Wednesday, January 27, 2010

It came from the bar: World of Raidcraft.

This is a guest post written by Holly from Feathermoon (US). Her goal in the game is to “try a little bit of everything”. Consequently she has characters in different classes, both on the horde side and alliance side, dealing with everything from serious raiding to roleplaying. This is her first appearance at the PPI.


“In all honesty I'll admit I'm not nearly the hardcore raider I was once, or that I'm even knowledgeable of all the encounters (princes? I thought you said princesses, I was waiting for them to turn into Goomba's and tell me to check another citadel) But what I have noticed is how the mentality in raiding is shifting, and wondering what is to come.

Shall we take a moment to let an old bitty's mind travel waaay back to the days of molten core? I remember running back if you wiped 5 at a time through BRD, trying to get 40 people to show up at the same bloody time, beating our head against the wall because enough people couldn't get it through their head that if you are the bomb, you had to run away or you killed everyone. Some very bad memories, rolling off between eleventy million other players of the same class for that stupid benediction quest item, those were good.....mediocre...playable days.

Some major things back then was how clearly the roles were, and how squishy -everyone- was. CC was a must, banishes, polymorphs, traps, etc... . there was no digging into a mob right away so that gave people time to do their CC's, sit a second, wait for the second thunderclap, and then dig in, but watch a threat meter, be prepped to go to wand, or sit down for a bit, no hurry.

If too many things were left unCC'd the tank went squish, the tank was not neigh invulnerable, it didn't take a boss hitting for 80% of their hp to make them cringe in fear, no, every mob was dangerous, they were just a little better suited for taking damage, see: dps plate wearers these days.

In those days it was less about reactionary playing, and more about planning. Assigning which mage to the general's healers, who was on back-up if one should die, which of the 18 tanks would tank the boss, etc. . . . It was more about cunning, and less about power.

We fast-forward to BC in Kara, CC was much less important, with blizzards ideas that pallies should no longer be glorified buffbots, but contribute much more, they could tank, dps, and heal now! threat generation was way up, even from warriors, and it was much easier to dig in, and to skip some cc on trash, the tank would hurt, the healer would cry, but save for some really tough mobs, cc wasn't required on every pull, and your wand became a stat stick, mmm, stat stick.

These days though, I'm noticing a trend of less planning or more reacting, there's no deciding which needs to die first unless there's a healler, crowd control isn't even on most people's bars, and success or fail of the encounter is less on strategy, and more on gear and making sure to get out of the fire.

Now please don't think that I'm one of those that thinks this is a bad change, it's a change, what I do think is bad is how people have been reacting to it, I'm noticing the most desired dps isn't a good player, but the flavor of the month that can shave a couple more hundred dps. Tanks are even getting benched or pulled out because their class can outdps other tank classes and they just need the dps. In the end it makes for a much faster, more adrenaline based system. You are getting fewer people coordinated, fights are less unique and more 'it's like XT only with fire’ or "It's like the guy in UP only with fire and bone thingies” And everything is much more gear dependant.

There was a time when you had to have fire, frost, and arcane mages, and despite the fact that fire mages did ridicu-dps, you had to have all 3 because about half the mobs are fire immune or resistant, frost immune or resistant, and arcane mages well, they go boom boom dead.

These days if fire mages do the most dps, it's almost expected of you to be fire, even if you love arcane. Don't put out the 'dps you should?' Then screw you, get out of my raid, dps are a dime a dozen.

In the end I wonder where this could lead to, maybe trispec with each fight tuned so one of them will do more damage. Will Blizzard work to make it so dps are a little more appreciated? Make it so tanks do less damage so none will be benched for it?
I have to admit when Icecrown citadel launched and we could one or two shot every boss in there I was very....disappointed almost, it’s the peak raid of wrath, and the start makes it look like anybody with half a brain can make it to the lich king?

Then we get to plague wing quarter thing, and suddenly there's a fight that reminds me very much of Illidan, and it's tuned so hard that only 100 something raids across the 18 million realms Blizzard had could down him in the ten attempts? I had such a flashback that my brain spun, is this what we should expect from Blizzard in the future? Are they going back to making fights much more than just 'don't stand in the fire'? If so, will the community react positively or negatively? It's food for thought.”


blueberrytotem said...

Playing the game for long time too, taking the changes for good and bad, as they come. I agree that the current bruteforcing through content is too much, at least for me. I was really looking forward to ICC and must say I was a bit disappointed after clearing quickly the first wing. Then I saw Rotface and Putricide and I was very very pleased that it went back to 6P-system (Prior Planning Prevents Piss-Poor Performance) and that you actually had to think about the fight beforehand, not just run in.

As for the "replacing dps" issue - I don't give a damn if my raiders specs put out 200 less dps. What I care for is that they can think and spot for themselves, that they don't mind sacrificing themselves for the greater good. Of course, I expect all my raiders to dish out some "minimum" numbers. But above that, I don't care if you are arcane, fire or frost, affliction or demo, as long as you can keep running.

Carra said...

There was not threat meter during the molten core or Blackwing Lair days.

I disagree with the fact that once upon a time you needed frost, arcane and fire mages. In fact entire instances were made so that you could *only* use frost mages. Molten core had one fire resistant mob after the other. Blackwing Lair followed which was very similar. Since then Blizzard has decided to tune down those resistances. I haven't found an instance since then that locks out an entire talent tree.

Forcing people to pick a build is guild dependent. In those days there were also guilds which would force people to take a good build (which is only logical if you ask me) and others who didn't care much if you ran with a PvP build. It mostly comes down to the player. Do you want to join a guild that just wants to have some fun? Or do you want to go in with a well prepared group? And that might mean having to kick the bad players.

Holly said...

Carra: While fairly true about the tree lockout if you wanted to maximize dps often times you had to look at the resists I seem to remember there being other resists in BWL though I could be wrong, it's been a while since I've been in there. My real issue is a growing trend of playing the flavor of the month with I would venture to say the majority of raids (which are also the brute forcing type)

For example my death knight is blood. I like blood, I like having the ability to control my health as a melee dps, and hopefully easing the strain on the heallers, during the two puppies in ICC I can completely take care of myself without heals if needed (heallers died and me and the prot pally finished down like the last 5% of it's hp) But unholy and dw frost right now are far better dps specs. I can pull 6-6500 dps in blood, usually sitting in the top 10 ten BiS in every slot. (My deathknight doesn't get to do 25's so some just can't be helped above top 10) I can pull well over 'minimum dps' but will get rejected more often than I care to say to a VoA raid or a pug for the weekly raid, or the occasional 25 man, not because of my dps, not because I'm a bad player but because I'm the wrong spec. Because theoretically if I regear, regem, re-enchant, touch my heels together and pay gold, respec, and come back witha new unholy force, I could do -more- dps. This is the issue that bothers me most. I've been seeing the same trends for other classes, especially the more pure classes (rogues, mages, warlocks, hunters).

Larísa said...

Oh, even I, not playing in vanilla, get nostalgic reading this. Yeah, waiting for the thunderclap. Or the sunders. I think that was the first lesson I ever learned in doing 5-mans - to look for three sunders before attacking any mob. A warrior I used to run with learned me that lesson. But somehow it has slipped my mind since then... No wonder...

I actually think they've done a great job with the difficulty in ICC. At least the second and third wings are as difficult as you could expect the end instance of an expansion to be. The enterence floor is a bit too easy admittedly - and frankly I think people will turn pretty bored with it eventually from seeing it too many times. Especially casual players who won't come any further before they nerf the whole place with that aura.

Firespirit said...

I think there is a dichotomy that is here that no one sees - Maybe I will do a full writeup on my site.

Here we have encounters that force us to be the absolute best possible that we can be - because of artificial lockouts (10 tries per 3 bosses? Thats artificial if I have ever seen artificial), and yet when we bench those (or ask those who are underperforming to respec) we get jabbed at.

Now, that is not to say that my guild does that. My raiders play whatever spec they dammed well please. If we don't get something down, then we work on it the next week. But it seems like we are the minority right now.

Look at fights like festergut - it requires (especially 10 man fight) that the tank switch to a no threat, dps mode. Without that DPS, you are unlikely to get them down.

Main point - Strict, stringent requirements are ok. Don't force us into artificial lockouts. Hard content is OK. Content that says, unless you perform perfectly (which, how many people do?), you are simply going to get locked out. You aren't going to progress unless you kick those who can't do 3k dps as a tank, or 10k as a dps (which is asking a LOT in 10 man raids). Stop with the dichotomy, and then jab us for responding to what you are requiring.

Holly said...

You don't need 10k dps in a 10 man, it makes it nicer but required is a minimum of 5k across the dps, if you're over the minimum and you're a raid aware character, why should it matter that you're not the flavor of the month? We run with two locks, who until two weeks ago were both destro, now one went affliction, spent nearly 25000 gold in regearing regemming, and re-enchanting, and how is usually 1 or 2 on the meters, and our destro lock is now usually 5 or 6, he's running 5800, which is fine. But now he has a ton of pressure to switch to affliction even though he doesn't have the time to play or gold to play to do such a massive overhaul of his gear, he's doing fine, he knows the fights, he gets out of the fire, he kills the slimes (and is actually more useful for bursting down the slimes than our affliction lock who just goes 'but I rev' and stays on the boss the whole time)

Yes there are lockouts and we know what the minimums are, but in the end I know I don't feel bad if we didn't get down if we made progress. If you have a class pulling 3k dps, in decent gear that's not a fault with the spec, that's a fault with the player.

Carra said...


My point is the opposite. Five years ago you only had one choice: frost. These days you have choice. Most builds are within 10% of each other.

As you mention yourself you can now choose between Unholy & Frost. Been a while since I played it but I suppose blood isn't that far behind.

But as you have choice there will always be one spec that is "the best spec", no matter how well Blizzard tries to balance everything. At which point it gets back to the same problem: does your guild want you to use the best spec? I'd say that hasn't changed much. Four years ago my guildies were also expected to use the best spec available. And back then there was less choice (mage = fire, hunter = markmanship,...) than you have these days.

One thing I do agree with is that it became too hard to switch specs. If I wanted to switch from unholy to blood half a year ago I'd have to do change quite a bit. It's not just a respec. You also need new potions. You need new glyphs. You need new enchants (maybe a bit less hit or so). You have to read up on EJ and retrain your rotations. And worst of all you might need new gear. Back then unholy had no use for blood while it was great for blood. Switching specs meant that you suddenly need other stats.

Dan said...

The normal modes may bebe done with brute force, but if it's challenge you seek, it's hard modes you must do. I know at first I was resistant to the idea, why bother, just give me the challenge that's what I'm here for! But the normal modes are nice for casual players to get to see the fights too, and I've come to appreciate that, having become much busier over the course of the expansion. Are the fights necessarily the most exciting I've ever done, no but they're better than nothing when all I have is one day a week-- if I'm lucky. You just have to take it with a grain of salt.

As for the homogenization of all the classes, Carra mentioned that one will always be on top. And she's probably right, I'd be surprised if they ever made each spec do exactly the same dps. And since they've removed a lot of the utility of classes, which normally came at the cost of dps, they had to level the playing field again. Still not quite sure how I feel about this one though, a little crowd control provided enough challenge on trash, bruting through it kind of makes me impatient, why is it in my way at all?? And it is nice to be able to play whatever spec you like because they're all viable I suppose.

I'm conflicted, because I like things to be difficult and I am hardcore at heart, but my current situation makes me appreciate the casual aspects as well.