Last Tuesday, my guild celebrated our first ever 25 man Cho’gall kill. This was an exciting time for us, since we can officially begin doing Bastion of Twilight hard modes if we want to and we only have Nefarian left in Blackwing Descent before we can do the same thing there. Because we extended the lockout to Bastion of Twilight and we killed Cho’gall on a Tuesday, that still left us having to fill 2 full raid nights with something to do. Someone brought up the idea of downing the Conclave of Wind, which would place the guild at 10/12 in progression and would look mighty nice on all the recruitment posts that we have been leaving all over the place.
Unfortunately, I had to work overtime that evening and learned via Twitter that they managed to down the Conclave without me. I was almost home and thinking “Great, this means we can spend the whole rest of the evening working on Nefarian. I am ready for some Nefarian! I watched the videos and read the strats. I am ready!” Imagine my surprise when I log on to find that my guild was working on Al’akir instead and they wanted to pull me in. I hadn’t watched any videos or strats for this, because I didn’t know we would be here. Apparently nobody else did, either.
Needless to say my terrific day ended on a very sour note and I was more upset than I had ever been. I made my displeasure known through various means that I really hated that fight and all that it stood for and people couldn’t seem to understand why I felt that way. I pride myself on being someone who doesn’t hate indiscriminately and I would like to think I can defend or justify the decisions that I make or the way that I feel most of the time. So let’s cut to the chase. Here are the reasons why I hate Al’akir.
Reason #1: The Loot
Now I know that we tell ourselves a lot of things to make it sound like winning loot doesn’t matter or that it shouldn’t matter. But the truth is that you would be lying if you said that you didn’t feel your stomach drop when you see that loot window pop up and it’s something you really want and that you have your heart set on. That feeling of watching the timer tick down as your loot council or whatever method of winning loot determines who is going to get it and you hit Control + left click to try it on (if it appears on your character) and it matches the rest of your gear perfectly. That feeling of remembering how many times you ran Heroic something or other to get that damn trinket that never dropped and this is your one chance to replace that piece of crap that keeps tarnishing your Armory profile.
Then you see that someone else wins it and you are forced to put on a happy face and clap, like those people do on award shows. “I’m happy. Put on a happy face.“ You muster out a “Grats!” and eventually you are happy for that person, because they are working just as hard as you (at least I hope so, anyway). But in that moment you wanted it. You deserved it. You could use it! We have all been there. To a certain extent loot does matter and we enjoy winning it. Especially if you are at a point like my guild is of trying to gear up for hard modes. There’s still a method to how things should go. We did regular 5 mans to gear up for 5 man Heroics, which allowed us to be geared for regular raids. Now we have to farm regular raids to gear up for hard mode raiding. Faced with potentially sub-par gear from Al’akir, this could be a huge hurdle in terms of that.
Reason #2: Bragging rights
I remember towards the end of “Wrath” when Ruby Sanctum came out and people were really quick to say that they downed Halion and were posting that in their Trade spam macros and their recruitment posts. It’s sort of like advertising how many bank slots your guild has. I don’t think it matters. What really sold your guild was how far along you were in ICC and if you were doing hard modes or not. I can’t say that I ever saw someone go “Oh, look. They have Halion down! That’s a hardcore guild right there! Let’s see if they’re recruiting!” I feel it’s the same with Al’akir. There are so many other things and so many other boss kills that I feel a guild could be judged on and I don’t think Al’akir is one of them. Cho’gall is a huge accomplishment. Nefarian is something to be proud of. Al’akir? I think leaving up more important bosses and going for him instead doesn’t quite have the same impact that downing the previous final bosses would.
Reason #3: It’s complicated
So let me get this straight. We divide up into groups of 2 or 3 and spread out amongst this platform. Then every couple of seconds we have to run in and avoid this knockback that if not done properly will send me off the platform and into the air. While in the air, I will be spinning and unable to act, but I will be taking damage and I will eventually be returned to said platform that I was just knocked off of. I may or may not end up where I started, but I may also end up directly in the path of a string of tornadoes coming right at me. All I have to do is find the gap in the cyclones and avoid it. But I don’t see a gap. That means I have to stand at the openings either at the beginning or at end of the line of cyclones. Al’akir is solid, so I can’t run through him. Guess I should have ran to the back. Now I’m immobilized again and being blown around the room and taking damage. I made it out OK, but there is this blizzard thing coming at me. Can’t talk now, I have to run to the front again and avoid that knockback. The cyclones are coming, too. Should I avoid the cyclones and eat the knockback or take the knockback and hope it knocks me out of the way of the cyclones?
See what I mean? And I haven’t even covered everything that can happen in Phase 1.
I’m all for things being difficult, but not for them being difficult just for the sake of doing so. Al’akir feels monotonous, inane and grating. What am I going to take away from Al’akir that is going to even remotely benefit me on other fights? What am I learning from this? What is the light at the end of the tunnel, the pot at the end of the rainbow that will make doing this worthwhile? If it isn’t loot, it isn’t credibility and it’s not a learning experience, then why am I doing this?
I know we are going to have to do this at some point and I know many are jazzed about doing so, but I am surely not one of them. For now, I’m just going to enjoy our Nefarian attempts (got him to below than 50% on our first night) and hope to God we start doing hard modes before we go back to this beast. I’m home sick today and the cold medicine is starting to kick in, so I’m going to rest up before the raid tonight. Wish me luck and thanks for listening!