And still, familiarity breeds contempt.
Let’s look at some of the points that have been sticking in my craw.
Upon release of The Burning Crusade, once level 70 had been achieved, raiders were presented with:
- Karazhan : Tier 4, 10-man raid, 9.5 bosses, 2 events, Plenty of interesting trash (CC & tactics required), Located in the Old World
- Gruul’s Lair : Tier 4, 25-man raid, 2 bosses, Minimal interesting trash (tactics required), Located in Outland
- Magtheridon’s Lair : Tier 4, 25-man raid, 1 boss, Minimal trash (not much tactics or CC required), Located in Outland
- Serpentshrine Cavern : Tier 5, 25-man raid, 6 bosses, Robust trash requiring both CC and tactics, Located in Outland
- Tempest Keep : Tier 5, 25-man raid, 4 bosses, Moderate trash with CC and tactics required, Located in Outland
Totals for raid content on BC release:
- Number of Raid Instances: 5
- Number of Tiers: 2
- Number of Bosses: 24 (9 ‘pure’ bosses in kara, spider & chess=1 boss, opera=1 boss)
- Difficulty (interest & quantity) of trash: Moderate-high (Highs and lows in each instance)
- Location appeal: All but one located in Outland, Karazhan being in Old World was a nice touch.
Now, let’s take a look at the Wrath release. Hard modes with different loot will be treated as additional bosses. Because of the extra work for balancing, 10-man raid bosses will count as 1/2 of a boss and will not count as a full extra boss because no new artwork (models, textures, animations, scenery) needed to be created.
- Naxxramas : Tier 7, 10 & 25-man raid, 15 bosses in 25-man, 5.5 bosses in 10-man, Robust trash but no CC or tactics required, Located in Northrend
- Obsidian Sanctum : Tier 7, 10 & 25-man raid, 4 bosses in 25-man, 2 bosses in 10-man, Minimal trash with no CC or tactics required, Located in Northrend
- Eye of Eternity : No Tier, 10 & 25-man raid, 1 boss in 25-man, .5 boss in 10-man, No trash, Located in Northrend
- Vault of Archavon : Tier 7, 10 & 25-man raid, 1 boss in 25-man, .5 boss in 10-man, Minimal trash with no CC or tactics required, Located in Northrend
Totals for raid content on Wrath Release
- Number of Raid Instances: 4
- Number of Tiers: 1
- Number of Bosses: 28.5
- Difficulty (Interest & quantity) of trash: Low (Lots of trash in Naxxramas, but no CC or tactics required)
- Location Appeal: All instances located in Northrend
Now, I realise that a number of my points are personal preference. For example, I believe that being forced to go back to the old world to get to raid content is a good thing. I enjoy connections throughout the world, tying everything together. I also enjoy trash that requires a brain to get through instead of the chain-pull AoE-fest that we are ‘enjoying’ in Naxxramas.
If I were to be as strict on the numbers as I would like (counting 10 and 25-man versions of bosses as one and the same) Wrath would find itself severely lacking in the number of baddies to kill.
But, just looking at the numbers, content proffered in the two expansions upon release seems to be relatively equivalent.
Why then, does it not feel that way?
First, in Wrath, we only have one tier of gear to look forward to, and it’s possible to get almost every single piece from one instance. This is either a good or a bad thing depending on how you feel about it. I’ll get to why I think it’s a bad thing a little later.
Secondly is the trash. Upon the release of 3.0, Crowd-Control died. It was no longer needed. Part of this was from Blizzard’s new paradigm shift of ‘bring the player not the class’ (25-man Razouvious and Faerlina are stark exceptions), and part of it was a conscious effort to make Naxxramas an introductory raid to help newbies get their feet wet.
Those are the reasons, but I don’t accept them as excuses.
For example. The trash in Gruul’s Lair; the entire raid had to stack on the back of some mobs there or they would get charged and wipe the raid. In the Arachnid quarter there are spiders that charge, but this is no more than an annoyance. Nobody dies, and the AoE continues.
If these big spiders hit harder when they charged, requiring that they be sheeped, or rooted (druids can do that indoors now, not that they need to) would help add interest and challenge. It would make the 20-minute achievement more difficult too. If you needed a raid that was geared enough to survive charging spiders so that DPS could be cranked through the roof in order to get through quickly, wouldn’t that make it more worthwhile?
So, back to the numbers
Wrath has more bosses, one less instance. I’m going to tell you that my issue is with variety.
But Tiger! There’s only one less instance! There’s plenty of variety!
NO, there ISN’T.
The vast majority of raiding content in Wrath is in Naxxramas. OS, EoE, and VoA are presented in similar manner to Magtheridon’s Lair and, to a lesser extent Gruul’s (Gruul’s had 2 bosses, remember). Here is your boss, kill him, loot, win.
Imagine, if you will, that BC had just dropped and only contained Karazhan, Gruul’s and Magtheridon’s Lair, and that’s it.
Hmmm, ok, in typical Tiger fashion I’ve realised that that is pretty much what just happened, and it’s not really a bad thing. The problem I’m seeing is that Ulduar will only make this problem worse! Icecrown will then be the icing on the cake that is my dissapointment with Wrath raiding.
All for want of variety.
I made a comment in Vent last night that seemed to be very well-recieved by my guild: I don’t mind banging my head against a wall, I just wish I could bang it on a different wall for a while.
Back in BC, once you progressed beyond Tier 4, if you found yourself getting roflstomped by content you could go and do the other tier of that content. Al’Ar mopping the floor with your face? Go tackle Hydross instead. Leotheras put the bliders on you? Take your tanks and go tackle Void Reaver.
I’ve said before we’re working on Sarth 3D. Our biggest problem is that, after an hour or two of wipes, when we’re getting frustrated and discouraged, there’s nothing else for us to go work on.
But Tiger, Ulduar will have more hard modes! More variety!
How many of those bosses will you need to kill to get to ther bosses? If one boss’s hard mode eludes you, will you have the option to go work on another and come back, or will that chance be lost to you for a whole week?
I think that is a fatal flaw in what appears to be Blizzard’s single-instance tier paradigm. The ability to go bang your head against a different wall is missing.
And that’s why I’m frustrated.
PS – WTB Pally & DK tanks.
No, really, come say hi, please.