Several nights ago, my guild was working on Siegecrafter Blackfuse. Argued as one of the more difficult (albeit satisfying) encounters of the game, I can see where much of the frustration stems from. There are so many events going on that it can be overwhelming to even the most seasoned of players.

If you’re not familiar with the encounter at all, Blackfuse has a few player targeting abilities.

Sawblades: Blackfuse will target a player and launch a spinning Sawblade at their location. If any player makes contact with the blade, they will take damage and get knocked back slightly.

Lasers: Blackfuse will target a player and fire a laser beam that will follow them around the room leaving a wake of fire in it’s trail.

Our countermeasures for this is quite simple. The raid group working on Blackfuse stacks up and stays together. While facing Blackfuse, any player that gets targeted with a Sawblade or a laser immediately moves to the left while the rest of the group moves to the right. We don’t want Sawblades or lasers to make contact with the group while they’re busy dealing with other aspects of the fight.

There was a particularly notable event in which a small number of players who had been targeted moved right instead of left thereby messing with our spacing and ability.

Frustrated? Yes, absolutely.

I won’t say I laid it on the mistaken players thick but I did express my frustration. I wasn’t that mad or anything but I spoke rather forcefully. While the players were new to the guild (having only joined within the past three weeks), I felt that the whole being new and inexperienced to the encounter wasn’t a justifiable excuse.

On the other hand, one of my officers disagreed and thought that I was being a little too excessive. Even though the veterans of the guild had been working on Blackfuse for over a month (and well over 100 pulls), the newer players haven’t been as exposed to all the mechanics and nuances of the encounter yet. They didn’t quite have the luxury of wiping as many times as the rest of us had and still had to adapt and get used to the way the encounter worked.

This is where he and I both have a difference of opinion.

I state my case that our reactions are simple. If a player is targeted by a blade or a lasers, simply strafe and move left to drop the attacks outside the group. Moving mechanics and debuff placements have long been staples of boss encounters for a long time. All players are equipped with warning addons and other cues to prompt them about incoming abilities.
That being said, I’ve definitely been far more lenient on other boss encounters and abilities in the past. Here’s a list of encounter mechanics that I know would have taken people more time and exposure to really get:

  • Teron Gorefiend’s Spirit control mechanic
  • Ambershaper’s ad mechanic with the slime pools
  • Flying through rings on Alysrazor

The way I see it though, being a part of a heroic raiding guild means having certain baseline skill sets. These are things you would have picked up when you’re out and about in the world or engaging in lower level raiding content. You know, routine things like:

  • Interrupting in a set order
  • Kiting
  • Debuff placement
  • Movement (Stacking, spreading out, etc)
  • Not walking into wind bombs
  • Not moving on a Flame Wreath
  • Moving out of hostile telegraphs in Wildstar

Some boss mechanics take a few more attempts than others to really pick up, which I completely understand. But career heroic raiders should be way better than that. When it comes to minimum standards, that should be it. If you’re a web developer, you should know how to code. If you’re a graphics designer, knowing to handle Photoshop or Illustrator or other related tools is almost a necessity.

Now can newly graduated heroic players learn this stuff in more detail? Yes, absolutely but I would move them up that ladder slowly. Put them in on easier encounters earlier on in the instance. It’s almost unfair to throw an unfamiliar player into unforgiving situations like this unless there’s no one else available. I would give them time and let their confidence develop more until they graduate to more complex aspects.

Do you believe there’s a baseline standard that heroic raiders should adhere to? How would you handle future situations similar to this one if you were in a leadership position?