My guild is new to heroic raiding in Dragon Soul thanks to timely nerfs and a raiding tier that was easier than previous ones. This is and was uncharted territory for me as the raid leader and I’m still getting used to the increased difficulty that heroic raiding presents. If you read an earlier post I wrote (Selective Perfection) you will understand why heroic raiding is an attractive option for me at endgame.
So far the experience has been pretty positive, especially since the challenge of normal mode raiding no longer existed. As recently as 4 weeks ago my guild could clear DS normal in just over 2 hours. Since we dedicate 4 hours per week to raiding (2 nights) we felt that this meant it was an appropriate time to test the waters of HM raiding. We have managed to maintain our atmosphere as a casual guild even with the increased expectations, which is what this post is about.
Last night marked our fourth consecutive Morchok H kill (and our first without any deaths or wipes) and thanks to the 20% buff we shaved about 30 seconds of our kill time. Immediately afterwards we went back to work on Yor’shaj H. Even with the buff Yor’shaj continues to give us problems and require a lot of work on our end to succeed. Tonight we will also be working on Ultraxion H for the 3rd week (we have about 8 attempts in so far). Our best attempt was 50% health with 2:30 left for enrage. We are way behind the DPS mark, but most people need time to become comfortable enough with mechanics to reach their max potential in healing and damage dealing, so I’m not terribly concerned.
This leaves me in a weird place regarding my opinions of Dragon Soul because of conflicting emotions. Everyone has an opinion about the raid, and I am no different. I think the triumph of Dragon Soul was the successful rollout of Raid Finder and the increased availability of HM for casual raid guilds. There has never been a raid with this type of player exposure and success. I’ve heard and read the complaints that it is too easy and the nerfs too severe, and while I think its rude and inappropriate to dismiss opinion I don’t really think the facts back up the complaints. Nowhere did I read that the 50th ranked guild worldwide for Firelands became the 2nd ranked guild worldwide for Dragon Soul. In fact, with the admittedly sparse attention I give it, I didn’t see much movement in the rankings from Tier 12 to Tier 13. If Blizzard really had screwed up the difficulty wouldn’t we have seen something like that? In the end I concede the point that it took less time to complete Dragon Soul than previous tiers. The flip side to that of course, is that if they had made the raid too difficult they would not see the same participation from guilds like mine. We are not far from the next expansion, and yet I think we have much fewer guilds (overall) on burnout mode. Personally we have far fewer missing raiders night in and night out than before Wrath or Cata expansions because we simply have more to do than we did before. I can’t see this as any but a success.
The best part about all of this is that Blizzard has paced the buffs in such a way that we have been able to be the casual raiding guild we always were. We let our raiders learn the fights at their own pace, we offer constructive criticism when they ask for it (or when they really need it), and we stick to our 4 hours of raiding each week. I may not like the encounters or the setting as much as I enjoyed Tier 11 (sans TotFW), but I think Dragon Soul was a good raid to end Cataclysm, even if it wasn’t exceptional.