I was going to post a huge rant about just how awful the Heroic Spine of Deathwing encounter was, but when push comes to shove, I think I said it all in the guild update I posted after our kill. As such, I thought I might just repost that here, mostly because I feel it says so much while saying so little. Don’t worry! I will also offer a few additional thoughts afterwards, along with the video of our kill.
I have been raiding in WoW for over seven years. I’ve seen encounters that you had to spend two months farming BRD for fire resist gear, encounters where you wiped 50 times just trying to get into the room, encounters where you had to have a special macro to throw the damn ball, encounters where you learned just how bad people were at staying out of the bad, encounters where your pathetic magic betrayed you, encounters where all you want to know was who missed the fucking interrupt and encounters that took you 388 pulls to kill. But never, in those seven long years, have I partaken in an encounter that was as lackluster and mind numbing as Heroic Spine of Deathwing. I can honestly say that this encounter had zero redeeming factors.
In fact, this encounter was so bad that you were frustrated and bored with it before you even took your first pull. Let’s look at it shall we?
“Hey guys, we are going to pull Spine”
“uh..I’m going to need a minute”
“Are you ready yet?”
“No, really, are you ready yet?”
Once you finally got everyone back and ready to pull, you damn near had to reflask. Of course, then you spend the majority of your time working spine doing the following:
“No, really, GRIPS”
Needless to say, everyone was quite pleased to be finished with this mind numbing experience. We can only hope that Blizzard fired the dev team responsible for creating the encounter, and that we never, ever see another fight this mundane again.
In all seriousness, this was truly the least dynamic, most mind-numbing encounter that I’ve ever experienced. Let me see if I can articulate a few of the reasons why I feel this way.
- Half of your raid literally has to go respec and/or reforge specifically for this boss. Our Rogues go Subtlety, our Mages go Arcane, our Warriors go Fury, our Moonkin reforge mastery and change their glyphs, the list goes on and on. It’s not only a huge momentum killer if you hit him in the middle of your raid night, but it’s costly and a huge pain in the ass for everyone involved. But not only that, it’s stupid that a raid team has to completely alter everything they are doing for an entire content tier because they have to push burst damage six times, for 18 seconds a burst, over the course of twelve minutes. Tip: Don’t ever armory anyone working spine progression if you are looking for their main spec, they probably aren’t using it!
- It’s basically a twelve minute DPS check where only 1.8 minutes of your DPS matters. During the time your DPS doesn’t matter, you are pretty much repeating the same action over and over again. Did I mention that this is a twelve minute fight?
- You stand in the same place, staring at the same drab scenery, and move a few feet left or right every 4 minutes or so.
- There is a lot of pointless busy work. I think the best example of this is the debuff that goes out on the raid. Sure, it boosts people’s health. Sure, you try to get it to your tanks and spread it on the raid after that. But really? It’s not an interesting mechanic – it’s just kind of there.
- You repeat the same dance over and over again for twelve minute. Once you’ve mastered how to break grips, time amalgs, clear the debuff from people and DPS the tendons – you simply rinse and repeat 5 more times as a ridiculous amount of blood amasses and you pray that your kite tank doesn’t have a hiccup in his kiting, resulting in having to start the whole painful process over again. I have honestly never felt that healing was like “whack a mole” until I healed this fight. I quite honestly spent the encounter looking at my raid frames going “who has the debuff” *rejuv* *rejuv* *SM* *rejuv*. There aren’t any particularly “interesting” decisions to make, you are, quite literally, just moving through the mechanics of the fight. In fact, a monkey trained to hit the right button when he sees the debuff graphic could replace me on the encounter and no one would know the difference.
Someone asked me “is it worse than H Rag” at my decree that it was the worst fight I’d ever done – and the answer is “absolutely”. The mechanics of Heroic Rag are interesting, and I never took an issue with the underlying mechanics of the fight. What I took an issue with was how the encounter flowed. I think that if the devs could have kept all of the mechanics the same, but changed the flow of the fight it would have been a great encounter. Heroic Spine, however, just falls completely flat in every aspect. Sure, you get to soar on Deathwing’s back, but there just isn’t anything interesting or engaging about the encounter. And after polling my guild, the general consensus was that it was equally painful and boring from every perspective.
I was, very honestly, dismayed when I saw Daelo’s post mortem where he indicated he thought that the Spine encounter was a huge success. Either he’s incredibly out of touch, or he never worked through progression on the Heroic version of this encounter. I can only hope that enough people speak up, and that those voices are heard, so that the devs know that this encounter was not fun or engaging, and we never see another encounter like this designed in the future.
If you have a different take on the fight, I’d love to hear it! I’ve yet to talk to a single person who enjoyed their work on Heroic Spine, so I’d love to hear a differing perspective, if one exists.
And, after all of that, if you have the mettle, feel free to watch the video! I at least tried to put it to some fun music.