Posts Tagged ‘ SSC ’

Yes, The Wall And My Head Have Long Been Good Friends

And still, familiarity breeds contempt.

Let’s look at some of the points that have been sticking in my craw.

Upon release of The Burning Crusade, once level 70 had been achieved, raiders were presented with:

  • Karazhan : Tier 4, 10-man raid, 9.5 bosses, 2 events, Plenty of interesting trash (CC & tactics required), Located in the Old World
  • Gruul’s Lair : Tier 4, 25-man raid, 2 bosses, Minimal interesting trash (tactics required), Located in Outland
  • Magtheridon’s Lair : Tier 4, 25-man raid, 1 boss, Minimal trash (not much tactics or CC required), Located in Outland
  • Serpentshrine Cavern : Tier 5, 25-man raid, 6 bosses, Robust trash requiring both CC and tactics, Located in Outland
  • Tempest Keep : Tier 5, 25-man raid, 4 bosses, Moderate trash with CC and tactics required, Located in Outland

Totals for raid content on BC release:

  • Number of Raid Instances: 5
  • Number of Tiers: 2
  • Number of Bosses: 24 (9 ‘pure’ bosses in kara, spider & chess=1 boss, opera=1 boss)
  • Difficulty (interest & quantity) of trash: Moderate-high (Highs and lows in each instance)
  • Location appeal: All but one located in Outland, Karazhan being in Old World was a nice touch.

Now, let’s take a look at the Wrath release. Hard modes with different loot will be treated as additional bosses. Because of the extra work for balancing, 10-man raid bosses will count as 1/2 of a boss and will not count as a full extra boss because no new artwork (models, textures, animations, scenery) needed to be created.

  • Naxxramas : Tier 7, 10 & 25-man raid, 15 bosses in 25-man, 5.5 bosses in 10-man, Robust trash but no CC or tactics required, Located in Northrend
  • Obsidian Sanctum : Tier 7, 10 & 25-man raid, 4 bosses in 25-man, 2 bosses in 10-man, Minimal trash with no CC or tactics required, Located in Northrend
  • Eye of Eternity : No Tier, 10 & 25-man raid, 1 boss in 25-man, .5 boss in 10-man, No trash, Located in Northrend
  • Vault of Archavon : Tier 7, 10 & 25-man raid, 1 boss in 25-man, .5 boss in 10-man, Minimal trash with no CC or tactics required, Located in Northrend

Totals for raid content on Wrath Release

  • Number of Raid Instances: 4
  • Number of Tiers: 1
  • Number of Bosses: 28.5
  • Difficulty (Interest & quantity) of trash: Low (Lots of trash in Naxxramas, but no CC or tactics required)
  • Location Appeal: All instances located in Northrend

Now, I realise that a number of my points are personal preference. For example, I believe that being forced to go back to the old world to get to raid content is a good thing. I enjoy connections throughout the world, tying everything together. I also enjoy trash that requires a brain to get through instead of the chain-pull AoE-fest that we are ‘enjoying’ in Naxxramas.

If I were to be as strict on the numbers as I would like (counting 10 and 25-man versions of bosses as one and the same) Wrath would find itself severely lacking in the number of baddies to kill.

But, just looking at the numbers, content proffered in the two expansions upon release seems to be relatively equivalent.

Why then, does it not feel that way?

First, in Wrath, we only have one tier of gear to look forward to, and it’s possible to get almost every single piece from one instance. This is either a good or a bad thing depending on how you feel about it. I’ll get to why I think it’s a bad thing a little later.

Secondly is the trash. Upon the release of 3.0, Crowd-Control died. It was no longer needed. Part of this was from Blizzard’s new paradigm shift of ‘bring the player not the class’ (25-man Razouvious and Faerlina are stark exceptions), and part of it was a conscious effort to make Naxxramas an introductory raid to help newbies get their feet wet.

Those are the reasons, but I don’t accept them as excuses.

For example. The trash in Gruul’s Lair; the entire raid had to stack on the back of some mobs there or they would get charged and wipe the raid. In the Arachnid quarter there are spiders that charge, but this is no more than an annoyance. Nobody dies, and the AoE continues.

If these big spiders hit harder when they charged, requiring that they be sheeped, or rooted (druids can do that indoors now, not that they need to) would help add interest and challenge. It would make the 20-minute achievement more difficult too. If you needed a raid that was geared enough to survive charging spiders so that DPS could be cranked through the roof in order to get through quickly, wouldn’t that make it more worthwhile?

So, back to the numbers

Wrath has more bosses, one less instance. I’m going to tell you that my issue is with variety.

But Tiger! There’s only one less instance! There’s plenty of variety!

NO, there ISN’T.

The vast majority of raiding content in Wrath is in Naxxramas. OS, EoE, and VoA are presented in similar manner to Magtheridon’s Lair and, to a lesser extent Gruul’s (Gruul’s had 2 bosses, remember). Here is your boss, kill him, loot, win.

Imagine, if you will, that BC had just dropped and only contained Karazhan, Gruul’s and Magtheridon’s Lair, and that’s it.

Hmmm, ok, in typical Tiger fashion I’ve realised that that is pretty much what just happened, and it’s not really a bad thing. The problem I’m seeing is that Ulduar will only make this problem worse! Icecrown will then be the icing on the cake that is my dissapointment with Wrath raiding.

All for want of variety.

I made a comment in Vent last night that seemed to be very well-recieved by my guild: I don’t mind banging my head against a wall, I just wish I could bang it on a different wall for a while.

Back in BC, once you progressed beyond Tier 4, if you found yourself getting roflstomped by content you could go and do the other tier of that content. Al’Ar mopping the floor with your face? Go tackle Hydross instead. Leotheras put the bliders on you? Take your tanks and go tackle Void Reaver.

I’ve said before we’re working on Sarth 3D. Our biggest problem is that, after an hour or two of wipes, when we’re getting frustrated and discouraged, there’s nothing else for us to go work on.

But Tiger, Ulduar will have more hard modes! More variety!

How many of those bosses will you need to kill to get to ther bosses? If one boss’s hard mode eludes you, will you have the option to go work on another and come back, or will that chance be lost to you for a whole week?

I think that is a fatal flaw in what appears to be Blizzard’s single-instance tier paradigm. The ability to go bang your head against a different wall is missing.

And that’s why I’m frustrated.

PS – WTB Pally & DK tanks.

No, really, come say hi, please.

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How Now Brown Cow?

Ignoring of course the fact that in-game my cow is actually grey…

New header. Love it? Hate it? Too busy? Thoughts? Mad props to Phae at Resto4Life for pointing out this crazy-fun site.

I’ve been a sick little kitty lately. Woke up yesterday after a splendid 3-day weekend and felt like I’d been hit by a bus. Seriously, did anybody get the license plate on that kodo? Feeling a little better today but still not completely up to snuff. I’m plugging away on the first installment of the feral tree, so never fear.

In the world of raiding I had a vere interesting weekend. On monday I stepped up to the plate and led Zul’Aman. The kind would call the experience educating, the less-kind would call it one boss short of an abysmal failure. Here’s the story.

I started invites at 6:30 sharp. I love Zul’Aman, for serious. So naturally I was excited to get the group together and get a move on. Ten minutes in we’re short two healers, another tank and a couple dps. That’s pretty much half the raid! I start sending out calls, stopping barely short of begging in guild chat to get people to go. Fifteen minutes before start time our two rostered healers show up and we manage to get another dps and a tank from somewhere. Our second tank had never been, but I felt confident enough that I’d be able to give everybody the info and we could give it a go.

We started out trying on bear. I stressed to the second tank the utmost importance that we stand directly on top of each other. I don’t want to take a swipe to the face, no way no how. Sharing is caring. With my insistence of us stacking I’m thinking, in retrospect, I didn’t stress enough the importance of carefully timed taunts. I was watching my BigWigs very carefully and I called out five seconds before-hand that tank 2 was to get ready for the taunt and- I lost aggro. She taunted! Oh noez! Nalorakk switched, bit her face off, and she went down. I tanked through bear then, when he switched back to troll and charged off I popped a barkskin and tossed tank 2 a res and we valiantly tried to continue on. It didn’t work, however, we’d gotten off sync and it was pretty much a wipe after that.

I think we might have wiped again (I’m not sure, my memory is really rather crummy) but eventually we did get him down and there were congratulations all around.

Next we decided to hit up Akil’Zon aaaaaaaand… that didn’t go so well. I think we tried the gauntlet twice before we got through it. First time I had the priest mind control the scout and we killed the first two and were working on the second two trolls by the time mind control broke and… the first two immediately respawned behind us.

The second time we went without the mind control all together. Not sure what happened there. But the third time we did a little of both. We Mind controlled until the first mob was down and we were working on the second, then I called for the priest to break. We killed the last of the first two guards and moved on up. We had some serious issues with the pats coming in behind charging and stunning our other tank (Primal Tenacity ftw?) But when everything was all said and done we were at the top of the platform staring Akil’Zon down his eagle-y beak.

It had been a bit of a rough night up until then, but Akil’Zon just proved to be too much for us to handle. I’d noticed during bear that dps was slower than I usually see on ZA nights. Our first try on Akil’Zon I had our other tank take the hits (she’s a warrior) while I dps’d. I figured hey, I’m feral, I’ll do more damage as a kitty than she will as a dps prot warrior, every little bit helps. Well, when everything was all said and done it looked like I was taking about 1k damage per hit less than her, so we had me tank it on our last try.

It’s a damn shame. We were extremely close too. We’d have gotten him down if one of two things had happened. See, I had been depending on my BigWigs BossMods to tell me when the storm was coming, and it was accurate for the first third of the fight, but like I said, our dps was slow and the fight was getting long (we weren’t in any danger of hitting the enrage timer however). The longer the fight though, the more unreliable bossmods get. Our last storm didn’t come. The timer was up, I called everyone in on the tank and the storm didn’t come. We all got static charged and we died. We died and we died and we died.

By the time we’d all run back we found that the gauntlet had respawned and, by popular vote, we decided we’d had enough.

/sigh

I felt… odd. I wasn’t mad, I was dissapointed, not at the raid exclusively nor completely with myself. I believe I led to the best of my ability, people listened and our guild’s big time raid leader was in vent listening in. He didn’t have anything scathing to say; he offered a suggestion or two but for the most part didn’t say much of anything. I’m taking his silence to be tacit approval of my leadership style. I’d made sure to keep pulls going strong, trying for very little down-time and explaining bosses during trash whenever I could. I think we moved at a good pace as we got in three tries on Nalorakk, three on Akil’zon, and three attempts at the gauntlet all by 8:30.

All-in-all, I look forward to attempting to lead Zul’Aman again.

Tuesday saw me in bed most of the day. I was on and off of WoW and actually took a nap later in the day. Said nap concluded with Mr Tigerfeet gently shaking my shoulder and saying “Is Unemployed not raiding tonight?”

WHAAAAAAAAAAAT?!?

I bolted off the couch, nausea and acheyness aside and was on vent and into WoW faster than a RAWR-Bomb. First pull starts at 7 sharp, invites at 6:30. I finally got my act together by 7:30. After profuse apologizing I was assured that crap happens and it wouldn’t be held against me. My guild leader even messaged me asking if I felt up to sticking around, waiting in the wings in case we got an opportunity to take our first stab at Vasj.

So, I hung out in vent and listened to them take down Lurker, then Leo while I puttered around and did my Island Dailies. After that I farmed some clefthoofs off in Nagrand and glory of glories, there was time for one try on Vasj and, despite my transgression, I was allowed to come along!

Long story short, we got her to phase two before everything went crazy, but all-in-all it looks like a fun fight. I have every confidence in <Unemployed>. There’s a lot of moving parts to that fight but I could see us getting her down in two weeks, three at the very most. (My money’s on two weeks)

EDIT: Next time on Akil’zon I’ll make sure to turn my game sounds down and my ambient way up so that I can listen for the storm instead of depending solely on bossmods.