If I had a theme song for this expansion, I’m pretty sure it would be Survivor. As we finally stop to catch our breath, I feel like I’ve just gone through nine rounds with Sugar Ray Robinson, and while he won by unanimous decision, I had the victory of being able to walk out of the ring at the end of the fight.
Raiding in Cataclysm has been an experience that has had many ups and downs for me, and as I sit here at the end of it all, I find that I don’t have as much to say about it as I thought I would. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely have a few things to say, but at the end of the day I find myself exhausted from the journey, and happy to be finished so that I can stop and rest a minute before charging into MoP. However, before I hang my gloves up for the off-season and go drink beer and shuck oysters (wtf…I don’t even LIKE oysters!), I thought I’d give a few of my thoughts on raiding this expansion.
The Biggest, Baddest, Hardest Boss of Cataclysm was Recruitment
Hands down, I think the thing that just about every guild struggled with was maintaining a roster of players capable of meeting their goals. Trying to recruit to keep up with the attrition, especially for a 25 man raid team, was a daunting task that unfortunately doesn’t look to be getting any easier as we move into the Mists. It was also the thing that killed more guilds than anything else, although I think that Heroic Rag is probably a close second for “guild killers” this expansion.
The Best Raid Tier Was…
For me, I think it was Tier 11. My only complaint with the tier was how long it was, and how little time we had to finish it out relative to its length. Ok, and maybe the over use of interrupt mechanics. But overall, I really enjoyed most of the encounters present in the tier and found the level of difficulty to flow pretty well. Even though I hated Ascendant Council with a passion, and wanted to shove a lightning bolt up Al’Akir’s ass, I found most of the encounters to be dynamic and interesting from both a healing perspective and a raid perspective.
The Worst Encounter This Expansion was…
Dude! Read like two posts ago! (I jest…) Heroic Spine of Deathwing, without a doubt. While I was frustrated with the pacing of the Heroic Ragnaros encounter, nothing compares to the tedium of the Heroic Spine encounter. Since I just posted on it, I won’t rehash everything outside of stating that I hope to never see an encounter designed like this again.
The State of Druid Healing at the End of the Cataclysm
At the end of the expansion, I’d probably grade us at a B/B-. As our gear progressed we were a little less constrained with utilizing rejuv, but I still feel like it costs us more to have the output of both Holy Paladins and Priests, and that we were less effective, less efficient and had to work harder for the same results, all while bringing less to the table. However, being a druid at the start of T13 and working through T13 progression was often times painful and frustrating at best. It is my hope that as we see some changes moving forward that help to supplement our strengths without punishing us for them.
Killing Deathwing was…
A breath of fresh air. I know a lot of people indicate that they feel the encounter is somewhat unfulfilling, and to an extent I can agree with them and see where they are coming from, for me, however, I was just so glad that we made it. I’m glad that, despite many struggles, I held in there and that the guild held in there and we pushed through to the end. In an expansion that almost killed us as a guild, we persevered, and I guess that what our victory meant to me was more important that the actual thrill of the kill. If that even makes sense. I’m just thankful that our team pulled together and that we have some down time and some extra time for “fun things” before Pandas take over the world. I’m really looking forward to that.
My Overall Thoughts of Dragon Soul
Unlike some other folks, I didn’t really mind the use of re-hashed scenery. I thought that most of the boss encounters were OK, but none of them were anything that will be retold in my WoW history as I recount my past glories. I’d probably give it a B- if I had to grade it. Some of the zone is colored by non-raid related happenings that aren’t really the fault of the zone, but even setting that aside I just can’t think of one boss in the zone that felt like killing Illidan or C’thun or Princess Huhuran or Nefarian (either time).
An Observation of the expansion
I think I’ll conclude with one last observation. For me, everything about this expansion felt very rushed. I felt pushed into new content before I was ready. I felt that content came out too quickly for a large majority of the playerbase. I felt like I was moving on Blizzard’s seemingly rigid time table, which was disconcerting when it felt like a little more time was needed. And as we come upon a new expansion, with an unknown release date and a beta that hasn’t even started yet – I can’t help but ask “what was the rush?”. Would adding another month of T11 progression have been a bad thing? Would another month of Firelands have let more of those 6/7 guilds push into 7/7? Granted, I don’t know Blizzard’s reasoning for their time table, but sitting here at the finish line, I do believe that I would have preferred a little more time at the start of the race than at the end.
Regardless, I’m weary, glad for the rest and so very proud of our team!