Initial Impressions of the Irked

Before I start, I want to be clear that I’ve been around the WoW block a few times. I’ve been playing World of Warcraft for over five years. I have lived through Burning Crusade and Wrath and a good deal of Vanilla. I have been a beta tester for both Wrath of the Lich King and Cataclysm. I’ve been “that scrub” in T0 gear and, on the flip side, I’ve gotten my ICC 25m drake.

With the exception of Real ID and the proposed use of real names on the forums and such, I have really never been so disappointed with the state of the game. And Real ID has very little to do with the game; that’s an aspect of the WoW community.

This time, I am disappointed with the game content and the game mechanics. I’m not talking about the kinds of mechanics like how Aspect of the Fox lets hunters use Cobra Shot or Steady Shot while moving. I’m talking about how some parts of the game actually work.

1) The Level Cap

On Kurn, I am currently, as I write this, level 84 and 34%. Or, about 7 bars in to level 84, judging by the standard UI. I have played quite a bit in the last couple of days, although I have slept and ate and done a variety of other things normal human beings do.

Am I pushing myself to level? Yes.

I’m on pace with how I normally do in an expansion. The first day or so after launch, I’m 2 or 3 levels into the new cap. The same thing happened this time around. Only this time, I was more than halfway through the available levels. Never mind that 84-85 consists of more than 9 million experience (it does!) – numerically, I felt like I was more than halfway there. That means that the last couple of levels — most of 83 and ALL of 84 — are going to drag. And 84 is definitely dragging. 9.1 million experience is daunting after what, 5 or 6 million? Not like 77-80 didn’t drag, not like 67-70 didn’t drag and not like 57-60 didn’t drag. But it’s going to feel even worse because the drag is compacted into two levels instead of three, and 84 is going to be hell.

Not only that, but I’m replacing gear at an alarming rate on Kurn. Not just the 251-264 mix I had going in, but the new gear. I’ve been through three bows in the last two days.  Three chest pieces. Two helms. Three pairs of bracers.

What on earth is this? I know that the gear has to scale higher and faster than it ever has before, but it feels like I get one item and I’m proud and pleased and then two hours later, it’s replaced. I’d kind of like the chance to hold on to a piece of gear for a week or so before I upgrade it, you know?

2) Guild Achievements/Experience/Reputation

Guild Achievements do not add to Guild Experience. Guild Experience has a cap per day (which supposedly increases the higher level your guild is?). Guild Reputation has a WEEKLY cap.

Let us discuss this.

a) Guild Achievements do not add to Guild Experience, which means that Guild Achievements (like most personal achievements) are basically useless. Have you looked at some of these achievements? If we’re not going to get something out of it, why do it? That’s not really my own perspective; I’m happy to do crazy things for no reward but the thrill. But let’s be serious.

You Don’t Have an Eternity – Guild Edition – 6-minute Malygos. The Eye of the Eternity is, hands-down, the T7 raid instance people hated. Naxx was long, but had a ton of bosses. Obsidian Sanctum was short, but could be easy or challenging.  Malygos? Boring and a vehicle fight, in part. Who in their right mind would go back with some guildies to get this achievement as a guild? (Okay, yes, some people liked it, but my experience says most did not.) It isn’t even your own achievement, so if the guild disbands, you have nothing but your memories.

Where is the motivation if it doesn’t help you get to the next guild level? If I can’t sell these things as something that actively benefits the guild an helps the guild level, what’s the point?

These were shown to us on beta as being part of the guild levelling experience. I know, I know. It was beta. Things change. If I’d known they’d remove guild achievement experience, I would had given feedback for XP to be returned.

b) Guild Experience is capped at a ridiculous amount. Well, ridiculous for me and my guild. Your mileage may vary. I think it was two hours into the launch day when we capped out for the day. It was 3 hours into Day 2 when we were capped out for that day. I understand that they don’t want to discriminate against smaller, less active guilds, but these are guild levels and guild rewards. Shouldn’t the bigger ones and more active ones at least have an advantage there because it IS very difficult to herd a lot of people? I can see the argument both ways, but MAN, it’s ridiculous to spend more than 20 hours a day doing things that ought to count towards guild experience and be limited by a cap.

c) Guild Reputation is currently capped at a weekly limit. Now I admit, I see the point here. If you can grind to exalted with your guild in no time, then there’s no real disincentive to leave your guild. All these guild rewards are supposed to prevent you from guild hopping. I get that.

But, for the love of pete, could they PLEASE give us a standard amount? Some people in my guild are capped for the week at 896 into Friendly. I’m at 2656. Someone else is 4000+ into Friendly. What are these random numbers? Help us understand, Blizzard. We don’t get it and it’s not overly obvious.

Further, many achievements don’t count until people are at a certain rep with the guild. So Tia and her eleventy-one exalted reps won’t count for United Nations until she reaches that cap. My 525 Skinning won’t count for Working as a Team until I’m honored with my own guild. (That said, I think the GM should automatically be exalted. :P Okay, not really, but that’s irksome.)

So having a weekly cap — not just a daily cap, but a weekly cap — on guild rep is just obnoxious. I’d rather not have guild rep at all, to be honest.

3) Swing, Batter, Batter, Batter, Suh-wing!

The nerf bat has been swung and it has completely trivialized things like normal Blackrock Caverns and Throne of the Tides. Stonecore is super easy compared to the various iterations I’ve seen and while the stars and final boss in Vortex Pinnacle were tricky (we ended up zerging the first set of stars, it was hilarious), these mechanics were overcome pretty quickly.

Seriously, no need for CC in BRC or TotT. You can still charge in, pull everything and AOE it all down. Ridiculous. Ludicrous. I am SO unimpressed. I’ve only used CC so far in Vortex Pinnacle on 5-pulls where there are a couple of healers and that’s … boring, really. I’m actually fairly unhappy with the dungeon situation. This leads me to believe that one of two things will happen.

a) These facerollingly easy dungeons lead to facerollingly easy heroics, leading to more disappointment from me. I believe this is where we’re going to end up. Some of my guildies who are 85 are LFGing heroic dungeons and are having moderate success.

b) These facerollingly easy dungeons lead to brutal heroics, leading to everyone in the world sobbing about how Blizzard sucks, at which point they will almost certainly be nerfed.

I’m of the mind that not every dungeon has to be like heroic Shadow Labyrinth or heroic Shattered Halls or heroic Arcatraz or heroic Halls of Reflection. Similarly, I’m of the mind that dungeons don’t need to be as easy as regular Violet Hold.

What I’d like:

– Normal dungeons about the same level of difficulty as heroic Forge of Souls. Basically straight-forward, a couple of tricky pulls, but something you can whip through when you know the fights.

– Heroic dungeons at about a level of difficult just a notch above of heroic Halls of Reflection — without any of the exploits. No standing around the corner in the alcoves, no running BEHIND the Lich King on the path. You know — how it was intended to be run.

Honestly, I thought we were going to get this. I spent enough time on Beta to know that instances were no longer trivial.

And yet now, they are.

What gives? What is up with that?

These are all reasons I am disappointed. These are all reasons I’m not thrilled.

I do like some stuff. I still love Uldum. I still love professions, even if I was only at 475 when someone on our realm got realm first 525 skinning.

I love that my guild officers are banding together and farming our asses off to help the guild by maxing our professions. This isn’t something we’re requiring of the guild, although they should feel free to help out, but the officers are doing everything they can for each other’s professions so that the guildies don’t get ruined at the AH. We’re dropping in all our greens (crafted or looted) for our guild enchanter. Blues are being sold for right now while they’re going for insane amounts of cash. All ore any officer mines goes to the bank — Fog, our JC, is through Obsidium and on to Elementium. Our BS is just about done with Obsidium and will move on to Elementium and we’ll move Fog back to Obsidium. All cloth is being dropped into the bank for Majik, our tailor. Toga maxed out Alchemy with a bit of help, but mostly on his own and then farmed a crapton of herbs for Maj and Inscription. I’m using guild-acquired Volatiles for my LW (509!) and basically, things are going swimmingly!

We also have some people helping us out with dropping in greens and stuff and trading gems and the like. I’m really, REALLY pleased with the level of cooperation and lack of selfishness displayed by the officers and the guild in general.

So I’m disappointed with a few things. I won’t quit or anything, but I’m not thrilled with a few aspects. We’ll see how things change. That’s really the beauty of a game like WoW — nothing is forever. And in this case, I hope that’s applicable.

14 Replies to “Initial Impressions of the Irked”

  1. I disagree with some of your points, but specifically, your line about H HOR that standing in the alcoves is not how it was designed to be run. Using LOS is one of the tools a good tank will use, and Blizzard helps that by adding places where you can LOS. When I paladin tanked in HOR, I could probably have done it without using LOS. My husband’s bear – he is a far better tank than I am – almost certainly couldn’t because the bear doesn’t have the tools to silence or range-pull casters. So if he was off across the room stopping a mage, I’d have been ganked by the two mercenaries that shadow-stepped to me…

    Having not looked at any information on BRC or Throne of Tides, I found them a pleasant challenge if not really hard. Of course I’m decked out in 266+ gear. Even so the tank got one-shot on one trash pack, we lost people, and this was with a group of guildies that moved out of the fire.

    My guess is that you find these easy now in part because you did them on the PTR. I would not call them a “faceroll”, at least not yet. Running them with pugs would be a nightmare. My main (resto druid) found them a bit tricky, to the point where some fights would come close to draining my mana. I am also annoyed that the nonsense I read before the expansion about “you don’t have to keep people healed to 100% all the time” seems to bet he lie I expected it to be. Every time I let someone sit at 80%, something would happen and they’d die.

  2. The issue with Guild achievements not give xp anymore…I more or less am neural about that. I can see see what they may have done it and why it sucks. (I have never been about collecting AP).

    guild rep – hmmm. honestly lol i didnt really notice how quickly it had capped out. No real comment on this here.

    Lvling does seem like a pain….I like the spread out nature of 70-80. Putting it into a 5 lvl span….argh makes my eyes want to bleed.

    My real disappointment is the regular mode dungeons….I know the 1st one Blackrock Caverns was designed as the entry lvl one….I havent been myself, but heard it is /faceroll. Stonecore – was kinda easy? Reading beta players experiences that even the normal versions were gonna be tough. Hopefully heroics will change them all.

    Other then that having a lot of fun in cata. I am so digging the multiple skill points on making certain items.

  3. @ Analogue: I certainly don’t mean to bogart a response meant for Kurn, written on Kurn’s blog, but I do have a response to one of your statements.

    I agree that LOS is a tool that a good tank can use, but I disagree that the entire instance needed to be done by using that. If you happen to be a tank that does not have the means to silence casters or have difficulties with things like that, then yes a temporary pull behind a wall to lure them to you is perfectly reasonable.

    Doing an entire instance behind a wall and in said alcove, melee mobs and all seems a bit excessive. For example, look at ICC and the opening trash mobs. There are certain packs that required LOS to get to you and others that did not. Could you have cleared every pack by using LOS? Absolutely. Did you need to? Probably not. There is a fine line between using a mechanic to get through a difficult situation and using a mechanic just to use a mechanic.

    In terms of healing strategies and how much people need to be healed, I think the appropriate wording should be: “you should not have to keep people healed to 100% all the time.” Unless that person is a tank, there is no reason they should require such intense healing, unless they’re standing in something they aren’t supposed to, not having something cleansed that should be, pulled aggro when they shouldn’t have, etc. I hate to be the one to say it, but it’s true.

    And if said person is going to continue to do such things, you can only do so much to stop that. That becomes a “them” thing, as opposed to a “you” thing. Regarding the feeling of mana going down too fast, the only times I have been that depleted of mana is if I really had to go all out with the heals (i.e. we pulled another group by accident). Otherwise, if we are pulling intelligently and communicating and people are doing their jobs, I have found the mana managing to be very reasonable and not too difficult to deal with.

    This could fall back to the quality of the group you are in. If you’re having to pour that much healing into your group, perhaps they are doing things that could be causing you to work much harder than you need to. Don’t get me wrong – healing should come with some amount of work. Too much work and we go right back to the old “them” thing, as opposed to “you” thing.

    Regarding Kurn’s feelings, I agree wholeheartedly. Things are way too easy. I purposely stayed out of the Beta past a certain point, because I didn’t have the stomach to deal with the PuG groups and the lack of coordination that I was seeing. To see my guildies race to 85, immediately being Heroics and seemingly go through those too with not much effort expended really saddens me. It saddens me so much that I find myself even struggling to be happy for them, when they receive those kinds of achievements and accolades.

  4. I personally haven’t been in any dungeons yet, and I can’t comment on the experience at the start of Wrath since as of last September I was level 10. With that said I don’t feel like the concerns here are altogether that huge or gamebreaking.

    For entry level dungeons (for that’s all I see them as now..dungeons for gearing up) should they really be all that tough? If you were using the dungeon finder (as I am almost forced to do) do you think you would roll through with the same ease? Perhaps, or perhaps not. As I mentioned I’m really not sure myself.

    I’m of the opinion that its too early to be upset about an expansion that will surely be expanded upon in the nearish future.

  5. I’ve only done the first 3 dungeons so far and the first 2 wee easy except when people stood in bad and/or pulled more then one trash pack. stonecore – first trash pack, I found myself at 50% mana when it was done, reevaluated my spell usage and ended up being bored out of my mind with my mana barely moving and entire group topped off most of the time – I believe spell costs are just wrong when the so-called decision making comes down to basically casting or not casting. I feel like I’m being forced into telluric currents (I play a shaman) just so that I don’t fall asleep in instances and have something to do between moments of terror that happened once in a while.

    Guild reputation cap wouldn’t be as bad if you didn’t get the message that you’re capped after every freaking thing that you do. :/

  6. P.S. gearscore requirements to do further instances are ridiculous. they are forcing me to replace better itemized,enchanted (so I actually get more stats from it) gear with greens just so I could get into an instance via dungeon finder?

    I’m lvl 84 and I haven’t been able to random anything but the first 3 instances because my damn gearscore is too low :/

  7. Analogue – As Oestrus said, using line of sight to pull casters towards you is a great technique. What is less great about the “let’s all huddle up in the left alcove” method of Heroic Halls of Reflection is that all it really lets you do is AOE the crap out of everything.

    I am so tired of people AOEing everything. Especially because it’s just not necessary in places like H HoR. There is no way in hell the designers INTENDED for the entire group to stand in an alcove because it’s so very easily doable by standing in the middle of the room.

    I refer you to my (now out-dated, but up until 2 months ago very valid) post: Kurn’s Guide on How to Successfully Clear Heroic Halls of Reflection Without Being Lame and Cheap.

    As to BRC and TotT, if you’re not pulling excess mobs, I don’t really know what to tell you about your tank being one-shot. An issue with healing or with people not interrupting things, perhaps? I’m not sure.

    With regards to healing, 80%ish is fine for several seconds on end in the majority of encounters that I’ve experienced unless they’ve pulled aggro or are standing in bad. IMHO.

    slice – Heya buddy. :) Hope things are well with you!

    Yeah, Guild Achievements not giving XP is probably not a big deal to most people who are just now experiencing levelling for the first time. I can see people going “who cares?”. I personally care, but that’s just me.

    Let me know if you notice when you cap your guild rep for the week!

    80-85 is painfully compressed and I think it shows.

    They nerfed the shit out of so much in dungeons. There was this bleed in Throne of the Tides, Lacerate, which still exists, but you don’t even NOTICE it. On normal TotT on beta, I had to BOP tanks who had too many stacks of Lacerate. On trash!

    I like the multiple skillups, too! :)

    Oestrus – thanks for your comment. :)

    Lynesta – They’re not huge concerns or gamebreaking concerns, but they’re things that concern me. I never claimed otherwise.

    I feel that entry-level dungeons should be a little more difficult and challenging, yes. I feel that, in terms of my own preference, Heroic Forge of Souls was a great example of an instance that was difficult enough to present a challenge and simple enough to get through after you’d run it a few times.

    Regardless of the group makeup, my problem is with the mechanics. They’ve removed one of Corla’s adds in Blackrock Caverns, they’ve all but obliterated the bleed damage from Lacerate in Throne of the Tides… It’s so, SO much easier than it was on beta and I thought we’d get more or less what we saw on beta — harder instances. Tougher challenges. Instead, it’s more of the same. Round everything up and AOE it, because we CAN.

    I also never said I was upset. I said I was disappointed. And irked. I said I was unhappy with regards to the dungeons, and I really am, but I’m not upset over things in general. It’s definitely early in the game, literally and figuratively, and I hope things will change in the direction I’d like them to.

    Leah – I’m glad someone else is finding the dungeons a bit easy!

    And yes, that message about the cap is super annoying!

    As to the item level requirements, find a high-level green or blue and just hold it in your bags. No need to equip stuff, but those item’s levels count towards your overall score.

  8. I agree with you, Kurn. Blackrock Caverns, at least, is not difficult at all.

    I must admit, I was a bad when I did my first run through BRC. I expected it to be quite hard, with CC being needed on the trash and all the bosses having new mechanics and yet I didn’t do any research or reading beforehand to prepare myself. I simply queued up in my ICC gear at 80 and started healing.

    Imagine my surprise as the group facerolled it’s way through the instance with barely a glitch. We lost a few people here and there and wiped once to a stupid, but it was a breeze. No communication, no strats, just business as usual. The first run I did was with a very good tank from my guild, but the next two runs I did were with full pugs and there were still no problems. In fact, the last run was as fast and easy as HDTK, it seemed.

  9. So far I’m a bit peeved at Blizzard for the dungeons. I heard all about the QQ and omg-it’s-too-hard reactions from Beta and was expecting a very difficult first Cata dungeon.

    At least, I expected it to be a dungeon that required CC of some sort, but fairly easy to clear quickly: after all what other point was there in all that heroic ICC grinding for the LAST YEAR.

    Instead my roommate who just reactivated her Warlock from back in Naxx days bought greens off the AH to meet the 227 gear level requirement to queue. And my dungeon finder told me that Blackrock Caverns was RED (IE Difficult at your level… in questing terms I read that as “probably out of your reach”) at level 80 in H ICC gear.

    And both of our dungeon experiences were the same: no CC, ignore most of the boss and mob mechanics and just blunder through without a wipe.

    But what really has gotten to me is the requirement that you must discover a dungeon before you can queue for it.

    Blizzard don’t want players to pass over questing. BOOOOOO I love quests. I just love dungeons more. And I love doing new dungeon content with my friends. I don’t like doing quests when 99% of the server are also doing those same quests! I’m quite happy to come back and appreciate those quests once I’m at level cap.

    So they nerfed the XP gains from dungeons. And, I think because of that, they nerfed the difficultly/coordination required to complete them.

    And furthermore, I can’t queue with most of my friends who are just one or two levels higher than I (82/83 to my level 80) because I haven’t started the quests in their zones and haven’t discovered the door to the instance yet.


  10. Fannon – I had a similar pug run through Lost City of Tol’vir, which I’d healed through once on beta. No communication, nothing. I was clearly the odd one out because I was a DPS in a run with four people from the same guild, who were probably on Vent together. Went beautifully. Very, very sad. :/

    Yep, once you get the hang of BRC, it’s just as fast as Gundrak or DTK. Blah. Glad someone else is also feeling it’s easy.

    Cassandri – Things WERE hard on beta! They were! Imagine my surprise when I got to BRC on live and went “wait, WHAT?!”

    Your roommate’s experience is probably sadly common. :(

    The requirements for the dungeon discovery…. I can understand it. But I don’t like it. What we’ve been doing is using the meeting stone for summons. We brought two guildies to Vortex Pinnacle’s stone, Halls of Origination’s stone and then Lost City’s stone and that worked really nicely. Summoning people to the Stonecore or Throne of the Tides is useful, too.

    I think you’re very right-on about nerfing the difficulty due to the nerf in experience. I hadn’t thought about that connection before.

    And YES, I hate that I can’t queue for more than Stonecore or Vortex Pinnacle when grouped with 82s when I’m 84. That’s really getting on my nerves.

    Of course, I’m now 85, but still. That was frustrating as all get out. The dungeon brackets just need to be bigger.

  11. For BRC, remember that it is supposed to be tuned for people just dinging 80, with maybe ilvl 187/200 gear. I healed it with a guild group in all 264+, and all 3 dps capable of doing 10k+ dps during Hero. We even half-wiped on the chains (3 deaths, only tank and 1 dps left alive, yet they still killed the boss).

    I tanked it with a pug, and suddenly the chains went down quickly, and no problems. The Quicksilver boss is a bit tricky to get enough-but-not-too-many stacks on. Beauty was trivial if you know to kill the 3 adds but not the fourth. The final boss, pretty trivial. The healing debuff can be nasty, but I wasn’t taking enough damage to really matter.

    I haven’t done Throne yet.

    I did Stonecore. The first time through I tried to range pull a Sentry, who then proceeded to alert the whole room. Quite funny, thankfully a soulstone prevented a run back.
    The next time in a PuG, I figured we could skip this trash and that, and get to the third boss by running through the middle. Turns out someone ran out and pulled a trash pack. Made it very interesting, but popped our CDs and made it. (Bear Berserk is just crazy dps when you have 3 targets to hit. Something like 24kdps)

    On the final boss, I haven’t read any guides that warn you about the 10+ add waves that come when she starts throwing rocks. That is pretty hard to keep off the healer.

    I would say, in general, there is a lot more demand for dps to know what to do (kill Sentries quickly, healer has to put themselves on the other side of gravity well, dps needs to move out of Flay, etc.). Some I can guide them too as a tank, and some they die and find out.

    However, I’m still often topping dps as the tank in PuGs. Then again, when I hit 83, I started buying those 325/333 items, and I got the 316 weapon early on. So it may just be a gearing thing.

    I’ll also note, if you look closely, rarity no longer changes the stat allocation. I purchased from the AH, and just after that had available as a quest reward.
    The green is 4 ilevel higher than the blue, and has identical stats that are a couple higher than the Blue item. Not worth the cost of the gem I put in it to replace, but interesting nonetheless. (I think I’m keeping it for a tanking vs dps item.)

    As for “better itemized”, etc. I don’t know what numbers you’re using. But the Feral guides put Agility (our primary stat) at about 2-3x better than any secondary stat. And primary stats are generally fixed by ilvl. So while you may give up haste for mastery, I would imagine that the extra Intellect would vastly supersede the secondary stat allocation. Especially since you can just reforge a good chunk of the stat you don’t like.

    Bliz really did make “ilvl == power level”, with just a touch of flavor beyond that.

  12. People needing to discover the dungeons before queuing for them was awesome in my opinion. How many times did you get in the LFG and someone died and didn’t know how to get back to the instance? I hated that to no degree as well as the lack of needing CC, ignoring the bad on the ground, etc.

    I went into BRC and Thrones expecting to be CC’ing mobs and using strategy and I was immensely disappointed. About the only thing that is true from everything I read about the Beta was our mana regen went to crap. I even healed a Stonecore at 85 yesterday and got kicked from group because I had to drink after each pull due to healing everyone that wouldn’t interrupt, CC, etc. I was holding them up apparantly.

    In BRC no one knew the strats and I explained that ppl needed to stand in the beams for the 2nd boss. The tank just charged in and it was an AoE fest again.

    I was excited about more difficult dungeons. Now I’m just disappointed.

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