Monday, July 21, 2008

Skipping T5 content and moving directly into T6 content

So, I’m Zakesh and according to most people the best theorycrafter and wow-player that ever existed, wait that just me saying that.. oh well. My main toon is a rogue on the US-Stormrage server with around 200 days /played who is currently trying to learn sunwell, but I have also raided with pretty much every class at some point(all but mage actually). I have also claimed that I can take any class into competing for top damage and I still believe that, with the exception av priest, but everyone loves shadowpriests anyway so I would probably be forgiven. Funny thing is that even if I’m highly competive about dps is that beside my rogue raiding that I have raided more as a healer than as other forms of dps. I guess because it can be kind of relaxing to do something completly diffrent. I see something here in the contract about max 10 rows of selfboosting, damnit, guess I have to move on.

Anyway I’m here to be a guestwriter and counterpoint to larisas usual blogging. While Larisa talks about how much the morale improved of our latest kill, I’m probably deep into mathcalculations about if I should try to use first lifetap 30 or 50 sec into the fight.

As a starting subject I got "Skipping T5 content and moving directly into T6 content".

Since the patch that removed attunment for T6 content there is a trend to jump directly into T6 content without finishing T5 content. Early bosses in Black Temple and Hyjal aint that hard while Vashj and KT is usally quite hard and complex in learning to execute. Some see this as cheating and skipping content where you could gear up and learn important mechanics. Other sees this as really unecessary work since you can just gear up from T6 content as well as T5 content as long as you can do both. What I think many is missing is how good gear you can get outside 25-man raiding now compared to when the first guilds did TK/SSC. The badge gear, beside being new and shiny goes alot faster to farm, you can get badges from quests and kara runs, any guild that is in TK/SSC most likely can clear kara in less than 3 hours for 22 badges. Zul'Aman, this instance has alot of loot that is T5-T5.5 value and if you are in SSC/TK you can probably get atleast 2 timers and clear the instance which gets you alot of value for each run. PvP gear is just a matter of time for T5 value items. All this is items that wasnt available 1.5 year ago so the guilds back then had to farm T5 content to be able to move on. Some specs that have really good gear from TK/SSC but not many pieces is really "needed". Exceptions that comes to mind is mage 2p T5. Probably is others as well but not many. As long as you raiders do 10 mans also, you shouldnt need the gear for the gearchecks atleast.

Time Constraint
Also there is the question of time, lets be honest, beside some occasional nostalgia trip noone is gonna enter any TBC raiding instance after wrath of the lich king comes out. So basicly you just have until the expansion release to experience as much as possible. If you fighting mid TK/SSC atm you most likely not gonna kill illidan before expansion but you have a choice of seeing a big part of BT or finishing TK/SSC. Starting T6 content gonna let you experience more bossfights but on the other hand the feeling on downing KT or Vashj is a whole lot better than killing supremus.

What would you learn from KT and Vashj that you cant learn from early fights in BT and Hyjal?

KT trains you in enduring a really long fight while still needing to clear certain dps-checks. You have to have 25 people focused for 15 min without potty breaks. Both fights but mostly Vasjk teach most of your raid to do things on their own without getting help from others. All must be able to click stuff in their inventory, make and use macros, check for 50ft high guys coming to bash you on the head while still doing your healing/dpsing/tanking. Doesnt sound to hard does it, but it can be quite tricky for some. Specially for us guys which about half the worlds population is convinced that we cant walk and chew bubblegum at the same time. This is the fights where we prove them wrong by using lots of diffrent buttons on our keyboards. Hm, that still didnt sound impressing, wonder why?

How far can you get in T6 content?
Well if you can kill anything in T5 content you can kill Rage Winterchill in hyjal. Its basicly get a prot paladin, survive trash, loot epics. Rest of Hyjal is mostly learning to do trash right to get clean tries at the bosses, once you figured out the mechanics none of the first 4 bosses should require that many tries to get past, in most cases getting to them is harder than taking down the boss. Najentus on the other hand is about having a functional raid where everyone is above 10k hp raidbuffed, and clicking on stuff in your inventory. After him you get to another bonusboss, Supremus, which you should kill in your first 3 attempts really. Same with Akama, its very likely you kill him within the first tries, simply mechanics, simply fight. Then Teron on the other hand require alot of execution and a decently geared tank, here is where you really find out if you have raidmembers who might not have what it takes. Getting to 4/5 MH, 4/9 BT is probably not gonna take you more than 2 months for a casual raiding group if you do it atleast twice a week. After that the difficulty steps up and it's a pretty big step to go further. But those first 8 bosses is definitly doable without huge geargrades.

What is my opinion on the matter then, I’m sure I’m biased enough that it shines through the rest of my writing, but I really think its ok to skip content that you dont really need to do. Some grumpy old man in me still goes, oh, we did it when it was really hard and unnerfed and had to farm that stupid morogrim for months before he finally dropped a sword, why shouldnt all those new young people go through the same pain as we did. Coming here in their new shiny tree gear and thinking they are cool and leafy. But I still think that most of us is here for the experience of exploring new content and getting as far as possible. If you have the gear needed to move on I think you should do it. I remember when working on naxx/aq we still had some runs back in MC because people wanted certain pieces, and no, I’m not talking about bindings here. There is a fear in many that they miss out on stuff if they dont kill a boss a certain amount of times. You dont, there is another item that looks almost the same on the next boss with just slightly better stats, it wont kill you to use that item insted.

Is there not something that would be better if we actually stayed and completed T5 content?
Well If I go from my own experience I know that the nerdscreaming was definitly louder when we killed Vashj over Illidan. When we killed Akama on the other hand it was more, oh, is he dead, where is the next one?


2ndNin said...

A lot of the problem with T5 content is that its skippable, there is no reason to really do it with the badge gear upgrades, there is no real motivator to be in there. Tier 4 is still run because for high end raiders its an easy slacking night off for some gold and badges, Tier 6-6.5 is the "cutting edge" stuff where you need gear, but T5 offers little but a few upgrades and maybe the titles (WTB Hand of A'dal on my lock btw!).

The progress of skipping instances I feel is more driven by the lack of interest in T5 than the attunements removal, my guild wanted to hit BT, MH, Maggie, T5 was really a "do we have to" area simply to go get the loot from a few bosses. Without some reason to stay and do it, any simple progression instance will be skipped because thats all it offered, a step on the ladder.

Green Armadillo said...

Some friends of mine re-rolled from the EU servers to the US, started up a new guild, and downed Illidan in under six months. They downed the end bosses in the "correct" order (Vashj -> Kael -> Archi -> Illidan), but there was definitely cherry picking of the easier T6 content mixed in with the T5 stuff. I think that doing the split, combined with the badge loot, helped them progress as quickly as they did.

Then again, these were competent people who had every intention of going back and finishing the job. In that type of environment, extra loot and the morale boost from killing easier bosses is beneficial. If a guild is planning to skip the end of T5 because they don't want to put in the time and effort, they're probably going to hit problems in the second half of T6.

altoholicmom said...

ZOMG love for Stormrage server! Say hi to Pallylust when you see her :D

gnomeaggedon said...

See what you want to see, skip what you want to skip.

If you want to go back and see the old world content, then you can 5 man it.

If you want to get the last gasp look at TBC before it's forgotten, then gear up however you want, and go see the bits you can.

I would give an arm & a leg to see as much as possible (someone else's arm & leg of course). Not likely to happen, but I will enjoy what I can, however I can.

Larísa said...

It's only recently I've realized how skippable most of the T5 instances are. It becomes pretty obvious when it comes to loot and people often already have better gear from badges.

There's really no need to take EVERY raid boss (unless you're collecting the scalps for the upcoming achievement window). I mean, how many players have doen every single five man instance? I haven't. I did the ones in TK without having done all of the instances in Hellfire. Most of the Hellfire instances I've never even done on normal mode...

Still, I would like to get that Hand of Adal-titel, so a few more visits to TK wouldn't hurt.

Eishen said...

Wellcome Zakesh, Its amussing and interesting reading two different stiles in the same blog.

As for the subject....
In my guild we are now MH 3/5 and getting into BT , we skipped totally KT (with tears from my part ) and left Vashj when reaching the third phase, so we progressed with 3/4 TK and 5/6 SSC

In my opinion T5 must not be skipped doing it , or at least trying to do it, but does not deserve farming for long.

I can´t see the point into skipping it ENTIRELLY...Why? to see MH/BT , they are instances in the same way if you do´t go TK you have missed an instance , same as if you don´t go to BT.

2ndNin said...

You haven't run every TBC instance Larisa? One weekend I ran all of them, and did 12/14 (missed 2 out of the total, can't remember if thats 14) in one day, its fun to run them.

SSC and TK are very skippable, as I wrote in my post, while the fights teach you a lot, the instances themselves feel very bitty and to be honest not much fun, it feels like you are doing trash, boss, trash boss, while BT is the same it has the feeling of penetrating a stronghold with some options as to which bosses you kill but retains gatekeeper bosses. Hyjal is, despite its flaw of waves and bosses, very fun in my mind, maybe because I get to do something :P.

Larísa said...

@2ndnin - I think I've done all the TBC instances if I remember right, though not all of them on normal mode.

I definitly haven't done all 5 man instances in the old world, especially not the ones more related to the horde side. Or raid instances either for that sake. Scholomancer is unknown territory to me, as well as Blackwing lair. (I guess it's got to do with the fact that I'm a post TBC-starting player).

Zakesh said...

In the end it always comes down to how your own guild feels about it, but I think its important to know when trying to decide that its gearwise possible.

to altholicmom
Loved your post about AV, so true. I once spent over 24h in an AV that went on for like 32h. I actually had some sleep in between and went up and got into the same one. I so miss that.

to eishen
Well now you have seen all the fights in TK/SSC atleast so there is nothing left to see there, only reason to finish would be to just say you did it.

to 2ndnin
Hyjal is really cool and diffrent, but the waves kind of wear you down after a few months. For me it differs alot though which toon I bring, I totally stopped bringing my rogue because he is only of marginal use in there. Much more fun with shaman or warlock. I even got to try tanking on a pally the other week and was really fun. :)

2ndNin said...

:P I am the pally tank, yeah I can see it getting boring, but since I am not allowed to boss tank its the only fun I get :(.

Cynra said...

I think that there is a point at which Tier 5 content should be disregarded for Tier 6 content. With the introduction of the 2.4 badge gear, much of the gear acquired from Serpentshrine Cavern and Tempest Keep (and even Black Temple and Hyjal Summit, as my guild found out two weeks ago when we first stepped into the instance as a guild!) is obsolete. However, there is loot there that does benefit others and the feelings of pride that result from downing those bosses does make staying in Tier 5 content -- even for a little bit -- more palatable.

There is a reason, however, as to why Kael and Vashj were known as guild killers. Raids through their collective head against these bosses for weeks and months without any improvement, leading to feelings of frustration as progression ended abruptly. The removal of the attunements for Hyjal Summit and Black Temple has greatly dimished the likelihood of experiencing that and your raid's morale and attitude should be considered when deciding if it's time to progress into Tier 6 content; if people are getting frustrated by the lack of progression to the point where morale has dropped significantly, it's probably time to move on.

The final thing to keep in mind is some of the gear in Tier 5 is the best that can be acquired for a long, long, long time. One of the things that we noted was that finding a suitable upgrade from the Tier 4 helm for most healing classes meant either down Vashj or waiting quite some time until getting the gear in Black Temple. Some of the class trinkets (priests' Earring of Soulful Meditaton comes to mind) are arguably the best slot pieces in the game. However, progressing into Tier 6 content doesn't mean excluding Vashj and Kael entirely; you can always return on a week when Hyjal or Black Temple content is getting you down.

And, it's absolutely true that the introductory bosses are loot pinatas. My hunter's raid managed to be 4/5 Mount Hyjal in two nights and 3/9 Black Temple in one -- after being 3/4 and 6/6 (we spent all of three weeks with Vashj on farm before deciding that we were bored!).