Progression & Finishing Raid Content

It dawned on me a little while ago that, although I’ve had a very successful run in Wrath of the Lich King on a personal level, something was missing. Something other than the awesome feeling of progressing with Apotheosis, that is.

Back in the day, pre-Burning Crusade, I wanted to finish raid instances. It always pissed me off that we got through Golemagg, and no further, in Molten Core as the guild Fated Heroes. It always pissed me off that we never did get Onyxia down as a guild. I didn’t care much for AQ20, mind you, but I was SUPER happy we cleared Zul Gurub several times — including Jin’do.

In Burning Crusade, as Apotheosis, we finished every instance we focused on raiding, from Karazhan (including Nightbane) through Black Temple. True, we didn’t even get Kalecgos down in Sunwell Plateau, but we’d spent precisely one raid night there actually trying to kill a boss, so I’ll forgive us that. When you realized that we only killed Maulgar and Gruul eight months after the expansion launched, I think we caught up pretty well by the end of Burning Crusade.

The beginning of Wrath was tumultuous for the guild and we stopped raiding officially in early March of 2009. We didn’t get Thaddius down. Nor did we have any adds on Sarth. And we didn’t even have a key for Malygos.

It was the plan to clear Naxx and get Sarth with 3 drakes. It was definitely the plan.

When I went to Bronzebeard to continue raiding, I was joining a guild that had cleared Naxx and done 3 drakes (like, once?) and killed Malygos. The guild was clearing content at the appropriate level, while content was still current. I had never been in a guild that was doing exactly that. I mean, Apotheosis was finishing up Hyjal and Black Temple when other guilds were farming Kil’jaeden. Fated Heroes was wayyyyy behind the curve when you looked at Eternal Force and Epic Again who were chilling out in Naxx.

So it was exciting for me to be part of a guild that was clearing the content. I got T7 cleared, in T7 gear, including Sarth 3D, pre-Ulduar. That was awesome.

And then came Ulduar. Ulduar launched on April 14th.

That night, my Bronzebeard guild got server-first Shutout (world 26th! I know, not a big deal, but still!). The next night, server-first A Quick Shave (world 905. Much less impressive.) and then, after a solid four hour night of wiping on XT, we got him the next night after that, getting server-second Nerf Engineering.

Server-fourth Antechamber of Ulduar achievement, server-first I Choose You Runemaster Molgeim (world 296) wrapped up April for us.

Things were looking good.

Over time, we did the following hard modes:

4-minute Ignis, Knock on Wood, 4 tower FL, Heartbreaker… and that’s about it, really. Never got Hodir’s hard mode, nor Thorim’s. Never even tried Mimiron and Firefighter. Never saw the Saronite Animus. Didn’t do Steelbreaker last. And I wasn’t in the raid when they did 3 Lights for the fail!priest’s forging of Val’anyr.

TOC came out and Ulduar felt half-finished. No way of trying Algalon and half the hard modes weren’t something we were capable of doing.

I changed guilds in September, to my RL Friend the Resto Druid’s guild.

The guild I joined was ranked 190th in the world, server-second, for One Light. A bit of a difference, no? I didn’t join for progression, but I knew I’d get more of it there than on Bronzebeard, since the guild was barely even raiding due to the emo /gquit of the raid leader.

I showed up and we cleared regular TOC 25 on the Sunday raid and spent some hours on the Monday raid killing heroic Beasts. One night. That’s all it took. My Bronzebeard guild had tried 36? 37? times over two resets to do heroic Beasts. The new guild had been finishing up stuff in Ulduar before focusing on hard mode 25-man stuff in TOC.

So heroic Beasts die Monday, then on Tuesday, they die again and we get heroic Jaraxxus. Heroic Faction Champs on the next reset. Then a MONTH before Twin Valks die, on October 26th.

ICC came out on December 8th.

We spent six weeks working on heroic Anub’arak. And in that time, we also took down Algalon on 25-man. It felt good, having killed every boss in Ulduar, even if not all on heroic. With my new guild, I’d also gotten Steelbreaker Last and 3 Lights, but Algalon was dead and that was awesome. It felt like this guild had finished Ulduar and I was a part of that.

Six weeks of work on heroic Anub’arak with a warrior add tank who insisted on tanking all the adds himself and not wearing the proper block/avoidance gear. This was the abusive RL/MT who just wouldn’t cut anyone slack, but it was FINE if he showed up in his stam gear. Seriously.

And then ICC opened. Until the Plagueworks were opened up on January 5th, we were still raiding TOGC, still trying to get Anub’arak down. It was painful. It was brutal. And we never did it.

We did go 12/12 ICC 25 regular. We went 11/12 ICC 25 hard modes. I even went 11/12 ICC 25 hard modes with a second guild.

But no 12/12. No “The Light of Dawn” title. (Still want to see a video of someone with the Light of Dawn title CASTING Light of Dawn!)

So it dawned on me… I basically did not finish the last three tiers of content in this expansion.

That’s unacceptable.

When did 11/12 hard modes become an acceptable stopping point? That’s like spawning Ragnaros and never killing him. That’s like getting right up there to Illidan and just staring at his face. Seriously. I didn’t get all the hard modes in Ulduar. I got to 4/5 TOGC. I got to 11/12 ICC25 HM.

Why on earth is this acceptable? Why are 4/5 and 11/12 considered “progressed”?

US 202 for Glory of the Icecrown Raider (25) was great. But why did we stop there? Why did I leave when they were doing heroic Lich King?

I couldn’t handle the toxic environment anymore. Every day that I stayed in that guild, I fervently wished I were back on Eldre’Thalas with Apotheosis. But Apotheosis wasn’t raiding. So it was off to Skywall I went, where I was welcomed with open arms and people weren’t total assholes. People were skilled players, good people and they were driven. Why did they stop at 11/12 HM? Time ran out. The patch hit. Official raids stopped.

And so it was time for me to come home.

It’s not an easy thing in this game to find a group of people who are skilled AND friendly, who do things at a reasonable pace, who aren’t a full tier behind.

This expansion, Apotheosis will be that. For me, for my officers, for my guildies. We all deserve a place to be where we can chuckle over accidentally BOPping a tank or mocking someone who failed at an elevator boss. We all deserve a guild where we can buckle down and get something done, even if it is on the infamous last attempt of the night. We all deserve the stability and strength from a solid group of officers who know their classes, who know their roles, who work well together as a team.

We deserve it and Cataclysm will be our time to claim success and joy such as we’ve never seen before. It’ll be the exuberance of a guild-first Vashj kill with the efficiency of Hyjal wave kills. It’ll be the laughter from DIing a tank combined with the skill that allows a group of 10 to conquer the Lich King without really having talked about Phase 3.

Four weeks to go.

Bring it on.

10 Replies to “Progression & Finishing Raid Content”

  1. I know the feeling – how can I personally accept 11/12 heroic as being a good end to the expansion for me? – but circumstances made that full heroic clear fall out of my grasp and with one month ’til Cataclysm, I’m more focused on getting my new guild members their meta achivements and have some fun instead of burning them out on heroic Lich King. Hell, even I am tired of heroic Lich King now, if only because it brings up so many thoughts and memories of this expansion.

    Setting your sights on Cataclysm to “make things right”, so to speak, is something I’m doing as well, and I can’t wait to get going.

  2. Not entirely convinced you’ll be DIing tanks in Cata :<

    I almost found what you'll be looking for in Cata during this expansion. Granted I did it mostly in 10mans, but that's what I set out to do at the start of the expansion so it's all the same for me. Not everyone ended up being on the same level, and occasionally old frustrations came back, granted.
    Nonetheless, I can assure you now, if you get even close to creating a fun raid environment where you progress at a reasonable pace, it'll make Cata your most fun pve experience by leaps and bounds.

  3. I guess it depends on your definition of “tier.” If you want to get really technical, you cleared each instance. The final boss of each zone was defeated. On 25 man, but possibly even on 10 man. I think with all the variations of lockouts and settings, the idea of what counts as progression has really changed, too. Don’t get me wrong – I’m a 25 man raider at the core and I’m inclined to feel the same way that you do.

    I don’t feel too bad about myself, because I know that a lot of people have still not seen a fraction of the content that I have. Because of how blogs can be so insular, we see everyone around us doing hard modes and we think that it’s the norm and it isn’t. I have seen a lot of wonderful things and I’m fortunate to have been able to do so. Can I say that I checked everything off my list, for Wrath – of course not. Can I say I wish I could have seen more and that I had the ability to do so – you betcha.

    But the last thing I feel about this expansion is unfulfilled. I feel pretty lucky to have been where I’ve been and to still be here – ready and equipped to do a lot more ass kicking and be a part of a lot more adventures down the road. That’s just what I choose to take away from it and how I look at it.

    And I’m thrilled to be on board for future ass kickings with you and your guild! Woo!


  4. This expansion was the first time I ever raided. I saw about half of Naxx, I barely saw three bosses in Ulduar, two in ToC, and I’m 5/12 in ICC. (Though I have fought, due to subbing, the Lich King. Haven’t killed him, but fought him.) But I feel I did great because I’ve never done better.

  5. We just came back to raiding few weeks ago – not in 25-man, as we intend to do in Cataclysm, but 10-man for a start. Given that we’re on a lowpop server, it’s really hard to recruit, especially now, when you see most guilds falling apart because majority of the core quits. But we decided to come back for 10-man raiding to shake off some dust before Cataclysm. And we managed to did 10-man Heroic Lich King. Not as hard as 25-man, but still gives us the warm feeling of actually completing the expansion, at least those 10 people who still care about “old” content. And it’s good enough for me.

  6. I read to “fail!priest’s forging of Val’anyr” and collapsed from giggles.

    I don’t think he plays anymore either..

  7. Lidanya – I think it’s the completionist in me that’s bugging me. I know I have good reasons for not finishing Ulduar, TOGC or ICC HM, but it rankles! It’s like not doing Domo or Rag or Ony as a guild! I can only accept that it’s because I wasn’t in charge of a guild and couldn’t change my circumstances, really. I could have stuck around with my RL friend, but I would have burnt myself out. And never would have met awesome people on Skywall. And they never got HLK down anyways.

    Cataclysm is going to be a great opportunity to tend to the matter of “unfinished” instances, while we’re progressing through them. I hope, anyways. :)

    Nellea – Hah, sadly, no, but I did DI a tank on Bloodboil, during progression attempts, back in the day. And I had no idea what killed me until the tank was like “what the hell, I can’t move!”

    I completely agree that if we can keep up with the Joneses in Cata, with this group of people, who are pleasant, funny, even polite (!) then Cata will be the best expansion ever. I hope to take the overall fun from Burning Crusade and add to its progression what I’ve been fortunate enough to experience this expansion. And exceed that. Fingers crossed. :D

    Oestrus – There’s a shift that happened to me sometime during TOGC and ICC. I used to hate hard modes. I used to think they were just the developers being lazy. Instead of new content, it’s the same damn thing, only things hit harder and there’s a new twist to the mechanics. I’m still not a huge fan of heroic dungeons or heroic bosses.

    But somewhere in there, probably while wiping on Anub’arak in TOGC 25 for weeks upon weeks, I decided that I wanted to get that damn bug down. Suddenly, it didn’t matter to me that I’ve killed him with ease on regular 25 or that I was probably geared enough to go through and kill him in TOGC 10. I wanted that bug down on TOGC 25, dammit.

    And that attitude continued into ICC25. As soon as my then-guild killed LK, we started heroic modes and went 6 (? 7?) HMs in our first week. Marrowgar, Gunship, Rotface, Blood Prince Council, Blood Queen Lana’thel and Dreamwalker. (Possibly also Saurfang, though I can’t remember.) And I was like “HELL YEAH!” for most of those. Getting Putricide down on heroic in that guild was great. Heroic Sindragosa’s first death resulted in me slumping over my keyboard in pure relief. And then, when I went to Skywall, I desperately wanted to help these 7/12 HM people get to 11/12 HM at least. And I did, and it was great.

    So somewhere, my attitude shifted. I’ve now bought in to Blizzard’s stupid heroic mechanic. And it means that even though I’ve killed Lich King on 25 a dozen plus times, the fact that I haven’t killed him on 25 HM makes me cranky. ;)

    I recognize I’m fortunate to have done what I’ve gotten to do this expansion. But I also recognize that I’m hungry for more. And I’ve accepted that I can’t do full-on hardcore progression with a bunch of jackasses in my raid group without wanting to kill them. ;)

    Anyways, I’m glad to have you aboard for the future ass-kickings as well!

    Fobok – That’s awesome that you got to raid! You did things you never got to do and that must feel great. :) My standards for myself are, obviously, pretty high, but I love hearing about new raiders who get sucked into the raiding game the way I did, back in the day. Congratulations! (Also, did you nearly crap your pants while fighting the Lich King? The first time I ever saw him, I very nearly panicked, haha.)

    Neara – Congratulations to you and your group! 10m heroic modes are still nothing to sneeze at, particularly Putricide (never done that, but you have to be super good with the plague!) and Sindragosa. Doing those fights and then HLK himself with the Shadow Traps and the Frostmourne phases? Excellent work. Definitely something of which to be proud! (Bane of the Fallen King is also a kick-ass title. :D)

    Kaleri – That BASTARD and my mace, dammit! hahaha! I didn’t really care too much at the time, since I was feeling as though I’d been there for a long time and I’d be able to craft one, etc, but alas! TOC came out “too early” and I’m stuck with 3 shards for the rest of eternity. At least Oestrus has a Val’anyr for the guild achievement. My melee officer (aka Football) healed this expansion and I think, between the two of us, we have five shards. Haha.

  8. When my guild fell apart a few days ago, I was disappointed as hell that I didn’t ever get to raid with my new enhance shammy. Although I did get a fair bit done on my paladin before the 4.0.1 patch, I haven’t even got Kingslayer on any of my characters. Which is a shame, because I’ve killed him on normal mode (10 man) numerous times on my wife’s shammy.

    As of last night, though, I seem to have found a way to get some ass-kicking action right before Cataclysm finally hits. In a single raid night, with a half-guild-run-half-pug (a Polish guild on my realm, nice bunch of people and really competent at that) we managed to get 11/12 in ICC 25 with a couple of heroic modes in between. This Monday, we’ll attempt to kill the Lich King himself, which will be awesome. We pretty much oneshot every boss, so I’m confident that we can get him down. Which will mean getting my first Kingslayer title! :D

    Raiding in Cataclysm is still somewhat unreachable for me, as I’m now effectively guildless and haven’t found a new home yet.

  9. I’m in the exactly same boat Kurn! 4/5 ToGC and 11/12 H ICC and it drives me crazy.

    Even if you stayed in your toxic ICC guild there’s no guarantee you would have gotten H LK – on my server the guilds that did get it (2 Alliance, 1 Horde guild I think?) spent about 2-3 months on that one encounter – and they did it before the 6 months of ICC?! burn out kicked in.

    Frankly I think Blizzard kicked up the difficulty for those final encounters (both on Norm and Heroic) just a bit too much. The jump to the final encounter shouldn’t be *that* severe that it breaks guilds who struggled to reach that point. I think they’re designed that way so that it *does* feel incomplete, so that it might spur your group to keep raiding.

    Slightly too hard imo. H Anub and H LK are … insane

  10. This is a ten-day old post, so sorry for cluttering up your inbox responding to an old post but I kind of had to because I so, so, so feel you. I have a pretty similar history of guild-hopping and sever-hopping, looking for that guild environment where I fit in and they were also making progress. I had one spot I was pretty happy in, and we were getting H Anub reliably into phase 3 right when I got a new job that just destroyed my ability to raid. I had to drop my sub and just stop playing at all for a long time.

    I’ve returned to my original (RP) server now that I’ve come back, and I too am really looking forward to Cataclysm. The guild has my boyfriend, several of our RL friends, a great atmosphere, and some pretty good players. I’m not as hardcore as it seems like you are, but I really think we’re actually going to be *finishing* the Cata content, instead of my sad lists of half-done raid achievements from Wrath.

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