I like the new raid. The pace is overall easier compared to Firelands. I know the Raid Finder makes it extremely easy to barrel through but I liked the way it’s turned out.
The Advantage of the Raid Finder
When I tried it out on the PTR, I was disappointed at the amount of time it actually took to get going. I endured 10 minutes of players dropping queue and requeuing on the PTR. But with a much larger population on live servers, it doesn’t take that long to get going actually. The raid finder came in handy during day one. It’s nice to see all the new writeups, strategies and so forth but it is another thing entirely to be in the instance itself. Granted, the raid finder difficulty is extremely forgiving. But to visually expose yourself to the effects, the abilities, and the terrain adds another dimension entirely.
I know that when Tuesday came around, a a number of players on the team just happened to get sick on the same day. At the very least, they were feeling just well enough to duck into the raid finder for a few hours to try out the tool and check out the place. We stomped through the place in around 90 minutes. Realistically, expect to spend between an hour to 2 hours inside there depending on overall raid skill. I’ve been really lucky with my groups as I’ve only experienced around 5 or so wipes through the entire night on my alts and such.
On epic gems
One thing I am not satisfied with is the way epic gems are handled. When you take down a raid boss, you get a Mote of Darkness which you can use to cash into a vendor. Depending on which way the dice rolls, you could end up with green quality gems or epic gems. And the prices for these things are outrageous. Red epic gems have skyrocketed to as high as 25000 gold already. Yeesh! During Burning Crusade, you could either mine them (Mount Hyjal) or loot them off bosses (Black Temple). In Wrath of the Lich King, I believe they were prospected and then purchasable via points or emblems. They’re trying something new this time around and I don’t know if I like the way it’s being done. In previous guilds, epic gems were handled from a collective standpoint. That is, we would bank every gem we get and then hand them out (master looted or a specific miner would get them). This time around, epic gems are now solely in the hands of the players and their own luck. I have difficulty asking players to give up any epic quality gems that they get to the guild. Perhaps the best way to reconcile it then would be to place the responsibility of epic gems back in the hands of the player.
The standard raiding difficulty should not be underestimated. Don’t think you can 2 heal this stuff yet on 10 man, for example (unless you’re rocking full Firelands heroic gear). For unprepared raids, it can still present a challenge. I’ve been a part of organized groups who just can’t seem to ping pong their way to victory on the Warlord.
Don’t get me started on the lightning phase of Hagara. As the wise Mel tells me:
Truism of WoW: When you have to avoid chain lightning, you can’t. When you want to chain, everyone is [perfectly] spread to avoid it.
So while coordination efforts are trivialized in the raid finder, expect it to be a little more punishing in the harder difficulties. Speaking of which, let’s not forget that this patch is supposed to last us until Mists of Pandaria. Either they’re getting close to a testing period or hard mode Dragon Soul is going to be really hard. Firelands went from the end of June until now (end of November). That was around 5 months.
Anyway, day one was capped off with a respectable 4/8 finish. I’m expecting Deathwing to provide much more of a challenge. I’d be thrilled if we can score a full clear during week one. I don’t want to set myself up for disappointment. Just going to take it boss by boss and concentrate on the present.
How has your experience with the raid finder been? Are you satisfied or bored with Dragon Soul? Hell, do you even find it appealing at all with the stuff you’ve seen?