Throne of Thunder Retrospective

Yesterday I read Beru’s Tier 15 Resto-spective, and I thought I may as well break my blogging silence and write my own. I’m not going to talk so much about specific bosses or healing, but more about mechanics I enjoyed (or hated) like I did last tier.

The Raid Instance

I’m not a story person, but I did enjoy how the raid instance this tier had a lot of content tied in with it. Isle of Thunder gave backstory around Throne of Thunder and made it seem much more a part of the rest of the game than the raids from the previous tier.

However, I wasn’t too crazy about the 4 section design (a decision which seemed to cater to LFR more than anything else). I found the 1st and 4th sections cohesive, while the middle 2 sort of came out of nowhere and seemed to have nothing to do with Lei Shen or the rest of the raid.

Some parts of the raid were visually interesting and a lot of the bosses were enjoyable. I’d rate Tier 15 about the same as Tier 11. Not nearly as enjoyable for me as Tier 6 (the ultimate in raid content), but better than a lot of tiers.

Healing

Healing as a resto Druid this tier was touch and go. There were fights that made me feel completely ineffective as anything but a dispel-bot (Heroic Horridon), and fights that made me feel like a superhero (Heroic Tortos). To be honest, I enjoyed healing in this tier more before we got buffed. I liked being able to ignore Mushrooms in 90% of situations because they were awful. The 25-man changes to Hymn/Tranq/Revival/HTT made raid bosses even more of a cooldown-stacking game. Healing was a lot more challenging (and therefore fun) before everyone got buffed and we were allowed to upgrade our gear again.

Mechanics

Good things

  • Having other things to do. Example: Horridon’s pink dinos, Twins’ constellation drawing. I think I’m in the minority when I say I liked the dino mechanic. Mostly I just enjoy having something extra to do during some encounters. Managing healing, dispelling and knocking that dino back felt like a juggling act, which I found interesting.
  • Pick your poison bosses. Example: Megaera, Council, Lei Shen. I like council-type fights that let each raid group choose how they’d like to tackle the fight. On Megaera, you could never kill the Poison head so you wouldn’t have to deal with the AoE damage, but have to deal with increased damage from the other heads. Or you could cycle through killing each head so damage was more uniform. Giving players some control over how the fight works makes things more engaging.
  • Novelty. Example: Tortos’ crystal shells. The addition of this one mechanic made Heroic Tortos completely different than normal, especially from a healing perspective (and made it the only fight where my HoTs weren’t 50%+ overheal). It’s a mechanic I don’t think I’ve ever seen before. Keep the new things coming.
  • Meaningful dispels. Example: Megaera’s Cinders. These dispels required thought and awareness about the position of the person with the debuff. You didn’t want to dispel someone and have a flame patch drop in melee or on a group of people, but you also didn’t want to leave the debuff up so long that it would kill the person it was on. I also liked that this debuff required action on both the part of the dispeller and dispellee.
  • Awareness checks. Example: Durumu. I really like Durumu’s maze. Sometimes it was a pain to see, but it really did test people’s ability to not stand in the bad. I also really liked the Light Spectrum phase. Having the beams targeting random people and the fog positioning showing up briefly really showed who was paying attention.
  • Group challenges. Example: Ji-Kun nests, Lei Shen transition quadrants. I like when the raid gets separated into smaller task forces. It’s fun to learn to work with a sub-set of your raid to accomplish something in a fight.

Things that need to go away

  • Awful trash. Example: Horridon’s bridge trash, Ji’Kun’s trash. Really, why put people through this? I think it took my raid longer to get through Horridon’s bridge trash than it did to kill Horridon for the first time. This is not the way things should work. Since trash very infrequently has rewards, it should not be so much of a pain in the ass.
  • Mechanics where 1 person can blow up your entire raid. Example: Jin’Rokh’s Ionization. Seriously. This isn’t fun. Not for the person who accidentally kills everyone or anyone else. These mechanics are not conducive to happy raids.
  • Mindless, mass debuffs. Example: Horridon. Dispelling can be an interesting job that requires thought and planning (see above). Or, like on Horridon, it can be an annoyance. Having magics, poisons, diseases and curses going out on large amounts of people at quick intervals is not fun. Dispelling like this just seems like busy work.
  • Fights that require spreadsheets to plan a strategy for. Example: Heroic Ji-Kun, Heroic Dark Animus. Seriously, fights like these make me feel bad for 25-man raid leaders everywhere. Complexity can make fights interesting, but when it involves knowing at exactly what second of the fight every nest activates and which of 10 possible places a guardian will spawn, or assigning all 25 raiders a specific place to stand in a room, it gets to be too much.
  • Fussy positioning. Example: Dark Animus. One person stands a step too far to the right or left on the pull and it’s a wipe. Most wipes on this fight happen right at the beginning, almost always due to positioning or an add running away and it’s more frustrating than challenging.
  • Stay x yards apart. Example: Ji’Kun, Primordius, Iron Qon, Twin Consorts, Lei Shen. This isn’t a bad mechanic, it’s just an overused way to challenge the ranged and healers. And it sucks a lot more for 25s than 10s.

What did you think of Tier 15? What were your most and least favourite things about it?

 

6 Responses to Throne of Thunder Retrospective

  1. Pretty much agree with everything you’ve listed! We’re not in heroics, but we’ve found most fights pretty fun and interesting, with the exception of how annoying Animus is. (On 10 half the bots are disabled – for obvious reasons – but their arrangement is random each week. So each week it takes us 5-10 minutes just looking around the room and figuring out how we’re going to position everyone. Very annoying.)

    Durumu’s maze should have been much easier to see, but I enjoy the idea of it. And dispels on Horridon are such an annoyance. I can kind of see the poison door ones, since it creates urgency for the raid to keep those priests locked down, but the other ones that you can’t do anything about? Just annoying. And on 10s, we almost always end up with a heal comp where only one of our healers can dispel a certain type of debuff, so it’s even more aggravating. Nothing like being the only poison dispeller and just gnawing your face off in annoyance waiting for 10 dispel cooldowns.
    Rades recently posted..Minipost: Armory minipet names for fun & laughs

    • Durumu’s maze was especially bad when the instance was first released. It’s better now, although it can still be tough because it never stops moving.

      The curses on Horridon are the worst for my group. I’m often the only resto druid in and we have no resto shaman. So that just leaves me and a handful of dps (some of whom are better at dispels than others) to take care of them. Sometimes I end up dispelling 3/5 in each round of curses and all the dps are yelling for dispels so they can go back to dps, and I’m grumbling about 8 second cooldowns and adding people to my ‘naughty’ list…

  2. I really enjoyed T15. I was able to play every spec of a Paladin throughout the tier (I was main spec Holy at the start of T15 :o ) and in progressive situations, not just farm content, and really enjoyed it. Being Ret currently, there are some fights I just feel completely useless for. Heroic Horridon is a good example. The adds are just awful for a melee with no ability to AoE outside of targeted enemies required to be in melee range. Toss in the pink dino and I’m just crap on that fight. It’s gotten better, or I guess I have, but it’s just stressful as hell to do well on that fight.

  3. My least favourite fight of this tier is Dark Animus. For once, I really wish they didn’t get that creative with mechanics. Either it goes incredibly smoothly or its an unceremonious wipe, and the outcome is usually decided within the first 10 seconds of the fight. That’s never fun for me.
    Saya recently posted..Healing Perspectives: Heroic Jin’rokh the Breaker

  4. For me it was a pretty good tier. Best since WotLK content if you ask me in its design, scope, and size. Each boss felt pretty different from each other, we got some new flavor in abilities, and it was a pretty good size. I think they also gave us the right amount of time to get through what we would, and also not end up with months of rage as our faces planted against those terrible walls some groups find themselves in.

    A lot of my bad points are right with yours though. One person killing the whole raid in a second? Sucks. Overwhelming amounts of trash? Pointless and time consuming. Not to say I don’t like a little trash to break things up, but some nights my team wasted an hour to an hour and a half of our three hour raid night simply clearing trash. Way too much. I also found your spreadsheet boss planning to be spot on. Annoying trying to herd everyone together in excel spreadsheets, call what 10/25 individuals all need to do individually, and hope no one is a centimeter to the left or right to far. To zoomed in and to picky for my tastes.

    At the end of the day I feel it’s weakness was its design concept being built around LFR ease. Felt a lot like the content was built from LFR in mind and then just tuned up from it. All the way from how the wings worked, boss mechanics worked, and general boss to trash flow worked. Most of your long pulls in trash were between wings of LFR for example (minus 1 to 2). I think it also explains the opps the raid is dead problem as well because in LFR it started had to start as nothing, ramped to typical in normal, and then had to become a raid nuke in heroic to hold consistency. Bah, I might just be complaining now but its how I felt about it.