I don’t normally write “oh lookie how awesome we is” posts, since I figure we’re about the last guild on the server to do most content. I imagine it’s kind of hard for you folks to feel excited, reading about a guild completing some content you had on farm status about, oh, 4 to 6 months ago.
Still, I’m gonna do it this time, because I feel I’m justifiably proud of the Sidhe Devils, and because there is going to be a lot of thinking done on where, as a casual guild that raids, we’re gonna go from here.
First, the awesomeness;
Yes, you are reading that correctly. We as a guild downed, for the first time ever as a guild, the Military Quarter, Sapphiron and Kel’thuzad, all in the same weekend, and earned ourselves our first complete Naxx clear.
On Saturday evening, at 8 PM server time, we entered Naxx for the second night of raiding. On Thursday, the guild cleared Spider and Plague wings. On Saturday, we cleared Construct, and then went for the first time ever to tackle the first boss in Military Quarter.
Our plan was to try Instructor Razuvious, and see how we did. If we managed to get past him, we’d go on until hitting a blockade.
We one shot Instructor Razuvious, mostly due to the outstanding coordination between tanks Olivar and Pushpin.
Moving along, we ran into Gothik, ran the fight strat quick, and then blew him up the first time. We destroyed him so bad I frankly can’t remember any of the fight at all. I’m trying, it’s just gone.
We then decided to through caution to the winds and went to the Four Horsemen.
We started this fight by having everyone watch the video that was created and hosted by Tankspot, which does an outstanding job of showing the dance version of the fight, which is what we wanted to do. You can check that video out here if you haven’t done the fight yourselves and want to see the strategy.
With everyone having seen the dance, and understanding that we would be floating back and forth every three Marks, we set up the group.
We had one tank and all DPS, plus one healer in the first group to take down the front bosses first. We had our other tank and one healer in the front to be the swap out.
We had Graimerin, who had been specced Ret throughout the run use his Dual Spec of Prot to serve as one of the self-healing tanks for the casters in the back, and Lady Jess played boomkin tank/self healer on the other one in the back. Jess had been our third healer up to this fight, so again, Dual Specs in 10 mans are VERY helpful, thank you very much.
We kicked the fight off… and I’m sorry, but it WAS easy. Everyone danced perfectly fine, we hit our three Mark shuffle dead on, and the bosses fell like poor wee little dominoes, bonk-bonk-bonk-bonk.
Well, h0ly crap. Wonderful tanking, great healing, it was a sensation!
Now comes the stress as a casual raiding guild.
By this time, it’s about midnight server time. We’ve been cranking it for four hours, killing trash and describing, then doing, the boss encounters.
But we have no more raids scheduled before the server reset. And it seems like such a shame to have come so far, and not take a swing at Sapphiron and Kel’thuzad.
So we go face down Sapphiron cold. No Frost Resist gear, just the Paladin Frost Resistance aura.
I cannot remember if we one shot Sapphiron, or if we had an early wipe before we downed it. I tend to think we had a wipe first.
What I do remember, is that we were about halfway through our serious Sapphiron attempt, and we had a bad Chill while hiding behind a Frozen party memeber before the massive wipe bomb went off, and the damn Chill took down 5 people in the group.
And yet, nevertheless, with only five left, and then four soon after, the remaining players managed to kill Sapphiron while the rest of us watched.
Graimerin, back in Ret mode, cleared over a million damage on Sapphiron all by himself on that fight. It was amazing to watch.
I was one of the five dead from the Chill, so I had plenty of time to admire the view.
So, wow. Sapphiron dead. It’s now almost 1 AM. It’s late, we’ve blasted through a TON of brand new content, culminating with a massively stressful insane Sapphiron fight that lasted forever and left everyone shaking with adrenaline.
Do we stop now? Or go on to Kel’thuzad?
Yeah, yeah… we went after Kel’thuzad.
And proceeded to wipe. A lot.
We were just too fried. Each attempt we got better, but the top three problems were moving the hell out of the red circle underfoot before it blew you up, having a fast enough response on Frost Tomb that a heal could hit before you died an instant later from the 100% plus damage DoT, and mana drain.
As any expert in the Voight-Kampff test knows, reaction time is a factor.
Around 2:00 AM, we called it quits. We gave it one heck of a go, but just couldn’t pull the trigger.
We hastily scheduled a 7 PM server time run Sunday just to kill him… and 2 people from the original crew could not make it.
We did kill Kel’thuzad Sunday nght, and it did feel great… but it was tinged with sadness that those who fought so hard for so long were not there at the final kill.
We then went and did VoA and tried to down Emalon, and came very, very, very close… but ran out of time before the battleground reset. Damn, we came real close. We were able to, very often, burn down the Tempest Minions. Eventually, we pretty much figured that we needed to shorten the distance between Minion groups and boss group so we didn’t run back and forth as much when switching DPS. A much better result than our first time in. And we’ll get him next time when it’s not so close to reset.
So, a hearty congratulations to Sidhe Devils for blasting their way through Naxxramus. Way to go, folks.
But this now leaves us with the question… where do we go from here?
As a relatively small, casual guild that also raids, but for whom raiding is NOT the focus of the guild, a raid like Naxxramus is a big pain in the butt.
Yes, we can do it. We always knew we could, we just took our time progressing through the wings, because we didn’t want to spend all our lives raiding.
Legitimately, it’s a three night raid done in three hour chunks, or a two night raid done in bigger chunks.
If we commit to shorter time per raid, we end up having three raids, just for Naxx, per week.
If we commit to longer raids, we start to get back towards the marathon raid sessions.
Now, one solution might be to try and stack short runs with longer runs, balance the time each night would take.
The Thursday night group, lead by Graimerin and Pushpin the last few weeks, has cleared Spider Wing and Plague Wing in about two hours. Spider Wing seems to be a quick cakewalk.
If we stack Military with Plague, and Spider with Construct, we might have a better balance of time for the four wings.
Trying to do it that way, might, just might let us handle it quicker in a two night run. Plus, we know from experience that the more we go after them, the faster we get as everyone gets in the groove.
It’s an interesting problem. We don’t want anyone to burn out raiding, not at all. But we also want folks to have a chance at the Tier gear, and the good drops.
And we want a much better chance for people that start the run, to be there at the end of the run to see the results of their hard work.
I’m leaning towards trying to keep it to two nights, personally, and hope that we can keep the time per night down so that nobody gets too burnt out.
So far, it looks like most folks are having fun doing this, so I hope we can keep the enthusiasm. But the time it takes is a real concern, especially in mid-week.
Only time will tell, but once Kel’thuzad goes down once, how can we stop going?
I try very hard not to think of the fact that each week, only one person could get Tier gear per slot… so it would take ten full weeks before everyone in a run got all their gear… assuming the loot gods smile on distribution of tokens.
Sigh. Hey, we had fun, damnit, and that’s what counts. I’ll worry about folks getting bored when we’re kicking the whole place over in under four hours.