Wednesday, May 20, 2015

What to kill

Patch 6.2 is coming fairly soon for WOW and my guild is faced with some tricky choices.  We don't know exactly how long we have but it is clear that we won't have time to clear all of the content in our tier so we have to figure out what we want to kill.  As is often the case we are stuck between killing things for gear and killing things for prestige.

Blackrock Foundry has 10 bosses in it, with the final boss being Blackhand.  Blackhand is tremendously more difficult than the rest of the zone, to the extent that many guilds who are recruiting advertise that they are 9/10 normal difficulty, and also 9/10 heroic.  The fact that they can down 9 heroic fights but not Blackhand on normal shows that he is a tremendous step up in challenge, but this situation is exacerbated by the fact that normal Blackhand still drops normal quality loot.  It is common for people to want to do the easier heroic fights to get 685 loot rather than working on Blackhand for 670 loot, and by the time you have all of your 685 gear there are likely no useful drops on Blackhand normal... so why kill him at all?

Of course you want to kill the final boss for achievements, bragging rights, and plain old fun.  Usually though challenges come with commensurate rewards and a lot of people are going where the easy gear is and then not pushing through the most difficult fight at all.

Realistically my guild is never going to down Blackhand on heroic before the next patch comes with the new raid.  We could quite plausibly kill him on normal and we could also work on the three other heroic fights that we haven't downed yet.  Both challenges will require wiping and practice to beat but Blackhand normal has almost no useful loot for us.  If we are focused on going into the next tier of raiding at maximum potential we should work on heroic fights to gear up, and if we are focused on getting achievements and doing tricky new things we should just go for Blackhand.  We have enough gear to beat him now, we just need to get better.

Deciding what to kill next is one of the big challenges for being a guild or raid leader.  Some guilds just don't care about loot and want to do the hard stuff - my old guild OGT was definitely like that.  We were much more interested in finding difficult things to do than finding easy ways to farm higher level gear.  You need a certain amount of gear to accomplish your goals of course but we went for 10 man strict challenges instead of farming 25 man raids with noobs and I never regretted that choice for a moment.  Some guilds, mostly very casual guilds, focus almost entirely on farming loot the easiest way possible to beat fights with pure item level instead of skill and practice.  Right now my guild is in the middle ground between these two extremes.

If I were in charge I would definitely lean towards bashing on Blackhand until he dies.  The loot from heroic modes just isn't going to last very long in the new tier and I would much rather to interesting new fights instead of the same thing over again but with bigger numbers.  I won't be bitter regardless of what gets chosen though, as the most important thing is doing hard stuff and all of the options involve me needing to play at my best to beat fights we haven't beat yet.

I can't decide if it is a good thing to be a random dork in the guild who doesn't have to make the decisions or if I would rather be the one calling the shots.  It is definitely more relaxing to not have people concerned about my every decision... but I would like to tell people that we are going to kill Blackhand and damn the cost.  Command has its upsides, but it also has its costs.

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