Deathwing is dead

I braved the raid finder a second time last night because I wanted to see how the story of the Dragon Soul ended. The following post contains spoilers for what happens in there if you're concerned about that kind of thing.

Once again I was thrown into a run that was already halfway done, so I was immediately faced with a brief cut scene of people jumping out of an airship (wait what) and next thing I knew we were on Deathwing's back. Can somebody tell me how you measure your progress during that fight? I sure couldn't figure it out at the time. People just killed tentacles and oozing blood over and over, and the raid leader said stuff like "just one more time" and then Thrall apparently kicked Deathwing into the Maelstrom.

Pro tip as an aside: If you want to be successful in the raid finder without having a clue, queue up as a healer. Seriously, I've now seen the whole instance and there wasn't a single fight where any healer was required to do anything but spam their AoE heals. I still don't know half the mechanics and it hasn't really been a hindrance. Occasionally a tank will die when they suffer from a damage spike and nobody bothers to provide them with extra healing, but since there is no identifiable tank healer, it's hard to place blame. Not to mention that that's what combat resses are for. At worst someone will decide to initiate a vote kick on whichever healer currently has the lowest hps (yes, I've seen that too), so you should be fine as long as you're not at the very bottom.

Anyway, unsurprisingly Deathwing wasn't dead yet, which led to the last encounter where he was sort of clinging to some rocks in the Maelstrom and you basically stab him in the toes. Above anything else, this fight led me to the conclusion that Deathwing is simply too large. I can appreciate Blizzard's attempts to directly correlate size and epicness, but there's a tipping point where you start to feel like an ant chewing on someone's ankle and that's just not cool. In this particular case I couldn't really see any part of Deathwing other than the claw directly in front of me, and that despite of having my camera set to maximum zoom. He pretty much makes Kologarn look like a midget. I heard the NPCs shout and I got warnings from DBM, but it was really hard to see what was going on. This is not good.

We wiped twice on this encounter, at which point about half the group left, but the raid filled up again within a minute and we simply tried again. I wasn't bothered by the wiping except that it always forced us to repeat a huge portion of the fight where there wasn't really much to do for me, which felt quite tedious, until we got back to the point where we'd all die very suddenly. (It was always when we were assisting the last dragon aspect, Kalecgos in our case, and the AoE damage would ramp up very fast and very suddenly.) Someone said that it was due to some tentacles not getting killed, but I don't think that anyone paid attention to them when we eventually did kill him either. The third time I just made sure to have Divine Hymn ready at the worst point of it and then we made it through. (Not saying that I single-handedly saved the group, but it did feel like it made a difference.)

After the final cinematic had finished playing, which I'll comment on at the end, I requeued once again to see bosses number five and six. I already said it in my last post, but I think it bears repeating that the type of storytelling Blizzard uses in this raid really suffers when the raid finder throws you at the bosses in an almost random order during your first visit. I mean, I had no idea why I had got from Wyrmrest Temple to the Maelstrom, but hey. I wonder what percentage of raid finder users could give a coherent summary of what they just played through at the end of a run. Not that many I bet.

Eventually I did find myself back at Wyrmrest Temple to face off against Ultraxion with a new raid, the infamous "button boss" I had heard about. I was nervous about messing up on this one, but in the end the button mechanic turned out to be really obvious anyway. (Just wish DBM hadn't constantly covered my button with timer bars which I then had to frantically click away every time I needed to access it.) Again we wiped twice, and people complained about button-push failure, though from what I could gather hardly anyone died to that. In the end it just seemed to once again come down to the healers saving all their big cooldowns for the very end, and once I made sure to do that, we won.

Deathwing then showed up and broke the Horde gunship (what is it with Horde airships getting shot down, damn Alliance bias), which is why we ended up on the Alliance one. A-ha! There we then had to fight off some Twilight attackers, which qualified as the third boss fight. This one actually had a bit of movement, but other than that it was once again just more AoE healing and Warmaster Blackhorn died on the first attempt.

And that's how I ended the Fall of Deathwing, by killing the boss just leading up to the Deathwing fight. Yeah.

Back in Wrath I wasn't very happy with the way my first Lich King kill turned out, but killing Deathwing through the raid finder was a completely different experience altogether. I was neither frustrated nor excited, I simply felt completely detached from the whole experience. In a way it doesn't really matter how epic Blizzard tries to make a boss fight if I end up doing it with a bunch of strangers who think it's a smashing idea to drop a train set just as the entire raid is gathering in front of the boss for the pull. It can't end up being anything but a joke.

But even that aside... seeing the bosses in a random order was a bit of a mood killer. There was also a lot of emphasis from the NPCs about how we, the players, were a bunch of goddamn heroes, and the only thing that was missing was Alexstrasza turning to look straight at the screen and pointing at me to emphasise that yes, I am the saviour of Azeroth! Go me! I suppose that's a step up from being reduced to the Lich King's plaything while Tirion Fordring saves the day, but it still felt a bit awkward. Just having someone say "You're a hero!" doesn't make me feel heroic if I didn't actually do anything particularly exciting. (And spamming Holy Word: Sanctuary really isn't that much of a feat.)

The overuse of the term "Cataclysm" also felt kind of fourth-wall breaking to me. I thought the Cataclysm as an in-game event was what happened when Deathwing broke out of Deepholm and broke everything. We can still feel its after-effects, but generally speaking it's over and done with. Having Thrall say stuff like "The Cataclysm is over now" just feels weird, as if he's proclaiming the end of the expansion. Also, "Deathwing begins to cast Cataclysm"? Really? Destroying the world is simply a matter of casting a spell? Again, that just seemed odd to me.

That the final cinematic showed the dragon aspects becoming mortal was a surprise to me. I wonder what they are going to do now? I can just picture Nozdormu settling down in Silvermoon and Ysera chilling in Moonglade.

Oh, and whatever happened to the young dragon that came out of the purified black egg from the Badlands? Does he only show up in the rogue legendary chain? That would be a tad disappointing. Also, in which book did Kalecgos officially become the new aspect of Magic anyway? It's a bit sad that the more attention I pay to WoW's lore, the less I feel I understand what's going on...

Anyway, in summary there's nothing outright badly done about the Fall of Deathwing, but I found nothing to get excited about either, and that's quite impressive for a last raid of the expansion. I just spent a lot of time standing around spamming my AoE heals while listening to NPCs talk and watching cut scenes. I suppose it's a fitting ending for what most people seem to consider the game's worst expansion so far.


  1. > Not saying that I single-handedly saved the group,
    > but it did feel like it made a difference.

    That's the advantage of the "superstar design" for raids. Everyone can feel like he made a difference. (Compared to knowing that he didn't screw up the dance this time.)

    > "The Cataclysm is over now"

    He destroyed some stuff but I think the Cataclysm was the complete annihilation of the world which would have happened if the boundaries between the worlds would break. That's why we had to fix the world pillar.

  2. God that is so depressing!
    I came here expecting you to cheer on the firstkill of the big baddie, what a shame this has become such a lackluster and emotionless experience. I guess I leave the congrats then too. =/

    Having your people there with you really makes such a huge difference in enjoying moments such as these. I think you can probably even forgive a lacking fight if it's a shared experience, for the good and the bad (you can always joke about things together). it's one thing that worries me a little about my personal 'future' with MMOs - will I ever be rooted in a guild or close circle of comrades again the way I was in WoW? now that I also have less time to spend on games. GW2 no matter how great, will probably rise or fall over this, for me.

  3. @Kring: After having tried both, I definitely agree that the superstar design is more fun. It can be annoying if you end up carrying someone terrible who thinks that they are great, but then again it's not really that much fun to wipe while being unable to carry someone terrible who thinks that they are great. :P

    Are you resubbing to try out the raid finder?

    @Syl: To be fair, I made a choice not to raid "properly" anymore. Still, considering that LFR was supposed to make raiding accessible to everyone, it's kind of weird just how different it feels from traditional raiding. It's pretty much distilled down to nothing but a loot farm.

  4. Having DPSed, Tanked and Healed the LFR version and tanked and healed the normal version now I can say without a doubt that from the aspect of a tanking and healing standpoint the raids where... boring as sin.

    You summed it up in a way I had actually forgot about. Which says something in itself if it was all that forgettable.

    All I did was throw heals on whoever was tanking when they where taking damage and spammed AoE heals the rest of the time.

    If you are a new player and afraid of what to expect, being a healer going into it is a nice way to experience it. Some intelligent use of cooldowns and your AoE hot keyed to the most accessible spot for you and you can sit back and watch the fights for the most part.

    Tanking them is even more "exciting". Oh, I need to switch once in a while. Oh, I can solo tank this one.

    Place face between over sized bosses ankles and hit a cooldown once in a while. Blah.

    At least when I was healing I got to see more then the bosses foot fungus.

    DPSing the fights is fun. Trying to get out as much as you can to make the fight easier on the healers mana pool which in turn makes it easier for the tanks health pool was where it is at.

    Fits this expansion perfectly. Been saying it since the get go, this expansion is all about the DPS. If they are good, the group is good, if they are bad, the group is bad.

    The story, like you said, seemed really lacking too. Arthas was epic, had an epic feel and even felt like something important was accomplished.

    Not sure if it is the raid finder itself or the story itself, but killing deathwing seemed no different then killing any run of the mill last boss of a dungeon.

    That might be because as far as villains go he was forgettable to begin with.

    I think hunting down the person that stole little jimmy's lunch money would have had a more satisfying feeling then killing deathwing.

    Blah end to a blah expansion. Seems fitting.

  5. @Grumpy: I got the impression that the tanks had at least something to do, since there are adds on some fights and I reckon that the tank swapping requires at least a minimum amount of coordination. But then that was just my perspective as an outsider.

    I think the raid finder hurts Dragon Soul's story because the instance is probably the most heavily story-driven I've ever seen: no two fights are even in remotely the same place and the raid's constantly moving around to react to new story developments. However, it's really hard to savour that if you're dumped at a random boss with random people going nuts around you.

    Still, I agree that Deathwing himself also turned out to be quite a lackluster villain in the end, simply because he didn't seem to have much of a personality. He was just angry and mad, but without reading lots of outside lore you don't really know why. As far as dragons go, even Sartharion in the Obsidian Sanctum was a more interesting character to me personally...

  6. > Are you resubbing to try out the raid finder?

    Yes, I did resubscribe a few days ago. :) But mainly because of transmogrification. I'm finally able to not wear a dress on my warlock! That's just awesome. I mean, after 7 years my character looks like a male character. Priceless!

    - Transmogrification is awesome. (The only downside is that all the cool items are quest rewards I've sold 7 years ago. :)

    - I did like the darkmoon fair which was refreshing different but still WoW. And it didn't felt grindy like some holiday events but just as something fun.

    - I think the 4.2 dailies are one of their better dailies, they are actually fun. At least for the last 3 days I did them. It's a little bit silly that the mobs in the firelands don't aggro and you can just walk through hundreds of fire elementals to heal your allies... but anyway, they are better then expected.

    - The 3 new 5 mans were a major disappointment. I have no idea where they are, I'm just ported to "some place". And they are silly story dungeons instead of combat dungeons (dungeons that focus on interesting mob groups). I don't think they have a high replayability. And stuff like the demon crossing guard is not even funny it's so absurd.

    - I got showered in purples and replaced many items, for which I invested quite some time 6 month ago, within hours. That immediately made everything feel unimportant what I did 6 month ago. They should go back to the slow vanilla item level progression.

    - It also ment that I lost interest in my alts. I always had a lot of fun with alts but with the current item inflation it's just to much "work" to gear an alt to run a few dungeons for a change. Gearing my paladin tank alt just to see the new 5 mans and LFR once as a tank? I don't think so.

    - LFR I don't have access yet (item level 356) as I've done every instance only once up until now.

    So yes, I do have some fun but I'm not sure if it'll last long enough till MoP.

    > It's pretty much distilled down to nothing but a loot farm.

    I did like the following blue comment:

    > With the speed at which a Raid Finder group moves
    > through a zone, we’ve found that it makes it challenging
    > for players to evaluate loot decisions

  7. The thing that I've been most disappointed in is the so-called 'lazy storytelling', and relying upon the books to propel the story further. Blizz has this great storytelling device, called an MMO, and they don't use it for a lot of critical plot elements.

  8. I mentioned this a bit in my reply to your comment on my post on Raid Finder, but it's so bittersweet to see your reaction to the end of this expansion. Congrats for defeating Deathwing - and at the same time, it's a shame it wasn't as emotionally effective for you as it might have been under different circumstances.

    I 100% agree with you about the overuse of the word Cataclysm. I didn't totally notice it until we were working on the final fight, and I heard one of the dragon aspects yelling about it. Then, I targeted Deathwing and realize he was casting "Cataclysm." Really? REALLY? That's just goofy. :P

  9. @Kring: The Firelands dailies include some fun quests, but their overall framework is terrible in my opinion, what with the way you have to redo dailies X and Y every day just to access daily Z which has something you want... I believe you'd think differently of them too after doing them for 30 days or more. ;)

    The new dungeon entrances are all in the Caverns of Time. And I thought that they were fun enough, but otherwise I agree with almost everything you wrote. I'd be curious to hear your thoughts on the raid finder too once you get to try it.

    @Redbeard: The Renaissance Man had a great post on this subject the other day - you've probably already seen it, but I thought it was worth linking again because it's so very true.

    @Tzufit: Thanks for your kind words, and I'm glad that I wasn't the only one who thought that the constant mention of "something Cataclysm" was a bit over the top. :P

  10. "Also, in which book did Kalecgos officially become the new aspect of Magic anyway?"

    Blizzard did actually manage to explain this via the legendary Tarecgosa questline. I think very few people actually get to see Kalecgos ascend to become the new leader of the Blue Dragonflight after Malygos' demise. There are some good youtube vids around though which show it.

  11. He becomes the Aspect of Magic in the Thrall book by Christie Golden.

  12. It was a lackluster story, and a lackluster fight. Ok, Morchock was cool, and I understand why we needed to kill him, but then we have to go into some random hole to fight zonozz and yorshaj, then into some other realm to fight hagaara. those 3 felt like they had no corellation at all to the big picture.

    Plus we never really fought deathwing. the 2 "deathwing" fights were, in reality, just consecutive trash pulls with no break in between. The were gigantic add fights with some extra raid damage. We shot some arrows at his oversized claws, then at his chin, but it didnt feel like we were fighting deathwing. It would have been much more Epic, imo, if he landed on a big rock in the maelstrom and we fought him. not his claws, not his tentacles, but deathwing himself.

    Secondly, it may also feel this way b/c, if you look at it, you barely put any work in. I went into the fight in full PvP gear, one shot every boss, and wiped only once on the final one. We didnt really put much effort. Half the time i was mind numbingly going through my rotation, switch add, and back to my rotation. Heck, I was watching the Steeler's game half of the fight. It just feels so much better if after weeks of work, and gearing, and wiping, you finally kill him, and you here the screams in vent, and the oohin and aweing over the loot. in the LFR it was: kill deathwing, roll on loot, find out I didnt win any, leave party

  13. So... Cataclysmeh?

    (I'm not playing right now, but that's what I'm gathering from the general non yelly playerbase).

  14. > I believe you'd think differently of them too after
    > doing them for 30 days or more

    Wtf...? I have to do 3 dailies to get this one daily and after that I get another 3 daily which unlocks...? I can't just pick the ones I want, I have to play through the whole story EVERY FREAKING DAY.

    Who thought it's a good idea to add story as a forth pillar to an MMO daily hub? That sounds like a very stupid idea. MMOs are about replayability and repeatability, there is no place for story in an MMO.

    Besides that, I haven't found a quest I really hate. Sure, catching birds is stupid (I hate vehicles) and kicking turtles awesome. But there is no quest in the rotation which I hate to come up because it's such an annoying quest (up until know).

  15. I too have cleared the raid (as dps) in LFR, having seen only the first 3 bosses in normal mode, and I agree that it is difficult to get a grip on what you are actually fighting. My group had a lucid, experienced tank & good healers, but the combination of screen lag and general chaos made it a confusing, if fun, experience. It did lack the epic feel I was hoping for - there was a sense of 'was that it?' from my friends on voicechat. I'm hoping that doing the raid in 10-man, with a guild group, will be more satisfying.

  16. Seems to me that it was entirely psychological.
    If you want to do it in order, only accept the first boss.

    If you want immersion, crank the ambience and music up and sound down.

    Pugging with 25 strangers and having it easy mode is the price you pay instead of running it with your guild, you cant have it both ways, you have the choice of one or the other.

    >> To the poster whining about replacing items they spent ages getting 6 months ago, thats progression for you, new content always does this, or would your rather go back to TBC model with 5% of all raiders actually raiding the current raid because every new toon or raider has to gear up through every raid all over again.

  17. So let me get this straight. You chose the training-wheels version of the raid, with 24 other strangers, clicked the accept button to join a raid that was already underway and are surprised you had a bland experience? LFR is supposed to be easy and its supposed to let you focus on the story(which you can if you take the time, there is no one forcing you to ignore the dialogue/quest text). It DOES feel epic if you pay attention instead of halfheartedly trying and just sorta paying attention to whats going on. It just will never feel the same as downing it with your guild or with friends because then that becomes a social thing and it isn't supposed to, its there to teach you the dumbed down version of fights while having almost no challenge and still experiencing the content.

    TL;DR Don't go into LFR with bosses down and alone and expect the same experience as killing bosses with your main raid.

  18. Congrats on killing Deathwing!

    Killing the final boss is satisfying. But sometimes players in WOW do not recognyze it.

    Saddly they instead say how easy it is and such.
    Well, they forgot one thing: LFR (the name the raid finder has on our server) is the easy setting. You still have the normal setting and the hard (heroic) setting. So, wince you can try the game in another dificulty, so can you kill deathwing in a harder challenge. As a holy paladin, i promise you: on LFR i may be strolling easily, but on normal 10-man, i'm saving and calculating CDs like a mathmatician on steroids. So don't lose hope about your challenge.

    Now, about Maddness of DW: i agree with you, on some platforms we can't see the bugger due to theclaw being in the way, and that takes some of the epicness out of the fight.

    Now, as for the black dragons and kalecgos, the stories of each other are saddly avainable only to either books, or rogues/casters respectively, as while you get your legendary, you find out what happened.

    And as the worst expansion ever: yes; i admit this one had more flaws than the other 2, but placing the fight as a reason of it when you only did the fight on the easy part is kinda... ignorant (sorry, can't fight the right word, dunno if this one works). If you would have done the fight first on normal mode, and THEN on the LFR, trust me, you'd had a different way of view over the difficulty of the fight.

    I apologize if my post was kinda rude. I just think i was a bit too critic on several aspects. And don't scream for Alliance favoritism yet, dear. The worst for the Alliance is yet to come.

    Best wishes,
    Rodmin of Wowhead

  19. *recognize
    *strolling with ease
    *the claw
    *rogues/casters legendary stories

    Sorry about the typos!

  20. Thanks to all the anonymous commenters that responded to my question about the different dragons.

    @Gabeco: That's an interesting take on it, that it feels like you're not really fighting Deathwing himself, only bits of him.

    @Eskodas: If you want to do it in order, only accept the first boss.

    I might have done that if I had known that it would be such a big deal. However, if you look at pretty much all of the raids before Dragon Soul, it never really mattered which order you did most of the bosses in (other than the last one or two, which were very obviously meant to be the cumulation of everything else). This is the first raid where they used a cinematic approach that has the story progressing in leaps and bounds with every single kill.

    @Anonymous after: I never expected it to feel the same as doing it with my guild, but the point of this post was that I was surprised by just how different it felt. You say yourself that it's meant to "still let you experience the content", but I think it's a fair question to ask just how much you can change something while still claiming that it's the same "experience".

    @Rodmin: I don't think I ever said that I expected a challenge in LFR. A game can be easy and still be entertaining, however I felt that a lot of these fights were plain boring, as a healer anyway. It did look like the damage dealers had a more interesting job, switching between adds etc.

    I actually don't think that Cataclysm by itself was all that terrible an expansion. I was just quoting something that I've heard a lot of people say about it.

    And you weren't rude at all. :)

  21. I did this with my 10 man raid group. I was the only tank that qued with us. I was dissapointed on how easy it was. We downed all of it with no wipes. Killing deathwing through LFR was very dissapointing.

  22. Finally, I hit the required item level to be allowed to use the LFR. Blue crafted PvP gear might or might not have been involved. :)

    I got bored rather quick with repeatedly running the new 5 mans and not winning anything anyway. I think heroic 5 man and LFR raids should be parallel endgame content and drop the same item level and require the same item level to join. Because now, that I am allowed to join the LFR, the 5 man gear is obsolete and my endgame content just shrunk to these 8 LFR boss encounters.

    I've signed up to LFR on Wednesday, 9 pm server time, and was invited within one minute to a fresh raid with my warlock. About 5 people said hello and we started killing something. It immediately did NOT feel like UBRS because it was to big. I did't even have enough time to check if some of those 24 others were from my server. I think 10 man would be better for LFR from a "feeling" point of view, 25 man is better mechanic wise and probably a smart choice.

    I've checked the dungeon journal which showed me what the boss does but not what I'm supposed to do. That might be useful for a normal or heroic raid but for LFR the dungeon journal is useles. Does x if it hits a player which stacks up to y times or does z if it hits the wall. Ooookay... and now what? In the and a bear played with a ball and we killed a boss. Whatever the animal did I don't know. They should add something like with the fireland dailies: "Shield is up. Everybody stop attacking the elemental!".

    We killed some 4 bosses and the raid disbanded. I have no idea why and where we killed them as I didn't have time to follow the NPC communication during combat and there was no quest text explaining why we do what we do. But, to be fair, that's also true for most other raids in WoW. :)

    There was no communication during the run. It was like doing the fireland dailies with some NPCs.

    I found it really disapointing that the bosses don't give points, not even justice points. Especially since VP can't be used to buy your set but only some loose parts. VP at T13 level doesn't feel "exciting" and therefore getting only 250 VP once in the end of the raid doesn't really feed the "diablo reflex". It's more like getting payed for a job.

    Today I've signed up for the other LFR and after about 10 minutes was invited to a raid in progress who was on the last boss. I've declined and signed up again and after another 10 minutes I was, again, invited to a raid in progress who was on the last boss. I've accepted and we wiped once and then killed Deathwing. I didn't feel like signing up again for this raid because a second run wouldn't reware VP nor JP. I can watch the remaining bosses next week.

    In summary I think the system works. It works much better than the LFD because of a more correct role distribution. And as a DD it's very easy to hide behind the other 16 DD. But it also is very unexciting. I don't really know why I should go there again.

    As a transient player I do now have the following end game options.

    - Running heroics for obsoleted drops and JP to buy an obsoleted set and a small amount of VP to buy "uncool" items.
    - Run 2 LFR raids per week for a small chance on drops and a small amount of VP to buy "uncool" items.

    Not really enough. And I'm not sure how long transmogrification will keep me busy. They better add pet battles now...

  23. Sounds like a fair assessment, Kring.

  24. I've run LFR again. It was quite disappointing. Whatever you do the tank will never lose aggro and the healer will never not be able to keep you topped. And it doesn't matter what and if you attack anything as DD.

    I'm not complaining that it is to easy. But you don't feel endangered. There's nothing scary about the whole fight. There's no threat. It's more like a cocktail party. UBRS wasn't "hard" (neglecting Drakki itself) but each and every trash pull could wipe a raid if we didn't pay attention.

    The most exciting thing of the whole run was the rolling for loot. Seriously. That was the only exciting thing. I can have that with archeology. And archeology is even easier to mix with surfing. (No, that was not sarcastic.)

    So, yes, my subscription ends February 8th. I'm waiting for pet battles.