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.
Dealing with the disaffected
14 hours ago