Just a few quick musings today, as I seem to have run a bit short on time!
This past week has been fantastic on the raiding front. We snagged kills on both Heroic Al’Akir (10 man) and Heroic Nefarian (25 man). Not only that, but we somehow managed to pick up realm firsts for both kills, which is something I’m not sure we’ve really ever been able to claim before! And I would be remiss not to say that it was somewhat exhilarating watching the spam flash on my screen. Everyone was very excited about both kills, I just hope that it doesn’t go to people’s heads and we keep trucking along with clean, progressive play – egos firmly in check.
I do, however, have a few comments to offer on both of the encounters.
Al’Akir - This is, by far, probably the worst encounter that I’ve ever done in my 6+ years of WoW raiding. There are times that it’s damn near impossible to survive, and certain events in the encounter seem insurmountable difficulty for the sheer sake of trying your patience. There is no rhyme or reason to the shit-storm of constantly changing things that are thrown at your raid in phase one. And I hate to say it, because I desperately want it to not be true, but the fact is that there is a lot of favorable RNG that needs to happen in phase 1 while learning the encounter to even see phase 2.
Eventually you learn to cope with the shit RNG of the fight as best you can, but it’s not easy when you first step into the fight – even after having the normal version on farm for several months. Now, I think that over the course of the time we spent with the fight I got pretty damn good at it. I got to the point where I could take a wind burst with a squall line all but right on top of me, cat dash around the squall line and be back into position with no one the wiser (and usually oh so smug with myself). And even then, towards the end of our learning of the encounter there would still be times where I would throw my hands up in exasperation after a wipe and say “I don’t know how I could have saved that”.
Phase 2 and Phase 3 of the fight are fine, really. They just require very a very solid execution and understanding of the mechanics of the encounter. But phase one? It can kiss my ass.
Nefarian - Where do I even start with this encounter? Maybe with a comparison to the first time we saw Nef back in BWL - which was one of my favorite instances of all time. There were a few things about the fight that I was happy to see retained – such as Nefarian’s penchant for Mind Controlling people. I was mildly sad to see the “class calls” removed, but also understood that it was meant to be a completely different encounter.
We ultimately ended up only pushing one crackle in phase 1, even though we clearly had the DPS to take two. This was largely because by the time we got back to the “should we do two” point, we were fine on the enrage timer and we were pretty hesitant to change it back up.
As far as mechanics of the encounter, I thought phase 1 was fine. Phase two however, I’m a bit torn on. In a change of stance from my original take on interrupts in the Nefarian encounter, I felt that perhaps this mechanic in its heroic iteration bordered on a more tedious than interesting game mechanic. I also find myself somewhat conflicted on how I felt about phase 3. While I think the raid’s responsibility for it is fine – I also think that the success of the raid is placed pretty squarely on the shoulders of one person – the kite tank. And, personally, I think this is an awful lot of burden and responsibility placed on one person.
All in all, I wouldn’t call the fight terrible, but it’s also not the most fun I’ve had with an encounter either. On an enjoyability scale of 1 to 10 (with Heroic Al’Akir being -10) I’d probably give Nef a 7.
On ZA/ZG -
Before giving my opinion on these instances, I’m going to acknowledge a few things. I out gear these instances. I did both of these instances in their original iteration – many times – so I am quite familiar with them from the outset.
Now, my thoughts on them.
For someone that out gears them and is pretty familiar with them, they are a nice trip down memory lane – but not overly challenging. For someone who is approaching them with a smattering of 346 gear, sprinkled with epic loot that is available by crafting, early raiding and valor points (the crowd they are truly meant to engage), they are going to present adequate – but surmountable challenges. For someone who is approaching them straight after reaching 85, or someone who is strictly in 346 gear – they are going to border on frustrating and seemingly impossible.
Do I think they are too long or too hard? No. Do they require communication and teamwork? Yes – as they should.
I fall into the first category, and was able to complete many of the achievements the first time running through them – including missing the timed run by roughly 60 seconds…with two wipes. I am not a good target person to judge the instances, and I won’t purport to be.
However, I have a good friend that I would say falls into the category of player that the instances were designed for and she has done the instances several times . They seem to run maybe 90 minutes at the longest for her. It seems to me from talking with her that the encounters present challenges, but the challenges are of an adequate level, and from my understanding she has quite enjoyed them.
I don’t believe that the instances were meant to be easy. I think that they were meant to be a step up from the heroics, and were meant to be somewhere between heroics and entry level raiding. I think that they should present challenges, and should require groups to coordinate and participate in team play. I mean, they were designed for group to tackle together after all.
Yes, the instances require some strategy. Yes, the instances require some patience. Yes, the instances require some knowledge of your class and role to successfully complete. Yes, the instances are extremely challenging when done at the target gear level. I guess I just don’t see why these requirements are a bad thing?
On Pets -
Children’s week opened up three additional pets for me! I gleefully went along my way to collect them all yesterday :)
On Archeology -
I feel like one of the freakin seven dwarves (mostly likely grumpy at this point…), where I dig dig dig the whole day through. Only without many results. I still have not seen my hand pet from the Tol’vir pop up , and I’m probably a good fifty (if not more!) solves since my last Tol’vir rare. It’s starting to grow extremely disheartening.
And, as if some cruel trick of the old gods, I had both a troll rare and a fossil rare pop up within probably 5 solves. Neither of which were the respective pets. Although, I will admit that the horrified look you get on your face when frozen in amber is pretty hilarious, and cracks me up every time I use it. Of course, this could just be a result of my archeology delirium setting in.
I suppose this is my punishment for getting my Tyrande’s Doll with relative ease.
On Lore -
I’ve finally finished all of the JD Robb books. I finished my guilty pleasure John Grisham book. And at the suggestion of a guild mate have decided to move into the Warcraft book that I’ve had sitting on my kindle for a good six or seven months.
I looked up the timeline of the lore, and it seems that the place to start is with Day of the Dragon – followed by the War of the Ancients. I’m about 20% into the Day of the Dragon, and while the story so far isn’t bad, I’m going to have to say that I’m not a particular fan of Richard Knack’s writing style. It feels horribly disjointed – and he expends far too much effort in trying to describe everything that it’s distracting to the reader.
I’ve heard from several folks that Christine Golden’s story telling is much better, so we shall see!