Tracking Guild Progression in Ulduar

Patch 3.1 goes live today, and with it comes the release of the Ulduar raid dungeon. My guild has been preparing for weeks to storm the instance, but an interesting thread (warning: heavily trolled) popped up on the Blackrock forums last week that has us somewhat undecided as to how we should approach the encounters.

In a nut shell, a few guilds are arguing over what criteria should be used to rank guilds in WOTLK. It used to be simple: you kill a boss, your guild moves up a rank. First guild to clear an instance “wins.” Now, however, with the advent of achievements, ranking a guild has become slightly more complicated. Encounters can be done several ways, and if you voluntarily choose to do an encounter the “hard” way you get an achievement. Clearing an instance without doing any of the optional achievements is easy by design. However, completing all of the individual raiding achievements is itself an achievement (known as a meta achievement), and guilds that do so are rewarded with a special prize. The guilds that are fighting want to have their idea of progression be the “official” method of ranking a guild. Not coincidentally, their idea of progression also happens to put them on top.

The guilds that cleared the instances on “easy” mode wants to be recognized for the simple act of defeating the dungeon first, which is how guild rankings used to work. The guild that managed to kill Sartharian the Onyx Guardian and all three of his lieutenants at the same time wants to be recognized as the top Alliance guild because they consider that to be the most difficult encounter in the game. Lastly the guild that completed the meta achievement first, which is all raiding achievements including the Sartharian achievement, wants to be considered the top guild.

On the surface, it seems to make sense that completing the meta achievement would be the logical way to rank a guild, as Blizzard itself rewards you with a special mount for completing it. However, the difficult part about completing the meta is an achievement called The Immortal. To get The Immortal, your guild must kill every boss in Naxxramas without a single person dying. It’s the rarest raiding achievement in the game, and guilds (usually the ones that can’t do it) are claiming that it’s not fair because sometimes people die to circumstances beyond their control. Now, I don’t agree with that assessment. My guild was the second guild to complete the meta achievement after Death and Taxes, and we never considered The Immortal to be out of our control. Then again, we’re not a guild based in Singapore that is plagued with random disconnects and international lag either, so you can probably see their point.

So now the debate rages on inside my guild. Do we go for the quick clear tonight, or do we work on hard modes from the get-go? We’re a leading edge content type of raiding guide; going straight into hard mode isn’t beyond our capability. But is it worth it to adjust our progression strategy just so we can juice up a forum thread? I’m really not so sure. There are already websites like that do an amazing job of tracking guild progression, and they’re using much more advanced scoring techniques than any forum thread I’ve ever seen. They already rank us as the top alliance guild by achievement. My gut feeling tells me to just ignore what goes on in the forum thread, refer potential applicants to and just do our own thing. At the same time, I also know that being recognized as a top raider means a lot to quite a few of my guildies. I hope we end up just doing a quick clear the first week, but we’ll see. Raid starts in 3 hours.

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