Cataclysm Post-Mortem: Raids

With a lot of news coming out recently that seems to suggest that MoP is coming out sooner rather than later, I figured now would be a good time to look over Cataclysm in detail, to see what was good and what failed miserably. Admittedly, while I haven’t been a big fan of this expansion and a lot of things didn’t quite go to plan, there were still a lot of positives to be seen over the past two years, and I feel its important to take on board what worked just as much as its important to avoid what didn’t.

With that said, there’s absolutely no way I’m going to be able to fit everything I want to talk about into one post, and so I’ll be bringing you a series of posts over the next few weeks that will group together certain areas of the expansion, and analyse the highs and lows. To begin with I’ll be looking at raid content, starting this week with Tier 11.

Blackwing Descent

I enjoyed all of the bosses here except Nefarian, and while I think the whole place could have been tuned a little easier on normal, generally speaking it was a well made raid with interesting boss encounters and a good layout. The trash was small in number but still present, so that raids had a bit of cooldown time between bosses, and also got to see some of the mechanics they were about to face. Visual wise, the place looked pretty good despite just being the same dark iron dwarf architecture we’ve seen since vanilla, and the raid gave off the right vibes as Nefarians labratory. As for the individual bosses:

Magmaw – nothing stunning, but a decent introductory fight. The mechanic for spawning the worms was a little irritating, but other than that the fight had a good mix of raid awareness phases and dps check phases.

Omnitron Defence System – a very interesting, well made fight that suffered simply due to being one of the first bosses in the raid. For experienced raiders, this fight was a nice challenge that was never the same twice, but for newcomers it was an absolute mess that was too hard to decipher. The fight certainly should have appeared later in the instance (probably switching with Maloriak).

Maloriak – I’ve heard on heroic this fight left a lot to be desired, but as I’ve only seen it on normal, all I can say is that it was an interesting fight with just one or two mistakes. The main problem was having a mechanic to only interrupt a certain spell a certain amount of times, whilst also having a spell that needed to be interrupted immediately. Either of these would have been fine, but both together was unnecessary.

Chimaeron – Possibly the best boss in the instance, once tactics for this were realized fully. The healing mechanics in this fight were different and very fun, to the point where they changed how all 3 roles had to play. Not so much that it was a pain, but just enough to be more interesting than the average fight. Tanking the fight as fury was probably one of my highlights this expansion in terms of pure fun, and the mad dash to kill him before he killed everyone in your raid at 20% is a great mechanic that I hope we see again.

Atramedes – If Chim wasn’t the best boss in the instance, Atramedes was. The sound mechanic made the fight interesting for everyone, as something new to look out for, and the soft enrage being tied to it made things fun throughout, as you had to decide when to hit gongs, which forced people to take risks or be cautious and risk wiping later. Also, any fight that means I can make the most of my mobility as a warrior is good in my books.

Nefarian – Nef had a lot of interesting mechanics that could have made the fight really fun (the damage spikes at health intervals, for one), but certain other aspects let it down and I ended up really hating the fight. First off, phase one simply had too much going on at once, and the demand of having 2 mobs tanked as far away from each other as possible meant that we repeatedly wiped simply because people taking damage didn’t have healers in range. This was made worse by asking a DPS to kite adds, demanding a level of movement that forced them out of range of healers. Phase 2 was largely a good idea, but was let down by the irritating mechanic of having to jump out of the lava onto the platforms. Wiping because somone just couldn’t manage to get up in time was beyond irritating. Lastly, the phase 3 mechanic meant that everyone just stood and did their rotations except for the offtank, who had a needlessly complicated task. To this day, I still don’t understand what the offtank does in phase 3, and it made the fight end in chaos, which is extremely problematic when your raid would only get to phase 3 every so often because of RNG in the first two phases. And all that was just on normal. Sheesh.

Bastion of Twilight

Overall a decent instance. Not quite as fun as BWD, but it still had a lot going for it. Considering it was based on a relatively new architecture design, the instance was ironically less visually appealing than BWD, and I feel like it was made slightly too big considering it had 2 less bosses than BWD, but was about twice the size. BoT was also problematic in that it had far too much trash, and the trash it had involved difficult pulls. You either have a small amount of trash that’s semi-difficult, or a lot of easy trash, not both. The trash before Halfus (two packs of 6 mobs that patrolled on top of each other, so that cc was necessary but extremely difficult without pulling both packs) and the trash before the council (a pain in the ass mechanic, and far too much of it) stood out as the worst. As far as the bosses themselves:

Halfus Wyrmbreaker – another introductory fight that probably should have been a little easier. It’s not that it was overtuned, but the fact that every week meant different tactics was a problem for new raiders. I remember that even with our experience we spent a whole night of progress on him after we’d already killed him several times, as he had an akward combination of drakes active. Other than that though, the mechanic was interesting, and at least made it so that if you wiped, you did so early and didn’t have to fight for 3-4 minutes before getting hit by RNG.

Valiona and Theralion – a very solid fight. Having it split into two distinct phases that repeated meant that progression was made in the first few minutes of the fight, and the mechanics themselves were fun and involved. It also allowed better players to shine by making it so that better DPSers could time things to attack both drakes at times, and better healers could play with when they healed and when they didn’t with the debuff.

Ascendent Council – overall another good fight. Being punished for not getting the bosses health down equally could be annoying, but was a good challenge that demanded control from the DPS. Phase 3 was well designed, but phase 2 could be a little frustrating, especially for melee, to get the correct debuff and get away from everyone at times, as DPS could be non-existant if you were unlucky.

Cho’Gall – I don’t particularly have fond memories of this fight, but I think that’s mostly because of how much we wiped to it before we got a kill. What’s more, I remember not being able to go back and kill it again because we never had the right raid setup, so its just a fight I remember as being very brutal, and possibly overtuned (we are talking about normal mode, remember). That said, it was a worthy end-of-raid boss that provided a real challenge, and the corrupted blood mechanic was interesting, as it punished you in phase 3 if you didn’t do well earlier. I won’t bother talking about Sinestra, as I’ve never seen the fight personally, but generally speaking I’m OK with heroic only fights. It would have been nice, however, if the tier with a heroic only boss had a growing buff like ICC and DS so that people could eventually see it (but never in raid finder, of course).

Throne of the Four Winds

A visually gorgeous instance that had 2 very well designed fights, but failed miserably in other parts. First off, having the best looking raid of the tier only have 2 bosses (one of which was very difficult) was a waste of resources. Secondly, the bosses having randomized (and therefore worthless) loot meant that there was no need to ever come here except for the sake of progression. The lack of trash here was fine, as the instance was so small, and the layout of having the first boss encounter spread around the second was pretty cool. As for bosses:

Conclave of Wind – My favourite fight of the whole tier (and thinking about it, possibly the whole expansion). Having to split your raid team up into small groups was something new and interesting (especially for a 10 man), and having to fly through the air at certain intervals to reach other bosses was very cool. The tactics were relatively simple, although they could be hard to explain to other people, and so what followed was a series of me telling people to do things and to just not ask questions. It made my life as a raid leader simpler at the very least. I really hope we see another fight like this one, because I think it was very underrated. I wish it had been in a bigger profile raid, so that a lot more people had seen it. That said, I can think of absolutely no way of making it simple for a raid finder version, so i won’t get my hopes up on seeing something similar any time soon.

Al’Akir – I remember very little about this fight, as I only attempted it a few times and only killed it once. However, I do remember the hardest phase was at the start (yay) but that phase 3 required movement in three dimensions (boo). It was a fight with some cool mechanics, but ended up a bit of a mess throughout as it threw people out of their element (lol puns) and was a little too RNG heavy.

Ok, that’s it for now. Apologies for the long post, but I didn’t particularly want to split up these posts anymore than I already have, or I’ll still be writing them half way through MoP. Thanks for reading, and remember you can subscribe or follow me on twitter @heroicrant to find out about new posts. Next week: Firelands.

/end rant

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2 Responses to “Cataclysm Post-Mortem: Raids”

  1. […] about it is getting boring. If you haven’t already read them, check out my articles on Tier 11 and Firelands. Remember to subscribe or follow me on twitter @heroicrant for updates, and leave a […]

  2. […] Rant Rants about games, films and the world in general « Cataclysm Post-Mortem: Raids Cataclysm Post-Mortem: Raids Part 3 […]

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