Friday, January 23, 2009

Un-Heroic Dungeons

There’s a lot of talk about how Raiding is “easy” in Wrath and as I wrote previously, I think the main cause of that impression is that people are generally more experienced with 25-man content they have already done in 10-man.

However, what’s been really bugging me is that Heroic Dungeons are anything but Heroic.

No Crowd Control Needed
Unlike Burning Crusade where most Heroics required one or two mobs to be CC’d on most pulls, crowd control is a rarity in the current Heroics. In fact, in the last 10 or 12 runs I have made, I think crowd control was only every used one time during one pull out of all dozen or so runs.

Tanks and Healers just don’t need the crowd control anymore. In fact, a single Tank seemingly has no problem keeping aggro on more than a dozen mobs and most Healers have no trouble keeping a single target up against that many mobs.

Wrath of the AoE Spam
Everyone spams AoE during trash pulls. The Tank spams his AoE aggro, the DPS spam the big AoE damage spells like Blizzard and Rain of Fire. But mass chaos doesn’t ensue – the mobs all just die.

A great example of this is the Gauntlet run in Heroic Utgarde Pinnacle. The encounter is intended for you to fight your way through groups of 2-4 mobs until you reach the end and can harpoon the boss. However, one of the more popular strategies is to get an early run and fight ALL the mobs from the very start right next to the harpoon. The tank picks up maybe 16 mobs and then the whole group just gets AoE’d down.

And you see the same thing on the smaller 4 and 5 mob pulls. And you see the same thing in Raids during trash pulls.

Where’s the Skill?
I think what really bothers me about this trend is that whatever skill was actually required to play the game has dropped even more significantly. This game has always had a “gear > skill” equation, but with all the changes in Wrath, whatever “skill” was needed is almost non-existant.

Consider this: Is any Heroic dungeon in Wrath as difficult as Heroic Magister’s Terrace? Or Heroic Mana Tombs? Even the easiest of the Burning Crusade Heroics, the Slave Pens, could use a bit of Crowd Control.

It’s a bit ironic actually. One of the Wrath changes I was most excited about on my Rogue were the changes to Sap that allowed it to work on mobs other than Humanoids.

Woot!, I thought. A “real” CC that will actually be almost as useful as Polymorph. Of course, it turns out that its actually less useful because it’s not needed. The net effect is that, in PvP, Druids can now be sapped in Cat Form. That’s the only advantage to the new Sap.

But why?
Perhaps it was intentional. The new class, the Death Knight, has no CC effect to speak of and giving them one would have severely imbalanced PvP.

And yet, Blizzard must have known that the DK population would be so large that those players would want to do instance runs. Particularly between levels 58-70 where they might outnumber other classes pretty significantly.

Traditionally, DPS classes with no form of Crowd Control had difficulty gaining entry to groups. Ask any Fury Warrior, Ret Paladin, Enhancement/Elemental Shaman how easy it was for the to find a PuG in Burning Crusade. Certainly compared to a classes like a Mage, Hunter or even Warlock/Rogue they were not nearly as desirable.

Alternately, it’s possible, perhaps even likely, that Blizzard didn’t realize that people would stop using CC effects in instances. The lack of foresight they have historically shown certainly leads me to believe that this might be the likely reason for the net effect.

It’s what comes of listening to people whine on forums. Tanks have been complaining and asking for better AoE threat for years. Well, now they have it.


rulez said...

Screw crowd control, on raids at least.

I raided in TBC with my mage and all the jerks constantly slaughering mah poor sheep "accidently" drove me nuts. It wasn't that people did not know better, but as its fairly easy to just resheep unless the mob that breaks free insta gibs the mage, people were more concerned about their freaking numbers on the bloody dps meters than to dps with care.
Sorry for the rant :P

Marz said...

Good point...

We had a pally CC a mob in the bigger groups of certain heroics, but only in the beginning when we were still collecting gear and wiping a few times.

Now that the heroics are trivial, we don't bother - gather it all up, and aoe to death :P