Worldsworstretadin

Life through the eyes of a really bad Retribution Paladin

To The Death Of Fun

The ToC Effect

I think I’m one of many players who despised Trial of the Champion/Crusader. With a competent group, the raid could be competed in half an hour, dropped gear that trumped Ulduar and gave us little challenge or lore.
Ulduar, on the other hand, was a work of art. It immersed us in lore about the Old Gods and each boss gave us new challenges.

It was pretty as hell too.

I understand the value of what is disparagingly referred to as “legacy epics”, “purples for the masses”, what have you. Muh found himself very quickly covered in Tier 9 shinies for both his specs, just by running heroics in my spare time.

I just don’t understand Blizzard’s thinking; did they hope that players would take a quick sojourn from Ulduar to gear up in ToC, to return and smack Yogg’Saron in the mush? If that was what they were hoping for – they failed. Few raids returned to Ulduar except to furiously farm for one of the few 310% speed mounts before they had to shell out several thousand gold for 30% more speed.

ToC did very little to prepare us for the ICC heroics and, ultimately, the ICC raid itself. There was very little content to actively challenge players further than getting out of the way of various monsters.

It was apparent from the beginning that ToC was quickly cobbled together – eclipsing the hundreds of man-hours spent on Ulduar. I get it though; if not for the ToC drops, players would have faltered in ICC – especially before the buffs.

I tend to think however, that we as players would have gained much, much more from a hot fix to Ulduar itemisation. Most groups trampled over the mobs in the ICC heroics – and those who had problems simply went back in on normal difficulty.

A new trend was borne from all this: instead of visiting one raid to gear up for the next tier, players can now gear for each tier by running heroics. This is not necessarily a bad thing as it places raiding within reach of everyone. Unfortunately, it fails to prepare players for the demands of the new content – and the new content is getting harder and harder with each patch.

I’m going to say this as gently as possible: if you said pre-nerf ICC, Firelands on release and the new Dragon Soul raid is easy – you’re full of shit. The Deathwing encounter promises to be the hardest encounter ever created; the most complex and unforgiving dance created by those sadists in Los Angeles. If you thought the Lich King fight was challenging – you ain’t seen nothin’!

There’s one problem – the heroics gearing us up for this fight is so easy it’s laughable. Sure, you take a ton of damage as tank and some of the fights are an absolute nightmare to heal – but speaking from a melee viewpoint the bosses are pushovers.

Beat down on the boss.
Run away from the very slow-moving bad stuff.
Beat down on the boss.
Rinse, repeat, collect Firelands level loot.

Just as we never bothered going back to Ulduar, players now have no reason to set foot in Firelands – with the possible exception to get revenge on Ragnaros. Most players, given the option, will settle for 2-piece bonuses and will thus make up for the harder-to-come-by drops (shoulders, headgear) in the instances. Furthermore, the new shoulders look fantastic.

There is one thing I believe they have gotten just right in the latest patch, however: the distinct lack of Tier 13 sets at the Conquest Vendor. The available armour pieces look great and have the same item budget as the tier pieces – but lack set bonuses. It allows players to differentiate at a glance, between raiders and players who run dungeons for fun. Not to cast a disparaging light on the latter category; if it weren’t for those players who actively enjoy running dungeons, waits in the Dungeon Finder queue would quickly return to the bad old days where you waited 45 minutes for a DPS slot for a ZA/ZG run. I loved those wait times like I’d love colonic cancer.

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