The Tao of the Click
I don’t know how anybody else’s raid works, but something I’ve noticed about The Anvil over the years is that we’re subject to an occasional phenomenon I call The Click. It goes something like this:
We’re beating ourselves bloody on a boss encounter, wiping repeatedly, making slow progress with the occasional backslide or silly wipe. We reform and buff up for our third or fifth or eighth attempt of the night, maybe we make a few minor strategy tweaks, possibly we get a pep talk from an officer. Nothing, outwardly, appears to distinguish this attempt from any of our other unsuccessful ones.
Then we pull, and something just…happens.
All the adds get picked up exactly when, where, and how they’re supposed to. Nobody pulls agro, nobody stands in fire/poison/voidpoo (well, not much). The DPS are hitting on all cylinders, the healing is perfect. We’ve got 25 people executing their designated roles like we’ve seen this fight a hundred times before instead of just, say, ten. And a few minutes later, we’ve got a dead boss at our feet, well before any enrage timers, with very few or no deaths in the process.
That’s The Click. We try an encounter again and again with minimal progress, and then out of the blue, on one particular attempt, everything just clicks and we slap down the boss like he owes us money. (Which, if you think about it, he does.)
And for today’s example of The Click, I submit, as Exhibit A (for asshole)…
…Ignis the Furnace Master. Also known as “Captain Crotchpocket.” (Picture courtesy of WoWWiki.) Ignis is an optional boss in the front end of Ulduar, a friggin’ huge fire giant who’s wearing a giant wiggling pot of boiling slag in front of his package. I can almost picture him standing in front of his furnace, humming a little Justin Timberlake…”one, cut a hole in the pot…two, put your junk in the pot…three, throw an elf in the pot…”
Anyhoo, Ignis is a “don’t stand in shit” fight with a twist. Every so often he spawns a golem construct from the side of the room. That construct has to be parked in the fire that Ignis leaves behind (I guess it’s spilled crotchslag), which eventually turns it “molten” and drops its agro. The molten construct then has to be pulled over into a pool of water on either side of the room, turning it “brittle,” and leaving it vulnerable to being shattered by a strong attack.
Ignis was our stumbling block for two weeks. When we went in there a week ago last Friday, we got, not to put too fine a point on it, owned. Our best attempt out of six or seven was 55%. This past Thursday was more of the same. We tried a variety of different placements and kiting patterns, two tanks on the constructs, one tank on the constructs, but nothing seemed to work. We were still just getting savaged, including one of our better wipes in recent memory–a 33-second, start-to-finish, wipe where he Scorched the entire raid before our tank could get him turned around.
We came in Friday night with a refined strategy for handling constructs and a revised pattern for our MT to move Ignis around, making it easier to get constructs molten while keeping the raid from standing in, y’know, fire. Our DK offtank would use Chains of Ice to park the constructs in fire and, once they were molten, use his handy-dandy Death Grip to yoink them over to the pools where our mages would then dispatch them. (It also didn’t hurt that they recently made the constructs go molten in half the time they did pre-nerf. This one-tank technique may not have worked otherwise.) Since my services were not needed to tank (*sniff*), I got to try out my Arms spec for the first time in a 25-man.
From the first five seconds of the first attempt, all the failures and foul-ups of the previous two nights disappeared. It was perfect. People didn’t stand in fire much, everybody who got thrown into the crotchpot got healed, our DK/mage team handled the constructs with apparent ease. We were rolling. After never getting him below about 50%, we dropped him on our first attempt of the night, with no deaths. Everybody was still talking about it when we broke up a couple hours later. That, my friends, is a prime example of The Click. We went from flailing to fantastic in the space of six minutes.
The problem is, The Click is not controllable. All you can do is know your role and perform it to the best of your ability, all the officers can do is work up coherent strategies and make sure people are assigned where they need to be. You can do all that and still wipe nine times straight on a progression boss. It just happens. And yet, you can go into the tenth pull, do the exact same things the exact same way, and bang, you give the boss the pimp hand and look like you’re one of those world-first EU guilds doing it.
You can’t really summon The Click on demand, but you can give yourselves the best opportunity for it to happen. Just be your best. Be geared properly, have your enchants and gems and buff food and potions squared away, be attentive, know the fight and know exactly what you are expected to do by your raid. Then just go out there and do your best, every time. Execute the strategy to the best of your ability. And if 10 or 25 people do that all at the same time, with a bit of luck sprinkled in…well, maybe The Click is a little more controllable than I thought.