Fair warning: I'm going to whine today. Whine without offering a solution too. It's like my golden internet rule and Ima break it. I know. Chastise me if you will. Shake your finger at the screen and call me a noob. Whatever. Today I'm gettin' my cranky on.
Any raid leader can vouch for this: sometimes it's just not your night. Such was the case last Thursday when I got called in to lead. Mind you, being the backup raid leader has it's own downsides. Like, you're pretty much always going to be dealing with subs. Otherwise, why would they need the backup? And it isn't that our subs were bad or anything like that. It's simply that subs that haven't regularly been running with you tend to need time to acclimate themselves to the environment. That sword cuts both ways too.
I swear this isn't a complaint about subs. Our people are great. We've been very fortunate in that regard.
What this is a complaint about is the difficulty of 10-man encounters.
Yep, Ima go all noobsauce on you and whinge about how hard 10-mans are. That's fine if you want to berate my lack of skill. That may completely be true. I can handle being the suckz.
What frustrates me is how unforgiving these early ten man encounters are. We've only succeeded on three bosses thus far: Halfus, Double Dragon, and Conclave of Winds. It's been probably two months of raiding, and that's as far as we've gotten. Why? It's freaking hard!
To some extent, you could argue that being hard is a good thing. No more are we concerned with the burnout that plagued the game via Naxx. Yet, I see a different sort of burnout looming on the horizon: the Wipe Burnout. Again I say of Cataclysm, the pendulum has swung too far the other way. I said it of heroics and early gearing, and I say it now of raid tuning. We went from really easy to really hard with no in between. (Though I do feel like being a strict ten man guild in Wrath was challenging.)
My chief complaint about the new raid encounters stems from design choices. To summarize it in a sentence: the bosses are too unforgiving for ten man's. When Blizzard decided to legitimatize ten man raiding in Cataclysm by offering the same rewards, it is my belief that this indicated a verbal contract that they would design the fights with both ten and twenty-five man raids equally in mind (probably a false assumption). What we have gotten are twenty five man fights ported to ten man's, same as Wrath only with a whole lot more to learn as they've consciously tried to make things harder. The end result is that ten man's are too unforgiving.
Everything scales, right? Let's say you get 6 pieces of gear dropping from a 25-man boss, so you get 2 pieces from a 10 man. Or 2 and some fraction. It scales. Makes sense right? Should be easy. Yet, what happens with mechanics? Where in a 25 you can have 3 people to take care of some mechanic, in a 10 man you have 1. And what happens if that one person dies? WIPE!
That is the problem we're running into. We can't lose anyone. To succeed consistently at these bosses, we need to be members of the un-freaking-dying club. It's too hard. Not to mention that they do stupid shit like the drakes change every week, so we can't just get used to one type of fight. We have to memorize 30 versions of the same fight before we're "on farm." I could deal with this for a later boss fight, but for the first fight of the night? Let us at least warm up on something easy first.
(Here's where you could probably suggest we go to Magmaw, which we're going to do. The f-ed up progression path is another complaint of mine, but we are where we are right now. We've done what we've done.)
Then we inevitably discover bugs like we did last Thursday with Conclave of Winds. The nature dude (Anshal) hits 1% (dead), but hits it while in a green healing circle. What happens? Well the 1 minute timer starts meaning we have to focus fire the other bosses down, but, oh yeah, he's still completely active as if he were alive. Leave his platform and he nukes you. Stay and you're struggling to down stuff. What to do, what to do? That is NOT working as intended. The fight is a headache and a half already (and the rewards are shit for the complexity too!)
Oh, how this hurts morale. These are bosses we downed months ago, and we still can't do them consistently. Why? Well if we get one sub, we're screwed. If one person looks away for a second and dies... screwed. We get a random DC... screwed. There is a lag hiccup... screwed. The moon is in the seventh house and Jupiter aligns with Mars... the dawning of the Age of Screwed.
A group can only take so much of this before raiding stops being fun and starts simply being tedious. I don't mind a learning curve. I don't mind "hard." What I do mind is the feeling that 10 mans were not given due thought and simply "scaled to" like it would all just work magically. If you're going to put so much pressure on the single person, then maybe we should be getting freaking bribe rewards for raiding 10 mans just like if we were a pugging tank.
[Insert Unintelligible Screaming Here]
That's it. That's my bitch-fest. I had the flu over Easter Weekend and now it's Monday. I'm cranky. 4.1 better drop this week or Ima lose it. They've strung us out long enough, and I consider myself one of the more patient ones. What good is having a policy of smaller, quicker patch drops if that policy is complete BS? Quicker my ass.
So yes, I'm frustrated. No, I'm not going to rage quit because that's silly. There are still far more positives than negatives. It just can't always be rainbows and sunshine here on the blog though. Occasional ranting is healthy. Please disagree (intelligently!) in comments below. I'd love to hear how newbish and hypocritical I'm being.
Ten Man's: The Jon Snow of Azeroth.
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