What is normal raid progression?

February 26, 2010 at 7:18 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 14 Comments

(Warning: no real content here today.  Mostly me complaining and asking for feedback.)

Artist’s depiction of my current mood.

Anybody that has been following the various WoW news sites lately knows that many guilds have by now killed the Lich King on normal and are beginning to progress through hard modes both on the 10 and 25 person versions of Icecrown Citadel.  My guild isn’t even close; we’re wiping over and over on Rotface (10) and Marrowgar (25).  This has been rough on the tank part of my psyche and has left me wondering if these struggles are normal or not.  Below I describe my situation in a little more detail, but I’d really appreciate any feedback I can get about my server/guild/raiding options.

Server

I play on the Rivendare-US (PvP) server.  The server opened January 2007, shortly before the release of Burning Crusade.  Currently the server is listed as a ‘medium’ population server.  I play on the Alliance side, which is heavily outnumbered by the Horde, though I don’t know the exact proportion.  Taking a rough survey of the people standing around in Dalaran, the ratio is something like 5:1.

One of the consequences of the small size of the Alliance side is that there are few guilds for raiding.  There are, I believe, 5-7 guilds currently running ICC 10 every week.  I believe that 1-2 of them have progressed beyond Rotface.  On 25, I believe there are three guilds that can put together a sufficiently large group to have a reasonable chance against Marrowgar.  One guild is making respectable progress on 25, but this week was the first time that anybody else has gotten beyond Lady Deathwhisper.

Guild

My guild is one of several that are competing for the title of (distant) second in terms of progress.  We are the largest of all the guilds on the server.  Since I joined the guild in June or July of last year, we have made a fair amount of progress.  At that time the guild was finally getting the hang of Naxx 25 and was beginning to make attempts in Ulduar 10.  We did not struggle too much in ToC aside from some early hiccups on Faction Champions and a longer roadblock with Anub 25.  We have attempted ToC 10 hardmode a few times with no success.

In ICC, we made good progress through the Lower Spire on 10 and managed to kill Deathbringer Saurfang in early January.  Since then, we have only managed to kill Festergut, despite many nights of wiping on Rotface.  Our progress in ICC 25 has been worse, with the last two weeks requiring at least two hours each just to kill Marrowgar.  We have not killed Lady Deathwhisper.  We generally run two ICC 10 groups and one ICC 25 group each week.  We don’t have too much trouble filling spots.

In terms of culture, the guild is very friendly and open.  Guild invites are not restricted on the basis of level, gear or experience.  Efforts are made to include new people in some of the lower raids (we are still running Naxx, Ulduar, OS and EoE) and to help them move through our raid ranking system.  As a guild member’s raid rank increases so do their opportunities for being invited to higher level raids.  We currently have about 30 raiders that qualify for ICC and another 20-30 that qualify for ToC 25, though there are several underperformers among both groups.

We are probably the #2 Alliance guild on the server based on our track record over the last couple of months, though we drop to somewhere around #22 for the entire server.  As a result, it is hard for me to judge where either the guild or I, as an individual, stand in terms of actual skill or quality.

Me

From reading the above, readers can probably guess that I am feeling a little frustrated with my raiding situation.  I have put a lot of effort towards being the best tank that I can be.  For the most part, I think that my armory profilereflects this.  (Note: if my raid tank gear is not equipped, my unbuffed stats are as follows…  40546 health, 33887 armor, 26.75% dodge, 21.78% parry, 16.68% block, 197 hit, 31 expertise)  Both on my server and in cross-server pugs I generally get compliments for my tanking, which is nice.  That said, it’s difficult for me to know if I am as good as I think I am.  At times, I feel that my raid progress does not reflect my talents as a tank.  But, as mentioned above, it’s very difficult for me to fairly evaluate either of these due to the vagaries of my server

Questions

All of this leaves me wondering about where I stand and what my options are.  I know what I want: a friendly raiding guild where I can see new content and enjoy challenging boss fights.  I have a few questions for which I’d dearly love to hear responses:

  1. What sort of progress is normal in ICC?  Does this question even make sense?
  2. Where does my guild fit in the larger scheme of progress?  On a more typical server, would it be expected that a guild of this size would be doing other things at this point?
  3. Where do I fit in the larger world of tanks?  This evaluation is obviously difficult to make without actually seeing somebody play.
  4. Are there other guilds/servers looking for tanks of my caliber?  My assumption is that most, unfortunately for me, have filled those positions long ago.
  5. What do I do?  I am feeling trapped but also wondering if, perhaps, my current situation is the best I am likely to find.

And, to any readers that made it this far, thank you for reading.

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14 Comments »

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  1. I may not be best fitted to answer your questions, but looking from my perspective it seems you should have progressed further.
    I play on Burning Legion EU, an old an full pvp server with a bit more Allince players but no big difference.
    I’m not in a guild, I’m not raiding on a regular basis, just puging when I get the opprtunity. My gear is worse than yours but still decent, and I have made it exactly as far as you. 10 man Festergut and 25 Marrowgar.
    The top guilds on my server have most likely downed LK, all I know is what I see in trade. Guilds LFM and many guilds are doing ToGC and ICC full runs.
    With the tank shortage being a universal problem there is most certainly a spot for you on another server with a “better” (or more progressed) guild. As I am in Europe I cant really recommend any. But it sure sounds like your dedication to this game and to tanking deserves a better faith.

    *$

  2. 1. I don’t think there is a normal. Progression varies drastically by server and by guild.

    2. A focussed raiding guild on a larger server would certainly have made better progress. A casual raiding guild, maybe not.

    3. My guess is, just fine. On 25 man, Marrowgar and Deathwhisper are checks on DPS coordination. If you have at least moderate dps you can get past those bosses IF and only if your dps is on the right targets at the right time, and understand the movement of the fight. We took forever to get past Marrowgar just because dps would rather be higher on the meter by staying on the boss, than survive the fight by switching to the bonespikes. It was an ugly few weeks until we changed a few mindsets.

    4. In ICC 25, you never need more than 3 tanks. That is not many raiding slots for tanky types. Unfortunately, unless you know someone in a more progressed guild that will vouch for you it is VERY hard to get a slot as a raiding tank.

    5.What do you do? That’s all up to you. I am a hardcore raider who min/maxes both my toons (rogue and warrior tank). I am often frustrated and would like to be in a guild that could progress more instead of suffering through a raid with 17 good raiders and 8 yahoos who get us killed. In the end, though, I would rather struggle with my friends than succeed with people I don’t know and care about. For me, my current guild, even with it’s progression challenges, is the right place to be. I would never presume to make that descision for someone else.

    • Exbob, thank you for the comment. I have a brief anecdote to share in relation to your point #4: my current guild almost always brings four tanks and usually has 5-6 people rolling mainspec on tank gear. Is it any wonder that my gear comes mostly from badges and crafting?

  3. Hi, nice blog here :)

    The fact you’re asking the questions at all means, I would guess, that you aren’t happy and want more for the effort you put in. My server is old (Earthen Ring EU) and has an even Horde/Alliance split; I raid 10 mans mainly on my prot warrior (currently on Blood Queen but would be further if not for absence issues). There are ICC25 pugs that are up to Putricide, my hunter alt runs one every Friday. That’s a little context for you, to address the questions you asked;

    1) and 2) Normal progression depends on a lot of things. When I read “In terms of culture, the guild is very friendly and open. Guild invites are not restricted on the basis of level, gear or experience.” I have to admit, it may be a part of your problems with ICC. You seem to want to progress, but are in a laid back social guild. The two often don’t go together, unfortunately.

    3) You blog about tanking, which means you analyse it. The best tanks are smart tanks, and realise there is always room to improve. Your post with its frustrations seems to back this up. Enough said.

    4) You’ll find that most progression guilds have an entrenched tanking corps. It’s a difficult nut to crack, and the tail end of an expansion may not be the best time to try. This is worsened by the fact that all heroics are pugged these days, and that used to be a great place to scout new talent on the server for a lot of guilds (I know, it’s how I got to start raiding with my tank in TBC)

    5) What you do is your choice. It seems clear to me you aren’t really happy where you are, from a progression point of view. Only you can answer whether progression is more important to you than a social, friendly environment. Look for somewhere that will satisfy both needs would be my advice. Tanks have a low turnover, but good tanks always get noticed. Opportunities will come, they’re just going to be very thin on the ground in the last months of this expansion.

  4. Starbuck, Exbob and Shadamehr, thank you all for your feedback. I appreciate it a lot.

    I’ve been talking with several different people for the last couple of days and depending on what comes of that, I may have a followup post in a couple days or a couple weeks.

    Sigh… why does it have to be so difficult to find a 9/24 likeminded individuals to raid with?

  5. We’re not far off where you are – just a little bit more progressed on 25. We have lost people in the past who want to “see more content” but in my experience they usually come back; or at least ask to. The reason seems to be that what frustrates most people is hitting a wall. It doesn’t matter *which* wall. I’ll tell you now, it’s just as frustrating wiping every week on Festergut 25 as it is wiping against Marrowgar 25. Or to put it in a more ‘arcadey’ way, level nine of a game is no more inherently enjoyable than level 1, just because it’s a higher number. The enjoyment comes from beating challenges, not the way the pixels are arranged on my screen. My advice would be to stick with your existing guild. ICC will self-nerf soon and progression will come.

  6. Very interesting question. I’ll tweet it to see who else can answer.

    • Oh, how many nights a week does your guild raid, and how many are you personally able to raid on?

      • Gravity, thank you very much for the kind offer. My current guild runs raids every night, but most of those are not in the new content nor with the same group of people. I often raid 5 nights each week and my current evening schedule is very flexible.

        • I just realized that I didn’t answer this question in a way that would be useful for the topic at hand. We usually get the Lower Spire in one day and then spend a second day on killing Festergut and getting killed by Rotface over and over.

  7. This sounds very familiar. My guild was making good progress, but we have an abundance of “bench” players who also wanted to raid. We got to the point where we looked like we could sport that 2nd 25-man group. And that’s when all hell broke loose. Our progression group is stuck on the Aboms in 25, and my 2nd 25 man group was stuck on LM. Week after week. The analysis did not seem to point to any one specific problem that trended over time. One week it was healing, then next it was an under geared tank, often it seemed like a coordination problem. I believe that’s what is at the core. There really isn’t room for underperforming players in ICC. The definition of underperforming is different for each guild, but when there’s someone who is not doing what they are told, then they become a liability for your success, and when hard choices need to be made. Stick with it, but know that you may have to swap out people who constantly fail to get out of the fires, or change targets when they are supposed to. Beating the encounter > personal DPS/HPS

  8. Define what your goals are. Where do you want to be? Okay, now you have this picture in your head. Ask yourself, does your current guild/faction/server feel like it will cultivate your working toward this goal. I know I for one joined a casual raiding guild a month ago that kills up to Rotface on 10 and Saurfang on 25. I left it last night for one that had server first Lich King 10 and is working on 10m hardmodes and getting Lich King 25 down. I’ve never changed guilds that quickly but a good opportunity came up for myself, my girl and a friend of ours, so we took it. Either way, you pay 15$ a month to play this game, get where you want to be, and take the steps to push you towards your goals.

    • Also I’m adding you to my blogroll so I can keep an eye on ya.

  9. […] June 11, 2010 at 4:43 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment Not too long ago, I complained about raid progression on my server.  At that time, I was being recruited by the two top guilds on my server (note: this […]


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