16-Man Mojo

A few weeks after joining Twin Suns Squadron back in 2012, I did my first 16-man operation with them. At the time, the experience left me feeling quite giddy. Over the years, 16-mans have been an on-again, off-again activity for us, depending on how many members were active at any given time, but they were rarely something for which we set serious progression targets. We were always focused on 8-man, with 16-man being more of a social activity on off-nights, giving people who weren't regular raiders a chance to tag along too.

Recently, this has changed though with the absorption of another guild into TSS, as this guild brought with it another full 8-man team that was regularly running master modes. Add some of our other recent recruits to the mix, and we can now have three different 8-man groups running on a good night - enough to form a competent team to tackle 16-man as well. (And yes, you pretty much need about two dozen people to be able to run 16-man - not just due to availability issues, but because I've found that in any given pool of raiders, there'll always be some who for some reason hate 16-man with a passion and will avoid attending 16-man nights at all costs.)

About a week ago we ventured into Scum and Villainy master mode on 16-man and were quite successful, killing five out of the seven bosses. I'm pretty sure the sixth fight would have been within our reach as well, but it required a bit more co-ordination and it was getting late.

This week we tried our hands on Explosive Conflict master mode and boy, did that not go well! On our first couple of attempts we actually had people dying almost right on the pull, and it wasn't due to medpack issues either (though that sure gave me flashbacks). We did make significant progress over the course of the night however, eventually running into the drouks' enrage, though we didn't get them down. I think some people found it quite frustrating.

For me it was actually quite exciting though. I'm not going to say that some of the sillier wipes didn't annoy me too, but I really relished the opportunity to actually try and push harder content with a larger group again. It's been a long time - nearly eight years in fact. It was in summer 2010 that my old WoW guild got its last 25-man kill (Sindragosa in Icecrown Citadel) before being forced to downsize.

Especially as a healer, the team dynamics are very different in larger group content. When there's only two of you, everyone pretty much does everything, and there's rarely reason to have specific assignments for things. But in content that's designed for a larger number of healers, the damage is tuned differently and more frequently enforces strict roles, for example because the damage on the tank is so heavy that one healer is required to spam heals on him at all times. Being stuck in that role could be considered a bit boring I suppose, but for me it was actually a bit of rush. Especially at the beginning I got nervous more than once when both the tank and myself got low and I still had to keep prioritising the tank and trust my co-healer to provide the heals that I needed. As he's one of our newer members and we're usually on different teams I didn't have as much of a rapport with him, but as the evening progressed, seeing that I could trust him to keep me alive was actually a really good feeling.

I hope that we'll be able to keep this momentum going, with enough people interested in the format to keep showing up. I know it can have its frustrations, with more players to potentially mess up or underperform, but for me it will always hold a special charm as well.

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