Tuesday, March 31, 2009

If It At First You Don't Succeed...

... wipe, wipe again.

Last Thursday I lead a PUG Naxx-25 raid. It took a while to get things rolling and most of the DPS was iffy at best, but we were able to clear out most of the instance in one night.

The roadblock we ran into was Thaddius. For some ungodly reason, about 5-6 people in the raid either could not handle the Polarity Shift. At the first shift, I would undoubtedly have 4-6 fried, smoking husks of raiders at Thaddius's feet. I was employing my tried-and-true stock car strategy for Thaddius: group up, turn left. These fellas, however, just couldn't grasp it for one reason or another. When questioned about their inability to grasp the simple concept of "go around the fata$$ boss to the other side," I got reasons ranging from absolute silence and no acknowledgement of my question, to "sorry my comp sucks," to "that's not how my guild does it."

I don't care about your reason for sucking. I just want you to fix it or get out, you're mucking up my raid.

That's what I said in my head. What I said out loud was more along the lines of "all right, as a reminder to everyone, positives are on the LEFT, negatives are on the RIGHT, and everyone needs to stack up at max melee range. Make sure to go around Thaddius clockwise, meaning to your LEFT, when switching sides on the Polarity Shift." I didn't call anyone out publicly. We also didn't kill the boss.

On Monday, after I had taken care of work, class, dinner, and all that jazz, I logged in to finish what I had started. The only bosses I had left up were Thaddius, Sapphiron, and Kel'Thuzad. It took me 30-45 minutes to form up the raid, and then awaaaaaayyy we went, straight to Thaddius. Same strategy - group up, turn left, positive left, negative right.

On the first Polarity Shift of the first pull, 4 people got fried. 3 of them were DPS, and we hit the enrage because we were short on damage despite burning 2 Heroisms. I wasn't doing this again. Names got called.

"X, Y, Z, and Q, what happened, why'd you die?"

X, Y, and Z told me it was a connection issue - they got disconnected mid-fight (or so they claimed). Q said he flubbed it and went to the wrong side.

"We good now? Everyone know where they're going and stable?"

No objections, so we pulled again.

This time, only X and Y got fried. Thankfully, we were able to kill Thaddius without them.

I'm seriously considering imposing loot restrictions in my PUG's for people who can't grasp the fights. If you spend a fight dead for more than 33% through your own actions (i.e. aggro pull, incorrect switch on Thaddius, etc.), or cannot manage to do 1.5 times as much damage as the tank on the boss, then I'm not awarding you loot for that boss. Gevlon would be proud of this line of thinking, I bet. The sad part is I check everyone's achievements before I invite to make sure they've killed most/all the bosses in Naxx on any difficulty and do a spot check on gearing. These jokers passed my screening, and then went and got themselves cooked on Thaddius.

And now for the happier portion of my post.

Before the raid I had declared that the Key to the Focusing Iris would be looted by me so that I could lead a Malygos-25 PUG as well. We were able to 2-shot Sapphiron (the tank got Deep Breathed on the first breath during the first attempt - he claimed he was behind the block, but his death proved otherwise), and I grabbed that sucker. After a 1-shot of Kel'Thuzad which had absolutely zero complications...

... all right there were a few, as in a few special people not understanding the idea of spreading out to avoid getting Frost Blasted, and others standing in the red swirly death of the void zones...

... I handed out the loot and then proclaimed that we'd be raiding Malygos! Huzzah!

After I filled the holes in the raid voided by those that left, I formed up the raid at the Eye of Eternity. I employed my guild's 6 minute Malygos strategy and had one of my guildie's DK alts take care of spark management. I did this instead of letting the tank go whereever he pleased so that the added damage in phase 1 would off-set any failure by PUGs to shield themselves in phase 3.

I'm glad I did, because several people took beams to the face and took a tumble into the black abyss. We beat the enrage timer handily without them, though. The funniest part is the Malygos-25 kill was my first true attempt at the 25-man version. I got the heroic Denyin' the Scion and Spellweaver's Downfall achievements from the kill.

I can now say that I've successfully PUG'ed every 25-man encounter in WotLK with me at the helm. I'm a WoW-approved cat herder.


Barrista said...

Thaddius is a tough one to pug because of the "my regular group does it different" factor.
One tank I was with wanted to stand in one place (against the wall) and for the groups to be at a 90 degree angle to him. This meant he would have to call out his polarity and we would have to cross near or away from him. We wiped a lot and just like you say, it was the groups fault because the system always "worked for him".

My point is that for thaddius (and other bosses), the strat most commonly used by groups is usually the best just because it decreases the amount of wipes. While the stock car strat is the one you use, most people use a 2-lane strat. If you are approaching a car, head-on, on a 2 lane road (in the US obviously), do you go to the left? No, you are on the right. And this is why many use this strat as it is also how we drive every day.

I think we all have a hand in mucking up our own raids sometimes. So, at what point do you finally say to yourself "maybe my strat is not *the best* for this group and if it will get us past this, I'll use their strat so we can move on"??

Klepsacovic said...

n a recent AQ4 PUG which failed and only did AQ20 (needed something to do while waiting for healers), I was using random loot. However I eventually added a rule: If you annoy me too much, you lose, regardless of the roll. On the head, lo and behold, the annoying DK constantly saying how much he wanted this or that, won the roll. The ML gave it to the second highest.

Fail is a fascinating thing. Where does it come from?

Josh said...

Only one person claimed that his guild does it differently. He got it right the second time. He was the minority - confusing the everloving crap out of 24 others was definitely not the way to go.

Aside from last Thursday, I have never failed to kill Thaddius using the "stock car" strategy (if that name catches on, I'm going to laugh my ass off - DPS fast turn left!).

In a PUG a few weeks ago that I was not leading, we tried the "adjust for the tank" strategy you described. It failed miserably. They refused to give the "stock car" strat a try. So yea, I agree, at some point you need to try a different tactic. In my experience, though, this tactic has a much higher success rate and keeps DPS on throughout the entire fight, giving low-damage groups the best chance at beating the enrage.

So yea, I agree, sometimes you hit a point where you need to try something different. I haven't hit that point yet.

Josh BB said...

Why do you run around him? Just run through him. It reduces the chance of people going out of melee range and being hit by Lightning Ball.

Josh said...

We run around to avoid slow-to-react people being in range of oppositely charged people.

uke said...

"We run around to avoid slow-to-react people being in range of oppositely charged people."

Even then I'd still say it takes longer to run around him then just through him, then. You have ample time to make the switch running by each other if you pay attention.

If people are slow to react, that's a good reason to boot them. Between DBM spamming "POLARITY SHIFT INCOMING!" plus multiple people saying "POLARITY SHIFT INCOMING, GET READY TO MOVE!!" in vent on each shift, anyone who still doesn't get the point to drop everything and effin move deserves to be kicked.

Kicking people who suck is better than adopting more complicated strategies to accomodate them, when the easier, more efficient strategy works better for those with a clue.

uke said...

Oh, and I love the image of herding cats. Even better is that it's from the commercial of the company I currently work for :P, EDS.

outdps said...

If you run around him, even if it takes longer, you won't ever be close enough to some the opposite charge to shock them.

fedaykin98 said...

1) I've found more success with the running through him + T - strategy than the stock car strategy, because it's less confusing, and takes less time. But whatever method works!

2) When I was running Naxx25 in a HC PUG every week, the RL awarded loot how he saw fit, in what he called a "performance based" manner. Generally this meant DPS pieces went to whoever did the highest DPS that fight. It incentivized good play, paying attention, using consumables, etc. And the clears took 3 - 3.5 hours.

Guy said...

My guild sort of does Thaddius in the same way, except reversed, positive on the right and run anti-clockwise. Coincidentally, that's the way it's written up on wowwiki though I don't know if that's where our RL got it. I've only pugged Naxx-25 twice, they both did the same. I wonder if it's just a server thing or random coincidence?

Hofflerand said...

I'm impressed. I can hardly get myself to look for a heroic group, much less set up a raid and see it through!