Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Did Blizzard Screw up? Malygos 10 Commentary

This is not a boast post, but at this point in the game, a month and a half after the release of WotLK, I, a casual raider and PvP enthusiast have completed 5/6 of the game's possible raids. With PuGs. I suppose that you could say that I haven't taken down 25 Naxx fully because I don't care to spend hours upon hours of playing 'lets wipe' with a rotating roster of PuGhhhhs, but really, Naxx 25 is so much easier than Naxx 10, just by virtue of having more DPS. The only hard part is herding the cats to actually start the pulls.

...And of course making sure that the cats aren't brain dead zombie kitties who like to stand in the fire helps as well.

Again, not a boast post, but really, the question is, "What now?"

I'll be blunt here, and please do tell me if my reasoning is flawed.

Blizzard, from a long term financial point of view, did themselves a disservice with the introductory raids and because of this, probably cost them more long term subscribers.

The rationale is as such: Aside from Malygos 25 and OS with drakes up, all of the bosses in the introductory raids are easy execution fights. There are no high level gear checks and as such, there are no extreme DPS or Healer fights. Malygos 10 is somewhat of a gear check, but not entirely. At my current gear point, which is all Naxx 10 stuff with some 25 man stuff, I can easily heal through all of the content. As long as I have competent teammates, there is no overwhelming urge for gear so that I can 'save the raid'. Perhaps for other people, getting all super uber gear is the most important factor, but for me, the casual raider, this is enough.

As a healer, I'm probably seeing this effective cap phenomenon in a different light than most other roles, as my results are largely unmeasurable as compared to the 'damage taken' or the 'damage per second' statistics. However, if history is of any indicator and the stories of Raid participation declining after completing content is true, I'm probably not the only one to feel like there's not much more to shoot for. Ulduar coming out soon? I expect to be able to PuG that, too, on day one because healing Naxx 25 was a joke and if there's content that requires more than half my mana pool in a 25 man raid, I'll be surprisingly amused.

Here's the kicker: If I wasn't a PvPer at heart, I'd probably have quit by now out of sheer boredom, because jumping between the beams on top of Org bank is only fun for the first hundred thousand times. Not Horde? Ever square jump in Ironforge? Yeah, same thing. If I can feel this way, I'm sure there are many others who feel the same.

Scarily enough, this is the closest I've ever come to completing all available content, and it's not a good feeling. Keep in mind that I'm not a hard core raider, nor ever aspire to be, and nearly all of my raid experiences have been with PuGs. If I'm this apathetic about continuing to do completed content when it's not a challenge, I can't even begin to understand what the hardcore raiders are experiencing.

Although I'm all for discrediting Blizzard with their mistakes, I do have to commend them for the Malygos fight. It's incredibly fun and its one of the few fights that really highlights each and every class out there such that a 10 man raid with one of every class would actually do very well. Well, except for Warlocks, but I guess a healthstone is better than nothing. Sorry, Warlocks.

Simply, Malygos is a tank and spank DPS race. It is NOT a healer fight as people have claimed. Yes, there is a lot of damage to be healed in Phase 1 and 2, but its entirely predictable, unless Malygos eats a spark. Guild can't do Gluth? Forget about Malygos (besides that whole key issue). Vortex, for all its vaunted claims of being hard to heal through is only hard if people don't pre-heal with hots. Don't have a Priest and a Druid? Maybe it's time to recruit. Sorry, Pallies.

So if the fight isn't about healing, then what's the difficulty? Well, The key part of this fight is that DPS needs to be very high. 2.5k + DPS is probably the minimum that you want to be able to put out for this fight. That value isn't astronomical by any means, but the only reason why I give this number is because that's what our average DPS was we had an okay buffer for the Enrage timer.

Do you need all epiczzzz for this fight? I used to think so, from all the smack that was thrown about, but the answer is an emphatic "No!" The gear assumption was the amusing thing about my Malygos 10 PuG a few days ago. There were a few blues on most of our raid except for a few characters that had obviously (gear wise) completed this content and I initially thought were were headed to Fail City (population: Us). However, much like nearly every other LK raid boss, its all in the execution.

Our first attempt as a PuG? Phase 3 and we figured out the drakes a bit too slowly. Two more silly wipes in Phase 1 due to DK power spark mismanagement and the fourth pull was all she wrote. We even lost a healer towards the end of phase 2 (not me) and managed to pull out the W.

Anyways, Happy New Years, everyone, and don't do anything that vaguely sounds like a Sons of Hodir daily quest all by your lonesome!


Anonymous said...

Although I agree that the Nax raid isn't as difficult as the dungeons from TBC, it should be noted that even Blizz admits Nax is considered a "beginner" dungeon. The designs of the gear indicate as much. It's meant to re-acclimate guilds whom were on raid cruise control during TBC as well as introduce new players to the dynamics of a raid setting. From the descriptions of the next raid, Ulduar, we can expect the difficulty to be ramped up.

By then, I'm sure we'll get qq's from peeps saying those instances were too hard (Mag's Lair pre/post nerf anyone?)

Chu said...

I totally agree, however the argument that Ulduar is supposed to be much harder is somewhat non-believeable because it hasn't even shown up on the PTR's.

...Which means that by that time, everyone will be in Naxx25 raid gear and ready to tackle new content.

...Which means that unless there's a huge jump in difficulty (a la BT to Sunwell), there's going to be alot of pissed off people because they've consumed all of the achieveable content and there's nothing else to do.

Cassini said...

Meh, I already quit because of precisly these reasons. It's not even just raids. Just compare heroic HoL (maybe the toughest level 80 heroic?) so heroic SP (the easiest level 70 heroic?) and it's not even a close comparison in difficulty.

The day I paid my fist (and last) visit to Naxx and we were able to blast through it with all aoe, no cc and no real tactics on the bosses was the day I stopped raiding.

But I disagree that Blizzard will ultimately lose money from this step down in challenge. In fact I expect it to go the other way. For everyone of me who prefers a challenge, there are more who like to log in for 30-60 minutes and be done. This caters to those, and it's those people that will continue to drive up profit levels for some time yet.

Chu said...

That's actually a good point. This emphasis for quickly consumed content will likely drive up subscriptions for people who just want a bit of gaming, and not incredibly long instance raids that would take up all of their free time.


Azrax said...

Ok, while I agree hat Naxx, Sarth, Vault and even Malygos are easy encounters, you have to look at it in the view of what they actually are.

They are T7 dungeons, being heroic or not doesn't matter. T7 in WotLK is just like T4 in BC, not much gear was required for that either.

Kara, Magtheridon and Gruuls were very easy dungeons whether you brought in a full group with questing blues or a fully epic'd group you could pull it off.

Hopefully Ulduar will be SSC and TK quality in terms of the step up, i know they weren't much, but if it's any less at all then it's time to ask what Blizz are thinking. Otherwise I see it the same as they had for BC honestly.

And yes, I hope they bring out a WotLK dungeon as challenging as Sunwell was, because that's what makes you stay and get hooked more, the fact you have to work on something instead of walking through it.

Chu said...


I respectfully disagree with your analysis of T4 content in TBC. It was a very long time until people were regularly beating Gruul's and Mag's in PUGS, and for several months after TBC came out, only the elite guilds had consumed the content established. Before Nightbane's nerf, his skeleton adds were immune to magic and that fight was such a block that it prevented geared guilds from getting into SSC.

The difference between TBC and LK was that at the start of TBC, regular level 70 dungeons were used extensively to gear people up and to obtain reputation for Heroic Keys. People did not ding 70 and immediately head into Heroics and Kara. Stuff was difficult back then, and situations such as multi mob tanking the 7 pulls in Shadow Labyrinth were difficult for many PUGS.

I think its heinously bad design for someone to consume most of the content as a PUG. Even though this is essentially entry level content, there should always be something to strive for, where gearing up means something, instead of making an easy encounter more trivial.