Progression.

It means just one thing – moving further than you’ve gone before. Or does it?

In World of Warcraft it’s usually used to talk about raiding, but it’s not just what boss you’re on.

I’ve been raiding on my Beastmaster Hunter now for a few months, and I’m fortunate enough to be playing with a team that has been able to successfully (and repeatedly!) kill all the bosses in Mogushan Vaults.

So, progression. We started with no bosses, and kept working on them one at a time, getting better each week until now we’re able to clear the entire raid instance in a single 2-hour run.

Some groups out there are far further along than we are, killing bosses in harder raids or heroic modes, and some folks out there aren’t yet as far along as we, still working on earlier bosses.

S’all good.

The fact remains, we have progressed and succeeded. We haven’t fallen apart, we haven’t had a lucky kill that we can’t duplicate, we’re still moving forward.

I’m very happy about that.

But that doesn’t mean everyone in the team is happy.

It’s about expectations.

Last night we had a rough night in some respects. There are bosses we have on farm that we usually one-shot, well we had some wipes to ‘em. We still killed them, but it slowed us down more than expected.

I could tell it was disheartening. I could feel it, some folks felt we WERE moving backward, falling behind… losing progression.

We didn’t fall apart into whining and finger pointing. We dug in and went again. And again. And we succeeded, killing them all and ending the day with another complete clear.

not just a clear, but the last fight of the evening on Will of the Emperor was also one of our smoothest ever. The timing on the end phase was freaking perfect. Not a close one, not a squeaker, we destroyed Will of the Emperor.

What was the progression that made me happy? We didn’t kill any bosses that we hadn’t done before, and in some respects we were slower than usual.

The progression came from doing better on the fights that we have the least experience in. Sure, some of the early ‘farm’ fights were flopping around, but Elegon and Will of the Emperor were great. Better than we’ve done before.

On a purely personal level, I had a great night.

I’ve been trying to do my best as a Beastmaster Hunter on these raids each week, and my DPS has been okay, even good, but I’ve always felt that I was not coordinating my cooldowns and priorities and Focus management quite right. I could do better.

Last night, on every pull I tried my hardest to nail down my timing, figure out where I wasn’t hitting the right transitions.

Frostheim has said it before, and it is so true, we have a lot of buttons to manage. A lot of things to prioritize, and every attack or cooldown you use is a GCD that means everything else waits a skosh.

Last night my goal was to get every single one of them perfect. To have my Focus at the exact point that the moment Kill Command or Glaive were up, I was using them, no moments wasted. Cobra Shot used only as much as necessary to get the Focus needed, and no more.

No wasted GCDs. Uptime of the best shots. That was the goal.

I’m sure most folks don’t think it’s that big a thing and do it as a matter of course, but not me.

I worked hard on it, and I had a few good runs last night where I feel I nailed it. And I also learned what was working right and what rhythm helped me move in sync with my cooldowns.

At one point, I used all of my utility, did everything I was supposed to do, hit every point and ended with 86k DPS for the boss fight. I was so damn happy with myself, I had to whisper a friend, bursting with excitement,  “86 freaking K freaking DPS, bitch!”

Keep in mind, other folks in our group regularly have higher DPS that I do, and last night was no exception. Monstre alone came in and did over 250k DPS on one of the fights last night. So I’m not whispering because I’m el numero uno head honcho. I was genuinely delighted because it wasn’t about being better than someone else, it was about setting a new bar for me to reach. A damn good bar. I played in the zone, as perfect as I could, and THAT was where I was at. From now on, that is the new goal for me to try and beat, and every fight I’ll still be looking at my abilities trying to see where I can switch something or prioritize something to do better.

Bosses were going to die anyway. In reality, I probably could have been half drunk and pushing buttons randomly, and we would have still won, and at about the same pace.

My progression, my satisfaction was in doing better than I had ever done before, and that left me on a natural high.

Well, goodie for me. I talked to one of our raiders a little later, just a quick chat about next week, and she seemed really down. I was genuinely surprised, we cleared all of Mogushan Vaults, whole thing in two hours. Sure, could have been faster, but in my book that ain’t failsauce.

I’ve been in first half LFRs that have taken longer than that, no lie.

But they were still down about it. Sounded kind of bummed. And that comes back to expectations and what progression means to each of us.

Just because I’m happy we cleared MSV, and just because I had a good time because I felt I was improving my skills and refining my technique doesn’t mean other people in the raid group had the same goals… or the same measure of success.

If your goal is to reach a certain point, clear a raid just so you can have a certain number of attempts on one difficult boss you’d like to get past before the new patch reduces the challenge, then anything less than meeting that goal is a failure, isn’t it?

What if you have your heart set on reaching Garalon? You don’t expect any difficulties in getting there, you’re not concerned with the old stuff, you have your sights set on this one goal. Get Garalon.

If that’s what you need to feel you have progressed, then not reaching that goal will suck. It will be a big downer, because you failed to reach that goal when you expected to.

Same raid team. But some are going home happy and others are going home depressed.

It’s just something to think about. Everyone has their own goals and definitions for progression and success, and while you are focused on trying to meet your own goals, it’s good to take a look at what the goal for your TEAM is, and do your best to make that happen too.

If your goal is to be better at your own role in the group, but other people in the team have the goal of reaching Garalon, then part of being a good teammate is doing what you can to help the whole team get all the goals met, not just yours.

So, yeah, we ended the night well. We didn’t slide backwards, we didn’t choke on a boss or hit a wall.

But we ended the night down, because we could have gone further, faster. And for at least one person, we didn’t progress. And that SUCKS.

Next time, hopefully we’ll get it done and meet the goals everyone has, and then everyone in the team can walk away happy, feeling that glow from a job well done.

4 Responses to “What Does Progression Mean To You?”
  1. Ted says:

    Gratz on a great raid night, Bear.

    Don’t you think that is part of the officers or leaders job is to set the expecations? They are ones who say we are going to take that hill, or clear that house, or down that boss, and then make decisions accordingly.

    Do you have people who still need/want gear from MSV? Would your raid time be better spent learing Vizier or Blade Lord?

    This teir has been very different from the previous ones. Normal modes are challenging (at least for my group). We are working on Blade Lord. Our goal was always to clear a teir before the next one comes out, but for the first time I don’t think that’s going to happen. Some of us are frustrated, but like your group, we are sticking it out. Maybe some new shiny gear from 5.2 will help us over the hump.

    • bigbearbutt says:

      heya ted.

      We’ve actually downed the first two bosses in heart of Fear as well, we are on Garalon when it comes to the next boss we are working on for progression.

      The problem is exactly what you said; drop rates on key items has SUCKED. Aumanra has yet to get any hunter weapon drop from LFR OR normal, so each week we keep hoping Will of the Emperor will have his bow. And we had been short the tanking shield for forever, the shield was a lie,e except yes, it finally dropped on Tuesday, so we have a happy tank. :)

      Those are just a few examples, for the most part everything in MSV is shard fodder, but there are those few key items that just make you wanna go grr.

      I think the plan I heard was to either hit Heart of Fear hard and heavy on Friday, or to step into Terrace for the first time. Either way, it’ll be fresh and fun.

      The question of who sets expectations is a good one.

      I think the raid leader sets what the goal for the team is, based on their feel for the general skill level and preparedness, but each player has their own expectations, and the raid leader can set whatever goal they like, if each member of the team doesn’t at least partly share that goal, then the raid as a whole will suffer.

  2. Bristal says:

    It can also just come down to mood. If you have a lousy day, and just can’t get your head into your rotation, even a full clear can feel dull and pointless. And often people blame others (Why aren’t we progressing faster? This guild sucks!) for those feelings.

  3. marinredwolf says:

    Yes, the disparate expectations is a problem I’m quite familiar with.

    Being part of a guild forged of friends and family (and their friends and family, etc.) makes for a tight, relaxed atmosphere most of the time. But when it comes time to try to do something together, we barely muster ten people remotely interested in raiding on a good night. Of that, about a third want to make headway in current content and get gear, about a third would rather do something for achievements in previous content, and about a third are just there without any strong goals or desires… it’s rough even trying to please a majority…

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