some under performers (sadly not all of them) were kicked out. We recruited a lot of people, we tried to poach people from other guilds as well and we did manage to improve the roster: we had a very tight roster of players capable to play somewhat properly. One thing we did lack, though, was a big number of alts, so class stacking was very restricted for us. Also a few words about the mage situation: Ekyu became officially the raid leader and rerolled to his warrior, becoming the main tank along with Santella, so now the mages were me, Hearnt and Pizzalol. In regards to the leadership, Mek would be the guild leader and Ekyu/Caleb the co-guild leaders. With no offense to any of the guys, I didn't really like this leading triangle. You see, Mek was an awesome guy and had an excellent ability to communicate and reach people, making them be open to him and so on. But, his performance was quite sub par to that of the better players and that's not what you want out of a guild leader. How would he be able to talk to people about their performance if he himself couldn't perform well? Ekyu. on the other hand. was quite a good raid leader, he'd notice things and talk a lot, loud and clear on vent. But, he was truly stubborn and insisted on his opinion even when all things would point out he was 100% wrong. Caleb worked a lot for the guild, making addons and groups and whatnot, nothing to say about him except that he shouldn't play drunk.
The PTR was starting and we were dedicated to go all out on testing and get as much as we could out of it. Testing was going alright.. we did notice some weaknesses in the roster but nothing too bad, as far as I remember. We tried a lot of weird strategies, some of which worked on PTR but failed blatantly on live later on. For example on Baleroc, we had a tactic where 2 people would rotate soaking the crystal every 1 hit by standing really close to each other - something which pretty much eliminated all problems. Guess what, it didn't work on live! I believe we didn't miss a single PTR raid, even during some weird announced testing at 04:00; some of us attended and raided along with a US guild.
So the instance gets released and the plan is to run 2x25 man raids to maximize gear and legendaries. As with every progress, there is this very unfortunate surprise that you just know will come up. This time around, you could farm reputation on specific trash mobs, and as a result we spent the entirety of Wednesday making up the optimal tactic to farm up to Revered, which was the max possible you could reach - via multiple 10 and 25man groups. It was a very tiresome and exhausting day, but we were kinda forced to do it if we didn't wanna stay out of the competition. On Thursday we decided to start killing bosses after practicing on them for quite some time and ensuring we had a working strategy for Heroic modes. Deciding who would get the legendary was quite an interesting procedure. Initially, Mek said I would get one of them and Duus the other one, but Mek was unable to log in time for the raid, so apparently Ekyu decided Rivah would get the one Mek said I'd get, a decision he and pretty much everyone else regretted later on. Anyway, there was no drama at all and we started killing bosses and getting ready for Heroics. I won't go through specifics for each and every boss, just a few important notes for the heroic ones.
We didn't get any World Firsts at all, but normal modes didn't even matter and the first few bosses didn't count at all, they all died in only a few attempts so there was nothing important there, but there was this funny moment on Lord Rhyolith: I can recall Mek asking on "What are those beams????" in the sub 20% phase... how funny is it when the guild master asks about a boss ability everyone was supposed to be prepared for! Alysrazor was the biggest disaster for us, though. We wiped so many times due to individual mistakes and tank deaths (sometimes due to their bad play) that I really wanted to murder someone. After a few million wipes we managed to kill her, but she showed our roster's weakness. Baleroc was the first boss that was tricky and also the one that made us realize a huge weakness of ours: some people that were considered among the better players weren't able to maximize their DPS. Yes I know there are many reasons why, but for example our rogues would play a totally different spec and perform 10000 times worse DPS-wise than Method rogues, something that made us struggle for a long time on this boss. The fact that our crystal soaking strategy that worked on PTR and normal mode didn't work on Heroic wasn't much help either. What we had to do was abuse spellstealing from some mobs in Nagrand and thus kill the boss after a long, long time.
Majordomo was another time waste boss, since we failed to kill him in an entire day despite how easy he was, due to holes in our strategy we had to fill. Yet again individual mistakes and also for the first time, drama. We had this resto druid trial (resto druids were SICK on Majordomo) who would just never shut up. He also didn't perform that well, but that wasn't the problem with him, his attitude was. So at some point, while everyone is tired with him, he messes up and instead of apologizing he dares talk back to Mek. Yes, he did that. Yes, he actually talked back to Mek. The outcome? The catchy "YOU'RE DONE" on vent and an instant guild kick. Oh what good old times they were!
And then it was time for Ragnaros. As I said before, we had a very tight setup and we were unable to stack classes, which played a big role on Ragnaros progress. It actually came in waves: first, you needed to stack moonkins for phase 2. Then, as phase 2 was getting easier due to hotfixes, you would require warlocks and rogues instead. However, we simply lacked the proper classes, so we had to recruit low quality players playing the correct classes and invite benchies into the raid, something that made Ragnaros a very painful experience. Still, the worst thing during Ragnaros progress was people's inability to show up on time. Having to delay every raid for at least 2 hours because some people couldn't wake up or had something to do they never informed anyone about really made everyone sick and tired of this boss, this instance and generally the guild. A good measure during Ragnaros progress was the leadership's decision to loot ban certain individuals or force them to pay gold each time they made a mistake. Normally, that wouldn't really matter since everyone is supposed to play caring only for progress, not for gold or for loot, but in the guild's current state, apparently those things hurt some people more. There were some very funny moments on Ragnaros, such as me taking double trap in phase 1 by blinking into a new one, followed by the legendary quote "Taking the trap....s", Caleb disengaging into the lava more than once, Ekyu dying with 0 heals and when asking the assigned healer (Zumadin) his answer being "I don't know" and some more that I no longer remember.
Everyone was filled with relief when the boss died but no one was pleased with the outcome (in case you forgot, we got the no. 4 spot in the 25 man World rankings), everyone was rather disappointed. Old raiders didn't like the guild getting zero World Firsts, new members didn't like what they saw (pile of under-performing players on Ragnaros, people being late for raids or not showing up at all without warning etc) and those that weren't disappointed were people who didn't care about world firsts and were just interested in playing the game at just a high level, not the highest level. The leadership saw this and wanted to change things. Gamescom was a great opportunity for us to get some good reputation as a guild again and I hoped that it, along with the planned changes in the roster and the raiding system, would boost the guild back to the top, as unlikely as that might have seemed at the time. What were those changes? Stay tuned for the next entry!