When “Hard Fun” Becomes “Too Hard”

December 30, 2010 - 11:38 am 1 Comment

Let’s be honest, World of Warcraft holds the grand stigma of being just a touch more difficult than Hello Kitty World. Outside of raiding, this was fairly true. WoW is a very easy game. One can easily solo from level 1 to 85 in a matter of a week or two, depending on the time committed. Cataclysm has brought about a huge shift in that mentality. Cataclysm heroics have become healer nightmares that have many players asking themselves “when does this game start being fun again?”

The truth is, Cataclysm heroics are nothing like the Wrath heroics we have come to know and love. Part of this is because we simply need time to get to know Cata dungeons. Knowing what is coming at us and how to handle it is a huge part of making things “easy fun.” Part of the difficulty is in the lack of gearing. By the end of wrath, most of us were cruising around in a full set of epic gears; smashing through dungeons in raid-quality gear is like facing a terrorist militia in an Iron Man suit. Read after the cut to find out the biggest reason why Cataclysm heroics are so much more difficult than what we are used to.While knowledge and player strength is far below the par we are used to from Wrath, Cataclysm dungeons are simply designed more like raids then ever before. For the most part, the most difficult encounters in Wrath dungeons consisted of forcing players to know when to stop attacking throughout the fight and when to hide behind things to avoid damage. Cata brings many raid tactics to dungeon bosses that increase the learning curve, especially for casual players, exponentially. Players who did not raid in Wrath will face extremely tough times if they do not adapt to the mechanics quickly.

In general, most heroics are less about watching the Recount damage meter than they are about watching the Omen threat meter. Many encounters require a keen eye on the enemy’s spellcasting, as interrupting certain spells has become “win or lose” with some bosses. Overall, the current state of dungeoning leaves little margin of error for players. A wipe is almost certain should someone miss an interrupt or not move when required. Standing there to “finish the cast” will likely get you killed or at the very least force the healer off the tank, resulting in killing the tank. “Don’t stand in fire” doesn’t cut it – don’t stand in anything and when you have to move, move fast!

Cataclysm dungeons are paced by the healers, unlike the tank grab and smash of the Wrath days. The group can only move as fast as the healer recovers mana. The success and speed at which the dungeon progresses is squarely on the shoulders of the dps in the group, however. The healer can only heal so much and the tank can only tank so much. That’s what they do. The dps players have a much more varied job. Crowd control is very important, and not breaking that crowd control is even more important. Avoiding damage and self-healing is equally important, especially in long boss encounters. Use those bandages, lock candies, potions, or whatever else you have that can heal you. Better yet, just don’t get hurt. Stay out of the damaging mechanics of the fight. Some fights have unavoidable damage group damage, of course, and it’s on the healer to watch that. Anything else is on the dps – if you stand in fire, void zones, impact zones, or pull agro and you don’t get a heal – that’s on you, not the healer.

Over time, as players get better geared and learn to play, these dungeons will get easier. Even so, the basic mechanics of some of these Cataclysm boss fights are simply so complex and difficult to manage, they will never really be “easy.” Are some of them overtuned to the point of being too hard to be fun. Probably (Grim Batol has a couple nightmare-mode bosses). Some are probably too easy (the first boss in Blackrock Caverns comes to mind). Where fun ends and difficulty begins is entirely subjective, but Cataclysm certainly has it’s good and bad moments in these new heroic dungeons.

A good guild group that has a decently well geared healer and tank, using voice chat to coordinate will generally do fine in most encounters. Even then, some will still give the group a challenge and even the occasional defeat. This fact alone bodes very badly for pugs. Cataclysm heroics are in no way, shape, or form tuned with the random pug system in mind. My suggestion: get in a guild, find some friends, and run dungeons together. The random dungeon finder should have a pop-up warning:

“Danger: random dungeon groups have been known to cause ulcers, panic attacks, depression, self-mutilation, broken input devices, nausea, night terrors, and complete and epic failure. Use at your own risk!”

One Response to “When “Hard Fun” Becomes “Too Hard””

  1. Fuarghan Says:

    Pugs Cause the Cancer …. or so I’m told either way a very informative post mate ;)


Leave a Reply

Before you submit form:
Human test by Not Captcha