Friday, September 7, 2012

5 Things I Loved and Hated About Cataclysm - #1 Dungeon Difficulty

5 man dungeon difficulty took a different tack at the beginning of Cataclysm as compared to Wrath that left some people feeling frustrated and angry. Perhaps it was a case of ask and ye shall receive? Or maybe a little throwback to the old days of WoW. Either way it was something that left me feeling unsure about what I really want from a 5 man dungeon in the future.

It's hard, or maybe way too easy, to compare the end of one expansion to the beginning of another and make judgement calls on what feels difficult to do, but that's exactly what we did at the beginning of Cataclysm.

Way back in the day....World of Warcraft was difficult. I hear a lot of folks talking these days about how those of us that have been around for a while are waxing poetic about the old days of vanilla. The talk has been that what we think back then was awesome, we really would not want to return to. Such as all the grind that WoW once was. I think they are very right and very wrong.

So let's stick with the 5 man content for the moment or I'll get all sidetracked.

And let's start with something more relate-able to the current player base then vanilla.

At the end of Wrath dungeons were EASY. Not just kinda easy, but really SUPER easy. I could breeze through a Wrath heroic dungeon in 15 to 20 minutes. No stopping. No CC. In fact, there was quite a lot of 'pull the whole room!' going on.  From what I understand this happened because the gear in Wrath was on overdrive and jumped way too fast. Pretty soon we had outgeared the dungeons in the expansion.
I have tried to remember how difficult the dungeons were when we first started Wrath and honestly I have a hard time recalling them. Either is was so long ago or it was inconsequential. I know they were.
As I wrack my brain I remember wiping on heroic Utgarde Pinnacle forever. All the Halls dungeons in Storm Peaks drove me crazy. You really had to get some of those pulls right or you would have the entire room. Back when you didn't want it. The fire room in Halls of Lightning where you had to run through the room then AoE them all down without dying or pulling the next mob on the stairs. And all the Vrykul statues. Do you remember those? Some of those pulls really sucked. Yet toward the end we were flying through these dungeons like a hot knife. I remember hardly having to think about what was going on. Just AoE, AoE, aoe.....
SEEEEED !!!!!!

It was great watching all those things explode everywhere.

And then...Cataclysm. Wow, boy were we in for a shock.

They were hard. They were long! They required CC. Oh noes!

Mostly they were time consuming. Time that people had not previously allotted for 5 mans. Many ran in thinking it would be the same old song and dance. Pull. Kill. Loot. Move on. We were wrong. Some of us knew it was coming from people in the beta or blue posts telling us what to expect. Yet still we didn't really believe it until we got in, and then all the QQ started. And I laughed. Truly.

The reason I laughed is because I actually enjoyed them. I wanted to put that much time and effort into a dungeon again. I felt that we hadn't seen anything like this since Burning Crusade 5 mans. I remember (see here we go) how much fun I had in BC 5 mans. I think it was mostly because of my guild though. We did guild runs all the time and most of the time had a blast. We also cursed a lot.

I didn't laugh very long. Yes even I got tired of it. Heaven forbid you get Grim Batol, even now it's long and annoying. I enjoyed the dungeons but found I did not enjoy the people. So many expected them to be easy or short. And many expected that everyone would just remember how to trap, sheep or fear. Not the case. After the first initial months Cata 5 mans became full of rage. In fact there was a time where I just didn't want to do them. It was either too time consuming or too frustrating to waste my time on.

What would I like to see in 5 mans? The last group of dungeons (Hour of Twilight) seem spot on for me. 3-5 bosses with different mechanics. Small groups of mobs. I would enjoy something once in a while that requires thought but not every mob. Something with CC and pull tactics. I think 30-45 minutes is good. I think 20 is too short. I want to wipe once in a while. I want it to be difficult. I want it to be challenging, but not all the time, and not every pull. I want to have to think about it but not so much my brain hurts by the end of it where it makes me feel like I'm glad it's over.

I also wonder if what I'm asking for is not possible. With the gear ever moving upwards is this something that we should come to expect from our expansion dungeons? It starts off challenging and then at some point it becomes really easy?
Perhaps with the challenge modes coming out and the gear normalization they come with, we will actually have a dungeon that will keep our attention throughout the entire expansion. Where we don't whine it's too hard or whine it's too easy. No, that would be too much to ask for lol. We will always find something to whine about. That is the one thing I'm sure of.

So that's it. That's my top 5. Originally I started with 5 I loved and 5 I hated but found that they were pretty much the same things.

As we move into the new frontier of Pandaria what is your favorite or least favorite thing from Cataclysm?

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