Of Dragon Soul and Podcasts

I have holy paladin stuff in my head, but I don’t have a lot of time today, so that’ll have to wait until tomorrow or something, but as a player and specifically as a raider in World of Warcraft, I have a couple of things to say about Dragon Soul.

Apotheosis walked into Dragon Soul on Tuesday and 1-shot Morchok, 1-shot Yor’sahj and 2-shot Hagara. We had a bit of trouble with the bouncing ball on Zon’ozz, but we still cleared half of the raid instance in a single night. And here’s a hot tip: I honestly was the least-prepared for Hagara that I had been on a boss since Omnotron and hadn’t put any Hagara strats up prior to the raid.

Choice walked into Dragon Soul on Wednesday and 1-shot Morchok, 2-shot Yor’sahj and had a great attempt on Hagara. Zon’ozz also caused a bit of trouble, but nothing too bad.

With absolutely no disrespect to either my guild or the team of people I raid with in Choice on the baby pally, that’s crazy. This is the last raid before Mists of Pandaria. We’re not even in Alpha on Mists, apparently. From the point in time when Beta opens for a WoW expansion, there’s typically about 6 months until release. If I’m remembering correctly, there’s 1-2 months of Alpha before Beta.

So if we’re pre-Alpha, there’s no less than about 7 months, possibly 8, before the release of Mists of Pandaria.

What does any of that have to do with the fact that my guild is 4/8 in Dragon Soul?

It means that, unless Ultraxion, Blackhorn and the Deathwing encounters are SUPREMELY difficult (which they don’t really appear to be, from most accounts), we’ll clear the instance shortly, in the first 1-2 weeks of its release.

And then it’s on to heroic modes.

For something like 7-8 months.

Are you kidding me?

As long-time readers know, I was NOT a fan of the Firelands nerfs. At all. But, as I grew to accept the changes to the instance, I recognized that maybe this was a test for the Looking for Raid difficulty level. I thought “Hey, maybe normals in Dragon Soul will be the same as normals originally were in Firelands and the nerfed variety will be the baseline for LFR!”

With 4/8 under my belt and 3/8 on another pretty identical toon, I have to say that I believe I was wrong. Nerfed normal Firelands is the baseline for normal Dragon Soul and LFR is, from what I’ve heard, even easier.

So this is going to have to last us through until Mists of Pandaria?

I’m sure heroics will be different, but it’s looking as though we’re in for a repeat of Icecrown Citadel — almost a year of being in the same instance, barring a Ruby Sanctum-like instance and even then, that barely counts as a raid instance, because everyone kept spending most of their time on ICC.

I don’t like where this is going. I’m not sure where it’s going, to be honest, but if it’s heading in the direction I think it is (beating our heads against the same heroic bosses for 6+ months, losing people to boredom, etc) then I’m not looking forward to this. And if this is where they’re taking raiding in Mists of Pandaria…

Well, I guess we’ll see.

In happier news, I’m going to be on the Twisted Nether Blogcast this Saturday! There will be a livestream of the podcast and such and all the fun starts at 11pm ET (8pm PT) on Saturday, December 3rd! Tune in and give it a listen!

And of course, there’s still Blessing of Frost for your (usually!) weekly fix of me and Majik yelling at each other and trying to start trends on Twitter, like #sadmoose, #sadmooseftw and, sadly, #kurngoingret. In particularly, Episode 42 is a great one to listen to. So much laughter! It was our anniversary episode (1 year of doing a podcast!) and we had a great time.

Anyhow. More holy paladin thoughts soon, but I hope to see some friendly faces in the Twisted Nether chat on Saturday night!

16 comments

  1. Crane says:

    I’ve been having issues with this as well. We waltzed out of Dragon Soul with 4 bosses dead in an hour and a half (even with 2 subs in our 10 man.) Ultraxion and Blackhorn were a little harder but nothing we could handle in mostly FL normal gear. I’ve been telling myself that when they said they are planning on getting expansions out more quickly they also meant they would speed up the beta process. I’d be very happy with a May/June release for Pandaria but Blizzard won’t release anything until it’s done.

  2. Fannon says:

    LOL! Kurn, I agree with every single word in this post wholeheartedly. In fact, I’m in the middle of writing the exact same post, and as usual you beat me to the punch. :)

  3. Elladrion says:

    We’re going in tonight and I’m kinda dreading it. Most of my teamates think it’s awesome that we can blow through normals and start heroics, but I just can’t help but feel like the heroics are gonna be at the level that the normals should have been at. They want to blow through so they can match progression with the rest of our terrible terrible server, and I keep telling them it’s like winning gold in the special olympics or running home and bragging to your parents about that A+ you got in remedial math.

    I was hoping for SOME challenge, and all I see is guilds going 4+ 5+ 6+ on their first night. Not just high end guilds but your average raiding guild. This is what LFR was supposed to be. I’m gonna kill deathwing and I might as well have completed a group quest for how hard it’s gonna be.

  4. Daraxis says:

    We one-shot the first three, two-shot Hagara, and then spent awhile wiping to Ultraxion. Once we got the gimmick sorted, we wiped to the enrage timer, of all things. We’re in a 10-person raid, in roughly 50% heroic FL gear with some switched on DPS, so this was a bit of a surprise to me. We did it again and got the kill though. We had a few attempts on Blackhorn, but end of the night and all.

    I have two concerns, and one of them is that we’re consuming the content too fast and won’t have anything left to do until MoP (like everyone else). I quite enjoyed the fights though – there was nothing *too* gimmicky and annoying – so I’m looking forward to the heroic modes.

    My bigger concern – how the hell am I going to get a matching set of gear from normals for transmog!?

  5. Dragon Soul has been disspointing thus far. We one shot Morchak, one shot Yorshaq, three shot Zon’zz, one shot Hagara, two shot Ultraxion, and ran out of time after two pulls on Blackhorn.

    We wiped more on Shannox the first night in firelands than we did on the first six bosses in DS. This has the makings of another ToC tier, where the gap between normal and heroic modes is tragically large, and the player base will suffer for it.

  6. Alfimi says:

    My 10man guild are 3/4 for the Siege portion. (Yay for us!) We had no issues with Momo, oneshot Yor’sahj (we had some really good raid coordination)…and spent a couple of hours wiping on Zon’ozz. We’d done the research, done the reading, but it took us a long time to really grok the bounces.

    We actually started him as second, and swapped over to give ourselves a break. One shotting Yor’sahj came as a complete surprise, and after a short break, we went back and finally killed Zon’ozz. The healing was especially frustrating and this is not a fight I enjoyed at all.

    Funnily enough, we actually thought we’d have more trouble on Yor, not him! lol

    We wiped on boss #4 due to stupid immediately, haha, then got Hagara to 9% on the ‘first’ and only proper attempt of the night we made, as it was already stupidlate (5am for me, 11pm-ish for the rest of them). But I’m pretty sure we’ll have her dead and done next week. :)

    I think some folks may be over-estimating the easy, however (except for Momo, he’s super easy, it’s a bit redonkulous). Firelands was hard before the nerfs, with some very punishing mechanics, and required a lot of learning. Even after the nerfs, the fights had multiple things you had to pay attention to. I honestly think a lot of the ‘normal’ guilds walked away from that as better players.

    That said, the fact the first 3 bosses don’t throw a lot of mechanics into the mix right away is a lot less stressful. I suspect it’s when you hit Ultraxion that a lot of guilds will have trouble, particularly on meeting DPS requirements while dealing with the enrage.

    Oh and we got the DPS Plate legs pattern! :D Given our utterly crap luck with patterns in Firelands, I hope this is a good sign of things to come.

  7. Saif says:

    5/8 after 5 hours of raiding. Average iLevel was about 378/379.

    Ultraxion is fun, and a bit challenging for the heal team to get through (2 healed to keep from the last minute of the fight which is basically a soft-enrage), and the Gunship we worked on had a somewhat steep DPS requirement. Both these cases the issue is gear, not mechanics or tactics.

    I’m worried.

  8. Joe Ego says:

    Over our 3 night week we managed 7/8. Ultraxion is the throughput barrier. The last three definitely require a higher level of coordination, mostly of the DPS variety. Difficulty definitely ramps up on the last 4. I admittedly hope Heroic Madness is not the analog to Heroic Ragnaros, but the potential is definitely there.

    On the one hand, some of the Normal fights are fairly easy. On the other hand, guilds who killed half of T11 Heroic and 2-4 T12 Heroic are exactly the type of guilds who should be able to clear 8/8 T13 Normal in one or two weeks. Our raid teams are practiced, cohesive, and committed.

    I don’t mean to disparage anyone, but don’t overestimate the capabilities of a Normal mode 10 man team. A LOT of teams were only reaching Normal Rag and Heroic Shannox in the last month of 4.2.

  9. Slice213 says:

    Totally agree with ya Kurn, 1st 4 fights….yawn worthy. 5th fight can be a sorta gear check. That last 20% on Ultra was kinda wow this is a lot of dmg actually. My guild. shadow rising on drak, managed to down 5/8 in 6 hrs, ran out of time on the airship boss.

    I am definitely worried about heroics and the length of time before MOP…4.3 will not keep people occupied till MOP. Even if the heroics are hard, chalenging etc…seeing the same content will get old sooner or later.

    I agree with Joe’s post…we have to keep in mind not every raid team is decked out in mostly 391 or a majority of 391 gear. I would expect the 1st 4 bosses would be a lot tougher if decked out in only 378 gear.

  10. Paul says:

    What you should be worried about is average players quickly clearing the raids on LFR, deciding they’ve seen the end of the expansion, and unsubscribing. That would cause a bigger hit to revenue — and a bigger reaction from Blizzard — than any issues with the more elite raiders.

  11. Joe Ego says:

    Slice, beyond gear, I feel it necessary to point out a lot of Normal mode raiders for the last two tiers are not progressing quickly through content. The best evidence I have is the Normal Firelands nerfs. Blizzard has the best numbers and they decided it was a worthwhile change. I saw a lot more posts from Normal mode raiders popping up about their boost in post-nerf progress. All the way to Normal Ragnaros.

    Again, not to be elitist or to disparage anyone, there are a lot of teams out there who barely cleared T12 Normal and who will take several (many? Idk) weeks to clear T13 Normal. The reasons for this often have little to do with gear level. I actually think LFR is going to highlight this issue because it has a controlled ilvl barrier.

  12. Oestrus says:

    It just occurred to me that maybe Blizzard is trying to get people to see Heroics, sort of like they wanted more people to be able to “see” the Regular modes – as statistics showed that not nearly enough people were actually raiding as they believed.

    I know a number of people who view Heroics as the “real” progression and everything before that is sort of a stepping stone. I also know of a number of guilds that started off strong in regular and struggled when it was time for Heroics – allowing time for other guilds to catch up and maybe even eclipse them.

    It’s an interesting time to be raiding and I know that I’m trying not to get too caught up in the “OMG it’s too easy” posts and comments, myself. We only got 2 bosses down our first night in, but I was happy with the progress we made.

  13. Beezlebubba says:

    Madrana-

    You have the Choice guild link going to our webpage. Awesome. Thanks. However, you have the Apotheosis guild link going to our webpage. Might want to fix that.

  14. Gday says:

    Gday Kurn!

    Another excellent article as always.

    As you may remember I disagreed with you strongly regarding the Firelands Nerfs. I thought they were a shot in the arm to raiders at the right time…. we’ll for our guild they were anyway ;-)

    However, these the new Dragon Soul bosses feel way too under-tuned. They feel more like the farm bosses in firelands. In the last three years, we have only ever 1-shot a progression boss once, but our first 90 minutes of raiding in Dragon Soul and we had ONE-shot 2 of the first 3 bosses…. Our feelings were mixed… We were euphoric at our meteoric progress…. but we all agreed…. “Wasn’t that a little too easy?”.

    Keep up the great work.

    Gday of Frostmourne

  15. Elladrion says:

    This is silly, after 2 days in dragon soul we’re 7/8 and have madness of deathwing down to 11% on our best attempt. Most of the fights have been completely faceroll. Morchok and Yorsahj were both one-shots, Zonozz gave us some issues for a half dozen attempts till we sorted out the right coordination and positioning. Hagara only took 2 or 3 attempts. We had quite a few wipes to ultraxxion for the stupidest of reasons, somebody (always a differant person) would miss a click once or twice each fight and we’d wipe from it . Possibly the dumbest mechanic in the whole expansion, basically a tank and spank except you randomly have to click a special button to avoid a one-shot mechanic. You literally just click the button the appears on your interface every 10 or 15 seconds, but if anyone misses it you probably wipe. Any sort of lag, or if you move your mouse a little too much, you die and you probably wipe. Dumb, dumb fight, and very frustrating in the “oh come on, really? REALLY?!” sense.

    Warmaster blackthorn is probably the best fight in there, and it took us a while to get the kill order and add control and standing in the right stuff at the right time down. Lots of stuff to watch out for and lots of stuff to prioritize, it’s not simply a “do this when the timer comes up” fight. Definitely my favorite of the tier. Deathwings spine is pretty easy, but very original and impressive-looking at least.

    Madness of deathwing I think you will hate. It’s the same fight 4 times over on 4 seperate platforms that becomes ever so slightly more difficult every time as you lose buffs from the dragon aspects, so only the 3rd and 4th platform give you any real challenge but it’s a LONG fight of going through the motions to get to that point, 10 minutes to get to 4th platform (where we spent the vast majority of our progression time), followed by phase 2 which is mostly kill adds and burn. The abilities don’t even come in a random order on the platforms, it is the same fight in the same order EVERY time on EACH of the 4 platforms, incredibly repetative. We’re trying to get a 3rd raid night on him since we’re close, but it’s pretty sad that a relatively average guild like ours (one of the bazillion 6/7 firelands guilds out there) almost went 8/8 in the first 2 nights.

  16. AliPally says:

    In T10 we got our Glory of the Icecrown Raider titles a couple of weeks before the content got nerfed. For us that was good progress.

    In T11 we got our Defender of a Shattered World titles 3 weeks before T12 came out. Again, good progress and I was very happy about that.

    In T12 we were still working on normal Ragnaros when they nerfed the content. That nerf came too soon for us. It was very disappointing to not get a chance to kill him on normal level. We subsequently went 6/7 heroic before T13 came out. We would have liked more time in FL so we could finish off our Terecgosa legendary. As it is we hope to finish that before Xmas. Overall I felt Blizz rushed us through Firelands too quickly.

    In T13 we killed 4 bosses on our first night, and the 4th boss we had not even read up on. That set alarm bells ringing for me. We have never progressed as fast as that.

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