DS 10 Normal: In review
So I guess I’m back to blogging now. Go me. A bit of an explanation I guess, over the last little while I’ve had a fun time, I’ve managed to go from raider, to officer, to GM. Oh god. GM! :|.Raid leader usually too. Finding my rhythm as GM, and other related tasks have taken up a lot of my time. As well as some fun RL (real life) stuff, like buying and moving into my own apartment.
So today I’m going to attempt to look back at DS10 and give it a review of sorts. Does the instance hold up? Is it any “good”? Which bosses are boring and annoying? Which are decent? Which are actually enjoyable?
A popular comment a lot of people have made about the dragon soul raid encounter is its lack of new boss models. For the first 6 bosses, and that the setting for most of the instance are all reused from various places (Dragon Blight, Eye of Eternity, the tentacle things from Twilight Highlands, the maelstrom). I don’t have much of an issue with this, not everything needs to be fresh and brand new in order for me to have fun in an instance. I raid for various reasons, and oogling boss models isn’t one of them.
And honestly who apart from arcane mages and tanks have the time to look at a boss model that much during an encounter?
The next major thing I wanted to talk about was the difficulty curve throughout dragon soul. I felt like the difficulty curve in dragon soul was about right. The beginning bosses were relatively easy, while the end bosses were challenging comparatively. Though while Morchok has been called a glorified trash mob by many people, he does offer a decent gear check and a struggle for those groups not running around in 391’s from months of farming Firelands. If you take a pug into dragon soul you will have as “interesting” time taking on Morchok, and almost certainly stone wall on the next few bosses.
According to some people this boss is little more than a glorified thrash mob, and yet he still required some level of paying attention and ensuring that you knew where you were meant to be. He offered a decent challange to entry level raiders, while offering something of a speed bump to more experianced guilds.
This is an interesting encounter, with a new set of mechanics that havn’t really been seen in a raid instance before. If you don’t know essentially you play pong with the boss for a while, which leads into a high damage taken/dealt phase. Its a refreshing set of mechanics, if a little buggy, encounter.
The idea of a encounter that throws players into a high damage taken/dealt phase is nothing new, though (I could be wrong) I don’t think we’ve ever been thrown one where we’ve had this much control over it, which gives the raiders a interesting conflict, healers want to keep the stacks as low as possible to avoid the high damage (and thus higher chance people will die) while DPS want to jump straight into the high damage phase for somewhat obvious reasons.
This encounter promised much, but in the end didn’t deliver as people had hoped it would. When people first heard about this boss it sounded like a fun and engaging boss that would require people to think on their feet and to react dynamically to the different oozes that the boss summoned at any one time. Instead we just followed a list some guy came up with in LFR.
As DPS this is an interesting encounter, but not a particularly fun one. It doesn’t live up to the hype and that’s never a good thing. Even if an encounter is brilliant if its hyped up to be the best thing since sliced bread it won’t live up to that, and it’ll simply feel like a failure to a lot of people.
This is one of my favourite encounters in dragon soul thus far. Its relatively easy, but still offers some challenges at specific points (how many people have seen tanks go splat in a few seconds flat here?). Its mix of mechanics is unique and offers a fun challenge. Sadly, at least on normal, the enrage timer isn’t terribly strict so you can brute force these challenges, eg you can have everyone run as a massive blob between totems over carefully chaining lightning.
A tank and spank boss the likes of which we haven’t seen in a long time.
This boss offers a refreshing change of pace, and instead of asking players to just about do acrobatics while doing a little DPS to down a boss, just asks us to do a lot of DPS, while paying attention to some debuff thing and press a new shiny button at the right time in order to down him.
I think its good that this boss doesn’t share the failings of Baleroc in that it that it doesn’t let players kite the boss after hitting the enrage timer, instead he just kills you.
This fight should not be confused with its counter part in ICC. It’s not a faceroll encounter, presenting the raid the DPS check of getting all the adds down in time for the next wave.
The second phase introduces a fun raid awareness check with the combination of void zones, shock wave and spell lockouts testing raiders positioning and awareness, at least until the raid chases away the drake.
Spine of Deathwing
I have one major problem with this encounter. I can position my camera to see what’s going on with the fight, or I can position my camera to see the sky and tell when we’re rolling. I can’t do both at the same time. It feels like a fun encounter, it just doesn’t feel like a fun encounter that’s on deathwings back. It feels like I’m on a little platform with some clouds over yonder if I position my camera just right.
He’s just been shot at by a weapon that he realizes can kill him, he’s running away from that weapon, and he just happens to ignore the 10/25 heroes on his back and talk to them with over confident talk? He simply fly’s on and leaves us to our own devices.
Madness of deathwing
I dislike this fight, but in its own way it is a epic fight. My problems are two fold. Firstly, its a long fight, sitting at roughly 13-14 minutes for a decently geared out raid team. Secondly, it never feels like we’re actually fighting deathwing until the second (or last/5th?) phase when he kneels over, squirts out some blood and lets us chip away at him until thrall decides to pick up the dragon soul and do away with him.
But the fight still feels like it wants to be epic, I mean. There’s deathwing, and he has a fucking hole in his chest, and he’s pissed, yet by the time your through 10 wipes each platform feels like muscle memory, like you’ve done it nearly 50 times and you just want it to be over so you can get to the interesting part.
Though I will say this, this fight did give me nerd chills when we got to phase 2 the first time, for that this fight gets points.
But when looking at the instance as a whole its hard not to say it feels like its missing something. It seems to miss the sweet spot between fun and epic that blizzard were aiming for. I think a lot of the raid instance has great, if not brilliant ideas behind it. The instance just feels like it fails in execution, that there’s something missing from some encounters that just stand as glaring holes in the instance.
The instance trys to be epic, and the ideas behind it really are epic. Had you told me a year ago that the final confrontation with deathwing would involve us fighting on his back to expose a weak point so thrall could shoot deathwing with the mother fucking dragon soul, and that even then he’d come up out of the maelstrom twisted and deformed even more so than he already was and we’d have to beat him back again with the aspects held, I’d be like “Fuck yeah that sounds epic”. But in actual execution it feels… meh.
Another problem with the instance, isn’t a problem with the instance at all, but rather a problem with our expectations. After having come of the back of the most difficult encounter possibly ever put into WoW ever our raiding skills as a player base are more highly tuned that ever before, so when the best of the best ran headlong into dragon soul they barely skipped a beat when running over the first bosses. Are we as a player base meant to be surprised or dissapointed in this?
I think the another problem is it never feels like we’re fighting deathwing. We’re fighting tentacles on his back, we’re fighting his tentacles again by the maelstrom, but we’re never actually up against a giant dragon whose sole mission is to destroy us and everything. Hell we’re never even up against human form deathwing, which I thought would of been somewhat epic (and made use of a very under used bad ass model).