Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Heroic virgin no more

Ok, maybe the title is a little TMI, but anyhow. Stofnar hit his first Wrath heroic instance on Sunday evening. Five of us were on and ready to go for the first time since the end of the Christmas holiday (Actually, I think we had all seven of us available, but that's beside the point.) We hit Halls of Lightning, which was the daily, on heroic.

One of us made an observation part way through the run that I think sums up nicely what Wrath is about. He said that Blizzard doesn't really care much about levelers anymore: It's all about endgame. For those of us running mains and alts through Wrath's zones wondering when it was going to get difficult, I now have your answer.

Granted, HoL was not super-difficult, not in the ways heroic Arc or Shadow Lab were in TBC. We had a bit of trouble on the dual-wielding whirlwinding runcasters (Stofnar died on every pull or close to it.) Our kill of the second boss, Volkhan, was a bit sloppy, but we got it done. Then there's Lokan...

To put it mildly, Lokan kicked our ass.

We pulled him probably a dozen times, each time working on getting our coordination down on the movements of that fight. We debated strategies after each failed pull, weighed options. Felt despair that this boss was unbeatable. For me, it felt like Classic WoW way back in Molten Core trying to beat Luci or Magmadar for the first time. It was HARD and yet very satisfying even through we never managed to beat him.

I want another piece of Lokan and I'm pleased that heroics are finally producing a challenge for us. Looking forward to the next one.


Karthis said...

Loken can definitely be a big jerk. In my two heroic HoL runs we've killed him once (one-shot) and failed the second time (10-12 wipes). It's all based on positioning and reaction time - and it's a very fine balance.

To nitpick, I object to this comment: "One of us made an observation part way through the run that I think sums up nicely what Wrath is about. He said that Blizzard doesn't really care much about levelers anymore: It's all about endgame."

How can that possibly be true given the wonderful diversity of solo content now in the game? Leveling in Wrath was an amazing experience - far better than both vanilla WoW and TBC. I've been 80 for quite some time now, and I'm STILL looking forward to working my way thru the last two zones worth of quests that I haven't found the time to do yet.

Cainam said...

While it is more challenging, I still do not feel the same kind of challenge that we did in BC. Yes Loken was a bit beyond us that night. But this is not like the "Lets get 9 of your friends together to wipe on Shade of Aran for 2 months." that we had in BC. And keep in mind that the team was in crap for gear. For us to come that close, It's still to easy.

As for the Runecasters, well that's just WotLK lulling us into a false sense fo security. The runcasters would have been a piece of cake if we dealt with them like we would have dealt with ANY pull like that in BC. The only thing that made it hard was our own reluctance to use crowd control.

Nord said...

@Karthis - I can see where you are coming from in terms of the comment about endgame. There's kind of two minds about Wrath and I'm a bit torn between them.

1) There is storyline and atmosphere. In this regard, Wrath has been absolutely exceptional. Every zone is unique, cool looking, cool sounding, with great story plots that pull you into the experience. Like you, I like doing the solo content for this reason alone.

2) There is difficulty and challenge. This, I think, is where the comment about Blizz's priorities comes from. In truth, Wrath has not been difficult at all. There's almost no challenge short of heroics and raids (i.e. endgame.) It's easy and for some, that means boredom. I can think of a number of people who are just not interested in leveling alts now for this reason alone. Wrath is dull to them.

YMMV, but this does seem to be the split.

Typhia said...

The whirlwind is a channeled spell and can be interrupted. On the pulls w/ more than one you need to put a 2nd interrupter on the one that is not being dps'd down. I still think there are no pulls in any of the current Wrath content that either require or even encourage the use of CC. At this point CC is purely a pvp mechanic.

As for Loken, he is extremely difficult without a druid or priest healer to use instant HoTs during the movements. I've done heroic Loken with very good paladin and shaman healers that had very solid gear and still wiped because the mechanics of the fight really favor instant heals. I've seen strats that call for a non-mobile healer to stand away from the main group off to one side so that he/she can remain stationary and out of lightning nova range for the whole fight, but it would be very taxing since they would be taking a lot of damage themselves on account of their distance from Loken.

I'm going to agree with Karthis about his objection. In fact I would go as far as to say that the exact opposite is true. Wrath is about leveling and solo/small group questing, and raiding seems to have been dumbed down to the point where all existing raid content is puggable (even at the 25 man level). The addition of the achievement system leads me to believe that this was not poor tuning but an intentional decision to cater to the most casual players by making raids so easy anyone could do it, and then adding in optional achievements with nothing but cosmetic awards that allow the more hardcore raiders to distinguish themselves. And really, WTF good is a neat protodrake mount that I can't even ride in any capital city save the ghost town that is Shattrath? I mean, if the point of the special mounts is so that you can have something other people can see and say "Wow, that person must be a good raider", how is that accomplished by denying players the ability to mount them in the major player population centers?