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:
- Die a few times while we learn the mechanics. Don’t push anything too hard, don’t pick on performance.. just watch.
- Solicit ideas for improvements from the raid. How is everyone doing? Tweak the strategy.
- Start to push performance a bit. Why did X die? Was there a problem preventing Y from happening?
- Die a few more times, then refine the strategy as necessary.
- 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!
For 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.