Archimonde. Ragnaros. Magtheridon (pre nerf). Vaelestrasz. Gurtogg Bloodboil. Lady Vashj. Nefarian. Illidan Stormrage. Four Horsemen (pre 2.0). Kael’thas Sunstrider.
When you hear people talk about old bosses, the ones they had trouble with in previous incarnations of the raid scene, there are a few names that just seem to keep showing up in the list. Every raid has had their stumbling blocks – but there are a few fights in the game that just come with wipe nights – nights devoted entirely to learning a fight (sometimes multiple nights).
Signing up for raids on these weeks means knowing that you may not get loot that night, that you probably won’t make any money, that you’ll have repair bills, go through a lot of reagents rebuffing, and use a lot of consumables (a relative oddity in Wrath of the Lich King, since large areas of Naxxramas are accessible to most 25 and 10 man raids).
You’ll also work hard, get frustrated, die on experiments, and force yourself to pick it up one more time and move on.
But it’s not all bad.
Wipe nights, progression nights, and learning nights can be fun, they can have a sense of humor, and they can be times that bring a raid closer together as a group. Working on something that’s truly hard forces people to be on top of things, to become better at their class (even if only from a situational awareness standpoint), to try new ideas, suggest stuff, think outside the box, and ultimately be a better, more cohesive raid.
Keeping up raid morale is a difficult and squirrely task, since each raid has a different climate and attitude. But there are a few things you can do to help keep things stable for yourself as you’re entering into a tough night:
- Use wipe friendly consumables – even though elixir combinations are often more beneficial, flasks are a good idea simply from a cost standpoint, and you don’t have to worry about them!
- Keep yourself comfortable – get up and stretch if you need to, have a tasty beverage on hand,
- Utilize raid breaks fully – they’re breaks, and the idea is for you to take one. Don’t sit at the computer and putter around for 5 minutes. Get up and get a breath of air, walk around, take a potty break – you’ll come back feeling refreshed and less like you want to pound on your keyboard.
- Get into the right mindset – be patient, admit to your mistakes, and foster an environment of “lets learn this” as opposed to “you are all stupid numbnuts for (whatever)”. Sometimes it’s necessary to be firm, but that’s (the rather difficult) job of the raid leader, who has to balance morale with effectiveness. Unless that’s you, calling people out in vent isn’t likely to solve anything, and can be extremely detrimental.
- Be engaged in the right places – pay attention to what’s going on around you, and use your raid appropriate communication skills to transmit that info to the people that need to know. Don’t hold the raid up for silly things, but don’t gloss over potentially important information either, particularly if it’s something that more than one person (you) or role (the DPS) can benefit from.
- When the wipe is called – wipe it down. This is the only time when it’s appropriate to intentionally stand in a fire, stand in the cleave, run behind a dragon, or go take a lava/slime bath. Die quickly, find out if there will be rezzes, release, run back, and start over. Don’t waste everyone’s time.
- Have fun – laughing about craziness is a good way to diffuse a potentially tense situation. Did the boss just do something really peculiar and now you’re all dead on the floor wondering WTF? It’s alright to put a little humor in, even if it’s just in your class/role chat channel.
Obviously all of this is easier if your group actually is making forward progress and things seem to be getting better, but even if they’re not (which happens, every group has off nights), keeping your own mentality in a good place is a huge help in the face of a really nasty bossthing that is enjoying raidsnax.
Sartharion +3 Drakes is our current Bossthing. Ulduar will likely have a few. Malygos can be one, as can Kel’Thuzad or Sapphiron or Thaddius. It doesn’t matter who the Bossthing is, or what his abilities are – every raid has strengths and weaknesses. Just keep it together, don’t forget to laugh, and remember that no matter how serious this raiding business can get, it’s pushing your group to be better as a whole, to learn and react as a team, and to be better prepared for the craziness that awaits on the other side of the next instance releases.
So good luck, have fun, and may the Loot-Fu be with you!