Hear me now, believe me later… 4/7N 2/10N

Sunday was a good raid night, despite only having 9 geared guildies online.

We hit up Gruul and downed him after one wipe (which I put down as a free pass as it was the OT’s first week tanking BRF) and then spent a good time pumping up on Hans and Franz. Both times we had a PUG hunter with us who reminded me that there are decent PUG players who don’t make crude comments and curse. He might have been so polite because he won 2 items on rolls however…

Not going to lie, I love the Hans and Franz encounter. Complete with an excuse to do ridiculous SNL impersonations the arena is cool, the mechanics were fun and the fight had a nice learning curve to it.

We finished off the night with an abortive Highmaul Heroic attempt and then squished Kargath and Butcher on Normal to open up the rest of the bosses for Tuesday raid night. I got to deeps for the first time ever (yay) but since I got stuck managing stacks (boo) I didn’t hit the numbers I should have done (QQ).

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Gruuling

We got Gruul down!

It took a second evening of work, but we got there. Funny how ‘last attempt of the evening’ makes people focus eh?

I like the encounter design so far in BRF, and having watched some guides I’m super looking forward to the rest of the bosses – Hans und Franz and Kromog in particular. I don’t know how long it will take us to get there, but I’m sure we will.

We decided to go back to Highmaul next week to get people more gear, which seems sensible when our Raid ranges from 662 at the top to 637 at the bottom (though not the bottom DPS – facepalm).

In other news, Blackrock LFR seems even less like the real thing than Hihmaul did – at least so far. I mean, Kargath was trivial on LFR and easy in normal, Gruul is fine in Normal, but trivial in LFR. I know that LFR exists just to see content, but when a 30 man raid pulls most of the wing at once, it felt weird to just AOE everything and heal through it. WEIRD.

Never mind.

More to come when we start our second raid night in Blackrock with a less caual aim.

Encounters

[full disclaimer: I did not raid pre SoO. This is mainly an attempt to make sense of peoples opinions and memories]

I get a lot of people tell me that raiding is easier now; that bosses are easier and that classes are easier to play. This feels odd in many ways and leaves me with at best questions, and at worst, a bad taste because that sometimes  feels like it detracts from what I’ve actually done.

But the thing is, I also read articles and watch videos of people who have been playing for a long while that say the opposite: Raiding isn’t easier – mechanics are more demanding, more varied and require more individual responsibility.

So here is how I see it right now:

Raiding hasn’t got easier; but where the difficulty lies has fundamentally changed

By explanation let’s examine tanking and threat:

The good old days Today
  •  Tanking rotations are primarily concerned with generating threat
  • DPS and healers have to manage their output to not pull threat from the tank
  • Mechanics involving tank switching revolve around managing threat.
  • Healing for the tank comes almost exclusively from healers and occasionally personal cooldowns
  •  Tanking rotations are primarily concerned with personal mitigation and damage output
  • DPS and healers will never pull threat from a tank
  • Mechanics involving tank switching generally involve debuffs and personal mitigation
  • Healing for the tank comes from a mix of personal mitigation, cooldowns and external healing

If people disagree with that assessment I’m happy to retract, but that’s the difference I felt between what people were telling me about tanking when I was learning (from folks who tanked TBC and WoTLK) and what my experience ended up as.

So what does that mean for encounter design? I think it means that because ‘rotations’ are easier – and I think they are easier now in WoD than in MoP; less abilities and more obvious priorities – then the way to make encounters more challenging is to add boss abilities that require players to do more. I’ve heard several people talk about the lack of a ‘Patchwerk’ boss this expansion. Even butcher has abilities to manage and other things going on. There’s no simple gear check.

As our raid lead said last night; the curve starts much higher now, but doesn’t get as high at the end of the tier/expansion

And I guess that’s ok, but if people would stop telling me everything is way easier now that’d be nice. Because While I agree that more abilities makes thing harder at the start of a raid zone, is the end that much easier? Garrosh was a tough boss – were Kael’thas, or Vashj really that much harder?

That’s probably enough QQing for now. I might come back to this when I have more coherent thoughts.

Blackrock Foundry

No more Highmaul progress for now. BRF came out and in the interest of keeping the guild together for working on content we went to try to slap Gruul in the face.

Or at least impact on his windshield.

We took the trash nice and slow and then spent a good part of the evening working on Gruul – we are starting to get the abilities sorted, but it feels like we need a little more time working before we will get him. Definitely a step up from Kargath.

One guild member also streamed our evening, so if you want to see a collection of average players wipe repeatedly while having a good time go look at twitch.tv/jimbigo (NSFW language, mild fantasy violence, etc.)

Another post in the works about encounters and difficulty…

laters