Sometimes the worst surprises in life, and WoW, are the unexpected ones. We aren’t talking about surprise birthday parties or surprise – “there is a $20 bill in my pocket” – I mean bad surprises, like I was walking down the street and SURPRISE – gunshot wound. Those type of surprises. So I was surprised and disappointed last night when we scrounged up a Ruby Sanctum 10 man raid and ran into some serious difficulties. It was a lot like a surprise gunshot wound except with more purple colored dragons and lethal laser orbs.
Halion is supposed to be easy. While Halion was officially created to act as a doorway for the lore to bridge into the expansion, he is in practice, more of a doormat. Halion is a filler raid before the expansion comes out to keep people busy and to gorge people on a few more frost emblems before Deathwing goes and messes everything up. Of course everything theoretically is pretty easy in WoW (and other games) until you actually add the human element. Unfortunately for our guild, we were a little short staffed and wound up adding the PUG element as well. The supposed easy fight started dragging into multiple wipes on frustratingly simple mechanics. It was one of those nights where if it wasn’t one thing it was another. We seemingly conquered one mechanic of the fight only to fall prey to it again later, after it had supposedly become trivial. The whole night was about as frustrating as a bee sting on your eyeball – actually in retrospect I might take the bee in the eye over the raid experience last night.
Fortunately (or predictably, whichever way you want to go with it) the problem wasn’t with the guild members that attended the raid but rather with the Puggers. I am not going to name names, because that isn’t my style, but these guys collectively caused me one of the worst headaches I have ever experienced. We had a tank, a healer, and a DPSer that were Pugs (we actually had 2 DPSers but one did fine – the other three were the nightmare). Over the course of the horrific night I learned a lot about 10 man raiding, Pugs, and maybe a little about lethal lasers as well.
10 man raiding. Overall I love it. I think in the expansion I will love it even more when we aren’t forced to take the Special Olympics raid gear just because there are 15 less of us. I have always said the only difference between 25 mans and 10 mans is there are 15 extra people to screw it up for you. Unfortunately even with 10 players you can find some “winners”. With 40 raid members you could easily carry 5 sometimes even more terrible raiders, in 25 man you can carry 2-3 without too much of a hitch. Ten man is less forgiving, even one bum player can wreck the night for the rest of the raid. This makes 10-man raiding more stressful (you don’t want to wipe the raid do you?) and a lot more personal. If there is one guy that just doesn’t get it, it’s going to be obvious, and you may be stuck.
Pugs. (and an indictment of gearscore) They still don’t work, at least not in 10 mans. For all the reasons listed above, and then some. It just takes one bad Pug to hamstring the raid – or in this case stand in a lethal laser. And it just doesn’t seem like there is any way to tell anymore whether you are picking up a rock star or a dud. It used to be that you could tell by gearscores – or at least the gear the player was wearing – to an extent. I have never been a fan of gearscore, but there was a day when 6k guaranteed you a rock star raider – those days are gone. Loot is easy enough to get that people who have no idea how to approach an encounter – or even play their class are strutting their way through Dalaran with armor and weapons that look pro and a deep red gearscore to back it up. Unfortunately when the proverbial poo hits the proverbial fan, these players are stuck trying to figure out what to do and the raid wipes. (This is a great advertisement for finding 9 consistent people to raid with)
Lethal lasers. Finally the most glaringly obvious fact to come to light after last night’s wipefest on Halion, is that if Blizzard makes a lethal laser, people will stand in it. It was like sheep to slaughter. The same people again and again (and unfortunately one of them was a tank). I think it triggered some sort of post traumatic stress disorder in me. Watching my tank get obliterated by a lethal laser, I could almost see C’thun laughing from the depths of Ahn’ Qiraj. Three years later we still hadn’t learned, lethal lasers are lethal because you die when you stand in them. Surprise! – lethal laser.