Monday, January 10, 2011

The Pink Pigtail Inn Awards of 2010 – The instances

Ladies and Gentlemen!

May I ask for your attention for a little while? I hope you've grabbed a drink, in case you haven't help yourself over at the bar; it's set on free for all tonight. This is a special occasion as you all know. Time has come to announce the winners of The Pink Pigtail Inn List of 2010.

It’s quite an extensive list, so I’ve decided to chop it into four parts. We’ll start off lightly with an appetizer, namely the instance categories.

Next up will be a hotch potch soup, which I’ve labelled “Things we saw in-game”, which contains miscellaneous WoW-related classes.

After this it’s time for the main course – the community. And finally - hopefully this week - I’ll proudly present the dessert, which I think is what a majority of you care most about anyway – the Blogosphere awards.

I called for nominations a couple of weeks ago, and I got a lot of comments, letters and suggestions posted on other blogs and I want to thank you all for the input. I may not have followed your advice (which actually would be rather undoable, since it’s pointing in all sorts of directions), but it has definitely given me inspiration and helped me to sort out my own thoughts.

The rules once again, in case someone missed it.
- Winners who have gotten it previous year are not eligible for the same category the following year.
- The intention is that the list if possible should reflect content that was released during or very close to 2010.
- Any content from Cataclysm including the Shattering patch will not be taken into consideration.

And now I think we’re ready for the appetizer! So let’s head back in time and remember the instances from 2010.

Ahem…. To be absolutely honest with you I must admit that there wasn’t much of a competition. There weren’t exactly a swarm of instances launched this year, when Blizzard still followed the Wrath concept: “You shall only raid in one instance at a time and you shall raid it so many times that you never ever want to see it again” rather than the TBC and Cataclysm concept: “We offer parallel raid instances to give you a choice and some variation of scenery.”

However: tradition is tradition, so let’s stick to it and announce the first category:

Best raid instance

Nominated: Icrecrown Citadel, Ulduar.

I wouldn't believe that there would be any competition in this category. I dont' think there is a single raider out there who would rank Ruby Sanctum as a better instance than ICC.

And since Ulduar won the category for 2009, it was basically disqualified from the start. Everyone didn't agree with this though. Sthenno argued that Ulduar was just so good that it deserves to break the rules. "ICC was fine, but calling it the best while Ulduar is still around seems like it might be illegal."

Shintar nominated ICC, while adding: "It was good for a while, but it was annoying and tedious for even longer".

The winner is: Icecrown Citadel!

Motivation: I almost gave in to the idea to give Ulduar the award a second time, but in the end it goes to ICC. After all, no one can deny that it was a well crafted instance with a lot of interesting mechanics, including the green dragon that gave healers a bit of variety to the normal staring on the raid health bars. The LK fight alone, which included several challenging phases and even a piece of cinematic - was good enough to motivate an award. There was nothing wrong about ICC per se. The fact that we didn't have anything else to raid for almost a year is an entirely different issue.

Least successful raid instance

Ruby Santcum; Naxxramas, ToC

It was pretty easy not to like Ruby Sanctum, that's for sure. Here are a sample from the comments:

"Odd tuning next to the already heavily nerfed ICC. Would have been better if released earlier.

"A lot of trash for loot no one needed."

"The timing of its release seemed off. It came when people were burned out on raiding and waiting on Cata."

"The least successful instances aren't actually those that people complain about, it's those that they don't even care to go into. There was only one such raid that fit that bill this year: the Ruby Sanctum. I think it's a bit of a shame actually because Halion wasn't a terrible boss. He just felt kind of out of place, both in terms of lore and in terms of difficulty."

The winner is: Ruby Sanctum!

I agree with what's been sad. I'll just add this final one, from Rhii:
“We didn't run this on my server. Nobody hardly ran it, guilds didn't run it. PUGs didn't run it. Nobody ran it. I wanted to run it, but if people stay away in droves, something's wrong.”
A boss that no one cares about doing can hardly be considered successful. It felt as if the effort Blizzard had put into that fight was half hearted. Their attention, as well as the attention of the players, was already turned towards Cataclysm.

Most longed for instance

Nominated: Ruby Sanctum, Cataclysm, Coliseum, Frost boss in Wintergrasp, Halls of Reflection/The ICC instances, Black Temple, Heroic Deadmines/Heroic SFK

There were more nominations in this category than I had anticipated. Not really putting much thought into it, I reckoned it was Ruby Sanctum, since it was the only content that had been released. I was wrong.

Toravon in VoA was launched in February, and I reckon some players waited his arrival with huge expectations. Personally I didn't to be honest. I never thought that the VoA was that much of fun. If anything I associate it to all sorts of PuG failures, including "ooops I'm saved" incidents, ninja looting and unreasonable gear score and "already have achievement" expectations. Yet another boss wouldn't change anything.

I agree that Halls of Reflection was an interesting and challenging instance that we had waited for a long time to get; at last a new addition to the 5-mans. But since it was launched in December 2009, the longing was already something in the past.

So what about Ruby Sanctum then? Well, the more I think, the more I realize that there probably weren't that many players who really, really longed for it. We knew it was nothing but a filler. Most people were just waiting for Cataclysm and couldn't be bothered anymore with Wrath at that point.

So I decided to listen to advice from the readers.

The winner is: Black Temple!

Motivation: This might be a bit of a cheat: the list is supposed to cover content from 2010. But you could as well read this category as something we longed for that we had left behind. This year's nostalgic trip. I will leave the word to Shintar, who gave the suggestion:
"I'm finding it hard to pick anything here because we spent all year longing for Cataclysm. I don't think anyone really longed for Ruby Sanctum to come out (and if they did, they were probably disappointed quite quickly). I suppose some of us were longing for the Ulduar days, but Ulduar already won this category last year. Personally I think I mostly longed for the Black Temple, remembering what it was like for raiding to truly hold my interest until the very end of an expansion."
The End
And that's all for today. We'll soon be back with the continuation of the PPI list of 2010. Cheers!


Nils said...

Black Temple was out at a time you couldn't run it. SSC and FoS needed to be done before you could venture into BT.

That's what made it special. The fact that something is there even if you cannot reach it yet, made the world appear more convincing. Sadly, Blizzard has given up on that design philosophy with WotLK.

Shintar said...

Woot, quoted three times... I feel honoured! ;) Looking forward to the next part.

Redbeard said...

@Shintar-- Just don't let it go to your head. ;-)

@Larisa-- Yeah, the most longed for instance was kind of out of place here, but since I wasn't eligible for HoR until March or so, that's what made the grade for me. But hey, BC could sure use more love.

Syl said...

I loved black temple, so I very much go along with that choice. :)
not just the sewer entrance scenario was brilliant, but the way the instance developed from there, some amazing bossfights (akama aside lol) and ofc - ILLIDAN! <3
Shame the patch hit so early when we were just about to kill council...this was pretty much the moment when raiding changed a great deal for many of us. so in a way BT marks the end of an era.

Rades said...

I didn't step into Ulduar to really explore it until Wrath was nearly finished (we were hunting achievements) but so many things about it were remarkably fresh & creative. It's clear a LOT of time and effort went into that place, everything from the boss mechanics to the visual design. General...Vezax? I forget his name. His room with the stained glass windows of Old God imagery remains one of my most vivid, awe-struck memories of the entire expansion.

Rebecca said...

Ooh, controversial choice with ICC as the best instance. Tough call though, given Ulduar won before and we didn't get anything else released post ICC (Ruby Sanctum? Lalala, not listening...)

I agree with Ruby Sanctum as the least successful instance. I think I did RS a whole once, and Rhii's quite right: no-one (or few people) needed the loot by that point. And that much trash? Really?

Though I bet this result was a close call with ToC in the running too...

Larísa said...

@Nils: To me BT was a terrifying far distant building, out of my reach for the longest. But lo and behold I came to eventually end up raiding in it and it was just beautiful with a ton of interesting, varied boss mechanisms and a genuine epic feeling to it.

@Shintar: Oh, you had so many good suggestions! Would be a shame not to make use of it.

@Redbeard: aha, yeah, then I can understand there was some longing there.

@Syl: Oh yes, the drains! Made you feel very small, didn't they? Not only if you were a gnome.

@Rades: I truly loved Ulduar and if I would pick the best raid instance of Wrath, it would be a no-brainer. Ulduar is a classic, on par with Karazhan in quality.

@Rebecca: Oh, ToC wasn't really that brilliant. But it learned us that for the hatered we might feel for excessive trash, we still need a little bit of it. No trash whatsoever just felt weird. However the award went to RS, trying to keep my choices as "2010-ish" as I could.