"We're 10 seconds too early, or we'll enter hard mode."
This is about what you could hear on vent on our first Thorim 10man try. It took us a couple of tries to get to know the hallway, but once we did we went through it so fast that Sif was still up. If our people had continued we would've accidentally entered hard mode.
However, one of our healers and a ranged dps were down. Should we have done it? Should we have tried? We didn't, we hesitated and in that split second we decided that getting to know the fight was more important at that point. After all, we had no idea what was going to come after that hallway.
We killed him, with 8 people standing.
So how do you know that your team is ready to try for achievements and hard mode? And should you try anyway, even if you doubt you can do it?
Generally you don't do the fight with achievements the first try, though there are achievements that just accidentally happen of course. There is almost a sort of checklist that you can go through before you would even consider doing a hard mode or achievement.
Know when to pick a fight.
Most of the times it's a bad idea to do a specific achievement or hard mode when your team doesn't know what the fight will be like. There are of course exceptions, like Dwarfageddon for example, but most often you'll find that you're better off to make sure that your team knows the fight inside out.
Sometimes you can do achievements with one or two people who have not done the fight before, or who don't know the fight as well. In this case you either want to make sure that these people are pretty good in reacting to the fight or that the rest of your team can carry these team members if they do accidentally mess up.
Achievements don't just happen most of the time, they generally take some planning. So if you do plan to do achievements, it's often a good idea to anounce them ahead and make sure that everybody understands what needs to be done for that achievement.
Of course when a fight was particularly easy last time you did it, and you have a team with the right mindset, you do want to try for the achievement next time you do that fight. And even then, don't be surprised if it turns out that your team is simply not ready to do the fight with achievement.
It might simply be a case of not knowing the fight with achievement well enough, or even being undergeared for the harder version of this fight. After all, achievements generally make the fight harder and more challenging than doing it without achievement or hard mode.
Should you try anyway?
Trying anyway, even though you have doubts if your team can do it, depends on a lot of factors. Does your team have the right mindset to handle wiping, or as some might see it, failure? If you're not sure how well your people perform after disappointment, going for the harder version of the fight too early might cause demotivation.
How early on the evening is it? When people are tired it becomes harder and harder to focus and put that extra step forward. I personally try to plan new fights for the start of the evening, so that we're all fresh, and even when we do wipe we still have enough time to do the fight in a straight forward fashion, or go back to a different boss, and return to the achievement later.
Normally you know when your team is ready for it, but when in doubt do make sure to discuss with your team members. They too have opinions and maybe even good ideas on how to approach an achievement.
Also, be prepared to just switch tactics in the middle of the fight if it turns out that it doesn't work just yet. We tried getting the heart killed on Deconstructor, but simply didn't have the dps for it that evening. Since this was very clear, we decided on the spot that we would just do him on normal that evening, and get back to hard mode later. We still managed to kill him.
Don't reach for the stars.
Even though it might sometimes feel like failure, wiping simply is part of getting to learn the fight. You just pick up the pieces, discuss how it can be done differently, and get it right the next time. Even if you leave a boss up for that evening, don't feel sad about it. You tried your hardest, and next time he will go down.
What you don't want to do however is set impossible goals for your team. If your team is nowhere near ready, don't go for it anyway. It will only work demotivating, and that boss you did easily last week suddenly seems impossible as well.
If this is your current top, then reach just that little bit further, but don't try to jump too high, it will only cause your team to hit the ground with a bang.
In the end we're all stars.
I've been following the blog from Mister K ever since he commented on one of my posts. And last week he had a post that completely made me feel pride alongside of him. He's not high end raiding, in fact the small guild he is in is just conquering Naxx10 level content, but they've been doing so well lately. And you can just hear the pride in his blog. They play 'ubercasual' as he calls it, and they still manage to get this content done. (yay you!) They reached just that little bit further, and made it.
Seriously. If you have just conquered content with your team that is really hard for you, and you did it anyway, you are just as good as those top guilds killing the hardest bosses in the game.
After all you just killed your hardest boss in the game, right?