Heroic Northrend Beasts = boring

No, not because they are too easy. God no. In fact, for my raid force - which cleared normal mode of Trial of the Crusader with ease on both ten- and twenty-five-man - our first attempts on heroic mode were like hitting our heads against a brick wall; it was just such a massive step up in difficulty.

Now, I don't mind wiping a lot to learn a difficult fight. It's usually worth it for the feeling of excitement when you finally get past that really difficult phase and your heart races as the boss exclaims something, adds appear, other exciting new things happen and you wonder if you'll make it to the end. In Trial of the Grand Crusader nothing new and exciting awaits me at any point. I don't have a particular personal desire to get Gormok the Impaler down quickly because I know exactly what will happen afterwards: not one, but two jormungar will enter the arena, and so on and so forth. I've done it a dozen times before. It's the same on heroic mode as on normal, only with more damage on the tanks and more fires to stand in for everyone else, sort of as if I had suddenly walked into a really bad pug group for the normal instance. The difference is that if I walked into a pug where the boss was turning the tanks into tauren mash in less than a second I'd say "screw you, guys" and go home. (Well, maybe not exactly like that, but you get my point.) With my guild I kind of have to stick it out, because the little checkbox says that it's heroic mode and thus it's okay for us to suddenly suck really badly on a fight that we usually ace. That's "progression" for you. Sigh.

Spinks made a post only today in which she said: "There are two types of gamer in the world. Those who want to play through a game again on a harder mode after they’ve finished it, and those who don’t." I think I can safely place myself in the latter group.

Though it probably doesn't help that Northrend Beasts isn't a very interesting fight to heal, as there've been some hard modes that I found a lot more tolerable. I mean, there's a lot of damage going around in this particular encounter, but that doesn't make it interesting.

You see, I believe that the fun of raid healing increases and decreases along a curve. (If I was as talented as Tamarind I would make a snazzy graph to illustrate this, but I'm not so explaining it in words will have to do.) Obviously, when there is little to no healing at all for me to do, I won't find this situation fun. It's kind of boring and makes me feel useless; who'd enjoy that? As you increase the healing load, my enjoyment will go up as I actually have something to occupy myself. However, once you get past a certain point it becomes less fun again, namely when fights deteriorate into nothing but massive damage that you have to spam-heal. Kologarn is such a fight, as is Hodir - and at least phase one of the Northrend Beasts falls into that category as well in my opinion. It's not that I shy away from a challenge, but just mashing your biggest heal over and over to barely keep people alive strongly reduces the amount of actual thought you have to put into the job, and that is something that I don't find enjoyable at all.

Many of my favourite boss fights as a healer are actually relatively light on healing but engage the healers in more ways than just making them watch health bars and not standing in the fire. Archimonde was one such fight for me in BC; in WOTLK I really loved Yogg-Saron. Hell, even Anub'arak is not so bad (as Spinks also remarked the other day), because he really requires you to heal intelligently towards the end, not too little but also not too much. Maybe I'll like his hard mode more if we ever get there.

Still, as far as I'm concerned, Blizzard could still scrap hard modes altogether and I'd be all the happier for it.

1 comment:

  1. Well put!!

    We have yet to do the heroic TotC versions, but generally when it comes to hardmodes, I couldn't be less interested. If people in the raid insist that we should try this or that hardmode, I'll go along with it and do my utmost to make it happen, of course. But personally I find them pointless.

    I'm sure that as DPS it is great fun to do hard-modes like XT for instance. You have to do much DPS to the heart to kill it off, then his (her?) health goes back to full and then some and you get to do MOAR damage. As a healer I enjoyed learning to cope with the different things happening in that fight, but the hard mode just gets silly. Oh, I got gravity bomb - run out of range. Then run away from the void zone. Oh, I've got light bomb, run away and heal up. Oh, there's ball of glitter killing me - it won't go away - halp, halp! Tantrum hits - raid wipes.

    You hit it right on the head that just upping the amount of incoming damage is not really a good way to challenge healers. It is a challenge sure - but not really an interesting one.