A collective expression of surprise from half our raid team after killing Morchok, the first boss of Dragon Soul. Little did we know, this wasn’t going to be first time this happened all night.
While we weren’t really burned out on Firelands, we were ready for a change of scenery after farming Tier 12 for so long. We’d all prepared for the bosses. Some of us had been on the PTR and killed the bosses via the LFR. Some of us had read up on various sites and blogs about tips and tricks. All of us had watched the videos. We. Were. Ready.
However, as had happened in the last few weeks, we had some issues. Not all of our players were available and due to some connection issues, one of our healers couldn’t log on at all.
So there, we were, 9 manning it with 1 healer short while one of our Holy Paladins rushed home to step in. No worries, not the first time we’d done it. The Morchok trash went down fast enough and soon enough, we were there in front of the boss. Morchok had seemed so easy in all the raid videos we’d seen and some of us had even killed him using the LFR tool. But I had figured, there was something different about the fight on Normal Mode. This is the last raid of this expansion, there’s got to be something raid wipey here – the boss must hit insanely hard, or raid damage must be so high that we’ll probably wipe a few times before we get it down.
3 minutes later:
And so began the first night of raiding in Dragon Soul. Morchok and Yor’sahj were one-shotted. The mechanics were ridiculously straightforward and something any experienced raider wouldn’t have any trouble with.
We wiped a few times on Zon’ozz but not because the boss was hard, just through regular learning of the fight as we figured out how many stacks we could push and what the best positioning was. There was also one nubwipe because our dumbass tank * because he’s too used to turning the boss away from the raid on the pull – the Void spawned far away from the raid and hit the wall, bam, raid wipe.
By the time we got to Hagara, we had started to relax and lose our ‘edge’ – that frame of mind you need for progression raiding as we had stopped taking the instance seriously. We had one wipe due to learning the speed we needed to move in the ice phase and me forgetting to run out of Hagara’s Focused Assault while healers were Ice Tombed. After that, we brought her down, somewhat messily but clean enough for a first kill.
And by that point, I kinda lost heart.
2 of the 3 hours we’d allotted to raiding had passed and we’d pretty much face-rolled 4 bosses. We still had time for Ultraxion and beyond (though I’ll cover that later). I look back at the fights and apart from Hagara, I can’t say that they were messy kills or that people didn’t quite know what they were doing, which is par for the course while you learn a fight.
We smoothly killed Morchok because it’s a simple fight, with very little raid damage, predictable damage on tanks and a second phase where damage is completely and easily avoidable. The fight does not feel like it belongs in a raid, it feels like something that should be found in a 5 man.
Yor’sahj has an interesting and fun mechanic but it’s a little undertuned. The slime adds could do with more HP, raid damage could be a little higher than it was. Having said that, a lot of this is about what combination of slimes you get and we never really had a ‘nasty’ combination.
Warlord Zon’ozz has a good central gimmick and it does take a little bit of getting used to but again, there’s not much more to the fight than figuring out how many stacks you can take and working out how best to position yourselves.
And Hagara… man, what a waste. It’s a good fight! But so completely undertuned! I really figured we’d spend time wiping on this due to the high damage of Phase 1, learning the dance of Phase 2, having tank deaths due to Focused Assault but… none of that. Damage was trivial. The Focused Assault thing… all I had to do was watch the DBM timer and run out a couple of seconds before she cast it. I don’t know if it’s a bug or intended but I figured out that if you run out a couple of seconds early, she’ll cast Focused Assault and then immediately cancel the cast. A major attack and source of tank damage just never went off just because I can watch a timer.
After we killed Morchok I felt something I hadn’t felt for a long time. I don’t know how to describe the feeling but back in WotLK, after we killed Lord Marrowgar for the first time, I had this feeling, like I knew I was going to utterly hate every fight in that place.
The feeling disturbed me and it disturbs me still. The thing is, I really hated Icecrown Citadel. Even to this day, when we go back there to do achievements or finish up, feelings of hatred, rage and frustration well up within me.
I hate that shithole.
Having said all that, that feeling of dread dissipated as we got to Ultraxion and we started learning the fight. Ultraxion’s a great fight, high DPS requirements, full focus and attention needed with some fun mechanics. Really enjoyed the fight and I look forward to doing it again next reset.
But that feeling… I’m afraid of spending another chunk of my life raiding an instance I despise. Two days later and I can take a step back and I realize that while I did find these fights easy, I didn’t actually hate them… they just didn’t do anything for me. And flying around Wyrmrest Temple, being on a gunship… all these things just remind me of WotLK, an expansion I’m totally done with. Dragon Soul feels like a Wrath raid. It lacks the depth of design and difficulty that I enjoyed in Tier 11 and 12 in normal mode. There was no sense of challenge or accomplishment with those first few kills. I felt nothing. I can only hope that the Heroic Modes are tuned better and are even more fun.
We didn’t down Ultraxion that night, mainly due to UI issues from one of our healers but we did get our kill the next night, as well as Blackhorn. I’ll cover them in another post.
* That tank was me, in case there’s any doubt