Ulduar: A Case of the Mondays

After Razorscale, the next item on the Ulduar docket is XT-200 Deconstructor. This is another fun fight with some interesting mechanics, and my guild handled the multiple bombs impressively well. We spent 90 minutes on him last night in Heroic, and got him to about 20% on the best attempt. Our approach to new bosses is generally the same each time:

  1. Die a few times while we learn the mechanics. Don’t push anything too hard, don’t pick on performance.. just watch.
  2. Solicit ideas for improvements from the raid. How is everyone doing? Tweak the strategy.
  3. Start to push performance a bit. Why did X die? Was there a problem preventing Y from happening?
  4. Die a few more times, then refine the strategy as necessary.
  5. We’re probably hitting the enrage timer by this point, but have things relatively under control until then. Now apply DPS. No, more. More. Moooore. Keep going. Yay!

deconstructor Ulduar: A Case of the MondaysFor Heroic Deconstructor you will be well served by reading the summaries over at Tales of a Priest and World of Matticus — both are written from a healing perspective, but give a good overall view of the strategy. For our 10-man kill we followed the 25-man strategy with one twist: during heart phases, all the DPS stayed on the heart, and the healers did their worst on the corner adds. The small bots have very little health in 10-man, and I was able to holy nova out a group of them in 4-5 casts.

Right now we’re on the “apply more DPS” stage of Heroic Deconstructor. I actually expect to be here a lot with Ulduar bosses. They all seem VERY finely tuned for maximum DPS, with ugly enrage timers. Thus far I’ve really been enjoying the fights — the mechanics are neat and the scenery is pretty — but they’re definitely a challenge. Sometimes I get frustrated when I’m reading the Raid and Dungeons forum and all the posters are full of, “Ulduar is easy, if you’re not on Y-S by now you’re bad and you should feel bad.” And then I do feel bad!

I love my guild, I love the people in it, and I think we have some very skilled players. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that the curve set by R&D trolls is a false one. Although still, I wonder: what makes my guild different from a ‘hardcore’ one? Is it strictly a matter of time, six hours in Ulduar vs. however many? Is it the fact that we usually have a couple of folks on every roster who are awesome people and try hard but just don’t perform as well as others? Is my raid leading style holding us back? I am in fact not the uber strategy master. I don’t know how to play every class, I’m not a raid math guru, and I don’t yell at people. I just.. listen to all the suggestions and feedback and try and synthesize and present it in one cheerful voice. Do we need someone meaner on new content? Someone who actually confidently knows what they’re doing? Hmmm.

Anyway, Ulduar is great, the Cats are great, and we’re kicking ass, but there is always room for improvement and part of my job is figuring out how to make that happen. Or maybe I just have a case of the Mondays.

Author: Jessica Cook

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7 Comments

  1. I think it's awesome that you don't yell at people. I learned a while back from various jobs that I've had that the leadership at the top can very easily set the tone of the entire working team. I've had great leaders who were strict and demanded excellence, but did it in an understanding, encouraging, but firm manner. They got excellence. And most importantly, they got loyalty. I think it was this loyalty component that made us work day and night and still be happy in that team.

    Flash forward to another second working team: the leaders yelled, pushed, and tried in every manner to kick us to work longer, harder, and better. The team was an utter disaster. As with the saying, "Shit rolls downhill," almost every person on that team became nastier, meaner, and less respectful of others as they tried to ward off assignments, responsibilities, and blame, and punt them down to other people. As a result, people quit the firm left and right (we had at least 10 people up and leave), and understandingly, too.

    Besides, I don't believe that anyone needs to be a math guru or know every single class like the back of their hands to be a great raid leader. Most of our successful presidents, or even the CEOs of large firms don't know anywhere near enough to be able to micro-manage all aspects of their nation/companies. What they do is pick experts to listen to, and listen well. :) In other words, delegate! No need to reinvent the wheel when Elitist Jerks are constantly grinding new ones. If you listen to those know their roles extremely well (and read a few other reputable blogs/guides/etc when you need to), and can understand them, then I think you're doing a great job.

    And of course, if your guildies are happy, then that's an even better sign. ;)

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    • It's Liore who doesn't yell at people. As for me, don't really yell, but some people get that impression. It only seems like I'm raising my voice.

      But seriously, sometimes you will need to call someone out in the middle of a fight if the correction needs to be done right then to save the raid. (Otherwise it's best to do it in whispers.) There's an escalation path, though. It goes something like this:

      1) General warning. "Everyone please remember to stand on top of the tank."
      2) Narrowed warning. "Ranged, I'm still seeing some of you not on the tank."
      3) Class-specific warning. "Whoever that priest is, please stand on the tank."
      4) Personal warning. "Come on, Sami, stand on the tank."

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  2. Of course enrage timers get easier as people pick up T8+ gear.

    Glad your enjoying your game :-)

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  3. Glad you and your guild are enjoying it at your pace! It's a great instance, and save a few bugs, I think Blizzard did a great job with it. It has reminded our guild what we were missing since Sunwell. It great to be in there and learning and beating bosses before the standard "guides" are posted everywhere.

    And yes Ulduar is definitely tuned for Max DPS, but I think it challenges all classes. There's no more power heal through things or tanks just blow your cooldowns. Everyone has to work as a team and one person not pulling their weight can be a wipe for the raid. That could be a good or bad thing, I'd like to think it as a good. At least for NQI it has been. Enjoying the new content myself!

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  4. Thanks for the link to my blog,and CONGRATS on the kill! I saw you guys got him on your guild site.WTG!!! /cheer

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    • Thanks, and thank you for the excellent basis for our strategy! XT is a great, fun fight. :)

      Post a Reply
  5. First of all I want to say awesome blog! I had a quick question that I’d like to ask if you don’t mind. I was curious to know how you center yourself and clear your mind before writing. I’ve had difficulty clearing my thoughts in getting my ideas out. I do take pleasure in writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are usually wasted just trying to figure out how to begin. Any recommendations or tips? Appreciate it!

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