I realised the other day that considering how much time I spend raiding in WoW, I actually blog very little about it. The thing with raiding is, there are basically two kinds of articles you can write about it: how-to guides, which I personally don't care about, or stories about truly amazing boss kills or wipes, which I like well enough but in all honesty they don't happen that often. If you've been raiding with the same guild for years, and things mostly go well week after week, that's simply not very exciting to write about. You go in, wipe some, eventually the boss dies and some people get loot. The end.
However, I do think it's worth mentioning how things are going for us in Icecrown Citadel - they are going well - and that I like it. The boss fights are reasonably fun, they are varied enough that the difficulty isn't always decided by the healers' ability to spam their biggest heals, and well... the difficulty in general just feels right.
I don't know how other people feel about facing a new raid boss, and I reckon that opinions on this might vary a lot depending on how much and how "hardcore" you play, but me personally - I want a new raid boss to wipe the raid on the first attempt, and hard. I remember facing off against Jaraxxus in Trial of the Crusader for the first time, one-shotting him and being deeply disappointed. When a monster is so big and bad that it requires ten or even twenty-five people to kill, then it should also present me with a challenge that is worthwhile of assembling such a big group in the first place. I've said this before in regards to five-mans: I don't mind spending some time preparing things for a game-related task, but then said task should also take some time, otherwise I just spent more time assembling a group than actually playing with said group, and that stinks.
On the other end of the spectrum, things being too hard isn't fun either. I hated Trial of the Grand Crusader, especially on twenty-five-man because we spent so much time wiping in there without making any progress, it felt silly. People will probably disagree about how much is too much, but I'm sure everyone has their personal pain threshold which, if surpassed, will make them decide that "this just isn't fun anymore". Heroic Northrend Beasts and the Faction Champions certainly helped me find mine.
Now Icecrown Citadel on the other hand has felt pretty damn perfect in terms of difficulty so far, to me anyway. I think we wiped three times on Marrowgar the first time we tried him, which was more satisfying than one-shotting him, but still easy enough that he works well as an entrance boss. You don't expect the guy guarding the door to be that hard.
Deathbringer Saurfang took us a night or two until we found the right strategy to deal with the add spawns, and he challenged the healers nicely with tough but smart healing requirements (as opposed to mad spam fests). Basically a worthy boss for the end of a wing, but still not too terribly tough, considering that said wing is the first one of the instance.
The Plagueworks were a massive step up in diffculty in my eyes, and while we've downed both Festergut and Rotface, it wasn't without struggling considerably and we're still far from being able to replicate the experience reliably. Putricide seems hard enough that I don't think we'll be able to down him on twenty-five-man anytime soon, but this is where the beauty of the multi-wing design comes in.
Last night for example our raid leader decided that instead of going back to the Plagueworks and trying to down Rotface again (Festergut was already dead), we'd have a look at the Crimson Hall. Trying to down the Blood Prince Council was absolutely manic and I quickly lost track of how many times we wiped. As a raid healer I didn't have much of a clue what was going on a lot of the time to be honest, but I still tried my best and judging by how our attempts were getting better and better (in-between some total failures) we seemed to be making progress.
At the end of the night, already having gone past our usual raid end time, with everyone tired and mostly just wanting to get things done and over with, we finally downed the Princes on the nineteenth try (according to the log), and my priest is now an Orb Whisperer. It felt wonderfully satisfying.
So yeah, I'm rather liking Icecrown Citadel so far, and I'm looking forward to working some more on the later bosses as well as to actually having options. Good work, Blizz.
A Murder of Fax Machines
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