Two Types of Raiding Fatigue

I was chatting with one of my guildies this morning while I was unfortunately awake because my asthma was bothering me. (Sidenote: I was sitting in Storm Peaks, while tabbed out and working on my Kick-Ass Raider’s guide when NPCScan went off and scared the bejeezus out of me. I flailed around like a moron and couldn’t find the mob. Thankfully, it was just Vyragosa. Had it been the Time-Lost Proto Drake, I would have lost out by several minutes. I found Vyragosa’s corpse three minutes later, after flying around like a moron. Also, I blame Shawn’s latest post for why I was sitting the Storm Peaks in the first place. And if you’re not reading Shawn’s blog, you ought to be!)

Anyhow, where was I? Right. Chatting with a guildie.

We were talking a bit about the complexity of bosses in Mists of Pandaria and Merk was telling me about how some heroic 25-man fights have required spreadsheets for boss assignments. I’d heard about increasing levels of complexity, but spreadsheets? Yikes.

This is when Merk and I talked about how there are two types of challenging boss fights: the ones that challenge you on the field, in the moment, and the ones that challenge the raid leader (or team) offline in an administrative sense.

Rhyolith in Firelands challenged you on the field. You could do some pre-planning, sure, but the volcano thingies popping up meant that someone had to direct Rhyolith on to them and that not only changed regularly, but those spawns changed on every single pull. There’s no organizing that. That’s chaos that you have to deal with in the game.

Normal-mode Majordomo Staghelm, on the other hand, was a pretty simple fight to execute, but was nightmarish to organize. Here. Have a look at actual cooldown assignments for a raid of ours in September of 2011.

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S1/S2/S3/S4 was Scorpion Phase 1, 2, 3 and 4, while C1/2/3/4 stood for Cat Phase 1, 2, 3 and 4. The numbers beneath those notations were for how many stacks of Adrenaline (in Scorpion) the boss had before we dispersed and the numbers under the C1 notations were for how many leaps before we stacked up again.

All six of our healers had multiple times in which to use their cooldowns, such as Tranquility, Aura Mastery, Spirit Link Totem and Power Word: Barrier, plus our tank healers for the fight also had specific times to use tank cooldowns such as Hand of Sacrifice and Pain Suppression.

In a word, this was tiresome.

Rhyolith was tiresome in his own way, because of the nature of the fight (hitting legs to steer? REALLY?), but normal-mode Majordomo Staghelm was tiresome from an administrative perspective.

The question is, of course, what kind of interesting and new boss fights can you have without resorting to gimmicks like Rhyolith’s steering or Zon’ozz’s bouncing? It’s not that all gimmick fights are bad, but Yor’sahj, for example, was (IMHO) an inventive fight that wasn’t really based on some new-fangled gimmick. Yor’sahj was different enough from the regular sort of add-spawning fight (adds spawn, but choose ONE to kill instead of all of them) to make it interesting, but there wasn’t a whole new resource bar, a new button to push, nothing like that.

The trouble is that fights like Lucifron and Magmadar, the first two bosses in Molten Core, would pose absolutely no challenge to raiders these days. Lucifron consisted of the boss and two adds, plus a nasty curse that you needed to dispel. Take out the adds, dispel the curses as they’re applied and kill the boss. There wasn’t even any fire on the ground!

Magmadar was a bit more challenging because you had to have hunters with Tranquilizing Shot (which was a drop off of Lucifron!) and then you had to set up a Tranq Shot rotation. It also helped to have a dwarf priest with Fear Ward (that was the dwarven priest racial, they were the only priests with Fear Ward back then!) to cast it on the tank to prevent issues with Magmadar fearing them (or, since almost all tanks were warriors, they could also stance-dance and hit Berserker Rage… which you don’t even have to stance-dance to do anymore!). There was some fire on the ground, some fearing in general, but it really hinged on the Tranq Shot. Apart from the fears and a bit of fire, it was basically a tank-and-spank. Still, though, not remotely challenging.

By contrast, Merk was telling me that Heroic Thok consists largely of a cooldown chain lasting 40 seconds to ensure the health of the raid.

Raiding has changed significantly since the early days, obviously, but rather than have gimmicks being a large part of the fight now and again, they seem to be happening more often than not.

In Tier 12, you had one major “gimmicky” fight, which was Rhyolith. Everything else was a combination of adds or buffs or debuffs. No special buttons appearing on your screen, no strange bars displaying a new resources.

Yet, as I’ve been doing LFR after LFR during my seven day free trial, I’ve been astounded at the amount of gimmicky things in use on various fights. (For this post, let’s say that gimmicks involve something unusual, like an extra UI element or a different realm or something like that.)

Immerseus: Has a corruption bar that is his actual health bar. (And this was the least gimmicky of them all, IMHO.)
Fallen Protectors: Multiple-mob fight with the extra special bonus of needing to bring them all down to 1% at about the same time. While this isn’t NEW (Mimiron comes to mind), it’s unusual enough for me to mention.
Norushen: A Corruption bar AND a secondary realm? Lordy, it’s like the worst parts of Halion and Cho’gall. (Although I actually liked the fight on LFR.)
Sha of Pride: Hey look, it’s a Pride bar.
Galakras: Honestly, all the trash made me feel like I was in Hyjal… But this wasn’t very gimmicky otherwise.
Iron Juggernaut: Not all that gimmicky on LFR, although Crawler Mines are borderline, IMHO.
Dark Shaman: Not really gimmicky. Lots of chaos, but that’s not a gimmick.
General Nazgrim: Again, not much of a gimmicky fight.

So out of eight SoO boss fights I’ve seen (on LFR), half had a gimmick that was unusual to raid fights. Half. The other half consisted of many mobs, a lot of AOE or some combination of the two. As someone who hasn’t raided seriously since… oh boy, when was it… August of 2012, I guess it was, it’s interesting to see the differences between raiding now and raiding then (and previously).

This begs the question: do gimmicky fights fatigue players? I know that they always tired me. There wasn’t an encounter I disliked more in Firelands than Rhyolith. In Dragon Soul, it was really Zon’ozz (and all his bugs) who received most of my loathing. In general, the gimmicky fights were the ones that caused me, personally, the most fatigue. I was so tired of killing Zon’ozz by the end of raiding. I killed that jackass, in LFR, normals and heroics, over two characters, a total of 58 times. That’s about 50 times too many, if you ask me. But even just looking at my main raiding character, Madrana, it was 34 times (20 heroic, 12 normal, 2 LFR) and that’s a lot for a fight where people have to bounce this dark orb thingy between themselves and then at the boss. It just got tiring.

By the same token, I killed normal Majordomo Staghelm 9 times (and probably planned out another 5ish raids where I wasn’t in for the kills) and that was tiring. I had never been happier to switch a boss to heroic because it meant I no longer had to write up these epic-length assignments. That was a really tiresome fight for me, moreso than Zon’ozz and Rhyolith.

Is this the future of raiding? Spreadsheets detailing specific assignments? Special buttons and resource bars aplenty? Twilight-esque realms, harkening back to Sartharion, Halion, Valiona & Theralion? Flying mechanics that bring back awful memories of Al’Akir?

When I think about that, going forward, I don’t really feel the desire to experience that. Maybe it’s the fact that I haven’t been in a progression raid in forever. One of my fears, when I stopped playing, was that even if I wanted to come back, I’d feel left behind in the grand scheme of things. And I do, to an extent, but what I’m seeing now is a different problem: if people are acclimated to this gimmicky (or spreadsheety) raiding environment, have I missed the boat?

Let me rephrase that, because it’s not exactly missing the boat, but… how can I put this, exactly? Let’s try this: in the fall, after a hot and humid summer, the temperature of, say, 12 degrees Celsius (~54F) feels cold. As in you want to put on a jacket. In the spring, after a frigidly cold winter, the exact same temperature of 12C feels hot! You’re taking off your coats, walking around in shoes instead of boots and you’re generally gleeful at this fantastic weather. Why is this? It’s because you’ve been acclimated to the colder temperatures over the winter. You’re used to it being cold. So when you hit 12C in terms of temperatures going up, you’re thrilled and happy.

By missing a full expansion of raiding, have I missed the acclimation needed to enjoy raiding going forward? Is my distaste for gimmicks merely a sense of nostalgia, which I absolutely acknowledge could be the case? Do others feel like these gimmicks and spreadsheets are fun and I’m still the grumpy one thinking 12C is damn cold because I missed all of winter? In other words, would experiencing all of these fights over the course of the last year have acclimated me to what is potentially a new raiding paradigm where this is the standard? Or would I have quit by now, frustrated and fatigued?

Possibly more importantly, where is raiding heading in the future?

Lots of questions. Not a lot of answers.

What have you enjoyed (or not) about raiding in Mists of Pandaria? I’d love to hear your thoughts as we wait for answers that will inevitably come as we get more info about Warlords of Draenor.

13 comments

  1. Dan says:

    I hate the gimmick fights. I love that you mentioned Yorsahj because i loved that fight. I don’t know if it was just because I loved the DPS I pulled with my AOE trinket and mind seer :D. As I go through my memory of progression raiding bosses that I loved, most of them come from the WotLK xpac. I loved the bosses in those raids. I wish they would go back to those kinds of fights.

  2. Jasyla says:

    I don’t really think its a matter of getting acclimated, at least it hasn’t been for me. I’ve been doing progression content all xpac and I still find the amount of organization required for many fights exhausting.

    Did you do Throne of Thunder during your LFR adventures? I think Heroic Ji-Kun and Dark Animus were the pinnacle of gimmicky fights (though Spoils of Pandaria is close). For Ji-Kun you needed to set up the nest groups, give them an order of nests to fly to, assign healer cooldowns, everyone needed to know if a down draft or quills was going to happen at a bad time for their group and plan around that. Plus, flying! And Dark Animus, ugh. Every player (and their pets)in the raid needed to be assigned an exact place to stand, told how quickly to damage their adds, which golem to stand closest to. I think I even posted that spreadsheet on the forum main page – http://www.apotheosis-now.com/main/?m=201308 . Obviously, this level of complexity is the biggest pain in the ass for the raid leader, but it’s no walk in the park for others either. As someone who never even liked being told when to use my Tranquility, the level of micromanagement is infuriating. The setup time required the first few times you see the fight (or every time in the case of Dark Animus) takes forever. The amount of information each individual raider needs to be on top of makes screw ups much more likely to happen.

    There have been a number of good fights in the expansion, and I’ve enjoyed almost all of them to some extent (except Immerseus, which is just dumb). However, every time we get to yet another fight that requires a spreadsheet, or when it’s my turn to write up a strat that involves 12 different types of mobs with 5 abilities each, I just want to throw in the towel. Raid prep feels a lot like homework.

  3. Stormy says:

    It’s interesting to read this perspective from someone that has made her bones as a “good” raider. I walk into instances like SoO and I wonder if it’s me, if I’m a “bad” raider because I’m sick to death of “gimmicky” fights. Perhaps it would bore the shit out of “good” raiders, but I long for the days of Patchwerk and Festergut, basic tank-n-spank type fights that could be overcome not by precision timing of interrupts or chaining cooldowns, but by *being good at my class*. These days, almost every fight has random shit on the floor that you *must* get out of in .00002 seconds or you will die, or some horrible debuff that must be interrupted in .00002 seconds lest you wipe your whole raid. It’s not fun. It’s not creative. It’s exhausting.

  4. Talarian says:

    As Jasyla mentions, you want gimmicks and spreadsheets, Dark Animus was the ultimate. The devs mentioned they wanted a puzzle fight, and they did a good job doing it, but *all* of the complexity was on the Raid Leader. All of it. After we got to the burn phase, we one shot it, but the puzzle phase was pretty much me doing all the thinking, rearranging, etc. My raiders offered suggestions, but still, ugh. That fight was exhausting.

    I don’t think gimmicks are necessarily bad, however. For SoO, I actually rather like Protectors, and Sha’s gimmick is basically another take on “You get damaged, you make things worse”, which increases everyone’s personal responsibility to not get hit. As a Raid Leader, anything that makes it easy for me to point to someone and say, stop standing in things because your Pride is too high, the better.

    Norushen, however, is a lot like Dark Animus. It requires a lot of thinking and organizing on the Raid Lead’s part, and everyone needs to wait for me to think about who’s going in first, who’s picking up orbs, etc. My DPS/HPS ends up suffering because as the Raid Leader/Caller, I spend a LOT of mental throughput on keeping things running smoothly and making new calls on the fly rather than actually DPSing or healing.

    Nazgrim’s “gimmick” actually makes a tonne of sense for fighting a Warrior (he has a Rage bar, fancy that).

    Malkorok’s gimmick of shields and remembering where attacks landed a while back was moderately annoying, if only because the shields completely subverted my UI expectations (I need to watch debuffs instead of health bars. Annoying).

    Spoils of Pandaria is actually a lot of fun. Hectic, but fun. Splitting up the raid, however, is another thing that the Raid Lead needs to organize, though it’s less bothersome than other fights.

    Thok is super gimmicky if you count chaining raid cooldowns to eke out enough DPS (though I don’t think I’ll ever tire of watching people get exploded into chunks of meat when he eats them), but again, that just requires some setup before hand and someone (generally me) watching timers and calling cooldowns.

    We haven’t hit Siegecrafter, Paragons, or Garrosh, though, so I can’t speak to those on Normal mode yet. Siegecrafter looks gimmicky, but on Flex it was a lot of fun to me. Paragons seems chaotic apparently until you realize the instructions boil down to “Stay out of the bad, kill things in this order”. And Garrosh is just really, really long, but not actually that gimmicky at all on LFR/Flex/Normal.

  5. Talarian says:

    @Stormy

    As someone who is quite good at his class, I actually prefer fights with a little bit extra to them, to be honest. On my Holy Paladin and my Enhancement Shaman, I don’t think about what ability I use next. I have it down to muscle memory and some subconscious processing, such that I can focus on the fight mechanics themselves. Fights like Patchwerk, Ultraxion, etc. *are* incredibly boring (though I do actually enjoy the occasional fight where it is just a tank and spank, because sometimes it’s fun to just race the clock).

    As a healer and raid leader, I prefer insta-kill mechanics or mechanics that debuff a player such that their DPS goes through the floor. Why? Personal responsibility. If there’s too much damage going out overall, and it’s overwhelming the healers, sometimes it’s hard to tell if it’s just the encounter, or if it’s the players taking too much damage. If I can go to logs and point to a debuff or a death by a specific mechanic, it’s super easy to explain to the raider what happened and why, and in turn that raider can use that as direct feedback. Hand waving and telling someone to “take less damage” is barely actionable feedback, and really not helpful.

    Now, that being said, I agree with your point about it being exhausting. There needs to be some wiggle room for error, latency, and reflexes. Interrupting a 1 second cast or folks die? Ridiculous. Interrupting a 5 second cast or folks die? Perfectly reasonable. It can be continuum of time rather than a dichotomy of all-or-nothing.

  6. RohanV says:

    I’m not really certain I agree with you. Look back at Wrath. Is the modern stuff any more gimmicky than Defile, or Sanity on Yogg-Saron, or Vampire biting on Blood Queen Lanathel, or the Blood Prince fight, or Saurfang Jr.?

    In my mind, the only real difference between modern fights and Wrath fights is that the old fights used buff/debuff stacks and hidden timers, while modern fights are are more likely to represent that information using a custom UI element. But it’s the same information, just shown in a different form.

  7. Kurn says:

    Dan – I really enjoyed Yor’sahj because it wasn’t quite the typical “zomg kill adds” fight. It gave us choices as to what buffs we wanted him to gain. While that’s a bit gimmicky, it’s not overwhelming different from what we’ve seen in the past and, once you’d figured things out, it wasn’t too rough to make on the spot decisions. That said, it did take a bit of pre-planning.

    Wrath had some great fights, but it also had some TERRIBLE fights (see: Northrend Beasts, Faction Champs, Twin Valks…), but I think that’s the case will all expansions, to be honest.

    Jasyla – well, that’s good to know, on the one hand. ;) I like knowing I’m not completely alone in such things.

    As to ToT, I did the first two but didn’t have time for the last two (I moved on to SoO with the intention of going back, but only completed SoO Monday night). Ji-Kun, from an LFR perspective, didn’t seem all that difficult, but then I wasn’t on nest duty. Anything that requires flight, though, is awful. I hate that third dimension. Same with swimming. Blech.

    As to your spreadsheet, holy cow. I don’t understand any of it! I presume that makes sense to people who have a clue about the fight. :)

    Micromanaging (both doing it and being told what to do) pretty much sucks, so I definitely feel your pain. Stupid normal Staghelm…

    Raid prep IS homework, which is why, when I was going through T14 and T15 LFR, every time I looked up a boss fight, my eyes glazed over. One thing I have DEFINITELY lost is my desire to care about what the hell happens on a fight, but I chalk this up to my doing things in LFR as opposed to normal or heroic. It was still tough for me to look up things for SoO LFR without wanting to fall asleep. It was reminiscent of my old sociology readings…

    Stormy – I think that there’s got to be a compromise between the gimmicks and the tank’n’spanks. I do miss fights where you had to just be good at your class, but that’s not challenging to the elite players these days. If Siege of Orgrimmar were a series of tank’n’spanks, Method, Blood Legion and others would go in on Day 1, clear it on normal, then clear it on heroic the very next week. Fester had some interesting mechanics to do with the … spores, was it? I think so. Right, the inoculations! That was fun, I agree. Patch wasn’t usually fun for me because I was always healing tanks who would get hit for a zillion health. ;)

    I don’t love all the crap on the ground from what I’ve seen. Garrosh’s Annihilate in the other realms is purple on purple. Like, really. I only needed to get beaned by it once to learn my lesson, but so not cool!

    I’m glad a whole range of people find some of the gimmicky things to be exhausting. Although I don’t like that there are things that are exhausting, I’m glad I’m in good company. :)

    Talarian – More use of the word “exhausting”, which is way more than I thought I’d have. So very interesting. And yes, poor raid leaders deserve hugs, too.

    Gimmicks aren’t necessarily bad, I agree, and Protectors isn’t too bad. Sha of Pride is awkward, though. It’s like Cho’gall or Atramedes and I felt really uncomfortable in the fight itself, to be honest. I eventually gained a measure of comfort (that many wipes… sigh.) but it was pretty uncomfortable for me and yet very reminiscent of past fights. Maybe that’s it — maybe my memories about eating sound waves or gaining corruption on Atramedes and Cho’gall just served to heighten my discomfort on Sha of Pride.

    As to Norushen, I liked the fight, but probably because I didn’t understand it. I have no idea why I ended up in another realm, killing mobs, but, well, I did. Still don’t know why! I just assumed it was random.

    Totally understand your performance suffering. I call it the officer tax because it’s our responsibility to make sure everything runs smoothly.

    Nazgrim’s makes sense, absolutely. I liked that bit, to be honest, knowing not to attack him in defensive stance.

    Malkorok’s finer points are certainly lost on me, but I did notice something about healing turning into absorbing energy.

    Spoils! Oh God, talk about my LEAST favourite of the encounters I saw. Wow. Opening boxes? Fighting old treasures? Granted, it took me about 8 tries in three separate raids to get through this fight. That may be colouring my view a bit. ;)

    Thok was interesting, although again, the finer points were lost on me.

    Siegecrafter LFR was interesting, what with all the crap on the ground and around you. I can’t say I really enjoyed it, but I definitely watched my feet the whole time. Paragons was SO LONG OMG. And Garrosh on LFR? Not a bad fight, I think. I’ll need to think on it some more and I’ll be consolidating all my thoughts in a post Soon ™. :)

    GL to you on clearing out the instance!

    re: your response to Stormy: Just to say that I really, really miss having the muscle memory to do stuff nearly automatically. I was really great at that back in Cata and even though I didn’t heal at ALL during my brief return, I know I’ve lost more than a few steps. That said, spending some time on Kurn made me think that I haven’t lost very much of my innate hunter knowledge. Either that knowledge is more ingrained than the pally’s or my level of play on Kurn wasn’t as high as on my pally to start with. (I’m leaning towards option two.)

    Rohan – I’m not sure that Wrath offers the best examples, but I see what you’re saying. I’d argue that there are significant differences aside from what information is shown, even in Wrath. It’s not to say Wrath and even BC or Vanilla were gimmick-free (remember, Heigan comes from Vanilla Naxx and BOY, is THAT a gimmicky fight to end all gimmicky fights!), but that, as I see it, there’s been a ramping up of gimmicky fights over time. Certainly ICC had its fair share. And I agree, Yogg’s Sanity could easily have been made into another resource bar, rather than stacks, but obviously, Defile wasn’t a resource, nor was it a button. It was just crap on the ground that you had to GTFO of ASAP because of the spreading portion of it. Some stuff can absolutely be seen as precursors to the Corruption bar on Cho’gall or the Sound level on Atramedes or the button on Ultraxion or the meter on Rhyolith, but I think the gimmicks are showing up more frequently.

    Raiding, IMHO, has become less about doing your job well than jumping through hoops WHILE doing your job well. I do think there ought to be checks in place to ensure that people aren’t able to just do their jobs without challenge, because where’s the fun in doing something that’s not challenging? But at the same time, pushing a button on Ultraxion doesn’t mean I’m a good holy paladin or a good hunter. It means I could hit a button to avoid a cast of something deadly within a 3-5 second window.

    I was able to wing it in LFR over the last week because I’m an experienced raider, but some of the mechanics seemed a little much to me. It seems as though a LOT of fights have those extra things that are designed specifically to screw you over. Which is okay, but it feels more like my pathetic magic betraying me on Sindragosa instead of picking which mob to kill first on Iron Council or which Elders to engage with Freya.

    Most of the blog post was me working it out for myself, and I haven’t done so fully, yet, but I love all the perspectives people have offered! :)

  8. Talarian says:

    Keep in mind a lot of stuff on LFR that you can survive will flat out kill you on Flex or Normal. Immerseus’ Spray attack without any defensive cooldowns up? The big yellow circle on Protectors if you don’t stack enough people. Most abilities in the test realm on Norushen (and note you don’t get pulled into the realm automatically on Flex or Normal, you get 2 – 4 people to go in at a time of your raid’s choosing, so again, puzzle time). Sha of Pride’s Swelling Pride attack every 100 energy if you aren’t mostly healed to full. Some adds have instagibs on Galakras. Crawler Mines, if more than one goes off will wipe your raid. Dark Shaman, ahahahahaha. EVERYTHING will either kill you instantly or close to it. Nazgrim’s enrage is super tight and many of his adds can do a number on you. Malkorok’s Breath of Y’Shaarj will instakill you if you stand in it, or the debuffs during his Blood Rage. Spoils… is actually super forgiving once you get the puzzle aspect of it down. And Thok intercepting you during his Fixate phase will one shot you.

    LFR has a lot of wiggle room (for good reason), whereas higher difficulties demand much finer execution and more personal responsibility. Firelands was a lot similar. One person didn’t do their job? The raid wiped. Halfus Wyrmbreaker? Interrupt him or the raid wipes. Personal responsibility was the name of the game.

    Oddly enough, Dragon Soul went the other direction, and most fights were forgiving if 10% – 20% of your raid couldn’t really hack it. But not the case anymore. One person screws up, and your attempt is over. Which I can totally see as not fun for a lot of people, because having your raid rely on you to that extent is a lot of pressure. But at the same time, I agree with Rohan, but want to take it a step further (which you, Kurn, hint at), which is to say not only do I not think there’s really much for gimmicks in Siege, but a lot of what you consider gimmicks aren’t even new. They’re borrowed from other fights and put together in different ways with new flavor thrown on top.

    (As a slight aside, I wonder if that’s why people like 25 man raiding. It’s not more epic, it’s just easier to get lost in the crowd…)

    But I guess the question comes back to: what precisely defines a “gimmick”? What are gimmick-less fights, and how do you design 40+ bosses in an expansion in a varied manner that don’t rely on “gimmicks”. Because to me, that just looks like LFR, where you can ignore most mechanics today and just tank and spank, which is dull as dishwater to me.

  9. Oestrus says:

    This was a large part of what led me to take a break from the game. As someone who raided consistently and at a high level from Burning Crusade through Cataclysm, I was used to doing work to maintain that level of performance. But this felt like WORK. We were in a whole other universe with Mists of Pandaria.

    I didn’t want to do it. And I didn’t want to be accused of not wanting it bad enough or not thinking I could hang because of it.

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who recognized the difference between work and WORK.

  10. R says:

    I’m with you, the complexity of fights these days is undermining what I enjoy about raiding. I like the progression from “WTF – we’re dead already, can we even do this fight?” to “Alright, getting there” to “Man, so close that time, we’ll get it soon!” to “YES!” to “Man, how’d we ever struggle on this guy?”.

    There’s still some of that these days, of course, but there’s too much chaos. Extra action buttons, RNG, split the raid into groups, special resources, limited dispel windows, extra damage windows… I don’t have any particular issue with any of those individually but it’s a constant barrage of too many things to worry about at the same time and having to take them to the next level each tier.

    And that doesn’t include fights like Paragons that take longer to read a guide for than to actually do the fight:
    http://www.icy-veins.com/paragons-of-the-klaxxi-detailed-strategy-wow#sec-6

    At least on Flex, that wasn’t even a difficult fight with a RL who knew the kill order… it just seems like a lot of pointless complexity to me.

    I could never be the guy to call out the next target, my memory for “if these 3 are up, this 1 is the priority target” wasn’t good enough for a fight like Halfus with only five (I think) possible options, 3 of which were randomly up each week, let alone Paragons with TWELVE that will ALL come into play each week in a different pre-set weekly order. I basically have to farm out that responsibility by doing a target-of-target off a dps who is capable or by having someone set a skull or similar. There’s nothing fun about that type of fight for me.

    I’ve been feeling the itch to get back into a regular raiding routine again so I probably will at some point but it’s hard to predict how long it’ll last… these things will only get worse and my taste for them isn’t likely to change significantly.

  11. Kurn says:

    Talarian – Oh man, believe me, I was doing the fights thinking “I bet that’s the shit that 1-shots you on heroic” as I’d dance out of annihilate on Garrosh or something like that. I totally understand that the LFR version is a completely neutered version of any encounter. One only has to compare LFR Ultraxion to Heroic Ultraxion to see that. (LFR meant you could eat the Hour of Twilight, normal or heroic would mean you’d die instantly.)

    I’ll agree with you in terms of normals in Firelands — there was some personal responsibility that led to wipes if people didn’t get that stuff taken care of properly — but for Dragon Soul, I’d argue that personal responsibility was really obvious on heroic (although I think you were talking about normals). If you didn’t soak on Morchok (in the early days of the buff), people died. If you didn’t swap immediately to the slimes on Yor’sahj, there was a good chance he’d absorb all four slimes which basically meant a wipe. If you didn’t get the adds down on Zon’ozz, the raid took a ton of damage and that’d be a wipe. If you didn’t AOE the crap out of Ice Tombs on Hagara or didn’t watch where you were standing for either lightning or ice phase, you’d cause a wipe. If you didn’t hit your damn button on Ultraxion, you died and possibly caused a wipe. Don’t get me started on all the shit to avoid or soak on Blackhorn. Then on heroic Spine, if you did not do the damage you needed to on the tendons, grats, you wiped the raid. (Similarly, do too much damage to bloods and hey, you just blew up half the raid.) Finally, if you were not precise on your Madness target swaps, you were likely the cause of a wipe. I spent hours going through logs and telling people to stop screwing up X, Y and Z mechanics, all of which were obvious by how much damage they were taking or how little damage they were doing to certain targets. Personal responsibility and heroic raiding pretty much go hand-in-hand.

    As to gimmicks, I’ll admit my definition is nebulous at best. I can’t really offer a great definition. What I can offer, though, are examples between “encounter mechanics” and “gimmicks”.

    Let’s look at Blackwing Descent (normal).

    1) Magmaw: Gimmick = jumping on to him and tying him down. Mechanics: half the room overheats, worm adds, etc.
    2) Omnotron Defense System: No obvious gimmicks, IMHO. Mechanics: different trons active at different times, each with different abilities.
    3) Maloriak: Gimmick = Releasing the adds appropriately (although this is borderline gimmicky, IMHO). Mechanics: frost, fire, nature damage, dealing with adds.
    4) Atramedes: Gimmick = Sound resource, gaining sound, clearing sound. Mechanics: run away from beams/AOE damage.
    5) Chimaeron: Gimmick = Bile-O-Tron, inability to die if you’re above 10k health while active. Mechanics: Massacre, Feud, Double Attacks, etc.
    6) Nefarian: Actually, I wouldn’t say it’s gimmicky. Not really. Mechanics: Add kiting, add management, interrupting Blast Nova, avoiding Shadowblaze, etc. (I think, if anything is “gimmicky” about this fight, it’s the Shadowflame/Shadowblaze stuff, but even then, I do view them just as mechanics.)

    So I’d personally say that Atramedes, Magmaw and Chimaeron were “gimmicky” due to the sound resource, the having to jump up and tie Magmaw down and the whole Bile-O-Tron part of the Chimaeron encounter. I don’t really see Maloriak’s adds as very gimmicky — like, I didn’t complain about it. ;) Once you figured out what worked for you in terms of releasing them, it was fine. Does that clear it up at all? It’s sort of like… if I, at any point, do not play my character directly (like a vehicle fight — Flame Leviathan, Eye of Eternity, freaking OCULUS), that’s a gimmick. If I have extra resources I have to watch out for, also a gimmick (Atramedes, Cho’gall, etc), versus merely not standing in crap. If I have an extra button to push (Ultraxion, Tortos), gimmick. If there’s a whole other realm involved (Halion, V&T), gimmick. If I have to FLY? Gimmick.

    I think that the fights where you have to spend more time mastering the hoops you have to jump through instead of playing your character well is what I kind of have a problem with. That’s tiring. I play a hunter or paladin because I like the classes. I don’t want to do a lot that’s going to get me to do OTHER stuff besides actually play my class.

    That doesn’t mean I want to stand in crap on the ground, it doesn’t mean I don’t want there to be penalties for standing in the bad stuff if I do. But oh, here, look, here’s one example of a gimmicky fight that I LIKED (once I got the hang of the other realm): Dreamwalker. Loved it. Why? Because I was doing what I did best: healing. Had the alternate realm not involved flight, I would have been immeasurably happier, mind you, but I really liked it because I had one job and that was to heal Dreamwalker to full and, in order to do it, I had to collect orbs, watch my buffs. I once crit a Lay on Hands for over a million health. It was BEAUTIFUL. But I think that I was able to deal with it because it was a healer’s fight. All the other adds and crap? Not my problem, not even the point of the enounter. So because of the responsibility I had to heal her (and maintain my buffs, etc), I was able to overlook the parts of it I didn’t enjoy, because it all added up to me healing even MORE.

    I’ve rambled. Sorry. ;)

    O – I honestly think it’s been a ramp up since Wrath, perhaps even earlier (if Brutallus, where half your raid dropped their professions for leatherworking for drums, is not gimmicky…). As I said above, BWD was pretty gimmicky. In my limited view of Tiers 14-16, though, I don’t see the gimmicks happening less frequently. It’s definitely work and it’s not the kind of work that would make me a better healer or a better hunter. While it’s arguable that spreadsheeting out assignments would make one a better raid leader, that’s a whole other kettle of fish. I have no idea what the hell the spreadsheet Jasyla linked for us even means. I was like “oh, I recognize some of these names…”

    R – Paragons sounds a bit like Yor’sahj on steroids. “If this, then that”. At least Yor’sahj only had six possible colours and there were only certain combinations that were ever seen, so you didn’t have to memorize too much. IIRC, there were six (eight?) possibilities and only one of them had a conditional for us — “If green, then X, if black, then Y”.

    As to the chaos, I don’t mind that it’s CHAOTIC, so much, because chaos can usually be alleviated with knowledge. However, if one has to sit down and spend 20-30 minutes planning out a single fight beforehand? Not my cup of tea. Even when things were on farm, we would organize groups for Morchok, organize groups for Yor’sahj, organize groups for Hagara (especially!), same for Ultraxion… I feel like most of my time in T13 was spent with the raid window open, moving people around or trying to figure out where I should put someone — and that’s AFTER I’d made my rosters for each fight. Blech. And it’s not that we really HAD to, but what’s the point of not splitting people up for Morchok and Kohcrom? It doesn’t make sense to have Group 3 consist of two people on one side and three on another while Group 4 has the opposite issue. Groups were nightmarish and obviously, that’s still a problem (see Spoils).

    Regardless of how long your raiding lasts, I hope you enjoy yourself more than not. That’s the point, after all, isn’t it? :)

  12. Talarian says:

    Thanks for trying to define gimmick for me, Kurn :) I agree with some of those, but not all. I figured rather than writing a blog post on your blog post, I’d just write my own on the definition of “Gimmick”: http://talarian.blogspot.com/2014/01/wow-gimmick-by-any-other-name.html

    Been a good discussion so far :)

  13. Kurn says:

    Talarian – Awesome post! :)

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