Friday, December 2, 2011

Dragon Soul Difficulty And What I Want From It

I've been trying to articulate my feelings about Dragon Soul and it is very conflicted.

As I mentioned on Wednesday, the bosses are just falling over each other to cough up their loot. We finished our second night of raiding with Ultraxion going down, netting us a genuine realm first kill of all things. We were having a bit of trouble on that fight with DPS not being able to kill him in time, so we swapped one of the healers to DPS, switched out one DPS who wasn't quite pushing the numbers we needed and bang. Purples.

That put us at 5/8 and I fully expect us to clear through all that content on our first night next week, kill Gunship and be working on Spine by the end of our raid week.

On the one hand, the new content is fun, and I really wanted to go back in last night to clear Gunship and start poking at Spine but a lot of folks couldn't make it and a few of them wanted to slow down and savor the content. But on the other hand, this doesn't even seem like content worth doing over and over. If the next two bosses are as easy as the rest of the raid has been, we'll be facing hard modes at Christmas.

Now, to be fair, if I look at Firelands, once we killed Shannox, Beth and Rhyolith, the rest of the dungeon kind of fell in our laps. Baleroc only took about a night or two, we killed both Alys and Domo the same week we pulled them. After that Ragnaros was the only issue. This was pre-nerf. Ragnaros, took us about 2.5 nights to kill, and the nerf hit in the middle of that, which meant he went down fairly quickly after that. This was the first time we failed to kill all the normal modes pre nerf and I still grumble about it.

So, our progression in Dragon Soul has surprised me, as we didn't even have all that much heroic gear, we were only in the 379/380 iLevel range when we walked in on Tuesday, none of us had done the fights on the PTR, it was as new as content gets. We really went off of the Dungeon Journal for the most part, supplementing Icy Veins when necessary. And still, in about 5 hours over two days, killed 5 brand new bosses.

We know the next 3 bosses aren't going to stonewall us. Nearly a thousand guilds killed Madness this week. In three days. I don't foresee these bosses being much of an issue. So, even pessimistically, two weeks to kill Madness, by Christmas, we're done with normal modes.

I'm worried.

Really, there's not much you can say or do at this point, this is what's going to happen, we're not going to see these guys being buffed at this point. But what we don't know, is what's going to happen after normal modes. And this is my hope for Heroics:

A progression with a gradually sloping,
linear scaling of difficulty.

I don't mind if I can kill the first boss or two in the first week. That's fine. You have to start gearing somewhere. But I want us to stall on the third boss for a full week.

I want us to wipe, I want us to sit and discuss strategies, look at our team and evaluate what to do with our resources. I want us to reforge gear for specific stats, re-gem, re-enchant, move talent points around. I want to struggle and when the boss keels over, I want vent to be indecipherable with all the cheers of relief earned after winning a hard fought kill.

The fourth and fifth boss need to be on a similar level, if not a bit harder. Ultraxion is a well tuned fight even on normal, we had to 2 heal it, but I want us to have to 2 heal and solo tank it just to make the enrage and come up with creative ways of letting someone tank the boss while I'm dropping off Fading Light.

I want lootship to add more mechanics instead of just an add priority with positioning challenges.

Spine and Madness should both be very difficult, they need to last us weeks, they need to make us gnash our teeth and shake our heads, they need to make us struggle and anguish about whether or not we push our lockouts because we're so close to a kill, but wouldn't another week of heroic gear help.

That's what I want.

But even then, eight bosses, we're talking about, pessimistically, March? April? Before everything is done even on hard modes? And we'll still have four months to go at the least before expecting MoP. I can't see the expansion before July/August. And a cynical voice in my head wonders if that's why the Beta was included in the year long plan, as a way to get us content even in its incomplete state...

Anyway. I'm worried. But I'm having a lot of fun at the same time.

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