Friday, July 23, 2010

Shadowmourne: a welfare legendary or a feat of strength?

It’s the twilight of Wrath, and many players are gone fishing or at least playing other games. But there are still a few stubborn players around who refuse to give up. They call themselves Adrenaline.

We haven’t been able to fill a 25 man raid for ages. But whenever we've managed to assemble a group of decent size - about 20 people - sometimes less, sometimes more, depending on how many out-of-guild-game friends we've persuaded to join us for the night - we've headed back for ICC 25 man. We had some unfinished business there.

The final grind
It wasn't about loot - most of the stuff that drops there these days is sharded anyway. It wasn't about doing achievements or hardmodes – with a few exceptions they're out of reach with a severely decimated group.

No, this was grind and nothing else. A collective one. For weeks we have been grinding the missing shards for our first - and most likely only – Shadowmourne. And finally, this very night, our grumpy ret paladin could complete the weapon of his dreams, an axe to match his temper perfectly. When he reached the end of the questline that takes you to the weapon, I think the guild was just as happy as he was.

Grinding can has a certain charm, as Tamarind described in a beautiful post a little while ago. But eventually it starts to get at you. As we watched the little scene before the weapon finally was handed over, we let out a sigh of relief. Done. At last. The weapon was ours as much as our paladin's. Theoretically he could of course leave the guild, taking it with him. But in reality - it just won't happen, with less than that Adrenaline will stop raiding. Which I don't think we will anytime soon. As long as Adrenaline is around there will be a Shadowmourne in it.

I tried to find some statistics on exactly how common itis, but I failed. However I stumbled upon some forum threads, and from those you sould see that some players think that this weapon isn’t quite as shiny as other legendaries.

“The most welfare legendary ever”, wrote someone, arguing that it only takes gold to get the 25 saronites you need as a starter, and that the hardest part is to convince your guild to give the shards to you.

Well, he may say so and I suppose it depends on from where you’re coming. If you’re in a huge guild with multiple raid groups, which never fails to clear ICC every week, it's probably rather trivial than challenging. And if you're a dedicated pugger maybe you can get it fairly easy these days too, especially with the ICC buff at 30 percent. But to complete it within a small guild such as ours - that's huge.

It symbolizes endurance and resilience, the ability to survive and continue, even in rough times. It symbolizes that we stick to promises and commitments. We are in this for the longterm.

A legendary achievement
I don’t know how much this weapon actually will be used before it will be replaced for something else in Cataclysm. And I don’t care, because that's not the point.

This is actually one of the very few moments when I could wish for a guild hall where we could hang up this axe as a trophy on display, once it has served out as a weapon. (No, this doesn’t mean that I’ve changed my mind about player and guild houses. I can see that some players wish for it but I don’t think it’s important enough for Blizzard to drop everything else they’re doing, putting all their resources into that. It’s just a temporary wish, OK?)

We don’t yet know exactly what the guild achievements will look like in Cataclysm. At Blizzcon last year they showed a few examples, of which one was “We are legendary”. But for that achievement you were supposed to create not just one legendary, but TEN.

Ugh. That sounds like a long term project, to say the least. I thought we were pretty outstanding, just finishing our second one (we did the Ulduar mace previously). But again: we’re all coming from different places, facing different challenges.

For some players Shadowmourne was a welfare legendary, too easily acquired to deserve the label. Maybe they're right in their universe. But honestly - I don't care.

Because for Adrenaline it was nothing less than a feat of strength.

Cheers for Eräjorma! And cheers for us!


Everblue said...

It takes considerably more time and effort to collect that Thoridal and the two cool swords from Illidan, it seems to me - both of *those* were simply drops from the boss.

Adgamorix said...

Congrats to both the guild and the individual.

I really don't see Shadowmourne being any more 'easy' than Val'anyr - if anything Val'anyr was easier. Farm Ulduar until you get lucky - defeat one tough encounter.

Shadowmourne requires getting the pieces together, getting your guild to help you complete all three end boss quests, and then farming the shards.

It's certainly 'tougher' than a legendary that just drops off an end boss. We killed Illidan - here's a legendary! Not that as many killed Illidan or Kil'Jaedn of course.

It's a team effort, and it certainly feels legendary in it's completion. Congratulations again.

Christina said...

3 Cheers. Hip Hip Hooray!

My friend Mean still totes around Thunderfury, and tanked most of BC with it. Not because it was still the best of the best, but because it represented the efforts of a collaboration of two guilds full of friends to help him get it. There's a lot of love in those orange pixels.

May your grumpy ret pallie look at his axe in years to come and remember not the glory of the axe but the love of his guild.

Talarian said...

Congratulations! It certainly is a group acehivement.

As someone who's never really raided 25 mans other than Naxx25 a couple times, I've yet to have any shot at even seeing the legendaries, let alone help build one. I'm looking forward to that changing in Cataclysm :)

For now, your guild *should* bask in the achievement. Despite Blizzard's Cata achievement saying 10 legendaries, it's still quite an achievement building 1!

Anonymous said...

We're working on our third in the raid (about halfway through now). We've gotten pretty lucky with drops, and we had the second one on the server, by a day or two. Had our retadin not been away for a couple of raids, he would've been the first on our server. Depending on how soon Catclysm comes out, we may get four, but I sort of doubt it.

Given that we regularly clear 11/12 Heroic ICC25, I don't consider it particularly difficult to get, but every time I raid with someone else, I remember that a raid that can clear 11/12 Heroic ICC bosses in the waning days of Wrath (and in about 4 hours) is a rare thing. We're having attendance problems, like everyone else. Getting people to show up is the big difficulty these days. Well, and Heroic Lich King 25 is still a bear of a fight, even at 25% buffed. We'll see about 30%.

Leah said...

I've been pugging ICC 25 pretty regularly lately, getting at least 3 quarters done and those shards are pretty darn rare. then of course there's a matter of finishing up some very grindy and/or tricky quests.

last time legendary took this much work was in Vanilla, and even Valanyr was somewhat easier to get, I agree with Adgamorix on that.

people just love complaining about how easy the game is and how all these lewts are such welfare stuff...usually same people who have absolutely no hope of every getting those.

let them.

we know better anyways.

Larísa said...

: yeah I think so too. You could argue that Ilidan's weapons took ages and ages due to the low drop rate. So being present in THAT many kills was a big thing. But still. It's not quite the same group effort I think.

: Thank you! I'm not sure which one was hardest for us. Probably this one. After all as you said it required some quests as well. And the sarnonites were a crazy investment. So a team effort it was, indeed. When we got the Val'anyr (in January) our dear carrier scared us pretty badly when he was supposed to throw it into the gap of yogg and seemed a bit uncertain if he had or hadn't succeeded. After the kill he said he couldn't see the thing he was supposed to loot... But it turned out in the end that it WAS there. However: after this incident he subscribes for a special muppet rank in our guild.

: "There's a lot of love in those orange pixels."

Indeed there is, and I hope he'll return it for all his grumpiness.

@Thank you! You know... Wrath isn't over yet and with the buff at 30 percent it really isn't out of reach to get there provided you farm a bit of badge gear... But maybe you've set your course for Cataclysm already. I hope you'll see a bit of this part of the game there. It's not for everyone, meaning that I think everyone certainly can go for it, but that everyone won't enjoy it. The discipline, the deathruns, the long hours, the scheduled playing... all that stuff. But it's well worth at least checking it out.

: A third one! That's impressive.
If we hadn't lost so many players due to boredome, real life, summer vacation etc, we would have been doing hardmodes as well, getting the shards way quicker and maybe we could even have aimed for a second one. But as you say - the attendance is the really hard challenge right now, and that's why I find it so fantastic that we manage to complete at least one.
And good luck on hc LK!

@Leah: yeah, it's funny how the biggest complainers about easiness often haven't bothered to do those "easy" things themselves.

The drop rate can very a lot. This week we got 7 drops in one night, but that was special. Normally there havent been more than 4-5.

I can imagine it gets frustrating if you're pugging and there are several shadowmourne collectors around.

Ossia said...

Indeed a great feeling last night ! Was one of those moments that bring a guild closer together.

Congratulations to Era, the guild and onwards to our next one !

Dwism said...

Big grats.
Shadowmourne is far from awellfare epic. Please remember that in TBC you had em drop in pugs. (legendaries, not shadowmourne).
There is a lot of effort in that, for any guild of any size.
There are a lot of bosses to be dealth with in very specific manners too.

big grats, well deserved im sure. (and why is it that ret pallies are always grumpy???)

Jen said...

"Welfare epic" = sour grapes. "I won't ever get it, but it sucks anyway, waah". It's a great thing, congratulations!

Back when I was in a 25-man raiding guild, our priest got all the Valanyr fragments... and then we didn't do Yogg again. She's x-realmed in the meantime, but I looked her up and she still doesn't have the legendary :(

antoxa said...

Big grats, well deserved, it's like a guild baby, isn't it :) Determination and team play is what makes those thing possible.

Maybe it's just a perception thing, but if definitely feels like there are more Shadowmournes now than there were Glaives in TBC.
We already have 2, and are ~10 shards away from the 3rd, and received an *application* with the char having one.
Soon our tank will get it for an offspec i feel... :)
But on the other hand, it's definitely more involved than glaives or thori'dal and both more involved and much less rng than Val'anyr.

Anonymous said...

I think all Legendary items ingame should only be accessible to small Gnome Mages with pink pigtails. Since my main is also such, I can attest I have no biast in saying such. >.>

Utakata said...

...the "Anonymous said..." above was in fact me who forgot to sign in my name. I does help. /sigh

Tessy said...

And it has been a grind indeed, there have been times lately that I have been really reluctant to sign up for yet another ICC25 normal night to farm shards, but I joined this guild to be a part of it and work towards our goals, not just to play whenever I felt like it.

I wanted to be a part of this achievement, I wanted to see Erä get his axe, and I wanted to know I had been helping him get them.

Feels good now that I did :-)

TAC said...

Congratulations to you all!

Way back in Vanilla, when we were raiding MC, I won the left bindings for TF. Since then I must have been back there hundreds and hundreds of times, most recently with the help of my guild's lovely main tank (rogues aren't too great at soloing some things...), and I finally got my Thunderfury about a month ago!

Getting any legendary is an epic (haha) feeling. Did Blizz make it too easy, with Shadowmourne? It may not require the insane effort that had to be put in for the original legendaries, and maybe for the larger guilds that routinely run ICC25 it's a faceroll.. but for smaller or less well geared guilds it truely is a huge achievement, if you ask me!

Codi said...

The quests make getting the axe a lot more interesting than the mace, IMO. I wouldn't say that getting it is "easy," but the drop rate on the shards does seem to be much higher than for the mace. We're going to be getting our third soon-ish.

Redbeard said...

Congrats on Shadowmourne!

I felt the same way when I finally finished the Quel'Delar questline. Sure, it was nice to finally land the best non-raid weapon in the game, but the questline itself was fantastic.

I'm glad you enjoyed the journey, and I'm with you: I wish there was a way to keep a few select items in a special place in your vault or something --tabards the same way-- just so you can remember the journey.

spinksville said...

Congrats to all of you! That's an awesome group effort, and hope your ret pally has a lot of fun with it.

It's a strange thing but if it was done as a guild effort, then it's an awesome achievement. If it was an individual doing lots of PUGs and playing the auction house to get the gold then ... meh, get a life :)

Muron said...

Our guild is working on our 4th shadowmourne, and after this one (~3 weeks) we are either going to have to give it to another tank (or DK tank already has one) or a tryout.

The fact that you can get shadowmourne without even killing LK regular makes it very much a welfare legendary. Val'nyr required kill Yogg+3, glaives required killing illidan. Shadowmourne is the only legendary since vanilla you could get not killing the end boss of the instance.

Our guild finished Ulduar with 1 Val'ynr. Many guilds had a Shadowmourne within a couple months of ICC and each successive one takes less and less time.

Anonymous said...

@All who say Shadowmourne is harder to get then Val'anyr


Has about a 24% at most to drop off most bosses (yogg not included as its 100%)



which is about 50% not incluing heroics, and the quests are not that hard.

so Val'anyr is harder to get.

Anyway grats to your guild

Larísa said...

@Ossia: It was indeed! This was definitely the end of the grinding with sub-optimal groups in ICC. At least I hope so. I wouldn't mind going there again, but I'd prefer to go with a full group, going for hardmodes.

@Dwism: thanks!

@Jen: oh, what a shame about the mace! We finally got ours done in January. It was a bit late, but at least we did it.

@Antoxa: thank you ver much! I suppose one reason why they're getitng more common is that we've had to wait so insanely long for new content. There hasn't been much else to do in the game for ages but grinding ICC. So it really SHOULD resault in a few more weapons...

@Utakata: rumours say that the legendary in ICC will be a caster weapon. I bet it would look great with pink pigtails!

@Tessy: yeah, I can't say that I've eagerly looked forward to yet another shard grind night. But now it's finally done and we are AWESOME!

@TAC: thank you! And grats to you too! A legendary is a legendary, regardless of when you get it.

@Codi: our droprate hasn't been great tbh, apart from our tuesday night run when it suddenly started to drop from almost every boss. And yeah, the quests adds a bit of flavour! Not that I really understood what they were about - only that the wearer did some extra stuff meanwhile...

: oh that questline! I really would like to do it, just to see the quests. I wonder if the price has gone down a bit on that item now... Hm... maybe one of those "things to do" before cataclysm?

: thank you! And yeah, I agree. At least at this point of the expansion it's definitely harder to make it as a guild than as a stand-alone-individual.

@Muron & Anonymous: we actually have killed LK anyway, so it doesn't feel weird to get it (which it would if we hadn't). I'm not entirely sure though if the mace was harder. We got that too but... well it didn't require 25 saronites at a point when each saronite was some 2k gold.

The problem these days is to assemble a guild group at all. That's the real challenge. Not the encounters as such.

OK, the yogg+1 kill took some extra effort. But still -
I would definitely not put shadowmourne lower than the mace. It's just another kind of effort. I think they're on par.

Redbeard said...

@Larisa: On A-52 it ranges from 9k-11k gold, depending on the day of the week and the number of Battered Hilts in the AH.

After months of trying and only seeing the hilt appear once --the second time through Pit of Saron-- I caved and bought one. I knew the quest chain was supposed to be cool, but I didn't know just how cool.

One word of advice, you might want to mention to anyone when you go through the ICC 5-mans that you're doing the quest chain. It's not such a big deal on FoS or PoS, but in HoR you end up, well, doing some fighting.