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 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.
- 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?