I’ve put myself in a bit of a pickle. Not the friendly kind of pickle that you may have played with your coach during baseball practice, but rather the kind that you see in a world series game where the players are vicious and it’s only going to be resolved through a risk on the runner’s part or the baseman’s part. The kind of pickle that generally ends with the runner sliding into his base and a somewhat dubious call being made by the umpire that everyone will contest anyhow and will be analyzed in close up replays for the next four episodes of sportscenter.
A few weeks ago Brade and I began discussing Heroic Al’Akir, and more specifically were discussing how a lot of guilds were doing it on 10 man as opposed to 25 due to the relative ease of the encounter on 10 man. The pros to taking this approach were plentiful, including getting a set token that can be used for head/shoulders, and getting some experience with the encounter, which would be of benefit for everyone in the guild. We figured we could take in a solid group to learn the fight over a night or two, and then rotate people in for the fight until we were ready to tackle it on 25s.
There were a few logistical problems, namely breaking down a 25 man raid team into 10 people and doing so without having irreparably hurt feelings. But we generally consider ourselves pretty diplomatic folks, and knew we could work around this. However, there was one big thing we overlooked: Heroic Conclave.
In all of our planning, we assumed no one would mind throwing away normal Al’Akir as we were sharding the loot anyhow and a lot of people just dislike the fight. So we figured we could go in and knock out heroic 25 Conclave and then let the 10 man group that was working Heroic Al’Akir have the instance. Only, it doesn’t work that way. We didn’t fully comprehend/understand this (not really) “flexible” raid lockout. It wasn’t until we scheduled our first run at heroic Al’Akir for Easter Sunday that someone spoke up and said “we can’t kill Conclave on 25 heroic”, and we realized that they were correct.
We were fine skipping Heroic Conclave this week, because it was a short raid week due to Easter anyhow, and we wanted to maximize our time with heroic Nefarian. But now we are between a rock and a hard place and there is a pretty massive flaw in our original conception of how this could work for us. We couldn’t simultaneously run the two instances as we had envisioned.
Because it was already planned, the 10 man group went in last night, and after about 3 hours of work we were sitting at 41% on Heroic Al’Akir, just needing to tweak a few things to push phase 3. At this point, it seems, well, wrong to tell this group “sorry we had our shot” and not let have another night to go in to finish it out. Something that I’d like to think would only take one more sitting with him, especially if we can do it on a weekend with unlimited time to spend on it. And there are some very solid benefits to continuing with this 10 man, I will not doubt that.
On the other hand, it also seems quite wrong to tell our 25 man team – which is our main progression team – that we are going to continue to forego their heroic conclave loot (which has many BiS items for many people) so that we can continue to clear out Al’Akir on 10 man. I, honestly, just cannot find a way to justify it, even considering the set token, and even rotating everyone in for experience with the encounter until we get there on 25s. We are a 25 man guild, and it seems wrong to me to ask 1/3 of our raid team to forgo participation.
We have already decided that we are going to give the 10 man one more week with it, but then after that we just can’t justify asking the 25 man to give up Conclave. There was so much interest in heroic Al’Akir, that when we get there, it only seems right to push it on 25s regardless of the comparative difficulty.
Now, of course, Brade and I are assuming that our 25s don’t want to give up Conclave – but perhaps we should ask them. Maybe we are wrong, and more people would be more interested in a constant rotation into an Al’Akir 10 man for the kill during raid time than they would be in their BiS Conclave loot. On the other hand, wouldn’t some of that BiS Conclave loot make our remaining heroic encounters easier? Of course, opening it up the discussion has the potential to open up a whole new can of worms. What if 70% of the people want one thing, and 30% want another? How do we reconcile it for those 30%?
As you can see, quite the pickle!
I’m curious how other 25 guilds are dealing with this situation. Have you opted to kill Al’Akir on 10s? Did you stick strictly to 25s?
My Frustrations With The Fight Itself
As I said above, after a few hours spent with the mean D’jin, we were very close to pushing out of phase 2 and into phase 3. However, it was phase 1 that gave us the most trouble, and often times I was the cause of the trouble. This is something that frustrated and exasperated me to no end – I am not that player. I don’t make the same mistake multiple times, it’s not how I play.
Except last night, as we first started with phase 1, I was that player. I died any number of ways in that first phase - I was fried, frozen and swept away. I changed over to my Tol Barad trinket to help my survivability (and it did help in both P1 and P2) - but I was still having some difficulty navigating “the perfect storm” of events. I got better at it, and about halfway into our raid night I stopped feeling like I was the person holding us back. And a few times I even felt like I made the impossible possible, keeping everyone alive through what seemed an un-survivable situation.
But I think I can do better in that first phase. And I definitely made some choices that, while kept me alive, caused me to lose one of the DPS I was also responsible for keeping alive. Mercifully our DPS is good enough to get us out of that first phase with only two wind bursts, but it seems like an eternity regardless.
Because of my own personal frustration and struggles last night, I thought I’d see if anyone had any tips/tricks that they might be willing to share – specifically with navigating the perfect storm.
Here is our setup:
I am the healer in the position to the left of the tank. And I don’t know if it’s just because it’s happening to me, but it seems that my quadrant there, has the most difficult time navigating the shit storm during the wind bursts – as it seems I have an abnormally large number of wind bursts that line up with the squall lines. Am I imagining this?
In all honesty, I think a little more experience with phase 2, so that we can get the timing of the adds sorted so we don’t drop our feedback, and a handful of pushes into phase 3 will result in a kill on the encounter. Because, let’s face it, Phase 2 and 3 are fairly easy and not much has changed! However, I’m determined not to be the one who holds us back in phase 1 next time we step into the fight. I can’t be – while I was most definitely humbled by the experience last night, my ego can’t take it happening again.