Cataclysm Post-Mortem: Raids Part 3

Part of my on-going series to evaluate Cataclysm as an expansion, and my final piece on the raids of the expansion, this article I’ll be looking at Tier 13 – Dragon Soul. This raid was what the entire expansion had been building to, was the first raid for the new LFR system, and promised new and epic encounters the likes of which we’d never seen before. Could it possibly live up to the hype?

Dragon Soul

After the less than brilliantly received Firelands, Dragon Soul had a lot to achieve, but didn’t really manage it. First off, Blizzard made the exact same mistake here as in Firelands by putting a small number of bosses in. While I’m pretty sure this was due to time constraints, and the massive amount of work required for spine and madness of Deathwing, it came across as a cheaply made raid, with the first 6 bosses merely filler until you could reach Deathwing. There was nothing wrong going back to Wyrmrest Temple, as from a lore persepctive it made sense for the raid to take place there. However, we were sent in and around Wyrmrest but kept finding reused locations with bosses we’d seen before.

It was OK for ICC to have 2 bosses that shared the same model and the same room because 1. it was 2 bosses of 12, 2. the model and room were newly designed and 3. it made perfect sense in the context of the lore. Having Zon’Ozz and Yor’Sahj use the same room and reused models when it was the perfect opportunity to do something new just felt lazy, and because of that the bosses felt dull, regardless of how interesting the mechanics were.

What the raid did do reasonably well, however, was weave story into the raid. In most raids, the only story is a couple lines of dialogue mixed with you killing bosses, but the whole raid actually did feel like an on-going story, which was impressive. It did have the annoying side effect of making Thrall the hero rather than us, and making some of the longer dialogue sequences get old pretty quick (though generally not as bad as the 1 minute wait before pulling LK in ICC), and while the cinematics were a cool addition, putting one at the start of the hardest encounter in the instance was just idiotic. It’d be fine if you either couldn’t skip it, or skipping it gave no advantage, but if you watched it you came into the fight several seconds after every one else. The raid overall did feel like the story of Deathwing’s demise though, and for that it should be applauded.

The addition of LFR was also a big part of this raid. While the system itself was a huge success, there were certainly things that should have been done slightly differently, like barring the end bosses for a few weeks after the release of the patch. This would have given casual players plenty of bosses to play around with, whilst keeping the epic ‘final boss’ feeling for normal/heroic mode raiders that little bit longer, which I think would have made a lot of difference. As it was, almost all raiders had seen Deathwing die in LFR long before they killed it on normal or heroic, and so the thrill of the kill was lessened. Barring the content is just a good idea in general, and would have kept casual players anxious for more bosses to sink their teeth into. Having LFR on a sperate lockout was a good idea, but there needed to be something in place that meant that normal/heroic mode raiders didn’t have to do it every week as long as they were doing it on normal/heroic mode, because it just led to burnout that much faster, which wasn’t good when the raid already had a lot of reused models and locations anyway.

That’s everything I’ve got to say as a whole. As far as individual bosses go:

Morchok – meh. I’m fine with a raid starting with an easy, mediocre boss, but that does mean I have literally nothing to say about the fight. It was just OK, and that’s not really a good thing in an 8 boss raid, witha reused model and fighting area.

Warlord Zon’Ozz – Probably my least favourite fight in the instance, just because it’s dull mechanically and visually. I remember the first time I walked down through the broken glass to reach General Veezax in Ulduar; how epic I thought it as, how cool and imposing I thought he looked. With zon’ozz, I remember falling into the room and going ‘oh, it’s this room, and oh, it’s that model’. It was the definition of mediocre, and the fight itself, especially on normal/raid finder mode, is just incredibly dull. Stand in the right place, DPS/heal, move, move back, DPS/heal and repeat.

Yor’sahj the Unsleeping – visually just as terrible as zon’ozz but at least the mechanics here were more interesting. The different colour combinations made the fight different every time, and actually meant you moved around the room a bit. That said, I hate the trash for this fight. Too much of it, especially on raid finder, and it doesn’t do anything.

Hagara the Stormbinder – easily the best fight in the instance, despite the reused model and location. The repeating phase change broke the fight into interesting different parts to learn, and were generally well done, especially on heroic. The lightening phase could be a bit buggy, but was something different at least, and the ice phase was a nice test of player ability. The fact that I can look back on this fight with reasonable fondness despite having TWO heart-crushing 0.1% wipes should show that it was a fun fight to do.

Ultraxion – Nothing wrong with a Patchwerk fight every now and then, and the extra mechanics keep it interesting enough, but there’s not really much to say about this fight other than ‘nothing new’. Oh, and it has the worst trash in the history of ever. Seriously.

Warmaster Blackhorn – Certainly a lot more interesting than a lot of the fight in the instance, but very punishing to melee DPS and for that I can’t really say I enjoy it. Mechanics aren’t bad though, and link into each other nicely so that with good DPS comes less stuff to have to move out of, and being good at moving around a lot means you require less DPS.

Spine of Deathwing – The main resource hog of this raid, and in the end it wasn’t really worth it. The first time you do the encounter, it is kind of cool, but after a few seconds you forget you’re on Deathwing’s back, and you only ever notice it again if you purposefully tilt your camera up during a spin. Otherwise, it’s just a fight that has decent mechanics but is fairly repetitive, and certainly isn’t anything like LK or Yogg that I’ll look back on with good memories.

Madness of Deathwing – Pretty terrible really. The idea itself is cool, but the reality is that you just feel like you’re fighting a small part of Deathwing’s body, while he thrases away in the distance not really doing much for some reason. I mean, if he’s got enough tentacles for each platform, why not use all of them on us at once and wipe us out? Having different buffs up at different times was a nice idea, but once again Blizzard fell into the trap of making the hard part at the end, so that a group has to sit through 10 minutes of boredom to reach the difficult bit. What’s even worse here is that you have to the exact same thing 4 times in a row, which in something like LFR that has no real challenge in it is just coma-inducing. Other than the very last phase, it doesn’t feel like we’re fighting Deathwing, and the fight, along with the accompanying cinematic, was a poor end to a pretty poor expansion.

OK that’s it, I’m so sick of Dragon Soul at this point that even talking 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 comment if you feel so inclined.

/end rant

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One Response to “Cataclysm Post-Mortem: Raids Part 3”

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

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