A Huge Disappointment
Fair warning: This is a rant. I need to get this out of my system. If you happen to be a member of my raid team, please know that I still love you and generally think you are an awesome person/player. Please don’t hate my guts forever for posting this.
We did not get Al’Akir down this week. This would be disappointing under any circumstances, but I am particularly disappointed at the moment. Disappointed… and also a little angry and ashamed, truth be told.
You see, we didn’t even bother trying. While I really wanted to focus on getting him down before the Patch 4.2 nerfs so we could legitimately earn our Defender titles, no one else wanted to even try. People just wanted to farm BWD. We did a vote and everyone unanimously voted to roll over, play dead, and wait for Blizzard to make Al’Akir easier.
I am disgusted. It would have been one thing to legitimately fail to kill Al’Akir. But to not even try? To put in a bunch of half-hearted efforts and then blame our failure on poor encounter design? Other guilds have downed Al’Akir. I know it’s possible to kill the damn boss. But our raiders got it into their heads that it’s an unfair fight and that good performance wouldn’t make a difference, so they didn’t bother trying. And you know what? That attitude is bullshit. I know, I know – at first even I was saying that the fight was unfair and would deserve a nerf. However, after a few attempts I figured out how to stay alive and keep other people alive too. People learned how to deal with Phase 1 and we started to get through it extremely quickly most of the time. Since we were able to figure out Phase 1, which is the most difficult part of the fight, why did everyone think we wouldn’t be able to figure out Phase 3? Our last two attempts we even made good progress at Phase 3, so if we’d bothered to work at it I know we could have downed him.
It wasn’t the fight that defeated us. We defeated ourselves.
Everyone on my raid team says things like, “Oh, I just love progression! It’s my favourite part of the game!” And then they pull shit like this. I mean really? We find a fight challenging, so let’s not even work on it? GG guys.
Yes, Al’Akir is a poorly designed fight with a lot of unfair RNG issues. Yes, it has an irritating flight mechanic. I know, I know – it wasn’t a “fun” fight and we’re all here to have fun, right? But what is it that makes raiding fun? Is it steamrolling over bosses when you totally outgear them? Is it one-shotting a boss you’ve never seen before and collecting your phat lootz? Or is it perhaps how it feels when you’ve been beating your head against a boss for a few days, slowly making progress, and then you’re breathlessly watching the last few percent of heath as it gets whittled away and finally, finally the boss goes down?
I know what I find more fun. Or at least significantly more satisfying.
Since Thursday, when we spectacularly failed to down Al’Akir, I’ve been wondering why we should even bother going into Firelands right away. We now know that Blizz is going to nerf each tier of content when the next tier comes out. So why bother trying it while it’s hard? Let’s just wait until tier 13 comes out and we can steamroll over Firelands. I mean, easier is more fun, right guys?
I know everyone in my guild would disagree with the above paragraph. I know they all want to go into Firelands. But really? We couldn’t clear Tier 11. What makes anyone think we’ll do well in Tier 12? If it’s hard and frustrating, aren’t people going to just want to give up and go work on the nice, comfortable farm content? Based on everyone’s reluctance to fight Al’Akir, it makes me wonder.
One of my fellow officers, seeing that I was angry about not going for Al’Akir, said to me something like, “Eh… this is just a pride thing for you.” Damn straight. We were a new guild for Cataclysm. It took us a few months to put together a stable raid roster – we replaced half the team in April and had to basically start over again. So fine, we didn’t get a chance to work on heroics this tier, but we managed to kill Cho’gall and Nefarian and we are in a great place to start Firelands (despite what I said in the previous paragraph). I have high hopes of being able to see heroic Tier 12 content. I have worked hard to make this guild great and I’ve been very proud of what we’ve been able to do. And now, in addition to all the accomplishments I have to be proud of, I also have a failure to feel ashamed of.
Next week I’m sure we’ll go into Firelands. We’ll probably wipe a lot, and I doubt we’ll down any bosses the first day. Then we’ll probably go back to Al’Akir and try to kill him for our titles. We might even get him down because of the nerfs. But it won’t be the same. We won’t really have earned that kill, and the title won’t mean as much to me as it could have.