In other news! (A random updates post.)

May 5, 2009 at 11:30 am 9 comments

Ulduar 10

After an afternoon of frantic, don’t-you-dare-respawn-on-us-now-you-interminable-trash-mobs (/shakesfist!) style attempts on General Vezax, only Yogg-Saron remains in Ulduar 10.

I’m sure this will change as our raid gears up, but as things currently stand, General Vezax is a fun fight for healers.  If you haven’t encountered him yet, Vezax (Insect or crustacean? You decide!) has an aura that negates virtually all mana regen.  My water shield, mana totems and even mp5 are rendered utterly useless on this fight.  The only way to recover mana is to stand in little pools of The Bad®, which function a little like a stacking AoE Life Tap in that they restore mana at the cost of health.  Raid healing becomes a delicate balance between mana conservation and careful coordination among healers (whose turn is it to the regen?, who is watching the tank?, and who can quickly shift focus to cover roles if the active healer is knocked out of range by a Shadow Crash or forced to run out by a Mark of the Faceless?).

Still, I have to admit: once the euphoria faded, I was a little disappointed.  Defeating General Vezax may well have been a raiding zen moment, but we blew through everything preceding him so quickly that there was little to differentiate the bosses from the trash mobs (other than an abundance of spellpower leather we couldn’t use.  WTB tree druid or critchicken, PST.)

Even eschewing hard modes as we were, it seems like it should take more than five hours from start to finish to clear 12 bosses in a brand new raid instance — including a first kill on the second-to-last boss of the tier.

Ah, well.  The Blues tell us that the glory days of TBC and vanilla WoW are well and truly over.  Sooner or later, I suppose I’ll have to stop longing for another Lady Vashj and simply come to terms with accessible being just another a synonym for pushover.

For the record, I don’t think that makes me an “elitist.”  I think it makes me someone who started playing one game, and now feels like she’s playing another game entirely — and isn’t quite sure that she likes it.

Ulduar 25

Thankfully, our last two Ulduar 25 raids have been much improved — not merely in terms of focus and performance, but also (and more importantly) in atmosphere and attitude.  We’re currently working on Mimiron, our last obstacle before heroic General Vezax.

Thorim was actually a bit of a challenge for us.  It took two Saturdays for us to figure out the right balance between DPS and CC in the gauntlet and add-management in the arena.  Granted, Thorim wasn’t as hard as some of the TBC bosses that have me waxing positively nostalgic these days, but it was still nice to wipe on an encounter and have to invest some of our precious raid time in strategizing.

When this happens, our entire raid gets involved in the discussion, which is refreshing.  Rather than have a raid leader call all of the shots (in his sexy, Canadian-accented voice), everyone contributes in some way — either through their respective role channels, or by offering feedback and suggestions over Vent or in raid chat.  Thorim eventually clicked for us, and I’m expecting Mimiron to do the same this weekend.

Holiday Achievements

It took a bit of time, but I managed to complete the Noblegarden meta-achievement for both of my level 80 characters.  I also farmed up a pet rabbit for my druid alt, before remembering that she only collects birds (compulsive role-player, remember?), and a Tome of Polymorph Rabbit that my magelet can use in exactly 54 more levels.

As for Children’s Week … ugh.

I’ve never complained about a meta-achievement before — call me crazy, but I think a 310% mount should be rare! — but …  someone needs to pull a Dalaran on the School of Hard Knocks.  Only with more smoking crater, less Les Mis castle in the clouds.  >.<  Seriously.  I would rather suffer through another RNG-ridden, love-me, love-me-not style quest like Be Mine! than run battleground after battleground with zero resilience and an unhealthy mix of achievement hounds and dedicated PvPers (with mutually exclusive goals and testosterone to burn).

I finally managed to win the minigame that is Click! Faster!, so Elleiras could be a Matron if she so chose — to her abject horror.

Also, I feel compelled to point out that I was an orphan for the first four months of my life, so if I want to joke about setting some Orcish-shaped pixels on fire, I should be able to without feeling guilty about it.

… Of course, the fact that I’m the only one who has attempted to make me feel guilty for an obviously tongue-in-cheek post hints that I might not be the lock4life I thought I was.  /sadface

Clearly, I’m going to have to go abuse some mages to compensate.

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Entry filed under: WoW. Tags: .

Children’s Week, an unexpected source of Chilled Meat, and planning for the future … In which I respond to Abigore and reflect on the easy-mode/hard-mode dichotomy

9 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Tara  |  May 5, 2009 at 12:29 pm

    I think you’re discounting the gear requirements and increased difficulty of the encounters in Ulduar. Is your whole raid in Naxx25 gear? That would make things a lot easier. My group is going in with a mix of Naxx10 and Naxx25 gear and we’re making progress, but wiping a few times on each new boss and we ultimately couldn’t get through Thorim last week because overall we just didn’t have enough DPS.

    I don’t think it’s fair to imply that Ulduar is easy mode. It’s harder than Naxx, the fights require more coordination than Naxx, and there are many more hard-mode options to complete once you clear it. Saying it’s a different game than you started playing is kind of obvious. When I started playing, there were no expansion, hunter pets were all unique, there were hardly any flight points anywhere, leveling was much harder as was raiding.

    The game has changed in every single aspect over the years. Why are you surprised that raiding is changing?

    Reply
    • 2. Elleiras  |  May 5, 2009 at 12:59 pm

      I’m not surprised, just disappointed.

      While I agree that Ulduar is a noticeable step up in difficulty from Naxx, it’s nowhere near the step up that SSC and TK were from Karazhan and Gruul’s Lair. It’s a challenge now — we’re wiping a “few times” on each new boss, too — but it won’t be a challenge in a month or two, and that’s what disappoints me. Call me a masochist, but I miss wiping for weeks at a time on a new boss, because I miss the thrill and sense of shared accomplishment that accompanied the eventual first kill.

      I’m not hardcore and I’m not an elitist (I raid 25-man content for a maximum of 10 hours a week), but it frustrates me to no end that guilds that have forgotten how to wipe (or never learned how to wipe in the first place) have cried foul … thereby inspiring Blizzard to nerf the first new raid content we’ve seen in six months before I had an opportunity to experience and overcome it.

      I also don’t find hard modes as personally satisfying as new content. I understand what Blizzard is trying to accomplish with the introduction of hard mode encounters and accept them for the compromise they are … but the nature of a compromise is that each side gives a little, and what I feel like I’ve given in this case is the challenge that kept the old endgame so interesting for so long, not to mention the novelty of new encounters (not merely new modes) to progress to.

      Call me crazy, I want my epics to feel epic. I want to fight for each new tick on our progression bar. I was fine with Naxx being “easymode,” and was thrilled with Ulduar when it first came out because I thought it was the step up we were waiting for … but the truth is that each successive nerf makes it lose a little of its luster for me, and I’m occasionally left wondering “what’s the point?”

      Reply
  • 3. Jacob  |  May 5, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    Elleiras wrote: I think it makes me someone who started playing one game, and now feels like she’s playing another game entirely — and isn’t quite sure that she likes it.

    I think you’ve phrased this well. The raid design has definitely changed focus, and it really isn’t the same game as before. I can understand why Blizzard is making raids more accessible, but I haven’t had time to determine whether I personally like the change.

    I’ll need a few more weeks, then we can try the hard modes and see how those go. I’m not sure whether that’ll do it for us; re-running an encounter in “hard” mode isn’t quite the same thrill as a first-time boss kill is. (Relmstein had some related thoughts, posted at Ulduar and encounters with multiple difficulty levels)

    Reply
    • 4. Elleiras  |  May 5, 2009 at 5:01 pm

      I’m in the exact same place. I sincerely hope that hard modes will end up redeeming the endgame for me — that four weeks from now, I can apologize to Blizzard and all of the casualer-than-me players I’ve inadvertently offended with my dismay over the Ulduar nerfs and skepticism about hard modes-in-lieu-of-content.

      Time will tell!

      Reply
  • 5. Tara  |  May 5, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    😀 Here’s the disconnect, IMO

    “I’m not hardcore and I’m not an elitist (I raid 25-man content for a maximum of 10 hours a week),”

    Raiding 25-mans for 10 hours a week IS HARDCORE.

    Reply
    • 6. Elleiras  |  May 5, 2009 at 4:57 pm

      But I’m not good enough to be hardcore! ;.;

      l still think of “hardcore” as those die-hard min/max’ers who are racing for server firsts and raiding four or five nights a week for 4-6 hours at a time — not my motley crew of ostensibly casual gamers, who raid for three hours at a time three days a week (and even then, only if there isn’t a hockey game on >.>).

      I’m not even sure I can live up to my guild’s “serious raiding on a casual schedule” tagline these days, lol. I am, after all, the “nutsy shamlock” who accidentally healed Razorscale in her enhancement offspec last night! (Come to think of it, that was the exact same fight that our Disc priest healed with a fishing pole equipped. We /fail. So. Hard.)

      So, I don’t know. 19th on the server just doesn’t sound hardcore to me. Casualcore, maybe!

      But your point is well-taken: it’s all a matter of perspective. 🙂

      Reply
  • 7. Fear.Win  |  May 5, 2009 at 6:15 pm

    I agree that the current content is much easier than the days of 40-man raiding or even the BC raids pre-nerf, but I really like what Blizzard is doing here.

    You have the option of either killing each boss the “easy way” for loot and telling friends “yay, we downed Yoggy!” but if you want more of a challenge your guild can go for hard modes for bragging rights and better loot.

    It fills the needs for the hardcore raiders and casual raiders without having to overtune an entire encounter just so the hardcore raiders have something to brag about.

    Everyone has downed Sartharion, but add a drake or three in the mix and it was one of the most challenging fights in the game. Lots of people, myself included, felt that Naxx and a majority of the rest of the raiding content that was available for release was entirely too easy but the only encounter available with hard modes was Sartharion.. now we have that option for an entire raid zone.

    Reply
  • 8. T-Sonn  |  May 6, 2009 at 7:02 am

    http://meltedfaces.blogspot.com/2009/05/preaching-to-choir-why-seasonal-pvp.html

    I’m totally feeling the pain here. I LOATHE PvP, except WG, which isn’t really. And I’m totally through trying.

    Reply
  • 9. Baelor  |  May 6, 2009 at 10:28 am

    I very much agree on the lack of challenge in raids these days. Now I’m not talking Hard modes, which imo isnt a new challenge just making a current encounter artificailly difficult, like playing with only one hand or, stacking only druid healers. II dont mind them making content accesble to more players, eventually, but wait a couple of months before nerfing everything. Let the people who want a regular 25 man raid to be something you worked hard at enjoy it. Nothing in Wrath has felt like killing Kael’Thas or Illidan, or Brutallus. Fights you worked at for days or even weeks. 3 weeks in and an average guild like mine is up to Vezax on 25 man. Still its at least more challenging than Naxx which was cleared first week.

    Reply

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